While many of us are enjoying a snowy (or at least a cold one) Christmas season, Jill, Josh and baby Isaac Felix and Sarah Overmyer are suffering for Jesus in sunny Wellington, New Zealand. (Okay it is 59 °F / 15 °C with scattered clouds as I write but it will be 66 °F / 19 °C the next few days.)
Even in paradise things have been extremely hectic and challenging there for them over the past month. Josh and Isaac have been sick. Jill, as a new mom, has been missing some of the support system of friends and family she’s had from home. On top of all that, they recently had to make the tough decision to send one of their teammates own home this past week. It’s all made for a difficult and stressful Christmas Break. Josh said that they would appreciate prayers for God’s strength and guidance right now.
The universities in Wellington that they are focusing on are fragmented throughout the city as commuter campuses. The Felixs and Sarah are trusting God to raise up a magnificent harvest. A couple directions they feel like God is leading us in terms of seeing a harvest are: breaking into current campus communities through natural/purposeful relationships and partnering with the local church. Josh believes that the Church in New Zealand is a sleeping giant. "We realize we’ll need the help of the Church in NZ to make global impact with Gospel that we are asking God for."
As we continue to reflect on this blessed season and as I think of God’s timing for the Church to awake and see a magnificent harvest of Kiwis and other students around the globe, reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas passages. I guess its not a typical passage you read during the advent season but it sums up to me what its all about. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. ~ Galatians 4:4, 5
How amazing! God out of His great love sent His Son, born in flesh in humble surroundings without a sin nature... the Last Adam, to set us free from sin and the law that reveals our death. He redeemed us so we could be His dearly loved children!
The entire book of Galatians to me can be summed up in... (apologies to Eugene Peterson, JB Phillips and of course Paul.) Why are acting like fools? You didn't receive the Spirit through human effort but through faith. So why do think you are supposed to try to strive for acceptance through the flesh (or mutilating the flesh) now?!? The Law and sin are bondage, death. The Spirit has set you free and made you alive. You are not a slave but an heir - live like it. Live! Live by the Spirit!
As I look more closely at Gal 4:4, 5 and the passages around it, here are some thoughts as it pertains to leading those under us to launch movements everywhere...
~ The playing field is level in the family. We have been entrusted with a role to serve as leaders but we are not above anyone else.
~ His timing is perfect. Ask that the time fully come for the Kiwis and students of every nation to hear the gospel and be set free.
~ Help your team and the young believers you work with to live like heirs and let the Spirit cry out from their hearts, "Abba Father".
~ Walk and lead in the Spirit - not fulfilling the desires of the flesh but producing fruit of which there is no law.
~ Sow together to please the Spirit not the sinful nature, reaping a harvest at the proper time.