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A Pastor’s Dream

Jean Arnold Guy, “Pastor Arnold”, grew up as just one of the little boys in the village of Neply. While most boys in the village had dreams of being soccer players or great businessman, Arnold always knew that he wanted to be a pastor. This dream has been the driving force of his life.

After graduating high school, he began working for a local ministry as an office director and was able to help many churches within that organization. For many years he also worked with pastors to provide food and supplies to the schools sponsored by that organization. One of his many responsibilities was to translate for American teams when they came in to assist the ministry. That is how I first met Arnold. He was literally the first Haitian man I had ever met. Because of our mutual love of the gospel, a good joke, and a good political conversation – both Haitian and American; we immediately formed a friendship that has lasted for over 15 years.

After the earthquake of 2010, I and our ministry “A Door to Hope” left Neply and began working in several other areas of Haiti. Though for a short stent Arnold continued to work with us, he began to feel a calling to attend seminary. Through the generosity of our sponsors, ADTH was able to provide for Arnold‘s tuition and family needs during that time. After graduation Arnold and I, to a certain extent, lost track of one another except for updates from mutual friends. It was in this manner that I learned that Arnold had begun a church in the village of La Saline. While preaching in the area during seminary, God led Arnold to an area where he believes he was instructed to begin a ministry for the needs of the village.

It wasn’t until the church was fully functioning in a makeshift building that Pastor Arnold’s church plant was brought to our attention. To reach this amazing community for Christ, ADTH is partnering with Pastor Arnold; Miracia, his wife of 17 years; and their three children: Billy, Elena, and Ariel. He has big dreams of seeing his people grow spiritually.

Though the church is growing numerically, he fears that it will only grow so much until the church owns the land where the temporary building resides. “To many Haitians everything is temporary and people won’t get involved in a church until they see that it is truly planted in the area. Things just come and go too much for people to trust.“

ADTH plans to help this congregation buy the land and build the church the village desperately needs to begin this important work. Will you or your church consider and pray about helping us reach this community for Christ? If you would like more information, please contact our office at info@adoortohope.com or me personally at brent@brentgambrell.com.

Come be a part of a pastor’s dream.

Easter… on purpose

I was thinking about Easter the other day and so, of course, I googled it. I ran into many social media discussions of my Christian brothers and sisters who are appalled by the use of things like Easter eggs and bunnies to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. They complain that the world has corrupted the very purpose of this holy season.  “A Christian should never have anything to do with pagan rituals!” is the common argument. Then, the commands of God in Deuteronomy 12 where the Israelites were commanded to destroy every altar of every idol as they conquered Canaan are usually brought into the conversation.  Although these arguments seem to carry a lot of weight on the surface, I decided I would look a little deeper into scripture and, through prayer, and I’ve come to my own conclusion.  Let me preface the following by saying every man’s spirit-led conscience should guide him in this. The Bible says if he feels in his heart he is rebelling against God in any action, a person should not do it.

For what it’s worth, here is where God took me and my heart in this matter.

First… “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” 1 Cor 10:26

God gave us chocolate, and eggs, and bunnies first! I feel the same way about music, theater, art, and the rainbow…they were all created and used to glorify God. It’s only “cultural appropriation” (to coin a popular phrase of today) that has turned these God-given gifts away from their original purposes.  I say, “Give em back!” 😉  In fact, this might be a great opportunity to talk to children about the things that God gives us and the way man’s flesh and Satan corrupts them.  While you’re at it, list a few more of those incredible gifts: sex, our minds, our eyes, our mouths, our planet…

Next…though I see commandments to destroy altars in the old testament, I see no such thing in the new. In fact, Paul did not destroy the idols he found in Athens, but he “appropriated” one of them and used it to turn the conversation and to point people to the one true God. As Christians, that job, to point people to Jesus, should be a simple task because, “the earth declares the glory of the Lord”. This simply means that everything preaches Jesus. I’ve always said that if you stare at a tree long enough, it will preach Jesus! Try it.

Finally… I thank God, He always looks on my heart and not my actions. Both God and I know when I am living in rebellion in my heart. You and I can perform the most righteous acts in the world and be totally outside the will of God.  I really believe that one day we will see that we could have fed the homeless, cared for the sick, and bathed lepers but, because of our motives, those acts fall flat at the Feet of Christ when we enter His presence. In the same way, I believe Jesus can be glorified, honored and smile at the joy of every child finding every Easter egg on Easter Sunday. He might even enjoy our silly egg-laying chocolate bunnies in those ridiculous, commercialized, diabetes-inducing, synthetic grass-stuffed, overpriced baskets.

So, my challenge to you is this:  this year simply enjoy Easter for what it is not focusing on what the world has tried to make it. It’s a celebration of the single most important moment in history, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Purpose in your heart to re-purpose all of the trappings around this holiday and “appropriate” them again to point people to Christ. It’s only appropriate.

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Radical Thoughts Toward Healing Our Divided Nation

A few years ago, I was in a grocery store waiting at the cash register with a sweet older lady.  While the woman was paying for her purchases, a man behind us, who did not think she was moving quickly enough, stormed past and out of the store as he angrily subjected this sweet woman to a vicious racial slur.  Her reaction gave me a new perspective.

I said, “I’m so sorry that man said that to you,” and she said, “Oh honey, I forgive him. In fact, I pity him. Because his words are coming out of ignorance or hate, both of those will destroy his heart and the people around him if he doesn’t get rid of them.” I could tell immediately that this amazing wisdom and insight was spoken from the heart of a woman who had obviously removed those things from her own life.

So, what do we, as individuals and as a nation, need to do? We need to listen to the grandmothers in our own lives and remember that words can only hurt if they lead to sticks and stones.  Like that wise saint at the grocery counter, let’s return to a time in our country when being offended did not equate to being physically attacked. It’s a lie to say that the pen is mightier than the sword. I understand that a pen can only raise my blood pressure, but a sword can stop my heart. To my knowledge, there has yet to be a police report filed where the cause of death was listed as Twitter.

Why is it that someone who crosses the protest line to hug the opposition causes such a nation-wide reaction. It is because forgiveness and kindness have become anomalies.  Serving someone “disarms” them. Kindness takes the bullets out of their guns and the venom out of their tongues.  This wise woman was intent on being a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

Whether you are a believer or not, these Christian tenants may hold an answer to this nation-wide issue.

Concepts such as:  “The last shall be first…. The one who wants to be the greatest should be the servant of all”…and “Consider others better than yourselves.”  Simple practices learned in preschools and Sunday Schools across the nation:  treat others the way that you would like to be treated, be kind, help one another.  If we truly begin to flesh out these concepts, we might radically change this chapter in American history.

You see, I don’t want you to be equal to me. I want to lift you up to become better than me. I want to be your biggest fan.  I don’t want merely to become colorblind.  Instead, I want to celebrate your culture, your color, your identity. And, I need for you to celebrate mine.  I don’t want equality, I want to encourage you, forgive you, and spur you on so that we all might reach the height of our potential.

The wisdom of that sweet woman permeates me to this day. She rose above the selfish, childish rhetoric going on around her and emerged as the victorious adult in the room.  We should all want to be just like her when we grow up.

In the end, the question isn’t, “Which lives matter?”  What matters is how much your life affects the lives around you.

Brent Gambrell is the author of a new book “Living for Another” by Abington Press.

Heavy Breather

I love this post by my old friend Mathew Walker. He is truly expressing a life lived for another,

My journey to the Son

When I first visited Colorado, it was after living in the lowlands of Oklahoma for 14 years.  On top of Pike’s Peak, I found myself gasping for air every few breaths.  It was a simple problem that eventually passed.  Yet, in the beginning each gasp for air brought on panic and anxiety.  Breathing was something I had taken for granted.  Something I never had to think about.  Then one day, I decided to climb a mountain.

After God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, the bible says in Genesis 2:7, “the LORD God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  Adam’s first breath was on loan from God.  It says that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils.  I think about the CPR and first aid training I’ve had.  Sure glad the Red Cross doesn’t perform CPR according to scripture.  Can you…

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A Mindset on Missions

A little over 15 years ago, I was dragged “kicking and screaming” onto the mission field.  You see, a friend’s family had a mission doing great work in the country of Haiti, a place I honestly could not point to on a map at the time.  He had asked me to come many times before and I always found an excuse. “I don’t like the heat.” “I don’t look good in khaki!” “ I don’t own a pith helmet.” etc. etc.  The truth was that I was always scared of the word missions.  I mean, people surrendered to missions. They had to surrender? Was it really that bad? Was it really that horrible of a calling?  All I knew was that you had to really sacrifice your whole life, personality, wealth and other dreams to be a missionary!  So obviously, I wanted to avoid it at all cost!

 

My friend finally wore me down and got me to go for three days, that was all… three days.  At least,  that’s what I thought.  What happened during those three days changed my heart and my mindset about what it means to “do missions”.

 

During those three days and the subsequent years that have followed, I have learned that there is really no difference between what I do here in the United States and what I do in Haiti.  I love people.  I share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I try my best to meet the needs of the needy and I attempt to disciple and be discipled by those that God has put in my path.  But isn’t that the call of every Christian every day?  It’s tough work though, right?

 

In my new book, Living for Another, I talk about why so many of us love missions once we get involved. It’s because of the kind of person we are when we are “on the mission field.”  For one week, we are the person we always want to be.  During that short stent; we are kind and loving, flexible, sacrificial and selfless.  We pray more.  We study God’s word differently.  We are constantly aware of the needs of those around us whether they be physical, spiritual or emotional.   We are ready to get involved and to serve.  The question I am always asked by a team member on the last night of a mission trip is this:  “How do I keep this going when I get home?”

 

Here’s the answer… Set your mind there “on mission” and leave it!   Then let Christ’s heart change yours in the process.  There are two amazing abilities the Lord has placed in each one of us as his children. We can “set our minds” and “let our minds.” 

 

Look:

 

Colossians 3:2

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

 

Philippians 2:5

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

 

Both “setting” and “letting” are conscious deliberate acts of continual surrender to Christ daily.  This requires getting into His word, praying and meditating on Christ every day.  It’s in those times, when you set your mind on things above, that He will transform you by the renewing of your mind in His presence. Then go out in service.  Open your eyes to those around you and ask that God show you His thoughts, His mind about the people He places in your path.  And though we will never perfect it in these mortal bodies; setting and letting are excellent goals.  I thank God that He’s constantly changing my mind. That’s my prayer for you, too……. even if He has to get you kicking and screaming 🙂

BTW you can pre-order “Living for Another” on all of the major booksellers right now.

Not just “Another” Book

Mark your calendars September19th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I took communion this morning I didn’t do this just in “remembrance of Him” but looking forward to this year. As I took the bread I acknowledged that He fulfills my needs. I asked Him to remind me of that all year. I asked that He constantly keep before my eyes the knowledge of his presence. To remind me that all my physical, spiritual and emotional needs can and will be met through my relationship with Him. As I took the cup I was overwhelmed by His continually refreshing forgiveness. I asked that He would keep me close to that flow and be my strength to turn from the temptations of my corrupt flesh. I prayed that this year I would walk in intimacy with Him, His word and His Church. I pray this year for all my brothers and sisters in Christ that you too would walk this year in the knowledge that you do not have to work for forgiveness; you walk in that forgiveness. You do not have to work for peace, you walk in that peace. You don’t work for anything, you walk in all that he has for you on a daily basis. Let’s open our eyes this year and see how blessed we are already. Then we can walk with New Year’s resolution…

El Roi… The God who Sees.

In the midst of the storm; when we wonder if God is really there… Do we ACCEPT CHRIST  as the God who sees us and our pain? He does!!!  He sees our pain and, I believe, His heart hurts with ours.  El Roi is… the God Who Sees.
“So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
Genesis 16:13 ESV
#acceptingChristforALLHeis #namesofGod

 

The Lord is my Song…

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head, and no matter what – you just couldn’t ‘change the channel’? What if that song was the song of your heart? What if… that song was the song the Lord is writing on your heart? Join me as we discover the Lord as our Song.  Please join me on this journey of discover and accepting Christ as My Song. #AcceptingChristforALLHeis #thisislove

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God[b] is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2

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