Archive for June, 2019

O the Power of the Blood (Malawi 2019) Exodus 12

June 16, 2019

This morning my heart is full and anxious about what God is going to do the future of this team. Last night at the end of dinner each team member shared the highs and lows of their day. I can say that everyone was moved by God yesterday in what He was doing around and through each team member. It was a powerful day in the Lord.

We were blessed, challenged and encouraged to hear Bro. Ovi and Mrs. Lita share their story of coming to Africa at a young age. God moved in our midst in a powerful way. I looked around as every team member was locked into Ovi’s sharing about the faithfulness and greatness of our God when we will obey Him and take Him at His Word. My heart is still full and excited to see what God will do in students and adults that heard God speak through Ovi last night.  I laid in bed thinking, “God what will the next ten years look like for this team as they follow you?”

In Exodus 12 I think about an old hymn my grandmother would sing at the Wesylan Church she attended for more than 40 years. When we would visit it seemed that she would always play one song, “There is power in the blood.” As a young boy I was apathetic to what my ears where hearing. But once Jesus saved me, the same words that used to leave me unmoved now bring tears to my eyes and rest in my soul.

Moses tells the people of Israel in preparation for God’s final judgment on Egypt to get ready! God tells Moses to tell the people to get a lamb without blemish and keep it until the 14th day and then kill it at twilight. What happens next, if you are a Christian will be a shouting moment as you think of this chapter in light of the cross.

God tells the people of Israel to take the blood of the lamb (without blemish) and put some of it on the door post of their houses. It shall be a sign to the angel of death to pass over their houses, saving them from God’s judgement. Verse 13 sets the stage for all of this, “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you.”

What a picture of the power of the blood! Not the power of the blood of lambs or goats but a foreshadowing of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, our perfect lamb that was given to cover our sin! O Christian this sabbath day as we gather as one body to worship Jesus and be challenged by the preaching of the Word of God, DO NOT overlook the power of the blood to cleanse you of all your sins.

May you rest in the power of the blood today! May we lift our hands to the heavens and praise our God who rescues those by covering their sin with the blood of His Son Jesus Christ!

God’s Final Warning to a King! (Malawi 2019) Exodus 11

June 15, 2019

We are about to start our 11 day here in Malawi Africa. The presence of God guiding each team member durning our mission has been evident throughout each day. No one has became ill, everyone is working together and all is focused on the common goal in Christ. As each team member shared last night about our day, it was evident that being able to love on, play with and encourage the older children at the sports camp was a blessing and impactful for each person. God is moving in our midst! 

But as I open up to Exodus 11, I think about how different this moment in time would be for our team here in Malawi if God did not move on leaders in Malawi, U.S. and other countries we had layovers in. As you read in Exodus 11 we have seen how the leadership of Pharaoh has left the people of Egypt and the land to almost nothing. Because Pharaoh has not “humbled himself before God” and let the people of Israel go worship God. We read in chapter 10:7 that Pharaohs servants say to their leader that due to his disobedience to God, “Egypt is ruined.” In chapter 11, God warns Pharaoh one last time of the destruction he will bring to the Egyptians if he fails to let the people of Israel go. The final warning is through the death of all the first born in the land of Egypt. From the greatest of them to the least of them there will be no distinction.

As I read these verses a few things comes to mind.

     -Being a leader will influence those whom it leads either for good or for bad.

     -Rejecting God’s commands never affects just one person.

     -God is patience in His warnings and judgements.

     -Kings of high power can not escape our God’s authority.

We see in this chapter Pharaohs rejection of God coming to a climax and this proverb comes to mind, Proverbs 11:11-“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.”

God tell Moses that after this final plague Pharaoh will let the people of Israel go. He says in verse 1-2 that Pharaoh will “drive you away completely.” For the people of God we see that God is,

     -Always working in His timing.

    -Going to make a distinction between His people and the Egyptians.

    -Providing for the righteous through the wealth of the wicked.

Brothers and Sisters let us thank God for his patience in working through leaders across our world for open doors and resources. Let us thank God for His patience for those who have heeded His warnings through the generations that have brought us to this moment in time. Let us praise God for sending Jesus to be our escape for all eternity from the warnings of a eternal destruction that He has “completely” removed us from!

Tell me more Dad (Malawi 2019), Exodus 10

June 14, 2019

”And that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt…” Exodus 10:2

I wonder how Moses must have felt in this point of his journey?  7 plaques have taken place and it seems they are no closer to freedom even though Egypt is now in ruins. As Moses, once again, hears from the Lord, the Lord’s words must have brought great joy to his life.

Moses, what I am about to do you will be able to tell your children and grandchildren about.

Last evening our team returned from another village where success in the gospel had come.  Each team member shared a story from their personal experience of what God was doing.  The team is getting more confident in sharing their testimony of what God is doing.

Steve and I leave for the US today and so last night I wanted to impress on the team how that most of our lives are lived in compartments. We have compartments for different parts of our lives.  I challenged the team to never allow what they have seen to simply become something on a bucket list or something that is only a story.

What they have seen is a reality and what they have seen needs to become what grips them to become missionaries all over the world.  As my tears flowed I imagined each of them serving the Lord in the world daily telling the story of what God is doing in and through them.

As a father and grandfather I can relate to what God said to Moses.  I want with all my heart to tell my family about the Lord.  I want them to know God is real.  I want them to know God is my Lord.  I want them to know God has and is leading my life.

I hope they want to hear my stories of God at work.  But even more I want them to continue the work God has placed before our entire family.  And by the way I want this for your family.

Take time today and ask yourself, what story do I want my families life to tell.

Mercy Given to a Wicked People (Malawi 2019), Exodus 9

June 13, 2019

”For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.” Exodus 9:15

It was so different as our team came back from camp yesterday.  The day before there was joy in the gospel and great news of God’s salvation.  But now the team understood that the gospel had not penetrated every village in Malawi.  The students in particular were aware of the difference in the children.

In this village the children were disruptive and often just lying around.  The truth is, the children had not been touched by the hand of God.  This place was under demonic influence.

But still our team ministered with love and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Question:  Does God feel any different about these people than He does about other villages?  The answer is no.

So what is the difference?  The difference is in the response of the leaders in the village.  They are like Pharaoh who over and over defiantly exalted himself above God (9:17).  The people suffer through the fallout of life apart from God’s favor because they choose to do so.

Moses comes to Pharaoh for at least the fifth time and says, “Let my people go.” Missionary Ovi has gone hundreds of times to this village and shared sacrificially in the love of Jesus, but the people will not change.

But thanks be to God that He is merciful to these people and still gives them time to repent.  But be assured as Pharaoh would discover, God has a time table (9:5) and judgment would come.  The same God who was and is long-suffering (II Peter 3:9) is coming at the set time (Acts 17:30-31) to judge the living and the dead.

I think not only about this one wicked village but also about America and all the places where wicked people rule in defiance to God.  Who will be like Moses and stand up?  Who will submit to God and lead our nation back to God?

May you and I step up and say with the saints of old, “Here I am send me!”

What Makes Us Different (Malawi 2019), Exodus 8

June 12, 2019

”Thus I will put a division between my people and your people.  Tomorrow this sign shall happen.” Exodus 8:23

Last evening I sat at the table and simply listened as our team shared about all that happened in the sports camps yesterday.  I had joy as the teenagers shared about how the children honored them.  They could not get over how much the kids just wanted to be loved.  As their tears fell I thought, why am I so loved?

The guys shared about how God had moved through testimony and teaching.  It was Johns first time to preach and today it will be Austin’s turn. Again I thought, why are we so loved?

When it was Steve’s turn he could not talk for crying.  God’s heart for His people was flowing through the man of God.  Then it was Pastor Nate’s turn to share about the 20 plus who said yes to Jesus.  He talked about kids taking their stand before hundreds of other children.  Others shared about how it took courage to stand.  Why are we loved so much by God?

This is why we are here.  The battle is intense with fatigue and the weight of all the people do not have.  Why has God so blessed us?

In our focal text the battle is real for Moses and Aaron.  There is no turning back now.  God has ordained that His people would go free.  Even though Satan’s army called the Egyptians and his leader, Pharaoh, stand in the way, they are no match for this God who’s mere finger is stronger than the mightiest nation in the world.

As the battle continues God set’s apart His people (Vs: 23).  What happens to the Egyptians from this point forward does not happen with God’s people.  God literally sets at redemption His people.

Here is what I realize today:

1. God battled for our souls before we were ever born, Ephesians 1:4-7.

2.  God battled each of us before we were brought to redemption, Colossians 1:16-20.

3. God won the battle by opening our eyes to the truth and causing us to be born again, Ephesians 2:4-5; Romans 3:24-27.

4. God is still winning the battle each and every day for us.  I John 5:1-5

Today our team goes back to the villages to do camps and Steve and I continue to prepare young men to go into the battle for the Lord.  Keep praying for us.  God has set us a part.  As of today no one has been even the slightest bit sick.  God has set us a part and we really can only say, we are undeserving servants.

Faith on the front end (Malawi 2019), Exodus 7

June 11, 2019

”Pharaoh will not listen to you.  Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people, the Children of Israel out of Egypt,” Exodus 7:4

Moses has come to understand God as not only God Almighty but as His Lord .  Moses has also come to understand that his enemy is real.  If God’s people were going to be set free it would be all-out war!

Moses has his faith severely tested on the front end as his own people push back (5:12) and as Pharaoh is arrogantly defiant against God (5:2-3).  Would Moses take his place on the battle line as one of God’s soldiers in God’s battle against the Egyptian God’s?

This same question was ours as the team left Georgia one week ago.  By faith 12 people raised funds with the help of the Lord through many people who sacrificed greatly.  As the flights neared our destination more and more I could see faith being tested, but it was faith that brought our team here.

One week later, after battles with fear, the unknown, fatigue, a little bathroom issues, and the Devil himself, our team has seen God work in miracle ways for the glory of God and for the salvation of men.

Today the battle becomes even more intense as most of our team makes its way to a village for the next two days in camps.  Our team does not know what awaits, but now they go in faith knowing God is greater still.  I see it in the eyes of each team member who are after the souls of men.  They are like Moses in crying out, Let my people go!

Steve and I fight the battle of the Devil’s lies that say these men cannot learn how to be pastors. Today is the second wave of 8 long hours of teaching.  Yesterday their eyes were opened and they were as strong at 5 Pm as they were at 8 AM.

Pray for us and pray for Malawi that the church would have faith on the front end.

Know that I am praying for you wherever you are in the world.  I am praying 4 things:

1. You would be surrendered to God’s purposes in the world.

2. You would step into God’s purposes in the world.

3.  You would overcome the struggle with the enemy in this world.

4.  You would be successful in winning every battle for God’s glory.

Moses God (My God) and Malawi God? Exodus 6

June 10, 2019

“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty.” Exodus 6:3

Yesterday was an amazing day as our team stepped beyond our comfort zones to give testimonies, to teach lessons, to sing praises, and to preach God’s Word in 4 different churches.  In those churches there were over 80 decisions to follow Christ.  Truly we felt the prayers of everyone, many of you rising before 4 Am to lift us up in prayer.

As we arrived back home and then entered into sharing time, Ovi said, “The weight of what we do is great.  The people consider every word we say as coming from God.”  There was silence in the room.  Each team member felt the responsibility and even one team member commented how our home church takes so much for granted.

As God spoke to and through Moses, he knew, if God did not speak it would be useless for him to speak.  Moses had personally experience with God in two ways:

1. God was Almighty.  He worked in judgment on the nations who did not obey Him and He gave mercy to all nations in providing for their daily existence.

2. God was His Lord.  What the word did not admit was, there was and is one true God. He must become Lord of your life or you will only experience His judgment.

Our team is moved by the fact that God is our Lord. I watch as particularly our teenagers are sensing the Lordship of Christ.  You can see how it is both joyous and sometimes terrifying to them to realize God demands more than they have come to terms with.

Today Steve and I teach the students for 8 solid hours of training.  Please pray for the capacity to understand and our filling of the Spirit.

The team will work in Bible Clubs and make final preparations to spend the next three days in Camps in remote villages.  They do not know what is ahead that will stretch them and change their lives. Please pray for the power of the gospel to be in them and working through them to see people saved and for them to surrender to all Gods call!!!

Sunday In Africa (Psalm 85-86)

June 9, 2019

“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak…” Psalm 85:8

As the sun comes up here in Malawi, I am wondering what the Lord is saying to His people?  He is speaking through nature as everything is testifying, “He is God.”  He is speaking through others who are saying, “God you have been so good to me.”  He is speaking through His Word.

As I sit here, I know God wants the world to come to know and obey Him.  I shutter to think that we (His people) have been the task of making Him known in the world.

Today are team becomes two teams as we visit two villages in the morning and two in the evening.  Every team member will share his or her testimony and each will teach at some point.  Some are confident and others are very nervous.  Each knows eternity hangs in the balance and each knows that unless God direct’s the task is impossible.  Millions need Him and we must go.

We are going with Ovi and Lita who shared part of their story last evening.  I was personally challenged by their simply and profound faith to simply go where He called them to go.  Oh, to God that all Christ-followers would do the same.

I am praying that wherever you may be in the world today, that you will listen for God’s voice and that you would surrender to that voice.

Pray for us and pray for Malawi!!!

A Spring In the Desert (Malawi 2019)

June 8, 2019

”That they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the most high own all the earth,” Psalm 83:18

Yesterday our team worked in two areas.  The first area was at the pastors conference and the second was in the camp ministry in one of the villages.

Last evening as we gathered to share together, it was obvious that the team had been moved by God.  As each team member shared what they had experienced in ministry, I could tell the Spirit of the Lord had moved strongly.  Each person shared how God had awakened them to the great need in the world.

The depth of conversation was obvious in that we each understood, if we are going to reach the world we have to get outside of our comfort zone (even living outside the United States).

The world’s greatest need is for Jesus.  We could feed the entire world and they still would not be saved.  We could bring fresh water to the entire world and they still would not be saved. We could educate the entire world and they still would not be saved.

Brothers and sisters food, water, and education are all needed in our world.  But the goal is the gospel to every home in the world.  This is what our team knew last evening.

Pray for us as we are here because we are called to make a spring in the desert (Psalm 84:6).  The spring is the gospel,  We are believing, Jesus is our sun, our shield, and the God who favors us to spread the gospel.  This day through your prayers we will deliver the good news of the gospel as your representative.

At the same time, I plead with you, will you be our representative where you are today?  All the world needs the gospel.  Matthew 24: 14 ”this gospel must be proclaimed in all the world and then the Lord will return.”

Lord, Is this Your Fault? (Exodus 5)

June 7, 2019

”Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, o Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?” Exodus 5:22

Can we even imagine how difficult it must have been for Moses in this moment of his first days as a leader of God’s people? I equate this to what one of the pastors asked me yesterday in our pastor’s conference.  He asked, “Is it God or Satan who is causing all of these floods in Malawi?”  I could see the genuineness in his question.  Here a God-called pastor wanted to know, how to correctly lead his church through such difficult times.

When difficult times come to your life, how do you respond?

Moses, in obedience to God, goes to Pharaoh simply giving God’s message to Pharaoh.  Pharaoh’s response was typical for someone who thought they were their own God and for someone who could not fathom there being another God besides themselves.  Pharaoh said: ”Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?”

The darkness and deception of men mirrors the darkness and deception of their master (Satan).

Moses does not know how to handle this set back.  But He goes before the one who does.  Three truths come from Moses prayer to God:

1. Pain reveals Moses inaccurate view of God.  Does God do evil?  James 1:13.

2.  Problems strengthen our resolve to understand the why of God.  “Why did you call me God?”

3.  Persecution strengthens the urgency to know when.  God will you deliver?

Did Moses really think the enemy would roll over in the first skirmish of the war?  How often I want to have it easy in the war. God forgive me when I want to run and hide even in the smallest of skirmishes.

The pastor here needed to be reminded that God works best when we have pain, problems, and persecution.   I needed to be reminded of this.  Check out I PETER 1:6-9 for the foundation for my prayer this day in Malawi:

Father, help me to embrace the problems that strengthen my faith, 1:7.

Father, help me to believe in your plan and trust in your goodness, 1:8.

Father, help me to expectantly wait for your deliverance, 1:9-10.