Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Haiti? Why Serve? Why Missions?

Follow the link and listen to one of the BEST sermons in history. This is why we want to count our lives as cheap. This is why we want to love what God loves. His joy is our pursuit and worth any loss it requires. This is the battle on our hearts - the battle for our worship. What is the object of our affection?  This is the war on your heart as well.  We were made to worship - to delight with increasing measure.  We were made to know and enjoy God.  Forever.  But sin enters the story and this world is broken.  Now we struggle to delight in everything but God.

The things in this world - the seen world seems so worth our effort but (by the miracle of the Spirit) we see God in the Word.  We see the DELIGHT that He is.  There is no comparison.!  We realize that He is THE SUPREME TREASURE we are made to worship.   He is the reason we are here. 

Oh that we would not get entangled in the treasures (little /t/) in this life but run with all our might for the increasing joy of THE TREASURE - Jesus Christ! He alone satisfies.

He loves the world for the glory of His Name. He loves the poor - for His glory. He loves the lost - for His glory.  He loves His enemies - for His glory.  He loves the sick and the broken for His Name and so I do too because His Spirit is revealing to me that my joy is only full in HIM and this is Who He is - for His glory.

I do hope you enjoy the fascinating truth captured in this sermon.

Passion for the Supremacy of God, Part 2

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What does this sort of living look like?


I read this on two other blogs and I'm reposting here.
What would my life look like if I resolved, by God's grace, to live this way?
What would the church be if we lived like this?


The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards


Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

Overall Life Mission

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.

Good Works

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

Time Management

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

50.Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51.Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

Relationships

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Suffering

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

Character

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14′ and July ’3′ 1723.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

Spiritual Life

Assurance

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

The Scriptures

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Prayer

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

The Lord’s Day

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

Vivification of Righteousness

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found inSaturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

Mortification of Sin and Self Examination

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination.July 4, and 13, 1723.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Communion with God

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

Aug. 17, 1723

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Secret

I looked at the sun coming up this morning out of our picture window. The scene out of that window is amazing. Sitting up on a hill, our rented home gives us a great view. The hills and trees are very green. The corn is coming up quickly.  We watch sunsets and sunrises. Storms do not catch us by surprise. It has been pure grace for God to let us live here.
Looking over the landscape from our house, enjoying a cup of House Blend, the obvious occurs to me: we are only passing through. This is not my home! Literally. This house and land and view don't belong to me. I am a temporary tenant. My days of looking out of that window are limited. One day soon I will wake up and will not see what I see this morning.
In that moment the words of Paul said to me: "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."
The secret: God is my strength. "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

My home, security, and strength cannot come from 79580 Road 445, Broken Bow, Nebraska.
My home is not Broken Bow! Or McCook. Or Minneapolis. Or Scottsbluff. Or Omaha. Or Port Au Prince, Haiti.
The secret is not found in a place, but a person.
The man Christ Jesus.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A letter from our Haitian friends!

Below is the most recent update from our ministry partners in Haiti. I thought it might be beneficial to see some of the work that is happening in Haiti through Christian World Outreach through their perspective. It was written by the Haitian national missionaries.

June 10, 2011


Dear Friends and Family,


We greet you in Jesus’ name, our Lord and Savior. We give praise and glory to the Lord for what He is doing for Grace Evangelical Assembly, our church located close to the border in Ouanaminthe. We appreciate so much the effort of the team from Hawaii who came so far to work on the project to help our brothers and sisters at the church in Ouanaminthe. And we thank all people who contributed to help financially to start with the dig of the foundation of the church last month. To all of you thank you so much for letting God use you to encourage us by your prayer and support of the ministry of the Gospel at this church in Haiti. We pray that this newsletter will find you well and in good health. We want to take also this opportunity to share with you how God is faithful to the church in Ouanaminthe.
We started this church on the first Sunday of August 2007 with 40 people. Now the church meeting is over one hundred people. We want to share with you this following report received from our pastor there. It was on Saturday, March 19, 2011, when the engineer, the masons and the pastor of the church met at 7 a.m. on the church land in order to lay the foundation of the church building. The church members received instruction from the engineer to dig the foundation and implant the pillars of the church. After one week, they had completed with the masonry. But, they stopped with the work because the foundation took more money than they expected. According to the report from the pastor of the church, the church has $849 USD of debt.


We ask you to join with us to praise the Lord for what He has already done for the brothers and sisters in Ouanaminthe, and to continue to pray that the Lord will provide for the need of the construction of the church building at Ouanaminthe.

 

Starting to dig the foundation of the church.


Progress on foundation of the church.


Church meeting on the Sunday after the foundation was completed.


Church meeting on the Sunday after the foundation was completed.

Rigaud Saint-Amour
Pastor - Grace Evangelical Assembly

Joel St Amour
Haiti National Director - Christian World Outreach

Marie St Amour
Feminine Training Center

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beyond this mountain...

Deye mon, gen mon.
Beyond the mountains, more mountains.
-Haiti Proverb

taken from google images

With a heavy heart we're praying for the people in Haiti where a very ordinary day is filled with struggle enough.  The rain and mudslides just add an incredible overload.  

 "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord.  The earth is Yours - singing...Holy, Holy, Holy LORD.  The earth is Yours." -gungor



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reflection

There is always so much to take in and process.  It takes time.  Time that is woven throughout our regular daily life.  Time to pray and linger over the Word in order to put the pieces together.  It comes in stages — like waves and here is one area of thought...

The Lord is distilling my motive to serve in Haiti.  I confess that when I set to do good — evil is close at hand.  I'm often so doubly minded.  (I'm sure I don't know the half of it.)  A sense of dual purpose when surrendering to the Lord isn't really surrender.  I know this and yet I'm always learning.

While cruising around Haiti or spending time at the Center I saw something new.  I saw my impoverished state.  The essence of poverty is broken fellowship with God.  Physical and spiritual destitution is a result of the Fall.  Their situation and mine aren't so different.  We are human together.  Humans in desperate need for a Savior.  Apart from Jesus - I am totally depraved.  Totally.  Completely and utterly poor.  Helpless.   Poverty then is not attractive or adventuresome.

I must admit that from the States it has a "good" (maybe even a prideful and naive) ring to it, "Helping the poor."  However, the reality of fighting injustice is hard, (and a whole bunch more adjectives) uncomfortable, fierce, messy, overwhelming and exhausting...UNLESS He is the Supply.  He alone makes it possible, rewarding and even beautiful!

My Dad loved his garden.  He was there every chance he got.  Every year he planned, labored and enjoyed his work.  And I loved my Dad.  I liked being with him and always knew where to find him.  I learned to love what he loved so that it enhanced my enjoyment of him.  Early I would find him in his little oasis. 

Similarly, my God lives and loves in certain places.  His Word tells me where to find Him and how to delight in Him.  He's working in the garden; bringing whole restoration - SHALOM.  He's planned, labored and enjoying His Kingdom through the finished work of Jesus.

Towards the end of the trip and since we've been home - I see Him in Haiti.  Like I see Him in His creation: the church, the galaxies, the ocean, my children, my husband, a growing family, etc...  I see Him with sinners.  I see Him with the poor.  This is my God.  He cares for the poor.  If He didn't then I could not testify.  He loves sinners and heals their wounds.  I know this to be true.  He calls His children; adopts them into His family and makes them disciples of all nations.  His all sufficient, transforming grace makes all things new.  He breathes hope and life into the emptiness.  I love that about Him!

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."  2 cor 8:9

I want to work with Him.  The more I'm with Him the more I want to be with Him - at whatever cost.  All that He requires His grace supplies.  Yes, He is refining the call.

"Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore." ps 105:4