Building People. Spreading Hope.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reaching China with the Good News

On March 16, we will embark on our next mission trip to China. Your unwavering prayer, encouragement, and support is helping us to fulfill the Great Commission.

The greatest revival on earth today is taking place in communist China. There are over 100 million followers of Christ. Bibles are often forbidden, considered as pornographic material and not readily available in China. This has created a substantial shortage of the Word of God throughout the land, especially in rural areas where revival is most evident.

On our last trip to China, we worked with Pastor T. He has spent years in prison for his service to the Lord. T's church is very active in winning lost souls. Pastor T told us, "In some of the remote areas of China, we did not see a single Bible in churches or in the hands of believers until we began handing out the Bibles you provided through your generosity." There are tens of thousands of believers living in rural China praying to have their first Bible.

One of our goals is to equip house churches with Bibles. During our last trip, we witnessed Christians in tears kissing the Bibles we distributed. Believers in China are severely persecuted. A Bible is their comfort from God.

A single Bible costs only $3.00. Will you please help? Will you also please share this project with your friends, family, and social media network? Thank you!

Jesus said, "I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36)  God bless you for showing compassion to our persecuted brothers and sisters in China.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Living Healthy in a Stress-Filled World

Please pray for our upcoming Mission Trip to China (March 16)
I had a friend in ministry who was in his mid-fifties when his life came to an abrupt end, leaving his precious young family without a husband and father. My friend lived a God-honoring life but the primary reason for his early demise was his lack of proper nutrition and exercise. How we chose to care for our body will affect our overall quality and longevity of life.
Not too long ago, another friend approached me and asked, "Brother Sandy, I serve God with all of my heart, but my family is constantly having health issues. Doesn't God care?" It was a sincere and sobering question. Today I want to share with you what I shared with him.
Each of us is made up of three parts spiritual, emotional, and physical. All three of these areas are interconnected.  For example, if we do not get enough sleep each day, it will affect our productivity the next day. If we live on a fast food diet all the time, it will begin to affect our mood. And if we do not get regular exercise, we will become lethargic and not have sufficient energy.
As a minister, I pray for sick people all the time, many of whom are spiritual giants. They read the Bible, pray, go to church, and live a God-pleasing life. They stand in a prayer line thinking there must be a spiritual reason as to why they are sick. So they think a prayer alone will fix their health issues. While I am glad to pray for people anytime and anywhere, and I trust in God's power to heal, I also know some health issues are not spiritual problems. They are a result of a lifestyle adjustment they need to make. God has the power to heal but He also expects us to do our part to properly maintain our physical health.
Let me challenge you to consider four areas that might enhance your physical health.
1. Food and drink. Do not misunderstand, I believe you can eat and drink almost anything as long as you maintain a healthy balance. But what we eat and drink will greatly determine how we feel. Some healthy choices include eating fresh, unprocessed food. Lentils, beans, and lean meats are all good proteins that provide energy, while rice, bread, potatoes, and pasta can make you feel sluggish. Dark vegetables are rich in vitamins. Candy, sweets, and desserts may taste good in the moment, but fresh fruit and nuts are better alternatives.  Drinking sugar-laden soda, iced tea, or excessive amounts of alcohol can amplify existing health issues; drinking water is a better way to go. Some of the health habits my family engages in are to eat food from small plates, drink water from large glasses, and drink coffee or tea from small cups. Desserts and junk food are occasional treats, but we do not store them at home.
2. Exercise. We live in a sedentary society. Many of us are glued to a computer screen or an office desk for eight to ten hours a day. When we return home from work, we find ourselves sitting on the couch flipping through channels on TV. Modern conveniences have reduced our physical activity causing a great challenge for people to stay fit. Unless your job routinely involves manual labor, you may need to schedule exercise in your daily routine. Walking, jogging, running, swimming, or weightlifting are great ways to stay physically fit. Researchers have found that when we sweat due to exercise or physical work, our body releases endorphins that send "happy hormones" to rejuvenate us.
3. Sleep and rest. Even God rested after His sixth day of creation! Your body is the only "machine" you'll ever have. Just like an expensive car, you cannot keep it running without proper rest. Likewise, God in his infinite wisdom created night and day. Going to sleep is like rebooting a computer; it gets rid of static and recharges your body. Scientists have found that every hour of sleep you get before 2:00 a.m. counts as twice as much rest! Isn't it amazing that modern society is catching up with the old saying, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy..." Health experts are now saying our body functions at an optimum level when we get a full eight hours of sleep each night.
4. Smile and laugh. Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana, has compiled some fascinating facts. Did you know only thirteen muscles are used to smile, but forty-seven muscles are required to frown? Clearly, smiling is more beneficial than frowning. Researchers also discovered that one good belly laugh burns off three and a half calories.  Laughter lowers the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the effect of stress and it suppresses your immune system. Lowering cortisol levels will enhance the work of your immune system and may prevent disease. Laughter releases endorphins (a “feel good” hormone) into your body with the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise. Let's learn to laugh and put our health in high gear!

Friend, no matter where you are in your health, it will do us all good to improve our physical health habits. If we take time to educate ourselves, eat right, exercise, get enough rest, and learn to laugh, God will do His part. The Bible says, "Honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:20)  How do we do that? By taking care of our body. After all, if you have a million dollars but are poor in physical health, what good will that be? Think about it! Your body is not only where you live, but it is also where God lives. Let us treat and respect our health as a gift from God.

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