On 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.
Thank 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.
Evangelist 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
When we are little children, right and wrong are so very simple. Just do what our parents allow and abstain from what they prevent. Stop when they say stop and proceed when they approve. Not so simple when you grow up.
There are foundational dos and don’ts out of Exodus: no idols, no using the Lord’s name out of place, no murder, no adultery, no lying, no lies, no lusting someone’s spouse; no craving someone’s stuff; honor God as Lord, honor God above any other lesser god, honor the Lord’s day as Holy, honor your parents. And I’m sure we ALL do these with no problem at all. (SMILE!!) Well, at least I know you all do. I’ve got a bad hip from kneeling to repent so often! So very grateful for His forgiveness and His cleansing. But that’s not what I’m wanting you to think about.
What about what happens on the inside of you. If you have a personal relation with The Lord, there is something in your life that He has asked you to do (or not to do) that is in addition to that list above. You know what I’m talking about – His will for your life. This might be giving your belongings to some person; it might be ending a romantic relationship; it might be writing a book; it might be refraining from some food; it might be moving to some foreign country to serve in missions full time; it might be accepting an illness as His assignment to teach believers how to die, etc. It could be easy and uncomfortable. It could be difficult and unimaginable. The bottom line is – you don’t want to do it!
The Holy Spirit’s conviction is strong within you and yet you don’t act in the way that you are led because of your own confusion or even your own fear. And now – you’re not feeling well, you’re worried about who you’re disappointing, etc. I want to encourage you to trust the Lord enough to act in the way that He is calling you. If you just trust Him the confusion and fear that you are facing will cease! I’m serious! The unrest, sickness, dissension, disunity, fear, duality, and sense of disloyalty to the King of Kings will cease! And let’s just be honest — you’re walking in sin when you act against what you know to be God’s will for you even if that action is not something that is against the teachings of Scripture. I’m praying for you!!
But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23
God offers us that we will be dressed in His righteousness alone. We, however, feel like we need benchmarks and checklists. We embrace the law (or our own set of rules) so that we can keep score and by doing so we unwittingly separate ourselves from the unmerited favor of the Lord. And that – my friends – is the definition of a fall from grace. We have redefined a fall from grace as the commission of a sexual sin by a leader, but the truth is the commission of a sexual sin is just that – SIN! Sin is sin! My mama always taught me to call a spade a spade. Continue reading