Friday, March 29, 2013

A New Kind of Hunger in Africa

Calvary Chapel Training Center Ghana, West Africa

In December of 2000 my husband Gary began teaching a small group of men how to study the Bible using the Inductive Bible Study method.  Most were from Ghana's northern region which is harsh and inhospitable.  Famine and hunger are common there, but these men had come to a village in the Volta with a different kind of hunger.  They were seeking a feast and the only thing that could satisfy their hunger was the word of God.

Thirteen years later more than one thousand students have graduated.  Some pastor one or more churches and many others serve in their local churches.  They disciple new believers, teach children, and support the body of Christ in prayer.

Even as this present class nears the end of their final term they sit and eagerly listen to the story of how God worked to make it all happen.

When asked how to be effective for God, Chuck Smith would say, "Try to find where the Spirit is moving and just get in the flow".
That's still sound advice.  When Gary first visited Ghana there was no vision, no strategy, no long term goals.  He just went to help grade papers for a friend who was teaching an Inductive Seminar.

But when he saw the many people who had come to Christ through the Jesus Film and the lack of churches, pastors, or even Christians who knew the Bible, he couldn't walk away untouched by such need.  So he sought to find a way to help these new believers.  The answer was literally in his hands.  The Inductive Bible Study could equip men to serve as pastors able to guide and feed the flock of God.

Calvary Chapel Laguna Creek and Calvary Chapel Vero Beach have faithfully supported the work.  And God has raised up gifted "graduates" who now have the primary responsibility for the Training Center.

It's a joy to be here once again.  We're rejoicing in all that God has done and taking to heart the words of a worship song we sang this morning:
Yesterday is gone, another day has come.  Do something new in my life Lord.

We found a little fishing village outside the main city of Accra.  It has a touch of Venice, don't you think?

Thank you for your prayers,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stepping Up

Don't you love this little guy's eagerness?

I could almost hear him, "Look Mom, look at me , look I can walk on water".

I shot this photo on a lake in Yellowstone National Park.
It was early morning and this mother Merganser was patiently teaching her young to fish.

All but one that is.  
 He reminds me of Isaiah who willingly answered God's call.

Isaiah 6 tells us his story of 'Stepping Up'.

 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I.  Send me!” 

My hubby and I are off to Ghana West Africa for a month of ministry.

Gary's been doing this for over 12 years.
He's spent a lot of time there since God showed him the need and asked, "Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?"

This will be my third trip.
In the brief time I've spent there I have met many Christians who possess nothing, yet have everything of value.

I'll never forget the days I spent there with a group of women.
I asked one named Charity to open in prayer and they all stood.
She quietly began addressing God by the many names we find throughout the Bible.
The Almighty God
Creator and Redeemer
The Ancient of Days
The Lord of Hosts
Our Shepherd
Our Righteousness
Our Peace
Our Savior

And one by one, around the circle, these women spoke the praises of God just by declaring His names.

I'm humbled by the opportunity to return and share in the sweet fellowship of those who love God and worship Him in spirit and in truth.

I've heard that God isn't looking for ability as much as availability.
I'm counting on that.

Here I am.  Send me.  And make it count forever.
One day at a time,


Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Today I'm thinking about FOCUS.

Crunch time is upon me.
I have too many things to do and too little time to do them.

I've read enough Productivity Blah, Blah, Blah to know that focus is the key element required when there are too many things competing for my time and attention. 

But I have my own spin on the subject, so here's my little Blah, Blah, Blah about productivity and FOCUS. 

F First things first.
Matthew 6:33
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Jesus' subject is our tendency toward wrong priorities (earthly stuff) and wrong responses (worry and anxiety).

Productivity is about Priorities

My first priority is my relationship with Jesus.
If it's not right ~ Nothing's right

O  One thing at a time.
1 Corinthians 14:40
Let all things be done decently and in order.

OK, I know that verse isn't about Productivity, but just remember that God took 6 days to make the universe.  He didn't cram it all in the same day.

And, there was an order.
If you don't know what to do first, ask God.  James 1:5

C  Count on Jesus to be your strength.
Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Everything you need to do the will of God is available to you today.  I have to ask myself when I meet mountains of resistance, is this God's will?  Or, have I tried to sneak in something from my own agenda?

U  Use my resources wisely.
Proverbs 18:9
He that is slothful in his work is a brother to him that is a great waster.

Yikes!  The word waster means one who spoils, ruins, or destroys.
It's missed opportunities, squandered time and resources.

I think of the mushy zucchini in the vegetable bin, or the dried up Pony-Pac of flowers that never got planted.

My time and energy are the greatest resources I have each day that enable me to do God's will.

When I don't exercise self-control in diet, fitness, and sleep I have set myself up for failure.

Ditto when I spend too much time on the phone, on the web, or on the couch!

S  Serve with gladness and to bring God glory.
Psalms 100:2
Serve the LORD with gladness:  come before his presence with singing.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Serve with gladness.  
Christ came to minister to others.
That's the example he left for us to follow.
Serve with gladness:  your spouse, your kids, your friends, your employer, and the strange lady who wants that parking space you were waiting for.


One day at a time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Divine Occupation

Every time I read I Corinthians 14:34-35 I feel rebellion rising within.
It's the passage about women keeping silent in church and asking their husbands at home if they want to learn anything.

I think I'd hate that passage even if I weren't in the post-feminist era.  
My flesh doesn't like rules that "limit" me.

SO----This morning I asked God to change my heart and help me to love to do His will.

Here's what He showed me:
The context of the I Cor. passage was both church order and the marriage relationship.
The origin of the marriage relationship is found in Genesis 2:20.
This passage reveals Adam's need and God's provision for that need.

That's the first place my sinful heart takes offense.

Why am I the answer to someone's need?
Why wasn't I created for myself, or possibly God's glory and pleasure as Adam was?

So, I started with the words.
I'm a Bible student and I always start with the meaning of the words.

What do they mean?

Remember this study began with a sincere prayer for God to change my heart.

The first phrase I looked up is help meet.

The Strong's definition is to help, one who helps.  

It's the Hebrew word 'ezer and it occurs 21 times in the Hebrew concordance (Old Testament)

How does God change hearts?
How does He conquer our rebellion?
He begins by transforming our minds.

My mind was changed as I looked at the other 19 uses of this word.

It is used twice with the modifier 'meet' which translates fit.
As in suitable, designed for this purpose.

BUT, 16 of the other 19 uses refer to God himself as Israel's helper.
Here are just a few:
Deut. 33:26
Ps. 33:20
Ps. 70:5
Ps. 121:1
Ps. 124:8

If God has made Himself Israel's helper, how can I be so selfish and prideful as to resent His design for me to be my husband's helper?

That was all it took.

The word of God instructs my heart to embrace God's plan, accept His will, and FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE.

I can't wait to see how I can help my husband today and every day,

One day at a time