New Beginnings – “The new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17 ESV)
Right at the start of this morning’s run around the neighborhood (not above – I wish!), I kept turning around marveling as the sun slowly crept up over the mountains in the east. After so many days of gloomy sunrises due to the fires and all, God gave us a doozy sendoff this morning. Dynamite stuff. I instantly flashed on the gorgeous sunrise I was blessed to witness at the Dead Sea a few years ago (now the above pic). “Oh Lord,” I said this morning, “How did you ever come up with this morning’s golden ball lighting up our skies? It’s so beautiful!” And the clouds this morning – there were thousands of teeny ones all over sky – all over! It was truly panoramic. Definitely a breakout morning for me.
You know it’s hasn’t been just in the skies or in the air like it was this morning. I’ve been experiencing the Lord making “new” things appear all over the place lately, starting around Labor Day week. It’s weird. I’m doing mostly the same stuff as before but they’re all taking on a new, fresh look. Remember your first day in grade school? New pencils, new notebook, new shoes and socks? Well, I’m still wearing the same old dumpy clothes but I’m sooo ready for new adventures and surprises this semester. And I bet Jesus has a few more on His fingertips ready to pop out at me any second. He does that, right? Can’t wait! Let’s take a look at some of the sort of ‘newbies’ I’ve been blessed with so far during this long hot summer.
New Mornings Facebook devos –
It’s nervous, exciting and responsible all rolled up into one, to be given the privilege and responsibility to teach a 20 minute morning devotion. I’ve been doing these pretty much once a week; keeps me on my toes. I pray the “congregants” are being blessed by God’s Word. I know I am by studying and preparing for the messages. It’s definitely a learning process for me. The cool thing is in our new intern classes (see Missionary Internship program below) we are learning to let the Holy Spirit do the preaching. Yes, study, do your homework, but when you’re in front of your iPhone camera and ready to rock and roll, just preach the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you. What I have to say, my personal opinion, really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans anyway, right? Try not to go off onto rabbit trails. Ha! I really think I am doing a pretty good job in that area because we only have 20 minutes to teach. I finished the book of Mark on Friday, September 25, at 9:00 am, on our Calvary Chapel Saving Grace’s live video Facebook page. So why don’t you grab a cup of coffee and join me as we begin the book of 1 Corinthians?
Church Inside Soon!
God willing, we will be resuming church upstairs in the Sanctuary before too long. How cool is that! I think we about ran out of chairs at our September 20th Sunday morning outdoor courtyard service. Standing room only to hear the Word of God – now that’s is what the Lord wants to see. The ground level courtyard has been so pretty during the spring and summer months and many volunteers have worked real hard to get church setup outside early in the morning. I think we are all looking forward to going back inside the Sanctuary. Praise the Lord!
Missionary Internship program
We kicked off our 2nd year of the Saving Grace World Missions (SGWM) Missionary Internship Program a couple weeks ago. The class is on Wedneday afternoons. It looks like the focus this year will be on learning and then applying probably the two most important tenets in Christian living- preaching the Word of God and discipling. Our pastor teachers are giving it to us straight – all followers/disciples of Jesus Christ must be biblically equipped to preach the Word no matter where we serve, next door or across the sea. Guys or gals, we need to be able to share the gospel and make disciples. Jesus Himself gave us our marching orders: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). But there’s more! We finished our Homiletics 101 class last year; now we’re doing H102. Homiletics is the art of preaching a sermon – a homily. Our audience? CCSG pastors! We all received their “loving” criticism last term; we expect a lot more of the same this semester as well. And lastly we’re reading a new series of books from the “classic preachers” like John Calvin on how to preach the Word as well as selected audio Bible Studies. Man are we ever getting into the Word! Let’s do it!
Voice of Refugee (VOR) teaching English classes
I started teaching the new Fall semester ESL (teaching English as a second language) zoom classes with Voice of Refugees the day after Labor Day. VOR is really going forward in many ways to reach these dear families. In addition to the Mon-Wed afternoon English classes, we are now offering new evening classes, such as 1-on-1 Academic Tutoring, Conversational English, Citizenship and even a bi-monthly Friday @ the Movies. We teachers are flavoring up our curriculum while spicing things up with new interactive websites attempting to keep our students engaged. I think it’s working. And anyways, I know my students love spice. I do too. Rice and chicken and pasta. Food is our vocab!
Life Group: We haven’t come up for air yet! Our dedicated Wednesday night sold out Christian soldiers have been marching forward throughout this summer. I think we did have a two-week break somewhere. We even had a movie night outside munching burgers and chips (even me, thanks Jeff) while getting pumped up watching Free Burma Rangers on a poolside big screen. The good life! But really, if you are looking to share God’s Word, receive and give out intercessory prayer along with sweet fellowship, CCSG Life Groups are where it’s at. We all so need this. On Sunday mornings, there’s a sign-up sheet outside the high school room for all the available Life Groups and their locations. Get plugged in.
Growth Group: Now these GG’s are where the rubber meets the road. Guys and gals have their own GG’s respectively. Those of you guys who want a more enriching walk with the Lord, learn how to become real followers/disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, please get a hold of me. We all need to grow spiritually – together. I want to start up a brand new growth group. No age requirement. No dress code. Just bring your bibles and yourselves. The only thing is we will have to host it at one of your houses because I live in Kansas with Dorothy and Toto. If you think I am using this newsletter as a platform to solicit/pressure you into joining my new Growth Group, well you bet I am! I don’t want to take any of you away from your existing Growth Groups; I just want to present to those of you who are not engaged in one, that this is a great opportunity to get involved, get plugged in, for us to grow closer in the Lord together. Dates, times, syllabuses are TBD. I know it will be a Bible study geared around discipleship. Shoot me an email, text, or call. I’m praying for you. Gotcha!
10/40 Window Care Teams
My heart is still in the 10/40 window. I pray the Lord in His timing will open up a door for me to teach English there. For over a year I’ve been attending a Saving Grace World Missions (SGWM) care team for a couple of missionary families in the 10/40 window. I head up a care team for our 24 pastors in that area of the world. Their needs and the needs of all of our missionaries around the world are many. I know you know that. Intercessory prayer for them is vital. Get a hold of me or our church office if you would like to join one of our care teams. The missionaries and their families and sheep will be blessed and you will too. Thanks.
All done for the day. Kick back with a bowl of cereal. And then before I turn off the lights, I think, “you know, all Jesus desires from me each day is I stay close to Him.” That’s all.
It can start in the morning like it did today by thanking Him for the morning sun. Oh, and a real treat is to watch the birds fly 2-by-2 or 100-by-100 across the cloud covered blue skies and thank Him for that too. I think Jesus is, really, a simple kind of guy. I say this in the most respectable way. I pray He continues to make me simple too. Paul made himself simple when He encountered the brainiest people on the planet in Corinth:
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Nothing more. Nothing less.
I’ve been running a lot more lately. I’ve set a goal on how many miles I want to run and walk by the end of the year. Goals are good (“press toward the goal ” Phil. 2:12-14). Competition is good too with the right attitude (“run with endurance the race” Heb. 12:1). I would like to ask each of you to continue to pray for me, that I would continue to seek the Lord and His calling for me to serve Him here and abroad. And please if you are led to support me financially, that would be a great blessing as well. Just click on the Become a Financial Partner button below. You can do this through a one-time donation or monthly reoccurring donation. Come on, put on your running shoes and run with me! I’ll slow down – ha! Thank you again for your prayers and financial support.
That all my family and friends here stateside are in good health.
That our church, Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, will be moving church inside soon. The Lord willing.
That the Lord is doing new things in my heart keeping the fire of the Holy Spirit burning bright. Love it!
For the safety, well-being, strength and good health for all of our SGWM missionaries serving all over the world. This is so needed and will also be an ongoing prayer request as well.
That Jesus will continue to teach me His Word so I can preach the Gospel – simply.
That I become more flexible and creative while teaching my Zoom English classes. I see the Lord doing new things which is exciting. Keep it going Lord!
That I would continue to learn and prepare for the mission field so when He gives my marching orders I will be as ready as can be.
If you’d like to get my monthly updates sent directly to your email inbox, just click on the following link: Jim Needham Updates. You can reach me at email@example.com. The Lord bless all of you.