Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quick Thought: Jesus is More Than a Noun

english-english_dictionaries_and_thesaurus_booksWhen looking for inspiration for upcoming blog posts, I came across a blog topic generator. You insert a few nouns you want to write about, and it would give you the titles of potential blog posts. I gave it a shot and typed Jesus as the noun to use. The results were a little humorous.

5 Tools Everyone In The Jesus Industry Should Be Using

10 Signs You Should Invest In Jesus

What Will Jesus Be Like In 100 Years?

10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Jesus

The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Jesus

7 Things About Jesus Your Boss Wants To Know

It’s a silly example, but how often do we treat Jesus as just another noun…like a person from the past, a place you occasionally visit, or a thing to be studied and put back down.  Jesus is more than that. In fact, He is the creator of all people, places, and things (Colossians 1:16). Jesus is our peace that reconciles us to God. If you want to know more information about going from Jesus as a noun to Jesus as your savior, click here.

 

Haiti Mission – Day 1, 2, & 3

  
Greetings from Croix-des-Bouquets in beautiful Haiti.   The Louisiana Baptist mission team has settled in and worked hard for 2 full days of mission work in the areas of Canaan and Croix-des-Bouquets, which are just outside of Port-au-Prince.  The medical team, VBS team, clean water project team, evangelism team and pastors conference leaders have all been very busy in minisrty and outreach. 

After arriving Saturday afternoon, we made it to our lodging site, Villa Mamika, whch is in the heart of Croix-des-Bouquets. The Chatelain family operates the hotel/lodgiing area and they have gone out of their way to make us feel at home. Sunday we were all up vey early to attend worship with our Haitian brothers and sisters (Sunday school starts at 6AM, so we need not complain too much). I had the opportunity to preach at the Baptist Bible Church (one of many with that name) and the service went very well. There were nearly 40 in attendance, ranging from young children to senior adults. Although I could not understand much of what they said or sung, it was a joy to sit in the presence of God with kindred spirits in the Lord. 

Monday and Tuesday we spilt up all over the area to accomplish what we came here to do.  The medical team set up in Canaan, an area that did not exist prior to the 2010 earthquake. Nearly 1 million people fled the city of Port-au-Prince and settled there over 5 years ago. The needs there are vast and overwhelming. Most of the medical care has been minor issues, although one young lady was rushed to the hospital today in very serious condition. The VBS team for older and younger chlidren is located near a school in Croix-des-Bouquets. The VBS team has ministered to dozens of children each day, and at lunch time they have fed nearly 200 children. The Lord has provided enough food and patience to accomodate each child. The evangelism team is traveling to remote areas outside of Port-au-Prince bringing the gospel to rural communities. We’ve also partnered with a group from Pennsylvania to start a clean water filttration project for homes in the area. These water filters are state-of-the art and proven to work efficiently for up to 10 years. This is an exciting  opportunity to help the people of Haiti obtain clean drinking water, which will eventually cut down on sickness and spread of disease.

I have the privilige of helping to lead the pastors conference, which is actually located at our lodging area. There is a spacious conference room (with A/C!) that has been sufficient to accomodate all of the pastors. It has been a very encouraging time for each of us and we have built some solid relationhships with local pastors. They are encouragiing to us and we pray that we are able to encourage them as well. 

The needs here are numerous and yet the door is wide open for God to work in this country. The poverty here is obvious and widely known, but that is not the primary problem in this land. As it is even in our own beloved country, the problem is lostness and spiritual darkness. Spiritual depravity  does not have a price tag or income level. Whether in affuence or poverty, Satan has set his traps and had captured many people in spiritual bondage. So many are living aimlessly, from day to day, without any kind of hope for today, not to mention hope for tomorrow. The people of  Haiti have felt helpless and witout answers for their struggles for so long now that sorrow and sadness have become deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of the people. This is why they (and we!) so desperately need the gospel. The amazing, life-changing power of the gospel is the only power that can cut through the hopelessness and bring joy to broken  lives.  We are not discouraged, for the LORD GOD reigns! This land is his land, and every square inch of it belongs to him. The fields are ripe for the harvest. Lives are ready to be surrendered to Jesus Christ. Pray for us that we would be bold and that our work will be fruitful for the glory of God. 

– Pastor Oren

St. Patrick the Missionary

Public-Domain-Clip-Art-Shamrock-GraphicsFairy-grn

St. Patrick’s Day is more about missions than anything else. Of course, we’ve managed to mess it all up with parades, green beer, drunkenness, and revelry. But the point of St. Patrick’s Day is to remind us of how a life surrendered to the Lord God in sacrifice and service can produce unimaginable results.

The Life of Patrick

Patrick was not from Ireland. He was British, born around 390A.D.

  • His grandfather was a pastor and his father was a deacon. He was brought up in the Christian church and was taught the truths of scripture (remember this key point). Yet by his own admission, he was a rebellious, unbeliever who lived in the flesh.
  • At age 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates and made a slave. He lived in Ireland as a slave for 6 years, tending to his masters cattle and sheep. During this time, much of which was spent in isolation in the rain and snow, Patrick’s faith in God deepened and his heart was turned to Jesus. Without a single Christian influence in his life, Patrick prayed day and night, sometimes hundreds of prayers at a time, in constant communication with God.

One night the Lord gave him a dream telling him to escape and travel to the coast (nearly 200 miles) where he would find rescue. As he journeyed, Patrick was never pursued or captured by his masters. And when he arrived at the coast, not knowing where or how rescue could come, there were fishermen there who rescued him and brought him back to Britain.

  • After returning to Britain, Patrick enrolled in seminary and was commissioned as a pastor. Some years later, the Lord God spoke to Patrick in another dream, calling him to return to Ireland to evangelize the lost and to bring the gospel to an entire nation. At period in history (5th c.),
  • Ireland was an incredibly disorganized tribal country. They had no central government, no cooperation, and very little love for one another. The country was a mess of about 150 warring clans who lived debased, wicked, and paganistic lives with little respect for anyone outside of their own clans. In fact, the Church of Rome had essentially given up on them, calling them barbarians who were beyond saving. They had either killed or run out any other missionary ever sent to the island. But Patrick had a love for the people who had once enslaved him. This is what fueled his missionary efforts.

In faith, the forty-year-old Patrick sold all of possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. Patrick used a completely unique and unorthodox strategy for reaching the Irish clans.

He functioned like a missionary, trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture and language. Unlike the missionaries sent by the church of Rome, Patrick understood the people he was sent to help, and he communicated to them in ways which they could understand. There is some debate to the legendary story as to whether or not Patrick used the three-leaf clover to teach the gospel and the doctrine of the Trinity. It cannot be proven or dis-proven; but it would not be surprising if that was one of Patrick’s strategies for sharing Christ with the lost Irish.

Patrick’s strategy began with the key leaders of each clan. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, preach the Bible, and use music and art to persuade people to put their faith in Jesus. Once enough people had converted to faith in Jesus, he would build a simple church that did not resemble Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor. Then he would move on to repeat the process with another clan.

The reason Patrick is not canonized by the Roman Catholic Church is one of simple disagreement. The church did not approve of Patrick using “common means” to teach the Holy Scriptures.  Patrick was more of a “whatever works to reach the lost” kind of guy, while the monks and priests were more of “it’s our way or the highway!” The results are undeniable.

In nearly 40 years of missionary work in Ireland, it is reported that Patrick:

  • Baptized nearly 100,000 believers.
  • Between 30-40 of the 150 tribes in Ireland had become substantially Christian.
  • He trained 1000 pastors
  • He planted 700 churches
  • And he was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery. (for obvious reasons!)

The churches and monasteries that Patrick was responsible for establishing became some of the most influential missionary centers in all of Europe. Missionaries went out from Ireland to spread the gospel throughout the world. In fact, it is believed that the work of Patrick on the Irish Iles became the foundation for preserving the Christian faith during the dark ages. Patrick died at the age of 77, having given his life to the people who enslaved him.

Lessons we can learn from the life of St. Patrick:

1)      Children brought up to know and love the Lord God and his Word will find out later in life just how valuable that training is. Patrick didn’t have a Bible to read or pastors to teach him while he was enslaved, but all that his father and grand-father taught him as a boy was remembered and trusted upon while he spend long, terrible nights out in the fields.

2)      So often in the lives of God’s children, God will use our prior circumstances, especially our most difficult ones, to stir in us a passion for ministry. Like abused children who grow up to help and minister to other abused children. How those who grew up in poverty know how to relate to the poor. Or those who understand suffering through sickness and disease can help others dealing with those same struggles. Patrick knew the Irish people. He knew their culture and their ways. He knew they were lost and he knew why they were lost. He was uniquely gifted by God, even by his afflictions, to minister to them effectively.

3)      Missionary work is first and foremost a work of sacrifice. Patrick had to leave everything behind, a life of comfort and provision, to go to the Irish people. We must understand that to reach the nations, it will cost us more than “just a little extra”. It will require an all or nothing commitment.

4)      Gospel ministry requires us to be sensitive and aware to the uniqueness of the culture. Missionaries from America don’t expect those they are called to reach to learn English. No, missionaries learn the language and culture of whom they are called. We can’t say “Be like us or you’re doomed to hell”. We have to be willing to learn and adapt to the language and customs of our culture. This is an important aspect to church work as well. We can’t sit on our hands and expect the world to just to “show up and fall in line”. We have to “speak to them in a way that they can understand”, just like Patrick did for the Irish.

5)      Never underestimate the effect of many years of faithful gospel preaching and ministry. in nearly 40 years of ministry, Patrick undoubtedly  had times of utter despair when reaching the clans of Ireland seemed impossible. But God honored his hard work and the world was affected by Patrick’s commitment to the gospel.  God is the same today as he was then. HE is faithful to his people to use their humble service to save souls. Let us not grow weary in proclaiming the gospel, for in time, God will bring a great harvest.

When Jesus said “Go and make disciples. . . baptizing them. . . and teaching them all I have commanded you”, he didn’t leave us with that command to go it alone. Jesus said, “And I will be with you to the very end.” That means that Jesus will be with us until the very end of our work, and he will be with his people until the very end of this earthly age.  Let us not lose heart. Preach and live the gospel and Jesus will make of us a witness to the glory of his name.

 

A Prayer

 StAnnHolyTrinityCase1925

The Trinity


THREE IN ONE, ONE IN THREE,
GOD OF MY SALVATION,

Heavenly Father, blessed Son, eternal Spirit, I adore thee as one Being, one Essence,

One God in three distinct Persons,
     for bringing sinner to thy knowledge and to thy kingdom

O Father, thou has loved me and sent Jesus to redeem me;

O Jesus, thou has loved me and assured my nature,
     shed thine own blood to wash away my sins,
     wrought righteousness to cover my unworthiness

O Holy Spirit, thou has loved me and entered my heart,
     implanted there eternal life, revealed to me the glories of Jesus.

Three Persons and one God, I bless and praise thee,
     for love so unmerited, so unspeakable,
     so wondrous, so mighty to save the lost and raise them to glory.

O Father, I thank thee that in fullness of grace thou hast given me to Jesus,
    to be his sheep, jewel, portion;

O Jesus, I thank thee that in fullness of grace
     thou has accepted, espoused, bound me;

O Holy Spirit, I thank thee that in fullness of grace
     thou has exhibited Jesus as my salvation,
     implanted faith within me
     subdued my stubborn heart,
     made me one with him for ever.

 O Father, thou are enthroned to hear my prayers,

O Jesus, thy hand is outstretched to take my petitions,

O Holy Spirit, thou art willing to help my infirmities,
     to show me my need,
     to supply words, to pray within me,
     to strengthen me that I faint not in supplication.

 O Triune God, who commandeth the universe,
     thou hast commanded me to ask for those things that
     concern thy kingdom and my soul.

 Let me live and pray as one baptized into the threefold Name.

                                           – Taken from the Valley of Vision, p.2-3 

9483

And we also thank God constantly for this,

that when you received the word of God,

which you heard from us,

you accepted it 

not as the word of men 

but as what it really is,

the word of God,

which is at work in you believers.

[1 Thessalonians 2:13]

A Prayer for My Church

God is Faithful

DSCN0566

God is a teacher. He is always showing us, teaching us, and revealing to us something about himself (Isaiah 2:3). In each and every day, God is actively at work in the lives of his people to shape us and mold us into the image of his son Jesus (Romans 8:29). But we all know that there are times in life when we are just too distracted by the things of this world to pay attention to what God is teaching us about his goodness, grace, and love. There is never a day when God is silent or absent from our lives; but there are many days when we are deaf and absent minded of his presence. Praise God for his abundant patience and love (2 Peter 3:9).

God is a teacher who never misses a moment to teach. One of the most fertile times of teaching is when we are on mission for God. Whenever we surrender to God’s command to “go and tell”, whether it be across an ocean or across the street, He will teach us something that changes our perspective and deepens our faith. In fact, to serve God faithfully demands true faith. And when we trust God in faith, he does “far more abundantly than we can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), even when we don’t see the immediate results. This is why we are always so uplifted and encouraged when returning from a mission trip. We’ve seen and experienced God’s presence, knowing full well that he is at work, even if the “flower of the work” hasn’t fully bloomed (1 Corinthians 3:7).

In case you are wondering what it takes to get ready for a mission trip, the preparations go something like this: pray, plan, pray, plan some more, pray, pack, pray, travel, travel, travel, pray, work, preach, love, and pray some more in hopes that God will honor our efforts to share the gospel with those who have not heard. In the end, when all of the plans have been fulfilled and you are back in your own bed thinking about God’s faithfulness and your efforts to share his love with others, you realize what he has been teaching all along. So, here are some things God is teaching me because of our trip to Ukraine:

1)      God is always and abundantly faithful to his people, the church. I believe God is truly faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). I know God is faithful. I have personally experienced his faithfulness in my own life. But to see just how faithful he is ALL of his people is incredibly encouraging. Those men, women, and children that we had an opportunity to teach, pray with, and serve alongside gave us evidence in their own testimony of God’s abiding faithfulness to his people in every part of the world.

2)      The church praying together is powerful and undeniable evidence of God’s presence and grace. When believers pray together, God does mighty things (Acts 1:14). I believe that faithful prayer has sustained the church in Ukraine, and in many other parts of the world, where Christian believers have experienced terrible persecution because of their faith in Jesus. The reason God is moving in Ukraine is because the people there are faithful to pray. Even in the face of opposition and rejection, they can pray.

3)      Every true believer cares about the “lost-ness” of their family members and friends. Time after time I had opportunities to speak with people who had questions and prayer concerns for others, not for themselves. Many of the conversations I had with people were about unbelieving spouses, children, and neighbors. When God has changed your life and given you a deep love for Christ, you recognize how good it is, and you want that for those you love. God showed me how he stirs in the hearts of his people a deep care about the lost condition of others (Romans 10:1)

4)      Everyone needs to be encouraged. We all need to be encouraged at times (Romans 1:11-12). One of the great privileges I have when in Ukraine is to simply encourage the believers to “keep the faith.” Teaching God’s Word and reminding them of His promises goes a long way to encourage them to continue doing the work of the kingdom and trusting God by faith. What a blessing it is to be encouraged by one another and to be an encouragement to others.

5)      There is a true bond between believers, regardless of differences in culture and language. Admittedly, there is a language barrier with the Ukrainians, which makes communication difficult at times. But when we are in worship with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, there is a bond that would be unexplainable if it were not for the “unspoken” bond that God gives us by the Holy Spirit’s work in each of our lives. Our fellowship has a sweetness that is unmistakable. The songs, even if we don’t know all, or any, of the words are still wonderful and uplifting. When we sang “To God be the Glory” and “When the Roll is Called up Yonder”, we sang in English and they sang in Russian, but God heard only praises. It was powerful. The body of Christ is truly 1 body, united under Christ Jesus, our head, and unified to do as he commands for the glory of God’s name.

Thank you FBC family for sending missionaries. God is faithful and he will honor his people’s obedience.

Crucified with Christ

tumblr_m30biczOi91qbbnr2o1_500


I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

With these words, the Apostle Paul paints for all of us the picture of the Christian’s life. The reality of the new life we have in Christ as his “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17) is planted in the rich soil of the gospel: the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was at the cross where all of my sin, shame, greed, lust, selfishness, pride, and ignorance died. IT DIED. I DIED WITH IT. All of my sin died with Jesus on the cross.

Prior to knowing Christ, I was a sinner, in bondage to sin and only going to be a slave to sin apart from a divine intervention and transformation in my life. I may have had good works or deeds before knowing Jesus, but they were all empty and rooted in self-righteousness. Good deeds are possible without Jesus in a general, worldly sense. But anything that is done for the purposes of serving others for the glory of God is not possible without first being transformed from within by the power of God and trust in Jesus Christ. What took place at the cross was that all my sin was placed upon Jesus, where he endured the judgment of God and he bore the wrath of God for my sin in his body (2 Corinthians 5:21), making himself my substitute (Isaiah 53:5-6). In his place I received all of God’s grace and mercy. Grace is receiving something you do not deserve (salvation) and mercy is NOT receiving what you really deserve (punishment). In essence, at the cross a great exchange took place: I got all of God’s love and favor, and Jesus got all of my sin and judgment. So while my sinful self died with Jesus on the cross, I was given a new “self”, which is surrendered to God by faith in Jesus.

Because of the cross, and what Jesus did there to set me from from the chains of sin, I am now able to live by the words that Paul uses here. When he writes “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me”, he is essentially applying Jesus’ perfect righteousness to my life and testifying that whatever God honoring thought or action I have now is in essence Christ living through me. My surrender to Jesus as my Lord and Savior is a submission to God’s will to be done in me and through me for the glory of His name. So, I have been set free from sin to live for God’s glory, in God’s power, and to God’s worship.

So, now the life I live today, still in this fleshly body which is subject to the effects of sin and temptation, I live by faith in God. It is by faith that one is justified (Galatians 2:16) and made right with God. My life every single day is a constant process, struggle, and fight to surrender to God’s will in my life by having full faith in Jesus. But the promise of Galatians 2:20 remains true and unmoved: I am crucified with Christ (my old self no longer has power over me) and now I live in this life for the exaltation of Jesus, who loves me and gave himself (to death) for me. Every morning, afternoon, and evening is saturated with this gospel truth. Every relationship, job, task, and experience is deeply effected by the gospel. When faced with trials of many kind (James 1:3) I can consider it joy, because my old self is dead and my new self in Christ is alive. I don’t “have to be a sinner”, because Jesus has set me free to live righteously.

Yet I struggle against this flesh to seek my own way, to live by my sinful desires, and to ignore Christ for the sake of my own comfort and convenience. Praise God that my old self has been crucified, and I am no longer bound to only live apart from God. Now I can chose Christ instead of sin. So this life, which Jesus died to save, is now surrendered to him and sacrificed for him. And by God’ s will, we will persevere for his glory.

Before Jesus. . . Because of Jesus

9981

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10

The story of the church can be summed up in 4 words: “God’s Work, Our Witness”. This is true for every Christian church throughout all of history, including my very own FBC Baton Rouge. There are a number of ways that we can look at the longevity of FBC and attribute the effectiveness and endurance of this body of believers for nearly 140 years to the hard work and commitment of so many men and women of God; but that would not be the reason for why we are here today. The only explanation, and the foundational reason for our existence as a church family is that God has done a great work in us and through us for the glory of his name, and we are witnesses to his work in us.

The truth is that the church is a picture of each individual’s Christian testimony. The story of the church is the story of her people. We’ve heard it said so many times “The church isn’t a place or building, the church is people.” That statement is true and we need to be reminded of it daily. But what makes the story of our church unique is that there are so many individual stories that make up the fabric of our collective witness. At the very heart of our witness is not what we have done, but what God has done to make us his people (1 Peter 2:10), sanctify our hearts (1 Thess. 5:23-24), and move to obedience for his glory (Romans 16:25-27). Christian, this is YOUR STORY! God has done a magnificent and glorious work in your life by saving you and making you his own child. This is a miracle that only a God of abundant grace and mercy could accomplish. You were once an alien to God, but now you are his very own child, marked by his Holy Spirit and called to a life of holiness and obedience.

Have you thought about your testimony recently? When was the last time you considered all that God has done in your life to save you from darkness, clothe you in righteousness, and call you for a glorious purpose? The greatest acts of mercy to the tiniest acts of sovereign guidance have all been done by God for the good of your soul and for the glory of his name. This was the heart of the Apostle Paul’s witness, as he shared the gospel with believers and non-believers. The gospel of Jesus Christ was at the heart of Paul’s message, and in his own mind, there was no greater example of the power of the gospel than in how Jesus transformed his own life. Listen to how Paul describes the “before and after” of his testimony:

13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:13-17)

Paul’s testimony is just like yours and mine: “This is who I was before Jesus saved me, and this is who I am now because Jesus saved me.” That is our story. What is so amazing to me is that as differently and diversely as our individual stories can be told, essentially we are all telling the same story. And that common story is all for the glory of God.

I am writing this to you because I want you to consider your own story. We are currently working on a project for our church family at FBC Baton Rouge that concerns every believer in our congregation. I’m not revealing to you just yet what it is (hope you like surprises!), but I believe it will be a tremendous encouragement to each and every one of you. In the meantime, I need you to do something very important for me and for your brothers and sisters in Christ: Think about your testimony and write it down. Take some time to think deeply and concisely about what you have witnessed what God has done your life and then write it down on 1 sheet of paper. For some of you this will be a difficult task because you like to include every detail. The details are important, but the challenge for each of you is to condense your testimony to 1 sheet of paper while making the entire testimony about what God has done to transform your life. I think the result for this effort will have a tremendous effect on our congregation as we seek to honor God by proclaiming his gospel. Please consider this challenge and accept it with joy.

Chainsaws and Surf Boards: an Exciting Wednesday and Thursday in Hawaii

My laptop’s clock never changed to reflect the new time zone that we’re in here in Hawaii. Right now it’s telling me that it’s 5:19 AM (meaning it’s actually just a bit past midnight). Yeah, it’s been a long day…

 So we left off our last blog post with us being tired. Especially being tired of painting. But would you like to guess what we’ve been doing the past two days? If your answer is painting, then you’re right. Yesterday we spent almost all day at Aina Haina Baptist church, were some of us went for Easter Sunday. It’s a small church of about 25 (mostly older) people who are just as sweet as sweet can be. We helped them do three major things: one group trimmed up a bunch of plumeria clippings to get them small enough to fit into the dumpster, one group started painting a shed that was built up on stilts on a hillside, and one group went adventuring up on a vegetated, overgrown, rocky mountainside, following Pastor Gary and his chainsaw, to cut up some dead Hawaiian mesquite trees and hand the lumber back down the mountainside. It was quite a sight to see. Like every group here, they fed us a fantastic lunch, and after lunch we spent the afternoon with our favorite task–painting.

            Today the group got to go take a tour of Pearl Harbor and learn a little bit about American History and pay our respects to fallen servicemen and women. Around lunch time, we came back and helped serve at the BCM’s International Student lunch, which was a good opportunity to reach out to the students here. Then, this afternoon, you guessed it…more painting! Tomorrow night is CRASH, the BCM’s biggest outreach event. They expect over 100 students to show up, a huge portion of whom don’t attend most BCM things. And let me say, from all the time we’ve spent painting the fellowship hall here this week, this is going to be the best looking CRASH this place has seen. It really has made a significant difference, and it’s good to know how much everyone here appreciates it.

            Finally, tonight, we got to experience the most wonderful of Hawaiian traditions: surfing! A few students took our group out to Waikiki and taught everyone who wanted to learn how to surf, which was definitely a fun and exciting experience. If any of you are taking a beach vacation and want some pointers on surfing, ask Larkin. He picked it up pretty quick and I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you all about it.

            Like I said earlier, tomorrow night is a big night for the BCM here. It’s when they have the most students come into a non-threatening, relaxed atmosphere, and it makes for a great place to be intentional in conversations about sharing the gospel. So be praying for that as you read this, that God can use this event to make His name known on the campus here and that people will be blessed by it.

 

Love y’all and God bless

-Nick

Tagged ,

Prayer Walking, Outreach, and Paintbrushes: The Guts of Ministry

 Image

Apologies for being so late with this post. We’ve been extremely busy the past two days, staying out late, so I haven’t had the energy to write at the end of the day. But here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to.

Monday morning we had two tasks: half the time we spent prayer walking around the University of Hawaii campus and reaching out to students to invite them to this week’s BCM events and the other half we spent wiping down all the dirt on the walls in the BCM in preparation for today’s painting. In the afternoon we went to Central Baptist Church here in Honolulu to help them with a youth outreach event. Central Baptist is located right across the corner from Roosevelt High School and just two blocks down from Stevenson Middle School, and the people of the (small) church have a heart for reaching out to the teenagers that are literally across the street. Unfortunately, the students just haven’t been very receptive, which is discouraging to Pastor Shane and his crew. We helped set up for the event and then once school let out most of our group went out on the sidewalks around the school and invited the students to come over to the church, where we were handing out free hot dogs and chips and drinks. Most of the students were skeptical and kept asking why we were just giving them free food, which led to a few good conversations about the church wanting to bless the students. I know it was an encouragement to the staff to have all of us there helping, so be in prayer for them that they can keep focused and persistent in their ministry and that God will use them to reach out to those two schools that are so desperately in need of Him.

            After our afternoon at Central Baptist, we spent the better part of our late afternoon/evening with some great team building, hiking the Koko Head trail. Koko Head is a peak on the southeastern part of Oahu that’s about 1200 ft high, and the trail up to it is just an old military outpost railway tram track that runs to the top. Which you get to climb like a staircase. A 1200 foot tall staircase. So it’s a pretty tough hike, but it was a great time for us all to bond through perseverance together. It makes for a great illustration of our faith journeys as well, but I’ll save that for another day.

 

            Today we painted. And painted. And painted some more. Then, after we finished painting, we kept painting. Or at least it felt like it. We painted the BCM’s kitchen, a good portion of their pantry/storeroom (which is about 3x the size of the kitchen), and their rec room/chapel/fellowship hall (which is about 6 times the size of their pantry). So, needless to say, we painted a lot. All the while, we found time to take all the screens off the windows in those rooms and wash the window slats and window screens, which get filthy from the volcanic ash that floats in from the big island. It may have been very menial work, but everyone has been so appreciative of it, because today we accomplished a bunch of small tasks that, all together, make the place look amazingly better. Also, Laura was able to take some hideous old faded baseball, basketball, and football shaped tables and paint some Hawaiian scenes on them to make them look completely new and so much better looking. The picture above is of them; I took it from the instagram of one of the students that lives in the BCM here. It’s the only pic I’ve gotten in the last two days because I haven’t had a chance to download from anyone’s camera.

            Anyway, to bring it all to a close tonight we had The Vine, which the BCM’s weekly worship service. There were about 60 people in all, and afterwards we all came back to the BCM and had dinner together. In his sermon tonight, Arjay talked about Luke 9:18-29 and being radically obedient to Christ’s call and how that looks in our lives. One of the things he talked about was how we’re called to live rightly even when we don’t feel like it, and I think that perfectly applied to our group yesterday and today. We’ve pretty much been going non stop and everyone has got to be exhausted (I know am) from all the work we’ve done, but even today when you could see everyone just being so tired of painting, we all fought through and kept working to get the job done. You should be proud of your students, FBC, they’ve done a great job so far. Tomorrow we go to Aina Haina Baptist to do some work clearing out dead trees and fixing up an unfinished shed. Plus whatever else they cook up for us to do between now and then. So pray for energy for us all that we don’t get too exhausted and that we can keep going.

 

Remember that time I said this was going to be quick? I guess it’s just been a busy few days…

Love y’all

-Nick