God Paid It Foward
God Paid It Foward

Berlin - Germany Mission Trip

This is the skit that we did in the "Platzes" in Berlin and Cologne during our trip.  We would do several a day after the painting that Lance would do and then we would go out into the crowd to start up conversations.  Amazing!!!

We have returned from Germany!!!

September 27, 2016

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

“Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I!. Send me.”

And He said, “Go, and tell this people: …”

-Is 6:8-9

If you would have asked me a few years ago if I would go out on a street, dance some dance, do a skit and then go out and talk to random people about Jesus and the Gospel all day long for the better part of two weeks, I probably would have said – that sounds great and like an awesome thing to do, but, no – that’s not really me.  Well.. Evidently, it is me afterall.

 

My wife and I returned from a trip to Germany on September 12th and it has taken me to this point, to actually put some of my writings and thoughts together.  So, now I share some of the experiences I had while on our mission trip.

 

I have so many wonderful things to share, but I am going to stick to a few right now.  They fall in categories of Trust, Courage, Following, Faith, Evangelism, Fellowship and Conviction.

 

I’ll start out with Trust.  Throughout my life, trust has always been a big issue for me.  I have had events in my life that no one should have to experience.  Events that made it very difficult to trust others, myself or even “God.”  But, through this journey, I learned that obedience begets trust on a level that surpasses all understanding.  From the moment I was asked to go on this mission, I believed and trusted that God would deal with the details and that He would give me all the words that needed to be spoken throughout the trip.  

 

Courage!  Have you ever had a time in your life where you just knew you weren’t prepared or “gifted” in an area and you decided to NOT make a leap of faith, because you might look stupid?  Oh, I have – for sure.  I actually have not stepped out to go on the streets of Texas to proclaim the Gospel, for those very reasons.  But courage isn't something that I ever lacked on this mission.  God spoke to me, I obeyed and He gave me the courage to do whatever He had asked.

 

Faith.  Imagine trusting the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and all your mind?  Can you imagine having the faith to know that God will do something, just because, “It is written”?  God knows your every thought and every deed and He gave you every gift you have and every talent – and He uses all of that, for His glory and His purpose.  Through this trip, God continued to give me the gift of Faith that He would work in us and through us – not only in sharing His word, but the sharing of our Testimony.  You better believe He used all of that - Lives were changed and hearts turned to Him and even now, faith continues to spread.

 

Following.  By design, I am a leader.  One of my greatest positive attributes is being a commander.  When an issue arises, I’m first to the line to deal with whatever that is.  When it’s time to get from here to there, I assess the situation and plot out the course.  If something needs to be fixed or sorted out – I will step up and get it resolved.  But… following??? – Not always been one of my better traits.  For me, this trip was all about following.  Someone else mapped out where we would stay and we stayed there.  Someone else told us when we would eat and we ate.  Someone else would lead us to the next train station and get us to where we needed to go.  What a gift!!!  All that time and energy and focus and dealing with details was removed from anything I even had to deal with.  My mind wasn’t cluttered with the “how”, I just had to deal with the “now”.  The people that lead the team were spot on.  Really!!!  What a gift and a blessing!!!

 

Fellowship.  Spending time with other believers, talking about things of God and lifting up, supporting and praying over one another is something that does my heart a lot of good.  Not only did I get the chance to do this, I got to do this with some of the most remarkable men and women that I already knew and had the fortune to meet some really special that I hadn’t even met before.  What an awesome experience.

 

Evangelism.  The core component of what I believe we were called to Germany to do is Evangelism.  From the very first day we arrived, we went out – danced, did our skit and then started right into evangelizing the locals.  The moment we stepped out in faith, the presence of the Holy Spirit was in our midst.  People were not only listening, but they were hearing the message and seeds were being planted.   God’s work was being done and His word was not returning void.

 

But God…  I love that statement.  Two words that seemingly don’t go together, however they combine in such a way that conveys unwavering hope.

 

I lacked Courage, but God steps in and fills me with amazing unwavering Courage.

 

I lacked Trust, but God granted me an amazing gift of Faith. I know that He is good and sovereign and in control every single second.  God is so good.

 

Conviction.  When we were preparing to leave Germany, my heart became conflicted.  I was feeling emotionally attached to what it was that we were doing over there.  To be honest, I have been to Germany several times in the past and have always loved the country, but I never felt that way before when I was getting ready to leave Germany.  God was placing a conviction in me, through my love for the country AND through the love I have for their people and the work that God was doing in me and through me while we were in Germany.  I still don’t know what this conviction will look like, when it comes to fruition, but the desire I had as a young man, to live in Germany has again begun to reside in my heart - in addition to serving and reaching out to His children, no matter where I am, until God reveals the next season of my life.  Until then – I will praise and worship my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is my Creator and Redeemer, my Rock and my Fortress. 

 

I will continue compiling some of the conversations and experiences I had during the evangelism outreach and get them up here as well.

 

IF – anyone that reads this would like to talk about God, Jesus, Evangelism, missions, etc – feel free to reach out.  I’d love to speak with you.  God bless!

Just Two More Weeks!!!

August 19, 2016

  Today marks two weeks out from our mission trip to Germany.  We have been in prayer and continue to revel in God's mercy along the way.  My wife has been nose down into the Gospels and I have been continuing to read and study, but all along the way - keeping in mind that we are just obedient vessels allowing the Holy Spirit to work His works in us and through us.  

  Tomorrow we will be learning the skit that we will be performing in the streets and Platzes (town squares) of Köln and Berlin.  If you don't know what skit I'm referring to, go down in this blog to find the video "The Wall".  I would very much like to know your thoughts of the skit.  I have watched it probably a dozen times and still keep coming up with more thoughts...  I was selected to be one of the two people, where the man tries to cross through.  I have already been given fair warning from the guy who will pass through, that if I don't work at it, he is going to slip right by, because he will be vigilant to get through.  That in and of itself is exciting...  Besides, I think that's the real message.

  Packing is coming along.  My wife, being the organizer of the family has already figured out all that is going and has packed it.  Me however, I have the bag I will pack everything in, but have yet to decide what will go in it.  I was told recently that I'm not slow, I'm just deliberate.  I'm going to run with that.. :)  

  We are so very excited to be a part of what God is going to do through this mission.  Any pictures I take and are awesome, I will add in here - to show where we are and what we're doing.  It's still not real, but I have found myself with some thoughts of - it's just about that time...  Starting to feel the urgency.

  God bless you, thank you for your prayers and may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be showered upon you!

Sacrifice

Jun 6, 2016

  My wife made a great point and what I've learned over the years is that when my wife says something, I should weigh it carefully.  To that point, she made a comment to me about the funding of our trip and to make a long story short, she made mention that the funding of this mission could be an instance where I need to sacrifice.  

  I tried to justify not having to do that, with the thoughts of being a committed tither, having written the largest kingdom commitment check I've ever written as well as other commitments that I have helped out with through the year.  While in and of themselves, I thought that my position was justified, but I'm never really justified... Not really.  You do what your led to do, regardless of the sacrifice.  So, I did just that.  Now, I can close that chapter.

  For those of you that have partnered with us in prayer and for those of you that helped fund us financially, I thank you.  Now - we are wanting to just focus in on prayer and get our hearts and minds prepared for the task at hand - to serve our Father.  We are just shy of 3 months away from this trip.  Man - time is flying...  God bless you!!

Preparation update for trip

Jun 3, 2016

How cool - I taught a class at church on defending your faith: Jesus and the Resurrection.  I think through the 2+ months of preparation for that class, I got some more clarity around the actual defense of historical Christianity which was probably one of my weaker areas to speak on.  I thoroughly enjoyed teaching that class as well.  My delivery could be better and so I have started with a local Toastmasters group, which actually meets at my office.  How convenient.

I really do enjoy meeting with people of other religious beliefs – asking and being asked questions on faith and the “why” behind that faith.  But with family, work, church, and soccer for my son, I had to pick and choose very carefully, where I stewarded my time. Now that I have finished the research and presented the class at church, I can now start engaging more with people of different faiths again. 

Just this past weekend, I spent a little over 2 hours with some Mormon missionaries, discussing the finer points around historical Christianity.  What I was not expecting to hear, was that evidently (and it could just be these two missionaries) that they could not actually care less about the historical accuracy of the bible.  They have a fundamental belief – as it states in their articles of faith – that they believe the bible to be the word of God, in so far as it has been translated.  They were very emphatic about this point and they do have a very specific rationale behind this stand.  Their stand however for me, leaves the door open to many questions.  The meeting was great though.  It was very edifying and I got the opportunity to meet a new pair of missionaries from the Latter Day Saint organization.  They also invited me to their fireside meeting here in a couple weeks.  They are so cordial.

I am trying to set up another meeting with our Muslim friends for this weekend – we’ll see if that can be worked out.  I’m also looking to get together with a friend of mine’s mother (a Jehovah’s Witness) and one of her elders, to go over some topics that we have discussed in the recent past.  I told her and I would be very interested in going deeper into some beliefs and she extended an open invitation.  Now, it’s just a matter of coordinating it.

Another thought that keeps popping up is actually going out into the streets to start speaking.  I still have NO IDEA what that looks like, but I have received some visions as to what it could be like.  For some reason, I have it in my head that here in the U.S. there would actually be more controversy out on the streets.  I know a couple people who have done this and will investigate further.

I was thinking about this the other day.  What is my “why” behind spending all this time speaking with people of different beliefs?  Well – the short answer would be, because this desire has been stirred in me, to not only find out what people believe, but to dig into their “why” as to why they believe what they do.  I believe when you go down a couple levels, that is where the fun discussions really exist.  I share with them the gospel as I believe it is written in the bible and they share their respective beliefs with me.  I know that the Holy Spirit is the one that convicts and convinces people of the truth.  I enjoy sharing that truth but God brings the increase.  For me – I love people.  Genuinely, like I certainly hadn’t in the past.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t have conflict in the world of business, etc or that I don’t struggle with people on occasion, but I believe my heart is willing to love everyone.  I just have to choose to, right?  And I choose to.

So – we are continuing in preparation, by reading the Word of God, doing fasts, being in prayer and just listening to what the Holy Spirit has for us during this season.  We have been under significant attack and it has dropped our spirits on occasion, but we continue to persevere and hand it over to Jesus.  Do please continue to lift us up in prayer and partner with us on this journey.  Less than 3 months away from go-time.

Mission Update

May 2, 2016

Wow. It just got real. We just had our introductory meeting for the mission to Germany Saturday evening. I learned some things that were rather shocking. I have to say, I’m rather embarrassed about how little I knew about the religious culture in Germany, seeing that I have been there many times before. About 80% of the country “practices religion”, albeit, it’s more of a cultural Christianity – that doesn’t really live for – or believe in the finished work of Christ. Essentially Christianity without Christ?!? The percentage of people that actually go to church is less than 15% and of those, there are only about 2-4% of the entire population that is considered committed, bible believing Christians - those that have a relationship with Jesus. We thought we had it bad in the U.S.

The organization that we are connecting with is called EI or the European Initiative – they are amazing. They will be working directly with us, throughout the entire time of the mission. Something that really drew me in, was one of the videos that we saw, which is a skit that we will be part of, called "The Wall" or "The Wall Drama". Once the skit is complete, the opportunity opens to engage the crowd in conversation with the objective being, to share the truth. This is an opportunity to change lives, plant seeds and to watch the Holy Spirit move. This is just one of the ways that we will be engaging with the people of Germany. (see the video below – about 3 minutes)

One last word, before I close up. We are going into a country that has had its’ fill of religious dominance, religious war and overall religious abuses. Many have become atheistic in view (no God), but some still hold onto a shred of agnosticism (a god, but not defined). The struggle there, is that most Germans have had a taste of religion and it just doesn’t taste good to them. All I can say is, Holy Spirit – I call on you. I surrender to the will of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to lead my steps and to guide my words, to be from You my God. I stand on the promises of Jesus, that He will provide and that His spirit will move in this ministry.  AMEN!!

God bless you all and thank you for your continued prayers.

One comment 

Jeffrey Cates wrote in May

Wow what a great opportunity! I pray that Christ prepares the way, that He opens doors that you can boldy walk through, that He loosens the soil of men's hearts that your anointed words bypass intellect and speak directly to the heart! 

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way."
Psalm 37:23

First post for mission trip to Berlin, Germany

Apr 29, 2016

Imagine yourself being among thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees. Being face to face with people who were displaced, because of war and political and religious tyranny.  They need hope, they need love, they need support that they just cannot find on their own.

My wife and I are answering this call to meet them where they are located – in Berlin, Germany.  We are going with a group from our church that has partnered with an organization in that area.  Not only will we interact with these Muslims, we will also engage with the local Goth culture and other non-believers. We are going to share the hope we have in Jesus as well as anything else the Holy Spirit puts on our hearts.  Whether it's sharing the gospel, praying for people, sharing testimony or just answering questions about God.

We used to ask God, “How could you use someone like us, even with all of our faults and knowing our past? We now ask God, “How are you going to use us next, despite all of our faults?” What has changed, is that our past has become our testimony, through the blood of Christ.  It's only through the power and grace of Jesus.

The most important part to prepare for this mission is prayer and so we need your help.  We are soliciting your prayers now and through the time of our trip in September.  We know and understand the importance of prayer and without His direction and your prayers, this mission would end before it begins.  We are fully funded.  God provides!!!

We will be updating this blog with details about our preparation for this mission as well as posting experiences as we go into the field.  This is such a challenging opportunity for Jennifer and I, but our faith is strong and we believe that the Holy Spirit is moving in this opportunity and that He is directing our paths.  Thank you so much for your support and God bless you all!!!

Above all things, please support us with prayer.  Comments are welcome for intercessory prayer, well wishes or any suggestions/recommendations for myself or my wife for this ministry opportunity.  This mission will be a stretch both for my wife and myself and we are asking for each of you to stand in the gap with us as we step into this journey to share the gospel of Jesus.  God bless you all!!!

What an amazing opportunity it was to evangelize in Germany.  The trip may be over, and we may be back at it, with "life" but God moved in amazing ways and is continuing to do so.

God is so good!!!

Read about the trip: 

"Germany Mission"

If you have any questions Click here.

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