Wednesday, February 7, 2018

If you're not receiving my post-every-mission "About the Father's Business in..." newsletters and would like to, please private-message me.... I just emailed Trinidad's.

Ash & I had the privilege & joy of going to snowy (!) St.Joseph MI as speakers for their Feb. missions conference last weekend.  We thank God for their hospitality & commitment to Christ's work of missions, both locally & worldwide.  Below are Ash's sermon notes... beautiful, if I may brag.

             BEAUTIFUL FEET IN MISSION - February 4, 2018 - Christian Reformed Church, St. Joseph MI
Romans 10:9-15 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.   For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”   How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?   And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?    And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”


*** INTRO 
Beautiful feet… a rather unusual metaphor!  We think more about their ugly sizes, smells, painful sores, etc.
Positive’s …in sports:  quick, agile, fast – aiding in making great plays leading to victory
Negative’ssix things the Lord hates, including feet that “make haste to run to evil.” Proverbs 6:18
In our chosen Isaiah text, feet have a purpose for which they are positively serving.  And I propose that “beautiful feet in missions" means our being sent to all nations with the proclamations of the Good News in Christ Jesus.
John Piper… “The ultimate goal of God in all of history is to uphold & display His glory for the enjoyment of the redeemed from every tribe & tongue & people & nation.”                                      


*** GOD CALLS & CONFERS HIS REDEMPTIVE PLAN
A.     Abraham …in Genesis 12:1-3 we see the eternal Covenant of Redemption taking root in the life of this man who believed & obeyed God.  God promised to make Abraham a great nation even though he did not get to see it.  And God began to bless the families of the earth through Abraham. 
Here is the beauty, in an embryonic way, of the Great Commission as we know it in Matthew 28: 16-20.

In reading the rest of Abraham’s story, there are many starts & stops… progress & regress… but always the flame.  Even though it flickers, it continues to burn as God reveals His sovereign control!

B.     Jesus …“in the fullness of time” God sends forth His Son, the promised Messiah, Savior of the world. 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
And we recall the old hymn “Out of the Ivory Palaces” …into a world of woe; only His great eternal love made my Savior go!

Now we see the divine mission of God become more visible.  We also see its scope broadening...
1.      Jesus grants grace to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)
2.      Healing Centurion’s servant (Luke 7) and commending his faith
3.      Healing demon-possessed man of Gerasenes who in turn was commanded to ‘go home and tell” (Mark 15)
4.      Healing Syro-Phonecian woman’s demon-possessed daughter.  She persistently begged and thus her “great faith” was also rewarded  (Matthew 15)
As the gospel reached Gentiles, it would expand in full bloom as we will see.  

                                              
*** GOD CONFIRMS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT & FULFILLMENT OF HIS REDEMPTIVE PLAN
A.     Beginning with the Incarnation there is great joy with the Good News that will be for all people  …for unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-10)

B.    Jesus tells His disciples in the final week of His life what is about to happen… His purpose: to give His life as a ransom for many!  Mission accomplished!  “It is finished!”  (Mark 10:33-34, 45)

C.    (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus did all of this for the joy that was set before Him… enduring the cross, despising the shame then seated at the R hand of God.  And what is that joy?  …His bringing many sons to glory!              Why do we need reminded of this?  Why important?  Because there is another stage yet to be fulfilled.
D.     It’s what we call The Great Commission (Luke 24 ff)  …what is written about Jesus is to be proclaimed to all nations!  …AND it’s to be done in the promised power of Holy Spirit!


 *** GOD COMMISSIONS THE CHURCH TO EXPAND THE CHURCH TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
The Book of Acts is history – telling the expansion of the Gospel and the building of Christ’s church, which includes Jews & Gentiles both.
“Going & telling” brings with it challenges, which is why the Lord said we need the infilling power of Holy Spirit!
Though some are specially called & sent, everyone else is trained and equipped by Holy Spirit through church & missions leaders …to perform works of service …to give & send …to pray.                                            
Ephesians 4:12 …to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built upWe all have a role to play! 
Let’s look at some of the resources Holy Spirit provides/uses:

A.     WORSHIP... Vitally important that we know what it means to have deep, joyful satisfaction in worshipping God in Spirit & in truth.  John Piper: “Worship… both the fuel AND the goal of missions.”
Note: that’s what our medical teams do each day in morning worship & devotions before going to a clinic site.

B.     PRAYER... Acts 2:42 tells us that prayer was a regular, important part of early-church gatherings.
 
1.      Ephesians 6:18-19 describes them “praying at all times… making supplications for all the saints, and also for me, that the work be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the majesty of the Gospel…”

2.      Colossians 4:2-4 “Continue steadfastly in prayer …with thanksgiving …that God may open to us a door for the Word …that I may make it clear how I ought to speak.”
                                                                          
3.      Colossians 4:12 Epaphras is a good example “…always wrestling in prayer for you …stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.      
                        
4.      1 Thessalonians 5:25 “Brothers pray for us…”  
I know the missionaries you support yearn for your prayers on their behalf.  I challenge you to be more and more a praying church!                               
         
C.     SUPPORT for DAILY NEEDS...  Paul in Philippians 4 “…kind of you to share my trouble …no other church entered into partnership with me in giving & receiving except you only …you sent me help for my needs …I am well-supplied from the gifts you sent from Epaphroditus.

Here is a great example of what makes the Great Commission like unto “beautiful feet” – both in going and in sending & supporting. 

Aged apostle John writes to Gaius commending him for support of faithful missionaries to whom he showed hospitality  “…sending them on their way in a manner worthy of God”  Gaius likely spared no effort to be generous, and Scripture speaks often of being both sacrificial & generous!                            

We all need to examine ourselves today – how do we measure up?  And it’s not about law but about love!


*** CONCLUSION
William Borden of wealthy Borden Milk & Dairy Corp. family…
While in college through Student Volunteer Movement, he felt the call to take Gospel to India. He gave his $1 million (imagine today's worth!) inheritance to various  mission organizations!                                                  While on a layover in Egypt on his way to India he contracted spinal meningitis & died.  In his Bible they found these words:
            No Reserve!
            No Retreat!
            No Regrets!

John Piper… “Therefore the church is bound to engage with the Lord of glory in His cause. It is our unspeakable privilege to be caught up with Him in the greatest movement in history—the in-gathering of the elect "from all tribes & tongues & peoples & nations" until the full number of the Gentiles come in, & all Israel is saved, & the Son of Man descends with power & great glory as King of Kings & Lord of Lords, & the earth is full of the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the seas forever & ever.  Then the supremacy of Christ will deliver the Kingdom of God the Father, & God will be all in all.”                            (Desiring God, May 1, 1990) 
  Amen and Amen!
                                                                       
                               



Monday, January 8, 2018

God continues to encourage & challenge me through John Piper; this one reflects the prayers of my redeemed heart... it's simply all HIM!  Thank you, "send-er's" & "pray-er's", for partnering with Ash & me. Oh,  if you're not already on my prayer-letter email-list, PM me your e-address for our January-Trinidad mission's prayer-calendar.

Gain What You Cannot Lose  By John Piper

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
Here are two great incentives from Jesus to become a World Christian and to dedicate yourself to the cause of Frontier Missions. As a goer or a sender.
1. Every impossibility with men is possible with God (Mark 10:27). The conversion of hardened sinners will be the work of God and will accord with his sovereign plan. We need not fear or fret over our weakness. The battle is the Lord’s, and he will give the victory.
2. Christ promises to work for us, and to be for us so much that, when our missionary life is over, we will not be able to say we’ve sacrificed anything (Mark 10:29–30).
When we follow his missionary prescription, we discover that even the painful side effects work to improve our condition. Our spiritual health, our joy, improves a hundredfold. And when we die, we do not die. We gain eternal life.
I do not appeal to you to screw up your courage and sacrifice for Christ. I appeal to you to renounce all you have, to obtain life that satisfies your deepest longings. I appeal to you to count all things as rubbish for the surpassing value of standing in the service of the King of kings. I appeal to you to take off your store-bought rags and put on the garments of God’s ambassadors.
I promise you persecutions and privations — but remember the joy! “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
On January 8, 1956, five Waorani Indians of Ecuador killed Jim Elliot and his four missionary companions as they were trying to bring the gospel to the Waorani tribe of sixty people.

Four young wives lost husbands and nine children lost their fathers. Elisabeth Elliot wrote that the world called it a nightmare of tragedy. Then she added, “The world did not recognize the truth of the second clause in Jim Elliot’s credo: ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’”

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year, dear friends and family, teammates and supporters!  
Be blessed by John Piper's words for today,  We have a new year in which to serve & glorify God, to grow in our love for & understanding of Jesus, and to lean hard on the Trinity in our callings-relationships-ministries... even in new ones that very well may surprise us!

                      Jan. 1, 2018  Grace for the New Year   desiringgod.org                                   By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Grace is not only God’s disposition to do good for us when we don’t deserve it. It is an actual power from God that acts and makes good things happen in us and for us.  God’s grace was God’s acting in Paul to make Paul work hard: “By the grace of God . . . I worked harder than any of them.” So when Paul says, “Work out your own salvation,” he adds, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13). Grace is power from God to do good things in us and for us.
This grace is past and it is future. It is ever-cascading over the infinitesimal waterfall of the present, from the inexhaustible river of grace coming to us from the future, into the ever-increasing reservoir of grace in the past.
In the next five minutes, you will receive sustaining grace flowing to you from the future, and you will accumulate another five minutes’ worth of grace in the reservoir of the past. The proper response to the grace you experienced in the past is thankfulness, and the proper response to grace promised to you in the future is faith. We are thankful for the past grace of the last year, and we are confident in the future grace for the new year.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

I guess blogging every other month counts as "success"?  (...present, not perfect, yes?!?!)

2017 Christmas Greetings! 
Dear faithful intercessors & financial partners, teammates & supporting churches,
For Ash & me (as I’m sure for all of you) 2017 has been full of God’s providences, hard & easy both, and you have been with us on every ‘journey’ at home or overseas. 

When we think back on all God has done, in & through us, we are very grateful.  So much of the moving of the Holy Spirit, in our personal lives & on our medical teams, has been through your prayers or financial sacrifices, both practical & encouraging.  Bless you! 

We want to share a reminder of the daily Gift in our lives & a vital prayer for us all from John Piper’s November 30, 2017 www.desiringgod.org entry:
Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

We have a message of spectacular rescue: the love of God has rescued us from the wrath of God.  Christmas is about the Creator of the universe, who is not himself part of the universe, coming himself, in the person of his Son, into the world that he made. 

And what makes this fact even more remarkable is that even though this created universe is in rebellion against its Maker, he came… to save those who are in rebellion against him.  One of the clearest statements in all the Bible is 1Timothy 1:15: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 

What I want most for us this Christmas is seeing Christ in all his fullness and together loving what we see with a love far beyond our own half-hearted human capabilities – a love made possible by the Holy Spirit.

Ash & I desire that, too! 
Be blessed with all that counts for eternity in this Advent Season & right on into 2018, in Jesus’ powerful and precious name.  Amen.
We love you!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Reminder: The old MTW Suwanee P.O.Box closes March 1, 2018
Please make sure your files are updated to the current correct Atlanta donations address below.  Thank you!                                                                                                                            
Mission to the World
P.O. Box 744165
Atlanta, GA 30374-4165    

Aeschliman Account No. 11214

Also, if you would like to be removed from our mailing-lists, please do let us know!  We will not be offended… we understand busy In-Box’s. J

Betsy & Ash




Monday, October 2, 2017

Oh come, Lord Jesus, comfort and heal those in Las Vegas; come, Holy Spirit, convict the lost of Truth; assure us, Father, in the midst of our fears & woundedness.

From a pastor/brother in Gulf Breeze Fl... and the Apostle Paul:
All creation groans in pain.
And not just creation.
Together we all groan. With an unfathomable grief.
Waiting. Eagerly.
Redemption. 
Not yet.
But sure. (J. Becker)
“For I consider
that the sufferings of this present time
are not worth comparing
with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
For the creation waits
with eager longing
for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation
was subjected to futility,
not willingly,
but because of him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself
will be set free
from its bondage to corruption
and obtain the freedom
of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that
the whole creation
has been groaning together
in the pains of childbirth until now.
And not only the creation,
but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly
as we wait eagerly
for adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we wait for it with patience.”
Romans 8:18-25 (to us from God thru Paul)