Why Are You Here?

27 03 2013

Last week, I was privileged to get to go on a mission trip with a wonderful group of college students to Anchorage, Alaska. We have been working there for the last couple of years with a new church plant called True North Church pastored by Brent Williams. Our church also supports a couple that moved there last year named Will and Eryn Cole.  Will is serving as an associate pastor and campus pastor of their recently started second campus. Our purpose in going there was to work on the University of Alaska campus and try to hook college students up with the church and to possibly talk about spiritual issues with them. In order to do this, we hung out at the campus coffee shops, played pingpong, cooked over 800 hamburgers, threw a laundry party, and played frisbee in 25 degree weather.

While on the university campus, we were constantly asked why we were there. It blew people’s minds that we would give up a spring break to head north instead of south to the beaches. There were times that I asked myself that question when heading out in the morning with it still being dark and 0 degrees. This question, though, is exactly what we were waiting for. It gave us the opportunity to let people know that we love them, and that we serve a great God that loves them as well. We cannot report that we had any salvations while we were there, but that is not our job. Our job is to scatter the seeds of the gospel. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to regenerate a lost soul. We also go to Alaska, because it is the least-reached state. It is the least-reached state for a number of reasons, but one of them is that the people’s hearts there are very much closed to the message of the cross and the church. It is for this reason that we must continue to go and have hope that one day there will be an abundance of fruit.

Don’t get me wrong, though. True North is definitely seeing fruit! We had the incredible opportunity to be in attendance at the launch of their second campus. They have seen and are continually seeing lives being changed by the power of God. But it is long, hard, and difficult work. Please be in prayer for their church as they continue to reach out to their city of Anchorage. Be looking for an opportunity to join our church in serving there in the future.

Spring Cleaning

12 03 2012

At the age of 16, J. Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission in the mid-1800’s, gave his life to Christ. A few months after his conversion he claims that he completely surrendered his life to God, “…no matter what it might be, however trying or however trivial.” Within a few months of this, God impressed upon him that he was to go and serve in China one day. From this point on, he began to do anything and everything to prepare for this calling. He said that he got as many books as he could about China in order to study them. He began to exercise so that he would be in shape for the rigors of mission work. He even went to medical school as a college student, because he read that a way into China was through medical work. He began to share Christ with others, give to the poor, and teach Sunday School classes to prepare.

While attending college, Taylor began to study the various scriptures that talked about the second coming of Christ. He said that he began to see that, “…the coming of the Lord was the great hope of his people, and was always appealed to as the strongest motive for consecration and service, and as the greatest comfort in trial and affliction.” He also learned that we were to be ready at anytime. Because of this, he began to go through his stuff to see if anything was not needed for the advance of the Kingdom. He gave away all of his books that he did not need. He went through all of his clothes and gave away most of them to the poor. Now this is spring cleaning!¬†Listen to what Taylor says: “It has been very helpful to me from time to time through life, as occasion has served, to act again in a similar way; and I have never gone through my house, from basement to attic, with this object in view, without receiving a great accession of spiritual joy and blessing. I believe we are all in danger of accumulating – it may be from thoughtlessness, or from pressure of occupation – things which would be useful to others, while not needed by ourselves, and the retention of which entails loss of blessing.”

The pollen count is high. The grass is needing mowed. The trees are budding. Flowers are popping out of the ground. It is time for spring cleaning!

Would it not be refreshing to take a Saturday, go through your stuff, and get rid of anything that does not matter for the Kingdom of God? How much junk do you have simply taking up space? Are you paying extra for a storage building? What about getting rid of those things and using the extra money saved to give a special mission offering every month? I would challenge you to do this as a family. Use it as an opportunity to teach your kids a valuable lesson, and let them give stuff away as well. If you do a garage sell, pray about using the money made to support you or someone else going on a mission trip. And remember – God loves a cheerful giver!

Excepts taken from “The Call to Service,” in A Retrospect, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, n.d.

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