Tag Archives: Missions

MK Essay – Votes Needed!

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We missionaries fiercely band together to root each others’ kids onward to success and victory.

I’m writing this post and sharing the essay below for that precise reason: to help  a missionary kid in Europe win a scholarship.

I voted for him and ask you to do the same. The link to vote is below his essay.

But treat yourself while you’re at it…by reading the essay! Not only is he a good writer, you’ll get a glimpse of M.K. life from his perspective, both the challenges and the triumphs.

And when you’re done reading and voting, pause and pray for him and for missionary kids around the world.

Because they are awesome!

 

My name is Stephen Gracza and I am a American missionary kid living in Budapest, Hungary where I was born. I have been integrated into the Hungarian cultural and educational systems since Kindergarten. At home I speak English with my family, but everywhere else I communicate in Hungarian.

Growing up overseas has enriched my life in many ways. Being bilingual since childhood has enabled me to live in two cultures at the same time, American and Hungarian. Europe is made up of many different cultures and traditions. Most European countries share a border with at least three or four other countries, which impacts their individual countries and communities. Due to the number of languages spoken in Europe, students are required to learn two foreign languages during their high school years. This has given me the opportunity to become conversational in German and Spanish.

I have visited Finland, Germany and Spain with my Hungarian high school through participation in student exchange programs. These experiences have greatly improved my foreign language skills. My parents work has allowed me to see all of Europe. I have met people from varied ethnicities and religious backgrounds. It has given me a broader view on life and the people who live around me, enabling me to be sensitive of their needs and traditions.

In general, European opinion of Americans is that they have been granted more possibilities in life and have an easier road. I have had to forge my own way and be determined since I was little to work against this negative stereotypical thinking. In Kindergarten my teacher did not want me to take part in our class play, because she believed I had an accent. In Junior high school I was given fewer opportunities and then told; “You are American and Hungarians have fewer opportunities in life”.

I have had to be dedicated and determined to be granted the same possibilities. I have grown firm but not aggressive. I am currently my class’ Vice President, my high school’s student body representative and team captain for both my school’s men’s Field Hockey team, and Track and Field team.

I feel that struggling against the preconceived understandings about Americans has enabled me to cultivate a lifestyle of tolerance and determination.

 

Click HERE to vote!

Voting ends June 30, 2014, so please don’t put it off ’til mañana.

Thanks!

IlonaSignature

 

Making the Most of Your Mission Trip – Tips to making your cross-cultural experience a success.

(I originally wrote this article for Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership.) ??????

You’re investing thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and numerous headaches in planning a missions trip. You hope to save the world (at least the corner you’ll be in) and return with photos, stories, and unforgettable memories of souls you’ve touched.

Nothing surges global vision in your church like team members returning from a cross-cultural experience with changed lives. Nothing snuffs the passion for global outreach in your church like a team returning with complaining, irritated members.

What makes the difference? Having been on both sides of the experience, first as youth pastors leading teams and for the past sixteen years as missionaries receiving teams, there are specific keys we’ve learned that lead to success.

The first key is to get lost.

Not physically, of course, which parenthetically could lead to quite the adventure, but rather in humility, from yourself. Think Jesus. He allowed himself to be emptied of power, glory, and royalty before crossing cultures from heaven to earth. Initially He came to love and be loved; He came to learn and be taught.

Losing our will, desires, and ego to God before our passports are stamped is the foundation for the following tips:

Be Flexible

Tolerance for ambiguity allows us to persevere when criticizing or running away is what we would prefer.” Duane Elmer

Limber up your attitude and practice smiling (a lot) because I guarantee this: you will be stretched! Everything which makes you comfortable will be different. Your modus operandi will do the splits. Schedules can change; plans may modify. Things out of your control will happen.

We were two days away from receiving a church construction team when we received notice that the legal paperwork for the property fell through. Quite the shock, since we repeatedly had asked the local leaders if all legal documents were in order and repeatedly were given a resounding “yes”.

Furthermore, we were mortified when told the trip would have to be cancelled. Rather than facing the loss of thousands of dollars invested in plane tickets and construction materials, not to mention the confidence the team had placed in us, we scrambled to reroute them to another project in a city five hours away. Everything that had previously and painstakingly been set in place (hotel, food, transportation, and schedule) was changed.

The outcome? We had a fantastic week of ministry, work, and relationship building. The key was that both we and the team chose to be flexible in the midst of upheaval.

Have a Servant Mentality

Mission…must take the form of servanthood. Only in this way can it escape the charge of arrogance.” G. Thompson Brown

See yourself with a towel draped over your arm, regardless of who you are or what you do.

A missionary wrote about a team of doctors on a missions trip who complained that too many patients were showing up, that they were working too many hours without having enough leisure time, and they made faces at the food they were served. They also called the local pastor’s wife a liar and pouted when they didn’t get exactly what they wanted.

Do you smell the arrogance and see the irony? The ones supposed to heal the sick and bind the wounded instead spread disease and inflicted injury with their self serving attitudes.

To have served humbly would have quenched their incessant demands. In the end, the pain experienced by the nationals remains greater than any good that occurred.

Bathe The Trip in Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Don’t forget to pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to preach…”  Colossians 4:2,3 NLT

More than a suggestion, prayer is a necessity on so many levels: spiritual anointing, physical protection, emotional endurance, mental strength, and team unity.

The most fruitful teams we’ve led and received have been teams dedicated to prayer and fasting, both before and during the trip. Also having a support group interceding back home while the team is on their mission is vital to the work.

The God in whose name you travel gives numerous examples in His Word of what occurs when we meet before his throne. From Moses’ intercession in Exodus 17 to James’ reminder of the effectiveness of the righteous man’s prayer, we can be assured God hears and moves in response.

Learn to Adapt

No matter how adept an exegete a theologian is,…it is all for naught if he does not understand his contemporary audience.” Dallas Willard

Jesus had thirty-plus years to grow in his surroundings; you’ll have one, maybe two weeks. How are you supposed to adapt in that short time? You won’t, really, but something that can help, in addition to the previous tips, is trusting your host and/or the nationals with whom you’ll be working. Take cues from them and it will go well with you.

Investigating the culture and specific people group before you go will also be a great asset. You won’t learn everything, but you will have opened the door to understanding, an important aspect of communication.

Taking a missions trip can and should be a positive experience. Following these tips will aid you towards that goal. Your investment of time, money, and planning can reap lasting rewards for yourself, for your team members, for your church, and for eternity.

You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 40:9,10 NIV

Consumerism Consumes Us – Why We Hardly See Miracles in America

I am not against Black Friday, in theory. I think we should all be good stewards of our money, and bargain shopping is a good way to go. What I struggle with is the fact that stuff– toys, clothes, latest technology, gourmet this n’ that– consumes too readily as it shoves basic priorities like contentedness, kindness, and character out of the way. Worse, it robs miracles.

I’m not only talking about all those people out there. I’m talking about you…and me.

For the Christian, prayer is the key that helps keep contentedness, kindness, and character a priority in our lives. Yet prayer is too often the least to which we give our time. It is also the key to restoration in our communities, revival in our churches, and miracles in our midst.

Is it any coincidence that so many third world countries regularly experience revival and the miraculous?

They stand in line for God. We stand in line for stuff.

The must-read article I’m reposting below was written by missionary evangelist and author Jason Frenn. May it stir you, as it did me.

“Why We Hardly See Miracles in America”

Recently, I spoke at a missions convention. Immediately afterward, a woman in her late ’40s came to my table in the foyer. The first question out of her mouth echoed what many people have asked me over the years, “Why don’t we see the miraculous things in North America that people experience in other countries?”

After living many years in Central America, I’ve learned that our lives are like a puzzle. In Asia, Latin America and Africa, where people experience miraculous breakthroughs, God is a very large piece in their very small puzzle. They lead simpler lives and focus on the basic necessities of life. In North America and Western Europe, God has been unfortunately reduced to a very small piece in our very large and complex puzzle. We fill our lives with insignificant things that overwhelm us. The key to miraculous breakthroughs is to make God a bigger piece of our life, and the best place to start is prayer.

People in the developing world understand that two of the most important pieces of the human puzzle are our need for God and the time we spend with Him in prayer.

In Latin America, for example, people clearly have a need. Their options are few and far between. Believers are consistent in their prayer lives and see miraculous things as a result. Many attend all-night prayer meetings. In some cases, churches hold prayer gatherings where people come and go over a 72-hour period.

In contrast, in the United States we don’t feel we need God. We have a plethora of options for just about any dilemma we face. As Steve Jobs used to say, “There’s an app for that.” As a result, God has been squeezed out of our lives, and we’ve replaced Him with the trivial — entertainment, gadgets, money and experiences that provide a temporal escape from the pressures we face.

Recently, I got up at 3 a.m. and drove as quickly as I could to get something that I had been anticipating for six months. The streets were empty until I reached the outdoor mall.  When I pulled in, there were 90 people sitting in lawn chairs who had arrived the day before. For the next eight hours, I patiently waited, and when I finally made it to the front of the line, the crowd had swelled to 2,500 — all for the latest iPhone. Ironically, I bought the device with the hopes of making my life simpler.

In contrast, for the believer living overseas, God is one of the highest priorities. Last year, I was invited to speak at a Tuesday and Wednesday-night prayer and miracle campaign in Buenos Aires. The pastor announced the two-night meeting the Sunday before, giving the people two days’ notice. At 2 p.m. Tuesday, I went to the church to record my radio program in its studio.

As I walked out of the lobby to return to the hotel, I noticed about 400 people standing in the pouring rain in a long line around the block. The person driving me to the hotel said, “These people are waiting for the service to begin tonight.” I was shocked. What were they doing while standing in line? Praying.

That night, the sanctuary was packed to capacity (2,500) and the overflow room had an additional 1,000 people. At the close of the service, the ushers had to check under every chair and pew, because people regularly look for places to hide just to get a decent seat for the next night. Two local hospitals sent ambulances with six children who needed prayer. Even the physicians there recognize the need for God’s intervention. Many people at the meetings testified about experiencing miracles, and it wasn’t because of a dynamic sermon or great worship. It was because they placed their faith in God and spent time with Him in prayer.

Those wonderful people were not there to hear me.  They were there because they needed God. Being with Him was more important than any gadget, distraction or time-consuming piece of the puzzle. Because of that commitment and dedication to prayer, they experience breakthroughs and miracles regularly. They stand in line for God. We stand in line for stuff.

If you want to experience miracles, eliminate some of the useless pieces of your puzzle and replace them with prayer. As you spend time with God, you will see amazing breakthroughs in your life and in the lives of your loved ones and friends. God answers prayer, and He looks forward to answering yours.

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Read more –  The Seven Prayers God Always Answers by Jason Frenn

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photo: taken by me in Sta. Maria Yolotepec, Oaxaca

 

Memories: Instant in Any Season

Memories, as Barbara Streisand sang years ago, light the corners of my mind. Yet they do so much more being embedded in my heart and soul.

 

We have returned temporarily to the United States where most assume we are now contentedly relieved in this “comfortable home country” of ours. True to a degree, but truer still is the pungently bittersweet fact of the transition.

I love being with our three young adult sons again, other family and friends, the house God provided for us, and the anticipation of many things, but I miss the people, the relationships, the village, and our ministry in Oaxaca. As I sit here with carpeting under my feet instead of cold tile floors, towering oaks instead of lofty cypresses, and a flat view of sky outside my window instead of a full mountain range, the memories come; some with a smile, others with a sigh, and a few with sorrow.

From our ministry blog, a recent and fond memory:

May 7, 2012

Hosting a missions team recently, we committed to minister among remote indigenous communities in Oaxaca’s coastal region. The plan was to offer a VBS during Semana Santa (Easter break) to two distinct communities. Palm Sunday was to be the kickoff service, with the entire church participating, then Monday through Wednesday would be kids only.

We arrived in good time on that hot and sunny Palm Sunday morning. While our team, together with the nationals, reviewed plans and resources, I sensed the Holy Spirit whisper, “Prepare a message.”

I confess I don’t like public speaking or preaching to a crowd. Not a few times have I quipped, “My husband preaches from the pulpit, I preach with a pen.” I prefer less painful events like women’s Bible studies, visiting homes, natural child-birth, writing articles, or having a root canal.

I groaned inwardly.

As a veteran missionary, I should have known better, should have expected all along that the pastor would ask someone –in this case, me, since hubby was off working construction with another portion of the team– to preach to the adults. After all, it is Sunday morning, and though the churches “in the city” may kick off VBS with everyone together in the sanctuary, this traditional pastor would see to it that his adults received a sermon.

Within ten minutes I had a brief outline scrawled in the small notebook I always carry, and torn paper to use as bookmarks for the passages that I (or rather, the Holy Spirit) had picked.

Within fifteen minutes the pastor arrived, walked over to me and said, “Hermana, would you bring God’s Word this morning to the adults?”

I did. Outside under a mango tree that randomly dropped its fruit, I preached to the standing gathering of a dozen or so adults. We had four languages represented: English, Spanish, Zapotec, and Mixteco. I included salvation testimonies –which were powerful– from two of the team members.

Later that day, after we drove an hour to the second church plant of the same pastor, he again invited me (unplanned, but not unexpected this time), from the pulpit, to please come up and share God’s Word.

I did. Inside under a single lightbulb that hung three feet over my head and was swarming with wasps, I preached to the seated audience of another dozen or so adults. I used the same message and the same two testimonies.

Glory be to God! That day four adults prayed for forgiveness and committed to follow Christ, neither a mango fell nor did wasps sting, and this impromptu preacher experienced again the mercy and mysterious power of her Lord.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

One of the Persecuted…

Is she happy?  Not always.  Truthfully, she struggles for self acceptance.  The pain and rejection are still too real for her to put in the past.  Where, when, and how, I sometimes wonder, is the blessing for the persecuted like her?

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She was just a teen when she heard of the special meetings taking place in her legalistic and religious community.  She had heard some strange and wonderful gossip about those meetings.

Her curiosity, like the spiritual void within her, was growing.  She had to attend!  Except she was forbidden to do so.  Forbidden by her parents and forbidden by the local religious leader. A typical teenager exhibiting some form of rebellion, she decided to go.

She loved it. There was something there, she didn’t know exactly what, that made her decide to return the following evening.  Perhaps it was the music, or the way the message was spoken or maybe even the strange way they prayed at the end that drew her.  Whatever it was, her mind was set:  she’d be back.

She went home and was beaten that night.  “How dare you!” roared her father.

Broken and bruised, yet hungry for God, she dared again the following night, even after being told that if she attended again, she would be disowned and kicked out of the house.

Yet hope streamed into her heart for the first time that second night. Made new by the miracle of Christ within her, she was born again.

She returned home to find a locked house with no one willing to open the door for her.

The joy of a newborn spirit within was challenged by the pain of rejection.  Ironically, she was adopted into the family of God the same evening she was rejected by her own family.  Knocking and calling did her no good.   Shivering in the dark as tears flowed down her face, she curled up on the ground outside her front door trying to stay warm.

That’s how she spent that night. And the following night, and the next…

meno yard cropped

All I could do was hug her when she told me that story years later- hug her and do my best to empathize.  She knows well what it means to be persecuted.  But did she feel blessed? Was she the epitome of a joyful overcomer? Not exactly.

As I talked with her awhile, I realized this:  the blessing happens in those moments when she turns to run into the supernatural arms of a loving Savior. The blessing happens the moments that remind her she is still alive and has the promise of God’s strength to lead her through another day.

The blessings are the calm in the midst of the storm she would call her life.

“From victory to victory” is not a cliche in her life.  It is her life.  Victory, struggle, then victory again.  Mountain top, valley, then mountain top again.   That’s what it really means.

Don’t let those Armani clad, oily haired, fake-tanned televangelists convince you they know what victory really is, no matter how nice their white fixed smile or how much they cheerlead you into believing it with their shouting or their sweaty, shaking jowls.  (Sorry, got off track and nauseous all at the same time with that one!)

Back to where I was: the final blessing will come the day she steps into eternity, for great will be her reward. (Matt. 5:12).  On that day, I believe the tender eyes of the radiant Son will look at her with admiration and complete love as His arms envelope her.  His voice will speak acceptance and an invitation to enter into the joy promised her.

Then she will be happy, forever and always.

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(This is a true story from the time we served among the Old Colony Germans in northern Mexico. It was originally posted on this blog January 2008.)

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Embracing the Hush

Quiet for a change Looking at this picture you...

What does it feel like when your sister, who is your best friend, answers the call of God and prepares to move to another country with her husband and children to serve as missionaries?

My friend Vanessa, who blogs at 55PoeStreet, shares a moving and eloquent reflection of her struggle as she faces the changes to come.

“…this is on my mind: Embracing the hush coming over my life. Like a wind whirling above me, but w/o a sound. It’s a strong wind controlled by a Voice. I sense transition, my gut cannot deny the change coming, nor control it. I want the change, on some level. Change is always good when viewed through the eyes of faith, because I know that ALL things work together for my good for those how Love Him.

Though on another level, I am tantruming inside. Like an explosion, tears surface for the change coming, tears that sneak upon me when I see or hear reminders of our friendship. Then pictures of us as kids play in heart, remembering that she’ll always be my ‘playmate’, she’ll always be my sister and friend, no matter how far.

And then I get swept with a sweet joy for her. Because I know how long she’s waited. I know the price she’s paid, in friendships, in reputation, in understanding, in sacrifice, in prayer, in need.

Because I knew back when we were teenagers and I nicknamed her “Mother Teresa”.

Then I am back at the beginning—the hush.

We have a tendency to avoid change in our lives or we fight it with denial, anger, or ignore it. We don’t like to be out of control. We try so hard to hold on to how things “have been” or ‘for tradition’s sake’, instead of embracing the shift beneath our feet. Our lives have been intertwined for so long.

The past few years have been all about leaving behind paradigms, protocols, and plans I clung to…to embrace walking to the rhythms of grace, to wash others in this ocean deep grace.

Freedom comes with change, we release allegiances, we forgive the past, and set our eyes aflint. For in this life, I’ve learned to trust in the Author who writes my story, who brooded over the Earth before I was born, who wrote my story on the tablet of my heart, who wrote her story. And as we choose to walk out the pages of this beautiful story, we can celebrate, even in apparent loss of the physical habits of our relationship, I can cheer her on, hoping, wondering, and praying,…and missing…so to the hush coming, I fear it slightly, I welcome it hesitantly, and I submit to it one knee at a time.”

Thank you Vanessa for sharing your heart. My prayers are with both of you!

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Don’t Pray Us Home

If we cannot be in the battle ourselves let us not seek to discourage others.  D.L. Moody

Not a few times have missionaries like us heard, “We’re praying you home.”

And we kindly and lovingly respond, “Don’t pray us home.”

We understand your concerns, your fears. With news of earthquakes, cartel activity, violent protests, and sickness or disease outbreaks, your reaction is to call us home.

“It’s time to come home.”

“Don’t you think you’ve been there long enough?”

“There is a need here you can fill.”

“We’re praying you home.”

Thanks, but no thanks.

What we ask is that you simply pray. For us. For our health and safety. For our faith. For our kids. For our work.

We need your prayers…of support.

We need your moral support. When you say to us, “We’re praying you home,” it’s discouraging. In essence you communicate that perhaps we’ve missed God, that we are no longer in His will.

You communicate that our ministry here lacks depth–perhaps importance or impact– and that it is easily uprooted and left behind.

Except you don’t see the tears we’ve sown, the lives we’ve touched, the relationships we’ve built. Neither do you know how lives here have touched ours, leaving imprints of love and a taste of God’s glorious kingdom.

Please don’t pray us away from that.

Instead, tell us you’re praying for us. Tell us you miss us. (We miss you too).

Tell us you’re proud of us, and you support our calling even though you worry about us. Tell us you pray that we prosper and bear much fruit in our work. Pray that we’ll be blessed and be a blessing.

But please….

….don’t pray us home!

Cookie Cutter Missionary, A Tale

I originally wrote this as guest blogger for Women of the Harvest’s blog In Real Life with Jamie Jo last summer, then reposted on Tortilla Press earlier this week. Pass it on to an insecure cookie you may know.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then he formed man in his image; male and female he created them.

In the middle God birthed His New Testament church. Then he commissioned them to go into all the world; anointed with his Spirit he sent them.

Near the end, God hastened his task. Then he formed a cookie-cutter shaped missionary; identical he produced them, for the harvest was great and the workers were few.

And they rarely lived happily ever after.

The end.

Written by Lax N. Site for the “Myths, Lies, and Twisted Truths” anthology.

You’ve never read that? Oh, but many of us have believed it – or live surrounded by those who do.

Like me.

It began with the “I do” to a minister on my wedding day. I felt I had to be that cookie-cutter pastor’s wife. I did love people, but I couldn’t sing, wasn’t a social butterfly, and the only songs I knew on the piano were 70‘s hits like “Yes, We Have No Bananas”.

Was I the wrong cookie for that post?

In time came the call to missions. With itineration came invitations to be the engaging speaker for the women’s event in There-ville. “Come, share your vision with passion!” Except that I hated public speaking and was still recovering from the shock of the call.

Was I the wrong cookie for that plate?

On the field, most national’s have received us warmly with invitations to preach. In my case, again to women in conferences or other large gatherings. Often I sense their disappointment that I am not the Patsy Clairmont or Beth Moore they expected…or hoped for.

Am I the wrong cookie for this place?

I used to think so, but not anymore. Sweeping the crumbs aside, a dormant truth in my heart awoke to active belief: I am uniquely created by my Maker! My talents and abilities are to be used for His glory, for the calling of His choosing.

As a missionary, I can serve Him with what He’s given me, though others try rolling me, cutting me out and baking me into what they think I should be. If I like to write, paint, bake, or to raise my kids well and be the best help-meet for my husband, I can do any of those as faithful ministry, creatively using my desires, abilities and talents for God’s glory.

Have you ever read about Bezalel in Exodus 31:3,4? God uniquely used him to help build the Tabernacle: “I have filled him with the Spirit, with skill…to make artistic designs.” Or you may recall the Levites in I Chronicles 23-26 who each had a specific work to do, “…they were to serve the Lord…in the way prescribed for them…and so they carried out their responsibilites.” And let’s not forget Tabitha in Acts 9 who served the Lord by sewing for widows.

This is cookie-cutter freedom!

You know both your calling and your talents. May God continually roll you, shape you, and make you into what He wills. His house will fill with a wonderful aroma and your life will be a trail of delicious crumbs for others to taste and see how good He is.

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Why We Hardly See Miracles in America

Today’s “Wednesday What My Friends Write” guest post is by missionary colleague and author Jason Frenn:

Recently, I spoke at a missions convention. Immediately afterward, a woman in her late ’40s came to my table in the foyer. The first question out of her mouth echoed what many people have asked me over the years, “Why don’t we see the miraculous things in North America that people experience in other countries?”

After living many years in Central America, I’ve learned that our lives are like a puzzle. In Asia, Latin America and Africa, where people experience miraculous breakthroughs, God is a very large piece in their very small puzzle. They lead simpler lives and focus on the basic necessities of life. In North America and Western Europe, God has been unfortunately reduced to a very small piece in our very large and complex puzzle. We fill our lives with insignificant things that overwhelm us. The key to miraculous breakthroughs is to make God a bigger piece of our life, and the best place to start is prayer.

People in the developing world understand that two of the most important pieces of the human puzzle are our need for God and the time we spend with Him in prayer.

In Latin America, for example, people clearly have a need. Their options are few and far between. Believers are consistent in their prayer lives and see miraculous things as a result. Many attend all-night prayer meetings. In some cases, churches hold prayer gatherings where people come and go over a 72-hour period.

In contrast, in the United States we don’t feel we need God. We have a plethora of options for just about any dilemma we face. As Steve Jobs used to say, “There’s an app for that.” As a result, God has been squeezed out of our lives, and we’ve replaced Him with the trivial — entertainment, gadgets, money and experiences that provide a temporal escape from the pressures we face.

Recently, I got up at 3 a.m. and drove as quickly as I could to get something that I had been anticipating for six months. The streets were empty until I reached the outdoor mall.  When I pulled in, there were 90 people sitting in lawn chairs who had arrived the day before. For the next eight hours, I patiently waited, and when I finally made it to the front of the line, the crowd had swelled to 2,500 — all for the latest iPhone. Ironically, I bought the device with the hopes of making my life simpler.

In contrast, for the believer living overseas, God is one of the highest priorities. Last year, I was invited to speak at a Tuesday and Wednesday-night prayer and miracle campaign in Buenos Aires. The pastor announced the two-night meeting the Sunday before, giving the people two days’ notice. At 2 p.m. Tuesday, I went to the church to record my radio program in its studio.

As I walked out of the lobby to return to the hotel, I noticed about 400 people standing in the pouring rain in a long line around the block. The person driving me to the hotel said, “These people are waiting for the service to begin tonight.” I was shocked. What were they doing while standing in line? Praying.

That night, the sanctuary was packed to capacity (2,500) and the overflow room had an additional 1,000 people. At the close of the service, the ushers had to check under every chair and pew, because people regularly look for places to hide just to get a decent seat for the next night. Two local hospitals sent ambulances with six children who needed prayer. Even the physicians there recognize the need for God’s intervention. Many people at the meetings testified about experiencing miracles, and it wasn’t because of a dynamic sermon or great worship. It was because they placed their faith in God and spent time with Him in prayer.

Those wonderful people were not there to hear me.  They were there because they needed God. Being with Him was more important than any gadget, distraction or time-consuming piece of the puzzle. Because of that commitment and dedication to prayer, they experience breakthroughs and miracles regularly. They stand in line for God. We stand in line for stuff.

If you want to experience miracles, eliminate some of the useless pieces of your puzzle and replace them with prayer. As you spend time with God, you will see amazing breakthroughs in your life and in the lives of your loved ones and friends. God answers prayer, and He looks forward to answering yours.

Jason Frenn is an AGWM missionary evangelist and the author of The Seven Prayers God Always Answers. 

Jason sent me this article which I originally posted earlier today on Tortilla Press, the blog site for the Latin America and Caribbean Writers Guild.

Judging my life. Is this quote true?

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The Great Commission is the standard by which our stewardship will be judged.

David Kent Irwin

Is this true? If not, I’m off the hook.

If so, I should take inventory of my life (my time, money, talents, etc.)

What do you think: Is this Biblical or not?