Catching the Vision

For over 130 years the Christian and Missionary Alliance has been taking the gospel message of Jesus Christ to the nations. This passion for reaching lost people with the gospel still resonates passionately among The Alliance family to this day. I firmly believe that our calling here at Circle Drive Alliance still beats with the passion of our founder Dr. Simpson as we seek to make disciples of Jesus here in our local community, there among our region, and everywhere, even to the ends of the earth. This is who we are.

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I want to ask you to stop and think about whether or not you are as passionate for global missions as our founder was or as our Lord Jesus is? I think that if we honestly assess our hearts, we would have to answer that we probably aren’t as passionate for missions as we’d like to be. We often get distracted by the things that we feel in our own lives and forget about missions or put the nations on the back burner. 

To make sure that Jesus’ command to preach the gospel to the nations is constantly before us, we often need a refreshing of the vision. I want to inform you of a wonderful opportunity that I have. I have been approached by the District to be a part of a pastoral vision team that will gain a fresh perspective on what God is doing in the lives of the people of Bosnia and Germany. I am a part of a team of 4 lead pastors from around the district, and we will be there from November 7th-17th.

Our team will interact with international workers in their fields, participate in their work, meet the people whose lives have been touched by the gospel, and to prayerfully consider how we can better engage our churches and district in partnering with these workers and churches to take the gospel to the nations. I firmly believe that through this trip God will give voice to this incredible work and allow me to communicate His heart for the nations to you through this trip. 

Friends, this trip is all about how we can have greater engagement with the mission and our workers. I long for you to join me in prayer over the next months so that I will be able to hear from God in powerful ways. Also pray about how Jesus would have you participate with Him and us as we preach the gospel to the nations. I look forward to all that Jesus will do through this incredible time in our church. May God receive all glory, honor, and praise. 

Experiencing God's Passion

The last words that Jesus spoke while on this earth are words that drive the church’s focus and passion. As Jesus was ascending, He turned to His disciples and said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” These last words of Christ to His church reveal His heart, and as believers in Jesus Christ our hearts need to beat in time with His. 

There are a couple of opportunities that will take place this month that will aid us in keeping in step with God’s heart. Let me share these with you. First, when we look at the Gospels, we can plainly see that God has a special place in His heart for children. He wants them to come to Him, to grow in Him, to love Him. On October 23rd, we will have the great pleasure to hear and interact with Melissa MacDonald, The Alliance National Children’s Director. She will share how we can better lead children to know Christ and better strategies to share that love with them. There will be a time for questions and answers for anyone involved with Children’s ministries at 10am that Sunday. This is an amazing opportunity for us and I’m looking forward to how God will work. 

We also see God’s heart for missions. Our first core value in The Alliance states, “Lost people matter to God: He wants them found.” We need to have a huge heart for missions, and on October 29th, we have a great opportunity to hear about how Alliance Missions work and allowing God to impassion us for this great commission work. Our Vice-President for International Ministries will be speaking and sharing God’s heart for us. This opportunity is open to anyone who has a passion for missions. 

I’m excited to see where God is going to take us and impassion us for. 

 

Envision Cleveland - Short Term Youth Trip

This month I wanted to take some time to tell you about our mission trip to Cleveland, OH this summer. Megan and I along with Josiah VonBerg will be taking 10 students on a week-long adventure to the inner city of Cleveland. Did you know that there are over one hundred different languages spoken in Cleveland? Most people don't think of this city as being so diverse but it is one of the top 5 depositories for refugees in the country. There is a great need for Jesus in the city of Cleveland so our goal is to help in any way we can.

The C&MA makes it a priority to bring the gospel to the darkest places on the globe. A lot of times these nations are overseas in cities that have never heard of Jesus but sometimes they're within a day’s drive from us. The short term sending agency for the Alliance is called Envision and Cleveland is one of their many sites.

Envision Cleveland seeks to partner with local churches in the city to reach those that don't know Jesus. Some of the ministries we have an opportunity to take part in are refugee ministry, VBS, health clinics, sports camps, construction work, beautification, and urban gardening. Obviously we won't be able to do all of those in one week but as the weeks draw closer we will know more about what we'll be doing and how the students can use their gifts and talents to best serve the city and God.

We thank God that there are so many teens in our church that have a desire to look past themselves and help others. I think this trip will not only benefit the city of Cleveland but will have a huge impact on our students as well. Our prayer is that they take this experience and bring something back with them so they can serve their own communities. Safety is something that is often prayed for when traveling and we definitely want students to be safe but I would encourage you to pray not just for safety but for these kids to truly be willing to say "Yes" to Jesus.

Jesus said that "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? - Luke 9:3-25.

This past week during both worship services, you should have received a card reminding you to pray for an individual student who is going on the trip. I want to challenge you to put the card somewhere where you'll see it every day and it will remind you to pray. As much as we need prayer support many of these students still have some money left to raise so please consider how God may lead you to give.

It is our desire to not only bring students to Cleveland but to be able to meet a financial need while we're down there as well. Envision Cleveland has done a great job meeting needs in their community by giving out bicycles to refugees but they're discovering that some of these bikes are getting stolen. Envision Cleveland has asked us to consider raising an extra $1000 to pay for bike locks for these refugees. So please pray about how you can partner with us to reach this community in need 

A Trust Exercise

Originally Posted January 29, 2015 By Pastor Adam

We had a unique opportunity to participate in something that, I would imagine, was quite difficult for the people of Circle Drive Alliance.  But before I let you all know what went on, let me take you back to 4 weeks ago and the challenge that I laid out before the congregation during our worship on that brisk January morning.

The morning worship service began as many of them do–a great time of worship through singing and then proceeding into a time of prayer.  As I was heading to the stage and preparing my heart to lead the congregation in a time of prayer, I felt led to offer the congregation an opportunity to ask the Lord Jesus over the next 3 weeks to pray and ask the question, “How do you want me to participate in sharing the hope of Jesus?”

I left it to the congregation to pray and I’ve heard some great stories of how God was leading them through this time of prayer.  Then we came to this past Sunday and I challenged the congregation to write on an index card the answers that God had given them of how each one can participate in sharing the hope of Jesus.  “Does He want me to pray for workers or pray for the lost?”  Then write that down.  “Does He want me to be faithful in giving of my finances?”  Then write down a number or percentage that He’s calling you to trust Him with.  “Does He want you to go, whether here in our community or to another culture?”  Then take the next steps to find out where to go and what to do.  This exercise stretched me and I know others into really hearing what God has for me and for us.

Now that the exercise is over, I’m now in the position to ask this question of myself–do I really trust God to provide and lead me in these areas?  Do I trust Him with my finances?  Do I trust Him to equip me to serve in ministries or even as the one who shovels the snow?  I know that I don’t have all of the answers on this, but I’m reminded that our God is faithful to do all that He has promised to do.  My encouragement to you and also to myself is this–if God has called us to do something, let’s trust Him and do it!  He will never let you down.  What a great trust exercise this has been and continues to be!

You Just Never Know

Originally Posted September 17, 2014 By Pastor Adam

It shouldn’t amaze me, but it oftentimes does, when we hear of the church worldwide going through incredible difficulties.  Today we received news that some workers that are helping to educate people in West Africa about the ebola virus were attacked by a gang and some of the members were taken hostage, with no leading (at the time of this writing) of their location.  It is hard for me to sometimes stomach the fact that these people were simply spreading the love of Christ not by crusading demanding conversion, but simply by trying to share information on how to stop the spread of this deadly disease.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I spent a lot of time in prayer over this today, and there was a post on Facebook that a friend of mine made recently, reminding us of how Christ wants us to act and view a situation like this.  The blog wasn’t advocating a military solution, or political isolationism.  It wasn’t a call to hate or cut off or run away from, but in fact was reminding us of the fact that we are to love our enemies.  God is the God of love, not of hate.  We find throughout Scripture that Christ never once looked to retaliate on His enemies–He chose to come to this earth and preach the message, hoping that they would turn to Him and experience His grace.  This is the exact same thing He longs for in this situation–that His grace would be extended to all.

I’m asking you all tonight to pray for these people–the captives and their captors.  Pray for safety.  Pray for grace and compassion.  Pray that God will accomplish His will and that all glory will be given to Him.  Once we rest in that statement, we realize that God is in control of everything and that our heart’s desire is simply to glorify Him.