Monday, August 18, 2014

Who Do You Say That I Am?

We are seeing incredible things on the internet and the news media stories today.  Some of the sights and stories are hard to even believe they are real.  It seems with each passing day more hatred is being poured out upon the followers of Christ around the world.  Every day a new story is emerging about those who want to see the Christians eliminated from the world.  Today will not be any different as we hear reports from around the world of just how much the world hates God and all that He represents in this world!

I am sure that some of the same feelings were felt among the early believers and followers of the Way!  Jesus was so not normal in His message and teachings that everyone felt threatened by His truth.  That is everyone but a few.  Do you recall reading about that in His Word?  Remember Matthew 16 when Jesus was sharing with his disciples about yeast being the in the bread and to watch out for that.  His words were strong words of warning about the religious teachers and leaders of the day.  His words were very unusual and different concerning the ones most people were listening to for truth.  He then follows this discussion with a very important question.

Jesus asked those closest to Him, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"  This question drew out many responses and some of them were significant.  Yet, Jesus took it all one step further to make it deeply personal.  Jesus asked, "But what about you?  Who do you say I am?"  This is the most important question we all must answer!

Who is this Jesus that you claim to follow?  Each one of us must determine who it is that we are following.  We must decide are we following the One who laid down His life as the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.  We must decide are we following the One who said to lay down your life and take up His cross.  We must decide are we following the Jesus of the Bible, who said He is I AM and will provide all we need and all we could hope for if we will sacrificially follow Him in His Way.

You and I must also decide who do we SAY He is!  You see it is not enough for me to sit in my bedroom and read the Bible and talk to God about what amazing things I read.  It is not enough to stand in a room full of like-minded people and sing together in one accord the words of a good song and feel the emotions of the crowd stir us.  It is not enough to talk about how good God is and how much He has done for us and bask in the blessings of this life "He has granted" all the while working our fingers off to build our kingdom and control our future with the security of the things of this world!

No, the question is who do you SAY Jesus is to the world?  What are you saying to the people who live with you about Jesus?  What are you saying to those who walk in and out of your life on a daily basis about the One who died for the sin of the world?  What are you actively doing to communicate the truths of His Word to those who desperately need to hear real hard truth about a Savior who died for them and a Lord who can exchange their worldly zip code for eternal zip code!  You see, every single one of us who claim to follow Christ, no matter what our position or platform, have been instructed to declare the truth of who He is to the world!

When you and I declare with boldness, out of obedience, the whole truth of His Word about who He is to this world, then it is upon that truth that the church grows and expands and reaches the world.  It is such an amazing reality that the confession that Peter, the rock, made about Jesus is the same confession you and I are called to make.  And when you and I declare, just as Peter did, the whole truth about Jesus outwardly...Then the ROCK of our salvation is revealed in the midst of struggle and strife and the gates of Hell cannot overcome it!  It is such a wonderful reality that the truth of the Gospel is that truth that sets us all free to be bold and be vocal and be obedient!  Jesus said He would build His church upon the ROCK of truth, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!"  It is this truth that you and I stand in when we declare to the world who Jesus is.

So who do you say Jesus is?  Are you clear on the facts and the reality of who this Messiah is?  Are you in Him and He in you so much that everything about your life speaks of His greatness and His power?  Are you telling the world about His truth, He is the Messiah, the Savior, the One, the King, the Lord?  Who do you say that Jesus is?

I challenge you today to tell someone who Jesus is!  If you and I will take seriously the command of our Lord to make disciples in every phase of life in which we find ourselves walking, then we will see the Glory of God revealed in His church as it grows and reaches the world with truth and teaches His Word to all who seek Him!  Will you join me in going to those who don't know the truth and sharing with them the truth about Jesus and the glorious riches of His grace?  Will you reach your world and teach His Word?

In His Grip,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bricks and Mortar for Hearts and Lives

The unique relationship between the US faith family and the international faith family is such a joy to be a part of as we share, show and serve together.  The journey of One Way Ministries has been one full of hills and valleys with many memories along the way.  The blessings of the relationships we have encountered and developed along the way are fuel to the fire to reach the world and teach the Word!  It is these relationships that motivate late night prayer times and early morning study of the Word.  It is these relationships that stir our hearts early in the morning to prepare for long days of serving and allow us to make it through the day into the night with a team on the field.  It is these relationships that spur us on to greater works in Christ Jesus that matter for eternity.

Following the Lord's leadership through these relationships we have found ourselves in a partnership in Guatemala with a church and pastor who have a passion for the people.  Iglesia Jerusalen  in Los Pinos, just outside the city itself, has been a blessing to join with ministry and mission.  The heart of Pastor Jorge Morales is so gigantic for his people and the Mayan people of Guatemala.  He has faithfully led the local church to invest in the Kingdom through children's ministry, youth ministry, mission outreaches, and church planting.  All the while he leads the faith family to grow weekly and challenge one another through the study of the Word and through intentional prayer together and individually.  This amazing partnership for us, has taught us a great deal about cross-cultural ministry and how to assist the local church in ministry rather than do the ministry for the local church.

This past year, after many months of prayer, the Lord opened the door for the church to purchase property in Sajcavilla.  This Mayan community, some thirty to forty minutes drive up into the mountains from Iglesia Jerusalen, has become a point of ministry and mission since June of 2010.  Through Pastor Morales' leadership we have been able to assist the establishment of a local church in the community and now see the prospect of a permanent physical base of operations for the church in Sajcavilla.  The Lord has confirmed His desire for this work to sink down roots here in this location by clearly directing everyone to a single piece of land and then providing through obedience the funding for the purchase.  The continued growth of the church and the desire for more ministry and mission is motivating the newest steps of faithfulness in Sajcavilla.

The vision is being set for a ministry base in Sajcavilla to include a worship gathering space, feeding center home base and a facility to develop and train in disciple-making truths among a Mayan people group.  The excitement of this potential is already being felt throughout the community.  Many members of the community are asking when the church will begin to gather on the property so they can come join the gathering.  This is EXCITING!  The community asking for the church to meet!  How incredible is our God!

The vision for this property and the potential impact it will have for the Kingdom is becoming very clear as we discuss the plans and see the pieces of the plans come together.  In order to see hearts and lives impacted further we need to invest in some bricks and mortar!  It is time to sacrificially give of the excesses granted by the Father in our lives for the furthering of the Gospel and the teaching of His ways among people in a distant location.

The Lord has already established a leadership team in Sajcavilla who are meeting and leading currently under Pastor Morales' leadership.  There are members of the Jerusalen faith family investing their time and resources in the work of the ministry weekly in this growing faith family.  Our teams are continuing to teach the Word in every classroom we are given opportunity and share the Gospel through home visits and teaching of the Word.  What we are praying  for now is partners for the work ahead.

In the coming days construction will need to begin on the property.  We have a plan to begin with a perimeter fence to protect and secure the property as well as define the location as it is somewhat surrounded by open land.  We will then need to build two small houses on the property to provide for a family who will be the caretakers of the property and church as it is built.  In addition we need a second house for families in crisis to use as they wrestle through the difficulties of a life of faith in a poverty stricken region.  While these are being built a bathhouse needs to be built to provide bathrooms for gatherings as well as for those who live on the property.  The next phase of work will be to build a two story structure to house gathering space and feeding center facilities on the main level and children/youth ministry space on the second floor.  Currently the church has almost twice as many children who attend the Sunday gatherings as adults and mainly due to the lack of space!

We are awaiting formal proposals from engineers to determine specific costs involved on the major construction.  However, currently we are seeking the Lord for partners who will help us join the church in its efforts to begin the first stages of development.  Overall we anticipate needing close to $100,000.00 for the entire project.  To begin we are seeking those who will join us to raise $20,000.00 to begin as soon as possible with the wall, houses and bathhouse.  We know our costs will change as we help develop the property and face unknown things that come up with construction.  However, we are sure that by using local members of the community to do much of the work as well as the expertise of these in the community to be efficient and effective at the best possible work we could see,  and the highest level of stewardship as possible with the resources provided.

So, as you read this, will you ask the Lord to give you clarity and direction on how He wants you to be involved.  I firmly believe that sometimes we must invest in bricks and mortar to further the impact of the local church on hearts and lives.  This local church has committed to reaching its community.  This local mission effort has already seen amazing growth and the Lord is blessing their work with added members and strengthening the leadership.  Now, lets encourage them to press on in their obedience with our obedience to His call to support the church globally with our resources and our time.  Join us as a team member and help us build!  Join us as a prayer warrior and support the work with faithful prayer for leaders and workers as they serve.  Join us in contributing as the Lord leads to the financial needs to develop this property to reach the world and teach the Word!

In His Grip,
JT Turner