Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends :)

On one of my favorite TV shows Monday evening, The Voice, Kyla sang the old Beatles song I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends. I enjoyed her performance. That song aptly describes my life this week and yesterday was a great example.

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I need to get the brakes fixed on my car, so I haven’t been driving this week. Not a big deal elsewhere, but here in my city Lincoln in the middle of nowhere, the bus system is not so great. The buses are nice, but the schedule is not so great. I will get my car fixed on Saturday, so in the mean time, I am getting some help from my friends.

Another issue was my laptop was getting old and in fact missing a few letters. Also the speaker is cutting out. To give you an idea, it is from before cameras were in all laptops. I needed a better one especially to write and for ministry. I got in touch with my friend Scott who takes donated computers from people from different churches and then he gets them ready to give to people in ministry. I sent him an email last Friday asking if he had a laptop and he replied that he didn’t but would let me know when he had one. Only 2 hours later he sent me another email telling me someone had just dropped one off to donate and I could have it.

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So that was wonderful but one problem was how to pick it up before my friend Scott left for vacation Wednesday afternoon. I called my friend Bernie and he offered to give me a ride. Wednesday morning Bernie picked me up and we went to get my laptop.

Bernie is in ministry reaching out to people from the Middle East living in Lincoln. Lincoln has the largest number of Yazidis in all of North America and also thousands of Muslims and also other Middle Eastern groups living here. We went to my favorite coffee shop, The Harbor, after getting the laptop because I wanted to buy him a coffee as thanks for helping me. It was encouraging to sit and chat for an hour or so with a brother in Christ that can relate to my ministry and me to his.

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In the evenings friends/colleagues from the college where I teach are giving me rides home after our evenings classes. On Saturday a friend will help me fix my car for the cost of parts only.

There is a term, tent maker missionary, that comes from Paul in the bible. He made tents to support himself in cities where he stayed to start churches. I am no Paul and my ministry is tiny compared to his, but the term tent maker applies to me. I teach part-time for the college and am supported part-time by my church, definitely not a get rich scheme. There are times like this week that I need the help of my friends to get by.

Oh and one change this week, I did it. I shaved off my beard for the summer. It is still spring on the calendar, but in true Nebraska fashion we seem to have gone from winter to summer with no spring. It is hot already, so the beard came off. It might come back in the fall. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I look better with the beard, so strong chance it will come back, but for now it is TOO hot.

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Hope your day is blessed and that you have friends around you like I have this week. God Bless ๐Ÿ™‚

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I want to be a Proverbs 31 Man

In the church we often hear women talk about being a Proverbs 31 woman because that passage of scripture has a lot to say about what it means to be a godly woman and wife. The reason I say I want to be a Proverbs 31 man is due to how this passage begins. It begins with wisdom for a son about what not to do if one is a king- chase after woman and drink too much alcohol. In other words don’t live a messed up life. Then the advice goes on to what I have found to be inspiring words about what it means to be a godly king/leader.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
ย ย ย ย for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
ย ย ย ย defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

The exhortation is to be a leader who looks out for the welfare of others specifically those who cannot defend themselves in life- the poor and needy. God wants men to watch out for those who cannot watch out for themselves, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to care for and about those in need.

Of course here in America we do not have a king. The principle is valid for all men who would be leaders in their churches, communities, families etc. If we want to know what God wants from us, we need look no further than the people suffering in our midst, in our community, in our nation, andย  in our world. This makes me think about the children living in difficult circumstances of poverty or abuse. It makes me think about the single moms who are trying to make a go of it for themselves and their kids but need a helping hand and at times need someone to speak up for them. It makes me think about the refugees I meet and the hardships they face as they try to make a new life here in America.

So yes I want to be a Proverbs 31 man, even though in churches we only hear about women being a Proverbs 31 woman.

Prayer- the Father Knows what you need BEFORE you ask

The Lord’s prayer is well-known by many people from all denominations and even those who are not Christians. It has been put to song by some of the greatest singers in the world. Personally I enjoy the listening to it being sung. The prayer begins with Our Father which shows Jesus is teaching that prayer comes out of relationship with God. Prayer is not a chant to some impersonal it force out there somewhere. Prayer is communication between Father and child.

Jesus shared something with His disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. Before teaching them the model of Our Father, Jesus shared with them a simple yet profound truth. He said “for your Father knows what you need before you ask.” Our Father in heaven is never surprised by our requests. He is prepared beforehand. He knows everything we go through, what we need, and our lives. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He even knows our failures and still wants us to come to Him in prayer. He invites us to come to Him in prayer.

So why should we pray when Our Father in Heaven knows what we have need of before we ask? Because we need Him ๐Ÿ™‚ We need to spend time with Him. We need to grow in our relationship with Him. It reminds me of what many good parents will do. They know what their children will need for a activity like soccer for example. Their child will need a uniform, shoes, etc. Sometimes the parent even though they know what their child needs, will wait for their child to come to them to show them what they need. The parent has already planned in the budget to provide for the need, but the parent also knows allowing the child to come to them and talk will help the child to grow in their parent/child relationship. It gives them time together as parent and child. The relationship grows and the child is strengthened. The child needs this to grow and mature and to build their trust in their parent. The child needs this to be able to not just survive but thrive in the world.

Our Father in Heaven wants us to come to Him because we need do so to grow in our relationship with Him, so we can thrive here in this life. We need time with Him ๐Ÿ™‚

What does God want for us? To be Our Father

Life can be confusing at times and different voices express all sorts of ideas. It can be confusing to try to understand who God is and what does He want for us. I find comfort in what is recorded in the Bible. It gives me peace in the midst of a world that sometimes seems crazy. The bible records some encouraging words spoken by Jesus.

When he taught his followers about prayer and fasting He told them to not do so for recognition from others. He taught them to begin prayer with “Father” when He gave them an example of prayer that began with “Our Father”. He also said something significant when He said, “your heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask”. God knows what is going on in our lives. He knows before we do what we will need.

God does not want us to live in fear. The bible says that He has not given a spirit of fear but a spirit of adoption so that we can be called children of God. It also says that when we receive the Spirit of adoption we cry out Abba Father.

What does God want for us? He wants to be our Father in relationship with us, not to abuse us, but rather to lavish upon us His love. He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for……, plans to prosper you… to give you a future and a hope. That is why He sent Jesus, so that through Him we could be restored to relationship with God as our Father.

God cares about even what we think of as little things

This morning I took a friend to the University of Nebraska to take care of some final details before she begins classes next week. When we got there, I found a parking spot right in front of the building where we needed to go. I told her Jesus helped us. She did not think a parking place was very important. I shared with her something Jesus said, “even the hairs on your head are numbered”

God cares about us so much that He pays attention to even the little details that we do not think are important. He knows the number of hairs we have on our head. If He cares enough to keep track of how many hairs we have on our head, how much more will He care about other details in our lives such as bringing friends into our lives, helping us make progress toward our goals, even helping us the find a parking place.

As we go through the busy day today let’s take a moment to ask God for His help. Let’s remember that He is there with us even in the little things. Let’s also remember to thank Him for those little things.

A New Year can bring new adventures with God

Last year at this time I was wondering what would happen in the year ahead. My Sunday morning international bible study went from an average attendance of 7 to an average of 20, I was able to be wth my father as he died adn went on to be with Jesus, my Saturday reading class went from 5 to an average of 12, I made a lot of new friends, started 3 blogs, youtube account, hi5, orkut and was given a van.

It is the start of a new year and already I have met 2 new friends who have come ot my Sunday morning international bible study, will start a new class at my church this Thursday evening, and look forward to a great year. We never know what will come when we start a new year, but we can always trust in the fact that whatever comes our way, Jesus is there ahead of us and will be with us. He controls the future and has promised to never leave us.

Religion that God accepts- Care for the Orphans and Widows

Personally I do not like the word religion because it communicates a system of works we do to be accepted by God or to achieve a level of spirituality. I tell people I do not have a religion but that I have a relationship with Jesus that I do not deserve. The bible does say in James 1:27 “Religion that God accpets is to care for the widows and Orphans”. In the bible God also calls Himself a Father to the fatherless.

If we have received and experienced the love of God through Jesus, we need to remember the rest of it “we love because He first loved us”. Christian love is not selfish. It is mean to be shared and shown to others. We cannot call ourselves Christians if we do not care for others. A great way to show the love of God is to love those who cannot give anything back to us. Orphans are not able to give back to us. The bible speaks of defending them, caring for them, and providing for them.

2 websites to check out http://www.orphansunday.org and http://www.cryoftheorphan.org

It has been 2,000 years- What is Jesus up to these days?

Christians talk a lot about Jesus did when He was here on earth. Deservedly so when we stop to consider all of His miracles, His death and Resurrection. That was 2,000 years ago. He is not back yet. What is He doing now?

He is always at work on our behalf. He has not stopped helping us. One of the things He is doing is preparing a place for us. Jesus said”if I go, I will prepare a place for you that where I am you may also be”. He is at work right now preparing places for all who believe in Him. What a wonderful place that will be. A place where there is no sorrow, no sickness, no pain, no wars, none of the problems that plague this life. Best of all we will beย  in His presence forever.

When we begin to feel tired and worn out with this life, we need to remember what Jesus is doing right now for us. He is preparing a place for us to marvelous for words. One day He will come for us to take us there. In the meantime we have work to do here to show His love to others.

Prayer- Thank you Jesus for this VAN

My little white car needed a lot of repairs and I was worried what would happen if it broke down. I do not make a lot of money, partly because I give away so many hours helping people who have little money. Private tutors can make a lot more money than I do, but my ministry is for people who many times have never heard about Jesus and some live in adverse circumstances. I was starting to think about the possibility that maybe it was time to end my ministry so I could make more money. To be honest, I was very discouraged. I asked people to pray for me regarding this issue. The past summer I kept wondering if my car would die and my ministry would be over.

Matt at church and Van 004Then on evening I received a message that a van had been found and I could pick it up the next day. I had thought it might be an old van and maybe I could drive it only on Sundays so it would last. I was SO SURPRISED!! A 2006 Chrysler Town and Country in good condition. It was a HUGE encouragement. In the Bible it says “delight yourselves in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart”. The key is to delight ourselves in Jesus. When we do that, our desires change to be what Jesus desires for us and others. I had prayed for new cars before but usually for ME and not thinking so much about how it could used for serving Jesus. For a long time a vehicle was something I took care of from my own ability. When I wasyounger, I wanted a sports car or an SUV. I never thought about getting a van let alone want one.

I think God does have a sense of humor. I am a single man with no children or family. What would I need a van for? I never wanted one before. Then about a year ago I began to think about how a van would be very useful in my ministry. I asked others to pray for me. Then one evening on September 25th I picked up my van from Jesus. I was stunned and could barely remember to say thank you.

If you are praying for something could I encourage you to pray for the Lord to help you to see what His desire for you is and pray for that? Try it and see what happens. Feel free to let me know in the comment section. First thing is to not pray from selfishness but to pray from a heart that wants to serve Jesus.