Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Who Will Go For Me?

As the New Testament unfolds, the early church began to experience growth due to the travels of those who called themselves Christ-followers.  Persecution, troubles, pressures from communities and local leaders all contributed to the departure of these followers to lands they did not know and cultures they had yet to learn.  Paul shows us a clear picture of the spread of the Gospel as he traveled with friends and fellow workers into various regions and cultures.  This intentional movement of the Gospel was due to the commitment of a few to carry the truth of the Gospel to every location known to man.

Yet, these travels were not anchored in permanent uprooting and long-term missionary terms in foreign lands.  The primary growth of the church was accomplished through what is called an apostolic method of church planting!  Paul, visited new communities and searched for men and women of peace upon whom the Gospel settled.  He then invested time and energy into teaching them the truths of the Gospel and developing a disciple-maker of those he encountered.  He then led them to become the leaders and teachers of these local gatherings of Christ-followers.  And once the process was begun, Paul moved on to another "short-term" assignment.

I believe the Lord today is asking for many of us to re-commit ourselves to this process of going for Him into communities with the whole truth of the Gospel and searching for those upon whom the Gospel settles.  He then desires us to teach and make disciple-makers of those new followers of Christ.  Then we, as Paul move on to the next assignment.  And in the midst of this process we trust that the Father will call out from among us some who will give their lives long-term for these communities and people groups.  We listen to the Lord and support those whom He calls out to spend more time and follow the planting with nurturing and teaching and growing!

This concept is a bit different than the average plan for a short-term mission experience these days.  Why?  I believe so much of our focus has become humanitarian in nature that we've lost our passion for searching for men and women of peace and then teaching the Word!  In short the church as a whole has lost the passion for the lost and in turn we have focused our attention on physical poverty and how to best serve our hurting world with aid!  These needs are real and things like food and clothing are necessities that everyone needs all over the world.  These will also come to those who need them as the church addresses its primary responsibility of sharing and showing the Gospel.  Out of a genuine concern for others, our lives will look more like Jesus and therefore we will care for people like He did.  This will happen because we spend time in the presence of the Father allowing Him to warm our hearts and burn with passion to naturally share the truth of the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with in every occasion of life!  Evangelism then will be a natural thing in every believers life both in the home community where we are planted and in the short-term experience as we seek to spread the Gospel and plant the Truth in every community on the planet!

Long-term physical poverty alleviation will only be a result of community change from a heart for God and a passion for the lost.  Our mission as the church traveling to various communities around the world must be focused on spiritual poverty first and with great passion.  Today the Lord is asking us all, "Who will go for us?"  As Isaiah responded to the call of God to go to the people with His truth, we all need to respond with those same words...Here am I, send me!

Lets go into all the world with this amazing truth that Jesus died for sinners, was buried and was raised again to bring life to all who seek Him!  Will you join me and saying to the Lord today, yes I will go!  I will go across the street...across the state...across the country...across the globe!  Yes, Lord I will join the Gospel movement and share the truth of your Word with this even and women of peace and seek to help the church take root in every community I am given the opportunity to walk through!  Yes...I will GO!
In His Grip,
JT Turner

Monday, March 9, 2015

That Pink Adobe House...

I realized last night as I shared a brief story from my past how long it has been since I have shared that story with a group of people.  I was reminded of the impact of some key events in my days as a young person in my home church.  Much of our lives is a direct result of the formative years in our childhood and youth and we must hold on to those memories.  God has been at work in some of us for many years and every now and again we need to reflect on the ways we have grown since these early days and at the same time be reminded of the basic truths that have formed our world view and passions!

In June of 1982 I had been a believer for about three years and was trying my best to learn and follow the instructions of my pastor and youth pastor.  I had parents who were very involved in our youth group.  So, I had an example in my own home of the obedience to His Word to GO!  That June I recall I found myself in a remote village about forty-five minutes from a town called Sells, Arizona.  This was a small village on the Tohono O'odham Nation (known at that time as the Papago Indians).  After several days of a small backyard Bible club type gathering of a few Indian children we came to the big day.

On one of the last couple of days we were to make a wordless book and share the Gospel one on one with the children.  I remember there was some real emotions running through our group.  Yet, the time came and as the group divided into small groups of twos, I found myself sitting around the corner from the rest of the group with a little Indian boy.  That day I sat beside a pink adobe house and shared this simple wordless book we had been teaching them during the week.  I walked as simply as possible through the pages...Black page represents sin in our lives...Red page represents the blood of Jesus shed to cover our sin and bring forgiveness...etc.  At the end of that little book, I looked at that young boy and said something like, do you want to ask Jesus to be Lord of your life today?  And he said yes!!!

I do not recall all of the events that transpired following that moment.  The emotions and passions of the experienced coursed through my mind and heart all throughout the rest of the day.  Sometime late that night it all caught up with me.  I found myself sitting outside the church on a window sill staring up into the beautiful star-filled sky.  I mumbled a few words of thanksgiving to the Lord and then began to cry.  As the tears flowed down my cheeks I vividly recall saying to the Lord, "Lord if I can do this for the rest of my life I am yours!"

In May of 1979 I surrendered my life to follow Jesus as my Lord.  After being baptized I began to seek out every opportunity to learn the Bible and listen to sermons.  The following year, 1980, I had a unique experience with the Lord during a summer camp and surrendered my life to full-time ministry.  The following year, 1981, I served as a staff member at my home church during Youth Week and preached for the first time from the pulpit.  So, then in 1982, in the middle of the desert, outside this little Indian church, after sharing the Gospel one-on-one for the first time with some one else, I heard loud and clear the call of the Lord to show and share the Gospel!

I have been through many mountain top and valley experiences during the past 36 years as a Christ-follower.  However, this event in 1982 remains a significant event that the Lord used to clarify the real matters of eternal importance in my life.  To this day this event along the path of this journey influences the way I share the Gospel and the simple methods we use to show the Gospel.  As I reflect today this event I thank my God for those He placed in my path to influence and guide me during those early years.  Pastor Scott Mcque, Pastor Bruce Rogers, Pastor Jack Overton, Pastor Steve Hammack, Sam and Karen Graves, Lyle Branton, Cotton Westmoreland, Brent Reeves, Hugh Kirby, Pastor Bo Thompson, Lonnie Maddox, C.J. and Faye Mowell, Chester and Fran Thomas, Doyle and Ruth Lindsey, Jimmy and Betty Gober, Gena Turner, John Turner, Sr. and so many more!  I am so thankful for the way God used so many things in my journey to form and shape my view of Him and His world that today is driving so much of what I do and say.

I pray for our young people today who are being prepared for the next steps of their journey in this Kingdom work.  The Lord has been moving His church from where we are to where we need to be for years.  It is our responsibility to respond to those events and influences He places in our path to listen, learn, grow and respond with faith and passion.  Will you take a moment today to thank God for the people He has placed along your journey to shape your view of Him and His ways.  Ask Him to remind you of the simple truths that form the framework of the Gospel and its message.  Now, share the stories with those He brings across your path!  Join me as we reach the world and teach His Word to all we can while He allows us to remain here building the Kingdom one by one!

In His Grip,

Monday, March 2, 2015

Gospel Center for Short-term Missions

For several years now I have been heavily involved in leading short-term mission trips.  Through the years much has been said about these short ventures into the mission field to work along side the local church and missionaries.  Some of this discussion has been constructive.  Most of the talk has been critical of the importance, effectiveness and even necessity of these short-term trips lately.  Throughout my ministry I have continually evaluated the process of ministry based on a few critical elements of faith I learned early in my journey.  This is my ponderings concerning the short-term trip and its role within the scope of global disciple-making today!

Early in my faith journey I was blessed with some great men of God who poured truth into my life.  These men had a profound impact on my world view and my ministry "philosophy".  The truths that I learned early on have remained very important throughout the now thirty years in ministry.  As I look back, I realize a few critical truths have shaped everything along the way.  I believe these truths are vital to the life of ministry and especially to the life of short-term mission ministry within the local church.

The Word of God, the Bible, is the only source of absolute truth we have and is without error in its communication of the message of the redemption of God and the Gospel of Jesus.  This is the life-transformational truth every man, woman and child is in need of hearing and understanding!  In every turn of my journey men were pouring the Word into my head and heart.  The Bible is essential to every missional effort of any size or scale in any location.  It is this Gospel that has power to convict, redeem and save!

Prayer is an essential element of our daily journey with God.  Our strong desire, in fact need, to experience peace with God is dependent upon us engaging in conversation with God.  The Holy Spirit is the agent or means by which God speaks to us today.  And it is this same Holy Spirit who helps us learn His ways and know how to communicate with God!  It is this communication that unlocks new levels of relationship with God and allows for wisdom to grow in our hearts along the journey.  It is this practice of daily conversation that teaches us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the field, for they are ready to be harvested.

Fellowship with other believers is a vital part of this journey of faith.  Through the regular gathering together with other believers we are able to worship in a larger setting and experience the passion and excitement that comes from all of us in agreement together as we respond to God for what He has done for us.  It is also this relationship to other followers of Christ that we are challenged and held accountable for authentic belief with actions that demonstrate faith.  The community of faith is a critical element to the journey as it strengthens, encourages, challenges, and disciplines the individual faith journey to remain true to its roots in the Word and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

The expression of faith, however, may be the most debated and essential element of the journey of all characteristics.  Think with me for a moment.  There is very little room for disagreement in the need for the Bible to instruct our paths or for prayer to be a practice of regular relationship with God.  Fellowship is an element of this journey that most every member of the body seeks and desires, even in the tough times.  Yet, expressing faith with actions that share and show the Gospel message is not embraced with excitement by every member.  In fact I have heard in the past a member of the body say that "missions" just is not my thing!  If we could agree that "missions" is an expression of faith, then "missions" must be all of our things!  In fact without an expression of faith actively being pursued by each follower of Christ, I believe we will become that branch that does not bear much fruit and must be pruned vigorously by the gardener!

If a pool of water gathers in an open field and remains standing without an outlet, eventually, no matter how deep or clear or good the water is to begin with, this water becomes a stagnant pond and will become unfit for anything to benefit from it.  However, if a pool of water develops with a continual flow of water into it as well as a controlled and steady flow of water out of it, it will become a life giving source for all who can access it!  Our lives, without an outflowing expression of faith, become stagnant water that no one desires to taste and see how good He really can be.

The Gospel message, that transformed our lives from hopelessness to depending on a hope that does not disappoint, must be central in every missional work we seek to fulfill.  Every short-term missions team must be focused on Gospel showing and sharing in every aspect of the experience.  The essential, life giving power source of every missional experience is the Gospel and must be at the core of every movement of the Body of Christ.  Without this central focus our missional efforts become no different than those outside the Body of Christ seeking to offer humanitarian aid and have compassion on our fellow man.  These things are good causes in light of the physical poverty of cultures and communities.  However, these efforts without Gospel centeredness lack the power to address spiritual poverty.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:11 the poor would always be with us.  This is not a statement that should drive us away from meeting urgent physical needs when we have been given the resources by God to extend the assistance.  However, this passage is rooted in the midst of Gospel truth.  We so often focus on the material possessions of an individual to determine their level of poverty and here Jesus refers to the oil being used to anoint him as something preparing Him for His role as Savior and Redeemer.  Poverty is something that demands our attention.  Spiritual poverty must be our chief priority.  The time is coming when Jesus and His Gospel will no longer be the message to share with the world as His time to finish what He started is drawing near.  Our responsibility must be to center every work of ministry and mission on the Gospel and making His story known.

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations." Psalm 67

So, today it must become the priority of the Body of Christ to make the Gospel the center for all mission and ministry in every occasion and in every location.  Will you commit today to make the Gospel the central focus of your short-term missional experience?  Will you come join us as we make His ways known and His salvation known to every nation?  Lets reach the world and teach the Word together!  

In His Grip,
JT Turner 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Will I Really Care?

In this contemporary culture so many things seem to flash onto the screen demanding my attention.  Every day each of us seems to be captured by images and posts and quotes that consume much of our time.  The quick witted marketing guru has tapped into the simple, short attention span at the base level of every human on social media.  The picture and post title often times have nothing to do with the real story, yet you and I both fall prey to the ploy to get us just to stop by even for a brief moment to view the pic or post.

Over and over we give our attention to these meaningless stories about things that will never impact our lives in any way.  Nor will our attention or involvement in that brief moment impact the lives of those we are reading about.  This is a reality of the day and time we live in and yet it is not a reality that we must allow to rob us of the real joys of this life!

We read in James chapter four our lives appear as only a mist, here one moment and gone the next!  This reality changes everything when we consider how we will linger as this brief mist in this world. What are the things that really matter for these few moments I call my life?  Where will I invest my time and resources, knowing it will all be over very soon?  What does the Lord have for me to do with these few moments in time that He has granted me to walk this journey and show His love?

In the end of this life, WILL I REALLY CARE about that cute dog and cat playing in someone's house that somehow captured the eyes of millions of viewers one day last week?  WILL I REALLY CARE about the latest story about the incredible new pill that will make my life all perfect?  WILL I REALLY CARE about the ten most unbelievable photographs from this century?

Or...will I REALLY CARE about the neighbor who lives two doors down who does not know Jesus?  Will I REALLY CARE for the members of my small group who are going through a tough time with losing a family member or sickness in the family?  Will I REALLY CARE for the children going hungry in a village in Guatemala where food is all around them yet, they are too poor to even be able to buy simple provisions?  Will I REALLY CARE for those friends of mine who have moved to another context to serve and show and share the Gospel?  Will I REALLY CARE for those precious children under my roof and how I am the example of the Father's love to them every day we live together?

I want my life to really matter for the brief moment that I am here in this world.  I believe most of you reading this feel that same way right now.  Let us challenge one another not to sit by another day and watch the videos and read the stories of meaningless stuff happening all around us while we flounder in the pool of popular culture.  Let us join our hearts and our hands in genuinely CARING for each other and showing that we are HIS DISCIPLES by the way we love one another!  Let us get together and address those needs of our small groups, families in our churches, friends and co-workers with real tangible expressions of His kindness that draws us all to a place of repentance.  Lets commit to pray and plan together to journey to our brothers and sisters in other contexts to help them share and show the Gospel while caring for and loving on them a part of the Body in need!  Let us join our resources together to build a house, feed a village, dig a well, teach a child, preach a message, play a game, visit the sick, care for the orphans and meet the needs of the widows.  Join me this year by committing right now to go to the people around us who need that loving touch from the Father that comes through our hands and our feet.  Lets reach our world with the truth of the Gospel and teach His Word to everyone we meet so that His ways and His salvation is known in every land and every nation!  Please join me as we REALLY CARE together!
In His Grip,

Monday, February 9, 2015


TRUST is a very unique thing.  All of us need it and all of us need to build it with others.  Every part of our relational life is built on this primary building block of life.  We all trust something.  In this day and time many things have captured our minds and hearts in ways that seem to offer us something to TRUST!

Every single day each none of us is faced with decisions about what or who we will TRUST.  The marketing gurus all seek to prove that we can TRUST their product or service.  Politicians continually strive to tell us we can TRUST them.  Friends do things that either build TRUST or tears it down.  Family members work at maintaining TRUST and building TRUST with age and maturity.  Every one of us deals with TRUST every day.  Think about it...Are you sitting down right now?  You are demonstrating TRUST.  You knew that was coming!

If you and I want to start our year off RIGHT we need to develop healthy was of building trust with others and developing TRUST in others.  Uniquely, all across the globe people offer TRUST without requiring qualifications.  As you walk into this new year will you consider how TRUSTworthy you are?  How much TRUST do you have in others?  What things do you place your TRUST in that may be the wrong things?  Where is your TRUST?

The US currency states that we as a country TRUST in GOD!  Now we all know the weakness of that truth in every occasion.  Yet, there is some truth to this statement.  TRUST originates from God.  It was God who created the garden and allowed Adam and Eve to rule over all creation.  Think about it, God created everything in a perfectly unified relationship with everything else and handed that over to two created beings to manage and rule.  TRUST is not only begun with God, but it also finds its development in Him.  Abraham was called to, "go to a land I will show you..."  That was a relationship of TRUST that began at one point and then grew with developmental steps of faith and relationship.  God also is the power behind TRUST.  remember Peter stepping out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water!  The very steps of this bold disciple were sustained by God Himself as Peter walked on the water.  However, what happened after a few short steps demonstrates the fact that God is also the one who can restore TRUST.  It was the mighty hand of God that reached out and lifted Peter out of the water and brought salvation.  Jesus is daily restoring our TRUST in God through miracles and actions that we cannot explain any other way except that God Himself intervened.

TRUST is at the core of every fiber of our being as we walk daily dependent upon a loving God who offers to us mercy and grace through this journey of faith.  This year as you walk into the circumstances of the daily grind, will you consider the TRUST we have in the One who saves us and sustains us.  And then, as we are humbled by our utter dependence on the Father for the daily life He offers us, seek to build TRUST with others for the sake of His great name.

All over the globe people live daily in a world dominated by fear, shame, conflict and struggles.  Every person on this planet is seeking intimacy, dignity, community and success.  You and I have the most life-altering truth residing within our very heart that needs to get out.  How do we share this amazing truth?  We demonstrate the greatness of our God by offering TRUST to those who come across our path for the sake of His glory.  The relationship we have with our Father is supposed to be coming out in every relationship we have with others in our lives.  It is through this amazing thing called TRUST that we will see transformation.  As you and I TRUST God to do this amazing work of sanctification within our hearts He will show His greatness through you to those who are seeking Him.

So, just as the picture at the top of the page shows, will you jump into His arms with full TRUST and reliance on Him as a witness of His great love and a testimony of His grace.  Wrap your arms around Him and know that He will carry you.  Hold on tightly to Him and know He will not drop you.  Live this life to the fullest with passion and excitement because you can TRUST Him.  Remember when you can't seem to TRUST His hand, you TRUST His heart!  He will use you this year to impact other people's lives.  He will transform lives and heal sickness and restore hope.  He will use you to touch a life and be touched as you TRUST Him!  TRUST Him to help you reach this world and teach His Word!

In His Grip,

Monday, February 2, 2015


So may times we hear this cry from someone after a crisis or accident has taken place.  Every one of us will respond to that request when faced with an urgent need in someone"s life we know.  The needs of our friends and our family are always on our hearts and minds.  When we see the needs we respond and HELP.

As you enter this new year, look at those people around you who are your friends and family to assist and HELP.  However, can you also ask the Lord to show the needs of those around you that you do not see so easily?  The needs around us are enormous.  The desperate lives that cross our paths everyday are more numerous than we can actually count.  The Lord is intentionally bringing people into our paths regularly for the purpose of our lives impacting theirs.  Do you see these opportunities for ministry or are the things of this world or the busyness of the daily grind hindering you from seeing them?

We have all been in a place of need in our lives.  I recall January 29, 2005 watching our house go up in flames and being completely helpless.  There was nothing I could do to save the house or the things in the house.  I simply had to trust God's sovereign plan and say "Blessed be the name of the Lord."  However, this helplessness extended beyond the event of the fire itself.  The following hours were a blur.  The real need in our lives was not even something we could determine on our own.  This was an hour of need in our lives.  HELP was what we needed.  HELP is what we got!

The hours and days that followed our fire were times of trusting others to HELP us in many ways we were not prepared to allow people to HELP.  We needed so much HELP and had to depend on others for so many things.  The work the Lord had to do on my heart to allow so much HELP to be accepted was a huge challenge for me.

Often times when others are in need of HELP, they will struggle with allowing others to offer assistance to them.  Yet, many times the circumstances are such that they must accept the HELP when it is offered simply to make it through the struggle.  How many times do people around us wrestle with the overwhelming needs in their lives and struggle through difficult times of need simply because we do not offer to HELP?

This year, we as the Body of Christ need to look around us more often for the needs.  We need to pay closer attention to the people who cross our paths and their needs to see the ways that we can HELP.  We need to be focused on the needs of others around us and be the community of faith to those struggling, hurting, over-burdened and weighed down with the desperate need for HELP.  We need to become known for being the first to HELP!

Will you ask the Lord to increase your sensitivity to those around you this year?  Will you seek to know and understand the needs of those people who cross your path?  Will you strive to become a person known for responding to need with HELP?  This year you can start RIGHT by RENEWing your commitment to Him, INVESTing your time, resources and energy, GOing to those people and places the Lord directs you to serve and share and show the Gospel and you can HELP those around you as a real expression of the Body of Christ loving the community you have been planted within.  How will the Lord use you this year?  What are you willing to adjust in your life in order that your ways will match His ways?  How will you Reach the world and Teach the Word this year?

In His Grip,

Monday, January 26, 2015


As we read in Acts the events that unfold of the early church beginning to grow, it is not until persecution forces the believers to leave Jerusalem and GO to the surrounding areas that we see significant growth begin.  It was when the truth of the Gospel message began to spread beyond the Jerusalem church that the power of the Gospel was seen and felt on a grand scale.  The reality of the Gospel was evident in Jerusalem, the hub of all of the Hebrew faith and leadership.  But when the Gospel began to expand beyond the local region and people were willing to GO to places they had not been, that is when the exponential growth began to become a reality!

We are all familiar with, "Go and make disciples of all nations..."  Yet, we see through other passages that this going is multi-facetted.  In Matthew 28 we know that the reference by Jesus is to "as you GO into your daily life," walking this journey daily make disciples.  In Acts 8 we see the Spirit telling Philip to GO to a specific place in order to share the truth of His Word!  And in Acts 13 we see the going of Barnabas and Saul was to several locations to share the truth with people from many communities.  In every occasion of people being sent out to GO into the world with His truth, we see a unique power going with them.  

The Holy Spirit has been promised to be our teacher, comforter, guide and protector.  The power that the Spirit has is the same power that created the world, overcame kings, and dealt with spiritual depravity.  It is this Spirit that beckons us to GO with this amazing truth of the Gospel.  It is this Spirit living within us that motivates and stirs our hearts to reach the lost and care for the saved.  It is this Spirit that pours over us the blessings and provisions of the Father in order to make His ways known and His salvation clear.  It is this Spirit that has called us all to GO!

This new year many things will demand your time.  Many significant events will happen that will cause you to go many places and do many things.  However, none of these things will be as significant as the things the Spirit calls you to GO and do for the Kingdom!  In the spirit of Matthew 28 the Holy Spirit is calling you to GO into your daily life with an expectation of Kingdom work being done and lives being changed by His grace.  In the spirit of Acts 8 the Holy Spirit is calling you to GO to specific places to share and show the Gospel to see Him transform lives with the Gospel.  And in the spirit of Acts 13 the Holy Spirit is leading you to GO to people, places and communities where His name needs to be shared and His ways taught and His salvation proclaimed.  

This year, will you REFRESH your commitment to Him, INVEST your time, resources and energy in others, and GO to follow the Spirit's leading in sharing and showing the Gospel?  How has the Lord led you to GO into your daily journey with His ways and His salvation at the forefront of your daily walk?  Who is the Lord leading you to GO to with His truth to help them be free from sin and learn His ways?  In what ways do you need to adjust your life this year in order to GO with God?  He desires you to follow His Spirit into the world to show His ways and share His salvation.  Now is the time to commit to GO with Him into the field where the lost and struggling world is seeking His truth.  They will only hear if someone preaches and they will only see if someone GOES to show them the way.  Will you GO this year to Reach the world and Teach the Word?  
In His Grip,

Monday, January 19, 2015


(Mrs. Mary investing in lives on the Navajo Rez in New Mexico)

God brings people across our paths every single day.  His purposes are being mapped out in our lives each day we awake and walk this journey.  As these two worlds cross, our daily journey and other peoples' journeys, the Father orchestrates time and occasion for us to INVEST in others.  His plan includes my life intersecting other people in their journey and together His ways being made known and His salvation being shared.  

Many have heard the words from Psalm 67 and been challenged to be involved in Kingdom work.  On a daily basis each of us can see the blessings He is pouring into our lives and the abundance in which He is providing.  We remember these wise words, " May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us..."  Our desire is to find the favor of God in daily life.  We want to be blessed by the Father and have His grace poured out on our lives.  We all long for the warmth of His smile to shower over us the goodness and greatness of the Lord Himself!  What are we to do with all of this amazing grace?

As you begin this new year and set your priorities in order, look to the ways you can INVEST in others.  Investments come in many different shapes and sizes. Our opportunities to invest in other people are no different, many shapes and sizes!  Our willingness to invest time and resources will impact other peoples' lives and will accomplish Kingdom work.  When you set your heart to pour into others and INVEST in their lives for the sake of the Kingdom, that's big "K", the Lord uses your investment in ways that sometimes brings about eternal change in people's lives.  He always uses your investment to improve lives, yet sometimes we see the eternal scope of that investment come to life in the freedom of souls from the bondage of sin!  Your willingness to think about His Kingdom first and INVEST your time and energy and resources in others will fulfill the passage.  " that His ways will be made known among all peoples and His salvation among all nations."

The opportunity to participate in His Kingdom work comes as a result of His provision through blessing and grace and favor.  He then invites us to join His work through sharing our resources, our time and our energy by INVESTING in others.  The Spirit of the living God then works through our lives to bring about amazing grace moments in other peoples' lives.  His desire is for us to seek His grace and His blessings and His favor so that in His generosity toward us we will in turn show His ways and His salvation to others as we flesh out the Gospel in our daily lives.  So, who can you INVEST in this week?  How about this month?  How about this year?  Where is the Father calling you to INVEST your time, your resources, your energy?  Who is the Father bringing to mind, even now, that He desire you to INVEST in for the sake of the Kingdom?  

Take some time right now to ask Him to show you who, where, how, when, what?  Seek His Kingdom right now and look for His direction in your daily life.  Ask Him now to show you the people in your path He has orchestrated to be there for you to INVEST in their lives for Kingdom impact.  Start this year off RIGHT by REFRESHING your commitment to Him and seeking to INVEST in Kingdom work through the people around you with your time, your resources and your energy!  If we all will focus on utilizing His blessings to make His ways known and His salvation clear, then we will Reach our world and Teach His Word!
In His Grip,

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


That little semi-circle in the corner of the address box on your computer is a very valuable tool.  I'm sure you have been in the same boat as I have been many times.  I have looked up a website or address online and then something happens.  The phone rings, the children scream, the dryer buzzer goes off, etc. and the next thing you know it has been several hours since you first were working on that site.  The refresh button gives us the quick and easy way to reload that site with fresh new content to be as up-to-date as possible.

Some days in this journey of life I wish I had a "refresh" button for the stressors of this daily grind.  The opportunity to start over with fresh new data and information to face the trials that come our way would be a refreshing experience.  And then we read from an obscure place these words of truth,
"Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!  I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.  It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord."-Lamentations 3:21-26

What an amazing thought!  When all seems to be lost or crashing in and all we can think about is the end is near, the Lord reminds us to hold on, wait on Him.  Wait...that wonderful Hebrew word qavah' (remember Isa. 40:30-31) once again draws us to the place of faith and trust.  The overwhelming days of this journey will give way to the fresh new day of His mercies being renewed and poured out over us again and again as we purposefully and intentionally wait in Him.  

So, as this new year begins and the journey continues with a new calendar to plan and organize, take some time to REFRESH your commitment to Him and His purposes.  He has worked in your life as well as my life this year to show Himself faithful.  The rough days we have are safe in His hands even when we feel overwhelmed because we know the morning is coming.  Just as the passage in Lamentations shares with us, His mercies are new with the dawning of a new day.  The new year offers us all an opportunity to REFRESH our lives and our commitments to Him through receiving His new mercies and allowing His faith to grow in us as we listen to the Holy Spirit teach us His ways and His purposes.  

Click that REFRESH button and begin a new day with Him.  Start this year off with a fresh desire for His faithfulness to motivate faith in us to grow.  Begin this new calendar year with a commitment to follow obediently and with passion His will for your life.  Step out of the boat and go with God where He wants to take you in your daily journey, in your relationships with others and with Him into the fields of harvest all around you.  This year REFRESH that commitment to reach the world and teach the Word by offering up to Him your time, your resources and your abilities.  Join Him today as He guides your steps into His will and His purposes for your His heart and follow His hand!  

In His Grip,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Start Your Year Off Right!

In the first few days of this new year you and I must set the pace for our year with some critical decisions.  This new year has potential to radically change our lives and the lives of others around us for all of eternity!  The opportunities for serving others, sharing and showing the Gospel and intentionally joining God in His efforts to reach the world are exciting.  So, start this year off RIGHT and choose!

Choose to REFRESH your commitment to His calling on your life.  Each day we live out our lives in the middle of many other issues and stressors that demand our attention.  The daily grind of life sometimes distracts us from the real eternal matters at hand.  Over time the "worries of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things," spoken of in the parable of the sower (Luke 8, Matt. 13, Mark4) demand more and more of us to the point that we are no longer focused on the Kingdom things that once drove us with passion.  This January, as the new year gets rolling, take some time to reflect on His grace and mercy in your life as well as His blessings and gifts.  Think through the ways He has brought you through so much over the past few years.  Consider how the Lord has provided for you time and time again.  Take some time to REFRESH your commitment to the things that really matter.  Re-commit to His calling to reach this world with His Holy truth and His Gospel.

Choose to INVEST your time in the Kingdom projects and people God has brought into your path.  Henry Blackaby shared in Experiencing God that God Himself invites us to join Him in His work.  He is always at work around us and by joining His work, we join a Kingdom work that is far bigger and more powerful than anything we could ever dream of doing on our own!  Take the time to seek out His plans and His purposes and then INVEST your time, resources and life into these Kingdom things.  Choose to give yourself to the things that matter for eternity.  Intentionally place yourself in the paths that lead to His ways and His purposes being made known among all peoples.

Choose to GO this year!  The place that God is at work may surprise you.  He is working all the time all around you.  His calling on your life is to show and share the Gospel in every occasion of life.  This new year will you commit to pursue Him in every place He leads you and then obey His Word in each of those occasions?  Going to the neighbor's house to lend a helping hand.  Going to the church to teach young people the Word.  Going across town to tutor a young person struggling with math who has no father at home to support and encourage their potential to flourish.  Going to the little church high on the western plains to teach truth and show His love by feeding hungry people.  Going to the foreign context to support missionaries who have given up comfort and safety for the sake of His great name!  Whether it is near or far or anywhere in the middle, going this year to show and share the love of God is what He has called us all to do!

Choose this year to HELP those around you.  God has placed you in a community of people who have needs every day.  Those we work with and live life with each day have needs.  Those we run across during the daily lives of our children's extra curricular events have needs.  The people we live life with whose faith and family are very close to ours have needs.  The list goes on and on.  The Lord has filled our worlds with people all around us who have needs.  This year focus on helping those around you.  Pour into the lives of those whose paths cross yours and serve them.  Carry some meals to families in the midst of struggle or crisis.  Share coffee with friends to hear and help carry their burdens.  Serve those around you who have traumatic events unfold within their lives and need care and comfort though the rough days that follow.  Whatever the need, God has gifted, blessed and prepared you and me to show the love of God and share the truth of His Word with those all around us who are in need!

Choose this year to TRUST.  Trust in the sovereignty of God to guide the steps each day that direct and move each of us closer to Him.  Each day the Father is orchestrating events and paths and circumstances all around us to mold and shape our lives to be more like His heart.  The Lord is actively proving His love for you each day through His blessings and His provisions.  This year will you TRUST his heart and allow Him to take you to a place of faith and obedience that you have never been!  This can be a year for you and me to TRUST him with everything, even those things we've held back for quite some time.  You and I know the faithfulness of the Father as He has proven Himself trustworthy over and over again.  Now, let us live out that faith daily before a world in desperate need of seeing our faith through our works of obedience.  Let us accept the challenge of the Scriptures to take up our cross daily and follow Him in every area of our lives!

So, will you start this new year off RIGHT?  Will you REFRESH your commitment, INVEST your time and resources, GO to serve and share, HELP those around you and TRUST His heart?  It is time we as the Body of Christ act like the redeemed Bride we are through His blood and show His love and share His grace.  It is now that He has called us to let go of the selfish ambitions and grasp hold with both hands to the cross on our shoulder.  We need to walk boldly into the fields that are white unto harvest and work until He comes to get us or until another comes along to help us!  Let us look both directions to our elders for wisdom and an example and to our children for the motivation to press on faithfully.  Join me this year in seeking to live out faith as if every fiber of our beings is dependent on our faithfulness to His calling to REACH the world and TEACH His Word!
In His Grip,