Gospel Posts

I got another idea right after I just wrote about Wingfield Sundays. What if we stationed Gospel posts around the city of Reno. Where people from all kinds of Jesus-centered religions could meet together at the gospel posts and fellowship. Any time of day, any time of night, people could go to the gospel post and read their bible. Other Jesus-loving people could meet at that post to fellowship, learn each other’s stories, and to get to know one another.

All you need to do is bring a camp chair and post up. People could plan bible studies at these posts and then random people could join in whenever they wanted.

What if this post was a giant metal cross made out of quarter inch 7.5″ cross-sectional square tubing? How powerful and intimidating would an assembly mark like that be? Too much? Debatable. How much would people try and graffiti them? Maybe we could make them out of raw mild steel so that it would rust over making it harder to draw on and easier to buff out?

Anyway, I think that a public symbol and meeting place for Jesus could be a great symbol of how Reno could change into a city after God’s own heart.

 

Wingfield Sundays

Sometimes I day-dream as I read the bible, and I think that writing them down here is a great idea.

As I was reading in 1 John 3:11 I was thinking about what it would be like to dedicate a night to walk downtown and talk to homeless people. Not necessarily with a wad of cash in my pocket ready to hand it all out, but just to talk to them, hear their stories, and just be a hand of God willing to help pray for people and minister to them.

Then I thought about how impactful showing that continual love would be. The people would get to know you, they would have questions for you the next time you showed up.

Then I thought about how cool it would be to have church in Wingfield park on Sunday mornings, and even better than that, to have a time after service to go out and love on the people of downtown Reno. Take water, fresh watermelon, pancake breakfasts, books, bibles, blankets, umbrellas, sleeping bags, you name it, we’ll deal it out. But most importantly, just be there to see these people right where they are. Let God use us and our resources to show them love. People want to be known, to be cared about, to be prayed for, to be listened to. They want to be helped on an individual basis. And I think that’s the kind of love that God wants us to show them. Showing God’s love one person at a time.

It’s not about a church. It’s not about a certain religion, and it’s definitely not about the a specific denomination. It’s about showing Jesus’s love.

We can call it Wingfield Sundays. Where everyone can come after church to be with the church in Wingfield Park. To be one of God’s people. To put to action the call that is on every single one of our lives: to love one another.

Rain (which is highly unlikely in Reno), sleet or snow, we will be out there. Worshipping God in the morning, listening to the Word being preached, and then blessing others after. From 9-11 people can be a part of the church service, and then from 11-4 people can hang out and fellowship and show God’s love to the people of downtown Reno. After a while, a city could be changed. Crazier things have happened!

We could then branch out to Sun Valley, to Montello St., down 4th street, the Reno Gospel Mission. There could be branches of God’s love spread all over the city of Reno.

“Kisses From Katie” Reflection

I know I’m behind on this, but I just read the book “Kisses From Katie”. It’s about a girl who, at the age of 18, packed up everything and moved to Uganda. She wrote a book of stories that show God working through her life to improve the livelihood of others around her – lives that desperately needed to be shown God’s love. She has been used by God in a massive way and her story has inspired me and so many others to look at our lives through a new lense.

I was reading this book on the pristine beaches of Lord Howe Island: a place that is both extraordinarily isolated and expensive. It just made me feel sick; like I was caught in the act and there was nothing I could do about it. I was reading about the extreme poverty in Uganda, situations where parents would feed their children baked mud cakes (actual dirt!) with salt just to subside their hunger. Impoverished mothers were feeding their children homemade moonshine by-products (still containing high amounts of alcohol) to supplement a real meal and to help them forget about their poor living conditions. Whereas, I was eating steak every night with the “treat-yo-self” mentality. I felt completely convicted.

What does God have to say about this? I was reading in 1 John 2:15-17 and it says: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

I can immediately get down on myself for not selling everything I own and giving it all to the people of Uganda. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the point that God is trying to make. It’s about doing the will of God, however that applies to your life. If Jesus himself comes to you, just like he did with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18), and asks you to sell everything and follow him, then do it. But the important takeaway here is that we should all continually be in the mindset of doing whatever God asks of us. He might take us down different paths, but it’s important that we are all willing to go down that path with God right by our sides.

This was a hard blog to write, because I’m not going to start listing all of the things I own on Gumtree or Craigslist. I’m also not very good at hating the world. I’m human (and American, which we’re known for being over-the-top consumerists) and I’ve taken on the habit of enjoying the things of this world. So I’m trying to be transparent with the fact that God’s calling is a very high one and I’m not very good at holding to it; but I’m willing to start somewhere. And that’s why I’m writing.

 

I hope that you also found encouragement through this blog, just as putting it into words has helped me organize my thoughts as well.

Job’s Acknowledgment Of Who God Is

There are a lot of times in my life where God needs to send a lightning bolt down from heaven to knock me off the pedestal that I put myself on. Like, who do I think I am? This became a glaring issue as I read the humbleness of Job in Chapter 2. After rotting away from open sores that spread from his head to his toes, Job still continues to hold God in the high standing that he deserves. Job 2:9-10:

“His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

(Side Note: Can you imagine how bad his sores must have been for even his wife to wish that he were dead?)

“He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?””

This is a really interesting point. In today’s society people focus on all of the good things that God can give us. Like this verse in James 1:17:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

But what about the trials that God also puts us through? James 1:2 says:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

So Job has a really great point here, that we are supposed to expect both blessing and trials from God, not just blessing. I think Christians today get caught up in wondering why God inflicts trials into our lives, isn’t He only supposed to deal out blessing? We need to have the heart of Job in times of trial and continue to praise God no matter what the circumstances may be. What an incredible testimony that Job was able to bring to us through the life that he lived.

In Job’s suffering he continues to say great things about God, even in his horrible condition.

Job 9:4 “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast, Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?”

Job 9:7 “He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars.”

Job 9:10 “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”

Job 9:14 “How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him?”

Job really paints a picture for us of how great our God truly is, and he then humbles himself by admitting that questioning God’s actions is trivial. I think we all need to humble ourselves just the way that Job has.

God,

I humble myself before you. I acknowledge that you are the creator of the universe and that I could never fully understand your wisdom and reasoning. Help me appreciate and praise you more throughout my life for the wonderful things you’ve done for me, and also the trials you will bring me through. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

The Heart Of Job

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Reading Job has been on my heart recently, so when I finished reading Hebrews I decided that now was the time. I believe I was 19 or so when I first remember hearing the story of Job. It inspired me back then, and it has since inspired many of the ways I perceive things today. But I have never read the book. So today is the day!

I started with the first chapter yesterday and by the end of it my jaw was on the floor (not really, but you know what I’m getting at). Basically, God allowed Satan to take almost everything away from Job, and all at once! His life literally fell off a cliff out of nowhere. One servant after another came in and reported the bad news; the worst news of all, that Job’s children had all died in the catastrophic collapse of the eldest brother’s house.

I’ve heard from people that there is no sorrow in this world greater than losing a child. Granted, all of Job’s children sounded older at this time in his life, but ALL of them died at once. I’m sure the pain was unbearable. Yet he turns right around and praises God? How is that even possible?

Imagine someone coming to you and saying that your bank account got hacked, your car has been stolen, your house has been destroyed, all of your insurance won’t cover anything, and that all of your family members have died. It’s actually a really sick thought for you to put yourself in Job’s shoes. How depressing would that be? For most, praising God would be the last things on our minds. Asking God “Why?” would probably be the first thing I would do. Especially because God would be the only thing I have left.

What this passage is teaching me is that God’s wisdom and understanding of the world is so far above my own understanding that praising Him for what’s happening in my life is the only thing we should be doing; not asking “Why?”. Our hearts should be so filled with the fear of the Lord that praising Him is the only answer to our problems. In our own humanness we feel the need to ask God why certain bad outcomes are happening in our lives. But we will never fully understand the wisdom of God, so our attitudes should be nothing but praise in return for all of the obstacles and blessings that get thrown our way. We are His children, he’s going to take care of us. That may mean that we encounter periods of blessing and famine. We should always have the same heart of praise for God no matter what happens in our lives because He is our creator and our Father.

For me, I have a long way to go, but stories like this encourage me to have more of a heart of praise for God at all points in my life. If God were to take everything away from me, which eventually will happen for all of us when we leave this earth to be with God, then my heart should be ready and willing to always praise Him for what’s happening in my life. God has an infinite understanding of the world around us that we will never comprehend. Even in life’s toughest situations, we should always turn back to God with praise and worship for everything He does for us.

God,

Give me a heart of praise for you in all situations. Give me the faith to trust you when everything about my flesh is telling me to doubt you and to curse you for not letting me understand. Give me a heart of gratitude and praise in all situations. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

The Gospel Is Not As Crazy As It Seems

Yesterday me and Kassi finished reading the gospel of Luke, which has taken us around 3 months to finish. We took it really slow as we wanted to absorb everything it taught as much as possible. Also, to be honest, we didn’t read it every day. So that also made it take quite a while. Nevertheless, we finished it.

As we rounded out the last few chapters it made me think about just how crazy of a story the gospel is. If I never grew up around it and was only exposed to it just now, I would be shocked at just how many people believe in this religion. There’s one man (Jesus) that 2,000ish years ago was born of a virgin and died for our sins by being crucified. He was raised from the dead three days later and will one day come back for His church (the rapture). Through believing in Him and asking Him to be a part of us we may enter into heaven. It’s a little outlandish, right?

But what brings this all home for each and every one of us is the peace in our hearts that we have in believing this gospel. This peace comes from God alone, and it’s through His presence here on earth that all of this is possible. God is alive and active in the world today. He’s there when you call on him. In Matthew 7:7-8 it says:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I have so much faith that God will answer your prayers. I believe that God is there on the other side waiting for you to look for him, knock on his door, and seek after him. Jeremiah 29:13 says:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God is an awesome and mighty God. He desires a relationship with us all and actively wants all of us to come to a better understanding of him. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 it says:

“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

2 Peter 3:9 says:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

I think it’s our job to reach the nations with the message of Jesus Christ, and I believe that God in his faithfulness will meet each person on the other side and reveal himself to them. I think in all of humanity there is a longing for a connection with something greater than ourselves. I think deep down we all know that there is something besides ourselves in existence, and I think that God uses that in all of us to seek after Him. And it’s there in that moment that God will reveal himself to you.

I hope that this message find you well. I hope that my understanding of how God works helps you better understand it. I also hope that your perspective on how God works is explained in the comments below; because God is working through all of us together to be in better relationship with him. So don’t hold back!

God,

Bring people who need Jesus to watch this video and to read this blog. Be with me in my words and in the video as I share them. In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

The Power Of The Internet

This morning I was looking at the satellite version of my maps app looking for cool places to visit around Sydney. You know, like anything with a bunch of light blue water and white sand. Then I was looking at some of the Southern Pacific Islands that I never even knew existed. Some of them were formed in the shape of a crater, which I thought was very cool. (After you read this, Google the Marshall Islands)

I’m a big geography buff. I always have been ever since my best friend gave me the enlisted passrider status on United Airlines. The world was my oyster, essentially, and I felt that I could fly anywhere I wanted to. I started studying maps, trying my best to figure out the best ways to get where I wanted to go. Even after hours of studying maps, there is still so much of the world that I don’t know about.

In Matthew 24:14 it says:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

As I was looking at the entire world on the map, it was almost overwhelming to think about how much of it there is. But it’s already been 2,000+ years since those words were spoken, so how much of it do we have left to preach to? Only God will know, but it’s our job to do our best to advance the gospel. We must:

Matthew 28:18-20 “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

That’s our duty, our calling; God’s will for our lives. You may have a different gift in which that is done, but essentially, that’s what all of us are called to do.

Jesus says in John 14:12:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

When I first read that verse I was 19, and I was shocked and in disbelief. At that time I thought that no one could ever surpass the feats of Jesus. Recently, God has given me some insight into how we can do greater things than He did; it’s called the internet. I truly do believe that the next wave of salvation will be because of the internet. And I don’t think it’s going to be just a wave; I think it’s going to be a tsunami. It might even be the last big thing before Jesus comes back for His church.

So this morning, as I was looking at the map, I saw just how much work needs to be done; but at the same time, I also saw how easily it could be done because of the internet. I also see how skillful our generation is with the internet, and I have a feeling that there are more willing hearts, just like mine, that can be used to glorify our King.

God, it can be overwhelming thinking about the work that needs to be done in order to truly preach the gospel to all nations. You’ve given me a vision, and I ask that you give me a plan and a passion to execute it. I pray that you provide for me and Kassi so that I can continually work towards this goal that you have set on my heart. I know we’re not going to boil the ocean instantly, but I pray that you set in place other willing hearts in my path to aid in the execution of your plan.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.