Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A new work of Love

Back when we started this journey, I came across some precious truth from a man called A.W. Tozer. His book The Pursuit of God is a must-read. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter "Following Hard After God."

     When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and," we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.
     When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, "I am thy part and thine inheritance," and by those words made him richer than all his brethren, richer than all the kings and rajas who have ever lived in the world. And there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God.”
     The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.”
     God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.”

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

May we all be so consumed by our Love.

But just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM." For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 1Cr 2:9-10 NASB

Friday, August 19, 2011

Is anything too hard for God?

While I was going through the Precept Upon Precept study of Covenant, I got a "Days of Praise" email from the Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org) with the following idea I found interesting:

Sarah "laughed" when God said that she would bear a son in her old age, but God responded: "Is any thing too hard for the LORD?" (Genesis 18:14). Many years later, the angel told the Virgin Mary that she would have a son, and she said: "How shall this be?" (Luke 1:34.) The angel replied: "With God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37).
  • Covenant began with the impossible
  • New covenant began with the impossible
God doesn’t change.

What have you seen him do lately that was impossible??

When God does the impossible, then He leaves no room for praising anything or anyone but Him.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and I told him the same thing. The only way God gets the glory is if people look at my life and say, "He couldn't have done that on his own. God did it." He is in the business of doing the impossible, like clothing the grass, telling the seas where to stop, and selling a house in a market that is saturated with houses for sale.

It makes me think of the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. Not only did Elijah call down fire from heaven, but before he did, he soaked the altar in water. Like the fire from heaven wasn't enough proof. He wanted wet wood. And when the fire consumed everything, there was no doubt Who did it.

"Then all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."  1Kings 18:39

I have been praying since we began the journey that He would get the glory. That is my desire. As I drive through our neighborhood and see signs continuing to pop up "For Sale" I smile. A little more water on the wood...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Twenty

So if we agree that Bible translation is a priority in missions, where is it needed most? According to a prominent Bible translation organization:
   We are reaching a critical time in history in which many of the world’s remaining Bible translation needs are located in nations that are difficult to reach. Although translation work should almost never be thought of as easy, we say that most of the “easier” translation projects have been completed. Most of the low-hanging fruit has been picked. 
     Of the remaining languages that need the Scriptures, many are located in areas where missionaries face greater obstacles and more significant risks than ever before. Often, these language communities cannot be mentioned by name for fear  of jeopardizing the safety of translators and their work. For intercessors, the limited availability of information can make the call to prayer daunting.
   A new prayer initiative, The Twenty, addresses these challenges, encouraging U.S. churches to pray for the twenty countries with the greatest remaining need for translation. We firmly believe that, by bathing each country in prayer, the gospel will go forth, the Scriptures will be translated and nations will be transformed.

1) Papua New Guinea
2) Nigeria
3) Indonesia
4) China
5) India
6) Democratic Republic of the Congo
7) Cameroon
8) Vanuatu
9) Nepal
10) Chad
11) Vietnam
12) Tanzania
13) Iran
14) Myanmar
15) Mexico
16) Central African Republic
17) Russia
18) Sudan
19) Malaysia
20) Pakistan
Please join us in praying for the nations needing scripture translation, and specifically Tanzania. Below is a Prayercast video for Tanzania. Well worth the 2 minutes. Thank you.

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."  Mark 16:15

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The "Top 5"

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17

In light of the urgent spiritual need around the world, where do we start? Where do we focus our efforts? Paul Eschelman, vice-president of Campus Crusade for Christ (recently changed to Cru) and founder of the JESUS film project, lends his advice for the prioritization of mission work. Here is his “Top 5,” presented in Tokyo at the Global Mission Consultation and repeated at the Lausanne Congress last year:

#5  Church Planting
#4  Reaching Oral Learners
#3  Increasing Evangelization, with a focus on Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus
#2  Engaging the unengaged people groups
#1  Scripture translation

Why is scripture translation number one? Because, according to Eschelman (and I wholeheartedly agree), “it is impossible to do ministry without a Biblical foundation.”

I didn’t necessarily know who Eschelman was until I saw his quote, so you might not either. However, if you think back for a moment to all the sermons you’ve heard preached, all the “Sunday School” lessons you’ve heard taught, and all the bible studies you’ve done in small group or on your own. Then try to imagine what your life would look like today if you did not have the Bible in your heart language. It is sobering. By God’s grace, you have had access to His Word your entire life. Has there been anything more important or foundational to your walk with God (apart from God Himself)?

Faith without Depth
It’s not really easy to lead people without having a Bible,” said Pastor Timothée Balbone, President of the Assemblies of God Church in the Bissa region of Burkina Faso. “You try to teach people something, but they can’t remember what you’ve said. It’s not a happy situation. There cannot be much depth to people’s faith. So since we heard that people are coming alongside us we are rejoicing.

You know from an earlier blog how the Bible saved my life. Kept me from wasting it. It has the power to transform through the Holy Spirit (Heb 4:12). I know from personal experience. So our family is committed to going where we are needed in order to give someone else what we have had all our lives. Our desire is that generations might be changed by the Holy Spirit working in lives through the Word. The Bible says there are two things that will last for eternity – the souls of men and the word of God (1 Pet 1:23-25). We want to spend our lives for the sake of both.