Friday, March 29, 2013

Just a Picture Post

I've posted a lot of blog posts in recent months that are just me rambling. And I know everyone really wants to see pictures. So here ya go!
Kid's Sunday School

Church Service (kinda low Sunday)

The master mechanic Beau who fixed my rig. (I have to admit that I had serious beard envy while he was here!)

Getting the kiddo's ready for a Snowshoe race at the Spring Carnival.

Arctic Barnabas Ministries sent Jim and Terri Hibbard out to house sit one of the SEND missionary families homes. They were such a blessing to us and fixed dinner for us several times. Thanks guys!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ministry, Missions, and the Hope of the Resurection

Today we celebrated Maudy Thursday, the day that we celebrate the Last Supper, and Jesus washing the disciples feet. Most people are familiar with Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. But lowly Maudy gets forgotten. To me, it sets the stage for the for the culmination of the passion of Christ. On this day we remember the King of Kings (as seen on Palm Sunday and Easter) becoming and serving as the lowliest of household slaves. He told His disciples that they did not understand what he was doing yet, but they would. And so it was that the next day, Jesus was crucified. A death reserved for slaves and criminals. I often dwell on the image of Christ washing the disciples feet. It's the reason that I preach barefoot. I long to have Jesus wash my feet, and I long to do likewise to my church and community. Jesus told Peter, "Unless I wash your feet you have no part in me."
Ministry, and mission is just that: Finding culturally specific ways to wash peoples feet with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is as challenging today as it was for Jesus. There are Judas' today, who will wound you deeply. There are Peter's today too, who will be by your side until you really need them and then they are gone. But there is no distinction between them in the manner in which we are called to love and humbly serve them. As we have been united with Christ "unto death" we know the hope of the Resurrection. It has shaped our hearts after His heart, the same heart that washed the disciples feet. Peter came to know the hope of the Resurrection after Jesus washed his feet. So it is that all who come to know Jesus will do so by the washing of the Word.
Jesus prayed for His Disciples and for us on that evening before His death. He prayed "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (Joh 17:17-23)

This is what the people of Alaska so desperately need. May the remembrance of our resurrected savior fill your hearts with love for the family of God and a unique desire to wash the feet of those around you.

Things you can be praying for:
  • This Monday and Tuesday, Galena Bible Church will be hosting a marriage conference. Pray that I (Chris) will be able to clearly teach and encourage the people who attend to understand what Solomon was talking about when he said "This is my beloved, and this is my friend". Pray that members of the community would attend.
  • Pray for the Dennis Agajanian concert tonight, that the Gospel would be clearly understood and that the Holy Spirit would move people to respond.
  • Pray as we send a Galena Bible Church team up to Ruby Bible Church to hold an Easter service with them. Pray the small body there would invite members of the community to come hear the message of Christ.
  • Pray for our connection to the village of Nulato, that the Lord would continue to open up doors for church planting in that village.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All things new

 Good book I just finished. This was one of my favorite lines: "The cross of the battered Christ will be the battering ram for the barricade of Eden." - Matt Chandler The Explicit Gospel

One does not need to look far to see that there is something broken in the world around us. Something deep and pervasive. Something spiritual and natural. We also know there is hope in the brokenness. We can see it in the "feel" of the changing seasons. Spring is showing hints that winter's icy grip is being loosened upon the interior of Alaska. Days are growing longer, daily temperature highs are reaching into the 20s (above zero). Hope is returning. There is a unique sense of hopelessness that comes as a result of the drudgery of winter. Haul wood, burn wood, try to get outside when the sun's up...repeat. A pile of firewood is the ultimate illustration of what Solomon meant when he said that everything was vanity. You do all this work cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking. What happens to all this turns to smoke. Vanity. There is a lingering memory of warmer days, and sunshine. But as the season changes, we are reminded that there is something more splendid coming than what we are experiencing now.
The more I talk with people who are believers and non-believers alike I find hurt and longing. Hurt as a result of the wounding of sin and death. Longing as it relates to the ancient memory that we once walked with God. Everyone feels that there is (at the very least) the possibility of something better. For those who, by the grace of Christ, have become disciples of Jesus we have experienced the reality that He "makes all things new." (Rev 21:5) We know the end of the story. We've seen the promise of spring. We know that in the end He will "wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Rev 7:17) I've seen a lot of tears over the past several months, and I long for that holy day when God's almighty finger gently removes the last tear ever cried. He promised it, and he is not one to break a promise. Until that day, I am reminded that there are tears to be wiped by me, there's wood that needs to be hauled, sermons that need to be prepared, and people who need to hear the Gospel that Christ has by his cross made all things new.
Teaching young men how to fell a tree. We've done an event the past two months for young men teaching them basic "manly skills" and sharing the message of the Gospel in how it relates to who we are as men.

Hauling wood. Thanks to Jim Hibbard from Arctic Barnabas for his help on this trip!

Things you can be praying for:
  • We are attempting to host a marriage conference, April 1-3rd at the Galena Bible Church. Pray that all of the resources and man power would organize for us to be able to do this event. 
  • Pray for safety for the men of the Bible Church as we cut firewood this month. 
  • Martin Hornfischer and I will be traveling to Aniak to connect with other missionaries for training this week. Pray that God gives us clarity in how we can best reach our communities and unreached villages with the Gospel.