Friday, September 16, 2016

Taking the Gospel to the Chadian Military

One of the objectives of Acts 2 Collective is that we aim to support our brothers and sisters in Christ in-country who are doing the Lord’s work. Such is the case with our Chadian brother, Marc. Marc has been overseeing our Sports Mission Complex vision in Sarh, Chad. Meanwhile, as we await more funding, Marc has been called to be a minister to the Chadian military. He is an evangelist to the soldiers, traveling all around Chad to teach God’s word to those in the military - holding bible studies, prayer groups, and even meals together. In Chad this is a trained position, and just recently Marc was invited by the Association of Military Christians Union to attend a training in Cameroon. Marc has continual need for funding to cover the cost of training materials (mainly to give each soldier a Bible in French which costs $4 each), food, and his travel expenses. This is one way Acts 2 Collective has been supporting Marc’s ministry, and in so doing we have seen many soldiers turning their lives over to Christ.

We recently received word from Marc of an urgent need that has come up in his ministry. Some time ago one of the men Marc ministered to in the military, Colonel Beal, ended up going to Mali in the UN mission and died in the war. Since then Marc has been looking after the care and needs of the family he left behind. Due to urbanization of the Chadian government in the city of Loumia where the military live, the home this widowed family was to move into was taken out by road construction. Marc is now looking to rebuild a 3 bedroom home for this family. The labor cost breakdown is listed in a photo below in French. Total estimated cost is $2,012.

In addition, another soldier Marc had ministered to, Abdel-Aziz Bore, also lost his life and Marc has stepped in to help care for the now widowed family he left behind. Their home was also affected by the road construction, and there is need to help them rebuild their kitchen and a toilet area. Their cost for rebuilding is $366. Furthermore, there are 12 children within these situations who are in need of school sponsorship.

These sorts of needs are just a sampling of the requests for help that Acts 2 Collective receives on what has become a weekly (and oftentimes daily) basis now. When you support Acts 2 Collective financially, your donations are helping to meet the needs of our in-country missionaries like Marc, as well as vulnerable women, children and families such as these.


Our Chadian brother, Marc, on the left, out on mission.

Handing out the Word.

Bible training session

Soldiers with their Bibles!  Yeah!!

Breaking bread and opening the Word with Marc



Another teaching session



Beal family

Cost to rebuild Beal home
Bore family

Project In Amanful

Amanful. A community tucked back in the heart of Cape Coast, Ghana. The entrance to the community greets visitors with a shrine display to its idol-god – a whale.

Ever since the Lord led us to Amanful to take one of its orphans into our mission center we have been drawn back to this community. One of the patterns we see in the life of Jesus is that oftentimes He first met a person’s physical need, and then that opened up the doorway to meet the person’s spiritual need. This has been our prayer for Amanful…that the Lord would grant us an access point into the community to birth our relationship and ultimately introduce the community to the One, True God – Jesus Christ.

Our vision at first was to dig a water well in Amanful to provide access to clean drinking water. However, we could not find a good drilling spot that gave this access due to the area being so close to the ocean. In the midst of searching out a water well site the chief of Amanful came to us and said that what the community really needed was an operable public restroom and showering facility. This sort of facility is a basic need in communities in Ghana because not every dwelling unit has a private bathroom attached like we are used to in the United States. You can of course imagine that not having readily available restrooms and bathing areas contributes to the public waste problem, spreading of disease and sickness, and very unsanitary conditions. Once this need was presented to us we assessed the existing facility which was in bad condition - not to mention its connection to running water was not working. We decided to take it on.

Our initial investment into the public restroom facility has been $6,500. This has enabled us to fix the connection to the existing water well that wasn’t working (which in turn provides running water to the facility), create shower stalls and doors, plumb in shower heads, paint the outside of the facility, and purchase a poly tank. During the rainy season there is plenty of water supplied by the existing well, but by the end of October the well will be dried up as the dry season comes through. The poly tank allows us to have a place to store up water during the rainy season so that there will still be water access through the dry season.

Current funds will provide the completion of the showering portion of the facility, but we are relying on more donations to come through to finish out the toileting area and related plumbing.

We are excited to begin this relationship with the community, and look forward to seeing how God draws lives to Himself through this open door into Amanful.


Site of what was the existing restroom facility - the cement wall structure on the left...

Inside the shower area BEFORE

Starting to work on the existing structure

Shower stalls and shower heads put in

Shower stall tile work

Shower stall doors

Painting the outside



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prophetic Communication is Alive and Active Today

One reason people don't think prophetic communication from the Lord is alive and active today is because those who are receiving the supernatural communication are quiet about it. It only takes about one or two times of sharing a dream you’ve had from the Lord, a foretelling of a future event the Lord has dropped into your Spirit, or how the Lord communicates to you through a pain in your body to learn that this isn't something you can just share with anyone.

Take Joseph for example who learned this the hard way.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Genesis 37:5-8

Of course the nature of the dream, and the events leading up to it of their father’s favoritism towards Joseph had already set the stage for jealousy in the brothers' hearts. The telling of this dream and the one after it became the ‘last straw’ that led into the brothers plotting to kill Joseph.

It is wise to discern that some things are to be “kept close” and shared only with “safe places”. When the angel foretold the birth of Jesus to Mary, she hurried off to share the news with Elizabeth who the angel had said was experiencing a miracle all her own. Imagine being Elizabeth for a moment. You are also pregnant, and your relative and friend, Mary, comes to share that she is not only pregnant as well, but due with God’s very own son. What a set-up for comparison. One’s first thought might be, “Why her and not me?” However, Elizabeth, likely caught up in the excitement of her own barren womb being opened (a supernatural miracle in itself), does not react in jealousy, but rather confirms the prophecy, and encourages and rejoices with Mary. You will learn, sometimes by failing, who your Elizabeth’s are and who they are not.

Hearing from the Lord by way of supernatural communication is not a sign of immaturity. It is a sign of intimacy. And this is where the root of jealousy lies. It is the responsibility of the one hearing the account of another’s prophetic communication to check if their unwillingness to receive what is being shared is due to jealousy of the intimate encounter.

On the other hand, it can also be understood why so many get turned off by the way prophetic communication is shared, such as when it is given out in a pious, self-righteous tone. The downfall of hearing from the Lord in supernatural ways is pride. The Lord Himself will protect you from pride in this, if you allow Him. We can observe how He did this with Paul:

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh… 2 Corinthians 12:7

So often when we read these verses we focus on the thorn and what Paul learned from it, but we miss why he needed the thorn in the first place. He states that it was given to him so that he didn’t grow prideful from the awesome revelations that he had been receiving from the Lord. The King James version puts it this way: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations…” 

As with anything, self-exaltation is something to be guarded against, and the Lord has His ways of keeping us humble.

At the same time, there is something to be learned on the part of the one sharing their revelations and/or prophetic communications from the Lord of how to do so with humility. This often comes by trial and error. The Joseph approach of bluntness might be tried a time or two before realizing that doesn’t work out so well. One thing that helps is to understand the reason behind why the Lord is gifting you with the prophetic communication in the first place.

But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14:3

(By the way, the Greek definition of the word prophecy used here is “to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office, prophesy”)

John Piper defines prophecy this way: “A Spirit-guided expression of something we otherwise would not know or say, which is powerful for the particular moment in which it is spoken to bring conviction, exhortation, consolation, awakening, or up-building of faith.”

A great example of this from scripture is when Paul addresses the crew of the ship he is aboard after a fierce storm has left them battered and helpless at sea…

When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27: 20-26

In this circumstance, it was appropriate and helpful for Paul to share about the supernatural encounter and message he had received from the Lord in order to encourage and speak life and hope back into those he was with.

There will also be times when the message to be shared is going to be hard to hear or more like a warning to the recipient. In this case it should be noted that there is a difference between offering the message in such a way that it brings conviction, not condemnation. There is a difference between awakening someone’s Spirit, and landing a jack-hammer on someone’s skull. The difference is love.

In the short video I have embedded at the bottom of this post, Piper proposes a great perspective to anyone who is feeling led to share something prophetic with another:

“Offer it to them as a gift. Don’t thrust it at them as a demand.”

Essentially, when you offer what you’ve heard from the Lord you are saying, “See if this helps….” or, “See if this matches up to anything the Lord has shown you…”

Prophecy is not authoritative. Only scripture is. Prophetic communication will be confirmed and oftentimes interpreted by scripture. It is the responsibility of both the giver and the hearer to “test” prophetic communication they receive as 1 John 4:1 instructs ~

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 

Peter tests the voice he hears to see if it is the Lord's in Matthew 14:25-29 ~

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 

Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 

“Come,” he said. 

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 

The reason we need to test the spirits is because there are at least four different voices that come to us inside of our heads:

1) The Lord/Holy Spirit
2) The enemy/Satan
3) Your own voice
4) Voice of the world/others

If the testing process is bypassed, you could potentially offer or receive a message that is from a voice not of the Lord. This then could turn out to be misleading, hurtful, or it could negatively affect a person’s relationship with the Lord - and no one wants that. The enemy is a deceiver who masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). It’s his job to trick us. His voice isn’t as obvious as we sometimes like to think. In the Piper video embedded at the end of this post, he gives an example from his own life of a false prophecy given to him that could have been very damaging had he not tested it. I personally believe that the woman who gave him the prophecy had been informed by the enemy (who is always speaking death over us), but she didn’t realize it.

All this to say, there is a fine-tuning that must happen in order to discern the Lord’s voice above all the others. Having a prophetic voice, starts with having a prophetic ear. Isaiah conveys this process…

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. Isaiah 50:4-5

I used to wonder why Isaiah mentioned the part about not drawing back. But once you realize the weight of responsibility that is entrusted to you as you receive supernatural communication from the Lord, there is a feeling of wondering if you really want it. This gifting can get heavy and weighty. But it is also so valuable, and can be used for such good for the body of Christ, if you take the responsibility seriously.

Prophetic communication is meant to be a gift from the Lord, which means, as with all things He gives, it can be abused. It can be used as a source of manipulation, self-exaltation, or even promoting one’s own agenda with a cover that it is from the Lord. Prophetic messages can also be interpreted wrongly (by both the giver and hearer) if careful attention is not given to that process.  At some point, we all either have or will experience any of these aspects, but they aren't grounds to completely reject this gift from the Lord altogether, assign it a bad reputation, or stick our heads in the sand and act like it isn’t there. The misuse of this gift is actually the very reason why it would be helpful for our churches to take an active approach and offer equipping and training in knowing how to handle prophetic communication. 1 Corinthians 14:1 says ~

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 

The Lord sees the value in this gift to His church. So should we.

And rest assured, there are believers operating in this gift in responsible ways, it’s just that they are doing it quietly, respectfully and reverently. We just don’t often hear those stories.


[Video: John Piper on "What is the gift of prophecy in the new covenant?"]

Additionally, I’ve found this book very helpful on this topic: ‘Surprised by the Voice of God’ by Jack Deere. Link to buy: http://www.christianbook.com/surprised-the-voice-of-god-softcover/jack-deere/9780310225584/pd/22558

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

NCAA Final Four Raffle/Fundraiser to Benefit Acts 2 Collective


Want to go to the NCAA Men’s Final Four? We thought so! Acts 2 Collective and Siouxland Community Christian School are co-hosting a raffle fundraiser in which you can enter for a chance to win a March Madness ticket package!! Package is for April 1st through the 5th in Houston, TX and includes 2 game tickets to the semi-finals, 2 game tickets to the finals, 2 tickets to the Legends of the Hardwood breakfast on Saturday morning (where the John Wooden Keys to Life Award is presented), 2 tickets to Hoop City which is the fan zone, AND a $500 travel voucher!! It is only $20 to enter the raffle!!! ONLY $20!!! And the best part, all proceeds will be split between Acts 2 Collective and Siouxland Christian to go towards our projects - namely the Sports Mission Complex project we have started in Chad, Africa - as well as toward Siouxland’s scholarship program that assists underprivileged youth with school tuition. Raffle tickets can be purchased starting today through March 16th, 2016. Raffle drawing will be held on March 17th, 2016 at 10:30am. Here is the link to purchase your raffle ticket...may the bounce be with you! https://rallyup.com/a2c-raffle 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Local news story on our project in Chad, Africa

Jake is leading the vision of developing a sports mission complex in Chad, Africa complete with basketball courts, a soccer field and track, a handball court, dormitories, classrooms, cafeteria, etc. The land has been purchased and secured, and from here it will take $470,000 to build this sports complex. This project is so close to Jake's heart because it has been through the platform of basketball that God has opened the door in this area of the world for the gospel to penetrate into unwelcome territory. The beautiful thing with sports is that it breaks down walls that often stand between groups of people, which is a main purpose of this project. This weekend our local news did a story on the project, and they did a really great job of conveying the mission...
 
Read the article here: http://whotv.com/2015/10/02/former-isu-basketball-star-building-sports-complex-in-africa-to-help-youth/