Category Archives: Evangelism & Missions

Ministry Update – November 2012

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THIS UPDATE LETTER

In South Sudan, the first devotion shared was on being stretched as we pursue God and seek His Kingdom. November has definitely been a stretching experience in both my life and ministry.

The first part of the month was spent in Southern Sudan watching God throw the doors wide open for people to meet Christ as Savior. Though there were many challenges, such as having to wade across the river at the Kenya/S. Sudan border, it was well worth it. In a matter of days, we saw around 100 people saved – from the highest tribal chiefs to the lowest prisoners. God even confirmed our message with some divine acts of power as we saw a handful of people healed during times of prayer.

After S. Sudan I had 22 hours in Washington D.C., and spent a full, jet-lagged afternoon walking around visiting all the monuments and memorials. It was a great reminder of the wonderful history we have as a nation, and an encouragement that we must continue to be a people who seeks God on behalf of our nation and government.

Then, on the 10th, the return to Haiti was a weird experience for me as this place has become a second home. While in the U.S. and S. Sudan I even found myself craving some Haitian foods and definitely missing our kids like crazy.

Most ofHaiti doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but it was also my 28th birthday, so on that Saturday I took a big cake and celebrated with the kids. It was a very special day for me.

Though I am looking forward with much excitement to what God has in store for my ministry in the next year, leaving Haiti in February will definitely be a hard goodbye for me

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I know it’s always nice for kids to get a break from school, see all the family, and gorge ourselves.

Growing up, I never really thought too much about Thanksgiving. The majority of my family always lived close together, so it wasn’t unusual to see them all in one place. The main marker of the holiday was the food (that would usually continue well past Thursday.)

This year, though, being here away from it all was harder than I expected. As I saw all the pictures and status updates on social media, it hit me how much we really do have to be thankful for when we can gather with family and friends and think on God’s goodness to us. Fortunately for the modern missionary, there is Skype, and I was able to see all my family for about an hour that afternoon.

“But certainly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” ~Psalm 66:19

  • Pray for God to send revival; that salvation and healing will come to this nation.
  • Pray for Erin, the new HGIM missionary, as she prepares to move to Haiti in 2013.
  • Pray for me as I begin making speaking appointments for my time home next year.
  • Pray for the HGIM Board of Directors as they meet in Dec. to make some vital    decision for the future of the ministry.

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Writers Wanted for Discipleship Website

To all Pastoral and Ministry Leadership friends,

As many of you know, earlier this year HGIM developed a gospel presentation booklet called ‘Learning2Live’, which presents the gospel in terms of.

  1. God created life.
  2. Sin gave way to death.
  3. The good news is there is eternal life available in Christ.
  4. In the end, everyone either gets eternal life with God or eternal death separated from Him, based on their acceptance or rejection of the gospel.

We tried to make it informative and easy to understand, as well as cutting out any cheesiness that many tracts tend to use. We wanted to offer a straight-forward gospel presentation

The booklet is currently at the printers and will be available for order through Heart of God early in 2013.  As a companion to this booklet, we are building a website that will have further articles and videos explaining the Christian faith and lead new believers into the discipleship process.

I am now asking for your help. We need to get the website up and running soon so that the booklets can go out as planned, and I am seeking people willing to help us out and write articles to be featured on this site.

In my current planning stages, the articles will be divided into 4 categories:

  • New Life – Understanding the Gospel
  • Living Up – Your relationship with God
  • Living In – Dealing with yourself
  • Living Out – Dealing with others

Submissions Needed:

We are looking for articles written on the following topics, though will take other submissions fitting one of the four categories as God leads you to write:

New Life

  • John 3:16 Explained
  • Why did Jesus have to die?
  • How can I know I’m saved?
  • Eternal Security? (Romans 8:38-39)

Living Up

  • Getting started in personal Bible study.
  • Personal prayer life
  • Finding a good church – specifically, what are some characteristics to look for
  • Receiving God’s Forgiveness

Living In

  • Your New Identity as a Child of God
  • Baptism – What is it? Why should I?
  • Continuing Repentance – the ongoing process of turning from self/sin and toward God
  • Overcoming your past

Living Out

  • Becoming a Servant
  • Reaching out – How to share your new faith
  • Forgiving Others
  • Dealing with persecution

We also invite any articles that fit into the above categories that are explanations of particular scriptures to encourage new believers or that may become “Life Verses” for them to hold to and be strengthened by.

There will also be sections for “Men’s Interests” and “Women’s Interests,” and though I don’t have a list of articles we are requesting in this area, if you have something to contribute to one of these areas, please feel free.

Submission Guidelines:

We are asking for all submissions by December 31,2012. Articles should be sent to singram@heartofgodinternational.org. Here are the basic guidelines.

  • Limit articles to 1,000 words or less (use a word counter).
  • Articles must be non-fiction but may include “parable-type” examples.
  • If personal experiences are included, change the names and locations to protect the privacy of others involved.
  • Cite each scripture used. All scriptures quoted will be published in the English Standard Version for copyright purposes and website consistency.
  • Carefully and properly cite any commentary or other sources included in your article as footnotes (not included in word count).
  • Submit each article in .doc or .docx format for easy copy/paste publication.
  • Submit a personal bio, written in third person, no longer than 150 words, along with a small photo (100×100 px) to be included with your bio on the website.
  • Your article must be proofread and ready for publication although HGIM reserves the right to edit to insure uniformity with our Statement of Faith.  (See http://heartofgodinternational.org/about/beliefs/)
  • By submitting your article(s), you release HGIM to publish your work with the understanding that you will receive no compensation or monetary benefit from publication. Please contact me if a formal release is needed or your preference.

If you plan on writing an article please send me an email to let me know which topic(s) you are taking on (even if it’s not one listed above), so that I can mark it on this page as ‘in progress,’ to prevent duplicate submissions.

Here are a few sample pages from the booklet itself. Sorry for the annoying watermarks.

(For those interested,  a Haitian Creole version is currently in the works, and there are plans for a Swahili and Arabic translation soon, though these will not have the website linked.)

South Sudan Mission Recap

The team all met up from different parts of the country at the Washington D.C. airport and made our way to Nairobi, Kenya via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We spent one night in Nairobi, then headed for the small airport which would fly us to the northern town of Lokichoggio, from which we would drive into South Sudan. This morning we were met by our Ugandan team members, Saphan and Isaac, we made it to the Loki airport without issue, then waited for a few hours on our vehicles to pick us up there.

The rain had hit throughout the night, so the roads were bad. It took us about three hours of driving to make it to the South Sudan border about 45km away. We had a few issues getting stuck in the mud, but the major issue came when we reached the border and discovered the riverbed to be full of flowing rainwater. We sent our facilitator across the river to see if the immigration office would remain open for us a bit, and believing they would, we abandoned our vehicles and the team waded across the river. Our bags came behind us in the hands of some very helpful young guys, for a price of course.

Once across it was discovered that the immigration office was not going to be as helpful as we thought, and Heart of God Africa Director, Denise Matthews had a fight on her hands to get us accepted into the country that night. After our luggage was across and Denise had won her battle, we hired new cars to take us the last hour drive to Narus, South Sudan; our home for the week.

Throughout this first night and the next morning much of the team was very discouraged, as things did not seem to be coming together according to plans and expectations. But through an intimate and powerful time of prayer, everyone’s spirit was rejuvenated and ready to reach the Taposa people with the Gospel of Christ.

Believing that the book of Joshua was setting the theme for the trip as we travelled into the unknown, and having very little idea what we were getting ourselves into – pioneer missions at it’s finest – we decided the first day we should send only a small group of people out of the compound to ‘spy out the land’.

When those of us who went to spy returned, it was only with strong confirmation that God was at work. The team greeted many of the Taposa who we had been told do not greet visitors well, and especially do not like their photos taken, yet we were greeted with smiles and waves, allowed to take many photos of and with the warriors, and one lady even threw down her pile of firewood to invite us for a drink of water. As we entered a small hut, we instead told her about the living water and she, along with a couple of other women, gave their lives to Christ.

The next day, the whole team ventured out into the village with the same results. We were greeted very warmly, as we went around telling anyone we met about the love of Christ and praying for blessings on them.

The third day we decided it would be good for us to visit the homes of the 15 members of the church, pastored by Joseph, our trip facilitator. Joseph is a Ugandan missionary to South Sudan, trained by Youth Ablaze, and has been in the country now for around a year, I believe.

As we walked past the tree under which the church meets, there was a blind man sitting in the shade. The team prayed for the man who said he could only see shadows passing him, but nothing more, and as we prayed he began to be able to see distinct shapes and colors, identifying skin color of team members and saying he could see the color of the dirt and leaves of the trees. Though there was not a complete healing in our time with him, the report came later from one of Joseph’s assistant pastors that the man was up and walking by himself around the village. The team also prayed for blessings on the homes of most of the church members, and prayed particularly for many women to be able to bear children. We are believing that next year we will see many toddlers around, confirming that God heard our prayers.

On Saturday we drove a little over an hour to another, much smaller village, called Korjip. The village elders had heard that our team was in Narus and that God was moving among us, and inviting us to come, had already determined amongst themselves to donate land for us to build a church on, as well as any other project the Lord leads us into.

We sat in a circle under a shade tree and exchanged formalities with about 40-45 people there, then I was given the opportunity to preach the Gospel. I began by asking the people, “when I say the name Jesus Christ, how many of you have heard of Him and know what I am talking about?” Out of the whole crowd, only one person raised their hand. Relating the message as best as I could in a way they would understand, there were obviously a few who walked away not wanting to hear what I was saying, but by the end of the message, between 30-35 of them accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I also told them that God was not just a God of words, but also of power, and told them how we had already seen God improve the sight of a blind man and prayed for barren women, and that we would like to pray for them as well.

The men moved to one side to pray for men and the women stayed under the tree, as it is offensive in their culture for women to touch or pray for the men. The very first man who had greeted us in the village, an elderly warrior who had walked in with use of a walking stick, was the first to come up for prayer. He told us that his knees were bad and that he wanted us to ask His new Savior to heal him. I and another team member, Paul, placed our hands on the old man’s knees and prayed. When we had finished praying I asked him, hoping-ly, to test it out. He said there was no improvement. As little discouraged at what I had got us into, I told him we should pray again (see Mark 8:22-26 where Jesus prayed twice for a healing). We put our hands back on his knees and began to pray, begging God to prove Himself with power, that these people would know we weren’t just coming with some new teaching. After a few minutes, I asked the man to try walking again. He took two steps, took of running, the leaped high in the air; completely free of knee pain. I may have been even more excited than this man was, and now we were rolling.

The next man came up with the same exact problem, and he was healed the same exact way. Prayed once, and nothing; prayed again, running and jumping.

There were so many that we all split up and I ended up praying mostly with just an interpreter  at my side. We prayed for a third man with excruciating pain in his side and lower back. Once we had prayed he was able to bend and move pain-free. Another old warrior with bad knees was in line behind this man. I prayed for him once and asked him to test it. Out of excitement at seeing his friends leaping around, he followed suit, and took of running and jumping. The problem was that he hadn’t been healed. He came limping back toward us barely able to walk, causing Denise, upon seeing his limp, to tell another lady that if this man walked out healed, she’d kiss the tree. Well…

While we were still praying for people, the village Chief arrived from a meeting he had been attending, and so we regrouped under the tree. He made a formal presentation giving us the land and asking us for help with water. As you know, we have been fundraising to drill a water well in relation to this trip, and Denise told him yes, and that we would be sending someone to test the water before we drill.

The team returned home overjoyed with what God was doing in us.

On Sunday we attended Joseph’s church under the tree. There were many new faces in attendance, and a small handful of them received Christ as their Savior in this service, after hearing the Gospel of Hope and the testimony of our team.

Then in the evening we met the church members in the central marketplace for an open-air outreach meeting. We sang and danced. Most of the team members shared their personal testimonies with all who gathered to listen, then I was again given the opportunity to preach the Gospel to them. Although we could not get a formal count, in looking around I saw a group of around 30 people praying to receive Christ. It was an awesome day for the Kingdom of God.

On Monday the team again divided, some staying at the compound to pray, while others went to visit the two small hospitals in Narus. We were shown the conditions people are treated in and told of the needs they have, and had the opportunity to pray for all the patients there that day: 4-6 suspected cases of measles, one epileptic boy, one girl with malaria, and a man badly damaged in a motorcycle accident. We also prayed with the hospital staff for God’s provision and blessing on their work.

On Tuesday, our last full day in Narus, we went into the local prison – something, as we were told, that no other missionary group has ever done for them. We were met by every police officer and security guard on the force, in full uniform, and the 14 prisoners currently residing there. There were cases of theft, adultery, and one murder in the crowd. Saphan, the Heart of God Africa Prison Ministry Director from Uganda, preached the Gospel to these 13 men and 1 woman, and all of them accepted Jesus as Savior. I then had the opportunity to share my testimony of how God changed my life, and Isaac shared a word of encouragement to them on the power of God now at work in them.

The prison director confessed to us the difficulty of his job in being honest and kind while trying to rehabilitate the prisoners, and the temptation to beat or even kill some of them. I laid my hand on his shoulder (apparently something you should not do when praying for someone in uniform, but love covers a multitude of sins) and I prayed for him and all the police standing around us. As we left, many of them took a group picture with our team, though I do not have a copy at this time.

Sadly, the next day our time in South Sudan was over. We prayed one last time as a team, then loaded the cars. After a short stop in the local Commissioner’s office to tell them goodbye and pray for them, we made our way back to the Kenyan border, and on to Lokichoggio where we would spend some time in a nice little hotel to debrief as a team before the long flight home.

I can honestly say that I am overjoyed by the fruit born on this trip and am hopeful for the future there through Joseph and his church. I cannot wait to return and see how things have progressed, and how all the people saved – roughly 100 for the week – have held to the new truth they have been shown and carried it forward.

This was only our first push into the 10-40 Window, but as God continues to open doors to the unreached, we will be there to step through them. If you would like to support my evangelistic works through Heart of God, like this one and others, you can click the ‘Donate’ tab, or you can learn more about Heart of God and how you can get involved through any of our various ministries at http:www.heartofgodinternational.org.

Ministry Update – September 2012

CLick Here to Download and print this update letter

It is really hard for me to believe I’ve already been in Haiti for a full seven months. It has gone by so fast. I am also quickly getting hit with the reality that my time here is growing shorter every day.

This month I have been preaching in multiple churches and we are continually making progress on the work projects as God gives us the ability. Today I delivered the money to buy the wood and nails to build the new rafters on the orphanage roof reconstruction. The retaining wall for the eroding church foundation is also almost complete, and plans are in the works to build an addition onto the orphanage so that my replacement on the ground full-time next year, Erin, can stay at the center and begin investing in the kids more hands-on every day than I have had the ability to do.

Another aspect of my personal ministry has been to begin planning out the next missions God has put before me. All my flights are booked to go with Heart of God Africa on the first-ever trip to South Sudan later in October. We are working on a possible trip with Heart of God India in March of next year, and I have personally been communicating with a ministry connection in the 10-40 window to plan an evangelistic outreach in April. (For security reasons, the location cannot be disclosed at this time.)

Among next month’s travels, I will also be making a quick stop in west Texas to get a new driver’s license. Mine was stolen with my phone and camera last month, and with the cops in Haiti cracking down on everything from seat belts to only allowing non-drivers to drink in the car, I must get this ASAP.

As many of you know, the missionary life carries with it a lot of responsibility to not only God and to the people on the mission field, but also to all of the churches and individuals who so graciously support the work in both prayer and finances.

Firstly, I don’t think I can tell you “thank you,” enough for your support. I can’t do this without you.

Secondly, I also want to let you know that this long-term stay in Haiti will be finishing up in February, and I will be back in the U.S. for a while to catch up with donors and do some much needed support raising.

Whether you are a current supporter or not, if you would like to schedule a visit to your church to give report and share my ministry, I would love to work that out with you. You can check for open dates on my itinerary.

No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it. ~Guy H. King

  • Pray for God to send revival; that salvation and healing will come to this nation.
  • Pray for my travel in October and November (17 flights in all).
  • Pray for Erin as she is beginning her own preparation to move to Haiti in 2013.
  • Pray for me as the move to the higher altitude is causing daily headaches and frequent allergies.

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A Wonderful Parallel

I love the story of Jesus getting baptized as the Holy Spirit descends of Him and God speaks from Heaven, “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Imagine what it would be like for you if, right now, God spoke such encouraging words over you.

It isn’t long however that while spending some alone time with His Father, fasting and praying in the wilderness, Jesus finds himself tempted by the devil. Probably not surprisingly, it is the last thing God spoke over Jesus that is the first thing the enemy tries to rob from Him. “If you are the Son of God..,” the temptation begins.

This isn’t just a temptation to sin. This is a challenge to His identity. If this challenge succeeds, then the plan for our salvation would fail. But Jesus resists the enemy, and because of this victory, where the Bible says he walked into the wilderness “led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1), he now returns “in the power of the Spirit” (4:14).

Identity enables purpose

From here, after He has stood firmly in who He is, the next thing we read in the story is that Jesus walks into the Synagogue in Nazareth, stands up to read from the book of Isaiah, and finds these words.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

After reading these words, Jesus rolls up the scroll, sits down, and essentially says “I know who I Am. You want to know who I Am? I Am the fulfillment of this prophecy. Messiah is here.” The personal realization of His identity as the Son of God, enabled Him to publicly accept His role in life.

At first the crowd is confused and amazed at his teachings, but the amazement fades as they realize the identity He is claiming is different from the one they know. To them, Jesus is only the carpenter’s son. They grow angry and eventually try to kill Him over this issue.

I can’t help but wonder, if Jesus had not been confident in the Word of His Father, would He have ever had the courage to stand before men and accept His destiny? Had the enemy not challenged Him privately, would Jesus have claimed His anointing publicly? I can’t answer those questions, because there is too much behind the scenes that we don’t know. But what I can say is that I find here a wonderful parallel between the story of Jesus and the life of every believer today.

YOU ARE MY SON!

God spoke the word over Jesus, “You are My Son.” Now while most of us haven’t heard the voice of God over us in the same way, as believers we do hang our faith on the scriptures as the Word of God. And in the scriptures we read this:

“But to all who did receive (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

The Bible says that by our faith in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and resurrection three days later, we have been adopted by the Father, and now, just as Jesus was the Son of God, now we too are the sons and daughters of God. This is the identity we are given when we receive salvation in faith.

ARE YOU REALLY GOD’S SON?

The hard part is that just like Jesus was tempted to doubt His identity by the enemy, we too will face the same challenge. All of us will go through an identity crisis as we have to “put off the old self which belongs to the former manner of life” (Ephesians 4:22) and “present ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13).

The temptations will always come, and it is at these times that our spiritual reality will be challenged to overcome the weakness of the flesh (Matthew 26:41). This will be a battle fought on many fronts as Jesus also said we will not be accepted by the world because we no longer belong to the world system (Matthew 10:16-25).

By faith we have to take hold of our identity as the children of God and not let the enemy, the flesh, or the world rob us of it. And the reward for standing firm is that it enables us to fulfill our destiny in Christ (Ephesians 2:10).

ANOINTED TO PROCLAIM GOOD NEWS

Jesus stood in the synagogue and declared from scripture the role God has called Him to. It was laid out plainly in the book of the prophet Isaiah. Once we understand our new identity in Him, we too can find that our mission and anointing is clearly spelled out in the scriptures as well:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

So do you know who you are? Are you sure enough of that to stand firm in the face of trial and temptation? Then what are you going to do with this revelation?

Would Jesus Lie?

In John 14:26, Jesus tells the disciples that, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Jesus goes on to say in John 16:7, “I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away…,” which most modern Christians fundamentally disagree with. After all, if Jesus was here, things would be way better, right? And we’d know exactly how to live the Christian life because He’d show us, right? But He still says His leaving was to our advantage because, “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.”

So Jesus said that it is to the benefit of the church that He has left the earth because He has sent the Holy Spirit in His place. This is a benefit because the Holy Spirit will not only remind us of what Jesus said, but He will teach us the full truth of the Gospel, revealing to us the Kingdom of God in fresh and deeper ways every day.

Would Jesus Lie to Us?

Now, let’s get real for a second. I don’t think there is a single person reading this who doesn’t stop for a moment and think, “Yeah, having the Holy Spirit is good and all, but I think it’d be better if Jesus were here to fix everything.” For those of us raised in the rationalist, naturalist worldview of the west, we fundamentally cannot imagine that an unseen, metaphysical presence of God is better than the physical, touchable, seeable and hearable presence of God in Christ. We are convinced that physical reality is better. So the question is, would Jesus lie to us?

In mentally resolving this issue, it can easily become a test of faith for us as our logical mind, clinging to primacy of Jesus’ physical presence, is placed against our faith in the very words of Jesus saying it’s better that He goes away.

In fact, Jesus even tells us that there are things we need to learn, but that they had to come from the unseen Holy Spirit, and not from Him directly.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:12-13)

An Issue of Identity

I believe our desire to have Jesus with us comes from a place of misunderstanding about the identity and calling of the church. See, Jesus said He would establish the church, which throughout the rest of scripture, after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, is called the “Body of Christ.” In essence this is saying that Jesus’ hands and feet have not left the world, but in His going and sending the Spirit to dwell within the church, His hands and feet have been multiplied millions of times over. Christ has physically left, but it is Christ’s Spirit that is now living and active in the church when we learn to follow His lead.

This is why so much of Jesus’ teaching time with the disciples was spent telling them, “This is how things work in the Kingdom…” “This is how you engage with God…” “Where is your faith?” “Don’t be afraid.” “How long will I be with you? You have to learn this…”

And it seems that when Jesus left, He really did expect that all of the things He has been doing on earth (including the crazy miracles and such) would continue on in the church, as we learned to walk by the leading of the Spirit. He even says so in John 14:12

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Yet the works that Jesus did were only the works that He saw the Father doing through the leading of the Holy Spirit:

“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19)

And the words that Jesus spoke were only the words that He heard the Father speaking through the Holy Spirit:

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” (John 14:10)

Claiming Our Calling

So if the church is to be the hands and feet of Jesus, active in this world, and continuing the ministry of Jesus, then the only way it’s going to happen is when we learn to pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading as He teaches us what to say and do.

We can no longer just passively sit back, watch the world go to hell in a handbasket, and think to ourselves, “I can’t wait until Jesus comes back and fixes this mess.”

When Jesus gave us the authority of Heaven, He was telling us that it is our job to be cleaning up this mess ourselves. We are to seek Heaven for the transformation of our world, and then be the active agents through which that change comes.

So it’s time for the church to come alive again. It’s time for the disciples of Christ go, be who God is calling us to be, and do what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do. I believe Jesus is still sending us out with the same instructions He began with:

“Go…And proclaim as you go, saying ,‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleans lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; now give without pay.” (Matthew 10:5-8)

What About It, Pat Robertson?

Now Tropical Storm Isaac has passed Haiti, I think it’s fair to say that God demonstrated how great His mercy is to this nation. After all, it was predicted that the storm would reach hurricane force wind before hitting our coast. The trajectory of the storm for days before had predicted that the eye of the hurricane would come straight across Port-au-Prince. And the devastating expectations were set very, very high.

What happened, though, was that many people, including many of you reading this right now, showered this nation with prayers asking for God to act. And He did.

If I were to be really honest about my feelings going into the storm, I had a lot of anxiety about the potential damage to our orphanage (which could have been way worse than losing a tin roof), worry for the people living in the tent cities, and fear for the unknown. At the same time, however, there was also a little bit of excitement in me because, as a west Texas boy, it’s fair to assume I’ve never been in a hurricane before. There is always a sense of adventure that comes with the possibility of danger.

However, as the time drew close for the storm to hit, one thought kept coming through my mind… “This must be the most boring ‘hurricane’ ever.” In the end, the storm never picked up enough speed to become a hurricane, and the course had shifted away from coming right over us. In fact, the storm was so ‘boring’ that after it had stalled in the ocean to the south of us for almost 8 hours, I went to bed and slept right through it. The next morning I learned that the core of the storm finally shot across the southern peninsula of Haiti in just under 3 hours. How crazy is that?

As far as the devastation goes, the last count I heard was that Isaac has left 24 dead, 42 injured, 335 homes destroyed, and 2,346 homes damaged (the numbers include regular homes as well as shanties built after the 2010 earthquake). All in all, what could have been a major catastrophe was pretty much diverted.

Is God to blame for this?

When a natural disaster strikes and there is major loss of life and major destruction left in it’s wake, God always catches the blame. So now I think it is vital to point out the fact that this storm was restrained from doing that much damage, must also be considered the hand of God. I absolutely believe that God held back this storm.

So I must ask the question: What about it, Pat Robertson?

If only two years ago, God was ready to destroy this nation because of it’s history of sin and voodou, then why didn’t He finish the job now, before reconstruction can really have much affect?

Well, I’ll tell you why. Because even though God will put an end to all sin and even though the whole earth is saved up for destruction in God’s wrath, we are living in an age where God is withholding this judgement in order that grace can be extended to the nations and all peoples will have the opportunity to repent and be saved. But don’t take my word for it. Check out what God said Himself in His word:

“…the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance…” (2 Peter 3:5-9)

So while the curse is still on much of humanity from sin, and the creation is still fighting against us making life difficult (see Genesis 3:17-18), we cannot attribute this to God’s decisive judgement. The new testament teaches that those things have and will always come our way (see passages like Matthew 24:6-8). Instead of destroying humanity, after having won the victory on the cross, God is currently in the business of putting salvation into full effect by reaching those who should be saved. This generation is seeing grace upon grace despite the fact that our sin deserves God’s destruction.

So in the case of Tropical Storm Isaac, I absolutely believe that God heard the prayers of His people for Haiti and has spared her. I further believe that God is at work in Haiti, as the gospel continues to go out and souls are being brought into His Kingdom. I will even go farther and say it is my personal conviction that revival is ready to break out in Haiti as the people of God here are beginning to rise up and seeking His face on behalf of this place.

All of that to say this. I am very thankful to our merciful Savior for a boring storm, and all the grace that this lack-of-destruction demonstrates. And now, as this storm approaches New Orleans (another of Pat Robertson’s ‘condemned’ cities), I pray that God graces those people with a boring storm as well. Will you pray the same as well?

“Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.”