God has spoken!

I know this is long, but it’s a huge revelation for me, if you want to know where I am, to know more than just a tweet or facebook status update, take the time to read this.  Shall we know each other for the love we show to each other?  Are we known for the love we have for each other?  Let’s start, one person at a time.

Last night as I was laying in bed, attempting to fall asleep, I could not stop thinking about our upcoming trip to Poland.  Then I felt the Lord telling me, stop, be at peace, do not fear, everything will be okay.  Then I thought to myself, that’s just the pat Christian response, thinking I’m not trusting or having enough faith in God… 

And then I “really” heard him say “go throughout your day tomorrow and do not talk about, nor dwell on this coming trip” and so I tried my best, I had a few wondering thoughts, and did my best to think of other things (such as driving, doing my job, etc).  It has been really hard, very hard.

The other thing I heard God say was “I’ll have an answer for you tomorrow” (that being today) and that answer I believe came in my morning devotion, but in a way, could still be coming.

In my devotional I read Jeremiah 51:20-23:

20 “You are my battle-ax and sword,”
      says the Lord.
   “With you I will shatter nations
      and destroy many kingdoms.
 21 With you I will shatter armies-
      destroying the horse and rider,
      the chariot and charioteer.
 22 With you I will shatter men and women,
      old people and children,
      young men and maidens.
 23 With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks,
      farmers and oxen,
      captains and officers.

I felt God say to me – that is you, you are my battle-ax, you and your wife, your family, I will use to battle the enemy’s schemes, lies, and strongholds in Poland.  Wow, thanks God!  This is just what I needed, exactly the motivation.

But wait!  There’s more!

The next passage to read in my devotion was 3rd John, and verses 5-11 answered exactly the question I’ve had about fund raising (what’s right, what’s wrong, how do we fund raise?  Is it right to ask so much? etc, etc, etc).  You see, verses such as Acts 20:33-35, and 2 Corinthians 11:9, have plagued my thoughts, and made me doubt the whole fund raising process.  Then I think “we’re not asking from those we’re serving, from those we’ll be ministering to” (Paul made it clear not to ask or be a burden to those whom he was ministering to, for some reason people miss this distinction, and see that seeking support from your own church is in the same vain as what Paul says in those scriptures).  Still the enemy attacks, and brings doubts to my mind…

Then in 3rd John: 5-11 I read the following:

5 Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7 For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8 So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

 9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

 11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

HOW FREEING!  I can be free from the shame, guilt, whatever it is/has been that has been discouraging me from seeking people’s partnership in our ministry.

God has spoken!  And I know he speaks into your life as well!

I hate it.

One thing I have grown to loath is fund raising.  While it’s a pretty needed step in everything God has asked us to do, it isn’t easy.  The feeling I get with each request is that I feel like a beggar.  I hate it.  I know that most people don’t see it as begging, but the feeling doesn’t get better when the responses are either negative or nill.  We have had our share of negative responses from people who apparently do not know exactly what we are doing, and haven’t read the things we have done over the years.   Thankfully these kinds of responses have slowed down, and in fact the past couple of months we haven’t received a single one. 

However the lack of giving, and responses is the most de-motivating, and causes us to rethink our strategy, and especially in the hardest moments our calling. We have only had a handful of very large donations from very few people to support us the past five years, this is incredible and God has shown us amazing provision through this.  Yet I still want to believe in Acts, where all the believers shared in everything.  Not to toot our own horn and yet gracefully show a point – Alexis and I tithe to our home church and give offerings to four different missions projects, and soon a fifth.  We hope to always do this and be consistent, in both financial giving, prayers, and talking/encouraging with our friends abroad.
I’m not really sure what this entry is about, I guess it’s venting, I guess I have a small hope that it will motivate more people to give just a little.  It’s difficult to not be a bit discouraged, and believe me, Alexis and I know the truth, and plenty of people love to remind us (the pat statements, you know what I mean)… we know God will provide – it’s just the human factor we’re a bit unsure of right now, both in us, and others.