Thoughts From The Staff

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Hearing and Following God’s Call

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You may have heard that my family is moving to Malawi in September. We believe the Lord is leading us to serve with SIM in Malawi as missionaries in discipleship and healthcare. So how do we get to the place of hearing and following God’s call?

The language we use can sometimes be confusing so I will break down how it worked for me as I listened to God and then followed His lead. The first step in hearing from the Lord is always through His Word, the Bible. Regular reading of God’s Word is primary in knowing what God calls us to do. If you sense God is leading you to something but it is contrary to the Bible, it is not God speaking to you. God will never lead you to do something contrary to His Word. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As I read the Bible, I knew that God is for making disciples among the nations. Throughout the Bible, God speaks about all nations following Him and Jesus commanded in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations. So the first step in hearing God’s call was confirmed for me through the Bible.

The next step for me is through my prayer time with the Lord. As I spent time praying and seeking God’s direction, the desire to move back to Malawi was consistently in my prayer time. The more I prayed the more I sensed it was something God wanted for my family. The desire lined up with the Bible and the gifts and talents the Lord has given me and also a peace was sensed in my prayer time with the Lord.

 After those two areas were lined up and we began to tell others about or desire to return to Malawi as missionaries, it was confirmed by Godly men and women. Multiple leaders in the church, including Pastor Craig, confirmed our readiness for missions and were supportive of our desire to return to Malawi. If the leaders in our church would not have confirmed readiness, we would have slowed down and not continued at the same pace. Even though my desire was not against Scripture and I had a peace in my prayer life, others are important in confirming the leading from the Lord as others see things in my life that I may miss. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). 

Are all people going to hear God’s call to the mission field in a cross cultural setting? No. But God does desire for each person to hear from Him and follow His lead. Through reading and knowing God’s Word, praying continually and seeking the advice of Godly men and women, each person can hear and follow God’s call. Sometimes there will still be unknowns and God wants you to step out in faith and trust Him with the details. But if it fits with His word, you have peace in prayer and others are confirming God’s call, you are probably on the right track.

Jeff White
Associate Pastor of Families & Missions
Posted by Jeff White with

What A Trip!

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One of my first experiences with an Easter Drama/Musical happened back in the eighties…yes, way back in the eighties. It is hard to believe that I can still remember the presentation after thirty years! To put it in eighties lingo, “Like, there was this new musical that really had everybody stoked.  It was getting close to Easter and like everyone was chillin’ over it…NOT!  Well, you get the idea.  We were all hyped to the max about doing this ‘gnarly’ new musical…it was like…tubular!, but we were stressin’ to the max!”

The new dramatic musical was called “Joy Comes in the Morning” and it did a beautiful job of telling the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  For months the choir had been preparing and memorizing their lines and the songs they would sing. Much like our sanctuary has been transformed into the streets of Jerusalem, the walls had been transformed to look like ancient brick stones, and the choir and actors were decked out in their biblical robes. And, yes, many were stumbling around because they couldn’t wear glasses.

Most of the action had taken place.  The angry mob had dissipated and the streets of Jerusalem were empty. Jesus was about to walk down the Via Dolorosa carrying His cross. The “crowd” was gathered in a tiny room (about 10’X12’). Everything was ready to go. Needless to say, it was very crowded.  The person playing the role of Jesus was stationed in the middle of the tiny room with a cross that was about 8’ long. As you would expect, the “house lights” were out and it was dark: it was very dark. Some of you have observed that when I am in the midst of something like this…I tend to pace from place to place; however, I don’t do it nearly as much as I did in those days. As I was doing the last minute “pace,” obsessing over whether or not everything and everyone was ready to go, I walked right into the cross, stumbling over it, knocking it over and (along with Jesus) falling to the ground.  I am very thankful that the only thing hurt was a bruised shin and a wounded ego! I was very thankful that my suit pants were not ripped because as you know, the “show must go on.” After I had regained my composure, the program began and I directed in spite of my pain!  As I think back, I realize that if I had broken any skin, blood would have only added authenticity to the scene.

In the book of Romans, Jesus is compared to a stumbling stone.  Those who try to pursue righteousness by their own goodness stumble over Christ, because faith in Him is the way to God. Since Christ is the light of the world, then life without Him is lived in the dark. And the cross “gets in the way” of self-righteousness, and may even cause pain as the self-righteous person tries to make it on his/her own.

But the same stone that “trips some up” is also the cornerstone of our faith, Jesus Christ. It is as if the light of Christ and God’s word is a lamp, or flashlight, that shows us to the cross and its significance. I would have been much better off if there had been some light in the room. I would have seen the cross and responded appropriately. In the book of Matthew, Jesus calls Christians the light of the world. It is as if we are tiny beams of light that illuminate the way to the cross so that people will experience and respond to the wonderful work of the grace of God. Pray that Christ’s light will show the way to the real peace and righteousness found in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord!

Continue to pray that our production of Victorious! will shed a light that will open the eyes of those who may be stumbling around in the dark.

Doug Burton
Minister of Music and Senior Adults

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