Beautiful Sowing

by Becci Snyder

flowers

I want 40 glasses, 40 plates, 40 dessert bowls, 10 tables, tablecloths, and flower arrangements. Oh dear, there are only 4 bouquets ready….give me the flowers, somehow I will make the 6 remaining bouquets. I will sow seed for a harvest I cannot yet see. I will give of my time, my energy, and my finances. For over 30 years on the mission field we have been encouraged by Galatians 6:9 which says; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

For one year I have been saving this money, my personal money given twice yearly by my dear uncle for personal needs and desires, but this time I choose to lay it all down, to pour it all out in faith for others, not my own children and not my own grandchildren or my desires to beautify or ease my own life but for them. I know them; my sisters. I see their despair and the tiredness they bare so nobly. I will do it now and I know that I will surely reap in due season if I do not faint. I have incredible seed, it is guaranteed to reproduce some 30 or 60 or even a hundredfold. So I sow what I have and I pour it out freely, without reserves because I will doubtless come again bearing sheaves….as I weep. I want to make a difference for THESE ladies. I have been to their mud houses with cracks from ceiling to floor. I have seen them scrub their clothes to sparkling white by hand on their “lavadero” (washboard). I see the single Mom put her children through high school and college selling cakes,pies and flan.

I see the bent over, bone-weary grandmother (she appears to be over 70 but I know she is MY age). She has been caring for a recalcitrant raving, husband who has been stricken with Parkinsons for the past 8 years. These dear ladies, many of whom spend 8 hours a day working outside of their own homes earning only $10 dollars a day washing by hand someone else’s laundry, making someone else’s food and cleaning someone else’s house and then they arrive home to do it all over again for their own family. I want a serene beautiful moment for them, away from the chores and the drudgery and crying children. A moment of peace and encouragement, to feel God’s breath on their cheek, a whisper from God’s heart to theirs, saying: “I see your pain and your striving and I CARE, COME lay your burdens on Me and receive My PEACE.”

Thus began the first bimonthly women’s evening and supper. We played Bible charades and ate a delicious meal but the Word of God became the BEST BANQUET of all. I shared the Precious Word that God gave me for these 30 women. Thankfulness: “In EVERYTHING give thanks for this IS the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you!” I Thessalonians 5:18

Yes, even in THESE conditions God’s Word remains true and is to be obeyed, and obedience yields wonderful fruit.

How about you? We all face circumstances that could steal our joy and choke a thankful, grateful heart that is eager to do good. I want to encourage you to give thanks in everything where you are right now. Don’t grow weary in doing good but instead choose to press on and to give thanks for at the proper time you WILL reap the harvest!

David and Becci Snyder have been ministering as Pastors for over 35 years and have been serving as missionaries in Mexico for the last 32 years planting churches, pastoring, and founding and leading a Bible Institute to train Mexican ministers for national and international ministry.

Joseph’s Tent of Dreams

by Jim Reimer

tent

Would you go into a tent at a Fair that was offering dream interpretations, spiritual readings and encouraging words?

More than 50 people did during the July 1st Canada Day celebrations at the Rotary Lakeside Park in Nelson BC. The tent was called Joseph’s Tent of Dreams sponsored by our church, Kootenay Christian Fellowship.

We felt it would be good to engage the culture with words and concepts they could understand to present the gospel of Christ. We had more than fifty seekers enter our tent in an eight hour period, which we called Joseph’s Tent of Dreams.  We were surprised and delighted at the response we received from individuals hungry and seeking for spiritual realities.  By abandoning the Christian dialect (Christianese) we were able to share the gospel of hope, forgiveness, and love in terms that people were open to and could understand.

We offered people three options: Dream Interpretations, Spiritual Readings, and Encouraging Words.  From the moment we set out our sign, till we closed the booth; people were waiting to see us.  When they came into our booth, we would hear their dreams and encourage them. One lady in her early sixties, had nightmares since she was five years old. She had gone to doctors, psychiatrists and spiritual healers, all to no avail. We were able to share with her the scriptures, the love of God and prayed with her.

Another young girl gave us her story and after we ministered to her, she accepted Christ as her Savior.

Another lady wanted spiritual readings done. We asked her for a moment, during that moment we sought the Lord for a message for her. A silence ensued for about a minute and then she began to tell us about all the powers she possessed. She claimed she could heal people, tell their future, and various other things.  Suddenly I felt God prompt me to ask her if she felt like she was in chains and darkness was hanging over her head. She almost flew out of her chair, leaned across the table and with hope in her voice exclaimed that is exactly how I feel!  We then proceeded to tell her that there are two powers, one brings chains and darkness, and the other brings light, love and freedom. We offered to pray with her to come to the “true Light” sadly she refused. However, she now knows there is a difference.

Most everybody we saw, we sensed were drawn closer to Christ as a result of this unique approach to evangelism.

God is calling this culture by awakening a spiritual hunger within their hearts. We need to respond to this hunger. This is what characterized Apostle Paul’s success. 1 Corinthians 9:22   “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” He quoted from the poets of the culture, he used language that people understood, and his ministry was punctuated with the power of God. That is exactly what we endeavored to do in Joseph’s Tent of Dreams. When we engaged people with language they could understand we had amazing results.

Coming away from this event, I realize that if we want to see a harvest of souls in this culture, there are three things we need to do:

1. Engage in Training to reach people of this culture using “whatever means” to win people to Christ.

2. Increase Corporate Prayer, as only when we pray TOGETHER will we see the manifestation of the grace of God.

3. Try New Methods to fulfill the great commission in response to the prevalent Spiritual awareness in our modern day culture, often referred to as the New Age movement.

 

Personally, I am challenged to be better at engaging our culture, speaking into people’s hearts, and seeing the manifestation of God’s power in a tangible way. We felt totally out of our comfort zone, but God came through!

 

We are committed to learning more and putting into practice methods that are effective in reaching people. What ways has God led you to engage the culture you are in that stretched or challenged you?

 

Jim Reimer is the Lead Pastor of Kootenay Christian Fellowship in Nelson, BC and an Elder in FCA Canada. He is also the host for this year’s FCA Canadian Convention from October 22-24. If you have any questions or thoughts about this outreach or this article you are welcome to reply in the comments or email Pastor Jim directly.

Let’s Help End The Misery

by John Sprecher

discouragedRockford, Illinois, the city that I have been serving in for the last 33 years regularly makes some rather dubious lists. We’ve regularly made the bottom ten of the top 300 most livable cities in America and recently we made number three on the most miserable cities in America, behind Detroit and Flint, Michigan. A few weeks later we appeared on another list identifying one of our neighborhoods as the 14th most dangerous to walk in, in America. We certainly have our challenges and as in most communities there tends to be more hand wringing than positive action.

If we are to make a difference as the Church of Jesus Christ, God’s people here on earth, it requires a different attitude then the rest of the community. We are not called to reflect the community we live in, but demonstrate the Kingdom of God in it. I believe the words of instruction Jeremiah sends to the captives in Babylon, are instructive for us today; “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and begat sons and daughters… that you may be increased there…Seek the peace of the city where I’ve caused you to be carried away captive and pray to the Lord for it, for in its peace, you will have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:7) For many, our city is seen as in such high need that we tend to try to run away, find another place, look for another ministry, or heed a different call, when in fact, God may be calling us to engage in the community that we are in!

For the past three years Rock Church has engaged in the center of the misery in our community. Fully half of the houses here are boarded up and the majority of the people are unemployed or underemployed. 53% are below the poverty line and many absentee landlords have simply abandoned their properties and walked away. Drugs are readily available and street violence is all too common. Three years ago at the invitation from some of the residents who could not get help from government programs we were asked to help. The first year we were joined by a team from our fellowship church in Duluth and we cleaned the streets. Last year we went back and were able to do some additional work on a couple of houses.

This year we’re going back for a week in partnership with 12 agencies and groups including five other churches. One of the churches joining us is our FCA church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Lighthouse Christian Assembly. We will work together to bring some positive visual change to the community, but more importantly to bring change to the hearts and lives of people through the power of the Love of Jesus Christ. 24 hour prayer will be going on throughout the week and at the end of the week an outdoor service in the neighborhood. Our youth got the idea of doing puppets during the lunch breaks for the kids, and some of our other teens decided they wanted to create a “blessing basket” containing some hand-made and home-made items that they will deliver to the residents on the street to show the love of Christ and to help end the misery.

We certainly don’t have all the answers to our community’s needs, but we do know that Christ can help us as we are seeking to allow Him to work through us. Another fellowship church in our city, Mosaic, led by Pastor Dave Spooner, is in an area where there is significant poverty. One of the significant things they do each year is a “give-a-way” garage sale. It brings many people in the neighborhood, not only to their facility, but opens the door during times of need. When all of us begin to do something, it begins to change the climate of the community where we live, so let me encourage you. Let’s end the misery in our families and in our communities.

 

What ways has God led you to help demonstrate the love of God to your community?

 

John Sprecher is the Senior Pastor of Rock Church in Rockford, Illinois and also serves the FCA as a Fellowship Elder and on the USA National Board.

 

Allow Me to Introduce Myself – 5 Things You Should Know About Me

SamSarahHi there. My name is Sam Snyder and I’m the new Media Manager for the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. It’s great to meet you! I thought it might be a good idea to introduce myself and give you an idea of who it is will be editing, updating, posting, and, sometimes blogging in the background here on fcaministers.com.

I have a passion for connecting with God and with people; and for connecting people to each other and to God. Here are a few more things about me and why I’m excited to be serving the FCA in this capacity:

1. I love my family! I love being a husband and a Dad. I am married to an amazing gal who, besides being a great wife, is a mom to our 5 kids, a minister, and a great blogger. If you’ve met me you’ve probably heard me talk about my family :-)

2. I love the relationships in the FCA! My parents, David & Becci Snyder, are FCA missionaries to Mexico,  so after finishing High School there, I moved to the United States to go to college with plans of becoming a missionary myself. Having no relationships beyond college classmates here in the states it was because of leaders in the FCA that I was able to get connected when God made it clear He wanted me to stay. I went on to spend almost seven years at Valley Christian Church in Breckenridge, MN, first as an Intern and then as Youth Pastor. During that time I had the opportunity to work closely with FCA youth pastors and churches in our region in joint ministry ventures and I am blessed to count these people as friends.

3. I love the heart for missions in the FCA! When I was in college I majored in Biblical Studies and Missions, so I love to see churches finding ways to continue to engage in God’s mission in the earth. I am so encouraged by the long history our churches have of raising up leaders and sending them to the mission field and I believe that God is going to continue growing us in this way as we engage in His mission!

4.  I love growing leadership! While I was a Youth Pastor I was mentored by several Pastors and I continued schooling from Regent University and Beacon University and I ended up with a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Practical Ministry from Beacon University. I am who I am today because there were leaders around me who invested in my growth in leadership. In a similar way, I love to see leaders and churches released to be who God created them to be as they discover their identities and walk in their callings.

5. I love partnering with others for ministry! I have been leading a church plant in Minneapolis, MN since June 2009. I am tremendously blessed by what God has been doing through this family of churches that was started out of Bethel Christian Fellowship in St. Paul as we have partnered together. I love seeing churches work together to advance God’s Kingdom, by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the local church as I am seeing that in the FCA today.

 

I look forward to connecting with you more in the near future. I will be updating our fcaministers Facebook Page and Twitter regularly with relevant articles to life and ministry. I will also be writing blog posts and editing posts by ministers from around the FCA. I encourage you to join the conversation by bringing your voice, experience, and opinion to anyone of these mediums so that we can continue to connect with each other to grow in who God has called each of us to be-together.

Going Where the Spirit is Leading

This morning we were encouraged to go where the Holy Spirit is leading as we listen to His direction and seek to understand the times. This means being ready to pass the baton of leadership on to the next generations of leaders as we move from being runners to being coaches. This means engaging with our call to reach the nations that God has brought to our communities. This means being faithful stewards of the media tools that God has put at our disposal in our day. And this means doing all of this as Jesus did; as a servant.

We were so blessed to hear from missionaries, church planters, pastors, and leaders who are seeking to understand our times and to know what God wants us to do in response. We are looking forward to hearing more about where the Spirit is leading the Church in these times from Pastor Tim Delina of Brooklyn Tabernacle tonight at 7.  Join us live HERE for worship followed by the message.