Lent 2013: What Would You Do?

As we have done throughout previous Lenten and Advent seasons, we are again blogging through the Lectionary readings in this Lenten season. This year, however, due to our travels in Central Asia, we have asked a number of guests to blog for us. These guests are individuals who are influential in our lives and work. We're honored to share this space with them-and with you–in this season of reflection.

A reading from Paul's epistle to the church at Philippi.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

— Philippians 2:5-11 (MSG)

What would you do?

Imagine yourself as the son or daughter of an extremely wealthy person. Someone with immense influence. You are their son or daughter. You are in a situation where everyone knows who you say that your father is. It is not secret that you claim to have access to all this wealth and influence. But, they don't believe you. In fact, they really dislike you–some flat-out hate you.

You can, with one quick comment, make it undeniable who you are. You've done some great stuff already. You helped to have a few ill people cured of their illnesses. You've used your resources to give sight to a few blind people. You provided wine for a big wedding. You paid your taxes. You even got so mad about how the poor were being treated when they tried to come to worship, that you destroyed the tables and products of the merchants.

But, they don't believe that you are who you say you are.

One quick phone call, and you can have your father–and all his money, influence, and power–standing right in front of you.

Or, you can be killed.

What would you do?

 

Lent 2013: The Whole Gospel

As we have done throughout previous Lenten and Advent seasons, we are again blogging through the Lectionary readings in this Lenten season. This year, however, due to our travels in Central Asia, we have asked a number of guests to blog for us. These guests are individuals who are influential in our lives and work. We're honored to share this space with them-and with you–in this season of reflection.

A reading from Paul's second epistle to the church at Corinth.

Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.

How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

— 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (MSG)

That's awesome stuff!

God setting people into right relationship with Him and others. Giving the world a fresh start. A reset button, if you would.

But, it doesn't stop there. Paul goes on to present the rest of the story. Because of this reset, we are to be representatives–ambassadors–of this reconciliation.

Blessed. To be a blessing. To all nations.

That is the whole Gospel.

We are reconciled to Christ. To take the message of reconciliation with Christ. To all people. Every tribe. Every tongue.

This message–the whole Gospel–is everywhere in Scripture. Beginning with Abram in Genesis 12, and ending with John on the Isle of Patmos in Revelation. Salvation is not just a ticket out of hell. It is the reconcilition of relationship between us and our creator made possible through His Son–the Messiah–for the purpose of bringing this message of reconciliation to the nations.

The whole Gospel.

The Gospel that transforms–reconciles–your whole life. It busts through the divide between sacred and secular. It brings all things into a state of new creation.

So that, we may take this Gospel of reconciliation to the entire world.

We are Christ's respresentatives. His ambassadors.

And as His ambassador, we say, “Become a friend of God. Become His son. Become His daughter. He is a good Father. And, He is already a friend to you.”

Emily with a Central Asian friend

Emily with a Central Asian friend

 

Uh Oh

Well, it looks like today blog never got written, but the template published just like it should have. So…

…We’re writing now, and should have today’s post published shortly.

Our apologies for the confusion.

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

We promised a couple of weeks ago that we would update you on our housing situation. Unfortunately, life has decided to get a bit in the way, and this update is a couple of weeks late. Our apologies for that delay.

As you all remember from earlier posts, we had our house on the market. We listed it on June 6. By July 16 we had about 10 showings. Yet, it seemed that no one wanted to buy it.

Needless to say, we were a little bit frustrated, and went into the “God you told us” mode. During prayer times regarding the house random answers seemed to keep popping up.

For Steph, it was a single word: “wait”. Nothing else. Just wait.

For me, it was the name of a fellow missions couple who are in school in Little Rock. No explanation. Just their names. Which prompted me to question God on multiple fronts. They don’t want to buy a house. They don’t need to buy a house. They are here temporarily.

It didn’t make sense.

Yet, we stayed the course. Kept the house on the market and kept praying and trusting for God to take care of it.

We had come to a point where we had decided to just “occupy” until God moved. We were planning a weekly small group, converting a room into a prayer room, and having nights of worship.

Then….

We were in Colorado preparing to head to Edmond for a couple of days before continuing on to Kansas City. It was a Monday evening.

Steph’s phone rang.

She saw on the caller-id that it was the wife of the couple who’s names I kept getting in prayer about the house. Steph chuckled to herself and answered the phone.

She asked if we still owned our home. We did.

She asked if we would even remotely consider renting it.

We had – early on – contemplated that option, but wrote it off quickly. We didn’t want to be landlords to strangers.

Yet, something about this just seemed right.

We agreed to give them and answer the next afternoon (we would be enroute to Edmond). We convened an email conversation with our advisory team.

After much prayer and conversation, it seemed clear to us that God was ordaining this. Little did we know how much.

Steph and I headed into Little Rock the next day. We had dinner with the couple.

We learned that God had indeed been working in the silence.

They had been looking for a new place to live for a month or more prior. Everything was falling through. Random circumstances (involving cats and missing application forms) kept stopping them from renting various places.

In their prayer time, they kept getting our names.

God working in the silence. Preparing the road. Preparing us. Preparing them.

So, we agreed to rent them the house. They moved in a week later.

We have relocated to Edmond, Oklahoma. We moved everything there, and have settled into a beautiful, peaceful country setting with Steph’s parents. We will be basing from there when we are not on the road.

We are incredibly grateful to our advisory board, our missionary friends living in their new house, Steph’s parents, and our Father God who works even in the silence.

Welcome!!

Welcome to Led By The Word!! Thanks for stopping by to check us out.

A quick tour of the site:

  • ABOUT US — Gives an overview of our ministry, as well as our family
  • OUR SCHEDULE — Where will we be?  What will we be doing?
  • PARTNER WITH US — How can you be a part of this ministry
  • CONTACT US — If you would like to get in contact with us, then fill out this form.

We are officially launching Led By The Word on 7 August 2011.

To give you a quick overview of what has brought us to this point, click here to be taken to a post on Michael’s personal blog.

We are also on Twitter and Facebook.

May God bless you as you read through our website.  Please keep us in your prayers as we seek God’s direction for the coming weeks/months.