Midwest 26 Below

Shortly after getting home from South Carolina, the siblings headed out to Iowa for a conference. We picked up a few friends along the way…including two who flew in from New Mexico.

Brady Collier spoke on the theme of “God’s Path for You.” The message topics included salvation, commitment to total obedience to Christ, marriage, work, the church, the Great Commission, and intimacy with Christ. Here are some thoughts from the notes I took.

In whatever place you are, God is calling you to be His missionary today. Will you obey? It’s hard but always worth it.

Part of God’s path for you is to serve the church, other Christians. You never graduate out of the local church. The assembling of ourselves together is a safety net.

Your life is going to be the average of your top five acquaintances. Find passionate believers and get close to them.

What does “Go and make disciples of all nations” look like for you? Jesus Christ started where He was with making disciples, and went out from there. Personal discipleship along with the local church is God’s means for changing the world.

Little bitty people like us can accomplish great things when we do it in the power of God.

missions Q&A panel, where someone said, “You are called to a Person, not a place.” You follow that Person to the places He leads.

If you are dedicated without an intimate relationship with Christ you will become a Pharisee, just going through the motions. Be a person consumed with knowing God.

You need to learn to think like God through His Word. The more you spend time in His Word the more you will think like Him.

Redirect your thirst [for whatever it is] to the Object of your thirst for which it was created.

Abide in Me. God’s heart is to have a relationship with me.

Even if you’re not feeling it, abide—wrestle until you prevail (like Jacob).

Don’t forget the main thing—your relationship with Christ.

sunday morning worship

There were also a few breakout sessions taught by different people that included the topics of discipleship, dealing with fear and anxiety, and world missions.

During our last meal, when the conference was over, Micah Tuttle stood up on a chair and got everyone’s attention, and then preached to us a passionate message to live obedient lives in such a way that we could gladly say like the Apostle John, “Come, Lord Jesus!”He also gave a challenge in the discipleship session I went to that I want to end this with…

“One man wakes, awakens another. Second one wakes his next door brother. Three awake can rouse a town and turn the whole place upside down. Many awake will cause such a fuss, it will awake all of us. One man wakes with dawn in his eyes, surely then it multiplies.” (Lawrence Tribble)

Be that one person to wake someone else up. Discipleship is the most effective way of multiplication.


Atlantic Ocean

While we were in South Carolina we took the opportunity to go to the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first time we had all been there together! So here are some pictures along with portions of Psalm139 (NKJV).

Oh LORD, You have searched me and known me.You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off.You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;When I awake, I am still with You.Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me,And lead me in the way everlasting.*****

South Carolina Prison Ministry

This year we were able to participate in a prison outreach in South Carolina for the first time! This one started two weekends after ReNew Hope ended. Our in-between plans to go west changed due to one of us getting sick, so we ended up going to North Carolina for the week. We were able to rest up at the camp we were staying at, and God even gave us some unexpected opportunities to sing, one at a Wednesday night church meeting and another at a cancer center.

fellowship at the camp

Gospel Express is the ministry that puts together this prison outreach. It’s actually really neat that the timing of it allows a lot of people who were at ReNew Hope to participate in this one. Between the two outreaches we had lots of fellowship!

The prison we were supposed to go into the first day was cancelled. The next day it still hadn’t opened up (a different family was scheduled to go in each day), so the volunteers made it a matter of prayer. The third morning the word came…the team could come in!

daily morning worship time

On the second day, which was the first prison we actually made it into, we had an amazing time. There were a couple inmates who had guitars and they told us, “We want to sing a song for you while you set up.” Then when we had gotten all set up there was some time to spare, so we were visiting with an inmate and found out he is a choir member in the prison’s church. He called a few other singers over and they sang “10,000 Reasons” for us, and then they did another song and taught us a part to sing with them, and then we sang a couple more together. It was really special.

fellow laborers

The third day we went to a prison where the volunteers who went in every day felt like it was a dark place. But there was definitely life in there in the midst of that. We could see men who were engaging with the messages of songs, and people responded during the invitation. Prison ministry isn’t all “the special moments” that are exciting to share with others. Sometimes the things that are special are somewhat overlooked but what are most important–God’s word going forth and Him working in people’s hearts.

and more fellow laborers!

In the last prison we were really hoping to hear the choir sing after other people told us about them. And we did…but not in the way we were thinking. When we got to the chorus of “He Knows My Name,” the men joined in like we had never heard inmates sing that song before. Surprise! A whole bunch of them knew it. Then when we got to “Chain Breaker,” they just belted it out. We’ve kind of learned that when you sing that song in prison you have to repeat the chorus again because none of us are ready to be done with it.

source: Pixabay

Prison ministry. Tough places? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

time to head home

“To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 NKJV