torch bearer
bringing the light of Jesus to a dark world John 8:12

Learning the Heart of God

12/30/2009 02:28:00 PM

I may be the only parent who deals with this and if I am please don't tell me. I don't want to hear that I'm alone.

My kids step over things without picking them up. They leave things sitting on the table that don't belong there. And they say that they don't even see them.

What I want is for them to pick up the stuff, even if it isn't theirs. I want them to do the dishes without being told too. I want them to know that we do these things because we are Kelley's and that is what we do and who we are. I want them to know what my heart is and then do it without being told.

Part of it is the training that I have to give them since none of them were just born this way. As their father, I have to instruct them and let them know what I expect. I have to let them know what my heart is. Then the other portion of this equation is that they need to learn who I am, what I want and what I believe the Kelley family is about. They need to learn my heart.

The same is true in our being the Church. We are to know the heart of God and then act on it. As the perfect Father, His instruction to us has already been made known. He has already made known to us His heart, His desires and His plans. And, we are to be the kids who study the heart of the Father, get to know Him, then, without having to ask or be told, do what is in front of us.

Just as my kids love to receive my blessing (praise, free time, money) we love the blessing of the Father. However, we are not to be seeking the blessing, but rather seek the heart of the Blessing Giver. The blessings are just extra. If my kid's desire is to only have free time and therefore do what I ask, that is not the right motive and they won't receive my blessing. But if they do what is right because it is right, then the blessing comes.

Is our desire the blessing of God or the heart of God? Are we doing what is right because we want the goodies, or are we doing what is right simply because it is right?

For my kids to get to know and understand my heart more, they need to study me, get to know me and spend time with me. Then they need to act on what they see, learn and experience. They have to act on that revealed truth.

God has given us such great ways of getting to know and understand His heart better. We have His written word, the great spoken word of God and opportunities to talk to Him.

I challenge you this next year; get to know the heart of God. Read the Bible, go be a part of the church on a regular basis and spend lots of time talking to Him. Act on the revealed truth.

I have been challenged with this myself. At least for the month of January, I will be reading through the entire Bible. I don't know if I will do it for more months than just the one or not. God has laid on my heart that if I want to do what is right because it is right, then I need to know His heart more. So, I'm gonna read up on Him. See what He has to say and be radically changed by it. If you want to join me in this endeavor, that would be great. (Let me know if you decide to do this and I can tell you how I mapped it out.) Whether you do or not, I would encourage you to…

Learn His heart. Understand His heart. Then do what is right because it is right.

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A Glimpse of His Heart

12/28/2009 11:37:00 PM

As I sat holding my devastated 11 year old daughter on my lap in the middle of the floor, I had a glimpse at the Father's heart.

It started at a basketball game only a few hours earlier. We got word that my oldest was making choices that went against our family standards. Choices that will cost him dearly if there is no change. Choices that have been made by him in the past, and have been dealt with by us as parents. Choices that separate him from me as his father. Not because I love him less, but because when he makes those choices we can't have a close relationship.

My frustration with him did not come so much from what he did as it was related to how he broke my heart through our loss of relationship. I got angry, I cried because it hurt me, I tried to explain once again what the ultimate outcome of these choices would do to him and I was silent because I didn't know what to say. Not that all of these were godly reactions by any means.

As we were in the middle of this, my daughter's cat that she has had for 8 years, walked out into the living room and laid down and died right in front of us. As my Babydoll was crying and asking for God to not let her Colorful die, all I could do was hold her and cry with her.

At this point, God opened my eyes. He gave me a glimpse of His heart. The frustration and hurt He experiences every time I decide to walk away from His perfect standard, as well as the times He just holds me and lets me cry in my hurt. My heart broke. In the center of my time of being dad, I saw in such a small way the Father's heart for me. His fierce righteousness as well as His tender mercies. How terrific my situation felt, but how small it was in comparison.

Even in comparison to how His heart felt toward His own Son. The perfect Lamb of God…beaten, crushed, abused, rejected and killed. The pain the Father must have felt as He watched this happen. The heaviness of the Father's heart as the sins of the world were cast upon His perfect Son. The fact that God had to turn His face because He couldn't look on that sin. How must His heart have felt that day? How must His heart feel toward us from time to time?

My prayer has become one of repentance, change and thanksgiving since that time. Repentance for the hurt that I cause His heart. Repentance for the ways my reactions as a father aren't godly. Change because that is what happens with repentance. As I experienced the heaviness of a father's heart, I don't want to be the cause of that in His heart. Thanksgiving for a God who has continually held me in my time of need. Who, without judgment or even word, has been with me through my sufferings.

I caught a glimpse of the Father's heart that night and because of that, I will never be the same. Have you caught a glimpse of His heart? What have you done with that experience?

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Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity

12/22/2009 02:23:00 PM

I have always wondered what would happen if a professional basketball team just went back to the basics. If they paired up against another talented team, but instead of all the show and glitter that you see now, they just played it straight by the fundamentals. I really believe that that team would surprise and astonish the other team so much that it would be a landslide. The fundamental team would walk away with a victory.

In short, I believe that is what Mark Batterson is saying throughout his new book Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity. He is taking us back to our roots, back to what matters most, back to what will help us win the game. He takes us back to the basis of who we are to be and what we are to do as Christians. We are to love the LORD our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength (Mark 12:30).

As he breaks down this verse bit by bit, I continued to see the importance of stripping off everything I have learned, and re-explore what my faith is founded on. One of the hardest things in my Christian walk has been the fact of growing up in church. Not that I would trade that for anything, but it has been hard to strip off the stuff that I have learned that has truly covered up the fundamental relationship I am to have with my God.

All throughout his book, Mark continually draws from scripture, thoughts from people throughout history as well as insightful stories from his own life. The use of these means to help draw a conclusion is not new, but the fresh thinking that Mark puts to these means certainly is. His continual re-thinking thinking, his desire to understand ways of doing church that have never been thought of, his pursuit of a real, personal and working relationship with God (not just one of static) and his way of seeing scripture in a much deeper multi-faceted way is felt on each page.

If your desire is to come back to the basics of living in a new and active relationship with God, this has got to be the book you start 2010 with! I believe it is time for us to strip off the layers of stuff that we have piled up on our life with Him, come back to the fundamentals of the game, and truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. I believe that Primal is the book to help us do that.

Order a book today at www.randomhouse.com. You will be glad you did.

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Oh, Little Town of Northport

12/21/2009 11:05:00 AM

It amazed me on Saturday night, the talent that was displayed. We had our first Christmas Music Extravaganza led by our Worship Pastor, Angie. There was a huge array of styles of music, ages of musicians and singers and yet no lack in talent. She had the vision to pull off a "White Christmas" or "Holiday Inn" kind of evening. Let's just say that old Bing had nothing better than what I saw Saturday.

What I really took away from that night is the fact that just because we are a small church in a small town in an ungodly state doesn't mean that is what has to dictate us. The talent that was experienced on Saturday could easily have come from professionals in a much bigger venue.

Don't let your location, size, age or assumed talent level dictate or limit what you do for God. Just like Paul told Timothy, "Don't let them look down on you because you are young." Then he goes on to say (in my own words) "Just wow them with what the Holy Spirit has blessed you with."

Well, I was wowed and I was challenged to not be limited for what I do for Jesus' sake.

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…and she began to serve them

12/15/2009 10:21:00 AM

Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him (Jesus) about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. Mark 1:30, 31

Jesus has such compassion on this woman. He doesn't ask about her past or what she had been doing to become ill, he just reached out, lifted her up and healed her. What love!

Have you ever had that? Maybe it was a miraculous physical healing that Jesus did so that he would be glorified. For me it was lifting me out of the pit of mud that I had spiritually sunk into. Ok, I made my own choices to get there, but Jesus didn't ask, he just saved me. How grateful I am!

All of that is good, but did we catch the last part of those verses… "and she began to serve them." How crazy! She didn't sit and rest, she just got up and served. I don't know for sure, but I think she was probably so overcome with gratitude that she just couldn't help herself. She was grateful for a wonderful son-in-law that cared for her enough to mention her to Jesus, and she was grateful enough to a Savior that would heal her…no questions asked. What a woman!

When we were healed or rescued by our Savior, what was our first response? "Well, I have to rest awhile. You know, it has been a long time of sickness and I'm still kinda weak." When all along, our response needs to be like hers… "Jesus, I'm not even gonna ask if I can serve you, I'm just gonna do it because I know it's the right thing to do."

This Christmas season, we need to do something different. Recognize that we have been healed and/or rescued and then "begin to serve them." Find someone to have over for dinner and just bless them with the night of their life. Send a card or email to someone that you have been thinking of. Donate to a food bank or charity. Do extra chores around the house without drawing attention to it. Donate some time at your church. Plan for a missions trip this summer. Go tell someone about your being rescued!

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Peering through a curtain

12/11/2009 10:20:00 AM

Watched the cat today do something that I do way too often. The cat jumped up on the back of the couch and wiggled its head around on the curtain until it was able to move the curtain and peek outside. I don't know what it was looking at, but I'm assuming it was dreaming of freedom.

No, I don't jump on the couch to look out the window, but what I do is just peek through another curtain and not go experience what I see on the other side.

When Jesus died, the giant curtain in the temple, separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was torn in half. This curtain was to keep the common folk out from where the presence of God rested. When Jesus died separation was destroyed. We were given free access to the presence of God.

Too often I just sit on the outside looking in. Wondering what it would be like to be there. Well, all I have to do is go! The Bible says that we can come confidently into the throne room of God. We don't have to sit on the outside just peering through the curtain. We can go to where God is!

Well, I'm done looking…I'm going! Wanna come with me?

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Attitude Change

12/10/2009 08:50:00 PM

Our attitude is directly affected by our latitude. I came to realize this after my trips to Kenya and India this year. I have come to realize this in moving to Northport.

My attitude has been changed drastically after my latitude changed. Things just don't bother me the way they used to. So what that Wal-Mart doesn't have that certain Christmas present on sale anymore, when so many go without just the basics of life. So what that the Starbucks girl didn't make the coffee the right way, when entire villages don't have safe drinking water. So what that I'm a little hungry, when 25,000 people die every day from starvation. But big deal that people are dying without Jesus around me. Big deal that my selfishness has gotten in the way of my loving others the way I should. Once my latitude changed for a while, my attitude couldn't stay the same.

Too often we miss so much in this life because we haven't moved. Our attitude can become stinky because we haven't changed our latitude for too long.

The apostle Paul said that he knew what contentment was. It was his trust in Jesus, yes, but I also believe that he knew what contentment was because his latitude changed. His first change of latitude came on the road to Damascus. He fell to his knees before Jesus. That is the first latitude change we must experience as well, falling on our knees in recognition of who Jesus is. Second, Paul didn't sit still. He got out of his comfort zone and saw how the other half lived. He started locally and then went from there. That is what we must do as well. Go down the street. Go across town. Go to a neighboring town. Go somewhere. And as you go, pray to see through Jesus' eyes.

You won't need to ask to have your attitude changed, it just happens as you change your latitude.

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What I want for Christmas

11/23/2009 03:22:00 PM

Ok, I know that many of you are not even wanting to think about Christmas yet since Thanksgiving hasn't even arrived, but, if it is good for Wal-Mart, then it works for me.

I remember, as a kid, sitting on the lap of a fat guy in a red suit, AKA Santa, around December and hearing him belt out in some "I'm trying to sound jolly to the 3,000th kid I've seen today" voice…"What do you want for Christmas little boy?" Well, if I was able to sit on his lap now I would say "I want a Red Rider BB gun…" just to be smart with him. Of course, we all know what his response would be…Come on, say it with me… "You'll shoot your eye out." As adults, we don't have that privilege to sit on his lap anymore and tell him what we want. I guess, as a grown man, it would be a little creepy for me to sit there and talk to a guy in a beard made of cotton balls and tell him what I want. Of course, if I thought that he would have any sway toward me getting what I want for Christmas this year, I might just risk the embarrassment and climb aboard.

See, this year I actually know what I want. And so I am putting out my request to you nice and early so you can help me get it. You may be thinking a few things right now… "Is he nuts? Like I'm gonna get him a present." Or, "This is a little bold, publishing a wish list for all to see." Or (my personal favorite), "Shoot, I forgot to put him on my list. I'm so glad that he reminded me. I'm all ears, Eldon, to hear what I can buy for you!" Yeah, I like that last one. I digress. I have put a lot of thought, time, energy and distance into this present that I desire. Are you ready?

What I want for Christmas is… A WELL FOR THIRSTY AND STARVING KIDS IN OLOPOROLI, KENYA!

That's it. No iPhone (although very cool), no ties (don't wear the ones I have), no TV (nothing good to watch anyhow) and no new cars (even that Ferrari that I have been eyeing). Nope. Just a well with fresh water being pumped out to some kids that I fell in love with back in September. These kiddos are dying at an alarming rate and yet it is so easy to put the brakes on that statistic. Fresh, clean water is part of the answer.

In this village, Oloporoli, all I saw was sick kids. The doctor that was with us said that the least of their health problems was pneumonia. The least! The villagers had to walk for about 20 kilometers just to find some water to drink and cook with. If you help me with my Christmas present, they would only have to walk about 100 yards.

There are two little ones that stand out the most to me on that day we were there. One is 7-year-old Naserian. You may remember the story I shared before about the girl who had been circumcised. That is Naserian. But the other one that stands out to me is one that I don't have a name for. I'm assuming she had a name, but I don't know.

My encounter with her was very brief. In fact I didn't talk to her more than trying to say hello to her before she ducked behind her mom and hid in her shuka (wrap type clothing). All I remember was a cute, dirty, deathly skinny and so sick little girl. As I stood up, our interpreter, Too Tepeny, was talking with the mom. I stood there for a moment before Too (pronounced Toe) began telling me what the mother was saying. As I heard him speak, my heart crushed under the pressure and my eyes tried to hold back the tears. He told me that the mom wanted me to take her daughter with me! Now, this wasn't just in playful banter because the kid had been naughty, nor was it just some half-hearted idea. I know this because I asked. He talked again to her and she said, "No, I want him to take my daughter.' I could hear the child making noises and crying behind the mother as this conversation was going on. I don't know if the little girl understood what was being said or not, but I can't imagine what she would be thinking if she did. Through my own pain and tears I asked Too, "Why?" He said that the mom wanted a better life for her daughter than what she was going to have living where she was. My heart had been broken just one too many times this day. The crushing pain of hearing story after story of suffering, the visual reminder that these people are dying, and the smell that wouldn't let me forget that I wasn't just checking out National Geographic photos online. I couldn't hold back my tears, as I can't now, any longer. I replied to Too, "You realize I can't take her, right?" You may never know the agony of those words, or the agony of the reply, "Yes. I know." I would have taken her home at that moment without any hesitation if I could have. Every part of me wanted to scoop her up and love her. To give her a home. To give her a future. To give her hope. I came to a great realization that day, that I'm not the supplier of any of that. Maybe a home someday, even if it is not to her specifically, but the rest of it I couldn't. I knew then, that there is only One who can supply that future and that hope that she needs and that is Jesus Christ. More desperately than the physical water they were longing for, they were in need of Spiritual water. We offered that to them that day, and many made the choice to follow Jesus and receive that hope that comes through him!

Just as they were able to drink of Living Water that day, my desire is that they would also be able to drink of physical water that helps them live. So, that is what I want for Christmas this year. Even if you don't "buy" me a Christmas present, maybe you could "buy" a family member or friend this present. We are only about $10,000 short from making this well happen. If 100 of you (ok, that's bold thinking that 100 people are actually going to read this, which means it puts a little more weight on those of you who do) would "buy" me a $10 gift toward this well, that's $1,000! I've never gotten a $1,000 Christmas present before. And this would be the perfect one.

If you want to help "buy" this gift for me, you can send a check to Rick Willison, the leader of the X Treme Team. Any gift that is given is tax deductible! Just make your check out to TJMI (Team Jesus Ministries Inc.), write on the memo part "Eldon's Christmas Present", and then send it to:

TJMI

1523 Scarlett Drive

Anderson, IN 46013

Or you can use PayPal. Go to "send money" and then use the email tjmi@radicallysaved.com.


So, I sit upon your lap (eww) as a child would sit upon Santa's lap, and ask but one thing for Christmas…a well for my kiddos in Oloporoli!


Bearing His torch

Eldon

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Common Story

11/04/2009 08:40:00 AM

The kids asked a good question this morning during our Bible reading, "how do you get something out of a story that you have read so many times."

We were reading Genesis 7 today. The story of Noah collecting all the animals and getting them stored away on the ark. The ark being sealed and rains coming down and the floods coming up. The complete destruction of everything except that which was on the ark. If you have spent any time at all in church you have heard this story.

So, what do you get out of a story you have heard so many times. Well, verse 1. That's right, I didn't even have to go very far to find some meaningful morsel of truth. Verse 1 says, Then the LORD said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation." God used Noah because he was righteous before Him in that generation.

Noah was used to do something amazing because he was seen as righteous. Noah didn't go into this thinking, "I am going to be famous. Someone is going to write all this down, compile it into the world's bestselling book, people are going to preach about me and use me for children's stories. I can't wait to see what people will say about me!" No, he did what was right because of a fear of God. Because of his right-standing before God in his generation, he was used to restart the population of the earth. But it wasn't because of what he wanted out of it.

You can't be seen as righteous when you are doing what you are doing for the wrong motives. You are only seen as righteous when you are obeying God because that is what is right. Can you imagine what God could do with a bunch of Noah's in this generation? How he could "restart" the earth with a generation of people who were righteous before Him.

Are you doing anything? Are you in a place to be used by God to affect this generation and those to come? With what motive are you doing what you are doing? Let's be known as a people who were "seen that are righteous before God in this generation," and let's see what God does with that.

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Relationship

10/28/2009 09:20:00 AM

Relationship. That word. So powerful. So meaningful. Relationship. If it wasn't for my relationship with my wife I don't believe that I would fully understand what earthly love is about. She has truly loved me. Not selfishly, but totally unselfishly. She has taught me what it is like to love someone here on earth in a manner that is Godly. I cherish that relationship!

This word continues to find me everywhere I go lately. Every devotion, every teaching, every conversation, everywhere. God is truly showing me that the thing He desires most with me is a relationship. Of course, that relationship with a holy God is made possible only through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. Talk about a selfless act! It wasn't about Him. He did it for two reasons. 1) Out of love for His Father. He did everything so that God the Father would be given glory. 2) For me and you. He died for us while we were still in sin. While we still hated Jesus. Jesus died so that we could be in right relationship with God the Father. Amazing!

I continue to see that this is what is important. I have been looking to see what God wants me to do, and He keeps bringing it back to relationship. In my relationship with Him all will work out. I don't need to focus on what He wants me to do, or be, or where to go. When my relationship is right it all works out.

So, I'm simplifying. No more wondering what God has planned for me. No more trying to figure out His will. I'm walking in obedience to the revealed Word of God…I'm pursuing and deepening my relationship with the One who created relationships. Please pray for me during this. I struggle sometimes. I need His power to do what is right.

Well, now you know what I will be up to for awhile.

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Coming Together

10/27/2009 09:09:00 AM

Interesting how it all works together. What I mean is how all the things that God is speaking to me all work together. In my devotions, in my family life, in other people's lives…God keeps speaking the same thing to me over and over. Maybe, just maybe, I should pay attention.

I notice in scripture how when God speaks people should pay attention. And then sometimes He repeats Himself a second time. That's when you just kinda drop what you are doing and focus in. Then, on a few occasions, God speaks a third time. I don't even begin to know what to think about that. It's too simple to say then we must really, really pay attention. The third time is beyond any description of what we should do except for the fact of dropping on our knees and bowing our hearts in fear. Well, I'm beyond the third time. And I am paying attention. I just think He really wants me to understand the importance of what He is saying.

What is God speaking to you? Through scripture, through other people's lives, through the spoken word of God or whatever other means. What does He want you to hear? Mine is this…don't focus on anything else but my relationship with Him. Everything else will come together. I have to trust Him that He can do it without my help. When my focus is on Him, He will use me the way that He needs to use me. Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these things will be added to you." Perspective. Priorities. Position.

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Worry during the rain

10/14/2009 11:28:00 AM

Last night it rained. Not just this little Western WA drizzle, but the good old Eastern WA monsoon. Since I am still suffering from jet lag (in bed at 10pm after a 3 hour nap, then awake by 2am) I heard it all coming down. We have a metal roof (no, I don't live in a trailer!) so the sound was even louder than normal. It made me think that there were thousands of elves hammering their little hammers all over my roof. At first that was an exciting thought. I figured they must be fixing my roof for me. But, sadly, no. Then I laid there and started thinking about all the stuff that was laying outside without the shelter that it needed. (Ok, I wish that I was thinking of people and puppies here, but I didn't.) I started thinking about my boat that didn't have a cover over it yet and all the stuff in it that was getting soaked. Then I thought of the chainsaw that I saw had been left out (thank you son). Then I thought about the boxes that I hadn't put in the shed yet. Then about the…well, you get the picture. I laid there and started to worry about all the stuff that was getting wet. Then it struck me, I couldn't really do anything about it right then anyhow. I would have to wait until I could do something about it.

I don't know about you, but I worry about the dumbest things. And this little middle of the night episode made me understand what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6. He tells me not to be anxious about anything. He uses food and clothes as examples, but the word anything means just that…anything. Worrying won't help us, in fact it harms us. It takes our attention off the important stuff. Satan loves to use worry. It doesn't seem all that sinful to worry, until we realize what it is doing to us. See, verse 33 says, "but seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Then all these things will be added unto you." Worry pulls our eyes off the importance of seeking His Kingdom, what it is that He wants you to be doing. Maybe it's the worry about money…so you don't tithe or give to missions like you should. Maybe the worry is about food…so you don't give to the food banks or invite people over for dinner. Maybe the worry is about your children…so you give up and let them take the path of least resistance. Maybe the worry comes from not sharing what Jesus has done for you in your life…so you allow your friends and family to slip quietly into hell. Maybe the worry is about the state of our nation…so you talk about it, but don't do anything to change it. All of this worry pulls our minds from the Kingdom we are to be advancing.

What is your worry? What will you do when you are faced with it the next time? Try this on for size…Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before u, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." When faced with worry (read sin), cast it aside and turn your focus on Jesus.

Then let's see what 1 Peter 5:6-7 says. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." Humble yourself...realizing that we aren't going to fix things. He is God and we are not.

I still have things outside that need my attention (I don't think God is just going to take care of that for me…bummer) but I will use this lesson when I am faced with worry once again. I will realize, and act upon, the fact that I don't need to worry…I need to turn it over to God. He has it covered.

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Learning from serving

10/13/2009 01:59:00 PM

As I stood serving communion at the C3 Church in Hyderabad India on Sunday, I discovered something. First off, I always love it when God shows me something so profound through something so simple. It's His little way of talking to me...and it works.

So, as I was saying, I was standing up front with Rick and people were coming up to participate in a time of remembering what Jesus did for us. Rick had laid out a great teaching about communion and about Jesus' sacrifice for us, and now was the time for our response. As I was watching people come and take pieces of the bread (which was really good might I add) it struck me. The physical bread that we were eating was disappearing right in front of us. Obviously, as people took a small piece, the whole of the bread got smaller. Remembering the reason we take the bread...as a symbol of Jesus' body being broken for our healing...this struck me profoundly. In the spiritual, Jesus' body never runs out! We can take and receive His healing and what He did for us, and He never gets smaller, never runs out, never becomes less! Jesus is the same, a constant, a force that never changes. As much as we need of Him, He never just runs out. We don't have to look somewhere else for more answers or for more hope. He is all we need, and He never runs out!

Where are you right now in life? Are you searching for something more than Jesus? Is He not enough for you? Are you afraid that He will run out? That maybe, just maybe you have come to Him one too many times and His grace won't cover you this time? I understand. No, really I do. I struggle with that feeling myself sometimes. I can't fathom that He would still have more to give me even though I have come to Him for so much already. It's hard sometimes to realize that He won't run out.

How will I work this out in my life? 2 ways. 1) I will allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. Without that power, it won't happen. I can't do it on my own. 2) I will set this up as a marker in my life. Just as God asked His people in the Old Testament to set up reminders of His power, I will use this as one for me. I will flash back to the time in India when I saw that bread, and remembered that my God will never run out! In fact, as I am writing this, I am reminded of other times when this very lesson has been proved out.

Walk with me in this truth, will you? I am going to really focus and come to an understanding in my life that He is all I need and that He won't run out. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 13 verse 8, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is all I need. He will never run out.

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9/23/2009 09:29:00 AM
Praying for finances for Mondays outreach. God will provide. It will be epic
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9/20/2009 10:15:00 PM
SPOKANE! I have to say thank you Jesus for the blessed trip.
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9/20/2009 07:08:00 PM
On the last flight. Get to see my lady in a few hours
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9/20/2009 03:16:00 PM
On the ground in MN
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9/20/2009 01:28:00 AM
Wandering london. Getting on double decker bus
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9/19/2009 10:45:00 PM
Touchdown London. 7 hours here. We are going to try to run into town for a bit.
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9/19/2009 01:18:00 PM
Leaving Kenya in just moments. I will miss it here. But i will return.
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9/18/2009 04:04:00 AM
Back in Nairobi. Lunch at Java House!
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9/17/2009 10:30:00 PM
Coming out of Massai land heading to Narok. Amazing trip.
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9/14/2009 03:56:00 AM
In Narok. Rift Valley is beautiful. Only 45 k to go. 3 hour drive.
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9/13/2009 10:03:00 PM
Going to Naoosura today. Out with Massai ppl til friday. Pray for strength
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It is well with my soul

9/09/2009 12:59:00 PM

I have never heard such an amazing rendition of this song as I did tonight. The song itself is powerful when you know why it was written. The man had lost everything in the Chicago fire, his son was sick and died and then his family (minus his wife) was killed when their boat sank. He penned the words to the song when the only thing left he had to cling to was his trust in God. When peace like a river attendeth my soul… He knew that his peace only came from God. Well, tonight I heard it sang by someone who has all the reason in the world to sing it. Not only did she have the voice of an angel, she has lived the life of the devil. When an ex-stripper, ex-prostitute, mother in a hospital for the insane, family dead from AIDS, tried to commit suicide, people chasing her from her past and abusive father young woman sings this…it has real meaning. She sang this for us as we were heading home from an outreach tonight. She has a voice that is pure but a past that is not. However, in May, this all changed. She gave her life to Jesus and it has all turned around. She still has a hard time with things, but knows that her peace is in Jesus. We asked her if she would sing us a song (because we had heard a video she made) and she said "I will sing you my favorite song." When she got done, I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes. She understands peace. I will never be able to hear this song again without thinking of this young lady.

We have had a few days of outreaches that have gone well. We were in Imara Daima for a couple days worth of outreaches. Good stuff, hard crowd. Total spirit of fear in the men of that town. They knew they needed and wanted something more, but couldn't bring their selves to come and really make a commitment for Jesus. Be in prayer for Pastor William of the Deliverance Church. Tough town. He is also needing prayer for finances to finish going to bible college through East Africa Theology. This college is ran by the Kenyan Assemblies of God and he will be graduating from Global University, the same University as me! Funny thing happened there though. We had a herd of Massai cows come wander through where we were setting up our breaks. Remember, we were right in town doing this outreach. So, the cows come through and we were worried that they were going to knock down our stuff before we started. Good news…they didn't. Bad news…one peed right where we were having to stand for one of the breaks!

Today we went to a Nazarene school in the Kibera slums. Wow! That is about the only word to describe this place. Think bad and multiply it by a never ending exponent. I will get pics up on photobucket soon. (www.photobucket.com/EldonKelley. And yes, this works now.) We had 200 kids packed into a room that was only about 20 x 60 at most. This slum has well over a million people in it and it is no bigger than Colville proper. The kids were very sweet. I think I want to bring some of these beauties back home with me. Is that ok Amy? The kids taught us the Mosquito Clap! I will have to show you when I get home.

Then tonight we went and did an outreach at Central Nazarene. They had a basketball thing going that we came along side of and did our thing. Met Myke "The Kenyan Connection" tonight. He is part of our team down here in Kenya. What a great man of God. He can play some B Ball! He has played professional basketball for 12 years in Kenya. He brought the Word tonight, and he does that with even more intensity than playing hoops.

Tomorrow we are going to ANU (Africa Nazarene University) to do chapel for them. Cool thing about this school. They allow anyone to attend their school. Anyone meaning Christian, Muslim, Catholic, pagan… Each person HAS to take several Christian courses to complete their schooling as well as go to chapel. They have had Muslims give their life to Christ because of what they learn in their college courses. So, we are giving a complete gospel message tomorrow. Should be amazing! Another great thing about this university…$10,000…………FOR ALL FOUR YEARS! Find that in the USA.

Then tomorrow afternoon, we are going to hang out with the Kenyan national rugby team, Rugby 7. We are going to do some teamwork building with them and also share the gospel with them. Some are Christians already, but the whole team needs a relationship with Him.

This weekend we start the Battle Cry at Central Nazarene in Nairobi. This will be a great time to impact a church who is struggling to say the least. We are trusting for a great time of transformation in men's lives as they step up into becoming the men that God has called them to be. Please be in prayer for this weekend.

Then Monday morning, we are heading to Naaoosura (common spelling) out with the Massai. We have figured out that the final count will be that we are bringing enough food to feed 500 families for 1 month. That is around 3,000 people! We are going to be in the heart of things here. I will give more details in the next few days, but it is safe to say that we are going to need tons of prayer this next week. Spiritual battles. Physical battles. Emotional battles. Like I said, I will give more details before I leave.

Well, it is very late on Wednesday night here and I need to go to bed. I have so much to say that I could write forever, but my eyes tell me not to. I am amazed that God would use a guy like me to minister to the amazing people of Kenya. I say it every time I go somewhere…I go to minister to them and instead I get ministered to. The things that I worry about at home are so little compared to daily living here. My life with Jesus has become so precious that I couldn't consider trading it for anything else. In my times of worry or concern, all I need to do is remember the voice that I heard tonight singing…It is well, with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul!

Until next time

Bearing His torch (in Kenya)

Eldon

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9/08/2009 05:46:00 AM
Waiting in Imara Daima 4 outreach to start. A cow Peed where we are standing 4 one of the breaks.
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When Tiredness Is Worth It

9/06/2009 12:02:00 PM
I admit, I'm tired! It's been a tough week of trying to beat the jet lag. Yesterday was the first day that we all felt like we beat it. Of course then last night the bad dreams persisted and the sleep wasn't great. But I'm not complaining because this is worth it. Seeing the delight of these kids as you play football (soccer for you Americans!) with them when all they have is a plastic bag wrapped up with rope...worth the tiredness. Seeing those who have known no hope for their entire life find hope in Jesus for the first time...worth the tiredness. When you get to worship God with a church body who is really getting into the music (Angie, I took video for you!) and I have no idea what they are saying, but we are worshipping the same God...worth the tiredness. Have kids come up to you at the market place or at the restaurant and say hi because they saw us at their school...worth the tiredness. Getting to preach for the first time in a different country even though I only had 1/2 hour notice...worth the tiredness. Getting to enjoy chai and biscuts with the church body after an outreach...worth the tiredness. Walking into a shack that is a bar, telling people about my Jesus, getting to pray for a man there who wanted prayer and feeling the demonic presence in the place...worth the tiredness. Why is it worth it? Because it's not about me. It's about HIM! If I was doing this for myself it would be easy to be discouraged or just want to sit and rest for awhile, but it is about HIM being given the glory and honor. It is about people seeing the face of Jesus for the first time in their life. Even if for a brief moment. I challenge you, if you are tired for the right reason, keep going. Don't quit. You don't know when the next person you share Jesus with will be the life changing moment they have been searching for.

Tomorrow, Monday, we are off to do a school assembly at W. Nairobi School and then out to Imara Daima for the next two days. This is a "suburb" (if you would call it that) of Nairobi. We are doing 2 open air outreaches each day. Please be in prayer as this is a very poor area and as we drove through there the other night (we were totally lost and our poor driver was about to quit on us I think) I could sense the hopelessness that is there. I trust that the power of Jesus will break many strong holds in this place in the next few days.

Well, tiredness is setting in, and the very comfy bed is calling. Love all of you. Miss you my wonderful family and friends. Thanks for your support in sending me to Africa. The churches here send their blessings to you back home. I can't wait to share my experiences when I get home. I also want to be able to bring some of you with me the next time I go. There is so much need and many of you have so much to offer over here.
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9/05/2009 03:34:00 AM
Played football with kids in Athi River. Not NFL football. Battle Cry is good. Doing unplanned outreach tonight.
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1st Kenya update

9/02/2009 06:24:00 AM
Well, I am in Kenya safely. We had a great flight over the Pond. The plane rides themselves were uneventful...which is good. When we got to the airport, we found that all our luggage made it! Yeah! When we went through to customs, we noticed that they were opening all luggage and going through it. We weren't hidding anything, but we didn't want to have to open up all our stuff. When we got up there, the lady just asked if we had anything to declare (we said no) and she sent us through. She didn't even look at our passports! It was a total blessing of God.

We just got back from our first school assembly. We went to W. Nairobi Christain School (did you go there Mo?) and presented the gospel to them. The response was overwhelming. About 50 kids gave their life to Christ or recommitted it! That's what it is all about. The school was very cool. The school had kids from about 20 different nations. These are missionary kids, international businessman kids and kids from Kenya. They are an International Christian school that doesn't use the Kenyan (English) standard of schooling which is year round. They use the American standard of 2 semester years. Amy, you would love these schools. I think you would love to teach in a place like this. Most of the teachers are from the US. What an amazing ministry to reach out to these kids. They are able to learn about Jesus and then go and make differences in the nations they are from.

Tomorrow we are off to another school assembly. This one is a Christian school that has missionary kids and the kids of Ambassadors and Embassy workers. Can you imagine reaching the kids of national leaders? These kids can then reach their families who will then be able to reach their countries and the other leaders. The name of this school is Roslyn. It is also in Nairobi. We are also going to a church that is for golf caddies. These are men who are not the rich who play golf, but the poor who carry the clubs.

Pray that God will use us in each of these venues. We have seen God moving already and we expect to see more. Our prayer, as we have been talking as I am writing this, we want to be doing the will of the Father. Just as Jesus said that He came to do the will of the Father that sent Him, that is what we are wanting. We want to be able to hear what He says, and then do it right away. Pray that our ears and hearts are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We want to do His will.

We have some great stuff that we planning. It looks as though we are going to be able to feed somewhere between 6,000-7,000 people in the Massai tribe! They are in the middle of a huge drought and their cattle are dying. We are praying that this will work out. Be in prayer that as we transport (a 4 hour drive one way on bad roads) the food and then deliver it, that we are safe. That is ALOT of money going down the road and could be a big target. Pray for our protection and that we will be able to deliver not only food, but the gospel as well.

Well, that is enough for now. I will stay in touch.

Bearing His torch (in Kenya right now)
Eldon
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9/01/2009 10:09:00 AM
In Kenya! Lord Jesus use us. We are willing
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8/31/2009 11:15:00 PM
Safely in Amsterdam
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8/31/2009 12:58:00 PM
On the aero to Amsterdam. Here we go
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Doing it Right

8/31/2009 09:55:00 AM
As I am traveling today, I am reminded of the importance of doing things right. You know, not just going through the motions. I am hoping that today, each of my pilots, ground crews and mech decide to come to work today and do things right. And not just go through the motions. If they just go through the motions...I might die. If they decide to only do the job they are paid to do half-way...I'm dead. Doing things right, and not just going through the motions, are incredibly important to me today. Funny how that same thing is incredibly important to God everyday! He never called us to just go through the motions, do our "job" half-way, love Him partially, only share Him with others when it is easy. No, He wants us to go all the way all the time. As I head to Kenya today, and India next month, I am not willing to just do this half-way. I am willing to sacrifice and be His witness all the way to death. (Not that that is what I am shooting for though!) There are too many people who don't know Jesus for us just to go half-way or to just show up and go through the motions. If you are in Northport, Duvall, Mt. Vernon, Kenya or where ever...show up, do your "job", go all the way! I saw a sign today that said, "If you are waiting until the path is clear, that's not faith." That statement is true for this as well. Don't wait...act now!
Going all the way today...Bearing His torchEldon
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8/31/2009 05:29:00 AM
1st check point of the day is done. Im not a suspect
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8/31/2009 03:40:00 AM
Its dark at 300. Oh, right, its am
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8/30/2009 07:29:00 PM
Tomorrow is D day. Leave home at 230am for 615 flight. Spiritually ready, physically almost.
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Update of Upcoming Schedule

8/24/2009 06:58:00 PM

Blessing to you in the glorious name of our God and Savior. Grace, peace and mercy to you through our eternal hope, Jesus Christ. Praises to our God who is and was and always will be.

I wanted to give you all an update on my plans here in the next little bit. As most of you know, and if you don't you will as you read this, I am going to Kenya on Monday the 31st. I will be gone until September 20th. Yeah, that is a long time, but is not going to be long enough for all that is planned while we are there. We are physically building 2 churches, helping to install a few pastors, bringing food and medicine into the Massai tribe, teaching young leaders, training pastors, leading men's retreats, leading young leaders retreats, preaching in churches, loving on missionary kids and doing evangelistic outreaches. And that is just to name a few things.

We are getting prayed up and are totally expecting great and mighty things while we are there. I serve a God who is still alive and well, and loves people enough that He wants to encounter their imperfect lives with His perfection. I am privileged to be a part of this great work that God wants to do. I am seriously waiting in anticipation to see what God has planned. But I don't want to be a spectator. I want to be USED by God. I want to have His Holy Spirit so active and alive in me that anything could happen. I am truly expecting that we will see salvation, healings, demons cast out and the dead brought back to life. No joke! Not to or for my glory…but for His. All for HIM! I would ask that you please pray for us before we go and certainly while we are there. Pray not only for us, but for our families as well. There are four of us going. Myself, Rick, Tim and Gary. We have to encounter God everyday while we are there. If we try this, even for one day, in our own power we will stumble. In that kind of spiritual battle, we can't afford to stumble or fall. We have to be strong in our LORD. So, we need your prayers.

I have written devotions for the team to read and apply to our lives every day while we are gone. I think it would be wonderful if there were more than just us reading and applying these certain scriptures to our life each day. I would love to have each of you follow along with us, where ever you may be. If you would, pass it on to a friend. Have them pray for us, read with us, and apply these scriptures to their lives as well. I have posted these devotions on New Hope's website, http://newhopenorthport.com/ministrytrips.aspx. That is just the easiest way for me to do it.

September is going to be a busy month. A week after I get back from Kenya, we are having an X – Treme Team outreach in Northport, September 28th. We are doing some school assemblies during the day and then the outreach that night. Then the next day, September 29th, we are going to Ione WA to do the same thing. Then, on October 3rd, Rick and I are heading to India for 10 days. Over there we will be bringing the gospel every day to people in schools, in churches and outside in open air festivals. I know that the people of India are so open to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church has a passion for loving Jesus and loving their neighbors.


 

As you can see, I am going to be very busy, but very fulfilled. Fulfilled, you ask. Yes. See, when we are in the center of God's will for your life, there is a fulfillment that comes. I have been called to be His torch bearer, and I am getting the chance to do this. Normally I get the great privilege of serving Jesus in this capacity while in Northport, but now God is expanding my territory. I don't take this as an opportunity to brag, be boastful or try to have people look at me. I still shake my head in amazement that God would choose a guy like me to do work like this for Him. All I want is to bring glory to Him and bring a smile to His face. I want people to encounter a loving God, who wants them to have a relationship with His Son Jesus. An encounter that doesn't just last for a fleeting moment, but a lasting relationship of pursuing a living God. God has placed a calling in your life. A calling to go and make disciples. He has even given you the tools that you need to do this. He has given you the power of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses. Live out this calling. Live it like today is the last day that you will have to share Jesus with people. Live it like you actually love Jesus and don't want others to die without being introduced to him. Call upon God today. Ask for His power. LIVE today!

I will keep up on Twitter and on this blog while I am gone. Check back from time to time and see what is going on.

Like always….

Bearing His torch

Eldon Kelley

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Uprisings and Riots

7/06/2009 11:13:00 PM
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Watering Green Grass

5/26/2009 04:47:00 PM
Another beautiful day. Sunny, warm and just about perfect. I mowed the lawn even. And it is a stunning green. As I was admiring my completed husbandly task, I was wondering if I should set the sprinkler up on it and let the water flow. But then I thought, "Why? It's green. It doesn't need water." See, that's my problem...I usually wait until it becomes a fire hazard before I decide that water should have be applied to it long before that. And usually it is one certain friend who reminds me that I should be watering it and then so kindly reminds me that the lawn is now dead and that I have sucessfully killed another plant. I just never think about soaking it with water while it's green. It just doesn't seem all that important at the time. It still looks good and watering it is the last thing I think of.
Ah, the spiritual teachings that God reveled to my little 'ol heart on this one!
Too often my spiritual "lawn" looks the same way. Green, fertile and healthy. The last thing I think about is the "watering" that it needs to keep it that way. I'm just content to lay down in it and relax. Thinking that I have "arrived" and have the perfect lawn. Before I know it, I can't even walk across it with my tender little feet because the previously green blades are now brown and feel like knife blades. Then I sit back, scratching my balding head, and muse about what could have happened. It was so perfect not long ago, and now this! Then, a friend will stop by with the wonderful advice of, "Why didn't you "water" it? You almost killed it again." This will often times shock me out of my disbelief, and make me do something.
Trying to revive a dead spiritual lawn is not an easy task! It is so much easier and better to keep it up along the way. Not to mention, it looks better to those looking in from the outside. The brown spiritual lawn isn't what News Boys were talking about in the song Shine. Let them see what you have got! Yeah, brown is not attractive and dried out is not comfortable to walk on. Make them jealous...not with this lawn!
I am learning how to water and fertilize this lawn of mine. Continued prayer (pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians), don't worry about tomorrow but seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6), meditate on, and do the words of God (Joshua 1:8), love the Lord my God with ALL my heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22).
So, I don't know what your lawn looks like right now, but honestly, it's never too far gone. My lawn has gotten crusty brown too many times, and through the fertilizer and water mentioned above has come back to life. But, continued upkeep is so much nicer.
So, load that lawn up with water. Enjoy the green. Let others drive by and wish that they had a lawn like that. Maybe they will stop and ask how you do it.
Ok, gotta run...my lawn says it's thirsty and hungry!
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Asotin, WA, United States
Follower of Jesus, husband, dad, and called to be His torch bearer to the world.
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