India message 5-24-23
Hello brothers and sisters.
Im so grateful that God allowed me to visit with you. I could feel my spirit rejoicing as i was Watching you play, pray and sing.0 It is encouraging to see so many young people hungry for the lord. It reminds me of when I was young and had many decisions over the direction of our lives.
I wanted to share some of those key decisions with you.
My mom was a Japanese Buddhist. My father was in the US military when he met her. I was born in Japan but moved to the US when i was 5 and I was raised without God or religion. My step father was pretty abusive so I looked forward to leaving.
The first decision was to leave home and join the military when I turned 18 years old. Soon after, people invited me to church, I heard about Jesus and for the first time knew someone loved me. I instantly gave my life to him. Of course that was the most pivotal decision since it determined where I'd spend eternity.
A couple years after I was saved, I came upon a book published by Gospel for Asia about supporting missions work. The bible showed me my need for salvation, that book showed me the same need around the world and how effective partnering with people like you can be. I made it my mission to partner with God's work of evangelism ever since. This decision kept us from being distracted by the things of this world and focused on missions.
At 23, I was stationed on Guam, an Island in the middle of the pacific ocean where I met Cyndee. She was going to college studying marine biology. I knew I was interested in her but needed to make sure that she would be the kind of woman willing to live frugally to give to God. After all, God tells us to not be unequally yoked.
Most people take this to mean we should only marry other believers but it's more. Of course you must both be the same to be yoked together. 2 ox can plow a field, an ox and goat yoked together arn't going anywhere. It's not enough that that you both believe in Jesus, it's important that God is leading you both in the same direction. Otherwise you will wander to the left or right depending on who is pulling hardest at the time. To be effective marriage partners, you both need to be pulling in the same direction.
So, I asked cyndee to read the book and tell me what she thought before we started courting. Well, after 33 years of marriage, I can tell you she was serious about giving our lives to support missions. Like the decision to follow Jesus, the person you marry will impact every our area of your life.
American schools have been getting worse and worse. Not only is the quality of education poor, they also teach things that go directly against what Jesus taught. Although cyndee was originally studying marine biology, she decided to switch to teaching. We decided to educate our children at home instead of sending them to public schools. This allowed our kids to grow into the people they are today.
We have 3 adult children, some of you met my daughter Alena last time, although she has a masters degree and a very his job, She just quit her job, sold her car and rented her house to look for a ministry to volunteer full time with. Lord willing, she will serve in Bangalore starting September. She doesn't know what she will be doing, or exactly where, but she is following Jesus wherever He leads.
This is my son Caleb. I see him like the good son in the parable of the prodigal son, who faithfully served his father instead of wasting everything on wild living. I tried to provide each of my kids with the opportunity to go to college to get good jobs. Instead, he chose to sacrifice his college education to stay with us in our ministry and prepare for the last days together.
All other decisions were not as important. In the military, you are supposed to always continue education which I did. But the choice of which school or what to study didn't matter at all. Most jobs didn't care what you studied, just that you could do the job they wanted you to do. You can always take more classes if a particular job needed something specific. What job I actually did in the military didn't matter, I had duties from security guard, electrician, chaplains assistant, space launch manager to university professor. The choice of where to live didn't matter, we moved every 2 to 4 years seeing a lot of the world.
While in the military and after, I've always been interested in business and have started, invested in or owned several. We tried a fish importing business in Guam, a subway restaurant, Rental housing, stock trading and a bunch of others. Some worked and others didn't, those choices didn't matter.
Of course some decisions were better or more fun than others but they didn't make the impact as the important ones.
If you want to be successful, be faithful and diligent whatever you are doing and people will give you more opportunities. In school, the more diligent you are in your studies, the more opportunities you will have to choose from. Having more or better opportunities means you have more choices to decide from.
In deciding anything, don't worry about all the decisions in life because most of won't and can be changed later as long as you are faithful and diligent.
In essence, the decisions that really matter are:
Choosing to follow Jesus,
Choosing a career where I could serve him
Choosing the right marriage partner to serve him with
Choosing to raise our kids to serve him.
I pray that God will bless and keep you always. I look forward to hearing about the decisions you made when we meet in heaven.