Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Goodness of God

God is good!


If you say that in Ethiopia, people will respond by saying, "All the time!"


God is good all the time. The absolute goodness of the Father is critically fundamental to our view of God, our faith, our life and, in fact, everything pertaining to our existence! Jesus says that no one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). In other words, God is good. Every miracle Jesus performed on earth was a demonstration of His goodness.


"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!" (Psalm 34.8)


This past week, He let me taste and see that He is absolutely good.


One of my favorite ways of having a conversation with the Father is journaling. I write directly to Him. Then I listen and write down what I feel God is saying to me.


For the last 12 months or so, there has been one recurring topic of conversation between Him and me. What He was saying about it was outrageously good. In fact, it seemed too good to be true. “Is it really possible?” “Maybe I am making these up in my mind.” "It cannot be for me!" These were my reactions. Frankly, I doubted many times if I was really hearing God. But the same answers kept coming back to me whenever we talked about this same topic in my journal.


Then this past week, I discovered that much of what He was telling me indeed was the reality. What seemed to be too good to be true was true. I was stunned, overjoyed and humbled. Frankly, I was not so moved by the good that came true as much as by the fact that God is good enough to bring that about in my life.

That God is good enrages Satan and his forces of darkness greatly. They along with the flesh and the world will try everything to steal from us that truth in our life. Because there is so much joy, peace, freedom and strength when you can walk with the deep knowledge and unwavering conviction that God is absolutely good all the time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."


Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.


And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.


George Washington
(Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789) taken from pilgrimhall.org.


May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with the sense of awe, wonder and humble gratitude for the goodness and love of the Almighty God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reflection II


Dumping on the table everything that is available to the astronauts on board Apollo 13, Houston had to come up with a way to put the "square peg in a round hole".

Kim felt like that about providing children's ministry curricula that are applicable, contextualized, transferable and readily usable Ethiopian Sunday school teachers and leaders.

And they need the materials immediately.

Kim and I are gathering CE practitioners in the Greater Seattle Area to form a think-tank to brainstorm initial steps in developing a new breed of curricula that will meet these above criteria and their needs in the field. We will be dumping on the discussion table everything we experienced on our trip and ask them to come up with resources that will truly empower our fellow laborers in Ethiopia to pursue the hearts and minds of children (between the ages of 4 and 14).


Friday, November 11, 2011

In the Name of Jesus

"I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6)

Our short but full 10 days in Ethiopia opened our eyes to the magnitude of opportunities and challenges the Ethiopian Christians face. They lack resources. But frankly speaking, I don't believe the resources of the North American church are the answer, either.

Before we left, Kim was asking the Lord what her role was to be on this trip. She heard a single word, "Jesus".

Now that we saw the land, we feel we understand what He meant, particularly when the Lord brought to my mind Acts 3:6.

Indeed, we have "no silver and gold" in Ethiopia or in the U.S. that will solve their problems. But what we do have we give freely. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth...

What we bring is Jesus. What they have is Jesus. Against all odds, against all the strategies and schemes of man, against all the wiles and attacks of the dark forces, Jesus is, indeed, the only answer we need. Jesus is all sufficient and all powerful. It is all about Jesus.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reflection I

We have recently returned from our two-week trip to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. This is our reflection.


We came to appreciate Ethiopian people, particularly young people. Their eyes were bright and smiles contagious. Their hearts were full of dreams and sincere desires to know and please their God. We loved their warm welcome and willingness to embrace us right away as friends and co-laborers in Christ.

They were the reason why God has called us to launch a new ministry whose mission is to bring healing, help and hope to the next generations. We want to share with them what we ourselves are learning to walk more closely with the Lord. We are learning to listen to God, to live out our identity in Christ, to fight spiritual battles, wielding our authority and power in Him, to experience the restoration of our hearts, redeeming our desires, to be fathered by God, being set free, and to follow faithfully the Holy Spirit, joining in His mission. This is the full life Jesus has promised to His people.

What a privilege to be able to work with young people to help unlock the full potential of their life in Christ!

Starting in February 2012, Acts 8 Ministries will begin providing training for Ethiopian youth to equip them in the art of walking closely with God.