Monday, March 24, 2014

Our God Is Faithful!

Our world is a mess. It can almost make us wonder, “Is God in control of this?”  
Karen Katchuk
Director of Team Development
One Way Ministries

I’ve recently been studying the book of Romans and it is God’s answer to all this mess.  
There is no wonder we are where we are. Sin has completely saturated every aspect of our lives and it is affecting how we treat each other and how we relate to God. We know that through Jesus, all of this changes. The remedy to the world’s sin is God’s faithfulness. Our Father sent his son, Jesus, to this lost and dying world, to rescue us from this sin. Through a relationship with Him, all things can be restored. This is faith. We can place our belief in Jesus and how he has defeated the power of sin and follow His ways, not the ways of the world. With Him in control of our lives, we treat others the way we would want to be treated, we look out for those who are hurting or being hurt. We care for those who are poor, we call out injustices and acts of violence and God begins to make the world right again.

When Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome many years ago, he encouraged and praised them because of their unwavering faith, faith that was being talked about all over the world. They were standing strong in the midst of adversity all around them. Paul reminded them that “through Christ, God had given them the privilege and authority as apostles to tell others everywhere what God had done for them. Christ did this so they would believe and obey him and bring glory to His name. (Romans 1:5) 

There was much sin in the world during this time too. Sin much like we are seeing today. It  clouded their judgement and suppressed the truth, convincing them that what they were doing was not wrong. The people knew the truth because it had been made known to them, yet they turned from God and wouldn’t worship him or even give him thanks. Scripture says they became, “utter fools”. So, God abandoned them to do the shameful things that their hearts desired and as a result, their sins became greater. Their lives were full of greed, hate, envy, murder, arguing, deception, malicious behavior and gossip. They were backstabbers, full of pride, boastful, disobeyed their parents, merciless, heartless and broke their promises. They went a step further and encouraged others to behave the same way. They knew God’s judgement for the wages of sin, yet they did them anyways. 

This all sounds very similar to the world we live in today. We have been made known —very clearly— and we choose to sin anyways. “ For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” 
(Romans 1:20) 

So, are we people of unwavering faith and sharing the Good News of Jesus with the world? 
Or are we people of little faith and following the world? Are you ashamed of the Good News of Christ or are you a believer in the power of God at work and the promise for all believers? We have got to stand up as Christians and fight for Christ. We have been waverers and sin has prevailed. We must be people who are talked about all over the world because of our faith. There is no excuse. 

“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. It is through faith that a righteous person has life. (Romans 1:17)


Please join us this week praying for our team in Guatemala, led by Sheryl Turner.  They will be serving in Sacjavilla, a rural Mayan community, alongside our partner church Iglesia Jerusalen and at Tabitha House a women and children's ministry center in the city dump.  

One Way Ministries hosts several planned short-term mission trips throughout the year.  In addition, OWM leads custom trips to fit individual schedules and goals for groups and families.  Check out the scheduled trips online at the website or contact OWM at for information about additional options for custom trips, leadership development, team building or trip preparation.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On our knees before the Father!


Are you in a habit of daily time alone with God? Do you pray regularly? Are you so busy that you don't pray? I don't ask these questions to put anyone on the spot, but to help us think about what we are missing out on when we don't pray. We, as Christians, have the Holy Spirit of God living in us, to accomplish His mission here on earth, as long as He keeps us here. We are missing out on the blessings God has for us when we do not spend time each day in His Word and time praying, time alone with Him. Why do we so easily fall away from this? How do our daily lives become more important than His perfect will for our lives? We all know that when we are in the word and have times of really open prayer with the Father, that we are much more in tune with His voice and we are more wise inn our decisions about anything and everything. So why do we all slowly fall back into a habit of business? Don't think I can answer this for you, I cannot answer it for myself. We all need to have someone who holds us accountable for this in our lives. Someone who we can pray with, pray for and encourage to keep taking time daily to go to God. 
      I find myself asking questions like, "what is going on with this aspect of my life?" Only to realize later that I have not prayed specifically for it. I have not taken even a few minutes to think about and pray about the outcome. God is sovereign over every small detail of our lives. Why can I not understand this? Why can we so easily fall away from what we know about our loving Father? We see on the pages of scripture example for us to see. His people over and over again falling away from His laws and His statutes and going to idols made by their own hands. We are all the same. We do not worship idols, we mostly worship ourselves, our busy-ness and our kids and our stuff. But it is the same. Read what God has to say in Isaiah and Jeremiah about this. If you really love God and fear God, this will cause you to rethink some things in your life. Thus, this is why I am writing this today. I am reading chronologically through the Bible and I have been in Isaiah and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, as well as Jeremiah in the last weeks and we see this over and over. 
      I want us to truly realize what/who we are missing out on, when we put ourselves in top priority and not our Holy and loving creator. He created you and He sustains you. Our hearts beat because Jesus gives it rhythm. He is also the head of the church. Which means, he along is sovereign over the church. He is our savior! He died in our place, paid our debt, which by the way, we could never pay! Not only is He the creator, but the only way that creation can be reconciled to God is through Him/Christ! The author of Hebrews tells us in 12:2-3 " looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

      I truly believe that the only way it is possible for us to be drawn out of ourselves is to focus on Christ. Now this is easy to say, and much more difficult to do. So let's pray for each other as we seek each day to spend time with the Father and find someone who can help us with that. Find someone who can and will hold you accountable for this and you do the same for them.This is where I am in my faith journey. But this applies to us all. Regardless of where you are in your journey, the right answer is Focus on Christ! 
      Always know that we are so grateful and thankful for you and we pray for each of you often. And we will not stop praying for you. We want each of you to begin praying even now, where and when you will go to serve alongside other believers. Encouraging them and serving the poor, the orphans and widows. Sharing the good news, the gospel of Jesus, in the coming year.
"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."

Greg Brown
Missionary To Guatemala
One Way Ministries Staff

Monday, March 10, 2014

Have You Looked in Your Backyard?

From my earliest days in ministry I have been committed to work in my own backyard!  I recall the first house Sheryl and I ever bought.  In a little subdivision near McDonough, Georgia we bought this little lot near the back for a great price.  A builder we met through the church helped us navigate the decisions and he built our first house for us.  I remember the "sweat equity" we put into the house just to be able to afford it.  I also remember the hours we spent working in the yard.  My memory is especially clear of one occasion soon after moving in that Sheryl's family was coming for a visit.  I planned and prepared for a great display of freshly planted flowers and shrubs to bring attention to OUR backyard!  Just before the visit I remember the daylight fading and the cool spring air becoming  almost more than my hands could bear, but nothing was going to stop the completion of the masterpiece I had planned for the centerpiece of flowers and shrubs right in the middle of the backyard!

The day came and went and other than a few very heartfelt comments about the good job we had done in the backyard, not much really was made of the hours of work that had been put in.  Yet, without the hours of preparation and cleaning and building of beds, none of the plan would have ever been accomplished.  In fact I have come to realize years later that the majority of my time in the yard is spent preparing the area for what is to come.  The actual planting of flowers or shrubs or filling with mulch or pine straw is done rather quickly in relation to the work done ahead of time.

As a mission minded person the backyard often times is lost in the shadow of the GREAT need in the "more desperate places" around the world.  I know for my own struggle with balance in this world of suffering and need and hopelessness, my backyard is often the last place I look to serve.  Why is that?  Why do so many of us overlook those who are nearest to where we have been planted?

You see, each of us is planted in a community, among a group of people or social network by the Father for a specific need that is present within that part of the body.  That's right I said the Body!  Missions has been so driven into the uttermost parts of the world that we have forgotten Jesus words that He used to help us see our primary task..." they will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another." John 13:35  I know this does not sound very missional.  In fact this may sound somewhat counter-missional when seen in light of the current trend in missions that going to another context equals real missional living.

However, if we are realistic in our understanding of the local church, the majority of people whom God plants within a local church will not move away to another context in a missional surrender of their lives.  Rather missional surrender will look more like daily taking up our crosses and daily living out the Gospel in the midst of the people group God has planted us.  Our daily tasks will be more focused on preparing the backyard for flowers than on pinpointing the next location in the 10/40 window to travel.  I also think that when I look intently into my backyard I will see the work that needs to be done to prepare the soil and remove the rocks and clear the thorns and pull up the weeds.

In 1982 God carried me on a journey that would forever change the way I see people.  I journeyed to an Indian reservation in southern Arizona.  There for a week I experienced a people group in my backyard that is in great need!  The church is in great need on the reservation.  The Body is in great need on the reservation.  The Father is at work among the local church on the reservation.  If this is my backyard, I should be preparing the soil and removing he rocks and pulling weeds here!

Today our ministry is serving among the Navajo Indians in western New Mexico.  The need is great! The struggle for truth seems to be unlike any I have seen in our country.  We served for a number of years in Arizona, yet the strength of tradition among the Navajo is much stronger and much more against "white man's religion."  This is in our backyard.  Right here in the US we have a people group whose number of professing Christ-followers is far below the national average for native people groups.  The number of Navajo who have had an authentic encounter with a Christ-follower whose love for them showed the Gospel is a number well below that of other unreached people groups around the world.  Why is this the case?

Our back yard is not just across the country in  a region like New Mexico.  Within the metro area of even the city I live in, Birmingham, there are large pockets of people who have no active Gospel witness or outreach.  Sure there are many churches scattered across the city, yet Gospel outreach seems to be the last thing that is happening in these communities.  Why is this the case?

I suggest that many of us overlook the work at home because of the extreme emphasis placed on the poor, impoverished and lost in unknown parts of the world.  These are places that most of us do not really know much about.  These are also places that most of us will never travel, at least not long-term.  So, is it possible that the primary objective of my missional faith journey is to love the people who live the closest to me in a way that the Gospel is seen by those around me?  The loving of my fellow Christ-follower becomes the focal point of my ministry within the context in which I have been planted as a result of following Jesus' words of instruction.  My backyard becomes a vital part of my obedience to the Father, even more so than the utter most parts of the world.  At least I think this may be the intent of the instruction so as to help me get my priorities in order.

The Gospel is shown most to the world around us by the way we love one another within the Body.  We then share the Gospel best when we speak to those who live life right around us whom we have a relationship with due to the location of where we are planted.  As we invest in those relationships to show and share the Gospel the Father stirs our heart for the areas beyond our backyard for a specific purpose of stretching us and shaping our lives to be more like Him in the way we love people.  As we follow Him obediently He carries us into various short-term scenarios to improve our "serve" in our own backyard!  So, in  no way am I saying that there is no place in the plan for the Father to lead some to move their backyard to another context and invest in the lives of those unreached peoples in various unknown and remote locations.  I am saying that for the most part our focus needs to be on the backyard in which we have been planted and trust that the Lord will change that in His time and in His plan in accordance with His purposes.

Just think about it...if the Body of Christ were to be so committed to loving each other with the love that Christ demonstrated right where we are all planted, the focus of most of our lives would be to simply care for and show the Gospel to those right around us.  If we were to all do this in every city, town and community in which the Lord has planted Christ-followers, then locally the Gospel would be being shared, shown and responded to all across the globe.  Out of this garden of growth would be raised a generation of Christ-followers that would carry the Gospel into every new community, town and city they would settle in across the globe.  I think the growth of the Body would be exponential and the call of God would be very clear when He led some to go into the uttermost parts of the world!

So, what's the bottom line here..."bloom where you are planted!"  Look at your backyard and get busy loving those with
whom you are in community.  Show the Gospel to those around you.  Share the Gospel with those who open the door to hear from you.  Obey the Father when He chooses to stretch you.  Follow His heart when He guides you into the world to be light and salt!  Let's Reach the world and Teach the Word together as we make disciples of all nations!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Where you are is where He wants to use you!

The time is quickly approaching for baby Noah to arrive! We are less than 10 weeks away from his due date and still have so much to accomplish! We are finally getting around to painting his room, putting together the crib and changing table, and making sure we have everything we need. It is such an exciting time for us as a family, and we can’t wait to show off our newest addition! As my husband mentioned in his post last week, Noah’s arrival in May will prevent us from being able to travel and work on the field in New Mexico this summer. Bummer! Anyone who has spent much time with me knows how much I enjoy and look forward to working with One Way any chance I get. In fact, after the plans fell through for us to become missionaries to Arizona back in 2010, I have struggled day in and day out with the different path God chose for our life. I often wonder how my life in Columbia, Louisiana could make a difference for others. How do I justify spending countless hours each week working when I could be some place developing relationships with people, allowing God to use me to spread His love and disciple others? How can I leave the sense of community that is built on the mission field by the participants and leaders involved? Many times after a trip, I find myself in a bit of a funk; I have left something that my heart so desires and come home to my mundane life. But who says my everyday life has to look and feel different from my life on the mission field?? Over the past three years, God has been revealing to me His plan for our lives in Columbia, Louisiana though I refused to accept it so many times. How could God trust me with His people in another state, culture, or country if He couldn’t trust me to do His work here in my own backyard? We are not called to the workplace simply to do our job and go home at the end of the day, but to use our jobs as a means to develop relationships with others and be the Light to them! There are people we come into contact with each day that need Jesus just as much as the family living in a third world country do. There are work projects we can do for those living in our own neighborhoods, just as we do for those on the field around the world. We have friends and family here at home that have a longing for the same sense of community we establish while on a mission trip. What’s the difference between home and the mission field? It’s easy for us to step out of our comfort zones when we have been transported to a new place and share similar experiences with other trip participants. We’re able to open up about how God is using us and pray together over situations we are facing. But at home, especially living in a small town, people know us. It’s much harder to lay down our pride and really open up to people we see on a regular basis. Joseph and I began to really pray about this together, asking God to give us a group of friends and family with whom we could pray, worship, study God’s word, and share our joys and struggles. Having this kind of community at home has not only brought us closer to each other, but it has brought us all closer in our personal relationships with God. We are able to challenge each other and hold one another accountable for our thoughts and actions. Not only have we sought out biblical community at home, but we are also reaching out to those we work with or see regularly. This has completely changed my outlook on my job! Instead of viewing work as something I HAVE to do, it has now become an opportunity for me to be a Light to my co-workers and others that I come into contact with. I strive to share about Jesus just as I would if I were on the mission field half-way around the world. Because my home IS my mission field. God has planted me exactly where He needs me to be. The only thing holding me back from being used by God was ME. My prayer for you is that God would reveal to you ways that your home life can begin to embody all that your life would while on the mission field. Develop a sense of biblical community with your closest friends and family. Find ways to share what God is doing in your life with your co-workers. Look for families in need near your area and meet those needs. Where you are is exactly where God intends to use you. Just let Him!

  Meghan Duckett has been serving with One Way Ministries for several years. She is currently a teacher in Louisiana where she lives with her husband Joseph. They are expecting their first child in May. We are so thankful for the influence and leadership Meghan has brought to the ministry through the years. We are eager to see what the Lord has in store for her and her family as they continue to follow His heart and obediently serve Him where He has planted them. Please pray for Meghan and Joseph as they seek to be the parents God has called them to be and continue to share the Gospel and show the Gospel in every occasion of life as they journey with Him daily!