On Mission

Seeking to Be a Disciple and Make Disciples

A Year of Transition

It was one year ago. Sherry and I started our new journey, our year of transition. We left a family and ministry we enjoyed for 30 years. We followed the call of God to use our giftedness, experience and passion to focus on seeing the mission of God accomplished around the globe. It has definitely been an adventure. The Lord has blessed us with many opportunities.

Sherry is serving as the Project Site Coordinator at Let’s Start Talking. She is able to empower hundreds to share their lives and share Jesus around the world. These mission teams use a powerful tool of helping people improve their English through reading and having conversations around the word of God.

I have had unbelievable opportunities with the team at Missions Resource Network as their Director of Church Equipping. The Lord has used me to help churches send out new missionaries, revision their mission ministry and grow to be better partners with God in His mission. I have been encouraged to personally see God at work through His people in Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, New Zealand and in multiple sites in the United States.

God has blessed us, led us and taught us some important lessons. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing lessons that the Lord has taught us through this past year of transition.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”

Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

 

God’s Work in Tauranga, New Zealand

The second stop on our New Zealand journey was in Tauranga. I was so impressed with God’s work through the Otumoetai church of Christ and the South Pacific Bible College. I learned a great deal from my brothers and sisters in Tauranga. I was impressed with their faithful service in the South Pacific and beyond. I was inspired by how God has used them to expand his kingdom. I was also excited about the great potential I see in the church and in the college.

Alan and I were able to spend significant time with both the faculty and staff at the SPBC and the leadership of the Otumoetai church. We listened as they recounted their history and how God had brought them to this point in their history. We were inspired by their honesty in evaluating their strengths and areas of needed growth. We were excited as they began to envision their future and identify specific steps which they want to take to see God’s vision become a reality in New Zealand, the South Pacific and beyond.

I have heard of the Otumoetai church and SPBC in Tauranga for years and I now know that all of the wonderful things I have heard are indeed true and perhaps a little bit of an understatement. We were able to deepen great kingdom relationships, learn from what God is doing and begin to take steps of deeper partnership to join God’s work in the  South Pacific. I am resisting the temptation to begin to mention names, however there are so many godly servants and good friend in Tauranga it would talk me longer than I have now to mention everyone. I am sure you will be hearing more about those in Tauranga as God continues to teach me through their life and service. Pray that God will continue to use His people in New Zealand for His glory!

The City of Sails

In October, I was blessed to travel with Alan Philips, Missions Resource Network’s Associate Director and our Facilitator for Church Planting in the South Pacific. Our first stop was in Auckland, New Zealand. Several years ago MRN partnered together with Sunset International Bible Institute in training a three family mission team for Auckland, New Zealand. Justin, Jennifer, Rylee and Gavin Cherry; Skylar and Morgan Ely and Elijah, Kristen and Caden Peters have been working to begin a new work in the largest city in New Zealand. They have invited two new families to join their ministry in Auckland. Paul, Melanie, Rylan and Kason Partlow along with John, Tiffany, Hayden and Hudson Sanders will be joining the Auckland Mission Team in February, Lord willing.  Paul and John traveled to New Zealand to join us in a Team Building Seminar with the men on the team. Several days were spent in sharing our stories of how God has brought each one of us to this point, discussing unique giftedness, God-given personality and team roles. Adding two new families to an established team is not always easy and we are making sure we are giving the missionary families every advantage in this transition. Ultimately though, God will guide and lead each team members as they incorporate into a new work and a new team.

I was impressed with the way that the Auckland Team has integrated themselves into life in New Zealand and particularly into the lives of many in the Massey area. They have truly become servants in their community, showing all they desire to help people grow to know the Lord in word and in walk. I was also impressed with the importance of every mission team keeping  themselves spiritually healthy, relationally strong and focused intently on their calling and their reason for existence. It was good to hear the Auckland team process their areas of strengths and their desire to grow as a team, as missionaries and as a young church.

 

I was also able to meet Logan and Jennifer Rosenbalm, who are interns working with the church in Auckland. They are recent graduates from Oklahoma Christian University. They are doing a wonderful job of serving, learning and sharing the love of Jesus.  There also three missionary apprentices from the Adventures in Missions program working with the mission team. I was able to enjoy a Starbuck’s coffee with Cody Marceau, Van Pramulwong and Chris Willis who are from the same AIM class as my son, Ryan. I enjoyed listening to their excitement about the opportunity that God has placed in front of them. I was challenged as I listened to the difficulties they have faced, yet encouraged by their perseverance and desire to grow and be used by God. I even was able to witness the Peters and the AIM guys make their presentation to the 2010 AIM Class in Lubbock.

 

God is being glorified through the lives and service of these missionaries, interns and missionary apprentices. Pray for missionaries around the world as they submit to God’s work in them, through them and around them for His glory.

 

Mexican Leadership

After our time in Cuernavaca, Paul Dowell and I were blessed to be with a group of about 30 servant leaders from four different congregations in Mexico City for a Leader’s Retreat. We were asked to lead them through a process of recapturing their vision for the city, evaluating what God is currently doing among them and set plans in place to join God in His future for the kingdom in one of the largest cities in the world. 

Paul led the group in discovery through the story of Nehemiah. We were overwhelmed with how Nehemiah’s story spoke so clearly into the current story of the Mexican churches. We joined Nehemiah in prayer and confession. We were motivated to take steps of faith through Nehemiah’s example. His exploration of the fallen wall around Jerusalem became our honest evaluation of the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat we see in the churches in Mexico City. I was impressed with the vision and boldness of these servant leaders as they committed to specific steps of faith to join God in His work. Nehemiah even reminded us that there will be opposition and attacks from Satan from within and without. However these brothers and sisters have proven through their faithful lives that all that is required is faith in God and perseverance in the journey. I am excited to see how God will work through these four congregations together with strong partner relationships to expand the kingdom of God in the great city of Mexico.

Cuernavaca Missions

I have been behind on my blog posts and sharing about God’s work through those of us at Missions Resource Network www.mrnet.org.  The 4th of October, I was blessed to travel with Paul Dowell, the Dean of Missions at Sunset International Bible Institute and Missions Minister at the Sunset Church in Lubbock. We traveled to Mexico City and Cuernavaca, Mexico. We were able to spend three days in Cuernavaca with two mission teams working in that city. Doug and Sandy Holcomb, Ben and Karen Jenkins and Zack Williams form a mission team that has been at work for many years and involved in planting two churches in the city. We spent time listening, praying and sharing with these missionaries to encourage and help them move forward in their mission. One of the major items that came to the surface in our time with these servants was the need to equip the members for their work in God’s kingdom. It is so easy for all of us in missions to lose sight of our primary role, that of equipping others for their work of service (Ephesians 4:11ff). I look forward to seeing how the Holcomb and Jenkins families along with Zack put a major priority on equipping and empowering their brothers and sister in Cuernavaca to lead the work in that city.

Paul and I were also able to spend time with a new team in the midst of language and cultural adjustment in Cuernavaca in preparation for their own mission. We spend individual time with the Reyes, Garcia and Sims families. They have only been in Mexico for 4 months. I was impressed with the way they have settled in  and given themselves to language and cultural preparation. They have taken significant steps in building relationships with the Mexican people both in the church and in the community. They will be spending 8 more months in Cuernavaca before they launch off into a new church plant in another city or another part of Cuernavaca. Pray for their growth and wisdom for their future plans.

I was again encouraged to see God as work through His people to spread His good news. It reminded me of God’s promise to Israel and its application to His work today.

“I will send some of those who survive to the nations…an to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.” Isaiah 66:19

 

 

More Than His Father’s Son

Ryan, my son is working in Prato, Italy as an apprentice missionary in the Adventures in Missions program (www.aimsunset.org). The other day we were exchanging emails. I had sent to all my family my busy travel schedule for October. Ryan has a trip coming up to Scotland. We asked him to send us his travel schedule. The email that contained his travel schedule began with this phrase, “I am my father’s son…” In reality he was poking fun at me for sharing my travels with everyone. 

Today, I read a blog post from Ryan and I have to admit he is much more than His father’s son. He has insight that I am certain I did not have at 21 years of age. I am  proud of how I see God at work in my children’s life. Meagan, who is in her 3rd year of Medical School was visiting this weekend and spoke of surgical procedures and diagnosis that I couldn’t even pronounce correctly. Ryan has a depth of insight into truth and Scripture that encourage me. I have am encouraged and instructed by the examples of my children. Check out Ryan’s blog at…

http://ryandouglasjarboe.posterous.com/character-flaws

México Lindo y Querido

Please be praying for my trip this week to Mexico. I will be leaving at noon today. Paul Dowell, the Dean of Missions at Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas and I will be traveling together. We will be working with the teams in Cuernavaca, Mexico Monday through Wednesday. In Mexico City we will be praying, listening and visiting with missionaries and then working with a group of Mexican leaders from several congregations in Mexico City in a weekend retreat. Pray that I will listen well and be attentive to what God is doing through His kingdom in Mexico. I might just find some “tacos al pastor” while I am there. I am still in search of the perfect taco.

“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” James 5:16 

Living Out the Mission of God

The identity of the church is rooted in the nature of God.  The identity of the church gives birth to its mission in the world. The purpose of God’s people has always been clear in the words of our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20).  God has called each one of us to be a disciple and make disciples of Jesus Christ. What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower, a learner, a student, an apprentice of the Master.  It is enough for us to be like Jesus (Matthew 10:24-25). The whole process of being and making disciples is focused on the transformation of broken people into the image of Christ.

 

The Gospel of John provides us with at least three marks of a disciple, which are characterized by three relationships. A follower of Jesus “continues (abides, lives, dwells) in the word of Jesus” (John 8:31).  We might use the word, Communion to describe the relationship we have with our Father through his word being lived out in our lives.  One who is intent on learning from Jesus also lives out their faith in their relationship with the family of God. We are to love one another as Christ has loved us. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Kingdom lives are shared in Community relationships. Jesus also tells us that if we remain in Him and He remains in us we will bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be his disciple (John 15:5-8). This fruit is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) shining in a dark world and results in God drawing all men to Him as we exalt Jesus in or word and in our walk. Jesus gives us our Commission which is to be salt and light in the world so that people see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16). He sends his church into the world to bear fruit, fruit that will last (John 15:16). We are the body of Christ and we continue Christ’s work by showing his love and declaring his grace. Our identity as the people of God clearly gives us our purpose of living out our faith as disciples of Christ in these three relationships.

 

Missions Resource Network is bless to work with several churches who are having significant conversations among their elders, ministers, mission ministry and church family rediscovering their identity and purpose in the kingdom of God. We simply facilitate the Bible study that reminds them of their character as children of God. We facilitate their discovery as they reexamine themselves in light of the clear purpose of Christ’s church. We rejoice with them as they take steps of faith to join God in the journey to be a church that not only sends missionaries globally but is also sent locally as salt and light.  Is your church living out the mission of God? Are you focused on the relationships which characterize a follower of Christ? We would love to join you in this exciting and renewing journey of being and making disciples of Christ.

 

God at Work in Singapore

I was blessed to travel together with Mark Hooper to work with the Pasir Panjang Church of Christ in Singapore the 21st through the 31st of July. We were asked to facilitate a Leader’s Retreat for the elders, ministers and ministry leaders of the congregation. We hit the ground running and introduced them to the vision we believe that God has revealed in his word for His church to send and be sent as salt and light into the dark world. This simple vision is clearly communicated in Matthew 28:18-20 and is best summarized in the phrase, “being a disciple and making disciples of Christ.” We emphasized the three essential relationships of a disciple their 1) Relationship with the Lord (John 8:31-32), 2) Relationship with the Body of Christ (John 13:34-35) and 3) Relationship with the Lost of the world (John 15:8, 16). A simple yet powerful disciple making process was introduced. After that important foundation was laid, the majority of our time was spent facilitating their discussion using a SWOT exercise. The exercise allows the group to identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This led them to establish some specific goals and action plans they want to implement as they lead the Pasir Panjang Church. The following day they invited more leaders and potential leaders to share in the results. The leaders are seeking to involve and empower others for leadership and service in the church. I was encouraged to see the Lord at work among this group of servant leaders.

During the week, we met with various servants in the church and taught special classes each evening. We were asked to address the topics of Healthy Conflict Resolution, Pastoral Counseling, Natural Church Development and Coaching. About 30 to 40 attended each night. I was challenged to see the hunger and thirst that my brothers and sisters have for spiritual growth. I also enjoyed preaching on Sunday morning as we looked at the example of the Ephesian church as a church on mission. We also met with leaders from the Moulmein Church of Christ and the Lavendar Church of Christ. I am impressed with the ministry of these congregations and the potential for their being used by God to expand the kingdom of God in Asia. They are all heavily involved in mission work in various mission fields of Asia.

I was taught by my brothers and sisters in Singapore the importance of healthy partnerships which cross cultural boundaries to empower international churches around the globe. These new partnerships follow the lead of the local servant leaders as they are used by God as shining lights to fulfill His mission in their region of the world. May God empower such partnerships for His glory.

To My Daughter

To My Daughter,

Meagan, my daughter, finished her second year of Medical School at Texas Tech. She completed a major exam called Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. She has started her rotations in her third year of Medical School. She also just turned 25 years old. This letter was written to Meagan following the completion of those important steps in her dream of serving the Lord in the medical profession.

July 8, 2010

Meagan,

Since I first became a parent, Psalms 127 was always one of my favorite. I like the way the Message interprets it, “Don’t you see that children are GOD’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.  Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep” Psalms 127:3-5.

You are a blessing to me, one of the best gifts I have ever received. I have generally thought of this passage in light of the metaphor of a quiver full of arrows that a marksman takes and carefully aims towards its intended target, letting it fly toward its goal, its destination. That is certainly true in our relationship with you. You are making it your aim to be pleasing to the Lord in everything you do. Yet, I have recently seen something new in this passage that in fact you help me to see more clearly. The description of a parent blessed with children is one who gains confidence against his enemies. “Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.” Godly children give confidence, boldness and courage to their parents. That is certainly true in my life. You are so determined in moving forward in living out your mission. During my times of weakness, confusion and doubt, you have given me courage; you have strengthened my heart; you have given me boldness in the face of difficulty.

You have always been strong-willed. When you were young I read James Dobson’s Strong-Willed Child multiple times trying to find an answer for my frustrations.  As you got older and entered into a challenging time of peer pressure, I learned to appreciate your “strong-willed nature.” Now I see your determination and its submission to the Lord as an example for me to follow and imitate.  You are so intelligent. You amaze me. You got that from your mother, not me!  Yet, you also have a heart for those marginalized and those who are hurting in this world. I remember walking the streets of Mexico City with you as a little girl and you would not allow me to pass by a mother with a child begging for help. This is the heart that leads you toward medical missions.  You are creative. I am amazed at the things you create, invent and cook. You are a wonderful cook as well. You also got that from your mother.

Recently when we moved into our new house, you served us in amazing ways. We could not have done it without you. You showed us your sweet, patient spirit; your servant heart and your perseverance to finish a task. It is that spirit that will lead you to finish your preparation and to embark on a career and life of glorifying the Lord by serving others. Thank you for your love and care for your mother and father. I am proud to call myself, Meagan’s Father!

I Love You,

Dad

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