Friday, September 2, 2016

Eyes Opened!

In last week’s post, I mentioned the need to keep my eyes open to what God was doing. I had several concerns about my trip to Kenya, and in retrospect, most of the concerns had a solid basis for them. However, thankfully, none of the concerns were realized.

My eyes were opened, however. They were opened to a people who are desperate for God. The team of five Americans were privileged to see God at work in His people so many miles away. Three of the team members were pastors who trained over 100 pastors combined on matters of doctrine and hermeneutics. Two members spent most of their time in the desert (the “bush”) telling Bible stories and saw over 60 people receive Jesus as Lord. In addition, relationships were developed and plans were made to continue to develop the work in the coming years. God is stirring the hearts of the people in Eastern Kenya and I am looking forward to seeing the fruit which will come.

Personally, this was the furthest I have gone on a mission trip. And that makes my return difficult because I feel like a part of me is still there. Although I have just recently returned, I better understand the words of Paul when he wrote of his affection for the churches he had visited. Having served at a few churches over the past many years, I have understood that to a degree, but the time, distance, and overall sacrifice involved to get to/from Kenya makes the separation far more real than the previous churches of which I have been a part, which I can visit by driving approximately two hours. Furthermore, as much as I have appreciated my time at each church, I have known that my time there was complete when I left as God was calling me to something new. I still have family or friends that attend each of those churches, so it is not like I have lost contact or do not care, but God’s call to someplace new brought a sense of closure to each of the churches I was leaving.

In contrast, my service in Kenya is just beginning. And yet, my next opportunity to serve must wait a year or more. My desire is to continue to help my new friends develop and grow in ministry, even as I do the same here for both the church I serve and the students I teach at college/seminary. God has confirmed my calling time and time again, and this trip to Kenya has been another confirmation. One further piece remains to be explored, and that piece was the emphasis of my dissertation, so I believe God has plans for that aspect as well. In the coming months, I plan to delve further into that area which, I believe, will complete the scope of my overall call to serve God.

So, what’s the point? The point is that God has prepared me through His calling to make me a busy man. I do what I do to serve Him because He has given me great opportunities. God has provided each time so that I can better know Him, and subsequently serve Him – for that is what each of us are to do. We are called to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him. Our salvation does not come from our works, but our works are the outflow of our salvation. In other words, we do not have a faith by works, we are to have a faith that works. This was the point that James was making in James 2. Our faith is made evident because of our works, for we are to be doers of the Word and not just hearers only. I don’t want to be known as a hearer; I want to be a doer.

To that end, my intent is to shift even more of my focus to developing others (equip the saints!) for the work of ministry. That begins in my own church, and now extends across the globe. I am just one person, but as each person does what we are called by God to do, we will make a tremendous impact for His Kingdom! Will you join me in being a doer – for His Kingdom and His glory?

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