Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Encouragement - Part One

As the SE Asia service team makes preparations for our upcoming journey, we have laid out some objectives. One of those objectives is to encourage the group we are going to visit. We discussed a few things, but I wondered how the Apostle Paul was encouraged by others as he devoted his life to sharing God’s message with others.

So over the next few days I’m going to be doing some digging into the encouragement realm. How to encourage those who are sharing the Gospel and how Christians can be encouraged.

There are three elements to encouragement. First, is the idea to inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; to hearten. Second is to give support to; to foster. And third is to stimulate; to spur.[i]

Inspiration is a great concept to bring into encouragement. Sometimes if we don’t see the vision, we will not be encouraged to join into a project, or desire to be part of a team. When we are able to cast that vision, we will be able to draw others into seeing what God sees.

What are we to inspire with? Hope, courage, or confidence. As a Christian, there is no greater hope than to know one day I will see Jesus face to face. That hope gives me the courage and confidence to do what I am called to. Whether it’s writing a daily blog, going on a service trip, witnessing to a stranger, leading a women’s Bible study, or reading a Bible story to my grandchildren. The hope I have in Christ Jesus inspires me!

The second element to encouragement is giving support. I believe this includes several areas. For those in ministry, we must support them financially. The men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving a local congregation are to be compensated for their work. But it goes beyond that.

Providing appreciative, emotional, moral support to a person in ministry is an encouragement to them. Knowing that a group of people are behind them will drive them to follow the call that God has placed upon them. Doing the opposite is the fastest way to drive a minister from a church.

And third, we see that encouragement has an element of stimulation. To spur on. You’ve heard how yawns and laughter are contagious, right? Well encouragement is contagious as well. Being motivated to do better. To be better. To serve better. It will catch on.

Encouragement. There is a lot more to this word than meets the eye. This blog post is near completion and I haven’t even shared a Bible verse!

In Romans 12, Paul lists the different functions of the body of Christ. This is what he says. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us, if a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8 – NIV)

While I believe there are those who are truly gifted in the encouragement area, I believe each of us must be an encourager. There are so many other verses that say, “encourage one another.” And we’ll be discussing those over the next few days.

Take some time today to see how you are an encourager. To whom are you an encourager? When was the last time you were an encourager to your minister? Or to a missionary? Or to a co-worker?

Are you lacking in this area? If so, pray that God will open your heart to ways to add this wonderful gift into your life.

I must admit, I haven’t done as well with this as I should. I’m thankful for the eye-opening experience of going on a service trip to find these areas of my life that are lacking. I pray that the desire to be an encourager will pierce your heart as it has mine.

The SE Asia service team is training and preparing to go on this trip. We are now just 36 days from leaving. I have been encouraged by so many already and am so thankful for them. If you have the desire to be an encourager to me, please let me know.

I’d love to have you join my prayer partner team. You will receive emails from me before I leave sharing prayer requests and praises. And while I am gone, a lovely lady will be sending daily prayer requests by email, detailing what we will be doing on that day and how you can encourage us through prayer.

I’d love to have you join my financial partner team. I’ve been so blessed already. The costs are nearly covered. However, it still isn’t enough. If God is placing this on your heart, please feel free to contact me through this blog and I’ll get the information to you as to how you can help. Or you can go to for more information.

Encouragement. One word filled with so much meaning. Let’s be encouragers today. To whomever your path crosses. Don’t miss an opportunity to say a good, kind word. To do a kind deed. To be faithful to God’s mission. Through encouragement, you will be encouraged.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,



Friday, August 10, 2012

God's Passport

I received my passport in yesterday’s mail. It was very exciting. It is so beautiful! Each page has a photograph of America’s past events or unique features from our nation. My photo is one of the best ever taken of me…that made me happy. I actually have a passport!

I am one step closer to achieving my goal of making a difference in SE Asia!

A brochure from the U.S. Department of State accompanied my passport. It begins with these words. “With your U.S. passport, the world is yours!”

I understand their standpoint, and I fully intend to use this passport to see the world. But David reminds us, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1 – NIV) The world belongs to God. He created it. It’s His.

God loves this world. He loves the people of this world. So much so, that He was willing to sacrifice His Son for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 – NIV)

However, while we are here, we are to make an impact in this world. Matthew 5:14 (NIV) says, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus tells the crowds that their “light” should shine so that others could see their good works and glorify God. We are to do the same. If the world doesn’t see God in you, it’s time to ask yourself “why not?”

We are also called to go into the world. “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15 – NIV) We must preach and teach the good news to all creation. Whether it is our next door neighbor or a group of people on the other side of the world, we must go.

While we are in this world, it won’t be easy. Jesus told the disciples at one point that it wouldn’t be. John 16:33 (NIV) contains these words of Jesus. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Yes we will face trials and suffering, but we too know the Overcomer. And because we know the Overcomer, we overcome this world and all its troubles.

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:3-5 – NIV)

What beautiful words! Victory is ours when we believe in Jesus Christ!

Passport – check!

Go and share (mission) – check!

Overcome – check!

Victory – check!

Financial support – [insert buzzer sound]

I do not have all the funds needed to go on my service trip. So once again, I am asking for your help. I would love to be able to add your name to my list as a supporter. As someone who feels the great burden of sharing God’s Name with those who have never heard the name Jesus.

I would also love to add your name to my prayer warrior group. Without my prayer warriors, I would not be able to consider this trip. So please let me know if you’d be willing to join me on this journey.

I have a passport. The world is mine. Watch out world, here I come!

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


Saturday, August 4, 2012

50 Days and Counting

As dawn breaks this morning, it is 50 days and counting until my service trip to Southeast Asia. There is still so much to do and yes, I am still running out of time!

What I’m Doing

I applied for my passport and it is being processed. This was such an easy process and as of this morning, all is going well and it is on target to be returned in plenty of time for my trip.

I am studying up on the location, religious tendencies, and culture of the area. This is an interesting aspect of the trip. Learning about the cultures of Southeast Asia has been so exhilarating and fun. I can’t wait to see if what I’m learning is really the way it is.

I have sent letters, emails, and have had one-on-one conversations to raise awareness and support for my trip. I’ve learned from past experiences that this piece is so important. Communication with others is the key. If no one knows I’m going, how can I expect them to be of assistance? It has been so wonderful to connect with others and know they will be supporting me along the way. Thank you to those who have made commitments.

I have prayed, prayed, and prayed some more. God is taking me on a prayer journey for certain. My prayer time has blossomed into precious time with my heavenly Father. I am not willing to compromise in this area. Conversation with God keeps me motivated!

What is God Doing?

He is preparing me by reminding me of specific and relevant Scripture. I love God’s “living and active” Word (Hebrews 4:12 - NIV). I have adopted a section from the book of Colossians as my mission statement. It says, “Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:2-4 - NIV)

He is preparing me by sending encouragement. I love 1 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV). “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” God is encouraging me, but He is also sending encouragers my way. I am so thankful for the people who have excelled in this area.

He is preparing me by allowing my faith to grow. The financial support for this trip has not been completely raised. But I am still holding on to the fact that God has called me to do this. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” This phrase is found in two sections of Scripture. In 2 Kings 19:31 and Isaiah 9:7 (NIV). I believe God will come through.

He is preparing me by covering me with His peace. Jesus shared this thought with His disciples in John 14:27 (NIV). “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let our hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I have God’s peace that “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7 – NIV). How could I possibly do this otherwise?

What You Can Do

You can pray for me, the team, and the people of Southeast Asia. If you would like to receive prayer updates, please let me know. I’m working on setting up a system to share requests with others. I’d love to have you on my team of prayer warriors.

You can support my trip financially. I do need more funds in order to go on this trip, so if you have any desire to do so, please don’t hesitate and send your gift today. I would like to see this part of the journey complete so that I can concentrate on other areas that I feel are so important. I thank you in advance for your contribution.

You can trust that God is in control of this service trip. The same peace that covers me is available to you as well. You can be assured that God will accomplish great things through these 13 days in Southeast Asia. You can trust that He will finish what He started!

I wrote this blog post differently than I typically write. I made an outline and then went back to fill in with more detail. Maybe that’s the way God wants me to look at this service trip. Create the outline, but wait for Him to show up and fill in the details. I’m just a willing vessel. He is the Master.

Thank you for reading yet another blog post about this important vision for my life. I’m thankful you’re on the journey with me. Together, with God, we really can do remarkable things.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,