Next week is the launch of the new student ministry year. I’m really excited about what God has in store for us. We’ve got a great group of adults committed to working with our students. Would you please take a moment to pray for student ministry and the adults who will be serving on our team this year?
Here’s our team:
- Chris Modrzejewski
- Chris Ide
- Megan Weaver
- Justin Zitzmann
- Andrea Olson
- John Folkerts
- Karen Jackson
- Mark Kozlov
- John Huber
- Allison Johnson
- Zak O’Leary
- Laura O’Leary
- Karen Corlew
For the next few days I will be attempting to follow the pattern set for us by Jesus:
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. Luke 5:16
I am on a 3 day personal retreat at a fairly remote location (no internet, phone, or TV) for the express purposes of prayer, reading, study, meditation, a little bit of planning, and rest. As we enter into September and a busy season of ministry I am looking to God to recharge my spiritual batteries and give me a fresh vision.
I am praying it will be a sacred time of true sabbath. Would you please pray for me now? Pray I may hear his voice and be refreshed by his Spirit. Thanks so much!
Wow … God did so much in and through our Honduras mission trip this year … where do I begin? Here’s three lessons I learned through this year’s trip:
1) The value and importance of TEAM.
We took a team of 16 people, and met up with 2 others from Austin, Texas when we arrived that joined our team for the week. I was amazed at how God knit us together and used our individual gifts and abilities to serve hundreds of people collectively. I also feel like our team bonded almost instantly, enjoyed being around each other, and grew deeper in our friendships with one another. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” We accomplished so much more as a team than any one of us could have individually. There was also a lot of laughs throughout the week – a good indicator that we enjoyed being together!
2) Evangelism is a WAY OF LIFE, not a station.
This idea came up several times throughout the week in our team meetings. It started with something Miguel, our brigade coordinator, said one morning about how the people at the evangelism stations are not the only ones doing evangelism. We were all practicing evangelism each and every day, whether we were washing hair in the children’s area or dispensing prescriptions at the pharmacy station. It was a reminder to all of us that we were tangibly showing the love of Jesus through everything we did and every interaction we had with the Honduran people. It’s the idea in Matthew 5:16 that no matter what activity we were doing, we were shining the light of Christ through our actions, not just through our words.
3) Jesus is BUILDING HIS CHURCH in Honduras.
One of the most impactful parts of the trip for me was worshipping in a local Honduran church on Sunday, and then working side by side with the people of the church during the week. The faith of the believers we interacted with was so real and genuine – you could see the JOY on their faces! It’s amazing to me that so many of the people we met have so little in terms of material possessions and things we as Americans would consider basic necessities. And yet their passion for God and their joy was off the charts. Seeing the churches in Honduras up close and in person reminded me of what Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 about how He WILL build His church, and the gates of hell will never overcome it!
Thanks for praying for us during the trip last week. Below is the highlight video we showed this past Sunday in church.
Honduras 2013 Highlight from Arlington Countryside Church on Vimeo.
I have read several books by Larry Osborne, pastor of NorthCoastChurch in California. I recently finished Accidental Pharisees, which sheds light on how Christians “accidentally” slide into prideful thoughts and actions. The book teaches about the danger of this mindset and cautions to guard our hearts against attitudes of exclusivity.
I learned afresh how much God hates pride. Pride can be easily downgraded as a “lesser sin.” Believers think being less prideful is something to work on but generally do not intentionally and aggressively root it out. We do not think that we are arrogant or inappropriately looking down on others. The book poses a searching question, “Is there a group of people or Christians for whom I’m developing disgust, distain, or aversion?”
Another important question to consider is what tempts us to feel superior. Usually this occurs when we are passionate about a cause or ministry, and we do not observe that same fire in others. Examples are justice, green living, and in-depth Bible study. In July, we learned through Psalm 139 that God has intentionally and uniquely designed each person. Of course it makes sense that even within a church, a variety of causes will grip our hearts. I was challenged by the statement that I should not judge the spirituality of others through the lens of God’s calling on my life. God calls each person differently. What matters is being obedient to what he has called me to do. Obedience is not deserving of special recognition; it is the ultimate duty of every Christian. I also appreciated the book’s reminder that God’s commands are beneficial, not burdensome.
Accidental Pharisees has brief chapters and was a rather quick read. It is a good title for growing Christians, since it prompts internal examination about attitudes towards others. Ultimately, actions reflect the heart, and I was convicted to recognize and repent of areas where a judgmental spirit has flared up. As we seek God’s perspective, the blessings of increased unity and renewed appreciation for his abundant grace will result.
Guest blogger: Allison Bies