Helping The Least Of These

Most of our readers are aware of the mission work we are involved with in the village of Muñoz. What began as emergency assistance following a devastating fire has developed into a wonderful relationship with the local Pastor and folks in the community. Gospel Team Outreach has been able to build four small homes as well as help with reparations on the church. This included a massive cleanup immediately following the fire last year. Through the generous giving of people and churches in North America and Puerto Rico, we have also been able to support the school and provide essential education for approximately eighty children. As the current school year draws to a close, Pastor Patrick and I are planning for next year. The children’s needs include supplies, books, uniforms, and shoes. I am asking each of our friends and partnering churches to once again consider getting financially involved with this fruitful endeavor. The Pastor will be making a trip to Haiti next month wherein most books can be purchased at a discounted price. I can assure you, the kids of Muñoz are “the least of these” of whom Jesus spoke. Our goal is to raise about $6,000.00 to cover all expenses for the entire school year! Imagine: Eighty children receiving a quality education at an average cost of $75.00 per student for the year (including uniforms, shoes, books, and supplies). Please pray and consider being a part of this great opportunity to bless those who have no way of repaying. God will bring the reward and return on every investment...

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Let’s Run Until We’re Done!

The Apostle Paul lived during very turbulent times! The same is certainly true in regard to the era in which we live today. These may well be described as “the best of times and the worst of times,” depending on our perspective. God has set a course for each of us and in the end, we will be judged as to whether or not we have kept the faith, run the race, and finished the course. Have we known and done the will of God? Paul remained steadfast and immoveable even in a world of extreme chaos. Therefore, we can learn much from his example. Although he knew that the course before him would involve tremendous challenges, persecution, even “chains and tribulations,” he was compelled by the Spirit to stay the course. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 ). This passage reveals some important keys to Paul’s success as well as our own. “But none of these things move me”: We must not give in to distractions that take us off course. This can involve evil things as well as those that may appear to be good. Do not focus on things that are not part of God’s plan. The more we focus on something, the more likely we are to move in that direction. “Nor do I count my life dear to myself”: Keep in mind, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “I may finish my race with joy”: This is our race to run. Nobody else can run my race nor finish the course that God has set before me. In order to finish, I must maintain an attitude of joy. The Lord has given us His joy so our joy can “remain full.” His joy is our continual source...

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Special Request

Dear Friends, Vickie and I pray that you have good health and continue to prosper as we enter this New Year and a new season. Most of you are aware of the serious accident we were involved with on November 5th, 2014. We are very grateful that things turned out as well as they have, and we know that your prayers, love, and support have played a large part in helping us to overcome! There is still a very real need that we have that I’d like to share with you. It appears that matters are handled somewhat differently here in the Dominican Republic concerning auto accidents. We have been informed that it could take up to two years for insurance and legal matters to be resolved. Of course, and as you can probably tell from the pictures, our vehicle was a total loss. At this time, it is very unclear what the final outcome will be. Even though it is clear that the other vehicle crossed into our lane and caused the head-on collision, there is no indication they will be found guilty. It is doubtful that we will receive any compensation. With all of this being stated, I am asking you to please consider helping us. We are never comfortable sharing personal needs. However, we really need to purchase a replacement vehicle as soon as possible so we can continue serving effectively. A decent used vehicle will cost the equivalent of approximately $10,000. In light of how much we have already shelled out to the hospital and doctors in addition to the extreme need for such a high-ticket item, we are sincerely asking for your financial help and partnership. As a side note, many have given for various projects such as getting children back in school. Vickie and I want you to know that any designated funds will not be used to meet our personal needs. Whatever you are able to send will help greatly. Some may send $20 and some might be able to send $2000. Funds can be given through our Gospel Team Outreach website, or checks can be mailed to our Fayetteville address listed below. All donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated. Please take a moment, pray, and...

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2015: A Different Year

A couple of days ago I shared with my wife how I felt a shifting taking place in the unseen realm. The Lord will do extraordinary things during the upcoming season. You are chosen to partner with Him in these things. However, for many, a new view or perspective is required. You must change the way you think in order to see things differently. God’s people, having the mind of Christ, have the ability to think and achieve unusual things. Consider that word: unusual. This refers to things that are different from the “usual” or what others may consider “normal” or “average.” The reason many accomplish average results is because they think like the average person thinks. If we think like everybody else, we will do what everybody else does. This is not extraordinary; it is normal or average. We are not to think, act, or become what the average person thinks, does, or becomes. We are a peculiar people called to accomplish extraordinary results. When Jesus walked on the earth, He did extraordinary things. In fact, some of His earthly accomplishments were so remarkable that people were routinely astonished. We know from Scripture that Jesus thought His Father’s thoughts, spoke His Father’s words, and did His Father’s works. So, whose thoughts are we thinking? Whose words do we speak? What kind of works do our lives produce? These are all reasons for us to have our minds renewed. If we do not have renewed minds, we will continue to think like the world. We will talk like the world and also pretty much look the same. However, as our minds are renewed, we will no longer be in conformity with what is average or normal. We will be transformed into that unique, unusual, extraordinary individual that God has called us to be. I challenge everyone reading this to step forward into a new season. As God is bringing a shift in the unseen realm, it is our privilege to manifest some very extraordinary results. Let’s take our eyes and hearts off the things of this world and focus on His Kingdom. As we commit to doing some things differently in the days ahead, we can expect to produce some unique, other than average...

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A Simple Blessing

Greetings from the Dominican Republic! Vickie and I trust that you are blessed and walking in the Lord’s favor and provision. We have attached a very important video link with this blog and ask you to take just a few minutes to view it. What you will see is how God often brings us to a place of opportunity when we are not really looking for it. This little project is simply the result of a morning encounter with a young street vendor who was out selling fruit. My heart was instantly touched as I inquired as to why this child was on the street and not in school. Well . . . one thing often leads to another, and as a result, we were able to get several of these street kids into the classroom. Of course, this was the result of the generosity demonstrated by many of you. It truly has been a blessing for us to witness what God can do when His people work together and give according to their ability. The lives of these children and parents (mostly single mothers) have been touched in a powerful and significant way. By the way, the blessing can continue. There are still many kids that need assistance in order to purchase required supplies to attend school. Please consider joining this partnership of love and compassion. For approximately $50, we can purchase the uniform, shoes, book bag, and other necessities for an entire school year. This is NOT a monthly sponsorship program. Your one-time gift will pay for the school year! Also, if you cannot give the entire amount per child, we certainly understand. Some folks may give $20 while others may feel as though they should give $200. If each one does something, many lives will be blessed! Again, you may contribute to this very worthy endeavor at: Help Get Kids Off The Street & Into School! So PLEASE take a few moments, click on the video, and share in the blessing! Grace & Peace, Emory and...

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Ezekiel, Part 4

We have been looking at Ezekiel, and in the last blog regarding this subject, we began to explore the significance of the four faces of the living creatures. Today I’d like to delve into this topic even further. We observe characteristics in the four faces that we should see exemplified in our own lives. The first one we’ll look at is the ox. The ox is a hard-working animal and never complains! Oxen do not run free and go wherever they want to go. They always are seen with a yoke around their neck. Now, most folks don’t like the yoke! And, if that’s you, well, then you’re not going to like serving Jesus! He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” A yoke is worn around the neck, and it keeps you walking in unison with the one beside you and in a straight direction. We need the yoke! Oftentimes we rebel against it, and we act like a bunch of wild stallions that still need to be broken. Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and the load is light, but we don’t believe Him; therefore, we don’t want the yoke placed upon us. True to the nature of an ox, we, too, need to have a yoke. The symbolism of an ox also signifies that there is a time for plowing and a time for planting. Additionally, whatever it is that we are called to do, we should do it cheerfully as unto the Lord without complaining because the ox never complains as he seems to enjoy hard work! Something else about oxen is that they were routinely used as a sacrifice. They were laid on the altar and burned as a pleasing offering to God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Okay, now we’ll look at the face of the lion. When you consider the lion, what do you think about? If you’re like most people, “king of the jungle” probably comes to mind. He’s the most...

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Change A Life!

This little blog is not being written in typical fashion. Many of you are aware that I took up running some time back and have been staying the course quite faithfully. I truly enjoy making my way through the quaint town of Sosua during the morning hours as it offers many wonderful experiences. One day a few months ago, I was going past a young Haitian girl who sells bananas as a street vendor. As we looked at each other, I asked her for a banana and told her that I had no money with me. She gave me the fruit as I continued on my way. Later, I went to look for her with cash in hand. We have had several similar encounters since that day. The little girl is thirteen-years-old and has a beautiful and captivating smile every time I see her. Her name is Aline, and she sells fruit with her mother so they can make a couple of dollars per day in order to eat. Recently, I found out that Aline had not started school because she did not have money for clothes and supplies. I have since met her mother, and Vickie and I were able to provide funds to get this child back into school before she became too accustomed to street life in Sosua. The truth is, Vickie and I have begun watching to see how many children are running the streets or trying to make a buck while others are in school. The number is quite astonishing, particularly among the Haitian population. As a result, we have begun a limited campaign to help these vulnerable kids get off the streets and receive some level of education. If we do nothing, it is very likely many of them will turn to prostitution, drugs, and a very degraded sort of lifestyle. Now . . . this is where you can get involved. We were able to purchase a uniform, shoes, backpack, and supplies for about $50.00. This is NOT a monthly commitment, nor is it a monthly sponsorship program. This is a one-time donation to help kids learn to read, write, and learn for the current school year. For only $50.00, you can fund a child for an...

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Moving Straight Ahead

In the last blog, I mentioned the following five relevant points drawn from Ezekiel 1. Get a vision of God. Receive the Word of the Lord. Have the hand of the Lord upon oneself. Move straight forward (which would indicate moving with purpose). Go where the Spirit goes. We need to have fresh vision and fresh Word (revelation/rhema) from God. The Word of the Lord will always line up with the Word of God. The Word of the Lord and the Word of God are going to be synonymous, in agreement. God is never going to speak contrary to His Word. If He did, He would be psychotic or possess a dual personality, and He absolutely doesn’t! We see that Ezekiel receives the Word of the Lord and that the hand of God is upon him. In regard to point #4, the creatures are moving in a straight line. They’re not even looking to the left or right. What causes us to get off track is the fact is that we’re looking around, and our feet tend to follow where our eyes linger. Think of a waitress. Some of you all may have worked in that profession. If they’re carrying a hot cup of coffee on a saucer, he or she is not looking all around. What is the key to not spilling? I was taught a long time ago that you keep your eyes forward and keep moving towards the goal in order to carry the food or drinks without spilling. We are prone to move in the direction that we’re looking; we tend to do it instinctively . . . it’s automatic! If we look left, we usually move left. So those creatures moved in a straight line because their focus was straight ahead! Keep your focus straight ahead! It’s good to learn from the past, but don’t constantly be looking back there, or you’ll regress to what you used to be. You’ll start thinking what you used to think! Don’t get caught up “window-shopping” in life. This is not about window-shopping and “which door is the blessing behind.” “Is it Door #3? Oh my, Monty, Monty!!!” It’s not like that; don’t make it so confusing! Keep your eyes fixed straight ahead...

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Enthralling Ezekiel

I’ve been enthralled with the first three chapters of Ezekiel for some weeks now; it’s like I can’t get away from them. Every time I read and reread them, it’s as if another little nugget pops off the page. It’s been an amazing experience for me, and I wanted to share some of what the Lord has been showing me. Ezekiel 1 1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. “Visions of God” is what I want us to note in the passage above.There’s one other time when you read of someone having a similar experience and the heavens were opened up.  As you recall, that would be Saint John in the Book of Revelation on the Island of Patmos. It’s a very, very similar experience. 2 On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, By the way, Ezekiel is in captivity when this is taking place. 3 The word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest,” The “Word of the Lord” is the next important point. Why is that important? We need a vision of God. We need the Word of the Lord. When we’re talking about the Word of the Lord, we’re not simply referencing reading the Bible. We’re talking about the rhema word, something that is being revealed to us, by God, through the Spirit.“ . . . the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.”Point three is that the “hand of the Lord” was upon Ezekiel. We need to be living, moving, and operating in such a way as having the hand of the Lord upon our lives. We need the vision of God, we need a Word from God, and we need the hand of God upon our lives. 4 “Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its...

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Have You Left? Then It’s Time To Return . . .

Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”   The Lord spoke to my heart saying: We must return to our first love. It’s so easy to be pulled in too many directions, and it’s so easy to be distracted. The passage above follows a pretty impressive list of good works for which the Church was complimented. However, it appears that even in the midst of doing good, it is possible to become distracted and wander off course. Every time we sin or fall short, it is the result of one thing above any other . . . it is because we have left our “first love” and have gone our own way. We must routinely return to Christ, experience His love, and be filled with it in order to express that same great love to others. I believe we should take this opportunity to beseech the Lord and turn towards Him in a fresh way. Would you join with me as we ask the Lord to baptize us anew with His love? I have no hope of being a demonstration of the love of God to a sin-sick world if I have wandered from my first love, Jesus Christ. Come back to your first love and love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength, and all of your soul, for therein lies the issue. When we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, we find it’s an easy thing to love our neighbors. I’m going to assume that we are all Christians. Jesus said that they will know that we are His disciples by the love that we have for one another. That’s the sure sign. They’ll know us by our fruit and that fruit is love, and then comes the peace, joy, and the other fruit as well. It’s all the product of God’s love in our hearts. If you’ll take a moment, pray the following with me: Father, we come to You today, and we find ourselves in need of grace and forgiveness. At times we have fallen from our first love, and we have turned our...

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