OUR PARTNER IN CAMBODIA
After 4 years here in Cambodia, I thought that I might have things figured out at this missionary life (insert sarcastic statement here). In reality, I am daily reminded of my humanness, and my desperate need for God to show up in my life. It’s in that place of “humanness” that I am becoming most sure of who I am in Christ, though. Last week, at about 10:30 PM I was sitting across from 5 of our newly rescued girls with a bag of meth in my hand questioning them like I was a professional investigator. The youngest was cross-legged holding a teddy bear in her arms while explaining in detail through giggles how to take those drugs to get the best effect from them. My exterior was tough, and my internal thoughts were frantically searching for the right questions to ask with a lot of “Alright Holy Spirit, what’s next?”. My heart was so glad they were safe, and my mind was so angry that they had brought and hid drugs in our home. I had such mixed feelings in that moment, and even questioned how God was going to redeem this situation.
About a week later while trying to process that weird day, God brought to my mind “Death is at work in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12) It is possible, actually probable that death and life are at work at the same time in all of us while we hold these earthly bodies. As the first Adam was created and brought about the curse of death, the second Adam (Christ) became a life-giving Spirit that fights for our hearts within us. And just as Christ daily fights and raises me to life, he is already fighting for these 5 rescued girls. Life may be messy here (the fight for life is rarely pretty/easy) but I am convinced of Christ’s resurrection power at work in me, in our rescued girls, and also in you.
The Be Rich series has been a timely reminder for me to be thankful for all of the blessings in my life. This Thanksgiving was spent enjoying plenty of food surrounded by those I love. The week after receiving my Dollar, I received a work email giving employees the opportunity to sponsor a family for Thanksgiving. While my usual response may have been, “Yeah – I should do that.”…and then not follow through, having my Be Rich Dollar spurred me on to action so a family of 5 could enjoy the holiday and be reminded of God’s love!
Hi, I’m James! I’ve been a facilitator for Men’s Fraternity for approximately 3 years. I’ve been a part of Men’s Fraternity since I first started attending, almost 10 years now. What I enjoy the most is the relationships I’ve developed over the years. The bonding with other Christian men who are struggling, just like me, through life, but learning how to place Christ at the center of things is the greatest benefit & challenge.
As a facilitator, I’m accountable to my group. Yes, I screw up, yes life gets in the way and frustration does happen. But Men’s Fraternity is a place I can be me without worrying about being judged, because more than likely, someone has gone through it, is going through it or will go through it. “It” being, pain, struggling with your faith, material problems, loss, celebrations, promotions at work or whatever life entails.
Pastor Brek says, “we are the hands and feet of our community.“ Being a part of this group has shown me I don’t have to do life alone. I am blessed more than I realize and deserve. And every once in a while, I get to be a blessing to someone else. If you’re looking to learn more about yourself, or what it means to truly follow Christ, join a small group, or better yet start one of your own! You’ll be amazed at what God will do in your life.
Micah 4:6-7 NLT says, “In that coming day, says the Lord, ‘I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Those who are weak will survive as a remnant; those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever’.”
My experience with Rock The Lot can be summed up in two words Phenomenally Blessed! This was my second year of serving and each time it has been so fulfilling in so many ways. First of all, the love and sincere dedication of the Renovation Family to serve and show our Father God’s Love for each other and to those we meet in the community who are not yet a part of us, is just pure love.
The dear people that I had a chance to meet from our community – Wow! It was a pleasure to not only serve them and their families but to witness Jesus to them where they were. I’m looking forward to seeing them in church. The fellowship all around was great everyone worked hard and diligently not only with what they volunteered to do but they continued to work after their time slot to make sure the community could fill the Love of Jesus at Renovation.
Finally I’m blessed to have had the chance to bond even more with my brothers and sisters at Renovation. I’m so thankful for that and to know the Worship Team has blessed so many and they see and feel the love of our heavenly Father through us. I look forward to next year!. I even got to show some Girl Power lol with Donna Jean in helping Pastor Brek and the other guys roll up bounce houses lol.
I don’t know if they saw it that way lol but they humored us, just a great day all around.
I’m so thankful for Pastor Brek and all my family at Renovation. I love you all so much.”
“This summer I had a opportunity to go to camp called Kids Across America. I didn’t know what to expect going to this camp. This was the best experience I’ve had this summer – having the opportunity to learn more about God and have fun at the same time was very cool to me. On Wednesday they held a crosstalk and they did a skit of Jesus being crucified; watching how bad He got hurt really opened my eyes. It made me want to give my life to Him.
After the skit they ask for someone to stand up if they wanted to give their life to Jesus. I was the first one to stand up – I felt like I needed to be saved because Jesus sacrificed so much for me and I needed to thank Him for everything He does for me. Going to this camp helped me learn more about Him. I knew the basics of the Bible but they taught me more and all the things He did for me. I’m so happy I got the opportunity to go to Kids Across America and give my life to Jesus.”
JAMIL & SALLEY CREWS
“Tithing has always been a challenge for us. We’ve been actively attending church since we met ten years ago, yet our giving was inconsistent. We’ve had moments of consistent giving but would often fall back into the pattern of not giving. The one thing we noticed about when we gave, our finances were together and we could see God’s blessings on us but when we didn’t give, our finances seemed to be all over the place.
After attending the series around giving, we wanted to make tithing a priority this year and the challenge we set out to really accomplish this goal was to give consistently. We decided to work with a budget coach this year to help us prioritize our spending and giving. That has been a big help and now giving is always a top priority. We love Renovation, so why not sow into a place where we get fed on a weekly basis. And the convenience of automated deductions makes giving so easy. We have developed a rhythm of giving our tithes and offerings and we like the way our finances are looking this year. God is truly blessing and growing us because of our faithfulness and dedication.”
“My experience as a Renovation Station Small Group Leader has been great! I serve twice each month, by picking two Sundays that I’m available to teach. Scheduling and blocking out dates for serving is a really simple process, which I needed over the past year. I worked full-time, while also finishing my master’s degree, so there were many times when I wasn’t able to serve. However, scheduling is very flexible and I absolutely love serving. They say you make time for the things you love most and since I desire to be of service to God and our community, I made time for Renovation Station.
Why I love serving the most is the impact the truths we explore in small group have on both the students and me. The children have a new virtue for each month that is explored and it always applies to me as well: patience, peace, kindness, etc. I believe I always get as much (if not more) from the lesson than the students do. Plus, the relationships formed with the kids are special and make it an honor to serve as a volunteer.”