To boldly go…

To boldly go…

May 29, 2013

To boldly go…  by Clint Brown   “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)       I found myself in a conversation recently about pop culture, fiction books and movies. Our discussion ranged from sparkly vampires to plucky hobbits. This took me back to my youth where, I suppose like many in our society, fanciful tales like these provided a safe retreat from the challenges and discomforts of being a teenager. I remembered particularly enjoying the science fiction exploits of space-faring explorers. I would not exactly categorize myself as a “trekkie,” though I did end up watching a good portion of the Star Trek movies and television series, so some may argue otherwise. This is not to endorse Star Trek. True to the series’ creator, Gene Roddenberry, much of the worldview expressed from the characters and situations has a decidedly secular humanist slant. Also, if you were to devote yourself to seeing every Star Trek TV episode and their related feature films, you could expect to distract yourself for more than 550 hours. To put that in perspective, without repeating an episode you would dedicate more time than many bright students spend in lecture and study over two years to earn an associate’s degree. However, one thing was prevalent in the intrepid crews of the various spaceships; a wholesome, attractive quality that we would do well to incorporate into our own lives. They were committed to what they believed in to the extent that they were willing to leave the comforts and safety of home, and even risk their lives to be part of exploring the unknowns of space. Imagine if we put our faith into action and went where we believe God would have us go to fulfill the mission to which we are called. These fictional explorers remind me of some true-life Christian pioneers. Two early missionaries, St. Columbanus and St. Columba (500-650 AD), come to mind as they left their homes and loved ones to preach the Gospel. Their perilous missions brought the light of Jesus to barbarian “civilizations” in western...

Getting our kids to leave church (for missions)

Getting our kids to leave church (for missions)

May 24, 2013

Getting our kids to leave church (for missions) by Kevin Butler How interested or involved are your children in missions? How interested or involved is your church? Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all of our members to be outward-focused and mission-minded at an early age? The website “ministry-to-children.com” ran the following ideas for families to help kids love missions: 1. Pray for missionaries. 2. Read missionary biographies to your children. 3. Support missionaries financially as a family. 4. Find a missionary kid pen-pal for your child. 5. Welcome missionaries into your home. 6. Take risks as a family. 7. Encourage the traits that missionaries need. 8. Teach your children to be world Christians. 9. Read missionary prayer letters to your children. 10. Use missions fact books and resources. Besides these thoughts, “ministry-to-children” asked for feedback then shared even more practical ideas from readers. They are worth a look.   Have you or your children heard of the “10/40 Window”? It’s been described as an invisible rectangle that extends from a latitude of 10 to 40 degrees north of the equator. Within the “window” are North Africa, the Middle East, India, Asia, and some parts of Russia. When you look at those regions, you begin to realize that they’re crowded with about two-thirds of the world’s population. And, sadly, most of the poorest people in the world are found there. Many live on less than $2 a day. They have little money for food or health care. Life expectancy is lower than in many other parts of the world. Each of these countries in the “10/40 Window” have some Christian believers, but most people there follow other religions. They may practice Tribal religions, Hinduism, Islam, or Buddhism. Some are Atheists and believe in no God at all. Thinking of those unreached people groups, the organization “stand4kids” has shared an easy way to remember to pray for these people.     Using the acronym “THUMB” each of the five fingers stands for one group.   T = Tribal H = Hindu U = Unreligious (Atheist) M = Muslim B = Buddhist   Let’s lift our hands together and pray for people in the 10/40...

Family Flux: June 2013

Births Tipton – A daughter, Mercy Jean, was born to Chris and Anne (Soper) Tipton of Omaha, NE on September 25, 2012. Knight – A son, Luke Thomas, was born to Jim and Jenny (Ryschon) Knight of Lawrence, KS on October 2, 2012. Amidon – A son, Jeremiah Allen, was born to Jason and Jessica (Powell) Amidon of Coudersport, PA on March 24, 2013. Pradetto – A daughter, Elena Sofia, was born to Joe and Aubrey (Appel) Pradetto of Palm Desert, CA on April 26, 2013. Burns – A daughter, Kaylee Ruth, was born to David and Jackie (Cruzan) Burns of Redondo Beach, CA on May 6, 2013. Palermo – A daughter, Noelani Allison, was born to Nick and Amy (Goodrich) Palermo of Omaha, NE on May 7, 2013.   New Members Battle Creek, MI Kory Geske, pastor Joined after testimony LaVaune Artis Linda Shimmel Janet Tavernier Joined by letter Harold D. King Kathi King   Obituaries Severance.—Bonnie (Babcock) Keown Severance, 81, of North Loup, Neb., passed away peacefully on June 4, 2012 surrounded by her family at the Valley County Health System Hospital in Ord, Neb. She was the youngest of 10 children born to Martha and Clarence Babcock. Her given name was Benita Beryl, but she was “Bonnie” to all who knew her. She was born in North Loup on May 2, 1931. She married Bernard W. Keown in 1948, and graduated from Scotia High School in 1949. They were married for 10 years and had four children: Bernard, Colleen, Terry and Thomas. Following Bernard’s death in 1959, Bonnie moved the family back to North Loup from Oklahoma and worked in the North Loup-Scotia Public School System for the next 42 years. In addition to her work at school, she wrote the local news for both the Scotia-Register and the Ord Quiz, owned B&C Ceramics, and managed the North Loup Drive-In Theater. In 1968, she married Cecil F. Severance. Their son, Christopher, was born the following year and became number 11 in their blended family. Cecil had also been widowed and had six children before marrying Bonnie. They were married for 35 years until Cecil’s death in 2004. Bonnie’s family and faith...

Sweet Memories of Brazil

Sweet Memories of Brazil

May 24, 2013

Sweet Memories of Brazil by Renee Sanford, Milton, Wis.   We’ve been home from Brazil for three weeks. I still don’t know how to answer the question, “How was your trip to Brasil?” I don’t even know if I should spell Brazil with an S or a Z. –It was glorious and exhilarating. It was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting. –My heart overflowed with joy. My heart was broken and filled with grief. –I want to go back forever. I never want to leave home again. –God did miraculous things through our ministry. Often what I most needed to do was get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work. –I knew I was supposed to be there. I wondered why I was there. –Not speaking Portuguese made communicating slow and difficult. Not speaking Portuguese made communicating nonverbally easier.   “How was my trip to Brazil?” Filled with tears. Over two days I shared about God’s miraculous healing power in my life, sharing the deep wounds so I could share the glory of the deep healing. Oh how vulnerable we must sometimes be. I cried. Everyone cried. My pain resonated with their pain and people saw they were not alone. “How was my trip to Brasil?” Filled with joy. After sharing the pain, I could share the glory and joy of the healing. There is a balm in Gilead, the overflowing boundless joy of freedom. What a privilege to set the stage for Pastor George to speak about our authority in Christ Jesus to drive darkness away, giving hope to trapped struggling believers. The trip was filled with encounters like that. “How was my trip to Brazil?” Scary. One night I was asked to speak before Pastor George gave the sermon. Shaking, I got up and said through our interpreter, “I’m so nervous—at home I’m not usually in front; I’m out there.” Everyone laughed and suddenly I felt totally at home and knew what to say. I shared what Pastor Nate had told us the week before—about how our true home is in heaven, we are sojourners and aliens on earth. I said, “That’s God’s word, so it’s true, right? So, I didn’t...

Can I Be a Disciple of Christ?

Can I Be a Disciple of Christ? by Rob Appel          In September 2012 I took a spiritual retreat in the Rocky Mountains and was wondering how God was going to speak to me during this special time. On the morning of September 27th, in the lodge of Camp Paul Hummel, God spoke to me through an old familiar book. I picked up a copy of My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and opened it to one of the pages. It turns out it was one of the 12 dog-eared pages of that copy. This month is number six in a series from this great devotional.   Salvation is free, but it comes with a cost! Christ said, “No one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.” So, if we are not willing to give up everything—and by “everything” Jesus meant EVERYTHING—you cannot be his disciple. You have probably heard this many times, and maybe somehow missed the full concept of giving up everything you own. In concept you would give up everything, but maybe these verses really apply to others… and you don’t really need to do anything more. After all, you don’t want to be a disciple; you just want to be a plain, ordinary, everyday, average Christian. The problem is, Jesus doesn’t want plain, ordinary, everyday, average Christians! Our Lord is looking for the committed. To prove that commitment you have to be willing to give up everything. You do that, and you can be a Christ follower—a disciple of Christ! In Luke we find Jesus using words that we had not read before. In Jesus’ last days, he made his way to Jerusalem and crowds gathered around and pushed closely to hear what he had to say. But Jesus said this, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Say what? This had to confuse some, anger others, and simply stun the crowd. How could Jesus go from talking about loving our enemies to hating our own parents? We are supposed to...