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Sunday Morning Message

Below is what I shared with the congregation of Faith Memorial Church this morning.

Good morning.

Before 2004 I had zero interest in ever going on a mission trip. Then, in 2004 when I was sitting in this very sanctuary and the youth were doing a presentation the youth pastor encouraged everyone to participate in a mission trip in their lifetime. He said God will not hold up a big neon sign telling us to go, instead he has already commanded it.

Matthew 28:16-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

God spoke to me that morning and that same day I signed Becky and I up to go to Africa. Although Becky wasn’t thrilled with flying, we went. While there we painted, we built, we dug, we encouraged, we worshipped… we worked harder than we ever had, doing things that mission teams do. We came back changed people. I was expecting a life-changing miracle in my life. Then I waited… I waited for God to use me as I was sure He had big plans. Ten years went by with nothing. God finally let me in on part of His secret. The mission trip to Africa wasn’t for me, it was for Becky. That trip gave Becky the courage to do more for missions. She has since been on several trips … Africa, Honduras, Mississippi… and has taken our older son twice. I thought I was left out. Becky had asked me to go, but I was being told to stay home.

Last spring there was an announcement in the bulletin about going to the American Indian Field in Arizona. They needed some men to help be camp counselors for young Native American boys. Again, God told me to GO. Before Becky even mentioned it to me, I had already made up my mind and knew I would be going. It was a short turn around, the Friday my money was due I had to ask for an extension… I was around $400 short. During Sunday school, I prayed silently, “Lord where will I get the money to go?” God provided. The moment Sunday school was over, one of our classmates came over to me, put something in my hand, and told me this had come to her unexpectedly and she wanted me to have it. When I opened my hand, it was $400 and so I went.

The work was different this time, a lot like a summer camp and a 24 hour VBS rolled into one. But I had many opportunities to build relationships, answer a lot of questions and help many young boys learn about Jesus. I witnessed many accept Jesus as their savior.

When I returned, my heart was heavy for a boy named Caleb. Caleb was 12, accepted Jesus, was given a Bible, but he was going home to a family who wouldn’t be taking him to church. Many of these boys live in homes without beds, without adequate nutritional food to eat, with rodents in their homes and most importantly without Jesus in their family’s lives.

God has been working on me since that trip. With every passage I read in the Bible, with every devotional, with every sermon, I keep hearing the words, “Go… listen… obey.” Did you know the word, “go” appears over 1000 time in the New Living Translation of the Bible? “Listen” appears 505 times and “Obey” 326.

The context of these words isn’t always a comfortable situation either. God told Moses to GO and lead His people out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10) God told Abraham to GO, leave everything comfortable, He was to trust God to lead him to a land he did not know. (Gensis 12:1) Imagine, leaving everything and following God’s will not knowing what was ahead.

Becky and I have talked about being full-time missionaries. In my mind and in my timing, I always thought that this is something we could pursue once I retired. I’m starting to think God has other plans and other timing.

So we have decide to GO as a family for one full month, back to the American Indian Field. We want to experience for a longer term how our family would do on a mission field long-term.

When people ask what we will be doing all I know for sure is that we will be working with Native American youth two of the weeks at the camp a described earlier. The other two weeks, the field director is going to try to give of as many experiences as possible so we can see what life as a missionary is like. Our goal is to follow God’s leading and do what He asks us to do. He may be asking us to change our lives completely and live for missions, or His will may be kept secret from us… either way, our plan is to listen and obey… Who knows? Maybe this will be what is needed for our children to devote their lives to God and/or missions? Or maybe we will be used in some way we can’t even fathom. All I am certain of is that God’s will is what I wish to follow.

Deuteronomy 30:10 NLT

[10] The LORD your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.

Just this past week, my family was reading our devotional and these verses came up:

Isaiah 6:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”

I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Mark 1:38 New Living Translation (NLT)

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.”

Romans 10:15 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”[a]

These a but a few of the many verses that tell us to go, to serve, and to let other know about Jesus.

I conclude my remarks by asking that you pray for us. If you are a prayer warrior with a list, please add us and Pray we do whatever God asks. And if God is asking you, consider helping us go with a donation.

Luke 10:2 New Living Translation (NLT)

2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.

Thank you and God bless.

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