Taking the Word to the World

Archive for October, 2012

Who Will? We Will!

“As for Me and My House We Will” (Joshua 24:15)

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”

I’ve read that Scripture many times. However, this time those two words “we will” just popped out at me.

In reflecting further, the following points come to mind:

  • The inclusiveness of the entire family is obvious in this Scripture; cannot be denied or skipped over.
  • Ministry is a family thing. It is inescapable. It’s my calling. It’s our calling.
  • Ministry is best done in community.
  • So goes the family; so goes the church.
  • So goes the family; so goes the nation.
  • The family is the church in miniature.
  • If Momma ain’t happy, no one is happy.
  • If the children ain’t happy, no one is happy.
  • The leader’s family is the example for others to follow and emulate. You can’t bypass that.
  • It only takes failure to pass truth on to one generation to bring about apostolic extinction in that family rather than apostolic succession.
  • Some see family and ministry as a vertical arrangement: Priorities, in order of, God first, family second, the church last. At least that is an attempt to prioritize and a step in the right direction.
  • However, consider the possibility that it is a spiral, inseparable, circular arrangement with God at the center of all we are, ever hope to be, and all we do, and ever hope to do. From that relationship with God spirals my marriage, my family, my ministry.

In research for this, I went to her my daughter’s blog to check on a posting where she said something about “Daddy.” Google popped up with her latest blog post. It hit me smack in the face and pierced my heart. She was writing on the very subject I am addressing right now. Here goes:

And it was said in Acts 16 – believe and you’ll be saved. You and your house. And after days and days of news piled on news, it turns out that that’s what finally made me cry.



House. He didn’t mean the architecture of brick piled on stone. Not the building you live in but the loves in your life. By “house” he meant “your people.” And for so many years, my people? They’ve been the only home I really have. 
And I can barely see to write this because there is so much sickness in my house. Failing kidneys and tumors and rumors of cancer and hearts ripped right open.

In. My. House.

Speaking of houses, what did He say of His? “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

So I do what we all should. I endeavor to model my house after His. And I remind myself daily that

”

The life of the flesh is in the blood.” Life. Not cancer. Life.

That He said in the Psalms flesh and hearts fail but that He is the strength of hearts and a portion forever.

That straps of whip sliced open His back so that right before He secured our tomorrow blood flowed to offer healing in our today.

That no matter what happens in our today our tomorrow is certain.

And I know that He can shrink tumors and balance equilibrium and restore kidneys and I place them all in everlasting arms connected to a back once stripped bloody. Because He is here and He heals. 



And me and my house? We serve the Lord.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Guest post by Missionary Pam Smoak

Even now, I have Christmas music going in the living room. Julie Andrews, Bing Crosby, Selah, Amy Grant and many others, mostly oldie-goldies, play for hours. There is one song that always, always stops me in mid-motion, no matter the recording artist or music style – I’ll Be Home For Christmas. For so many years, that was the song that touched my heart the most, for I was usually far away south of the equator. But in my heart, I was home.

When I went to Germany in 1978 after Bible school, my mother told me she was so old and sickly that she would probably not be there when I got back. I suspicioned that the old MD who had delivered me had her on too many meds for hypertension and whatever. So I promptly made an appointment with an internist who just as promptly took her off all meds and said she was fine. I trotted off to Germany for a year. When I came back, Mom was there. I was home for Christmas.

Kenya for AIM, Tanzania under full appointment and miles of deputation took me away from Hurst Hill where my mom always stood on the front porch and waved good-bye to us. She never failed to remind me, “I may not be here when you get back.”
I was always home for Christmas when I could and tearfully sang “I’ll be home for Christmas” when I couldn’t.

January 2004 I got the call no missionary wants to get, my mom had died. I wasn’t there. I had not been home for Christmas. Devastated, I flew home for the funeral. I remember weeping and laying my head on my Uncle Leon’s shoulder and saying, “She always told me she might not be here and this time she wasn’t here. She wasn’t here.”

This year, I will be home for Christmas, but she won’t be there in person, “only in my dreams”.

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Seven Things I Know About the Harvest

The harvest is important to God (Matthew 9:37-38).
Scripture refers to Him as “Lord of the Harvest.”

The harvest is precious; it costs something (Psalms 126:6).
They were weeping, and it was considered precious seed because it was the last seed they had in the house. They were going to use it for planting and there would be nothing left.

The harvest is promised (John 4:35).
The time of harvest is now; already (John 4:35).
But there are times that God asks us to wait on the harvest.
There is always a time to plant and a time to harvest (Eccl. 3:2).
Everything has its season (Eccl. 3:1).
We should not be weary in well doing. In due season, we will reap, if we don’t quit (Galatians 6:9).

The harvest is by faith (Eccl. 11:1, 4-6).
We are not moved by what we see. We are moved by the Word of God, the will of God, and the work of God.
We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
We call those things that are not as if they already are (Romans 4:17).
If one observes the wind, clouds, or storms he will not sow. Despite the circumstances, sow anyway.
Our faith is not in the unknown. It is in the unseen.
I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed (2 Timothy 1:12).

The harvest is big (Matthew 9:37-38).
God has a big harvest in mind.
Again it is promised.
Requires harvest-minded workers.

The harvest is measurable (Galatians 6:7).
It is the law of the harvest.
The same measure is used to measure to us again (Luke 6:38). It is considered to be a “good measure.”
What we sow, is what we reap; whether good or bad.
It isn’t just about money. It is also about souls.

The harvest is celebrated (Acts 2:1).
The Day of Pentecost was part of the Feast of Pentecost; a harvest celebration.
God skillfully and strategically selected such a harvest for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and the launching of the New Testament Church.

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Enough With the Games

A guest post by Matthew R. Mullins

With a heartfelt gesture of concern, the man peered over and asked the other opposite to him, “but…” exhausted with a lengthy conversation going nowhere, “…how are you doing?” He had heard enough of what others thought of the situation, enough of this man avoiding the actual dilemma; no, he was asking for keeps this time, “I want to know where you are at personally and how I can serve you?” Enough with the games! This idea of leading others by service, it is tough to swallow. Most people find themselves desiring to be a leader without any compassion for people, thinking the position or title meant they had arrived. This relates to how we serve people today in the church and the divide between innovation and tradition. Let us take a page from history to illustrate.

Jesus was both a separate individual and yet also connected to history, tradition and mankind. He was connected to traditional Judaism while being separate enough to bring a new perspective and interpretation of God’s love and plans – doing so within that self-same history and tradition.1 What can we learn from this Biblical perspective? It is quite possible to be both innovative and yet structured, to be an effective, creative soul-winner while also keeping a sense of continuity and direction. Most perplexing for uprising generations is a failure to understand the concept that their dreams for the church are not crushed by traditional church values. Nor should “their dreams” be without God. If a called individual felt so inclined, the question to consider here is, what is my dream in connection to the church and in relation with God? If these questions cannot be systemically answered Biblically, than perhaps this “dream” isn’t God’s dream for the church or for that individual. It is self-made. Thinking out loud here, but wouldn’t this be the larger issue between both younger and older generations? The elder finds difficulty separating themselves beyond history, the youth cannot see past modernity. This vast disconnection and outwardly awkward collision creates the chaos that ensues the church today, a misunderstanding and misdirection of communication.

The truest misdirection here is a failure to understand what innovation, creativity and modern soul winning actually look like. If our churches are not striving daily to consider new approaches, then we have failed to reach younger generations needed to lead the church of tomorrow, while also missing the opportunity to harvest a greater bounty of souls today. This is sad to think that one single day of failing to ask the question, “What can I do more effectively today for the Kingdom of God?” is potentially the source of so much upheaval. The source of the question, where do we go from here? The source of younger generations of ministry feeling a need to let go of the plough out of being stifled or separating themselves from organization. The source of churches not presently fulfilling the greatest calling of all – that is, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Getting the point yet?

Some reading this are already refuting the basic principle here, after all many of the religious leaders of that day hated Jesus, despised His teachings and ridiculed Him publicly. Understand something, we are not talking about people placed within an office of responsibility, that had a form of outward godliness (such as praying loudly so that everyone saw them); we are discussing actual leaders, like Jesus. Give yourself a title, a pulpit and call yourself a leader all you want, but true leaders are servants. Fundamentally, true leaders are innovative servants! Right back to the principle we are discussing. You should note that Jesus has had one of the most impactful, powerful, and enduring ministries of all time in-spite of the defamation He received publicly. It was His individuality that brought about this new revelation of God, therefore it should be celebrated not stifled; we should respect everyone. He showed us how it was done and left us to it!

The principle is this: Individually we can be unique, innovate thinkers and leaders –creatively pursuing our special callings to advance God’s Kingdom while also maintaining our connection to fundamental Apostolic doctrine and history. You can have one in relation to the other. Jesus paved the way for this type of innovate ministry. It is possible for traditional thinkers to relate to modern generations, as much as it is possible for modern thinkers to become impassioned with fundamentals of basic, sound doctrine. We are called, throughout every generation, to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, delivering His redeeming message. Let me ask you this, what more outside of this matters enough to stifle church growth, to negate the responsibility of true leadership, to promote disunity, or to leave the plough in preparation of others for the bridegroom? Sobering as it is, nothing. Everyone with a calling who is faithfully, daily laboring in covenant relationship should find no issue in serving and working with others as Jesus gave example. If we are the type of leaders modeled after Jesus, then today we solve issues of organization down to the local church. Enough is enough with the games!

Reference:

1 Richardson, R.W. (1996). Creating a healthier church: Family systems theory, leadership, and congregational life. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Melinda for the Churches

by Melinda Poitras

Where? Ghana, West Africa.

Why? I still remember the moment that I was reading through a history of apostolic missions and I found it. “March 2, 1989. Birth of Melinda Poitras, future Missionary.” I thought, at that moment, that such a declaration was horribly unfair. What if I wanted to be a doctor? Or a lawyer? Or a novelist? Or a waitress? To have a life plan inked into a history before one is even old enough to read it seemed unjust indeed. That’s the thing about life – it isn’t fair.

It isn’t fair that I was birthed into a family who ate, slept, and breathed souls, saints, writing, teaching, and missions. It isn’t fair that I got to begin my missionary career by spending nineteen years involved in various kinds of ministry in Africa. That I have lived in Ghana and Nigeria and spent time in the Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Malawi, Liberia, and South Africa. It isn’t fair that I had a missionary mother who became one of the first AIMers when Robert Rodenbush launched the pilot program – the same program that enables me to become an AIMer myself thirty one years later. That’s the thing about blessings – they’re rarely “fair.”

I have already spent nineteen years in Africa, but it turns out that isn’t enough. Because the country I grew up in has a population of roughly 24,965,816 people who need the Lord. I need to tell them. I have to admit, it’s beginning to look like I may never be a waitress.

When? January to June of 2013.

What? Teaching in the Bible School. Developing a series of lessons for Young Adults. Working with the Bible Study Group at the University of Ghana campus. Assisting in the homeschooling of Allanah and Stephen Sisco.

How? With your support.

The harvest is great

The laborers few

Ghana needs me

And I need you

To join Melinda financially in ministry please send your offering to Melinda Poitras c/o James Poitras, Global Missions, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, Missouri, 63042

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Lessons Learned from an African Pastor

The following was found among a young African pastor’s papers after he was martyred for the cause of Christ.

“I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

“My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I am done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

“I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, tops, recognized, praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

“My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

“I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

“I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

“I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

“I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear!”

photo credit: [Share the Word] via photo pin cc

Story of Two Fishermen

Ruth Rieder in Covenant by Sacrifice tells a story of two fishermen on the reservoir. Caught up in the excitement of the trip, the men neglected to put down the anchor as they reached their favorite fishing spot. Unmindful of the subtle undercurrent of the water, they began to fish. Hours quickly passed; suddenly one of the fishermen looked up. To his horror, the boat was drifting dangerously close to destruction. He shouted a warning to his partner, and they began rowing with all their might, seeking to escape the deadly rapids that lay just ahead. After a furious effort, they made it safely to shore. The fishermen were shocked that they drifted so far. It had happened without notice. The danger went undetected until it was almost too late.

The writer of Hebrews warns, “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1, NLT).

The King James Version admonishes us to “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1). It is as if the truth could slip out of our hands, and we could slip out of His grace. I can’t allow that to happen. Neither can you!

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