April 9th, 2018

Is it the Monday after the Masters (golf tournament)? Is it just 8 days after Easter? Is it the Monday before our group leaves on their Mission Trip? Is it another day that the Lord has made? It is yes to all of these and more. I pray your day and week are off to an amazing start!!
Yes, our group from FBCWS does leave this Friday for Greece to work with refugees there through our IMB missionaries. This is the third year for Jennifer and I (second for Gayle and Judy) to be in Athens and yet we are still excited to see what God is going to do. The good part about going back to a place you have been before is that you feel confident in getting around and a lot of the fear and worry are gone. We know how to navigate the subway and we know where the rescue center is and we know the workers there and we know what to expect mostly. Our goal this year is to be more bold and to be less afraid as we step out onto the streets and begin trying to talk to total strangers from a different culture who often don’t even speak our language. Pray that God will allow us to step out of what is comfortable and really push beyond our fears and insecurities as we seek to share the gospel. This year we will be doing a few new things like working with an ESL class and I will be preaching three times. Two years ago I had the privilege of preaching in Poland and Rome and I think it would be kind to say it didn’t go quite as planned. When you have been preaching as long as I have its not usually a big deal, in fact, I look forward to it and enjoy it but when you add in a translator it becomes very different and much more difficult. Please pray that God will speak through the message in spite of me if necessary. We don’t ask for prayers for ease or comfort or even safety necessarily. What we do ask prayers for is wisdom and strength and boldness. I am trusting that God is already preparing hearts and lives for us to meet and for us to be able to influence for His Kingdom.
When we return we will obviously be sharing about what God did during our time away (probably Sunday evening, April 29th). But we are also hopeful to be able to keep you informed about what is going on while we are there. We don’t have a concrete plan yet but we have talked about videos or blogs or Facebook Live. So just know that you may get something via email or if you are on Facebook look for some things on the church FB page. Just remember we will be 8 hours ahead of you so your morning will be our evening. And just be aware that there may or may not be this blog over the next couple of weeks.
I know our Mission Team is already talking about “Mission 2019”. At this point we don’t know whether God will call us back to Greece or not. We have talked about what that might look like if He does. We have thought about a June 2019 date to give those involved in school an opportunity to go. We have also talked about sending a group to Nigeria to work with Walt and Karen Troup at the orphanage there. That would be more of a work/building/repairing type of mission trip. They are organizing those trips for January/February 2019. There are also many other opportunities out there that are potential places we could partner with in ministry. Please pray for God’s direction, not just for us in planning, but whether God might want you to go with us. Our greatest desire is that many more would want to go. You may have heard me say this more than once but if you will just go once I believe God will change you. You will come back different. But you have to set aside all those obstacles that Satan throws in your way. All those excuses I used to make as well. “I don’t have the money” or “I’m too old” or “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t know the Bible well enough” or “I’m too afraid” and on and on. I still believe that going ignites that spark of passion for Christ. We all need that spark. Begin praying about 2019 (sounds weird I know).
Thanks to all who came last night to our Prayer and Corporate Repentance Meeting. It was a blessed and meaningful time as we worked through areas where we as a church have sinned against God. I joked that we didn’t have more people because who wants to go to a meeting and talk about your sin? But repentance is the first step. We have taken that step. Now we must walk in obedience to His commands. Come take that journey with us!
Also, for those who weren’t there yesterday I wanted to let you know that Stephen Passmore will be stepping away from his duties as our Minister of Music to care for his wife, Elizabeth. I know you will all want to be in prayer for both of them during this phase of their lives. Andy Hutchison has agreed to come and lead us in worship during this time. His first Sunday will be April 22nd so be sure to pray for Andy and his wife, Theresa, as they come to minister among us!
Last Word: I’m just letting you know that we are continuing our Bible Reading Challenge! After a week of angst by some, I decided that we will continue for the rest of 2018 and who knows, maybe beyond. This week we will be in Genesis 1-6. So today you get to read the very first chapter in the Bible. If you would like a handy bookmark with the latest daily readings through May be sure to call the church office and we will mail you one or come by and pick one up. And just so you know . . . before you get too comfortable . . . there is a new and different challenge coming soon!! Stay tuned!!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?
P.S. If you missed Chris and Diane Machen in worship yesterday you missed a blessing!! Go check out their music at MastersMusic.com.