"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I didn’t know what to call this latest post from Brian. It hits hard. He’s doing a little preaching at you, the Church. And prophets of the Old Testament weren’t too popular in their own time as they brought messages that quite frankly, people didn’t want to hear.

The condition of the church today grieves my heart. It’s not any one denomination. It is a disease that appears to be spreading across all denominational lines. It seems to be a disease that few see (but I doubt that). More than likely it is a disease that only a few will mention and will bring to the attention of leadership. Too few in leadership either do not recognize, acknowledge or care to do what is necessary to eradicate this disease. The disease, for lack of a good name, is the striving after the world, instead of striving after God.

It’s not that there isn’t some good happening in and coming out of the church. But it’s been shown that the Church in America is declining. Why? It’s not from a lack of resource materials. There’s any number of books on how to grow your church, your Sunday school (if you still have one), have small groups, every which worship style you can imagine and so on. In the Third World Countries, the Church is growing by leaps and bounds. Why? They lack resources/study materials; many don’t even have Bibles. Yet the body of Christ continues to grow there, and many are added to the Kingdom every day. Why does it appear to be happening there and not here? I have heard it said, in Africa Christianity is a mile wide and an inch deep. I question whether we in the West are any better. I sometimes wonder if God has removed His hand from the Western church. I guess that’s why it bothers me so to see the Western church exporting its style of Christianity (how we do “church”). Maybe WE should be looking to the Third World Church (non-Western) for some insight.

What are the differences? Of course the obvious is that we are financially prosperous, they are not. They have persecution on a more physical level that we do not. They desire God’s Word-do we? They are willing to except hardship for Christ’s name-are we? They meet together for church at the risk of imprisonment, loss of jobs-would we? We won’t even let church get in the way of our camping trips or days at the lake, or work.

I say we (the church) have turned from God; we have become content with where we are at and see no need for anything more. You disagree? Well what about taking the summer off (no Sunday School, no prayer meetings, no Sunday evening services {those went by the wayside years ago}) from “serious” church business, from studying of God’s word together? It is as though God supposedly takes a vacation from Memorial weekend to Labor Day weekend. I don’t know if this is just a Minnesota thing or what. I know my friend in Indiana said they don’t (take vacation) as I talked to him on his way to Sunday evening services. God doesn’t take a vacation and neither should we! We don’t go to church because it’s the thing to do. We cannot continue to plan church around what is easiest, the most convenient, and the least amount of trouble. Nowhere in his Word does it say to take the summer (or any other time) off. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it really upsets me. I know for myself it is very hard to get back into something when I’ve taken an extended time off. I know I am not the only one either.

The church is on fire. Some are completely oblivious to it; some smell the smoke; others even see the fire. But very few say anything. Some say nothing because they are content. Others say nothing out of fear; others just don’t want to rock the boat. The few who do are usually looked upon as complainers, troublemakers.

When the society we live in is on the highway to hell, why is the Church conforming and adapting to its culture? The people who are looking for Hope (which is found only in Christ Jesus) are tired of the world. They know the world does NOT have what they need, what they long for, so they may go to church seeking. And once there, what do they find? They find that the world has taken over there too. There is very little difference between the church and the world anymore. We have twisted and perverted the idea that we are supposed to be in the world, but not of it.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
1 Jn. 2:15-17

We forget that the world will pass away. Why are we striving to look like it?
We visited a church that seems more concerned about attracting seekers than really “growing” its flock. They are concerned non-believers won’t come because of the time or the name. So what if they do come? What will they find? Will they find strong, healthy, grounded believers? Or will they find more of what they are trying to get away from? Most non-believers I believe are looking for absolutes. They don’t want anymore of “do it your own way”; often that is what got them where they are at today. They want guidelines, they want structure; yes, they want someone to tell them what they are doing is wrong.

Who is the Church’s first ministry to? Non-believers or brothers and sisters in Christ? We are called to be a light to the world no doubt, but we are to be encouragers, teachers, to each other.
Ephesians 3:21 gives us the purpose of the church, “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” The ultimate purpose of the church is to bring honor and glory to the head, Jesus Christ. It does this as it fulfills two purposes related to God’s program for the world. One purpose is evangelism. I don’t doubt that, as Christ Himself gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

The other purpose is for edification of the saints. Eph. 4:12 tells us the saints need to be edified (built up) for two goals: “ (1) for the equipping of the saints (2) for the work of services.” The believers who make up the church need to be built up so that they may realize all that God has provided for Christian living and that they may come to spiritual maturity. They (we) all need to be equipped to perform the work in the body of Christ that God wants us to perform. In a sense, each member of a church is to be a Christian worker so that the work that God wants them to perform through the local church can be accomplished. (Excerpts taken from The Christian’s Guide to the New Life) How can they do those works of services (which I say evangelism is a part of) without being grounded in the Word? We need the Scriptures taught to us line upon line, line upon line, precept on precept, precept on precept. The Scriptures that are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). This foundation will prepare us for sharing God’s Word to a lost and dying world that is seeking more than what the world has to offer.

Instead, we appear to be in the world, and of it. It’s not that I have got the formula down. I don’t. It is very difficult to do, to balance. In this current age there is a philosophy that we need to look just like the world so that non-believers will accept us, accept Christ. One thing Christ never did was compromise His ministry. He ate with the sinners, but He didn’t set the table at their favorite tavern for them.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you”. John 15:18-19

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

“They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth ad the spirit of error”. 1 John 4:5-6

I hope you will join me in praying to be hated by this world (the culture). Pray that the line between the church (the Bride of Christ) and the world will become clearly defined once again. I want my life, my church to be so conformed to God, to be so much a part of Him, that those who aren’t followers will despise us, despise what we have. They will despise us because they will feel left out. I want them to despise what we have so much because deep down they know that they are longing for it too. I want non-believers to be convicted of their sinfulness, to know that they are living in rebellion and out of the will of God for their lives. Once convicted, I want them to desire, instead to be like me. I want them to long for what I have, to have that awesome feeling of being so devoted to someone (God) and being able to trust completely in Him.

Will a leader please stand up? How far do we have to go before someone will stand up and call the church to prayer, confession, and repentance?

“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God”. James 4:4

Friday, July 13, 2007


UPDATE: A “next step” has been completed! Our mission board has voted to officially recommend us to our elder board as mission candidates. Now, we wait to meet with them. Here is a sneak peek at what we would like to share with them:

Our prayer is for you, our friends and family, our Sunday school class, and our church body to get excited about Christ and what He has called us to do, and to gain an eternal perspective. We believe for us that involves being a part of Gospelink. We are praying that you and they will get fired up and want to endeavor with us in this. Not only in prayers and monthly support for us, but for the people in Africa. There may be opportunities to donate bibles, tools, equipment, bible study materials, who knows what else. Of course we will appreciate you covenanting together with us through prayer support and financial support.
Gospelink also has a program set up for this project. They are seeking 25 churches to commit $5000 a year for 5 years, and also send teams of people over each summer to aid in construction and evangelism. Each sponsoring church is “assigned” a compound that consists of student cabins, bathroom/kitchen area, and staff housing that they are responsible for helping to build. I am not sure how many churches they have at this point (maybe 15) but even if they hit 25, Praise the Lord! They can always use more! We would love to see our church committed to this as well.
You may still have lots of questions, misgivings. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE email or call us to discuss them. We have sought counsel with many, many Godly people. But most importantly we have taken counsel with God through prayer and reading of the Word. We want you to know the facts and be properly informed. We appreciate all your support and prayers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


§ Both feeling similar desire/longings for something more without the other knowing
§ Emotional feelings gone-and knowing we need to keep pursuing
§ God fitting in puzzle pieces-often immediately upon request (calls on cattle without ads, etc)
§ Grandma’s dream of fixing up the house and taking her kids away (a comment made twice before she knew anything!). One night at prayer Brian specifically prayed that God will reveal to his parents that we were looking at missions-it was that same night that Grandma had the dream
§ Sharing our story and the mission and others being excited, seeing us doing it, having no big red flags, encouraging us
§ Looking to serve, teach first, evangelism part of as a result of work-God showing us area where our skills are a fit for the ministry needed at Gospelink
§ More and more opportunities to share with others
§ Dean @ Gospelink wants us, but no real need right now. Lewis specifically praying for someone for Zambia
§ Telling Brian's dad-wrestling with God-feeling a part of Brian really died that night. Really sacrificing his own desires for God’s desire.
§ Knowing it can’t be done on own-only God can do it
§ Brian was concerned about wasting feed-Lord brought in another herd of cattle to feed it up to, then provided a buyer when it was close to gone
§ Continued possible connections with more and more people-a connection to another ministry in Zambia doing farm work, leading us to a website with tons of useful information and be able to connect us with farmers already in Zambia; friends at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City that lead a set for praying for Africa every week; a local guy who gets milk from us that is an elder at another church that may be willing to partner with us; a guy at church with a roommate at college from Zambia; someone who built his own solar panel for power
§ Continued opposition from satan! That’s always good! You know you are on the right path when he won’t let you be! Unfortunately, still knowing that, it is hard, especially when it comes from family and friends.
§ 2 days before the Mt. Kaziemba day, Kelly has a dream about Brian wanting to say yes, but holding back. Then later that day she wrote “Decisions, Decisions”-not knowing that that was basically part of the answer to Brian’s struggles.
§ Praying for someone to help guide us in the next steps of our journey-then getting an email THE NEXT DAY of a past contact with another mission organization who is willing to meet with us and answer questions and let us know how they proceed.
§ The 1st Dairy Star newspaper we got after Brian’s return had an article about dairy farming in Zambia and about farming in Idaho with the same type of soil, and a gravity-flow irrigation system, what Brian would need to use.
§ Hearing back from a missionary couple in Zambia with great advice for us. He also gave a contact for his organization’s stateside office who had more great info for us. He also has contacts in shipping (if we send a sea container over) and how to get work permits
§ Just seeing and experiencing how small the world seems to be as we meet more and more people who know someone who can help guide us a long, or knows a friend, or whatever!
§ A gal at an office Brian went to knew a former missionary who spent 40 years in Tanzania, part of it working on irrigation systems
§ One aspect of living over there that we are looking and preparing for is being the only Westerners in the area. Well, it looks like God may be taking care of that too! There is a couple that is considering staying over there for a year to oversee construction. They are an older couple that could even be mentors to us.
§ We are discussing what kind of training we need, then B & R come over and suggest where we should go-family friendly even!

Every time something gets brought up, God seems to answer, or provide direction. A red flag would be if none of our concerns get resolved, but it seems that right now, God just keeps leading us in the way. Thankfully, God is not getting too annoyed with our constant requests! He keeps leading, directing, and helping us along whenever a doubt comes up. It really helps strengthen our conviction that we are proceeding in the right direction!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

the next thing

As you can imagine, there are about a million things swimming through our heads. And for those who know me (KJ) well, I look to be organized, know what’s going on…
Well, life isn’t always that way! We are learning more and more about “Africa time”. Just a slower pace, more relaxed, don’t worry too much about it time. We started learning all about this during Joseph’s adoption. It’s knowing more needs to be done, wanting to do more, but knowing we can’t make it go any faster learning stage.
So there are a lot of questions to be asked, to be answered. And quite frankly, this is new to Gospelink as well. We are the first Western missionaries for them, so this makes it take some time. We’d like to say (and maybe have in high hopes), “best case scenario, we could be there early next year”. But really, we have no idea. It could be 6-9 months, 12 months, 15 months. We just don’t know.
We are just going to keep going forward, just doing the next thing. This week’s next thing: meeting with a rep from another mission organization in the Twin Cities to talk about how they do things. Then meeting with our mission board on Sunday to start talking about things.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


At what point does a blessing become a curse? I would dare say that most of us don’t realize to what extent we’ve been blessed. It’s hard to in a society with is constantly telling you “you don’t have enough, you need this, you won’t be happy without that, you need more, more, more.” It will never be enough. It becomes a painful realization once you have spent some time in a third world country where the people have little to nothing materially. But they are considerably wealthier then we are. Their faith is in Christ. They rely on God for everything (their basic fundamental needs just to sustain life). They hold on to Him tightly. You’d think they would be depressed and sad. But no, they are some of the happiest, most joyful people I have ever met. Their joy comes from the Lord. It is not that there isn’t anyone in this country like that, there are, I know some. It’s just much more difficult here. Ask someone with cancer what’s really important and they tell you. We have a neighbor who has cancer. She’s married with three little ones. She stated that “the blessing that comes out of this is the fact you realize what is truly important in this life and you no longer take it for granted.” I would ask that you would pray for Brenda, for her healing and for strength. Pray for her husband Troy, for strength and protection (physically, spiritually) as a husband and dad. You can imagine what he’s going through and as men we often go through things quietly and alone. Pray for the three kids as this can be a very scary time for them with Mommy “sick.”

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into the barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than them? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his gory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry, then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:24-34

In this passage God spells it out about as clear as anyone can. So why is it so difficult? Because it goes against our human (sinful) nature. We are greedy, selfish people. And it is only through Christ living in us and working through us that we can do as God commands. I pray we all learn the lesson Brenda has.