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Give Thanks in All Circumstances

July 19th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (2 Comments)

There are days that seem to stretch well beyond 24 hours. Packed with work,
challenges, and unexpected turns, we sometimes reach late afternoon or early
evening and wonder how much more we can handle. I’ve had those kinds of days.

Then I remember 1Thess 5:18 which says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
Really? Can we do that and live authentically? Isn’t that sort of pretence? Acting as
if life is great when, in fact, we are almost at the breaking point?

Well, we need to finish the verse: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is
the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” In Jesus, we have the assurance of God’s
unquestionable and inexplicable love. In Jesus, we have access to the throne room
of heaven. In Jesus, we have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3).

I can give thanks then, because everything that has happened today, even what
seems to be overwhelming, is an opportunity for me to access the endless resources
of grace and mercy in Jesus in order to face and overcome in Him. Days that “never
end”, become an opportunity for me to experience the surpassing provisions of my
Father, in Jesus. We can, even must, give thanks. For it is in those times when we
are stretched beyond our capacities and abilities that we see His provision most
clearly.

Give thanks today, no matter what kind of day it has been. Give thanks no matter
what the circumstances. In Jesus, there is constant reason for thanksgiving.

-Brent

I Am Not Alone

July 17th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Gordon - (1 Comments)

Loneliness can be an excruciatingly painful time for a person. Twice in my life I have felt
extremely lonely. Once, when Tammy was in isolation in the hospital and I was driving home
late at night, I was on 8 Mile crossing right in front of a McDonald’s restaurant (it’s weird
what you remember at moments like this!). It suddenly dawned on me that not only was she
extremely sick and alone in her room at that moment, but I was also alone and could do nothing
to help her. It was then that I began to talk audibly to the Lord, to express to Him my emptiness
and my helplessness both in regard to Tam and to myself. As I prayed and quoted scripture
(can’t remember which ones), I experienced a peace and calmness as the Lord assured me of His
presence and care for both of us.

The other time I felt very lonely was on my first trip to Khabarovsk, Russia. I was jammed on a
bus loaded with people . . . and I could not understand a word they were saying! It seemed very
odd, for here were other human beings just like me, many of them laughing, communicating, and
having a grand old time, and I was totally isolated from them because of the language barrier.
Once again I began to pray, realizing that while I felt isolated, I was not alone for the Lord
Himself was with me.

When loneliness has crept in and made its ugly presence, one passage that has been a source of
comfort for me is John 16:32. The Lord Jesus was talking with His men shortly before He went
to the cross. They were commenting on how they had finally figured things out and they now
realized that He had come from God (16:29-30). At that point the Lord questioned the strength
of their proposed faith with a rebuke (16:31), and then He foretold what would be the proof of
their failure of faith: their scattering from Him at the moment of crisis (16:32).

But the gracious Lord wanted the disciples to learn the lesson from Him of what it would mean
to never be alone: although they would scatter from Him, He would always have the presence
of His faithful Father. From a human perspective, at the cross it would appear that the Lord
experienced the height of loneliness. His men would all forsake Him, and those around Him
would all be cursing Him. He would look absolutely lonely. But the Lord saw things from a
heavenly perspective: He rested in the eternal presence of His Father. He knew that the Father
had been with Him up to this point in His ministry (see John 8:16, 29), and He was confident
that the Father would be with Him throughout the experience of the cross. For the disciples the
guarantee of the Father’s presence would be demonstrated by the resurrection. The cross pointed
only to abandonment by God rather than Jesus being God or being from God (Luke 23:23-28).
But the resurrection solidified the Lord’s claim that “the Father is with me.”

The lesson is quite clear for all disciples of the Lord. The constant changing experiences of life
may make us feel (and look to others) as if God has abandoned us, that He is powerless to keep
His promises, that He does not really care about us. But disciples are not above their Master, and
they must walk His path as His people. This is simply the Messianic Experience (M.E.). The
Father was faithful to not abandon the Master in what appeared to all as the moment of crisis,
and the Father will be faithful to not abandon the servants. Loneliness can create agonizing
periods of life . . . but resting in the faithfulness of the Father and the Son will bring peace in the
midst of pain.

-Gordo

The Challenge

July 6th, 2012 | Posted by bvosler in Dave K - (2 Comments)

 

As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, His disciples questioned Him about how the end of the age would come.  Jesus began to describe the signs that would unfold when the end was near. In Matthew 24:14, He said, And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.  

As He left this earth, Jesus proclaimed those familiar words of the Great Commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28: 19, 20).

God has called us to go into all the world with the good news of the Gospel. The goal is that all people groups across the globe have the opportunity to hear about Jesus.  If that’s the goal, how are we doing?

Consider a couple facts:

41% of the world’s people groups are considered unreached – meaning they have virtually no access to the gospel.

Of the 7 billion people in the world, approximately 2.1 billion or 30% are unreached

The short answer to how we’re doing: We’ve got a long ways to go!

Approximately 90% of all missionaries are working in reached areas and only 1% of the money spent on missions goes towards pioneer church planting in unreached areas.  The unreached areas are the most difficult to access and are very resistant to the Gospel.

The challenge is before us and it’s immense.  Our God, however, is much bigger than the challenge. Let’s look to Him and move forward with passion.  

Until all have heard,

Dave Kuntzman

Missions & Business

 

Sources: Joshua Project, Operation World, World Christian Encyclopedia, Jesus Film, World by Radio, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Caleb Project
For more information see: www.joshuaproject.net