Sunday, 29 November 2009

There Is A Place For You In The Harvest

The Great Commission found in Matthew 28 is for all of us believers.
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
So how do you get out into it? The Christian Life is a series of surrenders. We surrender to the reality that we are dead in sin and cannot save ourselves and in doing so we are led to trust Christ as our Saviour. From that part forward it’s one surrender after another as we are refined and directed by our loving LORD. It is by surrendering to each daily leading that we are placed in the stream carries us to God’s wonderful potential for our lives.

There’s a place for you in the harvest! Why not take a little time before the LORD right now to ask Him what your part is? If you have been reading this blog you’ve seen how the LORD provides opportunities to reach the lost. He provides the open door… you must be willing to go through to the other side.

Are you willing?

Saturday, 28 November 2009

I Have A New Bunch of Favourite Photos... Here They Are!

Pictures All Taken In A.P. State, India Nov 2009:
1.)  Pastor Jacob of TCBC (tanslating), Singapore, PM (preaching), and a volunteer helping demonstrating the weight of sin
2.)  PM (preaching), PC, Bro Jacob & Volunteers working as a team peaching Christ
3.)  Holding the Bible and singing commitment to the truth in it

Friday, 27 November 2009

A Debt of Love We All Owe

(This is especially for those who serve with us or are a part of the ministry in Southeast Asia)

There will be lots of rewards in Heaven for those who have prayed, given, participated and loved us in Jesus name over the years.  You may not realize this but they have been used of the the LORD to enable us to do our part in the cause of Christ.  We are truly thankful. There are teams of prayer warriors all over the world who fast and pray during every crusade, book launch, ministry expansion--they are our warriors!

There is a chruch North of Phoenix, Arizona in the U.S.A. full of people just like that!  If you are a part of the work the Lord is allowing us to do--that is SMCIans in the Philippines, the folks in Myanmar, brethren in Singapore, if you have read any of Pm's books and been built up in the faith, if you are serving in Java today--you can know that some of these folks have prayed for you.

Right now our brothers and sisters at Northwest Valley Baptist Church are hurting.  The day before the Thanksgiving holiday (this Wednesday) there was a tragedy. A long-time staff member and his 16 year old son, a retired pastor and a longtime senior member all were lost in a tragic car accident.

Friends and brethren you don't even know but who have represented you at the throne for years are now in need of prayer! So let's step up to the task! Please pray for the families, asking the LORD to be their comfort and show Himself strong in this devastating trial!

You can even send a message through facebook to Pastor Kevin Schaal (pictured) or I would be happy to pass it on on your behalf.  Let's let them know they are not alone... we stand with them as they have stood with us for so many years!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

For The Edification of the Moment

Junior High is tough. I don't know about you, but for me, it was a mine field and I managed to step on most of them!  Thinking back on it though from this side is a LOT of fun!

In 1971, I got bussed to the other side of town with a bunch of kids from many schools to Bartlett Junior High. I was extremely self conscious. Been there? ;) Most of the kids in BJH had been together in school somewhere their entire lives, I was the outsider and often the punch line in Junior High jokes and railings. I failed miserably to fit in. So...I tried to be... invisible! I was a failure there too.

During the summer between 6th and 7th grades I grew pretty much to my full 5 feet and 9 and 1/2 inches (about 174) and filled in a size 9 shoe. I weighed less than 90 lbs. (There are photos that prove it!)  My picture could have been placed in the dictionary next to the definition of  "gawky" or as Mike so lovingly said after perusing the photos, on the cover of MAD magazine. :)

definition of gawky
gawky (gô′kē)

adjective gawkier gawk′i·er, gawkiest gawk′i·est
awkward or ungainly, often specifically from being disproportionately tall

Eventually I got granny wire-rimmed glasses, a pageboy haircut and a head gear to boot. But that's not all, in my Junior High of 2000 students, everyone knew who I was because I was the skinny girl in the dress and the knee socks!
Well, the headgear spent most of 1972 hanging in my locker. The glasses got bent and re-bent until they resembled no longer their original hexagonal shape.  And the dresses?... well, my dear mom just kept making them--I must say now that they were quite beautiful--even trendy and cool! I'm afraid I did not appreciate them as I should have at the time for you see--as lovely as they were--they were not 501's!

By the middle of 7th grade, I was miserable. Too proud or too embarrassed or too foolish to talk to my folks about it, I just carried on thinking that somehow I was "less" than everyone else.

Then, out of nowhere... something amazing happened.  It started in HomeEc, (a class in which I truly was a failure :).  Normally grumpy Mrs. S stopped by my table and said, "You are doing a fine job at that cutting Lisa, such a nice straight line."  I thought she had confused me with someone else. 

I wrote a poem for English.  After reading it Mr. P asked me to stay after class.
"Lisa, are you sure you wrote this yourself? Did you copy it from somewhere?  Did someone help you?"
"No sir, I wrote it."
"Can you write another, this is marvelous!"

The baseball coach stopped me in the hallway, "Lisa, we need someone smart and fast to keep the scores for the baseball team, I think you could do it if you put your mind to it, will you come out and try?"

Mr. L in Lit Class said to me, "The wisdom of all the lives that have been lived before you is found in the pages of books Lisa. They were written just for you." I believed him and so I read.  I still believe him.

We paid $3 to dissect a pig in science class. When I finally cut into mine I got sprayed by formaldehyde and just about threw up, this brought about laughter and applause! Miss S came beside me and while holding my forehead over the dustbin said in a very soft voice, "Don't let it bother you, you were made special Lisa and that wasn't an accident." She never commented on it, and never mentioned it again. I never forgot.

Things were changing.  By the end of 8th grade, I had sung in the talent show and we almost won, kept score for baseball for two seasons, worked in the cafeteria-a great job in those days, got hit in the back of the head with a discus during P.E.-not everything went perfect ;). I won the coveted Creative Arts Camp Scholarship-thanks to the principal, Mr. P, who saw something in me I certainly had not.  With my English teacher's help and encouragement I had written poems and stories for literary contests. I even sewed a peasant blouse I wore to school--at least one time! :)

Another new town for our family that year, and a new high school. But I was ready.

I remember all those words clearly to this day... as if I could hear them played back from a recording.  There were many other words too, not so encouraging--and sometimes more influential--but they were drowned out by these!  I am so thankful for the teachers mentioned here.  I often think of them and just wonder about them... They are a few of the many people who have spoken words of  "life and encouragement" to me along the way.

So! It's Thanksgiving and I just want to say thanks.  Thanks to the LORD for thinking of me when He made the world.  Thanks to little old Miss Paddock who knocked on our door and invited my family to church when I was little. Thanks to the people who spoke "the wonderful words of life" that introduced me to my LORD. Thanks to every tired teacher who took the time-and there have been many, thanks to every loved one, especially Mom and Dad, who took the chance to love and wound me, thanks to every person who spoke words of kindness, encouragement and edification along the way.  And LORD, thanks for letting me be the voice of encouragement-the voice of life- to others.

By the way, I attended public school all of my life.  Many of my teachers loved the LORD and were used of Him in shaping lives for eternity.  Many of them loved me.  Thanks especially for each of them.

The Pictures:
1.)  1971, 7th Grade (Sec 1)
2.)  1972, 8th Grade (Sec 2)
3.)  2009, Giving A Lecture In Huge Auditorium In A Medical College In China (not surprisingly I am telling them that they are valuable and were made special, and that it wasn't an accident!)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Godly Government Workers In Ungodly Places (The Answers ;)

1.  Joseph (Genesis 42:6)
2.  Daniel (2:48)
3.  Cyprus (Acts 13:4-7)
4.  Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1:11)
5.  Philippi (Philippians 4:22)
6.  Ethiopia (Acts 8:27)
7.  Mordecai (Esther 10:3)
8.  Cornelius (Acts 10:1-2)
9.  Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego (Daniel 2:49)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Godly Government Workers In Ungodly Places

I have loved trivia--not anymore though! It's true I did once. Not quite sure why... probably fed my flesh and tempted me into the belief that I was smarter than everyone else simply because I knew a lot useless stuff.  Hardly! ;)

In the late 70's when I was in college, I was on the Trivia Team.  Mine was the ever-so-useful topic of the History of Baseball in Amercia which I studied late into the nights at the expense of Anatomy/Physiology and Latin class, to name but a couple. I am one of the few women my age who actually know what is meant when someone says "Tinkers to Evers to Chance." I know who's pictures are on the placques in right, centre, and left fields of Yankee Stadium although I have never been there, and I know who pitched the only no-hitter in a World Series Game ever.

In the 80's, I received my first Trivial Pursuit game and I found a general education with a good memory meant I could win this game too! I knew how many movies John Wayne died in, their names and the years they were made.  I  knew who Troylus and Cressida and Tom Bombadil were. And again, it came in handy to know who pitched the only no-hitter in a World Series Game ever (Game 5, 1956 World Series.) and the names of the two guys who almost ruined it and got a hit --that was in the day when the Dodgers lived in Brooklyn!

In 1990 we moved to Singapore... no more Trivia and no more baseball for that matter.  However, our first all-church family camp just days after arrival had Bible Quizzing (Trivia) and Bible Memory competition! And they knew their stuff!  It was great and the way they did it provoked you to think Biblically.  I liked it a lot.  Of course with so much quizzing you have to constantly look for sources or spend hours writing quesitons. 

When the task fell to me to prepare the competition I went of course to the bookstore which by now had a large trivia section--this in and of itself is amazing--as nothing in the Bible is truly "trivial."  But I did find a quiz book to beat all quiz books.  Perhaps you know it, The Complete Book of Bible Trivia by J. Stephen Lang published in 1988.  It's been a lot of years and i have loaned and lost it 3 times since ... the one I have now is number 4 and frankly, it's been collecting dust on the shelf for about 10 years.... that is, until yesterday.

I was preparing to teach a class in the Bible College here in Singapore and was searching for a book I wanted.  "Lo and behold" that fat trivia book caught my eye there on the shelf.  I had forgotten about it and those sweet days that seemed so long ago.  Skimming through the well worn pages I flipped to the table contents... the topics were familiar...

Is That In The Bible? -- Down On The Farm -- Late-Night Callers -- Playing With Fire
Who Said That? -- Take A Letter --A Collection of Traitors, etc.

And then I saw it... page 83, "Godly Government Workers in Ungodly Places"
That was a new one to me, I didn't remember it at all. There we just 9 questions.

Godly Government Workers In Ungodly Places
  • 1.  What Hebrew governed Egypt?
  • 2.  What upright young man was made ruler over the whole province of Babylon?
  • 3.  What island was Sergious Paulus, who became a Christian, the deputy of?
  • 4  What Persian king did Nehemiah serve under?
  • 5.  What church in Greece had believers that were workers in "Caesar's household"?
  • 6.  From what country was the eunuch that was baptized by Philip?
  • 7.  What Jewish man served as an honoured official under Ahasuerus of Persia?
  • 8.  What Roman centurion of Caesarea was a goldy man?
  • 9.  What three Hebrew men were appointed Babylonian administrators by Nebuchadnezzar?
Interesting list. Twelve people who weren't pastors, missionaries, evangelistists "by profession" but all used of God in not only a powerful way, but in a way that changed the very course of history in some cases. All worshippers of the God of creation, all living for the Lord's glory, all in governement service.

This encouraged my heart immensely as lately, I have felt as though I am in diplomatic service. On a mission for the king! I like that.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Have You Been Thrust Into The Harvest & Don't Realize It?

Was awake most of last night thinking... and praying. .. must confess, mostly thinking. It happens a lot.

I have been so excited since yesterday!  I heard from one of the brothers that there is a opening to take a team into C- Prison almost immediately!  I can't stop thinking about it.  It's so wonderful! It's even going to be subsidized by a company! Just think, every week maybe 5 or 6 believers will be welcomed into the prison to teach 20-25 year olds how to play the guitar, talk about life, and encourage them about the future! Who is better equipped to encourage someone about he future than a believer! They are being thrust into the harvest!

I was thinking last night and wondering how many of us have been thrust out into the harvest and are just not paying attention because we think along the lines of what we know as "traditional" missions? (Which actually has only been traditional for a few generations.) I fear we can make people feel like they are not "doing it right" if they don't do it in a pre-prescribed manner... this robs the servant of the reality of the priesthood of the believer should the LORD lead them in another avenue.  If they reject the LORD's leading, it makes him a pleaser of man and not God.  This "lid placing" has to be avoided at all costs!

Sometimes the enemy just keeps us too busy... Christmas programmes, annual parties, building projects, school activites, church activities/ministries, arguments, church seminars on this, that, and the other thing--all added to work, school, and family--no time left if He should send you into the harvest to volunteer with Hospice, be a hospital or prison chaplain, take or volunteer to teach a swimming class to meet people not associated with your church or school, join a worthwhile community group to have influence on people in your world!

Sometimes we look down on the people who do this and say they are not commited to church because they can't come for work day on a Saturday as a result of a possible "harvest field commitment", etc. etc. God's harvest field is big, but you have to be in it to sow and reap.

I think there will be lots of rewards for the person, who in his or her senior years, takes on a job and sows and reaps in the harvest field of Walmart or MacDonalds...
We are praying for labourers, God is faithful, has He thrust you out and you don't realize it? Has the LORD opened a door you are ignoring? Take a check won't you? :)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Beware The Temptation To Run Ahead...

Souls are so important. Ministry is so important. Knowing the will of God and making decisions are so important. The importance is magnified because of what rests in these realities. That's why the temptation to force God's hand is so powerful! And also the temptation to believe that it all "rests" on me is even more severe when the stakes are so high. We have reasons that seem to make sense for forcing the hand of God in choices relating to the work of the LORD.

For instance…

We are tempted to fill empty slots with the nearest available "somewhat qualified" body.
We are tempted to manipulate people into giving because they have money.
We are tempted to assign people jobs because they have skills.
We are tempted to 'respect' persons because of what they can do for the 'ministry.'
We are tempted to push our way in meetings with the strongest voice.
In our rush to do the job, we are tempted to believe what we see is all there is.

Now most of these things make sense in the world in which we live. But in God's wonderful economy things work a little differently…

God uses the weak to confound the wise.
God gives people a heart to give and we can trust the Spirit to lead them.
God has a plan for each and every life; we should diligently help everyone to live it!
God is not a respecter of persons, if we respect persons above God, we will fall into error.
God speaks in a still small voice… which means we can hear Him only if we are listening. He does not yell above the crowd.
God says our enemy is invisible, he says our hearts are where the truth of who we are is hidden, and God's potential in a life cannot be read in one's past, it must be seen through His eyes. What we see is not all there is!

Sometimes we need to take stock and remember a few important truths! God is in control, He has the plan, He opens the doors at the right time. Our part is to surrender, obey and follow… and then to surrender, obey and follow. We don't have to lay awake at night wondering what should be our next move, what should be our next letter, what should be our next strategy. We can rest in Him knowing He will show us the next step, give us the next word, and open the next strategy before us! Surrender, obey, and follow!

Thank you LORD!

Thursday, 12 November 2009