God Empowered Me To Take A Risk For The Kingdom

Blog Hanoi Children

Beautiful Hanoi, Vietnam Children

COME, take a stroll with me down memory lane.  I want to share with you a memorable conversation I had with the Lord while on an international  7-day mission trip to Hanoi, Vietnam  in 2013.  In conclusion, God caused me to realize that Vietnam is a country whose wheels turn more slowly; patience and perseverance among travelers and visitors are the key; being flexible; and finally, understanding that time is not money…relationship building is!

The mission trip had been organized by Buckner International, a world-wide humanitarian organization that operates orphanages in many countries all over the world.  Our mission team consisted of just eight dedicated travelers on a maiden voyage to Hanoi, Vietnam to deliver some new shoes, personal, school and medical supplies to the children in an orphanage supported by Buckner.  We were also to teach English as a second language, and serendipitously instill the love of Christ to all persons we met along the way.

Reprinted below is my conversation with the Lord about an assignment given to me by our Buckner tour guide.  Realizing that the people of Hanoi, Vietnam believed in Buddhism, I was surprised when the Holy Spirit led me to deliver our group’s private morning devotions from Acts 19:10.  You see, I knew that our permanently assigned Vietnam government official (who holstered two guns and a rifle) who shadowed us everywhere we went would be in attendance.  And Buckner had been forewarned not to apotheosize while in the country.

Well, after being reassured that it was permissible for our group to hold private prayer meetings in our hotel, I further questioned the Lord as to why he wanted me to present the gospel from Acts 19, knowing that a Buddhist believer would be in attendance.  I asked the Lord why He had in a dream forbidden Paul  to preach the Word in Asia and instead to go over to Macedonia .  Was it because of Confucianism and Buddhism which had been worshiped in that region long before Jesus Christ was born.

The Holy Spirit convicted me that I was wrong in my query.  Paul would later preach throughout all of Asia (see Acts 19:19) and lay the foundation for such a time as this.  Furthermore, I had no idea what God was up to.  He actually told me, My child, this trip is not about you, but about what I am about to do for a Buddhist believer in your mist.  All you have to do is trust and obey.

Blog N. Viet Nam 5

I would personally love to hear from you guys out there.  Have you ever stepped out on faith and taken a risk for God’s Kingdom?  Please feel free to send me your comments along these lines. I will proudly and wholeheartedly print them.  Some times in our walk with the Lord He tests us just to see if we are sincere in our adoration and obedience to Him.  I learned just this week, that God never takes a situation from bad to worst.  So although I have never learned if Mr. Chong’s son was healed, I do know that God is able and that He never fails.

Our mission team’s role in all of this was to come to Vietnam and to water the seeds which God had assigned to be planted some 2000+ years ago.  Always remembering that only God gives the increase.

Scripture Lesson:  I Corinthians 3:6-9  I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

God Suffers The Little Children To Come to Him

Blog Dylan 2 Children

When my fourth grandchild was born, the Lord put it upon my heart to compose a poem about him.  Perhaps it was because in His eyes the child was special.  And also perhaps in the child’s  short existence of only five months, he was the most inquisitive baby I had ever seen.

Little Dylan was so strong for a new born.  And seemingly, so ‘all-knowing’.  His dad would place Dylan on his lap, hold out two fingers and Dylan would grab hold of each finger and lift himself up off his dad’s lap and perform exercises like doing a reverse pushup.  In amazement, the family described this action as ‘baby-ups’.  It was unbelievable the strength this kid had.

Well, as I said, when Dylan was only five months old, the Lord allowed me to search the child’s heart and soul and to imagine just what the boy might be thinking as he gazed into the eyes of the many family members, friends and total strangers that would visit him from time to time.

In the voice of Dylan, I wrote the following poem entitled…

                         Little Dylan James Cross(*)

Oh, no!  More new faces and groping hands.  They pull and stretch me as though I was a rubber band.  Why do they think they have to pinch my cheeks.  And doesn’t anyone use Listerine or brush their teeth.

Mom, Dad, give a five-month old a break.  We just went through this last week and my body still aches.  Oh, no! Not the little guy.  Don’t give me to him again.  On the first go round, he tickled me dead under my chin.

Stop playing the piano on my stomach, you ole bat.  Yes you, in that stupid looking hat.  Who are you anyway, with your lips all poked out.  I guess you want to plant a kiss on me, right on my mouth.

I heard somebody say, “These are your cousins, and here is Auntie Pat.  Give Grandmother Punkin’ Dunkin’ a big smile and hug Uncle Jason around the neck.”  The response was, “Isn’t he cute.  He looks like Granddaddy Bill.  I sure wish he was alive to see his grandson.  He would be thrilled.”

How long did they say these people would be in town.  And why do I feel like everybody is having a grand ole time.  For some reason most of these people all look alike.  And my dog, Boomer, after sniffing them, did not take one bite.

Well just maybe this bunch of folks really are special.  After all they did travel a long way just to see me.  They brought me lots and lots of gifts and things to help celebrate my February 15th Christening.

Did I hear Mommy call out, ‘Mommy’?  Is she addressing that old lady by that name.  Oops, here they come in my direction.  It seems like lots of names in this room are the same.

Now Larry, Joanie and me, Dylan James we are called Cross’s.  But the visitors in this house are acting like they are the bosses.  They are chasing my dog and scaring our little cat.  And eating everything in sight except my formulae, what’s with that.

But the truth is, the more they hang around and play with me, the more I’m beginning to like them;  so I’ll smile when they say ‘cheese’.  Especially the old one who has the two nice cushions.  I guess she is the pillow for everybody to relax on.

At first I was wondering if I would like where God had placed me.  With a daddy and mommy and a doggie and a kitty.  Now I know I am satisfied thanks to all these extra folks…Uncles and aunts and cousins and grandpas and little old ladies they call grannies. 

(*) NOTE:  Not the family’s real names.                                                                                                                        ♥  ♥ ♥ ♥

At this writing, Dylan has grown into a fine and loving young teenager.  Thanks be to God and to his parents, he is a good student, well mannered and respectful to his elders.  In my conversations with God about my five grandchildren, my prayer is that they will always look to the hills from which cometh their help.  And that they will always live, breath and teach the commandments of God to their future families and to every one they come in contact with.  May God continue to bless all of them richly, as well as you and your families, too.

AFamilyThatPraysTogether              A Family that prays together stays together.                                   

Scripture Lesson:   “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

God Suffers Rejection But Rewards Acceptance

Pic Mt. Calvary B

My Former Baptist Church Edifice

Some years ago, while a member at a Baptist Church in Maryland, I was designated as their ‘roving reporter’ whose assignment was to contribute informative articles about our members and supply entertaining trivia, etc., word games like crossword puzzles, cryptograms, children riddles, etc., for our monthly church newsletter.

I took my job very seriously and throughout each month I would interview certain members that had been on mission trips, retreats, conferences, and special speaking engagements.  I would also love to corner the Sunday School teachers that taught the young children and pry juicy information from them because as you know, kids say the darnedest things.

So, for this week’s blog I would like to share with you a true serious story about one of our members who had a real-life encounter with the Lord one evening while participating at a men’s weekend retreat.  I’ll call this man, John Smith (not his real name) and casually mention that he admitted he was a reluctant participant at this meeting.  In other words, at the time of his experience, John was initially a member of our church in name only, but after his ‘rude awakening experience’ he recommitted his life fully ‘sold-out’ for the Lord.

Following is John’s interview with me in 2003 which I entitled…….

“A Spiritual Encounter, Re-visited”

Blog God Suffers Rejection but Rewards Acceptance picOn July 28, 2003, I drove up to the Smith’s house and found all three of them, Annie, Big John and Little John Smith in the driveway cleaning out a huge black van, readying it for return to the car rental office.  Little John had just moved his belongings out of the dorm of his alma mater (Morehouse College-Atlanta).  He was returning back to Maryland  from the trip and was unloading all his stuff into his parents’ garage.   Actually Annie was the only one inside the now-emptied van, sweeping it out.  Big John was on the outside inspecting the fresh dents and chipped paint and musing out loud if the rental company was going to charge him.  As I approached, and was warmly welcomed, I could tell this was a happy residence filled with loving and endearing memories of the goodness of the Lord.

The Smith’s were expecting me because for about two weeks I had been trying to interview Big John for this month’s article.  Indirectly, it has a whole lot to do with Annie because she’s the cause of it all.  Before I go any further, I want to tell you that both John and Annie are long-time members of the Deacon and Deaconess Boards of our church.  Their son, Little John was also a member of the Jr. Deacons until he left for college four years ago.  The entire family aide and assist each other in their Christian walk and have been instrumental in the furtherance of spiritual growth for many others, as well.

While comfortably situated inside their house, John and I began our interview at the dining room table.  After a short prayer, I asked John to begin narrating just how his initial spiritual encounter with the Lord took place and what keeps this experience burning alive within his heart, low these many years.

It’s Annie’s fault, John said.  If it had not been for her, I would still be playing church.  It was the fall of 1985 and the men of our church were getting ready for their retreat to Harper’s Ferry, Va.  I was attending the church, but not yet a member.  Sam C. asked my wife if I was going on the retreat.  She said no.  Sam kept asking and finally, Annie said to add my name on the list.  Annie paid the fees and told me I was going.  I realized that there was something special about this retreat while traveling to the destination.  As the Lord would have it, our drive became very hazardous.  Several vehicles were snowbound along the roadway, but our twelve-passenger van made it without any trouble.  Just a lot of white knuckles and frayed nerves by the time we arrived.

“That evening the opening message was delivered by our former Pastor.  After his sermon he asked if anyone wanted to be ‘saved’.  Now I had received numerous blessings from the Lord and was feeling pretty good about my status with Him, but was desirous of a more intimate relationship with Him.  Upon hearing that invitation from the Pastor, ‘Something’ made me go forward.  All the men, about twelve including the Pastor, laid hands on me and prayed and asked that I might repent and be saved.  To be honest, afterwards, I didn’t feel any different, but everybody else was excited and rejoicing.

“Later that night, in my room, I decided to read my Bible.  My roommate was asleep and all was quiet.  Suddenly, without warning, a grayish cloud appeared in the room and was definitely moving towards me.  It was transparent, but I could not escape it.  All emotions of fear were fleeting.  Softly, the cloud came to rest upon me.  I could feel myself changing.  I felt differently.  At that precise moment I had a sense of realization that everything was True.  As quickly as the cloud came, it vanished.

“I could not wait to tell of this experience to others the next morning at breakfast.  My countenance had changed but I must have looked like a crazy man while reliving that moment.  Most of the men wanted to know if my roommate had seen it, too.  All I can say is that that mysterious rendezvous with Jesus changed my life!  Even now, as we speak, my sister, I could shout!  God opened my eyes and I saw my shortcomings.”

I drove back to my house after our meeting rejoicing.  Thankful to God for our members at our church and praying that John’s message will inspire others to seek a closer walk with our Savior.

Blog God suffers rejection but Rewards Acceptance pic feet

John later told me that the second night of the retreat he positioned the chair in his room at the same place it was the night before and sat down in it with his Bible.  He watched and prayed all night for the ‘Cloud’ to return…but it didn’t come.  So his only alternative is to wait for his change to come…that is, when he goes to meet Jesus.  Amen  (At this writing, some 16 years later, John’s wife, Annie has already  met her Savior.)

Scripture Lessons:  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will become a rewarder of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

 http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!