Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and we enjoyed some family coming over to Maggie's folks (the Finchers) house for dinner. We missed Kelley and Jean-Marc, but still had good time. Patrick is a huge fan of anything served on Thanksgiving. Huge fan.
On Monday we had an open house at the Finchers where we talked about the International Youth Group in Costa Rica and how the Spirit is leading us to work with them. We had great feed back from the group, and though prior to that we had been fairly discouraged, God used that to lift our spirits. It's great when He does little things that He doesn't have to do for us.
After working on developing ministry partners on Tuesday, we decided to hit up the Georgia Aquarium on Wednesday.
|These are actually the first fish Patrick saw in the aquarium.|
|Maggie and Patrick at the Grand finale|
Maggie got to speak at Clayton First United Methodist Church on Sunday, while I finished up training and flew back to Atlanta. We left Monday morning and had to dive straight in to all of the work and emails awaiting us. What a great trip!
Monday, November 28, 2011
When materialism, or social help, or Christian ministry, or community service, or hedonism, or any other entity or idea other than Christ becomes our aim, we are trapped in a temporal state of mind.
I drove down from Ohio to Georgia last Tuesday. I was concerned about money and the maintenance I had to perform on my car. I had just gotten my oil changed and was forcefully warned about all of the different ways my car could spontaneously combust at any moment if I didn't immediately drop $1,000 on it. Driving to Georgia, I began to worry and fret about finances. Need I elaborate? I think everybody's been here before. Sometimes worry just grips you and numbs your mind with fear. It's eerily consuming.
But at the same time I was thinking and pondering how to maintain an eternal perspective on life.
I'm tired of falling in the trap of losing perspective and I want out. I don't want my thoughts to be consumed with what to get who for Christmas, or where am I going to get money for ______ , how long will it take us to raise support? I want to live with the big picture, the eternal picture in mind. This earth will fade away. Its pleasures, its politics, its popularity, and its positions. That is why Jesus said that the first shall be last. Everything will be flipped upside down and shaken up.
My mind flicked back from one to the other. Money, Christ, money, Christ.
It is only when we have Christ as the center and definition of our very being (Gal 2:20) that we live in light of the way things really are. If everything in life is going fine, I think it's easy to lose sight of this. The happy, stable person is in danger of losing touch with reality. The person who is concerned about finances for the good of his own family is at risk of losing the most valuable thing he has. As I asked God how to maintain my grasp on reality, I was lead again to think about my financial situation.
Finally I realized that only when we choose to believe what Jesus tells us, and live like we believe it, will we be able to keep our priorities in order.
I must choose to trust Christ with my finances and actively rebel against the thoughts of worries and tight-fisted temptations that come my way. This is one way to keep Christ at the center. Thank you, God, this Thanksgiving, for a difficult financial situation to keep me trusting in you.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(Matthew 6:25b-33 ESV)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Considering we live in a college town...
God has put us in this location, home of Miami University, for a specific reason. I believe one of the reasons is to help students understand stewardship. Maybe God is wanting us to ask for support not from established individuals but from the poor, college student who can only give up a coffee a week.
I just finished Andy Stanley's Fields of Gold. The book does a wonderful job of addressing stewardship and what prevents us from giving. Fear is the reason Andy suggests why we don't give back to God. We're afraid that when it comes down to it we won't have enough. Or when it comes time to give, we have nothing left. We ask what will we eat? What will we wear? Doesn't Jesus address this concern in the Beatitudes? See Matthew 5 to address those fears. I could say a lot more about what I learned, and maybe I should later in its own post.
Anyways, I believe God wants us to take the opportunity to challenge students to cast off their fear of giving and trust God to provide. It's His money anyways. He doesn't need our money to get what He wants done, but He allows us the chance to join His work-- to be a part of His plan. It will be a much longer process if we're talking about $10 a month from students. However, if God is able to use us to direct them to be good stewards, then the gain is so much more!
P.S. The picture of Patrick was to make people view the post
Sunday, November 13, 2011
There are so many different ways God has made it clear that He desire for us to go to Costa Rica. I'll have to write a post about all the different ways at another point. We trust that God will provide the necessary funds for us to actually go and be the youth directors. However, it is challenging to trust Him when things aren't going at the rapid pace we desire. We're supposed to be at 50% support by January to be able to attend a conference that is necessary for us to be in Costa Rica by August. Right now we are at 5% support. Reaching our goal seems impossible, but it provides a great opportunity for God to show Himself and to show us that He desires us to be in CR and to show all finances are ultimately His. Lord, we have great faith that You are capable!
I am an extremely positive/optimistic person. I've really enjoyed this process of telling people about Costa Rica and watching them respond. I've been blown away by people's generosity and praise people for their stewardship However, today was the first day that the 45% remaining has seemed too big, too hard, and too impossible. Please pray that Jonathan and I will continue to know that if God wants us there that He will provide. In our hearts we know it's true, but mathematically it seems really crazy.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
A parallel comes to mind of my spiritual life. Walking with the Lord, it's the seemingly minute stuff that can make me stumble. Things that should be second nature: like prayer. If prayer is not second nature in a believer's life, you know he hasn't been praying much. How easily prayers come to my lips is directly connected with how often I've been praying. What happens when prayer does not come easily? My energies are spent trying to figure out how to pray. My attention to how I stumble over words. If my life is all about glorifying God, and I can't even pray a simple prayer, I need to get some things straightened out.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
|Patrick stealing his first cookie|
Saturday, October 22, 2011
This is what I want to be about.
This is the essence of youth ministry.
"The next day again John [the baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
We’re proud to announce that we are now missionaries with ReachGlobal preparing to go to Costa Rica! This journey, which started back in March, climaxed as we attended an 8 day conference at the home office in Minneapolis. The conference’s goal was to determine “fit”—the mission with us and us with the mission. And we both agreed that the fit was perfect! As an extension of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), ReachGlobal exists to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people. Jonathan and I are ecstatic to be a part of the organization committed to developing, empowering, and releasing healthy leaders!
What does this mean?
Now that we’re accepted, we’re one step closer to Costa Rica and serving the International Youth Group (IYG). We will be a part of a healthy ReachGlobal team that seeks to minister to those in San Jose. When we were in Costa Rica, we were greatly encouraged by members this team. We’re so blessed to enter a network of ministry and support! Personally, this marks the start of a journey into missions that I’ve desired since I was 6, and God couldn’t have better timing.
Our new journey…
Considering we started our journey with ReachGlobal in March, we feel very relieved to finally be a part of this great organization. However, the real journey is ahead. Talking to a missionary in Costa Rica, she compared this next step to the journey of baby sea turtles to the ocean. She wished that she could just put us on a plane, but she recognized that it takes the dangerous journey to the sea to prepare us for the rough waters ahead. Please pray for us that we would continue to be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness in bring us this far.
If you’re interested in receiving periodic updates from us as we journey to Costa Rica, you can comment to this post or send me an email at Maggie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to the opportunity for God to reveal Himself and His desire for us to serve in Costa Rica!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Maggie's Birthday is today, and to celebrate we went to The Melting Pot, a fun fondue restaurant where you cook your own meat. Happy Birthday Maggie!!
As we look ahead to what June holds, we continue filling out RG forms, I am leading worship for the highschool week of our church camp, (and Maggie and Patrick will be there too!), and I continue to evaluate keeping my lifeguarding job.
A couple prayer requests:
1. For our Reach Global application, that we would be diligent in the long process
2. Thank you Lord for Maggie's life!
3. Consistent growth and leading of the Spirit in our lives
We really appreciate your prayers. Pictures to come later :)
Love to all
Jonathan for Maggie and Patrick
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I wanted to share what has been on my heart concerning our missions opportunity.
I want to quickly remind everyone that we have not been accepted yet by AMCA nor by Reach Global yet for this position. Everything is in the Lord's hands, and as we work to get our application in we trust that He will do with us as He pleases. Also, (little side note) there is a high percentile chance that both the AMCA Director and the RG Latin America Area Director will be reading this post. So here's a shout out to Chris and Cynthia, and Brian and Cathi!
Ok, back on track.
God's Work of Grace:
As I began to ponder this, Biblical passages that I was studying started to become more alive, and I longed to communicate truths that I was learning to others with a passion I had not felt before. I also had conversations with some MK friends of mine who are asking hard questions that were never answered in high school and are now questioning core beliefs. I began to realize that there wasn't as much a gaping hole to be filled as much as a sparkling opportunity to be had. Maggie also mentioned that many of these MKs would be going on to other countries. A vision began to grow in my mind of students, whose parents were already on the field, who had no application process to go through, discipling others wherever they end up. Why not!? That excites me.
To be brutally honest, we don't have a desire to be working here the rest of our careers. We don't know what God has in store for us in regards to timelines if we do, but our heart is in one of two places: Training national leaders, or little/unreached peoples. I get super excited about this passage:
God's Work of Grace
I hope as family and friends (who will inevitably getting a support letter from us :) ) you would have asked these questions too. I hope that you are careful to discern the work of the Lord from the wave pool of emotions and desires of individuals, and are not too quick to assume that if they say it's from God, it must be. Please know that we are covering everything in prayer. We still don't see ourselves with the youth group or in Costa Rica forever. But then, it is God who directs our steps.
Images from here, here, and here .
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
- our adjustment as parents
- finding a place to rent for the fall
- completing the application process with Reach Global
- making connections with those in Costa Rica to see if we're a good fit
- Jonathan's grandmother as she continues to recover from a mini-stroke
- ministering to our co-workers and others here in Oxford
- Maggie's new mom connection-- that it will open doors for presenting the Gospel