“Lord, Teach Me!”

It’s back to school time! I’m glad I live in a country that values education. Learning and expanding knowledge add so much to the adventure of life. Today, I also went back to school…to teach students at the University of Valley Forge about the Bible and ministry. The saying is true, “If you want to really learn something, then try teaching it.” Through the years, the preparation for preaching and teaching has enhanced my life more than I can adequately describe! When I think about the foundation of learning, Psalm 25 comes to my mind. From God’s perspective, true education is not merely the accumulating of information, but the experience of transformation. Ponder what the Psalmist wrote: “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths” (v. 4). “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways” (v. 8). “Who then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him” (v. 12). A while ago, I was looking for a rubber band and reached for one that had been sitting on a shelf for a long time. When I stretched it a little bit, all of a sudden it broke. It had been on the shelf too long. Rubber bands are not made to sit around; they are made to be stretched. God believes in “stretching” us—not to break us through stress, but to bring us into a greater place of faith in Him. When we stretch our minds through learning and education, we grow in God and experience a greater sense of usefulness. Adopt the attitude of a learner, and let the Lord teach you His ways…and enjoy the adventure of growing!

Pastor Mark Boucher

Our Amazing Father

The word “father” evokes strong emotions in many people. At just the very word, some may feel love, support and acceptance, while others feel abandonment, anger, deep sadness and longing. Others may even feel nothing, a deep-seeded apathy that has been a way to cope through disappointment and disillusionment. I have been blessed with a father who is godly, faithful, wise, supportive and loving. Praise God for the fathers out there who consistently give their children the gift of their presence. Fathers, this is often a thankless society, degrading of fatherhood and manhood in general, but please don’t give up! We need you more than we probably even know.

Whatever our earthly experience with fathers may be, it is a comfort to know that there is a Father who will never fail us. In the Old Testament, we see hints of God’s Fatherhood in that He creates, guides, disciplines, defends and saves His children. “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8, NIV). In the New Testament, God’s Fatherhood is even more explicitly stated. Jesus’ favorite term for God was “Father.” He sometimes even used the intimate word Ἀββᾶ (Abba), an Aramaic term that is warm and endearing, an almost baby-like term. That relationship isn’t exclusive to the Son of God and His Father, but God is our Father, as Jesus said in Matt. 6:9. As a Father, God gives good gifts (Matt. 7:11), He disciplines because He loves (Heb. 12:6), He is compassionate and comforting (2 Cor. 1:3), He is glorious and holy (Eph. 1:17), He is constant and unchanging (Jas. 1:17).

God wants us to encounter Him as our Father. I remember an experience I had in Mozambique, Africa a few years ago. I was attending a two-month long mission school and during a time of worship one day, I glanced over at an interaction a father was having with his baby. The little boy was sitting at his father’s feet, extending his arms, and the father was holding a water bottle and letting some drops trickle into the baby’s mouth. A simple scene, but God spoke to me in that moment and said, “That baby is you, Nicole, and the father is Me. I want you to always realize your dependence on Me, even for something as simple as a drop of water.”

Putting our trust in God as our Father is the best decision we can make. He knows best how to care for us, guide our steps, and correct us when we need it! This Father’s Day, we honor and thank our earthly fathers, and we express our thanks to our heavenly Father who has been so gracious to us. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a).

Nicole Boucher

Life on a Mission

In my years as a pastor, I never recall a “bad” missions convention. God seems to pour out a special blessing when we prioritize what is close to his heart. In this life, there is no end to the miscellaneous things we can do with our time. Missions pulls us back to the center of his purpose and reminds us that we are here to accomplish something special…God’s will. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done” is the prayer Jesus wants us to pray as we walk in our world. Along with helping us to center on the main thing in life, missionaries challenge us to live with courage. Karen Miller, one of our missionaries this week, told us about the area to which God has called her. It usually takes as much as five years to build relationships with people in order for them to accept the message of salvation in Christ. How easy it would be to lose heart! This week in my devotions I started reading about a courageous man Joshua. As you know, Joshua followed Moses (that would be intimidating!) and had the responsibility of leading God’s people to possess their inheritance in the Promised Land. God knew what Joshua needed and spoke to him saying, “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6-7). From the Bible, I understand the foundation of courage as believing what God says, rather than what your fears tell you. Courage is not the absence of fear, but a power that pushes fear under your feet, enabling you to walk confidently into the future with God. Most people in life are trapped in boring lives that never risk anything for God. To say YES to God launches you on the great adventure of faith! His mission may not lead you to move to another country, but it will lead you to places which will require you to grow in courage.

“Be strong and very courageous!”