What Do We Need?
(You will be surprised!) by Michael Bagby
We are going for it folks. Right now, this month of August, we are at work in two corners of Central America attempting to reach out to native indigenous Miskito Indians, as well as the foreign visitors to this region.
Our Objective: To see them all become members of the Family of God and be productive in their lives here on Planet Earth. We want to help them connect to their eternal destiny as well as fulfill the purposes that God has for them here.
It can be an overwhelming task. There are many obstacles to success in these projects, yet we are moving forward with faith that God will provide and if we continue to have the courage to do our part, He will do His. The potential rewards are huge!
Look at these courageous workers! Ted, Tom, Nutie, Sonie, Karen, Augusto, Danilo, with
In these past months, we have asked you to pray specifically for Project Ezra, and the Outreach to the Island of Utila. But the question we always have to ask ourselves is:
“What do we really need to do the ministry that God has called us to?”
In our primary school project along the Rio Coco, we could begin our list of needs with money, skilled teachers and administrators, reliable outboard motors, and many gallons of gasoline. That is our natural thinking. Actually when we began the refugee school project in 1986, we had none of those. However, apparently we had the two things that the Bible says we need to do ministry.
In Biblical history, there was a time in the 6th Century B.C. when the Jewish refugees came back from Babylon to reconstruct the Temple in Jerusalem. One of the leaders of this project was a priest named Jeshua. For the Temple to be rebuilt, they needed wood, stone, and other building materials, along with food and pay for the workers, military protection, and skilled artisans. However, God gave Jeshua something even greater. Read what the prophet Zechariah, who was part of this team, recorded:
Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. Satan was there at the angel’s right hand, accusing Jeshua of many things. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from a fire.”
Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”
Then I said, “Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.
Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: If you follow my ways and obey my requirements, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk in and out of my presence along with these others standing here. Zechariah 3:1-7
Jeshua was given the two things which would guarantee the success of his ministry: Authority from God to do the job, and Access into God’s presence for direction. These are the two required elements for success in ministry: Authority and Access.
Authority is what a policeman directs traffic with. He has a badge given to him by the government that makes disobeying him a crime. Although he physically cannot force an eighteen-wheeler truck to stop or turn, his authority can, and usually does. When God assigns us work, the first thing He gives us is the authority to work in His name and in His power. All else happens because He has given the word. Jesus taught us about this authority in his encounter with the Roman Centurion.
And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. Matthew 8:5-10
The centurion was used to working under authority. It was only way he could do his job as a soldier. It is also the only way we can operate successfully in the Kingdom- under God’s authority. Only when He gives it does anything of eternal value happen. It is His Authority that allows favor to fall upon His workers, and supernatural things to happen. He is the one who directs His people to put forth their efforts in a particular direction, using His resources for His purposes. Many of you who have given, have prayed, and actually traveled to participate with us. This is the result of your sensitivity to God’s Authority over you and all you have.
Once God give us His authority to do His specific work, He wants us to come into His presence to receive direction. Proverbs 16:9 says:
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Many steps in God’s plan are often not what we would logically think to do. Start a school project in one of the most remote corners of Central America? With nor resources? Or how about our airplane ministry? For ten years we flew a Piper Seneca twin-engine aircraft from Florida to Honduras, and used it to support our school project. We never had a budget for this aviation ministry, and logically it didn’t make sense to own such a piece of equipment. Yet it became one of our most valuable assets.
We took our three Miskito Indian leaders from Nicaragua to Israel in 1997. That didn’t really seem like a good use of resources, according to our logic, yet that trip directly resulted in a film abot Israel that has been shown throughout Miskitia, a relief ministry in Israel from 2000 to 2003 that helped thousands of Christians through a difficult time, a book on spiritual life, pastoral training conferences in Nicaragua, a Miskito teacher going to school for a year in Jerusalem, six study tours in Israel, Greece, and the Caribbean, and many classes and seminars in the United States. What didn’t make logical sense really changed the way we do our ministry.
God’s plans are often far beyond our own. Access to His presence is the only way we will get direction.
Authority from God and Access to Him are the basic necessities for any work of God. Without these two critical elements, we are operating on our own strength and wisdom, and ultimately our efforts will result in little or no fruit.
When we first went to Utila in 1989, little did we know what God has planned for us. We began to get a glimmer in 1995, when we started to sense that Utila would be a great place to plant a church to reach out to the European, American, Israeli, and Australian young travelers who flock to this island. Now 16 years later, we are here, taking it step by step. Reaching out to those who God is placing across our paths. At the same time, Tom and Nutie, and our Nicaraguan team lead by Truman is touching over 1220 children every day in the classrooms along the Rio Coco.
We have been amazed at how God directs us, and allows us to accomplish so much with so little, for such a great purpose! Yet I have to constantly come back to this principle in the third chapter of Zechariah to remind myself that we already have all the necessary things to accomplish our mission. We are called by God to reach these children along the Rio Coco and these young people on Utila. He has given us unique strategies to accomplish His mission. We are often clueless as to what the next step is, and then He nudges us in a certain direction. It is such an amazing way to live our lives, and if I could only totally relax and enjoy the ride, I’m sure I would still have some brown hair on my head.
Many of you have been with us all the way. You give, you encourage, you pray! You are the evidence of God’s leading, and His Authority over all of us!
Thanks for being so faithful. ! MB
Lamb Bleatings By Laura Bagby
Life is all about choices. We can make them on how we feel at the moment, or what we know to be true. Isn’t is amazing to reflect back on things we have done in days past, and realize that now we would do it a different way? Maybe its maturity that makes the difference. Maybe it a greater sensitivity to the Word of God and His Principles in our lives. Maybe it’s the courage to obey God in the small things of life as well as the big.
We are all about understanding God’s principles, and His will for me, and putting it into action. Watching our children “grow up” is such a graphic example of this process. Sometimes they do what we tell them, and things work out. Other times they don’t and choose their own way, and there are consequences.
I always come back to the Word of God. It is the cement ground floor of my life, which I build everything else on. I find when I go with God in a particular direction, things do work out, even if it doesn’t appear like it will at the moment. Here is one principle that I have been meditating on. The Apostle Paul shared it with his friends in Corinth long ago.
“Remember this---a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
As the Scriptures say, “ Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”
For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”
Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give ever more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God. So two good things will happen---the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem will be met , and they will joyfully express their thanksgiving to God. You will be glorifying to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you. Thank God for his Son---a gift too wonderful for words!” 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
(Here at the Apollo's Temple in Corinth.)
God has gifted us with a life full of opportunities to practice these principles on a daily basis.
In these economic hard times, it seems that the Lord challenges us even more to live up to the occasion of generosity in order to defy the seemingly dire circumstances that life throws our way. In doing so, we have witnessed God in action enriching our lives in ways one could never explain with mere words. He is a God of abundance and He does not live in accordance with the rules and limitations of this world. He makes His own rules and is the only One that can actually follow through with perfection and style. I really appreciate Him for this and the more “needy” and dependent I become, the more I see His beautiful hand of mercy and kindness reaching out to me just to let me know that He is there and He cares. He is a Father that cannot let me down and proceeds to find ways to meet me in my deepest darkest places of life. I choose to worship Him with my life and my being and still at times I do not feel that this is adequate praise to offer up to Him. He is worthy of so much more, but I strive to give to Him my all, my best and to declare that I love Him as my Lord…the One I put in charge of my Life and existence. He cannot steer me wrong and I trust Him.
Our prayer is that many of you will come along for the next season of adventures He has for us. Our Miskito friends, leaders, teachers and fellow disciplers, Tom and Nutie Melrose need your prayers as we continue to give out what God has poured into our lives to use for Him. Please join us in prayer and in giving generously for His honor and glory so that many will express praise for your cheerful participation. We are investing in the eternal. Please consider adding to your eternal reward with us….
On September 1st, while we are in Utila doing our coffee ministry, we will be celebrating Michael’s 60th Birthday. It is big one for me because I celebrate a life of a person that not only talks about “doing” things for the Lord, but actually gets out there and accomplishes more than I think is actually possible. In reality, I have seen the impossible accomplished through the Lord and His power working through this willing, persistent, long suffering, consistent man of vision, hope, faith and love. There is not another who I can say I respect more than my strong, loving husband, solid father to our children and faithful servant to our Lord Jesus Christ….continuously practicing his faith through giving to the poor, strengthening the saints, giving out what he has in Bible studies and choosing to live a life of discipline in mind, body and spirit. I am blessed to be along for the adventures God grants through him.
Gus Acosta, thank you for your extremely timely word of encouragement. You really blessed us at a critical moment. Since you have known Michael longer than I have, your words about his life testimony were powerful.
This has caused me to want to ask all of you out there if you could please use the enclosed envelope to give a word of encouragement to Michael for his 60th birthday. His language of love is words of encouragement and I know it would bless him to hear from you. Sharing those words will be the “big” way we will celebrate his 60th when we return from Utila in September.
The Bagby Bunch Corner
This month, Mikaela and Lukas are with us, along with our friend Joe Miller from Vero Beach. We have quite the team making a big splash on this Caribbean Island. Many conversations about our favorite subject– Truly Abundant Life with God.
In the meantime, we are working out the day to day details of a life of ministry. Just like Paul worked in the marketplace in Corinth, trying to sell enough tents to purchase the food for his ministry team, getting tired, often discouraged, and often he was beaten and jailed, we too deal with the day to day struggles. That is why I am often encouraged by Jesus words in Matthew 6:
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God* above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.“
We are blessed to have the call of God on our lives, as are you. We know he has the plan, and as we follow it, all will work out according to His will. Today we will have issues that will arise. They may be “relational”, or “physical”, or “financial”. Can we enjoy the bumps in the road and trust that God will get us through. The older we get, it seems the more we are willing to not to get too excited about “today’s” troubles.
We plan to be back in Vero Beach on September 3rd. After that we are planning to be at a wedding in Michagan in September, and a Missions Conference in Florida in October. We hope to see many of you along the way. Laura & Michael
Here is one of thousands of Miskito Indian children who have been educated and inspired spiritually because of our efforts these past 27 years.