A Cheerful Giver

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.2 Corinthians 9:7

When I had the chance to go on a two week missions trip to India and Nepal two years ago my heart was filled with such a mixture of excitement and fear. I truly had no idea what it would be like though I did all I could to prepare for whatever opportunities and difficulties lay ahead. In all my planning though I could never have imagined the depth of emotions and love that would be given to me by the people who I would meet on the other side of the world.  Nepal and India 080

After flying 14 hours into Delhi we stayed the night in a small Indian hotel (The taxi ride the wrong way on a one way street was exciting!) then we flew into Bagdogra the following day. From there it was another 4 hour ride by taxi to our final destination in Jaegon city in West Bengal. My pastor had many invitations to speak at while we stayed at the mother church of Emmanuel ministries and my role was to lead a few songs. India was simply an ocean of humanity in which we floated like two small pieces of driftwood.

How could we even begin to do anything meaningful in the little time we had? Then we went one day to a Tea Garden. Now there is nothing at all garden like about a tea garden. It is more of a plantation with a small village at the center. The entrance of the “Garden” has a beautiful sign and a nicely paved wide road. That soon gives way to a narrow and not at all paved dirt track which winds between tiny houses, palm trees and many- many children. Then we stopped by a slightly larger tin building that was their church.

We had come to do a dental clinic and to see the feeding program in action. So to start off the festivities of that day we were introduced and then the children sang several songs. They were not just going through the motions but were really worshiping, with eyes closed and hands lifted to God. Pastor began with a brief greeting and message which was then translated into their language. The children all sat listening intently to the things that were said and then just before we were ready to close they had a surprise for us.

A young girl came to the front and began to speak in English to us. She said how happy they were that we had come. No one from the outside world had ever come to their village. She said how glad they were that we had helped them to receive the message about God’s salvation through Jesus. As she continued tears began to stream down her face and she told us they were so thankful that we had brought the light of God to them.

I sat stunned and feeling very small. I had done so little in fact and the reality of what God had done and was doing in that place began to dawn on me for the first time. Then they seated us in the only two chairs in the church and two other children came with basins of water and began to wash our feet. The emotions that stirred in me were so strong I had no idea of anything I could say. We were witnessing such a pure and genuine love that our own faith paled in comparison.

There in that little Tea Garden with not even a screen on their windows or a car for anyone to drive. Without a steeple on the church or an office for the Pastor. There Jesus was delighting in the joy of their faith and the cheerfulness of their worship. Two years have passed by and the stunning power and beauty of the light of Christ shining in their hearts is still living in my heart. How I wish many times I could ride out to their village and listen again to them singing : “Cusi.Cusi Maya”  (Happy Happy Love!) Yes God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful worshiper. When Jesus is touched by our worship He breathes life on that moment and preserves it forever in His treasure house!

Bitten In A Third-World Country

I have been on a couple of missions trips and this kind of thing as been in the back of my mind. Thank you for challenging us to trust Jesus as you have!

Lessons by Heart

Blood ran down my leg as I struggled to get the dog to let go. He was medium-sized , scrawny, and mangy…and wouldn’t leave me alone.

It was my first trip to a foreign country on a mission trip. In this country, dogs are everywhere and more like rats than pets. They wandered around at the hospital where the medical team served, dug through the trash, wandered in and out of patient rooms, and watched for scraps of food to eat. They weren’t aggressive, so the one attached to my leg was unusual.

Prior to our departure from the US, the leader of our group, Suzie Smith, recommended that we memorize Psalm 91. This was the chapter the Lord gave to them when they began Global Passion Ministries in the 90s. I figured they knew a little more about the mission field than I did, so I followed her advice…

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Foolishness of Preaching

…God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.1 Corinthians 1:21

God has chosen such a strange way to operate to bring us faith. And stranger still God has chosen such weak people to give his message to this world. One of Jesus’ disciples was struck with the oddness of the entire situation as Jesus was giving them His final instructions, just before Calvary.

John 14:27 …But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Why is it that Jesus doesn’t just come to everyone in the way He came to Paul. Why can’t a bright light shine around us and make us fall to the ground? Why can’t Jesus just show up at our work place and multiply fish and bread to get us to believe in Him? Why would He choose to send His message to the world by such an unreliable way as people telling other people



about the resurrection?  Why would anyone believe us? Not even Thomas was ready to believe until He has seen Jesus for himself. Why would someone choose to believe in a message about a Savior? After two thousand years how is it possible that a simple message can still be effective in bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ?

According to the world’s way of thinking these are all the most logical reasons why Christianity is no longer valid, if in fact it ever had been. According to the most reasonable people there is no possibility that a man named Jesus sat up in his grave and walked out on the third day. In view of the advancing technology and material comforts now offered to us today, why would anyone even hesitate in rejecting the message of the cross and of faith in Christ?

No one understands why today, around the world, people are still giving their lives for Jesus Christ. There is a mystery of God by which He still chooses to breath new life into hearts dying in hopelessness. God is pleased to move through a seemingly silly way of communicating to continue His work in the hearts of men women and children every day.

God’s methods may seem outdated but they are still filled with His power. God’s messengers may seem a feeble bunch but He keeps choosing to use those who He finds pleasing to Him, rather than smooth professional actors. Yes the message of the cross is still foolishness to our world today, just as it was to Paul’s world in the first century. Yes all these drawbacks remain to God’s way of doing things But when we align our thoughts and efforts with God’s thoughts and ways, then the Holy Spirit will still blow down from Heaven like a mighty rushing wind. God will continue to fill our simple homes with His presence and people will come to the Christ and lives will be changed! Today as we are going out, take this moment and commit to God those opportunities that are waiting to bring His message to others. No one is smart enough or strong enough or rich enough to bring a soul to Jesus Christ. God is choosing us! Let’s trust that He knows what He is doing and tell someone about Him today!