Some pastors today falsely or ignorantly concentrate solely on numbers and growing their church numerically so they can build bigger buildings and pay larger salaries. Many even fall into the trap of the enemy by using Scripture out of context to make their case ‘biblical’ sounding. They use verses from Acts 2:41 that tells how 3,000 were added to the church in one day. They will say in Acts 4:4 the Bible reports 5,000 more were saved. These will be misused to ‘justify’ that focusing on numbers is OK.
Isaiah 40:3,4 – “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:”
Isaiah prophesied of a forerunner for the Messiah, his job was to prepare the way of the Lord. His task was to make a straight highway for our God. When I read the above passage, it reminds me of preparing a road for paving. The dirt has to be graded, the hills leveled out, and the valleys filled in. Then the road has to be packed down and scraped and leveled…smoothing all of the rough places. So who was this forerunner and how did he do all of this paving?
After the Lord saved me in the fall of 2000, the first piece of Scripture that ever really stuck with me was 2nd Timothy 2:3-4. Here Paul penned the following words, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (New King James)
When I first read that, I must confess that it made me a little fearful. I wondered…‘what was I going to have to suffer?’ I was hoping for the ‘life more abundantly’ and ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ parts of salvation that I had heard so much of. But the Lord spoke to my spirit clearly…“You therefore must endure hardship…”
In my walk with the Lord, I have personally and corporately (as a Body of Christ) seen prayers both miraculously answered and prayers that seemed to go unanswered. Once while seeking the Lord on this topic, I came across a very interesting account in the Gospel of John. The story was recounting the sickness, death and resurrection of Lazarus.
This was a trip to Tapachula Mexico with a team from Grace Community Church in Rincon, GA. We went there to serve with Mission on the Move’s Children’s home there.
This would be my first mission experience serving under my church in partnership with another ministry. The ministry we were going to serve under was Mission on the Move out of Springfield, GA. At the time, they had two childrens homes, one each for boys and girls. Their ministry goes into the prisons to try and take children out of the prison and places them in their homes. I didn’t realize that in the Mexican justice system, children may have to go to prison with the parent(s) if there is nowhere on the outside for them to stay. As you can imagine, many horrible things happen to those children on the inside.
The first trip to Malawi ended with Randy McEwen falling into a prideful trap and choosing in his spiritual immaturity and ignorance to cast off the original purpose of going to Malawi, being a helpmeet to Wood World Missions, and to instead establish a ‘permanent’ base of operations for Acts III Global Ministries in Malawi. Ambition, glory-seeking, tower-of-Babel-building, are all very subtle ploys of the enemy. Take heed.
The planned purpose of this trip was to further establish the work that Acts III had begun just two months earlier in Malawi. The goals were to develop the leaders, preach, evangelize, disciple and to minister, and to seek other avenues to fulfilling what we thought were God’s purposes in Malawi for Acts III.
Overview – this was Acts III’s first journey to Malawi. Randy McEwen was invited there by Wood World Missions to work along side them and to assist Mercy Wood so she would not be in the country alone. Before leaving, Acts III’s board authorized $1,000 to be taken to assist Mercy & WWM to purchase some land. This blog comes directly from Randy McEwen’s journal. What we hope the reader will see here is a lot of spiritual immaturity, missing the direction of God, how flesh got in the way, as well as see how the Lord worked during and after this trip as a consequence of certain decisions. Some of these will be more evident as the story develops over the rest of the trip blogs.
In April of 2003 I took my first mission trip, and it was to Ghana, West Africa. Before I tell you about what the Lord did on the trip, I need to first tell you how the trip came about. That is an amazing testimony all in itself.