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Monday
May292017

Changing Hearts at Home and Abroad

“And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15, brackets mine

Every year, Charis Bible College Colorado sends hundreds of second-year students around the world to preach the Gospel. And every year they return with testimonies of healings, salvations, and miracles. Perhaps the greatest testimonies are those of the students’ changed hearts and minds. Charis students who leave Colorado somewhat timid return emboldened. Those who leave quoting theory come home with revelation. And many who are seeking God for that “next step” return with vision.

This year has been no different.

Tim Mayes, a Charis Colorado student who went to Costa Rica, returned in awe of the way God changed his heart during his team’s trip. “Costa Rica was not my first choice,” Tim says. “I don’t even think it was my last choice, but I am fully aware that it was the correct choice for me.” During Tim’s trip, the Lord challenged him to do something with the wisdom and knowledge he had received from Charis. Tim describes what he heard the Holy Spirit say to him: “You have been given all of this. What are you going to do with it? But then a short time later, Tim tells how the staff leader, Steve Bartlett, “pointed his footlong index finger [at me] and asked, ‘What are you going to do for the next twenty years that will count for eternity?’ This gets your attention, starts a person to thinking. Long story short, I’m headed back to Costa Rica this summer to work in the remote villages. Hallelujah!”

Another member of the team, Rosemary Goddard, shares her story:

“Some years ago…God spoke to me and told me I would be teaching and preaching…[and] would travel and ‘go places that no man would go.’ Not really understanding [that] phrase, I said, ‘Okay, Lord!’ In the city of Limón [Costa Rica], some of us were scheduled to go up to what we called ‘the church on the hill.’ The church was in an area where we had to walk up the hill to get to it. It would [mean] climbing muddy, rocky roads, so it was not possible for the bus to reach it…. Our leader, Pastor Douglas, told us that no teachers or pastors would come to this church and others like it because they did not want to walk. It is too hot. There is no air conditioning in the church. The roads are too muddy. It is rainy sometimes, and they do not get enough money for doing it. I rejoiced when God reminded me of His words many years ago. This was my first church for ‘going places no man [would] go,’ and for me, it [will] not [be] my last.”

Student Jon Rand says, “Each individual going on a [Charis] mission[s] trip comes back, I am confident, with different impressions of the experience they had.” He describes his own experience like this:

“Our team traveled deep into the rainforest to an indigenous tribal village of the Bribri people. Here, life is simple but hard. … Our group joined a Saturday, midafternoon church service. The congregation gathered under a black plastic tarp…. Seating was crude wooden benches and old, rusted, schoolroom chairs. … Through an interpreter, one [Charis] team member addressed the native Bribri people about simply asking God for what they’re believing in and then expecting it to happen. Near the end of the service, a local pastor shared that they [were] believing for a new church facility. I took them aside after the service to inquire what that would cost. As I headed down the path toward our waiting bus, God spoke to me about helping to build that church—providing them the funds. Upon returning, we have been busy putting together a plan—a way to channel the funds, monitor the project, and simply make it happen. God is quickly opening doors. That church building will soon become a reality! Praise His name!”

If you would like to help take the Gospel of Christ to the nations through the missions trips taken by Charis students, go to our
website: iamworldoutreach.com.

Please share a comment below if the testimonies from this Charis missions trip ministered to you.

(Note: Testimonies have been edited for length and clarity.)

- Roxanne Troup

From outside the United States, visit awme.net to order products.

Thursday
May252017

How Much Is Enough? Part Two

In part one, I shared my childhood experiences of getting caught up in religious traditions. For someone like me who grew up in church, those traditions—or sacred cows as Andrew calls them—became inevitable. Through wrong teaching and a “creative” big brother, I lived in fear of such things as being struck by lightning or facing the guillotine if my sins caught me in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I did eventually grow up—and grow out of those fears. Unfortunately, the religious traditions, or sacred cows, just took on new forms.

With those childhood fears behind me, I spent many adult years shedding “cleansing” tears at the altar of a church where emotions reigned. The thought that I had to get right and stay right was always present, particularly on those Sundays when I didn’t feel as much emotion as I “should.”

When my husband and I finally moved on, God led us to sit under some amazing Word-based teaching. We took copious notes, read our Bibles more than ever, and grew and grew. We learned to speak words of faith and to believe God for big things!

In our quest for God’s promises, we were hard workers. We had our confession routine down pat. We read chapter after chapter in our Bibles. We paid our tithes and gave offerings of money, jewelry, and time. All this was in a quest to move God to meet our needs.

Although much of what we were doing was good, we were missing a key point in all our doings. Andrew explains it like this: “We start tying God’s goodness and [the] demonstration of his power to our goodness. And the moment you do that, you negate the power of God, the goodness of God.” What he is referring to is found in Mark 7:13, where Jesus says the religious people were “making the word of God of no effect through [their] tradition” (New King James Version, brackets mine).

Works had become our new tradition, and we didn’t even realize it. We were starting to hear about the goodness of God, but only seeing it in parts—no matter how hard we worked.

In Monday’s post, I asked the question: What would be enough? And once again, Andrew has the perfect answer: “When you are trusting in your effort, you can never do enough. There could always be something more.”

Wow! That was certainly us. We could never seem to do enough.

God’s grace is transformative! And we are amazed at how our lives have changed since we discovered that God’s blessing is not wrapped up in what we do. None of what we do moves God.

So, what does move Him? Well, the truth is, He isn’t moved. All that He is ever going to do has already been done through Jesus! Jesus’ words“It is finished!” (John 19:30, NKJV) mean just that: It is finished! Ephesians 1:3 says that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (NKJV). “Has blessed” is past tense, which means it has already been done.

After years of spinning my wheels, I’ve finally let go of traditions and am truly discovering the goodness of God. It’s the good teaching of the Word that has turned my life around. There have been no lightning strikes or guillotine threats, only freedom and completeness in Him because He already did it all. Jesus is the One who did enough!

Andrew’s Encounter Grace Package contains a number of teachings that will help you let go of your own traditions and open your heart up to God’s goodness. We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment for us!

- Jill M. Smith

From outside the United States, visit awme.net to order products.

Monday
May222017

How Much Is Enough? Part One

“If we really understood the goodness of God without any religious baggage that held us back, I guarantee you, all of your problems would be over.”

Andrew Wommack

We called them pew races. My brother and I stood on a back pew, he said, “Go!” and we were off. The goal was to climb over each pew, reach the front of the church, and climb back. Our family lived across the street from our church, a building that was always unlocked. The purpose was for people to pray and seek solace any time of the day or night. It was a beautiful concept, provided kids weren’t playing inside at the time.

Regardless of our free rein of the sanctuary, there was one strict rule my brother taught me: never step behind the altar. The huge table was draped in a different-colored cloth based on the Christian season, and only the priest was qualified to walk behind this most holy object.

So, what would happen to a kid who walked behind the altar? Well, my brother told me that God would strike me down…with lightning. Really? Pew races were okay, but walking on the wrong side of a table would be my undoing? No matter how absurd this sounded, I still believed it.

That’s how religion is. It sets up rules and traditions, urges its followers to live by them, and then uses God as the punisher of the rulebreakers.

In Andrew’s teaching this week, Killing Sacred Cows, he refers to Mark 7:13:“Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition” ( New King James Version). He says, “It’s our religious traditions that make the statement…that God is a good God not have its full effect [in our lives].” He says this series is “about countering these religious concepts that void [and] negate the power of God.”

During my pew-racing days, I also attended events at another church. I “got saved” every night at a kids’ crusade. I also tried to read through my King James Bible and felt guilty over my failure to even finish Genesis. After watching a series of ‘70s-era end-times movies, I began to fear the guillotine. Lightning strikes, the guillotine—would these be my fate if I messed up? The idea that I must “get right, stay right—or else” was drilled into me. And whatever I did, it would never be enough.

But what would be enough? Andrew’s current television series will help answer this question.

If you haven’t been watching Gospel Truth this month, I encourage you to go back and watch the Killing Sacred Cows series from the beginning. In it, Andrew touches on many of his powerful teachings, such as Living in the Balance of Grace & Faith and The True Nature of God, and he’ll continue the series through the end of May. And check out our blog this Thursday for the conclusion of this story.

In the comments section below, feel free to share your own memories of how God’s grace set you free from religious traditions.

- Jill M. Smith

From outside the United States, visit awme.net to order products.