Monday, August 27, 2012

That all the world may know.

Galena SEND North Team doing bush style Church planting.

How far is the nearest 'like faith' church to where you are sitting right now? I'm not talking about the church that you necessarily attend. I'm talking about the closest church that shares at least the basics of Biblical Christian faith and practice where the Gospel is being preached and God is being worshiped. Could you walk there if you wanted to? Do you pass one or five as you drive to your church? What if you couldn't get there by car, or by walking? What if you had to fly, boat, or Snow Machine (Snow Mobile for non-Alaskans) if you wanted to attend church? Would you go?

Many of the villages in bush Alaska have no church presence whatsoever. Most that do have a church have one that probably does not have any type of pastoral leadership. Many villages that have a church may have one that is not of "like faith and practice". And so as one believer in a village recently told me, "My wife and I mostly stay at home on Sunday and try to study the Bible by ourselves, or we'll watch videos that our family sends us." For this couple the nearest church of like faith and practice is 36 miles by air, or 51 miles by way! How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" (Rom 10:14-15)

Galena Bible Church has been under such a blessing from God over the past several years that we are now to the point where we are healthy enough to give attention and resources towards planting and supporting churches in surrounding villages. As you may recall we've made several trips to Ruby (41 air, 50 river miles from Galena) to support and encourage a mission church in that village. This past week we took 7 gift bags (soft sided ice chests with Gorilla-tape, a flashlight, chocolate and such) to Nulato and gave them to the faculty and administration of the city school there. We had a warm reception from the entire group and found some possible opportunities to connect again with that village.

On the Galena front, this past weekend was quite the busy one. A team of seven guys came out from ChangePoint Church in Anchorage and helped with our Youth Group Kick-Off, YoungLife Club Kick-Off, physical ministry to members of the church, and hosted an Airsoft Event for dorm kids that had over 70 participate! Including the ChangePoint team we had almost 80 people in attendance at church yesterday! Amazing!

Things you can be praying for:
  • Discernment as we seek the Lord's direction for missions out of Galena Bible Church.
  • Provision - as Moose season is upon us. For perspective sake: 1# ground beef in Galena = $8. Average adult bull moose weighs 1200# and has 560# of meat. 
  • Protection - moose hunting involves lots of boating, and time in the woods.
  • Personal - We just found out that my Grandfather (one of my three Spiritual Mentors) has terminal cancer. Pray that the members of my extended family who are not believers would see how he finishes and follow his example. Pray for me as it is very difficult to be away from them in this season.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Supply and Demand

Kinda like you're floating on air.

Grocery Shopping Bush Style

Do you remember learning about supply and demand when you took economics? The simple principle is that in general if there is a high demand for something the supply of that thing will either increase or the price will increase for the limited supply. If the demand is low then the price or quantity of the supply will decrease. Supply and demand. It's what makes our commerce economy function. Anyone else noticing that the price of food is going up? It has. We just bought a years worth, and I can say with certainty that the price has increased at least 10% from last year. Demand for food is still the same I'm assuming, but the supply has been the issue. Too much rain in the deep south, too little rain in the mid-west, all causing a reaction to the supply chain, and the price goes up.

God's economy and our economy are not the same. However there is a connection between the principle of Supply and Demand in God's economy. There is a demand for the Gospel. The Imago Dei in us cries out for it. The demand of broken, lost, and spiritually dead people is high. It's always been high. Human beings need the Gospel. It's essential. The exchange that takes place between the demand for the Gospel and the supply of the Gospel is not measured in dollars, but rather in the souls of men. When the supply of those carrying the Gospel is low the cost goes up. Souls are lost. This dear friends is THE MOST COSTLY THING IN THE UNIVERSE. Don't believe me? They are so valuable that Jesus exchanged his life for them. What could be more valuable than that! When the supply of those living and sharing the Gospel is high the cost is low. More people come to know the Lord. They see what he is doing in the lives of those saved by his Grace. The danger in this situation is that that the Gospel can become cheapened. We forget that not only did it cost Jesus his life, it will cost us ours as well.

Imagine with me for a moment that you are a 16 year old high school student. You attend a Bible camp during the Summer, hear the Gospel, realize your deep need for Christ and his transforming work, and become a disciple of Jesus. Demand met. You then return home to your village of 137 people, and now by default you are the MOST spiritually mature person in your village. What do you think the cost of the Gospel is going to be for you? Welcome to Alaska missions.

The Galena Bible Church in partnership with SEND North is working to get the Gospel into the hands of those who desperately need it. Thank you for your continued support prayer and encouragement as we seek to bring the Gospel to rural Alaska.

Things you can be praying for:
  • The Fox family will be traveling to Allakaket to do a VBS. Pray that the Lord opens opportunities for continued missions there.
  • Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA) has 240 students enrolled for this coming school year. This is the most it has ever had. Pray that faculty and staff would be prepared for the challenges that this number will present. 
  • Dorm staff will be returning this week to begin training before school starts. Pray that the believers among them will serve the Lord with gentle grace.
  • Galena Bible Church will be starting Youth Group on Sunday the 26th. Pray that we will have wisdom to know how to best connect with students.