Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meditating on John 1:1 and John 1:14...and more!

Just after I finished my run yesterday, I was meditating on some scripture while going through my cool-down regiment.  The cool-down is always my favorite part of my workout.  Most of the time, it gives me some peaceful moments to process the podcast sermons I've just listened to on my Ipod while I run.

Yesterday though, my mind drifted.  I began thinking about John 1:1 and John 1:14 for some reason.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  John 1:1

Here, we see that God and the Word are synonymous.

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."  John 1:14

Here, when we look at the context of the verse, we see that the Word and Jesus are synonymous. 

So as I was thinking about these verses, four things came to mind:

1.  If you don't respect God's Word, you don't respect Jesus.

2.  If you don't give God's Word authority in your life, then you don't give Jesus authority in your life.

3.  You can't know Jesus if you don't know the Word.

4.  You can't follow Jesus if you don't follow the Word.

When I look at America, I see a nation heading downhill very quickly.  I see a nation that has left Christ for the most part.  The nation has left biblical principles for selfish desires.  We have redefined right and wrong as if we know better than the God who has been here for all of eternity.  Do we actually think we are going to change His mind?  Maybe we're saying He made a mistake.  When we call ourselves Christians and then redefine the laws of right and wrong He put in place, it certainly sounds like we are telling Him He was wrong on this matter or that matter.

Is it rebellion or just plain ignorance?  Probably a lot of both and neither are okay...especially when we have the Word right at our fingertips.

This nation doesn't know biblical principles anymore because God's Word isn't present in most people's daily lives.  A lot of churches barely preach it and most Christians don't read the Bible even once a week outside of church.  That makes for a lot of people who claim they are following Jesus but don't even know what He taught.  How does that even work?  How do you follow a teacher if you never go to class or read the assigned reading?  The answer is...you don't.  You fail the class.  The simple application here is that you shouldn't call yourself a follower of Christ if you don't even try and learn what He taught.  In being a follower, application of teachings is important as well and it's hard to apply things that you refuse to learn.

It all reminds me of Matthew 7:21-23...

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Those are some scary verses when I look around at what I see in this nation.  I don't want anyone to fall into that...but how many that call themselves Christians in this nation will?  They call themselves followers but there is no evidence of it.  My heart breaks for that.

In Revelation 3:1-6, it talks about the church in Sardis:

1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

To me, that sounds a lot like the American Church and America as a nation.  These verses should be a wake up call.  We have God's Word so easily obtainable.  Ignorance is no excuse in this nation.  It's time to wake up and dedicate ourselves to learning what the Word actually says and applying it.  Not only is there a great danger to this nation if we don't but more importantly, there is greater danger on the personal level with eternal consequences.  Nations will come and go but what we do personally with God affects our whole eternity.  There is nothing that will ever be more important.

Lastly, if you are going to follow Christ (and I pray that you will), truly follow Him.  Seek Him and actually be a follower.  Sure, you may make mistakes along the way.  I know I'm certainly not perfect and have made plenty.  Just don't be deceived into thinking simply calling yourself a Christian is really being a Christ follower.  There is so much more you miss out on when being deceived like that.  God has such a better plan for your life when you truly follow Him.

Friday, September 5, 2014

C4C Mission: Peru 2014...Version 2

This is the second version of the Peru mission video, the "director's cut" so to speak.  This one is a little longer and a bit more artistic musically to paraphrase my wife.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Christian Challenge Late Aug./Early Sept. Update 2014!

Hello Team! Sorry for the delay in updates. We’ve been trying to switch over our updates to Mail Chimp but are having a lot of technical difficulties in the process. It was supposed to be a much easier system to use but we haven’t seen that so far. So for now, Mail Chimp will have to wait.

Anyway, we are already deep into ministry. It’s going fantastic. We have certainly had our bumps so far like Josh taking a fall, getting a concussion, and having to go to the ER the night before the new semester’s craziness began. Thankfully, he is good now and the rest of the team seems to be healthy. This is the first time we haven’t had anything major health-wise or family-wise happen during the first of the semester. We are praising God for that and praying it continues!

So far, we feel like we are having the most successful semester ever. We have had to change our strategy quite a bit to meet freshmen with the campus not allowing ministries to help out with the freshmen move-in. Instead of moving people in, we focussed on prayer walking around campus and getting up flyers wherever we could.

We also held tables at Walmart and the visitor’s center in town to meet freshmen. These, though, weren’t as successful as we had hoped. We at least tried and can learn from it for next year. We held a table on campus also during freshmen orientation last week which was much more successful. Normally, parents get excited but their student maybe not so much. This year, we had less parents but a ton of freshmen coming up on their own interested.

Saturday night, we held our international dinner. We had over half of the Japanese students come. It was great to see and connect with them. Sunday, we had our block party on campus. We served up 60 large pizzas to the students who came. Our numbers were down from last year due to there being something like 400 less freshmen this year but we ended up making more contacts this year than ever before. We’re stoked for that and praise God for it! We just pray that those contacts turn out to be fruitful.

Now onto prayer requests and upcoming events:

-Tuesday nights, we have our conversational English class called Exchange at 5 p.m. We have Christian Challenge on campus for the first time at 7 p.m. We really don’t know how that will affect things moving it from in town to campus but with the extremely close proximity to the dorms, we hope it will help bring in more students.

-Wednesdays, we’ll be having Commuter Christian Challenge during the day on campus for those who commute to campus and can’t make it to night stuff.

-This Thursday, we have another table for the club fair.

-On Thursday nights at leaders’ houses, we’ll have our family dinners where we feed students dinner.

-Event-wise this month, we have our night hike, rafting trip, fall retreat, camp/climb, and many other things.

-Pray for open hearts, for many to join us prayerfully and financially to bring the Gospel to Fort Lewis.

-Pray that we can raise a bigger ministry budget.

-Pray that God would continue growing us closer to Him and help us not neglect our first ministry; our marriage.

Thank you for joining with us to reach Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO! -Cheers and God Bless, Mike & Rachel

Saturday, August 30, 2014

C4C Mission: Peru 2014 Video...Version 1

Here is the video I put together from the Peru mission trip. This is the first version I was able to put together. Another version will be coming soon. I recommend viewing it in full-screen if you can. Check it out and remember to keep praying for the people of Peru!

 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

C4C Mission: Philippines Update 2014!

Hello Team! We hope everyone is doing well!

Rachel and I are doing pretty well, just getting ready for the coming semester. It’s crazy to think our students will be back within almost a month.

Anyway, I guess I’ve kept everyone waiting long enough. Time for the Climbing for Christ Philippines mission trip update!


Well, the trip was amazing! It was an absolute success! God had plans for us beyond the scope of what we could see before the trip.

On the surface, our goal was to hike into the mountains bringing Bibles in the local Kankanaey language. We’d also be showing publicly the Jesus Film for the first time ever in that language.

At first, we’d only be going to the village of Badeo but God opened the door for us to travel to Mogcao as well.


Along with the other goals was bringing a student, Sarah Mellberg, along with us, keeping her safe, and making sure she had a good experience where God could use her.


Thankfully, we can check off all of those goals. Praise God! We brought in 20 Bibles to the area. It’s less than last year because the Bibles are becoming more and more scarce unfortunately.


We were able to show the Jesus Film to over 200 people. Most of them had heard the name of Jesus but out of those who had heard, 90% didn’t know much, if anything, about our Lord and Savior. Through the film, the Lord certainly changed that. It was awesome to see them hang on every word. We had packed rooms with people in the doorway standing on their tippy-toes just to get a glimpse. I imagine that’s pretty much how it was back in Jesus’ day with people just trying to get a glimpse through the crowds.


Looking back over our goals, Sarah also had a great time. She was a perfect fit for the team and a great addition.


But again, God had more than we ever dreamed of. I got to lead worship a couple of times once we finally tracked down a guitar. The first time was just for our team. The second time was just before we showed the Jesus Film. Both times were great blessings for me.


I also got to preach twice. The first time was out of Acts. I was just going to use the same sermon again for church the next day as there would be different people at this service. But then God told me I needed to preach something different. He just wasn’t going to tell me what that was until I only had 10-15 minutes to prepare the next morning. Talk about having to really rely on the Holy Spirit.


I preached for around an hour about how if we live for God, He will get us where He wants us. Sure, we need to pray and seek wisdom but we shouldn’t worry like many of us tend to do.

I don’t share that story to toot my own horn but just to say, “The Holy Spirit is awesome!”

Okay, moving onto more of God’s bigger vision. I know another big thing was that Rachel was encouraged by how passionate believers were there to live for God. Durango can be draining sometimes. It was refreshing to see their passion.

Oh and I can’t forget to mention, Sarah now wants to move to the Philippines after college to be a missionary. God was really showing and teaching her things on this trip. That in itself was a huge reason why Rachel and I were there.

We also got to go to Don and Molly McAlvany’s orphanage which was awesome.


Looking back, it was a great trip where God did amazing things!


Prayer Requests:

-Praise for the very successful trip and the connections we were able to forge for the future of the Kingdom!

-That the Holy Spirit would continue working on the hearts of the local villagers.

-For wisdom and discernment for C4C on how to move forward with best ministering to the Kankanaey people.

-That God would provide more Bibles for the region as there is still a great need.

Know that God did so much more than the few things I was able to share! Thank you so much for making this trip possible with your prayer support and financial support!

Cheers and God Bless,
Mike & Rachel

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Durango C4C Prayer Peaks Day 2014


Prayer Peaks Day is a day where climbers and hikers all across America climb to a high point and pray together for their town, their state, and their nation. In Durango this year, we hiked Smelter Mountain.


The team assembled around 10:30 am at the Smelter Mountain trailhead. We had three from Durango, CO and three from Farmington, NM join us. It was already becoming a very hot day. We prayed for safety and quickly started our hike wanting to beat possible afternoon thunderstorms.


It wasn't long before we were at the top. We were blessed with beautiful views. We snacked and rehydrated taking it all in. You could see the La Plata Mountains to the west of Durango, the San Juan Mountains to the north, and the Animas River flowing through town.


Soon, it was time for prayer and worship. I pulled out my guitar and we sang worship songs over Durango. We then prayed for the town, the state and for Farmington, and New Mexico. Lastly, we prayed for a safe, cloudy and cool journey back down to our cars. And wouldn't you know it, as we started down, a storm popped up to our northwest bringing us a cool breeze and the cloud cover we were asking for. It was awesome seeing prayers answered like that.


When we returned to our cars, we decided we couldn't finish the trip without some blizzards from Dairy Queen. It's becoming a PPD tradition in Durango. What better than ice cream after a summer hike? Not only were we thankful for ice cream after the trip but even more thankful that we have a God who hears our prayers and cares. That Saturday, we were blessed by great fellowship, a great hike, and an awesomely great God!