Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 9 Discovering YOUR ongoing role in global missions no matter where you live or what you do

Sorry folks, I fell behind in my blogging so I am picking up on Day 9 of the 30 days of prayer.  I really liked this entry that Naomi and Zach put together, because so often while I was raising support and even now when I encounter people there is often confusion as to what a missionary is, and why I am here in Rome of all places.  If you have been following along on La Fontana the past few days without me then you have already encountered the statistics proving the need for missionaries in Europe and in Rome.  But day 9 looks at what else is needed, supporters.  Those who do not feel called to GO but who have the ability to send; through their prayers, finances and creativity.  

Like I have said before I am truly blessed with supporters in all three of these categories and I know that I could not be here without their backing!  

Taken From La Fontana Zach and Naomi's blog.

Verse of the day: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Reading of the day: Acts 4:18-35 (we cannot keep silent about what we have seen and heard)
Thoughts for the prayer of the day: The disconnect with missions and the Church is often due to a miscommunication of the agenda. Missionaries do not get “sent” to go do their work alone. They are “commissioned” by a local church, a phrase that carries a very specific meaning. The definition of a commissioning involves someone being sent as an ambassador to do work by proxy. The missionaries who go, therefore, are going on behalf of an entire group of people who are instrumental to and united in the work being done.
Not all can physically “go.” Not all are called to physically go. So what is their role in this whole thing?
Goers – Missionaries who go on behalf of the Body of Christ
Senders – Those who support the missionaries through finances, logistics, prayers, helping, educating, caring, and otherwise encouraging.
Prayers – Those with the specific gift of intercessory prayer and the ability to persist over time and continually address specific needs while staying in contact with the missionaries. Missionaries cannot get to the field without senders; they cannot succeed there without prayer partners.
Equippers– Those who have the ability, energy, means, and creativity to connect missionaries with those who will become senders or prayer partners or other supporters. Modern missions is often a lonely road. Individuals tell missionaries to get support from churches, and the churches redirect those missionaries back to individuals in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Missions, especially in Europe, is hard to communicate and expensive to fund. Most people associate Europe with fancy vacations and the historic Church, but that is a stereotype we must overcome. Missionaries need a team of people who can network for them, connect them to new financial supporters, share their enthusiasm for the work, and report back on what is being done once the missionary is in the field.
We believe we all have some of these gifts, which naturally overlap and might change with time and circumstance. All of us as Christians must constantly confirm our place in this partnership. Please pray and allow God to continually reveal how He wants to use you to do His global work.

*Extra resource: awesome John Piper YouTube clip on this subject 

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for your Holy Spirit that guides and directs us where You would have us to be.  God, please help us to listen to that voice and to use the talents and resources you have blessed us with to further Your Kingdom here on Earth and to bring You the glory You long for and deserve.  
I thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ here in Rome, and their desire to be used by You to share the Good News.  I ask that you continue to strengthen and build the Your body here in Rome.  
I ask that You would continue to raise up those who will come and join us in Europe and that at the same time You would call out to those who are meant to be equippers, senders and partners in prayer!  You know the need far better than we, help us to trust you to get use us all as You see fit.
God, You know that my heart is here in Rome, but also in Haiti and in California, I ask that You continue to work in and through the lives of your people in each of these areas.  Raise up strong and faithful followers of You, who are willing to do what it takes to make sure the World knows of Your great and wonderful love.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19 NIV)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 4 - A Spiritually Needy Land

Taken from La Fontana Zach and Naomi's Blog
Verses of the day: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:14&15
“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…” – Colossians 4:3
Reading of the day: Isaiah 55:1-8
Thoughts for the prayer of the day: According to the CIA World Fact Book 2010,” Persistent problems [in Italy] include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.”
However, there is a much greater need.  Less than 1% of all Italians have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  This means that over 99% of the people of Italy are on a road that leads to eternal torment and separation from God mostly because they have no opportunity to hear the Gospel message.
There is hope for Italy’s deep spiritual need.  The Lord is reaching out His hands, crying “Come, all you who are thirsty…Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” His plan is to use His servant missionaries to carry the message.  Please pray and ask the Lord of the harvest for missionaries to be sent to this spiritually dry and weary land (Luke 10:2).

If you have not looked at Isaiah 55 as it is presented in The Message I think it sums up beautifully this passage:

  1-5 "Hey there! All who are thirsty,
   come to the water!
Are you penniless?
   Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
   Buy without money—everything's free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
   your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
   fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
   listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I'm making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
   the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
I set him up as a witness to the nations,
   made him a prince and leader of the nations,
And now I'm doing it to you:
   You'll summon nations you've never heard of,
and nations who've never heard of you
   will come running to you
Because of me, your God,
   because The Holy of Israel has honored you."
 6-7Seek God while he's here to be found,
   pray to him while he's close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
   and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
   come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.
 8-11"I don't think the way you think.
   The way you work isn't the way I work."
         God's Decree.

I especially am drawn right now to the highlighted portion.  As I think about all the people from all the nations that God is bringing across our path here in Roma.  Just like the passage says, "you'll summon nations you've never heard of and nations who've never heard of you will come running to you..."  While I cannot say they have come "running"  I am constantly amazed at the mix of nations that have been coming into my circle of friends, indeed from nations I know not.  I am excited to see what God has planned, to discover what He is thinking and how He will work here in Roma. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 3 - The Supremacy of Christ in Missions

Taken from La Fontana (Zach and Naomi's blog)
 Verses of the day: “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” – Colossians 1:19 & 20.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:2
Reading of the day: Colossians 1:3-23
Thoughts for the prayer of the day: Salvation is through faith in the redeeming work of Christ alone.  Not through works, nor any other created thing (see Ephesians 2:8-9).  Please pray that the atoning work of Christ will be lifted up in Italy and Europe and that His name would be glorified.

~ Whenever I read this passage I am reminded that this is the prayer I have prayed over my students at Felton Bible and also my summer staff at Mount Hermon.  This time I am caught by the line in verses 5 and 6,

The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in Heaven and about  which you have already heard in the true word of the gospel that has come to you .  In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world-just as is has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace.
 God, I long for you to be pleased to have Your Holy Spirit dwell in me.  Help me to continue to grow into the likeness Jesus.  Produce in and through me good fruit that is honoring to your name.  I doubt that I have fully understood Your grace in it's fullness, but I long too.  I desire to pass that same grace on to those I encounter.  God, help me to give and receive Your grace.  You are God over all creation, You alone.  I have done nothing to deserve a relationship with You and yet here I am talking with You.  Thank You.

 "And grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there is nothing I can do to make God love me less.  It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God's family...By instinct I feel I must do something in order to be accepted.  Grace sounds a startling contradiction, of liberation, and every day I must pray anew for the ability to hear it's message." -Yancey What's So Amazing About Grace

Day 2 - A New Dark Continent

Taken from La Fontana (Zach and Naomi's blog)
Verse of the day: “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” – Hosea 13:6
Reading of the day: Luke 12:13-21
Thoughts for the prayer of the day: “Secularism is indeed strong in Europe, with more than two-thirds of survey respondents in countries such as Britain and France telling Gallup pollsters that religion is not important to them.” – TIME’s top 10 list of 2009 has secularism in Europe as its #1 Religion story of the year.
”In order to survive, Europe needs a critical acceptance of its Christian culture. Europe seems, in the very moment of its greatest success, to have become empty from the inside. Crippled, as it were,” – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
”It is a very slow, creeping decay. When the sun is shining, as it has on Europe for so long since the war, people feel they don’t need God,” Winfried Roehmel, Archdiocese of Munich
Please pray for the tide to change in Europe and for hearts to be softened to the Lord’s calling.  “So, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” – Hebrews 3:7-8

Lord, this is just what I was trying to convey last night at home group.  That what/whom we consider to be poor because of what they do not have, may in fact be truly rich because of you.  After my time in Haiti it was evident to me that the Haitian people though they may have lost all of their possessions and even their loved ones did not consider themselves poor if they had a relationship with You.  For, You provided them with unexplainable joy and peace in the midst of their horrible circumstances and they lived lives that proved that they were indeed far richer than I have ever been.

Lord, we need You to change the hearts and perhaps the circumstances of those who are living here in Europe or in other 1st World lands that have lost a sense of needing You to meet their needs, to be their joy and their hope.  Perhaps what is needed is a loss of security that we can take care of our own needs and desires with the swipe of a credit card or the right job or connections.  This is a scary thing to ask, because life here is comfortable, but it is necessary to ask because life here is void of Your presence, Your hope, Your joy, and the eternal security that we can only have in relationship with You.  So, I guess what I am asking is that if need be you would make us poor so that we can become rich.


Day 1 - Unity with the Father through Christ in Missions

Taken from La Fontana (Zach and Naomi's blog)
Verse of the day: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”– John 14:12
Reading of the day: John 14:5-14
Thoughts for the prayer of the day:  It is God’s heart that the Name of Jesus be glorified throughout all the Earth.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Him.  Please pray that God would ignite in our own hearts and the hearts of those in our worshiping communities a passion for the Good News to be shared with ALL the nations of the world (see also the Great Commission in Matthew 18:16-20).
Dear Abba,

I need You.  I need You to ignite within me a passion for sharing the Good News.  I need You to help me believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that it really truly is Good news that I am here to share.  I am so quick to believe the whispered lies of Satan,  "this news is not so great, that it will offend people, that it will alienate."  Abba, I need You to help me to continue to view  it as not only Good news, but the Best news.  Plant deep within me a desire that ALL should come to know You.  God be my passion.  May my own desire and love for You speak volumes of Your love and affection for ALL mankind. 
God, I also pray that you give this same passion to those here in Rome and around the world who love You.  Give us all an insane drive and desire to see the world know that You are the Good news.  After all of my reading this week it is clearer now than ever before that this Good news needs to be a message of Grace.  Abundant Grace that makes no sense except to prove Your abundant love and forgiveness.
Abba, help us, Your children to show your grace to All people.  Help us to stop focusing on the sins and to see clearly your creation's whom you dearly love and desire to be a part of your Kingdom.  God, give us the ability to live out Your love and affection so that You receive the proper recognition and glory.


Praying in Unity...

In my last post I encouraged you to join me and my team as we spend the next 30 days in prayer.  As I mentioned Zach and Naomi have put together a fantastic prayer guide on their blog.  And even if you missed the first few days I encourage you to start today.

As I was working through the guide it occurred to me that I might share my thoughts as I go through the days of prayer.  Maybe you too can post your thoughts and prayers here as well that we might be an encouragement to one another.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am truly blessed to be a part of a community here in Rome, as well as around the world.  A community of friends, family, and coworkers who love and support me.  Many of you have committed to pray with me and for me and my team here in Rome, and of course for the people here.  My new teammates Zach and Naomi who are still in the support raising phase of their ministry have gone to a lot of work to put together a 30 day prayer guide to help you, and us be more intentional in our prayers regarding Rome, Italy and Missions and our roles in each of those areas.  I have not seen the prayer guide yet, but they will post it on their blog beginning tomorrow.

I invite you to join with me and my team in this 30 days of prayer.  Click here to get started.  While you are on Zach and Naomi's blog you can get to know them better as they are part of our Rome city team hoping to be here by April.

And even today you can begin praying for Brian and Sarah and the other City Team Leaders as they are attending the Europe City Team Leaders Meeting in Lyon, France this week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

home sick

I am home sick today.  Not homesick, but home sick.  Yesterday I went to school, it was tough, but I made it through, I came home was feeling fine.  And then within an period of no more than 15 min I was sick.  Headache, sore muscles, sore throat, ear ache, fever...I felt like I got hit by a bus.  (actually no, if I got hit by a bus here in Italy I would feel nothing.  They are crazy and fast...I would be dead)

So at 7:45 pm I figured I should drag my sorry self to the pharmacy down the street before they closed at 8pm.  I was wrong, they were closed.  So, I went to the supermarket, no drugs.  Sad.  I shuffled home and crawled back in bed.  Sleep came in shifts, between neighbors clicking heals on marble floors and dragging furniture about their apartment, and pain as my wisdom teeth decided to push their way into the party. 

This morning I awoke feeling no better, and about 9 rolled myself out of bed, bundled up and set out once again in search of meds.  I had in hand my list of Italian vocab to help me along,  intent on making sure I got some aid, but when I reached the pharmacy instead of attempting the new words I just held out my list of symptoms and explained, this is what my symptoms are.  The pharmacist kindly reached behind the counter, and produced a box of tablets.  Explaining I could take them 3 times a day.

After saying grazie I headed to the store, bought some lozenges and juice (with vitamins, hard to find here) and now here I am 2 hours later, lying in bed, feeling no better. But with time to blog.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


It seems that everyday I am learning to operate in a new tempo.  While, we took a month to study speaking about the hear and now, it seems we are traveling at light speed when it comes to the rest of time.  There is Passato Prossimo, Imperfetto, Futuro, Composto Futuro and I know that we are just getting started. 

Maybe, this is why I have not been able to write much in English this past month.  Even now, I am having difficulties putting anything into words.

Last night I went to teach English and while I was sitting there going over English conjugation I realized once again how completely simple it is to conjugate a verb in English.  Normally only the He/She changes. ( I am not saying English is easy, our spelling does not correspond to our pronunciation and we have all sorts of nonsensical rules, but as far as conjugation goes)

To Go

Present Tense

I Go                  We Go
You Go             You All Go
He/She Goes      They Go

Where as in Italian



Io Vado            Noi Andiamo
Tu Vai              Voi  Andate
Lui/Lei Va         Loro Vanno

And that is only one tense.  Today we learned a tense that is used when speaking hypothetically or when speaking of two events.  But this tense does not even exist in English.  And what's interesting about this tense is that you have to actually use the Passato Prossimo form of the verb in combination with the verbs Avere(to Have) or Essere (to Be) in order to talk about an event in the future, that happens before another event in the future.

Now, in my training they taught us not to judge, rather to practice Wonder.  (Wow, I wonder why they choose to say it that way...)  So, in my wondering I have determined that there are benefits to having a whole tense dedicated to the idea of MAYBE/ACCORDING TO ME.  And while I am still thinking this way I am going to try to complete my homework.  Before I determine that this tense is useless and just want to hit my head against the wall.