Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blind Bart

Michael will be leaving May 11th for Berlin.  He is meeting up with 4 Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem who are coming to plant a church for the Arabic speaking population.  We are very excited to be a part of this venture.  Please pray for him while he is gone - God's favor, safety and the power of the Holy Spirit flood every step he takes.  The boys and I will stay back this time around. Pray for us too!

We are praying for our next step and what that will look like.  Please join us in prayer for open doors and the rest of our support to come in.  We are moving towards the goal needed to be raised financially but still lack enough to keep us from living in Europe full time.  Pray and ask God what part you can play in seeing his kingdom come to the lost and hopeless of Europe.  We have a number of ways you can give so head on over to and see what way fits you best.  Thank you in advance!

I was reading Mark the other day and read a very well known story.  Chapter 10:46-52 tells the story of blind Bartimaeus.  Now I know we have all heard sermons preached and Sunday school lessons taught on this passage BUT please indulge me....

Bart (hey easier then writing out his full name plus spell check doesn't like it) was sitting like he did every day along the road near Jericho.  He was blind and so had to beg for his daily bread.  Sitting there in the hot sun day after day after day after...oh you get the picture.  I bet sitting along a major road allowed him to hear the latest gossip of that day.

"Did you hear what that Jesus fellow did the other day?"
"No, do tell."
"He commanded a lame man to walk.  Told him pick up his bed and walk."
"Well, what happened?  Did he walk?"
"He sure did, the man jumped up, rolled up his bed and walked like nothin' was ever wrong with him."
"No way, I don't believe it."

They continue to swap stories as they set off  down the road towards town.

'I wonder who they are talking about.'  Bart muttered to himself.  'Well time to call it quits for the day.'

Another day another dollar.

Sitting in the hot sun, drowsy, Bart begins to nod off.

"Jesus mumble mumble healed."

"Excuse me sir."  Bart jolts awake.  "Did you just say Jesus healed again?"

"What, oh sorry, didn't notice you sitting there.  Yes.  Jesus healed again.  A leper this time.  He's healing people all over the place."

"Do you know if he's healed any blind men?"  Bart asked, a bit of hope growing in his chest.

"Sorry, good man, can't say as I've heard a story like that yet."

"Do you know if he's coming this way?"  Again Bart's hope begins to push upward.

"I don't think anyone can say where he'll show up.  This Jesus fellow just seems to wander all over the hillsides, in and out of towns along the way.  He's got this large crowd always following him...strangest thing I've ever seen"  The man continues to mutter to himself as he wanders away leaving Bart there in the hot sun.

'If only he would come my way.  If only I could ask, I just know he could heal my blind eyes.' 

Day after day he sits wondering if today will be the day Jesus passes through his town.  Many times he hears the stories of him.  Just 2 days ago he heard the amazing story of Jesus feeding 5000 men with just "5 loaves and 2 fish, can you believe it, 5 little loaves of bread and 2 dried out fish.  Why I tell you it was the best dinner I've had in a long time."  Bart replays that conversation over and over in his mind.

'If only I could get to the next town Jesus will be in.'  But Bart has no friends interested in chasing down a guy.  A somewhat mythical guy at that.

Day after day in the hot sun he sits.  Day after day he hopes again.

One morning he wakes up.  Somethings different about this day, Bart can feel it in his bones.  'This is my day!'  He gathers up his begging cup and coat then stumbles to his usual spot along the road.

"Alms for the poor, help a blind man out."  Bart calls out over and over again.  The crowd noise grows louder.  Bart yells louder and louder.  'There must be a festival in town.'  He mutters to himself.  'This will be a good day indeed.'  New people in town always meant a little extra coins in his cup.

"Jesus, over here."  "Look over here, Jesus."  "This way, come this way, Jesus."

"WHAT,"  Bart's heart leaps.  "Please sir, what is going on?  Can anyone tell me what is going on?"  He reaches out and shakes a man's leg.

"Quiet, beggar, Jesus is over there and I don't want to be bothered with you.  This is my time to have a story to tell."  The man pushes Bart off his leg.

"JESUS! JESUS! JESUS! over here. Oh please Jesus, you are my only hope.  Heal my blindness"  Bart yells.  He can't believe it.  This is HIS day.  Today he will get his healing.  The healing he has spent days, weeks, months dreaming of.  Mark 10:47

"JESUS, JESUS please heal me"

"Quiet fool.  He's already walked pass you.  Jesus doesn't have time for you.  Go away beggar."  Mark 10:48a

"no No NO this can't be.  This is my day, my day to be healed."  Bart cries out in desperation. "JESUS PLEASE TURN AROUND.  PLEASE COME HERE."

The crowd is loud pushing Bart around as he sits in the dirt.  He is becoming disoriented and increasingly alarmed that he will miss the one chance he has to be healed.  He can't remain blind forever.  Never before had he any hope of seeing but then he heard of this man, Jesus.  Ever since he has hoped against all hope that this Jesus would pass his way and he would see.

"JESUS. PLEASE. HEAL. ME."  he screams at the top of his lungs. Mark 10:48b

"Stop being so desperate."  A man beside him scolds. ~ How many of us have been quieted?  How many of us have loss hope in what God has spoken over us?  Who has lost dreams?  Who has been told to quiet down, stop being so desperate for more of God? ~

"JESUS HAVE MERCY ON ME"  He screams in one last attempt to receive his healing.

Suddenly he feels the crowd give way.  "What's going on?"  He asks a man beside him.  "It seems all your screaming has gotten you somewhere.  Cheer up, he's calling you."  The man slaps Bart on the shoulder.  Mark 10:49

"Jesus?"  Bart asks just above a whisper.  "Jesus heard me?  He wants me?  I'm going to be healed!  I matter to Jesus!"  

Bart throws off his coat, jumps up and goes to Jesus.  ~We could surmise a few things from this.  His coat might have had something to do with his class in the town.  Maybe it marked him as a beggar. Maybe nothing at all.  But it is curious that the Bible makes a point to state he threw it off.  Maybe it was a really expensive coat.  His only nice possession in life.  But he was willing to leave it all behind for his healing. Mark 10:50

Whatever the case is he doesn't stall or question or doubt.  He obeys instantly!! He doesn't turn to the man beside and say 'gee sir, I'm blind can you help me over to Jesus.'  Nor does he say 'Umm, hello Jesus, I'm blind you have to come to me.' (wow that could preach-perhaps another blog)

"What do you want me to do for you?"  Jesus ask Bart.  ~ He is asking you today what do you want me to do for you??  It's in these moments we must be very honest with ourselves and with Jesus. ~ The blind man didn't think to himself  'well come on now, can't you see from the milky whites of my eyes that I am blind?'

He BOLDLY spoke his need!!

"Good teacher, I want to see." Mark 10:51

No fear, no doubt, no questions.  Just an honest statement.  No beating around the bush, no playing games.  Pure honesty build with hope and trust.  He laid it all on the line.  He didn't say or ask for anything but what he had need and wanted the most.  "I WANT TO SEE!"  ~ I want to see.  I want to see others as God sees them.  I want to see myself as God sees me.  I want to fulfill all I was created to be.  I WANT TO SEE!!! ~

"GO for your faith has healed you!"  Jesus says to him. Mark 10:52a

Instantly Bart could see.  What a moment that had to be.  The word spoken.  His vision created. What did he see first?  The blue of the sky, the dust from the crowd, the green trees in the distance.  Jesus face.  All this and more.  He saw where he had come from and he knew where he was going.  He never returned to his coat, his old spot on the road, his way of life before Jesus.  He knew where he was going.

"Instantly the man could see and he followed Jesus down the road." Mark 10:52 b

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

An hour's work for a full day's it fair?

I guess to say it's been awhile since last I wrote would be an understatement!

Things are going well.  We are still in the stage of raising the last bit of our support needed to be full time in Germany.  We have been over there numerous times and feel it is time for the long term to start.  I explained it to a friend the other day like this: We have all the building supplies ready to build a "house" now we just need to be there to do the work.  You can't start building and keep leaving the supplies and half a house out to the elements.  Once you start building it's vital to continue till the house is build!  We have been blessed to complete many short term goals and excited for the "supplies" we have ready for the long term goals. 

Please...if you've ever thought about giving to the ministry of reaching souls for Christ in Germany NOW is the time to give!!!  We need about $2000.00 more a month for the German government to be "ok" with us staying there long term.  We would love to have the money raised by March.  This is the deadline to get the boys into a good school there.  Head to our website and read more about 'why Germany' and 'about us'.  Then please pray and hit the donation button to see ways you can help!  We can't wait to be there full time.  Everyday we are here in the States wears on us...our hearts cry out to be doing the work we know God has called us to do in Germany.  Please help us!

As I have thought about writing a blog for the last few weeks I always think about writing of what God has been showing me.  It's been quite a while since my last blog so there are many things He has showed me.  I'll write about one of those things below.

Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16)

IF ever there is an illustration that is hard to swallow it’s this one;

A landowner went into town early in the morning and hired a bunch of workers to work all day in his vineyard.

They agreed to the wage of a full day's work.

He went out again at 9:00 am, again at noon and at 3:00 to hire more workers.  At 5:00 pm he was back in town and found a few more workers that had not been hired by anyone for the day.

He told them to go ahead and work his vineyard till the end of the work day.

When time came to pay everyone he started with the ones just hired at 5:00.  He gave them a FULL day’s pay for an hour of work.  The ones hired first, who had worked the full day, saw this and probably whispered among themselves “wow, if he paid them a full day’s pay for an hour of work can you imagine what he is going to pay usI bet we will get double or even triple that amount.”

Their turn in line came and when they held out their hands the boss placed the same amount he had given to all the other workers.

What how can this be?? Have we not worked all day out in the hot sun for you?  You gave the ones that worked in the cool of the evening the same amount as you are now paying us.  This is NOT FAIR!  We expected more for the amount of work we did.”

But wait” the owner says “did you not agree to a set amount when you came here to work for me?  Why would I give you more?  Anyways it’s my money and I can do with it as I wish.  I wish to be kind!”

So many things are found here:

1)  What proof that it’s not about works that gets you a reward.  It’s not how hard you work that will get you into the kingdom.  It is only because of the shed blood of Christ and his kindness towards us.

2)  It's NEVER to late to start working for God!!  It's never to late to fulfill the call of God on your life!  I think this should excite many people!  Yes, ok, so you came to God late in life...he doesn't hold that against you!  You'll receive the same pay those that have worked in ministry their entire lives will receive.  Take heart!  Our God is KIND!!!

3)  Things are not always fair in the ministry world!!  People sometimes struggle their whole ministry life and to others it looks like it’s amounted to ‘nothing’.  Others are handed a golden ministry and seemingly did very little to obtain it.  Some seem at the right place at the right time.  The workers that started at 5 and only had to work an hour for a full days pay...WHAT??

But I can imagine how excited those workers were.  They had just about given up all hope of getting hired for the day. “No one hired us” they told the vineyard boss. They would have the dreaded job of returning home to their families and having to explain why they have no food for the table again that night.  When they did get hired I bet what went through their heads was “an hour’s pay is better then nothing.”  What a huge surprise and blessing it must have been to them to have received a full days wage for an hour's worth of work.

The harder I work for God does not equal more pay, more blessings, more favor.  That is such a human concept.

God already loves me and wants to bless me with all He has.  I don’t have to work for it.  I’ll get the same amount NO matter what.  When I feel others have been “blessed” more then me I can read in the Parable of the Vineyard workers that we all receive the same amount!! That we are rewarded out of the kindness of God's heart. 

Does this mean I just sit in my house with my head in the clouds waiting for the sweet by and by...NO ALL the workers still had to work their amount of time for the Vineyard Boss .  It just shows that as long as I am doing the will of God for MY life that is what pleases him.  It's a shame that we are so quick to judge in the church world.  We look at everyone else's ministry and either give our nod of approval or shake our heads, tight upper lip, wondering what is going on.  YES, we are to judge the FRUIT of one's ministry but let's be careful that that is all we are judging!
"Friend, I haven't been unfair! I wanted to pay these last workers the same as you. Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?" Matt 20:13-15