Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to the Basics

Over the course of my faith journey I have heard many messages and teachings on the importance of the basics.  I learned early in my journey the importance of spending time alone with the Lord.  I learned about simple Bible study methods as I grew in understanding of the Word.  I gained skills in basic Bible interpretation and even in how to break down a passage to study it more thoroughly.  I have learned the basic plans of salvation and the simple model prayer.

I have had the opportunity to learn these basics from some Godly men and women along this faith journey.  God has brought some incredible people into my life through the years and I owe a great deal of my understanding of the basics to those who selflessly taught me how to walk this journey.  Many of them I feel did not realize how much they impacted my life with their words and example.  I would venture to say that that is the story of many of us today.

Many people have been a part of this journey of faith yet few really know the impact they have had on us specifically.  This year is a good time to change that!  I realize that one of the reasons that we need each other in this journey is for the encouragement.  This road can get rough at times and even sometimes seems unbearable alone!  Yet, we have been given the Body to help encourage us and strengthen us and challenge us to grow beyond today.

As 2014 kicks off, I challenge you to remember the basics you have learned from those who were faithful mentors, teachers, and shepherds for your growing soul.  Remember the simple truths that are the foundation of your faith.  Recall those primary issues that are still just as critical today for your faith as they were the first time you learned them.  Spend time with the Father every day.  Read His Word searching for the truth He has provided in His Word.  Share this journey with others as you struggle and as you find victory.  We all need each other to faithfully remain where we need to be.  Talk often of His goodness and His greatness.  Teach others the truths that you have learned.  Share the hope of the Gospel regularly.  Show the Gospel as often as possible so the Lord can meet people where they are in His kindness through your acts of love and kindness.  Celebrate often the victories won and the future victory we all will gain one day!

Think back to where you have come from.  Look forward into the glorious future He has set before us.  Act today like one of the King's kids who has been blessed beyond measure for the sake of those who need to see His glory and His goodness as He uses you to show the hope of the Gospel to a desperate world looking for hope!  Join me in 2014 and lets go back to the basics of faith and live like we expect His return to be very soon!

In His Grip,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Early Opportunities in 2014!

The new year has begun and many of us are in the midst of planning the year's activities for our personal, work, and family calendars.  As you work on the dates and details of the coming year, let me challenge you to consider your ministry calendar as well!

Beginning the new year is always a challenging thing to do with all of the high hopes and lofty resolutions that we make for the future.  We all seem to put the past year behind us and dream of fulfilling the ideals and goals that are weighing heavy on our minds and hearts.  As you search through those goals, let me ask you to consider a very important goal we all should set before ourselves.  How will the Lord of the harvest use me this year to impact the Kingdom of God         from my front door to the far edges of the world?

I do not know how you operate within your conscious world, but I tend to need real tangible action points in order to follow through with the goals I set for myself.  These tangible action points usually include immediate things to do that help me move quickly toward the goals.  If you find yourself in that same situation, then join me in 2014 as we respond quickly to needs and opportunities in the year.

January 17-20 we have an opportunity to help in the Birmingham, AL area with showing the Gospel through some construction work for a family in need.  The weekend is primarily focused on assisting a local ministry with a project that is one of many they have for which they need help with in touching the lives of  families who have physical needs.  We are hoping to encourage the local ministries we partner with and help show the kindness of the Father with our hands and feet as we carry the Gospel to our own community here in Birmingham.  The more people we have join us the greater the impact we can have on the people who have needs and the more we help a local ministry press on in their calling!

March 22-29 we have two trips you can join that will impact cross-culturally, lives in need of hope.  One team will be heading to New Mexico to work alongside our partners at Tohatchi Baptist Church and Pastor Aaron Jim with some construction work as well as some community outreach.  The winters are very hard in this part of New Mexico, especially among the Navajo people who struggle to survive economically.  We will focus on helping Pastor Aaron minister to the communities surrounding the church with repair work on homes, food and wood distribution and outreach events to encourage the church and reach the community.

In addition that same week, March 22-29, we have a team forming to go to Guatemala and work alongside Pastor Morales, Greg and Kathy Brown and the faith family at New Jerusalen Church and the mission church in Sajcavilla.  This trip is a women's trip with a focus on children's ministry, home visits and women's ministry events alongside the local churches.  This trip is a strong annual trip where we have seen a great deal of response to the Gospel and growth with our partners.

These three opportunities are early in the year and provide an opportunity for that tangible action point to a commitment to follow His leading into the harvest field.  As you read through this today, will you pause and ask the Father if He would lead you to join one of these teams today!  Yes, right now you can take a step toward fulfilling that resolution to be more involved in showing and sharing the Gospel.  Early in your year you can invest in another context and allow the blessings and the challenges that come from serving within the atmosphere of Biblical community and Gospel advancement.  Contact us today for more information or to commit to joining a team to serve right here in Birmingham, across the country in New Mexico or in Guatemala.  Join us early in the year and see how God uses the time in the field to deepen your passion for the harvest that is right around you.  Allow the Father to strengthen your faith in Him and clarify the direction He has for the coming days as you serve the Kingdom with your gifts and abilities.  Don't wait, get involved today and take that first step toward reaching the world today!  

In His Grip,