Friday, September 30, 2011

When God leads, God Provides!

I am always amazed at how God takes care of his children, who live by faith. I really shouldn’t be surprised but almost every time it happens I am.

This week I am returning to India to train pastors. The trip expenses are a bit much for me in my current financial condition.

When God laid it upon my heart to help train pastors half way around the world I knew I would need help from Christian friends and family to raise the funds necessary. It was a learning experience to realize that I needed community to accomplish the task that God was asking me to do. And I think that it was a learning experience for the community to pray the dangerous prayer, “Lord, what would you have me do?” and then obey whatever he tells you to do, even if the answer was not to help financially but to simply pray for the ministry.

Last year God brought in 30% more then I needed to fund the trip. And God was obeyed and honored by all who participated in the experience.

It has been my experience that when we first exercise our faith muscle God often builds our confidence by answering quickly and abundantly. But muscle is built by stretching it and then relaxing it. Now God always knows just how much to stretch our faith without giving us a faith Charlie-horse.

The first trip stretched me and this year again I felt God’s leading to return to India. So I asked my extended community to again pray the dangerous prayer and obey God’s leading. Last year the funds came in rather quickly but this year the funds come in much more slowly.

With less then two weeks before the trip I was still short 20% of the amount I needed to cover the trip’s expenses. I was beginning to look at how I was going to cover the shortfall. I knew that God wanted me to go and I knew that God would provide but I didn’t know how it was going to happen or when.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that “When God leads, God provides!” A couple of nights ago I got a text from a friend who told me that he wanted to support my mission but had been late getting the funds off to the mission organization. And since he was late in getting the funds sent  he wanted me to know how much he was sending so I could plan accordingly.

Well the amount he felt God lay on his heart to supply was the 20% shortfall I needed!


At this rate, God will wait until the day I go to fully fund my next trip!

Once again I’m reminded that “When God leads, God provides!”

Getting ready to pack

Pastor Val

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Biting My Tongue

A couple of weeks ago I had a profound occurrence. It was one of those experiences that rocks your world! This revelation came from the Holy Spirit through a conversation with my wife. Yep! My wife often has profound comments but this one really set me back on my heels.

I have to share a bit of the background for you to appreciate my experience. I had just come back from a Bible study that I have been participating in. This study meets very early (which is not a good thing from my point of view) and it is open to anyone who would like to join us. Now this is a great thing having many different traditions attending because it leads to some lively discussions. It also leads quite often to my biting my tongue when some people share things that are theologically questionable (at least from my perspective).

I had come home from the study and was fussing about some doctrinal issues and comments that had been said during our meeting. I had chosen to not immediately comment on some things that I knew were questionable at best. I wanted the people to feel open to express themselves and then I tried to navigate the rapids that had been created by their comments. While my desire was to come down hard on some comments I realized that the people who were sharing these comments were seeking answers and were vocalizing their thoughts and were expressing where they were in their spiritual journey. My desire was to knock some heads together and “straighten out their thinking” but my job was to gently help guide them through their journey not to correct each and every statement they made (2 Timothy 2:25).

I was home expressing my frustration to my wife on some of the people’s lack of progress in their spiritual journey. She looked at me and said, “If you are frustrated with them just think how frustrated God is with us with our lack progress!”

I have to tell you she took the wind right out of my sails!

I stood there and tried to imagine the frustration that I must cause God with my own lack of progress at times. Even in spite of my best efforts I seem to constantly fall short of where I want to be on my journey. And yet God is patiently encouraging me as I stumble on my way often making ridiculous statements that must cause him to wince. I look back at some of my past thoughts and comments and wonder how many times He’s had to bite his tongue at some of my outrageous comments.

His patience is beyond my imagination and certainly beyond my ability but it is a goal for each of us as we nurture fellow believers. We must gently speak the truth in love and encourage them when their progress slower then we would like.

I’m thankful for God’s patience with us

Treating my bruised & bloody tongue

Pastor Val