Feb 2010

Halfway There - Day 11

Another day has passed in my 21 day pursuit of financial support for SONlight. In a sense this has been a hard journey, but it has also been a blessed one as well.

I have had trouble setting up as many meetings as I would like, and staying on top of correspondence with a growing list of people is a large and difficult task. It is very intimidating looking at my daily to do list, and it is big chore to stay on top of everything.

I do have a meeting set up for Monday at 11:45, so be praying that it goes well, but unfortunately due to some urgent things that need to be address with my car and with my wife’s car, I will need to take a day off to work on them. Pray that I can fix them up in one day with success, and without delay or trouble.

Church Applications
I finished an application to Cypress Bible Church yesterday, my Office Supervisor up at SONlight goes to this church, and she was able to connect me to the right people to make that application. Pray that the application is well received, and that SONlight can get another church supporting us...
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7569 - Transformed by God - Warren Hardig

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An interview with Warren Hardig, the Executive Director of Men for Missions International, a part of OMS International.
Warren Hardig Portrait
Warren shares his personal testimony and his transformation from someone who just attended church to someone who has a passion for telling others about Jesus Christ.

To learn more, read Warren Hardig - Men for Missions in our Interview section or go to the Men for Missions International website.
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Too Many Men - Day 10

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Ever just have one of those days? Where it seems that no matter how hard you are trying to move forward it seems that your stuck?

Yesterday I had one of those days. It felt like no matter how hard I tried to stomp on the gas to get unstuck, the more my wheels just spun in the mud. I was working and trying hard, but it was not until I slowed down and refocused that things started t settle down.

See, I got stuck working on our contact management software trying to get errors sorted out so I could print off mailing labels for the monthly newsletter. I am really excited about the monthly newsletter for March, and I was doing my very best to get all of the errors sorted out. But when it came down to it, it was not until I had gone through the 16 pages of corrections for a third time that I was finally able to finish.

It took just about my entire work day, but I did finish. It was hard though, because I desperately wanted to get back to working on networking with people to try and set up meeting for talking about SONlight, but it just did not happen. But right towards the end of the time that I was working, my wife called to check on me and prayed with me over the phone.

It was during that prayer that I think I gained a bit of insight into why the Lord had taken me through a day where I was not able to make any great headway in my pursuit of support for SONlight.

You Have Too Many Men
I got the impression yesterday that the Lord brought me through this week the way that he did for the same reasons that he worked in Judges 7.

When God raised up Gideon to go to battle against the Midianites, Gideon took all 32,000 of his men to move into position as they prepared to go to battle. But God said to Gideon “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag, ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’...”
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Excited in the Lord - Day 9

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Today was a pretty exciting day. Not for any one particular reason, but for just a lot of small reasons.

I was finally feeling better after two days of being sick, and all through the day I continued to feel better and better.

I had a great meeting this morning with an old family friend and I was encouraged by the way the meeting went, and by his responses to our conversation about SONlight. It also appears that I may have another door opened for another church and to share at a prayer meeting.

I also really enjoyed putting the March newsletter together, and I am praying and hoping that as people get it they would prayerfully consider how to help me meet my goals in raising support for SONlight. I am asking for three different ways for people to help, and I am excited to see what kind of responses we will get...
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7568 - 1 Kings 17 - The Faith of Elijah

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Over the past year, here at SONlight I have filled a number of different roles: editing, writing and recording messages, graphic design, fixing toilets, repairing database code, networking, upgrading computers and newsletters, and designing a new website.

The Lord has truly prepared me ahead of time for the work He had here at SONlight for me to do, but it is only through the Lord’s grace and strength that I have been able to do any of what he has called me to do. There has just been too much for me to have done everything on my own or according to my own knowledge.

But really, isn’t that our true role in life? Because if we think the Lord will only call us to do things we are capable of under our own strength, then we will find ourselves in positions where we don’t acknowledge our true, great need for God.
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Sick and Tired - Day 7/8

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Usually when someone says they are “sick and tired” it is because they are trying to express their frustration with a situation. Something like, “I’m sick and tired of the traffic in Houston.”

However, for me the last two days I have literally been sick and tired. All day Monday I was incapable of doing anything. I spent the entire day with a mild fever, and a wicked nasty cold or something. I started to feel a bit better last night, but then today I was again sick.

I had some more energy this afternoon, so I was able to finish working on a short video of the recognition of Harold and Pauline Tate at the 2010 BridgePoint Bible Church missions banquet.

The video is 6 minutes long and can be viewed here.
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Please take a moment to watch it, and if you would like, leave a comment for Harold and Pauline in appreciation of their many faithful years of service.
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7567 - Kept by Jesus

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We are approaching the end of our study of 1 John. As John brings his letter to a close he gives three final affirmations, then concludes with an exhortation.

Today we will consider the first of these three affirmations. 1 John 5:18 tells us, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.”

“We know”; these words express the idea of the Greek, that we have positive, absolute knowledge. There can be no doubt. The thought of this verse as well as the next two, represent a final, authoritative summary statement of the truths that have been shared and reviewed in these five chapters. John wants every believer who reads this letter to have a positive, forever assurance regarding the riches that the Christian has by abiding in Christ and having Him live in and through each Christian.

Now, what’s the content of this first assurance? No less than the truth that anyone born of God does not continue to sin.
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Faithful to Follow - Day 6

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Today was the last day of the 2010 BridgePoint Bible Church, and I had the opportunity to share with the Faithful to Follow Sunday school class at BridgePoint. It was a nice time, and I was able to speak for about 25 minutes about SONlight and share some of the exciting numbers about the ways that Lord is using SONlight.
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I shared many of the same exciting numbers about our broadcasts, that I shared in yesterday’s entry. There were probably about 30 members of the class, and it was exciting to share with them information that they had never heard about SONLight, or about my calling to full-time ministry at SONlight. We had some good one on one conversations before and afterwards, and I think that I was able to get one more financial supporter.
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Unexpected Blessings - Day 5

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Today my wife, Lydia, and I went to a couple of events at BridgePoint Bible Church as they are nearing the end of their missions conference. I went to a men’s breakfast and was able to share for a few minutes about SONlight and how the Lord brought me to work here. And I also had some good conversations with several people before and after the breakfast.

While I was at the breakfast, Lydia went to the “Prudent Princess” fashion show and clothing swap. This was an event that the ladies of BridgePoint put together to spotlight the options available for thrifty shopping at resale shops, and then there was a huge clothing swap. All of the ladies brought in clothes that did not want anymore, and the ladies of BridgePoint turned the entire concourse into a large clothing shop.

So Lydia was unexpectedly blessed as she came home with 7 bags of clothes. P1010887
This was a huge blessing, because she has lost quite a bit of weight over the last many months, and we have not been able to afford to replace her wardrobe that was several sizes too big. So many of the BridgePoint ladies came alongside of Lydia and helped her find just about every single item that was in here size, and blessed her so much that she was moved to tears.

And then to top that off they took up a love offering for us and each of the other missionaries. It was a wonderful morning, and particularly so because we had seriously debated having Lydia stay home with the boys because the two youngest ones had runny noses. But we went, and were both so thankful that Lydia was able to go.

Surprising Numbers
Tonight as I was preparing for speaking to a sunday school class at BridgePoint, I started to put together some of SONlight’s numbers in a new way.

I have found that SONlight is really in avery unique position. As far I have found, we have a larger network of radio stations playing our evangelism spots than any similar ministry, and we have the largest network of secular stations by far.

Just considering the 6o second stations, and conservatively assuming that our spots are only played once a day on our approximate 1600 stations, then every month, 800 hours of SONlight evangelism spots are played, and 575,000 spots are played annually. And that does not count the over 10,000 to 30,000 internet radio stations.

All of the air time for these radio messages is donated by the participating radio stations, and for those stations in the US market, the estimated fair value of similar air-time is approximately $42 for each “spot.”

So assuming that each station only plays one message per day, each year, SONlight gets the equivalent value of $24,192,000 in radio air time.

Each of those 575,000 spots has a quick gospel presentation and in total they reach a potential audience of one billion people per month, but our annual budget is hundred of thousands dollars less than other similar ministries.

As some have put it it, SONlight is a great bang for a buck.
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Digging Ditches - Day 4

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Today was another big day as I work towards meeting my goals in contacting people by email, following up on the phone, and setting up face to face meetings as I work towards raising additional support for SONlight.

I have had some good phone calls so far, and have a few meeting set up for next week, and I had a very interesting lunch meeting today that might result in some interesting developments later on down the road. Stay tuned for some for those possible developments in the future.

Tomorrow I will be at BridgePoint Bible Church again for a men’s brunch, and I am hoping and praying that I will have the opportunity to make good contact with some men and talk about SONlight. And possibly get a few names and contacts to contact as I fund raise.

2 Kings 3
In part of my study today I read through a really interesting passage today that spoke to me in my quest through this fund raising period.

First, a brief explanation of the events leading up to this passage. Jehoram, the son of Ahab and Jezebel, had become king, and the king of Moab decided that since Ahab had died, he didn’t really feel continuing his tribute payments. So he stopped. And Jehoram was not really pleased with this rebellion so he went to the king of Judah, Jehoshphat, and convinced him to go fight against Moab.

Jehoshphat agreed, and so they went to attack Moab, but as Jehoshphat was experienced in war, they opted to attack Moab in a surprising way by coming through the desert of Edom. So these two kings, and their armies, march through Edom towards Moab. The King of Edom joins their party and verse 9 tells us that “They wandered around on the road for seven days and finally ran out of water for the men and animals they had with them.”

So in their thirst and despair, Jehoshphat decides to consult a prophet of God about their plight. So they learn that Elisha the prophet is nearby, so they go down to meet him...
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7566 - Intercessory Prayer

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We continue our study in 1 John chapter 5. In our last Bible study we dwelt on assurance of prayers being answered as given by the apostle John in chapter 5, verses 14 and 15.

Today we continue some thoughts about prayer as we look at the following two verses, 16 and 17. Here John talks about intercessory prayer.

Let’s read the verses from the NET Bible, “If anyone sees his fellow Christian committing a sin not resulting in death, he should ask, and God will grant life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death. There is a sin resulting in death. I do not say that he should ask about that. All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin not resulting in death.”

This is a much debated passage without any final agreement. Let’s focus on those explanations which are consistent with other scripture.
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Getting SONlight in the Sunlight - Day 3

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Today I attended the Keenager & Missionary Fellowship Luncheon at BridgePoint Bible Church as part of their missions week. (I will be at other events there on Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening.)

It was an enjoyable time of fellowship and sharing, and each of the missionaries and associated ministries was able to share about their ministry and what has happened in their lives and family over the past year. I got to hear a lot of fantastic accounts from missionaries from around the world: Scott Ulrich, Robin Ulrich, and Leah were there and shared about their respective ministries.

I shared about what the Lord has been doing at SONlight over the last year. The ways in which God brought me to SONlight, and in turn a various few of the improvements that I have been making and the ways in which SONlight has grown. I also talked about my 21 day pursuit of financial support and asked for their prayers, and support in that.

Then during the fellowship I had some great conversations with a number of people about SONlight, and got to share one on one with quite a few people. One of the ones I talked to was Dan Walsh, and he came up with the snappy title of today’s post: Getting SONlight in the Sunlight.

Spreading Awareness of the Scope of SONlight
It is a pretty simple statement, but it holds quite a bit of truth. One of the things that I am trying to do, is to get people aware of not only SONlight, but of the reach and impact of SONlight. A lot of people may not be aware of SONlight as a ministry, but even those who are, and often those who have given in the past or have been involved as a volunteer in the past, are not aware of the scope of SONlight in its present role.

As best as I can tell, SONlight reaches more secular radio stations with evangelism messages than any other ministry, and it does so with a budget that is grossly under similar types of ministries. All of our radio messages are played for free on over 1600 radio stations. Which works out to a minimum of 500 hours of free radio time every month to a potential audience of 1 billion people...
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7565 - Assurance in Prayer

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We continue our study of 1 John. In this book God openly declares His love for His children in these pages. The encompassing message is that God wants His children to know that they live in Jesus and He lives in each one of us to give us an abundant, eternal life to those who habitually obey.

In 1 John 5, verses 14 and 15, we have some assuring words regarding prayer. Let’s read these verses from the NET Bible, “And this is the confidence that we have before Him: that whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in regard to whatever we ask, then we know that we have the requests that we have asked from Him.”
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A Big Task - Day 2

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It is probably clear to anyone that it is a huge task to raise the support that SONlight needs within the short span of 21 days. I am certainly burdened by the size of the task at hand, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is not my job to bring in this income for SONlight, it is the Lord’s. SONlight is and has always been the Lord’s ministry, and we are only here to serve Him.

So as I look at the monumental task of raising support, I am reminded of my recent read through 1 Kings 18 and the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. It may not be immediately obvious, but bear with me on this parallel illustration.

Competition on Mt. Carmel - 1 Kings 18:20-46
Of course most people who spent anytime in Sunday School as child are familiar with this account of the confrontation between these pagan prophets and Elijah, the prophet of God. We first see Elijah set out the ground rules for this “competition”. The 450 prophets will get to choose a bull, prepare it, place it on the wood on their alter, and then pray for fire from Baal...
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21 Days of Pursuit - Day 1

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Tonight was the second SONlight board meeting since I became Executive Director. The last meeting and tonight’s meeting were very important for the future of SONlight, as we are now going month by month to determine how best to use the limited financial resources we have.

Since May of last year, I have been receiving my salary from a large endowment SONlight received several years ago. That endowment filled in the gaps in the SONlight budget for a number of years, and was a great blessing each year. But when I came to SONlight full-time, it was because it was evident that for SONlight to continue, big changes and updates to the ministry were necessary...
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7564 - Men for Missions Around the World - Warren Hardig

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An interview with Warren Hardig, the Executive Director of Men for Missions International, a part of OMS International.
Warren Hardig Portrait
He shares about his experiences in Haiti as a young Christian, and how he began to pray and then become more involved in full-time missions.

Warren shares that Men for Missions is a group that is pursuing getting men involved in reaching out to the world, and although the name is “Men” for Missions, the group is not gender specific, they just have a passion for getting men involved in missions.

The simple questions put forth are: “Will you do whatever God asks you to do? Will you go wherever God asks you to go? Will you give whatever God asks you to give?”

Warren also tells us about Wendell Bole. A cyclist riding in South Africa who recently rode for 40 days through 54 cities in South Africa. He rode for 5212 km and had gospel meetings every night, and the goal was raise money for a 130,000 Bibles and 200 bicycles.

Warren shares that Men for Missions has had 500,000 decisions for Christ over the last 2 years, and planted nearly 8 churches per day. Many exciting things that Men for Missions is involved in.

To learn more, read Warren Hardig - Men for Missions in our Interview section or go to the Men for Missions International website.
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7563 - You May Know

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Studying through the First Letter of John the word ‘know’ is used 33 times. Spend a few moments in this study and you will understand that the Apostle John has in mind the objective of bringing these first century Christians to a firm assurance of their faith in Jesus Christ. Of course 1 John is written so Christians of any century can be convinced that they truly abide in Christ and are on the way to heaven.

One of the reasons for John’s concern over the Church was the large number of false teaches who were teaching heresy in the last part of the first century. This was a very real threat to the Church. As God prompted those who wrote the New Testament books, seven of the nine authors gave warning of these false teachers and their erroneous doctrines.
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7562 - David Johnson - Churches in West Africa

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An interview with David Johnson, part of the IMB Engagement Team in West Africa, where he works in recruiting coordinating churches to come to the mission field in West Africa.

David has helped survey the West African people groups. It is the 2nd most ethnically diverse region in the world, and there are 1600 different people groups in the West Africa region with 1100 languages.

He shares that a challenge for the IMB is that to make the best use of the limited resources, they can only send individual missionaries to people groups that are more than 100,000 in population. And in the West Africa region more than 79% of the people groups are under 100,000 in population. Because of their small size, the IMB just does not have the resources to reach these micro people-groups

David works from West Africa, researching, surveying, and finding out what kind of Christian presence and influence is in an area, so that the churches that are going to West Africa can have the best knowledge in what where they will be going, and who they will be talking to. Then the churches will get thorough training in the US and in Africa, with the same training and resources as IMB missionaries..

Lastly, David shares an exciting story about one particular churches experience in sharing the gospel with the chief of a village.

To learn more about David Johnson and the opportunities available to churches of many denominations, read Churches Reaching the Unreached in our Interview section or go the IMB’s West Africa website.
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7561 - Eternal Life

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We have profited so far in our study of 1 John. The early part of chapter 5 talks about the testimony God has given to mankind. In the Bible we see that God has given consistent and varied witness to all men about His nature, and His love and grace, which He has poured out upon mankind.

Psalms 19, verses1-4 tell us:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

And in Romans 1 verses19-20 we read:
“What may be known about God is plain to [all men], because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities –– his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
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7560 - Fully Guaranteed

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SONlight has the privilege of teaming with many radio stations to air short, positive messages of encouragement to their listening audience. They are distributed in both the English and Spanish languages. The format of these stations vary. Some are middle of the road, others are country, others are contemporary, some are Christian. But each cooperates to share the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ with their audience.

The good news about Jesus Christ is guaranteed by the very character of God. By faith, it has been applied to the spirits of men and women, boys and girls; and it has never failed to bring new life, with peace and joy and much more.
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7559 - Do You Believe

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In our study of the First Letter of John we are now in chapter 5. This is one of the most forthright passages in the Bible regarding God’s appeal to people to surrender their will, to accept God’s testimony about His Son Jesus, and by faith receive a new life in a new relationship.

So, today let’s look at 1 John 5, verse 10 which reads, “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has made about his Son.”

Notice that two groups of people are differentiated clearly in this passage. The first is made up of all those people who have heard and believed God’s testimony about Jesus Christ, his Son.

The second group is comprised by all those people who have heard God’s testimony regarding His Son and then refused to yield their will, all those who stubbornly rejected the message from God. These are the two groups under the spotlight.
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7558 - Testimony of God

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Let’s look at 1 John 5:9. It says, “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.”

To Christians this verse may be superfluous, because to be a Christian we must believe and trust Jesus Christ. Actually, this is an expression of faith in God Himself, since Jesus and God are one.

However, to a seeker or an unbeliever this verse is very important. It examines the plausibility of believing God. To say it another way, “Why should I believe God?”

John starts by reminding the reader that most men accept the testimony of other men. In a court room the testimony of a witness is accepted and believed unless reason to do otherwise is presented.

Under the Old Testament Law a fact of law was established as true by the testimony of two or three witnesses who agreed.
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