“I sure miss you!”
Canceling travel plans to come alongside and encourage co-workers in YWAM locations around the world; postponing weddings here at home; delaying celebrations of close friends recently passed into Heaven; avoiding those currently too sick to be seen by anyone; not gathering for weekly worship—all our plans are off for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps what hits the heart most is when your children or grandchildren tear up and say, “When can I see you again?”
We are no longer in control of our coming and going, our calendar, our income, our gathering of friends for fellowship and worship—even our outreach and touching others in the name of Jesus—all for fear of spreading an invisible enemy that has the power to threaten the very lives of those we love and long to be with. We all contend with disappointment and delay.
We choose to be grateful for the down time here in Montana—even though we are on our phones or computers more than ever. Our “suffering” is hollow compared to the real suffering of the persecuted Church around the world—and those without Jesus suffer even more. It is for the love of Jesus we continue serving—so others may thrive—and so that the whole world may know Him. That’s why your prayers are so valuable to us!
While our recent newsletter highlights what MBI does when things are reasonably normal, the present crisis is a missionary moment of marshaling faith over fear. Rather than focus on what we cannot do and cannot have, however, we choose to continue to reach out, to be generous, to connect with friends, co-workers, and family in new and old ways using the tools we have in our hands: computers, keyboards, telephones, teleconferencing apps, pen, and paper. We are not giving up.
But the essential tool in our arsenal is prayer, in the name of Jesus. Our MBI team is actively praying for you, for your family, for your connections throughout this season.
Eventually, this crisis will pass. Meanwhile, we pray you can enjoy a new, more profound richness of fellowship with the One who promised never to leave or forsake you. His persecution, crucifixion, and resurrection remind us that the best is yet to come!
Have a blessed Easter in Jesus,
The MBI team: Ron, Jeanette, John, Donna, Brad, Dawn, Gordy, Craig, Lane, Jason, Reba, Andrew, Becky, Greg, Jan, and our team of MBI field staff and board of directors.
by Amy Lindstrom
I remember looking in my husband’s eyes as we sat across from one another at a local restaurant. I had called a meeting. I had a lot on my mind.
I was fighting my way through the sadness of an empty nest, looking for new meaning and purpose. I knew I needed more and I wanted to “finish well.” I had deep fear that my last productive decades would be spent going out for lunch with friends, sharing photos of grand babies, scrap-booking and reading an occasional book. It wouldn’t be enough.
“Give me a few more years,” Paul said. So I did. I waited a few more years, finding more meaning than I’d anticipated. I finished a master’s degree in Christian counseling ministry. I was involved in mentoring younger women and mothers, counseling, praying, leading small groups, teaching. Still, I knew there was more. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to look like or how it would happen, but my soul longed for adventure, depth, more of Jesus and a community of others that longed for the same things.
Finally, God intervened and some rearranging began to happen in our lives. Some was good, some was difficult. Paul submitted to the changes, remembering the agreement he made across the table that winter day.
It was time for an adventure with Jesus. Depth, growth, challenge, pain, revelation, surrender; all of these were part of the MBI Crossroads DTS we participated in during the spring of 2014. Not even two years ago! Amazing, considering all that has happened since then. It was as if the waters of labor broke and the real me was birthed from a struggle I didn’t understand at the time.
Like many of you, I knew there was more in me than the world would want me to believe; more than what I saw so many in my generation settling for. I knew all of the experiences, failures, pain, loving and sacrifice I’d lived through was training that made me fit for a work that was somehow holy.
Holy is defined as: consecrated to God; set apart for the service of God. I knew the coming decades of my life were to be set apart in a way that was different from those now past. Motherhood and teaching had been services that were sacred in their own particular ways. But, I knew something was waiting that was different.
Looking back at the past 24 months, I find it amazing to see what the Lord has done with the days and weeks and months now in my rearview mirror. I’m blessed to have seen many of my life-long dreams reach their fullness. Some I had even protected from utterance in my prayers. There have been times when I was filled with doubt and painfully stretched, but the adventure I began in my Crossroads DTS has become a whirlwind of adventure, growth and delightful surprises.
Last January, I traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, where I was a mission builder for 10 days. I went there in a desperate attempt to remind myself that God was working on a plan, ordering my steps, and there was something else to come after my CDTS. I went with small expectations, not knowing what would happen, just willing to serve in a warm and beautiful place. What happened was immeasurably more than all I asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). I worked in hospitality and housekeeping, something I knew a little about. But the Lord gave me grace and favor, opening doors so I could also use my education and experience to lead a time of intercession and minister to staff and students through prayer, counseling and teaching. Those younger than me sought my wisdom, knowledge and friendship. They welcomed me as a valuable blessing to their community. This was the encouragement I needed to expand my YWAM training in order to use my experience in counseling ministry to bless YWAMers.
In April of 2015, I attended a secondary school in Kona, Hawaii: Foundations of Counseling Ministry. This has opened further doors for me to use my master’s degree in YWAM. I completed three months of outreach over the fall and winter, ministering in Scandinavia and campuses in my home state of Wisconsin. Paul and I traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, again where I taught, ministered, counseled and participated in local outreach. He assisted with campus projects and helped build a house with Homes of Hope. In future months, I will continue teaching, counseling and ministering to those who long to expand the kingdom but are hindered by the pain and wounds of life.
This is what I have learned since my adventure with YWAM began:
- Although the Y in YWAM stands for youth, the younger generation is hungry for the wisdom and experience that my generation has to give. Having lacked a God-like love as children, many still crave the care and nurture of those older than themselves; spiritual mothers and fathers to accept, mentor and cheer. God is a God of the generations. He desires to join the generations together in bonds of love and unity. Yes, they really want us, need us, and we are still part of the story!
- There is a real community available to us; a big family that loves us as we are and welcomes the chance to do life with us. There is a belonging that is unique to the Body of Christ, where we are able to transcend differences in cultures, colors, languages, age and gender. Yes, there is a community where we can belong!
- God is challenging my generation to surrender the selfishness of a retirement focused on pleasure; to use the blessings of our age and resources to benefit the kingdom. Yes, we really have much more to give than we realize!
- It is never too late to heal, find purpose, dream dreams, discover what else is inside of us. God has never stopped dreaming dreams for us and he has not forgotten the things he has whispered into our hearts, the promises he has made. Yes, he is faithful to finish what he started in each of us (Philippians 1:6)!
- God knows us. He knows exactly what we bring to his kingdom and the best place to set us. He knows every detail of our joys, talents, knowledge, and if we follow, he will place us exactly where we can most brightly shine for him. That may be behind a bulldozer, in a kitchen, playing with orphans, painting a sign or praying with the brokenhearted. He alone knows where we fit and the time of our arrival. Yes, we can trust him!
Be encouraged today! The Father is not finished with me or you. Perhaps, like myself, you can find YOUR place with YWAM and MBI. Perhaps you, too, will begin with a Crossroads Discipleship Training School. God may have another road for you to travel. But I am certain that however the Father chooses to do it, there is still meaningful purpose and growth awaiting you. Change and adventure are both exhilarating and terrifying at times. But to me, the alternative is even more frightening. God is good, trustworthy and faithful. Lean into ALL that he has for you.
The predicted coming crisis this fall is revealing the heart and shaking those things that can be shaken.
By Sean Malone, Director of Crisis Response International
There has been a lot of talk and speculation about what is coming upon the world this fall, from New York Times bestsellers like The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah (Shemitah years are God’s seven year cycles mentioned in Scripture and linked to economic activity) to contemporary prophets and blood moon preachers. While we can’t draw hard and fast doctrines from any of these things, they are signs that make one wonder. I personally have heard quite a bit about what is supposed to happen in America this September but very little about what we are to do. Is it just me or does it feel like someone just sucked the air out of the room? It’s like a collective gasp around the body of Christ right now as many of us are frozen, stuck and unsure of what to do. Some are even locked up in fear while the enemy just laughs. But I believe God is raising up people who understand the times and know what to do.
“From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.” 2 Chronicles 12:32 NLT.
Just as God raised up the sons of Issachar who could interpret the times and know what to do, we need to be equipped with knowledge and wisdom on how to take action for the good of the Church and for the sake of the Gospel.
Faith Not Fear
No matter what happens this fall, none of it will take God by surprise. The answer to navigating the potentially troubled waters of this fall is rooted in faith and not fear. If your plan is to hunker down, hoard and just hold on, friends I am sorry you are missing the point. It would help us all to dig into the book of Hebrews to see a bigger picture. In Hebrews chapter 11 we see the many things the heroes of faith endured. By faith Noah, by faith Abraham, by faith Moses, they ran their race well and endured hardship “by faith” and became heroes of the faith. In chapter 12 we are reminded that God disciplines us as his sons and that we are to endure hardship as discipline from the Lord. Discipline is a sign of our sonship. He goes on to tell us that there is a time period that God will shake everything that can be shaken so that we can receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
God’s Shakings Are Redemptive in Nature
One thing we need to understand if we are talking about a God orchestrated shaking is that it is redemptive in nature and designed to perfect love for Him and for others. It’s ultimately the first and second commandment coming into first and second place. Anything not under the Lordship of Christ needs to be and will be shaken anyway if it is hindering love for Him and others.
Think about that for a second.
What distractions are in your life that keep you from loving Him and others wholeheartedly? Right now is your heart tender and free from the cares of this life? Is He truly your magnificent obsession? Are you living fully for Him and through Him? Secondly, right now do you love others as yourself and carry a burden for the lost among the nations? This should serve as a tuning fork for our hearts because it is what is on His heart.
How Will We Respond?
If this is true, our response to the potential shakings of this fall should look different. Our preparedness for an economic, political or even geological shaking should be more than a desperate attempt to hold onto our western lifestyles. Preparing for the days ahead is so much deeper than hoarding stuff. I have news for you, if that is your response than God may even shake that too. Do you really think He is looking for more western independence? It makes me wonder how many people are paralyzed in fear right now of what’s coming and have retreated from what God has called them to do. Our western gospel of comfort that is devoid of the notion that we may suffer has fashioned a golden image of who God is. With the threat that their god may be shaken, people are locked down in fear. Shakings are the litmus test to show who we really serve. Ask yourself this question, how much of my lifestyle did I fabricate and how much of it is built on God’s unshakable Kingdom?
Restoring the Second Commandment
The other aspect we need to understand is that in the shakings, God is restoring the second commandment as well as the first commandment. Love for others. What happens in the midst of a disaster or crisis? People come together and help each other. As we prepare for this fall, we need to be preparing to help others.
Today there is a prophecy about global crisis and the response is: determine to prepare for survival and self-preservation. In the 1st century there was a prophecy about a global crisis (Acts 11:27-30) and the response was: giving and aiding those impacted; each according to their ability determined to send relief to the brethren elsewhere.
We love to point fingers at the corporate depravity of our nation and say she deserves punishment while our hearts are just as bankrupt. Let’s take this time to examine our own lives and actions before we point the finger at anyone around us and make sure we are caring for the poor, needy and hurting, heeding the warnings of Scripture for the actions of Sodom.
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16: 49-50
Folks, it is an upside down Kingdom. You give it away to keep it and this is a sign your heart is free. Again, if God is dealing corporately with us in America than our preparedness should be more of the heart than a fear based grasp to hold onto our western lifestyles. Now there is nothing wrong with preparing your home, neighborhood, church and business for crisis and disaster. Here at CRI we hold seminars on how to train people to do so. However as the church we need to take inventory of our hearts motivation to make sure we are not hunkering and bunkering in fear but rather getting ready to help others and be the glorious church in that hour. If something is out from under the Lordship of Christ right now in your life than you want that dealt with now and not later.
Hebrews 11:7 says: “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” It’s says that Noah by faith…in holy fear prepared for his family.
Are you responding in faith or fear? Let’s choose faith. Join us as we call our nation to a fast now through September 23. We are praying and believing for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on the hearts and minds of those in our nation. Let’s humble ourselves before the Lord and believe that together we’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
P.S. If we are going to be looking at the biblical calendar as a way that God deals with His people then remember the Shemitah just ended on September 13th and the year of Jubilee starts on September 23rd. I encourage you to be believing for great things!