Monday, December 1, 2014

Three Fold Meaning of the Lord's Supper


Note Please:  When I lead a team one of the things I really like to do is to celebrate the Lord's Supper with them sometime near the end of our trip.  I came across this a few trips ago and thought it was so relevant and perfect.  I shared this with my team on the Turkey trip.  I hope you find it as good as I did. 


THREE FOLD MEANING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

 

"Memorials of Jesus’ death on the cross

On the evening he was betrayed, while Jesus was eating a meal with his disciples, he took some bread and said, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). They each ate a piece of the bread. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we each eat a piece of bread in remembrance of Jesus.

"In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’" (v. 20). When we drink a small amount of wine (or grape juice) at the Lord’s Supper, we remember that Jesus’ blood was shed for us, and that his blood signified the new covenant. Just as the old covenant was sealed by the sprinkling of blood, the new covenant was established by Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 9:18-28).

 

As Paul said, "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper looks back to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The death of Jesus is a tremendous gift to us. It is precious. When we are given a gift of great value, a gift that involved personal sacrifice for us, how should we receive it? With mourning and regret? No, that is not what the giver wants. Rather, we should receive it with great gratitude, as an expression of great love. If we have tears, they should be tears of joy.

So the Lord’s Supper, although a memorial of a death, is not a funeral, as if Jesus were still dead. Quite the contrary—we observe this memorial knowing that death held Jesus only three days—knowing that death will not hold us forever, either. We rejoice that Jesus has conquered death, and has set free all who were enslaved by a fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). We can remember Jesus’ death with the happy knowledge that he has triumphed over sin and death! As Jesus said, our mourning will turn into joy (John 16:20). Coming to the Lord’s table and having communion should be a celebration, not a funeral.

 

Our present relationship with Jesus Christ

The crucifixion of Jesus has a continuing significance to all who have taken up a cross to follow him. We continue to participate in his death and in the new covenant because we participate in his life. Paul wrote, "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16). In the Lord’s Supper, we show that we share in Jesus Christ. We commune with him. We are united in him.

The New Testament speaks of our sharing with Jesus in several ways. We share in his crucifixion (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:20), death (Romans 6:4), resurrection (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:13; 3:1) and life (Galatians 2:20). Our lives are in him, and he is in us. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes this spiritual reality.

John 6 conveys a similar picture. After Jesus proclaimed himself to be the "bread of life," he said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (v. 54). Our spiritual food is in Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper pictures this ongoing truth. "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him" (v. 56). We signify that we live in Christ, and he lives in us.

So the Lord’s Supper helps us look upward, to Christ, and be mindful that true life can only be in him and with him.

 

Reminds us of Jesus’ return

Jesus said he would not drink the fruit of the vine again until he came in the fullness of the kingdom (Matthew 26:29; Luke 22:18; Mark 14:25). Whenever we participate, we are reminded of Jesus’ promise. There will be a great messianic "banquet," a "wedding supper" of celebration. The bread and wine are miniature rehearsals of what will be the greatest victory celebration in all history. Paul wrote that "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). 

We always look forward, as well as backward and upward and inward and around. The Lord’s Supper is rich in meaning. That is why it has been a prominent part of the Christian tradition throughout the centuries. Sometimes it has been allowed to become a lifeless ritual, done more out of habit than with meaning. When a ritual loses meaning, some people overreact by stopping the ritual entirely. The better response is to restore the meaning. That’s why it is helpful for us to review what we are symbolizing. "

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Turkey Wrap Up-Nice to be home


Turkey Wrap Up-Nice To Be Home!!!

    So here I sit, getting ready to tell you about the Turkey trip, how we saw God work, how He protected us and how the Kingdom was expanded.   I apologize it has taken me a few days to get this written, but the jet lag seems to get worse with each trip.  I still haven't rebounded but oh well, I need to exclaim what the Lord has done.
    The whole God's provision and protection started from the minute we were boarding the plane to head to Turkey.  As we were boarding our flight to Turkey from Chicago, 3 of us were pulled aside and told it was a random inspection check.  It is fantastic that Passport Control Officers  were doing their jobs and protecting our great country but wow does it ever do wonders for your nerves.  By the way I think we were the only three that were questioned.  The questions ranged from just about everything.  God allowed us to share exactly why we were going.  That we were sharing the Lord and that we were going to be encouraging the small number of new believers also.  They were just doing their jobs (Praise the Lord) but again we got nervous. 
    Once in Hatay,  Turkey we shared with everyone.  On the first day we attended a small House Church (churches are illegal) of about 14 people and worshipped the ALL MIGHTY in such a very special.  This day was spent primarily encouraging the Lord. 
     As the week progressed we were able to see 9 people make professions of faith and be able to baptize 2 more.  I found out later in the week that 3 new believers wanted to be baptized also but their schedules of school and work didn't work out.  9 people through this trip have now been assured an eternity with our Lord and Savior.
     One last story to share, which definitely is an example of God's Provision and Protection.  The team deemed this story, "63 Seconds."  On Monday evening we were told that there was a Kurdish Children's Refugee Camp where we could deliver winter clothing to.  The team was thrilled to be able to do this since it was only about 15 miles east of where we were.  This was suppose to happen at 2:30 on Tuesday.  Tuesday arrived, the van was loaded with clothing, toys and Bibles.  Soon after leaving we were told that instead of 2:30 it was going to be 4:00pm for the meeting and heading to the camp.  So we got to the meeting place at 4:00pm to find it was moved to 5:00.  So we had some coffee and got into a very deep conversation about demons, the enemy and how our God works.  Soon it was 5:19pm and we started our journey to the camp.  
          Quick note:  In Turkey, all stop lights are timed and the time is shown below the color.  Example:  green lights are 43 seconds long and red lights are 63 seconds long.
    We approached the last light before the camp on the inside lane, just as the light changed to red.  The countdown had begun.  As we watched the time count down, we noticed on the other side the light about a hundred feet ahead was a checkpoint.  Checkpoints mean identification checked and a visual inspection.  With what was with us, this probably meant a full on inspection.  But we knew that God was going to protect us.  The light counted down to 20 seconds and the phone rang.  It was the people we were meeting in the camp.  The Civil Police (CP) were there in the camp.  The CP had torn apart their car looking for anything.  In Turkey, it is wrong and not supported by the government to assist the Kurdish camps.  They had been questioned for about an hour.  They had nothing, we had everything.  The pentility for working in the camps has been severe.  Over the last few months, many of the workers have been told to leave the country and not return, the one thing in common is that they were assisting the camps.  So the light changed green and we did a U-turn and headed back to the hotel.  Here is where God's Provision and Protection was demonstrated to us.  If we would went at our first scheduled time, we would have been there when the CP came.  If we would have been there at 4:00pm, we would have been there when the CP came.  If we would have left at 5:00 pm and not 5:19, we would have been there when the CP came.  If we would have been there when the CP came, our contact would have been immediately kicked out, we would have been given 48 hours to leave the country and all the winter clothing and other stuff would have been confiscated.  Obviously God wanted us to finish the work in the country last week.  The great thing is that another way was opened, just we would not be able to assist. 
    Our prayer was simple.  God we trust you and we will do whatever you want.  If anything else would have been different, within 63 seconds we would have been kicked out of the country.  Amazing how God took care of us and protected us.  The 63 second story is only one of the many stories where we saw God work things out and protect us.  The great thing about this story is that we all knew you were praying with us and lifting up our safety on this whole trip.  
    It was an Amazing God trip.  Each of the team were a blessing not only to each other, but especially to the people of this area who are truly seeking the Lord.  Thank you for supporting us, praying for us and loving us on this trip.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Evening and All is Well...

The Sun Setting over the Med. Sea

 


    It has been an amazing week so far here.  Today was our last really full day, tomorrow will be a modified day as the team will have to get back to the place where we are staying.  We will have to do any last minute visits (which could take time), maybe get some snacks for the flight home, pack, try to get some sleep and then be at the airport at 6:00am on Sunday morning for the beginning of our 24 plus hour trip back home.  So I would like to give you just a few highlights about this week so far. 

1.  We have seen eight people make professions of faith so far this week.  Today we prayed with number eight.  Eight people is a HUGE number when you know the costs of making the decision to follow Jesus.  The costs are family, friends, future and even sometimes their lives.  As Americans we have no idea what the costs are. Even I don't know the costs that this decision is.  And I have lived and traveled in this region for almost 14 years. 
2.  We have been part of a baptism of two new Believers.  And for me the really cool thing is that I got to perform the baptisms.  It was such an honor, blessing and gift from God. 
3.  We have planted numberous seeds and discussed Esau Robb (Jesus the Lord) with to many people to count.
4.  We have met with Believers and encouraged them, disciple them and loved on them over this last week.  Even pictures will not describe or show the hearts and love of these Believers.
5.  We attended a House Church here.  It is the first Christian Church in this area in almost a 100 years and it was a fantastic time to worship with them.
6.  We, but what I should say is, I have been able to rekindle friendships with many who immediately came up to me and hugged on me and of course shared many cheek kisses. 
7.  And finally we have seen and experienced places where the church of Antioch and Paul were. 

    These are just a few of the Amazing things that have happened on this trip so far.  There is one last thing that God has done and that is that He has kept us very safe.  This is a gigantic praise for us so far.  I told the team tonight a reason that we have seen and experienced so many "God Things" this week is because of the prayers and support of each of you.  Thank you for standing with us on this trip.
The Team minus Me

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shared Feelings

The Art of Making True Silk

Shared Feelings

I wanted to share with you what one of the team has said so far about our trip here.  The perspective is so wonderful. 
 

The first update: 

Today was a blessed day.  We heard some of the most amazing testimonies I have heard in a long time. (I will share these in more detail when I get home)   We visited with 4 believers with the goal of encouraging them.  And as it always seems to work out, we were encouraged.   The enthusiasm from these brothers and sister would motivate anyone to get off their behind and out spreading the Word. We had the opportunity to participate in a home church service.  It was truly a blessing.  It is always awesome to share in a multi cultural/racial service. The lay person who presented the message was outstanding.  
 

Second update:

Today was another amazing day.  We met with some non believers and had a wonderful time of visiting with them.  We shared the gospel, but they were not ready to receive.  Our second person we were to meet ended up canceling, so we moved on to meet with one of the people who became a believer yesterday.  We met with him and his mother.  After some visitation, we shared the word of God with her.  We prayed with her and she accepted Christ as her Savior.   We continued to discuss the Word with her and her son, to clear up some of the old misconceptions of how to get into heaven.

We left there and went to the residence of two new believers, who will be baptized tomorrow. One of the believers had been sharing the word of God with a friend of his.  His friend had said  that he was only understanding part of what was being shared. The new believer said, "Don't worry.  I have some friends coming over tonight who can explain it better.  Why don't you stay for dinner."  So he did.  We shared the gospel with him and he prayed to accept Jesus as his Savior.  We continued to talk and eat, and talk and eat...and talk and eat.  It was truly a great time of fellowship. (More about the conversations when I return home)
 

Last Night's over halfway point update:

God is awesome.  We had a great time at Samanda (The port city where Paul and Barnabus sailed from) baptizing a new brother ( Mr. U) and sister (Mrs. E) in Christ.  They were elated coming out of the water.  Mr. U said he never felt so free.  It was an amazing experience, both for them and our team.  It was a blessing for Ron, as he was able to baptise both.  (These two were saved when Ron was here setting up this trip.)  We continued our day traveling through the city of Samanda and up the mountain to St. Symeon's castle. (The castle is in ruins and is currently under renovation to make it safe for tourists.)  We arrived to find it closed and guarded.  fter briefly speaking to the guard, he turned off the cameras and allowed us access, giving us a guided tour of the ruins.  We returned to  Hatay, where we had a great lunch.  ( side note, I ate one of the hotest peppers I have ever ate in my life.  Ron thought I was joking so he took a bite.  The joke was on him!!!  He found out I was not kidding!!!!LOL)  We then traveled to another believer's residence, where we had tea and fellowship.  Again, we came here to encourage and bless new believers, and again, we were blessed by them just as much.  This elderly gentle man has been sharing the word of God with everyone who will listen and even those who wont, for the past three years.  What a blessing and an encouragement.
 
 
 


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day 1 In Turkey

 
Exciting Times
 


    Well we all arrived safe, in good health; and a little tired last night.  Our flights were for the most part, pretty uneventful.  There are always fun things that happen (tell you about that one on a later date), but we got here.  All of our flights were on time.  Even better is all of our luggage arrived and in one piece.  All of these are huge prayers answered. 
    Today our day started at 8am and we really didn't arrive back to the hotel until around 7pm.  The above picture is of the team and some local believers.  It was a really good time.  Today we spend our day really with believers.  We started with having coffee with a local believer, listening to his story, sharing in his life as a believer and enjoying the first of "way too much" coffee and tea.  Then from there we went and had house church, where we had a wonderful time of learning, praising and celebrating our Lord.  Next on the agenda was going to downtown Antioch, where we had more tea and then saw the largest bookstore (#1 Bible selling store from here to Istanbul).  You can see their book selection below.

Yes, that is the extent of the Christian bookstore here.  Still it is a great testimony in this country.  From here the team went a look at some of the mosaics that have been excavated here in this region.  Then it was off to the family that is pictured above. 
    It was a great day.  Please pray for the team as tomorrow is going to be a very busy day and a great chance to really do some eternal work.  Again the team is all doing good and you can already see how God is working. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Quiet with God


   
Going Quiet with God

It has been a very long time since I have written a blog for “The Moving Edge.”  It is not because I have nothing to say because if you know me, you know I always have something to say.  It is not because there is nothing going on in the ministry or in “The Moving Edge,” God is always at work and so there is always work to be done or getting done.  It is because I have felt the need or desire to “Go Quiet with God.”

    What does the statement mean when I say I felt the need or desire to “Go Quiet with God,” simply it is that I needed to seek Him and His desires in my life.  I needed to be still.  There were very few days that didn’t start before 5am and end somewhere very late (if I even slept at all) where I just fell asleep where I was.   I was struggling to juggle the work in the Middle East and North Africa, the bombardment of questions about my thoughts about what was happening in the region, the heart-wrenching questions regarding my care and love for my family and feeling God still wanted me to work in this region, the upcoming visit of my friend from Egypt and his visit  and his visit, the upcoming busy schedule of travel and projects (Turkey will happen in early November), and the financial responsibilities, and the challenges of being in a faith-based ministry.

    Psalms 46: 10 says:  “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  I have known this verse pretty much all my life.  I do believe it is one of the first Bible verses that I learned when I was in my Bible study classes as a young child, sitting next to my Great Aunt Cathleen, at Errol Heights Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon.  This verse says so much in such a few words.   So I took the two words to heart and was still.  I watched God being exalted among the nations, even in the midst of the beheadings in Iraq and Syria.  I watched him be exalted when a village refused to convert back to Islam and professed Jesus Christ as their Lord, while the whole world watched them die for their beliefs.   I saw and experienced Him move in our lives, in ways that only He could.  I watched all of this and yet in my human-ness, I still cried out to Him.  There were days that I was angry with God because I felt that He wasn’t answering my prayers and was just letting me hang out here on that branch all alone.  On the days I was angry, I cried out even louder to Him, not realizing that all along that my God and Savior was answering my prayers.  In hindsight I realize that God was using this time for me to just be on my knees and talk to Him. 

    So now I am back.  Does this mean that all is perfect, not by a long shot; I still get up before 5am every day and still work very late and still struggle to get it all done.   I am still getting the questions.  I still pray daily for the people of the region that God has called me into.  My heart breaks for the friends I have in the region God has called me to work in.  I still have the same busy schedule and yes my team and I are leaving for Turkey in 2 weeks.  And our financial situation is not any better today than it was, probably even worse.   However through all of this, there is one FANTASTIC and GREAT constant; that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who continually is faithful and walking alongside of us. 

    A friend of mine, Brian Underwood (who works with me with International Commission)) posted this on Facebook:

          “A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God.  The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus.”  Oswald Chambers.

Although I don’t call myself a missionary, however I do say that I am a worker of Jesus; I must realize that I do the job that I do because of a command of Jesus to go and tell others about Him.  This is what it is all about: The Command of Jesus.  Sorry that I went away for a time.   God is still working and He is so wanting us, each of us to answer His Call and continue His Work and be part of His Work.  If you want to know how you can answer His Call in going, praying or being part of our ministry team, please just sent me a message and I would be glad to share with you how.    God Bless, Ron

Monday, August 18, 2014

What a Month!!!!

What a Month!!!

A Time to Celebrate

 

    As I start this quick ministry update, I would like to say THANK YOU to all of those who made special gifts or added to their monthly partnership with us.  We were so very blessed.  Although our monthly Great Commission Partnership is not very good, God has been gracious though each of you and we are feeling so blessed.

    As you are aware there is an enormous amount of turmoil right now going on in North Africa and the Middle East.  Strange things are happening all over the region.  War in Iraq, rebuilding in Israel, unsettling things in North Africa and these are just the beginning.  I was suppose to travel to Israel, Lebanon and Egypt in the next month, but because of the situations, those plans have been put on hold. 
    The great thing is that Medhat Shehatta, my friend and brother from Egypt will be coming to California next month.  I am so excited.  His heart for sharing Jesus Christ is TOTALLY AMAZING.  If your church would like to host a special evening or time for him to share, please let me know.  Jeannine and I will be having several times for you to join us to meet him and to hear his heart.  Truly he is a Man of God and he is a great friend of mine. 
    I am still planning on heading to Lebanon and Oman in October for planning.  Then in November (yes, another birthday overseas), I will be leading a team of 6 to Turkey to share the gift of eternity.  I am so thrilled.
    As you read this if God is calling you to become more involved in the work of our Lord or to know more about how to become Great Commission Partners with us, please just respond to this and I would love to share with you how.

30 Years and Counting!!!!

30 Years and Counting

An Adventure of Fun

   
    It is hard to believe that Jeannine and I on August 11th celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary.  It has been an AMAZING journey of discovery, growth, friendship and shared love.  What an adventure it has been.
Thinking about the future and what is ahead of us.



    It seems that lately we have been asked, "How have you made it thirty years?"  I give the following answer to why we have lasted thirty years:
  1. We have put God first in our marriage and it has allowed us to stay focused on the right priorities.
  2. Next we put us first and strived daily to show each other that we love each other unconditionally.
  3. Then comes our children.  They must know that they are loved and that we are willing to sacrifice for them.
  4. Finally, work and the world comes after these three. 
Our recent anniversary pictures.  Jeannine looks great.

    As you are aware of, our life verse is Ephesians 3:20: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."  Our marriage has just this verse in action.  God has given us immeasurably more than we could have asked for or imagined in our marriage.
 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Great Commission Partnership versus Ministry Partnership

 
Great Commission Partnership And Ministry Partnership
One and the Same, Just Different Terminology
 
 
 
    Ministry Partnership is a key component to the ministry of International Commission.  International Commission (IC) is a faith-based ministry that's mission is "Equipping and enabling believers world-wide to conduct church-based partnership evangelism projects to reach unbelievers and make disciples."  The way that this is done is that people, just like me have heard God's Call in our lives and have chosen to follow the Lord in working with IC to conduct church-based partnership evangelism projects. 
    The method by which we follow His Call is through faith-based ministry.  Simply put we live totally by faith, prayer and financial support.  We seek out, after much prayer; a partnership team that comes alongside of us to pray for us and also sacrificially supports us through monetary giving.  The method by which we achieve our team was called Ministry Partnership Development or MPD.  The process is made up of a few steps: 
 
1.  We pray and seek God's Guidance in who to contact about becoming a Ministry Partner.
2.  We then contact them and explain IC and what being on our Partnership Team means.
3.  We ask them to pray about joining us as prayer and financial partners.
4.  Then we pray more that God would speak to them.
 
This is fantastic because it brings people to come alongside of us and hold us up when we are tired and walk with us so that we don't feel alone in the Call of our Lord.  It also allows us to follow the Call of the Lord in our lives.
    Now what is Great Commission Partnership, it is basically the same thing but a terminology change.  The major difference or refocusing is that we are reemphasizing the importance "mutual partnership for the task of the Great Commission."  This way it "becomes the task of developing relationships, developing disciples, and developing a two sided ministry—one that reaches out to the world with one hand and with the other reaches back to our 'fellow workers'."  In Matthew 28:16-20, it says:
 "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  
This is the Great Commission, the direction to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  International Commission's new President has said it this way:  "We want to find people who are already being persuaded to join the Commission of the Lord and for whom we can be the means to facilitate their calling. The emphasis is upon the synergy of partnership, each serving the other--each serving God in his/her giftedness." How do we serve each other:
 
1.  We develop our relationship together.
2.  We serve each other in developing our disciples and each other's discipleship.
3.  We continue to make this ministry, our ministry.  No longer will this be the ministry that God's Called Jeannine and I to do, but the ministry that God has called us to do.  You and us, together.
 
    Jeannine and I have been really blessed over our ten plus years in working with IC, that our team; our Great Commission Partners who have joined us in  serving each other and serving God.  Many will read this blog and ask why did I write this, it is because over the last couple of months I have asked for prayers as we work on Ministry Partnership.  We have started to make the transition to Great Commission Partners and we don't want to cause any confusion as we continue to seek your prayers.     
    This week we have had to concentrate on Great Commission Partnerships and seeking to ask God to grow our Great Commission Partnership Team.   Over the last year, many of partners have had to reduce their Great Commission Partnership giving due to economic situations and this has created financial uncertainty for us.  The Great News is that God has been gracious and blessed us over and over again through this time and we Praise Him all the time.  The reason that we believe God has been gracious is that although our financial support has drastically decreased, prayers of many has been lifting us and God has been hearing. 
    Again THANK YOU for taking the time to read this and THANK YOU for being part of our Great Commission Team, each of you are such a blessing.  If you feel God calling you to become more involved in our, yours and ours; Great Commission Team, please contact us.  We would love to hear from you and feel so blessed to have you become more involved.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day 2014


INDEPENDENCE DAY 2014
 
    Independence Day in America is a very special day.  It is the day that we celebrate our freedom from England and the a cry out to the world that, we will worship our God without restriction and without any persecution.  It is a wonderful day and a day that I am very proud to be an "American." 
    Lately we have been reading, hearing and praying for many countries and people that do not have the freedom to worship the One and True, Living God.  When people in a lot of countries become Believers, their lives are basically over.  They lose their families, friends, income, and could possibly lose their lives.  What cost they pay to become Believers!!! 
    This is the world that the Lord has called us to work in.  I have seen many and know of even more who have answered the Call of the Lord in their lives and have walked away from 1500 years of persecution, tradition and lack of relationship to follow God, not Allah; but God the Father and Creator, who wants a relationship with them and us.  A God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for each of us as our sacrifice so we would have a relationship with Him for all eternity. 
    So on this day, pray for those that have made the decisions to follow the Lord.  Pray for them as they are being persecuted and are suffering great costs.   Pray that they will remain strong in the faith.  Pray for those that are called to serve in the world and share Jesus with them in this area. 
    On this Independence Day, give thanks for our freedoms here in the United States and please remember the POWER OF PRAYER and PRAY!!!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

God's Mission, My Mission!!




 

God's Mission, My Mission
 
    In July of 2001, we started down a very long and fun road that has brought us to this place today.  That one month in 2001 changed our lives forever.  We headed into our final interviews, physicals and paperwork to leave for the Middle East and begin this journey that has led us here today.  Then at the end of August, I left a career at Target as a Store Team Leader and Trainer, then 9/11 happened, we worked from the U.S. until we could move over to region.  And since then we have seen God bless us in great and wonderful ways.
   
   
    Recently I heard from someone that they don't understand how I "can work with these people."  The comment shocked me and broke my heart because for me all I can see is how God is working in the lives of these people,  how many are becoming seekers of the One and True Living God, and holding onto the promise that God is beginning a Great Revival and Awakening in this region.  A Lebanese Pastor friend once told me that he works in this region because he hopes that he will have the privilege of telling the last person about Jesus Christ before Jesus returns.  This Pastor Friend got it and I pray that I get it too.  Although there is a great lostness in this region, there is also a openness to listen and to share. 
 
      
    Over the years, we have lived in Jordan, Lebanon and then back to the U.S.  Over the last almost 10 years I have traveled many miles back to this region where I have had the blessing of leading many teams and working with many wonderful people and believers.  Plus I have seen God working in a great ways throughout this region.
 
 
    What is next?  We will continue to follow the Lord has this door open for me to walk through.  I will continue to share the truth, so that this young boy pictured above will someday have the opportunity to grow up and be able to worship and praise the One True and Living God. 
 
 
 
 
    How do I do this?  First, through the Power of the Lord.  Second, through the Love and Support of my wife, Jeannine; who has sacrificed so much for me to continue to answer His Call.  And finally through each of you that pray for us and support us.  Please hold us up in your prayers.  Although the work in the region will be continuing and I will be working diligently on this, we are also going to be focusing a lot of effort on raising our Ministry Partnership levels.  God has been very faithful in supplying all of our needs during this wonderful journey, we have recently had many partners who have had to reduce their support or stop due to work situations.  So our support is at a very dangerous level right now. 
     Thank you again for praying for us and reading this blog.  It means a lot.  If you would like to comment on this blog, please do and I will share them with everyone.  Each of you are such a blessing to us.
 








Thursday, June 26, 2014

Final Report Arabian Peninsula


FINAL REPORT ARABIAN PENINSULA
 
 
    I have waited a week to do this last report from the Arabian Peninsula for several reasons.  I wanted to be able to really look at the work that the Lord had done with the team, before and after the trip.  I wanted to hear from the team about what they thought of this adventure and to see also how God has worked in their lives, since returning.  Based on these two reasons, I can say that no matter what happened;  God gets all the Glory for the things that happened because we obeyed to go. 
    There were many interesting things that transpired on this trip.  A few, I have never experienced as a leader of a team and challenges that were new and could have easily have taken our focus of what the Lord was doing.  However, this was a great team and they refused to let the enemy get, a little toe into the work that was happening.  They were truly a blessing to me.
    We were able to share with many about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We were able to uplift, worship and participate in several local church services, which were such a blessing to the team and the churches.  I would like to share the story of one young man, who because of the team is now actively seeking.  The team actually met him early into our trip and he was a instrumental in several of the conversations that were to take place.  The team spend many hours with him, sharing and building a relationship with him and several of his friends.  After our departure, he began to question even more about the future and this was because of the team.  This is just one of the teams contacts. 
     Sharing, telling, interacting and building relationships was just a few of the things the team did while they were there.  They experienced camels, camels, and more camels on a daily basis.  We prayed together at least twice a day and shared in the Words of the Bible.  The team praised the Lord from the cliffs over looking the Arabian Peninsula to the mountains surrounding the place we were staying.  The teamed prayed for one of team members, who became ill on this trip.  And the team prayed with the churches for open doors into their community.  The great thing about this trip is that there were souls that made the eternal decision to walk with God. 
    In my final thought, I am ALWAYS amazed that God can bring together people, who have never met except on a few phone calls; and do amazing and eternal work.  In this region of the world, there is a need to share the Gospel and to reach the area for Jesus Christ.  God wants to do an eternal work here, he just needs people who are willing to break ground, toll the ground and plant the seeds.  This team did just that.  They did it without complaining (or at least not much-the heat and humidity was really bad), they went when a door was open (even a crack), they shared in any way they could and they were faithful to the Call of the Lord.  To them, thank you for going.  To you, thank you for praying, supporting and praying more.  May our Lord bless each of you daily.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

THE LAST DAY HAS BEGUN


THE LAST DAY HAS BEGUN
SOON WE WILL BE FLYING HOME

    Well it has begun.  In about 8 hours we will head to the airport to start our 30 hour plus journey home.   Yesterday was a lazy day and an exciting day.  Lazy because little did we have scheduled but resting, shopping, our final dinner together (which our hosts and their families joined us), and then a spiritual warfare meeting that happened later (but that will have to wait till home to tell about). 
     In this episode of our adventure, I would like to tell you about us and their contributions to the team and the region. 

Bernie:  Amazing man and friend.  He came as he usually does on these trips with me.  His job is to be a Police Officer in the US, so he is our protection and my eyes when I tend to not see the safety.  He is my right hand on these trips in so many ways.  He loves the region and the people and in every action he demonstrate this love. 
Steve:  He is a Pastor in the US and here he was able to share the Word of the Lord in church.  He became a friend to many.  He would pray when anyone needed prayer.  He was our excitement.  In everything he would find the excitement. 
Skip:  He like Steve is a Pastor in the US.  He spoke God's word with abandon here.  He brought the truth and yet he maintained our team's balance.  He would make laugh, he would make us smile and for me he was my rock which I could hold onto. 
Dona Beth:  This will probably be her last adventure and she is a trooper.  Despite all of the health issues.  When she has been unable to go with us, she was praying for us.  She is an example of strength.
Becca:  For someone young, she is an amazing person.  When she prays, you feel the Spirit.  Becca has a true heart for serving the Lord and although because this is a man dominated area was unable to share as much as she wanted, at every opportunity she shared.  God has big plans for her.  Becca was also our humor more than just a few times.  Her comments of "my filter is down" had us all laughing.  There is a story that I promised her that I would never share, but would let her share, but for me it will ALWAYS be the highlight of this trip. 
Gavin:  Amazing is the understatement here.  God gave him a talent of music and he recognizes it.  When he sings, it truly draws you into the presences of the Lord.  The people here were blown away from the talent of God gave him.  He blessed the team and the people here and his affect because he came and answered the call will have a long history here.  And for me personally, I have know Gavin for most of his life and this adventure I got to know him as the man has become.  Totally in AWE at what God has created in him. 
    God does nothing by accident and this group of WONDERFUL people being here was no example.  I have only told a brief little bit about each of them.  I wish I could tell you more but you would be here all day.  I am blessed and honored to be here with them. 
    This will be my last blog until we return home to the US.  Thank you for your prayers, love and support.  In a spiritual battle, like what is happening here and now; we need people praying, loving and supporting those in the middle. Each of us could feel your prayers and love.  Thank you to the family and friends for allowing them to come to this region and share the light of our Lord, Jesus Christ.



     

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Ended and Today the Last Full Day


Yesterday Friday
Today is the LAST FULL DAY


    The last day and a half here have been stressful for the team and I am sure for you at home.  So let me first start by saying THANK YOU for your prayers.  I will give you an update, one of our team members (Dona Beth); had a problem with her blood sugar levels and I spent pretty much all day yesterday with her at the hospital here.  I have not checked on her today because she is asleep, but last night she was much better and almost back to her typical self.  The worry and love that this team has for each other was evident in how they handled this situation (AMAZING), but it did had enormous amounts of stress on the team.  So THANK YOU again for praying.
    Yesterday was a day filled with almost constant travel for the team as they went from one church service to another.  Here Friday is the equal of Sunday in the States, so they were very busy.  The day started at the English Congregation where it was their Pastor's last Sunday, so we celebrated with them his last Sunday.  He has been here for 3 years.  Gavin was able to join in the worship, by singing two songs for the church and the Pastor.  Quick story here is that the Pastor's wife has been asking for months for their worship team to sing "Beautiful," and it has not happened but Gavin, who I believe does not pick out his songs until he walks up there; sang the song.  It was so beautiful, when looking around their were few dry eyes in the house.
    Then from there, it was the Pakistan Fellowship, with about 25-30 men; then from there it was the Pakistan Church of approximately 125 people, where Skip sang.  After this service, like the night before when Steve spoke, they "honored" the team with a feast fit for a king.   The team came back in, just fired up from the day of celebrating with the few believers in this country.
     Today is truly our last full day.  It will be a day of trying to wrap up the last few things that the Lord has brought us here to do.  Please continue to pray for us like you have been.  Being on these adventures is never easy and rarely without a few bumps, curves or stress and this has been no exception.  I have been blessed to have a team that has bonded together for the purpose of sharing.  It has been fantastic. 
      Tonight's blog will be the last until we arrive back in the United States.  So I would like to tell you about this team that was ordained to be here at this time in history for this moment, and how they have been a blessing to the people, each other and the Lord.
      Our devotional passage this morning will be:
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

May our Lord, Savior and God bless each of you this day.  Thank you for your prayers.
              

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TODAY IS OUR FRIDAY


TODAY IS OUR FRIDAY

(and the attacks have begun)

    Yesterday was an easy day but a late day, a day fill with joy and yet sadness.  Part of the team was able to go and interact in the market, while another part went and met with some more Seekers in the morning.  Then it was back to start getting ready for a marathon couple of days.  Last night, the group went and Worshipped, Celebrated and had a great time with the Pakistani Church.  Steve was the speaker, which I heard he did a great job sharing (I was unable to attend due to circumstances beyond my control).  And Gavin was again a hit with his musical talent and abilities.  After the service, the team interacted with the whole church and all I have heard was that "They really honored us."  The team came back very pumped.
    Today will be a marathon day for the team, again I do not know how much I will be them, but I will report at the end how God worked.  They got back so late last night that I was unable to get their pictures but I will try today to get some for you on FB.  Right now the team will be with at least 5 different groups, worshipping, celebrating, speaking and praying.  Please lift them up as the day goes on.
    Please pray for the team extra hard these next few days until we get home.  The enemy is definitely attacking.  Pray of the health of each person of the team (please give this some extra doses of prayer), for the wisdom of each of the speakers today, pray for the team as they interact that they may be able to share fully, pray that God be God and do great things. 


    Addition:   I forgot to add our verses today.  Please read Ephesians 3:20:  "To him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

HUMP DAY Closed with a Bang


HUMP DAY Closed With A Bang (or a swallow)
The Schedule Gets Busy From Here

    Good Morning from the Arabian Peninsula.  I woke up rather early this morning even for me, somewhere around 4 am.  Five times a day in this region there is a "Call To Prayer,"  this morning it seemed exceedingly loud to me and woke me up.  Usually I can sleep right through it, no problems at all.  This week the team visited a Mosque where we prayed to One Living, True, and Active God that there would soon be a Great Revival in this land and call back to Him.  During this visit, we were talking and a comment was made what would happen if the Believers in America would seriously pray 5-7 times a day to God for Revival;  It makes you think, what would happen?
    Yesterday, Hump Day: was a day filled with tears, homesickness, fatigue, heat and humidity exhaustion and ended with much laughter, bonding, smiles, and prayer.  The middle of the week is ALWAYS the toughest day of the week on these adventures and yesterday was no different.  It is the day where the enemy feels it is time to attack with abandon and thus I usually try to keep this day low key.  So yesterday, we started our day as we do everyday with a time of devotion and prayer, then we headed to a place where many in this region come to pray to (supposedly) the tomb of the prophet Job.  Here we spent our own time in prayer for God to speak to each of the thousands upon thousands that will come to this place.  We especially prayed that God would speak through visions and dreams as the season of fasting and prayer, called Ramadan will begin shortly after we leave.  This region so needs to have the Almighty God speak to them.
    Then we arrived back where are staying to have a time of rest because we knew it was going to be a very late evening (usually we are in by 8:30/9:00pm) but last night we were eating dinner at 8:30 and back around 10:00 or later (but we had to stop for ice cream before arriving home because, led by Becca; the team wanted ice cream). 
    We went to visit the man (a seeker, but I think is already a Believer) that we visited on our first day.  He is a leader of his people, and at my request; wanted to show us his families herd of camels and allow us to milk camels, drink the fresh milk (see the pictures on FB) and it came to be known, introduce us to his cousin; who will soon be sharing in the Good News.  
     I forgot that in the middle of our day, Dona Beth was invited to be part of a meeting and ESL class with a young lady, who is a Believer. 
     Before I tell you what we will be doing today, I thought I would share with you some of heartbreaking statistics of this region and country.  In this country, there are less then a 1000 Believers in the whole country, this country has one of the fewest amount of workers in the world (less then 20) and the closest ones next to where we are and who we are working with is 850 kilometers away.  Scaring a frightening facts for a country that is primed and ready for a revival.
     Today begins 2 days of hectic schedule.  Beginning around 4, we will begin to have at least 5 meetings, with the potential to 7 or more meetings, which has the potential to be around 300 people we will talk to in these days. Skip, Steve and Gavin will be speaking, performing music and the other 4 of us will be speaking to each one of the people about Kingdom things.  Please pray for all of us on this.
     Here are the verses that we will be part of our daily devotion:



Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

2 Timothy 4:17

 7 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

We definitely can feel your prayers and love here.  Thank you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 3 Ended, Day 4 Begins and Our Middle of the Trip Begins




Day 3 Ended
Day 4 Has Begun
Our Middle or Halfway Point

    Yesterday was a very long and busy day for us, not because of the multitude of visits but because we spent quite along time coming and going to our destination.  There were many winding roads and many ups and downs as we headed to our destination.   Our journey took us southwest of our location to a closed place and a place of much danger for believers.  This was our most intense day of the trip because of the location.  However along the way we were met by 2 seekers and were able as the day went to share and become friends.  We were also able to shout to heavens from the cliffs about how Great our God is.  Pretty cool experience.  When we arrived our location, we were able to spend much time in prayer and sharing with our new friends.
     As we met last night, it is amazing that the group is beginning to see the weight of being a Believer in this land.  For them to turn to Our God means there is a great cost.  There have been several conversations that have gotten all the way to the point and then they stop or in case of a recent conversation, the person  said that I lean towards Jesus, but my family and the government it would not be good.  There is a GREAT cost in this region, something we in America never will understand due to our freedoms.  Please hold up the group in prayers that we would have wisdom but more importantly, that these people would understand that the cost here might be hard, but the eternal rewards are fantastic.
     I have been blessed with another great team.  From our youngest is Becca (not my daughter, Becca; but because of the name she immediately is a favorite) to our oldest Steve (Gavin, Skip, Bernie and Dona Beth make up the rest) this is a fantastic team.  They have bonded and at every turn in the road or up the hill, you see the Light of our Lord shining in their faces and in their actions.  Truly a wonderful thing to be with them.
     Today we will head out of the city again for a time of prayer, then to have more conversations with the ESL and finally to head back out to the Sheik's home to spend time with him (yes, he is a Seeker), to learn culturally about camels.  We will get to milk them and the group is hoping to ride them.  And through the whole time, we are praying to add to the Kingdom one more Eternal Brother.
    Today is our halfway point on this adventure.  We are all getting physically tired, emotionally drained and yet expectant about what God has yet planned for us.  This is today's devotion:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

    Please pray for us that today, our HUMP DAY; that we would first be able to share and add to the Kingdom.  Secondly for our physical and emotional fatigue.  And finally, Please join us in praising the Lord for allowing us to join Him in this, His Work.






Monday, June 9, 2014

Day 3 Ended and Now we start Day 4



DAY 3 ENDED, NOW DAY 4 STARTS

    It always amazes me what God does and how His plans are not our plans.  Yesterday we went to visit a friend up about an hour outside of the city, where we broke bread, shared in music (Gavin did a fantastic job, so Spirit filled) and some great conversation.  This person is so close.  We asked if we could pray for him and his response was I want to pray for you because you have come a long way to see me.  Truly a wonderful time.  Then a friend entered his home right before, and in most cases the conversation would stop, but when asked if we should continue he replied, "Yes, please continue."  The friend was a government official and it was so wonderful to see his willingness to continue and not be ashamed.  So great.
     Then on the way back we stopped at the highest point of the area and prayed over the area.  God tells us to take everything to Him in prayer, He listens and will answer.  And we were able to see a herd of camel running alongside of us on the drive home...TOO COOL.
      The evening was filled with another ESL and more open sharing of the Spirit, the lives here and many conversations.  Last night's conversation was on forgiveness and bitterness.  Pretty deep conversations.
      Today we are headed to different places.  One is for prayer, one is to visit the burial tomb of the prophet Job and the last is to partake in a meal and another time of sharing in the home of a seeker.  Right now it seems that we will be partaking of a traditional meal also at the home.  And yes he owns many camels.  It seems that I am not the only one on the team who loves CAMELS.
       Here is today's verse for us on strength:


The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights


Thank you again for your prayers.