Works of God

We are thankful that God is always at work causing team members to look more like Jesus. We desire to testify of the grace of God in our lives, and that through the working of Christ in us, you will be encouraged in your relationship with Jesus.

Getting To The Heart Of It

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Getting to the heart of it

As one of the “newbies” on team, these past few months have been quite a ride! There is plenty to learn, and not many dull moments. Already I have grown much from the constant “life-on-life” relationships with team members, church members, and friends from college that I have bumped into along the way. All in all, I am confident that travelling on team is what the Lord has for me right now, and I am so glad to be here.

But we know that life is not exclusively positive experiences. We live in a messed up world, and if we are honest, we are quite a mess ourselves. Once, G.K. Chesterton was asked “What’s wrong with the world today?”. His insightful reply was, “I am”. If you don’t believe there is anything wrong with yourself, try spending more time around people and see what happens! While travelling, the team community has acted as a mirror of my soul, and some of my ugly features have been coming to light. Although I probably still don’t recognize the full extent of my selfishness, I can see it more clearly as I travel the road of life with others.

Interestingly enough, we all naturally react differently when our flaws are revealed. Some common responses are anger, defensiveness, self-righteousness, and avoidance. Personally, I generally tend to despair and feel insecure. But Christ’s victory means that I can see my faults yet not be defeated. The gospel has not only saved me, but it is continually saving me. In fact, it is good to see my faults, for God is showing how He wants to grow me. Understanding what I have in Christ – complete acceptance and security that is not based on my performance – is gradually changing me from the inside out. I can truly change only if it is God that changes me. In a letter to the church of Corinth, Paul writes, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Because of Christ, God not only accepts me as the sinner that I am, but wants me to behold Him and be changed because of it!

-Andrew Smith

 

Team Training | Fall 2015

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August 1 - September 19, 2015

For the past three weeks, our team has been chugging away with getting things done as we prepare to hit the road this weekend. Take a peek to see some things that we have been working on:

  • Music Practice...and lots of it! Thanks to Christy, Daniel, and Shannon, everything has been very organized and efficient. We have been able to gel quite well together as we figured out who plays, who sings, and who needs to learn new instruments!
  • Packing Prep: helping the Galkins organize, clean, and pack up their house; cleaning and packing their trailer; cleaning and re-organizing the vehicles and cargo trailer.
  • Team Meetings: we meet every morning to pray, read from Scripture, and talk about a few specific topics. Every one of us have been so grateful for these times set aside for learning, which then leads to very practical application. It truly has been a blessing to learn together and to grow together as a team.
  • GGC Ministry: our team has had several opportunities to serve with several ministry opportunities at Gospel Grace Church here in Salt Lake City. To see the burdens of church members and to partner with them for a time to serve in those areas has been both an encouragement and challenge for us. We had the opportunities of participating in a Rescue Mission service+dinner, witnessing outreaches, hiking and playing sports with students from the University of Utah, and being involved with Community Groups each Wednesday with the church body in different homes.
  • The Galkins hosted a *Backyard Bluegrass* event at their home last weekend for friends, family, and neighbors in their community. The team performed some fun, Irish folk songs, we had some great conversations with those who attended, and everyone had plenty of incredible food! What could be better then fellowship, fun music, outdoor games, burgers, desserts, and a beautiful evening? Thankful for the opportunity to continue investing in individuals' lives for the Gospel in differet ways. (pc:AaronBoyce)
  • CAMPING! (Post to follow) Honestly, is there truly a better way to bond as a team?

As we finish packing up and finalizing details, we would greatly appreciate prayer...that we all would stay focused on what matters, that we would love and serve each other despite the approaching deadline, that we would be preparing our hearts and minds--as a group and individually--for these next nine weeks, and that Christ would be glorified.

   

Don't Flinch

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All the fitness He requireth 
Is to feel your need of Him. 
-Joseph Hart in "Come, Ye Sinners"

I get that I’m supposed to be dependent on God. He’s my all-powerful creator, and He paid the ransom for my captive soul. It makes sense that I need God. But I don’t usually feel a burning, aching need for God. I usually feel sleepy or hungry or busy or just plain normal.

King David, on the other hand, prayed, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” And the apostle Paul wrote, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” These guys weren’t trying to be emotional for the sake of being emotional. That wouldn’t have helped anyone. Instead, their feelings sprang from an honest awareness of their own weakness and God’s strength.

So how do I convince myself that I need radical, divine intervention? By looking at God’s law and not flinching.

The Bible is filled with God’s standards for my life. They’re everywhere. And they boil down to, “Love God, and love other people. Perfectly.” I can’t live up to that. So by instinct, I flinch. I shrink back from what God says. Without ever realizing what I’m doing, I turn “be perfect like God is perfect” into “be a relatively good person.” I turn “love your neighbor as yourself” into “do nice things when you feel like it.” I turn “be devoted to God” into “do spiritual activities.” Strangely enough, I almost always measure up to these substitute standards.

But when I look at God’s law without flinching, it crushes me. I see that I’m a spiritually dead man, a helpless slave to my own self-centered motivations. I really do need God to rescue me from myself. And I run to Christ—his perfect life, his death in my place, his glorious resurrection. Christ is all I truly need.

God’s law will never make me perfect. But it drives me to depend on the One who will.

- Daniel Mulder

 

Keep on, Keepin' On

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Keep on, Keepin' On

“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:58

After being a part of many different ministries, there have been several instances were there has been no tangible outcome. When working at camp in past summers, sometimes none of my campers would make decisions, and I would wonder if I was even making a difference. I would wonder if my labor was in vain and question if it was accomplishing anything. So many times I would get “stuck” with a petty or insignificant jobs, that I thought weren’t important at all, and I would repeatedly ask myself “is my work even achieving anything?”

As I grew in maturity and in the Spirit, I came to realize that it was not my place to question the Lord’s work. It was not my place to search for results.  My place was to be faithful!

In Isaiah 55:10-11 , the Lord tells us that His Word “will not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.” It isn’t our job to get results. Our job is to be faithful. If we are faithful in His work and in sharing the gospel, His Word will not return void. That is such an amazing promise! In those circumstances when I saw no fruit in my labor, I wanted to give up, simply because I wasn’t seeing any change. God is telling us here in Isaiah to not give up and leave the results up to Him.

Another reason to keep striving in the gospel is that our rewards are not here on Earth, but in heaven. I think many times, especially in my own life, I want to bring glory to myself, and I forget that I should be glorifying God. That is a tough thing for me to admit! I need to remember to not give up the eternal for the temporary. What really matters is eternity!

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do no break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Matthew 6:19-21

I love the words of Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the Huaorani people of Ecuador, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

- Spencer Shelburne

   

Because He First Loved

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Because He First Loved Us

I’ll admit, sometimes I don’t trust that God loves me. Words like nervous, discouraged, lonely, frustrated, distracted, annoyed, and failing describe my countenance. It hurts. It hurts others. My self-consumed fears cause me to  use people to get what I really want. I believe lies and worry about what people think of me. I wonder why I am left in a swirl of unresolved relational tension, with the only way out seeming like an endless road of I-was-wrong’s and I’m-sorry-I-hurt-you’s. I am faced with the reality that I am a broken person living in a fallen world, and I have to fight for truth.

I’ve been searching for the truth. I’ve prayed for belief in His love for me and change in how I love others. God has been answering my prayers through journaling and meditation on His covenant love. I’ve been encouraged in the Gospel.

Comforted. Secure. Hope. Carried. Empowered. Relieved. Free.

This is what my heart sings when I know how much God loves me.

The cross has become so precious to me because it is where Jesus clothed me in His righteousness, justified me and redeemed me. The gospel is what makes loving other people make sense. Why? Because the Holy Lord over all creation, with all of His majestic authority, with all of his gracious compassion, claimed ME. He has faithfully and mercifully loved me through my weaknesses. Heaven’s treasure bore my sins, suffered for me, and continues to pursue me even when I still fail. Jesus has become how I define myself, my purpose and my strength.

I’ve realized more and more that when I KNOW that God loves me, then I am absolutely free to love others. The only way to truly love others is to meditate on how much I am loved by God. I’m thankful for God’s grace that allows the gospel to take hold of my heart and change my relationships with others.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. -1 John 4:10
We love because he first loved us. -1 John 4:19

- Jessica Garrison

 

What are you boasting in?

Roe_13As I come to the end of my traveling time with the Galkins, I have had many life questions that God has helped me answer, and He is still currently helping me answer.  Three of these questions are, “What cause me to be worldly?” “What has your heart?” and “What defines you?” In light of these questions and the question, “What am I living for?”  I have had one question that God has used to speak volumes into my life. What are you boasting in? This question has been the boiling point of my study in Romans this semester. Although, I am currently still studying it, God has already used much of this study in my life.

The theme of Romans is found in Romans 1:16-17 . These verses state, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” These verses are the theme because they show us that salvation and our righteousness comes from God alone. The religious people in this book were so offended by Paul’s message because it meant that none of their good works or “righteous” deeds actually saved them. They could not boast in anything but what Christ had done for them. All we have to offer God is our sin. We deserve death. Despite our efforts to cling onto our filthy rags, God wants to take them away and give us something more precious, a relationship with Him. Romans 6:9-11,14 states, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord… For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” This grace far surpasses any sacrifice or effort I can bring to the throne, but should I continue in sin since there is sufficient grace? This is foolishness! I am a child of God and I died with Christ that day on the cross. Although, my “old man” died that day, I still have my flesh but God has given me the Holy Spirit as a witness in my soul that fights against the sin that wants to eagerly take action. Without Christ, I have no right to come to the throne, but with Christ, I can come boldly. I am a wretched sinner saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Who else should I boast in, but the one who lived righteously, who died for me and who is interceding for me at the right hand of God?

As I think about my years of traveling, I cannot boast in things I have done right or in any accomplishments. I could most certainly share failures and hardships, joys and triumphs, but in the eyes of eternity, I can only boast in what God is doing in me day by day. I praise God that I am not the same person that started in August of 2010. God has changed me and I cling to the promise that He will continue to do so. I praise God for the people who constantly poured their lives, time, money, and tears into my own life. I pray that God will bless the team members that probably gave more than I will ever see, in order that I might become more like Christ. I am thankful for the fun times with each team member I had the privilege to travel alongside and especially the Galkin Kids. I will miss them all so much and wish that they would always be with me. I am thankful for Will and Christy, and for their constant forbearing and love towards me. I pray that God would give Will and Christy the strength to continue striving for the gospel, doing what God wills them to do, and that they would have wisdom and love for future team members. I am thankful for Gospel Grace and the work that God is doing there in Salt Lake City and for the people who are striving to live for the gospel. I am also thankful for my family who loves me and constantly prayed for me while I was on team and came to see me whenever they could. I pray that they would live and grow in the Word and continue to serve at Palmetto Baptist Church in Greenville, SC and in the state of Florida. God has been kind these last 4 years. God has chastened me, stretched me, and encouraged me through His Word. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do as I go on to the next chapter of life.

I am also thankful for a providing God. After much searching and prayer, God has guided me to move to Guam in August to serve with Harvest Baptist Church. I am amazed how He directs in ways that are indescribable and obvious. This move was not what I thought God wanted me to do, but now that He has shown me that Guam is where He wants me, I am excited to serve there and be wherever God wants me to be. God did it. I cannot boast in anything, but in the work that He has done. In closing I pray this prayer for my family, my friends, and my co-laborers in the Gospel:

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

- Sarah Roe

   

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