Monday, November 16, 2009

Global Missions Medical Conference - Day 2

Last night we spent time reflecting on the day. Talking about how awesome God is and finding ourselves looking forward to greeting the next day with hope and renewed anticipation about what God can and will do. We know God has special things for us and we want everything God has stored up for us, regardless of how it might look right now.

We had breakfast at Wafflehouse this morning, We have renamed it to "Awfulhouse" and not for how awesome the food was. I tend to mix everything together (eggs over easy, hash browns, biscuits and gravy) before I eat it so it probably looked worse than it tasted. It worked in a pinch and got us on our way.

The building we are meeting in is so large we get lost getting into and out of the parking lot. It's like a football stadium parking lot and the mezzanine of the building is like a huge shopping mall. It's a massive complex with over 10,000 people attending weekly services.

There are about 15 double doors leading into the mezzanine and entering into the main area you see a cafe "Cafe 920" on the right with seating capacity for about 200 and a book store down the hall from that. 

Centered in the mezzanine is a round counter information kiosk. There are two stories of classrooms and meeting areas for as far as you can see and then beyond that a series of hallways with more classrooms another section of classrooms behind that and another behind that as well. A grand ballroom stairway leads to the second floor on the right and to the left is escalators and more stairways to the  facilities circular auditorium. 

Going in that direction you see another set of about 15 doors and passing through a second set of doors brings you to a circular hallway around the outside of the auditorium. The auditorium itself is about 10 stories high with a balcony section that rivals the cowboy stadium in Texas. there are row and rows of seats high into the nosebleed sections of the top of the auditorium at a height you can almost not see from the ground. A prolific appearance of stage, video screens and a chandelier of speakers and video screens hangs from the center of the massive room. Three television style cameras focus on the stage and a 30 foot high video screen hags in the bak of the stage to allow everyone to get a birds eye view of the seemingly dwarfed people on the stage. 

Total sensory overload/

In the opposite direction of the auditorium, up the stairs of the ballroom stairway is a theater sized chapel that hods about 400. and behind that some distance down the hallways is a fellowship hall on both the first and second floors. Both of those contain stages, sound and lighting equipment. The vendors were in that area for the conference.

The entire complex contains a health and wellness center in a separate six story building and another six story building holds resources for the complex. I can't even estimate the cost of construction never ind the cost of operating this facility everyday of the year. Staffing and operating the complex must be in the millions.

There were a multitude of mission sessions to choose from and many which we had to guess at in terms of their content. Explanations were not too clear. We tried to split up as much as possible and attend the sessions that would give us vision for utilizing that information back home. Our favorite speakers were Chuck Fielding and Rick Donalan on from Memphis. Chuck lives in Jordon and Rick in Memphis. The Memphis group has an inner-city ministry with a clinic and a few home churches. We are very interested in meeting them afterwards and see for ourselves what kind of relationship God may have for us with them.

Lunch and dinner were served in boxes and coffee flowed freely from Cafe 920. We sat and talked for quite a while in the cafe at the end of the day about the event. We made some preliminary notes on how to put together some intense training for our youth for discipleship and missions. We marveled at Gods hand in bringing us all the way here to meet people who lived in Memphis. 

One of the other highlights of the day was meeting and hearing Nate Saints son Steve. He was delightful in the dinner story time session and brought us to tears with both laughter and sorrow. His recall of his parents and their missionary days was inspiring. His tales of the life in Ecuador he lived and the friendships he formed we equally inspiring. Hannah has invited him to come to dinner and share his stories with our youth some time. It would be great to include him and some other missionaries in our next conference.

Well for now I am relaxing at the hotel after an exciting finish to the day. We were going to find a Hot Wings restaurant which some how evaded our GPS tracking, left us wondering where in the world it actually was and then realizing that Hannah had lost her wallet. We back-tracked to the conference area and found the item in the care of the security personnel. Whew! Again God was watching after us. Now if we could just figure out where that Hot Wings place went.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Global Missions Medical Conference - Day 1

We are on site at the Global Missions Medical Conference today in Louisville, KY. We left this morning at 7am and drove here arriving about 3pm EST. Yes we crossed the time somewhere between there and here. Not sure where but we lost an hour coming up here. We will look for it on the way back. I'm sure we will find it. How hard is it to loose a whole hour?

OK. So we get here and there is discussion about what sessions we are goiong to go to. There is one session today then supper and a main session with a speaker. The session I went to was hard. The speaker was ok but I think I could have gain alot more if I had just had the printout of her presentation. There were others there that got alot out of it. There are many more people here who are in the medical profession and are interested in hearing about the medical side of missions.

I am feeling a little out of my element since I am tecnologically and business minded in matters. I am going to look for sessions tomorrow that address that more if possible. I saw the vendors briefly and we talked with some who could provide an unlimited supply of medical provisions for $50 as they are available. Others who have medical provisions for free. We just have to pick them up. Would you believe it. There was a Methodist minister from Selmer there who was now on stall with one of the medical mission companies out of Memphis who knows who we are.

What is even more amazing (God is soooo amazing) is that the main speaker for the night is also from Memphis, a doctor named Chuck and has house churches there (about 4-6). He talked strongly about the requirement for missions being, hold on, don't get impatient, wait for the tone, a sold out, un-Americanized christian who is sold out to God as a real living disciple.  One who has given up everything. How much? Everything for God. No reputation, no owning anything, just 100 percent disciple of God. Ready to go where God wants you to go, giving up the easy life and working your guts out for a relationship with God that is exemplary of Gods love and commitment to us. No phoneys allowed. Nothing but Jesus. We are looking him up tomorrow to talk about us getting together. We would like to know this person better.

We could hardly believe our ears. We came all the way from Selmer to hear this man from Memphis who believes the same as we do about Luke and Acts, living for God and giving up your life as a disciple of Christ. God is so awesome! He wanted us to know that He did this for us. Not our work or doing. His doing. What other wondrous things does he have in store for us? We will see as we continue to day two of the conference.

We are also looking forward to meeting Steve James from Alabama, who has the Kenyan Relief organization and whom we talked to a few weeks ago when Amma was around. I am especially interested in discussing some thoughts about fund raising and finding partners to stand with us in Africa.

 It's exciting to think that God is just waiting for us to discover these loving things he has set aside for us to see and touch. He is so good to us. Such an awesome God.

I read in Oswald Chambers today about the changed life. The verse he referenced was: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" —2 Corinthians 5:17
He says if you have experienced the salvation of God: "You no longer look at things in the same way. Your desires are new and the old things have lost their power to attract you. One of the tests for determining if the work of salvation in your life is genuine is— has God changed the things that really matter to you?" He says that if you have truley been born again that you will exhibit the new nature and not be going back to the old things and ways but giving your life over to the Master to reconstruct your life as He sees fit. It will be a life od no regrets and wonderful expectation of the work of God in you.

So true. I have experienced that dismissal of the old things and the refreshing life of God being poured out upon me daily so that I can sing and be filled with the joy of the Lord. No guilt or condemnation because of things that are being held on to. All is for God and He give his all in return. Think about it. We know we are a new creation because the old things have lost the desire and flavor. The new life holds all the desires of our heart and God is the recipient of our love and admiration. Does that tell you something? It should tell us we are born again. I should tell us he has saved us out of our old dead lives and placed us into a new life with him. Does it look like that for you?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Faith - The Substance of Things Hoped For

What is faith other than a belief in what you think is true?

I believed that I would not get older than 30 one day and that I would never live to see a birthday past that. Was that faith? I believed that I was invincible before that. I believed there was nothing that would harm me or take away my life. I would live as a youth the rest of my days, filled with energy and passions. Was that faith? I believed even earlier on that I would never have to worry about where my meals came from or the roof over my head. My parents would always take care of that and I had no thought of tomorrow. Was that faith? Yet before that even I was unaware of things to worry about and I lived each moment without the thought of tomorrow. I didn't even think of a few minutes from that moment. There was nothing else but where I was and what I was experiencing at that moment.

Was that Faith?

In all those times I believed and I had hope. I could not see what would happen yet I believed it to be true, what I thought, and took no thought for the next day.

Isn't that faith?

Is there more to that than those thoughts and hopes and dreams? What else is there to faith? How do I define it? How do I apply it to my relationship with God?

Well, the dictionary definition of faith is: "Faith (disambiguation) is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing." Faith is yet: "in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true. It is the belief and the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, based on his or her authority and truthfulness." [Statements from]

However, there is so much more that faith speaks to than just believing something to be trusted by mental assent. I believe that the chair I am sitting in will hold my weight before I sit in it. Otherwise I would not sit in it. I would be a fool to think that I could sit in something that would come crashing down under me and still sit in it. If I didn't trust that this chair was capable of holding me I would find another. So I trust in the object I put my faith in to perform what I believe it will do. And when it does, my faith in that object is reinforced and my faith is strengthened. I continue to believe what is true about the faith I first exercised in that Chair. Even as the chair gets older I still trust it can perform its function and I will be safe in its being there under me.

At some point however, I had to do something about my faith. I had to prove that my belief about the chair was true. I actually had to put my weight upon it and test whether or not it would be able to hold me. I had to even test it beyond the simple resting of my body upon it by maybe jumping up and down on it to make sure it could hold me in different situations. I may have physically examined it from the bottom, side or top. Physically inspected the condition of the materials it was built with and played with it to see if it could actually do what was reported of it as its capabilities. I came to know it and understand it.

So where am I going with all this? Just to this point. If I can trust a chair or a couch or a bed to hold me and keep me supported from falling and being damaged, then why can't I trust God to do so much more? If I trust a ladder to take me to new heights then why can't I trust God to take my life and make something useful out of it?

Is that faith?

Why can't I trust God with every aspect of my life for today, this moment and tomorrow? What must be done to start and continue to trust God for my life?

I say, I must not just believe he is capable of doing it. I must actually place myself in the care of God to do those things he claims to be able to do. I must prove him. He must prove himself to be trustworthy. I must come to know Him intimately. I must examine him and come to know the qualities of Him. I must diligently seek him and to know him and to experience him. Then I must lay my life down before him and allow him to do what he wants with me. Completely and utterly in his hand for the doing to me as he pleases. No reservation, even though I may be scared. No pulling away or backing up. I must lie quietly before him and be given completely for the purpose of those things I cannot see or understand, yet know that there is benefit from.

Otherwise, it is not faith. Is it?

I believe God created the earth and all things in it. Did he not? Can I then not trust a person who can do such a thing to destroy me and recreate me if he so pleases? I should be able to, if I have faith. Even if I have so little faith to be measures as large as a mustard seed. If I have that much faith I can do things known as impossible for a man to do. I seem to remember something about mountains and oceans. . .

And I am worried about what I will have to eat tomorrow?

So I have grown older than 30 and not died upon impact. Nothing has harmed me or taken away my life. I have not starved to death nor gone without some covering over my head. I should not be thinking about what and where for tomorrow. Just in the short amount of time I have been alive, I have enough proof of Gods faithfulness that I could write several books about it. There is so much evidence towards the person God and his faithfulness that I do not even have to ask for an explanation into the things I know nothing about. He has that covered as well. And then there is the testimony of many witnesses. They have placed their faith in him as well. They have found his faithfulness to be true.

The conclusion?

What right do you have to call yourself a Christian? To call yourself a follower? To say you have given your life to him if you cannot have the faith to believe what he has said? To act indifferently towards his commands and character? To defy his power and authority over your life? To hold back and not give all of yourself to his bidding? A rather faithless one I would say. Could that even be true? Could you be a Christian without faith?

Don't speak to me of your faith without works. Faith without works is a dead faith and a disqualified faith. Without the acting upon and trusting of my well being to God and all things around me, I cannot say I have any faith. I cannot be what He calls me to be. I must draw from the well of living water and exercise the trust I have been given in his ability to save me. I must grow in the knowledge of his everlasting faithfulness towards me and accept that he is in control of my life.

I must have faith.
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