Monday, September 24, 2007

Mission Colorado Springs -- A Word of Thanks

After a good night sleep, in my own bed for the first time in a week, I knew that the first order of business for the day was to share with you a few words of praise and thanksgiving, for all that the Lord accomplished during last week’s mission trip to Colorado Springs. I hope to spend some time during the next few days chronicling what took place during the mission trip. But, before I do that I must say thank you.

To Mahria, Michelle, Marissa, and Amanda: This was the tenth mission trip I have made since the inception of Ten-Four Ministries, in April 2002. Each time I make such a trip, you, my four ladies, sacrifice so much. I felt your love and prayers each and every day. Your phone calls and text messages warmed my heart. I know the Lord, in His sovereignty and grace, used your prayers to encourage me and keep me going during the most labor-intensive and fruitful mission trip I have ever taken. While, due the nature of my mission trips to the law enforcement family, you cannot make the trips with me, I know you are with me in prayer and in spirit on every trip. Never underestimate how vitally important your love, your prayers, and your efforts to “hold down the fort” are to me, our mission, and to our Lord. Thank you, my loves.

To Greg Maxwell (reserve deputy sheriff/chaplain for El Paso County Sheriff’s Office) and Jeff Strossner (detective for Colorado Springs Police Department): Words cannot express my love and appreciation for the two of you. For those of you who are not aware, Greg and Jeff had the vision for my trip to Colorado Springs. By God’s amazing and sovereign grace, it was the prayer and preparation of these two brothers in Christ who made this trip possible.

I have gotten to know Greg and Jeff over the last year or so, through phone calls and e-mail correspondences. But I met them in person, for the first time, when I stepped off the plane last Monday. We were already friends before I landed in Colorado Springs; but I can now say that these two brothers in Christ are among my very best friends. What we experienced together during the last week, as we quite literally spent every waking moment together, has, for me, forged the deepest bonds of friendship that will last a lifetime.

These two brothers in Christ (and behind the badge) sacrificed so much and worked so hard for the Lord during the last week that they served as reminders to me of what it means to love the Lord and to love others enough to willingly sacrifice one’s self for the furtherance of the gospel. They are both humble, selfless men of God who were as patient, kind, and generous to me as any two men could be. I love you guys. While it seems woefully insufficient, thank you for everything. While our week together in Colorado Springs is over, our ministry together is just beginning.

To Linda, Heather, and the Kids: Thank you so very much for allowing me to monopolize Greg and Jeff’s time this last week, as we served the Lord together. Thank you for giving so much of yourselves throughout the week, almost all of which was behind the scenes. We could not have accomplished the mission without your help, your prayers, your support, and your love. Thank you for making me feel so welcome. You were a great encouragement to me. Go Steelers! :-)

To Pastor Eric Cartier: Thank you, pastor, for your love and support of the law enforcement community. Thank you for supporting Greg and Jeff in their vision for reaching the Colorado Springs law enforcement family with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for the honor and privilege of stepping into your pulpit, and for allowing me to share the vision of Ten-Four Ministries with the Rocky Mountain Calvary family.

I enjoyed our conversations and times of fellowship. I was blessed to sit under your teaching throughout the week. I appreciate the shepherd’s heart our Lord has given you, your love for His Word, and your love for His people.

To Sean Rafferty, Missions Director for RMC: Thank you, brother, for our time together on Sunday, and throughout the week. Thank you for your passion for reaching a lost and dying world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing Pastor Eric’s desire to reach the mission field that is the law enforcement community with the one, true gospel. The conversation you, Greg, Jeff, and I had Sunday after church really ministered to my heart. I was blessed by how quickly you started talking about the next step—talking about what we should do next to reach the global law enforcement community with the gospel.

To Steve (a brother behind the badge) and Gail (a fellow painter with words) Sprenger: The two of you taught me much this week. Thank you, both, for your love for the Lord and your love for the lost. Thank you for the care and love you showed me last week. I count you as friends. Steve, thank you for your love and burden for those in our society many, even within the church, might deem unlovable—those who make the street their home. Thank you for your love and care for those who need it so desperately—those who find themselves in hospice care. Gail, your passion for reaching the lost and for putting pen to paper—painting with words—is an inspiration to me.

To the Rocky Mountain Calvary Family: I have ministered to and have been ministered to by many churches around the country. I have been blessed to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, in many states of our nation. I have seen a love for Christ and a love for the law enforcement family in many churches. I have been the recipient of the generosity of God’s people, in many places. But you, the Rocky Mountain Calvary family, showed a level of love, care, compassion, and generosity that amazed me and caused me to glorify our Father in heaven.

Thank you to all of you who attended the special service on Thursday evening. Thank you for spending almost three hours with me as we studied God’s Word together and talked about how we can reach the lost with the Law and the Gospel the way The Master did it. And thank you to those of you who joined me in Acacia Park on Friday night, for open-air preaching and one-to-one evangelism. You blessed and encouraged me.

Thank you to all of you who worked so hard on Saturday to bless the law enforcement family, during the Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon. Your behind-the-scenes efforts did not go unnoticed by me and, more importantly, by our Lord and Savior.

Thank you for the hundreds of you that stopped by the table after each service this week to pick up a copy of Take Up The Shield to give to friends, family members, and neighbors who are members of the law enforcement and military families. I’ve never seen anything like it. Thank you for partnering with me to bring the gospel to the law enforcement family.

To Mom, Cheri, Ian, and the Kids: I love you. How blessed I am to have other family members who love Christ. Thank you for your love, your prayers, and your support. Ian and Cheri, thanks for being two of the best “fishing buddies” I have. Thank you for your love, which I know is forged with a great deal of patience. :-)

To My Granada Hills Community Church Family: Thank you for the years of love, care, and support you have showed me and my family, as we seek to fulfill the mission our Lord has given us. You have always been there for us—in word, thought, and deed. I love you very much and I thank God for each of you. Thank you for your prayers during my mission trip.

To My Brothers and Sisters at The Way of the Master and Adventures in Christianity: Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for serving as role models to me—role models for what biblical evangelism looks like. Thank you for motivating me to serve the Lord with a sense of urgency, as if lives depend on it. Our Lord is going to return soon! There is much work to do. Too many people are dying every day, bound for hell. Here we are, Lord. Send us!

To The Ten-Four Ministries Family: Thank you for the years of love and support you have shown me and my family over the years. Thank you for helping us to serve as missionaries to the law enforcement community. Thank you for your always timely, always appreciated support. Thank you for your prayers during this mission trip.

To Lynn Copeland, Genesis Publishing Group: Thank you, Lynn, for publishing Take Up The Shield. The Lord allowed us to put the book into the hands of hundreds of police officers and military personnel, during the mission trip. Others who received the book before I arrived said it has been an encouragement and challenge to them. With your help and support, almost 10,000 people have read the book, with as many as half that number being members of the law enforcement and military communities. Thank you for believing in the book and its potential to reach people on both sides of the badge, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To Randy Hayes, Sunshine Sports & Marketing: Thank you, Randy, for designing the Ten-Four Ministries Challenge Coin. I gave 130 of the coins away to police officers throughout the greater Colorado Springs area, thus putting the Law and the Gospel into their hands. The coin was very well-received. It was a much appreciated gift, which I know the Lord will use to further His kingdom. People around the country are asking for the coin. We need to make more. The 300 we minted in the first run are almost gone. :-)

To The Colorado Law Enforcement Family: To the men and women of the eight law enforcement agencies I visited, I say thank you. Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for the station tours, briefings, ride-alongs, and good conversations. One such conversation, in which I was blessed to share the Law and the Gospel with a brother behind the badge, is forever etched in my heart and mind.

Thank you for being part of the greatest profession in the world. Thank you for being part of my family. Thank you for your daily sacrifices. Thank you for your courage, integrity, and service. Thank you to your families for their daily sacrifices, which all-too-often go unnoticed.

My prayer for each and every one of you is that you will one-day repent and believe the gospel, if you haven’t already. May God bless you all.

To My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Although mentioned last, You are first in my heart. Thank You, Lord, for loving me enough to save me from the just punishment for my sins. Thank You, Father, for pouring Your wrath upon Your Son, instead of upon me. Thank You for allowing Your Son to take upon Himself the punishment I rightly deserve for my sins against You, when He went to the cross. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for defeating death through Your glorious resurrection. Thank You for saving me—a sinner.

Lord, forgive me for the times that I sinned against You. Forgive me for those moments of weakness, apprehension, and fear. Forgive me for the times I fell short of Your glory, during my mission trip.

Lord Jesus, thank You for protecting and sustaining my family while I was in Colorado. Thank you, Lord, for safe travel, on the land and in the air. Thank You for placing all the above-mentioned people (and those not mentioned) in my life. Thank You for the love and support of the brethren.

Thank You, Jesus, for allowing me to serve You. Thank you, Lord, that hundreds of people on both sides of the badge heard the proclamation of the Law and the Gospel, this week in Colorado Springs.

Thank You, Father, for the friendships that were forged during this mission trip.

Lord Jesus, I put my trust in You. And I ask that You draw unbelievers in Colorado, on both sides of the badge, to genuine repentance and faith. All for Your glory, Lord. All for Your glory! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

1 comment:

Jim Baxter said...

THE QUESTION AND THE ANSWER
Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son
of man that You visit him?" Psalm 8:4
A: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against
you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and
your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

Q: "Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him?" Psalm
144:3
A: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the
gods which your fathers served that were on the other
side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Q: "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is
born of a woman, that he could be righteous?" Job 15:14
A: "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He
teach in the way he chooses." Psalm 25:12

Q: "What is man, that You should magnify him, that You
should set Your heart on him?" Job 7:17
A: "Do not envy the oppressor and choose none of his
ways." Proverbs 3:31

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son
of man that You take care of him?" Hebrews 2:6
A: "I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have
laid before me." Psalm 119:30 "Let Your hand become my
help, for I have chosen Your precepts."Psalm 119:173

References:
Genesis 3:3,6 Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 30:19 Job 5:23
Isaiah 7:14-15; 13:12; 61:1 Amos 7:8 Joel 3:14
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

semper fidelis
vincit veritas