I’m digging in – got my flashlight in hand and miner’s headlamp strapped around my forehead. I don’t want to miss anything our Lord has for me. We know He uses all seasons, bright and sunny ones as well as those unexpected, “what is happening?” ones – for our good: (Romans 8:28). Oh, yeah, I’ve been through a handful of those. Tough to figure them out… I remember in those crazy times the Lord told me (ok, sometimes screamed at me) “to get with the program Charlie Brown (Jim) and start digging in deeper, deeper! – find your focus, purpose and preparation.” Well, this is such a season. And so it goes…
Saving Grace World Missions Internship Program
The SGWM internship program that I’ve been a part of for over a year is winding down now. The youthful nine (myself included!) have gotten so blessed by serving in so many different ways: church office admin, weeknight bible studies and financial management classes, Sunday morning camera streaming setup, sound board maintenance, Sunday service grounds and sanctuary setup and tear down duties, worship, welcome greeting, ushering and our latest and most needed as we speak – sanitation and cleanliness! Gloves and masks ahoy!
I’m rounding the bend in our year-round Bible reading program. I am going to do it! My first time too in one year so I am excited. I just started Acts of the Apostles. I’d love to anchor there for a while but I see the finish line down the straight and narrow path and I’m gonna make it. I got plenty of water for the final stretch and a protein bar in my running belt. Let’s go Lord! Let’s do this thing!
Homiletics / Acts of the Apostles Classes
In addition we just completed a 13-message homiletics (fancy word for ‘the art of the art of preaching or writing sermons’) series on the book of James last week. We had a teeny covid hiatus a bit ago but we all, guys and gals, finished strong. You know there’s no hiding behind the bushes with the Word of God. When you have to preach a 15-20 message to an audience of Saving Grace pastors, you have to be ready. We interns spent many hours in study and preparation for our weekly Thursday afternoon sermons. Sure it was fun and a bit intimidating to do it in front of the “pros,” but all the training and preparation was well worth it. I love this book! I love the Word!
It seems like we’ve been studying Acts of the Apostles longer than Paul’s missionary journeys! And we just finished his first one. Whoa! You know, I’ve journeyed through the Bible for many years. But it’s just been since the Lord led me into this mission’s thing that I’ve come to realize how important every single sentence and phrase is. I mean I always have known it but I just know it more now. Our Lord, through our teacher Pastor Trent Douglass, has spoken quite clearly how He wants to run His church, His ministries, His mission. It’s all in this book. I think we’re finally getting it.
Getting Back to the Garden
We’ve been doing a 9am Sunday church service outside in our pretty flowered courtyard since May 31st. And a couple Sundays ago we opened up our children’s ministry out in the parking lot. How cool is that? Now everyone’s getting fed by God’s Word. There are still some people not showing up for obvious reasons. It’s too bad but we all have to be careful. David says in Psalm 22:3, “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Our Lord is amongst the brethren inside or outside. It’s really quite comfortable, though, out in the courtyard. Hope we’re not getting spoiled. Ha!
Bon Voyage – Calvary School of Missions in Mexico
Most of our current interns attended last summer’s first Calvary School of Missions (CSOM), a super intensive 6-week program that trains and equips guys and gals who feel led by the Lord to pursue long-term cross-cultural missions. Well. Guess what? The 2020 team just left for Mexico on July 6 – Paul and Barnabas move over! This is how it works, seriously. Like last year, we again have a group of experienced full-term missionaries from all over the world who will be pouring their misson passion into the hearts of 13 students and 7 leaders who themselves have been knee deep (literally) in sharing the Gospel to the unreached. I have the privilege to serve right here on the home front, in prayer. If you are reading this newsletter, please pray for these individuals. Calvary Chapel Saving Grace is so committed to preaching the Word; getting the forgiveness, love and compassion of Jesus Christ to be heard all the way to the ends of the earth. The CSOM provides a power-packed venue for this to continue. I know, this sounds crazy – to the ends of the earth, sure. But it is true. The Gospel is going forth to remote areas far far away. I’ve been there; I’ve seen it. I’ve talked to brothers and sisters whose lives were radically changed by hearing and then receiving Jesus into their hearts through the Gospel preached by our own SGWM missionaries.
Teaching VOR Refugee Zoom Classes
Teaching three days a week is really something I look forward to. I knew it would work. I’ve seen the Lord do it before in places where I was serving, where no one knew any English. The Holy Spirit blesses when He’s present. What’s funny is the more I teach, the more I see how smart these gals are. Hey, it’s not me, believe me. It’s so the Lord.
I think I’m warming up to them and they to me. It takes time. My students so laugh when I make mistakes (they laugh a lot!). My biggest problem is typing. This is all Zoom class stuff; I try to make it as interactive as I can. So I’m flying all over the screen with this and that while the gals are all chatting in Arabic. Who knows what they are saying. Ha! I just know we have a lot of fun. Verb tenses are my weakness so I’m doing a bit of nighttime grammar vigils over coffee. We do a devotion at the end of each session so everyone hears the Gospel. Zooms teaching is ok, like… ok. I can’t wait to get back to the real classroom. And then the gals will bring in their freshly cooked Middle East surprises. Ahh, I’m in heaven! Can’t wait.
Fred Jordan Mission Father’s Day Outreach
On Father’s Day Saturday I spent the day serving at Fred Jordan Mission in skid row LA. As I stated in a previous newsletter, this ministry has reached out to the homeless in so many ways for over 75 years. You can imagine with the severe economic climate and all going on, the staff there is working overtime. We were told this was the very first Father’s Day event FJM has ever done. Mothers get all the breaks. Before handing out the food to the fathers (covid prohibits in-house dining), several of the men gave their lives to the Lord at a devo. Such a blessing. We prepared and packaged 300 lunches; hey, we worked our tails off! I do have compassion for the homeless. I’m praying for more.
As I diligently seek the Lord, He leads me closer and closer to where and how He wants me to serve. Right now it’s via Zoom teaching in my dining room. When things lighten up, I’ll be back teaching English at Voice of Refugees (VOR) offices in Anaheim, CA. My fervency to teach remains strong – hey, stronger after every session as I’m seeing the fruit – my students and I are forming great relationships. That’s where missions starts, on Zoom, across the street or far away.
I’m running my race. Come run with me. Nothing is more enjoyable for a runner than to have someone run alongside, even all the way to the finish line. So please keep me in prayer. And if the Lord puts it on your heart, partner with me financially as well by clicking on the Become a Financial Partner button below. You can do this through a one-time donation or a monthly reoccurring donation. Thank you so much for your prayerful and financial support.
That all my family and friends here stateside are in good health.
That our church is slowly getting back into the swing of things. So thankful we all can worship and get into the Word together.
That things are starting to loosen up a bit for my church family overseas. It’s been very hard for them. Our Lord has answered so many prayers for their strength, health and steadfast walk with Jesus our Lord.
For blessing me with a bunch of refugee students who seem to enjoy learning English.
That the Lord would bring out more people to church on Sunday.
That the Lord would put His compassion in me for my Zoom refugee students. Also that the Lord would give me more compassion for the homeless.
For the outpouring of the Holy Spirit onto our CSOM team, students and leaders, so that each of them would surrender their hearts more to our Lord.
For the safety, well-being, strength and good health for all of our SGWM missionaries serving all over the world.
That I would see what new ministries the Lord has for me to serve here on the homefront. I know He does. Like I said, I just gotta keep seeking Him in His word, prayer and get more real with my brothers and sisters.