Tag Archives: Great Commission

A Beautiful Future for Evangelism

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”- Mark 16:15,

Yesterday was another day touring visitors at the Trail of Faith, and as almost always is the case, another day of receiving more blessings than those that could have possibly been given. Students from a summer camp program had come to tour the Trail. Their home church was in Puerto Rico, so they were bilingual, speaking Spanish primarily amongst themselves. They had been studying Waldensian history and using it as an inspiration to go forth into communities evangelizing the Word of God. This was the first group that I had ever known to have been actively recreating the actual acts of those ancient Waldensian peoples, so already, from the get-go, they had my attention and utmost respect.

As we made our way from one exhibit to the next, there grew a growing sense of camaraderie. From the beginning to the very end, I kept purposely reminding them that our goal for the day was not to lift up these ancient peoples, nor ancestry, nor any of this history, but that the primary and most important thing for them to take away was that God should be the center of their lives and that the Word of God was to be revered and protected with all our hearts. But, in a sense, I kept telling myself, you’re preaching to the choir. These kids, yes to me, they were still children being ages high school to college, were already walking the walk that sometimes takes many of us a lifetime to reach.

When we took time in the cave to sing, they chose, entirely on their own without an adult leader, to sing Amazing Grace in English. As they sang, their youthful spirit filled the darkest crevices of that earthen sanctuary. The echoes of distant voices reverberated through my being, and we could all feel the Holy Spirit indwell at that moment. One can never fully convey that feeling when it happens, but you can only be thankful for those brief moments of its presence.

As we entered into the Ciabas Church, we slowly entered after discussing the inscription above the front door and how well they had read it, unlike most classes of their age. Making our way up the gray, slate floor to the front, they began looking for the clue that I had asked them before entering to find what was missing. Their curious voices filled the air, as one by one, they asked a multitude of answers but had obviously noticed the solution. I confirmed that yes, they had answered correctly, that there was no cross. As they found their seats, one of the young men asked if he could play the piano. Another student piped in, “He’s very good.” Gladly, I shook my head, yes, and he sat down and began to play the piece that had been left on the stand before him. “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” The beautiful strains of the old piano, slightly out of tune, began to fill those empty passages of the recreated church. The sound echoed off the walls masterfully. Once more, feeling the Spirit, I found myself walking around to the back of the church and circling back up from behind as if I were in a distant dream, far away in another time. Again, I cannot convey to you how mesmerizing and inspiring this group made me feel. Blessings kept flowing like waters from the mountainside.

We continued on through history and the stories of unimaginable massacres, imprisonments, and forced marches into exile through the harshest, most deadly weather. As we made our way, their attention never wavered, their respect for the story never faltered. Having led many groups of students in the past, an adult was usually present, and by the later stages of the tour, were having to remind some of their students to pay attention. That was never the case with these young people. The more I shared, the more my heart went out to them and how respectful they were of what was being told.

Later on in the tour, while most of the group was inside one of the last exhibits looking around, a young man came up to me, and with tear-brimmed eyes, said, “You really have a heart for this, don’t you?” As he said this, he motioned to the Trail. I knew what he meant, as we both understood the connection to God through the story that had been shared that day. You see, when your life becomes a mirror to the history of a people that gave their lives to share God’s word in a place that was as formidable, harsh, and unforgiven to live as it was in their time and then to survived persecution from enemies against what you did, it was no matter that we had connected beyond the story.

As Jesus became one with his disciples, there should be the same sense with us today with our brethren in our own church communities. Our love of brother and sister should emanate like a beacon of light, as does God’s love for us. Giving our heart through the story of the gospels, no matter if it is being told through the history of the church or through the words in the Gospels, we must seek him with all our heart. It is then, and only then, when we know God and put Him first and foremost in our lives, that all else will fall into place.

Yes, it never fails that when we seek to share the Word of God with others, we often receive more of a blessing than we conceive of those to whom we share. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”- Mt. 5:15-16

Seek Him first, share His Word, and plant the seeds of salvation for all to receive.

From seeing these young people, and knowing that their passion for evangelizing has already began at such a young age, one can’t help to be comforted by knowing that the future of God’s great commission is in good hands.

Thanks be to God.

Mt. 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Acts 13:47, “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

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Faithful Servant…

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” – James 4:10

Another faithful servant has passed. Another long life well lived. She was gone before there was a chance for me to meet her and learn from her, something she had already done56a92e306a52a_image with so many. This past Tuesday, Ms. Betsy Cranford went to be with her husband, Fred, and son Eric who awaited with open arms as Jesus stood welcoming her home.

As time passes, as the days turn to night and the new dawn awaits, with each passing moment, the more keeping time seems to matter little. The moments are filled with so many wonderful things to experience, to learn and to do. There are challenging days, some that seem so bleak and dark that it would seem the mountain had fallen down; yet, in these moments, a voice speaks telling me to hold on, that there is another blessing waiting to unfold.

God has planted the seeds that now lie germinating all around us and within.

Ms. Cranford was one of those sowers of the seed. She taught, inspired and touched so many lives while living her own. Her depths of remorse could not have been lower, in losing a son and husband, but with each loss, her witnesses saw her grow stronger.

The great blacksmith above was folding her sword, again and again, each time making it stronger; each time making it capable of holding a sharper edge.

Although Ms. Cranford was held in such high esteem in the community, she always put others before her, as Jesus had commanded, “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” She was certainly chosen by God and truly humbled herself before Him as well for she was a faithful servant, both as a teacher and in her community.

Since Friday, my world became a blur again, moving from one moment serving the Lord to the next. It wasn’t until late that evening that we received word of Mrs. Cranford’s passing. Suddenly, there was another place to visit Saturday in an already full day.

I awoke long before dawn Saturday morning, with a thought rising within my head. It was as if God speaking to me. In order to share the story of our mission at home and abroad, there needed to be a flier created, the voice said, something to hand out at the day’s coffee event. At first, I tried to dismiss it, but we all know what happens when you try to ignore the voice of God. The problem was that I had only had a couple hours to gather the information and images with which to create the paper. The more I tried to dismiss it, the louder God continued to speak until finally, I had to give in. I reached out to my missionary friends, Jeffrey, and Gloria Canada. In fact, I worked through breakfast while they were conversing with me over lunch; yes, we were on nearly opposite sides of the planet, yet we were working for one cause, serving the Lord.

A quick jaunt over to the Trail to print out the fliers and I was then off to my next destination, the Valdese Heritage Art Center to prepare for our first ever Trail of Faith Coffee Tasting. My goal was to be there before Bert Sigmon, our musician entertainer for the day, arrived. However, as I pulled up, he was already there beginning to unload. From then, until I later found myself at the funeral for Ms. Cranford, the rest of the day was one special moment after another.

In fact, the first time I was finally able to sit and rest was when I found my seat in the back of the packed sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Drexel.

As I sat down and exhaled a long sigh of relief, satisfaction, and thankfulness, I was quickly greeted by familiar faces and handshakes.

Somehow, I knew people in a place that less than six months earlier, I would have felt like a total stranger. God is leading us each day. With each passing day, I find the more I seek him and humble myself before Him, the greater the blessings I find.

Although I never got to meet Ms. Cranford on this side of glory, I heard wonderful, compassionate stories of a woman that was a genuine Saint to all those who knew her. One speaker after another painted the picture of a caring, serving lady who was the symbol of what it is to be a true Christian. She was definitely someone you would have loved to have called a friend.

And yes, even to one who only wished he had.

God bless you Ms. Cranford and may your reunion with Fred and Eric be a special day, while you are all wrapped in the loving arms of Jesus himself.


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Can’t Spell Holiday without Holy….


lightsAs many rush through this season of joy and giving, we often hear the moniker, “Don’t forget the reason for the Season,” referring to Jesus Christ’s birth. Yet, as many seek to find ways to share and give, many forget that in order to fully “Feel” the reason for the Season; you must first have the Holy Spirit.

Too often in this drive-thru dinner, black Friday sales, head-long-rush to make all the parties, fill all the expected duties we forget the most important thing, sharing the Holy Spirit with those whom we encounter, everywhere and anywhere. Did you ever ask yourself why you were frantically dashing to and fro, finding yourself wore down to a frazzle at the end of each day, each one becoming darker sooner? Is there no end? Did you ever feel a gigantic let down after all the presents are opened on Christmas morning, especially when the little ones ask, “Did we get them all?”

Last night at the Trail of Faith, we shared with many the Word of God while experiencing the joy of electrical illumination. While it took us several weeks and lots of work to get the 100,000 plus lights up, there is still the day-to-day work of making sure they all stay on. As I would look out the window to make sure none of the lights would trip a breaker and that all were dutifully remaining lit, I had to think how much brighter the light within may shine if only we open ourselves to witness as we are expected. Matthew 28:19, the Great Commission, tells us to go out and build disciples for Christ unto all nations. How much more do we need to know? Sharing the Word is our opportunity to spread the true light, the Word of God. This light has no breaker, other than our self-imposed restrictions causing us to fear opening our mouths to speak the gospel to strangers. How much more beautiful would this time of year be than to know you gave the most precious gift of all, Salvation?

As we carry on these next few weeks take time to paus. Yes, take time to mention to someone, “Have you felt the Holy in the Holiday yet?” Use it as a springboard to share the gospel and maybe, just maybe bring a little more brightness to someone’s day.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19

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