Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Mark's Missions Trip Travel Log - Partnership
A Clay Pot Vessel
Before we left the Zambian Encounter Team on Saturday evening to head to Livingston, they presented gifts to each one of us. My gift was a portrait of me made of "millet" seeds glued to a canvas. I hope it makes it back to the U.S. in one piece:) As I look at this art piece (and thank God for the improvement:)), I'm overwhelmed with the fact that I'm just a clay pot vessel. I had just preached a message at Mt. Carmel before I left on the trip from 2 Cor 4, and then the very first day we arrived, Ardy taught a devotional on 2 Cor 4...all centered around "clay pot earthen vessels." Paul states in verse 7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." In other words, we are nothing more than old buckets used to take out the household waste. But God uses us for His magnificent glory and His glory is compounded and reverberated even more because it radiates through us...unworthy jars of clay. As we decrease, He increases.
So this piece of canvas made of "millet" seeds that I feed my parakeets with back home, is going up in my office when I return to the U.S....not to make much of me, but to remind me that I'm just an old clay pot, an earthen vessel, that God is willing and ready to use for "God of the Impossible" glory and fruit so that He gets the praise, I get His joy, and others are changed. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe."
What It Means To Partner
Twenty-two years ago, I met Ardy Parlin. I was a freshman in high school and sitting in a Christian school chapel, I was exposed to Encounter Revival Ministries. My life was changed as I saw college-aged young people who loved the Lord and Ardy taught us how to meet with Jesus daily and make wise Biblical choices with our life. I've had few true mentors in my life, but Ardy is one of them. He has poured his life out over and over again and been a part of the impossible. He has preached to thousands and has proclaimed the Gospel across the world. He has vision, purpose, Biblical clarity, and most of all, he has endured victoriously. Today, he is 72 years old, and his cup still runneth over.
Someone once said that there were 400 leaders in the Bible, but only 80 finished well. Ardy is on the path to finishing well and winning the Victor's crown when he sees Jesus. Thank-you Ardy for having a vision for more, for having a burden for young people, for investing, and for daily making fire with the Lord that you use to spread around. And the biggest thing I've been reminded of this week as I look at your life and examine mine, is that I want to be faithful to the end. I want to grab onto daily, moment-by-moment grace and endure victoriously until I see Jesus. I want to daily eat of His Bread, drink His Living Water, and expose myself to His Consuming Fire, so that I faint not and am used by Him as a channel of fire to the hearts of others. And through your faithfulness, not only have you impacted my life forever, you have trained a man named Leonard to be an "Ardy" in Zambia. You have partnered with him in the Gospel to help people make their entire lives about Jesus Christ by being one, making one, and sending one. You have taken what God has taught you and made Timothys who are teaching faithful men who will do the same. By the grace of Jesus, you are outliving your life for the glory of God. Thank you for being a person in my life that has shown me what that looks like. So in Jesus name, we press on.
The first message I preached to the Zambians on this trip was on the woman at the well from John 4 in a remote bush village. This group of people needed a well and the "Hope Jewelry" ministry at Mt. Carmel has provided $900 of the $5,000 needed to give them one. Can you imagine having to walk miles to get water and even that water may not be clean? That is the reality of the people in this village. So as I proclaimed to them that Jesus is the Living Water that quenches our thirsty soul, my prayer is that not only will the Lord graciously provide what they need to get a well in their community, but that the people truly trusted in Jesus as the one and only Living Water that causes our hearts to never thirst again. About 40 or so raised their hands in this village stating that after the message they had responded in repentance and faith to the Gospel for salvation. I pray that the Living Water that has come to this people continues like a never ending river. As Dave Duley as said over and over again in encouragement messages he has sent me while I've been here, "There's a River ya'll!"