Archive | July, 2012

What to do, what to do??

31 Jul

Most of us have this ingrained-trait that we cannot shake … WHAT DO I DO NOW??  We’d rather do SOMETHING than NOTHING.  We’ve got to keep moving!!  Do anything, even if it’s not the right thing, because at least we will be doing SOMETHING!!

Well, friends, there are times in life where ALL we can do is wait on the Lord.  Stop, be still, and know He is God.  Listen.  Remain faithful and true to Him.  He has brought you this far … He WILL see you through.

Just before God delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh once and for all, He led them to a place that really seemed to be a dead end.  Go read about it in Exodus 13 and 14.  I would’ve hated to been Moses that day …  The Children of Israel were TERRIFIED and they asked Moses, “What, it wasn’t good enough to let us die in Egypt so you brought us out here where there are NO GRAVES???”  They completely lost faith in God.  Pharaoh and his army were closing in and there seemed like no where to go.  Then Moses told them “Don’t be afraid!!  Stand firm and SEE how God will deliver you!!”  And He did just that.

I tell you, STAND FIRM, TRUST HIM, and just SEE how He works it all out!!!!!

Back, but not the same

30 Jul

That could probably be said for every person on the Honduras team this year.  This was the first time I’ve been, but I heard from some of the veterans.  This trip was different:  Good in many ways, but difficult in others.

Sister Leonarda’s Home of Hope (the orphanage in Limon) was in worse shape than our team has ever seen it.  I had nothing to gauge that on, but it was bad.  And when Pastor Mario told me that HE thought it was bad (and I know the conditions in which Mario ministers), that made an impact on me.  I firmly believe God is leading us to help with this situation, and I am still praying about how that looks.  God will make that call, not David Wike.

There were also loops in my heart that were closed about this mission project.  There is no question of the value of this mission for me, for several reasons:

  • The needs are REAL, and God has put them in front of us AND given us the ability to make a difference.  For that, He will hold us accountable someday.
  • The people are REAL!  Not only the ministers and translators with whom we work, but the PATIENTS and CHURCH MEMBERS know us and love us.  Last week, an old friend of Diana’s contacted her and warned her that she had done missions work in Honduras and found that she was being hustled.  I am sure that happens, just like it happens in Florence, SC.  But I’ve seen these needs firsthand.  I’ve sweated and bled with these people.  These needs are more real than you really want to know!!
  • The power of Christ is REAL!!  I told a couple of stories yesterday about how God’s power took over and did things that we could never do.  There are a hundred more stories about this.  God was so interwoven in this trip that it humbles me to think about it every time I do.  If I sit and think about it for a few minutes, it still moves me to tears every time.

In Exodus 34, we are told that Moses’ countenance had changed because he’d spent time with the Lord on Mount Sinai.  We spent ten days with the Lord in Central America, and our lives will never be the same!

Today’s sermon: The Mission Continues

29 Jul

God is at work here

27 Jul

The past nine days have honestly been a blur.   An emotional rollercoaster.  Times of great victory immediately followed by passes through the valley of the shadow of death.  Yes, we’ve seen that shadow this week.  And it is so much to process.

I have no idea what I will preach on Sunday, but something is telling me not to worry about it too much.  There is so much to say and share about this trip. One thing I know for sure right now is that God is at work here and I am thankful I got to join Him.

I have no idea of the medical numbers, but I would guess it to be that we saw between 800 and 900 patients on this trip.  Paula Hooss did women’s ministry for hundreds.  Nancy and Marci Gatewood did children’s ministry for hundreds.  And Paula and I got to be a part of praying individuallly for hundreds and leading 31 to Christ.

Even more importantly, we have relationships.  This is not a get-in and get-out and never see ’em again thing … Not only do we have relationships with the pastors with whom we work, we have relationships with the PEOPLE.  As long as that continues, Ebenezer has an obligation to keep going!!

God IS at work here.  And I am just glad I got to be here, too!!

Yes, I said Bibles

20 Jul

Honduras is a beautiful place full of great people.  And they are very different from us, living in a much different context.  A much more poverty-stricken context.  And I found out yesterday what the “gold currency” is of these people is the Bible!!

Bibles … We get excited about new cars and big screen TVs.  They get excited about God’s word.

Bibles are terribly expensive over here,  Abnd it humbles me to think about the fact that my family could miss one “eating out meal” a month and buy TEN Bibles.  Ten gold bars.

Really makes you think, huh??  By the way, our medical clinic saw a metric ton of people (I would guess it to be over 150, but I don’t know for sure) and we had 18 people accept Christ.

Last few things …

16 Jul

3:00am Wednesday morning is coming.  FAST!!  That is the designated time for the buses to pull out of the EBC parking lot, en route to the Columbia Airport.  From there, Atlanta and then a direct flight to San Pedro Sula.  Make no mistakes in understanding that the “mission” has already begun.  The Holy Spirit is already at work in the places we will go and in the hearts of those we will see.  I know this sounds so cliche, but I can literally FEEL it!!  I am so pumped about this trip!! But there are many things to do, and the clock is ticking …

And the devil is doing his thing, too.  One of our team members is still waiting on her passport to be delivered.  We are all praying hard that it WILL COME tomorrow.  Please join us in that prayer!!  And I cannot even describe the things that were thrown at us today at the office.  There was one GREAT spot:  I got to talk to one of our children about accepting Christ and being baptized.  His mom was so careful to not want to encroach on my time of preparation for this trip… Little do they know that was the BEST THING that could’ve happened!!

So now, packing … Praying … Studying … I have no idea what waits for me, but right now there are several speaking opportunities.  I thank God for that!!  But I am willing to do whatever He wants!!  I’ll miss you guys, and my family most of all.  A little known fact about me is that I AM heavily entrenched with my family.  I love them most of all and 10 days without them will be rough on me!!

You guys pray, and when you think you have prayed enough, pray more!!  Pray for us.  Pray for Ebenezer.  Pray that God will continue to do His thing, and that we will all be willing to do OURS!!!

Today’s Sermon: Answering the Call

15 Jul

A Pastor’s Monday

9 Jul

You might not think about it, but Monday is a WEIRD day for those of us in ministry.  Many pastors take Monday as their day off BECAUSE of what I am about to write.  You see, Sunday is a full-fledged workday for those of us on the ministerial staff of EBC.  It is the pinnacle of the week, a day we study and prepare for all week leading into it.  Then we pour our hearts out in the various things that we do.  And then, it is done … or is it??

Monday is a day of reflection.  While we should reflect on the good things, often it leads to thinking about what I could’ve done better.  Who I didn’t see (although most days I can check Facebook to see what those I missed did on the Lord’s Day).  It is a day that feels emotionally flat and empty.  I do a lot of menial work around the church on Monday, because it gives my batteries a chance to have a little success and recharge.

It is also a day when  I think about the concerns of the coming week.  This week, as I busily prepare for my departure to Honduras (next week), I’m thinking and praying for my Mom and Dad.  Had a good but brief visit with them this weekend.  Mom has a little minor surgery tomorrow, and Dad has something a little more substantial coming on Friday.  I am thankful Krissy is doing an internship at their hospital in Greenville, and that my little sister is coming up for Dad’s surgery.

For now, I need to find some coffee and start thinking about this coming Sunday.  One of the bold facts of life for every pastor is:  Sunday’s COMING, whether I’m ready or not!!!

This Week’s Sermon

8 Jul

In One Accord …

2 Jul

Acts 2 describes the day of Pentecost and how the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way to lead the early church into a time of glorifying God and reaching THOUSANDS.  It was unlikely the early church would’ve EVER been that effective in such a brief period of time, but there IS an explanation.  They waited on the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus told them before He ascended.  They were obedient, and look what God did with them!!

Rev. Oscar Holland shared some thoughts about this on Saturday night at the Honduras meeting I attended.  It really sparked a thought in my mind:  What could God do with Ebenezer if we were all in one accord??  If we were all in the same place, together, listening to Him, what great things could He do with us??

Truth is, we are not in one accord right now.  There is a little too much pride and conflict rolling around.  As I told our deacons last night, Ebenezer is actually in pretty good shape compared to some others I know.  But, we are not in one accord.  And the only reason for that is that we are not all listening and waiting.  And to apply this principle from Acts 2, the Holy Spirit will not pour out on us until we are waiting on Him and in the same place!!

So here is the challenge:  What if we all started praying this simple prayer:  “Lord, bring us all to one accord.  To one place.”  What if we committed to pray this EVERY DAY for one month??  Let’s do this and see where we are in August!!  And if Ebenezer is not your church, what if you prayed that for YOUR church??  What great things will we see from God if we all agree to do this??

What if it sparked a revival in our world??  It could!!  Test and see that the Lord is good and faithful!!!