Condition or Position

Condition or Position, which is your foundation?
Based on my experiences, I believe many self-professed believers live a life of conditional faith. They make decisions and life applications based on the conditions they see, feel, and experience. If they feel close to God, they tend to act more Godly. But, if they feel un-Godly or things happen to them that appear to be un-Godly, they tend to act un-Godly.
These two different reactions are equally dangerous for the believer and while they might appear to be in opposite directions, they are in fact going in the same direction; away from God. The person who feels Godly, will develop a sense of pride and self-worth which will separate him from God. The one who feels un-Godly will develop a sense of unworthiness which will also separate him from God.
The result is a body of believers who are on a spiritual roller coaster. One day they are on top of the world because they led someone to the Lord, and the next day they are in a dark depression because they sinned. This has two equally negative results. First, those in the church see this and start to believe it is normal and those outside the church see it and wonder what is the point of Christianity.
Why does this happen? I believe the short answer is ignorance; ignorance on the part of the believer for not knowing the whole truth and ignorance on the part of the corporate church for not teaching the whole truth. The truth I am talking about is your condition prior to Christ and your position after Christ. In order to live the life that Christ died for you to live, it is imperative that you understand these two foundational truths.
Let’s start with the truth about condition. Before Christ you weren’t bad, you were dead! And after Christ, you are not better, you are alive! Many believers think they were bad and now they are good or at least getting better. They think they are constantly improving and one day they will be just right. That is a lie the enemy uses to keep believers immobilized.
Secondly, while most believers understand Christ died for them, they don’t understand that they also died with Christ. They are missing the truth that because they died with Christ, then their old self is also dead. All of their old desires, feeling, and lusts are therefore dead too. Unfortunately many believers try to revive the old self, make it better, and live like a “new and improved” version of the old person. They try to do things that appear Godly, they try to think and say things that appear Godly, but at the end of the day, they are corpses trying to act like they are alive. This leads to continual discouragement and defeat which is what Satan wants to see in believers.
This means everything that happens in a believer’s life must be evaluated according to their position with Christ! The positions we must understand are that we were with Christ on the cross and in the grave. Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:6 tell us that we were crucified with Christ. Romans 6:4 tells us that we were buried with Christ and therefore our old selves were crucified and buried. If my old self has been crucified and buried, how can it possibly live again? Why would I want it to? Trying to bring something that was dead and buried back to life sounds like a bad horror movie. But that is exactly what many believers try to do.
But, if my old self is dead, who is it that is living in my body? The answer to that is a crucial building block of the believer’s life. Galatians 2:20 tells us that the life living in my body is none other than the life of Christ. We get more confirmation on this from 1 Corinthians 3:1, 6:17, 19.
So, why is this so important? If a believer is trying to do things through the power of his old self, he will continually fail. This is because there is no good thing in my old body. Paul confirms this in Romans 7:18. Therefore, we are unable to produce any good thing from our old selves. In fact, Paul gives us a perfect example of this in Galatians 5:16-25. In this passage, we are told that our sinful nature (old self) is incapable of producing anything of moral value.
In fact, the only thing the sinful nature can produce is sin. So, even if you are trying to do something righteous, and you use your old self (sinful nature) to accomplish it, it will be tainted by sin. But, if you allow the new you (filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit) to accomplish a deed, it will be righteous.
So, in order for us to live the life of holiness that God has placed before us, we must first understand that it isn’t us living at all, but Christ living in and through us. Then we must allow Christ to lead the way in our daily experiences. Each time we are faced with a choice or an opportunity to respond to a situation, we must understand that we (our old self) have no choice because we are dead. Then we must allow Christ who is living in us to make the choice for us. Only when we willingly follow the choices that Christ makes for us, are we living a life of faith.
Dear friend, please ask yourself, are you a conditional or positional believer?

The September (sort of) Update

Hello again to our faithful supporters. It is time for another update on our progress towards Norway. As of today there are 235 days until our expected departure date and things are still moving forward.

The House: This week we had our contractor come and start giving us final numbers for renovating one of our bathrooms. This is the only major project we will do prior to listing the house besides one room of carpet and some paint. Even though this is a minor job it feels like a major step for us. Just like the yard sale, this is one more step of faith towards the unknown.

The Trip: We were able to take another trip to meet old (and not so old) friends. We visited Minneapolis for about 24 hours, then 3 days in Oregon and then we had 4 nights in Glacier National Park (Montana). It was a great time of renewing friendships and relaxing in God’s awesome creation. Pictures are viewable through the link provided. The cityscapes are of Minneapolis at night and sunrise. The ones with a single mountain are Mt Hood, Oregon. Anything with the ocean is the Oregon coast between Lincoln City and Newport. The rest are from Glacier.

The Close(ish) Encounter: On our last morning in Glacier, I got up early and went to a local lake where moose were reported to be visiting. When I arrived, there was a cow and calf in the lake eating grass. A few minutes later a young bull arrived on scene and he was making the grunting sound that said he was feeling amorous. The cow didn’t appear to be impressed so she ran into the woods-about 50 yards from me- and he was in hot pursuit. (notice the pictures) This caused me great concern (scared) because I was alone at the lake and all I knew was there was a “moose on the loose” between me and my exit route. I could hear them running about but I had no idea of where they were or what direction they would go next. I had already picked the tree I would climb if needed but I wasn’t sure I would be able to provide much safety. After several minutes of quiet, I was able to make my way back to the trail and I had to pass about 20 yards from the cow and bull. I lived to tell the tale but I could hear Jo in the back of my mind saying “this isn’t safe!!!” BTW, the scenery was AWESOME!

The Office: work is somewhat slow now because we are in the off season for folks going on mission trips. But this is good because it is literally the first time in 3 years that Jo hasn’t felt overwhelmed at work. My replacement has been determined and that is good. But the best part is that she is the young lady who has been working for me for the past 18 months so she knows what is going on (better than I do) and it will be a smooth transition for the team.

Up Coming Trip: I will travel to Athens, Greece for a Short-Term Mission Conference on the 24th of this month. This will give me the opportunity to meet with other leaders from around OM and to start establishing policies that will streamline and simplify our processes. In the long run, that will translate into more missionaries on the field. It will be a great experience but it is over Jo’s birthday and she is not looking forward to that. I have already been warned that the present better be big this year!

Thank you all for reading and supporting us in this amazing journey that Jesus is leading us on. We feel very privileged and honored to be part of it. And if it wasn’t for your prayers and financial support, this would not be happening.

Dave and Jo

Pictures of our recent trip at:     https://mckissickmilesphotos.shutterfly.com

 

Prayer requests: Raising Support

We have shared our story with over 25 households so far and 8 of them have agreed to become new financial supporters.   We still have about 12 more households to contact or to receive an answer from.

We would ask you to pray specifically for the following items:

  • That our remaining conversations would be fruitful
  • That the folks who are still “thinking about it” would decide to support us
  • That folks would start contributing now so their gifts will cover our start-up fees
  • If we need to add names to our list of potential supporters, we would know who to add
  • A church to support us
    • Most missionaries have a church that agrees to pick up a percentage of their support. For several reasons, this isn’t the case with us.