Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This Week in Baseball

I remember as a kid watching “This Week in Baseball.” They showed the greatest plays, the incredible catches, and the most embarrassing bloopers.

Sometimes I wish I could view “This Week in Ministry.” I’d love to see the greatest testimony, the incredible life-changing moments, but maybe not the most embarrassing bloopers. I admit, I’ve had a few where I felt like I’d messed up. I missed a chance. I said the wrong thing. (But I think I’d like to see the bloopers of my friend Laura…and I think she’d probably love sharing! She’s the one who offered the “massage” of Jesus once instead of the “message.”)

But to share about that one person whom you’ve prayed for and cried out to God about…and to see their life change. To see them leave behind the idolatry, the abuse, the vices. To see them choose life.

So far, I don’t have many victory stories to share about our work in Pine Hill. Sure, we have our small victories. But we’re still waiting for those big moments. We’ve had the drunk guy that finally showed up sober and he committed to serving the One True God. But a week later he was gone. He had left to find work in the city. When he did finally come back, he was right back in his old vices, with little hope of conquering the demon that kept pulling him back down.

And then there was the Sunday morning that two people prayed, proclaiming Jesus as Lord of their lives. When Clay went to look for them the following week, they were nowhere to be found.

Sometimes we talk about the “Big Screen” when we get to Heaven…you know, watching the Creation or maybe when Elijah was taken up in the chariot. I’m sure it’s just a dream, but wouldn’t it be great? And then to watch those moments when you shared the Gospel with a friend, or a stranger. And then to watch what happened next…how the verses you shared penetrated their heart and they knelt down and cried out the Lord when no one was watching.

It reminds me of the testimony of a friend. He arrived at a church in Texas one night. He was high, but the Word of God penetrated his heart so profoundly that he accepted Christ right then. The pastors at the church never heard or saw him again and never knew the sincerity of his prayer that night. But his life was never the same. He never once turned back to his vices. Instead, he ended up in Mexico as a missionary. Years later one of the pastors from that church in Texas also ended up in Mexico as a missionary. Imagine the surprise when those two met at a Christmas party…

I’m sure that’s what heaven will be like. We’ll meet up with people that we once knew, never having known the impact they had in our lives. And won’t it be beautiful!

And so we carry on, planting seeds and trusting the Lord.


Yep, it’s that time of year again when we start talking about Lottie Moon and the Christmas offering associated with her name. Charlotte Moon, known to all as “Lottie” was a missionary to China around the turn of the 20th Century. She gave her all to the people she served, including her life. She also gave her all to unite women “back home” in the cause of missions. Today, we remember her sacrifice as we give so that the Gospel can be shared around the world.

In December, SBC churches collect the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO). I want to ask you to consider giving more this year than you have in the past. Lottie literally gave everything, including her life. She served in China and she saw the poverty that surrounded her. She gave her food to the Chinese people she loved, to the point that she starved herself.  It was Christ, incarnate. Christ loved the people she served. And so did Lottie.
What are you willing to give? Often as North Americans, we indulge ourselves by buying that special chocolate bar or that gourmet coffee. Are you willing to “sacrifice” that special treat? Are you willing to step it up a notch and give until it hurts? Consider a “rice and beans” night once a month, or once a week to understand the hunger that others live. (Give the money you would have spent on dinner to missions! http://www.imb.org/giving/)

Are you willing to make some drastic changes to your lifestyle? Would you consider focusing on an unreached people group (UPG) for a month? Or longer? For more information on UPG and UUPG (unengaged, unreached people groups) see http://www.peoplegroups.org/ 

If you’re up to the challenge, here are a few things you could do:
·         Research the People Group. Where do they live? What language/s do they speak? What is their typical diet? What has impeded them from knowing the Gospel? Are there currently believers that work among them?
·         Have a Culture Night in your home. Set your table with typical decorations from the country. Serve a meal that would be typical. Learn how to say a greeting in their language.
·         Present your “cause.” Find a local AWANA group or Sunday School class who might be interested in knowing more. Present the information that you have gathered. Challenge them to get involved too!
·         Pray! Pray daily for the People Group. Pray that God will open doors for a missionary to contact the people. Pray that a man or woman of peace will welcome the missionary into the community. Pray that the Gospel will be made known in the community and that the people will accept the Truth. Consider fasting once a week.

Beyond praying and giving, what else is God calling you to do? Is He trying to convince you to “go” and tell others? Who do you know that doesn’t know Jesus as Lord? What are you doing about it?

A brief explanation...

A brief explanation...

We often write, asking you to pray for "Pine Hill" and "St. Paul." We give names like "F" and "B." Why don't we give you real names?

We are protecting our people and the work that's being done. Although the ZK people have welcomed us in to their communities, there are sometimes others who want to "protect" indigenous groups from any changes in their way of living. They will do internet searches just to see if there are missionaries working in specific areas. Then they will contact a friend from that area and incite them to complain. We have heard of missionaries who were kicked out of areas for this reason.

Names that are common, like "Berta" or "Juan" we share. But names that are more unique we only use an initial. Again, it's for their protection. If someone accepts Christ, they face possibly being ostracized, or worse, from family or neighbors. Some people have faced forms of persecution just because they come to our house.

So, please continue to pray for "RW" and "F" and "B." God knows exactly who you're praying for!