Monday, April 25, 2011

Hear the bells ringing...

As I reflect back on the weekend just past, I am reminded that here in our little town of Kusel, the bells of the two churches were ringing almost non stop.  You would have thought something big was happening in town.  Well, there was but it really took place over 2000 years ago.

It was in the town of Jerusalem where the miracle of the rebirth took place.  After the first original Black Friday, Passover, Jesus of Nazareth took the entire worlds weight of sin and shame on His shoulders.  There He paid the price for the debt that none of us could ever pay for the things that separated us from Him.  There, the payment was made and there the Eternal King died only to change the course of history.

After He died, His body that was broken for you and I was taken off the cross, laid in a borrow tomb where His body was wrapped in swaddling clothes and washed in frankincense and myrrh for the entombment.  Only thing is, His reservation for the grave had been made in eternity past that He would only stay there for three days.  You see, Jesus rebuilt the temple, His Temple, in three days!

His resurrection from the grave made it possible for us to have a rebirth of our own temple so that He would have a place to reside in us for His glory!  The key, we have to accept the fact that He gave up heaven to come to earth to pay for my debt with His death and was buried in a grave and then, ROSE FROM THE GRAVE!!  Thus, gaining victory over sin and death!!!  Praise be to Him for His Glorious work!

So you see, although the bells rang continuously here in Kusel, they were marking the event of Resurrection Sunday...they thought Easter, I know better!! It was marking the anniversary that my Lord and Savior gave me the ability to have a rebirth and to enter into a relationship with Him.  It also was to invite those that don't usually come to church to come.

I trust that they did but I pray that the Gospel was shared and that one or some came to a personal knowledge of their need for a Loving and Merciful Savior to be their Lord.

The next time you hear bells ringing, stop and wonder, "What are they ringing for?"  Maybe they are announcing a worldwide event like the event of Resurrection Sunday!  What an event!

Church in the Rock in Idar - Oberstein, Germany

Monday, April 18, 2011

In the presence of a King...

I had the most incredible privilege and a great opportunity yesterday to preach at the Gospel Service on our post we serve at.  It was as you know, Palm Sunday and I shared from the Word the story from Mark about the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city.

I unpacked the  context of the passage as well as the historical importance that we see there.  When you understand the context, the text becomes alive and fresh.  We see there that the King to be, Jesus the Son of God, came into Jerusalem not to take over as earthly king that the people wanted but He came into town to announce His plan to complete the assignment that the Trinity had in place from eternity past to secure the possibility for you and I to enter into a personal relationship with Him.  He then, becomes my King, my Savior, my Master, my Lord and my Friend!  With all that in place and having happened, I now am in the presence of a King.

In addition to the preaching at the service, I also had a unique privilege and honor to have in our service in the front row, a modern day king.  One of the worshippers with us on Sunday is a king in Africa.  When I was preaching, I realized that not only was I sharing about the King of Kings, but, in my presence was a king,

I was humbled by that fact.  The reality of serving our Eternal King and now I serve alongside and worship with a king.  What an honor!

How is it, we don't treat our Heavenly King with the honor and respect He deserves?  When you talk with our friend that is a king, he is so humble, focused on Jesus for himself, his family and his people and it is an honor to know him and together, we serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lord.

Next time you begin to worship at church, remember that you are in the presence of a King.  We are to honor Him, love Him, worship Him, serve Him and be low before Him.  The question is how often do you and I realize and recognize this?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

From hopeless to happiness in a year!

Have you ever felt that your life had no hope? That all joy and happiness had been snatched away and that everything you worked for was thrown to the curb?  In the midst of life you find yourself questioning everything going on and the words that were spoken to you aren't true seem to drowned out everything that is true?  Well, yesterday the 8th of April, Julie and I reflected over the past year.  Wow, what a time of reflection.

We were told a year ago a number of perceptions that were not true.  That day rang out in my heart then with a ton of hurt and emotions that were painful and almost devastating.  The words that were said caused both of us to reflect on the pain as well as cause us to run fully into the arms of a Heavenly Father that only speaks truth.  And when He speaks hard truth, it is totally surrounded and couched in love.  Perfect, eternal and completely unconditional love.

During the course of the year, we experienced many ups and downs.  We felt isolation, abandonment, disillusionment and betrayal.  With the help of the Lord as we questioned and wondered what was up we found ourselves finding confidence in Him and not in man.  We would find ourselves on our knees and in the Word and being strengthened by Him.  As scripture say, in our weakness, He makes us strong.

We found ourselves being cared for and loved on by some wonderful missionaries that had been in almost identical situations through the course of their year in ministry.    Their care through the course of the year was so beneficial and helpful that we were finding ourselves renewed, restored and refreshed.

Then, we began to find the Lord directing us to a new ministry and the opportunity to experience a rebirth of the passion and desires that the Lord had given us.  With the gifts and toolset that the Lord has blessed us with, He was going to use it again to His Glory.  We knew that He was rebuilding in our lives what had been taken away.  We had gone from hopelessness and despair to happiness and delight in Him.

Yesterday, walking hand in hand down the cobble stone streets of Kusel, Germany, we knew we were right where God wants us.  We have been experiencing a real since of peace as well as fulfillment in our ministry He has brought us too!  Who would ever have thought a year ago we would be in Germany working in the lives of our US military students here in Baumholder.  God is definitely using us and what a joy it has been.

Some very impactful words were given to us by a dear friend a year ago that have become our focus in life and ministry.  "Broken people minister to Broken People!"  That is so true and it is a joy that we are being able to put it into practice, because there are many broken people here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"I am so glad that you came..."

Recently we wrapped up youth group and I had been teaching that night and one of students came up to me and said, "I am so glad that you came over here to take over the youth group."  "What will it take to have you come back this fall?"  "We really need to have you and mama Shack back here!"

That brought me to tears as I realized not only is it God's plan that Julie and I are here now and how critical the need is for us to be here in the fall Lord willing.

It is a real eye opener when you work with students and find the need is great in their life to have people care, love and share in their lives.  They are longing for acceptance as well as unconditional love.  They are seeking for this with everything they do and are.  Our students here have that even intensified having one of their parents deployed downrange in the Middle East.  They have intense need to know the one who made them and and have a personal relationship with their creator.  What a great privilege to serve them and point them to our Heavenly Father!

When you stop for just a moment and reflect on what he was expressing it is the very heart beat of what God wants!  That everyone would know Him and all would see Him through us.  The desire to know the WORD and the Truth and as we if we are willing to serve and love others, they will see Jesus in us.

Would you continue to pray for us as we serve the students in Baumholder with Cadence Student Ministries and as we seek the Lord for His leading as we desire to return in the fall.  We need to have more people join our ministry team in order for this to happen and God has that under control as well.  Pray that He will lead the right people to join our current team that are impacting lives here for eternity.  We are truly blessed that you are committed to us and Him as we fulfill the Great Commission together!

In response to his statement..."I am so glad that you came..." We are so glad that we came and that you sent us here!  God is being glorified by you through us!