Category Archives: Missions Is….

The God Who Gives Something Better

About a month ago my beloved Macbook Pro stopped working properly, and was sent to a technician, who couldn’t get it working again. I didn’t think much about that since an older PC still allowed me to do most of my work. And then while in bed with a cold, a power surge fried it’s circuits (you can read more about this in the post “Missions is Having a Plan C”).

Last Monday I went into Kingstown looking for a new laptop. On my way there, I prayed that the Lord would provide one for an affordable price, that could hold up to heavy use (most of my work is done on a laptop). Within about thirty minutes the Lord answered that prayer with a Hewlett Packard laptop that could easily replace my Macbook!

The Lord through this experience taught me a lesson. When He takes something away, He always gives you something better in it’s place.

The PC I was using in the place of my MacBook had some problems because it was about seven years old

  1. It woudln’t boot up properly (kept freezing up while the computer was trying to turn on)
  2. It would ocassionally give me a blue screen (sometimes called “the blue screen of death”) and reboot while working
  3. A few times the PC kept giving me the blue screen, which kept me from doing any work on it
  4. The battery was bad so if the computer was unplugged from it’s charger, it would almost immediately die
  5. The keyboard didn’t always work
  6. And it was pretty slow!

In it’s place God provided a brand new laptop that didn’t have any problems at all!

When my second laptop died I couldn’t understand why the Lord would take both of my comptuers away.

Now I understand though…….

He did it to give me something better

James tells us that “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). In other words, the gifts that God gives to us will be overwhelming. He in his sovereignty will remove what isn’t best for us (even when we think it might be) in order to give what we truly need.

It isn’t always this easy to see God’s better gift. But it doesn’t change the fact that he always gives what is best.

I’m grateful for this reminder that everthing should be held with an open hand so God can take it away……and replace it with something better.

Of Oreos and Coffee

Sitting in my refrigerator is the last pack of “birthday cake Oreos” my parents sent in my Christmas barrel this year 1.

As I finish those, I’m reminded how simple pleasures of life bring us great joy…..

and that it’s okay to ask for things.

Occasionally friends in the states will ask me if there is anything that I need. My answer to that is almost always no, because there aren’t many things needed in Saint Vincent that I cannot get here. And honestly those things we can’t get here you can easily live without.

At times people will ask “is there anything that you want?” and unless there’s a serious need, my answer to that is no as well for the same reason 2. But occasionally you run into people that won’t take that for an answer 🙂

While in the States last summer for eye surgery, my mother instructed me to write down a list of simple pleasures that my family could send as presents in my Christmas barrel. The list included small things.

  1. Like good pens
  2. Oreo cookies
  3. Flavoured coffee
  4. Gatorade powder
  5. And a favourite kind of body wash, and deodorant

The truth is I felt kind of silly requesting these simple pleasures because they weren’t huge necessary things. In fact my life may have been better without them (the Oreos have made me fat)! But the The Lord through this experience reminded me it’s okay to ask for the silly things

Because the Lord has provided a family of prayer supporters and friends who take great joy in providing for my oreo cravings. And I serve a God who takes great joy in providing for my insignificant needs.

  1. They won’t last long!
  2. You can live without the things you can’t get here

Missions is Pulling Others Out of Their Pit of Sin (Galatians 6:1)

Gal. 6:1   Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

When people think of Biblical confrontation, their mind usually goes right to Matthew 18, and church discipline. This view of actually unbiblical, because confrontation of sin (and restoration of Believers) should be a day to day ministry of the church.

This isn’t a public confrontation found in Matthew 18, but a personal confrontation of sin carried out by a loving friend.

The word “overtaken” in Galatians 6:1 gives the idea of someone falling into a trap or pit. This sin comes from a moment of weakness instead of a stubborn habit. In those situations, individuals must be restored, or “pulled out of pit spiritually.”

A confrontation of sin is part of this restoration process since the person in that pit must display genuine confession and repentance. But the goal of it is restoration of the individual, in a spirit of humility.

Confrontation must be a normal part of ministry since we all fall Into pits of sin from time to time….

And often those in the pits need help getting out.

I have a friend my age who struggles with alcoholism. He will stop drinking for a period of time (sometimes weeks), but then drop back into the habit. A big part of this is because drinking here is a social thing, and many of his friends will be at a local rum shop most of the day.

I was pretty worried about him because he hadn’t been around for two-weeks. This usually means my friend was spending most of his time drinking close to home.

He responded to some text messages last week, and then I saw him on Thursday. In love I confronted him about spending all of his time drinking with people who often took advantage of him. And encouraged my friend to come spend time at my house if he needed a place to relax.

Since then my friend has been calling, sending text messages, attending a church service, and came by to read Scripture this morning.

There is nothing truly magical about what I did in that situation. I just loved him enough to stop, and through loving confrontation, pull him out of the pit.

If we open our eyes as Christians we will see countless of our Brothers and sisters in Christ have fallen into pits of sin. And they are desperately calling out for someone to help pull them out.

Missions is…making time for fellowship

Missions is…making time for fellowship

Earlier this week I had lunch with a Vincentian pastor, and missionary who is serving here short-term. It was a wonderful time of fellowship as we talked, shared what was going on in our churches, and encouraged one another.

These afternoons of fellowship are always an encouragement, and challenge to my heart. But to be honest they don’t happen often enough, because fellowship takes time.

True fellowship means scheduling a decent amount of time, and stepping away from your ever growing “to-do list” for a few hours. The amazing thing is even though fellowship with pastors or missionaries is incredibly important, we struggle creating the time for it.

One of the reasons why is ministry keeps us especially busy…but I don’t think thats really the reason.

The reason why is Satan hates christian fellowship

One of the greatest dangers in all of ministry is isolation. I’m not referring physical isolation because ministry means we are constantly around people. I mean isolating our “true selves” 1 from others.

Of course we must be careful not to share our burdens openly with everyone. But there must be a close circle of friends in the ministry who you can share your heart with.

Satan hates fellowship because he knows people who isolate ourselves buy into one of his favourite lies….

your the only one

Your the only one who ever feels this way

Your the only one who has ever made a mistake

Your the only one who struggles with fear or anxiety

The sad thing is the more we believe “your the only one”, the more we will isolate ourselves. This creates a destructive loop which in my opinion has destroyed hundreds of ministries. Because isolation feeds into the deeper sins such as depression, sexual immorality’, and pornography.

Fellowship, on the other hand, brings perspective that proves you aren’t the only one

  1. Other pastors are struggling with the same issues
  2. They don’t have all the answers
  3. and they definitely aren’t perfect

Fellowship does take time and energy, but it is worth every moment, because we are investing in what Satan hates.

  1. Our struggles, needs, personal prayer requests

Missions is…..checking in digitally

I was talking last night with a friend about the affect that COVID had on ministry here. “How are you dealing with how hard it has made ministry?” He asked, I gave him a confused look, so he explained . “I mean how are you going to meet individually with all of those people, and still say safe?”

I smiled at him and said “I don’t”

among the changes in daily ministry here, a great emphasis is placed on digital ministries through texting or phone calls instead of personal visits. The interesting thing is, I’ve seen the Lord use those ministries in a greater way than the face to face meetings.

There are many reasons that texting encouraging thoughts to fellow believers is a powerful ministry, but the greatest is it’s a regular or “constant” relationship.

Personal visits are better because they allow you to give your full attention to the individual. In this time the persons needs can be clearly understood, and Scriptural principles that meet their particular need can be shared. Most importantly, the relationship is greatly strengthened through that one on one conversation.

There is one drawback with the personal visits though…..

You normally only do them once a week

This is why along with personal visits, there must be a ministry of “checking in” on people through text message, or phone calls. Sadly we often overlook this part of ministry. This Is usually because our lives become too busy, or even worse, we don’t think its important

This kind of ministry is vital for the local church because its through this Believers edify, and equip one another. Satan knows this of course, so he gives any excuse he can to keep it from happening:

  1. You don’t have anything important to say
  2. You will be interrupting their important conversations
  3. They don’t want to hear from you anyways
  4. Or you can always check in later 1

The COVID pandemic has focused most of my ministry on texting or phone calls, which means “checking in” is now a big part of what I do. It’s honestly not anything serious:

  1. I share bible verses
  2. A video of a choir singing an old hymn
  3. A quick note written to encourage them
  4. Or a quote, or article that is encouraging

But those brief check-ins have had a deep impact, and now others are sending me their own digital devotionals.

The Lord through this has reminded me constant communication with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a huge part of the local churches ministry.

It is easy to overlook texting because it isn’t as meaningful as a personal visit, however there is a transforming power in a digital relationship focused on helping others grow to become like Christ.

  1. Of course “later” never really comes
« Older Entries