Friday, February 27, 2009

Unexpected delays!

Dear loved ones and prayer warriors,

Thank you so much for standing with me in prayer.  I am looking forward to living among the Yala people in Nigeria for the next two and half years, Lord willing!

DEPARTURE UPDATE:  I still do not have my visa.  LBT (Lutheran Bible Translators), the organization with which I’m working, hopes that the paperwork will come through this next week so I can buy my ticket for the end of March.  The Lord’s timing is perfect.  I am confident in this, but it would be nice to know when I’m leaving and how to plan.  I have lists to make.  Please pray for my visa, for wisdom in packing, and for comfort through goodbyes.

JoshGOIN’ COURTIN’:  The Lord surprisingly introduced me to a very admirable young man this month, and we are now courting with the blessing of both our parents!  His name is Joshua Wagner.  I met him at a Bible translation meeting; he’s hoping to begin linguistic study this summer.  He is on fire for the Lord and has an incredible heart for the lost.  I am amazed that God has given Josh a peace and desire to pursue this relationship and to wait for me to return from Africa.  It is very obvious that this is the Lord’s hand, and we look forward to seeing what God has in store.  Who knows?  This may be the reason for the strange delays in my departure.  Please pray that the Lord guides us and draws us to Himself more through each other. 

PROTECTION:  Please pray for protection for me.  Going as a single missionary brings its dangers.  Please pray for me, my family, and LBT as we seek God’s wisdom in how to heed warnings.  Please pray specifically against rape, AIDS, kidnap, and abuse and that the Lord will provide a hedge of protection through a Yala family in my village.  I have been encouraged this month by the Moses’ testimony of the way God delivered the Israelites.  In Exodus 14, Moses said to the people,

“Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

May the Lord bless you outrageously as you continue to know and serve Him more!  You are a blessing to me, and I could not have gotten to where I am without you.  I need you!
Click here  for my February letter.

Abiding in His love,

Saturday, February 07, 2009

10 Lessons from The Heavenly Man

I just finished reading The Heavenly Man: the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. What an incredible book! I would highly recommend it! It’s a biography, and I LOVE biographies because I feel like I’m living through the person and learning the lessons that they learned. Yun’s story especially struck me because of his intense and unwavering dedication to truly know and serve God. His attitude toward the Word and his desire to internalize it through memorization is inspiring. These are ten lessons that stood out to me:

10. Ministry can become an idol: “Ministry had become an idol. Working for God had taken the place of loving God. I hid my condition from those who prayed for me and carried on in my own strength, until God decided to intervene in his mercy and love” (p. 198).

“I realized again that I was a labourer who worked without real peace from the Lord. I love doing things for the Lord so much that it had become my security and my source of joy. God wanted to remove this idol from my life” (p. 267).

9. ANYONE can burnout: “The Lord God jealously desires us for himself. He is the lover of our souls. If we ever put anything before our relationship with Jesus—even our work for Jesus—then we will be ensnared. If you are burned out, stop! Rest! Your lamp needs a constant infilling of the Lord’s oil or your light will be snuffed out” (p. 199).

8. Persecution will come: “When God is blessing us, the devil is always active, doing his best to try to stop the advance of the kingdom of God” (p. 232).

“Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects his love and power. This is true freedom!” (p. 287)

7. Gospel spreading needs to happen at home and abroad simultaneously: “If we stay in one place and refuse to advance until we’ve completely finished the job there, we’ll never be able to impact the world with the gospel. Surely God’s way is for us to be winning our home at the same time as we’re sending new workers to the ends of the earth! Believe me, our vision to reach the world does not mean we’ll stop or slow down our efforts to reach all of China with the gospel! The two will take place hand-in-hand” (p. 288).

6. See revival: “There’s always something to keep us on the run, and it’s very difficult to sleep while you’re running. If persecution stops, I fear we’ll become complacent and fall asleep…The pursuit of more possessions will never bring revival…The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God’s Word is missing…Not only is knowledge of God’s Word missing, but obedience to that Word. There’s not much action taking place” (p. 296).

5. Keep your eyes on Jesus and know him: “We don’t keep our eyes on the signs and wonders; we keep our eyes on Jesus” (p. 300).

“Slowly I began to understand he had a deeper purpose for me than just working for him. He wanted to know me, and I to know him, deeply and intimately” (p. 313).

“Never be satisfied with God’s calling or his gifts in your life. Be satisfied with Jesus Christ himself!” (p. 318)

Brother Yun emphasized numerous times the utmost importance of memorizing entire books of the Bible!

4. There is time for everything: “Before a chicken is hatched it is vital it is kept in the warm protection of the shell for 21 days. If you take the chick out of that environment one day too early, it will die. Similarly, ducks need to remain confined in their shell for 28 days before they are hatched. If you take a duck out on the 27th day, it will die” (p. 313).

3. Do not fear man: “The world can do nothing to a Christian who has no fear of man” (p. 313).

“Those Christians who have a public ministry are most in danger of falling into trouble, because they can easily be tempted to listen to the applause and praise of men. If you are a preacher, beware! You must cry out and ask God to help you listen only to his voice, not to the crowds of people who pat you on the back and place you on a pedestal. God’s principles are often the opposite of our own. While we hope people will like and accept us, Jesus taught, ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you.’ Luke 6:26” (p. 317).

2. Lose your life: “I have found the Christian life is not glamorous to the flesh. When a little seed is put into the ground it is not comfortable. It lies in the dark isolation of rough soil for months, suffers in the frozen ground of winter and the heat of summer, and is even covered with stinking manure and fertiliser. Only after it has silently endured all these trials is the seed ready to spring to life and produce a harvest that will feed many” (p. 338). Also see John 12:24-25.

1. Display freedom: “When you’ve been set free, you should act like it!” (p. 339)

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