What can we do about it? Is there any hope? For the last 5 or 6 months I have been privileged to go with some other people to serve the homeless in downtown Detroit's Cass corridor. It breaks my heart. The buildings are boarded up, burnt down, empty, abandoned. The people are pretty much the same. Some people just don't have any where to go. You think it is hard to find jobs in the suburbs or in small towns? Downtown Detroit looks even worse. Among the blight you occasionally see a new apartment complex or a new coffee house for the business people to go to. Do they see what's around them? What can we do? Is there any hope for these people? How long can we the Church (Christ's body) ignore the dire needs of people. I know it is tough for churches in the suburbs too, but to what standard of living are we living up to? Maybe it is time for ministry to take on a different face than it has been the last 50+ years. Maybe we just need to look to scripture and to the needs of those around us, to those less fortunate.
Isaiah 58 speaks to many facets of ministry but take note of he says, "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"
We are looking for a break through in this tough economy. We are looking for hope, a light in the darkness. Jesus is our hope for sure! But he wants us to love in action, not just words. Sure our hearts feel compassion when we see someone in need. But do we take action? My friends in Christ, the church is so busy running its programs and building a "bigger" ministry that we are missing meeting the needs of people. When will the restoration of our cities, churches and towns come? When we humble ourselves and pray; when we love in action even those who are unloved or not seemingly worthy of love. Christ loved us and died for us while "we" were yet sinners. Shouldn't we be willing to do the same for others? While there is still daylight do the work of the Lord by loving people and serving their interests above our own. Night is coming when we can work no more. But hold fast, Jesus will come and make all things new! Keep pressing on in love.
Isaiah 58:12 "Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."
Make somebodies day better today!
You've heard it said that location is everything when it comes to business ect... Well, my location has been determined as of yesterday. I will be starting a new campus at Washtenaw Community College in Washtenaw County, MI. It is on the boarder of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti about 15 minutes or so from my house. After my support is raised I will begin to connect with students, develop a leadership team, start training, praying and developing a vision with them to reach their campus. Washtenaw is a great location. Their are parks nearby, shopping, it's right off US23 and just minutes from Downtown Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The school offers a variety of degree programs and my farvorite are the arts.
I am looking foward to talking with you all about partnering with me to reach college students with the gospel of Christ. Please continue to pray for me, Laina and this campus.
Christmas Parties! Yes tis the season of gathering people together, eating great food, enjoying the lights on the tree, friends, family, gifts and Jesus... I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas and it seems each year I gain a new perspective of the celebration. I don't know if it was a misunderstood perspective from childhood, or maybe to make it easier we create "myths" that become tradition around the Christmas celebration. For instance, we see manger scenes with shepherds and wisemen gathered around the babe in swadling clothes with his parents nearby. But in reality, the wisemen didn't see baby Jesus until he was about 2 years old. Then Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt to escape Herod's edict to kill all children younger than two years old.
There was also scandle around Jesus' birth too. Young Mary becoming pregnant and unmarried at the time. Joseph having to make a decision to either divorce her quietly or still marry her. But again God warned Joseph in a dream and told him to marry her, and that this child was from the Holy Spirit. What obedience these two expressed toward God! But the first Christmas wasn't some warm, intimate religious experience in the sense that we celebrate today. It was awkward, fearful, inconvenient, dirty, smelling, crowded and uncertain for Mary and Joseph. Even though they headed to Bethlehem, the place of Joseph's family hertitage, and no doubt Joseph had several family members there, they had no other place to stay but a manger. Shouldn't some family members have been open to letting pregnant Mary stay in their room? Didn't the realize that this was no ordinary baby, that this was the Christ!? What would we have done?
Then there is the jealousy factor of King Herod. What!? A king, other than me is born? Well, he will take care of that problem. Can you imagine such jealousy moving a person to murder toddlers in the whole region? Here is baby Jesus entering the world, Mary and Joseph dedicated and obedient followers of the one true God and they experience such hardships in the first several years of Jesus' life. They may have even questioned, how could this be? However, God led them at the exact time and way that they needed it. Nothing is impossible for God, no matter what the circumstance. Mankind thinks that they are in control, and their sin does lead them to make decisions apart from God's desires for us - but nothing is outside of God's control. He indeed works out everything to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
What is your view and picture of Christmas? Have you taken the time this Christmas to actually read what the scripture says?
Matthew 1:18-2:23 Luke 1:26-2:52 John 1:1-18 Isaiah 9, 11
May the Joy and Knowlege of Christ be your celebration this year!
I love the start of a new "thing" ministry or whatever. Just like the new year that is just weeks away we have an opportunity to start again with a clean slate, a new canvas and can begin a new creation. That's the excitement that I am feeling as I gear up for my new position with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. IV has done well to create a ministry position around my gifts and passions. They don't expect me to fit an already established mold, where they send out "cookie cutter" ministers into the harvest field. No! Each of us has been gifted by God to do the work that God has prepared for us.
Ephesians 2:8-10 states, "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
God has specifically made each of us to do works that he has already prepared for us. We don't gain our salvation by these works, that is by grace through faith in Christ alone. But as the body of Christ we have work to do, to reach a dying and lost generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ! I am passionate about this call because I know that the consequence of someone not hearing and believing the gospel is eternal; eternal separation from God. I have too many friends and family, and I am sure you do too - who don't believe or have become callous to faith in Christ.
The vision I am pursuing with InterVarsity is to reach college and university campuses with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but I have to start with the way God has gifted me, and then build from the gifts that God has given the people that I reach, or that he sends to be on my team with me.
The apostle Paul build a team too. Paul started out with Barnabus. They eventually built a network of churches to help support them in the missions work. But they also had "disciples" that they were training and who would eventually end up pastoring some of these churches in the future. Timothy, Silas, John Mark, Apollos, and many others.... (Read through Acts or one of the Epistle's like Philippians to learn more about these relationships). Paul was casting the vision that Jesus commissioned in Matthew 28:18-20. To "go" make "disciples" of "all nations".... The university/college campus is strategic in sharing the gospel. There is an exchange of thought, beliefs and formation of the human spirit that happens in college like what happens in early childhood. Students have new found freedom and they "test" everything that they formerly believed.
1). Do they believe in Jesus?
2). What career or vocation do they pursue?
3). What will there relationships be like? Single, married, confused other?
God has a plan of Salvation! He has a plan for our salvation. Yes, we are sinners and many college students drift from the LORD during these years. But he has made a way through Jesus to reconcile himself to us sinners. Jesus is the only way to be reconiled to God the Father.
God a plan for Purpose! God has created you specifically for a purpose. But you have to stay close to him to hear and listen to that call. Everyone wants to be the athority in their own lives. We resist giving over any control to God. Even though he is loving and wise and ALWAYS has our best interest at heart. I want to help students discover how God has gifted them.
God has a plan for Relationships! Not everyone is called to be married, but most people probably are called to be married. However, in our culture today marriage is not honored as it should be. Much hurt and heart ache are the result of uncommitted relationships. Families are brough into disunity and anger and bitterness place a wedge between loved ones. Family is where children and spouses should feel the most secure, the most loved, the most vulnerable and the most unified. It was God's plan that a man and a woman should be united together in Christ. Marriage is a picture of our relationship and God's committment to us and us to Him. College students need to hear what God has to say (from his word) on these topics.
These three aspects of God's plan need to be established to ensure a healthy, secure life lived to the abundance of God's richest blessings to us. Everyone is looking for LOVE. I've seen it on the reality shows like Biggest Loser. At the core of every hurt, every addiction, every lonely person is a heart that lacks LOVE. Jesus Christ is the only way to fill that emptiness completely! Can you feel my heart and passion to reach the lost?
Isaiah 58:6-14 really sums up my call (and all believers call) to "loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.... God wants us to help feed the hungry, gives clothes to the needy, encourage the lonely in prision, the shut in, the orphan. Where is the darkened heart that needs the light of encouragement and love? Show me the person who is depressed and about to give up on life, on relationships, on the church on Jesus... We are the church, we are the body of Christ! "Go!"
Passionately serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Today I practiced sketching pictures of Jesus by using pastels, cante` crayons and my finger. Art never really comes out as you imagine it in your head. It is sort of a discovering process and sometimes even the accidents turn out better than your own idea. What I am trying for is an image of Jesus that we can put in our living room. It reminds me of how Leonardo Divinci practiced drawing. We always think of him as a great artist. But to get there he sketched over and over again. His sketches of horses are what really intrigued me. So I plan on doing the same of Jesus... only I can't observe him directly. I can observe pictures that others have painted, but that is their interpretation. I can read the descriptions of scripture and I can pray for inspiration; but can I do justice to drawing such an awesome God? Well, maybe God would at least look at it as a parent looks at their childs drawing and posts it on the refrigerator. That would be fine with me. :)
Use your Talents today... bring God and yourself JOY!
So what inspires you? How do you express creativity? What captures you heart?
I'm so anxious to get started.... but it looks like I am going to have a slow process of what my mother-in-law calls "wait training." I am not sure that I am fond of either type of weight/wait training but it is necessary if we are to build strong muscles, physical/spiritual. A main verse that I often refer to when I am anxious is Philippians 4:4-8
"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
Honestly I am anxious about raising this amount of money. I am anxious to get started with the campus work reaching students. Here my prayer Lord and be my Provider. Bring glory to your name Lord through the ministry that you call me to. That the church will rise up and answer your call to reach all nations with your good news! Salvation is found in Jesus and him alone! By your grace through faith we are saved in Christ Jesus. May this message reach the ends of the earth and quicken your return. Amen.
Thank you to those of you who have expressed interest in supporting me in the campus ministry with InterVarsity. It has come to my attention that IV does not have my account ready yet. So donations have not been allowed to come online. It should be up and running any day now. Thank you for your patience as everything comes together in God's time.
I thank you for following my journey in ministry even if you are not able to financially support me. There are many ways to support.
1. Prayer: is a wonderful and powerful way to support me and anyone in ministry. Everyone needs prayer, but Christian leaders and missionaries need it especially. "If the shepherd is knocked down, the sheep scatter." I appreciate your prayers. It is often a thankless way to support, as I often don't know who prays for me. But know that God knows and will greatly reward you. Prayers open the way for ministry to happen. There is much that goes on in this world that is unseen with the human eye. Prayers open and take down spiritual strong holds. God allows us to particpate in his work, but lifting up others and asking for his help, provision and protection. I attribute my ability to minister in public school lunches to the prayers of other believers and myself. Acts 4:31 shows us a prayer of the first believers, "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." 1 John 3:21-23; Hebrews 4:16 tell us to approach the throne of God with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Thank you for your prayers!
2. Talents/Spiritual Gifts: One friend isn't able to support me financially and instead is going to help me with some pictures, video and web support. Others may be gifted in wisdom, knowledge, service etc... I may need advice or to talk through a theological issue. We are the body of Christ and we need each other. Ephesians 4; 1 Corinthians 12-14, Matthew 25:14-30. The Parable of the Talents is especially on my heart the last couple of years. Three servants come to their master (we know it's Jesus) and he entrusts them with various "talents". When he returns from a journey he is expecting a return on his investment. The servants who invest and use what he has entrusted to them are rewarded "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" The servant who did "nothing" with what he was entrusted is not treated as such, "You wicked and lazy servant!...."
I desire to use what God has entrusted to me and the most valuable item God has entrusted to us is the Gospel!
3. Finances and supplies: this is important too because I cannot start my campus ministry until the finances come in. 1 Corinthians 9; Philippians; 1Tim 5:18 all speak about the support the church offers its workers. Paul is compelled to preach the gospel and wants to give it "free of charge". The same is true of my position with campus ministry. College students as you all may know, are not too wealthy. They are mostly unable to support a campus minister. That is why I am trusting that God will supply what I need to do this ministry.
As Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matthew 9:37-38. Also Luke 10:7 says, "for the worker is worth his wage." I have served in many different capacities in ministry. I've gone to college and volunteered (having practically no money); I've worked, gone to school and volunteered; I've worked and volunteered; I've volunteered full time for no pay while my wife supported me; and now I am being called to a "support" ministry where I need to depend on God to provide through the church. Either way, however I serve, I am called to proclaim the gospel. Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven? John 14:6, Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." If you read in John 10 you will see another explaination of Jesus as the "gate" into eternal life. I am convinced of this and I do not want anyone to be without Christ. I long for my family, friends and even strangers and those who are offended by the gospel to be saved.
If you have questions or any thoughts about anything I have written about today, please let me know.
Serving in Christ,
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...