Category Archives: Great Commission

Articles on fulfilling the command to “Go and make disciples” among all nations and languages, starting at home.

The VBS Jungle

Hello friends, it’s been a while…

Let’s start with a few priority items. I want to thank you for your support over the last several years. Whether personal, emotional, financial, or in prayer, it all helps, and it is all appreciated. Continue reading The VBS Jungle

10 of 10 (reblog)

The following is an article found on another ministry site, Deaf Child Hope, written by the founder of yet another ministry, Duane King of Deaf Missions.

The interesting thing about facts is, no matter who tells them, they remain true. I hereby invite you to catch the vision of reaching deaf people with the gospel, preferably while they’re young enough to be guided and guarded by it.

10 of 10

Continue reading 10 of 10 (reblog)

On Mission with our Everywhere God

In John 16, Jesus tells his disciples that He must leave them, and the Comforter (who we often call the Holy Spirit) will be sent to them.  He knew that while He remained in His human form, He would continue to be bound by the rules of gravity and physics that He set up.  He could only be in one place at one time, ministering among local groups of people.  This was part of the restriction He placed on Himself in order to live among us as model and Savior.

The Holy Spirit, being spirit, is not so bound.   He can be (and is) everywhere at once.   Continue reading On Mission with our Everywhere God

Heaven Train Facebook Challenge

If you’ve seen some of my Facebook status updates recently, you’re aware that I’m trying to raise money for a project called Heaven Train, a mobile children’s Bible school in Columbus, Ohio.  Here’s the scoop:

Heaven Train is a repurposed school bus, festively painted and with a train whistle.  It once cruised the neighborhoods of Cleveland, OH, and has for the past year been making rounds in Columbus, OH.  Volunteers are on hand every Saturday as the ‘train’ rolls into its 4-5 established stops in neighborhoods where kids abound.  These children, for whatever circumstances, are generally unaware of the tradition known as Sunday School, but they have become very familiar with the Heaven Train, and by it, familiar with the love of Jesus and some of His followers.  There is a time and place (outside) for running and games, and inside there are songs, stories, puppets, and object lessons.  Upon leaving, there is some kind of healthy treat, like the fruit & produce that coordinators were able to negotiate with local vendors.

The group of sponsoring churches in Columbus now has an opportunity to purchase this bus that they’ve been leasing for the past year.  The price tag is a fabulous deal, especially given the positive impact on the kids and their communities.  Any price, however, still requires a gathering of funds, and that’s the phase the project is in at this time.  They’re hoping to have necessary funds gathered by Thanksgiving of this year, just a couple of weeks away.

I’ve been aware of Heaven Train for a while, then I had an extended conversation with a long time friend.  Turns out, he’s one of the key people in this ministry, and they’re trying to take advantage of this opportunity.  I had recently, from a variety of sources, been getting the repeated message “if you would see your goals met, help someone else reach theirs“.  I tend to take the hint when that happens, and so, I asked the dangerous question….how much for one seat aboard the Heaven Train?  His answer, about $444.

Now, I can’t just stroke a check for that amount, and neither can most of the people I know – but I do know a lot of people who can contribute a little.  Facebook says that I have more than 300 friends.  If less than half of you, 111 to be exact, kick in just $4, we can buy one seat on the Heaven Train.  With the price of one fast food meal, one upscale coffee, a couple of 20-ounce drinks, or a few candy bars, you can not only improve your physical health, but you can contribute to the spiritual health of 5 kids every Saturday.  One gift, an eternal investment in 5 lives week after week after week.

My fundraising mentor found in this a teachable moment as he reached for his wallet.  “You’re asking too low”, he said; “You should ask 45 people for $10”.  I don’t disagree, it’s fewer people, and ten is a cleaner number, since currency conveniently comes in that size.  The point is, some can give more than others, and that’s ok for everyone.  I appreciate everyone doing what they can.

My objective is simply that I get a little positive practice making requests, and that I help a friend meet a worthy goal.  I’d like to say I instigated the purchase of one seat – that people from all corners of my world pooled a little of their resources to reach the children of Columbus with the gospel of Jesus.  Part of our conversation, and I’d really (REALLY) love to see it happen, is the idea of getting an ASL interpreter on the bus, to make the adventure accessible to deaf kids in the community.  We could even let the Heaven Train kids know about Dr Wonder’s Workshop – after all, the real goal is getting kids introduced to Jesus while they have their best chance to “come to Him like a little child” (Mark 10:15).

Can I make the case for 111 of my 300 Facebook and/or blog and/or Twitter friends to give up $4 one time?  Will you be one of 45 who proves my mentor’s point by giving $10, one time?  Please help me get the word out and the contributions in so we can buy at least one seat by Thanksgiving,  there are only a couple of weeks to go.

Your contribution should go to:
Shepherd Church of the Nazarene
re: Heaven Train Facebook Challenge
425 S Hamilton Rd
Gahanna, OH  43230

Thanks!!

Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries

Jesus loves me, this I know
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong –
they are weak, but He is strong.

Generations of mothers, fathers, babysitters and other caretakers have sung or hummed this song while rocking a small child.  Many of us keep it in our ‘top ten’ list of resources by which we comfort ourselves in times of distress or defeat.

What if you had never heard it?  What if your child cannot hear you sing it?  If you’re among the millions of d/Deaf people, or if you are the parent of a deaf child, you don’t have to reach into your imagination to answer that question.

In the early 1990’s, Marshall and Terry Lawrence were faced with the reality of a deaf child and painfully few resources to tell her this simple truth:  Jesus Loves You.  Thus began Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries, a group of dedicated people creating resources to reach deaf children with the love of Jesus, most of whom are born to hearing families.

Many well meaning people over the decades have made honest attempts at communicating the gospel, most by signing messages delivered in a hearing church.  Their desire is to deliver the message in an accessible way, but the result is too often hand-babble and a helper paradigm that leaves d/Deaf people confused and feeling ‘less than’.  An interpreted church service, if there’s no fellowship with the rest of the body of believers, leaves a d/Deaf person feeling as welcome as an eleventh toe.  This is why less than 2% of d/Deaf Americans report having a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and only 4% are associated with a church.

Progress in technology has made it possible to produce and distribute materials from d/Deaf people for d/Deaf people, communicating ideas in their language  (ASL) and culture (Deaf/Visual).  Several ministries, such as Deaf Missions, DOOR, and Deaf Video Communications have been presenting the gospel, Bible translations, sermons, and other materials to support adults in their Christian walk.

Over the last 15 years, thanks to Silent Blessings and their collaborative partnerships, the pool of resources for deaf children has grown exponentially.  The initial hunt for material yielded less than 2 hours of video; now there’s over 26 hours of video available, and feedback of a world-wide impact.  Their flagship has been Dr Wonder’s Workshop, a weekly TV variety show with per-episode themes presented in ASL with voice-overs and captioning.  Deaf and hearing siblings can all enjoy and benefit from watching, and it can be engaging for adults, too.  They are now looking to expand into VBS curriculum and making learning materials available online to reach not only deaf children, but others with conditions such as Autism and a variety of developmental disorders.

A favorite testimony is of a girl who appreciated having her mom sign during family prayer time, at least she could know what others were telling Jesus.  She watched one of the children’s videos and saw a boy praying in American Sign Language.  Discovering that she could talk to Jesus herself,  in her language, changed her life dramatically.  She now participates in family prayer time, as much more than an outside observer.  She is developing her own relationship with Jesus, which is what each of us must do.

Jesus loves me, and Jesus knows my language.  This is the missionary message, and the message that Silent Blessings seeks to deliver to children all over the US, and perhaps the world.

You can help.  You can pray, raise awareness within your church and community, seek out resources and make them available in your church or personal library (or community library), extend your welcome to d/Deaf people in your community, and of course, you can donate funds toward the production and distribution of resources.  See their website, www.SilentBlessings.org, for more information.

Jesus loves me, He who died
Heaven’s gates to open wide.
He will wash away my sins,
let His little child come in.

“Suffer the little children to come unto Me … for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” –Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16