Vol. 23 No. 10

October, 2015 | 9/28/2015

 

Are Things As They Appear???

I want to start off with a story that our pastor told us years ago.  He had a family in his church that was struggling financially.  I can’t remember if the husband lost his job or???  But, they were having a really rough time.  Several of the brothers and sisters in the church started helping this family.  They would do secret grocery deliveries;   pay their light bills anonymously, etc.  It wasn’t a “discussion” in the church about this family it was just a fact – everyone loved helping this family until one day…. 

One Friday another family went out to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town.  It was their Anniversary otherwise they would have never sprung for such a treat.  But when they walked in – guess who else was having dinner there?   In fact they were just finishing their dinner with a luscious desert.  Yep – it was the couple whose light bill they had just paid!  They were furious!  In fact they just almost got up and left because they had done so much for this family and they were blowing money!!   Their evening was ruined.  Then what always happens – happened.  They told one person about the evening – and that person told another person – and by Sunday morning it seemed that everyone in the church was shunning the couple that had fallen on hard times.  They didn’t understand and our Pastor didn’t understand UNTIL the gossip vine hit his house.  Of course by then – the story was way-way-way out of proportion.  I am sure by the time it got to the Pastor; they were driving a new car, etc.  LOL 

Do you want to know the rest of the story?  You see, our Pastor is a bottom-line guy.  So he followed the vine of “he said,” and “she said” and “she said” and all the way back to the original couple that was celebrating their Anniversary and THEN to the couple that was having such a rough time. 

Do you really want to know how this couple afforded such a wonderful evening out?  It wasn’t taking money from others, being irresponsible, or anything devious.  It was the fact that someone had bought them a “Gift-card” from that restaurant.  Someone blessed them to break some stress.

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There is another story about someone seeing the Pastor of a church going into a Liquor Store.  The gossip flew.  Finally one of the Elders was appointed to GO and talk with the Pastor.  Guess what???  He was getting empty boxes for a family that was moving. 

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You see – we can’t assume that because something looks one way that is the way it is.  It may not be that way at all.  It is wonderful that God sees our intents and our hearts.  (Sometimes that is not a good thing either – YIKES!)

I can remember some WONDERFUL trips and vacations in the past years­—times when we were so broke, but you would find us at Disney World, or at a Honeymoon Retreat Center in Dahlonega, GA, or a Christmas trip in the Virginia Mountains.  I am sure there were those that wondered “where did they get the money?”    “Ministry must be good to them!”  Lots of judging remarks were probably made.  Truthfully, all of those trips were provided by GOD through HIS generous children.  They were not as it appeared.     

Here is an assumption that people have about us now.  We are no longer traveling; we are no longer doing back-to-back prison ministries – so that means we are no longer ministering.  W R O N G ! ! ! !

Please understand that first of all, we have a God-given vision for the land on which we live.  It is a retreat center, it is a refuge, and it is a training center.  It is a place for God’s people!!  It is a place where God’s Word reigns – a place where we try the best we can to speak what God tells us to tell others AND to keep our mouth shut when HE tells us it is not time.  Our hearts are to now be a part of the raising up of ministers. Really that has always been part of our calling.  God has blessed us through the years with many seasons of others “going” with us.  It is our hearts’ desire to shepherd those (who want us to) who are in the trenches and don’t fit a regular church.  How in the world is someone to “GO” the way God tells us to in Mark 16:15 and sit in a pew at all of the regular services.  It doesn’t work. 

Then Jesus said to them, “So wherever you go in the world, tell everyone the Good News.”

How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? As Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News.” (Roman 10:15)

Really we find very few churches that are “sending” by finances or by prayer.  Now I didn’t say all, but most are in the mode of “bringing them in” and not “sending them out!”  We believe we are to be a part of SENDING.  We provide rest and then we send.  We give funds to send.  We stay in prayer and in touch with ministries to SEND.  We try to be a “friend” for those that are out there and alone (without feeling like they are being covered.).

Our donations have been down, maybe because we just don’t keep the vision before all of you.  We have been able to do some gravel work, but that has been about it.  We have been sort of at a standstill.  We are doing some (computer) side work trying to get some of this started.  A lot of times our computer work turns into a ministry, but we love it when God does that. 

But we know that we can’t get His Resting Place off the ground without you. 

Please, please, please pray about helping us with the vision of His Resting Place. 

Another side note about working on computers – we want to tell you a story.  We got a call from a lady in the area in a panic.   Her computer had been hacked.   Well, a lot of people think that if they get a virus their computer has been hacked. BUT, this one had truly been hacked.   It turned out that this lady is a disabled senior living only on Social Security.  We already knew where God was headed with this.  The story is she received a phone call telling her that it was a computer company and they found that her computer had lots of errors.  She let them on her computer and they charged her $199 (for a year) to clean it.  She let them do it!!!!!  They did stuff on her computer and then hung up.  Then they called her back and asked for another $1100 – when she said she couldn’t afford it, they told her how much money was in her bank account.  Her computer was then blocked by multiple passwords and she could no longer use it.  Open door for ministry!!!  Rest of the story is we did have to reformat her drive, but we were able to get her data off of it first.  When we took it back and set it up for her, she was visibly nervous about how much we were going to charge her.  Then we presented her with an invoice for ——— “0.00” dollars and a notation “Paid for by God.”  She wept and wept.  She is now a regular attender of our church and we (as a group) are discipling her. 

So that’s where the Lord has us these days.  We are sowing and investing into the lives of hurting people one-by-one.  We, as a church, are a very, very small group, but each one the Lord brings us, it seems, has been overlooked by the church at large—and each one seems to feel like they are in a pit with no way out.  We are not the answer—but we know the answer.  He is a person and his first name is “The Way!”  He is The Way out.  He is The Truth in any situation and He is “The Life.” 

Community:

The word community comes from the Greek word Koinonia which embraces concepts conveyed in the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy.  It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian Church, the Body of Christ.  Koinonia embraced a strong commitment to “Kalos K’agathos” meaning “good and good,” an inner goodness towards virtue and an outer goodness toward social relationships.  A major thrust in our present ministry is the building of community or Koinonia.  Jesus didn’t tell us to go make converts.  He told us to go make disciples. 

So, as we are not on the road like we used to be; as we are not ministering in prisons as frequently as we used to (although we still do some); we ARE about the Father’s business.

You see, things are not always as they appear.

For those of you who have supported us in the past or presently – thank you!  We don’t want this letter to seem ungrateful.  We appreciate each and every one who supports us in finances and prayer.    There is just so much work to be done. 

We pray many blessings on you and your loved ones this fall season.  May your encounters be rich and fruitful in Jesus’ name.

In His Love!!!  


  


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