Have you ever felt overwhelmed by God’s work in your life?
Does your life ever remind you of those avalanches that are so common in the Alps, only a few hundred miles from here?
Truthfully, I am guessing that if you are a follower of Jesus, you, like I, are continually overwhelmed with your inadequacy and God’s work around you.
The amazing part is that He allows us to be right in the middle of it!
Solomon certainly understood this when he became king of Israel. God made a simple offer: “What shall I give you?”
There appears to be no hesitation in his response. After recognizing God’s steadfast love toward his father David and David’s faithfulness to the end, Solomon asks one thing (recognizing that David would be a hard act to follow!):
“Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9 ESV)
(Photo: Bruce Tremper/U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center, www.noaa.gov Material is not subject to copyright protection)
The fact that I feel overwhelmed can be seen clearly by my otherwise tidy desk. Books, papers, bills, folders, pens, birthday cards (my birthday was in May), songs to translate, post-its, cassettes (don’t ask).
There are days when I don’t know where to start and when to stop.
Now before you go and blame everything on my lack of discipline (certainly a part of the problem), let me share some of the overwhelming blessings.
God is at work, so we need prayer and wisdom because, as usual, we feel unprepared to handle it all!
1. God is opening evangelistic doors.
I thank God for allowing cancer in my life as a way of reminding me of my finiteness and of the urgency of the message.
This morning I was reminded of the urgency in God’s words to Ezekiel: “And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.” (Ezekiel 2:7 ESV)
Maybe I have become more pushy; some would say even too pushy, but Paul reminded Timothy: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)
2. Leadership training.
If I could do one thing that makes the greatest difference… I would train leaders.
– We continue to work ourselves out of a job with the worship ministry.
Melodee will be teaching the first music course open to all, but especially for our worship team and choir members. She also is teaching some women to play piano.
– I promised to start rehearsing our choir starting October 1st!
– On September 28th we will have our first Worship Training conference with special guest speaker Dr. Donald Ellsworth, from Baptist Bible Seminary in Pennsylvania!
– We are training youth leaders.
We started a youth leadership team that includes one young married couple and two singles over 30. Giovanni will be co-teaching the youth with me!
– I am leading the missionary team at the moment with weekly training meetings.
– Sunday we will have our first ministry fair at our church, where we will give people the opportunity to sign up for ministry groups and Bible studies for the fall.
– Sunday afternoon I will be leading the ministry coordinators through a training session.
This is probably the most overwhelming part of my ministry right now: preparing studies for the fall.
– Translating teaching curriculum.
We have joined forces with Partners in Discipleship International to translate solid biblical curriculum for all ages. Right now we are working on a study for middle school and for high school. Eventually our goal is to find other solid evangelical churches to partner with in distributing the materials and a good Italian evangelical publishing house that would be behind the project.
I’m also translating a deacon training manual, since we are weeks away from nominating deacons in our church! Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, IN, has kindly given us permission to translate their wonderful materials.
– Teaching the adult/youth Sunday School in the fall.
– I have also agreed to disciple two men in our church: Claudio, my brother that has come to Milan with me, (He is doing much better, by the way.) and Alessio, a young man who used to be the priest’s right hand man in his town, until God almost violently brought him to Himself through the Truth of His Word.
– Then there is our monthly men’s meeting to plan…
4. Melodee’s residence permit
– Tuesday, September 16th we will go to pick up Melodee’s residence card. We will find out if our request for a permanent card was accepted. I normally would say it is impossible, but God has been doing so many impossible things in our lives recently that I have no doubt that He is capable of it!
5. My health
– On top of a hernia surgery that I am waiting for (when it rains it pours), I am waiting to hear back from the doctor in Milan for my follow-up visit, due this month.
6. Our beautiful children.
Noah will be heading to pre-school in a week. There he will be in contact with children his age, and hopefully get a better grounding in the Italian language.
Eva turned one a couple weeks ago. She has found in herself great determination to eat out of the trash and whatever else she can get into her mouth. Scooting along on the floor, she also helps with cleaning!
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 ESV)
Probably your impossible and my impossible seem so insignificant compared to Jeremiah’s announcement to Jerusalem: God would actually destroy the city He loved.
But God made us a promise: “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15 ESV)
We don’t know what God will do, but we know that He has called us here, and that He has promised to deliver us for His glory and He does it through prayer.
Please pray with us! And we will exalt Him together!
Please Pray For:
1. The salvation of those with whom we are sharing Christ.
2. The training of leaders and opportunities
– Worship ministry: Melodee’s music course, piano teaching, choir ministry, the training conference on September 28th with special guest speaker Dr. Donald Ellsworth, form Baptist Bible Seminary in Pennsylvania!
– Youth Ministry: Giovanni, Daniel, Roberto and Carmela.
– Our ministry fair this Sunday.
– Ministry coordinators training session this Sunday
– Our monthly men’s meeting.
3. Our translation work.
– For curriculum translation with Partners in Discipleship International (more to come in a future update). For other churches to partner with and a solid publishing house.
– For the translation of the deacon training manual.
– For the adult/youth Sunday School.
– For discipleship with Claudio and Alessio.
4. Melodee to get her permanent residence card (we have spent a lot of time and money on this!!)
5. Continued health for all of us.
6. Our family to grow together toward God and each other.
7. Much needed wisdom and partners to whom we can delegate!!!