As director of a non-profit ministry sometimes the most difficult thing to do is to know when to tell people about needs and to ask for their financial help. I personally get tired of hearing people asking over and over again for financial help, so I certainly don't like being the one who becomes that burden to other people! Yet needs...
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Jesus said "...And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." I never worry anymore about clothing or food or basic needs for myself. I could stand here and say that is because I have fully learned to trust in God as my caretaker and provider, but that would be a lie. I don't worry about these things for myself because I am abundantly blessed with too much in this life. Sadly I have not learned this art of trust as well as some like those who About-Face Missions is called to support. I rarely get opportunities like the people and pastors that AFM help monthly with buying food, clothing, medicine and other basic needs so that they can live productive lives for the Lord. This is part of our calling. Yes; we also help send them funds for Bibles, evangelistic outreaches, and discipleship needs. We feel both are critical to really love like Jesus loves. But I fail at times to trust in God like some more faithful ones do. So many we have chosen to partner with live on the edge and have learned to lean on Jesus like I never have. Men like Samson Walala, Kennedy Simiyu and John Tino in Kenya, sister Norah Nakabugo or Buyinza Daniel in Uganda, pastor Daryl or Christopher Samonte in the Philippines, faithful humble men like Manikumar Gude and Nagavath Ganesh in India, or Ram Bahadur BK in Nepal or Munir in Pakistan. These people, their wives and co-workers are those who I see as men and women in God's hall of fame! Men and women of faith and perseverance and trust in Christ. Kennedy Simiyu, for instance, hopes in God much better than I. I wished I could say I was a spiritual giant for Jesus, but sometimes I feel I am so far away. God allowed one of our larger monthly donors for AFM Mercy School to have significant business slowdown, so we lost that $500 a month support for who knows how long. My heart was aching for weeks over how we can make up for this huge loss, and what to do. Were we to lay off a couple teachers and send some kids or workers home and cut way back? That loss is about 1/3 of our monthly school budget! I was praying for God to come to the rescue and send in some extra donors and funds to help make up for this, but frankly I was worried and getting heartsick over it all. I mentioned to Kennedy that we probably would not be able to continue our medical care preventative treatments for the kids, lay off the doctor and likely some other workers, and ration food by giving the kids less to eat. I was sad having to tell him all this as we came up on the last day of the month this past weekend. After all, for the past two months every couple days Kennedy has been telling me that they desperately need funds for buying cloth so the ladies can start sewing new uniforms for the kids. It will take about $900 to buy enough material to create uniforms for all the kids just to have one new outfit for the entire year. He asked about us raising just $300 so we can get started with the most needy ones who are without a uniform or the most tattered... But I have had to say we cannot, because we don't have enough even for the basic food and medicine budgets.
....But Kennedy kept telling me not to worry, trust in God and he will provide! It's easier said than done by one as so used to being self-sufficient and spoiled as I. My energy and hope was fading and I was growing less and less willing to even tell people of the needs anymore, because of the little to no responses. My own personal debts have been rising too fast lately due to last year's weddings and expenses and I felt too financially squeezed to give any more personally without digging myself deeper into a financial hole... I was sinking in my hope, thinking maybe God wants us to change course and abandon what we are doing in Kenya. Also on my mind was how do I pay for another trip to Kenya this April to encourage our brothers and sisters as planned to help build them up, when I am feeling so low myself and under too much worry and stress. Then on top of this, my Ugandan adopted son Ronald Mutebi sent me a message that the group of College students he leads on Evangelism missions are heading off to western Uganda on a Church planting mission where his friend Joseph wants to pastor a mission Church to an unreached group. He said they are short about $400, but really need $250 to buy local language Bibles for this mission next week! Oh this is so much where my heart is and I wanted so badly to say yes we will send you all that money, but my heart sank knowing all the other shortages we have in personal and AFM financial means. We didn't even make up for our overdrawn funds from last year and started in a deficit because December giving was down a bit.... **Sigh** So I told Ronald I would pray about and and seek the Lord's will. I lifted it to God, somewhat halfhearted not thinking He was really going to provide. See? See what little faith I have sometimes....SMH.
I don't tell my wife about every need and thing that comes along in AFM business because I have to "regulate" how much time I devote to AFM so she won't feel deprived of my love and affections for her. I do tend to get consumed in my projects and passions. But I decided to tell her last night that our finances were tight and that Ronald was really needing at least $250 for Bibles to help reach these tribal people in Western Uganda on his Makerere University BCOM mission trip he was helping lead. I told her I wanted us to seek the Lord if there was any way we could cut back on something else and help this immediate need. I told her this while we were sitting around watching TV Sunday night. During some commercial break she disappeared upstairs and came back down and handed me 2 one hundred dollar bills with this goofy look on her face and said, "Here! I tucked this away for a rainy day when I had extra knowing that one of our kids would come asking for help with something. So our kid in Uganda needs it, send it to him!" HA HA! Wow, I was thinking we could squeak out another $150 or so by me emptying out my change jar of coins I had saved up, but now we could more than meet Ronald's minimum need! Hallelujah!! Then Monday morning Kennedy sent me some photos of the teachers working and the kids at our school to encourage us (above is one of them taken this Monday), and yet I was still cautioning him that the food and medicine money would likely be very short this month... But he kept faith and said God will provide! Amen. Yes I love my brothers faith, it too encourages me when I am weak. So I had to say, "We will trust in God to provide!" What else could I do. Then today I came home from work. I opened the mailbox and found an unusually large donation from one of God's children of guess how much! $500! The exact amount we were short from the other person who had to suspend their giving! Whoohoo! Praise God! All I can say is THANK YOU JESUS! Our God is good!
I sit here typing with tears hearing Jesus say to me "O ye of little faith, trust in God, Don't you know how I dress the lilies of the field, how they grow? They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if I so clothe the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will I not much more clothe you and those you love?"
Yes Lord. I am listening. I believe. Help me with my unbelief!
AFM friends and family. We still have many needs. We don't have all the days ahead of us all figured out. We still must trust in God daily, monthly and yearly; but there is no better place to be, than fully standing in his grace, leaning on Jesus! God is working and will continue to work with or without us, but the cool thing is He will bless others through us, if we just hold on to faith and keep doing our parts... blessings untold will be ours! We have the privilege to enter into God's glorious works...and rejoice full of hope and life!
God bless each one of you! Let us rejoice and press on for His glory and love!
PS... Thank you to all who have been involved in helping us love all 130 or so little ones at our AFM Mercy Foundation School and helping make Jesus Christ real to so many impoverished little ones and families in Western Kenya. We are saving lives both physically and eternally! If you want to help us meet our future needs through monthly or one time gifts please visit our website for ways to give. http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/donate to to learn more about our school ministry visit this link http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/ourministries/mercy-school There is a lot of need in the world, endless really...but we together can make a real difference in some lives and see the smile of God in our own hearts and lives.
Incomprehensible, Great and Glorious God,I adore you and lower myself. I approach you mindful that I am less than nothing, a creature worse than nothing.
My thoughts are not screened from your gaze. My secret sins blaze in the light of your countenance.
Enable me to remember the blood of Christ that cleanses all sin, To believe in the grace that subdues all iniquities, To resign myself to that agency which can deliver me from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!
You O God have begun a good work in me, And can alone continue and complete it. Give me an increasing conviction of my tendency to err, and of my exposure to sin.
Help me feel more of the purifying, softening influence of pure religion, Its compassion, love, pity, courtesy, And employ me as your instrument in blessing others. This I know is my purpose here on earth.
Give me to distinguish Between the mere form of godliness and its power, Between living and the source of life in Jesus, Between deception and truth, Between hypocrisy and pure religion that pleases your eye.
If I am not right, set me right; And may I always come into your presence in peace and the joy of knowing you, my Lord.
Adapted from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers. 'New Beginning'
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.(James 2:13 ESV)
God has gifted me as an evangelist. There is no greater joy I have in life than telling someone of my great Redeemer Jesus Christ and seeing them come to trust in him. About-Face Missions ministry is the Holy Spirit's result of my and Jim Balls passion to see the world come to Christ and fulfill our purposes in this life. While our primary goal is, and always will be, to get the good news of Jesus told to as many as possible before we die, as ones who have received so much mercy and grace from God in our lives, we are driven by Christ's love to help also in physical ways where we are able. In our travels around the world, we have encountered some of the poorest of the poor, and the mercy of God in us compels us to show them mercy likewise. This two pronged approach of preaching the Gospel and helping the needy, especially those of the house of God, will always be a balance we will struggle with. We need to spend time and money to get out the message of the Gospel, but we also need to spend time and money to help the poor and demonstrate the love and mercy of God in us and for them. This passage reminds me to not give up, turn back, or slow down. God's rewards are much more than what the wealth of this life can ever give. It reminds me also that we cannot preach the Gospel without meeting needs when we have the means. How hypocritical that would be!
The context of this Scripture from God in James above is in showing honor and loving kindness and help to the poor among us and not showing favoritism to the wealthy, the better off, those who may be more pleasing to us for some fleshly reason. We read these scriptures and think at times how evil of a person to give higher honor to the rich man who comes into our presence and likewise looking down our noses and treating the lowly, less attractive, and poor ones as somewhat less... but this carnal nature is alive and well in most everyone of us today. And as a follower of Christ, this fleshly desire must be put to death daily! We all have been guilty of this to some degree and it must stop. God's word is telling us to be merciful to the poor among us, for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Bride of Christ is primarily composed of these poor people in this life. Do you think God will be merciful to you it you treat his own Children with contempt? Think about how you live your life. Do you primarily show honor, mercy and kindness and to those who can "benefit" you in some way? Don't be so quick to say no. Most 'Christians' live like this unaware, even when they say they don't, and only give their crumbs to the poor. If God exposed your monthly budget and spending, would we all see a life of self sacrifice of giving to those who cannot give to you any return in some way? Even the American churches fall under the indictment of God's judgment in many ways like this. So much spent on self 'needs' and so little on the poor kingdom workers around the world. God sees it all my friends. Don't be deceived.
We must examine our lives, wake up to our selfishness, repent and start changing the way we live. Don't let your culture be your god. That is idolatry. You follow Jesus, even if few around you do. Love the 'naturally' unlovable, and those you don't even 'know'. Reach out of your comfort zones and find them. Don't you see how unlovable you were before God rescued you? He reached out and found you. Love is intentional, never lazy and complacent.
God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners... unclean, ugly, dirty, defiled, rebels fighting against God... Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
Now, if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, let's get more radical in how we live for Jesus. "Fear not", God says, "For I am with you"! (Isa 41:10)
Today I am reading, meditating on this passage of scripture, 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
This Scripture is so full of hope and passion and joy! It goes on revealing that it is being written to suffering Christians everywhere, yet when we look at our immense blessings from God, even among our suffering for doing good in following Jesus, everything in this life seems silly, insignificant and petty by comparison!
Oh the joy that floods my soul as I am reminded by God's Spirit whose I am ! Amazing grace, and such security I have knowing that it is God himself storing for me an imperishable life; an imperishable body. It's really being saved for up for each one of us who by faith believe and follow Jesus as Lord! The day we truly repent from sin and choose to give our hearts to Christ, we spiritually cross over from death to life (John 5:24), but this sin struggling and decaying body we still keep, and have to learn to make submit to God's will. Oh the struggle of that daily task at times. Some of us even are experiencing much unwanted physical pain and suffering because of messed up bodies, some are suffering because of your identity in Christ and choices to follow him, thus facing world given hardships. Let us have no doubts about it following Jesus will cost you dearly in the this world ruled by Satan and the flesh of mankind. But the joy of knowing who I am, who I belong to, and the joy of walking in the light of God, by faith in Christ, is so much better, so much worth it all! I just wish all my dead walking dead zombie human friends around me could taste and see you that the Lord is good ...then take sure that step of faith and turn to Jesus. It literally takes a miracle. It takes you and me walking in the light so they can see The Light even exists. It takes our steadfast love for their souls, showing them there is only one way to Life, and that is in Jesus. It takes worn out knees, praying for God to the turn their dead zombie like hearts of stone, into hearts of flesh. God must make the dead alive, we cant do you that part; so let's do our part and live Christ around them and love them enough to tell them the truth, even if you that disturbs them or causes them to not like you. How evil of us on our part to live in fear and say nothing. God forgive us for the times we have sinned by that act of ommission. Let us see the joy of our reward stored up by our Father in Heaven and invite many to come join us. Yes, many will decline, but many will accept when they see the love of Jesus in our eyes and hearts. I head to Africa in a week to work with my many east African pastors and fellow Christ servants in Uganda and Kenya, and God will save many, because if only we are willing to go and share Jesus, God acts and responds with salvation. The problem is God gave this responsibility to us. So we must go, or any they perish, and their blood is on our hands. Think about this. It's serious. So for all who read this, pray for Holy Spirit intervention in the lives of those who will hear the Gospel so the halls of heaven will be filled with ones like me, undeserving , but SAVED by grace! You go today, and this week also to your Africa's next door and in your towns and share Jesus. The zombie like lost are waiting on you. How will be they hear unless someone "preach"...each on us are called to be the proclaimers of the the Lords Gospel.
Come soon Lord Jesus, and find us faithful to the end, no matter what.
Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.- Heb 9:14
Without trusting in Christ for your cleansing and purification, you would be too unworthy to even say a praise of Adoration to God, much less expect a prayer to be heard and acted upon by the Holy Creator God. Seek Jesus Christ as the very Son of God, and his salvation offered by his pure holy blood shed in love for you. Know Christ and you will know God. Jesus said, "I and the Father are One" - John 10:30 God is Father, Son and Spirit. One God in essence, 3 in person-hood.
But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. -James 2:8
This sums up the commands of God for us toward our fellow man. This is easy to do to those who love us, or when it doesn't demand any real sacrifice on our part. But real life doesn't always go that way. Sometimes your life is busy or demanding, or financially stressed with more needs than resources. Then someone you love dearly has a crisis, and you have immediate ability to meet that need, but it will put your wisely planned out resources and budget to get blown up and leave you in need, or unable to stay in a secure place. What do you do? Worse yet, someone you are not emotionally or lovingly close to has a need and you see it and can meet all or part of the immediate need, what do you do? Do we pass them by, because it may put us in debt and force us to work harder and longer to recover than we desire or planned? Do we pass over the need because it may impact our ability to fund our immediate or long term plans or retirement "properly"? Do we walk on by like the Jews of the good Samaritan story not helping the person in need because we don't want to be inconvenienced; or we want a nicer car and can't afford a new car payment and sending an extra 10, 50, 100 or 300 dollars a month to help fund an orphanage or feed hungry and hurting Pastors, or feed the poor people who need to see the love of Jesus in action before they can see his offer of Salvation? What do we do? Needs abound, so do we just pass them by, or do we dig deeper, cut back more on self, and invest more in others and less in personal pursuits? What does loving you neighbor as yourself look like for you? Is it a life of giving mercy to others that takes from your own resource pool of mercy and provision?
We can choose to avoid seeing or acknowledging needs, turn a blind eye like those who passed the beaten and robbed man on the road way to Jerusalem, or we can stop and render what aid we can. We can all do something. It's better to do all you can to save a few, than nothing, and keep on walking. God has blessed you. What will you do?
God has blessed me more than I deserve. I really believe this, so I choose to prove it by giving more and more back to those in need, even when it hurts to do so. Not just talking about it, but doing it. This is why I invest much of my time and money in the poor and for the Gospel message of Christ, and have partnered with Jim Ball to make it easier for others to join us in doing exactly this. Loving our neighbors who are in the greatest of need around the world. Join me at http://www.aboutfacemissions.com or on our Facebook page and help us help more and reach more for Jesus. https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceMissions . Even as hard as the road may be at times dealing with the troubles and problems of others as well as your own, the resulting rewards and new life friendships and bonds of love that form from your efforts will last forever. Joy unspeakable will come though Christ to you, and have you saying, "why did I ever even hesitate?". I know this, I struggle daily with these questions and find stepping out in faith for Jesus always has immense rewards beyond my human reason.
Greek transliteration "thrēskos"- fear or Worship of God, "religious" If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. - James 1:26
Oftentimes we see James 1:27 quoted, since it tells us what pure religion or rather the worship of God looks like. Naming the loving and caring for the needy and helpless, as in the widows and orphans who tend to be the most overlooked among us. But rarely do we pause to listen to what God is telling us in verse 26 that leads up to the truths of verse 27. Today in western society we have a distaste for the word "religion" or "religious" because we have seen many hypocritical abuses in religious traditions. In reality religion and religious are not bad words, they just seem to come with a lot of baggage and so many wrong ideas come to mind when using them. This word for religious used here by James is the only instance of this Greek word thrēskos in the Bible, which is typically translated as religious in most translations. But a quick look up of the word in Strong's Greek concordance (G2357) says it means literally the fear of or worship of God. So a better way to translate this passage that would not carry the mental blockage it does to many people would be like this: If someone thinks he fears and worships God yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his worship is in vain. (And on to vs 27) Pure and undefiled worship before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unpolluted by the world. (James 1:26-27)
So if you call yourself a Christian and do not control your tongue, (Which could mean; using crass or course speech, vulgar or foul words or joking; saying things intentionally hurtfull or mean without a loving or constructive purpose; saying things to tear people down rather than leading them to life; gossip; saying things out of place; speaking too much and listening too little, etc..)the Bible says here that your worship of God is useless, in vain, pointless.
God has always been one who doesn't just look to your uncommitted emotional and trivial appeals from your heart, but who weighs your heart by how you act on it. Faith is not a momentary feeling, but action on truths trusted as from God. By faith we are saved, but by actions we prove our faith. How do you live out what you say you believe? Is it a selfish faith or a surrendering, dying to self to serve God and others faith? 1Sam 15:22 says this; "Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as he does in obedience? Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice; paying attention is better than the fat of rams." God never changes. He still requires obedience of us. He saves us so that we can obey.
Today many of us fool ourselves into thinking we are following Christ and worshiping him, because we have emotional moments in Church when we sing praise and worship. I tell you pagens do likewise in their idolic worship of their loved music stars. They are more moved in their emotional adorations to their favorite music artists and the entertainment minded worshipers of football, baseball, basketball or soccer are more passionate about their team playing a game than most Christians in worship of their God. What makes a true religious person, a true worshiper of God, as in this context of Biblical truth?
Someone who doesn't just say they follow Jesus, but puts feet to their faith and gives sacrificially to others. That is love, the kind of love the true Spirit of God puts in a child of God. If in introspection you think maybe your worship of God may be a bit vain and meaningless, which I think all of us fall into at some level (we all are works in progress ), then do as God leads us in the Psalms. Seek cleaning from God, and ask him to help show you the right paths to make more worshipful steps in your life, repenting where needed, and giving more to Christ and others. Don't trust your own heart but trust it to God and live for him. Search me O God, and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts. See if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24) Make this your daily heart cry to Christ. Then watch God make your way pure. Worship is what you do with your life, not just a song you sing on Sunday.
Enslaved are not set free by ambivalence, but by loving intervention. True love purposes to rescue those in need. If you are aware of some injustice or hurting person, or someone trapped in some horrible or dangerous situation, and you have the means to help them, even at some risk to yourself, would not human compassion within you move you to intervene on their behalf?Sure it would, you would at least try to help if there is even an ounce of goodness in you. Something more horrifying than a person in distress is someone who sees them and passes them by without rendering aid, either out of selfish ambivalence, hateful pride, or unwillingness to get their hands dirty, or fear, even when they had means to render aid. God hates cowardliness in people. That is one of the most despicable things I see and often hear about in humanity, and yet it happens all the time. It's abuse or murder by neglect. We live by what we really believe, not by what we say. Our character is determined by our actions not our words. So we must honestly examine our actions. We need to ask ourselves, "Do I really care about my fellow man, or is life all about me and my comfort?". Yet even the most vile of humans will do nice things for those who will do nice things in return, or good things when it's convenient. But true goodness will force you to leave your comfort zone and go confront people who even otherwise think they are in no danger. If a dam broke upstream and you saw a home full of people who you knew were in the floods path, a decent person would do what they could to warn and help that family. An evil person would do nothing. Do you ever warn people of God's impending justice if they don't turn from sin and to Christ?
Jesus Christ sent us out to warn people of God's impending judgment and that his wrath is about to be poured out and could happen any moment on anyone. Do you remember some of his first words of his preaching? "Repent and Believe for the kingdom of God is at hand." The tower of Siloam in ancient Jerusalem fell on many people and killed them, and Jesus was asked if those people were being punished for their sins against God because they were greater sinners than them, do you remember his reply? (Luke 13:4-5) He said, "unless you repent, you too shall likewise perish". You see, he was telling us that every man is in danger of hell fire and deserves to die. As Scripture says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after that judgment". (Heb 9:27) We who are saved by Grace are so enamored by God's love we forget at times that the lost do not live under God's favor and Grace, but under his condemnation and wrath. Yes all humanity experiences some of God's providence for a time, but they are still enemies of God, given just opportunity to seek him. Jesus did not come to earth the first time to condemn us, we already were in condemnation, but he came to save. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The lost is everyone separated from God's divine Spirit because of imperfections of sin and on path to eternal destruction. That includes everyone born since Adam. For all have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. (Romans 3:23). Our standard to meet is perfection; God is our standard. We must not just speak of Gods love as though it is a take it or leave it thing with no consequences of rejecting it, because Jesus will return again not as Savior, but Judge and conquering Lord to all who live in rebellion to God. Revelation 19:13-16 gives us a glimpse of his awesome return. "He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." This King Jesus will come and call his people to his side but for prideful, it will be a dark day. Do you really believe this? If so let your actions prove it.
But are we people who really believe what the Bible reveals about God and our crimes and unholiness before him? Jesus came as a Rescuer, he is the God who Saves. This is the meaning of the Hebrew name Yeshua, Jesus in Greek. His time of human intervention was a great sacrifice on his part. He came as God, humbled in the limited form of a man, he faced ridicule and shame to help us relate to God and identify with us becoming intimate with our sufferings, and most importantly to rescue some of us who would take his saving hand by faith, trusting his offer of salvation as God among man; our Emmanuel. Jesus being perfect God and perfect man, took upon himself willingly God's wrath over our sins and shed his blood becoming cursed for us hanging on a wooden cross. He being God rose from the grave proving his power over life and death, leading the way for humanity to see how imperishable life with God will one day be for all who trust in him. Today Christ Jesus offers life to all who are under Gods curse, by freely applying his blood payment for their sins and rescuing them from death and the enslavement of Satan and certain hell fire. All we must do is repent from sin and turn to him to save us. That is it. For it is by God's grace we are saved through faith, that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, so no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9) ....But while many of us have made claim to this salvation and claim we are Christian, which means a Christ follower, our actions say otherwise. Many people seem to "buy into" Christ as some life insurance add-on. They do this by trying to say a sinners prayer or go through certain motions to have "salvation" but don't really turn to Jesus as king of their life, nor forsake and fight sin. They sort of want to follow Jesus, but not really. They lack saving faith that cries out from their heart "Jesus Son of David, Save Me!" You know a Christ follower by their follow through. Saving faith radically changes you from the inside out as the Holy Spirit births God's life in your once dead spirit. To enter the kingdom of God, Jesus said it clearly, "you must be born again". So if you do love God and you follow Jesus you will have also a love for your neighbors and you will lovingly share truth and warn them of their danger before God apart from Christ as Lord. You will work hard and smart to rescue the perishing. In Luke 10:1-12 Jesus gives us the model of how to reach those perishing apart from God. He sent 72 disciples out into the villages to share the Gospel of peace and for us to intentionally invade their world with God's love, doing acts of kindness, and healing and blessing people showing God's amnesty offer, looking for the ones whom the Holy Spirit is drawing to Jesus. Then once finding them stay and disciple them and teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. Yet also he prepares us for the certain rejection that also will happen. Take back your blessings and leave them in the hands of God warning them that God came near and they rejected him. So as to leave them with clear knowledge of the severity of their disbelief. Truly Jesus said later in Rev 21, the unbelieving and cowardly are the first mentioned that are destined to be cast into the Lake of Fire where the pain never ends.
So, as you go about your days, is your life consumed with your work, fun and entertainment or one of many other earthly pursuits? Or does your love for Jesus drive you to think and act daily about how to help more lost people find life in Christ? Do you pray for hearts to be softened for Christ, and do you work to tell others about God's holiness, sin, hell, heaven and salvation in Jesus . You can and should be doing this personally to those you are able, and also helping his people, his Church, to corporately do this kind of mission work around you and all over the world. You were created, saved and left here on earth to be missional in intervening in peoples lives and waking them up to the truth. No matter how happy they may seem in their life or the risk of upsetting them and them not liking you. No, I'll tell you what, what a shameful day it will be for you and me when they walk off the cliff of life into hell and we didn't say anything before it was too late.
This is your mission and mine. Let's do more intentionally today. Don't wait for them to come to you asking how to be saved, that rarely happens. Go to them. Rock their world. Some will hear and be saved. God has put this responsibility in your and my hands. If you think I'm nuts. Listen to what God says in Ezk 3:18
"If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths."
Rick Warren in his recent teachings about missions just wrote "God made us to long for adventure" in his design for us to follow the Holy Spirit into the most unusual of places seeking to share the gospel. I know what he means! Yet these adventures do not come at no cost or not without pain and suffering. The costs are enormous, sacrificing all my vacation days every year, all the income most people use to buy nicer homes or nicer cars or nicer "vacation excursions"... The literal costs are high indeed. I have been on a few trips in my recent years and I have come back mauled from bugs and infections...nearly killed by being run over by a boat load of 13 Oxen that badly bruised my shoulder and nearly broke shoulder but filled full of pain. Other times had my expensive phone broken and shattered along with other belongings lost, damaged or destroyed, endured many hours of cramped and painful long trips wedged in tight cars, buses, taxis and way too long of air flights and jetlag, boat rides, and huge heavy Amazon loaded canoes loaded down that run out of fuel and go adrift on the river forcing us to paddle with sticks for hours on end...haha. Times of enduring of extremely hot and scorching sun and humidity carrying cargo and supplies to help the hurting and care for our teams, preaching and teaching in remote places not much fun to get to, putting my health and life on the line with potential sickness and disease eating things that are "very" questionable back home....on and on and on it goes.....yet... God empowers me each and every time for these great Adventures for him. Somehow HE always pulls me through and people get saved and the Church gets built up and people encouraged! Yes following the Holy Spirit can be a bit scarey for those unwilling to fully trust God, because He will take you places you otherwise would have never ever gone, and you will learn what dying to self entails, but in process you will reach people who never would have been reached, had you not gone. This is our calling. Yes it is an adventure, not a burden, but a love thing for Jesus Christ, and a work of the passion of God in us. But if we were to look at it all through man's eyes, some see it as a vacation adventure, which it "aint"! Yes there is some fun we make of it along the way... haha! But it's a lot of sacrifice! It's a lot of work and planning and difficulty. It is not easy following Christ!! But it is much better than staying in 5 star hotels or visiting the nicest safaris or seeing the most attractive and amazing tourists sites, or living in luxury. While staying in dumpy motels or living in mud homes with no power or running water or going poo poo in holes in the ground, I have found the greatest adventure of all that this life can afford... the adventure of following Christ and his Spirit living through me. God my Creator uses me to flow into the lives of willing and open hearts of people for the gospel love of God! It is an adventure! Yes, just not an easy one. But... it is the most glorious one that will bring the greatest tears of joy to your eyes that you will ever experience! Jesus said come and follow me! Let all his people say and "do" a big AMEN with our lives by going and doing what he commands, no matter what! Come with me, commit to stretch yourself from your comfort zone in following Christ and lets go! I am leaving for Africa mid November and Lord willing India and Pakistan end of February of which is plenty of time to still go. Think about it and pray and ask God to send you. Will you be like the prophet Isaiah who heard God calling out for someone to represent him, and his cried out. "Here am I Lord. Send me!
Jim Ball and I started About-Face missions as a way to help us better organize our passions to follow Christ in our lives. He and I met while both recently having a fire put in our bones by God to change our lives and start doing more to see the Gospel proclaimed and people saved all over the world. Being small budgeted middle class Americans, with very limited means, we asked God to use us and send us where ever he wanted us to go. He showed us through some short term mission trips that we can affect much in poor undeveloped countries even with very little financial resources compared to what we Americans had come to expect. Even a single person like me or Jim can do much for the kingdom of God around the world, if only we are willing to sacrifice some of our "American" lifestyle and go and give. We saw so many needs in Africa, India, Pakistan, Philippines and all around the 10/40 window being unmet, that we could not simply do nothing any longer. God clearly called us to go and be his ambassadors of Christ and to help encourage and inspire others to partner with us and take average every-day people who love Christ, and organize them into a connected and involved support system to those indigenous followers of Christ, whom God is using to do his ministry work of helping others find Christ and meeting many of their human needs along the way. Our goal is to be obedient to Christ in making disciples of all people groups, teaching them to obey all he has commanded as we know this is our job as the Church, God's collective saved in Christ people. God choose to task us with reaching all people groups and as Christ said, then the end will come. The Church age will end and Christ will return in his full glory as Judge and Ruler of righteousness! Our desire to see this happen is burning strong in us as we don't want to be people who just say we believe, but live as we really do believe. So this is why both Jim and I press on hard to focus on what more we can do to reach the unreached peoples as much as possible, while not forsaking the obvious places where the Holy Spirit is greatly working and calling us to go even outside unreached groups. All people need Jesus so our mission is to reach all to become fully devoted followers of Christ. For now, God has provided me a great career that provides me plenty of income and up to 6 weeks of vacation, so it works well for me to fulfill my job as Missionary for Christ and Co-leader of About-Face Missions. While I would love to go work with our partner ministers more than 3 trips a year, for now this is what God has me doing. Yet for Jim, it seemed clear to both Jim and I that his job was really limiting his ability to server God effectively as Missionary and Co-leader of AFM and so we both agreed God was calling him to step out from his corporate career and move full time into missionary support and work. As of this month of Septermber 2013, Jim Ball has done just that. By the provision and grace of God we have acquired enough support for him to make the move. Yet his monthly pledge base is still needs a significant more percentage, God has provided enough of a cushion of one time donations to fund him for a while. Yet moving into the less familiar ways of relying on God to provide more directly ones income is always a step of greater faith. So pray with me for great blessings on our President of AFM Jim Ball as God works among our ministry and our strategic partnerships with our supported ministries overseas and our supporting foundations and ministries here to help us! Pray for the last of Jim's support base to commit to being his and About-Face Missions partner. We all are the universal family of Christ working all together for the common goal of living for Jesus and bringing as many to faith especially giving those who never really had opportunity to have it. God loves all peoples, and so do we. When I see that we have Churches, supporting ministries like MLE Ministries, and Showers of Blessings Foundation and so many individuals coming alongside us to help us carry out the missions of Christ it brings such great joy to my heart! In turn we are able to share these blessing to our supported pastors and evangelists who are leading thousands upon thousands to faith each and every year and feed the hungry, help the sick and care for the hopeless and hurting. God is good indeed.
To learn more about About-Face missions visit our website http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/ or help support our work with your loving offerings to God. Our donation page and sign up form is here also. http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/Donate
Always your prayers and interaction with us and our pastors is welcome live or via messaging on Facebook, among our pages and groups. Start by visiting our Facebook public page and there you will see links to our private AFM group for those who are serious about being a prayer or financial partner and want to see more of what God is doing. Here is that link. https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceMissions Lastly, if you want to do more towards helping with the great commission to reach the unreached and to support Missionary Jim Ball in the process, even if all you can sacrifice is about $10.40 a month, we highly encourage you to commit to do just that. Be a part at least at this level and help us really get the message out to those who never had real opportunity to receive the life saving message of the Gospel. Our partner ministry has set up a $10.40 monthly online donation auto charge option for you to join us called the 10.40 priority. We call it this because the 10/40 window of the world is where most these unreached people groups exist. Visit the 10/40 site here. http://www.mleministries.org/1040Priority
God be glorified in all we do as we make much of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! Amen
Here the youth minister at Kennedy's Tulumba village Church was a time of much excitement among the children. AFM's first group mission to Kenya, Africa last year in May seems like a thousand years ago, but was just last year. As I think and plan more intently on God's will for myself and our AFM mission to Uganda and Kenya coming up in November, I am a bit anxious to have this trip all settled down as to God's purpose and desire for us when we arrive. I guess that is the human nature side of me to feel always in control, but I know following the Holy Spirit is more about trusting God and allowing him to work through us simply by being obedient to his call, even when I cannot see clearly the paths set before me. Pray with me that the Lord will help me take one day at a time as I desire for my life to be useful in the hands of Jesus my Savior. May God bless my Kenya friends!