He’s Under Your Feet!

Romans 16 20I was just talking to my spiritual mama and she said to me, “If the devil is in your ear you need to tell him he’s up a little bit too high because the Lord has placed him under your feet!” That might make you chuckle – but it reminded me that sometimes as Christians we are just a little to timid with our enemy, Satan. Put that joker in his place!!

Have the presence of mind at all times to encourage yourself with the truth that God will act on your behalf. Yes – Satan might seem to prevail, but don’t let that make you lose heart – have faith and be patient because God’s promise is that Satan cannot prevail against you!!

Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

 

Tainted Water – The Solution Is Discipleship

Tainted WaterOnce while driving in Ghana – we passed by a water well that had been drilled for a local community and saw some children fetching water. They were pulling together on their rope to get their bucket out – and then came shock – horror! They were fetching the water in a turpentine can! Because we lived here among this particular people group, we KNOW that no one washed the container out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water – they just rinsed it in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use. We love these people and our hearts went out to them.  We immediately planned a healthy drinking water training for them.  A training that would help them to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water. They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

Not only is clean water important — but understanding what can contaminate water is important.   

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part. But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth. They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for an entire congregation. What is the solution to this issue?

The solution is to teach the complete gospel.

That means that we go beyond salvation. We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God. But what if they can’t read?  We’ve encountered this many times where we work.  Then the solution is discipleship.  We have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them to read or to provide an audio bible. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life! When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word. When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts. When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But this takes TIME!! And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another?? I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship, that it is a 24 hour a day commitment. The women that I disciple call whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go! And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple any believer in only 8 weeks!

Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!! It means loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples. He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved! We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives.  In fact – we ought to be modeling the life of Christ in view of people even before they know who He is!!  What a change in the world we could make!

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Trust Him with ALL

proverbs-3-5-and-6On January 17, 2017 –  I was involved in a serious car accident with my sweetheart.  I was driving and went unconscious while behind the wheel for several minutes.  The car was going down the highway at about 70MPH.  Lloyd had to maintain his composure while: 1)  hoping that his unconscious wife was alive ; 2) having thoughts of what his life (and his children’s lives) might be like if she was not alive; 3) realizing that he would have to save our lives; and 4) realizing that no matter what he did, only God could save us.

The King of Kings was with us that night for sure because Lloyd says the muscle in my right leg relaxed which let the car start to slow down while he grabbed the wheel.  We crashed into a traffic sign instead of into oncoming traffic.  Eric, an off duty Colorado police officer, was behind us and stopped to help Lloyd to navigate the madness – which was also wonderful because the calls to 911 kept saying “call failed”.  God kept Lloyd and I here and I just cannot thank Him enough!

The reactions of our friends/family were varied:”God has something planned for you!”; “It wasn’t time for you to go!”; “God extended His grace to you!”; “God granted His grace to us!”; “God looked out for us!”; “Thank God!”; “Get to the doctor!”; “REST!”; “Don’t ever travel again!”; Or in some cases – just tears or looks that needed no words.

My heart and Lloyd’s heart have been running through a gamut of emotions.  We are grateful!  We’ve been concerned! We have had some fear that has passed.  But the most amazing thing is that we have felt great passion for our callings toward the gospel being spread across the earth.  We have felt a burning urgency to carry out some of the things that God has placed in our hearts in recent days.  We have found ourselves worshipping everywhere we go because that has been one of the most effective tools against the fear and concern.  Gratefulness. Concern. Fear. Passion. Urgency. Worship! Yes – worship has been one of the most effective tools against the negative thoughts or feelings – I can see what Paul and Silas felt at midnight!  We lived to see another new mercy. This mercy – we truly can say we’ve never witnessed before!  Nothing in us has us wanting to stop doing what God has called us to do.  This latest experience has only made us both want to dive deeper into it and get it done with more passion; more excellence; and as soon as we can do it.

What about you?  As you live your life for the King of Kings are you acting as if your eternal life will be lived right where you are?!  I want to encourage you to live it like every moment just might be your last where you are.  None of us know when our last moment is –  I’m not saying that you might die; but I am saying that you might be moved!!  You just don’t know!  If the Lord tells you to share the gospel with someone – Open Your Mouth Today!  If the Lord tells you to write a book – Put The Pen To The Page Today!  If the Lord tells you to get under someone’s discipleship – Make The Move Today! If the Lord tells you to get a doctorate degree – Start The Program Today!  If God makes a way for you to show some hospitality – do it Today!  Don’t Procrastinate!  Don’t Hesitate!  Don’t try to fit God’s plan into your schedule.

If you’ve made the decision to call Him the Lord of your life – just go ahead and trust in Him completely and move your own understanding of things out of the way.  Relinquish your own idea about what might be right about how to carry things out over to Him and believe that He really will work it out in the way that is best for you!

As for Lloyd and I,  YES – God has asked us to do some pretty radical things in the last couple of years and we’ve done most with very little hesitation; but we’ve piddled around on some that aren’t so comfortable or easy.  This latest experience has just told us to go on and Do It!  He’s Ordering our Steps.  He’s Making the Path Plain.  He’s Got Us!  In Fact — He Has Got It All!!  Nothing that He’s asking of us is too hard for us because all of our strength is in Him and all of our purpose rests in Him and our life is hidden in His Son!

In fact, the only reason we even ARE is Him!

Proverbs 3:5,6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

 

African American Missionaries MAKING History – Lloyd and Jan Chinn

IMG_0035Thank you for reading my blog during African American History Month as I highlighted some of my heroes. Tomorrow I will return to reflections from God’s Word. I hope that you have learned a lot and that the stories have been a blessing.

I know these people best – so I saved their story for the last day …

Lloyd and Jan Chinn are native to Texas. Lloyd from Edna, TX and Jan from Houston, TX. The Chinns met, married and their careers were rising when Lloyd sensed the Lord’s leading into ministry. Jan was working for Ernst & Young LLP in Private Client Services; Lloyd was working as a very successful political strategist in Houston, TX. In 1998, when Lloyd acknowledged his call to ministry the Lord spoke to the Chinn’s that May 15th would be Lloyd’s last day of secular work. The Chinn’s moved to Dallas that June where Lloyd attended Dallas Theological Seminary with a plan to return to their home church in Houston to engage in faith based community economic development. By now, Lloyd was in seminary full time and working for a local non-profit as an urban planner and Jan was working as Corporate Human Resources Manager for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts.

In 1999, Lloyd was invited to Ghana, West Africa on a short term mission. Lloyd and Jan had never even met a missionary and had no desire to enter into missionary service; they scarcely knew where Africa was – and had never heard of Ghana. Jan was resistant to Lloyd’s going; but God provided the funds for the journey and they took that as confirmation that Lloyd was to go. 5 days into Lloyd’s trip, he was asked to preach in the village of Pusupu – he had only preached twice before that and was nervous, but he preached from Ephesians 2 and about 10 people prayed to receive Christ! Lloyd was blown away. He returned to his room and while journaling about the day, God spoke to him clearly that Africa would be his context of ministry – it was May 15th – one year exactly from the day Lloyd left the secular work world. Lloyd returned to the USA and did not tell his wife about the call to Africa – but before the year’s end, Jan wanted to go and see Ghana. In 2000 they took all of their children and 22 other people to the same little town in Ghana – and on that trip, Jan’s experience opened her eyes to the need for discipleship in Ghana. Lloyd’s firm message to the African American church became: “Pray! Pay! or Pack!”

In 2002, Lloyd and Jan were appointed as long term missionaries with CBInternational (which is now WorldVenture) and were approved to open a new field of ministry in Ghana. Their mission agency was concerned that as African Americans, they wouldn’t be able to raise the financial support – but God had another plan! The Chinn’s had unprecedented support from the African American church in Texas. In 2004, the Chinns sold everything they owned and boarded a plane with their sons and one way tickets to Ghana, West Africa. It wasn’t easy – they did not have a team; they did not know the language or culture; they had to send their sons to boarding school in Senegal; they endured loneliness; the pain of being misunderstood; the hurt of being taken advantage of; a complete change of systems and culture and yet – they persevered. The Chinn’s call their ability to move to Ghana as a family and have effective ministry God’s anointing. They say He called them to it and He equipped them for it. Lloyd and Jan as well as their sons learned the Asante Twi language and developed friendships in both national and local government and across denominations in Ghana and learned to submit to the leaders in the church and in the community which gained them respect and love in the country. The Chinns served in Ghana for 10 years mainly in pastoral leadership development. The needs of the community in Nkwanta led them to also engage in orphan care, educational development and community economic development.

In 2013, they returned to the USA on a home assignment which was supposed to last 10 months. During their first few months in the US, the leadership of WorldVenture called and asked them to take on the role of International Ministries Director for Africa. In March 2014, they stepped in to this new role where they are now missionaries to the missionary; providing pastoral care, leadership development and strategic planning assistance for 108 missionary units (some families; some singles) in 12 countries across Africa. They are the first African Americans to serve in this capacity with their mission.

African American Missionary History – Amanda Berry Smith

smith_amanda_berryEvangelist and missionary Amanda Berry Smith (1837-1915) became well known for her beautiful voice and inspired teaching and hence, opportunities to evangelize in the South and West opened up for her.

In 1876, she was invited to speak and sing in England travelling on a first class cabin provided by her friends. The captain invited her to conduct a religious service on board and she was so modest that the other passengers spread word of her and resulted in her staying in England and Scotland for a year and a half.

She next traveled to and ministered in India, then spent eight years in Africa (Egypt, Sierra Leone, Liberia) working with churches and evangelizing. While in Africa she suffered from repeated attacks of “African Fever” but persisted in her work. In her journal entry for February 5, 1884 she writes:

“Second Gospel Temperance meeting. Surely the Spirit of the Lord is with us, and He is blessing us greatly. Not so much liberty in speaking, but God is with us, and we are expecting great things. Oh, Lord, for Jesus’ sake, answer prayer, and send us the Holy Ghost to quicken and revive us.”

She founded the Amanda Smith Orphans’ Home for African-American children in a suburb of Chicago. She was called “God’s image carved in ebony.” Amanda Smith retired to Sebring, Florida in 1912 due to failing health. She died in 1915 at the age of 78.

Amanda has one of very few written autobiographies by black americans of that time period.  You can read her an electronic copy of her autobiography “An Autobiography. The Story of the Lord’s Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith the Colored Evangelist; Containing an Account of Her Life Work of Faith, and Her Travels in America, England, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Africa, as an Independent Missionary”at this link –  Autobiography of Amanda Smith