Friday, May 31, 2013

Christian Challenge/Mission Philippines-May 2013 Update!

Hello Team!  We hope this update finds you well!

Rachel and I are just putting the finishing touches on our Philippines mission trip coming up June 2nd-17th.  We wanted to give you a quick update on the trip and some bio’s on our students who are joining us.  We are absolutely stoked to be able to take these students overseas to serve alongside their Filipino brothers and sisters in Christ in order to reach villages in the high mountains of Luzon.

Our plan is to head into the mountains north of Manila.  We will travel by foot to villages that can only  be reached by hiking to them.  With us, we will carry Bibles in the local language, discipleship materials, medical supplies, and school supplies.  Once in the villages, we will be able to share the Gospel with the villagers, distribute the materials we backpacked in, and put on theatrical performances in order to share stories and truths from the Bible.  We will have dispatches hopefully updated daily online where you can follow the trip at: http://www.climbingforchrist.org/Articles/tabid/545/ID/756/categoryId/89/DISPATCHES-Philippines-June-2013.aspx

Thank you so much for your support!  Keep on praying! -Mike & Rachel

Team Bio's:

--Meagan Prins is originally from Broomfield, Colorado.  She comes from a basketball family.  (Her sister was just drafted by the WNBA.)  Meagan now plays basketball for FLC and is one of our FCA student-athletes.

She originally didn’t think she  would be able to go on the trip due to basketball but God opened the door for her to go when her coach gave the okay.  She is extremely excited to experience her first mission trip.

For more info on Meagan, feel free to check out the following link: http://climbingforchrist.org/Articles/tabid/545/ID/727/Meagan-Prins.aspx

--Cody Wells went to high school in Cortez, Colorado.  Though he has spent some time overseas, he has never had the chance to spend it in the context of a mission trip.

We got to know Cody hanging out on campus with him and through some of our international ministry events.  He is a possible late addition to the trip.

His money is in, and we have his plane tickets purchased but we’ve barely heard from him since despite our best efforts.  We pray that he can get the many vital things done for the mission so that he can still go on the trip. *Update-We finally heard from Cody and Lord willing, he will be there.

--Kala Matzdorf went went to high school in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  She now attends college at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

We met Kala through one of our FCA student-athletes who had gone to high school with her.  Kala was looking for an internship for the summer with a Christian organization.  With that, we are excited to have her be able to intern with Climbing for Christ this summer.

For more info on Kala, check out the following link: http://climbingforchrist.org/Articles/tabid/545/ID/719/Kala-Matzdorf.aspx

Prayer Requests:

-That God would open doors for the Gospel to be received and understood.
-That the Holy Spirit would be working on the hearts of the local villagers.
-That God would keep our team safe and healthy.
-That God would give us strength and keep us in good spirits despite a possible lack of sleep.

Some Thoughts on the Old Testament

Over the past couple of years, I've been making my way through the Old Testament again.  It is a part of the Bible that most people never read.  There is a dangerous movement within the church which tells us that we don't need the Old Testament anymore.  "Jesus came and gave us the New Testament so we don't have to pay attention to the Old now."

Maybe it's because it scares people, pastors included.  There is a lot of stuff in there they don't know how to deal with.  Hey, I don't understand it all either.  I may never fully comprehend it all in this life but that's okay.

Despite all the excuses people come up with, Christians going down the path of dismissing the Old Testament can often be the first seed in a forest of basing truth off of your feelings and not off of what God actually said.  When there is an absence of an answer, people tend to come up with their own answer.  It's another very dangerous movement that is plaguing Christianity today.  The problem is that, well, there is an answer already.  People just don't like it so they come up with their own.  Maybe they're scared of what the answer is going to be and what it will mean to their life so they do their best to ignore it.  It's not a far stretch to see that these scenarios, this moral relativism can certainly happen when we only accept half of the Bible.

I don't know how you throw out the Old Testament when the New Testament is built upon it.  It's like removing the foundation of a house.  That's certainly not a house I want to live under.  It's only a matter of time before it comes crashing down...or blown away.  It's a shame really because you miss so much when you don't crack the Old Testament.  There is so much to be learned from it.  For me, it really helped build my faith.  Sure, there were a lot of questions and a lot of stuff to work through but my faith is stronger for it.

In the end, you shouldn't just dismiss it.  You shouldn't ignore it.  It's time to deal with it because when you ignore it, you're ignoring the Word of God and that's not a good place to be as a Christian...not in you're personal relationship with Christ and not in your church.  Without a good foundation, it's really easy to be shaken or knocked down.  At the same time, a foundation doesn't do much good if the house on top of it is non-existent, or poorly constructed and poorly kept.  We can't neglect either.  We need to pay attention to both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The New Testament is great but together with the Old Testament, it is so much more.  Both are so extremely important to our faith and our walk with Christ.  We mustn't ignore such importance.  We truly can't keep ignoring such importance.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Christian Challenge and FCA 2012-2013 Video!

Feeding Ourselves

I've been touching on the Word of God a lot lately.  Welp, I'm not done just yet.  I've got a bit more for everyone.  In actuality, I'm pretty much saying the same thing in every post.  I'm just finding new ways to say it each time.  This post won't be any different in that respect.  It's on, you guessed it, getting into the Word.  Just a few last thoughts on it...at least that's my plan.  God might throw a curveball, though.  So no guarantees on my end that these will actually be my last thoughts on the subject for awhile.

As Christians, all too often, we will only get spiritually fed if someone spoon-feeds us.  We need a preacher talking to us to take anything in.  We expect that to be all we need.

We haven't learned to do anything else except sit in a high-chair with a bib on while our pastor makes airplane sounds with his mouth as he "flies" the spoon of scripture into our mouths.  That's all cute and actually pretty hilarious when I picture my pastor from the pulpit doing those motions in front of the congregation.

The only problem is that most of us aren't six-month old babies in our faith.  We would claim to be much older, much more mature.  When you put it that way, it's not cute anymore.  It's just kind of sad and embarrassing when I get the mental picture of a perfectly capable adult sitting in a high-chair with a bib on getting spoon-fed.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying it's bad to go to church and listen to your pastor preach.  That's actually fantastic.  What I'm getting at is that so many never get fed any other way.  We rely on others to feed us because we don't feed ourselves.

Sure, having your significant other give you a bite of their food while on a date can be cute, even romantic to some...but if your significant other is always feeding you by putting the food in your mouth for you, it's just really weird.  Hopefully, the majority of the food you put in your mouth comes from you putting it in there, not someone else doing it once every blue moon.

All too often in Christianity, we have failed to learn how to feed ourselves.  That's a pretty serious problem because most of us can only have someone spiritually feed us once a week.  Yeah, that 30 minutes to an hour, where the pastor is actually preaching.  And we expect that to sustain us throughout the week.  If you did that with actual food, you sure wouldn't last very long.

We can't just mooch off of what our pastor preaches on Sundays and live only off of only that.  Sadly, a lot of Christians don't even get fed on Sundays.  Only getting fed once a week or none at all will leave a very malnourished and ineffective Christian.  We cannot expect to be alive spiritually if we don't ever feed ourselves.  As Christians, we need to learn to feed ourselves throughout our days and weeks by actually reading the Bible.

There are two kinds of Christians though concerning this topic...at least two that I will touch on.  Those who just don't care enough to read the Bible and Christians who come up with excuses as to why they don't read the Bible.  It can really show where someone's priorities are.

If you're starving to death, you don't go to a fancy restaurant, have them bring you food, then refuse to eat it because you don't know how to use a fork.  No, you just start eating because you're about to die of starvation.  It doesn't matter how sloppy you are or if you use your fingers, you're at least eating and putting food in your belly.  You're keeping yourself alive.  That's your priority.  You don't make excuses as to why you can't eat.

Hopefully, we will stop this fasting from scripture.  We are starving but rarely realize it.  We have food at our fingertips but don't eat it.  We have tons of excuses but in the end, they just don't hold water in a country where good, spiritual food is so easily accessible.  It's not like we're living with some undiscovered tribe in the middle of nowhere.  We are so blessed to have access to the Word...but what are we doing with that huge blessing?  Aren't we wasting it by not digging in?

I'm going to take this spiritual food concept a step further.  If all we do is spiritually eat but don't exercise our faith and what we learn, we become unhealthy and ineffective as well.

Rachel's cousin used to have to eat something like 8,000 calories a day.  That's nuts if you ask me.  Try eating that with no exercise.  That's not going to work out well for a person.  So why did he do it?  He was a competitive cyclist.  Eating that many calories allowed him to put more work in on his bike.  He was able to train better which allowed him to compete better.  Without all that food he ate, he would have been weak and ineffective in chasing the goals he set before himself.

God sets goals for us too.  Do we even know them?  How can we reach those goals if we don't know them?  How can we achieve them if we don't feed ourselves the nutrition our faith needs?  The solution is to get in the Word more...or maybe even for the first time.  Only then will we be able to truly feed our faith, grow, and move towards those God-given goals.