Relating as we go…

As we go…as the times unfold…as we set our hearts to consider the cost and make the commitment to intentionally share what Christ has done for us, we can default to human nature and forget…we are not converting people to a religion…we are walking and talking the Good News of Jesus Christ so that others will want a relationship with Him through salvation and discipleship to His teachings.

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We, who follow Christ, know what we were before He saved us. We drink deeply now of His living water and we desire what He desires…for all to come to Him. 2010 09 04_0534

We are sharing Christ and what He has done for us, in us, with us and through us.

We are making disciples because we are disciples. 2010 09 04_0624

When I traveled to Kenya, it was under the ministry umbrella of CMF. They work with the local church leaders there to provide support for their work in their own community.

Just like every day life here, we were surrounded by believers and we were surrounded by unbelievers.

Because of the language barrier, cultural differences and the fact that I am the same goof-ball no matter where you plop me down in the world…I didn’t have theological discussions or debates on points of Scripture or anything that remotely looked like I was sharing the gospel and making disciples.

I just visited and met and received and gave..

I was an ambassador for Christ, just as I am every day of my life…

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And I met people…like…2010 09 03_0686Sane (Sah-nay)….who after this selfie told me he knows how to make people too…not like Frankentstein…don’t worry….he meant he could operate the camera…

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Imagine my joy on my next visit when, I found him and reconnected with him at his new home…IMG_3361

Then there was Helen, who came up to me after the church service on my first visit and said, “So….you are a friend of Dori (our CMF leader and yes, long-time friend)”

She was obviously sizing me up….and then with dignity told me…”I am a friend of Dori, too.”2010 09 03_0680

I must have passed the test because, when I returned two years later, she was waiting for me … with a gift

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I can’t explain what made me know I was called to go the first time or the second time to Kenya.

I don’t even know what impact I had, if any, on anyone there.

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I know going changed ME…I know that even though I spent such a short time with them and I may never see them again on this earth, they are my brothers and sisters and I will spend eternity with them.

And I know I was obedient to the call…even if I can’t explain it.

I can’t explain why it burns in my heart for others to know the Truth; to experience the love and forgiveness I have not deserved and yet have received.

I can’t explain why my heart aches for those who reject Him and why it matters so much to me that all come to salvation…except that when I exchanged my dead end life for His eternal one…His desires became mine…and that is what He wants.

And I want to be obedient…even if I can’t explain it and mostly don’t even feel particularly good at it.

Everywhere I walk, I take the living Hope of the World with me.

Christ in me, shared openly and honestly, in my every day life will speak of the Gospel and His teachings. As my heart and mind are filled with His truth, my words will speak the Gospel and His teachings.

For those who know Him, this will be encouragement…for those who don’t, then I pray they see Jesus in me.

With a sense of urgency….and a pursuit of relationship….I share Him….2010 09 04_0582as I go….

 

Learning to rest as we …. go

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This week,  I have been exploring my thoughts about a sermon series our church is doing called, “As you go…”. It is about being open to share our faith through the daily living out of our lives in all our relationships and wherever God has placed us. Because I have been blessed to travel away from my local community on mission trips, I have been sharing some pictures and lessons learned that I can apply to living “on mission” every single day.

These writings that I send out each week by email and the daily posts on the website, are part of that. They are a way for me to give testimony to the grace God has shown to me through His Son. When you consider what a colossal project I am for Him, based on the raw material He has to work with..IMG_2262

and His mercy on this blonde girl whose feet are prone to wander…it would be a waste not to use it to proclaim how awesome is our God!

And to make you all laugh…cause I do love to make you laugh…IMG_0416sharing my life with you is sharing God with you because what I am is His workmanship.

This month, I am planning to take an even bigger leap of faith with writing. For this new challenge, I asked for prayer in a letter in which I outlined steps I was taking to write a book proposal. I sent the request out this week to a circle of family and friends, much as I have sent letters before any mission trip I have taken, asking for prayer support.

As I shared what God was laying on my heart to write and how I would go about it plus the opportunity He has given me to present it to a publisher in July; I wrote these words of surrender for the whole process…. “The rest is in God’s hands.”IMG_9101

My cousin was a recipient of the letter and responded with affirmation he would pray, but also pointed out the double meaning there…not just the “rest” of what would play out…but my REST is in God’s hands…my settling myself in the peace of knowing who He is. To release all anxiety, worry, fear, doubt, procrastination and whatever else is churning in my stomach over this labor of love INTO God’s hands.

That’s a good word for all of us right now. In the midst of much turmoil and chaos swirling around us…of many people expressing their thoughts and opinions…of angry voices…mocking voices…a frenzy of words…I suggest that you find your peace and solace; your REST in THE WORD.

There is no peace apart from the Cross. Be reconciled to God through Christ and then…take up YOUR cross…and journey onward <3

 

Counting the cost…

A short term mission trip, especially internationally, provides a variety of applications for learning to share my faith as I ….goIMG_3604One of the hardest parts of the “going” on a mission trip is what is left behind…these guys…IMG_2614IMG_2412and this guy….IMG_3622and all the big kids in between. All the changes and adjustments to their lives because my life has boarded a plane and moved across the globe and down a hemisphere.

As I count the cost of leaving them, I have to understand that part of that cost…costs them.

It is not just me, myself and I. Sure, I have to adjust my schedule, make arrangements, cover responsibilities….but….

Traveling half way around the world to visit God’s people means there will be a sacrifice on the part of those I leave behind.

Because I answer a call to go…IMG_3323they are, by default, called to remain…to wait…to pray…to fight fear and to trust God.

On my last trip to Kenya, we did work in several remote regions that involved traveling back to the center after dark. It was on one of these return trips that I faced the possibility that my life and the outcome of decisions made to follow Christ may sometimes have painful consequences that will have to be processed by the people who love me; without me.

IMG_3438As we share Christ along the path of our every day lives,in this country, we typically do not face fatal consequences. Yet.

For now, it may cost us some comfort…it may cost our family and friends a level of comfort, as well…and that can make us very uncomfortable…

But we can trust God to more than make up for anything we ever could think we have sacrificed to show others what He has done for us.

I think of the words of promise He used to back up the commission that calls us all to “go”.

He says them, right after He commands us to make disciples of all people, baptize them, and teach them them how to obey everything in His Word.

He ends the whole commissioning with words of comfort…most likely because He knows..

it will cost us…

and it will cost those we love…and so, whether they have joined us in the call to share the good news as  we”go” or whether we sometimes “go” without them…He has promised….

and be sure of this…I am with you always…even to the end of the world. Matthew 28:20 TLBIMG_3507The promise is not that it will be easy, comfortable or a sweet ride for all of the people we care about. The call is to “go”…and the promise is … He will join us on the journey <3

 

 

Traveling Light…

IMG_9377I am notorious for overpacking.

First there is just the basic’s for hair and face; which doubles if I am staying more than one night and a shampoo will be required.

Then there is the issue of the appropriate shoes to go with the clothes, and the added insurance of figuring in an extra outfit or two in case of spilled coffee (it happens), change of plans or unexpected weather patterns.

Then there are accessories, comforts, snacks…well…let’s just say I may be in some small way responsible for the new baggage charges.

The first time we went to Kenya, I waaaaaaaay overpacked…and I found out that all I needed were a couple of skirts…a clean t shirt for each day…2010 09 05_0420a sweater or two…

2010 09 08_0261and a hat to keep the sun off…IMG_3578oh…and flip flops…IMG_3630When I have gone on a mission trip, life is pared down to the essentials…dress decently and appropriately and get moving each day. Not much time to fuss on checking yourself in the mirror…on account of…no mirrors…

Sometimes it is easy to forget that I am on mission back here at home.

Distractions of abundance can pull me away from being concerned about reaching people for Christ. Trying to figure out what I am going to wear; checking out what others are wearing and maintaining and replenishing all this can completely sidetrack me from what I am supposed to be wardrobing myself in each and every day…

Things like…

Put on the full armor of God..for our struggle is not against flesh and blood...the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God            Ephesians 6:10-17

Put on the new nature…tenderhearted mercy, kindness, patience, gentleness and humility, and above all…..love                                                                  Colossians 3:10,12 and 14

And most importantly….Christ Himself….

But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.         Romans 13:14

So let’s get dressed and get going…we have a lot to do <3

On mission…

Our church is continuing in a teaching series called “Go”; about sharing what God has done, for us and in us, with others along the daily paths that make up our life.DSCN1442

Yesterday Pastor BJ challenged us…one of those sermons where phrases just jumped out and I was so impacted that I could remember the whole quote before it disappeared from the screen….=0)

The first one I want to share is ….

“How are we personally on mission to reach people for Christ?”

Or as I keep asking myself…

How am I, Laura Reimer, on mission….to reach people….for Christ?

I have been blessed to go on a number of organized mission trips here in the U.S., Mexico and Kenya. As I mulled over that question yesterday, it actually resonated with some thoughts that have been sparked by this whole series.

One of the first things we did for every one of these trips was to attend meetings to learn about the culture we were going in to, to learn about the expectations of the ministry we would be serving, and to pray.

My prayer for mission trips is pretty simple…”Lord, prepare the way for us and prepare us for the way.”

Because when we answer the call to go on mission, we need to be intentional in setting out…IMG_3192

and flexible for what  lies ahead…

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So how am I personally preparing to be on mission to reach people for Christ?IMG_8824There is a world of hurt, lost, deceived, dying people out there…God loves each and every one of them and is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to Him.

So I prepare myself by studying His word so I can know Him. I study His word so I can understand His ways, which are relevant in every age and culture. In His Word, I find direction and strength to not shrink back from the culture where my ministry is lived out, but instead I am encouraged by the promises of God and His character. I pray so that He can impart to me: His perspective, His heart, His wisdom, His compassion, His words. I set aside my preferences and take up His.

He laid down His life for me. So daily, I surrender mine, and I take up the life of Christ and follow Him.

What matters to Him, matters to me…and so the course of mission is set…

and I ask you…because it is good to be asked…

How are YOU personally on mission to reach people for Christ?

God bless you as we journey together along the way <3