Heather Mercer

This weekend we are blessed to have Heather Mercer minister to us at LOFT.  Heather is the founder and president of Global Hope.  A native of Virgina, Heather is a graduate from Baylor University with a degree in German.  In 2001, after her graduation, Heather traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan to work and spread the Gospel.

Missions Emphasis Week Missions Week

On August 3, 2001, Mercer, along with five other women and two men, was arrested by the Taliban for spreading the Gospel, a capital crime in Afghanistan. After September 11, 2001, she and the others were put on trial. Some were sentenced to death.  She was held captive by the Taliban for 105 days until the Northern Alliance Force came to her rescue on November 15, 2011.

Heather is passionate about the Muslim community.  Through projects that tangibly express the love and hope of Jesus Christ, Global Hope hopes to build bridges for meaningful relationships with the Muslim community.  Currently Global Hope is involved in two such projects in the nation of Iraq.

Hagar House is the only aftercare program in Iraq for abused women.  They are focused on a multi-phase restoration process that includes:  counseling, spiritual development, life skills, education and job training, employment and independence.

Freedom Center is a community center that includes coffee house and internet cafes, English language school, Leadership Institute and Library, Business and Copy Center, Women’s Training Class, Park and Playground, and Recreational and Sports Facility.   The Freedom Center will serve about 500 people a day who will experience the love of Jesus Christ.

We are excited to have Heather come and share her testimony and vision with us at LOFT.  We invite you to join us and invite your friends and family to hear this incredible testimony who has given her life to reach the Muslim community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
[pl_blockquote]“The Great Commission is not just a commission to be for self. It is a command to be obeyed. God has called us to go; there is no other option.  What would your life look like if you had nothing to lose? What would your life look like if you had nothing to prove? That’s the call of God on your life.”[/pl_blockquote]

What children should say about their parents

John Paton was a Scottish missionary to the island of New Hebrides in 1851.  This was an island full of cannibals.  In fact the only other missionaries that had ever attempted to evangelize this island were murdered and their corpses were eaten by these cannibals.  John and his wife, Mary, went to be missionaries to this island in 1858.  Three months after arriving there, his wife gave birth to their son Peter.  However, nineteen days later, Mary passed away from a tropical fever, followed by the death of his son Peter.  Despite these challenges, John served faithfully among this people group and as a result of his faithful service and God’s divine intervention, the entire island professed faith in Jesus before John died.

john-paton

John began a journal which later became published.  The first 100 pages of the auto-biography is where he talks about the influence of his parents on his life.  I wanted to give you a few quotes of what John would say about his parents:
[pl_blockquote]The very discipline through which our father passed us was a kind of religion in itself. If anything really serious required to be punished, he retired first to his closet for prayer, and we boys got to understand that he was laying the whole matter before God; and that was the severest part of the punishment for me to bear! I could have defied any amount of mere penalty, but this spoke to my conscience as a message from God. We loved him all the more, when we saw how much it cost him to punish us; and, in truth, he had never very much of that kind of work to do upon any one of all the eleven—we were ruled by love far more than by fear.[/pl_blockquote]
Another excerpt that stood out to me was the day that John describes leaving his home to attend missionary school.  He had to walk 40 miles just to get to the train station.  His godly father walked with him the first portion of the journey, knowing that accepting the missionary calling was accepting the call to leave family and probably never see them again.  Here is what happened:
[pl_blockquote]My dear father walked with me the first six miles of the way. His counsel and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are fresh in my heart as if it had been but yesterday; and tears are on my cheeks as freely now as then, whenever memory steals me away to the scene. His tears fell fast when our eyes met each other in looks for which all speech was vain! He grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly said: “God bless you, my son! Your father’s God prosper you, and keep you from all evil!” Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayer; in tears we embraced, and parted. I ran off as fast as I could; and, when about to turn a corner in the road where he would lose sight of me, I looked back and saw him still standing with head uncovered where I had left him gazing after me. Waving my hat in adieu, I was round the corner and out of sight in an instant. But my heart was too full and sore to carry me further, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for a time. Rising up cautiously, I climbed the dyke to see if he yet stood where I had left him; and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dyke and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he had gazed eagerly in my direction for a while he got down, set his face towards home, and began to return, his head still uncovered, and his heart, I felt sure, still rising in prayers for me.

I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then, hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonour such a father and mother as He had given me. The appearance of my father when we parted has often through life risen vividly before my mind, and does so now as if it had been but an hour ago. In my earlier years particularly, when exposed to many temptations, his parting form rose before me as that of a guardian Angel. It is no pharisaism, but deep gratitude, which makes me here testify that the memory of that scene not only helped to keep me pure from the prevailing sins, but also stimulated me in all my studies, that I might not fall short of his hopes, and in all my Christian duties, that I might faithfully follow his shining example.
[/pl_blockquote]

Honesty and Contentment

Honesty and Contentment
Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:7-9

Honesty and Contentment

What an incredible prayer. It’s a prayer asking God to make you honest and content in life. Do you realize that you can destroy your life by being dishonest?  You can destroy your family by your dishonesty?  We have seen individuals who are not able to be honest about their struggles, and eventually sin destroys them. The biggest hindrance to people coming to church and faith is not theological issues, but the fact that they have been burned by hypocrites in the church. People that claim to believe one thing, but then lives their lives completely antithetical to what they profess. Let’s be honest. We are all hypocrites, myself included.

How does one become honest? There is only one solution. It’s the Gospel. Only when you apply the Gospel to your life can you actually begin to change in this. If you truly believe that Jesus took all of your punishment and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, then only can you live an honest life. When you grasp that Jesus took it all, forgave you, and the only thing that matters now is what He thinks of you. It doesn’t matter what other people think, because Jesus has approved you. You can then be honest.  You can then be transparent.  You can then be open to sharing your struggles and get help. Jesus loves you. He died for you. He received you.  You don’t have to hide your sin. You don’t have to impress people. You don’t have to put on a show. You can be yourself and trust that Jesus will use others to change you.

The same is true for contentment. Most of us never live our lives satisfied. We are never content with what God has given us. We want the latest gadgets and technology before it is released to the public. We want more than what we have now. We will wait in line for days, pre-order at ridiculous prices, and drown ourselves in debt doing so  – all because we are not content with what God has given us.

Again, the only solution for being discontent is the Gospel. Only when you fully grasp that Jesus died for you and brought you into His family, that you are now a son or daughter of God, will you ever be content. You get all the benefits of being a child of God now. Your heavenly Father is looking out for you and providing for you. Only then can you be content in whatever circumstance you are in, knowing that God is for you and not against you.

Most of us live our lives thinking that we have to earn something from God. We might not profess that, but that is how we live our lives. God has to bless me because I go to church, pay my tithes, read the Bible, pray, __________ (fill in the blanks). We think that if we fail Him in life or sin, God will punish or withhold his blessings from us.  We live our lives thinking that God is sitting in heaven waiting for us to fail, so that he can stop blessing us. Everything we do is not done out of genuine love for Jesus, but it’s because we fear failing Him.

However, have you ever wrestled with the verse that God is for you and not against you? The creator of the universe is for you. He is in love with you, supports you, provides for you, protects you, goes out of his way to make you a part of his family. What more do you need in life? You can be content in your circumstances. If you need it, God will provide for it.  If you don’t need it, you can be content knowing that God knows what is best for your life. Whatever He gives you is for your good. Whatever He doesn’t give you is also for your good.

Only when you begin to apply the Gospel to your life can you be honest and content no matter what you are going through in life.