Mustard Seed Actions

We are living in a world that is hostile to God and His Word. It says that you can be great and do big things with your own strength, and you don’t need God. People value and uphold the ‘strong,’ ‘big,’ and ‘fast.’ The world says that if you are not strong you will be defeated, if you are not big you are insignificant, and if you are not fast you will be left behind. If you want to be successful, then words like ‘weak,’ ‘small,’ or ‘slow’ shouldn’t be in your vocabulary. I often hear church leaders talking about their big plans, organizing big revival crusades, and implementing big projects to impact their nation. These plans require big budgets and manpower that only a [...]

By | 2017-09-05T20:23:18+00:00 September 29th, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply, Truth Centered Transformation|Tags: |

Getting Started: Who to Help

Put a face to that label. That is the challenge I face today. I know “who” to help, that one is rather easy: the vulnerable. But I sometimes struggle to really know who to help. Let me explain. The Bible takes no short cuts in challenging Christians to follow in the footsteps of God and love the vulnerable. Take Zechariah 7:9-10 for example: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.” It’s pretty self-explanatory by reading scripture that a care for the downtrodden, poor, vulnerable, marginalized, etc. is God’s heart and thus should be ours as well. And it is rather clear that [...]

By | 2014-09-25T05:30:30+00:00 September 25th, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

Ministry to the Vulnerable Through Prayer

Monique and Ricky drove their battered Dodge minivan from the western edge of Phoenix to our church in the Southeast Valley for a free fence. They saw it on Craigslist: “Free chain link fence. You take it down and haul it away.” So they traveled thirty-three miles in a van that looked like it could hardly go three more. We were prepping for a construction project that would begin the next day and needed to get rid of the perimeter fence of our playground. So we put the word out. Monique and Ricky were hardly living the high life. That was easy enough to spot from their clean but worn clothes and the aging car they drove. What wasn’t nearly so evident was how very, [...]

By | 2017-09-05T20:18:50+00:00 September 22nd, 2014|Categories: Pray, Stories, Learn and Apply|Tags: |

When Love is Enough

“Heidi, please come,” Samir said in the best, broken English he could muster. “We need your help. I want to fill out a job application. I need a job. But I can’t understand this form.” Since English is something I am good at, I jumped in my car and drove thirty-five miles to downtown Phoenix from my Gilbert home. Samir fled his home in Iraq and came to the United States with his wife and two small children as a refugee. His life was in danger in his homeland, but coming to the U.S. for a fresh start had its own rude awakening. English is his second language, and he speaks very good English for someone living in Iraq where his language skills gave him [...]

By | 2017-09-05T20:20:49+00:00 September 18th, 2014|Categories: Stories, Learn and Apply, 2:10|Tags: |

Himalayan Community Mission Church – A Ministry of and to Refugees in Phoenix

I walked into the auditorium at the end of the “youth fellowship time.”  In other words, I walked in on 15 teenagers somehow managing to simultaneously text on their smartphones, run laps, flirt and eat junk food. I might have mistaken it for any other youth group in town, except that I couldn’t decipher a single word they were saying (since they were speaking Nepalese) and there were one too many saris in the room. In fact, 14 of these 15 kids are children of refugees. This is the youth group of the Himalayan Community Mission Church in Phoenix, Arizona. I was there to meet the pastor…to find out just one thing: What does effective ministry to refugees look like? […]

By | 2017-09-05T20:23:28+00:00 September 15th, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

4 Ways the Church Can Respond in a Disaster

In April, a cyclone devastated a small village along the coastline in northern Myanmar. Every family in the village – 65 families in all –suffered damage to their homes. Their roofs were gone. The school as well was damaged and the local church was completely destroyed. Despite the hardship, the local church members sprang into action. They had learned about showing God’s love to their neighbors through the TCT program. They helped their neighbors by sharing what they had and working to rebuild homes. The loving action of the local Christians astonished non-believers in the area and served to establish a good relationship with them. With the houses completed, the believers prayed that God would also provide for them to rebuild the church. The church [...]

By | 2014-09-11T05:30:54+00:00 September 11th, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply, Truth Centered Transformation|Tags: |

Responding to Poverty: Who’s right, Luke or Paul?

Luke 3:11 says: “And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 2 Thess. 3:10 says: “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” So which is it? Should I give my tunic away or should I make them work to buy their own tunic? Do I help by giving or do I help by restraining to give? Who do I believe Dr. Luke or the Apostle Paul? The Bible seems to indicate that when helping those in need there aren’t any cut and dry answers. It seems, sometimes we are told to help by supplying physical [...]

By | 2014-09-08T05:30:54+00:00 September 8th, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

The Reintegration of Church and State: Serving Schools Like TCT Churches in Asia

As the school year starts, now is a great time to look for ways to partner with your local school. Separation of church and state notwithstanding, most schools have needs, know of needy families, and will accept help from anywhere they can get it. Step one is to meet with the Principal and ask what their needs are. Step two is prayer. If you’re in Arizona, I recommend connecting with Bridge Builders International, which has an amazing program of prayer for schools. Our TCT partner churches in Asia have been inspiring me with the way they are meeting needs for the schools in their communities. While the needs may be different, the heart of service is exactly what I hope we can demonstrate where we [...]

By | 2014-09-04T05:30:55+00:00 September 4th, 2014|Categories: Stories, Learn and Apply, Truth Centered Transformation|Tags: |

The Church’s Role in Helping the Vulnerable

Several years ago I was involved in a ministry at a local church that gathered food and distributed it to various ministries in our city. These ministries sought to serve the low-income families of the community. I remember the first Sunday that congregants were to bring food for the outreach… it was amazing! We had over 2,000 items donated, everything from canned food to paper towels and baby items. The ministry launch was a success! We decided to make this outreach a monthly opportunity for the church. For three months the results were great, lots of food was collected; many generous hearts had been moved. However, after about 6 to 9 months the numbers started to decrease. The amount of food sitting in the church [...]

By | 2014-09-01T14:13:39+00:00 September 1st, 2014|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |
Reconciled World