P.S. If you have a little time, please check out my articles:
- Churches on “Pause” – Let’s not stop short of God’s rich blessings!
- The 10-40 Mirror – The nations are now reflected in our cities. What does it mean?
P.S. If you have a little time, please check out my articles:
We are always encouraged to hear from fellow believers who are seeking to live out their faith. Here is a guest post showing how God supplies friends… for our encouragement and ministry!
When my husband and I made a significant move from one state to another we went with the confidence of the Lord’s leading and direction. But as we prepared for the move I had a concern. A huge concern. How could I leave my dearest friends, made over 40+ years, and start all over again? So the women in Bible study bathed this concern in prayer, and at the going away party they threw for us I said, “I will never forget you. You are ‘forever friends’, and can never be replaced. However, I’m confident God will provide new friends, simply adding to my list of forever friends.”
We moved to our new state and town, and into a rental house while beginning to build a new house. A month after moving I was cleaning house when the thought suddenly struck me, I don’t have a single friend yet. We were still visiting various churches so hadn’t had a chance to make friends there. The tendency was to wonder why the Lord was taking His sweet ol’ time to answer all the prayers, but then my next thought was, You’ll just have to make the first step toward friendships. That was bit terrifying as the neighbors seemed somewhat aloof. How could I break down the barriers?
One day one of the neighbors was out in the yard so I ventured over to meet her. She was lovely, so a flicker of hope ignited that we might become friends. A few days later one of the neighbor men walked past while we were working in the garage, so we waved him over. After exchanging pleasantries we learned that he and my husband have a mutual acquaintance dating back years and years. And years. What was the “coincidence” of that? None. It was a God thing. Joyfully I asked, “God, are You up to something?”
A few days later the neighbor lady I’d met texted asking if we were available Friday night for a neighborhood get-together. It turned out that three of our neighbors (three couples) wanted to get acquainted with us and the get-together was in our honor. During that enjoyable evening it was decided we’d continue this on a monthly basis, each month going to a different home. We were able to host the August get-together and made homemade ice cream while the others brought toppings. What a fun time!! As we said, “Goodnight,” and left last month’s get-together the hostess ran out the door after me, hugged me and said, “You’re such a nice person. I love you.” Each month that the neighbors get together someone says to us, “You’re not allowed to move into your new home. We want to keep you as our neighbors.”
I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 2:15 where the apostle Paul writes, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (NIV) I want to be an aroma of Christ to my neighbors.
A few weeks back a neighbor rang our doorbell, and I could immediately tell that something was wrong. As we sat on the couch together she sobbed out her story, and I prayed for wisdom. I had to wonder why had she come to our house instead of to one of the other neighbors. Lord, was it your fragrance to which she was attracted?
We’re now getting involved at a wonderful church. Recently our pastor said that to him his dad had been Jesus with skin on. My prayer is that I will be Jesus with skin on to my neighbors. Not only has God answered my prayers for new friends, He’s giving them to me in spades.
This is a good time to be reminded of the S.A.N.T.A. approach to making a friend, especially of another culture.
This occurred on a Sunday morning. He stood by his car, not knowing what else to do, and watched as car after car whizzed past him. He could tell that many of those passing him by were on their way to church.
Finally, a car slowed down and pulled over. The driver got out. He was dressed in shirt and tie. His wife and three children, were also dressed for church.
That family spent several hours helping my needy friend. They missed church that day.
They WERE the church that day.
My friend and the family are still good friends after many years.
Love that is worthy of Christ is often inconvenient.
I am participating in a process on hearing the stories of those whom God has brought to the USA from other countries. Below is a sample of answers from a Korean who found Christ while a student in New York City. He now lives and ministers in a Latin American country.
Notice these answers, and what they reveal….
I love the….
God is calling, raising up, and sending workers from everywhere, to everywhere. What an amazing time to be participants in God’s mission!
This is why, in Near Frontiers, we “exist to partner within the diverse body of Christ to stimulate intercultural unity and gospel transformation among diaspora and under-served peoples.”
Thanks for sharing in our vision! You might like to read this post on “Our Mission.”
If a missionary receives contributions from churches and individuals in order to serve God as a full-time occupation, is it really necessary for that missionary to give a portion of his finances to other missionaries or Christian ministries?
I was recently asked this question by a friend.
My wife and I confronted this question years ago while attending seminary. We struggled with tight finances, and wondered if it wasn’t enough to use our money for our living needs since all our time and work were for God. As we talked with fellow students and prayed, we came to the conviction that we should tithe, even if the amount was small.
[By the way, I’m using the word “tithe” loosely here. Typically it refers to 10% of income. I’m using it in the sense of any portion of income, be it 3,8, or 20%.]
Giving to God of our finances is both a duty and privilege for every believer. Pastors and missionaries are still Christians. As such, we should, and can, give financially.
Giving to God of our finances is also a joy, and encourages others. I know several missionaries who are working hard to raise their financial support. I want the joy of joining their team of partners, and help them reach their goal of being fully supported.
I don’t know any missionaries who do not give to the Lord’s work. I don’t tell my teammates to do this because they come as committed Christians with a lifestyle of financial stewardship.
Should one of my financial supporters think it strange that I would support other missionaries? Does my tithing detract from their intent to help me? Or does my tithing multiply their gift by spreading it out?
What are your thoughts? What other questions about missions does this raise?
This is a guest post from a friend of international students:
When international students come to the U.S. they are confronted with multiple challenges and often struggle with life’s difficulties. Often, they have to face it alone as they are far from their family and close friends. It’s an opportunity for us as believers to come alongside and be a listening ear as they process through a lot of questions about their own life and future especially during the difficult times.
I recently had the opportunity to attend multiple graduations, and what I observed was when the names of the graduates were called out, there were clusters of family and friends cheering them on — almost to the degree (no pun intended) of being obnoxiously loud.
But then, as you heard a string of international student names read, there would be a sudden drop of silence. Every now and then you would hear a couple of cheers from the crowd for an international name read aloud, but often no one was there to cheer them.
Some international students are fortunate to have their families come, but often many are left with the echoes of silence after their name is called out.
It’s unfathomable to know that our God knows each and every person by name. That’s a whole lot of people! I have trouble remembering a few names, but He’s cheering us on to come to Him, whether we know Him or not. It’s the mystery of His boundless love.
We may not be able to ‘cheer on’ or come alongside every international student out there, but we go with a simple prayer of, “okay God, lead us!”
Some months ago a young woman from Iran named Hamideh became a follower of Jesus. She wanted to be baptized in water as an expression of her new faith in Jesus. Her husband Kambiz attended the baptism as a courtesy, but he did not believe as his wife did.
Kambiz showed no interest in spiritual things until there was concern during Hamideh’s delivery of their baby. During the wee hours of that night when Hamideh was having difficulties in labor, Kambiz prayed to Allah, Ali, Hussein, and Muhammad and nothing happened. But then he saw nurses pray for his wife in Jesus’ name and Hamideh’s strength returned and she was able to deliver their baby 10 minutes later. This began his interest in finding out why this prayer in the name of Jesus was effective. He grew up in a religious Muslim family from Iran.
Months went by. Kambiz and Hamideh accepted an invitation from Christian neighbors, Brian and Kathy, to a special service at their church. During the service, Kambiz leaned over to Brian and whispered that he wanted to be baptized just as Hamideh had been. Brian and Kathy were very surprised. They followed up to find out what had happened between Good Friday (the day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ) and this Sunday in the church service. On Good Friday, Kambiz had walked away from the service with lots of questions, such as, “How could Jesus be God if he was praying to God on the cross?”
Brian and Kathy answered some of his questions, but they could tell Kambiz still had doubts, so they encouraged Kambiz to pray daily and ask God to show him the truth about Jesus. He said he remembered to pray that several times, but became busy with his final days of graduate program. One evening, Kambiz drifted off to sleep while worrying about his need to find a full-time job in a few weeks’ time. If he didn’t find a job fast, he would have to return to Iran.
In the middle of the night, he had a dream. In the dream, someone spoke to him and said, “Don’t worry. I will take care of you.” Kambiz asked to whom he was speaking and these words came back to him, “I Am that I Am.” The man in his dream spoke to him in his Persian language. Kambiz was confused by the answer. He had never heard those words before. In the morning, however, he did not remember the dream.
Several days passed when he had another dream. This time, in his dream, the person spoke to him and asked him how he was. After they chatted (again in Farsi), Kambiz asked him who he was and he answered the same way as the previous dream: “I Am that I Am”. When Kambiz woke up, he not only remembered his dream, but he recalled his first dream. He went and asked Hamideh who is “I Am that I Am”?
Hamideh replied, “He is Jesus.”
Kambiz asked for Jesus to reveal Himself once more. Then, on that Sunday, Kambiz went to the church service, but was not following the song because he found it was too difficult to understand. However, right in the middle of the song, he heard these words ring out clearly, “I Am that I Am.” At that point, Kambiz felt that God was speaking to him and he believed that Jesus is alive, that He is God, and that He died on the cross for his sins.
With tears in his eyes, Kambiz told Brian and Kathy that Jesus spoke with him in Persian and when He called Himself “I Am that I Am” it meant that Jesus had always been and always will be! Kambiz put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He said, “I know Jesus is alive!” He asked to be baptized. And surely there is much rejoicing in heaven over this new member of the family of God.
On the following Monday, Kambiz was offered a full-time position at a job. Jesus had indeed taken care of him.
This true story (names changed) took place in a city in the USA. This is why our ministry is called “Near Frontiers.” And this story has taken you on another #NearFrontiersTREK to the mission frontier that is near. If you would like to explore a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, please email us at email@example.com.
Photo credit: WP Image Smart
My friend Don has a heart for refugees. As a Christian, he has told the Lord that he wants to be available to respond to needs which God brings across his path.
One day recently, Don was leaving a coffee shop and a thought crossed his mind. Acting on it, he asked the manager if he would consider hiring a couple young refugees from East Africa. “Sure,” was the reply, “have them fill in the online application, and bring them in next week.”
Encouraged, Don went to the next errand on his list, a printing company in town. Surprised by the positive response from the cafe, Don asked the print store worker the same question. Again, Don was amazed by the reply, “We would love to hire them. Come back next Tuesday to talk with the boss.”
The entire day unfolded in this same vein!
Later in the day Don shares the good news of these job possibilities with his two young friends. They are thrilled. One sent a text message: “Thank for encouragement. I graduate next year. Thank you for helping me to learn.”
Refugees are on a long journey. Their future is unknown. They have great courage. When they find helpers along the way, it means a great deal.
Let’s ask God to give us eyes to see them, and ideas for helping them find opportunity. We can do this in Jesus’ name, and provide a loving witness that won’t be forgotten.
And if you manage a business, consider hiring with a higher purpose!
Photo credit: WP Image Smart
Since 9/11, it has been the justifiable concern of Americans as to the true nature of the vetting process for refugees. There is much anecdotal and political information which suggests the vetting process is lacking. But here is an infographic which shows the through process that has been in effect.
Recently our three new team members gathered with director Bob Rasmussen for module one of our orientation. We met in Eugene, Oregon. Here is a brief glimpse of our time together.
I heard a cool story today and want to pass it along to you.
A man flew in from a country in Asia. He was a Muslim. He had flown many long hours and was exhausted when he arrived. He was supposed to be picked up at the airport by someone, but when he landed there was no one looking for him. He waited for a long time, wondering what to do in this strange new land.
A member of the Ethiopian church in Seattle was driving taxi that night. He saw the stranded traveler. Approaching him, the Ethiopian asked the immigrant if he could help, even offering to give him a ride and let him stay overnight at home. The traveler gladly accepted, spending not just one night but two. The next day, the Christian helped the visitor contact his friends, who came for him.
Some while later, that visitor decided to visit a church in Seattle. When he entered, he looked up on the platform and who was preaching that day but the very taxi driver who gave him transport and lodging! He soon declared that whatever that taxi driving preacher believed is what he wanted to believe also. And he placed his trust in Christ.
Let’s keep our eyes open for ways we can welcome the stranger. Our loving actions, even when small, send a clear message!