I’m sitting here in the Charlotte, NC airport just waiting for the next plane. I planned this visit to see our friends the Arendas’ before I knew the challenges that lay before me. I’m really glad that I could pray with Larry and Carole and have the Lord speak to me through them. You see, I have two ministry opportunities the next two weekends and well, frankly, I’m a little nervous. I love ministering in our own church. I know our folks and I love them and anyone who comes in the door who is new is at least a friend in the making. It’s home. But now I’m being asked by the Lord to go to 2 other cities and give them what He gives me for them, not really knowing them or how they will receive what Robin and I say. That’s a bit nerve wracking! And I know I can’t do it on my own! Hey, I don’t have what it takes at home, let alone somewhere else with people who are culturally different than I am. It’s beyond me. But isn’t that good? Shouldn’t we consider that we don’t really have it so all together in life and turn to the Lord for His supply? Yes, I think so. So uncomfortable as life’s opportunities can be sometimes, we can be successful in what we do if we seek the Lord for the supply we need at the right time. His grace is sufficient for the ordinary or the extraordinary. I won’t be sufficient in myself, but He gives His great sufficiency to those who rely on Him. And I can be comfortable with relying on Him. As long as He’s with us, we can do anything any one of us is called to do. PB
Archive for October, 2007
I’ve been thinking about outreach and that “E” word, evangelism. I know, it conjures up all kinds of thoughts, mostly fearful ones, and include an image of guys standing on the street corner with bullhorns, shouting at passerbys. Is that really what we should be thinking about when it comes to reaching beyond ourselves to those who don’t know Him? Do we fall into the same category as the folks who knock on your door and try to engage you in religious conversation with no relationship? No, but we do cringe at the thought of becoming like that. And rightly so, I think.
Jesus told us to go and tell the world about Him, beginning with those closest to us geographically. But how do we do that? By being real. And by honestly caring about someone else, anyone else, enough that we would just ”cross the room” as Bill Hybels puts it, and say hello. Jesus cared with compassion that few of us have. His compassion drove Him to obedience on the Cross. Is is possible that with a measure of His compassion that we could care enough about others to the point that we would temporarily leave our friends and find a way to establish a friendship that could lead to that person’s changed eternity? How I would love for that to be all of our lifestyles. PB
Fall’s here and finally, after a long and beautiful summer, we’ve got our clouds and cool weather back. The seasons have changed, even though they changed on the calendar before this point. I used to work outdoors in the tree care industry before my ministry days and I had a vested interest in those seasonal changes, much more than I do now. I knew what was around the corner when the weather got cooler…
But now I’m more concerned with people changes. And do people change! Especially these days. We’ve just sent the Zagata family to South Carolina for a new job situation, after John had searched for 2 and a half years for a job here in New York. Honest? I don’t like that kind of change. The kind where people you love have to move away and move out of your everyday sphere. It feels, well, kind of bittersweet.
And yet the Lord has promised us all something. He said in Romans 8.28 that He sees to it that “all things” work out for the good for believers, if we just simply hold out for His final say. Have you lost someone? Have you had people situations, situations themselves, change in some way that you don’t like? The promise is this: He will work out (even) seeming losses so that in the end you’ll have to say, yes, that was good. Can we trust Him? Absolutely! So place that change squarely in His lap and breathe a sigh of relief. Change will be good. PB
I received an email today from a friend of ours in Romania, Pastor Stefi Micliuc. He has been someone we have supported for many years and leads a great local church in Tirgu Mores. I realize that doesn’t mean a lot to many of you, but take it from those of us who know him, Stefi is a sincere Christian leader and a good guy, a husband and father. Stefi wrote to let me know that their oldest son, Luci, was taken to a local hospital with a congenital problem with the blood vessels in his brain. Luci is having a hard time seeing, is feeling weak and sick and the prognosis is unknown. Please pray for this young man and his family!
But really, doesn’t it make you think twice when you see Christian people run into difficult problems? I mean afterall, shouldn’t knowing God result in His protection from all that? A woman that Robin and I know has had tragedy and difficulty in her life as of late. She asked us the same kind of question: does God really protect us? Actually, the answer is a resounding “yes!”. It’s not that God prevents difficulty. We generally bring that upon ourselves while exercising whatever free will He has given us as a race. God overcomes difficulty. He restrains evil and difficulty so that it’s never what it could be. And then to His people He promises to work it all out so that in the end it becomes good. For us and for His purposes.
So back to Luci and Stefi and their family. Will God work this painful difficulty out so that in the end it becomes good? Absolutely. I don’t know how, and neither do they, but it will work out for good. God is the One Who will make sure of that. Pray for those in the middle of difficulties and watch what He will do when He writes the end of the story. PB