Is it worth it? The time? The money? The sacrifices? Those were just a few of the questions running through my head and heart as I stood over the washing machine a number of years ago moving a load into the dryer. It was not a good season in many ways. I was serving full-time in a local church with very little help. We had two young and overly energetic boys. My wife was expecting baby number three in about two months. The real struggle was in her experiencing premature labor and thus confined to mostly bed rest. She was out of commission and I was wondering what in the world I was doing taking grad-school classes. The questions were logistical and about motive. Am I doing this for the right reasons? Do I really need to pursue an MA? Can’t I just as well serve my present job and calling fine with what I have? Then as I was reaching down to pull out the last handful of clean clothing I sensed the Holy Spirit confirming that I needed to stay in the fight.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of Heaven and Earth.” That was my theme. David’s prayer from Psalms 121:1-2 is what I carried with me two weeks ago when I headed out to Kenya to help with an amazing ministry called Marked Men For Christ. The purpose of MMFC is singular and that is simply to build stronger men for Jesus Christ. That is exactly what we did with around 325 men from several nations all converging near Nakuru, Kenya. For my part, I had the privilege of leading two prayer teams during our time there and the transformation in the lives of men was miraculous. Below is a link to the report I gave yesterday at Cypress Crossings. Part of the message was ministry report but most of it was a sermon of encouragement. I hope it will be a blessing to you in your walk. Thank you again to everyone who lifted this project up in prayer and financial support. The time was incredibly productive with even eternal ramifications.
We are just six week away from the Africa Marked Men For Christ mission project and I wanted to send out a prayer email in preparation. It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in an international project like this and only recently was reminded of my personal need for prayer support. So with that I’d like to invite you to lift up me and the other 46 men from the States who are headed to Nairobi in late April to minister to African men from Kenya and five other African nations.
For the logistics of the trip, I will be flying out of Houston on the 23rd 10:45a and arrive in Nairobi on Sunday night, the 24th at 6p. My return flights will begin on Sunday, May 1st at 11:25p and landing in Houston on Monday at 2:45p. The exact event timing will be from Tuesday through Thursday with prep on Monday and follow up training on Friday. My particular role will be to lead one of the four prayer teams during the three day event.
The stakes are high and the need is huge for leadership development of men in these nations. The goal is that these men will be able to return to their home stronger ambassadors for Christ in their neighborhoods, cities, and countries. Maybe eventually to the nations.
I want to thank you who have already begun to pray for this ministry and for the financial support of many of you. Specifically, I am asking that you write the trip dates down on a good calendar as a reminder to lift us up daily during that season. The chances are good that I will have email access during the evenings so that I will be able to make on the ground reports.
For prayer, please lift up:
-Safe travel for the African men going to and from Nairobi.
-Safe travel for the American and European men.
-Safety would be both from danger and sickness.
-Protection from Satanic, political, and physical distractions.
-Open hearts of the African men.
-Wisdom for myself and the other leaders.
-Protection for Debi and the girls while I am gone.
-Anything else that the Holy Spirit might lay on your heart.
Thank you again and please let me know if you have any questions.
PS If you’d like to be included in the update email list just shoot me a note.
Many of you know that world evangelism and discipleship holds a huge place in my heart. While Deb and I continue to financially support foreign missionaries and projects, it has actually been over 10 years since I’ve been out of the country. Debi has served on a couple of teaching trips to Honduras over the past few years but I have not used my passport since teaching in Nagaland, India with Australian missionary, Doug Willis back in 2003.
What does it look like to take Jesus to the cities of the 21st century? Sunday Night Discussions is back this week and we’re asking that very question. It is estimated that today over half the population of the earth lives in cities and outlying areas. This change in global demographics also touches race, ethnicity, and religion. How can the Kingdom of Heaven be advanced is this new world reality. Join Robert and me here Sunday at 8p central as we welcome Luke Greer who serves with Global Cities Initiative and the Orchard Group. Orchard has been planting churches since 1948 in New York and is now reaching out into the major cities of the world.How big of an issue is this and how can we be involved? Feel free to send questions in early via here or our Google Plus page. During the show questions and comments can be sent in via both mediums and we will be giving away a copy of Why Cities Matter by Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard toward the end of the show. Forward in the book is written by Timothy Keller. So grab a friend and plan to participate as we kick off another season of SND.
BTW for the Dallas and NY Giants fans, we will have an audience member keeping us posted on the game score.
Yup . . . it’s going to be great!
What is God doing in our day around the world? Most of my kingdom work is centered in an American cultural context. But what is God doing beyond the box of Western and American thinking about Christianity? Join us this Sunday at 8p Central as we welcome Dr. Chris DeWelt to the show. We will be looking at God and global Christianity. Chris comes to the discussion with the experience of having lived in the cultural context of Chile for 8 years and has served in close to 80 other countries and cultures. Presently Chris serves as Director and Professor of Intercultural Studies at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Mo.
What is God up to around the world? What does authentic Christianity look like in other countries and cultures around the globe? What is it about authentic Christianity that transcends culture? How can we be involved in God’s work no matter where we are on the earth? Those and many other questions will be part of the discussion Sunday night. Don’t miss this exciting internationally charged live webcast. You are welcome to send in questions ahead of time or you can participate live through our SND Google + page, our SND Face Book page, or through the comment section here. So be sure to plan ahead and grab a friend and we’ll see you tomorrow night.
Sometimes I just get tired. If anything, the word journey better describes the walk with Christ more than a happy walk in the park. It gets hard at times. It gets fatiguing at times. A marathon, or maybe a triathlon, is more descriptive of what authentic Christianity is like, rather than a Caribbean cruise. Yes, I get tired sometimes. It is tiring to continue to pray for years and not see the results my heart longs for. It is just downright oppressive at times trying to calmly and lovingly speak toward Biblical righteousness in a culture that wholly embraces abortion, homosexual lifestyles, and philosophical relativity. It gets disheartening to see more and more people who wear the name of Christ in Western Europe and America drop Biblical morality like a bad losing streak in favor of liberal cultural and political correctness.
I’ve always been a HUGE fan of St. Patrick Day. No, not for the Guinness Green Beer. Though I can’t say I’ve ever tried it, so who knows. Some of you may know that March 17th is my birthday so that probably explains a lot. That’s why I always feel exempt from having to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. But the real reason for my fondness for this day is its name sake, St. Patrick himself and the beautiful Irish folks that he gave his ministry and life for. What do we know about Patrick? Well there’s a lot of legend and lore surrounding him, but what we do know is that somewhere around 400 AD he was taken prisoner from Great Britton by Irish raiders and enslaved. Eventually Patrick made his way back to Britton after experiencing a Christian awakening of his own and later sensed a call to return to Ireland to share Christ with his captors in the 420s. History tells us that God used Patrick in a mighty way to leads countless Celts to the love of Christ. The picture that we have of Patrick is a man who was profoundly committed not only to Christ, but to the people of Ireland as well. He loved God and he loved the people.
I recently came across an interesting blog post simply titled; Church Planting is Dead! I don’t know Kevin or anything beyond his bio, but he’s got some good points in the discussion on the ever changing face of church planting and kingdom expansion. I’ve done some time in the trenches of church planting so naturally I believe this subject should be a huge priority. Even in the established ministry here at The Crossings I’ve begun to lay the initial ground work for sending out planters and daughter churches. It’s a big deal.
In the post the Kevin notes various changes like the present phenomena of launching multiple campuses or sites by mega-churches opposed to planting autonomous churches. That subject is indeed another debate for another time. Here however, Kevin focused on individual people rather than on methods. His point being, in one sense, that every Christ follower can be involved in church planting. I agree with that assessment and would take the thought one step further. The key to really ushering in church multiplication and kingdom expansion is just going back to serious discipleship and not more machinery.
Back in 2008 a great preacher from Nor Cal introduced me to Matt Harding dancing around the globe and I loved the clip from the get-go. It was a reminder to me of how big and beautiful God’s creation is as seen through diversity and nature. Even now it reminds me of Revelation 7 where the apostle Paul spoke of the future and fulfilled Kingdom where a “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, was standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” Today while doing some research I saw that Matt created a new clip for 2012 and I was just as pleased. While I like the music better in the 2008 video, it was cool to see places like Moscow, Helsinki, Manchester, and other spots around the US and the greater globe where I’ve been. Either way, the picture is the same. An awesome God, who created a colorful globe, filled with majestic people, and a profound message of divine love to take be taken to the world over. My, what a wondrous world we live in.
PS, if you could visit any of these places, where would you go and why?