What is God Doing in the Midst of the Storm?

Storm

Storms are part of normal everyday life but how we manage them determines the positive or negative long-term impact they have on us. Often, it is these storms of life that reshape and refuel us for the next season in our lives. While the winds and the waves can be destructive and frightening, God is there with us in the midst of the storm beckoning us forward to something greater, something more effective, something more aligned with his purposes. 

In both the Old and New Testaments, the scriptures record how God uses physical storms to bring judgment on the wicked, to deliver the righteous, and to defeat the enemies; but he also uses storms to change the course of our direction, to show His authority, to encourage our faith, and to propel us forward with the good news.

So what is God doing in the midst of the storm?

God uses storms to correct us and to change the direction of our lives and ministries. This may seem harsh, but it is actually a great expression of God’s love and concern for us and for the lost who He ultimately wants to come to repentance. Jonah found himself in this situation. He was called to Nineveh, but going the opposite direction. In the midst of the storm God recalibrated Jonah’s direction and brought Nineveh to repentance even through his reluctant preaching.

“But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up….And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.’” -Jonah 1:4, 12 NKJV

God also wants to show us His authority and our authority through Christ in the midst of the storm. The storm may be terrifying and even overwhelming, but the truth is God is bigger! The same God that created the totality of the universe is with us in the midst of the storm. He is there rebuking the wind and waves, comforting us, and teaching us to speak peace in the midst of the turmoil of our world.

“Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” – Matthew 8:25-27 NKJV

Surprisingly, God also uses the storm as a training facility to increase our faith and prepare us for the next season. Jesus came to His disciples in the midst of the storm and beckoned Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water with Him. Undoubtably, this experience was branded into Peter’s memory and served as a reminder of Christ’s authority and our authority to do the impossible through Him.

“But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” – Matthew 14:24, 26-29 NKJV

Storms of life can be difficult and challenging, and no one would willingly choose the circumstances they create. However, when you find yourself in the midst of the relentless winds and battering waves, ask yourself, “What is God trying to say or trying to teach me in the midst of the storm?”  And when we emerge on the other side, let the lessons we have learned become the fuel to carry us into a greater, more impactful season.

 

Image provided by Nate Gomez.

Global Ministry Partners Needed to Evangelize the Unreached

Nepal Man

According to the Joshua Project, 42.2% of the world’s population is still considered “unreached”—having little or no access to the gospel. This fact is astonishing considering the developments over the past 100 years in communication, travel, and technology. However, we possess the ability to change these statistics and to bring Christ to those lost in darkness!

To bring forth an end-time harvest from all ethne, the church must be mobilized with an holistic approach to utilize the gifting and skills of every member. When individual Christians take ownership of the Great Commission, unrealized potential is released and the impossible becomes possible! 

In 1996, God gave me a vision to “Mobilize the Reached to Evangelize the Unreached”. For the last 24 years this has been fulfilled as I have served as a missionary to the Centre of International Christian Ministries in London, England, a non-residential missionary to Turkey, the director of People to People Ministries, and the director of IPHC TEAMS Ministries. These ministry roles have provided unique opportunities to teach, train and mobilize the body of Christ around the world. They have also given me invaluable insights in Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist evangelism, micro-businesses, and community development.

In this season, God is now calling me to a renewed focus on evangelizing the “unreached” and bringing closure to the Great Commission. This will be accomplished through equipping, empowering and mobilizing the global church to reach those that have never heard!

Equipping: to provide strategic missions training for local churches, ministry networks, and universities to become more focused and intentional in reaching the lost.

Empowering: to empower the global church with resources, relationships, and professional insight to impact their communities and surrounding regions.

Mobilizing: to challenge every individual to take ownership of missions and be mobilized for the end-time harvest.

In order to fulfill this God-given vision, we need Global Ministry Partners to pray, to give, and to accompany us on the journey ahead! 

The task is vast, but the possibilities are eternal for those that hear! 

Will you become a GLOBAL MINISTRY PARTNER by giving $30/month and help us share the gospel with those that have never heard?

Ways to Give

Salt of the Earth

Salt

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”- ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In the preceding 12 verses, Jesus says that for those who feel hopeless, overwhelmed with injustice, mourn and are broken-hearted, desperate for truth, live up rightly in the midst of chaos and are persecuted for doing what is godly… YOU ARE BLESSED! You are blessed for the Kingdom of God has come! Great is your reward!

Jesus continues by saying you have been placed in the midst of the chaos, injustice, persecution to be the preserving agent of a dead world, to declare truth and life as the prophets of old. However, if we choose to not to be used in this way, He no longer has use for us!

So in the midst of everything that is going on around us, God, help us to continue to be the preserving agent in our world, help us to declare truth and righteousness, and help us to proclaim that Your Kingdom has Come! We truly are BLESSED! And today we choose to be the SALT for our world!

A Torch in the Darkness

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” –‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This call to carry the good news of the salvation through Jesus Christ has been passed down through every generation as a torch in the darkness. Whether it was Roman idolatry, the barbarians of northern Europe, or the discovery of the New World, each generation of Christ followers have encountered their own unique challenges and more importantly, they also derived relevant solutions in their methodology to carry the gospel forward. 

Our generation is no different. The church of the 21st century faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles from the growing cost of doing missions, to the rapidly growing economic disparity between the extreme poor and the rich of our world, to the threat of radical Islam. However, our generation will not be defined by the challenges but how we combat these “giants of our time” and our ability to implement solutions to overcome! 

In order to equip the church with the proper tools to reach a 21st century world and pass the torch to the next generation, we must be reminded of five truths of God’s mission. 

Truth #1:  The gospel is redemptive and when authentically lived produces a redemptive lift.

A 21st century missions thrust must reflect this. Over much of the past 150 years, the gospel has been carried from a prosperous western church to the  impoverished pagan masses. This era was characterized by unprecedented Christian growth, but also by paternalism created by the colonial era with which it coexisted. This paternalism brought resources and materials to build churches, and establish hospitals and orphanages to name a few, but is also created an unhealthy dependency and a structure of manipulation and control. Consequently, the western missionaries supplied the funds, made the decisions, and controlled the evangelism efforts.  

However, that day of the western church has passed. Not only does the western church no longer possess the ability and appetite to fund the Great Commission but it also lacks the missional fervor and fortitude to inspire the coming generation. But not all is lost. The strength of the church now lies within the formerly impoverished masses that paternalism once controlled. The same gospel, which redeems the lost from death in sin to victorious life, is also lifting the nonwestern global church from its economic despair to a place of adequacy and blessing. 

As a result, the old structures of colonial paternalism are now being replaced with structures of renewed partnership and empowerment. As we train, resource, and empower the global church, we allow and assist in the redemptive lift of the gospel. Only then will it be prepared and resourced to propagate the message of salvation to the ends of the earth as well as pass the missional torch to the next generation.

Kevin and Summer Sneed, Jamie and Jessica Dunning and Michael and Tammy McRae, IPHC missionaries in Kenya are doing just that! By training leaders, building greenhouses, helping to establish fish, rabbit, and poultry farms, and digging wells to provide water for drinking and irrigation, the IPHC in East Africa is being empowered to break dependency and take responsibility for building the church locally, regionally and even globally. 

Truth #2:  Missions is not a profession, but a call to the whole body of Christ!

It has been said that some are called to “go” and some are called to “send.” The truth is that the body has been called to make disciples! As we work collaboratively, we GO with synergy! The greatest resource of the church is us, the body of Christ! 

Over the past couple of years, I had the privilege of traveling with Owen Thomason an agricultural specialist and teacher. While in East Africa, He conducted an agricultural seminar speaking on: 

a) soil management 

b) grazing practices 

c) aquaculture(fish farming) 

d) rabbit, poultry farming 

and much much more! Owen visited various projects and gave invaluable advice to our leaders to be successful as they work to create wealth and alleviate poverty! 

Truth #3:  God is calling a new generation of non-professional missionaries!

This generation is not typified by age or nationality but by passion and commitment to completing the task! These skilled and educated individuals are willing to not only give up their profession for missions, but to give their profession to missions! 

The agricultural seminar at the East Africa Bible College drew a different group from the community and opened conversations and relationships that did not previously exist. The participants were not merely church leaders by profession but Christian farmers, social workers, teachers and agricultural novices who understood the important role they play in building a successful missional church.

Truth #4:  Training in missions is essential!

Not necessarily in the typical sense but in cultural awareness, intercultural communication, and applying our knowledge and success in a different context. Missionaries must be able to identify available resources and work with local people to take ownership of their problems. Only then will real, sustainable solutions be created!

For example, building greenhouses out of local raw materials instead of purchasing a manufactured house empowers locals to take ownership and reduplicate the model exponentially. This makes an investment into local economies and spurs community development.

Truth #5:  If Christ’s love for us compelled Him to a cross, then Christ’s love in us should compel us to sacrificially serve those that have never heard.

“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” – ‭I Thessalonians‬ ‭3:12-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

If we are called to change a world that hates and even despises Christianity, we must radiate God’s holiness and be compelled with Christ’s unreserved love. We must be people running hard after Him! People that strive to live lives pleasing to God! Lives that not only proclaim the good news but lives that are the good news! 

When Jesus was questioned whether he was the Messiah, Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matthew 11:4-5 ESV).

The task of missions is vast and complex but the opportunities for our generation are limitless! Let us follow the countless generations that have gone before us and respond to the call to proclaim Jesus Christ to our generation. And in the midst of a dark and troubled world, let us not flee from the darkness but rather let us be a light exposing the evils of our time. Let us be a torch in the darkness!