Wednesday, October 27, 2010

God with us

"95% of those who have come through counseling are back in ministry," says Jack. "This is necessary work."

A group of us listens intently, sitting around the table after our sandwiches are consumed, chips crunched, and crudites swallowed. We think about Immanuel. God with us, always. When we cannot help ourselves, our God visits us through the caring words and hands of those willing to weep and laugh with us.

Many of us feel abandoned by God if we're in moral failure, ministry collapse, or family chaos. "How could he love me, stay with me, care about me, since I..."

I admit that I marvel each time I read how Jesus came to save sinners, rather than affirm the self-righteous. The Apostle Paul claimed to be chief among sinners. He had murdered, persecuted, and hunted down people because of a difference in belief. Yet God forgave him and gave him an honored, influential place in Church history because he was willing to let go of the past.

I thank God for the explicit picture in Scripture of King David - charismatic leader, adulterer, soldier, and the power behind a wrongful death. David kept repenting and growing in his understanding of God's ways. He realized that God never gives up. Never abandons. Instead, God walks us through pain and sin to wholeness and abundant life. God called David a "man after my heart" because David desired to please God, admitting his failures and turning repeatedly from his human frailty to God's strength.

When life circumstances, ministry pressures, or poor personal choices bring ruin and devastation, missionaries and ministers turn to Missionary Renewal International (MRI), birthed along with Missionary Renewal Asia Pacific (MRAP).

The dream of MRI/MRAP's founder Dr. Jack Rozell, former pastor and missionary to Asia, is to provide a safe haven to heal the hearts of God's servants. To return the wounded to God, to family, and back into ministry. MRI and MRAP allow the broken to be real and transparent, so they can be restored. Every week, trained counselors and psychiatrists walk alongside hurting servants of God, drawing out their grief and balancing their suffering by extending God's forgiveness and love.

MRI and MRAP need your help, too. Their impact in missions and local churches is unique and substantial. Most counselees return to ministry in harvest fields where they are desperately needed. As the need for Missionary Renewal's services continues to grow, they'd appreciate your generosity on behalf of the very human adventurers who have bridged cultures between the world and the Church.

Don't put it off, please! Any amount you give will be put to great use! The donation link is a bit slow, but your patience may mean the difference between life or loss for another. Thanks.

Read more:
"Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

"Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."  Isaiah 40:1-5 NIV 

*As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:9-14 NIV

*After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
 
  “ Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
      Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
      Be to our God forever and ever.
      Amen.”
Revelation 7:9-12 NKJV

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