Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Education - Family - Community


So - Better Education leads to Better Families which leads to Better Communities. This is one of the foundational fallacies of our world. But it's vital to so many - to provide them more money and more power - and legitimacy to what they are doing. I am sure many believe it.

I believe better families leads to better communities. I am NOT AGAINST education. I believe it's very important - it's just not the foundation of society.

We can educate people forever - and surely we have the most educated criminals of all time. But higher education doesn't lead to less evil (I don't have stats on this - you can search that out). While we can all use more education on many levels, education doesn't change the heart. By age 13, we all know (education) over 90% of all the right and wrong we need to know (again - no stats on this). And foundational to improving families is heart stuff. Even if improving families means money only, education has real limits in its power - because character does matter and will often affect earnings.

I see teens in all sorts of terrible family situations and no amount of education will fix it. It will take real heart change. We have so many educational programs for so many people - and yet - the same cycle of mess continues over and over. There are movies made about people who overcome their situation (and yet - the core problem in the situation isn't a lack of education - these people went to school - and even bad schools in America provide more education than much of the world gets). In Blind Side - education mattered - and made a difference - but it wasn't the core fix. It was family.

Changing the heart is at the core of changing families. And God is very pro-family. To go Biblical on this matter - good churches produce good families. And this will change the world.

As America falls apart at the seems we continue to provide more and more educational programs on every level. In our town, as educational leaders noticed a real decline each year in pre-schoolers knowledge and social behavior, they saw the need for more early childhood education. I doubt one child without a loving home before this education now has one because of it. Not many seem to like "No Child Left Behind" - but even if one had a perfect education policy, that wouldn't fix families. All the education in the world won't strengthen the family unit (the Church has much blame to take). And it is the family unit that holds society together.

This is rather incoherent. I hope it makes sense. Education is good - it just won't change hearts. Government won't change hearts. Church programs won't change hearts. Heart change is something only God can do. He does condescend to use us - and I think He uses us most in relationship with others.

That's it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Retreat Is Done - Give Praise to God!!!






The retreat is over and it was amazing! I believe God did great things. I could share about it all for hours. To summarize – I got to know over 50 people’s names (and every time I learned a name I had a conversation). I was very well received by students and was impressed by their attentiveness, questions, and hearts (from one on one conversations, to sitting in on a variety of small groups, to table conversation, to a time of sharing we had). On the last morning I led worship (I taught some new songs) and then there was a long time of sharing. It was amazing. Let me share a few highlights of that.

· I am scared to go back to England – and I don’t want to leave. I have to know that God is with me or I won’t talk to anyone. I need to find my identity in Christ.

· Before I came to this retreat – worship was a really shallow thing. I just did it to please God. But now I realize it’s something that I am supposed to enjoy and God too.

· I feel like I don’t live up to the standards others put on me. Now I don’t want to let any stickers stick – only what God says matters (stickers is a reference to something I read about identity in Christ).

· (Cameroonian said this – a huge answer to prayer) I came here just to mess around – I’m not really into God – I wasn’t really like you guys – into God and loving God. It really got to me – it pushed me to taking my first step into loving God –

Benjamin has been doing great and is enjoying Cameroon. Today was the first day he didn’t feel great. Tomorrow we hope to get to a village which would be great. We hope to find more ministry to do while here – and have a little fun.

Please praise God with us and pray:

- For God to bring people to minister to and ministry opportunities.

- For health and safety – especially for Benjamin now

- For the students at RFIS as I am sure there will be many ways they will be tempted in the coming days.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tuesday Night





My heart is overflowing with thankfulness and praise to God. He IS answering your prayers. I have seen him working in lives and have been encouraged by many generous words – the most common so far – “I never take notes when we have speakers but I am this week.” Give God the praise that He is touching hearts and lives. I’ve had some very rich and deep conversations with students about a variety of subjects. I’ve also talked to one young lady with a very heave heart – she needs courage to deal with her pain – pray for her. Many students who at first seemed to want nothing to do with me have let me into their lives a bit. The food is great. The weather has been cooler than normal (so cool that some Africans have been cold – of course, I was sweating). This place we are staying is incredibly nice – I couldn’t have imagined it would be so nice and comfortable (and it even has wireless internet). Benjamin is doing great on every level.

I speak on Brokenness and Surrender tomorrow morning. Tomorrow night I will be using the 10th commandment to talk about finding our satisfaction and joy in Jesus. Thursday morning I think I will lead worship – but I don’t speak. We had home Thursday afternoon (back to Yaounde). I leave the country next Tuesday. There is so much I could tell you. I will leave you with 3 prayer requests.

1) My heart is burdnened for some students who are unsaved (most in that category are from Cameroon).

2) There are many students who have hurt in their lives – and need to forgive – pray for them.

3) Keep praying that God would pour me out and use me in many lives (and work in me too).

Update - old stuff



I wasn't able to access my blog until now - so here is some old stuff I sent out that got to eail but not blog ... 2 different days

Oldest first

We are in Africa (Yaounde, Cameroon). We arrived safely – met all our planes in plenty of time. The flights were less than half full.

A few highlights – praise God with me

- Eating home-made pizza our first night here with some missinoary families

- Sleeping – 11 hours – last night

- Being with family – we are staying with my Uncle Phil and Aunt Suzanne Falconer – anyone that knows them knows that they are superb hosts – over the top

- Seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, tasting Africa again – and with Benjamin

- Benjamin is doing great after sleep – I think tomorrow we’ll both be feeling closer to normal

While I could share a ton of prayer requests, let me just give a couple – so you can focus on it. Pray big!!!

PRAY

  1. - For the retreat – for me as I put the finishing touches on stuff and for God to be working (just overheard a student tell a friend that he doesn’t want to go on retreat)
  2. - For Benjamin to thrive and enjoy Afric a – to fall in love with it – and to be used by God in ministry
  3. - For sleep, energy, safety, and logistics to all go well.

We are so blessed! Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, if with His love He befriend Thee!!!


Newer Update

We are healthy, happy, and very well taken care of in every way by Uncle Phil and Aunt Suzanne. We walked about 30 minutes to a bilingual church. It was a challenging eperience for Benjamin – from the heat to the fact that he can’t understand the English of Cameroonians – especially over a very poor speaker system. The normal 2 hour service was made longer by a special focus on youth. It was wonderful for Tim to be in Church in Africa. Then this afternoon we also played some soccer with a bunch of missionary kids. Good times

We leave the house before 7 tomorrow morning to meet at school. After getting all ready, we hope to leave on 2 buses by 7:30. I speak once tomorrow evening (see my blog for more info – youthpastortimo@blogspot.com) and then twice on Tuesday and Wednesday. I may lead worship on Thursday morning.

I will likely not be able to email or anything until the retreat is over. I am very thankful for having met more than 10 students already (between hanging out at the sports tournaments at RFIS on Saturday and playing soccer today). I am praying that stuents are open to the message I am bringing from the start.

So many obvious things to pray for... here are the top 3.

  1. 1) For God’s Word to be very clearly proclaimed and to find rich soil to grow in.
  2. 2) For relationships to develop with students and to be able to make an impact that way.
  3. 3) For Benjamin’s and my heart – that God would work in us

I could list so many other things, and I hope you think ofmany other things to pray for.

Pray Big!!! Let’s see what God might do!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Last Prayer Update Before Leaving the U.S.


We board the plane in Minneapolis Thursday morning. We fly to New Jersey and spend about 6 hours there. Then a 3 hour stop in Brussels before arriving in Yaounde. While there are many, many things you could pray for, let me give you 3 key ones on my heart now.

1) For travel mercies in every way. It would be great to have opportunities to share God's love with many around us as we travel.
2) For wisdom and the Spirit's guiding as I put the finishing touches on the messages I'll be sharing.
3) For my wife and family - for peace, safety, joy, and unity while we are gone. These will be some long days and nights for Lori. Thankfully her parents will be around for a good bit of the week.

I speak once on Monday and twice on Tuesday and Wednesday. My theme is "From the Inside Out." I'll be staying with my aunt and uncle (Phil and Suzanne Falconer). We are hoping to be able to minister in ways beyond the retreat - we'll see what God brings about.

On the way back we will be stopping in Zurich overnight and a good friend from my days at Moody Bible Institute will be meeting us.

I'll do my utmost to get things posted on here often.

Retreat Schedule


This may or may not help you pray - here is the retreat Schedule.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Almost There...


We are getting close and there is a ton to do. I covet your prayers more than ever.

Top Prayer Requests Before We Leave
- For more prayer warriors to get on board
- For grace, peace, and wisdom as I finish about 1001 last minute details
- For us to walk In His Steps every step of the way

Praise God for so many "little" answered prayers and blessings we didn't imagine.
- Benjamin was given money that he has to give to someone there - such a wonderful gift (Blessing Money).
- I've had a number of people volunteer to help take care of my family here while we are gone.
- I have others here volunteering to teach and lead while I'm gone.
- Others have provided a variety of things I needed or wanted for the trip (from a camera to compression packing bags, to a netbook...)
- Nearly all the costs have been met by generous friends - praise the Lord!

I hope to send updates out as often as possibly while in Africa. We'll see how that works.

Please pray BIG.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More To Do For The Trip


I was just asked to put some devotional stuff together for the trip - they have a quiet time each day. So that's been added to my plate. Please pray for me as I work on this.

My theme is mostly put together - one detail to tweak. Pray for guidance as I work on these lessons.

Pray too for all that I have to get done for ministry here while I'm gone.

Thank you sooo much.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Theme, Prayer, Updates


PLEASE pray for me as I finish figuring out the direction I'm going with my theme (From The Inside Out). I shared my theme ideas and wanted some feedback on any direction to take with it, but some of the feedback I've received has complicated things rather than clarified. I really want to get to work on stuff today.

Pray for my wife and family while I'm gone. New baby and busy kids with me gone. She will have some family help, but it will be a stretch for her.

Pray for us as we pack and prepare and try to figure out what to take and what not to take.

Pray for God to do great things in the hearts of the students we are going to minister to.


UPDATE
I don't have all the updated information from the Church, but I believe God has provided around $4000 (some promised, but most of it here). This is very humbling and a huge blessing.

I've had some cool blessings - someone gave me a camera to take and someone else is letting me borrow their laptop. We are so blessed.

Please pray big!!!