WOW… I missed my people Friday…
To my recollection, I have only twice in the past 38 years of ministry arrived at church to love my people and share the wonderful things God has shared with me and ended up leaving ill. This past Friday was the second of the two times. I have preached sick… pressed on… sucked it up… maybe been stupid in matters of this subject but I confess: I love my church - her people - our God. For this reason, I hate to not be with... missing the sweet fellowship with God’s people. It wasn’t to long ago that I came to church after a surgery when someone who loves me dearly told me to stay home and rest. Of course, I did not listen. Staying home would have caused me to miss a great sermon by Brother Laike. I am so glad I was there.
Of the many things I pray for concerning EBCI and her people is that our heart for the church will grow and grow. Grow in ways that make us long to be together and long to grow together into the likeness of Christ. I have been blessed over the years to pastor some mighty fine churches and minister alongside some mighty fine people. I thank God for each of those moments in time and those forever friendships forged with the love of God and joy of heaven.
Believing this is my final full-time ministry stop, I recognize God has saved the best for last. It is probably that it took me that long to let God mold me into the vessel you at EBCI needed and I longed for.
NEW DREAMS FOR MINISTRY…
In my native language, I would have stated the title for this section differently. I would have said, things are moving. Regardless let me share the things we are asking God for and seeking you to join us in this shift (move). Pam and I are seeking to shift our living arraignments to something much closer to the church. This is not an easy decision because we do not live in an inconvenient place and we love our apartment. Our landlord is wonderful. We have some neighbors who also are in our community and are leaders in the church. We have at least one family who is looking or has recently looked into the possibility of moving to our current community. Even with the above blessings, we see clearly it is time to seek God in shifting to an area as close to the church as possible. I have a few specific buildings I prefer. We also do not know what will be available when our current lease expires. SO… we seek your prayers.
Why do we want to shift? Shifting closer to the church does not necessarily make us more accessible to the people. EBCIers are spread out all over Dubai and Sharjah. Few live in a close proximity to the church. Shifting to be closer to the church does give Pam and I the following ministry and personal blessings.
- When I forget something, it doesn’t take me 25 minutes to drive back to get it and another 25 minutes to return.
- As God has and continues to expand Pam’s ministry to the women of all ages at EBCI, this gives her the joy of having an open home ministry near the church (a location everyone knows how to find).
- If God opens the door to the apartment location I prefer, it gives me a whole new mall to prayer walk in and get to know the workers on a personal level. Simply, it expands the mall ministry God has given me in reaching out to the many workers who are away from their families and need someone to say they care… Which opens doors to further conversation.
There may be other blessings but the above three give a picture of ministry opportunity beyond what we are doing now. Pray that God’s will be done.
My weekly schedule shifts starting today. I will be working on Sunday and taking Tuesdays off. This does several things which give me more time with Pam and more time at the church to study, counsel, plan / strategize, have meetings… Please make note of this change.
A WEEK IN TOKYO…
Pam and I will be traveling the day after Easter to a conference in Tokyo. The purpose of this conference is to continue to be equipped better and further into the 4 Field Strategy Brother Gary shared with us during our recent conference. I remain excited about the work of God among His people. The Mark Initiative (which was birthed as a result of our conference) has taken hold of people’s lives and a growing excitement as a result is happening.
If anyone has a testimony of how God is using the Mark Initiative in their life and will share it, please talk to me so we can use your testimony to encourage others. I know your testimonies have encouraged me. Your church family needs to hear from you.
Pray for our upcoming trip. If anyone is interested in joining us, send me an email and I will get you the specifics.
Guess what I am hoping to avoid...