What do you believe?
What do you believe? Could such a story be true? Shepherds? Angels? A baby? A Savior? A manger? Just as they had been told? Yep, just as they had been told. This is not just a Christmas story, but a story penned from heaven just for you! What do you believe? Since we weren’t there, we are going to have to trust God’s word on this one! Our Father in Heaven has an amazing way of showing up here on earth! This story wasn’t some last-second plan to get Jesus from heaven to earth. This was the Father sending His love to us through the gift of His Son! As I reflect on the words of this story, my heart is filled with awe and wonder that the God who created the heavens and the earth, who called light out of darkness and created man in His own image, would love us so much that He gave us His most cherished gift: the Savior of the world! No wonder the angel and the heavenly host were praising God and declaring, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
What do you believe? Let’s walk in the sandals of the shepherds who were there that night! They were simple, ordinary people just like us. It seemed like just another night in the fields with their sheep, and then heaven comes to earth. The angel appeared and fear filled their hearts—heaven’s glory has a way of getting our attention. Glory not only appeared, it surrounded our friends and they were terrified. When fear has you terrified, there is nothing better than a little good news. Our shepherd friends got some good news—good news with great joy! For today in the town of Bethlehem there was a birth. This birth wasn’t just for them, it was for the whole earth! When heaven speaks, fear hides and our shepherd friends were now on a mission, they were on their way to see the Author of Life.
What do you believe? Could this be God’s one and only Son? Yep! They loaded up their camels; something inside their hearts was calling them as they hurried toward their destination. And upon their arrival, Joseph, Mary and the baby were waiting, just as they had been told. The fear and terror had turned into glorifying and praising God for all He had done. Maybe there is a lesson for all of us here. Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. How about you? When was the last time you took a few moments to ponder this amazing story? I bet if you do, it will be a treasure that you hold near and dear to your heart forever. •
Sunday Night Miracle!
One of the many places God has called ETM to minister is in our local jail here in Larimer County Colorado. At any one time, we have between 500-600 inmates. It is a big place with big needs waiting for a big God to show up—and boy has He ever! It has been an amazing thing to watch as the Holy Spirit has entered the walls of this jail. We have found great favor with those in charge and we are so thankful for this incredible opportunity. As we build relationships with the men inside the jail, it provides us a great opportunity to continue those relationships when they are released into work release or community corrections.
Some time ago, God gave myself, Jeff and Marty a vision for these men. Once they are released from jail, the real work begins for us. Now we must put our words into action. While in the jail, we encourage the men in their relationships with others and their relationships with their Father in heaven. We open our hearts to them and assure them that we will do our best to walk with them through the process of restoration. We remind them of their destiny in Christ, that they were created for a purpose! That purpose is to have a personal relationship with Jesus, to experience His love and grace, and to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit each day.
Two months ago, a miracle took place. Located a few blocks from the jail sat Vintage Church. We needed a facility where we could gather on Sunday nights to continue our training and relationship building with the men in Work Release and Alternative Sentencing. We had this crazy idea about preparing dinner for them and teaching them to become authentic men for the Kingdom of God. We met with those in charge at the Larimer County Detention Center and they were thrilled with our idea. Jeff and Marty attend Vintage Church, so we set a meeting with them, and they have opened their hearts and doors to ETM and the idea of our Sunday Night Outreach!
Our first night, we had 12 men attend, and we were really happy. A few weeks ago, 42 men walked through those doors, shared a meal together, and learned more about the heart of their heavenly Father and what it takes to become real authentic men of God! To God be the glory for what He has done! •
Rwanda / Uganda March 2018
I could really use your help! Early next year, I will once again be heading back to Rwanda and Uganda. ETM has had the incredible privilege of touching the lives of many people in these two countries. Uganda has opened its heart to me on 16 previous visits, each time I have entered that country, my life was impacted and changed. I have had the opportunity to help train leaders and pastors for the call of God on their lives. This past March, Greg Yancey and I had the privilege to be hosted by John Gasangwa, the founder of Arise Rwanda Ministries. It was a journey we will never forget. God has planted in the heart of John a very big vision for the people of Boneza, Rwanda. There, he has planted Kivu Hills Academy, a school providing an academic and vocational education that will provide essential skills to bring Boneza into a new era of hope and prosperity. We will be putting on a conference for the youth in Boneza as well as a conference for the pastors. It should be an amazing time of equipping and sharing the power of God’s word.
I need your help! Would you prayerfully consider giving from your resources for this trip? I am willing to go and help make a difference in the lives of these wonderful people. Your gifts will help make this possible! Thank you for sharing with others through the ministry of ETM. •