Jumat, 31 Juli 2009
Fear and Trembling
By Don Walker email@example.com
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil.2:12-13).
The Greek word we have translated as "work out" is an intensive form of the word for work or labor. It means to work at something thoroughly, to bring something to full and complete conclusion, and so has the idea of accomplish or to bring something about. It could be used to describe the work of the farmer who works through the year to bring seeds to their full harvest.
Here in our text it means that we work out our salvation to the fullest in every area of life leaving no stone unturned. It means that we do not grow slack or stop half way, keep going until all that Christ died to achieve has been worked in you.
It should be noted that this is not speaking of working for salvation! It is written to those who are believers and now are to work out the life that has been planted in them. This is perfectly described by Paul in Ephesians 2.8-10. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Salvation is gift from beginning to end received through the faith. But the result is the Holy Spirit recreating and fitting us to walk in good works. Not saved by good works, but saved to do them. It should be noted that "good works" are in fact "God works" that are performed from the life of God within us.
An Old Testament expression that Paul uses is “fear and trembling”. It describes great weakness, the sense of inability and the total lack of confidence in and distrust we have of our own flesh. For example, if all we have is our own human ability the prospect of loving of one another with the love of God is terrifying to contemplate. When we consider our natural resources of love we shrink away from the task with fear and trembling. It is the response of the person who truly understands the words of Jesus when He said, "without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
It describes the man who must pay his bills but has no money in the bank. He views what he has to do with fear. It fits with the first statement of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." (Matthew 5:3). A translation that gives the full meaning of the Greek text is, "Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt." i.e. "Blessed are those who tremble when they consider their own resources." True faith begins with a reality check that tells me that in myself I have nothing.
There is urgency to our “working out”; we are dealing with eternal issues. We live on the fragile edge of time; in this lifetime we are called to work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12), and we do not know when we shall be called from this life. The humanistic attitude, acting as if we shall live in this life forever, has crept in among believers. There is little or no thought to the urgency regarding the task that we have been given of working out our salvation now before we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. But when we consider the brevity of our lives, and the fact that right now counts forever, it is a healthy thing to tremble.
We should not look at this reaction as a sign of immaturity, just the opposite. The text indicates that we supposed to feel that way! If we do not feel this way then we must be challenged to think of our selves according to the truth. If we feel that we are “God’s man of faith and power,” we are living in the deceptive illusion of our strength. We loathe our insufficiency and weakness. Our flesh always wants to feel in control and self-sufficient. But to live in the reality of our insufficiency and embrace our weakness, is to understand what Paul meant when he said, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (II Cor. 12:10).
If we do not fear proceeding in our own strength then God will let us “crash and burn” in order to destroy our confidence in ourselves. Our failures are very important to God! We must discover in our experience the inability of our flesh to please God. Our dependence upon Him is of such importance that He would allow us to fall flat on our face in order to know we can do nothing without Him. Such failures therefore become redemptive.
Peter's fall is just this. The arrogant man in the Upper Room is of no use to any one for he is depending only on Peter. Jesus actively allows Satan to “sift him like wheat” in order that all of Peter’s self confidence would be shattered. When it is all over Peter was in a position to strengthen his brothers (See Luke 22:31-34).
Jacob had to wrestle with God and lose in order to become Israel.
Moses was unusable while he trusted in his own ability. Only when he confessed his helplessness, looking upon the task with fear and trembling could God use him.
God will use every situation to bring us to be among the blessed that are poor in spirit. He will use the circumstances of life to strip us of our self sufficiency, our independence, and our self confidence. He wants to bring us to the end of ourselves. He commands us to do what is impossible apart from Him.
Back to a previous example, we are told by Jesus to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:35). Face it! We are not capable of loving, our wife or husband, or our friends, let alone our enemies. In addition, in our flesh we are incapable of faith, obedience, serving others, or any other aspect of the Christian life. But have we realized the impossibility of the task? The disciples, after hearing Jesus say that “it is more difficult for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” asked, "Who then can be saved?" and Jesus answered "With men it is impossible." He then tells the miracle of salvation "With God all things are possible" (Luke 18:24-27).
We are being called to obey the impossible command and work out the impossible life. And the hope of our salvation is that He is going to do it (Phil. 2:13).
Minggu, 26 Juli 2009
A CALL to ACTION
As the economy gets worse, we are seeing more and more people
join the ranks of the homeless. Last Saturday the alarming trend
of families being homeless continued. Three more new families
with kids were at the street outreach. All came to Galveston with
the hopes of finding jobs and soon ran out of money and went from
hotels to the street.
Can you imagine living in the street with your kids? What about
trying to sleep with your wife and kids in an alley or on the beach?
It's not safe at all living in the street for men, much less families.
The group helping us Saturday was broken by the amount of people we fed and prayed for Saturday morning, but the ones that went back out that night were in shock as we passed out food and blankets on the beach to a group living under a torn up hotel on the beach. Most people don't realize how many people there are in this condition, when in reality most are only 3 paychecks away from being homeless. On the Houston news tonight they had a report where in this last year 30 thousand more people, including children, have been forced to the streets in Houston alone, not counting the whole area. These are staggering numbers to say the least, and I believe they are true from the increase we are seeing in the street. With this, there is a huge opportunity to bring people to Christ if the Body steps up to the plate. The Church should be on the front line of this harvest, but sadly it is not – or should I say - not yet.
I believe that God is stirring the remnant to arise and take to the
street. As I travel, I find many who have a heart to do just this and am asking for direction. We are working with a group in Wisconsin who are starting a street ministry right now in the inner city of Milwaukee. I will be going back up there in a few weeks to teach hands-on in the street to get them started. Please pray for us we also have a group in Virginia and New York City wanting to start up now as well.
I will continue to shout to the masses to awake for the Kingdom is
at hand and to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom no matter the cost. It's funny how this offends so many religious people and how many new critics that I have found. But I also have found people from all over the world that feel the same way.
Please pray for us as our burden increases. We know the Lord
will supply. We are always looking for people who are willing to
take it to the streets. If you are in any of these areas and willing to step out please contact us.
We also are looking for prayer warriors that want to connect with
us as we send prayer needs out to those who commit to pray as
well as street preachers and musicians. We also always need
supplies as well as support. We believe that God is building a
network of believers to shine the light during these hard times.
We have many ministry opportunities in many places; no matter
what you can do, God can use you. Remember this; God is not
looking for your ability but your availability.
This is the greatest of all times to be serving the Lord as He is
pouring out His Spirit in abundance. Every time we are out we see
miracles and great advancement of His Kingdom. Last but not least, I ask you to walk in faith and not fear in these hard times.
God is still in control and will carry us through. We are on the
verge of the greatest move of God in all times.
-Darren Smith can be contacted through the following websites-
Minggu, 19 Juli 2009
The Hidden Wisdom
by Chip Brogden
“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom” (I Corinthians 2:7a).
Stress, depression, frustration, and confusion are usually the result of unmet expectations. That is, we expect things to be a certain way. We have an idea as to how we think things should go (but where did this idea come from?). If things go differently than what we expect then we are apt to become frustrated, angry, or upset. The greater the disparity between what we expect and what actually happens, the greater our discomfort. This shows that the difficulty is not in what we are experiencing, but in what we expect to experience.
The Lord Jesus is the most misunderstood Person of all. Millions of people expect something that He is not willing to provide, yet He offers every one of them something that they do not expect - or want. This seems to be the Lord’s way. A quick reading of the Gospels reveals just how little people understood Him. Even His own disciples had a hard time understanding Jesus. He would have shared much more with them, but they could not bear it (cf. John 16:12). It is as though they were walking around in a fog. Jesus never acts or speaks in an expected way. That is why He is misunderstood, and often rejected.
He is no more understood now than He was then. Even though we have the benefit of a written record of His earthly life, the acts of the early Church, the letters of the apostles, and all the Old Testament history, prophecies, and teachings to help us know Him, Jesus remains a mystery. We are still walking around in a fog. How do I know? Because so many sincere believers are frustrated, angry, upset, confused, or depressed in their walk with the Lord. They do not understand what God is doing in their lives. And no one seems to be able to help them.
Paul explains it as “the hidden wisdom.” What is wisdom? By itself, wisdom is the ability to see everything from God’s perspective, for “the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7b). We cannot understand from our viewpoint. We must leave our earthly, natural, human ground and come up with Christ into the heavenlies so we may see as He sees (cf. Ephesians 2:6). So what does it mean when Paul says this wisdom is hidden? It means this wisdom is not obvious. It is not readily seen. It is camouflaged in such a way that you can be looking right at it and not know it. That is why everyone looks and listens but so few people “get it”. We CAN see it, and we CAN know it, but we must seek it out, because it hides from us.
Are we saying that we cannot know the Lord? No, but we are saying that we cannot know the Lord as long as we cling to our earthly perspective. There is a wisdom that comes from above, and there is a wisdom that is earthly (cf. James 3:15-17). According to Scripture, these two are mutually exclusive. We cannot rely on both because they are contradictory.
A most remarkable example of the hidden wisdom is found in Luke 10:21: “Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, ‘I thank You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the wise and prudent while revealing them to babies; yes Father, for that is Your good pleasure.’” Jesus used parables when speaking to the multitude, but He explained everything to His disciples (cf. Mark 4:34). But so often “they did not understand… it was hidden from them, and they perceived it not” (Luke 9:45ff).
The hidden wisdom is indeed revealed, but not to those who are wise in their own merit. It is not gained through study, contemplation, or mental gymnastics. It is the revelation of the Father. The Father Who reveals to babies is also the Father Who hides from the wise. Every child of God should know something of this hidden wisdom. If we do not know, then we should ask the Father to reveal. It is His nature to do so.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). This prevents us from becoming too dogmatic and sure of ourselves. At some point we just have to throw up our hands and say, “It’s beyond me!” If we can figure out the Lord Jesus then we have made Him too small. To know Him is to know how little of Him we know. As the Lord continually reveals Himself we find a depth and a height that we could not have imagined. The hidden wisdom teaches us to see things from the perspective of the Heavenly Man. So without further delay, let us look at some of the most prominent examples of hidden wisdom.
LIFE OUT OF DEATH
“Anyone who does not take up his own cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. The one who finds his life will lose it, and the one who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38,39).
This is perhaps the foundation of the Hidden Wisdom. To our way of thinking, we ought to preserve and protect our life. Of course this is true to some extent. The Lord does not intend for us to be suicidal or foolish. What He has in mind here is something more than our physical existence.
“My life” is “me”, or as we commonly calls it, the Self. We do not truly appreciate how strong Self is. Self-reliance, self-assurance, self-confidence - all of these will rise up to resist the Lord until we lose our life by taking up the Cross daily (cf. Luke 9:23). When the Cross has done its work then self-reliance becomes trust in the Lord, self-assurance becomes faith in the Lord, and self confidence becomes hope in the Lord. And that is only the beginning. The object is “not I, but Christ” (Galatians 2:20ff).
So the Hidden Wisdom teaches that in order to gain anything, we must give up everything. If we try to gain first, we lose. In the heavenly economy, Self plus Anything equals Nothing. But Christ plus Nothing equals Everything. How many Christians are trying to add something to their spiritual walk: more love, more power, fresh anointing, gifts, prophetic words, etc.? But they have never lost their life. They have never taken up the Cross. Thus, anything they think they get only increases Self and decreases Christ, and what looks like an outward gain is really a spiritual loss.
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This is the way to fullness, though it is contrary to all that we think. Indeed, I would say that most of our frustration comes from our simple unwillingness to embrace this decreasing. That is why after five, ten, or twenty years of God’s dealings some people are just as unbroken as ever. Before he was martyred, Jim Elliot wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Meditate on that. It is better to embrace this sooner rather than later.
WISDOM THROUGH FOOLISHNESS
“If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (I Corinthians 3:18,19).
Man places a high value on education, instruction, learning, and knowledge. Perhaps these things have their place, but in spiritual matters they mean nothing. Indeed, when the Spirit of the Lord begins to give us the Hidden Wisdom, we find it is contrary to the wisdom of this world. In order to see as He sees we must be willing to embrace the unknown and the unfamiliar.
Paul warns that in the last days perilous times will come. He tells us of a sort of people who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the full-knowledge (epignosis) of Truth” (II Timothy 3:7). There is no lack of instruction and learning, no lack of Bible teachers and Bible studies, but there is a lack of experiential Truth. That is, people have truth as a “thing” instead of Truth as a Man. This demonstrates that an accumulation of knowledge does not guarantee an apprehension of Truth. The Bereans and the Pharisees both searched the Scriptures, but the Pharisees had a doctrine while the Bereans had a Man (compare Acts 17:10-12 with John 5:38-40). The difference is incalculable.
“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (I Corinthians 1:27a). The word “confound” here means “disgrace”. The Lord intends to disgrace and humiliate the wisdom of this world. How will He do it? By choosing what appears to be foolish. He will confound your own wisdom by letting you think you have everything figured out, only to do something you do not expect. In the end, we must throw up our hands and say, “Lord, what do we know? Reveal Yourself to us!”
This is why Paul is not ashamed to admit that “not many wise after the flesh” are called (cf. I Corinthians 1:26a). While some see this as a disadvantage, Paul sees it as an advantage. In fact, the heavenly wisdom is so important that Paul tells us to become fools so we may receive it. He counts his extensive training and religious education as “dung” that he may “win Christ” (cf. Philippians 3). Naturally, those who are full of Self are too proud to look foolish, and they will reject this advice. But it is the way of the Hidden Wisdom.
MADE STRONGER THROUGH WEAKNESS
“And He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness’. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:9-10).
Here is another tenet of the Hidden Wisdom - Strength from Weakness. Most Christians see weakness as weakness. They spend most of their time praying or requesting prayer for their circumstances to change. Paul used to pray that way, but no more: now he sees weakness as strength. Of course, this offends the natural man, but Paul explains it quite simply.
Three times the apostle asked the Lord to take away his “thorn in the flesh”. It is pointless to debate what the “thorn” was, and for the purposes of our study it is irrelevant. Whatever you believe the thorn to be, it represented a weakness, something the gifted apostle despised, something he wanted to get rid of. He attacked the situation with prayer. Three times he asked the Lord to remove it from him, but the Lord did not do as Paul asked. Instead, He said, “My Grace is sufficient, and My Power is perfected in your weakness.”
Now Paul goes to the opposite extreme and rejoices in the things that make him weak. Now this is Hidden Wisdom indeed, and I doubt that one out of one thousand Christians really follow Paul’s lead here. Instead, most of us become angry, agitated, frustrated, sullen, downtrodden, and despondent when we encounter these “thorns”. But that is why Paul was an apostle and we are not. Here is the secret: when I am too weak to do anything, the power of the Lord does in me and through me what I cannot do myself. The Cross intends to keep you in a state of weakness so that Christ must do everything for you. Thus, Paul says that “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). This, in spite of the fact that his “thorn” remains!
Now it does not say that Paul made himself weak on purpose. We do not have to seek weaknesses, infirmities, tribulations, temptations, or trials. We already have them. The key is how do we respond to them? We can fight them, or we can embrace them. Paul clearly shows us that it is not always God’s will for us to be saved FROM the fire. Often we are called to walk THROUGH the fire, with no assurance except that His Grace is sufficient. In the fire we learn that “Grace” is a Man, just like Victory is a Man. To be delivered from weakness is one thing, but to meet Grace in my weakness is something else entirely.
BECOMING THE GREATEST BY BECOMING THE LEAST
“Whoever wants to become the greatest must become the servant of all… for anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, while the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Mark 10:44; Luke 14:11).
So far we have seen the Hidden Wisdom expressed in life out of death, wisdom out of foolishness, and strength out of weakness. Here again the Lord strikes another blow to Self. According to our way of thinking, we ought to do everything possible to push ourselves to the front, rise to the top, and make a name for ourselves. But Jesus insists on humiliating the proud and giving grace to the humble.
A well-known musician was invited to a church to minister to them in song. He arrived on the appointed day, but when the time came for him to perform he could not be found. After some searching he was located in the church kitchen, washing dishes. The others were shocked, and asked why he was not on the platform. This brother simply replied, “There is no competition for the lowest place.”
When we think of a king, we usually think of some human authority exerting their will upon their subjects with a haughty air. Regardless of whether the “king” calls itself pastor, priest, pope, prophet, or presbyter, all too often this is how we meet human authority. You can be sure that this authority does not represent the Lord Jesus, nor the Church that He is building, regardless of what it calls itself, for it is not congruent with the Lord Himself. True authority is not found in title or position. Jesus, the King of Kings, shows us that true authority is serving, not lording over. In fact, Psalm 72 tells us what a true king is - someone who serves the people, provides for the poor, and defends those who cannot defend themselves.
We are being prepared for a kingdom. But our preparation is not in learning how to wear a crown or how to walk around with a glorious robe and scepter. One brother sings, “He’s brought me low / so I could know / the way to reach the heights”. In God’s Kingdom, to go higher, we must go lower. That is the Hidden Wisdom.
WEALTH AND PROSPERITY BY BECOMING POOR
“…As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (II Corinthians 6:10).
How can a poor man make many people rich? The natural mind cannot understand it. But through the Hidden Wisdom we learn that the true measure of wealth is not in the abundance of material possessions (Luke 12:15). To the outward appearance, Paul, who has “suffered the loss of all things”, is a failure. The truth is that having gained Christ, he possessed all things in Him.
To the church in Smyrna, Jesus says, “I know your poverty: yet you are rich”. To the church in Laodicea, Jesus says, “You say you are rich and have need of nothing, but you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (compare Revelation 2:9 with 3:17). The church who had nothing was rich, and the one who had everything was poor. Which would you rather be: Smyrna, or Laodicea? Sadly, many Christians equate blessing with material prosperity. They judge the success of their church or their ministry by numbers and dollar signs. Is this not the Laodicean spirit?
But when we look at Smyrna we see two themes: tribulation and resurrection. Again, the principle of life out of death. Outwardly, Smyrna cannot match the boasting of Laodicea. But they take their name from “myrrh”, the anointing oil. Thus we see that the oil of gladness is found in difficult trials, and not in easy times. Smyrna represents the sweet-smelling incense produced from tribulation. Laodicea had no tribulation - but they had no perfume, either. I have often said that everyone wants apostolic revelation but no one wants apostolic persecution. Yet you cannot have one without the other.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the Kingdom of God belongs to them” (Matthew 5:3). “Poor in spirit” here means spiritual bankruptcy. In Christ’s Kingdom we gain by losing. When we are emptied then we are filled. It is not a matter of how much money do you have, but rather, how much of you does your money have? The nations pursue the “many things” and are deeply concerned about them (cf. Matthew 6:32). But only ONE THING is needed (Luke 10:42a). Don’t diversify; simplify. When we forsake the way of the world then Christ becomes our inheritance, our All in All, and we possess Treasure in Heaven, a Kingdom that will never end.
THE HIDDEN WISDOM REVEALED THROUGH DEATH AND RESURRECTION
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).
We have only scratched the surface of the Hidden Wisdom, but by now we have a good foundation to build upon. We are told that to save our life we must give up our life. To become wise we must become fools. To become strong we must become weak. To be exalted we must be humbled. To be rich we must become poor. But why is this?
We should see the negatives (death, foolishness, weakness, humility, and poverty) are only the means through which the positives (life, wisdom, strength, exaltation, and wealth) find expression. To put it another way, God’s Purpose does not end with death, but with life out of death. He does not stop with foolishness, but with wisdom from foolishness. He does not cease working at the point of weakness, but carries through until He perfects strength from weakness. He will not rest with making you low, but intends to make you low so that He can bring you higher. He does not delight in poverty for poverty’s sake, but makes you poor in order to make you rich.
Viewed from this perspective, all the negative things we may experience in this life are, in comparison, “light afflictions” which are “but for a moment”. These so-called “light afflictions” (which can be so overwhelming at times) are actually working something glorious in us which is “far more exceeding and eternal” (see II Corinthians 4:17). Jesus endured the Cross (the negative) because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Apart from Resurrection, the Cross is dark, empty, confusing, and meaningless. It certainly looks like defeat. We may not even comprehend or see God’s End in our brief life on earth. But with Resurrection everything becomes clear - at least, looking back on it, we can see God’s End was not Good Friday, but Resurrection Sunday. Resurrection always follows Crucifixion. In the end, God is justified. In the end, we will understand.
But for now, oh Lord, Your ways are past finding out! Lead us in Your narrow way. Teach us to embrace the Hidden Wisdom, which is Christ. Let us see into the heavenlies. Whether we live, or whether we die, we belong to You. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name! Amen.
Jumat, 17 Juli 2009
Babies Saved, Scars Healed and Hearts Changed - First Half of Tour Wrap Up.
This summer mission trip started as one of the wettest and muddiest in history. We walked into the tent to open the booth on day one of Alive Festival and found the whole booth smashed, as the workers had collapsed our corner of the circus tent that houses the booth area.
The Alive staff quickly got the tent company to order us new display stands and we were able to rig up a temporary display.
Within hours of getting the displays fixed, the area behind our booth flooded and we had 6 inches of water to walk through as we worked. We truly started off the summer with a bang and a whole lot of mud.
We survived the mud and rain bonanza that was Alive Festival and went on to Creation East, Cornerstone and Lifest, and are now back at the office preparing for the second half of the mission trip.
I have dozens of amazing stories I could tell you about the mission trip and what God has done, but I would have to type out a 20 page newsletter to tell you all of them.
We know of two babies that were saved so far at the festivals; one at our booth, and one at another pro-life booth.
We had talks with many young people that approached our booth claiming to be pro-choice and left calling themselves pro-life. We talked to many people who were on the fence or had exceptions and are now solidly pro-life.
These are just some of the amazing things God did with the team so far this year. However, there is one story that stands out that I wanted to share with you.
I met a precious young girl at Lifest whose story broke my heart. She is 15 years old and has been through more hell than most people will experience in a lifetime.
She shared with me how she had turned to drugs and prostitution to survive and had already had an abortion. She told me about her family life, or lack thereof. Her arms were riddled with cutting scars.
I fought back the tears as I listened to this beautiful child confess to more than most adults will ever go through. I could not help but think of my own daughters and how much this would kill me if they were telling this story.
I shared with her how precious she was in God’s eyes and how, when she asks Him for forgiveness, all of her past is wiped clean. She prayed with me and a youth pastor from her town and poured her heart out to Christ.
I told her that God no longer even knows she ever did those things, that He has thrown her sins as far as the east is from the west.
I gave her a hug and let her know she was precious and that I would be proud to have her as my daughter. I gave her my card and told her she could call anytime: she also got plugged in with the youth leader from a local church.
I was sitting at the booth the next day and she came up to me and gave me a picture she had drawn for me. I again had to fight back the tears as I imagined my own daughter, who draws pictures for me all the time. The best part of the picture was the word “hope” repeated all over the picture.
While I get to see so many amazing things happen each summer, I am continually blown away by what God allows us to encounter and be a part of.
I can’t give you this girls name, but God knows who she is. Please pray for her and for all the girls like her that we meet while on the road.
This is the kind of work you are supporting when you donate to Stand True. We still have 8 more weeks of the Summer Mission Trip and thousands of miles to drive. We leave in a couple of days for the west coast, and then all the way back to New Hampshire the week after.
We also will be ordering a ton more literature and resources for the second half. The first half had some unexpected expenses and there will probably be a few more as we drive all the way across the country.
Please consider supporting the Stand True Summer Mission Trip and sharing our work with your friends. We know there are so many other girls out there who need help and we want to make sure were are there for them.
We also ask you to commit to praying for us and our work as we hit the road again.
Pay Pal to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail donations to:
Stand True, PO Box 890, Troy, OH 45373
You can follow us online via Twitter and Facebook.
For Christ I stand,
Bryan Kemper - email@example.com
Minggu, 12 Juli 2009
Your Bourne Identity - Born Identity!
Dr. Kluane Spake
Sometimes movies can speak to us of Spiritual Truths.
The Bourne Identity is a spy fiction novel where the Jason Bourne must discover who he is and why lots of groups (including assassins AND the CIA) all want to kill him. We first meet Jason floating in the Mediterranean with a head wound that results in amnesia. The doctor who treats him discovers a message that has been surgically embedded in his hip. We discover that this message is the mysterious number of a Swiss bank account.
The Bourne Identity spy movie stared Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Jason soon realizes that he has extraordinary linguistic, fighting, and self defense abilities. He races to unlock the secret of his own identity.
Of course, Jason Bourne's enemies all assume that he knows who he is. The novel unfolds as Jason discovers more and more of the puzzle about his true PAST identity.
Well... if we are going to have amnesia it would be pretty nice to find out we had a secret Swiss deposit box! But... really our secret is even better. But... it seems that we believers have amnesia! We can't seem even to remember that we have full access to God's immeasurable bank account! NOW, in this lifetime!
Surely the analogy is clear! God has given us an incalculable inheritance. He created us with great mission and purpose. He has made us heirs of all things. The Holy Spirit has given us extraordinary linguistic abilities!
All opposition tried to keep Jason Bourn from discovering his identity. Even the seemingly "Good Guys" tried to prevent him from knowing who he was. But he had an urgency to know the truth.
Similarly, the mystery and quest of our life is to discover WHO we are in Christ. Our BORN IDENTITY - who we were born again to BE. This secret identity has been lost from the ages. What exactly was given to us in the Garden? Discovering these truths of who we already are, must become the focus of our mission assignment.
Jason never quits. He never gave up and he didn't flinch at the rapidly changing difficult circumstances. We don't need to plan a way of escape from the enemy or the world! We plan a way to win. We plan to actualize who God wants to BE in us. And who we are in Him. What He wants to say through us. And, how He wants to serve through us.
As we gain information, no enemy can stand. All "bad guys" are illuminated. Every injury is bravely endured for the greater goal. Nothing can disappoint us! Detours only provoke us with greater determination to WIN.
As Jason raced to the finish line, everything started to accelerate. He began to have ever-revealing "flash backs" about his past life. Selah! We begin to remember who we were called to be before the foundation of the world. In fact, like Jeremiah, we remember that we were ordained before the world was framed.
Kamis, 09 Juli 2009
ARE YOU a MERCIFUL PERSON?
-by David Wilkerson.
Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord” (Psalm 119:156). “The Lord
is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great
mercy. The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all
his works” (145:8–9, my italics).
I want to ask you a question I’ve been asking myself lately: Are
you a merciful person? Most of us would answer, “I think I am
merciful. To the best of my ability, I sympathize with those who
suffer. I feel the pain of my hurting brothers and sisters in Christ,
and I try to help them. I do my best to assist my neighbors in
need. And when people hurt me, I forgive them and don’t hold a
I believe all true Christians have a good measure of mercy for the
lost and hurting. I thank God for that. But the sad truth is, God’s
Word exposes in many of us deep roots of bias and very limited
concepts of mercy.
Most religions that claim to fear God have a creed or doctrine that
says, “God’s tender, loving mercies extend to all of humankind.”
As followers of Jesus, we talk so much about his tender mercies
to the wide world. But here is the truth:
There are many people to whom large numbers of Christians limit
God’s mercy. I think of prostitutes who work in godless brothels. I
think of people in Africa and other continents dying by the
thousands with AIDS. I think of homosexuals who endure endless
heart-aches and mental anguish, the trials of their lives, and who
drink themselves into oblivion to try to cover their pain.
From what I read in Scripture, I can’t accept that my Savior would
ever turn down the desperate cry of a prostitute, a homosexual, a
drug addict or alcoholic who has hit rock bottom. His mercies are
unlimited: there is no end to them. Therefore, as his church —
Christ’s representative body on the earth — we cannot cut off
anyone who cries out for mercy and deliverance.
We may not even be aware of these inner biases until suddenly
they’re in our face, confronting us with the truth about our hearts.
As you consider this in your own life, I ask you again: Are you a
merciful person, tender and loving? I picture many readers saying,
“Yes.” Yet, ask those around you — your family, your co-workers,
your friends and neighbors, your friends of a different color — and
see how they respond.