Mission ConneXion Northwest 2020

January 17 & 18, 2020
Rolling Hills Community Church
3550 SW Borland Rd, Tualatin, OR 97062

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From the Blog

Oneness Outside the Saltshaker

Becky Pippert – Oneness Outside the Saltshaker

By Bill MacLeod

 

She is known as the author of the book with the catchy title: “Out of the Saltshaker”, but Rebecca Manley Pippert did not start out life immersed in cultural Christianity! Quite the contrary, she discovered Jesus almost by accident. She has been discovering Him ever since as her observations, writings, and speaking engagements have led her around the globe encouraging believers to experience the Living Christ all around us, engaging a world that exists outside the realm of faith. I am so glad to have her voice as a plenary speaker this January! Curious to learn about her perspective on the Oneness of the Body of Christ led us to get better acquainted through this recent interview. Perhaps, as I did, you will find some similarities in your own faith journey…

 

Bill: When were you first aware of God working in your life? What age were you and what were the circumstances?

Becky: I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. I would have described myself as a wistful agnostic. I sensed something was missing: a longing I couldn’t name, an ache for something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I hoped there was a God, but I had lots of unanswered questions.

 

In my search for meaning I explored other religions and other philosophies. Everything I read left me unsatisfied. Yet I had never investigated Christianity, nor read one page of the Bible, because I assumed that having been raised in North America, I already understood it.

 

Then I read two books that changed my life. The first was the novel, The Fall, by Albert Camus, a French atheist existentialist who convinced me that I was a sinner. That may sound an odd conclusion to draw from reading an atheist author, but his unflinching analysis of the human heart was so devastating that it erased any possibility of my becoming an optimistic humanist! Yet Camus had no answers to explain the good we do see.

 

I then came across a book by C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Lewis introduced me to the landscape of Christianity, and he sparked my interest in the Bible.  I began reading the Gospels and found myself captivated by Jesus. Ultimately, I surrendered and committed my life to Jesus Christ right before I went to University — to my parent’s deep shock! But by God’s tremendous grace, one by one every member of my family became followers of Jesus. But it took a while!

 

Bill: What did the Lord use in your life primarily to call you into the ministry you lead now?

Becky: Because I wasn’t raised in faith, I had a real sensitivity about how Christians talked about faith to skeptics. I found myself offended by some of the approaches I saw very well-meaning Christians use. So, I began looking at how Jesus talked about faith. I was struck by his tremendous compassion and love for people – how he showed respect by listening carefully to people – and roused their curiosity in faith by asking brilliant questions. He treated no one as an evangelistic project yet he shared the gospel with great creativity. I started to put all that into practice myself. Then after getting my M.A. in English, I was invited to become the InterVarsity staff worker at Reed College! (and Whitman and Willamette). I began teaching the students how to put the Jesus Way of Witness into practice – and oh my, the fruit we saw!

 

Bill: What has touched you the most about being “One in Christ Jesus” (from Gal 3:28) as you have grown in your walk with Him and carried out your ministry?

Becky: That Jesus was willing to become human, while still remaining divine – for us and for all salvation. Imagine it! Jesus actually showed us what it means to be truly human. He demonstrated that we must not be ashamed of our inadequacy and human limitations – because we’ve been created to be God-dependent – not self-sufficient. What a difference that makes in life and witness! To know that God is delighted to use us just as we are – with the questions we can’t answer – with our fears – with our weaknesses. We just need to remember what the Lord said to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect through your weakness.”  So, as I’ve learned to abide in Christ and to consciously practice his presence throughout the day – it’s made all the difference.

 

Bill: As you consider Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 12:12-27 about the “one-ness” of the Body of Christ, how do you see this truth playing out as you fulfill your ministry?

Becky: Without question my experience of the ‘one-ness’ of the Body of Christ has been God’s great gift of allowing my husband and me to minister round the world: throughout the Global South and recently living for 7 years in Europe – which is considered the most resistant continent on the planet to the gospel. We have learned so much from Christians worldwide and have been so humbled to see their sacrifice and commitment to Christ.

 

Bill: What would you desire attendees at Mission ConneXion Northwest 2020 come away with as a result of your participation and expression?

Becky: My prayer, above all else, is that all of us would fall hopelessly in love with Jesus in a whole new way.

How Do You Live Dead?

Dick Brogden Our Live Dead “ONE”…

By Bill MacLeod

 

We can’t wait to welcome Dick Brogden as a Plenary speaker this January. Growing up in Kenya and spending 27 years as a missionary planting numerous churches, he and his family are now moving from Egypt to Saudi Arabia living out the “Live Dead” movement he started. It is based on the example of Jesus, who showed us how to live dead—not with dread but with great gladness.

 

We recently caught up with him to talk about our theme for 2020: “ONE ~ One Gospel | One Church | One Voice | Be the One!”

 

Bill: When were you first aware of God working in your life? What age were you and what were the circumstances?

Dick: My parents were godly missionaries.  I remember sitting in a little African church at about 7 years old and after my father finished preaching and gave the altar call, a response to give our all to Jesus, I turned to my Kenyan friend – Jimmy Baraza – and said to him…. “I’ll go if you will go!”  And we went to the altar together to give our lives to Jesus.

B: What did the Lord use in your life primarily to call you into the ministry you lead now?

D: When I was 16, I walked out of the dorm of my boarding school and looked up at the glorious heavens, for my school was located on the great Rift Valley, far from any light pollution and the stars were startling.  Seeing the glory of God in the heavens (Psalm 19) and knowing in my spirit that if the heavens so declare the glory of God and there is no language where their speech is unknown….how much more should God be glorified by the crown of His creation: Every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.  God used the stars to call me into missions with a focus on unreached peoples.

 

B: What has touched you the most about being “One in Christ Jesus” (from Gal 3:28) as you have grown in your walk with Him and carried out your ministry?

D: The realization that no mission agency, no nationality, no person can complete the great commission outside of unity with the body of Christ.  I have a deep desperation therefore to fight for unity in the body of Christ so that the gospel might be preached to every people, so that we can all go home – eternal life, united with Christ, united forever with no schisms.

B: As you consider Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 12:12-27 about the “one-ness” of the Body of Christ, how do you see this truth playing out as you fulfill your ministry?

D: Certainly not in uniformity.  The beauty of a unified body is in our differences.  I see oneness played out in the inter-dependence we have on each other BECAUSE we are different.  My experience in Sudan is that need fosters unity across the body of Christ.  I need to honestly come to terms with my limitations and weaknesses, to honestly admit that I need others, before I will lay down my preferences for the great good of unity.  Unity in the body is costly, we have to lay something down in order to take it up.  We are not willing to pay the cost of laying something down unless we are driven by both the need AND THE BEAUTY of unity.

 

B: In John 10:30 the Bible speaks of Jesus being ONE with the Father, but in John 17:11, Jesus says that we should also be ONE with Them. When do you most experience oneness with the Father and Son, as you carry out your life and ministry?

D: While there is a beauty in corporate worship, a union of the whole with the Godhead, I most experience unity with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in my quiet abiding times with Him.  Morning prayer walks, Bible reading with a cup of Chai, evening sessions singing old hymns at the piano.  In those simple and extravagant times when I am my beloved’s and He is mine…and His banner over me is love.

B: What would you desire attendees at Mission ConneXion Northwest 2020 come away with as a result of your participation and expression?

D: A desperation for the simplicity of JUST HAVING JESUS.  A hunger for Him and only Him.  A longing for His presence and to spend extravagant daily time with Him.  A commitment to abiding with Him all day long.  An understanding that our most sacred ambition is actually not to be a missionary, but to be with Christ…which is far better. (Philippians 1:23 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far)

 

In addition, Dick will also be challenging us at Leadership ConneXion 2020 on Friday, January 17th with: John 15- Abiding in Christ in a Disciple-Making Context” – a must for all leaders.  Register / Learn More here.

Would YOU have pressed on?

Lay-Mobilizer Impact – Part II

By Bill MacLeod

 

Last Month we be brought you the story of Jeff Reed (“Ordinary Lay-Mobilizer – Remarkable Impact”) who, with his wife, had started the “GO Group” which has been raising up and sending out college students from the Portland-Vancouver area since 2012.  When they could not go on the field themselves, they took that burden/passion and channeled it into this mobilizing effort.  The ‘push-back’ they received from spiritual realms included job loss; seasons of under-employment; the unexpected and tragic deaths of their parents, his brother, and eventually Jeff’s wife Lori – all within a span of six years. But how did these circumstances impact their two kids’ lives?  Today, both Tim and Megan Reed are on the mission field.  Megan is a missionary nurse serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua, Indonesia. This is her story…

 

Bill: How did you initially “hear” the Lord’s call on your life?

Megan: At seven years old I felt very strongly that God was calling me to be a medical missionary in Asia. I grew up in a very missional family and I think the strong focus on sharing the good news of Jesus no matter where you are had a significant impact on my life.

 

B: How did life’s hard situations impact you and your thinking and faith?

M: I once heard a sermon that said that God uses the hard things in our lives to mold us and to take our weak hearted, soft will to follow God and strengthen and harden it until you have an iron resolve to follow God regardless of the circumstances. The hardest situation came a mere five months after I finally left the USA for my first mission assignment. I got a call from my Dad to tell me that my Mom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I really wrestled with what to do. I had worked hard to get to the mission field and now I was contemplating going back to the USA only a few months into my first assignment. Hard experiences have helped me to draw closer to God, to realize just how little strength I have and how much I need to depend on God’s strength in order to do anything. God’s grace and perseverance deepened my faith because God is faithful, loving, gracious and good in the midst of, in spite of, and because of hard things. He wastes nothing.

 

B: Did your career choice (nursing) come out of your early family experiences?

M: I have always loved people, loved science, loved to help and to help others especially. I think these combined to motivate my career choice. That, and I always felt God called me to medical missions, I just later narrowed down the branch of medicine based on my personality and preferences.

 

B: What did you see in or learn from your parents during these formative years?

M: Humility, perseverance, prioritization of a walk with God and sharing the good news about Jesus no matter where you are and no matter what your “job” is. I saw deep love for God in their lives and an intentionality about keeping their faith integrated with their life.

 

B: Was the vision always clear for you, or did you doubt His direction during any of the time growing up, etc.?

M: God’s call on my life was always clear and always like a fire shut up in my bones. I did go through a season where I was going through the motions of Christianity, but I wasn’t really walking with God. God used and redeemed that and has used it many times to help me to share the good news with people who have grown up religious but have never had a real walk with God. They can relate to my story.

 

B: How did your Mom’s passing impact your trajectory in the past, present, and looking to the future?

M: My Mom’s passing both did and did not have a profound impact on my overall trajectory. I actually struggled quite a bit in the decision to come back from the mission field after only being overseas for 5 months. I had worked for almost 20 years to get to the mission field and now I had to go back. However, her death has opened up doors of relationship because those I serve have suffered a lot of loss, especially of close loved ones, and it gives a common bond and a common platform. It has given me more compassion but also more drive to share the gospel with a more concrete reality of the fragility and brevity of life.

 

B: Do you have any advice for others who may be wrestling with God’s call to missions on their lives?

M: If you are wrestling with God’s call to missions on your life, I would say this: learn to be more impressed with your God than your circumstances. God will guide you, but first you must really know him, not about him, and you must know his Word. Out of this will flow so many things you need, to follow his call on your life. It will help you stay grounded in sound theology in times of suffering and testing, it will help you survive and thrive in the hard and dry seasons, and it will help you return to the right source – Christ – when you are overwhelmed. God is faithful to guide. All you must do is intentionally walk with him and he will guide your footsteps. One of my favorite verses is, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.”  If you don’t quit, you can’t fail. Put the boat in the water, God will shut doors, but he will also get you through hard times.

 

If you, or someone you know, is interested in attending the GO Group, email GoGroupPDX@gmail.com to find out the location! Please let others know of this opportunity to meet and pray together.

Ordinary Lay-Mobilizer – Remarkable Impact

Ordinary Lay-Mobilizer – Remarkable Impact

By Bill MacLeod

Jeff Reed works as a Security Architect for Cambria Health Solutions. He came on my radar around 2012 after he and his wife, Lori, had formed a mission mobilization fellowship called the “GO Group” aimed at raising up and sending out college students from the Portland-Vancouver area. Their journey into missions was not typical, or easy. I recently caught up to interview him after not being in touch for several years. This is his story…

 

Bill: When did you first sense a call to missions, and what did you do about it?

Jeff: My wife Lori and I began pursuing service on the mission field in 1980, shortly after we were married.  We went to the leaders of our church at the time, and our pastor said that we must plant 2-3 churches in the U.S. before we could go to the mission field.  We submitted to leadership and when it was our turn to be launched, we were sent, but there were no funds.  We were diligent. We saw one young woman give her heart to Christ, before our church closed it down. We eventually were led to move to Portland, Ore.

 

B: What life setbacks did you face even as you continued to pursue the Lord in missions?

J: Yes, I was unemployed Jan 2003 to June 2004.  We were a single income home throughout these events.  From June 2004 until October 2005 I lived 2 hours away by car from my family to make ends meet. I was able to afford to come home every 2-4 weeks depending on finances. Then these events took place:

  • My Dad passed away in February 2009 and dementia symptoms set in for my Mom by 2011.
  • My wife Lori became ill in Oct 2014 and by May 2015, she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
  • In August 2015, Lori’s parents are both killed in a car accident.
  • After chemo, radiation, and other treatments, on August 18, 2016, my wife Lori passes away.
  • The very next day, my own brother suddenly passes away from a blood clot to his lungs.
  • May 2018 – my mother passes away

 

B: Have you experienced friends pulling away as you went through these hard things?

J: Those whom we knew were close, have stayed close.  Some who were closer to my wife, have withdrawn a little which seems right and normal, though it was still somewhat painful in its own way.

 

B: How did these major life events impact your kid’s lives?

J: My daughter Megan and son Tim grew through these events to more clearly know the way of the Cross.  It has clearly been a struggle, but neither of them have waivered in pursuing what God has called them to. Today, our daughter Megan has been serving as a Wycliffe missionary nurse in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea since January of 2015. In June 2018 our son, Tim, left to begin his work and training at JAARS (Wycliffe) in North Carolina.  He returns in July before going to Papua New Guinea to begin work as a missionary pilot/mechanic in a couple of weeks. They are fulfilling the dreams for missionary service Lori and I had when we first began our married life together.

 

B: What has been the “fruit that remains” (John 15:16) results from the “GO Group” through all of this?

J: Besides our own 2 kids; from 2012 to the present, the GO Group has sent out between 17-20 individuals to the following countries: Brazil, Kenya, Thailand, Scotland, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, China, Afghanistan.

 

B: Is this typical in your experience?
J:
While 2-3 people per year having been sent to 13 countries over a 7-year period does not sound like many; when you consider this is a ‘random’, unpublicized group that people only hear about through “word of mouth” that meets in different homes on the 2nd Saturday of the month at 6:30pm, led by those who are, in some cases, laboring cross-culturally here locally, we are amazed at what the LORD has done!  God is always faithful!

 

B: Finally, what would you say to those who may have felt a strong “calling” to missions but, do not have a supportive network with whom they can share and pray with over these longings?

J: Please join us on the 2nd Saturday of the month (ie., July 13th, August 10th, Sept. 14th etc.) and Email us at: GoGroupPDX@gmail.com to find out the location! Please let others know of this opportunity to meet and pray together! Finally, please understand that God has not changed because He cannot change. Trust what He has told you, no matter what you see and feel. God will take care of your circumstances!

The Incredible Story of Jake and Mitsuo

The Incredible Story of Jake and Mitsuo

by Bill MacLeod

He was born in Stayton, Oregon to parents who loved Christ; read the Bible daily and took him to church and Sunday school – but he was not interested. After graduating from Madras High School, he eventually joined the Army. He volunteered to be part of a secret mission that led to a bombing raid over a foreign city, parachuting out of his plane when it ran out of fuel, only to be taken captive when he landed behind enemy lines.

The guards in the prison camp tortured him and the other prisoners and as he watched some succumb to their mistreatment, his hatred for them grew. In solitary confinement he wondered what made people hate other members of the human race, and what made him hate them? For over three years he was interred in this POW camp and one day, after about two years, one of the guards gave him a Bible. He read it through from cover to cover several times until he came to Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 Finally, he understood the faith he had been brought up with but had never been able to grasp; surrendered his life to Christ and began to forgive his captors. He soon began to treat his captors with respect and found that they, then, in turn reacted in similar fashion. Fourteen months later, the war ended, and he was released from prison. He returned to the USA with a deep desire to attend Bible college to become a missionary – in order to return to the land of his captivity armed this time with the gospel. He wrote of his experiences in a gospel track entitled: “I was a prisoner of Japan”.

In a different part of the world, another man was being prepared to go to war, also as an airman. He rose up through the ranks and earned the position of commander. His big moment came when he was put in charge of a great attack utilizing 423 aircraft that was very successful. Two months later he led another major attack. He became a hero in his country, but as the war continued, people forgot what he had accomplished, and he was demoralized.  He miraculously escaped the bombing that ended the war in the city where he had been just the day before.

Called upon to testify after the war at trials for some of his own military for war crimes, he was filled with revenge and was convinced that his people had been mistreated at the hands of their captors just as his people had mistreated their prisoners. He was surprised to meet his former flight engineer who had been taken captive but had not been mistreated. In fact, his friend told a surprising story of a young lady whose missionary parents had been killed by their country’s soldiers, but who had returned to minister to them with the deepest of love and respect during their imprisonment. Not too long afterwards, he was at a train station in his country when he was handed the pamphlet “I was a prisoner of Japan”…

The prisoner of war from Stayton, Oregon, was Jacob “Jake” DeShazer, who had been part of “Doolittle’s Raiders” over Japan, finally finding Christ in a Japanese POW camp before WWII ended.  The commander was Mitsuo Fuchida, commander of the air attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941; who found Christ as a result of reading Jake DeShazer’s pamphlet “I was a prisoner of Japan”, then also searching the Scriptures to see if it was true…after having missed the bombing of Hiroshima by one day…

Jake returned to Nagoya, Japan as a missionary where he served for 30 years with his wife Florence; and Mitsuo became an evangelist preaching in the US and Japan, and writing three books, including one about his conversion entitled “From Pearl Harbor to Calvary”. The two men whose love of Christ overcame their hatred and revenge, became close friends and led evangelistic meetings throughout Japan where many followed Christ.

I never had the privilege to meet Jake DeShazer personally, but I did interview him by phone before his death in 2008. Mitsuo passed away in 1976. Their stories are among the most incredible to come out of WWII. Never underestimate the power of the gospel to transform lives!

Do Prayer + Mission Connect?

One person who is convinced the two are inseparable is Dennis Fuqua, Director of International Renewal Ministries (IRM) known as the prayer summits. For some years he has led the efforts of Prayer ConneXion, but he’s also a recent addition to the Board of Directors for Mission ConneXion.  Here is what he shared recently about this unique ConneXion event, coming May 17-18…

No one is “against prayer.”  It is just that there could be so many more who really are “for” prayer! 

Would you like to experience a greater confidence that your prayers are right in line with God’s will?  Do you attend a regular prayer meeting that is okay, but not as powerful as you think it could be?  Did you attend Mission ConneXion, received motivation to “do more” in missions, but you are not sure just what that might be?  You know you want to be engaged in God’s work around the world, but can’t pack up and move?

Prayer ConneXion 2019, an official event of Mission ConneXion, is designed to be a place “Where prayer and mission connect.”  Whether you are an experienced pray-er, the leader of a prayer team, or have just sensed a need to grow in prayer, attending Prayer ConneXion 2019 will help you be encouraged and challenged to be more engaged in God’s work through prayer.

Southwest Hills Baptist Church will host this year’s event.  It will take place Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, May 17-18.  Josh White (pastor of Door of Hope, Portland) and Rick Elzinga (recently retired pastor of Southwest Hills Baptist) will be the two plenary speakers.  Both of these men have not only developed significant prayer lives but have helped others do the same.  In addition to these two men, there will be twelve practical workshops presented by experienced prayer leaders throughout the greater Portland area.

Go to https://missionconnexion.com/prayer-connexion-2019/ for more information or just register here.  Registration includes two plenary sessions, two opportunities for workshops, and Saturday lunch.  During the weekend, there will be as much actual prayer as there is talk about prayer!  Groups of 10 or more get a 50% discount.

Hope you can experience how prayer and mission connect!

Contact Us

Mission Connexion

  • P.O. Box 91338
  • Portland, OR 97291
  • Feel free to call us (503-614-1582) if you or your broker has questions. Thank you!

 

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