Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Command, Not the Call

My family. Friends. Basketball on Sunday afternoons. Oreos. Watching the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys. Driving fast. Competion. Money. Education. Career. Marriage. Future. Dreams. Goals. Life.

I love/want/enjoy/like/think about/prepare for all of these. I could write a 5,000 word blog about all of these things—with 4,500 words being dedicated to how much I love my friends and family.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about a number: 6,685.

This is the number of unreached people groups in the world who have never heard the gospel according to the IMB.


There are 11,571 people groups in the world and over half of that number (6,685 people groups) have less than 2% of the population reached for Christ.

I was floored when I read this statistic. It is 2011. We live in a world with the IPhone, IPad 2, Skype, and other amazing technological advancements. We live in a world where over 90% of the world knows what Coca-Cola is, but over half the people groups have never heard of Jesus.

What in the world are we who are called Christians doing? A “Christian” is someone who is following Christ. If we were truly following Christ we would be urgently carrying out his last words:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

These are the last words that Jesus said to his church, and they were important. Yet somehow we have missed it too often. Sometimes I miss it. Followers of Christ are supposed to follow him in all that we do as he has commanded us.

David Platt says, “Thousands of people groups have not yet been reached with the gospel, and Jesus has commanded (not merely called but commanded) us to get the gospel to them. So for you and me not to be intentionally engaged in taking the gospel to unreached people groups is disobedience to the command of Christ.”

Do we ever think about it that way? That it is disobedient to not be carrying out the great commission? I think that we explain it away by saying that it is the pastor’s job, or we don’t have time, or that God has not called me to do that, or some other weak argument that is nothing but disobedient to what Christ commands us to do: make disciples of all nations. This is not a call; it is the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to be intentional about sharing the gospel with people of every nation. Sometimes I know that I can fall into this trap. It is the trap of planning. I am not saying planning is a bad thing, but sometimes I can be so focused on planning that I never get to work. I could spend too many hours trying to figure out what an unreached people group is, which groups are “reached” and “unreached,” or what is God’s plan for my life? This can get in the way of actually doing the work that Christ saved me to do.

George Ladd, a Baptist minister in the 20th century says it this way, "God alone knows the definition of terms. I cannot precisely define who 'all the nations' are. Only God knows exactly the meaning of 'evangelize.' He alone...will know when that objective has been accomplished. But I do not need to know. I know only one thing: Christ has not yet returned; therefore the task is not yet done. When it is done, Christ will come. Our responsibility is not to insist on defining the terms of our task; our responsibility is to complete it. So long as Christ does not return, our work is undone. Let us get busy and complete our mission."

Now what does all this have to do with the people I love dearly, Oreos, and the World Series?

I got to thinking—in light of all of the billions of people who have never heard the gospel, am I willing to give up everything to tell them about Christ? Will I leave it all behind to take the gospel to the furthest corners of the earth? Do I, like Paul, “make it my ambition to preach the gospel,” to people who have never heard? Do I count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord?

Do you?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life in this World

Life is not easy. Every day brings new trials and tribulations. You have an exam tomorrow that determines if you graduate. Your grandfather has cancer. Your parents blindside you with news that they are getting a divorce. You feel that no one loves you.

Each day new troubles are piling up, and you know what, it is hard! It is not fair. You spend all your time and energy pursing a dream, loving someone, preparing for the future, and in almost an instant—your world falls apart. Your joy is taken from you. The troubles of your day are just too much.

Does anyone care? Does anyone see? Is there any hope? Is this all?

Despair, sadness, hopelessness, dissatisfaction, frustration, burdens, fear, anger—any or all of these emotions overwhelm you.

But there is a voice calling softly. Can you hear it?

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I have come that you may have life.

I am the way.

Follow me.

I will not leave you or forsake you.
I love you.

There is hope. There is freedom. We can have joy. There is another life after this. There is a Risen Savior. He has conquered death. He is alive today! He loves you!

Jesus has been there before. Remember?

He saw the faith of the four men and the paralytic as the man was lowered through the roof.

He gave the Samaritan woman living water at the well.

He instantly healed the woman who had been stricken with disease for 12 years and spent all that she had in search for the cure.

He saw the grief stricken widow as she was going to bury her son. He had compassion on her and raised her son back to life.

He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Not because his death was final, but because his heart was broken by the grief of those he loved.

He had mercy on the blind, whose voices could be heard above the roar of the crowd.

What did he do for those people? He looked at them. Had compassion on them. Loved them. He healed them. He said, This is not all. Life is not hopless. Let me let you in on a little secret. You can have joy. I am the messiah.

You may be skeptical while you are reading this. Oh, this sounds so wonderful! It is almost too good to be true. Okay, so yes, Jesus was able to help all of those people, but that was 2000 years ago.

Guess what? He wants to help you today. He wants you to have assurance of eternal life, follow him, trust him, believe in him, love him, and he wants you to know that you are not alone.

How do you think that these people felt when they were going to Jesus? They were laying it all out there for the world to see. What shame they would have felt if Jesus would have rejected them. How embarrassed they would be if Jesus could not help them. Yet, they still went to Jesus. They were asking the impossible—but with God all things are possible.

Read Luke 8:40-56.

Meet Jairus. A prominent man. He is highly thought of and well respected by his peers. A leader of the community. A ruler of the synagogue. This is a man who is top dog. Everyone knows who he is—he is the guy that has it all figured out. He is happily married, has wonderful kids, a 401(k), two brand new cars and a $250,000 home—you know this guy. You probably see him every day or he is you.

Suddenly, disaster strikes. His perfect little world is rocked to the core. His baby girl is sick. His one and only twelve year old girl is going to die if she doesn’t receive help soon. What does he do? He has it all, but now what he loves most in this world is about to be taken away from him. He has tried everything, but no one can help him.
He hears about a man named Jesus who can heal sick. Some say he is crazy while others think he is the messiah. Jairus is faced with a choice: ignore possibly the only hope his daughter has to live or swallow his pride and go to this lowly carpenter and ask him to save his daughter.

What will you do?
Jesus is calling. He is asking you to repent of your sins and make him the Lord of your life. He promises that he will come in and be with you forever. Will you give it all up for him? He is the only one who can save you.
Or maybe you have already made the decision to follow Christ, but life is not easy. It is not as perfect as you want it to be or as you thought it would be. You have been beaten down by the battle of each day. The storms in your life are distracting you for Jesus.
Turn your eyes back to him. Like Peter, you may have looked at all of your problems and are sinking in the sea of desperation and hopelessness. Focus on Him. He will pull you out.
Christ is the hope that is in us. He is alive! In him we have life and joy! Rejoice in the risen Savior! Do not allow the troubles of this life to steal your joy in Christ. Run your race. Seek him first. He will be with you through it all. You can have life in this world in the Redeemer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Who is the Lord?

Who is God?

Simple question right? But I am serious. Who is God? The great I AM? The Father? Who do you think he is? What you know about God: is it just something you have heard all your life, or do you really know based on what you have read in the Word, learned in church, and experienced in your life?

I want to know God. Really know Him. To walk with Him daily. Before the fall Adam and Eve got to walk with the Lord. What a wonderful picture. We were created for Him and by Him. He longs to walk with us each day.

This morning I wanted to learn what God had to say about a particular topic. I found the answer, but He also showed me something else—so much more than I had hoped to hear and learn.

He led me to Psalm 103.

You know, God is awesome!

It is so cool when you are in the moment and He is teaching you something and you know that you are hearing what He wants you to hear at that time.

If we want to know who God is we have to look at the entire Bible. If we just look at one section, say in the Minor Prophets, we would get a completely different picture than if we read the book of 1 John. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and He wants us to know Him.

There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. In just one chapter, Psalm 103, he revealed 19 traits that I counted. If you find more let me know.  Here is what I found about God:
·         Forgives my iniquities
·         Heals disease
·         Redeems my life from the pit
·         Abounding in steadfast love
·         Mercy—He is merciful
·         Satisfies with good
·         Renews us
·         Righteous
·         Just
·         Makes His will known
·         Acts in our lives
·         Gracious
·         Slow to anger
·         Gives us many chances
·         Forgives us—as far as the east is from the west
·         Compassion
·         Creator
·         Everlasting
·         Keeper of promises

In just one chapter there are 19 truths about God. I made the list and looked each one over. Every single one of them is true. We can see that throughout the Bible time and time again.

Last time, I wrote about spiritual makers and how it is important for us to do to remember what God has done for us. After I made the list I went over each one and thought about how God had manifested Himself to me in that way. It was extremely exciting to count back all the blessings and things that God had done before my eyes. He reminded me of some of the ways He had worked that I had forgotten about.

I was renewed just studying this. This is my God! I have the privilege to serve Him and He loves me and wants to walk with me daily! How sweet is that? And to think, these are just a few of the characteristics of the Father. I’d love to do a deeper study and discover all of who He is and wants to reveal to us.

Verses 20-22 are the perfect ending to the chapter. This was David’s response after he told of God and His work in his life.

Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
   you mighty ones who do his word,
   obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
   his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
   in all places of his dominion.
 Bless the LORD, O my soul!

That is how we should react. We should bless the Lord! Amen! Hallelujah! God is making himself known to us through his word and in our lives.

Bless the Lord, O my soul indeed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Setting Up Markers

When I read the Word I see over and over again how God provided, cared for, prepared the way, and watched over his children time and time again. I read it and think, "Wow! See how the Lord provides for the Israelites here, or protected David when he fought Goliath." I see that the Lord is good and will take care of his people.

Then I close my Bible and live my life in fear, anxiety, or worry about the future. Of course, God took care of the people in biblical times, but will he really do the same for me?

He will. He does. He has. Over and over again in my life God has proven faithful, opened doors, and done mighty works before my eyes. Based on his Word and work in my life, I have no reason to doubt that he will come through again.

Sadly, I confess I do. When I am in the moment I become like Peter when he was walking on the water to Jesus--I get distracted by the winds and the waves; taking my eyes off of Jesus. Instead if looking and trusting in the author and perfecter of my faith I am afraid. I live as if I do not believe the God of the Bible--the God who provided for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, and Paul--can do the same for me.

No more. I learned the importance of a spiritual maker a long time ago. We can see evidence of this all the way back to the Old Testament when the Lord made covenants with his people. Often they would set up a stone monument to remember what the Lord did for them in that place. An example of this can be found in Joshua 4. The Israelites are finally crossing the Jordan River. Here is what is recorded in verses 5-7: 
"And Joshua said to them, 'Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, 'What do those stones mean to you?' then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.'"

They set up the twelve stones as a reminder, but it was not enough to just build a memorial. It was important for them to always remember what the Lord had done. There is a lesson that we need to learn: the people of Israel forgot the mighty works of the Lord and chased after false gods.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "How could they be so foolish? Did they not remember when the Lord delivered them from the land of Egypt? How he also led them by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Why did they so easily forget the time when he parted the Red Sea so they could cross over on dry ground? What about the manna, Jordan River, and the countless other times that the Lord had delivered them? How could they so quickly forget?"

I believe it is because they focused on the size of the problem that they faced and failed to remember what God had done for them. They did not trust that the Lord would come through for them as he always did. 

Does this sound familiar? I see this happen all to often in my life. I want to always trust in the Lord and that he will direct my steps. We can do this by constantly spending time in the Word to remind ourselves of the truth and by setting up our own spiritual markers like the Israelites did in Joshua 4.

The ending of the chapter is a great example of what we are to do with the markers. Verse 21 picks up with Joshua addressing the Israelites.

'And he said to the people of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know, 'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.' For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."'

His hand is mighty. He will never leave us. He is the Lord forever. Remember what he has done in your life. Press on for the prize with faith that he will take you by the hand and guide you through just as he has in the past and wants to do today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Life of Faith and Obedience

First of all let me apologize. It has been waaaaaay too long since my last post! I have been meaning to update the blog for a while but have just now got around to it.

How many of you love to read? I know I do! What a blessing it is to be able to read. If I did not know how to read, how would I learn about what God says in his Word? Or about how God uses his people to do great works for his name? I have been reading for many years now, but until recently, I do not think I have stopped and thanked the Lord for blessing me with the ability to read.

The reason that I have started this post off this way is because in the last few weeks God has shown me several things through his Word, a book, and a child.

Last Sunday and Monday I read a book that I had been meaning to read for a while called God’s Smuggler. This is a wonderful book if you have not read it, and I highly recommend that you read it. The book is about a man, Brother Andrew, whose obedience and faith in God has led him on an incredible lifelong journey. Brother Andrew grew up hearing about God, but did not become a Christian until he was in his twenties. He was on fire for the Lord and took obedient steps that led to a life that no one could have imagined.

During the Cold War years, Brother Andrew went behind the Iron Curtain and delivered Bibles to people under the Soviet Union’s control. He did not rely on his own strength or cleverness to sneak the Bible’s in, but on the Lord. He prayed that God, who had made the blind see, would make seeing eyes blind, so that the Bibles could be taken through the check points to people who so desperately needed God’s Word.

This was an amazing book filled with example after example of how God was faithful and provided for Brother Andrew as he walked in obedience with God. If anyone wants to borrow it let me know and I will be happy to loan it to you!

For one of my classes this semester we are required to have twelve hours of observation in a local school. I had the opportunity to observe at a local middle school and work with students in special education.

On the day that I finished reading God’s Smuggler, I went out to the middle school and the teacher asked me to take three students and go read a story out loud. One of the students would not speak up, so I finally moved next to him so I could hear. He could barely read. Words that he should know for his age, he did not know. I tried to help him and encourage him, but already at such a young age he had given up on reading. It broke my heart. I understood then why he was reading so quietly and mumbling his words. He did not want others to know that he has a hard time reading.

I had just finished reading this awesome book, and he will probably never read it. No one cared enough to read to him or facilitate his young mind when he was a child, and now he is lost in school. The times our parents spent reading the Bible and other books to us is a rarity in our world today. I am glad that I am going into the field of education. There is a huge need out there for teachers, Christian teachers, to help so many children out there. It is a great mission field and I am excited about it!

It is always amazing to me how God always seems to put something on our heart to read right when we need it. While I was reading God’s Smuggler I was also reading the book of Hebrews and came to Hebrews 11. I love chapter 11! By faith Abraham, Moses, and other men and women in the Bible lived their lives. They were not superheroes or more superior people than us, but they had complete, 100% faith in God no matter the circumstance.

Think about this, Abraham was going to sacrifice his one and ONLY son, whom he loved, because God told him to, “on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (See Genesis 22 for the entire story).

First of all, how often do we say to God, I need more instruction? More direction. We like to see the whole picture before we move, but God doesn’t work that way. He only gives us the information that we need to know at that moment.

Second of all, God told Abraham to sacrifice his ONLY CHILD!!! He didn’t ask him to give up watching television for a week, or facebook for a month, or even text messaging, but his son that he loved more than his own life! And what was Abraham’s, response? The Bible tells us that he rose early the next morning and heading off as God instructed him.

Abraham had faith that God knew what he was doing. So did Noah, Moses, David, the Prophets, and Brother Andrew. Of course, Brother Andrew is not in the 11th chapter of Hebrews about faith, but he had the faith of the men and women of old. I do not want to ruin the story by giving you an example from the book, but Brother Andrew acted time and time again with faith in God, and the Lord was faithful every time.

I am a point in my life where I feel like major things are about to happen. I have no idea what this means, and I may sound crazy, but I want my life to be an offering to God to use in any way that he sees best. I have seen how God uses his people who are willing to fully trust in him. I have read about the men and women in the bible over and over, heard stories about missionaries in the past few centuries, read about Brother Andrew’s journey, and know people personally who God has used to accomplish his purpose.

I want to do the same. I am tired of sitting around just living my life. God has so much more for me than I can ever dream about, but I have to give everything up to follow him. God is at work all around us, and I am excited about what he is doing and going to do through his people. Life is not worth living, unless we are living for the Savior!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Father, hear my prayer
I need the perfect words
Words that he will hear
And know they're straight from You
I don't know what to say
I only know it hurts
To see my only friend slowly fade away

So maybe this time
I'll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear
is tearin' at my words
What am I so afraid of?
'Cause here I go again
Talkin' 'bout the rain
And mullin' over things
that won't live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance
to tell him that You love Him

But here I go again
Here I go again

Lord, You love him so
You gave Your only Son
If he will just believe
He will never die
But how then will he know
What he has never heard?
Lord he has never seen mirrored in my life

But here I go again
Here I go, here I go

This might be my last chance
To tell him that You love him
This might be my last chance
To tell him that You love him

You love him, You love him
What am I so afraid
What am I so afraid
What am I so afraid of?
How then will he know
What he has never heard?

-Here I Go Again by Casting Crowns

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Words We Say...

Words. Speaking. Talking. Language. Communication. The ability to verbally express ourselves is a wonderful thing. We can talk to our friends and family, tell others about Christ, buy and sell at the store, and say funny things to make others laugh.

The tongue is a powerful part of our body. It can have a tremendous impact on another person—positively or negatively. The tongue is such a small muscle, but it is such a strong force that our words can build other up or cut someone to the heart.

I used to think that words did not make affect people. If someone said something hurtful to me, I would just blow it off. As the saying goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.” It is not true. Words do hurt. They can change relationships dramatically. We can apologize for what we say, but we can never take back what comes out of our mouth.

In James 3:3-12 we learn about the power of the tongue:
“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

From this passage we can see the impact that the tongue has on others. It may be a small part, but like a forest fire, our words can take off and become an uncontrollable blaze. How often does a little gossip grow into a malicious rumor that hurt someone? Or how many times have we cut someone else down in front of a group of people?

Recently, I have seen the effects of the words that people speak and write. When someone tells you that you do a good job at something, doesn’t it give you more motivation to do better? A hand written note from a friend or a verbal affirmation from a co-worker can make a significant impact that the sender of the message may never realize.

All of this has made me step back and examine what I say. Am I building others up or tearing them down? Proverbs 12:18 tells us, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Words are powerful. What we say has consequences. Think before speaking. Build up others.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” —James 1:19

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Success in Failure

Yesterday I finished a challenge to read through the Bible in 90 days. The only problem was that I took more than 90 days to finish the plan. It took exactly 6 months to the day, which is kind of cool, but the goal was 90 days.

Last September the pastor at my church in Shawnee told us about this challenge and I was eager to accept. I had never read the Bible all the way through like that, but was looking for something like that to do.

The plan was called the 66-45-90 challenge. By reading about 45 minutes a day, for 90 days, we were going to read the entire Bible. It was going to be a challenge, but I wanted to see what God was going to show me.

The first two weeks started off great! I was reading every morning before school and was learning new things daily. Then I got behind. I missed one day, so I would double up the next day. A few days later I might not read all that I was supposed to, and before I knew it I was weeks behind.

When it came to the point where I was not going to be able to finish in 90 days I wanted to give up. It would be easy to say, "Well, I tried. Maybe next time." While I knew I had no shot to finish it in the scheduled time, I wanted to finish it, so I pushed onward.

When I finished yesterday it felt so good! Even though I had failed and it had taken me twice as long, I had completed what I set out to do. It was so rewarding! God showed me so much in the last six months. I was able to put events and things together and see the whole picture. He taught me so much!

One of the things that stuck out to me about the Old Testament was how the Israelites just did not get it. They strayed far away from God, by sinning and chasing after idols, but God was patient. He always called his people back to himself and gave them so many chances. There is no limit to his grace and mercy. He saw how horrible mankind was, and new how evil we would be, and chose to send his son anyways. There is no greater love. There is no one as faithful as the Lord.

In this study I found success in failure. Where I failed, Christ succeeded. When I grew frustrated and felt like I wasn't learning anything; he would show me something new. Even though we fail time and time again, He will never fall short. Isn't it awesome to know that He promises to always be there?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In the Hands of the Potter

This blog was created about ten months ago for the mission trip that I went on to Mombasa, Kenya. God did amazing things on that trip and if you haven’t heard, read about it below. God has been working in my life since I was a child, but recently he has been stirring within me a desire to know Him more.

In June 2008, John McCloy went with Reaching Souls International to Malawi, Africa on a mission trip. When he came back home he told me all about it and told me that I should go the following year to Mombasa. At first, I did not want to go. Growing up, the one place that I did not want to go was Africa. Have you heard about all of the bad things that happen there? I did not want any part of it.

I started to pray about it. I sang hymns of praise to the Lord about His greatness and how I would go wherever he leads me, but my songs and the words I spoke did not line up with my actions. Africa was off limits. As I prayed, God spoke and began to change my heart. By the end of the summer, I wanted to go to Africa.

After spending time in prayer, I knew that is what God wanted me to do the next summer, but how was I going to pay for it? The answer—God’s people.

We sent out support letters to all the friends and families that we could think of and many responded with support and prayer. It was so amazing to watch how people would give so generously and so quickly. Every time someone gave funds I was humbled by their willingness to invest so that I could go on the trip. People gave above and beyond what I ever thought, and in a short period, I had all the funds I needed to go to Africa. Those of you who were able to give, thank you so much!

The Lord worked in such a mighty way in my life on that trip. I don’t need to tell you all about it (read below if you want to know more).

In the months before going on that trip he began to change my heart towards evangelism.

I love people! I love talking to people, meeting new people, making people smile, laugh—I just love people. As much as I love people, God showed me that I did not share the gospel like He called us to do.

I am a people person, but I was terrified about sharing the gospel with other people. I am ashamed to admit it, because what God did for us is the greatest gift we could ever receive, but I was afraid. I cared more about what man thought than what my Father thought.

I went been through every excuse in the book. I don’t know enough about the bible. I am not a pastor. Someone else will tell them, someone more qualified. I finally ran out of excuses and Jesus was there—will you tell the world about me?

In January, God gave me the opportunity to go to Nepal with Laura, Daniel, Alana, Kevin, Phoebe, and Austin to work with Pastor Dhan. We worked with the youth at three different conferences. It was a blessing to go, and see how God is at work in Nepal.

To read more about the Nepal trip click on this link:

At Kawasoti, I met a man who was Hindu (He told me his name, but I could not understand how he pronounced it). We got to talking and I shared the gospel with him. I was nervous the whole time, but God gave me the words to say just as he promised he would in Matthew 10:19-20.

He did not accept the gospel but we invited him to come to church the next day. I remember thinking the next day, “There is no way he will come. He is Hindu. He won’t come to church.”

After I had that thought I think the Holy Spirit chided me for thinking that way, and so a prayed. I prayed to the Father who can do all things. Later that afternoon the man and his son came to church.

I was so happy to see him and so glad that God heard my prayer and brought him despite my moment of unbelief. We were doing the Lord’s Supper, and I explained what was going on and shared with more about Jesus and what he had done for us.

He still would not accept the gospel, but God is the Almighty One who can change hearts. God planted the seed. I am grateful that he allowed me to be part of his work. Please pray for that man and that his eyes will be open to the truth.

This post is already way too long, but I wanted to share what the Lord has been doing in my life. There is so much more God has been doing, and I look forward posting more in the coming days and weeks.

I am still a work in progress. God is at work in my life. I am still afraid sometimes, but I am tired of being afraid. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

I want to live every day for Christ. Not just Sundays or when I go on mission trips. There is a mission field all around us and I want to serve Him wherever He leads.

Jeremiah 18:6 says, "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel."

I want to be the clay in the hands of the Potter. I want the Lord to mold me and make me according to his purpose, not mine.

For the rest of the year starting tomorrow, I am going to send out a bible verse everyday via text message. If you would like to be part of this text me or shoot me an email.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Complete Update of the Trip....Sorry it took so long

Time sure has flown by this last week. I cannot believe that it has already been a week since we got home from Mombasa. It seemed like just a few days ago we were training the African pastors at the pastor’s conference. I am going to write a massive chronological blog about all that happened while we were over there, so here goes!

About 30 of the 39 team members who went to Africa left from America on July 30th. We flew from Oklahoma City to Washington, D.C. to London, Nairobi, and finally to Mombasa. The travel over there went pretty smoothly until we reached London. We sat on the tarmac for about an hour which caused problems when we reached Nairobi. Our luggage was checked all the way to Nairobi, but once we got there, we had to recheck our luggage on to Mombasa. Everyone was scrambling trying to get all of the luggage that we brought and make it to the plane as soon as possible. Amazingly enough, we got all our luggage except for about 3 bags, which arrived a few days after we reached our destination.

On Saturday, we gathered together as a group for the first time in Mombasa and everyone introduced themselves. It was so great to hear how God had brought together everyone to form such a unique group to fulfill his purpose. We had people from ages 13 to over 70 from different backgrounds; students, teachers, preachers, salesmen, veterinarians, and many other various professions were represented. None of that mattered because all of us were there to do one thing: Tell others the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ!

We unpacked all our supplies and spent Saturday and the afternoon on Sunday getting everything ready for the registration of the pastors on Monday and the training that followed. On Saturday afternoon we had some time off before supper. Some people stayed and worked on equipment, others took a nap or prepared for their classes, and a few decided to walk along the beach. David Fagala, 16, and Austin Hill, 15, decided to take a walk along the beach. As they were walking along the beach they met a few of locals. They shared the gospel and one man accepted Christ! PTL! It was such an encouragement to see two young men sharing their faith so openly. Several members of our team shared the gospel with many locals where we stayed and many became Christians.

On Monday morning, John McCloy, Wayne and David Fagala, and I went to where the pastors were staying and worked on Peavey speakers. We retrofitted the speakers to have rechargeable batteries rather than the disposable batteries. The new rechargeable batteries will save the pastors approximately 10% of their monthly support that they spend buying new batteries. John, David, and I worked on the speakers on Monday and Tuesday in the courtyard area behind the school where the pastors would receive their training.

The rest of the team came to the school later that afternoon and helped register the 230 pastors and 83 pastors’ wives who had come to receive training. The pastors were so excited to be there to learn about how to become more effective witnesses for Christ. On Monday night we had our first church service together. Oh how I wish you could have been there to worship with us! The Africans worship God so freely and passionately that it makes me wonder if we need to learn the true meaning of worship. They sang, clapped their hands, and danced for joy. It was a blessing to be a part of it. The highlight of the night was when we gave each of the pastors and their wives a brand new Bible in their native language, Swahili. Some of these people were receiving a Bible or a complete Bible for the first time ever. Some were crying, some were dancing for joy, and some had smiles on their face that looked like they had won a million bucks!

For the next four days (Tuesday-Friday) we had the pastors’ conference. Each morning we had a worship service before classes and every evening after classes were over we met again for worship. One of the American men would preach and we would sing songs of praise in English and Swahili. Marty Hooper led the singing and he was wonderful. Marty is an evangelist who goes around the world preaching and singing music. The Africans loved him and he did a great job singing with the pastors and leading us in worship. He is passionate about worshipping God, and in fact, taught a class one of the days about worship.

Many of the Adult men and women on our team taught during the conference. Every day there were five classes for the men that were an hour long. The women met together as one large group and taught the ladies about how to be pastors’ wives. I had the opportunity to sit in and help record tapes for the classes. The American teachers did a phenomenal job teaching. I learned so much in the few classes that I got to sit in on and would have loved to have gone with the pastors to each class.

We recorded each class that was taught at the conference. Discipleship, How to have a Bible Study, Biblical Doctrine, Preeminence of Christ, How to give an invitation, Evangelism, and other classes were held to train the pastors. Some of these classes we take for granted over here because there are schools all over the place. The pastors in Africa do not have the luxury of going to seminars, conferences, and other training institutes that we have here in America. So, we recorded all 20 of the classes that were taught at the conference on cassette tapes. Each day we would take the tapes back to where we were staying and make copies so that each pastor could have an audio recording of the lectures. At the end of the training we gave them the tapes and they were happy to get them.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the young people on the trip (Me, John, David, Austin, Tate, Sarah, Megan, and Noel) each had an opportunity to go to a local Christian school and talk to the children. They were as young as 3 and as old as probably 14. Each day we would talk about salvation, forgivness, having a quiet time with God, and purity. The children were great listeners and it was fun getting to spend time with them. I there was more than 150 children who gave their life to the Lord.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday after the conference we had the open air meetings. The open air meetings give the pastors the opportunity to go out and use the tools that they have learned to witness to people on the streets, in the marketplaces, and throughout the city of Mombasa. The pastors and the American team were divided into four teams: red, blue, green, and gold. Each team went to a certain part of the city in the morning and afternoon.

The pastors were ready to go each day. They would be clapping and singing songs on the bus as they drove to the place where they were going to witness. We prepared a kit for each pastors’ that consisted of an evangecube, tracts, and decision slips that we gave them when they got off the bus. The men went out two-by-two, just like the men did in Luke 10 to spread the gospel.

The Americans and about ten national pastors would stay in one location and set up a platform on the back of a pick-up truck with a sound system. From there one or two of us would give our testimony and then one of the men would preach. I was on the green team with John, David, Wayne, Diane, L.B., Marie, Jeanie, Elias, his wife Christiana, and Rachel. When an invitation was given the national pastors would speak to those that came forward.

The first two days of the meetings the American teams ran the platforms and did the preaching, and then on the last day we turned it over to the pastors who had observed the first two days. They were able to take the equipment out and get it set up to preach. The pastors that we were with did a great job. Martin, Henry, Elias, and Ezra were some of the men who preached. They were all powerful speakers and you could tell that they were filled with the Holy Spirit when they spoke.

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to join a church in Mombasa and do our meeting with their church service. It was really sweet to be a part of a worship service halfway around the world. It was a little bit different than a service here in the states. One of the differences is the singing and dancing. The Africans love to sing and dance. A lot. They danced non-stop for about half an hour or longer. Diane and David jumped right in there with them and danced for about thirty minutes. It was great to see them dancing with the kids. John and I took part of the dancing for about five minutes but we could hardly keep up with them so we got out of the way haha.

Mombasa is an area that is different from many of the areas that Reaching Souls has went to teach in the past. For one thing it has a very large percentage of people in the city who are Muslim. Three or four times each day we would hear the Muslim call to prayer (I never could heard it, but everyone else on the team heard it many times). It served as a constant reminder for many of us that we were in a hostile environment at times and that we should be even bolder in our witness because many people needed to hear about what Jesus Christ did for them.

The following paragraphs were written by a good friend of mine that I met on the trip, Glynis Crawford. She is the Director of Communications for Reaching Souls International. She is going to tell you about one of the 3,892 people who were saved on this project.


Against the constant backdrop of the Muslim mosques and the ever-present reminder over the loud speakers from their call to prayer, the lost were saved by God’s amazing grace. Hearts were changed, lives were changed, and destinies were changed. Just like Husein.

Something Strange Happened On The Way To The Mosque….Closed Mouth & Open Eyes!

Saturday August 8th marked the second of the three days dedicated to conducting Open Air Meetings in the predominately Muslim areas around Mombasa, Kenya. We had already seen almost 2,000 people come to Christ as Savior. However, no one on the project – Nationals or US Team members were expecting what was about to happen.

It was a typical mid August Mombasa afternoon – temperatures were in the mid 70’s. The sun was shining, and the streets were teeming with people. The teams were at various locations preparing to preach the Gospel. This particular afternoon was a life changing afternoon for one special young man – Husein.

Husein woke up early Saturday morning – this was his routine. He had a very important task to accomplish – it was his responsibility to call his fellow Muslims to prayer. All over Kenya – you can hear the call to prayer as the speakers blast the invitation several times a day. When Husein got to his assignment however, he could not speak. He knew he was supposed to call the people to prayer – and he tried again – but nothing would come from his mouth. So – he just started walking the streets. In the early afternoon, Husein could hear someone preaching about Jesus. He started walking in the direction of the preaching. While he was on his way to the meeting, he encountered one of the Leadership Development Institute participants. It was in this one-on-one witnessing encounter that Husein came face to face with Jesus. Husein accompanied the LDI participant to the Open Air Meeting – Elias was giving the invitation, as the meeting was coming to a close. Husein made a public profession of faith at that Open Air Meeting. After the service, Elias was spending some time doing follow-up and gave Husein the admonition to go home and tell his family, especially his father that he had accepted Christ. Husein knew that this decision would be a costly decision in terms of his earthly family and life to this point.

Husein heeded the instruction of Elias and went home to tell his father. His father met him as he came to his house. Husein's father began plaguing him with questions about why he had not called the people to prayer, and why he had not participated in the prayers throughout the day. Husein then told his father very clearly that he had been saved – that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. His father had the expected reaction – he was infuriated. Husein's father insisted “If this is for real. If this is what you have really done, then you need to call the leader of the Mosque.” Husein did just that – he called the leader of the Mosque, with his father watching and listening and told him the account of his conversion to Christ. His father then told him – “We don’t eat dogs, and we don’t eat pigs…you need to go.” This father had just called his own son a dog or pig – and since they don’t eat those animals they had no use for their own son.
Husein waited until the time came for the 10PM prayers. Knowing that his father would be away from the house Husein made his way home for the last time. He planned to pack his things to start his new life with Christ. When he got home again, he found his sister there. His sister told him that all of his things had been burned except for a shirt and a pair of jeans that she had been washing – she had saved them for Husein. Husein spent that night all alone on the streets of Mombasa – but not really alone – for he was in better company than he had ever been – he was living in the presence of Almighty God.
When Husein awoke on Sunday August 9th he made his way to the church that was near the Open Air Meeting he had attended the day before. He participated in the worship service and when the invitation was given for anyone who had received Christ the day before at the Open Air Meeting to come forward for a time of prayer – Husein moved from his seat to the altar.
That afternoon, Sunday Aug. 9th (less than 24 hours after his conversion experience), Husein attended another Open Air Meeting. During the meeting, Husein approached Elias and asked if he could share his testimony. Husein was no stranger to these kinds of meetings – in fact a second part of his former life as a Muslim had been to attend these meetings and be a detractor and to hold meetings in which he would openly criticize Christ and the Christian faith. This time, he took the stage with a totally different – delivered – message. He stood before the crowd in the public market place in his own neighborhood, a predominately Muslim neighborhood, and said, “I want to tell you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died and He rose again. I was against that. But I tell you it is true…I met Him.” Husein had met Jesus Christ!

That evening as over 325 participants in the Leadership Development Institute and 39 members of the US Team listened; Husein gave a vivid testimony of his conversion and faith in Jesus Christ. Later that night the national pastors rallied together to take a small offering that was used to buy Husein some much needed clothes. Our key national leaders met, and agreed upon a place for Husein to be taken to be cared for and discipled.

On Sunday August 16th, Husein attended church in his new community. Word had already spread about the converted Muslim that had moved to town. Every seat in the church was filled and there were many who were standing outside listening through the opened windows. Husein stood again before a mass of people he had never met and shared the same testimony “I want to tell you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died and He rose again. I was against that. But I tell you it is the truth…I met Him.”

When God shut Husein's mouth – He opened His eyes. Husein now has eyes of faith – he has a Message to share. He is a life that was forever changed through the faithful witness of one man. Husein is one of over 3,000 that gave his life to Jesus Christ during our three days of Open Air Meetings. Husein is one that matters to God and one through whom God in mighty ways. Husein is one that you have prayed for, invested in, and ministered to as you have strategically partnered with Reaching Souls International.

--to see the entire Reaching Souls International Update for the trip click on the following link:


Praise God!!! Hallelujah!!! We are so thrilled about Husein and his story. The Bible says in Luke 15:10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

The angels in Heaven are rejoicing right now for the 3,892 people who we documented that came to the Lord by the end of the trip! Praise the Lord!!! It was so awesome to see these people come to know the Lord. The majority of the people who accepted Christ did so through the one-on-one evangelism of the pastors. This was a great encouragement to us and to them because they were able to see the immediate results of sharing the gospel.

We will probably never know how many lives will be changed by these pastors who will go back home and spread the gospel to their city, town, village, or local area. Your prayers and support were a large part of this project and for that I thank you. How sweet will it be when we all get to heaven and hear about the lives that were changed because of what the Lord did on this trip. Your prayers and support made this trip possible for me and the other members of this team. Thank you so much! I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go with this group and my life is forever changed by what happened on this trip. I love Africa! Thanks again for all your prayers and support.

If you have any questions or would like me to come speak to you or your church in person email me at:

I would be more than happy to share with you what God is doing in Kenya. Reaching Souls is a great organization that is all about winning souls to Christ. If you would like to hear more about them and how you can be involved send me an email. If you would rather go to their website click on the link: