Thursday, October 28, 2010

More from Oswald

I am so thankful for Oswald Chambers.  Here are some thoughts from My Utmost For His Highest October 26th.
A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in work for God is behind, not before. The tendency to-day is to put the inspiration ahead, to sweep everything in front of us and bring it all out to our conception of success. In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, the Lord Jesus. The ideal is to be true to Him, to carry out His enterprises.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and His point of view is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God's call is effaced by the needs of the people until human sympathy absolutely overwhelms the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind falters and fails. We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ - "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations."
Two things I want to highlight from this selection.  The first one is that I think somehow we have a specific idea in our mind of what a "missionary" is.  I know from my days growing up in church that I had a preconceived idea of what a missionary looked like (plaid polyester pants, foreign looking button up shirt and a slide projector under one arm).  This can be our first thought of a missionary and yet God has called all of His followers to be missionaries.  The Great Commission in Matthew 28 says to go, baptize and teach.  That is for all followers.  We have all been called!

The second thing that jumped out at me was "In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God's call is effaced by the needs of the people."  According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary: efface - to eliminate or make indistinct by or as if by wearing away a surface.  As the foundation of 3:18 Ministries continues to be formed, we are striving to keep the Great Commission at the front of our focus.  We could be distracted by the enormous physical needs or the perplexing conditions.  We could get stuck on a perceived need and totally miss the real, spiritual need.  We must stay focused on those who are lost, dying and going to hell.  We must continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness.  We must go, baptize and teach.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

3:18 Ministries' Christmas Project

We will be blessing the children of the San Carlos Youth Home and staff with gifts and dinner out! The Youth Home is the tribal-run group foster home for children who have been removed from their families. We want to let the kids and staff know they are loved and appreciated. We especially want them to know the love of Christ during the Christmas season.

We will be taking the kids and staff shopping at Wal-mart for a toy and some clothes for each child. We would also like to bless the staff with a gift card so they can treat themselves! After our Wal-Mart excursion, we are hoping to take the kids to McDonalds for a special dinner of Happy Meals.

We would like donations of Wal-mart, McDonalds gift cards or designated checks by December 10th so we can plan accordingly. We will have the party on December 17th in the afternoon and evening. Thank you for helping make Christmas special for kids who are away from their families on Christmas and the staff who care for them.

Gift cards or checks with a note attached designating the gift for the Christmas Project can be sent to:
3:18 Ministries
P.O. Box 349
Globe, AZ  85502

Monday, October 25, 2010

October's Newsletter

October's newsletter is in the mail.  If you are not currently on 3:18 Ministries mailing list and would like to receive a copy of our newsletter, email us at  Blessings!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ministry of Presence

I remember one day at my first full-time ministry the senior minister and I were going to be with one of our church families who was taking their elderly mom off of life support. As a person who tends to say stupid things when I am uncomfortable, I asked Shane, the Senior Minister, what I should say. He said, “We don’t have to say anything to them. Our presence will let them know that God is with them.”

That day I began to understand a little about the powerful ministry of presence. We didn’t have to preach a long sermon or offer an eloquent prayer. We didn’t have to have all of the answers or something profound to say, we just had to be there. (and luckily I didn't say anything stupid!)

Several years ago my phone rang around 10:45 p.m. on a Friday night. I was a little apprehensive as to the late night call. One of our Apache friends was on the other end. He proceeded to tell me that he had just been down all day. His sister had been flown to a Phoenix hospital with congestive heart failure and work had not gone well. The worries and stress of life were weighing him down.

He was so down that this man that eats, sleeps and breathes baseball was ready to walk away from the little league team he was coaching and walk home (about 5 miles). He told me he was ready to walk and then he looked down the sideline and saw us there cheering for him and his team. Choked up he simply said, “Thank you for being at the game.”

No sermons were preached. Not a single profound thought was shared. However, we were where God wanted us to be and ministry happened. Don't overlook the powerful ministry of presence. Are you where you need to be for ministry to happen?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fatherless Generation

A new book showed up in the 3:18 Ministries' mail box this week...Fatherless Generation by John Sowers (thanks for the blessing friend!).  I am so anxious to read it that it leapfrogged over several other books that were patiently waiting in line.  I hope to begin reading it this week.  Have you read it yet?  If you have, what are your thoughts?  If not, get it and then post your thoughts!  In the meantime, check out 3:18 Ministries' Board Member Mike Andrews' thoughts on the book.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just Playing in the Dirt

I love gardening. There is a rush as I wrestle with the soil, plant the tiny seeds, water and care for the delicate little plants, watch as life breaks forth through the surface, encourage the plants as they continue to grow and then harvest the fruit at the end of the battle. Plus, there is nothing quite like enjoying the fruits of your own garden.

Let me rephrase my earlier statement...I love gardening in the Midwest. In Nebraska it seemed as if I just had to think about a garden and things began to rise out of the black, healthy soil. There was no such thing as soil prep. Arizona gardening is completely different.

As I prepared for my garden in Arizona I knew I needed to turn over every ounce of soil in the area. The top soil was gray and completely robbed of all nutrients by the elements. Shovel load by shovel load I dug deep looking for better soil. I kept hitting rocks (which isn’t surprising when you are digging in a desert), but what did surprise me was the root systems I kept encountering. For plants and trees to survive in a desert, they send out an extensive root system near the surface. After several hours of battling, I finally had mixed up the soil and removed many of the larger rocks and root systems. I made a quick trip to the local Wal-Mart and picked up good soil with extra nutrients to put into the mix. My little patch of land was beginning to resemble a garden.

As I was working on the garden the parallels to ministry became clear. We are working in a dry and barren land. The elements have robbed so many kids of the nutrients they need to survive. As we dig deep there are so many obstacles we encounter including an extensive root system. And yet as we have battled and battled, we are beginning to see the truth sprout in the lives of some of the kids. It has been a slow process and yet God is moving and working in the lives of many. There is hope because we serve a God of hope!  We long to see revival break out in San Carlos and believe that day is coming!

Just playing in the dirt,

Friday, October 1, 2010

10 Sentences that Define Native American Youth

Several times over the past few years we have watched a video series on working with Native American youth. The videos were from a leadership training hosted by On Eagles’ Wings Ministries, a Native American ministry. During the first session they talked about 10 sentences that define Native American youth. Here are those sentences:
1. There is no future.
2. I think I can’t.
3. There are no boundaries.
4. I messed up - it is over.
5. Whatever it takes to stop the pain.
6. I feel powerless.
7. Anything to belong.
8. It is all about me.
9. It is hard to trust.
10. It is never going to change.
I don’t know about you, but as I heard those sentences the first time and as I continue to think about them, it is depressing. I find myself overcome with hopelessness and despair if I spend too much time dwelling on them. And yet, these are the realities of the students we work with everyday. This is not just some random list, this is their lives. I can think of specific kids for each sentence and many kids that encompass many of the sentences.

In the midst of wrestling with this list I continue to be drawn to one simple fact: Jesus is the only one who can redefine the students we are so privileged to walk alongside. Please pray for us to be able to effectively point these students to The One!