Works of God

We are thankful that God is always at work causing team members to look more like Jesus. We desire to testify of the grace of God in our lives, and that through the working of Christ in us, you will be encouraged in your relationship with Jesus.

Arms too short

armstooshort

Just the other day I was out with my little girl Evangeline in a local park playing in some man-made rivers. As we walked along, she wanted to get up onto a rock next to the water. She loves to climb up on things that are too big for her. So, she walked up to the rock and put her arms up and was trying to touch the top of the rock. At the same time she was trying to lift one leg up and get some footing on the rocks. She then made the oh-so-familiar grunting noise – “uh, uh, uh.” Which is a very clear way in her mind of asking me politely to help her get up on to the rock. She was just too short to grasp the top of the rock and I had to help her or she would have gotten angry and frustrated with the rock and herself.

This story seems pretty similar to my story as of late. God is at work in my life to graciously teach me that I am too short to handle my life. I have felt in times past that I had a handle on things; similar I am sure to my daughter who can reach various heights around the house and outside. I felt like I could do what was needed and produce the outcome I desired. However what God is doing is making me realize that the desired outcome I was achieving was way short of what He wanted to do in my life. My life was really shrinking down to the size of my own abilities and my own strength.

So, what God has done now, is open my eyes to the reality that my life is impossible without Him. It actually NEVER was in my control, or in my ability to grasp, its just I was living for the puny outcomes that I was wanting. So, it feels like what has happened is God has put me into a new world where everything is out of reach! My relationships with my wife and my children; well, If I don’t have the power of God helping me, I will cause much hurt and will be self-absorbed. My work; if I don’t have God empowering my labors, they just go to fulfill my ego or give me meaning. That is definitely living for something of little value. My personal life; if I don’t have Jesus helping me stand up and do what is right, I will flail in my own sin and not even see that I am being selfish. My finances; I have to depend on God, or I might despair, get out of ministry, or start looking negatively on what I do, or even worse start doing things to manipulate so I can get what I want. So, family, relationships, work, personal life, finances, I could go on with other areas of my life like – my circumstances etc.. But the message is the same – I can’t do it! NEVER could and if I thought I could, I was just self-deceived.

God in His mercy is letting me live in a place which at the moment is way beyond any of my capacity, all so that I would realize my fears and my pride and then realize that He is all I need and all I must desire! When I find Him my all, I have everything!

I have much that I must do – Walk in faith (Heb. 12 ), boast in weakness, yield to the Spirit of God (Gal. 5 ), and hope in His Grace (Rom. 5 ) God is helping me to not live for my short dreams and wishes, but instead His strong arms are lifting me up to live for something that is so much bigger than me!

-Josh Roland

 

2 Years of Service

matt2yearstravelingWow. It is hard to believe that I have just one more day traveling with the Galkin Team. The past two years have been so good. It’s hard to even put into words how much I have enjoyed this season of traveling; how hard–yet how good–it has been, and how God has used these last two years in my life to change me. God has used the kindness and love of others, hard circumstances, and a realization of my own sinfulness to do such a deep work in my life. I am coming to end of traveling, thankful for so much. I am thankful for how God has changed my view of ministry from being self-serving to gospel-proclaiming for the glory of God. I’m thankful for how God has shown me through the lives of people he has placed in my life through traveling what it means to live a life of faith and has given me a desire to walk by faith in my own life. I’m thankful for how God has used Will specifically and the rest of the team as a community of brothers and sisters in Christ to disciple me and push me toward Christ. I’m thankful for how God has used traveling with Will to open up further opportunities for future ministry, specifically in Salt Lake City.

When I first started to talk to Will about traveling with the Galkin Team, I had a pretty selfish view of what the “experience” of traveling would be like and a pretty selfish view of what ministry was in general. Throughout college as I was exposed to traveling ministry teams like the Galkin or Pettit Teams, I thought, “It would be cool to be able to travel with a team like that...I play the guitar...it would be great experience...maybe I could do that someday.” I knew that along the way I would get to share the gospel with people and that it wouldn’t always be a bed of roses, but I think I saw the opportunity of traveling as a cool thing to do to get ministry experience instead of a great means to use my life to serve local churches by sharing the gospel. In short, I had a self-serving view of traveling ministry. Because of my selfish view, just a few weeks into traveling, I was ready to be done. I didn’t like it. It was uncomfortable. I missed my family and girlfriend. It wasn’t what I had expected. Even though I was so selfish, God used Will to patiently and lovingly show me how wrong I was and how wrong my view of ministry was. Praise God that I did not give up on the ministry that He called me to. I am so thankful that only by His grace, God has changed my view of ministry from being self-serving to gospel-proclaiming for the glory of God.

Through these two years of traveling, I have gotten to meet many people. I have met some church members and some pastors who have really demonstrated what it means to walk by faith. I’ve seen pastors who were facing extremely hard family situations, yet still trying to remain faithful in serving people. I’ve met church members who were trophies of God’s grace that were just being faithful serving in their churches. Probably most of all, though, I look at the team family that I travel with as people who are just trying to walk by faith and not by sight as they run this race toward heaven. My traveling family is not perfect. However, I have seen or heard each one testify multiple times how their flesh wanted something other than Christ, but they chose to love and serve Him by their choices anyway. There was a trial of faith, they chose to obey. They chose to walk by faith and believe God that He is better and that He rewards those who seek Him. (Heb. 11:6 ) Seeing their faith makes me want to trust God more. It makes me believe God more. It makes me want to walk by faith! Especially watching Will through this last season of traveling has made me see that I can walk by faith. Through the passing of Will’s dad, and through many small trials, Will continued to live a life of faith. I am so thankful that God has shown me through the lives of people he has placed in my life through traveling what it means to live a life of faith and has given me a desire to walk by faith in my own life.

Traveling opened up my eyes to what God wants to do in the lives of believers through a community of brotherly love. The past two years, I have traveled with a group of people who are serious about discipleship. Will has a burden to make disciples who themselves go on to make more disciples, and that is the exact burden he seeks to implant into every team member. There have been many times where Will would mention something he had seen or heard from me and then challenge me to live a more sanctified life enabled by God’s grace. I am so thankful for his honesty, patience, and love toward me that he showed as he intentionally took time to lead me spiritually. The team also came alongside me and each other with a challenge to live for Christ. There was an honesty based on the fact that we were all redeemed sinners struggling through this life, and even struggling through this traveling ministry together. Our struggles and joys have knit our hearts so close together. I believe that I have gained lifelong friends these last two years. This community we enjoyed made me look forward to a similar community I would love to enjoy someday in the context of a local church. I am so thankful for how God has used not only Will specifically, but also the rest of the team as a community of brothers and sisters in Christ to disciple me and push me toward Christ.

This past year in particular, the Lord has seen fit to use Will and the rest of the team to assist in the planting of a new church in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. Will has had a burden for this area most of his life and just recently has had the opportunity to partner with 3 other men who have the same burden for the gospel to go forth in this dark place. I have gotten to watch much of this unfold from the beginning stages, and it has been great to see God do amazing things as we get ready to plant this new work. I’m so thankful that as God has been working in Will and the other pastor’s hearts about Salt Lake, He has been doing a work in mine too. As I began to hear about the need in the city, I began to get burdened for the people who needed Christ. I’m thankful that God in His kindness placed me on the team during this time when this work was going forward, because I have sensed over the course of this year that God was leading me and Anna, my future wife, to Salt Lake to serve in this new ministry. It’s been so wonderful to see God working in the faith steps that those going out to Salt Lake, including my fiancée and I, have had to take. God has been working in our lives to increase our faith in Him. I’m so glad that I didn’t throw in the towel my first semester on the road. I’m so glad that God chastens His children in this life-race of faith that we are in. I’m so thankful that God has used traveling with Will to open up further opportunities for future ministry, specifically in Salt Lake.

God has done so much over these two years of traveling. I feel like the things I mentioned above are only scratching the surface. I really do feel like I know God more, I have a clearer view of and burden for ministry, and I have some really great friends who I have loved ministering with and can’t wait to minister with in the future. All this is only because of God’s grace. I thank my God for the Galkin Team, because of their partnership in the gospel. I am sure that God, who is doing a good work in them, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. I hold them in my heart; they are partakers with me of grace! (Phil. 1:3-7 )

-Matt Reid

   

Grace

gracethumbI have been thinking much about 'grace' and have asked the Lord to help me better understand this gift of 'undeserved favors'. God's grace is His gift to do that what I cannot. In fact, the only way I can enjoy a relationship with God is by receiving His "grace through faith". But in James I am told that I access grace through humility. I must see my desperate need for rescue and be willing to submit to Him as Lord!

Eph. 2:8 says "By grace are you saved.." saved from what?? Saved from self-destruction because of my own bent to rebel against everything He wants me to do! Saved from eternal death and separation from God! Saved from the power that wrong choices can have over my heart and life. So this gift of grace is not only essential at the point of my salvation, but essential for saving me daily from the snares and temptations of my flesh. God has been showing me how desperately I need Him to do what I cannot. He started to reveal to me what has always been in my heart - bitterness, pride, wanting glory for self, jealousy and envy just to name a few. It sure has made me thankful for the verse in Romans 5 that says "Where sin abounds grace does that much more abound." I am in absolute need of His favor, which brings up another aspect of grace that I have been meditating on.

When I ask for a favor, or do a favor for someone I usually have in my mind a plan to reciprocate the favor or know that I have one coming. That is not God's thought process however. He has abundant favor waiting to be given at any moments notice and it is not based on any favor of mine. All that is required for me to get this favor is to ask..and that requires confession of my need. So many times I first go to my own bank account and withdraw from my measly funds and wonder why I come back so bankrupt and dry. My vision is flawed. I am failing to see the One standing by the cross with His arms full of favors spilling over for me, wanting to give them freely if I will just ask. He already paid the highest price for them and longs to pour them on me. In fact, He delights in me finding joy in them.

A few weeks ago, these truths hit me in a special way when i was tucking my 9 yr. old in bed for the night. A few days previous he had gone on a long awaited "special daddy date" because he had finished reading a certain amount of books. William loves legos and Will knew that in Jan of '12 our travels would take us near a Lego Land. So for months William had been looking forward to the special date when he and Dad would get to go enjoy a whole day together at Lego Land. They (and it was no less for Daddy) had the time of their lives and couldn't stop talking about it for the next few days. Well, as I tucked him in I asked "William, wasn't that time at Lego Land so special?" His response is what drove some of these thoughts of grace home. He said " Well Mom, I loved it, but I kinda feel a little bit bad about one thing?" Curious, I asked "What do you feel bad about?" "That Daddy had to pay so much for the tickets to get in." "Oh William," I said, "Daddy loved that he got to pay for those tickets. In fact, thats what made it even more special." I walked out of the room with tears in my own eyes. Christ paid an exorbitant amount for my 'ticket' and did it because He loves me and with no regret. He delights when I revel in His gift and enjoy the favors that He paid such a high price for. Praise God for His undeserved favors!!

-Christy Galkin

 

Stepping Up

wogsarahstepupWhat is God asking you to do? Do you trust Him fully in the situation you are in? Is there something in your life that God is asking you to give up and to step up to become more like Him? These questions, and many others, have been swimming in my head lately. Why? Because I do have situations in my life where God is testing me. God has been gently pealing away securities so that He can expose me for who I really am and humble me.

When God takes things away that I cling to, is that because He doesn’t love me? No, in fact He takes those things because He loves me and is making me more like His Son. He is perfecting me! God promises in Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” What a wonderful promise! However, I, in my sinful and wicked state, am not satisfied. I want what 1 Peter calls as corruptible things. I want things that are perishable. I do not want God and His precious Word. In Proverbs God calls those who do not want understanding or wisdom (His Word), fools.

Thankfully, God has been working in my heart and using His Word to show me that I need Him and that those corruptible things that I love actually do not satisfy as much as a relationship with Him. I can so easily be satisfied with material things, with comfort, with relationships that seem okay, even my devotions, but yet God is calling me to a higher calling. He wants to give more than I am settling for. He loves His children and has given us a perfect and loving gift. This gift is Christ. This gift is becoming more like His Son who is perfect and has taken our sin away and replaced it with His own righteousness. I need to step up and live a life “sold out” for Christ! That is what Christ’s disciples had to do. They had to take up their cross, die to themselves and follow Christ. The awesome part of that is that Christ already died for them, for me, for the world. What God is telling and compelling us to do as Christians is to live worthy, holy, set apart. It may be a hard road to travel, but God never promised ease. He promises grace. Paul describes this perfectly in II Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

So, daily I have to ask myself, am I satisfied in becoming like Christ? Is His grace enough? And the answer is yes! No matter my failures, my untruthful thoughts, my sinful and wicked heart, deep down I am a child of God and I want to become more like Christ! I may have to step it up, I may have to die to myself, but my result is heavenly.

In conclusion, the verse that actually showed me my true heart was in Psalms when David is running from Saul and pleading to God for his safety. At the end of the passage his prayer actually brought me to tears. Psalm 17:13-15 states “Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: from men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with they hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” David, a man of God, an imperfect man, loved the Lord and was a man after God’s own heart! The step may be steep, but I want to be satisfied with the likeness of Christ!

-Sarah Roe

   

Make the Connection

moonwogIt is interesting what our self-perceptions can be and how we can think one area in our life is strength only to find out that it is one of our greatest weaknesses. As God has brought kind trials into my life, He has been gracious enough to bring godly men to help me see through God’s word how my perceived strengths can actually be big weaknesses, points of self-righteousness, and down-right poor character. Recently God has been pointing out that I am a lot less teachable than I thought, and because of my hardness in teachability and communication I find conflict in my other relationships as well. What a surprise! My sin actually affects those around me! Hmm... not quite a surprise but the point is well taken.

In the past as areas of needed growth have been pointed out I responded in one of two ways. 1) Attempt to muster up enough will power to make those needed changes in my life, or 2) set up a list of tasks that if I manage to keep them I was sure change would happen. Often times one of these solutions would lead me right into the other, sending me in a cycle of attempting to control my own sanctification apart from the Spirit of God in me (Romans 15:16 ) and apart from the Grace that God offers to a submitted heart (James 4:6 ) and apart from Christ Himself (Colossians 2:6 ).

One of my Goals for this year has been to in faith connect a scripture passage to what God is changing in my life as a means of “drawing nigh unto God” (James 4:8 ) who in return “draws nigh” unto me.

In regards to what God has been changing in me lately, God has connected me to Ephesians 1:15-23 . The Apostle Paul gives four resources that each believer has in Christ that God has used in my life over and over again as He is working Christ-likeness in me.
Resource 1: Hope (1:18a)– Christ offers hope that change can and will happen to one who walks in faith. Hope in Christ however is not like hope in a person. It is “confident expectation of a guaranteed result” We can grow in Christ-likeness because it is the author and finisher of our faith that can make it so.
Resource 2: Riches (1:18b) – Hudson Taylor was known for his faith in the Lord’s provision. He was quoted as admitting that he could not believe that God was “poor” and couldn’t provide. The riches in Christ however span farther than earthly and material provision. 1 Peter 1:3 tells us that he has “given unto us all things that pertaining unto life and godliness.” Christ has riches of Godliness for the giving as well!
Resource 3: Power (1:19-20) – In Christ we find both inability and complete ability. On our own we are completely unable to submit to God. We are completely unable to love Him. We are completely unable to change ourselves into His likeness. However God has given us the same power with which he raised Jesus from the dead. His power is working within us!
Resource 4: Headship of Christ (1:22-23) Christ is sovereignly ruling over all things at this very moment. I have often been encouraged to “rest under authority.” This means rest in their decision and instruction because the weight is on them. We can rest under the authority of God’s will as Christ reigns. We can trust the Lord as He tests and spiritually filets us in order to show us who we are, and how we need Him! God’s word promises blessing, offers hope, and is how our kind creator chose to communicate with us. His word is alive and it will change our lives. Connect Scripture to your life and situations and experience the deep satisfaction of our Savior. Make the connection!

-John Ford Moon

 

Love Wins

lovewinsSince our team is on a Christmas break, we are able to have some down-time at home to rest, relax, and refresh. I wanted this break to be full of time to refresh in the Word and to read theological books that deal with tough issues. I chose to read Rob Bell’s latest book entitled, Love Wins (a New York Times bestseller and a frighteningly watered-down gospel theory that all people will eventually get to Heaven one day) and Francis Chan's rebuttal to Bell's book entitled, Erasing Hell.

I was introduced to Rob Bell in college, when his Nooma videos were becoming popular. I was amazed at his brilliantly creative videos! He seemed to pack heavy theological thoughts surrounded by beautiful cinematography. I even watched some of his videos my first year on the road for inspiration on how to edit our digital shorts. Although he creates spectacular videos, there are a few issues with some of his theology. He would hate to be called one, but according to his latest book, he is indeed a Universalist.

----Universalism – noun \ˌyü-nə-ˈvər-sə-ˌli-zəm\ – a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved.----

In Love Wins, Bell attempts to explain from Scripture that there is no literal Hell because God is too loving to send His creation to such a place. He believes there are Hells on earth, i.e. – the global debt crisis, when you or a loved one gets diagnosed with cancer, a husband abusing his wife. . . So what we interpret as the torments of Hell are only here on earth. He says there is, however, a place or a state of being that people travel to after death where they are refined and given the chance (multiple chances) to confess their need of Christ. This is not a place of punishment, torment, and fire, rather the place you inhabit until you become enlightened to God’s truth (much like a type of pergatory). So no matter what your religion is, no matter how much you despise and hate God and the gospel truth, you still get your 2nd chance after death.

As I mentioned before, Bell claims that God is so loving that there is no way He would send His created beings to a place of torment. Yes, God is loving. He is the very definition of love! But we must bring His other attributes into view, and not misinterpret this one. God is also Holy, Just, and a Righteous Judge. His Holiness demands an opposition to human sinfulness. He is just in His actions against sin because He has every right to be. Because He is God! We must let God be God in our minds! He has free reign to punish all of us and not let anyone into Heaven, BUT He loves His creation and sent Christ to redeem us. Our response to this truth is necessary - repenting of sin, turning completely away from it, and putting our faith and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Truth – There is a real Hell. A place of eternal torment for those who do not confess their sins and put their faith in Christ. Truth – God is Love. God sent Christ to redeem His creation from the torments of sin and Hell and into a personal relationship with Himself.

So, Love does win in the end.

Rob Bell brings up many other concepts and Bible verses to "defend" his stance on Hell and God's love. I only brought up these thoughts because I believe that Christians can be blindly swept away by such doctrine. Even as I was reading, I was asking questions and being challenged to really know Biblical reasons why I believe in the gospel and a literal Hell. Francis Chan gives a great rebutal to Love Wins (Erasing Hell). He brings up excellent Biblical texts and logic to prove Hell's existence and God's pure love.

-Laura Kennedy

   

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