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My Observations of The Church During COVID-19

Here we are 2-3 months into the shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic and depending on where you are living could determine the stage of lockdown you’re experiencing as some states is the USA have started to ease restrictions. Now is maybe a good time to start looking back and evaluating some things. One of those things for is to see how The Church has handled and weathered the crises. Obviously the church is in no danger of disappearing as we’re promised, “…the gates of Hades will not overcome it.(Matt 16:18)” But if we look through the last few months what has your church been doing? Or maybe more specifically what have the people of your church been doing?

Not that it will be a revolutionary thought to many but it has been my observation for quite some time now that the North American church is almost completely a consumer-driven entity. The vast majority of people who show up on Sunday morning come to be fed and not for much more. My purpose here isn’t to lay the blame at anyone’s feet as I would just say we’ve all likely played a part in getting us here.

All that being said, here’s what I’m seeing right now. I see people that have no idea what to do without a building to meet in and church staff in which to be given direction. A verse I’ve read a number of times recently in Hebrews chapter 5,

“11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

This just seemed so timely to me. So many of us have been in church long enough that we should be able to teach biblical principles and the story of Jesus’ love and salvation but we are so accustomed to having someone teach us, “the elementary truths of God’s word,” over and over again with no expectation that we should know it and go teach it to others. Of course this is nothing new for God’s people. We see time and again in the Old Testament where the Nation of Israel was continually in need for God to send someone to lead them

Most of what I see right now is geared towards the anticipation of when we will be able to meet together again. Don’t get me wrong it is important that we emphasize meeting together and I too am hopeful we will be able to soon but in the mean time we should be seeking God and looking for ways to show God’s love to our neighbors. This is a great time to be able to say, “Yes, I am scared too and unsure about wha the future will look like but I have a hope that rises above that fear of the unknown. God is still sovereign.

I believe one of the best ways to get people get more comfortable serving others and sharing the gospel is to have them go on a short term journey and spend time with missionaries in other places. It is a great opportunity to have people spend time learning and practice living out their faith and sharing it with others. If you would like help mobilizing people to GO Here2There can help. Email us at information@here2there.org for more information.

Bryan Nicholson – Media & Marketing Lead

Cultural Hope

“But what on earth can I write?”

This was what I wrestled with last week as I thought about writing for A Life Overseas. Half of you are displaced, wrestling with when you can get back to your host countries and homes. Half of you are sheltered in place in various places around the world, struggling with what that means. All of you are wondering “Did we make the right decision?”

All of these realities are compounded by the unknown world beyond Covid-19. Some of you are farther ahead. I have friends in Shanghai that encourage me there is life beyond shelter in place and quarantine orders. My son in Greece will be able to attend church next week for the first time in eight weeks. Others are still cautiously waiting. Still others are grieving things beyond Covid-19, worried for things that cannot easily be shared.

All of us are in need of the deep healing that only comes from God.

Click here to read the rest of this blog about finding hope amidst chaos from our new friends at A Life Overseas.

Ministry After COVID-19

                                                By Wayne Dinsbeer, Church Partnership Lead               

                                                                    

This blog is being written on a day our nation is celebrating a group of people who have put their lives on the line day in and day out to save hundreds of thousands of lives during this pandemic and always. It is National Nurses Day. Morning News interviews show nurses in the New York hospitals expressing their feelings about their jobs as of late. One nurse called it working in a “War Zone in which you feel like you have to be serving”. Another stated,  “… we aren’t just giving Medical Care, but we are providing Compassion.” We should all be very thankful for these who serve others with such commitment and compassion.

The news anchors talk much about the way things have become as being our “New Normal”. Such things as continued social distancing and the wearing of masks in public places. Businesses are having to make drastic changes and adjustments just to remain open. In just a matter of weeks our world has been turned upside down. The question is “Where Do We Go From Here?”

In Matthew 9 Jesus is eating with Matthew, the tax collector, and being ridiculed for socializing with  persons of such ill reputation. His response we all know, “… those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” In this statement Jesus was sending a message to all those present and future regarding the work of those calling themselves “Christ Followers”. 

Fast forward a couple thousand years to post pandemic times. We certainly have a lot of people who are both physically and spiritually “sick” today. We also for certain have the mandate to take healing to these. Just like the testimonies of these nurses, we must attack our work with unwavering commitment, focus, and purpose.

Another given in this medical comparison is the realization and acceptance that, “Things aren’t the way they used to be”; “Old ways do not work for this situation”; “We Have to Attack Hardest Where the Outbreak is Greatest”; “Everyone Must Pull Together to Get the Job Done & Survive” ; “This Is No Time To Let Up”.

All of these we have heard in one fashion or another as we  have watched history unfold before us. Now, take the “Medical” aspect out of the above statements and equations and return to Jesus’ response in Matthew 9 and make the application refer to the work of the Church. You can just as rightly apply each of these to the work we are called to do in our ministries.

By the way, for those allergic to the word “Change”. That ship has sailed!

My work with Here2There engages me with churches seeking to accomplish the Vision God has given them. We work with Pastors and Leaders to create their MAP (Ministry Action Plan) which is their strategy for mobilizing to meet the Goals and Objectives set forth in the Vision. The events of the past several months have not altered the Vision, but have certainly changed the Mission and Strategies which form their MAP.

Here are a few things you can consider as you seek to move ministry forward in this post pandemic era.

   Conduct an Evaluation of Ministry Adjustments  consider the following:

  • Are we a strong body able to withstand extreme ministry circumstances?
  • Are we able to have viable ministry to those young and old?
  • Is our church  able to adapt to change?
  • Are we blessed with tech savvy members willing to move ministry forward?
  • Is our ministry family web  able to keep membership connected and engaged in the most difficult of circumstances?
  • Does our ministry include an online option for giving to sustain us financially?
  • Have new ministry methods enabled us to reach new people?
  • While some were able to adapt amidst trying times,  were any left out of the ministry loop of change?
  • Were ministry changes communicated effectively allowing all members to make adjustments?
  • How was our Connectivity with Members during this time?
  • How was our Connectivity with our Community during this time?

Conduct a S W O T Analysis considering current ministry status:

  • What are our STRENGTHS?
  • What are our WEAKNESSES?
  • What are our OPPORTUNITIES?
  • What are our THREATS?

Moving Forward consider the following ministry steps:

  • Continue online zoom classes for greater connectivity with all members and new people reached
  • Could we live stream from each Bible Study class?
  • Offer a Drive In service option each week as an Outreach Tool to reach new people in the community / A simple Radio Transmitter makes this possible
  • Engage a regular opportunity for Drive In Prayer Ministry through the  work of a Prayer Team Ministry
  • Many in your community will have needs – food, jobs, care. Hold a Vision Strategy Planning meeting with leaders and members to brainstorm how you can engage in new ministry or step up your game with existing ministry to meet needs
  • Have a designated Time of Prayer in each service specific for those impacted by virus – health, economic, mental, etc.
  • Ask MST (Missionary Support Team) members to contact each Missionary with whom you partner to assess Care and Needs – organize means to meet as possible
  • Ask church Leaders to contact each  Member to assess Care and Needs – organize means to meet needs as possible
  • Ask BIble Study Teachers of children and youth classes to contact each  parent to assess Care and Needs – organize means to meet as possible 
  • Start a new Care Ministry Fund to assist with Care and Needs of others
  • Meet with your Tech Team to discuss plans and ways for Moving Forward and how they will assist 

These are just a few things to consider as you strive to do ministry in this time of life change and doing things in different ways than before. Here2There Ministries is purposed in working with Churches and Missionaries to advance their work, especially in this period. Many ministry items are on our website for your assistance and consideration at www.here2there.org. Our team would love the opportunity to speak with you about the specifics of your Vision, Mission, and Needs. If you have any questions or comments please email us at information@here2there.org.

How COVID-19 Changed the Church


As a child, when my parents traveled for work or for fun, they always came back with a gift. Their absence created excitement for me to see what they would bring back. I might have been a bit too eager when they returned to ask for my gift, instead of just saying how glad I was they were home. As I got older and started traveling I too started picking up gifts for family and friends. Even now, when my parents travel they bring their grown adult children gifts back from their trips, and I still look forward to what they will bring me.

As we recently celebrated Easter we spent time reflecting on the power of the Resurrection and the pivot of Christianity. Have you recognized the gift given to us from the Resurrection?

In the tomb, even though no one seemed to be waiting for it, the world changed. The Church changed.

Prior to the cross, there was Jesus and his disciples and apostles ‘doing ministry’ as they traveled. But, in the descending and ascension of Christ, He prepared gifts for us, His Church.

Ephesians 4:7-13
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

The Resurrection initiated a decentralized church:

  • where ALL were expected to GO
  • where ALL were to be equipped to GO
  • where the leader commissioned the followers

The Resurrection looks similar to our current circumstances where the church building or leadership are no longer central to our worship or our actions. Due to Covid-19 the way we’ve done church can no longer stay the same. The Resurrection took the work of the few and distributed it to the many. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His empowerment, everyone was now able and responsible to share the love and message of Christ.

Now, going on 5 weeks, our churches have taken a similar turn. The work of the few has been distributed to the many.

Prayerfully going forward, our churches will continue to celebrate the tragedy that moved us out… The push that helped our church body stand stronger… The crises that forced us to serve, share, give, care like we should.

As a church, examine your strategy for Ephesians 4:7-13 and how you are equipping your body to be the church.

As an individual, examine your role in Ephesians 4:7-13 and how you are to be using your gifts and talents to help others serve and share.

Take a few minutes to see some of our recent updates on Caring thru Crisis. We’ve had conversations about displacement, communication, family and other ways to care.
Check out our YouTube channel here.

We love The Church, both near and far, and pray that we would continue to see Christ be glorified through His Body!


Stefanie Nicholson
Founder and Team Lead

P.S. Our team is currently in a 4 part series on the equipping gifts from Ephesians 4. I will provide the links to the posts that have currently been sent. If you would like to be added to our mailing list for the remainder of the series please send your email to: information@here2there.org with a request for the “Equipping Series”.

Reboot

By now, Missionary Care professionals have analyzed, debated, and initiated plans to care for their missionaries while they are displaced from their mission sites. We all understand that being taken away from one’s livelihood is difficult and potentially depressing. Displaced missionaries are being engaged in church activities such as teaching, preaching, and serving right here at home. Some may be using the talents they exploit on their sites right here at home to keep them serving. Some are certainly pressing on with the homeschooling of their children, and likely taking a few moments to get reacquainted with their passport country at a deeper level than they did the last time they visited – with the obvious exception of the restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Churches, families, and friends are likely working intentionally to help these missionaries take their mind off of the people on their sites, and supporting them by joining them in earnest prayer. Many missionaries are doing what they can remotely, utilizing technology to communicate, teach, advise, and direct as much as is possible. Some are simply out of touch with the people they serve and lead, even fearing that the work that has been done may be unraveling. And, being amazing supporters, their church families are assuring them that God is on the program and that because of Him their work will not return void.

As appropriate as are all of these activities; moving a missionary forward may be the best thing churches can do to help their missionaries emotionally and spiritually. It is either time to get back to the work or that time is just days away. Some of the sites your church supports will need to be reestablished, replenished, rebooted, and/or be reacquainted with your missionaries. This will require focused prayer, resources, planning, and teamwork. For some of your missionaries, the “re” work will be simple and they will slide smoothly back into their site. For others, the work is going to resemble that of when they began their missional journey. They may find that they need to reach out to all of their supporters to rekindle their relationships, to get the support flowing again. For others, they may need to develop new strategies for accomplishing the work they do at their site. Still, others may be either apprehensive or anxious to return to their site. They may need coaching to be sure they are moving at the right time, and at the right pace.

With all of this said, there is plenty of work that must be done now, to be sure no unnecessary delays will keep the sites from getting back up and serving. So below is a random list of some things church supporters can do to help your missionaries be ready to return to their mission sites.

  • If you have not yet debriefed your missionaries, do so as soon as possible. They must release their anxieties (minor or major) now, so they can have the clarity of mind to begin identifying their next steps. (1 Peter 5:7, Proverbs 12:25, Philippians 4:6-8)
  • Work with your missionary(s) to help them develop a strategy to re-establish their funding. (Philippians 2:4)
  • Move your missionary from reporting mode to vision-sharing mode. By now your congregation is very appreciative of the work your missionary teams have done–now give your missionary time to get your congregation excited about the what’s next. This may help your missionary begin to vision-cast, which will help encourage them emotionally and help them connect spiritually to their impending return to the field. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Acts 18:9 & 16:9, Amos 3:3, Galatians 6:9)
  • If you are part of your church’s MST (missionary support team) Help your missionary contact the MSTs from other supporting churches to be sure they are in a forward-looking mode on behalf of your missionary(s). Express your willingness to work in cooperation with your missionary’s other MSTs. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
  • Start collecting the supplies and materials your missionary will need to take with them now. Spread the cost of these goods over time. (Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 20:13)
  • Begin planning for travel, housing (if not already established), and the delivery of materials and supplies. Your missionary doesn’t need to do all of this work as long as you are coordinating with them. (Galatians 6:2)
  • Even as you are planning for your local efforts, be also hands-on in helping your missionaries assemble curriculum, develop lesson series, and build ministry strategy to get them well prepared. They will have plenty to do once they are back on-site to get things back up and running. (Proverbs 11:25)
  • Work on your relationship with your missionaries. Many pastors and other church leaders have developed great friendships with their missionaries, but are weak as collaborators. The opposite is also true. Take this time to develop a well-rounded relationship with your teams. (1 Peter 3:8, Psalm 133:1)
  • Once you have gotten your missionary(s) moving forward, continue to evaluate their emotional and spiritual preparedness, just as you did before their original deployment. (Philippians 4:6-7, Ephesians 6:13)
  • For some missionaries, it may have already been determined that they will not return to their site. They will need your help in preparing for their next mission or ministry. (Isaiah 43:19, Isaiah 42:9, Proverbs 12:15)

Many of your missionaries are locked down with family members in your proximity and others are out of state. At some point, you may have to take the initiative to call them back to service. This does not mean calling them to your location, but getting them back in the groove of planning, preparing, and participating as the leaders or workers of your sites. Remember that much of the work of getting your missionary ready to return to their site is going to fall on you. The more you put off the preparation, the more frustration and anxiety will be associated with the return.

Most importantly, keeping your missionaries focused on their work boosts their confidence, assures them that the church continues to see the value of what they do, and helps them exchange their feelings of loss and grief for excitement and forward-thinking. So don’t delay – Reboot.

If you have any questions about how to get started or just want to talk about missionary care email us at information@here2there.org.

Mark Painter – MAPC, MCM

In this current situation, consider the persecuted church

Covid-19 has contaminated hundreds of thousands of people with infections increasing dramatically daily. Some have projected the total number of those affected worldwide will be in the tens of millions with fatalities anticipated to be over 1 million people. Sports have been canceled, jobs have been lost, schools have been closed. Terms like “social distancing,” “isolation,” and “quarantine” have become common vocabulary. Churches have been shut down for weeks, many without a date for reopening.

The current circumstances, though alarming, could present opportunities for churches to deepen their understanding of what the persecuted church faces daily.

To read the rest of this blog go to imb.org.

Are you being driven by fear?

Everyone is going through a tough time right now. People are getting sick, some are dying, and many are losing jobs and income. There is a huge burden on those that are missionaries and pastors to feed their flock, but the avenue in order to do so is limited. It’s great that we live in a time of technology. We can zoom and video chat. Sermons, scriptures and encouraging words are shared over social media in both the written word and videos.

I love how God’s people come together and improvise, to share the gospel. But, we all know that watching a video or reading words on social media does not compare to being together, hugging each other and sharing and doing life together. Which is so much of what being a Christian is about.

This can put a lot of pressure on pastors and missionaries who are trying to continue to meet the needs of the church, but have limited resources and means to do so. I applaud those that are continuing to try, those that are working outside the box to make it happen, those across the country who are willing to take risks and meet the needs of the people they serve. Everyone is in this together. There is no one around the world that is untouched.

Right now there is a high level of anxiety among Christians and non-Christians. There is an accelerated rate of Obsessive Compulsive behaviors as people worry about getting sick and spreading the illness. There are a number of people that are depressed due to lack of income from losing their job. Countless others fear getting sick, getting others sick, or are afraid they too will lose their job, with no end in sight. All while living in isolation from friends, family and their church.

These things can cause a lot of conflict. Some people may not agree with how the situation is being handled from a Federal, State or local level from the government. Some may not be happy with how the church leadership is handling the situation. Others may be in disagreement over their own feelings of infecting others or themselves. Many people are very confused and overwhelmed with the entire process. Just as much as people are worried about losing their jobs and family members those that lead the church are also worried. It is easy to allow our emotions to control us, rather than being in control of our emotions. When we allow our emotions to control us, then we react. We have a feeling such as anxiety or fear, and then we act out of that feeling which can hurt others, ourselves and even the church. To be in control of our feelings we need to recognize what we are feeling, for example fear or anxiety. Then be honest as to why we are feeling this way. Look at scripture and what it says about that feeling, then act in love, grace, and according to God’s word. And then “if it is possible with you, live at peace with one another” Romans 12:8

We have no knowledge of when or if this will end. Pastors and those in ministry don’t know what will happen to their church when this ends. Will people get used to staying at home? Will people be so excited to finally be in church that the pews and chairs are full? We can pray that once we are back to “normal” there will be more people than ever who want God in their life and who will be a part of the church. Pastors, teachers, ministry leaders, missionaries and Christians please don’t lose heart. Now is the time that we can be the church by showing compassion, while also not allowing fear to dictate our decisions. I believe that it’s important that as Christians we unite during this time. We encourage each other. Encourage those who during tough times are making sacrifices, encourage those who in tough times are taking risks, encourage those who during tough times are trying to make the best decisions for everyone. Pastors show yourselves some grace. Church show your pastors some grace.

Here are some action steps this week:

1.) Are you living in fear? Read what the Bible says about fear.

2.) Are you allowing your emotions to control you? If so, recognize why you are feeling how you are, and then read what the scripture says. Put the Word of God in practice.

3.) How are your feelings affecting your relationship with others? Are you showing grace, love and compassion? or do you find yourself being irritable and in conflict with others?

4.) If in conflict how can you resolve those conflicts, Biblically?

5.) How can you show grace, love and compassion today?

6.) If you feel like your emotions are in control of you, such as anxiety and you are having a hard time, please reach out to Here2There ministries information@here2there.org or a professional therapist for help.

Some follow up scriptures:
Isaiah 43:2, Psalm 37:5, Romans 8:18, Isaiah 41:10, Proverbs 12:18, James 1:19-20, I Peter 3:8-11

Christy Paul, LMHC

And These Three Remain

Here we are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic and Coronavirus or COVID-19 has taken over everything. Virtually everything we hear, read and talk about has to do with this virus. There may not be one person in this entire world who’s life hasn’t been affected in some way due to this pandemic. I think it’s fair to say that no one today has ever seen anything like this.

With “social distancing” becoming the norm and people, in some cases, being ordered to say in their home and others encouraged to go out as little as possible in an effort to stop the spread and the whole world caught up in fear what do we do? Politically, there’s a great debate happening to try to determine the cost of shutting down the economy to save lives from the virus versus letting people to risk getting the virus in order to keep the economy moving. Is it lives vs. money? Is the cure worse than the disease so-to-speak? Well, I don’t know the answer to any of those questions and luckily for us all I don’t have to make those decisions.

The question I do need to answer though is, “Where does the Christian fit amidst all of this chaos?” I was recently on a bike ride and after about a mile of riding the chain broke off of the bike. So, I found myself walking the bike back to the house and ended up with plenty of time to think about that question. The verse that came to me was 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” That seemed a little bit odd to me at first but as I thought about it some more it seemed to fit perfectly in times like this.

A world-wide pandemic is obviously unprecedented in our day but in our personal lives we all deal with crisis and chaos at times. Where do we go during those times and who do we depend on to get through them? When everything in life gets stripped away what is left? I think Paul is saying that at the end of the day almost everything in this world fades away or is perishable but there are three things, for the Christian, that remain: Faith, Hope and Love.

These are very uncertain times and we may have no idea if we will continue to be able to depend on our money or resources to get through, but our Heavenly Father knows what we need and promises to provide those things.

-Faith is how we know that God exists and He promises to provide our need. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see(Hebrews 11:1). We have confidence that we are not left to fight the challenges of life alone. Jesus has already overcome this world and every problem that comes with it(1 John 5:5).

-We have hope in Him that no matter what happens in this world He loves us and is in control so we don’t need to be anxious about anything(Phil 4:6), we can cast our anxieties on God because He loves us(1 Peter 5:7), we can have peace of mind because He gives us His peace(John 14:27). These are the two things that help us go on in the midst of crisis and chaos.

-The last one, Love, the greatest one according to Paul, is how we express and show that the other two exist. It is important to still look for ways in which we can love our neighbors. And no, staying inside so that you don’t give them Coronavirus doesn’t count. It is important that we exercise caution during this time but we cannot let fear be our biggest motivator. Our faith must be stronger than our fears. Seek God and ask him to show you the best way to show love during this time. Our neighbors are living in fear, anxiety and general confusion not may the best time to “give the reason for the hope that you have(1 Peter 3:15).” The world is searching for hope. Let’s give it them in love.

Lastly, we at Here 2 There encourage you and your churches to check up on your missionaries serving abroad during this time. So many people are dealing with the chaos and also having to deal with even more uncertain or constrained governmental systems. They need to know you’re thinking about them and willing to help anyway you can. Contact us if you are looking for ways to connect and care for those serving overseas during this crises.

When Business Supports Missions: 4 Ways BAM Contributes To Missions Endeavors

Mary sat in the audience of the church one morning listening to her pastor reading a request from some of the church’s missionaries. The missionaries were making an appeal for someone to relocate to their mega-city environment in order to develop a consultation business. Mary had spent the past two decades working as a consultant to small businesses, large corporations, and multinational conglomerates, and her ears perked up.

Mary had entrepreneurial gifts, significant business experience, a love for the gospel and the local church, and a missionary vision to see disciples made around the world. Until now, these passions and skills seemed disparate. However, as she heard the missionary’s appeal that Sunday, she began to see them coalesce beautifully for the first time.

To read the rest of Matthew Bennett’s blog at The Upstream Collective click here.

What Drives You Fear or Faith?

by Wayne Dinsbeer, church Partnership Lead

My wife, Donna, and I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days at The Cove, Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, NC. It was such a great experience as we enjoyed the beauty of  this amazing facility nestled in the grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

We love the mountains and have traveled to them regularly since we were married 48 years ago. We always have to get out and hike somewhere there is a trail. On one of our days with a few hours of free time we decided to take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell State Park. We had been on the parkway for not quite an hour when we came to gates closing the road ahead. It didn’t seem that cold for this to have happened, but there we were on the parkway with the road closed. 

Donna is great at spotting hiking opportunities and at the turn around there were  several trails leading who knows where? That was it, we had to get out and hike up the mountain trail to discover why the road was closed. It didn’t take us long to come upon  icicles hanging off the rocks on the side of the trail as well as some on the trail. While it was very beautiful and picturesque, I am sure icee roads were why the road was closed.

We enjoyed what we could before returning to the Cove for the evening session.

Will Graham, Franklin’s son, was the featured speaker for these few days.He was teaching through I Samuel, which he had been doing three days at a time for eight years now twice a year. Many of the same people returned each time he was teaching to hear his continued thoughts on this Old Testament gem.

The theme of the lessons seemed to be the need for believers to make our decisions of life based on the faith and facts we find in God’s Word rather than the fears we have from all that surrounds us. Right now there are many fears that stem from the unknown about the Coronavirus – Covid 19. I have never seen the response of decisions being made due to the fear which is compounded by this vast and fast spreading virus.  

There were many examples discussed in chapters 25-28 of I Samuel which became the key ingredients of the lessons. David showed great decision making based on his faith not his fear early on in his life from the time he steps forward to do battle with the giant Goliath to the time he carries Goliath’s sword as he goes to Gath, Goliath’s hometown. Certainly his faith allowed him to be victorious and overcome many situations which could have had different outcomes had he acted in fear.

Another key character which exhibited great faith in the decisions she made was Abigail, who is a type of Christ in the Old Testament. She had done no wrong, yet took on herself the wrong done by her foolish husband, Nabal, as she sought to redeem and save her husband and servants from David’s wrath and destruction. At a time when great fear could have caused her to retreat, she takes the initiative to bring David provisions and gifts as she begs his forgiveness and deliverance. Her faith in David to do the right thing toward her and her people because of his relationship to his God made all the difference in what and how she acted.

In the above example both David and Abigail use their faith to allow God to make recompense for the wrong foolish Nabal had done. At times when they could have rationalized taking vengeance on Nabal for the wrong he had done, they both acted in faith to do right in a difficult situation. The result, David did not commit a sin for killing Nabal, and received the supplies he and his army needed. Abigail saved her family and servants from David’s wrath. God strikes Nabal down dead a few days after. And David takes Abigail for his wife.

When we act in faith and make our decisions based on that faith we give God an opportunity to be glorified as He demonstrates His awesome power and love through the way He directs the situations in our lives. How many times has God delivered us from situations in ways which can only be described as “God Did It” moments in life.

It is at these time we realize His divine plan and will for us. This is how God desires and intends for His children to live – In Faith.

Unfortunately, too many times we allow the fears of this world to be our decision makers in our life. The world is full of “fears” which have the ability to rob us of so many joys in our life – Fears of Failure, Financial Stress, What others think, Making a mistake, Pleasure over Righteousness, Wrong decisions… and many more. All are tools of satan to distract us from doing what we know God wants and acting on our Faith to experience His victory in our life.

A Faith Life is so much more rewarding and joyous than a life based on Fear. So, how do we have the strength to make decisions based on Faith? Faith comes from the knowledge of God’s Word and the application of the principles in scripture. The more you know, the more you grow. Making faith based decisions in your life is a progressive thing. Start by reading the Bible and doing what the Holy Spirit leads you as He reveals the truths of the Word to you.

Much of our work with Here2THere Ministries is about assisting Pastors, Missionaries, Leaders, and Members to develop Strategies and Plans for their ministries based on the Faith in the Vision God has given them. Satan works extra hard to cause these spiritual leaders to be driven by their fears rather than their faith This “Fear” based leadership thwarts many good intentioned evangelical opportunities.

 One of the greatest fears often used to keep the Lord’s work from flourishing is the “we’ve never done it that way before” fear. That one is often very difficult to get people from succumbing to. It takes leadership casting great vision based on their great faith in what God wants to be accomplished in the work. We work with leaders to discover, design, develop, and deploy others to Act in Faith in accomplishing their God given Vision.

I invite you to discover more about the work of Here2There Ministries at www.here2there.org.  

Live your life based on the Faith in God and His Word, Not the Fears which Satan and this world throw at you. You’ll be happier as you experience His Joy in your life.