Get In the Game

Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit’s coming was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), when the Spirit came to indwell the followers of Christ and empower them to accomplish Christ’s work. This promise is now made real to each believer at the moment of our salvation, when the Bible says we are baptized by the Spirit into Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:13).

It’s important to distinguish here that this baptism is not some special emotional experience we have to seek after conversion, but something that happens at conversion. In basketball you don’t get an assist after the play, but right when the shot is made.

Paul made this especially clear by saying, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans 8:9).

As a baptized believer, the Holy Spirit lives within you at this very moment. According to Jesus, the Spirit wants to flow through you and out from you to others as a rushing river of blessing and refreshment.

Don’t take my word for it. In John 7:37-38, Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’"

What are some ways you have experienced the Holy Spirit working in your life?

How can you tell the difference between God’s Spirit working in you and your own human efforts?

We Are Not Alone

The DOW continues to drop and gas doesn’t fall and we tend worry more.  I was visiting family in Kentucky over the weekend and stopped by Berea which is a large folk art center.  Very few were there and the artists doubt they will continue as before.  It was enough to give one pause but  then I returned to review an email from our missionaries in Myanmar (formerly Burma).  I thought I would share some pictures and their story to remind you that need is worldwide and God is present.


I took David Fish, Thomas Leme and a student of EBI for the trip to

BoKalay for relief program and we left for there in the early morning

of June 25 started leaving for there at 4:00 A.M and we got there at

10:30 A.M at the river dock of BoKolay.  The leaders who invited to us

loaded seeds of rice on the boat and we gave money to the our

customer.  The rice was loaded on one small boat.  It was 90 baskets

(note One basket is weigh one man lifts it).  And then we purchased 50

bags of rice for 50 villagers, and then we purchased potatoes, onions,

edible oil to share with cyclone victims.  We rent two boats one for

rice, potatoes,edible oil and then another for seeds of rice.  The

villagers were partly Christians and partly Buddhists but we shared

rice and other staffs with them equally and they were surprised for

our sharing.  There was a temporary church building gathered by

believers for worship and we were  allowed to speak in the church and

I spoke at there for a couple of minutes telling them the love of God

and Christians’ love in States.  I told them that we Christians are

not in friendless but we have friends who love to share and give to

us.  I encouraged them to remain faithful to the Lord in the mean time

of troubles.  Along with us, there is Jeremiah who had relief funds

and he contributed some in sharing and giving out rice and other

stuffs and villagers were happy to receive aids from us.  All were

surprised to see one bag of rice contributed by us because they

received a little rice only from other Christians’ friends and

authorities before.  They told us that they received two milk tins of

rice only before.  Many women came to the church where we used it as

contributing center but they went back to their houses to take their

husbands back that rice bags would be carried by them to their houses.

Car Problem:  The road was so worse that I could not drive my van very

well.  The grind kit which it is a container of engine oil is broken

having a hole with rocks and engine oil was linking from it and I

worried a  lot for next morning to go back and then one brake washer

was broken and we could not fix them because there didn’t have any car

service.  But my driver knew it how to solve this problem, he pulled

out all engine oil and then he glued it and in the morning we woke up

at 4:00 and we filled up engine oil again and it worked well and we

drove back to 60 miles to meet a friend coming from Yangon  driven a

big truck by a friend from our church   because we had an appointment

with one person to go to Laputta and we drove three and half hours for

60 miles because of a rough road.  And we made it meeting our friend

at 40 miles from Yangon taking a big truck and we drove a big truck

and he drove a van to home.  But sadly, we had another car problem

again and we fixed it at the city of Myawng Mya and it took three

hours to fix the problem and we had to spend a night at there.

Laputta township.  On June 27, we woke up early at 3:00 A.M and then

we drove down to Laputta where this was the area of cyclone and flood.

We got there at 7:30 A.M and we were welcome by a Christian doctor

who lives in there and works in there.  He arranged for us to go to

victimized area to meet leaders at there.  And we sailed to there by

boat rented by us and it took two hours to get to there.  The city’s

name was Pi Duke and it was a coastal city at the bay of Bangor.  The

city was damaged by flood and wind totally.  No house was left.

Christians live one side of the river and non Christian live one side

of the river.  We visited to Christian church whom they are Baptists.

We met with a Baptist pastor over there.  And he presented their needs

one after another.  I agreed to buy for nine churches to buy canoes

(rafts rolled by hands).  We are told that these are important for

them to go one village to another for a short distance and they can

make money for themselves.  Then I gave money for fishing nets also

for three villages. 

Follow Up

I am touched and grateful to see the hard work and generous offers made to those suffering both physically and spiritually.  Lives at Medora are being changed.  Lives in our church family are being touched.  God will honor the work and effort of all.  Thank you for your consistent follow up.

Thanks to God that Stephanie Spurgeon’s liver count is improving and thank you for your constant prayers.  Remember Judy Gilbert today.  Hospice meet with her mother Mildred this week and informed them that the time is soon.  Encourage Judy when you see her.

Yesterday, I wrote about how we were all in the business of helping each other grow spiritually and that the single most important thing that we can do is follow up or as one preacher put it, ‘show up’.  When you came to faith and the church, hopefully someone took the time to care for you and nurture you along.  If not, you know how critical it can be for a new Christian or member.

In a special way, follow-up for the new believer is as challenging and rewarding as being a physical parent.

Good follow-up includes meeting a new Christian’s many needs, and helping him learn to meet his needs on his own. A new Christian needs personal, individual attention.  Your example in living for Christ will set the pace for the new believer you are encouraging.

Your goal for the new believer is Christ like maturity that bears up under the strain of everyday life. Good follow-up will cost you something in time and prayer.

Parents watch in amazement as their sons and daughters grow. Babies turn into children and children into adults as the intricate processes of maturity unfold.  Follow-up—that is, being a spiritual parent—is like this too. It is watching in fascination uses you to help a believer who is young in his faith to grow.

Perhaps you are a parent with two or more children. If so you have learned that in certain respects all children are alike. As babies your children all needed their diapers changed, and they all needed milk. They slept a lot, and as they grew they learned to exercise and play. After seeing this with your first child you did not have to discover it again with your second. You weren’t surprised in the least when the second one wet his diapers or cried when he was hungry.

Does this mean you found a pattern for raising children that you have used identically with each child? Of course not. Your children do have common, basic needs which you have met in more or less the same way for each one. But each child is also unique. Each has required personal, individual attention from you. Any child must have this in order to properly mature.

So it is in spiritual follow-up. There are basic things every new believer in Christ needs. You don’t have to worry about whether he should read the Bible. You don’t have to determine whether he needs the support and acceptance of other believers, or whether he should pray. To really mature he needs all of these, no matter who he is.

But he will also have distinctly individual needs that must be met in distinctive ways.

—  adapted from the Discipleship Journal

Just Got Complicated

I learned today that our relief support for Medora just got complicated.  Apparently, FEMA is in contact with United Way and Red Cross about the rebuilding decisions in Medora.  They reserve the right to inspect and if needed condemn the house before they offer a response.  Even then, new flood plain changes will be incorporated.

What does that mean to us.  Everything is on hold till they decide.  Gutting the houses is needed but no reconstruction until they give the green light.  Don’t worry, there is still more deconstruction needed but remember that now you report to the Medora School. 

Carroll and Thelma are looking at relocation options and have major decisions to make besides health issues.  Remember them especially.

John’s Spurgeon’s daughter, Stephanie, was hospitalized yesterday.  They are doing some testing and will have more in the next day or two.

We will be helping Margaret Gregory move some furniture today as she makes a transition to Brownstown.  So there is plenty of work to go around.  Thanks to all who are pitching in with Medora and our church family here.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (BBE)
11 Even as you saw how, like a father with his children, we were teaching and comforting you all, and giving witness,
12 So that your lives might be pleasing to God, who has given you a part in his kingdom and his glory.

Someone needs your help. Paul and his co-workers in the gospel truly devoted themselves to the Thessalonians, as he reminded them later in his first letter to them: "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well."

Why did they make such an effort? Thessalonica certainly had been no easy place for Paul to minister, as he also reminded them: "With the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition."

Nor did Paul and his co-workers have abundant amounts of time to do this follow-up. They, like those they were helping-and like us today-had to spend much time simply making a living. Paul said "Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone."

So why did they give their lives to the Thessalonians? Listen again to Paul: "You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

Paul know that God’s aim is to mold Christians into worthy citizens of his kingdom. And God uses people to do this-people like Paul and like you. Follow-up means getting involved in God’s task of perfecting his people.  Thank you for caring.

Michael

Important Things

The important thing is not the size of your faith, it is the One behind your faith.

2 Samuel 22:31 (NLT)
31 “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

I marveled at the talents has bestowed on this church family.  The caliber of the children and the integrity of the adults.  I am touched by the desire of our family to help those who suffer.  I want to update you that now you report to the Medora School for day labor.

We will be working with our own church family (Carroll and Thelma Weaver) and one to be assigned to us by the Red Cross.  I will meet again today with Brad to update that choice.

Please hold gifts of clothing or furniture till we know their needs and they are in the position to take them.  This will be a long process and is affected by insurance and FEMA.  We will need to be patient but ready at a moment’s notice.

Tomorrow, we move one of our own (Margaret Gregory) into Brownstown.  We will meet at the church at 1:30 and go to Seymour to collect her furniture.  If you can help, let me know.

Congratulations once again to Morgan Chastain for her decision for Christ.  Mike and Kristi are so proud and we are too. 

Check back soon.

Michael

Doug Says Hi

DSC02515

Doug has spent the last week training dozens of young men and women to share in a traveling concert throughout the Midwest.  Our own Taylor Franklin is participating.  Check out the photos for yourself and keep them in your prayers as they travel.  This is a wonderful learning opportunity for the students and a ministry for Doug.

I will update you soon on our flood relief decisions to sponsor a family.

Michael

Volunteers Needed

Teresa just posted the following:

We are going to serve breakfast on Saturday, June 21 at the Medora school for flood victims. The food is already provided, we just need to cook and serve. If you can go, be there by 7 am. Breakfast is from 7:30-9:00 am. 

We are also going to serve lunch and supper next Thursday, June 26. 

Lunch

We need ham salad, tuna salad, chicken salad and desserts.

We’ll leave the church at 10:15 am and serve from 11-1.

Supper

We will be serving chicken and noodles.  We need desserts.  If you can help serve, meet at the church at 4 pm.  Supper is from 5-7, then clean-up.

If you bring  a dessert, please try to bring in a throw-away container.

If you plan to help in any way, please reply to this email, or email Jan Munter at jmunter@c3bb.com.

Thank you and bless you for the servants you are.

Helping Medora

Several ministers from our area met with the Red Cross this morning and relief management at Medora.  About 20+ homes were damaged by the flooding and require renovation or demolition.  We will meet again tomorrow with the Red Cross to divide the affected families among congregations to adopt and help them in the recovery process.

BCC will be taking at least two families and will work with them over the next two to three months.  Please check the church website to keep updated on how you can help. 

I was saddened by how it reminds me of New Orleans.  When we right the ship here, I believe we need to make continued efforts to our fellow citizens in the south.  But first things first.  Check the website and let us know how you can help.  Any help is appreciated.

Michael

Who Has the Right?

I go this morning with several ministers to Medora to consider our long-term commitments to our neighbors.  We are already assisting individually and with food support but there will be greater needs.  Please pray for God’s will and guidance in this process.

I watched the late news and revisited the question of the Israel/Palestinian conflict and wanted to address a current issue.

Does modern Israel have the same right to use force to claim the land as the Israelites did under Joshua?

Here we must be careful to realize that any nation has a right to defend its legal borders and citizenry. At the same time, we must be careful not to confuse the modern secular state of Israel with the armies and tribes of Joshua. While God’s hand may be seen in the return of large numbers of Jewish people to the land, we must always be careful to distinguish between what God may or may not be doing with the Jewish people, and what the Jewish people are doing without God. It is not at all clear that a spiritually unrepentant state of modern Israel can claim land because of a title deed originally given to the descendants of Abraham, and then revoked until the promised last days of physical and spiritual restoration of Israel.

This distinction is important because when the children of Israel first came into the land, God commanded them to kill or drive out its inhabitants. At that time the God of Israel authorized the complete destruction of Canaanites who were living as a morally bankrupt and an idolatrous people. Their debased religion demanded human sacrifice; their social structure was brutal and dehumanizing; and their total lack of sexual decency lead to continual abuse of women, children, and animals, and, subsequently, widespread disease and death.

When Israel first entered the land under the direct command of God, it was with leaders who were specially selected by God on account of their obedience ( Joshua 1:7-9 ). The Israelites themselves had passed through 40 years of purification in the desert and were not permitted to enter Canaan until a disobedient generation had died. Unlike modern Israel, the ancient Israelites swore faithfulness to God and knew of the consequences of disobedience ( Deuteronomy 30:10,18 ; Joshua 24 ). Also unlike modern Israel, God miraculously prepared the way for them and supernaturally assisted them, so that they wouldn’t become arrogant and think that they had come into possession of the land by their own strength and cleverness ( Joshua 24:1-20 ).

The ideology of modern Zionism is not based on religious faith. It is primarily agnostic and was founded on the ideology of nineteenth century romantic nationalism, which is based on notions of "racial purity" and "historic rights to the land."

As a result of this race-based ideology, the ultimate goals of Zionism didn’t favor peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians, but required plans for their expulsion.  Over the decades, "the sins of the fathers"( Daniel 9:16 ) have clearly been found on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Furthermore, the nation of Israel, like the Palestinian people, is not in a state of spiritual repentance as required by the standard of the New Covenant. Therefore we must wonder whether modern Israel has been guilty of many of the same corporate sins that led to her earlier dispersion.

Israel as a people and nation still have an important role in God’s plans.  However, John the Baptist, whom Jesus called the "greatest of the prophets," warned Jewish leaders not to feel superior merely because of their racial heritage:

Do not think you can say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father." I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:9-12 NIV).

God dispersed the ancient Jewish nation because of her moral and spiritual failures, and made His concern with justice and righteousness clear:

Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24 NIV).

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8 NIV).

Jesus declared that Israel would never experience God’s complete blessing until her heart had turned to repentance and obedience:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:34-35 NIV).

God’s covenant with Abraham implies that Israel will not be restored to her place of blessing in the land at the price of injustice and violence to others. ("You will be a blessing . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.") If Israel depends on violence and injustice to take control of the land, she will find herself facing the same consequences her ancestors faced.

Pray for the renewal of Israel.

Is God Calling Me?

I spent the morning with my father for a belated Father’s Day.  He is aging and suffers from some dementia but is generally in a good mood.  We drove past some of the damage in Columbus and he wept.  Perhaps it is the dementia or aging but he explained that he can make peace with his suffering and limitations but sorrows for others for whom he can do nothing but pray.

Age takes many things from you but thankfully not dad’s heart.  It was that I knew the least about growing up and now find somehow comforting.  One should approach the end of their lives with some peace.

Mother Teresa was once asked, "How can I know if God is really calling me or I am doing the right thing in my calling?"  She smiled and answered, "You will know by your happiness.  I you are happy with the idea that God has called you to serve another in your vocation, it is proof of your right choice.  Profound joy is a compass that indicates the true path of life.

Phil is home and progressing well.  Debbie Hamilton should be home this week but will have some future surgeries.  Phil Patton is on a transplant list and battles fatigue.  He needs your encouragement and strength.  Pat Shepard should get her prognosis today or tomorrow.

Check the church website on a regular basis and keep the good habits of spiritual growth.  Savor the places of joy and peace and be faithful to the task appointed you. 

Michael

%d bloggers like this: