Today we had our first presentation that was to be all in German.
Today we had our first presentation that was to be all in German.
We were guests with Eide and Helga at their church planting group’s annual missions conference, the theme of which was “Gott sei Dank,” or “Thanks be to God.”
Seeing as we have LOTS to be thankful for, as we have watched God syrectch resources and provide for us over and over, we were happy to oblige.
As usual in these sorts of situations, I was a day late and a dollar short in the photography department, and I forgot to have anyone take a picture if us on stage.
Stay tuned for video of the short (about 2-3 minutes) presentation, which we will post here on the blog when we get a copy.
Thanks for your prayers and support. We are so thankkful!
Today, I installed lights.
That’s right, lights. In our apartment. Which came without lights.
That’s par for the course here in Germany because, hey,
Today is the first day after Easter. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking “it’s Tuesday!” That is just the beginning of the differences we’ve seen surrounding Christians’ biggest holiday since landing in Germany.
Easter here is a HUGE deal. Continue reading
“Kingdom Economy” is not an economic term that Warren Buffett probably uses all that often.
In fact, I don’t think that you’ll see a “Kingdom Economics” section in the WSJ, or be able to check your “Kingdom Interest” on your next 401k quarterly summary.
But recently, we got to visit Revolution Church in Louisville, KY, where they were talking about Kingdom Economics.
Kingdom Econ v. Earthly Econ
Rev. Brian Ebel’s message when we visited Revolution was one of grace. In Matthew 20, we see the parable of the workers in the vineyard. A vineyard owner goes at all different parts of the day and hires hands to work his fields that day. At the end of the day, he begins with those hired last and pays them the same as what he was going to pay those who had worked a full day.
In our economy, we say that such practices are not fair. We are an economy based on merit, but God’s economy is built on grace.
In fact, the first workers hired in the parable are the first to grubmle about this very problem. “We worked longer and harder than them! Surely we deserve more pay!” To which the owner replied, “what business is my generosity to you? Didn’t you agree to work for a day’s wage?”
We want God to notice us for what we do for him. We want to puff ourselves up as the “best Christians,” whether that means we are the most tolerant, or the most generous, or the most dedicated at church functions, or the most studious. We don’t want to accept that the deathbed conversion can receive the same grace as the lifelong servant.
But God’s economy is one that pours out great riches to all who trust in him.
Created for Good Works
There is a second side to this message, however. God is not partial based on the amount of work done, but make no mistake: God called us to good works. He called us to work in his name and “cultivate his harvest,” so to speak.
Just as the vineyard owner hired hands to work his fields, God paid the ultimate price in sending his son to die for our sins, so that we might work for his purposes and become his servants, ambassadors, and stewards.
Our job is to use what we have to cultivate a harvest. In the big picture, the faithful will find finances fleeting. What will matter is the work done for the harvest; how many people will know Jesus for eternity because of what we have done on this earth?
My hope in sharing this is to encourage you as we’ve been encouraged. Keep serving, and try (it’s really hard sometimes) not to compare your work to that of others. And spend every day doing the job for which you were “hired:”: to cultivate souls for lasting relationships with Jesus.
In the end, putting some of our earthly resources to eternal rewards will entirely reshape our eagerness for reconciliation.
In light of this sermon, I want to call you to action. If you are reading this post, right this instant, you have opportunity to invest in God’s economy. You can partner with us financially here. You can also partner with us relationally by having us to your small group, introducing us to your friends, and encouraging your families and friends to pledge what they can to our ministry.
Germany (and Europe) need churches. They need the gospel, and they need Christians who have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God to proclaim reconciliation.
Please pray for us, and please do what you can to invest in God’s work in Germany and partner with us.
Your gifts will bear an eternal reward!
So this has been the first week when we have officially started our trek to raise support for Germany. We’ve been laying groundwork (getting trained, communicating with our home church and employers, etc), but this week marks the beginning.
It’s interesting how many emotions came and went this week, and I just wanted to share some of those with you guys. They may apply to every one of you next time you are starting a new journey.
1. What are we thinking?
There is a feeling now, more than in the past that this is real. We’ve been talking about this and considering it for the better part of two years, and are confident that this is where God has been leading. Yet this week it felt real. Doubts came. What if we don’t get supported? What if the move damages our marriage and family emotionally? What if, what if, what if.
Spiritual Truth: We have prayed for wisdom, and believe in the Great Commission, but we are still human. It is dangerous to listen to every little tiny thought that comes up. Check out what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
We have all kinds of thoughts, and it is our job to discern the good ones and discard the rest, pursuing obedience to Christ. When faced with doubts it is our job to double up in our confidence and grace, trusting that His grace is sufficient to keep us strong and provided for, and to deliver us from the times when we are weak and provisions are slim.
2. Pure Excitement
This week I have been more productive than I typically am. I’ve been knocking things off my list like crazy! To what may I give the credit for this? I think it is because we are excited to be doing what we know to be God’s will. His call is to go and make disciples and we are going to do that in a place that desperately needs the Gospel. But in order to do that, a lot needs to be done.
Spiritual Truth: In seasons of great stretching, God has always equipped believers to accomplish great things for his Kingdom, even outside of their normal ability. He equipped the craftsmen to build the Tabernacle in Exodus (31:2-6; 35:30-35; 36:1-2; 28:3). He equipped the apostles to speak “with Great Boldness” in the dawning days of the Church age, and we know that he will give wisdom and power to those who ask him, in His name’s sake. In one passage, Paul even calls this the “spiritual gift of administration” (Romans 12:3-7). God’s providence allows him to sharpen the mind and equip believers with abilities that advance his Kingdom.
3. Pray, Pray, Pray
As we have moved this direction, I have found myself more and more dependent on Prayer. This was in hyperdrive this week. As believers move closer and closer to Jesus, and as we focus more and more on expanding his Kingdom, we can expect attacks from the Evil one (note: point 1 about doubts, above). We can expect to be tested and tried.
As someone who (I admit), has always seen prayer as a place in need of growth in my life, I have been amazed how naturally honest, open prayer has come these last 7 days.
Maybe there’s something to be said about strong prayer life and living on the edge of your faith. When we step out in faith, perhaps then we see a need for God’s involvement in our life way more than when we are comfortable and life is good.
Put another way, God cannot fill you up until you acknowledge you are empty.
It’s natural to doubt a leap of faith when the time comes to actually take that leap. The challenge is to trust God’s grace in the midst of that turmoil, and not reaching back for comfort and safety.
Thanks for reading!
It is so exciting to finally announce that Mallorie, Cade, and I intend to move to Hannover, Germany as full-time missionaries, planting churches in one of the darkest spiritual places in the world.
Germany was once a bustling center for Christian faith. The Protestant Reformation, built on the very foundation of reliance on God’s Word alone (sola scriptura!), has long since become a distant memory. According to a 2013 study by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Cromwell Theological Seminary, only about 2-3% of Germans are Bible-believing Christians (Christianity in its Global Context, p. 16-17).
Faced with this reality, what response can we have but to take the gospel there, and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that [Jesus] commanded?”
Germany has wealth. They have education. They have little physical need. But their need for the good news of Jesus Christ is great!
This website will be the place where we share everything we learn about ministry in Germany, and updates about our own ministry.
Thanks for reading!