February: Formative Moments

I think the most encouraging aspect of living abroad in the capacity of ministering to others is the fact that at any given moment movement of the Spirit can change everything. This is no doubt true for any who believe and are actively watching within their life for the movement of God, but abroad this aspect of potential is something that stands in this heightened state as your awareness of things around you is also in this state of urgency. The day-to-day activity is something so exciting and exhausting in this high state of awareness living abroad, but there has been this blessing of being more watchful and this blessing is precisely what I would like to share with all of you!

Be Watchful

As “readiness” has been a subject on my heart and in my experience this month, I find the greatest danger in living within the familiar or the known comforts of upbringing and culture is a dulling of the senses. When you take time to consider this you see so many activities are done without watchful thought or full awareness. There is a utility to this fact as skillfulness moves common activities from the forefront of awareness and allows other things to be focused upon, but what about the things that really should be fully enjoyed every time as a blessing from God? These familiar comforts are learned and long-programmed behaviors and responses so much so that the mundane blessing of life loses its color and appetites can gravitate toward the dramatic. In this dulled way of life, you may find that you are greatly unprepared for deviation and easily overwhelmed if the routine is somehow disrupted or disturbed. A day that may have been marked just by simple errands or mundane responsibilities can easily become a “bad day” when there is a disruption, but what if this disruption was a divine interruption and call to wake up?

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

2 Corinthians 10:3 – 6 

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So much of my life before moving abroad was marked by this familiar way and only by the willful disruption of engaging the call of God on my life did my wife and me both realize just what we missed when we lived within our natural place. Now, as I live in a completely foreign way of life and with people that are not my own kindred and tongue, I find a great appreciation for the things that sadly passed me by in my life in the United States. So much of what we miss is not the opportunities that could be present back home but the opportunities that were before because we now have this great awareness of just how precious some moments really were in their time. We cannot stay here long in our thinking, but we have however learned from this reflection because these same opportunities missed before are very present opportunities now and ahead! There is this readiness now that has us exhausted yet encouraged because we see the value of being watchful for the work of God.

The Sound of Music

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Before I go further, please realize you do not need a spectacular experience to appreciate it. The spectacular happens every day in all our lives, especially as a born-again believer. Each day is marked with special nuances that act as signatures of God’s great providence in all our lives. Life’s situations are God’s initiations to you and me. There is no dire need to pack your life and radically change the scenery to transform your life. I will state it again, you do not need to change anything outwardly to be inwardly changed! Believe TRUTH and turn from the idea that God’s best for you is out of reach or somewhere else, Jesus Christ is nigh. Many aspects of whom we truly desire to be is lying latent in unperceived potential lost within the familiar rhythm of our life. The initiation of God is ever present: the music of creation, the music of hope, the music of faith, the music of joy, of peace, of love, and especially the Gospel as they all play into the masterpiece of God’s will. This symphony plays every day to ALL in some measure, but since it is so widespread it has become just white noise in the hearts of men like a soundtrack or radio program that plays every day at a place of work. God has made known His truth in Jesus Christ by His word the Bible (The most widely translated, published, and readily available publication on the planet), it is in our learned willful ignorance and self-deception that we miss the transformational power of the Word of God and the Gospel. Everyone wants to play a solo without a maestro to lead them, but life is not jazz it plays out more like a concerto with many movements and parts all working together in glorifying the one who composed it. This has become so apparent to us as we have disrupted the “Solo” of our lives and of others to engage in the part God has called us to. Take heed to the masterpiece God is playing in your life and wake up from the senseless way of life that this world tries to entrap you in. Your life is meant to play a glorious part in God’s opus, no man was meant to produce a solo of personal performance in a congregation of the dead. Remember the most timeless moments of life are those that played a part among others and with others.

A Ready Servant

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Luke 12:40

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 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 

John 15:15

God calls us to be like ready servants so that when the movement of God comes upon our lives, we not only engage in it but partake of the blessing it brings. The Gospel is sent to produce transformed disciples not just converts or proselytes. Being a missionary is not a matter of believing in others’ transformation, it is rather a matter of believing God’s word and proving every word to be the absolute truth in and through your own life. We are all called first to Christ, His cross, and His resurrection life then we go in that power unto others. The effectiveness we have here as servants and ministers to others is within the preparation of our own hearts. Years present and past of both our lives, my wife’s, and mine, were spent in the music of God’s word, congregational worship, communal service, and personal investment of others and into others. Our life at home was a preparation for life ahead, this fact is true for all. The way of God is a proven and ready way, it does not have many surprises as you would think. Thank God for that! Each way has a defined and well-provided outcome. When you trust God in His word you can know His way and the end of a matter even unto the end of the age!

“Being a Missionary is not a matter of believing in others’ transformation, it is rather a matter of believing God’s word and proving every word to be the absolute truth in and through your own life.”

Transformed to His Way

A Faithful Servant

(Charity) “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”

1 Corinthians 13:7-8

The greatest challenge abroad has been to be flexible according to situations yet not ruled by them. We indeed do need a baseline to work from, but once that base is established the rest must be held so lightly as others’ lives are involved. I am learning that the most ineffective practices are also immovable ones that operate without the dynamic of life. Faithfulness produces change but firmness demands it. As we put together formative organizational documents and plans for the time ahead, I cannot help but leave some empty space between some clauses and the schedule for God to define in full. The lives of those affected here will be the very lives that fill these spaces and give meaning to their aims. I am so hopeful for the time ahead and thankful that the Word of God has been faithful to open our ears to hear God’s music and our hearts to be servants in His hands.

The little labors of mere rodents have planted and sustained forest

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

Luke 16:10

Pray as we move forward into March that we may be faithful with the little we have as God grows friendships, capacity for communication, and contacts with others seeking hope in Christ. Great windows have opened up to the time ahead and we are so thankful for the faithful prayers, calls, and support we have received. ALL prayers have found timely answers and ALL the calls have been of great encouragement to us along with being a welcome conversation in our native tongue. ALL support has been so gracious to supply for our time here in language learning, in Visa fees, and in the precious appointments and times with others

Our Vision and Prayer according to The Great Commission:

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore(Reach), and teach(Teach) all nations, baptizing(Immerse Them in Christ’s Truth) them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all(Challenge their capacity) things whatsoever I have commanded you:(Engage their faith in Biblical Responsibility) and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (See Them faithfully kept by God’s Grace). Amen.” 

Matt 28:18-20

Please pray as we believe God to:

  • Reach: Evangelism to the Lost
  • Teach: Biblical Study and Training in the Word of God
  • Immerse others in Christ’s Truth: Fitting into the fellowship of the Church, discovering their Identity in Christ, and Observing the Ordinances
  • Challenge their capacity: Biblical Discipleship and Biblical Accountability
  • Engage their faith in Biblical Responsibility through His Ability: Opportunity and Leadership Development in the Church
  • See Them faithfully kept by His Grace: Faithful Feeding and Fruitfulness in their Lives

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