Daniel and the Global Encounters team in Columbia have been very busy (and have had limited internet access), but we have been able to piece together a report as follows:
“God really blessed today. The sessions went well. We ended the evening by speaking at a meeting for families who are homeschooling or thinking about it. Had a fun discussion “panel” with Daniel C, Daniel D, and Brandon.”
[March 24th – Elizabeth]
“Wrapped the teacher/parent Seminar Incredible time Good conversation w/ the people God is working n hearts” [March 24th – Daniel]
“Already preached four timein the last three days. Amazing stuff though. Working in a non-Christian school now. Pray.” [March 26th – Daniel]
“It was really hard to leave the school that we were working at. God really used us to minister to the kids.” [March 28th – Brandon]
Yet to come…
March 29th through April 1st – Four days of working at an orphanage for former street kids. They will be doing our summer camp program right there at the orphanage.
April 2 – The team flies home
Be sure to continue following the action on the team’s blog.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about the righteousness of God. Most of us are very familiar with Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes…” But it is the next verse that is so telling and which states what I believe is the theme of Paul’s letter. “For in it [the gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed…” (v. 17) In the gospel, God displays His righteousness. The better we understand the gospel, the more clearly we understand God’s righteousness (and vice versa), and the better we understand God’s righteousness, the more we appreciate the gospel.
The gospel is not, in the first place, about making people feel better about themselves, fixing their finances, making them better parents, or fixing their marriages. These are often a result of gospel application, but they are not its primary purpose. The gospel is about displaying before an unrighteous world the glory of the righteousness of God and drawing those with a hunger and thirst for righteousness to Him. It is about man’s need for a righteousness greater than his own and other than his own. In fact, man’s righteousness is not enough because he has none. Men are sinners without distinction and without dispute (Romans 3:23).
It is in the gospel that the deepest and most important need of humans is met. The righteousness man needs is offered and provided in the gospel. What God demands (perfect righteousness) He provides in Christ and the gospel.
So verse 17 of Romans 1 sets the stage for a glorious dissertation on the need, the application, and the demonstration of God’s righteousness. This is not theory but intensely practical. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”
That the generation to come might know Christ,
We’re excited to present the first installment in our video series leading up to Passion4Christ 2012!
Now that you know what Go looks like for Bri, What Will Go Look Like for You?
[This video is also available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/39051773]
Passion4Chrsit 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
We’re exited to announce Vision4Living’s forthcoming video series: “What Go looks like for ______________”
Leading up to Passion4Christ 2012, we will be posting a series of videos by brothers and sisters in Christ describing what “Go” looks like for them.
Stay Tuned. Be Inspired. Spread the Word. GO!
Passion4Christ 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
Human perspective is like being on a submarine. All is underwater and if you look out the window, all you see is blackness. God’s perspective sees beyond what we see. We can compare His perspective to a periscope. He sees where the submarine has been and where it is going. He is not limited in his perspective as we are. Romans 3:8 says … “All things work together for good to them that love God to them which are called according to his purpose.”
I used to cross-stitch a lot. If I showed you the wrong side of the cross-stich, it would be compared to our perspective of life. There seems to be no pattern to the underside of the sewing. But if I turn the stitching over, we see God’s perspective is much larger.
Just as we can now see the design of the threads, God can always see how the circumstances and difficulties of our lives work together to conform us to His image. God is doing the stitching! Aren’t we glad! Psalm 139:16 says… “Thine eye did see my substance yet being unperfect and in thy book all my members were written which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.”
If I pick up binoculars and look through the wrong end, there is no focus because everything is so far away. I’m afraid most of the time in my life it’s like I am looking through the wrong end of the binoculars. Ever had days like that? But, when I do it God’s way and look through the correct end, things come into focus and God brings things right up to me! Romans 8:24-25 says “For we are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
I think the reason I love Esther in the Bible so much is not that she was so beautiful and charming that the king chose her. It is not that she was clever in the way she got what she wanted out of the king, by wearing her best gown and standing in the right light. She could be passed off as just another dizzy dame… If it weren’t for those 5 little words “If I perish,” “I perish.” That’s when Esther expressed her magnificence! Esther had no idea what God was going to use her for. All she knew to do up until that time was to be a woman – the best woman she knew how to be. Perhaps she didn’t even know she had it in her to say, “If I perish,” “I perish.” I think women in their frantic search for self-fulfillment and identity today is a failure to stop and look at God’s overall plan for their lives as women.
Perspective changes both our view and our attitudes. A writer, Marilee Horton, says: “I must accept the limitations that are forming me into what God called me to be.” My limitations may be mundane, not glamorous or noble – something a maid could do. I must commit myself to look at the opportunities and limitations of family, home, washing, cleaning, illness, etc. and see them as the sun, rain and food that will grow me into what the Lord has designed me to be. We must not become women who have lost the overall perspective of God’s plan and are looking for significance rather than magnificence. Sometimes we may not see the whole picture until we are in eternity. I think of Mary, mother of Jesus, who said: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Little did she know that in that moment of her magnificence that she would watch the Lord die on a cross a cruel death. Now that she is in eternity, I am sure she sees the whole plan of God.
There are many stages and deaths in the life of a tree and in the life of a woman. Each death gives was to a resurrection of a new life, periods when we can start over. Thank heaven for the starting overs.
In John 20:3-8, “Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple [believed to be John], and came to the sepulcher. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came to the sepulcher. And he stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet he did not go in.” The word used here means “to see with his eyes”, notice, just to see. “Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lying [there].” The word “seeth” here means, he saw and paid attention to. “And the napkin [cloth], that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.” The word saw here has a different meaning. It means understanding. When Peter went into the tomb His perspective was from a human perspective. But, when the other disciple looked and saw again he had a Biblical perspective! I like to call it an ahh-ha moment!
The perspective was biblical and spiritual because the next verse says “For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” The perspective was understanding who Christ was. The Messiah, the Savior, the bigger picture!
Now I take that cross-stitch picture on the beautiful patterned side and put in in a frame. God wants to take us and frame us in His word and make us a beautiful design for His glory as godly women.
The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian. But the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to him of all that I am and all that he wants me to be. – Elisabeth Elliot.
As someone who has worked in the financial services industry, I am familiar with the concept of building personal wealth and the transfer of wealth from one generation to another. As the first decade of the 2000s began there was virtually nothing but optimism about the financial future. I heard in one meeting that we were about to witness the greatest transfer of wealth ever seen. The 80s and 90s had seen unprecedented financial growth. It was certain that the 2000s would be a great financial decade.
But the 2000s did not unfold as predicted. The market and IRAs went south. There was 9/11 and the war on terror. What most thought would be a financial boom was a boondoggle. The great transfer of wealth became the great disappearance of wealth. The truth of Proverbs 23:5 was vividly illustrated. “… Riches make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle to heaven.”
Of course we know that it is unwise and even unbiblical to ignore the financial future. We should make wise financial decisions for the present and the future. But this is not where certainty and security lie. There is only certainty and security in eternal things. And the one thing that is certain and unchanging is the gospel.
The one thing we must not fail to pass on to our children and their children is the gospel. As we learn to live the gospel, as we embrace and proclaim the gospel, as we passionately follow the Christ of the gospel, we leave a lasting legacy and an inheritance for the generations to come. The gospel is not merely a free ticket to heaven; it’s about new life in Christ. As I heard one man say, “We never move beyond the gospel, just deeper and deeper into it.” The gospel is about the love of the holy God for sinners. It is about redemption, forgiveness, grace, mercy, forbearance, justice, and righteousness. It is about the reality of these things lived out in the lives of those who know the saving power of the gospel. And it is ultimately about the glory of God in these things.
As you live these things before this generation, as you passionately embrace Crist and His gospel, you leave a lasting inheritance. We cannot decide for the next generation, but we can model for the next generation a life transformed by the gospel. “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” (Proverbs 13:22)
What will we leave to the next generation?
That the generation to come might know Christ,
Tornados are a blessing. The very statement itself flies in the face of our modern humanistic way of thinking. No god, who is good or loving, could possibly allow such a travesty to happen. I mean, we might concede to the fact of it happening to a city like Las Vegas but not a city in the quant small rural towns of the Midwest and South [borrowing from a thought by John Piper]. Especially not those places which are filled with such “good” people. This can often be the feeling that comes from both those who call themselves believers and those who don’t. Further, believers can even be guilty of finding the “good” in a “bad” situation as though they have to make God look good. This attitude, however, finds its roots in a profound misunderstanding of who God is and how He works.
We live in a fallen world. We often forget that the sorrow and pain that we see and experience is a direct result of the curse after the fall of man [Gen. 3:1-19]. In the middle of all, the struggles of humanity is sin.
Yet God has not left us without hope. He sent His son into this fallen world to redeem His own from the destruction of sin [John 3:16, Col. 1:11-14]. In all truth, we are living the grand demonstration that God has planned to bring glory to Himself [Eph. 3]. And yes, even the suffering in which each of us finds ourselves – to whatever degree – is a part of that grand demonstration. God’s word tells us that even the evil in this world is a part of the cosmic demonstration of God’s glory [Ps. 19].
Then there is the age-old promise that God works all things for good to those who love him [Rom. 8:28]. And this is true. We as believers rest on this promise when times are bad and so we should. But fundamentally, is there a difference between the “good times” and the “bad times” that we receive from God? We often view it that way. Is it possible that they both could be equal blessings from God?
I am reminded of the book of Job where every imaginable “bad thing” came upon Job [Job 1:16-22]. His friends tore at him with accusations that his suffering was all because of something he had done wrong somewhere, somehow [Job 4]. Yet, God’s word tells us He was a righteous man [Job 1:1-5]. Then there is Joseph. Here is a man who was given a raw deal at every turn. Yet at the end of it all – as His brothers stand before His throne in shame and petition of forgiveness – He gives a response so profound we often overlook it: “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” [Gen. 50:20] Wow! Did you catch that? Joseph had a grasp on how His God worked. Even the evil – cause by man who is responsible – was meant for good.
We must grasp the significance of God’s grand demonstration. He is working all things for good both now and for eternity. He even uses disasters to soften people’s heart to the gospel and to mobilize the church to share it. So, maybe tornados are a blessing after all. Let us take the hope of the gospel to the hurting in times of trials and as believer let Paul’s words be our mantra:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Cor. 12:9&10]
Be not moved away,
Definition of a Landmark: something familiar or easily seen, used as a guide; important fact or event that stands out above others; building, site, historical, having importance.
If I showed you a picture of the Eiffel Tower you would immediately think, Paris. If I showed you a Bust of Lincoln, this marks a time in History – the Civil War in America. If I showed you a picture of the Gateway Arches you would think – Saint Louis. The Statue of Liberty stands for freedom, immigrants, and New York.
Landmarks are very important. When I need directions, do not give me west, south, north, I-60, whatever – give me Landmarks. I am typical female who needs a picket fence, yellow mailbox, and turn right at the Wal-Mart. Landmarks are real to me right now as I watch many of them removed from each town hit hard by the recent storms. But the most important Landmark in our lives is the Word of God. Proverbs 22:28 says, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers set. Prov. 23:10 reminds us to remove not the old landmarks.
Landmarks in Biblical days were very important. In Joshua 4:1 it says: And it came to pass when all the people passed over the Jordan that the Lord spoke to Joshua, take 12 men and out of the Jordan take 12 stones. Why? Verse 6: that this may be a sign among you when your children ask their fathers what do these stones mean? That the waters of Jordan were cut off when they passed over. A landmark! 1 Samuel 4:1 explains, and the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and camped beside Ebenezer and the Lord helped them win the battle. 1 Samuel 7:12 further narrates that then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen and called the name of it Ebenezer saying, Here has the Lord helped us. It was a landmark of the Lords protection and help. Genesis 35:1 explains, and god said to Jacob, arise and go up to Bethel and dwell there and make an altar to God who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau. This alter at Bethel was a landmark in Jacob’s spiritual life.
Landmarks are our guides and the Word of God is our guide for life. We could ask: why did the Lord have these men of God build landmarks? Why was it so important not to remove them? I feel one of the answers can be found in my life verse and purpose the Lord has for me: Psalm 78:2-8. “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old; things that we have heard and known, that our father’s have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation that the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell to their children, so that they should set their in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.”
If you know Christ, he has called you to be a landmark. Landmarks stand out above others. We are to stand out, not to better than any one else but as examples of the Love of Christ. He has stamped his image on you and me. You are a very important landmark at this time of your life. He wants to use your life, your struggles, your stories, your love for others.
The most recent landmark we can all relate to is the Twin Towers. Someone removed them – something was missing there for a while. Is there something missing on the American landscape more important than the Twin towers? Yes, what you and your generation have been taught is so significant and needs to be passed on. So the next generation might arise and tell them to their children that they would set their hope in God.
That hearts would be steadfast holding on to Christ. I am afraid we are letting the landmarks fade and the responsibility is ours in Christ to move forward with this mandate. We must be, with God’s grace, busy about being a testimony of God’s mercy and goodness each day. We need to be diligently praying for this generation and the next generation that we will not forget and we will become landmarks for God’s glory.
The most important landmark in our life is that of knowing Christ as our personal Savior, knowing he has redeemed us for such a time as this.
As Elizabeth Elliot said, “Think of the brightness there will be in the place where work is done for God.” Together let us strive to be a landmark for Christ, never to be removed – marking the way.