Why Blessings? Why Missions?

A couple of days each week, I take an hour or so and do a topical study in the Word. Right now, these studies are focused on passages that deal with the Fear of the Lord. Even more specifically, the past couple of days the study has been from Psalm 67.

This is a beautiful Psalm. It talks about the blessings of God on a nation of people who serve Him. Yet, there’s something even deeper (and obvious) in the chapter.

Here is the chapter from the NIV:

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth and your salvation among all nations.

May the people praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Wow! This Psalm is packed with awesomeness!!

A couple of things that jumped out at me as I studied it were:

  • God’s blessing on the harvest is conditional on our praise for Him. As a result of our praise, God’s blessing increases. It’s cyclical, and it is that way for a reason.
  • The emphasis that the Psalmist has on nations beyond Israel (God’s people) praising God (whom they don’t serve).

So, to answer the questions posed in the title, why?

God blesses His people because God has a global heart.

God cares about the entire world.

The whole thing.

Even those countries that arrest people for speaking His name.

God loves.

God blesses His people, so that His people can/will go and bless others. God gives, so that we can give.

Fundamental to this is the understanding that nothing you have is yours. It’s all God’s. It was merely given to you for you to give away. And as you give, more is given to you to give away.

As we — who are blessed — take the message of God and His desire to enlarge the harvest to the world, the world begins to learn the Fear of the Lord. The world begins to worship the Lord. And the Lord begins to bless them. So, that they can take the message to others.

God’s heart is global.

We praise.

He blesses.

We share blessing.

People fear Him.

People praise.

He blesses.

They share blessing.

In my study I came across this video of Psalm 67 set to music by a group called The Sons of Korah.  Enjoy.

God’s Blessings in Unexpected Packages

Walking into full-time ministry with a load of student loan debt isn’t ideal, and we know that.  But, we also know that God has chosen us and has clearly led us into this ministry at this specific time.  So, we’ve been obedient and trusted God, since, after all, He is our Father, our Shepherd, our Light.

While Michael was spending time with Jesus in a 24-7 Prayer room one night during Lent, God told him that He would take care of one of our two student loans by Easter.  We made the last payment on that loan on Good Friday–God provided it all!

The balance of the second student loan was twice as much as the first.  We didn’t understand or know how or when God would provide for that loan, but we trusted Him.  Through a completely-out-of-our-hands circumstance, God has now provided a full one-time payment to pay off the second loan entirely.

In five months, God has provided all that was needed to pay off $55,000 in student loans!!  Our only remaining debt at all is our house, which–once it sells–will be completely paid off.  We will be debt-free!

We want to give God all the glory and honor and thanks and praise for being so faithful and sufficient as our God and Lord!  And the Bible commands us to tell, to declare, to proclaim what God has done!  So we acknowledge that this was all done for us by YHWH, and not by our own hand.  He is all we need!!

Cloud? Fire? Go? Stay?

On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At YHWH’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed YHWH’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at YHWH’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At YHWH’s command they encamped, and at YHWH’s command they set out. They obeyed YHWH’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. — Numbers 9:15-23 (NIV)

We have adopted Numbers 9:21b (“Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.”) as our ministry verse.

Rather, it has adopted us.

During Lent 2011, as we were spending time in the prayer room at Asbury (aka The Trailernacle) we began to earnestly pray that most dangerous of prayers, “Lord, show us where You are working, and how we can join in.”

As we prayed, the Lord began to give us bits and pieces of what would become Led By The Word. At the time, we weren’t exactly sure what to do with them, yet we surrendered to the Lord’s leading and said, “We don’t get it, but trust You.”

Time progressed onward, and it became increasingly clear that God was telling us that now is the time to head into full-time ministry. He gave us some idea of what the ministry would look like (confirmed in Mexico through prophetic words), and told us to “keep pressing, keep listening, and keep looking” and that in due time (in HIS time) He would make it clear. But, that clarity would be day-by-day-by-day.

Prayer Room Journal Entry

Some of these ideas that He gave us in the prayer room were things like:

  • “Keep a suitcase packed”
  • “Meet urgent needs”
  • “Seasonal ministry”

They all pointed to the idea that our “call” was not to a specific location for a long-term. Rather, it would be as the Israelites experienced in Numbers 9.

  • Sometimes, they stayed a while.
  • Sometimes, they stayed a night.
  • Sometimes, they moved a long distance.
  • Sometimes, they moved a short distance.

In all they they followed the cloud in obedience.

So, for Led By The Word, when the cloud moves, we’ll move. When the cloud parks, we’ll park.

There’s a process of learning to wait that has be learned from following the cloud. The lesson we see in the grand story of the Israelites is that it is easy to grow discontent when the cloud parks for a while. Yet, in those seasons of being parked, we are told to wait on YHWH and let Him renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31).

Pray for us as we watch the cloud and as we follow it.

Financial Support

It is with great joy that I announce that donations to Led By The Word are now tax-deductible!!

BACKGROUND

One of the key reasons for our recent trip to Colorado was to meet with Get the Word Out!, an established mission organization whose mission it is to “awaken the Church to the power of the Word of God, so that each disciple of Jesus learns to hear God’s voice through His Word.”

Get the Word Out! has been an instrumental ministry throughout the path God has set us on.  Our recent trip into the interior of Mexico was with Get the Word Out!  Additionally, in that trip as well as throughout the past year, Get the Word Out! has discipled, mentored, supported and blessed us on numerous occasions.

We are excited to report that we have partnered with Get the Word Out! as a covering organization for us!  We will be able to process our donations through Get the Word Out! rather than establishing a separate non-profit organization.

The other huge benefit of this partnership is that it allows us to work under the covering of an established ministry and draw on their wisdom, knowledge and leadership.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

There are a couple of answers.

For us, it means that we have a partner organization that will serve as our Board of Directors and our covering organization.  It means that we do not have to go establish our own 501(c)(3).  Most importantly for us, it means that we are discipled, mentored and set up for success.

For you, it means that your donation is tax-deductible!  (That’s actually good news for both you and us!)

HOW WILL IT WORK?

When you want to partner with Led By the Word through financial support, the offering may be given on Get the Word Out!’s website.  Under the Donate tab of the Get the Word Out! site, there will be an option to support Michael and Stephanie Simants.  Enter the amount you desire to donate and select Michael and Stephanie Simants.  Then submit your payment information on the secure site and you will receive a receipt from us noting the amount you have given.

If you prefer to mail a check or money order, it may be sent to the address below and made payable to:

 

Get the Word Out!
PMB #321
1610 Pace St., Unit 900
Longmont, CO 80501

 

Due to IRS restrictions, our name cannot be written anywhere on the check.  In order to designate that you wish for your donation to support Led By the Word, a sticky note or a note on a separate paper accompanying the check or money order may indicate that the money is for support of Led By the Word or Michael and Stephanie Simants.


Perspective

“How long do you think it will take our house to sell?”

“Two days.  We’re following God’s direction; we believe He wants us to sell our house; we’re asking Him to bring a buyer for it–two days.”

Thirty-six days later….

“God, where are You?  I thought You wanted us to sell our house?  Why aren’t You bringing a buyer into our house to buy it?  We’re obeying You…fulfilling our part of the deal…where have You gone??”

Why is our human response to believe that if we obey God, He should do things our way rather than us surrendering to His way?  In Psalm 86:11 and 27:11, we pray, “Teach me Your way, O LORD” (emphasis added).  Yet without even realizing it, we so often pray, “Learn my ways, O LORD.”  Where is the fear of the LORD in that??

Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”  When we surrender to God’s way rather than our way, we begin to ready ourselves to learn life from His perspective.  Before we can honor God this way, we must humble ourselves in such a way to say, “We are clay in Your hands, O LORD.  Do with us as you please.”.

We’re given an example of this in 1 Samuel 16 as God choses David to be king of Israel and leads Samuel to anoint him.  The Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power to rule Israel.  Some experts estimate that this occurred when David was between ten and sixteen and years old.

In 2 Samuel 2 God led David to Hebron to be anointed as king over Judah.

In 2 Samuel 5, David finally became king…at the age of thirty.

So…after thirty-six days, I’m wondering if God forgot about the whole sell-your-house deal.  Yet this is the same God who anointed David to be king of Israel fourteen to twenty years before he became king.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  So maybe He hasn’t forgotten us after all…no more than He forgot David.  The LORD says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

As I reflect on the years of David between the anointing and becoming king, it was a time of honoring God and honoring King Saul who no longer had the Spirit of the Lord on him to lead Israel.  So I will benefit from the wisdom of David in Psalm 27: “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

We drove past some beautiful mountains yesterday through the Raton Pass, but at one point, the short but nearby plateaus hid the beautiful mountain peaks in the distance.  As I was explaining to Emily that our perspective changed the way we saw the mountains (in this case, having them hidden from our view), Michael looked at the song that was playing–Perspective by Sean Feucht.  I know God has great things in store for us, even though we may only see the plateaus from this angle.  The LORD my God is God; He is the faithful God (Deut 7:9).

Catching You Up

Greetings from McKinney!

Wanted to take a minute and catch everyone up on the past few days. We’ve been a bit of a whirlwind the past few days.

Monday (18th)

We were blessed to spend the day with Mary Jean Powers. We spent the morning walking through some logistic issues of transitioning into ministry. It was a fruitful morning, and an enlightening time (especially discussions around budgets).

In the afternoon, we were joined at Mary Jean’s by Alicia Hutchings and Andrea Eakins. Both ladies are full-time missionaries. (Alicia and her husband David are in Okinawa. Andrea and her husband Dan just transitioned into a US-Based role after three-years in South Africa.) It was a fantastic time of learning about life in the full-time missionary world. We received some fantastic advice, and truly enjoyed that time of connection.

In the evening, we had dinner with Steph’s Aunt and Uncle in Ft. Collins. What a wonderful time this was!!! Very relaxing and rejuvenating for us. The kids had a great time playing with cousins. Wonderful time!!

Tuesday (19th)

We had two meetings in the Colorado Springs area. The first was with Missionary Training International. MTI offers a program called SPLICE. The program is focused on cultural transitions, yet appears to be oriented toward full-time, single country missions. While we will be changing cultures frequently, due to the orientation of the school we are unsure of the benefit that we would gain from the program. Please pray for us to know the direction we should go on attending this program.

The second of our meetings was with YWAM-Colorado Springs. This meeting was very informative, and helped us to further understand the mission of YWAM — specifically of the Colorado Springs base. We would be attending a Crossroads Discipleship Training School. The program includes a preschool for Caleb, and a Discipleship program for Emily. While we have a few personal questions to work through, we are excited about this opportunity.

Wednesday (20th)

We took time out to have a family day!! In the morning, we hiked two trails at the Garden of the Gods. We had lunch at PJ’s Bistro in downtown Manitou Springs. We took Caleb up to see the Cog Railroad. In the afternoon, we toured Cave of the Winds. (We have a couple of pictures, but will need to post them later since we didn’t bring the card reader with us.)

FAMILY DAY ROCKS!

Thursday (21st)

We drove. All day. 12 Hours. Ouch.

Now, we are at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in McKinney. Today and Saturday will be mostly “stop and breathe” time.

Blessings to you all!!!!

Update from Colorado

Wanted to toss a quick update your way.

We have had a fantastic last couple of days here!

Saturday

We attended the second day of the Missions Intensive with Northern Hills Christian Church and Get The Word Out. God revealed several things to us during the training that we either didn’t know or that we needed to be reminded of. While, I’m not sure how successful this will be, I’ll try to sum up a couple of the key things:

> The Chinese word for BUSY is two pictures: Heart and Killing.
> The Chinese written word for BUSY is four pictures: Heart, Killing, Stone Roller, and Mediocre.
> “We must be GLOBAL Christians with GLOBAL vision because we have a GLOBAL God.”
> God’s global heart (and His desire for missions) begins in Genesis 12:1-4, and can be found in every book of the Bible.
> God doesn’t send someone else to do your calling. So, if you say “No”, then God doesn’t have a contingency plan.
> Are we (as Christians) trying harder to be culturally relevant, or Kingdom relevant.

Sunday

We were blessed to attend Sunday morning service at Northern Hills Christian Church where our friends Dave and Tara Powers (Worship and the Word Movement) were leading worship. Rob Kelly brought an awesome message that tied in phenomenally with some of the material from the Missions Intensive.

Pastor Rob discussed prejudices and how they interfere with the message of Christ. He pointed out that prejudices are broken in the belief that God is God to ALL people. If that is your central belief, then prejudice reveals a resistance to the work of the Holy Spirit.

He also discussed traditions, and how we can’t allow our traditions (cultural/religious/educational) trump what Jesus said. Tradition is NOT on an equal footing with Jesus, and when left alone tradition mutates into legalism.

Great stuff.

We then meet with Get The Word Out and had a phenomenal time of connecting with a group of like-minded people. It was a fantastic meeting!

After all of that, we were blessed to be able to take some time and visit with some of Michael’s family here on the Front Range.

All-in-all, it was an exhausting, but very fulfilling day!

Even shorter….

GOD ROCKS!

For Such a Time as This

We spent the evening in a Missions Training led by Mary Jean Powers from Get The Word Out. Fantastic time of study as a group, and we’re now burning the proverbial midnight oil on a study through verses in Scripture which outline God’s Global Cause.

Thinking about this idea of the Global Cause coupled with Leadership, one of these passages stood out to me.

“When Esther’s words were reported back to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:12-14

Esther is in the midst of a struggle. A struggle between her selfish ambitions (life) and the overall welfare of her people. Do I keep silent and live, or do I speak up and safe my own people?

Mordecai points out to Esther that the very reason that she is in a position of authority could very well be for this one decision.

For what one decision have you been placed in your position?

Perhaps we would all lead differently if we asked ourselves, “And who knows but that I have come to this position for such a time as this?”

As leaders we have to come to the realization that our every decision (both in our role as a leader as well as our non-leadership life) will impact those who follow us. If we defined our decisions in such a way as to understand that the Global Cause of God is to bring glory and honor to HIS NAME (IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU), then perhaps we would make different (BETTER) decisions.

Perhaps you are in the position you are in “for such a time as this.”

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.