Happy New Year Friends. We hope your Christmas and New Year with your family was blessed. Our’s was, as was our drive across the country! Yes, we drove again, nearly 5,700 miles round trip! We have done so quite a few times now, and though many find it hard to believe, the time goes rather fast. There is so much to see in this great country of ours. And of course, we enjoy one another’s company, having also celebrated 19 years of marriage during this holiday season. We consider ourselves blessed.
“I believe that as we bring worship and compassion to the poor, God wants us to help them not only with their physical needs, but also with a ministry that brings change and healing to their mindset; a healing of their self esteem, and a restoration of the dignity of heart that comes from knowing they are created in the image of God….As we draw the poor into a life of intimate worship and fellowship with the Lord, He not only takes people out of poverty, He takes poverty out of the people.” [D.W]
During our holiday break we received a few phone texts from our ministry partners reporting on how the Christmas festivities and outreaches were going in Tijuana. It is always bittersweet to be away during Christmas as we do not get to participate in the passing along of the toys and gifts that we collected for the children and others. However, we smile anyway, knowing that the kids are also smiling. We realize how grateful they are without having to be present to see it.
Referring to passage Luke 4:14-21, “ Proclaiming the whole gospel, then, means much more than evangelism in the hopes that people will hear and respond to the good news of salvation by faith in Christ. It also encompasses tangible compassion for the sick and the poor, as well as biblical justice, efforts to right the wrongs that are so prevalent in our world. God is concerned about the spiritual, physical, and social dimensions of our being. This whole gospel is truly good news for the poor, and it is the foundation for a social revolution that has the power to change the world. And if this was Jesus’ mission, it is your mission, and it is the mission of the church.” [R.S.]
It is good to be able to step back and reflect on what it is that God has called us to. The holiday travel was a good time to do so. During my rest time, I (Wayne), read from a book I received for Christmas entitled, “The Hole in our Gospel” by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. Some of the quotes in this letter are from his book so that we may reflect on them together. I have been further inspired, as well as further challenged. Perhaps you will be as well.
“Some people have even described a ministry of compassion as a discovery of Jesus sacramentally present in the poor in a similar way that He is present in communion… Often, the presence of Christ is deepest and strongest among the people and in the situations where we are least comfortable.” [D.W.]
I also read “Kissing the Face of God – Worship That Changes the World” by Dale Walker, Pastor of Heart for the World Church and HFTW Ministries missions organization. We quickly discovered in this book, that it beautifully weds who we are, concerning worship and compassion, and how we want to represent VOB. You will see a couple of nuggets quoted from Dale’s book as well.
Referring to passage Matt. 25:31-46, “…the sheep had acted in tangible and loving ways toward the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, and the vulnerable, while the goats did not. Those whose lives were characterized by acts of love done to “the leasts of these” were blessed and welcomed by Christ into His Father’s kingdom…..Let me take some liberties in this paraphrase. – For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick , and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.” [R.S.]
We are eager and excited to start this new year. We look forward to seeing what the Lord wants to further do with worship and compassion for the lost, as we continue to be HIS ‘Voice Of the Bride’.
Love Wayne & Carol
p.s. Carol has received several worship invitations both here and in Mexico. Please pray for anointing, clarity, protection and guidance.