Recently, I had the opportunity to go on a Dental Mission Trip to Beattyville, Kentucky (a little over an hour Southeast of Lexington). The dental care we were offering to folks was simply a tool used to bring them in and show them the love of Christ in order to share the gospel with them. We met the physical needs that many of them had, but our ultimate goal was to meet the spiritual needs. Although I only knew a few of the people who were also going, it was an amazing group of servant-hearted, ministry-minded people and the time fellowshipping with old friends and making new ones was wonderful! The Clinic was held at the Kentucky Mountain Mission and Youth Haven Bible Camp. It was a beautiful place, and a great work for the gospel is going on at this camp. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this trip, and pray that God was able to use our efforts to encourage the believers and further the gospel. If you want to see pictures from our weekend in the Bluegrass State I put together a slideshow which you can see on my Google+ page. Hope you enjoy!
The messages from the 2014 No Greater Joy Shindig are now available online! Here is the link if anyone is interested in seeing them. Nathan Pearl and Joshua Steele preached some of the best messages I have ever heard; very practical, challenging, and inspiring. Hope you are blessed as my family and I were!
So, one of my brothers suggested that I do a blog post and call it "all of the things I meant to post in 2014 and didn't get done!" Well, I am not going to do that (mostly because it would take a very long time :) but I have been thinking a lot about this past year. And I am trying to do better with posting! (smile)
What impresses me the most as I look back over the year is this: the grace of God. It is hard to even imagine what our lives would be without His grace. I have seen grace at work this year in many things, a few of which are....
a sinner brought to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ
grace that exposes the sin in my life, but the love that does not just leave me broken but forgives, cleanses and heals
working through my life and the life of others, despite our shortcomings and inadequacies. Using me despite my failures
the opportunity and ability to share His Gospel with others
loving friends and family, the fun times shared and the memories made
the miracle of new life
the guiding and teaching of the Holy Spirit
His love that is always unchanging, and His joy that gives strength and hope
areas where, by God's grace, we as a family have grown in and are better for
the hardships that make us stronger and cause us to run closer to our Father
the grace to forgive others and be granted forgiveness by others
amazing answers to simple prayers, above and beyond what I could ask or think
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Who forgiveth all thy iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee
with loving kindness and tender mercies..... The Lord is merciful and gracious,
We are delighted to welcome little Logan to the family! He is absolutely precious and already loved so much! What an incredible gift new life is in so many different ways! It is a reminder of the amazing power of God who has created this sweet little baby and knew Him even before the world began. It is a reminder that life- ALL LIFE- is precious. It is a reminder of God's mercy and goodness who has given us this blessing. It is a reminder of the new life every person can experience through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is a reminder that children are a blessing, not a hindrance. It is a reminder to cherish the moments, for they fly by way too quickly. It is a reminder of the indescribable love the Heavenly Father has for each of His children.
I hope you enjoy these pictures- (yes, I know, there are a lot of them)- but you won't enjoy looking nearly as much as we enjoyed taking them:)
"Papa" and "Grammy"
I love this one!
"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward."
I know, this is really late and quite overdue! The past couple of weeks I have been very busy with coordinating our church's World Missions Conference (more on that later) and although I have had this post partially finished and in 'drafts' for a long time I simply have not been able to finish and publish it until this evening. So, here is my "better late than never!" final post of the Shindig...
We had a really great time.....
~time spent together!~
~lots of fellowhip!~
(This is the 'Vendor Hall' which
stayed very busy)
~more fellowship along
with fun and games~
~beautiful weather and
~many other inspiring sessions
besides what I have shared here~
~making new friends~
~and learning much that
God wanted to teach us~
And here is my closing message, which was actually the final message of the Shindig and a great way to sum up all of the other messages and the prevailing theme of "I Will Follow Jesus!"
"Direction From God" -Joshua Steele
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all
thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."
God is proactive in directing
our paths, He inserts Himself into our life. Matthew 4:19
God characterizes Himself as
our Father. Galatians 4:6
God's general will is defined
in scripture, but His specific will varies from person to person.
- A son or daughter of God will be led by
God's Spirit. Romans 8:14
- Do not expect God to lead you in a specific
area if you are rebelling against or neglecting His
general commands that are found in scripture.
(Prayer, Bible reading, witnessing, making disciples, exercising agape love, etc.)
God teaches, trains and guides
us that we can make wise and mature decisions. Psalm 1
- God's ultimate goal is to conform us
to the image of Christ and He is glorified when we make the right decisions.
- If you want direction from God you
must acknowledge God in your life. James 4:19
- You must be willing to
stand alone and to be different.
- Do you know God's voice? John
- Let God worry about the talking, you
worry about listening for His voice and then obeying it.
The key is not to follow all
the right steps, but to listen.
God wants us to be satisfied
with Him as our Savior.
For further study see; Romans
12:1,2, Ephesians 5:8-10, Acts 16:7-10 Acts
5 Steps to
Openly acknowledge God, seeking
to honor Him in all things.
Check to see if you are
violating any known commands of scripture and then correct these areas as
God reveals them to you.
Ask for specific direction
through prayer but be willing to wait for His answer in His time.
Move forward by faith serving
God and proving His will where able.
Be willing to adjust your
course no matter what happens and believe that He will direct your path.
- The end goal is not
building a program, furthering your own plans and dreams, building a name or
legacy for yourself, but following God's will and glorifying Him through
- Do not forget how God
has guided you in the past.
- He will lead you all
the way until you step into eternity! Colossians 1:9-10
- There are two
questions to be asking yourself;
1) Am I being faithful to obey God's
known commands? And
If yes, what step do I need to take in doing something for God?
The morning following this message I read Proverbs 15 and two verses jumped off of the page at me they fit so well with this theme. Verse 19 says, "The way of the slothful man is an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain." In my journal I had written, If I am being lazy, not doing what I know to do then I have noright to see the path made plain before me. But when I walk in righteousness, obeying what I know I am supposed to do then God has promised to make my path clear. Step out in bold faith and joyful action trusting God to direct, lead and guide you. And then verse 33, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and before honor comes humility." Before the great, honorable task comes the daily, humble ones.
Well, that is all I will be posting from our Shindig adventures, but I hope these messages have been an encouragement and blessing to you as they were to me! A huge thank you goes to No Greater Joy Ministries for a truly amazing week!
-Your responsibility is not just to your spouse, it is a responsibility to God. - You won't stand before God and give an account for your spouse's conduct, you will give an account for your words, your thoughts, your deeds and how you carried that responsibility. - A wife's unwillingness to submit to and reverence her husband is really an unwillingness to submit to and reverence God. (Ephesians 5) - We act in accordance to the Word of God because it is the Word of God. - A wife's submission is an act of pure worship. It brings a crown of honor to God. James 4:6 - Humility is when you come to God and say, "God, you are right and I am wrong." It requires faith. It requires understanding that God is more important. -1 Peter 5:6 - We don't get to pick the time when God will exalt us, but it will come. - These thoughts completely alter the way we look at marriage. It is not a formula. It is saying, "This is my job and I am going to do it before God." - Does God deserve your respect, honor and submission? - Christ extended forgiveness and love to those who crucified Him. This is God's challenge to us- extending His love no matter what. - We don't get a list- we get concepts, "husbands love your wives," "wives, honor your husbands." Matt. 22:36 -The #1 commandment in marriage is LOVE. -Let's get past the "I don'ts" in marriage. "I don't run around on my husband!" "I'm not unfaithful to my wife!" "I don't throw things at him!" "I don't beat her!" -Let's start keeping the "I Do's" of marriage; you know, the commitments that were made on the wedding day? - An "I Do" list to get the thoughts flowing : ) - patience 2 Tim. 2:21 - gentle - it takes time - leadership ( for husbands, Gen. 3:6, Job 2:9) -joy (this is #1 for the wives) -the best barometer for the house is the wive's forehead! Have some joy! -Ten minutes of joy will change the next 5 Hours! - thankfulness. There is nothing more marked in a home than the spirit of thankfulness. Thankfulness is a sacrifice to God, it is why we were created. John 2:9, Heb. 13:15 -peace. Peace does not just happen, it is established by words, easy to be intreated, no bitterness. -hopeful. -Looking forward to something with expect. 1 Cor. 13:14. Build hope or you will build anxiety and fear. Having hope gives you the ability to minister to those who have no hope. - Your responsibility in marriage is not just to your spouse, it is a responsibility that you committed to before God. It is meant for life. It is an expression of worship. It is not about you, it is about loving service to God! - If you want to be used of God in a mighty way, if you want to bless others, then understand this in your marriage and commit to this responsibility before God!
"Serving God in Your Youth"
-Panel discussion given by Nathan Pearl, Shalom Brand, Debi Pearl, and Joshua Steele
-Unless God does something drastic in your life, if you aren't interested in the things of God today you won't be interested in serving Him later! (How's that for an opening comment? :)
- You start serving God when you are young, where you are at and to who you are around. -God has given you an opportunity to serve him by obeying your parents (and other authority figures that He has placed in your life). The story of David was discussed and used as an example of a young person who was faithful in the little things and therefore received much greater things later in life. He cared for the sheep, protected them, fought for them. He quickly obeyed his father in going down to the battle carrying cheese for his brothers. He didn't know that God would use him that day to accomplish a great victory for God! He was just doing as he had been told to do. -After David had killed the lion and bear he could have hit the road talking about how to overcome the lions in your life, but he didn't. He stayed and did his job. - After slaying Goliath he could have hit the road talking about how to overcome the giants in your life, but he didn't. He returned to do the job that he had been given. He was faithful to do that which he knew needed to be done, waiting on God to give him more responsibility as a result of his daily obedience and walk with God. - There was something in David bigger than himself! -Until God calls you to do something specific do what you know to do. -Some examples from those giving this discussion: Joshua Steele says that from the time he was fourteen he wanted to be serving God. God convicted him of submission to his parents and having a clear conscience; he addressed those issue in his life. He passed out gospel tracts and Bibles, knocked on doors with his friends, and went on mission trips. He determined that nothing would hinder him from serving God completely, to the point that late one night he carried the video game he was addicted to out to the garage and broke it into little pieces with a hammer to show God that he meant what he said! Shalom (Pearl) Brand shared about how she served her family, helped her Dad with the ministries they were involved in, served other busy mothers, and passed out tracts with her siblings. Nathan Pearl recounted some of the adventures he and his sister had while working in a mountainous village of Papua New Guinea translating the Bible into a never-before recorded language. Before that he did much the same as every other person, being faithful in the things that seem little. - Debi Pearl shared about how hard it was as a mother to let her children go out and pursue the vision that God had given them. She said that alot of parents raise their children to be 15, 16 years old and then they want to close the door and keep their children close and safe. The children then never have the chance to make a difference in the world for the glory of Christ. Parents, don't shut the door when God calls your young person! -God likes pathetic things. He's not concerned with quality, He's concerned with the heart of the person behind the pathetic, little thing. He wants to see a heart that desires to serve Him and honor Him in what they have been given to do. That is a person that God will take not of (as he did with David) and can use for great things in the future! -If you are unwilling to follow God in the little things then you won't be ready for the big things!
Today, there are still lions and giants that need to be slain, battles that need to be fought, victory that needs to be proclaimed, great tasks that need to be accomplished for the glory of God. But if you and I will have any part of this we must begin today.......serving God in our youth, doing what we know to do. The Lord is still looking for those that he can use, those who are committed to following Him no matter what, those who are not willing to let anything get between them and God, those who carry His message of saving grace, those who seek to honor and please him in every aspect of their life. Will you be that one?
Here are a few snap-shots from five days of hotel-living! Ten people, one room, one
queen-sized bed, three twin-sized bunk-beds and several piles of suitcases,
coolers, back-packs, 'survival gear' and various other belongings all added to the fun of the week! : )