Jamaica and The Ends Of The Earth

Day 1

(Written by Mandy and Brandon Miller)

Read Hebrews 10:23, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, and Proverbs 22:6

So many doubts and fears can come along with doing something you feel God is calling you to do. For us, the call to serve in Jamaica on this mission is exciting, but also very scary. We have two kids at home that we will be leaving with their grandparents. We know they will be well cared for and will have a blast, however the thoughts of “what if something goes horribly wrong” is in the back of my mind. But then I am reminded that our kids are watching. They are watching if I truly believe what I say I believe about God being faithful. I can tell them “the boogie man isn’t real, but God is”, but then if I am afraid of the “boogie man” in my own life, will they feel like God is faithful in their worries and fears?

Not only are our kids watching, but our families are watching. Our friends are watching. Our community is watching. We are saying we have faith, but even if we say all the right things and use all of the “churchy” words, but yet don’t trust him with our own lives, they are watching. We talk about this big God that we say we serve, but can’t trust Him to protect not only us, but our kids while we serve Him on this mission? They are watching.

While you may not feel you are being called to serve overseas (or at least not yet), you have a mission right here at home. We all do. And your family, your friends, and your community are watching you. Your mission may seem insignificant to you, but our ultimate goal as a Christian is to show Christ to others. But if we don’t have that faith in our own lives, then how can we share it with others? 

John 5:16 - “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

What does “shining your light” look like in your life?

Has there ever been a time that you have felt intimidated by something you felt God was calling you to do?

What areas do you feel God is calling you to be a light to those who He has placed around you?

Day 2

(Written by Kadie Keslar)

Read John 15:7 

The more we talk and spend time with someone the more we get to know them, right? Well, you could say the same thing about prayer. What is prayer in the Bible exactly? Prayer in the Bible is how us believers of God can talk to him. It's how we make our praise and requests known. Just like our parents here on earth, our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us and talk to us. When you pray, He listens. We can know God and study him, but that does not put us any closer to him than someone who does not, it just gives us a better understanding of who he is. 

Recently I have taken a step of faith and asked God to transform my discipline relationship with him into more of a desirable relationship. I have prayed for my life to be an example to others of just how good our God is. Sure enough I have been given the opportunity to go to Jamaica to share the love of God to those in need of help. Although we do not have everything figured out I have full confidence that this trip was placed in our hands by God and everything we face will be in God's plan. Prayer has already taken me this far and I can’t wait to see the opportunities within it. 

Do you have a relationship with God, or do you just know of him?

Do you find it easier to pray when you need something, or in a crisis?

Does prayer pull you closer to God?

Have you experienced the power of prayer

Day 3

(Written by Autumn Gildroy)
“A Life Taken Over by Worry” 
Read: Joshua 1:9; Deuteronomy 31;6 & Psalm 112:7
Sometimes life gets crazy and our thoughts tend to take control over our lives. When your worries take on a life of their own and take over your thoughts, you are focusing on the wrong thing. 

     For me, our upcoming trip to Jamaica has come with so many different thoughts and worries. Worrying about the process, raising the money and along with many other things. The other day while I was sitting down in my room I picked up my journal. I used to take notes while reading my Bible and opened it to find what I needed most. A reminder that I needed to quit revolving my life around my worries and trust God. He has already gotten us this far in this process, He will not leave us now or ever. 

     Be careful concerning what you think about, God is constantly searching your thoughts for a sign that you trust Him. He knows every one of your thoughts and worries. He already holds all of the answers and knows exactly what will happen to us. We just need to be still and trust in Him.

What is something God is trying to get you to give Him right now? 

How can you go about giving your worries to God today? 

When you worry, do you give into those thoughts or give them to God? 

What can you do right now to break free from your worries?

Day 4

(Written by Liz Neuschwanger)

Faith over Fear

I grew up thinking that God’s kingdom was Heaven, a place that we would go to if we were “in” with God, but only after our death.  So, for  many years, I feared being in His presence, and would beat myself up thinking that I wasn’t worthy.  I would also wonder if what I had been doing was good enough.  But Matthew 28:5-6 changed my thinking.

Matthew 28:5-6
“Then an angel spoke to the women. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen.”

I realized that we no longer have to let fear keep us from experiencing the Joy of His Presence.  The Kingdom of Heaven is all around us, it isn’t just a place that we go after we die.  We experience the kingdom of heaven on earth when we recognize God’s presence here with us and serve Him.  In serving Him we are reaching people of the kingdom inside and outside of our local communities.

As you answer these questions, consider these passages on the subject of Faith:

John 13:35
Matthew 25: 35-40

Jesus taught His disciples that they would be known for their sacrificial love for God and for one another.  How do we show that love to those around us? 

 What has led you not to do something out of fear? 

When has your faith pulled you through a fearful time?  

Consider capturing these thoughts in a journal and sharing some on the messaging app.

Day 5

(Written by Pat Neuschwanger)

Faith over Fear (No 2)

Well… Devotions are supposed to give us the opportunity for study and self reflection.  Maybe sharing an uncomfortable experience of mine can be of some benefit to others as you consider your own situation.

But first, please read Genesis 12:1-9; 13:1-18.

Several years ago, when Liz and I had not been attending Keystone for even a full year, Pastor Nate suggested something to me…  The exchange went something like this:

        ⁃       Pastor Nate:  “Hey Pat, would you like to go on a mission trip?”
        ⁃       Me (with a split second of consideration…):  “Sure!!”

[…follow that up with a somewhat painful realization that I’d just “signed myself up for something“ that I wasn’t really comfortable with, knew nothing about, and had no idea what my true feelings were about such]

        ⁃       Me:  “Wait…  What?”
        ⁃       Me:  “Where will the trip be going?
        ⁃       Me:  “When?”
        ⁃       Me:  “What will we be doing there?”
        ⁃       Me (to myself): [I don’t think I’m qualified for this…]

Maybe this is an example in my life where faith, through the Holy Spirit, helped me to act (in spite of myself) because I didn’t think extensively; I just answered.  And to “fast forward” (spoiler alert!!), the trip to Ecuador changed everything about my faith for me. 

It helped me to begin to really develop a relationship with Christ that is MINE, instead of me imitating someone else’s, which it felt like I had been doing for most all of my Christian walk to that point.  I started to get comfortable building my own relationship with Jesus.  I began to believe that I could really serve God and the church to provide benefit, fellowship, and a building up of the body of Christ.  I’ve heard others say this and now I believe it completely, that, “The trip will matter very little as to what function you perform while on it.  The effect on you that the trip will have is truly life changing.  Please don’t take my word for it.  Examine yourself (but not too closely so as to talk yourself out of it…), respond to the Spirit’s prompting, and choose to serve on a mission trip, or to take another Big Step of Faith.

        ⁃       What is holding you back from believing that whatever God is asking you to do/pursue/start, there is “enough”?
        ⁃       Commit those things to prayer and consider capturing them in a journal to monitor how God works those things for good.

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