Kyle Shreve- Missionary to Peru


3 bad excuses for not being a missionary
April 24, 2015, 11:38 am
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Let me say this clearly and plainly up front: I really, truly don’t believe that everyone should be a missionary. But I think there’s a lot of Christians who should be missionaries who aren’t, and they’re making excuses about it.

And I know several people who are desirous of serving on the mission field, but are unable to because of medical, or other uncontrollable circumstances. That is also not what I am talking about in this article.

Here, then, are three bad excuses for not going to the mission field.

1- “Don’t you know there are lost people here you could witness to?”

Granted, there are plenty of lost people here who don’t know the gospel and have little to no Christian witness in their life. I readily admit that. In fact, there are people (in Georgia) that i had the privilege of being the first person to share the gospel with them.  But the overwhelming majority of lost people live outside of America.

If the church is going to effectively reach the lost of the world, we are going to need to send hundreds and thousands of our own overseas with the intent of lifelong service. A relatively small need (in comparison to the 95% of the world outside of America) remains here in America, no doubt. But when you compare the 320 million souls in America to the 6.7 billion souls outside of America, there can be no doubt as to where the majority of lost people are, and, correspondingly, where the majority of the church’s focus, servants, money, prayers and attention should be.

2- “I’m not a radical Christian/I’m not that spiritual/I’m not able/ etc….

This is the classic “I can’t be a missionary because of who I am” argument. And, as I mentioned previously, there are people who have some sort of factor in their lives that really do hinder them from going to the field, be it medical or other. But those cases are not excuses. Those are the truth.

“I have a medical condition and have to stay in the States where I can receive treatment, so I can’t be a missionary.” That is not an excuse.

“I can’t speak well in front of people, so I can’t be a missionary.” That is an excuse.

There are very few factors based on who we are that should keep us from the mission field. This is for (at least) 2 reasons:

1-Most inabilities (poor speaking ability, shyness, inability to learn language, etc…) can be overcome with hard work and dedication. By the way, hard work and dedication can be learned as well. The “I’m not a hard enough worker to be a missionary” excuse is easily remedied: work harder!

2- The inabilities we do truly have are a fantastic opportunity for God’s grace to manifest itself in our lives. Or, that’s what Paul seemed to think in 2 Corinthians 12. That when he was weak, that was when he was actually strong.

Do not let yourself be an excuse for not going to the mission field.

3-Missions isn’t that important.

“Missions is just a program we do here. We have a missionary come by, he says some things, shows some pictures, takes some money, and then leaves. Not a big deal.” I’ve never had this said to me on deputation, praise the Lord, but there are plenty of churches and Christians out there who DO have this attitude in a very blatant way.

But most of us have this attitude in a passive way, and may not even realize it. Casual racism towards other people, not keeping missions in front of us, having a negative attitude about missions or missionaries all lead to lessening the value and importance we place on missions.

(Adversely, missionaries who aren’t all they should be, and don’t live up to their office can give others the impression that missions isn’t as important as it should be. Let that be a warning to myself and other missionaries.)

But there is also this idea that missions began in Matthew 28 with the great commission verses. And that is just not true. I admit that there are 2 chapters in the old testament when missions wasn’t a thing. In Genesis 1-2, we don’t see missions, simply because there is no sin, hence, no need for missions. But once we get to Genesis 3, we find that sin has entered the world, and God brings Adam & Eve back to Himself, and since then,  He has been on a mission to redeem all of mankind.

Genesis 12:1-3 Is the beginning of the nation of Israel. And Israel wasn’t just created to be a means to itself. God told Abraham that  through Israel all the families of the earth would be blessed.

Missions has been, and always will be, through the bible. To not think missions is the heartbeat of God and the constant theme of the bible it to misunderstand the bible.

Conclusion

There are many more excuses people use to avoid the mission field, but these are three  I’ve been thinking about lately.

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Read how your prayers protected us on the road!
April 18, 2015, 8:30 am
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On Tuesday afternoon, we left our house on the north side of Atlanta heading for Dallas. Our plan was to drive until at least Tyler, Texas (about 80-90 miles away from Dallas.) We got gas just east of Birmingham, Alabama, and drove until we needed gas about 45 minutes east of Shreveport, Louisiana. We stopped, got gas, and got back on the road. We thought all was OK, but we were wrong.

It was a very windy and rainy night, so when I felt that the car was a little hard to control, I assumed it was nothing more than weather. But as time went on, I began to realize that the difficulties I was having handling the car weren’t due to the weather.

I knew we had to be in Dallas at 1pm, and we had to keep driving, but as we kept driving, I knew we really did have to stop. I pulled off in Longview, Texas, and realized why we were having problems driving.

We had a flat tire.

It wasn’t completely flat, but there was a screw in the tread, and it had slowly been letting out air. For almost 2 1/2 hours, we had been driving on a flat tire. And as we had been driving, the tire pressure was getting lower and lower, and that explains why the car had been getting harder and harder to control.

I changed the tire out for the spare, and we stayed the night in a hotel. The next morning, I took the car to the tire store, they patched and re-inflated the original tire, and we were on the way.

We look back at it now, and praise the Lord for keeping us safe. We are so thankful for your prayers as well. We know that many of you are praying for us, and ask the Lord to keep us safe on the roads.

And you can know that God has answered your prayers.

Thank you for praying for us as we travel, and keep on praying! God is hearing and answering your prayers!



Mark 3- Just the disciples
March 25, 2015, 8:00 am
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Ever since moving to Alpharetta, GA, and being part of the ministry of Austin Gardner, Mark 3:14 has been a verse that means quite a lot to me.

“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach”

Not a verse I would expect many people to have memorized, but it is a very powerful verse. It shows us, really, that Jesus placed a high priority on spending time with these 12 men. Life on life discipleship. Now, by itself, it is a great example of how we should do ministry today. But consider all the other characters we meet, or come in contact with, in Mark 3-

1-The man with the withered hand

2-Pharisees

3-A great multitude

4-The 12 disciples

5-Jesus’ physical family and friends

6-Scribes

Of all these people, only one group doesn’t do one of the following:

1-Fade off the scene and never be mentioned again

2-Actually plan to kill Jesus or blaspheme against Him

3-Call Him a crazy “beside Himself” person.

You may be shocked to find that it was the disciples who weren’t guilty of these things in Mark 3. I was. We all kind of know that the scribes and pharisees were never “good guys” and that much of the multitude was there for a healing, and never head from again. But I never realized that his own friends and family though Jesus was crazy (Mark 3:20-21).

That pretty much only leaves the twelve, from this chapter, as his only true, devoted follower. No surprises that these we re the men that Jesus chose to take over the world with! I think that there are  at least 2 major lessons to be learned here:

1-That our goal in ministry, be it as a church staff (pastor, missionary, asst. pastor, etc…) or non paid church staff (layman, volunteer staff, etc…) is not big numbers or attendance (but that is not always a bad thing). Instead, or primary focus should be on creating faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, who are faithful in their service to Him for life.

2-As disciples/servants of Jesus, we must remember that our obedience to Jesus is the highest priority in our life. The 12 who followed Jesus, even with the traitor Judas, were there before the multitude, pharisees and scribes, and there after people who called Jesus crazy, and only stuck around for physical healing.

May we be faithful disciples who create faithful disciples.



3 lessons from Paul’s hardships in 2 Corinthians.
January 16, 2015, 8:24 am
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My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

When we read this verse, we probably jump to “thorn in the flesh.” And that’s fine, and correct, because in the proceeding verses, that is what Paul mentions. Sound understanding of the scripture.

But if you read trough the book of 2 Corinthians, you’ll find that Paul has a few more problems in his life than just a thorn in the flesh. And that’s not to downplay the thorn, because it was obviously a big deal. If it was a bother to Paul, we can be sure it was more than just a stubbed toe or runny nose.

As I read through this book in my devotions today, I noticed that Paul almost has a pattern of mentioning something(s) that is (are) going wrong, then following up with some truth that conquers or supersedes his plight. Consider what he says in the following verses:

1:8-9  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves

2:12-13 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother:

4:8-10 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,

6:4-5 in much patience, in afflictions, in mnecessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, oin labours, in watchings, in fastings;

7:5  For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

8:2  How that in a great trial of affliction (speaking of the corinthians)

11”23-28 in labours more abundant, uin stripes above measure, vin prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, lin hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

And I’m sure I could find more things that are going wrong, or are difficulties in Paul’s life if I read through the book a few more times. But here’s the crazy part about it all: all of these things are mentioned before the thorn in the flesh.

Again, the thorn in the flesh is the immediate context of 2 Cor 12:9, but consider that God’s grace is sufficient for all the other problems mentioned here, and that His strength is made perfect in all the weakness mentioned here.

The thorn in the flesh isn’t the only means of grace of overcoming trials and hardships in this book. There are several other verses that are given which can serve as comfort, encouragement and motivation in difficult times. Another recurring theme in this book is Paul’s defense of his character and actions. Which should teach us that, no matter how hard life gets, we should never use that as a reason to act out of character, or have ungodly actions. Consider the following verses:

2 Cor 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ

2 Cor 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ,

 2 Cor 2:17 For we are not as many, which lcorrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

2 Cor 4:1-2 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

2 Cor 4:17 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

2 Cor 7:2 we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

2 Cor 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord (talking about the Corinthians)

2 Cor 9:12-15 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours;

2 Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

So, before we get to his grace being sufficient, we have a whole book full of Paul (and the Corinthians) overcoming hardships while maintaining their character and proper actions.

So what can we learn from this? I think a few lessons, at least.

1-We will all have hard times and struggles in our lives.

Paul, a man who wrote the Bible, had lots and lots of problems in this book. I often feel like problems mean that I’m a loser and very weak. The big shot pastors and preachers seem to have no problems, and everything is just so rosy for them. But here’s a dinky little missionary, and my last 8 meetings in a row just cancelled, and my car needs a lot of repairs, and support isn’t coming as fast as I want, and on and on and on.

But the truth is, the way I feel at times, and I’m sure you do too, is probably close to the way Paul often felt. So, when you have problems and feel like your life is about over, relax. Problems aren’t necessarily indicative of you being a loser or doing something wrong (though they can often be!). You’re in good company when you have hardships.

2-Problems are never an excuse to not live up to who we are in Christ.

Paul takes several verses in this book to  defend his character and actions, and to point out that he is a man who is upstanding in both areas. I know that it can be tempting to cut corners, so to speak, when life seems to be getting you down. It can seem like a reasonable thought to sacrifice our giving when money is tight, or to have an ungodly attitude towards someone who treated us wrongly. But Paul, in spite of the hardships he had, seemed to keep living up to his christian character.

In fact, the very fact that he was trusted to be a minister of the Lord and God’s ministry seemed to be a motivating factor for Paul to even have more upstanding character in  4:1-2 and live up to the new creation he is in Christ (5:17)

3- God’s grace is sufficient for whatever you are facing in your life.

Hannah and I are missionaries, and I am sure that we will come to some very hard times in our future ministries. But, to be quite honest, you don’t have to be a missionary to come to those incredibly difficult situations in life. All Christians have them. Some look different than others, and I sincerely doubt many of us could compete with Paul in the hardships we face.

And maybe we think God’s grace is only enough for thorns in the flesh, but really big problems would be on another plane. But when you look at all the things that Paul went through (and that’s only in one book. Other parts of the Bible mention other problems he  encountered) for him to say that  God’s grace is sufficient for all his problems is a very big statement. I can’t think of too many areas he didn’t have problems with, just looking at this book alone. Health, ministry problems, attacks on character, physical punishment, hunger and thirst, uncertainty for the future, financial issues and I’m sure there is more to be found with further study.

The point is that, no matter what problem or hardship is in your life, God’s grace is enough to get you through it. (in a way consistent with who we are in Christ.)

So, in conclusion, remember that when you do have problems and hardships in life (and you will) that God’s grace in more than enough to help you through it without compromise to your Christian character and actions.



A missions book you must read!
September 29, 2014, 8:00 am
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I recently finished the book Bruchko by Bruce Olson! This is the true story of a 19 year old who dreamed of doing something for God, and was just crazy enough to do it! I wish I would have read this book when I was a young teenager! This book will challenge you, and motivate you to get involved in missions! If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend you take the time to read this book!

If you’re not a serious reader, or haven’t read a book in a while, don’t worry. This is an easy ready, and will keep you engaged as you read. I literally finished it in one sitting, it was so good!



Does success in ministry = a character downfall?
September 10, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Let me paraphrase all this by saying that I am not trying to determine what success is, or what makes a ministry successful. You can decide that on your own. I want to talk about character, which is something that cannot be measured or quantified in normal, tangible terms.

I think we all want to do great things for God, and see Him use our lives in a big way, right? I can’t imagine anyone going off to bible college with the end goal of pastoring a church where nothing happens and no one ever gets saved. We’d all laugh at the person who set their ambitions as “Just kinda hang out until Jesus comes back.” On the other hand, we’d all be even more shocked at the pastor who said “I’m going to build a mega church, and I’ll use sin and destruction to do so if I have to!” Or, his brother who would say “I’ll build a big mega church, but have major sin problems that no one can see.”

At first, I thought you could make a graph of ministry choice that looked like this

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.32.33 AM

You would have to either be a low character leader to build a ministry, or be a high character leader, but not have the ministry of the other guy. I really thought that there was a correlation between ministry success and a dearth of character. However, this really isn’t the case. The real graph would look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.59.16 AM

Now, obviously, we would all want to be in quadrant 1: High character, successful ministry. But having a more successful ministry  does not guarantee strong character or weak character. And having a less successful ministry doesn’t guarantee higher character or smaller character.

I don’t know how much this makes sense to you, but here’s the thing I really want to stress and drive home:

Ministry size/success is not an indicator of character. You can have success and have character, or have no character, the choice is up to you.



Where have I disappeared to?
September 2, 2014, 4:26 pm
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After (another) long hiatus, it looks like I’ll be back to blogging a little more regularly than I was. I’ve been helping over at http://www.peruministry.com for a while, and it’s taken me a little while to get used to balancing two blogs, a mailchimp account or two, calling pastors and scheduling deputation meetings,  traveling to present the ministry and raising support and a few other projects scheduled.

BUT, I think I finally figured it out. So look for some new blog posts at kyleshreve.com coming soon!

Also, consider checking out peruministry.com.