It’s not a cliché when I say we serve a good good Father, but it is the truth! Planting the church and traveling around, evangelizing, and creating bible studies was amazing during the summer. Starting a new church and assisting another changes eternity for so many, and possibly for generations! As Reinhard Bonnke would say, “Plunder hell and populate heaven. But all of the work and travels had drained me. I was ready for a refreshing. I think it’s something we all need to make time for.
What I’m about to share is very personal, but I want to share it so that others may have hope in God. I know I’m not the only person who has experienced pain within the church body, especially from church leaders that we look up too. It is not okay if somebody leaves his or her church because of offense. It only means our faith was in man, not God. Church is a body of peoples who know they are messed up, seeking the one who is Perfect and died in our place. He died for our sin, condemnation, and guilt. It’s time we put offense on the cross and let it too die with our sin, as Jesus never held onto offense.
The way I got a personal refreshing from God actually happened while I was at my first Asia Pacific meeting. It was in Thailand with all the missionaries in the surrounding countries. The second time This was the second time I have seen over 200 missionaries gathered in one place. It was amazing to be there and meet so many missionaries! On the third day of the event, I received a message from somebody I never expected to receive. A minister had reached out to me on facebook. I had looked up to him and sought for his advice during my time as a youth leader in Georgia. But our story didn’t end well, but his letter was very apologetic for cussing at me and getting me fired from my previous job. He wasn’t happy that I was getting paid as an intern. What he didn’t realize is that I had both of my bosses fighting to hire me for $5,000 monthly! I was in a very sweet spot, but then quickly got thrown into the pits.
God was doing changing things in me, and lead me to call my family prior to losing my job. I told my family that I’m going to become a missionary. Then two weeks after my commitment to God and family, I had lost both of my jobs! Me getting fired from that job had to take place. As I’m sure I’d be quite content to slowly pursue my missionary career. Who wouldn’t mind their paycheck increasing by over 200%? I think it’d be easy to get comfortable with the extra income! It was painful being yelled at from somebody I highly respected. Jealousy destroys everything around it, but God CAN use it for good. Though it may not feel good at the time. Jesus wasn’t exempt either, as it was this exact emotion that had the Pharisees put Jesus on the cross!
Each morning we had a powerful sermon brought to us by well-known AG leaders. But this particular morning in Thailand is the sermon that comforted me like a baby wrapped in his mother’s arms! I had just read this minister’s apology letter. Then came this sermon that was about Joseph the dreamer who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. I’m sure you all know the story. After many years of slavery Joseph had become fruitful in the land of his suffering where he had been put into second in command. Joseph had remembered his dreams as a young boy when his brothers stood before him asking to buy grain. In the end, Joseph was not bitter at them, but said, “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” The sermon’s emphasis was on how bad things that have happened to us can be used by God to preserve lives!
Of course I have seen many miracles, but that particular day God was showing me something so powerful! I thought to myself, whom am I out of all of these veteran missionaries in this room? Yet God is so clearly speaking this sermon straight to me through Rob Rhoden. Not only was this hour so powerful to me, but also one-month prior I had a dream that I would have reconciliation with a minister whom I used to respect. I remember sharing this dream with one of my friends, as I was hopeful.
I truly will never look at the story of Joseph the same again! Joseph later said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” The whole story is fascinating to me as to how God called me out to be a missionary. Had I not lost my jobs, I probably would not have committed to be a missionary, especially in the timeframe that it took me after losing my jobs. I was serving in another country in only 3 months time! I wrote the other side of this story back in November 2011 as God was showing how He is the chess master of our lives! Read those missionary stories how God called me to the Philippines.
Many, if not all of those who are in the church or in ministry have been wounded by people we’ve cared about. Then we ask ourselves, “How can a Christian who knows the Bible and follows Jesus do such a thing? I am no exception to the rule. Even now as I write this, I am reminded of a very recent event of somebody I look up to, causing me lots of grief. It’s not about me being right, but about me loving them. Oh it’d be so easy to get bitter! But as Rob said, “Lets not get bitter, lets get better”. God is able to use the bad things done against you, to save lives of those around you! Never let the sin against us, produce sin within us! Be the salt of the earth, and preserve the world from the decay of sin by exposing the truth! Hold your head up high, and keep your eyes and ears fixed on Almighty God!