Being Obedient to God

Being Obedient to God

by Trisha Goddard, Partners for Paraguay

www.mtgoddard.com

Mike and I have the awesome opportunity to partner with 13 First Nations men (one Ava Guarani and twelve Ache) in Eastern Paraguay. A few years ago they realized that other people in their region needed to hear God's word, and they stepped out in faith to obey God's call on their hearts. They began reaching out to three communities, and that number has grown to 11 – one Paraguayan community and 10 First Nations communities of Ava Guarani and Mbya.

Home Grown

Home Grown

By Eric and Mollie

Just last month we sat down with our boys and listened intently to the story of Larry Gray, a front line, old-school missionary who lost his son to appendicitis in the bush of Chad, Africa. Just a few months later, he witnessed the destruction of his home and vehicle by an angry Muslim mob. It was this very same story which Teri Bittner heard some 20 years prior when Larry spoke at, what was then called, Meadowbrook’s World Fest. From that moment, Teri began to pray that the Father would send more workers into the harvest field of Chad. Much to her amazement and delight, the Father would honor that request with a family from her own church community.

Hopeful Thinking

Hopeful Thinking

By Jen Akin

My oldest son has always been full of hope and optimism when it comes to things he wants to pursue. As a young boy, he was never afraid to ask for the free scoop at Culvers with Oreos on top – hoping the person waiting on him would bend the rules a bit.   He operates similarly now, only he hopes for things like getting his learner’s permit early.  And while I might try to reason with him, he will often combat my response to such things with, “Mom, you gotta have hope.”

Why Hesitate?

Why Hesitate?

By Carol Becwar

Over many years of growing in faith, studying the Bible, and participating in scripture discussions, I've learned to recognize the Holy Spirit working in me. I've never had dreams or visions that I could say with any confidence came from God. But I have developed the habit for watching, waiting, and listening. I pray that the Spirit will help me to understand God's will for me, His call on my life.

"______ the Great!"

"______ the Great!"

By Ben Baumann

Raise your hand if you have a Facebook account. Just about everyone does. Peter Rollins, giving an illustration on the topic of identity, said once that a Facebook profile is a tool that can allow us to create a false identity that we can present to others. They see pictures of us, but only the best ones; they see our favorite movies and books but only the ones we know they won’t get offended by. But eventually we begin to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re the false identity we create. It’s a load to unpack to be sure but the idea is that we can lose ourselves in a false identity. Juxtapose this with an organization like Alcoholics Anonymous where one has to give up the false identity that says “I can quit whenever I want” in order to find who they really are meant to be. I think God wants us to be who we are, a beloved child of God, so that we are free to love and serve others.

Calm in the Storm

Calm in the Storm

By Mike Kasdorf

I've always had a love for stories of people who are able to stay calm, cool, and collected while facing immense trials or opposition. I'd venture a guess that many of us do. Examples of fortitude and perseverance can instill in us inspiration, power, and sometimes, even a bit of a swagger or rebellious edge. Just read about Stephen in Acts 6 – 7. Here's a guy who, as a newly-appointed apostle, doesn't seem to waste any time standing up to the powers of his day. And he's really good at it! So good, in fact, that when his opponents can't beat him in an argument, they drag him to court and trump up a bunch of false charges against him.

When my “Best” was Something Less

When my “Best” was Something Less

By Christina Crumbliss

I have long struggled with the passage with Ananias and Sapphira. In the midst of a miraculous movement during which believers are selling everything they have to give to the poor and share as anyone has need, Ananias and Sapphira enter and act in a way that is not pleasing to the Lord. Like those around them, they sell their property and bring the proceeds to the apostles. However, they hold back part of the money for themselves while acting as if they are actually giving everything they have. Dismayed, Peter asks, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? … You have not lied just to human beings but to God” (Acts 5:3-4). And with that Ananias just dies on the spot.  Sapphira enters shortly after with an identical outcome.

It takes a village. So where's the village?

It takes a village. So where's the village?

By Maureen Kasdorf

Twenty years ago Hilary Clinton popularized the proverb, It takes a village to raise a child.  If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the tasks in your life or the need for community, then you probably want a village. And if you've ever wanted a village and none have appeared then you are not alone. I have often wished for a village, usually when my plate is too full.

Praying Through

Praying Through

By Steve Akin

Let’s say you’ve been arrested and threatened for sharing the Truth.  Admittedly, it’s a weak threat.  It’s the Pharisaical version of “You better knock it off!”  But it is a threat that you need to take seriously and you have a choice as to how to respond.  This is where we find Peter and John in Acts 4:23-31.  They had the option to resort to groveling, hiding, or retiring, but instead, these men chose to fight back in an effective, yet unconventional way. They found their fellow believers and prayed to God with one voice, in one mind, and in accord with God’s will.

No Other Name

No Other Name

By Jen Akin

It was a bitterly cold day in January.  The kind where breathing hurts and fingers turn blue the instant they are exposed. My husband and I were “just friends” at the time and he was living with a group of guys in an apartment on the east side of Milwaukee.  One of his roommates needed to get to work and was out in the alley trying to start his Pontiac Grand Am with no success. Having exhausted all options, fingers numb, the car's owner drew on his deep Pentecostal roots. He suggested to his roommates that they all lay hands on the engine and pray.   Five twenty-something guys huddled around, each with one hand on the engine and the other in the air, calling on the name of Jesus.   The car started.   You might surmise some engine part thawed enough from the heat of their hands, or something clicked at just the right time.  But every last one of these guys will tell you it was Jesus.  This experience left them all elated and significantly humbled.

Mat Carriers Needed

Mat Carriers Needed

By Andrea Harris

Not long ago one of my piano students arrived at her lesson and clearly needed to tell me about her experience at her great-grandmother’s funeral the day before.  She related stories about her mother’s grandmother that she hadn’t heard before.  Commented on who cried at the service, how she was in quite a few of the pictures in the slide show, and how the family was comforted that grandma was now free of pain after living a long, full life.  At a time like that, the C major scale can wait!  I was thankful for the opportunity to listen and encourage her and that this student felt comfortable enough to share what was on her heart.  She wasn’t hiding it at all.