the replacements

Currently, I lead our youth group in worship on Sundays. I have been involved in worship teams for several years. However, my wife and I are making preparations to be full time missionaries to Ukraine next year and I am about to have to step down from the worship team.

Today I had the privilege of coming up with the replacement teams. It’s always hard to let go of something you’ve been working on for so long and put countless hours into.

As I hammered out the details for the new teams I started to have some doubts. But by the grace of God I did it. It’s gonna be different than before but I know that this group is very talented and God has big plans for them.

He wants to kill God

It’s amzaing how powerful the entertainment industry has become.

Rappers sing about a pink T and thousands of young boys run out and buy pink t-shirts. A few months later, the same rapper sings about a white T, and the same young boys run off to buy white t-shirts.

One movie changed the course of children’s movies and books (Harry Potter). Children saw the first film, and “BANG” they ran in droves to read a book bigger than the Bible. The phenomenon that is Harry Potter has only set a precedent for other authors and scriptwriters to strive for.

No matter what the purpose is in a movie, book, or song….it attracts children of all ages and moves them to action: to buy a new product, do something they normally wouldn’t do, or causes them to question their beliefs.

The Golden Compass is one such movie. It’s release date is Dec. 7, just in time for Christmas…but it’s message is anything but celebrating our Lord and Savior.

As Christians, I believe that we need to be wise in the decisions we make, including the movies we see. The Lord says to resist the devil (James 4:7) and flee from all evil (2 Tim. 2:22) and to focus on things that are true, pure, noble, right, and lovely (Phil. 4:8). If we allow anti-God entertainment into our lives and minds (especially impressionable children), and financially support an evil agenda we are not honoring our Lord.

The author of this movie has one purpose: to kill God. He believes he knows how to do it…through entertainment.

Read about it for yourself…. The Golden Compass.

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day, where all bloggers are called to blog about one topic…this year it’s about the environment. So, here’s my thoughts.

As Christians, I believe part of our responsibility is to take care of God’s creation. He created the earth as a perfect place to sustain life and also for our enjoyment, and we should treat it as a precious gift to us from Him. Sadly, I think many people, including many Christians, do not.

I like how there is a new resurgence of environmental awareness that is bringing in average, everyday people into an understanding of what it means to protect and nurture our environment. Practical advice and easy tips allow everyone, from busy moms to young children to working businesspeople to the elderly, to participate in keeping our earth clean. Usually the advice is so easy and quick that once you begin and make it a habit, it becomes second nature. With all the quick little things we can do, there really is no reason not to implement them into our lives.

However, as important it is to care for God’s creation, I do think it can be a distraction to other more important issues. It drives me crazy (and saddens & angers me) that we live in a time when it’s “Save the whales” but “A woman has a right to abort an unwanted baby”. Where people give thousands of dollars to preserve water, but won’t help distribute clean water and food to people dying of starvation and disease.  So many people spend countless hours trying to “rid” the environment of toxins (which is not necessarily a dishonorable thing), but what about spending countless hours reaching out to those who are hurting?

There has to be a point where one stands up and makes it a priority to nurture human life.

3 words

GOD IS FAITHFUL!

Excuses and truths

It seems that lately, when i talk to friends and acquaintances about missionary work, even just a short one week trip, I hear one proclamation, “I could never do that…”

“Why?” I ask.

Reasons I get: (there are many more, but these are some I’ve heard)

  • I’ve never done it before.
  • I’d miss my family too much.
  • I don’t think I could handle their food
  • The lifestyle is too hard.
  • I’ve never traveled very far in America, and never been overseas.
  • I need electricity and plumbing to survive
  • The temperature’s too ____________. (hot, cold, humid, dry…)
  • Being in a place where I can’t communicate makes me nervous.
  • I don’t know what I could do/contribute.
  • It’s too dangerous.

Many of their reasons appear valid, but the Truth makes them null.

Truth: You’re strength comes from God. Without Him, we are cowards. Without Him, we may not have the endurance to “get the job done.” Without Him, we grow weary and tired; discouraged and down. But, with Him, we have confidence, strength, endurance.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13

Truth: There is nothing to fear. Ok, so there are places that are serious threats to human life. But more than likely, you probably won’t go to one of those places if you are new to missions. Even then, we are usually afraid only when we are uncertain or not knowledgeable about the places we go to. A simple cure: become knowledgeable. Read. Search. Ask those who have been there before. Take necessary precautions (i.e. shots to prevent malaria). Rationally remember that ordinary people live in that environment and thrive, many times happily…it’s only a little discomfort compared to what you’re used to. The higher cure: realize that God is with you. He’s not going to leave you or abandon you. And remember, He gives you strength.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Truth: God wants to use you for His work. God has given you talents, gifts, and strengths. He wants to use you and the gifts He’s given you to accomplish His purpose. There is nothing that you have ever done or experienced that He cannot use for His glory. At times, you may feel unworthy or incapable of spreading His salvation message. But what we see of ourselves does not even compare to what God sees of us. He can and will use you…all you have to do is say that you’re willing to be used by Him.

He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Truth: You have a higher purpose. Mission trips are not just about “experiencing another culture.” It’s about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When you keep this purpose as the focus of your journey, then everything else (yes, even the hole in the ground they call a “bathroom”) becomes unimportant and easy to adapt to. You need not worry about everyday matters (food, shelter, etc.)…he will take care of you if you keep your focus on working for His Kingdom.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:25,33

The biggest truth, I agree with the responses I’ve heard… I can’t do it. If I leave missions and ministry up to my own strengths and humanity, then I will fail every time. But I’ve learned the Greatest truth….GOD CAN, and He will accomplish His plans through me if I trust in Him and stand on His truths.

Ukraine’s Presidential Elections

This past Sunday was Ukraine’s Presidential elections.

Votes are still being counted…but all presidential candidates have declared themselves the winner…read more here.

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