Testing the Spirits | Talent and Happiness

Spirit #1: Talent and Happiness

“God won’t ‘call’ you to do anything you can’t do or something you aren’t naturally talented at, and He certainly won’t call you to do something that won’t make you happy,” so said the pastor on the radio. This statement caused my radar to pop up and I had to do some research of my own. Let’s test these words against the witness of the Word. Does God ever ‘call’ us to things we don’t want to do and even think we can’t? I quickly discovered a few examples.

 1. Moses

God very literally calls Moses to go to Pharaoh and command him to release the Israelites. Moses comes up with several excuses. His first is in Exodus 3:11, “Who am I?!” Moses doesn’t seem to feel up to the challenge in this verse. In 4:10 he says, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” So he wasn’t talented at the task he was called to do. God tells Moses that He will be with Moses and will also help with the provision of Moses’ brother Aaron.

Moses called by God

2. Jonah

Jonah is another obvious example of a person who was very unhappy with the task he was given. He throws multiple tantrums, tries to run, and even wishes he was dead! Definitely not looking good for Spirit #1.

3. Mary

Yup, it’s December, so where would we be without a Christmas character reference? Mary, a 12-14 year old girl, was called to bear the God-Man as her son…Think she felt up to that challenge?

4. All the Apostles/NT Saints

Jesus calls regular dudes, twelve of them. Then he builds a following of women, men, sinners, and tax collectors. He tells them things like, “The world hates you because it has first hated Me,” “in this world you have troubles,” and, “foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man [and those who follow] have no place to lay their heads.”

5. Also see: Noah, Jacob, Joseph, David, Job, all the prophets of the Old Testament, and basically every major Bible character

So what’s this? God seemingly calls everyone to step outside of their limits of strength and abilities, and comfort in order to follow Him? God isn’t all about bringing us comfort and making us look good, but bringing the World to Him and showing His power in weak people.

Just some thoughts from a sanctified sinner,

Testing the Spirits

There are so many “spirits” or teachings floating around the airways these days. Statements made on radio, TV, and the internet. Shows like “Bible Secretes Revealed”, “The Bible”, and countless radio programs each claiming a unique and “never before seen/heard” revelations from God’s Word. It’s all very fishy to me, so I thought I would put some of these spirits to the test.


I will be taking different statements I hear in media and “shine the light of the Word” on those suckers to see if what they are saying matches what God says. I will attempt to keep my own opinions out of these examinations and let the Word do the majority of the heavy lifting.


I hope that, by holding these “spirits” or teachings up to the light, to reveal them as true or false. I also hope to push us all into the Word for our answers instead of being, “Tossed by every wave and carried about by every wind of doctrine” eph 4:14

“He really wants me doesn’t He?!”

For the past couple of months Lauren and I have been working on transcribing some letters and notes of a senior missionary with New Tribes Mission.

It has been a long process, and, unfortunately, a re-occurring theme in these works is that happy endings are rare. I read about young children who die, who lose the ability to walk, and who get bit by snakes and have their flesh rot away. As I read, I keep waiting for the happy ending, the helicopter full of doctors, the vaccine to finally take effect, but the sad reality is that life for these people is a daily fight for survival.


Just listen to this excerpt from the notes:

               “Whatever will become of us?” Lina’s mother cried, holding Lina tightly to her breast and pouting at the limp leg hanging beside her. My through was tight. I had no words of consolation, and I held out my arms to Lina. She didn’t smile…she never does anymore…but she held one arm out to me, and I lifted her from her mother’s embrace. She’d been the pride of her family since her birth less than two years earlier, and had been so exceptional on her appearance. And now… She’d stopped eating when she first became sick, and I’d begun bribing her with hard candies. She clung tightly to me with one arm. Her mother often cries with the realization that her little beauty queen is going to be one of the village outcasts…a dirty, helpless cripple.

We live in such a bubble! I’ve never seen a person die, and I’ve seldom seen someone in real physical distress. We talk about needs, physical and spiritual, but I think we don’t always realize the condition of the “dark places” of this world. The way things are left in spite of, and sometimes because of, our neglectful, opulent, self-focused, lifestyles.

People, God wants these people. He’s going to bring the eternal happy ending to some, but there are still billions who will never have an eternal happy ending because the Word of God has not yet reached their language and will not reach them unless we the Church start obeying the commission of the Father and start taking His heart for the world as our own.

One tribal man, after repeatedly denying the work of Christ and experiencing an incredible phenomenon while hiking in the jungles had this to say to the missionaries.

               “Ai (their name for the missionary),” Jose asked, “Why did God do that? Why does he want to scare me?”

               “He wants you to know He’s really there!” Ai laughed.

               “He really wants me, doesn’t He?!” Jose laughed.

God really does care about and want the Lost! Do we?

Just some thoughts from a sanctified sinner, Mark

Read more stories from the missionary above here.

Still snow-bound in Buffalo

We are still snow-bound in Buffalo, NY and it doesn’t look like we’ll be flying out till Friday, November 21st.

We are eagerly awaiting to see our friends and family in Texas, and we’re hoping to make it to church at FBC Grandview this Sunday!

Please pray that Friday’s flight will be the one! We are enjoying our very white “mini-vacation” in Buffalo till then.


The view outside our hotel window


Blizzards in Buffalo

October 2014 Update

Our time in Canada has come to an end (for now) as we have been out of country for almost 9 hours now. It’s been hard saying goodbye to family, friends, and our church here. It’s also been challenging trying to sort through our belongings and pick what comes with us and what stays behind. Now we’re spending the night at a hotel across from the airport as all the flights have been canceled for today.

Sometimes we wonder… Is it worth all this hassle and sadness to leave family and dear ones for such a long time? And we remember that yes, it is worth it because HE is worth it!

We aren’t doing this because it will be fun and easy, but because His love compels us to share His Good News with those who have never heard.

So Wednesday afternoon, we board our plane (hopefully) and take the first step in our journey to work as church planters in Asia-Pacific.

What we’ve been up to this month:

  • Mark is back, after traveling across Western Canada with co-workers speaking at Bible schools, churches, and youth groups.
  • We all enjoyed a wonderful time with Mark’s parents, siblings, and their kids down in South Carolina for a week.
  • Leo had an appointment at Sick Kids with great results. So thankful!

Please pray with us:

  • That the weather would improve so that we will be able to fly to Texas tomorrow at 2pm!
  • For Leo – as we’ve been traveling since Monday night and that he’d be able to adjust to staying in a new home.
  • For us as we miss our family and friends, that we would be able to keep an eternal perspective!

Thank you for praying with us!

Till Every Tribe is Reached,

Mark, Lauren, & Leo