Wednesday, December 31, 2014

153 Fish

"...153 big fish! Even with all those fish, the net didn't rip." John 21:11 The Message

A few days ago while reading my morning devotion, I saw the passage in John 21 with a fresh perspective. The Disciple (John) actually noted the number of BIG fish caught after the weary fisherman listened to a man calling out from the shore, "let the nets down on the right side of the boat."

Details!

The last few hours of the year are ticking down and I could provide you with 153 details to "give" to the ministry of Sunshine After Rain. But with schedules, business, and last minute whatevers, you probably wouldn't make it to number (?)! I'll provide the only reason I'm still in this "going forth to make disciples" business after 18 years: Jesus.

Eloquence and evidence, reports and resumes, presentations and pleas all aside, He truly is the only reason for the Season and life itself.

"I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate- I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it- and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. BUT the Message came through anyway." 1 Corinthians 2:3-4 The Message

I've recently shared this is the longest I've been stateside in 27 YEARS! The geography of ministry is not as relevant as obedience to the call to ministry. On December 23, I completed 365 consecutive days of composing 5* reasons a day for one Marine to stay alive. Last December while hospitalized for issues related to PTSD he asked me to give him 5 reasons a day to be on this earth. I committed - and just before the 365th day rolled around I thought, "so THAT's why (or one very good reason) I haven't left the country. Throughout the past year the list of recipients has grown to over 50+ (not counting the ones they pass it on to). Here is the last day of 2014's:

5 for Seeing
1. His LIGHT shines in my darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:4-5)
2. His LIGHT shines in the valleys of my life (Isaiah 9:2)
3. I will SEE Him in the flesh (Job 19:27)
4. I will see His face and CARRY HIS NAME (Revelation 22:4)
5. He is showing me GREAT and WONDERFUL things (Jeremiah 33:3)
I don't know what your personal or private circumstances are on this last day of the year. I don't know if you need five reasons to find your joy, or five reasons not to give up. You may be with much, or with little. You may be in good health, or down with an illness, passing or permanent. You may be with friends or alone. You may be full of energy or downright exhausted. I don't know, but I do care. I'd like to pray with you, and share with you. Somehow you made it on to this "list" and I count you as my community.

After the resurrection, when the Disciples had already encountered the Master, they were probably overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do "next." Leave it to the impulsive Peter to make a leap:

"Simon Peter announced, "I'm going fishing. The rest of them replied, "We're going with you." John 21:3 The Message

All the things that have happened in our world this past year may be too much to take in presently. All the circumstances that have grieved you, caused anxiety or pain may be too numerous to recount. I'm going to keep doing the "next" thing He calls me to do, and I pray you'll come along, through prayer, financial support, personal connections, or some other creative way of "fishing" in the Sea of His grace.

One of my favorite passages in The Word is found at the close of the Old Testament:

"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God's name." Malachi 3:16 The Message

He's listening AND He's keeping an eternal record!

Let's talk,
Let's set out to Sea to see what we can SEE!
Waiting for the BIG Haul (153 at least)

Charlynn

To make a donation by credit card or to set up recurring monthly donations for 2015 visit our website: www.sunshineafterrain.org

Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230
Gifts postmarked on December 31 count as deductions in 2014


*If you would like to receive the Daily "5's" send me an email or text (214-679-5948) and how you would prefer to get them (email or text)

To see the past year's posts visit www.logansfive.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This Outsider

"They kept their distance but raised their voices calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" Luke 17:13 The Message

We've all seen the signs, "Homeless, help please, God bless." And if you're like me, I turn my head, check to see if my car doors are locked and then pray.
But...

I'm not praying for the person holding the sign, I'm praying for the traffic light to turn green so I can get out of there before (God help me) the sign holder approaches my car. I'm a "missionary" but - until recently the majority of my "mission" work was overseas. I was notorious for going "where no man would go." The farthest jungles of Africa, remote Russian villages where orphanages housed hundreds of children, even leper colonies in India, those were the places I was comfortable. Thirty-six hours travel time - no problem! No running water - I can bathe with wet wipes! Sketchy food - granola bars are a suitcase staple. But... the lost, living on the streets, and under the bridges in my town... somebody else will cover that territory.

Until now.

At what I considered the "Eleventh Hour" (twelve days before the largest Christmas Party for the Homeless) I was elected Committee Chairman of Veteran Partners; my responsibility was to bring in organizations for the event to assist homeless veterans who would be in attendance.

"Lord have mercy indeed!"

With the help of dedicated friends of the ministry we were able to serve over 700+ Veterans. We gave out "The Greatest Warrior" pocket New Testaments designed specifically for soldiers struggling. We passed out faith-based "dog tags" with Scriptures and Psalms. We presented "Certificates of Appreciation" (for their military service) and wrote the names of the recipients on each one. There were Gospels of John in English and Spanish handed out to all who walked by that weren't military.

My associate proclaimed the day, "National Hug-a-Vet" Day, so as often as we could, we hugged and we hugged, and we cared and we cried. No chance for the signal light to turn green or a nearby floorboard for me to avert my eyes.

Prior to the day, I suppose I saw "those Street People" as modern day "lepers." The outcast from society, the people no one would get near, and certainly not touch! In Biblical times, leprosy was seen as a "curse." If you had it, you deserved it. And frankly, when I see some cardboard plea for assistance I confess, I judge; "they" must "deserve" to be in the situation they're in.

"Taking a good look at them, He said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." They went, and while they were still on their way, became clean." Luke 17:14 The Message

Thousands and thousands of people walked past us throughout the day. We interacted with the massive crowd. I said "Merry Christmas," more in 8 hours than probably in the last five years combined! Since we were relatively the "First Stop" as the guests made their way into the Convention Center, I had no idea what happened when the throng rounded the curtained corner and disappeared into the 300,000 square feet of services provided.

There are many accounts of Jesus' healing recorded in the Gospels, but when I reread the story of the ten Lepers, I noted Jesus told them to "Go show themselves to the Priests," BEFORE they were cleansed. They had to move out of "hiding" by faith, and believe something would be different by the time they arrived at their destination. In the process of doing what He asked them to do, they were changed.

Somewhere, along the way to the Dallas Convention Center, doing what He asked me to do (at the Eleventh hour), I was changed too. The outward signs of disease vanished from the ten, but in my case, perhaps it was the inward "scabs" (an ugly word, for a process of healing) of indifference, judgment, distancing, and fear, that fell away.

"One of them, when he realized he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting with gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank Him enough - and he was a Samaritan." Luke 17:16 The Message

As the afternoon hours ticked by, fewer and fewer people made their way through the "Partner Services" area. We asked everyone within earshot, "Are you a Veteran? Are you a Veteran?" When we got one of the last, "Yes ma' m, I am," answers of the day my associate and I jumped up for the embrace. "It's hug a Veteran day," we said with a chuckle as we surrounded the frail frame of a hero. Our Military Liaison, not wanting to miss the action of honor, said, "Hey, I'm going to get in on that! Let's make a Battle-Buddy Sandwich!" And when we did, the Last Soldier wept.

"You, don't know how bad I needed that," he said. We continued the makeshift sandwich of servants until he composed himself.

"Where are the nine? Can none be found to give glory to God except this outsider?" Luke 17:17-18 The Message

It's two days until Christmas. I didn't send out any Christmas cards, I failed to get out my traditional donor "Thank You," gifts, my friends and family will probably think I've forgotten how much they mean to me with my lack of attention to the Season. But somehow, I sense it doesn't matter that much to them REALLY, and I've accepted I can't let my flawed sense of getting Christmas "taken care of" rob me of the joy I feel at my Master's feet.

I'm counting on the promises found in His Word that proclaim:
"Ill bring home the homeless..." Zephaniah 3:19 The Message

This Outsider is Glorifying God,
Charlynn

Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501 c3, all donations are considered tax deductible. To set up monthly recurring contributions, or a donation by credit card visit our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

Thursday, December 18, 2014

When?

"..when did we see you hungry, and feed You? Or thirsty and give You a drink?". Matthew 25:37-38

When will I get an update sent out? 
When will I get Christmas decorations up?
When will I get Christmas presents bought (much less wrapped)?
When will I finally get a chance to ________?

Fill in the blank with your own last minute "To Do" item as we count down the final days before we celebrate Christmas, exhale, and collect the wrapping paper trash probably and bit more thankful that "it's over" than thankful for the Birth of a Savior.

I've been busy and I know you have too! It is just the season for it. And just as I was all excited and ready to do the things I really NEEDED to do (like communicate ministry activities), the Lord open the floodgates, and I am choosing to say "of opportunity," because truthfully it feels like a Tsunami I'm about to drown in.

This past year marks the longest period of time I have been in the United States in 27 YEARS. As I encounter friends the first question I am asked is, "where are you off to next?" My time in the USA has been focused on building a website of resources for our Military men and women, and their Caregivers. For the past six years as I have worked with these true heroes, I have been broken-hearted to hear their stories of frustration and the devastation they faced as the bureaucracy (the VA) failed them.
Our website (www.battle-buddy.info) has been fully operational since July and has over 32,000 hits. Our "Info" cards can be found in VA Hospitals, Vet Centers and by the Hand of God even at the military installation in Osan, South Korea!

Ten days ago, I contacted an organization to add as a resource. The President of the company then politely replied, "No, YOU are our resource!" I was confused. She (Susie Jennings) then went on to explain how Operation Care International was hosting "the largest Christmas Party for the Homeless" in the country. She explained how they honor Veterans at the event and need "veteran resources." "Okay," I responded and found out the details, 8,000 homeless people!!! Probably close to 500 of that number veterans.

The Lord has blessed me with an amazing team of volunteers that just happened to be available. Truly, there are more miracles than I can even express right now because, I need to make my way to the Convention Center for a walk through.

Please consider Sunshine After Rain Ministries (and Battle-Buddy.Info our military initiative) in your Year-End giving and definitely in you faithful prayers!

December 20, from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm we will be assisting the homeless, as the come through to receive all we have to offer. There are several big events that assist the under-served this time of year, but the heart of Operation Care International (www.opcare.org) as well as our heart - is to see the lost FOUND! To say to the captive (in the bondage of poverty and circumstance) BE FREE! Those the Son sets free are free indeed.

Pray the Good News is proclaimed boldly
Pray the Resources are of assistance
Pray the broken are ministered to well
Pray the Spirit of God moves in a mighty way
Pray we finish strong, having fought the good fight on behalf of our military!

"Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:40

Looking straight into the face and heart of my Master
He probably will not be clean-shaven, or have on a warm coat to fight the winter chill

Charlynn

Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501c3 all donations are considered tax deductible. To make a donation by credit card online, please visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org

Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane
Suite 217
Dallas TX 75230