Thursday, June 26, 2014


We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  Romans 5.3-4 (NLT)

I don’t know about you but when I’m going through a really difficult time, I don’t jump up and down and celebrate the fact.  I’m more likely to turn tail and run.  To get as far away from my problem as possible, even if all I can do is remove myself emotionally.

Recently, I watched a friend bury his beloved wife.  They were soul mates who had journeyed together for over forty years.   
His heart is cracking apart with grief.  The loss and loneliness are a crushing burden he carries every day. 
It seems almost sacrilegious to read this verse about rejoicing when we face trails in respect to my friend's circumstance. Does God really expect him to rejoice in this devastating sorrow?   
Is my friend celebrating his loss, NEVER.  
But I do see him rejoicing.  Rejoicing in the years he had . . . rejoicing in a God that gives and takes away . . . rejoicing in what is to come.
It’s easy to think of joy as an emotion of happiness.  In fact, the dictionary describes it that way.  But joy is so much deeper.  According to God, we can experience joy in the deepest of sorrow.  In excruciating pain there is joy. 
Ephesians 1.5 says this, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Do you see the joy and pain in this verse?  God’s adoption plan was sending His only Son to die in our place.  What pain!  What sorrow! 
Look what He says next, “He wanted to do it and it gave him great pleasure!”
Pain and Joy.  Seemingly so diametrically opposed to one another and yet, at the core of God’s rescue plan for us!
Why should this journey of following our Savior be any different?  
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  1 Peter 4.12-13(NIV)
Ted Dekker in his book, “When Heaven Weeps” writes about our death as a follower of Jesus, as our Wedding Day and Jesus’ death on the cross was our grand wedding announcement.  (I love this!)
Sorrow and Joy.  
Tumbling around together in this unpredictable life.
So how can my friend know joy in such a great time of sorrow? 
Because he’s chosen a life of TRUST.  He’s living what he believes.  It’s at the core of who he is.  He KNOWS God is not a cruel and unjust God who delights in bringing sorrow upon those He’s created but a God who is GOOD all the time.  He’s discovered the joy of embracing God’s work in his past and it is his stronghold for the future.
JOY comes from knowing God and trusting His way.  Joy comes from the deep springs of the soul.  It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s developed over time as we grab hold of HIS hand and put one foot in front of the other.  As we walk His way.
Jesus said in John 16.33 (NIV), In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

-Kristi Huseby

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Waiting on God

This past November I was on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  Mid-week we finished some of our project work and felt God impress on our hearts to make a quick stop to see a dear friend named Evelyn.  Let me introduce you to this amazing woman.

Eveyln is a woman like no other person I know on earth.  Evelyn has surrendered her life to God’s will and is sold out for Jesus.  She has sacrificed and become a surrogate mother to 26 young children in her humble home.  Many of these children are orphans in the truest sense of the word and are completely dependent on Evelyn, and some are not.  Literally, on a daily basis, Evelyn is on her knees, praying for God to provide the most basic needs for her and the children.  Repeatedly, I have shown up with others unexpectedly with groceries and find Evelyn’s cupboards and refrigerator bare.

This November day, the same situation took place. The kids were hungry.  We brought groceries to stock the shelves and played with the kids. Somehow a 20 minute visit turned into 2 hours. As we were leaving Evelyn got tears in her eyes and shared that the entire week she had been waiting on God and had been teaching the children about fasting.  They really did not know where their next meal was going to come from when we showed up with mountains of grocery bags, unannounced.  Our visit was completely unplanned and unexpected.  God used us to be the provision for Evelyn and the kids. Exactly what they had been praying for!  As you can imagine, there were many hugs and tears.  What a joy to be used as God’s provision to those in need.  Wow! God is good, all the time!

There were so many lessons in this for me that I’d love to share.

First, God revealed Himself as Provider God to the kids as they were learning about fasting.  We are never too young to see God be an alive and active God.  Just think what these kids now know about Provider God. I pray this experience made a lasting impression on their hearts and minds. In their time of need in the future, I pray they will call out to their heavenly Father.

Secondly, slow down and be flexible. God could be up to something BIG.  Our team could have gone back to the guesthouse to rest or said no to God’s prompting.  Look how God used us to be a major part of His plan in providing and teaching an amazing lesson to all of us.  I never want to be too busy to hear what God has for me or miss the blessing.  How many other opportunities have I missed because I was running too fast?

Thirdly, never stop praying, trusting in a faithful God and waiting on Him! “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink: or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-34

Evelyn has been an example to me in her waiting on God. I was blessed to be used by God in this situation.  I always want to have my heart available, my eyes and ears open to how God wants to use me.  I must wait on Him and be willing to say, Yes, Lord, here I am.  Send Me. Use me, I’m Yours.  Isaiah 6:8
-Wendy Niemeyer

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I bolted upright from my dorm room sleeping loft, my heart gripped with absolute terror and fear.  It was about midnight and my roommate was still sleeping soundly.  It wasn’t an intruder or anything life-threatening…at least not to a rational mind, but the fear I was experiencing was just as real.  This was an intruder of my own making:  fear and anxiety brought on by an upcoming exam in a psychology class.  I would survive the exam and get through my last couple semesters of college, but the panic attacks became crippling, leading to months of long sleepless nights, anxiety, and finally depression.

Brokenness…  by its very nature it causes pain, heartache, and often humiliation.  It can be the consequence of our own sin or brought on by sin or circumstances around us.   It is an unwelcome intruder which we try to avoid at all costs. 

If brokenness is so undesirable, why then does our heavenly father seem to be irresistibly drawn to our brokenness? 

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…. Is 61:1
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Ps 147:3
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Ps 34:18
He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.  Prov 3:34
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  Luke 3:31-32

I am often struck by the contrast of Jesus’ response to the self-righteous Pharisees in comparison to the brokenhearted.  He had no patience for Pharisaical pride…for those who had all they needed in themselves and their own good deeds.  In sharp contrast, His response to the broken, sick, poor, and oppressed was love, healing, and deliverance.  He seemed to be drawn to broken people like a magnet!

I believe the key to Jesus’ affection is not the brokenness itself, but our response of looking to Him for comfort, healing and deliverance.  As we have often heard at Ada, we can either let brokenness harden our heart in bitterness, or we can let it soften our heart to openly receive Jesus’ comfort and healing.  When our brokenness brings us to the end of our own abilities and we let it produce desperation for God, He loves to respond in drawing us to Him.

I no longer struggle much with anxiety and depression, but the brokenness of this world and my own heart still confronts me often enough.  I find that it is during those times when I am dealing with brokenness, I am most mindful of my desperate need for God.  If you are dealing with brokenness, either in yourself or your circumstances, let it produce in you desperation for God.  Look to Him for your hope and healing and know that He is irresistibly drawn to you!

- Tom Ganzevoort

Thursday, June 5, 2014


You’ll know it when you see it.

This Sunday marks the celebration of the first revival of the Church, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who believed.  We’ve all heard about the great revivals of the past, when spiritual awakening swept through entire continents and people came rushing to God in droves, starving for the forgiveness and empowerment that comes from a relationship with God and other Spirit-united believers.  We’ve read in the book of Acts of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon those who were waiting, sparking a stampede of those who were convicted by the Spirit to repent and turn fully to God.  So how did these great movements happen?  What brought about the radical turn toward God which affected entire nations? 

It appears that it began with handfuls of believers who were filled with longing crying out to God.  Those who just knew that “there has to be more to the church than this”.   Even those who have never experienced a genuine spiritual awakening know that somewhere, somehow, there’s got to be more to God, to the church, than what we’ve seen in our lifetimes.  At the heart of every revival movement throughout history is a sense of brokenness, spiritual need, and humble repentance.  Job seems to capture the spirit of complete surrender that makes us irresistible to God when his prayer was recorded for us…

Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do anything,

and no one can stop you.

You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’

It is I - and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,

things far too wonderful for me.

You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!

I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

I take back everything I said,

And I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

So here’s my question for the church today.  What is keeping us from recognizing that we simply have not yet fully experienced the undiluted, full strength power of God’s Spirit poured out upon us, uniting us, empowering us, emboldening us, washing over us in a way that we, along with Job can say, “I had only heard about this stuff, but now I have seen it with my own eyes.  I didn’t have a stinkin’ clue before, and I now surrender completely to your plan, your way, in your timing.”

Peter, in his address to the revival taking place in the book of Acts is recorded as saying “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”  In this simple statement, which led to the great revival in Acts, Peter reveals the key to revival.  It starts in you.  Revival in your heart can begin today.  And it all begins with repentance.  All that means is we come clean, completely, before God.  Holding nothing back, we open ourselves up to him and ask him to search us, forgive us, cleanse us, and revive us! 

Nobody has this thing all figured out.  Along with Job, we’ve all heard of him, but until he reveals himself to us, nobody has seen him with their own eyes.  Revival is a product of God pouring himself out upon a repentant person, or people.  It’s all Him, at his pleasure, moving toward those who are humbled before him.  Listen to this promise from God recorded in our Old Testament…

“…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14          
“Holy Spirit, we simply do not know you.  We have heard of you, we have read about you, but we really don’t know you.  Please God, stir in our hearts and bring us to a sense of our need for repentance.  Stir within us a determination to fall on our faces before you, to truly seek you, and to turn away from our slavery to our own desires.  Please hear us and reveal to us the truth of who you long to be within us and among us in the Church.  Rise up O Lord, and take your rightful place on the throne of our hearts, our families, and our Church.  In the name of Jesus Christ we ask this, Amen.”

-Doug Bishop