Where is your “Great Commission?”

The last couple of days there has been an influx of things flooding my mind and heart…from broken marriages, answered prayer within marriages, our new home being built, Jerry’s trip to Africa, to my little one taking her first couple of steps.  Needless to say it has been an exciting first of the year for us as we really start to grasp this new world of missions.  I find everyday as we get closer to Jerry leaving American soil there is an earnest passion rising up inside me…as if I will be tagging along in his luggage. As we see God answering our prayers for people to partner with us in this vision, I am overwhelmed and humbled at this mighty call He has called us to.

I wanted to use this entry to share what Jerry and I are actually part of and how God orchestrated this entire plan.  Rex Briant, the man who founded the organization that Jerry will be going to Africa with and who joined us together in marriage 15 yrs. ago, was my youth pastor during my high school years.  We lost contact through the years, but with Facebook, re-connected about two and a half years ago as Jerry and I were right in the middle of the battle for our marriage. Through God’s grace we came out of it with a better understanding of what God intended for our marriage and ready for whatever God had next for us.  It is amazing to me how you end up going through something you think is going to destroy you, only to find out what you thought was going to destroy you not only made you stronger, but gave you a perspective on life you never had before!  With God’s perfect timing that next thing was bigger than we ever imagined.  As our marriage was continuing to heal, God told Jerry to sell our only source of income, a little cafe we had owned for eight years which pretty much ran itself.  How many people do you know finally get their business exactly the way it should be to where you barely have to work it and still make great money all to just have God say…”Okay, now let it go!” Well, that is the kind of God we serve.  Rex came for a visit in February of last year and had the chance to meet up with us.  It was there where Rex shared the vision God had given him for missions, his own heart, and it was there where something was lit on fire in the two of us…a passion to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Before he left we partnered with him financially because we felt if we couldn’t  “go” we would in a different way.  As we waited for the restaurant to sell Jerry was entering seminary.  Only through God’s timing,  and our patience and prayer we sold the restaurant after it being on the market for almost a year and half closing that chapter in our lives to enter a new one.  Not knowing we had just sold the restaurant, Rex emailed Jerry and I regarding prayer for his organization and the mission teams he felt God was bringing together. He he mentioned he felt Jerry & I part of the upcoming one, but was unsure because he still thought we owned the restaurant. As I read the email, all I heard in my spirit was “Go, go, go…this is the time, this is the time.” After Jerry and I prayed it was clear God was sending one of us to join Rex on one of the mission teams.  Rex had mentioned our destinies crossing in the future, but he didn’t know it would be this soon, but God knew 🙂

“So, what exactly is this organization? This vision?” Thought you would never ask 🙂 It is called Global Mission Strategies, a non-profit, global church planting and training organization.  Everyday they seek to identify under reached areas of the world to plant churches in cooperation with God, working alongside Believers to reach their own Nation. We connect resources and manpower with needs. Our goal is only doing that which can be re-produced by local Believers in any given field.  This isn’t “missions as usual.”  This is visionary missions where you are planting churches, not just building a church in hopes to fill it one day and having the church lean on the organization financially til they disciple their members to provide financially.  Global Missions Strategies sends the resources, like training manuals, The Word of God, and the people, to disciple the people who will be God’s church.  I have heard the statements before “We have a mission field right here at home. Why not just do that here?” Well, we should all be doing that everyday where ever we live! There should be no question as to where our “mission field” is whether it be in your home, your school, your place of work, and most definitely your extracurricular activities!  I will say though in Matthew 24:14 says “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” So every time we share the gospel it brings us one day closer to the Lord’s coming! That my friends is pretty exciting stuff 🙂

I want to encourage you that if you are not involved in some type of mission organization to get involved in one whether it be through prayer, financially, or getting first hand experience on the mission field in another nation.  Jesus said in Matthew “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” and in Mark he also says “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” If you cannot experience the mission field in another nation then partner prayerfully and financially.  My pastor pointed out recently that the United States makes up 75% of the missionaries in the world which is why he feels is one of the reasons the United States has been such a blessed nation…that and being an ally of Israel.  Be part of that 75% and decide in your heart to be kingdom minded and I promise you will start to see that you are part of a bigger picture than you realize!

For more information about Global Mission Strategies click on the link and be introduced to “The Great Commission.”  www.globalmissionstrategies.org

woe to me

God’s Blueprint for Marriage

I feel lately that the Lord’s heart is being broken, not just with all the horrible things that happen on a daily basis in this world, but with the countless of christian marriages being tossed up in the air as if the vows spoken in front of God meant nothing.  Now before I get the book thrown at me, let me just say I know there are instances where separation or divorce are necessary, so I am not referring to those.  The ones I am referring to are ones where you both feel you have just had enough, you don’t see eye to eye on anything, you have “fallen out of love,” you have just grown apart, and nothing either one of you do just doesn’t seem good enough.  Did I miss any?

When God created marriage He knew what He was doing because he created us…He created the “blueprint” in Ephesians 5:33 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Now watch this…as I was seeking the Lord in this very issue of marriage, I was struck with a revelation.  Jerry and I went through an almost two-year span of hell within our marriage and thankfully came out of the fire more refined, molded, and blessed than before.  As we have now practiced this love and respect theme within our own marriage the blessings of God have continued to flow.  “Well, that’s all great for you and Jerry, but what about me?” Glad you asked cause this revelation was found in 1 Timothy 3:2-5 “Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) With Jerry heading into the ministry I was just “wow” at this passage.  “Well, how does that pertain to me? I am not a pastor or a pastor’s wife you ask?” The last part of that passage says “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” That is huge cause we are all responsible in some way or another for God’s church.  As Luke 16:11 says “And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” This verse may pertain to materialistic worldly wealth, but isn’t fulfillment and happiness within a marriage wealth?

In my eyes, materialism cannot compare to the lasting fulfillment and peace that springs from a satisfying, loving, and respectful marriage.  Look around at Hollywood and you will see the sure signs of what I speak! So, think about this for a moment….If you cannot handle and be trustworthy in your dealings within your own marriage because you refuse or are in denial about what He is asking you do to or not to do, how is God going to bless you with other relationships, with heavenly treasures like the abundant life He has for you here? It is the same for Luke 16:11 and all the treasures He wants to lavish down on you for the short time we are here.  Your marriage may be directly linked to why God isn’t answering the rest of your prayers or pouring out His blessings upon your life!

I earnestly want to encourage you if you are having difficulty within your marriage to take another look and meditate on the passages given in this post and others I have in “Boomarang Blessings” and “What’s Love got to do with it.”  Write them on the tablet of your heart and earnestly pray with them in mind and then……just listen and wait on the Lord.  If you are doing your part wholeheartedly God always satisfies His child.  Be forewarned though, it may not be the answer you are waiting for.  Nevertheless, trust in His Word, trust in his timing, and have faith that God has your best interest at heart 🙂

Obedience Vs. Your Will Round 1

As a parent, I am constantly asking my children to do things that are in their best interest.  So, it no doubt bothers me when I either have to repeat myself because they don’t listen, or they completely disobey me because they want to do things their way.  For example, our children’s bedtime is at 8:00 pm.  We know how important it is that our children get the proper amount of sleep so they can function, grow, and stay healthy, but all children, at least mine, like to test my patience when it comes to their bedtime and disobey my rule.  They think they know better and that what I said really wasn’t what I meant.  Their bedtime is based on their best interest, not because mommy and daddy have had enough for the day.  When they disobey our bedtime, because for the time they believe it is more fun to stay up, they are not hurting us, but them.

Like bedtime for our children our Heavenly Father may have asked you to do something, but you think for a time you know better or that it isn’t exactly what he meant.  I can remember a time when God specifically asked Jerry and I to do something.  We obeyed as God opened the necessary doors, but when things started to not go completely as planned we began to question what he asked us to do.  Instead, we began to make excuses saying “Well, maybe God didn’t mean to do this like this” or “Maybe God meant this.” I am reminded of when the serpent spoke to Eve in Genesis 3:1 asking her ““Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?”The enemy loves to distort what God has commanded us to do and confuse what we know to be true in our hearts to what we know to be true in our minds. 1 Corinthians 14:33 states “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

I want to encourage you today that if God has told you to do something that you do it wholeheartedly and trust in what he has asked you to do to be true.  Rebuke any thoughts the enemy is distorting and continually stay in His Word to deflect any more arrows the enemy throws your way.  You can be sure that God’s Word is true and when He has asked one of His children to do something it is always in their best interest!

Cock-a-doddle-doo! Cock-a-doodle-doo! Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Man is it hard to be a Christian sometimes.  Honestly, there are days I don’t want to be nice, that I don’t want to “turn the other cheek,” or walk in love.  There are days it isn’t easy stopping to think about what is about to come out of my mouth and rearrange it to reflect Christ.  I think about the complexity of being a Christian of now to what the disciples had to face in their day and I am brought down to size at my lack of humbleness and love.

We can all think the disciples had it easy because they actually got to walk with Christ and see His miracles, but the turmoil they faced within their lives after His resurrection far out weighs anything we have encountered.  Take a look at Peter who said in Matthew 26:35 “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You,” and then 30 plus verses later denies him three times.  Can you imagine the inner struggle and turmoil he must have been going through? A man who has seen the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the dead rise, a woman become clean, thousands fed with a happy meal, and then to turn around and deny witnessing that?

Many of us would and have said the same thing to Jesus…”Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You,” but unfortunately we too have denied Him.  “What? No I have absolutely not denied Jesus and I never will,” you say? You may not have heard the rooster crow, or haven’t flat-out said the words Peter spoke, but like myself you have denied Him by your lifestyle or your language, or even the kind of clothing you choose to wear.  It is impossible to claim to have “been with Jesus”, aka call yourself a Christian, and turn around and deny him by hanging out at happy hour somewhere, cursing like a sailor or dressing provocatively. A little closer to home, it is impossible to claim to have “been with Jesus,” and flirt with “friends” on facebook or through text when you are married. The world does that and we are to set ourselves apart from the world.  I am just sad I feel I have received this truth a little late causing some around me to stumble and I am deeply troubled by that at times because I too at one time called myself Christian, but lived a life according to the ways of the world.  My actions will be accounted for one day, but until then I feel I must share my experiences 🙂

I want to encourage you that if you have been or are one of those that have denied Christ through your lifestyle, langauge, or wardrobe to repent and just ask him to transform your life into one that pleases Him. And yes, it is that easy! He is a loving God and will pick you up out your denying mess and set you on a straight path lined with His amazing grace! I truly am a testament of that grace in every way, shape and form and that I cannot deny 🙂