Thursday, December 27, 2012


Happy holidays everyone!  Here is a quick update of where we are at and what is coming up soon:

January 6th: We will be presenting our ministry at Pine Grove Community Church.

January 13th: Mark will begin co-teaching an equipping class at CEFC on Sunday mornings at 9 A.M.  The class will be taught with Bryan Walmer and will last until May.  We will be covering the last supper all the way to the ascension of Christ.

February 19-26th: These are the tentative dates for our vision trip to visit Romania.  

The monthly committed support we need to serve full time is currently around 5%.  There is a link to view the map as it comes together on the side of our blog now, and we will be updating it as our percentage as it goes up.


Thank you to all who are faithfully praying for us and those who have partnered with us.  It is exciting that God allows us to be a part of what He is going to accomplish around the world!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas & God's Holiness

     Christmas time is exciting for so many reasons: time with family, great food, time to relax, and we get to celebrate the birth of our savior.  That is usually the order of things isn't it?  Family, food, …Christ.  It is so easy to do this because we forget what salvation is about.  What is salvation?  It is usually explained as, “Well, God loved me so much, that He sent Jesus to save me from my sins.”  When explained like that, what is salvation about?  It’s about me.  It’s about what I want, what I need.  It is any wonder then that we spend Christmas doing what we want to do?
     This view point on salvation has a major oversight.  We overlook God and who He truly is.  Whenever we tell people about God, we tell them the things that they want to hear.  God loves you.  God wants a relationship with you.  God sent His Son Jesus to die for you.  If you accept Him as your savior, He will save you from hell.  Accept Him?  God needs OUR acceptance? The Creator of the universe is begging for us, His creation, to choose Him?   Our picture of God we create is a man centered god, a god who bases all of his actions on mankind. 
     Is this really an accurate picture of God?  Why don’t we tell people the story of Uzzah when we talk about God?  First Chronicles 13 tells the story of when David became king.  He decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant, Israel’s most sacred vessel, back to a central place in Israel.  The ark was a wooded chest, covered inside and out with gold.  It had four golden rings on its corners so that it could be carried with poles.  The ark was made exactly as God had commanded.  It was symbolic as the throne of God.  In the tabernacle it was kept in the Holy of Holies.  Before David’s reign as king, Saul had taken it to battle and it was captured by the philistine army.  It had been returned to Israel, but it had remained on the outskirts of the country in a small village.  So when David became king he said, “Let’s bring it back to Jerusalem.  Let’s put God’s glory at the center of our nation.”  So they put it on a cart pulled by oxen and guided it towards Jerusalem.  It was such an extremely joyous occasion.  David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.  Then suddenly one of the oxen stumbled.  The ark slid a little and looked like it might fall off.   Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark so it wouldn't fall into the mud.  Then it says that, “The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark.  So he died there before God.”
     Frustrating story isn't it?  Preaching about that story probably wouldn't draw a crowd would it?  Where is the God’s love in this story?  Where is His kindness?  His patience?  This story is hard for us to comprehend because it offends our definition of justice.  The punishment doesn't fit the offense.  Uzzah tried to do something good, keep the ark from falling in the mud, and he was struck dead for it. 
     To understand Uzzah’s offense, we must look back at what God commanded Israel’s priests when He gave the instructions for the creation of the tabernacle.  He told them that these items were dedicated to the Lord and that they were holy.  The Arc of the Covenant was not to be touched.  For that reason God had it built with rings so that it could be carried by poles.  God specifically said that those carrying it cannot touch it or they will die!  It was Uzzah’s duty to carry the ark.  He knew he was never supposed to touch it.  Let’s ask the question of why was it on a cart to begin with?  Why weren't they carrying it like God had commanded them to? 
     When Uzzah reached out to touch the ark to keep it from falling into the mud, it was an act of defiance and arrogance.  He knew it was supposed to be carried with poles—he put it on a cart instead.  He knew it was never to be touched—he touched it.  Why did he touch it?  To keep it from falling in the mud.  In his mind he thought that his hand was less polluted than the mud.  He felt he was cleaner and more holy than the dirt.  But does dirt disobey God?  Does mud ever arrogantly defy the commands of the Holy God?  Never.  Man, on the other hand, has the audacity to think that he is wise enough and holy enough to defy God’s commands at it will turn out okay.  The Holy Ark wouldn't be polluted by dirt; it could only be polluted by sinful man’s touch.
     Our Christian culture is offended by this story.  “He just disobeyed once.  Why couldn't God just forgive him and tell him not to do it again?  How could God do that?”   These are probably common thoughts.  We don’t understand biblical stories like this because we don’t understand holiness and justice.    We don’t understand that to be holy means to be completely separated from sin.  Holiness can have NOTHING to do with sin of any kind.  God hates sin.  God hates it when mankind becomes so arrogant that he thinks he knows better than his Creator.  God hates it when someone thinks just this once won’t matter or that it’s not a big deal.  Defying God’s commands is spiting in the face of the all powerful, all knowing Holy Creator. 
     Now look back at the story of Uzzah and his act of arrogant defiance against God’s commands.  God said, “You touch it, you die.”  He touched it, and he died.  That is justice.  He received the punishment he deserved.   
     Why is God’s justice so offensive to us?  Because we feel like we don’t deserve it.  We were told God is loving and merciful, so we expect that those are His only qualities and that He has to extend mercy to everyone.  But God is holy.  He hates it when we defy his commands, and He is just, meaning He HAS to give punishment when punishment is deserved. 
     That is what is so amazing about Christmas.  God Himself became a man, to take our punishment for our defiant disobedience of His commands.  He humbled Himself and became a human being.  He came to earth to take upon Himself the holy wrath that you and I deserve.  That’s not justice.  We defy Him, and He becomes a man to take the punishment Himself.  That’s humility, that’s mercy, that’s God, and that is what Christmas is about.  God coming to earth to show us once again, that only He is truly worthy of praise and honor.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vision trip to Bucharest, Romania

      Jamie and I are now, Lord willing, taking our vision trip to visit just Bucharest, Romania in late February.   We are excited to visit the city and the team there.  After we take the trip and meet the team working there we will have an even clearer direction if this is where God would have us serve full time.
      Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is a city still recovering from years under communist rule.  Its freedom from the communist regime began in 1989.  However, its dynamic growth since 1989 has swept many people into prosperity while leaving a large proportion of the population marginalized.  Some of the population that has been pushed to the side are the orphans in the city and victims of human trafficking.  
Part of the ReachGlobal ministry in Bucharest is focused on working alongside Romanian Christians developing new strategies for getting local churches involved in ministering to the least-loved people in Bucharest.   Some of the people groups considered least-loved include street kids and those who are at high risk for human trafficking.  A second ministry that the ReachGlobal Bucharest team is developing is Missions Mobilization.  This ministry is focused on working with local churches helping to train them to better equip missionaries being sent out to the least-reached parts of the world.  A third portion of the Bucharest team serves and teaches at Bucharest Christian Academy, a Christian K-12 school primarily for missionary, business and diplomatic families living in Bucharest. 
The Spirit of God is beginning to do amazing work in Bucharest.  While the evangelical church is small (only 1% of the population of 2 million), it includes many young people with a true passion for Christ and willingness to obey.  God is building up the body of Christ in Bucharest so that they can be a light to Bucharest, the rest of Romania, and the uttermost parts of the world.

Thank you for your prayers as we begin to make plans to visit Bucharest!!

Also, if you don’t already receive our newsletter and would like to, just click on the link on the right side of the blog.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prayer and the body of Christ

     Since our acceptance into ReachGlobal, prayer has become a much more vital part of our lives.  For starters, last Friday was my last day working at Target.  It was a decision that took a lot of time and prayer, but we both felt that it was the direction God wanted us to go.  My main priority now is developing our team of prayer and financial partners.  Quitting was a difficult decision for us to make since Jamie will continue to work, but obedience to God is more important than the security two paychecks bring.  Obeying God always seems to place us in a position that feels vulnerable but actually is the most secure and safe place possible.  None the less, vulnerability causes us to pray much, much more.  
     While I was praying this week, God brought to mind one morning years ago when I was going to Bible college in Wisconsin.  At the time, I was trying to get more involved in my church and trying to get to know more of the guys in the men’s ministry.  Therefore, I decided to go to a men’s breakfast.  I had to get up at 5:20 A.M. and drive a half an hour to get there.  That, in itself, was a huge feat for me at that time.  In addition to getting up early, I also had no money.  I didn't know how I was going to pay for my school bill in the upcoming weeks, and I had zero spending money.  Regardless, I felt the Lord wanted me to go.  So I got up and began the 30 minute drive.  The entire way there I prayed, “God, I have no money.  I know I could put this on a credit card, but I wouldn't have the money to pay for that.  Any money I do make this month will go towards my school bill.”  I prayed the entire way there that God would provide.  When I got out of my car I walked around looking to see if God would provide a $10 bill blowing in the breeze to my feet.  He didn't.  :)
     At the restaurant I ended up sitting with a couple men from my church that I hadn't met before.  We spent a good amount of time talking about my desire to do missions in the future.  As it turns out the guy I spent most of the morning talking to was the mission’s pastor whom I had never met before.  After eating the bill came.  He reached across the table and took my bill as well as his.  I thanked him several times for what he did but was more shocked by what he said.  As we walked out the door he told me, “It was weird.  This morning on the way here I was praying and heard the Holy Spirit tell me, ‘You are going to pay for breakfast this morning.’  ‘But God’, I said, ‘I already know everyone there.  Why would I pay for their breakfast?’  So when I walked in this morning and saw you, I knew I was supposed to pay for your breakfast.”
     Our God is amazing, and He answers prayer.  That $5 breakfast taught me that God delights in seeing His children provide for other members in His family.  Thanks to all your prayers this month, we have seen God directing our steps and beginning to provide the finances for our trip to Eastern Europe in early 2013.  It has been exciting to see the the body of Christ wanting to partner with this ministry and with the goal of seeing God glorified all over the world.

With prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.  Ephesians 6:18

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Psalm 44

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days, in the days of old.  You with Your own hand drove out the nations; then You planted them; You afflicted peoples, then You spread them abroad.  For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them (Psalm 44:1-3).

     We all know the Biblical accounts of how God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt and gave them the Promised Land in Canaan.  While they were still in Egypt, God’s mighty hand brought plague after plague upon the Egyptians.  Before the last plague Moses records the words of the Lord saying, “‘At midnight I will go throughout Egypt.  Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.  But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’  Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Exodus 11:4-7).
     The principle is this: God makes a distinction between those who are His children and those who are not.  Israel was freed from slavery and led into the land which He gave them by His right hand and His arm and the light of His presence.  It was for their good, but also for His glory.  God did what He did for Israel so His name would be praised not only among His children, but also among those who were not His children.  At Jericho Rahab saved the two Israelite spies and said, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:10-11).
     As children of God, our lives are to speak testimony of the greatness of our God.  Those who are not in God’s family are to look at our lives and fear the Lord and praise Him.  Our actions should never be the focus, what God should always be center.  In the same way that Israel was saved from slavery to Egypt, God also saved us from slavery to sin and the domain of darkness (Romans 6:17; Colossians 1:13).  Instead of praising the Lord for what He has done like the first half of Psalms 44, many times I find myself living in the second half of the chapter.  Instead of praising God for all He has done and will do, I get wrapped up in trials and tribulations in the here and now. “Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, and do not go out with our armies…You have given us as sheep to be eaten and have scattered us among the nations.  You sell Your people cheaply, and have not profited by their sale.  You make us a reproach to our neighbors…You make us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples…” (Psalm 44:9-14).  Instead of getting caught up in our circumstances and trials we should continue to fear the Lord for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.  Fearing the Lord is more than reverence and respect; it is reverence and respect that leads to action.  “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13).  As His children we are to stand firm in our faith, flee evil, continue to seek His righteousness, and continue to trust He will use these trials for His glory.  “All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, and we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant.  Out heart has not turned back, and our steps have not deviated from Your way” (Psalm 44:17-18).
     Romans 8:36 quotes Psalm 44:22 which says, “But for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  Many people quote the latter half of Romans 8 emphasizing that nothing, “Neither death, nor life..nor powers, nor height..nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).  Praise God for that!  But also praise God that, “For Your sake we are killed all day long.”  Suffering, hardship, and trials endured for the glory of God are cause for us to rejoice.  “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24).  Everyone who was not at the crucifixion of Jesus did not see Him patiently endure His suffering, but God has allowed the body of Christ to be used “in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.  What “is lacking” is that the world today did not see Christ, who for the joy set before Him, patiently endured suffering on the cross.  Therefore God has allowed us, the Body of Christ, to encounter hardships and suffering so that we can be a glimpse to the world of Christ has done for us.
     God brought all this to mind this morning not because I am encountering suffering but because I was discouraged.  A couple things didn't happen the way I wanted them to, and I felt like God wasn't coming through for me.  He used these passages to remind me that, as His children, our greatest joy in life is that we can be used by Him for His glory even through something as small as our response to a minuscule trial.  In every trial, big or small, we need to stand firm in faith and pray with confidence to our Lord, “Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Your loving-kindness” (Psalm 44:26).  We can have confidence in the midst of any hardship that, "He who watches over you will not slumber" (Psalm 121:3).  Godly perseverance leads to joy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bless versus blessings

     One thing that the Lord has been teaching Jamie and I lately is the importance of praising Him and thanking Him.  As we getting closer every day to leaving for the mission field, I realized that I am praying significantly more than I used to.  However, my prayers have been consumed with requests, struggles and questions.  “Lord, please raise up partners for your ministry…Please comfort me during this time…Where should I be focusing my time and energy?”  God has constantly been drawing me back to the phrase “Bless the Lord.”  

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion, who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”      Psalm 103:1-5

     Most of my prayers over the years have been built around my desire for blessings.  Blessings are not just limited to material goods.  I want to be blessed with an abundance of money so that it will never again be a concern.  I want to be blessed with certainty of future plans knowing exactly where we will end up going so that I can plan and prepare.  I want to be blessed with constant comfort so that the stresses of life won’t get to me.  Most of my life I have prayed because I wanted to be blessed.  More than anything else I have wanted Him to pour out His goodness on me, and thus I spent my time asking Him to. 
     So when I heard the Psalmist’s words ring out, “Bless the Lord”, I was a little confused.  My understanding of the word bless has been limited to blessings. For example, “The Lord blessed us by pouring out blessings on us.”  I couldn't comprehend what it meant to bless God.  Looking into to it revealed that our word blessings is related to the Hebrew word berakah which means a gift or present.  Our word bless is related to a barak which can be translated as bless or kneel.   “Bless the Lord” is the image of a man kneeling in awe and respect while singing praises to God.   
     A blessing Jamie and I have recently received is that our prayer cards were printed for free.  Jamie contacted a printing company she deals with at work to ask for a price quote for printing our cards.  She sent an email with our prayer card template and told them she appreciates working with them and that the material they printed for her work had generated a lot of business.  The next day the owner of the company emailed her back saying they would love to use her quote for marketing and would print our prayer cards for free.  God is good.  Free prayer cards are something I never would have even thought of asking for, but God provided it.  All we can do in this situation is bless His name.  Thank you, Lord, for being a good God.  May we make it a priority daily to bless Your name first and foremost. 

Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rescued for what?

The newly accepted ReachGlobal missionaries

     The interviews and application process are complete.  We are now officially missionaries with ReachGlobal!  Our newsletter will be sent out in about a week filling everyone in on what is next for us.  Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement!  Jamie and I are super excited about where God will take us and about being a part of what He is doing around the world.  God has been preparing us for years, and He is still working on us daily.
     This time, to save money, we decided to drive to the interview in Minnesota instead of flying.  Before we headed out God brought to mind one of our last blog posts about everything being for the glory of God’s name.  I really felt the Lord telling us, “You can pray for safe travels, or you can see what better things I have planned.  Do you desire safety and comfort over the opportunity to have My name glorified?”  So instead of praying for safe travels we prayed, “Lord, in whatever happens we ask that you would glorify yourself and allow us to be excited about what you are doing.”  Thirteen hours of driving later we were sitting on the side of the road with a smoking engine.  Of course the VERY FIRST thought into my head when I saw the smoke is, “I should have prayed for safety."  
     Instantly God really began working on our hearts reminding us that He is sovereign and in complete control.  “Take comfort, I am going to glorify My name through this,” He constantly whispered to me.  It turns out we could not have broken down in a better place.  We had just gotten out of 2 hours of bumper to bumper traffic in Chicago, and the next day’s drive was through the Wisconsin and Minnesota wilderness where towing companies would be limited.  We broke down about a mile from an auto repair shop; and a rental car company was across the street.  Also, we had gotten a financial gift the week before we left that ending up covering the cost of our car repair.  God is good.  
     As we were waiting for the tow truck, Colossians 1:13 came to mind.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.

What were we rescued for?  For comfort on this earth?  For an easier life?  For safe travels?  Or were we rescued for His glory and our own good (which many times we don’t understand)?  As we sat waiting, I had complete confidence that God would use this ordeal for His glory, but I began to feel regret for years of misguided prayers.  I wonder how many times God wanted to glorify Himself through my life and yet I prayed contrary to what He wanted to do.  A passage that comes to mind is Acts 9 when Saul is blinded by God on the road to Damascus.  God tells a believer named Ananias to go to Saul and pray for him.  Ananias was afraid to do this because Saul was coming to Damascus to persecute Christians, but God tells him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake" (Acts 9:15).  
     God is beginning to show us all the hard times that will come as we serve Him, but He is graciously weaning us into it.  God used mono to guide us back to Pennsylvania and teach us about listening to Him, and He used our car breaking down to teach us about trusting Him.  For years I have been more interested in being comfortable than glorifying God, and now He is showing me that a false sense of comfort isn't true security.  Storms and hard times are meant to blow away the sand so we see that there is only one true rock on whom we can rely.  We wouldn't have wanted our trip to go any different than it did, because now our journey to the mission field is more securely placed on the only secure Rock.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interviews again!

Tomorrow we will begin our trip to Minnesota for the second stage of interview with ReachGlobal.  The first three days (Saturday through Monday) are when the interviews will take place.   If, Lord willing, we are accepted, we will spend the rest of the week at ReachGlobal headquarters for new member orientation.  Please be praying that during our travels and our time in Minnesota we will glorify God in all we do.  Thanks for all of your prayers and financial support during the application process.  Many of you have been a huge blessing and encouragement to us during the last few months.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

For the sake of His name

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; 
Yes, wait for the LORD.  (Psalm 27:14)

      This is the answer we thought we had received from the Lord.  Some hindrances came up during the application process with ReachGlobal, and it appeared the Lord was slowing the process down.  It was difficult news to receive, but God constantly kept working on our hearts asking, “Don’t you think I know what is going on?  Don’t you trust that I am in control?” 
      As it turns out, this month we are still heading out to ReachGlobal headquarters for the last stage of the interview process.  We don’t have to wait at the moment, but God did open our eyes to a more accurate picture of His divine sovereignty and plan.  Verse after verse kept being brought to mind about the God we serve:

Our God is in the heavens; He does as He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it? (Isaiah 43:13). 

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ (Daniel 4:35).

      After wanting to head to the mission field for so long, I (Mark) struggled at first with getting the answer “wait”.  I was willing to accept it after talking with the Lord about it, but my initial response showed I had a huge issue in my heart to give to the Lord.  Although I never would have said or admitted this, I was holding to the unconscious belief that walking with our Lord and listening closely to His voice would lead to ‘smooth sailing’ to the mission field.  He graciously reminded me of Isaiah’s call into ministry.  Isaiah was given an awe-filled vision of our Holy God in His Glory, and it led Isaiah to exclaim his own unworthiness, “Woe is me!”, and then to exclaim his willingness, “Here am I.  Send me!”  God’s response to His willing servant, “The people I send you to won’t listen to My message.”  “How long will they refuse to listen?” Isaiah asks back.  “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the land is utterly destroyed” (Isaiah 6). 
      Have you ever thought about this passage and applied it to foreign missions?  God calls someone as His servant, but before Isaiah even starts the ministry God tells him, “FYI, almost all of them will never listen.  They are going to be destroyed.”  The first part of this story is used often in order to excite people about the call to missions, but they never get past Isaiah’s response of, “Here am I. Send me!”  Much of American missions has become, “You give your life.  You go to the ends of the world.  You go tell the lost so that you can lead them to Christ.”  A lot of people like me first went into ministry thinking that because we are willing to go to the mission field God will bless our ministry by leading people to Himself.  But the premise behind this is unbiblical. What this is actually saying is, “If I am faithful, God MUST bless the ministry with what I define as ‘fruitful results.’ 
      This is exactly what I still believed.  I defined what I thought the fruit of my faith and service should look like.  What God reminded me is that it isn’t about ‘smooth sailing’ and seeing the ‘fruit’ that we so desire.  God does what He does for the glory of His name. 

Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, that He might make His power known. (Psalm 106:8)

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. (Psalm 23:3)

For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. (I Samuel 12:22)

For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.  (Psalm 25:11)

For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48:11)

Here is the true smooth sailing and fruit we are promised:

And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.   (Mark 13:13)

But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.   (Luke 21:12)

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.   (Matthew 24:9)

      For the sake of His name God does what He does.  God does what He does for His glory.  Let us stop assuming how we think God will work or should work.  Let us squelch the belief that what we define as ‘fruit’ somehow gives God more glory than what He has ordained to happen.  We can be confident that the end results of faithful service to God will be glory for His name, but in our lifetime it may never look that way.  Though we may have goals and desires for our ministry, let us never make our desired results the driving force of our ministry.  If we do that then we will end up discouraged and feeling as if God had let us down.  Let us change our focus to be like the brethren in 3 John 1:7.  Let us also “go out for the sake of the Name” and “whatever we do, do to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) We can be confident that, though it may not look like it to us, God is in control and is bringing glory to His name.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting to know ReachGlobal

We are back from Minnesota from our interviews with ReachGlobal! It was encouraging for us to get to know the mission better as well as to understand their in-depth evaluation process. The first day was allotted for us to take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). According to Wikipedia, the internet’s most likely source of true facts, the MMPI is one of the most frequently used personality tests in mental health. The 564 question assessment looks for trends and patterns of thinking in a person’s life. Overwhelming would be an understatement of how we felt after the test, but when they went over the results with us we definitely saw its practicality.

Day two could be summed up with the title “Get to know ReachGlobal.” We definitely enjoyed gaining a better understanding of the mission’s philosophies and operations. Their philosophy of ministry is presented in a book written by T.J. Addington, a Senior Vice President of the EFCA, entitled “Leading from the Sandbox.”

The idea is that a sandbox has four sides which hold the sand in place. The sides are what keep the sand contained. When carrying this concept into ministry, each missionary is given the opportunity and freedom to function in a way that will be most fruitful. However, Reach Global has put into place guidelines and principles that keep each missionary’s ministry focused. Some of the guiding principles are:

· We are Word based and Spirit-empowered
· We are team-led and team-driven
· We empower personnel
· We measure effectiveness
· We are a learning organization
· We resource for maximum ministry effectiveness

In addition to the guiding principles, Reach Global has a couple other ministry values that are put into place to keep their missionaries focused.  Their mission statement is:
We exist to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people.”

Along those same lines, another focus is:
We are committed to healthy people, living in healthy community,
training healthy leaders to multiply healthy churches.”

Since that statement was confusing for Jamie and me, let me explain it to you.  The commitment to healthy people is a focus on making sure that the missionaries are in ministries for which they are suited AND that they are in a growing relationship with the Lord.  Healthy community means that they are dedicated to building teams that work well together instead of randomly placing missionaries in a country they chose.  Training healthy leaders is a new idea for most mission organizations.  Reach Global has changed their focus from American missionaries going overseas to do the work of evangelizing the lost.  Their new focus is having their missionaries go to countries with the goal of training that country’s national church to do the work of reconciliation.  All of this is for the goal of establishing healthy churches that replicate the early church instead of planting little American churches all around the world.

We were both super excited to hear how Reach Global operates and how, Lord willing, we could be a part of this mission in the future.  The way the process works now is that we must wait for an invitation to the next step of becoming a member.  If Reach Global leadership feels we are ready to join the mission, then we will be invited to go back to Minneapolis for additional training at the end of September.  If, Lord willing, we are accepted into the mission, then we will be considered Reach Global missionaries by October 3rd.  Please be praying for wisdom for the Reach Global team who are evaluating all of the possible missionary candidates this week.   

Allentown, PA airport at 5:30 AM before our flight.

Since Reach Global the international mission agency of the Evangelical Free Church of America, its headquarters are located within the headquarters of EFCA.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Interview with ReachGlobal

Jamie and I will be flying out to Minnesota next Wednesday for our interview with ReachGlobal.  Reach Global is a Christian missions organization backed by the Evangelical Free Church of America.  For more information on the organization visit

  •  Please be praying that God will continue to give us wisdom to know if ReachGlobal is the vehicle God wants to use to get us to the mission field.  
  • Please pray that we would glorify Him as we go through the application process.