I like to be sure. I like for things to be fool-proof, a guaranteed thing. I want to be supremely confident that things will go exactly as I imagine them going or how it seems it will go. I like to be sure. While this isn’t a bad thing in itself, the problems come when circumstances deviate from my “grand master plan.” If something happens to make me not sure, I may hesitate. If something happens that throws a wrench in how I feel this situation should play out, uncertainty grows and I may fail to act. Maybe you can resonate with me.
I would venture to guess that there are many of you who are like me in this. Being comfortable with the happenings around us is a part of the makeup of many of us and it is mainly because we live in a world filled with uncertainties. These uncertainties can range from where our next meal will come from, to how the bills will be paid, to will the car start in the morning, to will my loved one get well, and the list goes on and on. Living in the midst of these uncertainties can create doubt and distrust that the God we serve is present and active in the midst of these troubling circumstances.
Thankfully, God does not leave us in the midst of our doubts and uncertainties. Thankfully, He operates and acts even despite our doubts and uncertainties. The words written by the Apostle Paul in Philippians speak greatly to this: we need not worry because the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. This can be a very difficult thing to do at times because we like to hang on, to be in control, to try and handle things ourselves. But God calls each of us to trust Him at a deeper level, to give Him those uncertainties and doubts that bring us worry and anxiety. He calls us to do this because His very nature is more than enough to handle them for us. He calls us to do this because His very peace will be given to us when we ask Him for it. This is a peace that transcends our entire understanding of peace. This is a peace that keeps us, that relieves us, that protects us. God’s peace is a peace like no other.
As we enter this New Year filled with uncertainties and doubts, may we desire the peace and presence of God to infiltrate our hearts and minds and allow Him to lead us and guide us to a deeper trust in Him. It is because of Christ that we can have hope for our future.
This time of the year many of us live with a deep hope that is almost as natural as breathing. We grew up with the true story of Christmas. It isn’t a myth or a fairy tale. It really happened and it changed everything. We believe that no matter what life throws our way it is met by a foundational hope and confidence that God loves us. This is grounded in Immanuel – God with us! Jesus came to us in grace and truth.
The heart of Christmas is that Almighty God came to us as a gentle baby in Bethlehem. He didn’t come to condemn us but to save us. He came from His rightful throne of glory to our broken lives and world. This is the “Going” passion of God. An interesting aspect of Jesus’ call to “Follow Me” is that we are to also Go and lead by serving.
It is because of that reality that we are connecting to a village in Chad, Africa. We were hoping to give Dan Venberg a check for $6000 this past Sunday but due to your generosity and excitement Oak Hill handed Dan a check for $15,000. This was far beyond what I had hoped and far beyond what our International Mission leaders were expecting. It clearly communicates that Oak Hill has a desire to GO beyond our walls. Thank you to all of you who gave toward this significant expansion of our ministry.
On Sunday Dan told us the name of our village is Yoldewo. It has a population of approximately 400 people. They had formally requested a well and the plan is for it to be built in February 2016. Dan plans on being present for this event. He also expects to gain a deeper understanding of the best way to move forward in this village.
Our original plan for phase one was a well, mosquito nets, etc... that we have discussed in the past. The cost of this is approximately $5000. Obviously, we expected this would have used virtually all of the anticipated amount of $6000. But since that greatly underestimated your generosity we need to go beyond the initial plan for the use of the much larger Overflowing Hope fund.
You created a wonderful “problem” that is really no problem at all. But it does create the need to plan the use of the much larger dollar figure than expected. If you were able to watch the Glimpse Project videos in our worship services you will remember our need to be Contextual and Holistic in our connection to Yoldewo. Here are links to those videos if you were unable to see them or if you would like to watch them again. [url=http://www.myoakhillchurch.com/video.html] Glimpse Project / Chad 2[/url] The videos do an excellent job describing how it is important that the funds are used properly to assist the village and doing it in a way with the greatest likelihood to ultimately lead to the true Savior. We need to make sure that we are in for the long-term and do not make the mistake of being paternalistic, arrogant or short-sighted.
This Sunday I will be sharing how Overflowing Hope is allowing a broader reach than we had anticipated. I invite you to come this upcoming Sunday and hear about it. It is important we understand that this is "pioneering" or "frontier" type mission work. This is the very beginning of our reaching into the lives of the Fulbe people of Chad.
Please pray for these people you have never met, who are loved by God.
Our message for this Sunday focuses on Joshua leading the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. God had made this promise 600 years or so earlier to Abraham and then continued to renew it as the years passed by. Through all the twists and turns of Israel’s journey God remained faithful. He supplied what they needed and He delivered them from their enemies. The Israelites were to celebrate their identity as God’s chosen people but they were also to go into the world inviting others to worship the One True God as well. They were to operate as God’s people of hope wherever they went. We have this same basic calling on our lives as well at Oak Hill.
As we launch out into a future of ministry expansion through Overflowing Hope we can pray and search God’s leading just as Israel did as it entered the Promised Land. God assured them and He assures us with His words in Joshua 3.4, Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.
The past few weeks we have been focusing on an opportunity to bring the Gospel and tangible care to a village in Africa. It will be in the country of Chad and Dan Venberg [Mission Mobilizer] will be revealing our village to us this Sunday in our worship service. We will be “Connecting Lives in Grace and Truth” with this group of people thousands of miles away. This connection will grow over the upcoming years. We want to grow in our support and care of this village as it is brought into contact with their Savior Jesus Christ.
Our “Overflowing Hope” theme comes from Romans 15:13 where Paul says,
We believe God is calling some of our overflow to reach across the ocean to a place that has never had the Gospel proclaimed. We are doing this because Oak Hill wants to grow in our “Going Value.” This value is based on the fact that we want to reach beyond the walls of our church building. We actively want to commit our lives to bring our hope to the world.
With that in mind, we had an opportunity over the last few weeks to raise $3000 which would be matched through a special gift. This would mean we could give a check for $6000 to Dan Venberg to begin our connection to “our village” in Chad. As is so often the case – you stepped up and delivered. I am excited to tell you about it right now but instead I invite you to come on Sunday and learn more from Dan as well as hear about our Overflowing Hope Expansion fund.
GOING with You,
This Sunday’s message will bring us to the edge of the Promised Land with Joshua replacing Moses as the leader of Israel. God is fulfilling His promises that were given long ago. He proclaimed that through Abraham’s children the world would be blessed. This expansion of God’s promise went from Abraham and his single family to a few million coming out of Egypt many generations later.
God’s ultimate expansion of His Kingdom comes through Jesus Christ. He comes as the Savior of Adam, Abraham, Joshua and you. Jesus brought a completed invitation of grace and truth to the entire world. If you are living in that Kingdom today then God has called you to realize that you are living with an Overflowing Hope.
Overflowing Hope is our theme for our expansion of our “Going” Value expansion at Oak Hill. We place great value to reach beyond our walls and GO into our community and our world. Our Scripture reference for our theme is from Paul’s letter to the Romans.
In case you haven’t heard, Oak Hill is expanding our reach into Chad, Africa, through a matching gift opportunity. In the last few weeks we have had an opportunity to learn about this need and our call to meet the need today. We want to raise $3000 in the next week that will be matched. With that $6000 we will be serving a specific village that Dan Venberg [Mission Mobilizer] will tell us about in our worship service on December 13th. We will be funding a well, educational needs, Mosquito nets to prevent Malaria and tools to promote farming effectiveness with the money we are raising.
A key component of this initial funding is that it is just the beginning. We are planning to have an ongoing and ever deepening relationship with the people of this village. We will become familiar with some of their names as well as what is happening in their day to day life. We will pray for specific people in a specific place. We will love them because of our Overflowing Hope in Jesus.
We need your involvement to make our goal! This is a wonderful opportunity for us to connect in a deep and tangible way with a group of people that need to learn of the great Truth of the Gospel as well as be cared for in their physical needs.
Please consider giving generously to the Overflowing Hope fund this upcoming Sunday. If you have any questions please let me know.
Going with the Gospel,
Pastor Nick Mundis