Fellowship Deaconry Blog

Sharing Updates and Stories from Fellowship Deaconry Ministries
Messages from the Executive Director

Praise Fest Recap

Saturday, October 21, was the Family Praise Fest at the Fellowship Deaconry. I am excited because people are excited.  At least three or four pastors and other ministry leaders who were there said to me, “Next year how can I be involved … ,” or a variation there-of.  A woman visiting the Deaconry on Tuesday stopped by my office to share how she had been blessed at the Praise Fest, and as she shared she became excited and joyful and ended up praying right there for the Deaconry and for “God’s move” and for “souls”. If nothing else, she was excited by what she experienced as the presence of the Holy Spirit manifested in the praise and worship that went on Saturday.

The sense of awe, worship and praise carried on into the evening and the Greg Buchanan concert. The joy he expresses to God with his playing cannot be captured on a CD or in a video (as great as they are): being present during Greg’s performance was such a perfect cap to a day of proclaiming God’s Kingdom.

The entire Deaconry team did a fabulous job. The logistics and infrastructure were well done, and the numerous activities for the kids were fun yet peaceful. Every staff member, and every volunteer, invested fully in the day, and Jesus was glorified.

The only way I could have been more pleased by the outcome would be if there had been more people there.  Then again, being this was the first time we’ve tried an event like this, it was for the best that the crowds were manageable and gradual, i.e., steady all day long. 

This truly was THE FIRST ANNUAL Family Praise Fest at the Fellowship Deaconry.

Please continue to pray for us for God’s provision, for His leading, and for His anointing that we might grow in Grace and effectiveness.

- Rev. Joel Davis, Executive Director 

 

 

Continue reading
51 Hits
0 Comments

Discovering Columbus on Columbus Day

source: history.com

 

Today is Columbus Day. I recently finished reading a book sourced on Columbus’ own journal entries, and documents of the time, and, I must say, based on what I read, I was surprised by a few things. Note below:

1 – In 1492 literate people did not believe “the world was flat”. Since the days of the Greeks and Romans, and certainly after Marco Polo, there was debate about how large the circumference of the earth was. One reason Columbus undertook his venture: he believed the trip would be short, maybe only a couple of weeks or so, because he believed in a smaller Earth.

2 – The novelty was not that Asia could be reached by going west: The surprise was that there was a continent in between.  Columbus, himself, probably never fully understood this, even after four trips he believed the civilizations of the East “had to be around here somewhere.”

3 – If we are to believe his own journals and logs (remembering 1492 is about 20-years before Martin Luther), Columbus was a Christian believer who knew the scriptures.  Besides seeking a trade route to Asia, Columbus was focused on the opportunity to peacefully bring the Gospel to people whom he believed had not heard about Jesus. He was thinking about the people of Asia, but part of his fundamental motivation was missions work.

4 – The Crown in Spain issued a decree specifically forbidding mistreatment or enslavement of any native peoples, instead commanding that they should be treated with respect and dignity. Yes, that deteriorated and eventually collapsed into bloodshed and exploitation, but that was due to the frenzy fueled by thoughts of enormous riches, and that unleashed greed: Columbus’ hope of peacefully spreading the Gospel was trampled as well in the stampede.

5 – As Columbus meandered around the Caribbean looking for Asian civilization, he encountered several tribes and groups of people. The Caribe tribe were cannibals, who harassed and victimized other tribes. There were hostilities and conflict among other groups too. All was not Eden.

6 –On his first journey an attempt was made to leave a colony on “Hispanola” (present day Haiti and Dominican Republic). Columbus left a group there while he, himself, returned to Spain to repair, equip and resupply his ships, leaving instructions that there should be peace and respect between the colonists and the native peoples.  It was during this absence that “something” went horribly wrong at the colony in the Caribbean. When Columbus returned many had died from disease and starvation (the Europeans did not adapt well to the climate or diet), and hostilities had erupted with the local tribes.  One side accused the other of one offence or another: Neither Columbus (who was a brilliant sailor and a lousy administrator) nor the Crown were able to enforce their hopes for peace. This colony was eventually abandoned.

7 – Finally, this culture clash did not turn out all good and well for the Europeans either: A big surprise to me was learning that the disease of Syphilis, and the ravages that brought to Europe, was carried back home by none other than the crew from Columbus’ voyage. It seems there are no recorded instances of Syphilis in Europe until after 1494, or thereabouts.

Columbus was a superb seaman, a good enough leader to hold together a crew who had undergone tremendous suffering and deprivation, and a man who pursued good intentions. Was Columbus naïve and inept as a governor, and as a politician? It seems, yes. Whether it be the Iroquois conquering the Mohawk, or the Vikings plundering the French and English, or the atrocities in Rwanda, or the Mongols racing across the Steppes into Europe, or Muslims invading Spain, or the Aztecs absorbing surrounding tribes, and on and on, history has shown that when cultures and peoples clash the outcome is usually grim.  It is the fallen human condition: It is sin: It stinks.  Ultimately Jesus, and the Gospel, *are* the only remedy … one heart at a time.  At least to some extent, according to these documents, that was what Columbus hoped for too.

- Rev. Joel Davis, Executive Director 

 

 

Continue reading
331 Hits
0 Comments

Vision Bits #2

Vision Bits #2

To have a “vision” simply means to have an idea of what something should look like.  That can include, “Where are we going?” but it also includes practical and mundane things.

I recently visited a Bed & Breakfast in an old Victorian house: One could see the place reflected respect and dignity: “Respect” and “dignity” do not have to mean “stuffy” or “fancy.” There were no gold doorknobs, but there was order, and care taken with how things were arranged, and it was clean. These things reflect a godly view, and we find this in scripture, not only with God’s instructions for assembling, cleaning, and maintaining the tabernacle, but also in the “rules” he gave the Israelites for building and caring for their houses. In the temple the Levites were the priests who took care of the place, and God gave them a vision for what it should look like, providing specific instructions for even how to clean the utensils.

How we care for a place is a reflection of what we think of that place, but also, maybe more profoundly, what we think of ourselves in that place.  What is given to us to take care of, where we live, it should look like it is loved. We should love where we are because God has us there, and we respect God. It is good to keep this in front of us to encourage and remind us to maintain our places. We strive to do that everyday here at the Fellowship Deaconry. 

- Joel Davis, Executive Director

 

 

 

Continue reading
254 Hits
0 Comments

Vision Bits #1

Vision Bits #1

 II Chronicles 20:15 was sent out at the turn of the year as the Sisters’ “Verse of the Year”: “… for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. Fine and good. There are many instances in scripture where we are told how God aided, rescued or miraculously delivered Israel, and we are encouraged to believe that He is with us in the battles we face.

But what about BEFORE the battle? When Israel went out to battle they went out EQUIPPED for battle.  YES, in many instances they saw God’s deliverance. In every instance they went out to battle with arrows for their bows, spears, swords and shields, and sandals on their feet.  This means that BEFORE there was a battle, someone in Israel was making arrows! Someone was making swords! They prepared.  

I believe the Fellowship Deaconry is in a place of preparation: God has provided a time for us to regroup, rethink and repurpose. If we mistake this for a time of rest, when the battle comes – when the OPPORTUNITY comes – we may, at that time, find ourselves helpless to enter into what God calls us to do.

- Joel Davis, Executive Director

 

 

 

Continue reading
271 Hits
0 Comments

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

In our last issue of Seasons our Board Chair, Fred Schumm, alluded to Nehemiah. In this issue, we also allude to the book of Nehemiah in several places. The Nehemiah example continues to resonate at Fellowship Deaconry Ministries. The book of Nehemiah recounts a stirring episode in the history of Israel. There was a material task to literally rebuild walls and repair gates in Jerusalem, but there were spiritual issues too. After having been defeated by Assyria and Babylon, most Israelites had been scattered to the winds or carried off into captivity, including the priests and Levites. After 70 years, and a partial return to the land, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had forgotten the Word of God, and the joy of His presence. In Nehemiah chapter 8 we learn that after the walls had been repaired Nehemiah and Ezra called for a holy day in Jerusalem. Ezra mounted a platform to read the Word of God aloud to the people. Their hearts were pierced, and they wept, as they realized that they had wandered away from worship, and had broken the Law. But Ezra and Nehemiah admonished the people to not grieve: “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 

The people were being instructed that it is a good thing to discover they had wandered off of the path that leads to joy. When God allows us to observe (or be reminded) that we have lost track of His Presence in our endeavors, we rejoice that He has intervened to get us back on track.  Here at the Fellowship Deaconry, we rejoice that God has impressed upon us to institute Staff Devotions on a mandatory basis: Every Friday, at 10:15, everyone at the Deaconry (including volunteers, part-time employees, regular staff and the Sisters) gather for Bible study and prayer. We structure our work schedules on Friday to make sure to attend Devotions for this hour. Along with prayer for Deaconry needs, this is the time when we, as a group, pray for you, and lift the Prayer Requests that have come into us from you by email, through our web site, or by personal contact. Jesus is at the center of what we say, and we are determined that He be at the center of what we do. “… the joy of the LORD is [our] strength."

Continue reading
573 Hits
0 Comments