Mission Update 3.7.2019

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The footprint of this Mission and its Ministry seems to be growing and expanding. Recently, personal circumstances caused Teresa to return to the US while I remain here in the Philippines. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it was the right thing to do for the Kingdom.

And with that decision, comes the opportunity for us to be involved in more meaningful ways with ministries where we are already connected in the US. Specifically, I’m speaking about the M25 homeless and Restoration House addiction ministries, both of which are based in our sending church in Northwest Arkansas.

Also, Teresa and a few of her close friends are working on a new project in her Hometown of Booneville, Arkansas.

For the next few months, The Philippines ministry will focus on 2 area churches:

  1. River of Life Baptist Mission Church in Cabanatuan City
  2. Mount Bethel Baptist Mission Church in the Municipality of Gabaldon

In Cabanatuan, I will stand in as a substitute Pastor during April and May while the Pastor and his family are away.

In Gabaldon, I will make weekly visits for youth discipleship/fellowship with an emphasis on soul-winning.

Over the next 3 months this mission will coordinate and assist in financing 2 separate Vacation Bible Schools – 1 in each of the 2 churches, and a Youth retreat that combines both churches.

With operations in 2 countries in the works, we need our partners now more than ever:

  1. Your prayers – please be in prayer for this mission and all of these activities. Nothing about this is easy.
  2. Your participation – anyone who wants to join in and help in any way with any of these activities feel free to contact me via the email on this website. If you’re interested in any of the ministries in the US, I will put you in touch with Teresa. Anyone who wants to come here and see what’s going on – COME ON, I DARE YOU.
  3. Your gifts – increases in scope and activity in 2 hemispheres pretty much requires an increase in financial needs. Please give as you are led.

Im very interested in hearing your feedback, so please tell me what you think about the direction we are headed. I will be watching for your feedback in the blog comments.

Mission Update 3.1.2019

In Genesis 27:46 Rebekah reminds Isaac of the need to keep the bloodline pure and she pushes Isaac to do the right thing by providing the leadership and instruction a father is supposed to provide to his son, Jacob. This is something that Isaac had failed miserably at in the past. The proof of this is in the past and continuing errors in Esau’s life choices. By doing this Rebekah is also reminding Isaac of his importance in God’s plan; to build a Nation that God will use to bless all nations. The value of their lives is zero apart from God and His plan.

*Let’s take a minute with that thought and apply it to our own lives.

What is God’s plan for your life? Are you trying to follow that plan? Or are you finding your worth and value in other things? If you choose to ignore God’s plan for you, how will that effect the people you love, and even others you don’t even know yet?

 

 

 

Mission Update 12.31.2018

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Happy New Year and God bless to everyone. We wish you are all blessed with a new year full of growth and discipleship. We also hope that everyone you know who does not know Jesus Christ will come to that saving knowledge by your witness and example this year.

Teresa and I arrived back in The Philippines on December 6th. Slowly, step-by step, ministry is beginning to take it’s form again by God’s amazing grace. We never really know exactly what ministry will look like each year when we return from our annual visit back to the US because it’s always not exactly the same when you return as when you leave. But there are 3 things that are always constant and steady:

  1. Obstacles and problems. There are always issues with the house and vehicle that have to be overcome. Jet lag. Language adjustment. Jet lag. Cultural adjustment. Jet Lag. There are all kinds of issues that arise that bring fear and frustration, worry and doubt. Especially when you’re doing your annual reset. But those things always smooth out because…
  2. Your real friends and ministry partners still love you and are glad to see you. They are always willing to help where they can. Unity in Christ is such a wonderful thing.
  3. Most importantly, God is good, all the time. When He calls you to a task, He never leaves you unable to handle the challenges. When He makes a promise, He always protects it. And He always lets you know when you’re headed in the right direction.

In the 3 and a half weeks that we’ve been back, we’ve seen church ministry exploding with new opportunities, a chance to renew and expand local and regional recovery ministries, and new opportunities for discipleship ministries. But the best part is that in that short amount of time (25 days) we’ve seen 26 souls saved. All you have to do is say “yes” to God and be willing to do the work He gives you and use the resources He provides, the way He wants it done.

It’s gonna be a busy, beautiful, stressful, wonderful, tiring, awesome, worrisome, blessed year! I can’t wait!!!

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“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” – Matthew 6:6

The third tool of intimacy and growth in relationship with God is prayer. It’s the third tool to be used to stay close and in striving to grow closer to God through your salvation in Christ. Prayer can do anything that God can do. Prayer connects you to God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Some people don’t realize that you can pray about [any need] in your life. God is a loving Father. You can pray about a financial need, a physical need, relational need, a spiritual need, emotional need. He will take any need.

Prayer is this: to make a request’ as from one who is inferior to one who is superior, for specific needs. Always directed toward God, whether stated or implied. Strongs #4336

I can’t stress the importance of prayer enough. Prayer is key to everything. Self-evaluation and meditation must happen in an attitude of prayer.

How to pray? Don’t worry about that. Just pray. The Holy Spirit will translate the thoughts of your heart into good and acceptable prayer. That’s the power. Just pray. But still, Jesus taught us how to pray.

Read Matthew 6:7-15

My challenge for everyone is to read, study, and meditate prayerfully on This passage. It is a teaching from Jesus himself on prayer. Please note in verse 9 that Jesus did not say “this is [what] you should pray”, He said this is [how]you should pray.

“After this manner therefore pray ye”:

Underline, circle, and highlight that sentence in your bible. It’s a model. It is not a ritual to be prayed. Notice a couple of verses right before this prayer, Jesus says don’t repeat a ritual prayer, don’t make vain repetitions. This was not a prayer to be used as a ritual, it is a model. This is not what you should pray, this is how you should pray.

Do you want to keep and even grow your relationship with God? Pray… Prayer is communication… Communication is necessary in any relationship.

Meditate on this passage. Spend time with Your God meditating on these scriptures according to the last devotional, and then continue to spend time with Him in prayer.

We will be talking about each aspect of “The Lord’s prayer” in the coming days.

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“Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8

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Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night. – Pslam 1:1-2

A changed, healed life – a transformed life – requires us to be in a relationship with our God and Savior. The only way to have a real relationship with anyone is to spend time with them. It’s the relationship that keeps us from falling away – back into our old sinful ways. There are basically 3 parts of that relationship. Recently we spoke about self-evaluation. Today let’s talk about meditation on the scriptures.

Meditate: A verb meaning to growl, groan, sigh, mutter, or speak. (wow) Figuratively and by implication it means to ponder, imagine, and study. – Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary #1897.

 So to meditate on God’s Word simply means reading it, studying it, understanding it in context, but it also means to ponder and imagine what it means in your life and how to apply it to your life. In other words it means to slow down and actually hear what God has to say to you in the scripture you are studying.

  • seriously think about what you read in the Bible for a little bit then think about what it means to your life. That’s meditation. (and yes, you’re allowed to repeat it over and over as many times as you want in line with the literal definition)
  • When you do that He says, “You’re like a tree planted by the river and when the heat’s on you don’t wither away and when the drought comes you don’t dry up and blow away.” – Because your supply of living water is eternal.

You don’t fall away.

How would you like to succeed and prosper in everything you do? According God, it’s pretty simple. Just meditate on His Word.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”. – Psalm 1:3

The reason (I say) this is necessary: When we were first saved, our response to the love and mercy and grace that God offers us in the saving work of Jesus is largely emotional. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Love is many things, and emotion is one of those things. The bible is very clear that we love Him because He loved us first –1 John 4:19. But we can’t rely on our own emotions any more than we can rely on our own strength. If we try to do that we will eventually fail. His word says that we are saved by His grace through FAITH – Ephesians 2:8-9. Transformation born in Real faith may begin with an emotional response, but it becomes ROOTED in the scriptures. It’s not meant to eliminate our emotions. As a matter of fact, the more we come to understand through meditation on the Word, the stronger our emotions should become. He loves us and values us very much!

Finally this: Lots of people think they don’t know how to meditate on the scriptures or anything else. But I say if you know how to worry, then you know how to meditate. Worry is taking a bad situation or thought and thinking about it over and over. It’s trying to work out a solution to a problem in your mind and heart continually even when there seems to be no solution or resolution. We’re all expert worriers. Meditation is the same. You just do it with scriptures trying to understand God’s intent for your life in each passage you read. Let’s do that.

Go and be with God in His Word today. He will make you like a tree planted in a never-ending water supply.

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Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD. We lift up our heart and hands Toward God in heaven; – Lamentations 3:39-41

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For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?         – 2 Corinthians 13:4-5

We have to set aside time to spend with God every day. Self reflection, bible study, and prayer. These are the ways of the relationship He wants with us. These are the only ways we will ever be able to know God’s will in our lives. And these are the only ways we will ever have the strength to do His will. These are the ways we “watch and pray”.

SELF EVALUATION

Look honestly at your life everyday. Separate the good things you did from the wrong things. Be happy and be grateful for the good things and praise God for His Grace because of those. Then look at the wrong things you did today. Be honest about them. Do not only look at the sin you made. In your evaluation, come to understand about WHY you made that sin. (if you spoke in anger today, maybe it was because of something simple. Maybe you were “hangry”) 

  • physical –  what is your body telling you?
  • emotional –  what are you feeling?
  • relational –  are you at peace with everyone?
  • spiritual – moment to moment, are you relying on God?

Then confess to God and repent. He will forgive that. Every time you do it in this way, He will forgive because He is a good God. Ask for His help to understand and correct the problem(s) that led to this sin.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;”         – Psalm 139:23-24

 

 

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This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? – Galatians 3:2-4

We started with God’s power. We admitted our weakness and our helplessness and hopelessness. We have no power to change our lives because we are not God. But there is one true God who does have both the power and the will to save us. So we trusted Him and submitted ourselves to Him by accepting the Savior He provided in Jesus Christ. We gave our lives to Him and He began to change us.
But after a while we start thinking, “It’s me that’s doing this, I’m making the changes.” Before we know it we’ve started depending on ourselves instead of on Him – the one who really does the saving work. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:3
We skip over the teachings in God’s word that we don’t like or we think are unnecessary or inconvenient and become satisfied with a changed life that isn’t complete. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.” – Galatians 5:7-8
We forget about our need for relationship with other believers. You can’t heal from from your sins alone. If you could, you would have already. But you can’t do it alone, so you won’t. We need a Savior and we need other people. God gives us relationships with other people for help in times of weakness. “Two are better off than one because if one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls it’s too bad because there’s nobody there to listen and lift him up or help him.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
There is power in confessing our faults and troubles to one another. There is power in praying for one another. There is power in testifying of God’s mercy and grace to those around us. When we tell our stories, it not only helps us, it helps other people because they see themselves in those stories. We overcome the enemy by “the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony”. – Revelation 12:11
We fall to pride. Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction.” It keeps us from seeking help. Pride blinds us to our own weakness. It prevents us from giving and seeking forgiveness. It keeps us from prayer and confession. It hinders everything God wants to do in our lives and it encourages failure.

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Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. – Mark 14:38

Over and over again we’ve been talking about coming out of the darkness of sin and revealing ourselves in the light of God. But now let’s talk about this:

How do we maintain our growth? How do we not lose the growth we are making in our Christian life?

Romans 7:18 says nothing good lives in us, that is, in our sinful nature. We want to do what is right, but we can’t. Sometimes we fall back into patterns of thought and behavior that are bad for us. Sometimes sinners fall back into sin. How do we keep that from happening? We can see it coming if we watch and pray according to Mark 14:38. These are the warning signs:

First, we tend to become comfortable with our healing and growth and we stop trying. We see the pain and suffering (problems) we experience in our lives because of sin is reduced, and we become content with reduced pain. We become content with a better life and stop striving for a life that pleases God. In this complacency, we stop “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling”. – Philippians 2:11-13

We become careless

Then we begin to forget how bad our lives were before Christ. We forget how bad our ways were before Christ, and we tend to minimize the seriousness of our sins.  We start to justify a belief in our own strength. In our confusion we see ourselves strong enough to stand against our sinful nature on our own.

Finally we start making compromises. We willingly put ourselves in a position to sin again. Falling back into our sinful ways is not such a big leap from this point.

Dear Lord, You alone are God. We worship You because of who You are, and we praise you because of your grace to us in Jesus Christ. Thank you for saving our lives and think you that Your salvation is perfect because we are so weak. We ask you to continue to fill us with your word of truth as we move forward with this study. Help us to stand when we are about to fall. Give us strength when we become weak. We accepted Jesus Christ as our savior because we knew we needed Him. We could not save ourselves. We could not become righteous without Him. We also know that we cannot keep our righteousness or grow in our righteousness on our own. That is because it is really no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us and through us. Thank you for the hope you have given us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

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Job 11:15-16 Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away,

From the past devotionals, we’ve seen that forgiving others is all on us. There’s no requirement for anyone to desire, ask, or accept our forgiveness. We are to simply forgive, and we should also have seen and understood the reasons why we are to simply forgive. Forgiveness for the sake of love is the center of our salvation in Christ. It’s pure and real, and it was taught and exemplified perfectly by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It wasn’t easy for Him, and it is not easy for us.

It requires death to self.

The same is true of making amends. It isn’t easy. It’s even humiliating sometimes. But remember that when we offend others, we offend God. A sin against another person is a sin against God. We are required to go before God in repentance and ask God for forgiveness.  Spiritual wisdom tells us we are required to do the same with those people we sin against. This also requires death to self.

The Bible says, as best we can, we are to live in peace with everyone. Concerning the principal of making amends, there is no requirement for others to accept our apologies or to allow us to make restitutions for our sins against them. It is simply up to us try:

  1. In the same way we would expect someone to come to us (Luke 16:31)
  2. In the right time and in the right way specific to the person (Ecclesiates 8:6)
  3. With the right attitude (Ephesians 4:15)

I am sure that, in Christ, 2 of the keys to life – mending a broken life, and having eternal life – are in forgiving those who have harmed us, and asking forgiveness and making things as right as we can with the ones we have harmed. So, prepare your heart and reach out to God, and let your eternal worries pass away as “water under the bridge” because God loves you and has something better waiting for you.

Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven–what can you do? Deeper than Sheol–what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth And broader than the sea. If He passes by, imprisons, and gathers to judgment, Then who can hinder Him? For He knows deceitful men; He sees wickedness also. Will He not then consider it? For an empty-headed man will be wise, When a wild donkey’s colt is born a man. If you would prepare your heart, And stretch out your hands toward Him; If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away, And your life would be brighter than noonday. Though you were dark, you would be like the morning. And you would be secure, because there is hope; Yes, you would dig around you, and take your rest in safety. You would also lie down, and no one would make you afraid; Yes, many would court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they shall not escape, And their hope–loss of life!” – Job 11:7-20

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“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”.                         (Mathew 5: 23-24)

Another part of forgiveness is making amends to the ones we have hurt. WHY? – Because unresolved relationships are the problem and they prevent transformation from happening. No one can have a close relationship with God in a vacuum. We all live within a social structure, made up of family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and complete strangers (community).  Our relationships with others are a reflection of our relationship with God. So, if we sin against someone, we also sin against God.

  • Jesus taught that before asking God for restoration and forgiveness, everyone has to make right, the sins they have committed against others.  This principal is called ‘making amends’. 

If you’re having trouble remembering anything you need to make right with others, here are some examples:

Is there anyone I owe a debt to that I haven’t repaid? Is there anyone I’ve broken a promise to? Is there anyone I manipulate for selfish reasons? Is there anyone I’m jealous of? Is there anyone that I judge too strongly? Have I been verbally abusive to anybody? Or physically abusive? Or emotionally abusive? Is there anyone I have not appreciated or not paid attention to or forgotten an anniversary? Is there anyone I’ve been unfaithful to? Or have I lied to anyone? Have I taken something that didn’t belong to me? Is this enough to get us started?

Make another list. Write it down. Everyone and everything. Don’t leave anything or anyone out. Look at it and think about  it. Pray about it.  Then start thinking about the way you would like for someone to come to you and try to make amends. Read Luke 6:31, and and use it as your guide. Make things right with others in the spirit and intent of Jesus’ teachings.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” – Hebrews 12:15

And be THANKFUL