Friday, February 23, 2007

Does the Gospel "Need" An Emotional Response?

I just finished today reading a book entitled, A Look at Latin American Lifestyles by Marvin Mayers which was recommended by our mission agency. As he speaks of religion in South America, this is what he says of Pentecostals(the largest growing denomination in Brazil): "Without this good feeling(come about through embelishing events such as tongues and healing) he (the South American) does not know if something worthwhile has happened or not." What he goes on to say of the Protestant is what bothered me. "The Protestant tends to focus on his message and has ruled out the good feeling as an emotional response--the Gospel not needing any emotional response, but rather a thought-through decision to follow Christ." Does the Gospel "need" an emotional response? My answer to that question is another question: "Does the Gospel not demand an emotional response?" Assuming we are talking about the true gospel of Jesus Christ, should this not move us? If the South American believes that without a good feeling, he is not sure that something worthwhile has happened, I think I would have to agree, to a certain degree. I know that feelings can come and go and that we should not base our salvation on the feelings themselves, but a gospel that offers us salvation of our souls and a relationship with God should and will affect us emotionally. If it does not, I question the authenticity of our salvation and certainly not of the power of the Gospel.

This power of the Gospel does not just affect us in our brains to make a "thought-through decision to accept Christ. The Gospel is so powerful that it affects us in our hearts so that we embrace Jesus Christ for the greatest treasure that He is and then we will know that something worthwhile truly has happened. Do people around you know that something worthwhile has happened in your life? "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our First Snow Man!

If you'll recall, we tried to build a snow man in December while at a missions conference in Michigan. We failed and ended up with a pile of snow!

This week in Charles City, IA we SUCCEEDED! We have been in Iowa with snow for 3 weeks now but it has been so cold we couldn't go outside and enjoy it. This week God has blessed us with warm weather. The kids have loved being able to go outside a little more.

Our snow man went together flawlessly. The snow stuck together so well, but it was very heavy and we couldn't lift the middle ball very easily. Daniel described the bottom ball as a "roll of carpet":) Indeed, it rolled up just like a big piece of carpet.

We hope some of you others in the land of snow and cold have finally been able to get outdoors for a little winter fun!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Does God have a Plan B?

God has really challenged me lately to trust in His sovereignty. He has taught me that His sovereignty means more than just His allowing of things in this life, it means His ordaining or planning of all things. I have heard Christians, including myself, say that such and such must have been God's second choice or plan B in life, but I don't find this in Scripture anywhere. What I do find are verses like Lamentations 3:37-38: "Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?" God has brought these other passages to my attention that affirm the truth that He has planned and ordained all things, including evil. (Job 37:10-14; Daniel 2:20-21; I Pet. 3:17; Job 2:10; 42:11; Deut. 32:39; Acts 2:22-23; II Cor. 4:4-6) I encourage you to look these verses up. It would only take you a few minutes to do so. What gives me such great joy and peace about God is that He has ordained all things in my life for my good. Nothing that happens to me is His plan B, despite the sin and evil that goes on in this world. He does not approve of the evil or commit the evil Himself, but He has ordained it before the foundation of the world. God has ordained that we NOT be in Brazil yet. God has ordained that we be in Charles City, IA today. God has ordained that we go to 81 churches to try and raise our support. God has ordained that we have 19 churches and 21 individuals supporting us so far. God has ordained that it warm up to above 30 degrees today(Halelujah). We're not always where we think we want to be, nor do we always have what we think we want, so it is liberating and comforting beyond degree when we embrace the true Biblical doctrine of God's sovereinty over all creation. "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them...for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place." (Acts 4:24-28) This, as well, was planned before the creation of the world. God REIGNS!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's all a matter of perspective

We've been in COLD Iowa for 2 weeks now and we have hardly had a day above 22 degrees! Usually our days start around -1 to 5 degrees and rise to 15 degrees. We have truly adjusted to the bitter cold.

James had been keeping up his running in the midst of this cold by running in a gym. Saturday he ran 14 miles which was 168 laps! I bet that was exciting. Tomorrow he and Mark (my sister's husband) are running the Red Flannel Run in Downtown Des Moines. We have been watching the weather and are excited that the high should be in the mid-twenties and sunny! It feels like spring!

Two weeks ago in warm, balmy Texas we would have FROZEN if the temperature had been in the 20's for a high. Now that we've been in super cold Iowa for 2 weeks we think 20 is warm! Do we still need our coats? Gloves? Hats? Naaaahhh! It's all a matter of perspective!

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Heritage of Faithfulness

Me & my Grandpa, Les Newell

This Sunday evening after the service someone came up to me and said, "Are you Les Newell's granddaughter?" Yes I am!

James and I are so privileged to have a heritage of servants of God! My grandpa, Les Newell, and my parents, Albert & Patty Armitage are church planters and have started churches all over America. James grandparents, Bill & Mary Kay Grimes are also church planters both in Germany and Indiana. James other grandparents, Bud & Evie Taylor and his parents, Phil & Mary Ruth Taylor have planted churches in Brazil. We are so thankful for their love for the Lord and their obedience to Him.

James and I with his grandparents
Bill & Mary Kay Grimes

One of the special things about our deputation travels is meeting people who have been ministered to by our grandparents or parents. We often meet people who were members of churches where the Bill and Mary Kay Grimes ministered or where Les Newell planted a church. James and I are amazed to hear of the love and fondness many of these people have for our family. These people love our family because they shared with them the greatest gift of all... Jesus Christ. Their faithful testimony and service to the King of Kings resulted in changed lives all over this country and through out the world! Our family isn't flashy or "super-saints" they are FAITHFUL to their Savior.

"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
Hosea 6:6

Once at a church in Iowa, a man sang us a song in Portuguese that he had learned as a child from James grandpa, Bud Taylor. This man was only a child when his family had Bud & Evie in their home. Yet all these years later he remembers how Bud challenged him. One lady shared a story of how Mary Kay's example of a godly wife changed her marriage. Her and her husband came back to the Lord and today some of their children are in full-time ministry.

Phil & Mary Ruth Taylor with James & David
Bud & Evie Taylor
at church in Brazil
early 1980's

Several churches that support James and me also support my Grandpa or James Grandparents of even our parents. One church supports Evie Taylor, Phil & Mary Ruth and us! Another supports my Grandpa, my parents and us! It is so neat to have so many years of ministry partnership with a church. We really feel like they are family.

Albert & Patty Armitage with
Christen, Albert & Laura
at our sending church in Jeffersonville, Indiana

We praise the Lord for our family and all the generations of faithful service to Him. They have truly left us an example to follow! We pray that we will set the same example to our children and those who come after us.

"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
The knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
Hosea 6:6

Lord, help us to be steadfast in our love of You. Seeking to know YOU more and more each day. Lord keep us from letting our service for You take the place of our love for You in our hearts.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hannah's 3rd Birthday

We are so thankful for the wonderful daughter God gave us.

Three years ago God blessed us with a precious little girl. She has added so much fun and joy to our family! With Hannah there is NEVER a quiet moment. She is so full of personality and spunk. We know that God has great plans for this little girls life.

We are praying for her salvation. God is the only one who can take this strong personality and mold it into a vessel fit for Himself; yielded to Him and bringing Him glory! There is nothing greater we can desire for our daughter, for this will lead to a life of JOY!