Tag Archives: missions

When trusting in God is scary [Christians & War – Deuteronomy 20, part 5]

11 Jan

What will really change the heart of humanity?  Fighting wars?  No!  Only Jesus.

So what does trust in God look like when we are faced with strife in our world?  Christians should be known as a people who pray deeply for and strive for peace.  We should love our enemies.  We should seek to share the good news of Christ with all.  I think of missionaries who train young people to minister in what is called the 10/40 Window.  We have friends and family in Muslim countries.  At what point do we see Western Christians so trusting in God that they are willing to give up the comforts and ease of America to share the good news about Jesus, even in places that are opposed to Christianity?  We should serve locally as well!  Faith Church is near the city of Lancaster, and through refugee resettlement, the world has come to us. We could volunteer with an organization like Church World Service, caring and loving refugee families from many countries. 

But these ideas are scary, even risky. Thus I want to conclude with where the passage started.  The principle in the first four verses is that we must trust in God and depend on him about anything difficult or scary that we are going through.  But how do we do this? 

We follow his ways, even when people make fun of us. 

We allow God’s ways to define us, and not the way of the world.

And that means we need to learn God’s ways, and thus we spend time reading the stories of Jesus over and over, for it is there we most clearly see Jesus live out God’s ways.  Make 2019 a year where you commit to read through the four stories of Jesus in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 

Then we spend time in prayer, in God’s presence, listening for his voice, even when we feel like we don’t have time.  That means we have to open up time in our busy schedules to learn to hear his voice!

We start our day asking God to show us himself in those around us.

We trust him even when we don’t understand what he is telling us to do or why he is telling us to do it. And we are okay with not understanding all of his ways. We act on what we know to be truth and we act humbly and graciously as we interact with others, knowing that we don’t understand it all.

For me it is starting doctoral studies.  I have one semester of classes under my belt. I will be honest that while I got through that, and it went well, there is a part of me saying, “Drop out, drop out, it’s too hard. You can’t do it.”  But that’s not the whole story.  God is with me, and I believe he has opened the door to this, and he is for me.   What is God calling you to do that seems impossible?  Are you dragging your feet because you are scared, finding it difficult, thinking you aren’t ready or capable?  All those things are probably at least a little bit true, but they are also not the whole story, because God is with you, and he is for you, and he has called you to this!

Skype with the Stoltzfuses!

22 Aug

I remember as a kid being fascinated by the missionary phone patch, or at least that is what it was called at the church I grew up in.  During a worship service, we would call one of our missionaries and do a mini-interview with them through the church sound system.  It was really cool to think that our whole congregation was talking with someone halfway around the world.  As the church got more technology proficient, I remember that we would use an overhead projector to show their picture during the call.

Fast forward 20 years.

Stoltzfuses 2013Two weeks ago at Faith Church we Skyped with Lamar and Janice Stoltzfus, long-time Faith Church members who are full-time EC missionaries serving with Africa Inland Mission at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya.  It was a live video call.  Live video of them was on our big screen up front, and through a camera in our sanctuary, they could see us.  Through our sound system we could talk as if they were right there.  The wonder of the internet.  It was like Skype that you are accustomed to, but on a big scale!  I am so thankful for that kind of technology.

We’ve done it before plenty of times with our missionaries, but those calls have always been short, 5-10 minutes.  We would check in, hear brief updates and prayer requests, pray with them and say good bye.  But then we thought, why not give them the whole service like we do with missionary guest speakers?  Through the magic of Skype we can easily do this.

That is if Kenya doesn’t lose internet!  As it did last time we tried to do a short Skype with them.  Imagine that…the internet goes out over an entire country.  That gives you a bit of a picture of life in Kenya.

Thankfully this time, the connection was great, until literally right before I was about to turn the service over to them.  At that very moment we lost the connection.  It was great that their daughter Alyssa was with us in person, and she had just spent a month with them in Kenya. So as I interviewed her, the sound/projection team restored the connection and got the Stoltzfuses back on the line, and we had a clear call the rest of the way. No delays either.

It was great to hear from Kenya, where God is at work!