Thursday, August 21, 2014

Heritage should have some wow factor!

I was checking out how the blog was going this morning...
And I found something I posted back in 2005, yes 2005 that had meaning for me today!
In light of the Heritage Teaching Series we are doing as Church and wanting to encourage you that you can be part of creating heritage...I share this story again nearly 9 years later.

In the 1930s, Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers in the former Soviet Union. Millions of Bibles were confiscated and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags (prison camps), where most died for being "enemies of the state." 
In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance. Recently, the CoMission ministry, which Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored, sent a team to Stavropol. The city's history was not known at that time. But when our team was having difficulties getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored ever since Stalin's day.

After much prayer by the team, one member finally got up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMission asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was "yes"!

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man, who was a sceptical, hostile, and agnostic collegian who had come only for the day's wages. As they were loading the Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually, then found him in a corner of the warehouse weeping. He had slipped away hoping to quietly take a Bible. What he found shook him to the core. The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother! It had been her Bible!

Out of the many thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the one belonging to his grandmother -- a woman persecuted for her faith all her life. No wonder he was weeping -- God had just dramatically revealed Himself to this young man. His grandmother had no doubt prayed for him and for her city. Her prayers had followed him, and now this young man's life has been transformed by the very Bible that his grandmother found so dear.

Source: Campus Crusade for Christ

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creating your own Heritage

I think a lasting heritage is actually created on purpose.
While not always because of a desire for a heritage, but at least from considering something worth while enough to make it a big deal for future generations...
When we take the time to make our world a better place in some way, that creates something of a heritage.

I heard many years a go when our boys were still little, that traditions in the home are never forgotten.
It made me think back to highlights of my childhood.
How every year Christmas followed a certain pattern. Which relatives were visited when and how things would go. When I look back on those times now I am very grateful for that part of my heritage and it stirs me to do something for my family now that is special.
Another tradition were the family holidays and the fantastic experiences and memories that created for me.

With all that in mind we decided on something that seemed simple at the time.
Every Saturday morning I make my boys pancakes.
I have been doing this nearly all their lives, so that works out to be at least 10 years of pancakes. That equates to something like 6,240 round disks of goodness over that time!
Even when circumstances didn't permit the saturday morning part to be fulfilled, a 'rain check' has always been used.

Now that is just pancakes, a heritage based on food.
What about eternal things? What traditions do we have that will become part of their heritage?
One would be their exposure to our faith. The weekly meeting with others at Church services and special events. Their Connect Groups they attend. Their seeing God at work in peoples lives.
Second our encouraging them to have their own relationship with Christ.
That is heritage I can help generate for them that I trust will have far reaching effect in their lives.

My challenge to us this week is that we create heritage on purpose.
That we see the impact of our lives for what they can potentially mean. Never lives that are accidental in nature. But something that could impact this generation now and well into the future.

Let us be the people who future generations talk about, learn from and even preach about...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heritage is a story that can continue...

The reason for the title will hopefully become apparent and encouraging pretty quickly as you read this...

I first heard this amazing story in its entirety back in 2004.
It is testament to how a Godly heritage should and can be passed on!

Near the end of 1961 a young german man by the name of Reinhard Bonnke was walking kind of aimlessly around the streets of Clapham London. I heard him say that he was killing time before his ferry was scheduled to leave later that day. He had just finished training at the Bible College of Wales in Swansea and was planning to head home to Germany, unsure of what his future held in store for him.

So here he is seemingly lost and looking around the neighbourhood he found himself in, when he saw the name George Jeffreys on the side of a house.
Now Reinhard would have known that name after hearing about how a man with the same name was saved during the Welsh Revival and then saw thousands saved and healed during his ministry.
Could this could be same George Jeffreys?

Deciding that he had nothing to loose Reinhard knocked excitedly on the door and inquired whether he might see Jeffreys. Apparently the housekeeper was about to turn him away when Jeffreys came to the door himself and invited him in.

At some point in the conversation George Jeffreys asked Reinhard to lie on the ground beside him (which would have seemed a weird request). He placed his hands on him and prayed for his ministry and for the empowerment of God for evangelism. He prayed that the mantle he had, would be passed now to Reinhard.

This same young man went on to be one of the greatest evangelists in the African continent.
His open-air gospel campaigns attracted crowds as large as 1.5 million. Many thousands were saved and healed!

I hope that story encourages you as it encourages and stirs my heart.
I love it as much now as when I heard it from Reinhard a decade ago!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Something has been reinforced for me this week that I want to briefly mention here...
After being part of a great group of guys from our Church who meet every week.
After talking with some of our other great Connect Group Leaders.
After visiting with some of our fantastic Connect Groups.
It has been hammered home again in my heart and mind...

Growth happens with great, God focused, intentional, regular 'Connecting' with other believers!
It works people. I see it again and again.
People have grown in their faith.
They have learnt new things.
Some have been stirred to look at what they could do for the Kingdom.
We are seeing meaningful prayer becoming the normal.
And then we are hearing those prayers being answered again and again!
Spiritual Gifts are being discovered and developed.
Some are using their groups to reach others...

What isn't there to there??? Seriously, like what?

...let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

You may have heard people use this scripture to "encourage" people to attend a Sunday service regularly...
I believe that it is something far bigger. The encouragement is to find any excuse to meet together, regularly, on purpose, with a spiritual agenda. Because that is what will make a huge difference for your life and growth.
There are no shortcuts. And if there were, they would not be worth it or even last...

Let's do this together. Let's connect and grow and see our lives and those around us change!

Something to not just think about...