Church Roots

1 Peter 1:19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”  We are bought by the blood of Christ and the blood of the saints are the seed of the Church. If you would have asked me a few months ago what my church roots are or anything about church history I’d have only been able to tell you a very little bit. The Lord directed me to come for a second year of the GFA Discipleship Program and in this year I’ve been learning about Church History, which is proving to be very beneficial.

I’m in awe of what the death of Christ has done for me in making me a part of the Bride of Christ. The Apostle’s passion to see the nations reached with the love of Christ compelled them to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the extent that it cost them their lives. Those that came after them paid a heavy price of martyrdom, passing on the tradition and the Apostles Creed onto the next generations. Saints like Polycarp, Ignatius Tertullian and a host of others that would not back down on what they were taught and believed; they gave their lives for Christ in unimaginable ways. If it had not been for them we would not hold a Bible in our hands, have the structure and order in our worship services that we do today.

As I’ve been learning about the lives of the saints the verse in Psalm 116 starts to make more sense. When reading it before I wondered why the death of saints would be precious in the eyes of the Lord. Psalms 116:15 says. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Couple this verse with a quote from Tertullian an early church father. “The blood of the saints is the seed of the church.” This gives a glimpse of why the death of Christians might be precious to the Lord.  I don’t fully understand the verse or the meaning behind it but I’m grateful for what others have gone through to give us the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In studying books like “Tried by Fire,” “Early Church History Made Easy” and a few others on early Church History I see that the Church has gone through very dark times. I was reminded in our last lectures that in the middle of all the darkness God is still working and keeping the Church alive, the Bride of Christ and preparing her for Jesus. Just like a seed when it is planted in the dirt, we don’t see what is happening but we trust that the seed dies, germinates and then brings forth life; so God kept His Church and will keep it until Jesus returns. We are one body with many different members and together we are the Church of Jesus Christ bought with His precious blood.

As I’m learning about what the Universal Church is and how it is one body which is being prepared for Christ return, I get excited because I am part of the whole Church. I, as a blood bought child of God, am part of the universal church. It is not about this Christian life being just Jesus and me; it’s much more than that. Every born again believer is part of the Body regardless of what church they go to. This realization makes me grateful to live in a community of like minded believers. We may be different and come from diverse backgrounds, but we are one in Christ.

 

Time for Harvest

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It’s September and Harvest season is upon us. Many farmers are busy on the fields harvesting their crops. It is a busy time of year when the farmers work hard and long to get their crops in before the cold weather comes. The Bible also talks about a harvest, a harvest not of crops but of souls.

Matthew 9:37 He (Jesus) said to His disciples “The harvest is great but the workers are few.”

Jesus is talking about the harvest of souls; there are so many people in our world today who are without hope. They are desperately waiting and longing for someone to tell them of hope and salvation, but as Christ said, there are very few people who are willing to go out and tell them.

In class we are going through the book by K.P. Yohannan called “Against the Wind”, Chapter 11 talks about being a diligent servant. K.P. gives the example of a farmer, how he must be diligent and work hard in order for his farm to be successful, in the same way in order for us to be effective in our personal lives as a servant of God we must have the same kind of commitment. I have been really challenged by this, it is so easy for me to work hard at a task I know needs to get done or at a job where I know I am expected to work hard, but when it comes to doing things for God I tend to be more lazy or give excuses of why I don’t have time.

The parable found in Matthew 25 gives examples of different attitudes when it comes to working hard. Two of the three men were willing to work hard with what their master had given them to do and their master, pleased with their work gave them more responsibility in his kingdom as their reward. The third man was lazy and did nothing with what was given him, he did not take his master’s command seriously and he received a very harsh punishment. In the same way that the master in the parable gave a command, Christ has given me a command and He is returning soon to see what I have done in regards to His command. As the master was pleased with the two hard workers so God is pleased with those who diligently serve Him.

As I see many people all around the world living without hope, never having heard the good news of the gospel, it is my prayer and desire to do all that I can. To work diligently rescuing souls until Jesus returns.

—School of Discipleship student

Walking In The Footsteps Of Jesus

I have only been in School of Discipleship for two months and the amount that I have learned already is amazing. We have gone through the Core Values and now are reading The Jesus Style. Not only have I learned from these classes but the characteristics and values that we have studied are so well lived out by Gospel for Asia staff. I count it a privilege to be here and have these servants to look up to, to follow and learn from their example.

A few of the characteristics of Jesus that I have observed and seen lived out by staff are servanthood, love and grace. The staff at Gospel for Asia are NOT afraid to go the extra mile for anyone, they are ready to serve. There seems to be a never ending supply of love. It is truly the love of Jesus shining through. In the two months that I have been here I have had to learn many new things and all the staff has been very gracious through it all.

One of the Core Values that stood out to me was “being a people sold out to win the lost at any cost”. Through most of my life I never realized the need to share the Love of Jesus with others. How selfish, to only be concerned about my own salvation. A few months before arriving at Gospel for Asia the Lord started working in my heart and giving me a desire to share His love with others. However, even though I had this desire, I didn’t know where or how to start sharing the Gospel with others. Now having gone through some evangelism training, I have an idea how it’s done. I have yet to actually go out and evangelize. Lord willing, that will be very soon.

I am looking forward to all that the Lord has for me to learn yet!

Adventures in Toronto

As School of Discipleship students we have a pretty packed schedule: class multiple times a week, doing assignments in the evenings, prayer meetings almost every day, working full time at Gospel For Asia, and then community service projects or evangelism on the weekends.

A few weeks ago my classmates and I also did some religion training sessions! We learned from people with Operation Mobilization about some different religions prevalent in Asia. We’re now better equipped to be witnesses for Christ here in North America, and also to better know how to pray.

Fun and Fellowship In Toronto

Since we were learning about Asian culture and religion, we spent part of one Saturday afternoon visiting downtown Toronto’s Asian community town! We dressed in the cultural clothing, visited some different shops, and also enjoyed a delicious Asian meal.

Fellowship In Toronto

Then we visited the CN Tower in Toronto!

From Texas to Toronto

We are both from Texas, so it was our first time visiting the CN Tower. Our group had a blast walking around downtown Toronto!

Evangelism and Spreading the Good News Thick!

Hey y’all!! Welcome to my first blog! I hope and pray that it will be a blessing and possibly even present a challenge to you! I would like to share with you what has stood out to me the very most since I have been here at School of Discipleship.

The one thing that has stood out to me the very most from all that I have gone through and been taught, is making evangelism a permanent part of my life. I am not sure why I have never realized it before now, but nonetheless, I know now, so now I need to do something about it!

After God saves me, what should be my goal and purpose in this life? The answer that I think to be most obvious now is… spread the good news! What good is it if I am saved and I do not tell others of how they can recieve forgiveness of sins and look forward to serving Christ forever and ever in glory!?!? While Christ was on this earth, His mission was to do the will of His Heavenly Father. That is what our mission in this life should be as well! May God be my strength as I continue to learn and follow His plans for me! Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace!

Thank you for reading! May God bless and keep you!

 

Dessert Anyone?

Dear brothers and sisters,

Something has been tugging on my heart for a long while, and I feel that I should share it with you all. See, I believe and have a relationship with the one God who loves, heals, and delivers. Through my walk with Him, I have gone through valleys, and mountains, but in all of it I can see His faithfulness, and He has never once failed me. He is the only One on whom I can depend in any circumstance, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love the Lord.

The Lord has been with me through rain and shine, and has never left my side. Yes there have been times when I have been so focused on myself that I couldn’t feel Him with me, but in faith I pressed on and sure enough, once I refocused on Him, our relationship dove deeper than before. God is love…and because He is love, this means that He fits the description of what love is from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevered. Love never fails.”

Now, you may be wondering, “what about that has been tugging on your heart?” Well, I’m glad you asked! For one, I may have discovered this life-changing (not to be cliché) relationship, but SO many others have rejected it. Now, I’m not writing this newsletter story to condemn any of you, or to make you feel guilty, but what would I be if I didn’t share this with you? It would be like eating your favorite dessert in front of you, and not offering you any of it. Or if you had cancer, and I had the cure, but was selfish and kept it for myself instead of helping you. That would be wrong wouldn’t it?

So what brought on this topic, at this time, after so many previous newsletters that I’ve written? Recently I have had the opportunity to share my faith with my friend back in Pennsylvania (I’ll name him Freddy) who was/is going through a rather difficult time. See, he is looking for love, for someone to be there for him, and since there seemed to be no one who fit that idea, he wanted to end his life. This was the first time that I had ever been through something quite as life/death as this. But you see, God used me and another friend here at GFA to reach out to Freddy and because Freddy finally listened, he is still alive today. No, he didn’t accept the love of Jesus who is right there waiting for Freddy to open his heart to it, but I do believe that he is close.

Much like with Freddy, I want to share with anyone who will listen of the hope found in Jesus, and the love that He offers. Just looking back on my life and all that the Lord has brought me through, I honestly wouldn’t be alive right now if it weren’t for Him stepping in and guiding me through the darkness. Instead of trying to convince you of this truth, dear friends and family, I encourage you to take a look back at your life. Look at what you have gone through, what are the things that the Lord has brought you through?

Anyway, I am praying for you all. I pray for those who do have a relationship with the Lord, that they will dare to dive deeper than ever before into His nature and His presence. Oh how we should study and get to know those that we love, and even more so the Lord who loves us even when we don’t deserve it. I also pray for those of you who do not know the Lord. That your hearts will one day be softened and your eyes opened to the glory that is God. Embrace His love, because it is so great, that He sacrificed EVERYTHING just to give you the opportunity to live and commune with Him.

 

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