All posts by Jonathan

Husband, father, friend, disciple, teacher, thinker, encourager, rider, runner, giver.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Update!

Michael, Jonathan and Eli in Siloam Springs

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  What an amazing couple of weeks it’s been. As many of you know, we have been in Arkansas and Missouri sharing about our ministry to missionary kids (MKs) at Black Forest Academy and encouraging you to answer God’s calling on your life. The days have been full and fulfilling!

While seeing friends and family has been our primary goal, our effort to increase our mission support has been a very close second. Since our arrival we’ve been able to share stories of God’s faithfulness from around the world and we’ve also added some new supporters to our team. We have truly been amazed by your generosity and hospitality! Wow. Here is an update of our progress and God’s provision:

5 – 3 needed – $50/month sponsors

4 - 3 needed - hot milfs $75/month sponsors

3 - 2 needed - $100/month sponsors

2 - 2 needed - $150/month sponsors

1 – $250/month sponsor (Done!)

As you can see we’ve made some great progress, but we still have a ways to go. Although we may not get all of the remaining sponsors before we fly home, if we can add just $300 more per month, our trip would be a wonderful success.

Tina, Valerie, Michelle and Eli

Consider becoming part of our team or making a one-time year-end gift. Your tax-deductible donation can start as a monthly contribution right away or you can schedule them to begin later in 2012. You can give using a check, electronic funds transfer, or even with a debit card. Simply visiting our DONATE page, printing out the Support Pledge Form, and send it in or call TeachBeyond at 8888-334-0055 to get started.

We won’t be here in the states much longer, but you can always sign up for our eNewsletter in the column on the right, contact us via email at griesse@gmail.com, or call our voice mail service at (636) 344-0436. Thank you for your love and encouragement. Sorry that we’ve missed some of you on this trip. We hope to be back next year. Keep praying and pursuing God’s calling on your life. Reclaim the world that surrounds you. You are Christ’s ambassador in a broken, hurting world!

 

Happy New Year, BFA!

 

BFA Opening Ceremony

VIDEO POST: August 23 marks the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Remember the students, their parents and the BFA faculty and staff during this transition. Pray also for the service and the global impact of this community. There are more than 40 countries represented by families who are serving the world in ways that are just as diverse or unique as the students. We can’t wait to see what God will do. Thanks for your support and for being a part of this “new year” celebration!

Welcome to a new year at Black Forest Academy!

– The BFA Communications Team

Extreme Couponing

Extreme CouponingWith the constant changes in the economy, the decreasing value of the dollar and the high cost of fuel, many people have become consumed with saving money on groceries and house hold goods. The Learning Channel, or TLC’s Extreme Couponing a reality show that every episode tells the story of two or three different coupon fanatics. The people featured come from all walks of life, but they are all very serious and singularly focused on saving as much money as possible at the register. I don’t just mean hundreds of dollars. I mean thousands, like over $3,000 worth of merchandise for $0.06. Seriously.

The climax of each episode is when the coupon users are “paying” for their purchase; these are transactions that sometimes take more than 30 minutes! (They routinely crash the store’s computer!) In that final moment, all the preparation, the collecting, the cutting out, the organizing the counting, the research… all the hard work usually pays off. But there is always a moment of doubt.

Seeing an episode reminded me a lot of what our faith in Christ must be like. Hearing the cashier say, “Your entire $1,736.57 purchase today is free!” got me thinking that this must be similar to what it will be like when we stand before God as a follower of Christ. The Father says, “You have a debt that you cannot possibly pay, but my Son has taken your place and paid the debt.” Wow. That’s what I call savings!

In Romans 8:12-17 Paul says, “So then, brothers, we are debtors,” but he continues to our status nude celebrities after the purchase is complete. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”

Here’s where the original simile breaks down though… jump back to the cash register and Extreme Couponing‘s moment of truth. Your planning and work is done. The coupons are ready, in order and the entire purchase has been scanned. It’s time to see if all the hard work has paid off. Instead of Jesus being a “coupon” (forgive me, Lord!), He comes to the register and says, “Put your coupons away. They are all worthless.” In fact in this metaphor, He would probably say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. There are no discounts or registers because the entire price has been paid. You own the entire store. It’s open 24/7 for you and there is nothing you could have done to earn this.”

“[But God], immense in mercy and with an incredible love, embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” That is a small excerpt from Ephesians 2:1-10 in The Message.

So perhaps the next time you pull out your discount card or your stack of coupons, remember the price that has been paid for you through God’s incredible love… not just a bargain. He wants to give you the entire store! When you are ready, He’ll be waiting, always open, no coupon required.

Love to Play. Play to Love.

Recently Eli has been a part of a play group with other local German women and children. Although he is the youngest child there, it’s a chance for him to dance, hear fluent German, and exercise… if he’s not sleeping. The play group is designed as a community outreach.  There are only a couple of Christians in the group.  Even though we are still learning the language, it’s a great opportunity to love others like Jesus does through our actions.  God continues to give the Griesse family chances to reach out, outside of our comfort zone, and share the hope and the joy that we have.  Thank the Lord for Eli, who at his young age is already demonstrating how to love others even while he’s playing! 

Working

This past week has been spent mowing lesbian videos grass, washing trash cans and hauling gravel at the Black Forest Academy campuses to prepare for the school year and to make some simple, sweat-equity improvements. It’s hard work, but these days of sweating and straining have brought two things to mind, 1) the way I and many believers have unjustly elevated certain jobs and ministries over others, and 2) the way we distort and misunderstand ministry.

One thing that the Holy Spirit is doing in the 21st Century church is leveling the playing field when it comes to leadership. Check out the organizational chart in some of today’s most effective churches and you’ll find that it is a lot flatter than in the past. It’s not just the staff, pastors and a hierarchy of leaders who are making a difference. It’s the congregation who is having a real impact in the local community and around the globe. Praise the Lord that ministry is no milf porn longer the sole (or soul) responsibility of the pastor!

Being a minister is not cartoon porn videos about a degree a salary or a title. It’s about sharing the hope of the gospel by stepping out from behind the comfortable walls we’ve built and into the challenging spots where God has placed us. Then… BAM!, we plant our feet in the enemy’s territory answering the Great Commission by reclaiming that place as the Lord’s! You are there lesbian porn and you represent Him.

Whether you are in the board room or working third shift on the Tyson processing line, claim that place as the Lord’s! Whether you are designing and building the newest elder-care facility, or if you’ll be the one cleaning out the patient’s bed pans, you are a minister, a missionary, a Kingdom worker reclaiming and restoring that which was lost. You are representing The Coming King!

If we are mowing, teaching, selling, serving, coaching, washing, leading, hauling or sweating, let’s be an expression of God’s love for the world. We are not here to sit and wait for some magic moment or rapture, but to be a faithful reflection of hope among the lost and broken. Work hard, give God the glory and pray for His renewal in your life and others.

In the coming days as I grab my shovel, pick up the wheelbarrow, or pull the starter cord on the mower, I’ll think of you, faithful brothers and sisters, you who are my co-laborers with Christ. Grace and peace as you step out into the world for the work that lies porno gay ahead.

 

Some supporting Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 9:10, Psalm 90:16-17, Ephesians 4:28, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3