Back in May, I wrote a post about the Holy Spirit. Lately, I have been thinking about what it means to live by the Spirit. Scripture tells us we must live by the spirit – so what does it mean to do so? Is being filled with the Spirit a one-time event? Is it a continual “filling up”?
“Then he said to the disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” – Matthew 9:37-38
We have been back from India for almost a week. The multitude of sight and smells are still resonating in our minds, and many special moments live on in our hearts! It was amazing to see how God used each person on the mission team in unique and wonderful ways. No one person was more important than another. During the trip we saw the needs: the need for prayer, and the need for financial support.
I often wonder why God placed me where I am at this particular time. Has that question ever crossed your mind? Why did he place me in the United States? I often feel guilty and find myself asking the question, “Why am I so materially blessed and others around the world less fortunate?”
encourage / in-ˈkər-ij / .v 1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten 2. to spur on; stimulate 3. to give help or patronage to; foster
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. — Romans 1:11-12
It seems like yesterday, almost two years ago, when I came to Cornerstone Church for the first time to welcome back a friend returning from his first short-term mission trip to India (2015) with Epaphroditus.
This friend recently moved to Iowa from Wisconsin with his wife and three kids. He left his family, lifelong friends, a good job, and all life’s comfortable conveniences because he and his wife felt as though God were calling them to go. And they did. They would end up in Monticello, Iowa, where his wife grew up and much of her family still lived.
Both of these acts—traveling to another country and the uprooting of a family—were courageous acts of faith, especially to me as an unbeliever at the time.
The mission team is preparing for our upcoming trip to India in February – whether for some of us it is a return trip, or for others the very first time – either way it is an answer to the call that Christ puts on our lives as disciples. That call is the same that Jesus commands us in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The call is clear.
Today we had a very full day! We had a childrens program where Greg gave a message and did a craft with the kids. We also gathered the orphanage children to give them gifts, pray with them, here them sing songs, and talk with them.
Then we had a convention believers meeting and I preached on the Gospel in Genesis 6.
After a quick lunch we participated in the graduation ceremony. It was amazing! To see these young men and women who are going to dangerous mission fields to plant churches, reach villages, and evagalize the lost was a hallowed experience. They are an incredible group of believers.
One young man named Jonada gave his testimony. He told about how he grew up in Pradesh and his father was a pastor. He grew up watching his father suffer so much for the Gospel that he decided that he didn’t want anything to do with it. He hated God for how much pain his family endured for Him. So as a teenager, he ran away from home to the city. He was living on the streets in this city when one night he was overcome with despair, loneliness, and hopelessness. At this moment he was sobbing into his hands when a missionary approached him. The missionary spoke to him about how Jesus suffered and died for him. He read from the Bible and he remembered hearing John 3:16. That very night he prayed to receive Jesus and today he was graduating from Bible college to become a pastor like his father!
I had to hold back the tears listening to his testimony and something tells me there were more testimonies like his in that group.
I had the absolute priveledge to give the convocation address. I read from Joshua and encouraged them to choose today, never to look back at the garbage this world has to offer, but to fix their minds on serving God. They have been called to the highest priveledge of serving the one and only living God.
Babu says were off to the next thing…got to go.
Peter was asked twice to follow Christ. The first time is the one we talk about the most. It is the fun one. Christ said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) In fact, it is commonly taught to children in Sunday School.
The second one is not commonly spoken of or taught. It is less kid friendly.
“(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, ‘Follow me.'” (John 21:19)
The question I have is, are we undermining the first request, by hiding the second?