Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home Missions

Our missions team returned this past week from their trip to Kenya and in particular to a town in northern Kenya called Garissa. From what I understand the work that the team did was hot, dusty and very hard. One of the team members caught on fire (literally) and some of the guys suffered from a severe rash from some of the wood they were cutting for use at the project This Sunday some of the team members will be sharing their experiences in our Sunday morning service.

I am reminded that most of what we call "missions" is really done right in our own backyard, so to speak. Every Christian is called to the mission field of their family, their workplace, their school, their neighborhood and their church. Which is more difficult -- to share Christ with someone in a foreign country or someone you work with, go to school with or someone in your own family. Probably the physical demands would say that foreign missions is more difficult and I wouldn't disagree with that. And there are some heavy spiritual opposition forces at work that require being armored up with the spiritual weapons of warfare when traveling to a foreign country where spiritual darkness has ruled for centuries. Thank God for the power of the Holy Spirit!

But witnessing in your own backyard so-to-speak requires something even more. It requires a life style to back up our testimony. It is not enough to have the right talk (words); we must have the walk to back it up. Speaking the truth and not living the truth is called being a hypocrite. I am glad that God holds us to a high standard. Why shouldn't He? He paid a high price for our salvation and has given us a mission to win the world for Him. The Word is very clear that our faith must be backed up with our works if anything of value is going to be accomplished for the Kingdom of God.

I think it is important that our family and friends and brothers and sisters in Christ hold us accountable for our lives. Iron should sharpen iron and sometimes the process is painful. Are you willing to be sharpened for effectiveness for Kingdom work? I hope so. Jesus said the fields are white for harvest but the laborers are few. God help us to see the urgency of our time and be ready always with an answer of the hope (Living Hope) that is in us when we have the opportunity. And always with gentleness and patience.

Up North Wisdom says look to the Word of God and ask like the psalmist for God to "search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You Lord, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalm 139:23-24) AMEN! The Best Is Yet To Come!! Have a great summer and keep a watchful eye for those God-moments.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Be Ready

This past Sunday morning, Living Hope Church commissioned our mission team as they prepare to leave on Thursday for Kenya. Please continue to pray each day for the team as they lay plans to help build a school for girls in Northern Kenya. I've said this before, I think there is going to be so much more happen for God's Kingdom as the team focuses on this project. Please pray each day for the team members ( a list is available in the church office). They will be in an area where the gospel is not welcome by most and yet needed by all. Your prayers are welcome and much needed. If we don't, who will? Satan hates that this trip is taking place and we need to be in prayer against any of his devices. I want the team to sense and feel the powerful prayers of their church family each day.

During the message Sunday morning, I felt led to stop in the middle and ask if there were any people who needed and wanted to give their lives to Christ. What a blessing to see people respond and ask Christ into their lives. It reminded me that God will provide many opportunities to give our answer of hope if we are just alert and available. I am praying that each step of the trip provides just such opportunities for the team members. Maybe there will be people in the three airports who will open to the Gospel. Maybe people in the airplanes will be curious enough to ask who these people are and that will lead to an open door for the Gospel. In restaurants, on the streets, and wherever the Spirit of God opens a door, I pray each team member will be ready with a word of testimony and encouragement.

Team members, I know that a direct presentation of the Gospel is not possible where you are going but God is big and awesome so don't discount Him opening doors that normally would be closed. Be ready with an answer to anyone who is open for your word of encouragement and hope. I am praying for miraculous things to be accomplished that can't be done any other way except by God Himself. Watch and pray! We will all look forward to regular reports on the missions blog on our church website.

Team members, your church loves and appreciates you and is rightly proud of your willingness to give up time and money to do His work. I believe He will bless you many times over for your commitment. Go in the spirit and power of God. Be bold, be strong, for the Lord your God is with you. Up North Wisdom says to remember to "not be afraid or discouraged because the battle is not yours, but Gods." (2 Cron. 20:15) The Best Is Yet To Come!!!