Without Delay—An Appeal On The Basis of Love

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  18 At once they left their nets and followed him.  When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” – Mark 1:16-20

I appeal to you on the basis of love. – Philem 9

Dearest Brothers and Sisters of the Phoenix International Christian Church,

What an amazing bring your neighbor day!  God blessed us with 200 in attendance, smashing our previous record by 25 and then, to everyone’s astonishment, our contribution was almost 14,000!  Darryl and his crew did an incredible job with the BBQ!  The talent show was inspiring and a ton of fun!

This year’s talent show was full of variety: classical music, a monologue, poetry, rap, rock, and even Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have A Dream”

This year’s talent show was full of variety: classical music, a monologue, poetry, rap, rock, and even Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have A Dream”

I have no right to demand you to give any money especially since you all have all already given so much.  Some of you have lost and/or changed jobs and others have had financial challenges themselves with circumstances and unforeseen bills.  I do want to appeal to you on the basis of love that we do all we can, without delay, to meet the needs of our church family worldwide.  Let us together understand the vision of the lost that will be saved because of our generosity towards this year’s 7x missions contribution.

The Seven Preachers who were baptized and became sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ!

The Seven Preachers who were baptized and became sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ!

Many good-hearted brothers and sisters have asked, “why the need for an extra multiple?  I thought it was a 6x?”  Like all families, there are times where the unexpected expense comes up – even for our family of churches.  This past year we have seen some amazing miracles!  God has been glorified throughout the USA and the world as many souls have been won by unexpected churches being birthed by the Holy Spirit and the continued efforts of valiant disciples like the Kernans and Blaise Feumba.  With some of these victories and church-planting plans, unforeseen needs have come upon our central missions account. Some of these unforeseen expenses are/were:

  1. A $30,000 increase in expenses for the Sydney Church Planting. Simply put, to get our small team of 14 into the country (tickets – $1,700/disciple), set-up in apartments, and staying there is much, much more than we expected.
  2. The set up costs for the Santa Barbara Planting were about $6,000.
  3. Extra missions expenses – Blaise going to Haiti has cost $3,000, and a return trip in December or January will be at least another $5,000.
  4. The Portland Church was struggling, so we gave to them $3,500 to help them through a difficult time.
  5. Denver needed help in supporting the Sanicolas, which will be $7,500.
  6. Likewise, Syracuse needed $4,000 to fulfill their pledge to help the Rangas’ transition to DC.
  7. With the Spirit changing our movement’s plans for Paris by blocking the Kernans, Monica Vasquez was needed to strengthen Paris which added $4,000 to our costs.
  8. There are incremental increases to support Rob Onekea in the Cyber Ministry ($12,000/year) and Mike O’Donnell in Administration ($18,000/year).
  9. Tim & Lianne Kernan’s family of four cost of tickets, visas, shots, etc. to go to India as they could not stay in the USA or go to Paris amounted to about $8,000. Their future costs of either staying in Chennai, returning to Paris or planting Toronto will add at least $30,000 no matter which option the Spirit chooses.
  10. We have already spent around $2,000 more in hospital bills as both Lianne and Tim Junior needed care for Dengue Fever, which is a life-threatening disease. (This is just one of the prices we must pay to evangelize the third world countries of the world.)

The total for these “unforeseen expenses” is about $100,000, which is essentially a little more than one multiple of giving in the USA Churches. These unforeseen needs are in addition to what was already needed for our plans to plant and support our current Crown of Thorns churches.

Like many of you, Amy and I will be having a yard sale and we plan on participating in the tagging whenever possible until special missions.  We asked our family to forgive our $500 debt to them so we could give it to missions and they agreed!  I’ve got several former co-workers and friends to ask if they’d like to donate and I know Amy and I will be asking other family members’ financial support.

 

Zealous disciples “Tagging” on Rural and University.  A couple have come to church as well as almost $1500 raised through these efforts!

Zealous disciples “Tagging” on Rural and University. A couple have come to church as well as almost $1500 raised through these efforts!

In order to start on meeting this need “without delay,” here are some things you can do to help:

  1. Give money which is equal to 2x your weekly this Wednesday night if you are a brother (or of course, today, this Sunday).  This makes the need smaller if you can do it!
  2. If you have something to sell, go after making it happen this week. (Craigslist, yard-sale).  If you are going to do a yard sale, get some fliers for church printed up or if you need them, there are fliers we give out at tagging. They work, as a couple came out to BYND because of evangelism and Fliers!
  3. If you are broke and having a tough time, please just come out to tagging on Saturdays, it’s a great way to raise money and share your faith with people!
  4. Pray daily that we can blow out our 7x Goal!

It is our prayer that we’ll all have generous hearts that strive to meet the needs of God’s people throughout the globe, “without delay.

Last week was a call for all of us to study the scriptures and see the critical need for us to get “Back To The Bible!” Let us remember the words of Jesus Christ:

Matt 7:24-27

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 

All of us need to have the heart to obey the Word.  Knowledge of God is useless unless put to work in our lives and actions.  James teaches us that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  (James 2:17) The temptation can be when we have a history of religious experience or even a lengthy tenure in the church to believe that we’ve mastered our obedience.  This surfaces in subtle ways—as we’d never express this sentiment outright.  Instead, we can refuse to be open about our marital conflicts, our qualms and reservations, and/or our sins.  Additionally we can decide that we’re too busy to make the time to sit down and do a personal bible study because the benefit seems too paltry to justify the sacrifice of “making” the time. Jesus’ plan of making disciples of all nations includes “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20)  This process of becoming more like Christ never stops as “…we, who with unveiled faces all reflect  the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)  It is this perpetual life-long transformation that makes following Jesus’ words in humble obedience the most amazing adventure of all time.

Let’s never forget the need that the Holy Spirit illustrates to that aged disciple Timothy: “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:15-16)  Interestingly, Timothy had been a disciple for almost 20 years by c. 64AD when these words were written to him in 1 Timothy 4.  Paul met Timothy as a teenager for the first time in Acts 16 around 50 AD – at which time Timothy had been a Christian long enough to be well spoken of in two different cities. (cf. Acts 16:1-2) Timothy had about two decades of Christianity under his belt, was leading a church, and been on missionary journeys with the most prolific apostle of his era.  With all this, Timothy still needed to be reminded of these truths and challenged to be “diligent” and make visible “progress!”  Timothy was called by Paul here to get “Back To The Bible!” himself!

The needs before us today are twofold and it is my prayer you will pursue them “without delay.”  Firstly, let us give “as much as [we are] able, and even beyond [our] ability. Entirely on [our] own,  [let us] urgently plead… for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints…” (2 Corinthians 8:3-4) and prepare for our 7x November 24th thanksgiving missions contribution.  Secondly, may we all grasp the desperate need to get “Back to The Bible” and be “noble” like the Bereans of Acts 17:10-11 who  “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” As disciples let us be asking all those around us about studying the bible seriously and be vigorously following up with friends and family who visited “Bring Your Neighbor Day!

It has been an amazing 2013 working with you all in this very special and sacred ministry!  Amy and I are so grateful for all of you – especially for your love of our God and His family in Phoenix.  “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Phil 1:3-6

We love you all very much—In Christ,

Jeremy Ciaramella

 

 

 

 

JMC

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