I hope this finds you all well! Here is an update of January, as well as return to my routine of a newsletter at the beginning of each month. (Well, maybe that didn’t quite happen this month!) I wish I could say I am officially fully-funded, but I can’t quite yet. There are those who have recently pledged, but I haven’t seen their donations on my report yet. At my last newsletter, according to the math I had done, I needed just $100 more a month; since then, that and more has been pledged. Praise God! At this point, I should have more than enough to put me above 100%; plus a few people who have pledged haven’t let me know how much yet. It is just detail stuff I have to take care of now to make sure I have all the funds I need. I thank all of you who have supported me financially and prayerfully and continue to do so. You guys are an essential piece to the spreading of the Gospel; because this means that I at the front lines, am backed by an army, which is you. You are a part of this grand cause.
During this time, I have been laying groundwork for recruiting others for missions, as well as, working on the Overland boat
They have recently begun sea trials on the boat. Hopefully soon ministry will begin on it. Here I was pulling the dinghy towards the catamaran while my friend could clean and wax the side of the boat, in preparation for the decals. Recently I went down to West Palm, Florida and was able to meet some awesome people there and to make more contacts. Some people are super interested in going on a two week trip, so I am going to try and encourage them. I was able to meet a man running for mayor and I plan on developing that relationship also. Because of our limited time we weren’t able to discuss much, but in the future we plan on talking more.
Upon my trip down to West Palm I had some good conversations with people that led us deep into the night...well early morning. One of those conversations revolved around Hebrews 11, the chapter famously known as “The Hall of Faith.” There was a portion of that chapter that greatly intrigued me.
“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephtha; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned. They were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” – Hebrews 11:32-38
Essentially, we have outlined here a number of Biblical figures, named and unnamed, who have been faithful in their walk with God. People known for their tremendous faith. The part that I was especially intrigued by is how it says, “of whom the world was not worthy.” These are people that the world did not deserve. How can one walk in such a faithful manner to God that the world becomes undeserving of them? Prefaced to that statement, we read of the things these people endured, we know the stories of many of these faithful people. We reflect on these stories and admire these people. How crazy that they should have such faith? How could we ever have such faith? It seems so distant.
Ephesians 4:1, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” Before I go any further I want to look back on the word “worthy.” That word basically means “deserved.” Paul begs us to lead a life that shows we deserve our calling. Who are we that we should deserve anything? In context of the total depravity of man, we should not deserve anything, and yet we are asked to walk in such a way we deserve something. It is only by God’s grace that we should receive the calling in the first place!
So when we look back, we see people who the world was not worthy of, then are asked to live a life worthy of their calling. Would that also mean that if you walk worthy of your calling the world is unworthy of you? I think that makes sense. This idea of walking worthy of your calling seems so distant. The faith these people had seems so far-fetched. We are reading about people who had the faith to see the sea split, the dead raised to life, rain to cease and to begin again, and to make giants fall! How could we ever reach that? These were brave individuals, fearless individuals, faithful individuals! To be counted as one who the world is not worthy of is not as far-fetched idea as it would seem. There is this verse that I think really puts things into perspective... James 5:17: “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that when no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!” What a beautiful statement, “Elijah was as human as we are.” He is a man inducted into the Hall of Faith, he was one the world was not worthy of, yet he was just like us.
This both encouraged me and has grown my passion to serve God faithfully...to love God and to love people; although, despite my best but feeble efforts, I see I will more than likely continue to fall short. Romans 14:23 tells us that anything done without faith is a sin. 1 John 4:8 tells us that he who does not love does not know God for God is love. From the sermon on the mount we learn that sin begins in the mind. These verses can bear us down. We condemn ourselves and Satan lies to us telling us that we are worthless and unqualified; but our ability, qualification, worthiness, value, or anything else that does not come from our self-efforts, is all good and comes from above to us. Our worthiness is determined by God’s efforts. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross centers us. We see that it is simply impossible for us to not sin, but even the sins we commit in the present are taken upon Jesus, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. To lead a life worthy of our calling and one that the world is unworthy of is to lead the life Jesus has given us. Will you pursue His heart with me and declare Him Lord and yourself worthy in Christ?