Out of Africa

GBCer Dennis Hoover has returned from Liberia, Africa after helping Revive Liberia Missions provide support to seventeen churches in the Alive Liberia Missions network. One of this ministry’s programs supplies Liberians with sawmills and the expertise to use them.  Through the sawmill project, men are trained and employed in the lumber industry which also provides support to their churches.   

Dennis and Jim Brown (JB) of the Wood-Mizer sawmill company, traveled to Buchanan, Liberia to provide refresher training and sawmill maintenance.  Except for Sunday morning at church, their time was spent at the sawmill/logging yard repairing equipment, problem solving, observing work practices, and helping where needed. Along with two missionaries “out of the bush”, their work continued on Sunday afternoon at Pastor Claudius’ sawmill located behind his house.  Claudius adopted and raised twelve boys during the civil war, each of whom has become an African pastor.  

Evenings were spent phoning the U.S., inventorying parts, watching sawing videos with the young sawyers, and learning practical math.  They also watched JB’s Christian movies with their African hosts and friends, including a former witch doctor whose conversion has turned whole villages to Jesus.

Enormous cottonwood trees dot the landscape in the upland “bush” areas of Liberia.  Many were planted, along with a curse, where a young woman was buried alive as part of a native sacrifice ritual. Bill, one of the American missionaries who came from the bush, wants every one of these cottonwoods cut down and their logs sawn into boards to build churches, showing this curse has no power alongside the Lord’s.  

Please pray that his desire is fulfilled and that the upcoming visit of another group in March will be a further blessing to our fellow believers in Christ, in Buchanan, Liberia. 

 

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Titus 3:5 - The People of the Church are Renewed
The rescue mission by which we are able to have a relationship in God is not ushered in by us – but by Him alone. It reads here that we are washed, regenerated and renewed according to HIS mercy. Are we ever tempted to take credit for that renewal? Are we ever guilty of resting our fates (or the Church’s fate) on our own shoulders? Reflect on how God’s mercy has brought renewal into your life and ask Him for more. 

 

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

 Colossians 2:13-15 - The Church Sees Becoming before Doing
It is so easy for the doing to constantly overshadow the becoming. Here Paul reminds us that in Christ the believer actually becomes something…ALIVE. It isn’t just a change in behavior, but a far deeper transformation. Why does “doing” seem to get prioritized so often over “becoming”? How does your love for others flow out of your becoming?

 

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Philippians 3:7-9 - The Church Values Knowing Christ
There is something about encountering Jesus that puts everything else in life on a completely different (and lower) level. Compared to Him, all is loss. Knowing is where relationships begin. Where does it fall on the priority list of your day? What does it look like for you to get to know Jesus better? 

 

Always On

Our missions word this week comes from an edited devotional written by Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, #8111.

Now He had to go through Samaria. . . . Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” John 4:4-7

“Now, this encounter starts a chain reaction that, in turn, ends up with a massive revival in this Samaritan village, and much of the village comes to Christ as Savior. It started at a time when Jesus was feeling tired and thirsty, and ready for some rest. 

But along comes a woman who needs Him, and He opens up her life to His claims. Now here’s Jesus, worn out. . .In fact, it is, humanly speaking, Jesus’ thirst that puts Him at the right place at the right time. And that’s the same way God is directing your steps. He wants to use the everyday events of your life to position you to affect someone else’s life. 

You never know how God will get you to be at the right place for someone who needs you - for someone who needs Him. . . If you’re going to be like your Lord, you can’t put your service into little compartments. . .Today, in the middle of your journey, there is someone who needs Jesus. 

Life really becomes an adventure actually when you consciously open up your day to God’s sovereignly bringing you together with other people for His glory and for their good. In fact, it’s exciting to begin each day, praying something like this, “Lord, use my everyday activities today to put me in the path of someone who needs me, who needs you.”

 

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

ohn 13:12-17.  How does Jesus challenge the disciples’ thinking in terms of leadership in verses 13 – 14?  How might the church look different if when we are tempted in our own relationships to marginalize, exploit and abuse power – we kneeled and washed someone’s feet?  How does this posture change us?  Psalm 34:1-3 reads, “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.”  Men and women are co-equals with unique roles – how can you pray for healing in these important relationships? 

 

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

 John 8:28 and Phil. 2:6-10.  Understanding that God is a Triune God (Father, Son, Spirit) – relationships are created and to be understood through the fact that this is an eternal part of His being.  Both of these passages affirm that Jesus willingly submitted to the Father to restore us back to God for those who believe.  How does this reading compel you to think about male/female relationships?

 

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Genesis 3:14-19.  When Adam and Eve were confronted with their sin – based on the curses pronounced - evaluate how desire, thinking and behavior will be disordered between each other and ultimately with God.  Women will be blessed through child birth – how is that understood in v. 15 when God addresses the serpent?  Read Luke 1:31-35 to help work through this very early prophecy.

 

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Genesis 2:21-25.  What sort of symbolism might be derived from God using Adam’s rib to create woman? When Adam said “This is now bone of my bone” how might the assignment given to him in v. 19-20 help him fully realize what God had done? Woman was taken from Adam’s side for partnership and as co-equal, though distinct, in her role.  In your prayer time - appreciate both male and female roles as distinct and created by God for each as a complimentary gift.

 

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Genesis 2:7 and 15-20.  What is unique about man?  What command is given to man and why do you think God gave this command (v. 16-17).  What is the assignment given to man and why would God have him do this rather than have just done this Himself? Psalm 139:13-18 – pray through this passage as a way to appreciate how uniquely and wonderfully created we are.

 

Conrads and Cameroon

GBC-supported missionaries Rick and Chelsea Conrad and their children live in Yaounde Cameroon.  Rick is a database programmer with Wycliffe Bible Translators. 

From their recent newsletter:

“Rick has been working passionately on software that ultimately aims to connect God’s Word to people who need to hear it. Here’s some of the projects he’s worked on:

    Dulu - a web app designed to help SIL Cameroon branch organize and track all of the translation and language development work going on in Cameroon. . . It’s gone from not existing at all, to being used by the branch. . . 

    CMB Payroll - replaces an old, broken Access program, making it possible for a small finance team to continue managing our many employees’ pay, benefits and taxes.

    Bloom Reader - the Android app for reading books created with Bloom. Bloom is an award-winning software that simplifies the process of publishing books in minority languages. . . 

    Hear This - a Windows program that makes recording mother-tongue scripture as simple as possible. . . 

    LibArchives - an online database of the branch library’s archives of linguistic research.

    AlphaChart Creator - creates alphabet chart packs for the soon-to-be-created AlphaChart Android app, which will give people interactive alphabet charts, helping them learn to read their mother tongue.”

“We’ve been attending a French-speaking church that’s about a five-minute walk from our house, and we try to make it to the small group meeting after the service. It has been a challenge for the kids to feel at home there, and we’re praying about how to make it better for them.”

Although life in Yaounde is relatively stable, the northern part of the country has seen violence from Boko Haram.  Let’s pray for their safety, the challenges of daily living, and their upcoming visit to the US this summer. 

 

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

2 Timothy 4:2-5 Stay the Course!
These verses say it so well. We are in that time, we believe, when people do not want to even hear that with which they do not agree. The beginning of the end of civil discourse may in fact be behind us, and the time for persecution may be ahead of us. May we be faithful to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even in its exclusivity, without apology, while in simultaneous, in perfect harmony, we love people unconditionally! To the Glory of God!

 

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Exodus 20:14,Romans 1:18-32 Other Issues
How does deviating from God’s plan and His ideal always bring disappointment, rather than fulfillment? Do you believe that God has His best in mind for you in His design for human sexuality? Why do we yearn toward things outside of the Lord’s best for us? Where do you need to commit again to sexual purity?