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Posts Tagged ‘Nations’

I was chatting with my friends Mat and Lisa Weddle from my Missional Community and we were reminiscing on how exactly six years ago today (New Years Eve) we were boarding a plane with thirty other young adults to be a part of Passion in Atlanta. For them, it was where they first met and they are now married today. My friends Brian Wurzell and Promise and Steve Adame and Liz met on that trip and they too are married and doing amazing stuff for the Lord. For people like myself, Shauna and Amaris, it was the trip that God called us into cross-cultural missions. They both ended up serving on the field for some time. It was a pivotal trip for many of us from that amazing community that were led by Pastor Ron Merrell. I heard God speak through Francis Chan for the first time that year. Chris Tomlin’s version of “Fire Fall Down” reminded me of my broken life and how God was putting me back to together to do years of ministry following that trip. Ben Stuart’s message on singleness was the best message I have ever heard on how God can use us as single people. I used that message to start a group for newly divorced people and how God can use them at this time to do amazing things for Him. But the impactful part of that trip was Louie Giglio’s message on how heaven will be a party for the nations. That message blew me away and opened the door for me to engage with God’s heartbeat for the world.

Passion '07

Passion ’07

I had an amazing conversation today with my friend Amber at 8th Day Coffee and Culture. We were talking about our creative gifts and how God uses them for His purposes. She has been getting a lot of pressure to sign with a major record label. Her heart is just to share her music with the world and how God healed her from a difficult time. For me, I hope never to have to make money off of anything creative I do. I am blessed to have a job that provides more than enough for me to do life. I personally want to use my creative talents for the Kingdom and to share with others. We were talking about how easy it is to make our gifts about ourselves and not about the Lord.

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It’s New Years Eve and I am so thankful for where I am at in life. It’s been an incredible year for me and I feel focused for the first time in a few years. My friend and mentor described my year like this: He said I’m like a plant and God put me into a pot to grow and heal me for a little while because there were some things He needed to work on. The soil represents the healing power of God working in my life. But now he sees God taking me out of that pot and putting me back into world to allow me to continue to serve Him. I do feel that. I feel God is ready for me to begin to go back to work and be a light for Him. And honestly, I don’t know what that is and I love that. This is where my faith and trust in God comes in and allows me to stay on His path.

IMG_1462I do know that God is about to reveal some of His plan for me. Through teaching from amazing influential people and reading His word, God is syncing my heart to His heart for injustice and mercy. I’ve gone about this all wrong for some time. I saw trafficking firsthand in Cambodia for the first time in 2008 and God opened the door for me to learn more about it. Failed opportunities to go to Fiji and other chances to engage were due to me following my own wants and desires and making life about me. I’m done needing approval from other people for my sense of self-worth and being a one-man show trying to save the world so I can feel better about myself. Now God has put me back into a position to be a part of His plan for justice and I want to be attentive to just following His will. It’s about the gospel and the message of God redeeming a fallen world. God is aligning me to Him and I look forward to learning more about topics like slavery so I can be an effective tool for Him.

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Cambodia ’08 – my first exposure to human trafficking

I also was convicted by a passage in Luke 5 this week in which Simon Peter falls to knees in worship when Christ invites him to drop what he is doing and follow Him. When was the last time I dropped to my knees in worship to the Lord? I honestly don’t have an answer to that. I want to be in worship everyday with my Lord and Savior. I want Him to be my first priority in all I do. God has done so much for and hasn’t given up on me. I want my life to reflect on His grace and for others to see Jesus when they meet me.

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Three years ago I took the Pathways course at East Valley Bible church when I was invited to come onto the mission board at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. The following year I signed on to their task force and helped grade papers and run the program every week. It a great course on cross-culture missions and how the message of reaching the nations is preached throughout the Bible. Pathways is a 13-week class that explores God’s worldwide agenda and the significant role each of us can play in His relentless Kingdom intentions. Taught through great reading material and different speakers from mission agencies and missionaries who have been overseas, Pathways focuses on God’s heartbeat and purpose for the nations and our role as the church in His wonderful plan. Last week, Christin and I went and checked out the class at Central Christian church and decided it would be good for us to take if God ever calls us to missions someday. We spent our first Valentine’s Day together studying and learning God’s Word.

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This is packing week for India. I see the excitement of the other team members at the team meeting and it is starting to get me excited. But the common thing I am hearing from everyone is how busy they are or how much they have to do before we go. I really don’t have a lot of excuses because I have a weak off to prepare before we leave. I guess I find myself having a hard time focusing. So my being busy is more being too busy in my brain. But aren’t we commanded to go? I think that literally means to get up and go! Abraham was constantly being called to go. That guy lived everywhere .. so did Paul. I don’t think we are supposed to say that I need to wait till I get all the bills paid and take care of this and that, then I’ll be ready to go. I think we are to be ready to go at all times. We are to be prepared to proclaim the gospel everyday – in our workplaces, the store, etc. I think we worry too much. Being a part of God’s family is like being born into a family business. We have work to do and are expected to do it. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 (NIV)

This mission trip is different from any other trip I have been on. I’ve always had some specific role that I had to do beforehand. Usually it’s the role of team leader. This trip I am just showing up. The cool thing is that God is already doing work in India through Harvest India and we are just joining in what God is doing through them. But because I have been stripped down to the core of who I am, I really feel this is an opportunity for God and I to work through some stuff through this trip. It really has been a tough few months for me having to come face to face with my junk that I have been carrying for so long. But it has giving me the chance to see who I was created to be – a humble servant of God. I sometimes forget that as I get caught up with the busyness of life. I’m really trying to be open minded to whatever God wants from me and to be obedient to that.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.”  Psalms 67 (NIV)

The whole Bible portrays God as a missionary God from Genesis to Revelation. I love this chapter from Psalms and the quote from John Piper “Missions exist because worship doesn’t”. They both go so well together. We aren’t called to show the less fortunate a better way of life. We are called to proclaim the gospel to those that have never heard it. Why? So God can be glorified among ALL the nations and people groups. I love that God has instilled this heart for the nations in me. I never quite understood it when I got back from my first mission trip. But as I am growing and becoming more mature in my faith, I am understanding more of what God is calling me to do. Leading mission trips has become my passion in my walk with the Lord. I love meeting people and sharing my faith, especially to people of different cultures. I am so thankful and blessed that I have the opportunity to go on this trip to India. I am excited to see God work not only through me but also through our team. May His glory shine through us and through Harvest India to those that don’t know Him.

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So last night I finished my PathWays class. It is a course designed for culture awareness and to better understand God’s plan for the nations. It was intense with homework, but a very rewarding class. I was never aware of how much in scripture it is stated that God intends for all nations to know about him. It is our duty to carry out those plans. I made some good friends from all around the valley and learned a lot. I’m so grateful to be a part of this. Next year I am allowed to come back as one the teacher’s aide if I want. I plan on taking the knowledge I learned and present it to my own mission board. My hope is to be a part of my own church becoming more missional. God is using me in incredible ways with missions and I can’t be anymore excited.

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