2 Haiti 4 Him

The Heckman family serving the Lord in Haiti at Emmaus Biblical Seminary

Friday, September 28, 2012

Looking Through the Rearview Mirror...

It’s amazing how much clearer things are when you look through the rearview mirror... how obvious it is in hindsight that God has been leading us to the mission field to serve in Haiti. God has been equipping us for this very task.  We have been training for this race all along… even though we didn’t see it clearly until now!

When we started this journey and we answered the call to GO, we began to realize that all of the experience that God has given us in the areas of youth and college ministry, worship leading and Vacation Bible school, mission trip planning and hospitality… ALL of it, God wants to use in Haiti.  The job that He has for us at Emmaus Biblical Seminary will be to do those very things! 

Not only does God use our skill set and our talents, but He also uses the bumps in the road and the difficult times in our lives to help others... and He can even use our past mistakes to shape us and turn them into opportunities to show His grace and mercy to people who are lost.

We can’t help but think of the apostle Paul when we think about being prepared and equipped for a task, and using someone's past to help someone's future...

When you read the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Galatians, it is clearly evident that God was using Paul and his background to reach this group of people… that God wanted to use his life experiences and his past mistakes in order to speak to the problem in their church, and to help them fix what was broken. 

" For you have heard of my previous way of life... I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers." Galatians 1:12-13

Before he came to know Christ, when it came to following Jewish traditions and knowing Jewish law, Paul was the best of the best.  What was happening in the Galatian church surrounding Jewish traditions and law was extremely problematic.

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ." Galatians 1:6-7

The people of this church had once been faithfully following Christ, but a group of people were trying to add adherence to the law as a means of salvation.  He questions them in Galatians 3:1-2 saying,

"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?... Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?"

Why could Paul say these things to the Galatian Church? Why would these people even listen to Paul's words?  Because he had this in common with them:

"We ourselves are Jews by birth..." Galatians 2:15

If anyone had a reason to push for following the Jewish law it was Paul!  He knew it like the back of his hand!  Paul's knowledge of the Scriptures, and his life experiences, his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road and his connection to the Jewish people made him a credible source and a vessel that God could use to reach His people with the TRUE gospel!

Not only did God use Paul's background and Jewish upbringing, but He also used Paul's sinful past to point others to Himself.  Paul persecuted Christians before his conversion and tried to destroy the church!!! God doesn't waste our pain or our mistakes... He redeems us from the pit and can use our messy lives to lead others to salvation!

And this is how the churches responded to Paul's conversion-

"He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 

And Paul tells us in Galatians 1:24- "And they glorified God because of me.'

The bottom line is this:  God wants to use US to further His Kingdom...  and that means our past, our present and our future! It is so good to know that God can use EVERY aspect of our lives to expand the Gospel... whether it be our gifts and our talents, or our past mistakes and failures.

Why not take some time to look back through the rearview mirror of your life and ask God to reveal to you how He has equipped you for His purposes, how He has redeemed you from your past, and how He wants to use ALL of you for His glory!

2 Haiti 4 Him! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the road to Emmaus...

This week, we will be speaking at West Park Church, the church that I (Emily) grew up in.  The church that Phil and I served in together for the first 10 years of our marriage.  The church where our children's faith journeys were nurtured through Sunday school classes and VBS lessons taught there.  Today, in preparation for speaking, we have been reminiscing about all of the life experiences and lessons that we have picked up from our West Park family along the way… the opportunities that have led us to the point where we are right now... on the road to Emmaus. 

It's amazing what looking back on the path of your life can do to help make sense of what is up ahead.  The doors that God has opened, the skills that He developed, the experiences that He used... God doesn't waste a second of our lives.  He wants to use it all for His glory… if we would only let Him.

The story of the disciples walking the road to Emmaus (found in Luke 24) may not be the most told story in Scripture, but for where we are right now, it is quite relevant.  The first reason is quite simple- we can relate to this story because we are preparing to go to a place with the same name (Emmaus Biblical Seminary) and we are on a journey of preparation and support raising in order to get there. (Hence the title of this post- “on the road to Emmaus”…)   

The second reason is a bit more complex and can really be summed up in this:
On this life journey that we all walk, we push and we strive to find God and to discover our purpose in His plans.  Often times we feel alone or unsure, discouraged and tired, and much of that is because we try to draw from our own strength or trust in our own, limited understanding. But if we pause to see things as they really are, if we stop and reflect on our walk, we will see that He has been there all along… that He has been shaping and molding us so that we are able to handle the next hurdle in the road up ahead, so that we can stay the course despite the trials.  Proverbs 3:5 and 6 says it well, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”  

As we walk the road to Emmaus and look ahead toward what God has called us to do in Haiti, we are reminded that we also need to continually look back and reflect on what God has already been doing. From the very beginning, He has been preparing us for this work and fitting us for His purposes… and He wants to use every experience along the way as we go... 2 Haiti 4 Him.