I want to tell you something the Lord has been doing in my heart over the last few weeks both through things going on at St. Andrew and things in my own quiet times. Simply put, I have been reminded of the importance of completely engulfing my day in devotion to the Lord. This started with our Holy Week services a few weeks back. Because it was so early in the morning, I was not able to do my quiet times first thing as I normally do. For that week, Holy Week service became my morning devotion and I moved my own personal time into the afternoons. The very next week, our young adults’ study through Exodus brought us to Exodus 29, where we see the consecration of the priests for the work in the Tabernacle. We saw that they offered two sacrifices a day; one in the morning and one at twilight. This was to be a symbol that their day began and ended in devotion to the Lord. We see that this was to be “a pleasing aroma” to the Lord (Ex. 29:41). This was to be a constant reminder that their entire lives were to be offerings to the Lord, that everything they did was to be pleasing to him. In the same way, Paul tells the church in Ephesus to “be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 2:1-2).
My prayer these last two weeks has been for God to remind me all day long, not just in my morning quiet times, of this fragrance I am to be lifting to him. That everything I do, whether at church, home, hanging out around town, or anywhere else, is an offering to him. I wonder if you would join me in that prayer. May God make us people who live lives pleasing to the one who has redeemed us.
Grace and Peace,
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
I am sitting here in my office trying to stay clear minded through the jet lag. I am thinking about our trip and trying to quantify all that the Lord has done in our team and the work He has done through our local missionary on the ground. It is hard to put into words all that we saw and experienced. Our team saw the hand of God and His sovereign control over everything. We experienced success and failure, ups and downs, but through it all God was glorified.
Our team landed in country and began working on a college campus with students who loved music and skateboarding. Our team was able to use relationships, music, and sports to share the good new of Jesus. The team took over a music store to sing praises to Jesus. We were able to work with college students in a coffee shop to share the Gospel. We spent some time on the college campus with an entrepreneurial club to exchange ideas for marketing that led to building relationships to share the Gospel. Everything the team did was revolved around sharing the Gospel with college students. God showed himself approved. Listen, first hand, to the testimony of one of our team members, Kelela, tell about what God did in her life this past week:
Our senior mission trip to SE Asia was one of many surprises and was unlike anything we had ever experienced before. We often had no idea what our day was going to consist of and at any moment the schedule was subject to change. We were forced to be completely reliant and trusting of God’s plan for this trip. For example, on several occasions God allowed us to use our musical talents to encourage fellow believers and spark conversations for the Gospel. This was something none of us ever expected! On the second night we were there, we were given the opportunity to play a few songs at a nearby coffee shop. This turned into a pizza party hangout which allowed us to further talk with some university students we had met nearby. I personally had begun forming a friendship with a girl a few years older than me who also had a passion for music. It was through our common interest of music that we were able to bond, but something we struggled with was the language barrier. Something we all soon encountered as we began to direct our conversations to the truth of the Gospel. However, after we had been playing a while, one song in particular struck the interest of my new friend, Amazing Grace. She began to tell me how she had once heard this song in a movie and it inspired her to learn how to play it on her flute. This led to a conversation about God’s mercy and forgiveness as well as some of her own beliefs, but was sadly cut short as we had to prepare to leave the shop. However, God proved yet again how complex and perfect His plans are. About a couple days after, my friend and I were able to get in touch through a social media network. She continued to ask questions about different songs we had played that night in the coffee shop which led into a presentation of the Gospel in Romans. I was able to share with her the love of Christ through Romans 5:8 and the true cost of our sins from Romans 6:23. These verses led to a discussion of God’s love for us and of who Jesus is. However, my dear friend has not yet come to an understanding of faith in Christ. While she has felt God’s love for her, often through music, there are still many questions and truths that she is pondering. Even so, I praise God for His perfect plan and the work He continues to do within my friend and within others we were able to meet.
So, why do we go? Simply put, we go because God has called us to go. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go, make disciples of all nations.” 2 billion people live in South East Asia, but 90% of those people have never heard the message of the Gospel. NEVER. Not even once. The name of Jesus Christ is completely foreign to them. So we go! But as we go we meet Jesus ourselves. We see Him working ahead of us, in us, and around us. On mission, our eyes are opened to see God in ways we never have before. Our distractions and the pressures of American life are left behind us, leaving us open and vulnerable to the crazy love of God. So we go! We go because people need to hear the name of Jesus and the love He offers.
Where will God lead you this year?
-Mark and Kelela
Sheep who Shepherd: