Smokin for Jesus 3
Over the last ten years few Christian workers came regularly to the Westside, but in the last one-two years quite a few have been sent. Instead of working separately, most of us come together informally and through the Westside Ministry Network to serve and pray together. Mission fields draw together Christ-followers, since our bouquet of differences is less daunting than facing pagans separately. Oneness, of course, testifies to Christ’s reality (John 17:23). Nine principal churches and six parachurch ministries comprised the over 100 volunteers who served about 600 Westside residents. It took five weeks to plan and all of us to do it. Thanks to those involved! Please see www.facebook.com/WestsideNetwork/photos_stream for many other photos.
The obvious love among volunteers contrasted to the somberness of about 20 Muslims who intentionally came by after a protest rally at a nearby (church) parking lot. So ministry at a picnic became a brief power encounter. Bow-tied young men in suits faced outward when they stopped. They now come to the Westside on weekends—ongoing spiritual warfare.
A second highlight was deeper ministry to children. They are more open to the Gospel and most vulnerable in the crossfire of temptations and dangers. Of the forty-two children served by Child Evangelism Fellowship, one did profess Christ. Pastor Charlie Newton, an artist, was overwhelmed by kids wanting their faces decorated, or a caricature drawn of themselves. Three days before the Oct. 5 event, we still lacked a recreation leader. Providentially, BJ Young, a local youth director, had a cancellation and wanted to know if we could use his youth group! Experienced in youth ministry in Haiti, they knew how to engage and love the kids, as they had fun. The Awaken Dancers also had a dynamic ministry particularly suited to youth. G3 singers Jeff and Chris Hardaway provided great music - www.prazgod.com
A third force was the presence of two prayer-intercessor groups—from Abba’s House and the Chattanooga House of Prayer. The murder of a young man who was related to some residents presented an opportunity to help. ChattHOP is scheduling prayer walks at the Westside.
Since 1972 I’ve felt the need to have a weekly prayer partner. An Episcopalian pastor and I got together for about 5 years in Alabama and I met briefly with a Baptist pastor in Spring City, TN. A Presbyterian pastor and I have been meeting for over 22 years. The benefit of this mutual intercession has surfaced in many granted requests. I’ve also been in two small groups—one for 5 years, and currently one for about 15 or 20 years. They are highlights of the week. At the moment, God continues to reveal my pride, startling, like a stranger in the doorway, so I need all the help I can find!
Ministry at the Westside is characterized by “I must decrease,” as excellent ministry partners increase. Two longtime leader-disciples there either have moved or will move from Westside. They will hopefully still influence folks there. I try to introduce new partners, as God has blessed with goodwill among residents.
Ministry progress in S. Sudan is mixed. Lookout Presbyterian provides funding for four MA (theology) students attending Westminster Seminary modular courses in Kampala (www.wtcwtsuganda.org). They are pushing through. The one-year Certificate in Christian Ministry, using 3rd Mil seminary curriculum is going well in Juba (see the picture below http://birminghamseminary.org/?page_id=615 ). Hopefully the block machine crew will come together to maximize this tool in Torit. I monitor the work of Children in Christ (www.childrenic.org/Children_in_Christ/HOME.html) in Torit, now in its third year. The International School Project of CRU (www.isponline.org) wants to serve in Torit, so we’re partnering to initiate it there.
The website has been heavy on my spirit. Content has not been updated as needed, and a succession of webmasters made it difficult to add new material. It’s been hacked several times and needed upgrading to enhance security. Walt Robertson has been something of an angel, creating the site around 2000 and hovering over it. He’s provided invaluable advice, vetted webmasters, and driven away Russkies trying to turn it to nefarious purposes. Walt completed both a software and design update, at least a year in process. Better, he serves again as webmaster! I cannot think of a better person on the planet. Check out www.RMNI.org
The African American missionary census has also been dragging on for years, largely in the wings. In the last few months three major mission organizations have given information resulting in adding about 60 previously unknown missionaries to the roll. I’m trying to complete this out before 2014. Less travel has been helpful.
Lastly, an observation—the government shutdown spelled “bankrupt” on the Jumbotron. The USA cannot go one single day without borrowing to meet its spending. We either print money and buy our own bonds (“quantitative easing”, which we can do since we are currently the planet’s main reserve currency), or we sell bonds to others (China owns $1.3 trillion in US Treasuries www.cnbc.com/id/101122993 ). What can the church do? Get completely debt-free at every level—church, personal, business. The church and Christians individually will be called upon to do what the government will not be able to do (food stamps are already being cut). We will have to love one another more deeply. We will have to provide more support to the neediest. What affects the USA will affect those who follow Christ living there. We must also elect men and women who understand the times and who can do the math. Government is not only about math, but it is pernicious to offer benefits to ourselves for which we don’t have income. It shackles our children and grandchildren—the innocents who now cannot defend themselves—to our selfishness. As Old Testament historical and poetic books teach us, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 32:12). Helping to make God the Lord of Americans is the unique work of the church. Most of this work must be done outside her walls. Jim S.
Nov. - Jan. 2013-14 Issue
In This Issue:
- Smokin For Jesus 3
- RMNI Update
- Prayer Power
- 2014 Trips
July 12–26, 2014
Our ninth ministry trip with wonderful partners—we design a ministry for you around your gifting. All gifting is needed. Physically fit evangelists, teachers, builders and medical personnel are wanted. The fee is $2,300, plus airfare to Africa, visas, immunizations and outfitting.
August 16–19, 2014
Our fourth ministry trip with excellent partners—teachers of men, women, youth and children are needed (and others)—$2,300, plus airfare to India, visas, immunizations and outfitting.
Prayer & Praise
- Thanks for praying. We could do very little good without it.
- We’re grateful for the two people who professed Christ at the BBQ and for the amazing supply of workers.
- Please pray that we’ll have the help needed to reasonably complete the African American missionary census before 2014.
- Reflecting communication problems, the square kilometer of land seems not to have been turned over to the Presbyterian Ch. of S. Sudan. Please pray that it will be.
- The block machine crew is coming together, as far as we know. Please pray for maximum impact for Kingdom construction and work for the crew.
- The Int’l School Project (CRU) is trying to get established in S. Sudan through our partners. Pray for success. They provide teachers with a biblical worldview.
- Kippy got a job and wants a second. Oscar still is not working. Gary briefly got a job but needs another.
- Wisdom is needed regarding how to advance the Westside Ministry Network.
- Physically strong workers are needed for the 2014 S. Sudan team.
- Teachers are needed for the August 2014 India team.
- Pray that Christian workers in Juba will be well-equipped and that teachers will complete their MA degree to become teachers in a future Bible school there.
- Pray that we’ll be able to update website content.
- Pray for Jeremy and Dawn, who lead a Bible study at the Westside and are working to establish a church there. Pray for salvations and new local leaders.
Jim Sutherland, PhD, Director
PO Box 2537
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537
Mobilizing the African American Church for Global Mission