Monday, April 28, 2014

Our God is an Awesome God!

We are people who make plans. Plans for ourselves, our family, our jobs, finances and our time. But many times our plans don’t work out, they fall apart and leave us frustrated. Circumstances change for us and sometimes these changes are painful. On many occasions we get overwhelmed with it all. 

As believers, we know that we will have disappointments, broken dreams, people who don’t like us or people who challenge who we are. Satan delights in this because it is at these times, we get discouraged and do not move forward with the plan that God has for us. If he can get us to focus on what is wrong instead of what is right, he has won. 

Everyone will face this at some time but through it all, we are reminded that He is faithful. His character is always the same. He is sovereign and in control and will be lovingly working everything for His plan. We can be confident that He is always taking care of us. What a blessed assurance to know that He has our back!

Deuteronomy 7:9, tells us that Christ is a faithful God who keeps his promises and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. 

Christ loves us and knows all about us, including our every need, thought, weakness and strength. He even knows the desires of our heart for the past, present and future. He is unchanging, and he is faithful. We can rest on what he says, to be true. 

Jeremiah 29:11, reminds us that He knows the plans He has for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us hope and a future! 

We serve an awesome God! Stop what you're doing today and praise Him for his love, and the glorious path He has prepared for you. Take time to notice the people He places in your path. There are people that need to hear about Him, and Christ knows you are the person to do that. Remember, that along the way people will be looking to you for wisdom and direction. Our attitude could make or break their coming to Christ. Our attitude determines everything. What we say, how we think and how we act determines how we live our life and if we are going to allow Satan to stop us in our tracks or Christ to move us forward. We must think like Jesus thinks and focus on His word. 

God Bless each one of you.

Karen Katchuk
Director of Team Development
One Way Ministries

Monday, April 21, 2014

Encouragement From The Lord

A month ago, God gave me some incredible encouragement, and I want to share this with you today. Two and a half years ago, we had a team here. We were working in Sajcavilla(correct spelling) and we were making home visits one afternoon. Kathy, my lovely wife and I were in different groups and we were making our final visits of the day. Kathy's group was in a home to see these 2 older ladies to pray with them and share the gospel with them, as they were not believers. After a time of sharing they all noticed that the ladies were not really interested in what they had to say, but that there was a man in the room as well and he was very interested in their message. His story was a hard one, as most are here in Guatemala. But he was hearing and understanding them, but also there was a need for a man to speak face to face with him and the group was all ladies. His name is Santiago. Kathy left to try to find me and I was nowhere to be found, but God's perfect plan brought my group to the house that was directly across the street from the house where they  were sharing. She came an got me and shared that his story was very similar to my story and that he really needed to hear the gospel shared from another man. So I pulled up a bucket and we sat face to face and I shared with him a little of my testimony and then I shared the gospel clearly. When I finished, he said that he was very appreciative and He would really think about this message. I did not pressure him, because I have learned that this is not my doing anyway, this is the perfect work of the Holy Spirit in his heart. I am just trying to obey and plant some seeds. Well, everyone in that group continued to pray for him and as I said in the beginning of this story, that was over 2 years ago. 
Well fast forward to a month ago, and we had a team here and we were doing home visits as normal. The team went to another home and met 6 families, all in one home. I did not go because 10+ gringos piling into a house can be a little overwhelming. Plus there were bags and backpacks in the van that I was going to look after them. But as I sat there, I more and more felt that I needed to be in this house. It was very strange, because there are many times where I sit and wait in the van during a home visit. During this time I can look into the logistics of what is coming up for the team or just do some praying while I am alone. But God put a deep desire in me to find this house. But I had no idea where they were.  I looked in the rear view mirror of the van and one of the kids was coming to buy something in the tienda(store). I waited and followed him back to the house. I approached the house and saw everyone from the team and then I saw the family and a man standing across the way from me. When he saw me, he immediately said "y ahí está!" (And that's him!) We made eye contact and to my surprise it was Santiago. He was telling the story of how a man had shared with him and he never forgot what he said to him. He said that this man told me that no one is worthy of this gift, but it is only by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. He had waited and had not acted on what God was telling him those 2+ years ago, and that he was a bus driver in Guatemala City, which is one of the most dangerous jobs on the earth(it's true, look it up). About a year ago, he said, he was shot while working. The bullet took off one of the tip of his finger, went  through his chest/shoulder, very close to his heart. He knew that God was speaking to him now and he had been given another chance in his life. He said that he immediately remembered that day and gave his life to Christ right then and there. The encouragement to him, that I was there in his home was profound, but the real encouragement was for me. You all know, if you regularly share the gospel, is that you are not always privy to the end result. But in this case, God allowed me to see His fruit, and He allowed me to be a part of it as well. Praise be to our God!  We all know the verses in Romans, but do we sometimes take for granted what is going on when God touches the heart of a sinner? Or to ask an even harder question; do you ever share the gospel? Are you sowing seeds for the kingdom? Matthew 28:18-20 tells us to go and make disciples. I want to encourage you to do just that! 

Greg Brown

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Covenant Old Ways

Any reading of the Old Testament will reveal old ways of doing things.  The old ways were established for many reasons related to the time and place of God's chosen people's journey of faith.  The laws and codes of behavior were clearly given to separate the people from the other people of the land.  This separation was important to the ways and purposes of the Lord as He laid out His plan for redemption.

When the New Testament rolls into history, there are many things about the old that were no longer applicable.  A new covenant had been established with new purposes and new expectations.  We see this clearly in the discussions Jesus shares concerning the law.  He steps it all up several notches and we now have a new level of expectation according to the New Covenant.

As I have read through the Old Testament and then applied the truths of the New Testament to the daily journey of faith I have found a unique relationship between the two.  We have the joy of living under the New Covenant with a demand for faith and action that is in keeping with the relationship we now experience with the Lord personally.  Yet, I see the need for holding on to the old ways of doing things!

The discipline of the daily sacrifice, the details of the offerings and the strict adherence to God's ways clearly is a foundation for consistent faithful living.  God the father in His wisdom sets for us all a pattern for following Him from the beginning of His relationship with His people.  Throughout the Old Testament we read of event after event and life scenario after life scenario that demands discipline and obedience to the ways of God.  Each character in the Old Testament has something to teach us about following the Father and His ways.

When we journey into the New Testament era with the arrival of special revelation and plan of redemption reaching a pinnacle in Jesus, we see clearly a shift toward a New Covenant.  Now in this age of Grace we all have the opportunity to follow faithfully the commands of the Lord in the context of New Covenant relations.  Obedience now takes on a new dynamic in that the Lord chooses to use His children in the redemptive plan for all mankind.  Each of us who call Him Lord have been brought into the New Covenant in a unique way.  We have become an intimate part of the family with new responsibilities and new expectations.

Yet, in the midst of all of the new, the Father reminds us of the old ways!  He reminds us of the detailed steps of discipline and obedience to the commands of sacrifice in order to help us hold on to the lessons of old ways.  In this current church age of swinging to the latest fad or popular model of "doing church," we all must look back at the Old Covenant with respect and eagerness to learn the old ways.

Worship in the tabernacle and later in the temple was a very involved and detailed process.  The process was not designed for the sake of process, though.  The process was designed to teach discipline and order in obedience.  The holiness of the items used in sacrifice and offerings is directly linked to the holiness of the God they were used to worship.  Today our offerings and sacrifices must reflect a New Covenant with Old Covenant disciplines.  As we walk in obedience to the Father's commands, we need to remember the patience of the priests and commitment to the purity of the sacrifice presented.  Today He does not require an animal without blemish, He demands the offering of our purest faith and our deepest obedience.  The old ways of following every detail the Lord commands must be rekindled in our hearts as we flesh out this New Covenant relationship with the Father through the Redeemer and His perfect work of the Cross!

In His Grip,

Monday, April 7, 2014

Don't Forget the Bread!

In a book by Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life,  he shares a story of his journey home one night and his visit to the grocery store.  It seems he has a similar problem as me when in a grocery store.  He recounts his wife asking him to stop by and pick up some bread on his way home.  She interestingly asked if he needed directions to the bread isle in the store.  As he enters the store to pick up bread several other items seem to find their way into the basket before checking out and heading home.  At home he proudly unpacks the plunder from the local market to be faced with the question from his wife, "where is the bread?"

My trips to the store often times end up similar.  The difference for me is I usually get more bread than we needed, a few types to cover my options.  Yet, the lesson is so true for me as well.  Many times I spend my time and energy working on the things around the Gospel message.  Seeking to become proficient at theological language and Christian concepts that communicate the understanding I have of the Gospel and its truths.  I focus much of my energy on reading and studying to understand the deeper things of this journey and hoping to figure out why God did this or how He plans to reconcile that.  I even spend time looking up answers and chatting with friends about tough questions.  My basket becomes very full of many others things, all which are "good" things and yet I have forgotten the bread!

The disciples were faced with this same situation, remember!  Jesus feeds a huge crowd and there are twelve baskets of leftovers to be gathered by the disciples.  Yet, just a few hours later they find themselves without any food...why?  Because they forgot the bread!  Over and over again those close to Jesus seemed to fall into the same temptation of forgetting the bread.  Forgetting the important items of the Gospel message may be one of the most critical mistakes of the church in this age!

I have grown up in an era of church work that has frequently made a swing from one extreme to another.  Evangelism to discipleship and back again.  Conservative to liberal to fundamental to reformed to ...  Back and forth we swing in a constant search for where to land and settle in for the long haul.  Only to find a few months later another book or prominent leader speaking out about the need to move toward this or away from that.  And back and forth we swing...often times, I feel, forgetting the bread!

In an effort throughout the past 13 years of our work with One Way Ministries, I have sought to lead our time on the field to focus on the bread!  The core of everything we do is the Gospel message of reconciliation and hope found in the redemption offered through Jesus the Christ!  The most important thing we do is to present the Gospel and provide opportunity for those who join us in the harvest field to present Gospel truth.  This must be our primary objective in all occasions of life!

The Bread of life is the only real solution to the hunger we see in the villages and communities outside the city.  He is the only real hope of life that the women stuck in a difficult situation in the city dump have to make it from day to day.  Jesus is the only life changer that can meet the needs of the young Native struggling to find his place in the remote village on the reservation.  The Christ is the only true light that illumines the dark home in the rural parts of Africa.  It is Jesus and His Gospel message that becomes the life transforming factor all across the globe.

Have you forgotten the bread lately?  Has it been too long since you have been face to face with another person explaining the basic truths of the Gospel?  Are you fearful that if faced with the questions from your neighbor about the Gospel you may not be able to communicate them clearly?  If you find yourself in any of these types of situations I invite you to join us in the field of harvest as soon as possible.  Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and shape your conversation into that Gospel driven witness you have been called by God to be!  Our passion at One Way Ministries is to present the Gospel message in every occasion we find ourselves as well as to equip you to be used by the Father to present the Gospel in every occasion He places you.  Let's Reach the World for the sake of His great Name and let's teach His Word to all who will listen!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

As In The Days of Noah...

After some time listening to many responses to the events of the past week or so, I have felt led to simply share from my observations of the current events that face the Body of Christ.  Over the course of three weeks, or so, we have seen a continual debate grow concerning a particular event in the history of man.  I guess, really this has been going on for far longer than the past few weeks but it has clearly come to the mainstream stage of media and debate recently.  Yes, I agree with many out there, the validity of the story of Noah is a critical element of faith that cannot be avoided or brushed aside!

The story of Noah has profound impact on the Christian community in our culture.  This single event is a polarizing event that divides those who believe the Word of God to be truth and those who believe it to be allegory or simply stories about topics not real historical events.  Yes, it is that simple...its either truth or its not!

The unique aspect of this amazing event that took place is that it has been referred to in the New Testament by Jesus in a comparison to the days of the end times, (Matthew 24:36-51; Luke 17:26, 27.)  This comparison is what we all need to take note of as we engage the discussions around us.  Just as in the days of Noah, we face a culture around us that is not following the Ways of God or His teachings.  No matter what we may strive for in our own circle of family and friends, the majority of the cultures we live in today are against the God of the Bible.  There are many who will speak a language or tag themselves with a title that indicates an allegiance to the God of Christianity.  Yet, it is a form of godliness, (2 Timothy 3:1-9.)  The power that comes from a life surrendered to the Savior and controlled by the Holy Spirit looks far too "radical" for todays cultural christian.

A very critical issue that has developed gives clear indication that the form of godliness has become the accepted status quo for "Christians" in our culture.  This critical issue is the integrity of marriage and the family.  Although many seem to support a broad description or definition of marriage the Bible has a very specific and narrow definition.  In Malachai 2:14 marriage is referred to as a holy covenant before God.  In Genesis and a few other places we read of how a man is to leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31.)  This issue has been slowly but most definitely eroding away into an area of great compromise within the church.  As a result the Body of Christ is becoming divided on this issue.  This division is a simple yet, very effective tool of the enemy!  Just a little compromise within the Christian community has caused great skepticism and desputes over what once was a non-negogiable.

In addition to the effects of this issue within the church, we see today the effects of this issue in our society.  The confusion that our children are having to endure is often times too much for them to carry.  As they develop and clarify their view of this world and those who live around them, our children are faced with decisions about issues that once were not even openly discussed much less supported by anyone in the church.  However, now the topic of alternative lifestyles, acceptance of those who choose to marry others of the same gender, and rights of those who have two dads or two moms as their parents have become normal elements of teaching and training within even our Christian homes.

As in the days of Noah, these things that clearly are not of God are becoming accepted even within the "religious" community.  Why?  Because as God declared in Genesis 8:21, "...even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood..." Yes, the root of the problem is sin!  It is because man is sinful at heart, that we see the whole of culture moving away from God and choosing to do what "seems right in his own eyes."  Isaiah 55:8-9 declares this truth clearly that God's thoughts and ways are so much higher than our thoughts and ways.  As a result, when He allows man to act according to his own thoughts and his own ways behavior once seen clearly as disobedience soon becomes acceptable in the eyes of the majority.

Are we seeing cultural behavior similar to the days of Noah?  Are there clear signs of known disobedience among the leaders of our society and even churches?  Do we see a slow fade away from the Biblical view of marriage and family?  Are we witnessing a definite shift in culture toward a way of acting that is against God's Word?

As we answer yes to these questions I would challenge you to look up!  Regularly check out the sky and pay close attention to the heavens.  Daily seek the righteousness of God and His Kingdom.  For soon and very soon we are going to see the KING!  The day is quickly approaching that Jesus will step out on a cloud and call His bride home!  That hour that no man knows is near and the days of the Son of Man are upon us.  Will you be ready for the coming of the King?  Will your family be ready?  Will those around you be ready?  Will those who know you know Him as a result of knowing you?

It is time...Let us REACH THE WORLD AND TEACH HIS WORD to all who will listen for soon the door will be closed up and the "ark" will be full of His precious cargo to be carried safely through the "flood!"

In His Grip,
JT Turner