A Stroll At Leisure With God

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

As I indicated in the blog yesterday, we had a visit from a couple of workers from the IMB. They work in East Asia. Their names are Adam* and Betsy*.

I asked them to take a couple of moments to share in the service. Then, after the service, I invited them to my office for further conversation. After that talk, we found a classroom. Jim and Judy as well as Jim (one of our deacons) met with us.

As everyone gathered in the room, I informed them that we needed to pray for this couple, as they are facing some big decisions in the days and weeks ahead.

During our prayer time, both Betsy and Adam prayed for me. They prayed that the Lord would heal me completely. As they were praying, somehow, everything seemed to hit me.

I am indeed grateful for the people all over the world that are praying for my complete healing.

To be honest (and I am not sure that it is a lack of faith on my part or just where I am emotionally because of how difficult this round of chemo has been), I seldom, if ever, pray for healing. Whatever the reason on my part, I am just so thankful to God that others are doing it. Thanks to you all.

Anyway, one of the reasons that I had pulled Adam and Betsy into my office was for the purpose of picking their brains a bit. They work with an Unreached, Unengaged, People Group (UUPG) in East Asia. In our work in India, we are partnering with other workers in the IMB to do the same in India, but over the past several months, our progress toward that goal has stalled a bit. Part of the reason (and this makes me feel bad) is my cancer stuff.

Thus, I asked Adam and Betsy, “How would you guys go about encouraging a church to engage a UUPG?”

Betsy answered, “Well, here is what the Lord is telling me as you asked that question. ‘This type of decision must not be simply “handed down” to the church from the pastor, but the whole church must make this decision.’ I would recommend getting some of your prayer warriors together. Our company sends out emails about these groups. I would print these messages out. Then, I would take all of them and spread them on the floor. Have people gathered together for a special time of prayer or even a retreat, asking Him to give you direction. You may not receive an immediate answer, but it will happen.”

Good word.

Then, they proceeded to tell their story. They had mentioned some of this in the service, but they elaborated with me. It was an amazing testimony as to how the Lord had guided them to a specific and very populace group of folks in East Asia.

I believe the Lord can do the same with us.

But Adam chimed in, “To be honest, I’m not sure what our company’s goal is when they ask churches to embrace a UUPG somewhere in the world.”

“I wonder as well,” I answered. “We are certainly willing, but we are a blue collar congregation. Not many, if any of us, have the means to take multiple trips to India or anywhere else overseas for that matter. However, I do feel led to go back as often as the Lord wants me to, but for now, my health is a bit of a barrier to that, and it frustrates me a bit.”

Well, anyway, that was the gist of the conversation. As I reflect back on it this morning, I just have to turn all of it over to God, AGAIN. He is in charge of timing and leadership and direction and who goes where and when and all the “small stuff” we should not sweat.

One of the passages I read this morning was Matthew 11. I reread these verses in the Message Version: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG, emphasis mine).

Yesterday, I had asked you to pray that I would not succumb to the temptation of hurrying in the service. I believe that the whole challenge of embracing a UUPG falls in that same category. The Lord will take care of it.

Lord, help me to learn to live right in the middle of Your
unforced rhythms of grace. Thank You for allowing us to meet Adam and Betsy. I lift this dear couple up to you. Guide them. Continue to provide for them and their children who live here now, attending college. Thank You for bringing them our way yesterday and the perfect timing of that. Amen.
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