Tag Archives: Serve

Go…wherever you are called, just go!

Just a few short hours ago I was flying over the Black Sea leaving behind a 10-day experience in Odessa Ukraine.  In those 10 days I was part of an amazing group of teenagers seeking after God’s heart while serving the people of Ukraine.  We came along side our brothers and sisters in Ukraine to provide a Bible Camp to 70 children from villages around Odessa as well as refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in the Eastern part of the country.  God moved through that camp and in the end, several children accepted Christ as savior and forever changed their lives and eternal destiny.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve my Lord in this country, and am blessed beyond measure to have the chance to help lead our teenagers as they discovered the joys and challenges of foreign missions.

Derek Belcher - IMG_0940On the flight home, I was reading a book that has sobered me to a painful point in my life and made me look at my past Christian walk.  I have been heartbroken by the choices I have made and where my priorities have been.  There is so much more I could do for the Lord and so many opportunities I have lost.  But I remember the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13 – “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…”  God isn’t interested in what I haven’t done. He is focused on what I can do…today, tomorrow and the rest of my days.  In reading this book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, he made this statement: “Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples.  I wonder then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?  You’ll notice he didn’t add, “But hey if that’s too much to ask, tell them to become Christians – you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”Derek Belcher - IMG_1175

That’s powerful truth, staring you in the face. If you claim to be a follower of Christ then you have to be willing to go wherever he leads you.  We have one super simple job…teach others to follow Christ, so they can join our super simple job – teaching others to follow Christ.  This mission experience reaffirmed this simple call in my life.  I love foreign missions. It’s scary and exciting to visit a new place, to learn about their culture and see how God uses their different approach to life to accomplish His purpose, bring glory to His name and develop personal relationships with those that trust Him.  But my heart is burdened beyond that.  I realized, this week, and through reading the gospels and this book that the call is there for all of us, whether it be in a place like Ukraine or around the block in your neighborhood.  If we really want to call ourselves followers of Christ, true Christians, it’s time to open our eyes and answer the call to go.  Go to the local outreach, go on the short-term trip, go to the next county or state, go wherever God provides an opportunity to share His message of hope through Christ.  Just Go…wherever that may be…just Go!

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Father, I thank you again and again for your love and mercy in my life. I thank you for the grace we see in you, and for the indescribable love you show each of us everyday.  I thank you that you are not concerned with what I haven’t done, but with what I can do for you.  Make me the disciple you want me to be.  I pray that I will never miss the opportunity to Go!  In your name I pray – Amen.

Praise Him in the Storm

“I will praise you in this storm.  I will lift my hands.  Cause you are who you are…NO MATTER WHERE I AM”

The lyrics from the popular Praise you in this Storm by Casting Crowns, jumped to the front of my mind this morning as I read through scripture.  My reading plan took me to Philippians 4:4-9.  Here, Paul is encouraging the Philippian church by reminding them to Rejoice in the Lord.  He says it twice as to really emphasize the importance of finding joy and peace in Christ.

I started to think through my life and reflected on how easy it is to be joyful when the sky is blue and everything is going my way.  But the joy and peace that Paul is talking about is the joy that is present even when, on the surface, it looks pretty scary and uncertain.  The ESV study bible had this to say, Rejoice. The joy that Paul calls for is not happiness that depends on  circumstances but a deep contentment that is in the Lord, based on trust in the sovereign, living God, and that therefore is available always, even in difficult times.”

God certainly doesn’t expect us to quit caring.  Just the opposite, we are to care deeply.  The rest of this passage reminds us that we are to think about all the good things of the Lord that will cause us to want to worship and serve others because he too, served and worshiped his Father in heaven.  But we should care without worry and anxiety.  God’s hand is in all that we do.  He is never gone, he never “steps back”.  Sometimes we try to run ahead, but we can’t outrun his love for us.  The knowledge that he is there and that His will never fails to come to fruition produces a peace and confidence that lets us serve him.

Service should be the fruit that comes in all our lives.  A total focus on the love of Jesus Christ and his goodness in my life should produce a desire to do what he did – Love others, serve them, build them up,  reflect the Holy Spirit in my heart.  Paul quickly  pointed the believers to this important fact.  It’s great to have the love of Christ in our heart, but what good is it if we don’t ever use that Love and peace to help others?  When we put this into practice we will not only know the peace of God, but the God of peace himself will be right there with us (Quoted from the ESV Study Bible).

Today’s Reading: Philippians 4:4-9