Thursday, May 21, 2015

Printable June Calendar 2015

Summer is officially here for us.  School is out and the kids are downstairs wrecking the house.   I can't remember a year that the kids got out of school so soon.  They aren't complaining and I can honestly say that I am ready to get back into some sort of routine.   

Mark and I have seen each other 7 days in the last month because we each have lead missions trips in the last 30 days.  Life has been wonderfully crazy for us and I am sure it is just as crazy for you! Calendars are just one of those things that help organize our crazy lives and so here is the June 2015 I have designed.  I hope you can use it or at least pretend to use it to stay organized.  I will be more on the pretending side.  It sounds so grand to be organized...maybe some day!

This calendar will print 8.5 x 11.  Click the link above to print and enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mark's Final Missions Trip Travel Log

Victoria Falls

Our last two days of the trip have been spent in Livingston. Livingston is about 10 hours from Luanshya and we drove all night in a bus to get here...worst bus ride of my life by the way. Have you ever dreamed a dream and wished while you were dreaming that the dream would stop? Well, that was the bus ride....the only difference was that it was not a dream was reality:) The roads are horrible here so you have to imagine going about 50 miles per hour for a minute and then coming to a complete halt because of a bad place in the road or a speed bump in the middle of nowhere...then speeding back up again for a few moments and then coming to a complete halt. Now pretend that you do this from 10pm at night until 8am in the morning...that was our bus ride:) But the Zambizi hotel in Livingston is beautiful. 

All around us are zebras, antelope, monkeys, giraffes, crocodiles, and more! So after going non-stop for 14 days, to have a day of spiritual and physical rest and contemplation, before beginning the 45-hour journey home is a real blessing from the Lord. Outside my hotel room is a path that will lead you to Victoria of the natural wonders of the world. It is 7 times bigger than Niagra Falls in the U.S. and is absolutely breath-taking. 

The missionary, David Livingston, discovered it in the 1800's and it pours like mighty rivers. As I look at the falls, I'm reminded that without a water source, the Victoria Falls would be nothing but a big cliff. Jesus told us in John 15 that unless we abide in Him, the Vine, we would not bear spiritual fruit for His glory and our good. Without the Vine, we as branches, can do nothing....we can bear nothing worthwhile. Jesus is the Infinite Source....we are the powerless recipients....spiritual beggars and paupers in a dry and thirsty land. But when we by faith take Jesus at His Word, believe in Him moment by moment, and draw on His never ending grace, He pours His Life in and through other words, He shows up and shows off. "Holy, Holy, Holy...the whole earth is full of His glory!" When the holiness and value of Jesus fills my life by continual repentance and faith, and then goes public, the glory of God fills the earth...restoration of what is broken occurs. 

"Lord Jesus, fill me with me to be broken, humble, contrite, and on the decrease, so that You can pour out of me like mighty rivers...mighty falls. The world is broken, dry, and me to be a channel of Your blessing. Not unto us Lord, but to Your name be all the glory...Not I, but Christ. Christ above me, Christ around me, Christ in me, Christ under me, Christ beside me, just Christ...Christ filling my heart, Christ filling my mind, Christ overflowing from my mighty falls and victorious rivers. And may what You have done in and through us here in Zambia and in and through the people back home, continue to flow...let nothing hold it back...In the name of Jesus, our Oasis, amen."

God is in the small stuff...and Bill

Ardy had the Encounter U.S.A. team read a book on the way to Zambia entitled, "God Is In the Small Stuff." It basically deals with how God does do "Big" things, but we are not to neglect the ordinary moments of life in search of the euphoria moments that do not come as often. Jesus saved me so He could redeem me for every moment for His glory. So, no part of my life is wasted in His eyes. 

Now, meet a man named Bill. Bill came with us from Zambia is from Honesdale, PA. He simply came to "carry Ardy's luggage," as he put it. He wanted to be a servant and help with whatever was needed. Bill is the youngest 74-year-old I've ever seen in my life. He is full of energy, life, joy, and enthusiasm. He has only been saved for 10 years, served as a writer for a private children's magazine, and has worked with schools for decades. But the thing that I love most about Bill is that every moment counts. He is constantly seeing God in the small things. For the past two weeks, he has interviewed people, gotten their story, told his story, and better yet, shared God's story with many. He wasn't assigned a message to preach at the conferences, but he is constantly working behind the scenes to invest personally in people's lives. And he has done this all the way to the finish line. Today has been our only day of rest before we head back home to the U.S. All around us, people from all over the world are resting, relaxing, and on vacation here at Victoria Falls and Zambizi hotel. But Bill is on mission. 

A few minutes ago I walked by this table and found Bill and another team member named Josh having prayer with some of the hotel employees here at the hotel. What a blessing! Some would say the "mission trip" is over. And while that may be true, the Gospel ministry and Kingdom mission will not be over until we see Jesus face-to-face. Thank you, Bill, for reminding us that God is in the small stuff. And because of this, the small stuff is really big stuff....bigger than we have seen or believed. 

"So Lord, help me to live every moment for Your glory, my good, and the good of me to live in the Not I but Christ life this second and repeat it all over again in the second to come. In Jesus name, Amen."

David Livingston's Work Continues 

This is my final blog entry as I conclude "Zambia Glory." God has revealed and poured out His magnificent glory, grace upon grace, and thanksgiving now abounds to the glory of God amongst His people in Zambia, Congo D.R.C., America, and around the world as people in 78 countries have read these blog posts. Here is a praise report of what I can remember and know of that God has done....

* Given grace to many pastors to "faint not" because we "have this ministry" and "receive continual mercy."

*At least 200 people have made a profession of faith in Christ.

*Over 200 pastors were encouraged, trained and mobilized to go back home and impact their people for God's glory. That means over 20,000 people will be immediately impacted in the days ahead.

*Two pastors forgave one another and reconciled after a two to 3-year time of harboring bitterness with one another.
*25 churches invited Encounter Zambia to come and do meetings in their church in the days ahead as a result of the pastor's conference.
*Youth workers were encouraged, trained, and stirred to keep impacting a new generation.

*15 people in the community 
have made appointments with Encounter Zambia for counseling and wanting to know more about Jesus.

*Many, many bibles have been given out to people who had none.

*Hundreds of Gospel tracts have gone out and planted seeds that we pray will take root and grow.

*God provided over $120,000 to bring Encounter U.S.A. to Zambia, provide 250 study bibles to the pastors, bikes for the Encounter Zambia team, bikes for some pastors who needed them, 130 book bags and supplies to school children who had nothing, a new chalkboard for the Encounter Christian school in the village, furniture and a tool box for Peter, a refrigerator for Pastor Maybin, a couch for Pastor Barry, extra monthly support for Leonard, Barry, and Maybin, a suitcase full of medical supplies for the hospitals, over hundred pair of shoes and sets of clothes to children who had none, soccer balls for youth pastors to start new youth ministries around the area, some money given to an existing orphanage, money raised to start a new orphanage at the Encounter farm, a bike given to Charity, supplies given to ERM Zambia, a bike given to a Christian school teacher, supplies given to a Christian medical clinic, and a lot more that I do not even know about.

*Our lodge staff, about 6 men and women, who ran the hotel we stayed at in Luanshya for 12 days, were highly impacted for the Gospel. We were able to pray with them, give them Bibles, Gospel tracts, and we found them one night reading the Bible to one another. These folks were not Christians, but they told us when we left that we had brought them the Light and motivated them to do good!

*The Encounter Zambia team was invested in and their fire stirred. Several told us that before they came, their fire was almost out and they had considered giving up. Now they have been supernaturally stirred to expand their ministries.

*Two churches extremely encouraged, and several people who had strongholds demolished in their lives.

*Soccer clinics will now begin every week near the Encounter Zambia headquarters in order to tell young people about Christ.

*A man who was an assistant manager at a local general store, Nemo, was given a Bible, heard the Gospel, and has committed to coming to a Bible study group with Pastor Barry.

*The district commissioner of the province, his aides, and the federal immigration office was impacted with the Gospel and given Bibles.

*Hotel staff in Livingston were impacted by the Gospel.

*Encounter U.S.A. team members were stirred and re-dedicated their lives for Christian service.

*People in the states were impacted by the blog and were impacted with the Gospel.

*And much, much, more that others know, and most importantly that God knows.

So the mission that David Livingston started in the 1800's by God's grace, continues today. He left his heart in Africa, and while I get on the plane in Lusaka to fly out, a piece of my heart will remain here. For over a year, we have prayed for God to show up and show off on this mission's endeavor. Jesus prayed rightly every time..."Father, glorify Your name." We prayed the same by the grace of God, and God answered.

Zambia glory came down, Zambia glory was revealed, Zambia glory was seen....God showed us that He fulfills His promises where ever we are so that every tribe, every tongue, every nation will be in heaven because their hearts were supernaturally transformed to think like Jesus, feel like Jesus, and to want what He wants. However, there will be adversaries. 

Just a few minutes walk from the statue of David Livingston holding a Bible in the picture above, is a plaque commemorating the fact that George Darwin (Son of Charles Darwin) dedicated a bridge at Victoria Falls in 1905. So while David Livingston found the falls 50 some years before as a missionary and explorer spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, George Darwin was right on his heels stirring a religion of doubt, skepticism, and atheism that his father had made famous. Darwinian evolution would take the world by storm in the years to come because it fits so well with the anti-God mindset of the world. This theory would leave in its path a wake of destruction: destroyed morals, loss of hope, stumbling block to the Truth, mass killings, Nazi Germany, and so much more. But the Gospel that David Livingston proclaimed would push back the darkness, shed Light, and supernaturally transform hearts to love God and love others. In other words, Jesus changes lives so that people will want Him. He is the "Desire of the Nations," and He is coming again very soon. So as I prepare for the return of the King of glory, by faith I will continue as a child of the King, a child of the Promise...and because of this I have no need to fear anything or any adversary...the Greatest Person in all the universe with all the power possible, holds me in His hand...I am His and He is mine. 

So as I go back home to serve where God has called me to give my life, may I go with this resolve..."Therefore we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not."


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mark's Missions Trip Travel Log - Partnership

A Clay Pot Vessel 

Before we left the Zambian Encounter Team on Saturday evening to head to Livingston, they presented gifts to each one of us. My gift was a portrait of me made of "millet" seeds glued to a canvas. I hope it makes it back to the U.S. in one piece:) As I look at this art piece (and thank God for the improvement:)), I'm overwhelmed with the fact that I'm just a clay pot vessel. I had just preached a message at Mt. Carmel before I left on the trip from 2 Cor 4, and then the very first day we arrived, Ardy taught a devotional on 2 Cor 4...all centered around "clay pot earthen vessels." Paul states in verse 7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." In other words, we are nothing more than old buckets used to take out the household waste. But God uses us for His magnificent glory and His glory is compounded and reverberated even more because it radiates through us...unworthy jars of clay. As we decrease, He increases.

So this piece of canvas made of "millet" seeds that I feed my parakeets with back home, is going up in my office when I return to the U.S....not to make much of me, but to remind me that I'm just an old clay pot, an earthen vessel, that God is willing and ready to use for "God of the Impossible" glory and fruit so that He gets the praise, I get His joy, and others are changed. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe."

What It Means To Partner

Twenty-two years ago, I met Ardy Parlin. I was a freshman in high school and sitting in a Christian school chapel, I was exposed to Encounter Revival Ministries. My life was changed as I saw college-aged young people who loved the Lord and Ardy taught us how to meet with Jesus daily and make wise Biblical choices with our life. I've had few true mentors in my life, but Ardy is one of them. He has poured his life out over and over again and been a part of the impossible. He has preached to thousands and has proclaimed the Gospel across the world. He has vision, purpose, Biblical clarity, and most of all, he has endured victoriously. Today, he is 72 years old, and his cup still runneth over. 

Someone once said that there were 400 leaders in the Bible, but only 80 finished well. Ardy is on the path to finishing well and winning the Victor's crown when he sees Jesus. Thank-you Ardy for having a vision for more, for having a burden for young people, for investing, and for daily making fire with the Lord that you use to spread around. And the biggest thing I've been reminded of this week as I look at your life and examine mine, is that I want to be faithful to the end. I want to grab onto daily, moment-by-moment grace and endure victoriously until I see Jesus. I want to daily eat of His Bread, drink His Living Water, and expose myself to His Consuming Fire, so that I faint not and am used by Him as a channel of fire to the hearts of others. And through your faithfulness, not only have you impacted my life forever, you have trained a man named Leonard to be an "Ardy" in Zambia. You have partnered with him in the Gospel to help people make their entire lives about Jesus Christ by being one, making one, and sending one. You have taken what God has taught you and made Timothys who are teaching faithful men who will do the same. By the grace of Jesus, you are outliving your life for the glory of God. Thank you for being a person in my life that has shown me what that looks like. So in Jesus name, we press on.

Living Water

The first message I preached to the Zambians on this trip was on the woman at the well from John 4 in a remote bush village. This group of people needed a well and the "Hope Jewelry" ministry at Mt. Carmel has provided $900 of the $5,000 needed to give them one. Can you imagine having to walk miles to get water and even that water may not be clean? That is the reality of the people in this village. So as I proclaimed to them that Jesus is the Living Water that quenches our thirsty soul, my prayer is that not only will the Lord graciously provide what they need to get a well in their community, but that the people truly trusted in Jesus as the one and only Living Water that causes our hearts to never thirst again. About 40 or so raised their hands in this village stating that after the message they had responded in repentance and faith to the Gospel for salvation. I pray that the Living Water that has come to this people continues like a never ending river. As Dave Duley as said over and over again in encouragement messages he has sent me while I've been here, "There's a River ya'll!"