Do You See Elephants or Frogs?

A preacher friend’s son, and his boy, went on an excursion to the local zoo, to see all the animals. In one enclosed area, across a small pond, there stood huge elephants and towering giraffes. The Dad tried to get the attention of his little son, “Look, see the elephants.” Amazingly, the boy was captivated by a frog leaping from the little pool of water. Every time the father would say, “Look, son, see the elephants, and the giraffes,” the boy would respond, “Frog. Frog!” Finally, the Dad pulled the son, away from the enclosure, and they moved along. The little boy kept crying, “Frog. Frog. Frog.” Isn’t that like us sometimes? God’s wants to show us the elephants, giraffes; the mighty things He wants to accomplish in our lives and ministries. Yet, all we see are the insignificant frogs.

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Good to Great Through God’s Eyes

Jim Collins wrote a pivotal book called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. I loved one of the quotes found on Collins’ website: “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” (It is easy to make the choice. It is harder to take the continuous grueling step to discipline…daily. I would say that is a substantial “leap.”)

Collins wondered if a good company could become a great company. He and his twenty-one man team looked through more than 1,000 companies. Eleven companies were chosen for careful study. Over two thousand pages of interview notes were generated. They studied the heart, mind, and soul of truly great companies. These companies had managed to figure out how to move from good to great.

Chip Ingram came along and wrote Good to Great in God’s Eyes: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common. I read this simple book and it has become one of my all-time favorites and remains on my bookshelf. It shows how Christians honor God with their lives, great faith, and excellent work. gave the following write-up concerning the book:

“Believers become great in God’s eyes by applying the 10 common characteristics of great Christians:

  • think great thoughts
  • read great books
  • pursue great people
  • dream great dreams
  • pray great prayers
  • take great risks
  • make great sacrifices
  • enjoy great moments
  • empower great people
  • develop great habits.

Using Scripture, personal stories, and examples from Christians who left a lasting legacy, bestselling author Chip Ingram offers practical steps for becoming great in all areas of life, in spiritual growth, family, relationships, and career.”

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In and Out of Ministry

“Ministry” is a Greek word diakoneo meaning “to serve” or to “serve as a slave.” Effective ministers operate within their calling serve God, His Gospel, and others. Ministry stems from a devotion and love for God (the first greatest commandment) and a love for others (the second greatest commandment). Desiring to make a difference in this world, and in the lives of others, they give everything of themselves expecting little in return. Love is foundational in ministry. Eastwood Anaba in the Pastor & His Love stated, “A loveless life is a burdensome life. A pastor’s life and ministry without love is a difficult one. The ministry is becoming increasingly difficult for many ministers because of the lack of love in their hearts….The potential of believers can be maximized when pastors walk in love. We cannot seek the well-being of people we don’t love.”

Warren W. Wiersbe and David W. Wiersbe in their book 10 Power Principles for Christian Service: Ministry Dynamics for a New Century give ten pivotal, foundational principles or guidelines for ministry.

  • The Foundation of ministry is Character
  • The Nature of ministry is Service
  • The Motive of ministry is Love
  • The Measure of ministry is Sacrifice
  • The Authority of ministry is Submission
  • The Purpose of ministry is the Glory of God
  • The Tools for ministry are the Word of God and Prayer
  • The Privilege of ministry is Growth
  • The Power of ministry is the Holy Spirit
  • The Model for ministry is Jesus Christ

In another great book, On Being a Servant of God, Warren Wiersbe describes and defines “ministry.” “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.”

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” (Frederick Buechner).

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men. Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord, Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

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I Can Still Hear

I can still hear her screaming.

It was my eighteenth summer and my youth group and I were on a mission’s trip to the village of Nkwanta in Ghana. Our activities had included teaching Sunday School, attending night services, painting buildings, evangelism, and, that day, visiting a hospital. We were supposed to walk around singing, praying, just letting people know that they weren’t alone. One of our first stops was the room of an eight year old boy, horribly emaciated by hunger. I stopped by his bed and whispered a few words of prayer. Empathetic tears rolled down my cheeks and I felt really good about myself. Here I was, a veritable mini Mother Theresa, visiting the sick and crying beautifully. We were just finishing our rounds when I heard it, the piercing, screaming, shriek of grief resounding from the inner corridors. The shrieking continued as the boy’s mother followed his lifeless corpse out of the hospital. He was dead. And I was right there. I had stood over his bed holding the keys to life eternal in my hands and I had wept tears of “compassion” and said prayers of “comfort” but not one time had I ever said words that could have saved his life. And before I so much as left the hospital, he ran out of time. I can go back to Africa a hundred times, and I can tell a thousand children, but I can never tell that one.

Why am I telling you this? Because in Africa, over fifty percent of the population is under eighteen. That means that in Ghana alone, there are roughly 12,482,908 children living, and left to reach. Someone has to go. I am more than willing. Because they live in my home. Because they step into my heartbeat. Because I can still hear her screaming.

I’ve been given the opportunity to return to Ghana (where I have already spent twelve years of my life) and work with the incredible Sisco family for six months. During this time I would help write a series of lessons for young adults, work with Children’s ministries, teach at the Bible School, and spend some time with my favorite children (Allanah and Stephen) as I help with their homeschooling.

If you are receiving this version of the letter, it’s because you know me. To some extent you know my hopes and dreams, you’ve seen the burden for my country that I hope is obvious, and you understand, to some level, my penchant for writing random poetry. And that’s where you come in.

The harvest is great

The laborers few

Ghana needs me

And I need you

Getting to and living in Ghana is no inexpensive matter and I desperately need your help and support in order to get there as quickly as possible and work effectively while there. Costs include: airfare, food, lodging, travel papers, insurance, transportation, and so forth. This six month endeavor will cost an all inclusive $350.00 per week. An offering of $25.00 will sponsor me for half a day; $50.00 for a day; $100.00 will fund two days.

To join Melinda financially in ministry please send your offering to Melinda Poitras c/o James Poitras, Global Missions, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, Missouri, 63042.

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I Will Give You All!

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

“I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). We are called upon to present ourselves as living sacrifices. Give up your life as you continue living it; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Daily we pull ourselves onto the altar of sacrifice. I admit, sometimes I do slip or fall off. However, I don’t stay on the ground for long. I pull myself, yes, sometimes drag myself, back onto the altar.

Billy Cole preached a message called “The Reward of Sacrifice” and it has made it into his book Teachings by Billy Cole. His text was 1 Samuel 6: 7 – 14. Two cows were tied to a cart, to carry the Ark of the Covenant. Their calves were kept at home. The two cows lowed as they went on their way. That was their initial sacrifice. Reaching their destination, the cart was destroyed, and the cows paid the ultimate sacrifice—their lives as a burnt offering. I remember Brother Cole saying, “The reward for sacrifice is another, bigger sacrifice!”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” (Jim Elliot).

Bruce A. Howell wrote, “As I scan the list of heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, I notice these men and women of vision had one thing in common. When it came to serving their God, they never counted the cost. They willingly gave all. It’s been years since I’ve heard that little song, “Take it all…What this world can offer me, take it all. For one hundred years from now, it won’t matter anyhow.” Oh, for a resurgence of that attitude! How much is biblically expected when it comes to contributing to the kingdom of heaven; making a kingdom investment? The answer contains three simple letters: ALL.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he…selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46).”

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