Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Man Cooking

This is what the Northern Lights look like when you have a cheap camera.

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!!
We are so thankful for our prayer team and ministry supporters. The work of ministry that we are doing and the impact on church and culture would be impossible if it was not for you! We had a busy Thanksgiving weekend. For Thanksgiving day itself we hosted 8 students from the dorm. Two young men and six young women from 8 different villages around the state. In fact the Galena Bible Church body hosted almost 80 students in our homes for Thanksgiving meals! Never before have I seen a church host 80 strangers in their homes for a family holiday. Such an amazing blessing! Way to go church!
My blog needs smell-o-vision!
The day after Thanksgiving I hosted a young men's event with one of the RA's at the Dorm. We called it "Man Cooking". The general premise is that young men need to know how to do more than heat up a hot pocket in the microwave before they graduate High School. It also has to be something that they can serve their grandpa and feel like a man while doing it. We hosted 8 young men in our home for this event and I taught them how to make Cajun Rice and Gravy with Moose Roast and Bear Andouille with a side of green beans (cooked with bacon and seasoning). To replace the sausage that they used I also taught them how to make Moose and Caribou Andouille sausage which I smoked the next day. And yes it was all as good as it sounds! The young men loved it, and would light up as you affirmed them as they did well at the tasks given them. Several of these young men have no father, or healthy male roll model. I look forward to doing this event again and having more time to build connection with these young men.
We finished preaching through the book of Titus, and I began this past Sunday preaching a series I'm titling "Blessing Home for the Holidays." This past Sunday we looked at Romans 7 and 8 and how we understand what it means to be conformed to the image of Jesus. We talked about family resemblance, and how we were made in the image of God but look like the world as a result of sin. I then showed how Christ brings us into adoption as children of God through His saving work. At the end I decided to give a formal invitation (something we do not regularly do). A young woman came forward and said that she wanted to put her faith in Jesus! Praise GOD! We have been doing some follow up with her to make sure she understands what that means. I look forward to seeing what the Lord does through this.

Things you can pray for:
  • Please be praying for the young woman who put her faith is Jesus this past Sunday. Pray that opportunity to disciple her would come about.
  • There is a spiritual attack on marriages that I have seen and I would ask you to pray for the Lord's protection and wisdom as we address this battle ground.
  • My grandfather is in the final stages of his cancer and we are preparing for what we know is coming. I (Chris) have been asked to preach his funeral, which is a task I am humbled to undertake for a man who is a spiritual mentor and giant to me. 
  • It is getting dark and cold. Pray for the community (especially men) who begin in this season to have thoughts of self harm. Pray that the hope of that the church has in Jesus Christ would penetrate the darkest corners of our culture.
  • Pray for AKMissionConnection a new ministry that is being lead by a friend of mine who has the desire to web the Christian community of Alaska and beyond to help reach the state with the Gospel.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why are you here?

It all started with a conversation involving a drunk hitchhiker. And no, that is not uncommon. It's pretty regular that I give rides to people who are walking about town, and it is quite often that that individual turns out to be at some level of intoxication. So it was with this gentleman. I didn't know it until after I had extended the invitation for a ride home. It was about half way around him stumbling in front of my car that I realized, "Oh boy, he's drunk". And not a little bit drunk, like buzzing drunk, but full out ask you a question  and then immediately not remember that he asked you anything drunk. And it started like this, "Whyyy arrre yyyou heeere?" Among other questions this one surfaced several times. Each time a little more emphatically asked: Why are you here?! Both inquisitive and accusatory. The question held the weight of "Why, of all the places that one could live, do you choose to live here?" It's cold, dark, and isolated. Ethnically we are a minority. Religiously we are a minority. Hey white guy, why here?
I drove him home and he said "I'm too drunk to go home...lets go for a ride!" I said no and he said, "Ok just drop me off at the end of the street." I drove him to the end of the street and he said, "I changed my mind. I want to go home." So we turned around and I drove him home. Then he didn't want to get out of the car. He just wanted to ask me the same question over and over. "Why are you here?" I told him I was here to give drunk guys a ride home. He laughed and finally got out of my car. As I drove away and saw him in the rear view mirror I heard his voice say again, "Why are you here?" And I answered him, "For you."
Why are you here? In the place that you are sitting reading this blog, why are you here? For whom does God have you living and serving to display Christ? Who is watching you and evaluating the worth of Christ based upon the model of Him you portray? In Titus 2 Paul urges Titus to teach bond-servants to be submissive to their masters so that they can do something quite interesting. He says that "in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior." (Vs 10) Many people are very concerned with how they dress because they know that people will evaluate them based upon what they wear. So it is for us in Christ Jesus. Do we put him on daily so that the world around us sees Christ in all his grace, mercy, patience, beauty, and love? Or do we portray Jesus as judgmental, arrogant, belittling, and indifferent? Paul urged the church in Corinth to "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (1Cor 11:1) What example of Christ will they see? I pray that as they see me, they see the grace of God lived out in a redeemed man.
Why are you here?
Things to pray for:
  • Pray for the Students and dorm staff that are at the dorms. Students are homesick and are looking forward to their Christmas break. Pray that dorm staff would have wisdom and patience with the students.
  • Pray that God would continue to give us clarity as we seek to engage surrounding villages with the Gospel. 
  • Pray for the marriages of the Galena Bible Church. Satan has been working to build indifference and isolation when God desires oneness and intentionality. Pray that God would give Shell and I wisdom as we give council on various levels. 
  • Physical challenges - From faulty water wells, to broken transmissions there have been many physical challenges that missionaries have faced over the past month. When there is no one else to do these tasks we can feel overwhelmed. Pray that God would provide the resources necessary to meet every need.
  • Please pray for Chris' grandfather in Baton Rouge Louisiana who is in the final stages of cancer.