Tuesday, March 24, 2015

God doesn't "fix" us, He transforms us.

A Bush Devotional Thought
Sno-go mechanics were not a prerequisite for the Masters of Divinity program at NOBTS, but there are times when I wish it had been. I took Shell on a beautiful Sno-go (Snowmobile for my southern readers) ride out to a place called Muller mountain a couple months ago. About 35 miles round trip. Half way there, my sno-go starts to sputter like it's getting bad gas. I gun it to try to blow through it and it seems like it cleans up and gets us there and back with no problems. About a week later while hauling some light freight down our road, it just dies on me. I mess with it and am able to limp it home. Start it up next day and runs great. This pattern of running not running goes for about a week then, nothing. Order this part...wait a week...that's not it...order that part...wait two weeks...that's not it. Finally I discover the above plug will not make a good connection. What's my "bush" solution. Put a big zip tie around the whole thing and cinch that bad boy up! Did I fix the problem? No, I fixed the symptom. The problem is going to cost me a whole lot more than I'm willing to pay right now.
Aren't you glad that's not how God works in us? Almost every government program in existence functions this way. It's reactionary. Something is already broken and we need to put structure in place to hold it together. The Gospel however is different from every other man made construct. Jesus doesn't "fix" us by His death, burial, and resurrection. He replaces us with himself! He makes all things new. He removes the "old dead man" and makes us to be "alive in Christ". It's been an incredible thing to watch God do this work in the lives of my church. We are a broken people, and I watch as God transforms what is broken and makes it new. What have you been trying to "bush fix" in your life that you need to let Christ replace?

What are we up to?
Last semester we started a mid week Bible study at our house. Every Wednesday we'll have anywhere from 3 to 12 attend. This semester we're going through the book of Philippians and have had some great discussion and open moments.

Sunday connection and outreach has been going very well. This past Sunday there were two van loads of students that came from the dorms. There's a consistent group of students that make it almost every Sunday. I'm always encouraged by these teens, because no one makes them come. They have to get themselves up, dressed, eat breakfast and be down to catch the van in time before it leaves. They come because they want to!

I had the privilege to speak at ChangePoint Church in Anchorage following SEND North's Annual Conference. ChangePoint is the largest church in the 60/70 window globally and has been a ministry partner of ours for the past 4 years. I shared the vision for church planting in the bush and the evangelistic approach to transition from the physical to the spiritual in all four of their Sunday services. It was a great privilege.

Most of our Interior Team, representing church planting in Galena, Huslia, Alakaket, and (hopefully) a down river village soon!
Our SEND North partners have been busy connecting both down river and up river. We're praying for the Casey family as they look to move down river to begin planting in a village with no evangelical church. This past month we spent half a week at the SEND North Annual Conference and reconnected with our extended team members and those in the other teams around Alaska and Canada.

Shell and I have had a lot of discipling, counseling, and coaching that we've had the privilege to walk in. Above is a dear sister who just had her first baby. We were privileged to be her pastor while she lived in Galena and have continued to try to be an encouragement from afar. It was great to get to see her and her baby boy when we visited town. In Galena God has been providing opportunities to walk with individuals and couples through growth in God's Word and in their relationships and situations.

Things you can be praying for:
  • Easter outreach - We are planning an outdoor church service for Easter and BBQ to follow. Pray for warm weather, and positive community response.
  • Men's/Women's Conference - This year we are hosting a Men's and Women's conference in the middle of April. Pray for our speakers, Don and Brenda Ernst, that they would be led by the Holy Spirit in what they bring to teach.
  • Spring Suicides - Spring always has a high suicide rate in our state. Pray that the enemy would be pushed back and that the message of the Gospel would transform lives.
  • Local village connections - We are finding open doors to come and serve in several villages. Pray that the Lord would raise up people who have a heart to move here and serve.
  • Pray for us as we labor to get seasonal needs met such as firewood and pre-river breakup preparations.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Good word and thanks for the clear prayer needs
Blessings Dan B