Fellowship Deaconry Blog

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

Vision Bits #3

I observe that atheism, agnosticism, and “unbelief” in general is based in disappointment.  In almost every conversation I have ever been in with an “unbeliever” I find the most common explanation for NOT believing in God runs along the line of, “If there really were a God there would NOT be ..” followed by a complaint: There would be no “pain,” “sickness,” “war,” “babies suffering,” and even “death” itself. While these sad things are offered as evidence of there being no Loving God, folks do not seem to ask themselves, “From where does my outrage spring?” If life is an accident, and we all are here due to an improbable series of genetic luck, then there is no injustice, there is no tragedy.

I often share with my unbelieving friends that it is only because there is a Loving God that we experience a sense of “just” or “unjust”.  We mourn someone dying because in the depths of our being we know that death should not be. God created humans to have Eternal Life, and it is only because of sin let loose in the universe that death even happens to us. The “complainers” in fact agree with God!

God hates injustice; God hates death; God hates sin, that we are oppressed, victimized and imprisoned by it, and that we cannot visually see Him because of it. If God is so loving and kind, why doesn’t He just “fix it”? Peter explains this (2 Peter 3:4-9). God is not slow, nor inattentive, God is “patient … not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God hates the condition of our world more than we do. He sent His Son Jesus to drink from the cup of suffering and provide a way to Life. God holds off on ushering in the Final Day so that more, even more, might be rescued from the ravaging blight.

Christmas is Christmas only because all the rest is true. The Cross, the resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and our Hope in what God intended for us from the beginning – eternal joy-filled fellowship with Him.  That is Christmas.

- Rev. Joel Davis, Executive Director

 

 

 

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How Do You Vote?

Our country recently had elections. Pundits make much of the outcomes: The question is whether the way people voted reflects what is in their hearts and minds. 

In Matthew 12:34 Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  That which is in someone’s heart will manifest in words and actions. People “vote” every day: Where people put time and money is the most powerful “vote” they have.

Some people vote to honor the past and preserve a rich heritage, others to support the present to acknowledge what a ministry is doing, and others for the future to equip a ministry to accomplish that to which they have been called. Fellowship Deaconry Ministries (FDM), I think, could receive your  “vote” in any, or all, of those ways.

In Matthew 13:52 Jesus said, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” As FDM steps into the future we do not jettison our heritage. Our heritage (which began here in 1933, eighty-five years ago next June) helps shape and enrich the future of this ministry.

In the present, Day Camp Sunshine, Sunshine Preschool and Fellowship Conference Center are all running more efficiently: We do need your help to support the Sisters and address the many repairs and upgrades that are needed, but we have embraced necessary changes in our operating credo. With your continued support, the Deaconry is on a positive heading financially and spiritually

What about the future?

I am genuinely excited by what God is speaking into us. The enthusiastic responses we received about “Family Praise Fest” have been beyond encouraging. The Ball Brothers concert was truly exciting. People have said, “Why aren’t you doing MORE here?” Praise God!  

We believe we are entering a time for the Deaconry to open doors for outreach into the youth community. (How many of us have been waiting for the words “Deaconry” and “youth community” to be spoken in the same sentence?) We are scheduling concerts and events for evangelism, discipleship and mentoring: remember, the ministry begun by the Sisters in 1933 was outreach to young women. 

We ask you to “vote” for us with your support: It’s not the past over the future, it is to equip us to move forward into new manifestations of the call, while honoring the heritage, and continuing with the important daily work the Lord has set before us. How exciting!

Surely FDM will “…bring out of [our] treasure things new and old”! Pray for us for discernment, anointing and protection in the spirit. Pray that the Lord cleanse us, that we may see Him. Pray for those the Lord will meet and bless through this ministry, and our new outreach. 

We need your “vote”. 

- Rev. Joel Davis, Executive Director 

 

 

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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 

 

 

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Discovering Columbus on Columbus Day

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 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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