Got a call? Feed it!


We have just come through the annual World Missions Conference at our home church, Mission Point, in Saint John, NB (Canada). From the time I was a young person growing up in the Baptist church, missions conferences have had a special place in my heart and this year was no different. Being involved in the planning, in my role as full-time Assistant to the Pastor, is a real treat for me, as it gives the opportunity to get “up close & personal” with some incredible people!!

Sis. Else Lund… “Mother Ghana”

photoSis. Else Lund was appointed as a missionary to Liberia, Africa in 1962 and spent three weeks sailing to the land of her calling on a ship named the African Glen. She fulfilled a number of roles in multiple west-African nations until retiring from Global Missions in 2004… some 42 years after her initial appointment. A great deal of those 42 years was spent in Ghana and at one point, every ordained minister in the UPC of Ghana, had been taught by Sis. Lund… hence the nickname “Mother Ghana.” What a heritage.

Let’s Talk Missions!

Saturday morning, as we did during last year’s conference, we organized a brunch for anyone who either (a) felt a call towards or (b) was curious about, short term missions. It was a chance to glean from the experience of our guest missionaries who discussed a particular part of their journey toward missionsfollowed by discussion afterwards.

Our panel: (beginning top left & clockwise):

  1. photoRev. Jim Poitras,
    (Director of Education & AIM, UPCI)
  2. Sis. Colleen Carter, (Missionary to Ghana, West Africa)
  3. Sis. Else Lund
  4. Lauren Summers, (Her parents, Rev. Stephan & Debra Summers are UPCI Missionaries to Cyprus)

Here are a few highlights from that panel discussion:

Colleen Carter: (Colleen spent eight years in Ghana, West Africa, under AIM appointment before receiving missionary appointment in 2007.)

“My call to missions goes all the way back to and began in childhood. As a girl in Sunday school we all had to pick a missionary to whom we’d write to and for whom we’d pray. I chose the Everett & Lois Corcoran family, at the time missionaries to Pakistan. Sis. Corcoran always wrote back and God used that connection to draw me, over time, into missions.”

Lauren Summers: Lauren was the youngest voice on the panel but a valuable one. As an MK (missionary kid) she was in Cyprus because of her parents’ call, not her own. Quiet by nature, Lauren said a LOT in a few short words: She reminded us of the need to uphold missionary kids in prayer and to encourage them whenever possible.

“Initially, I wondered how I’d fit in, what I’d do, but I loved kids and loved doing puppets and the like so I sort of found my place. Sometimes, though, it got lonely and the only thing that kept me was the fact that I’d get messages on my (Facebook) wall from friends back home.”

Else Lund: Sis. Lund spoke longer than the first two ladies, but her tale was riveting! Just two short quotes from her… one, a testimony from her past, the second… a call to those present.

“It was polio that brought our family into truth, so I’ve never regretted having polio.”

“If you have the smallest feeling or hint of a call on your life… FEED IT… PRAY!”

Rev. James Poitras: Bro. Poitras was the last member of the panel to speak, but did a superb job of tying together all that the others had shared. He began by stating that “Whom God calls, he equips.” From there I’ll pull out what is, in my estimation the…

TOP 5 List

…of things to know about the equipping process, as shared by Bro. Poitras in that brunch meeting:

  1. It involves work… preparation.
  2. It involves partnering with, or at the very least paying heed to, the apostles,prophets, pastors, evangelists & teachers that God has placed in your life. He put them there for the purpose of equipping you.
  3. It (the equipping & preparing process) never stops!
  4. It involves academic preparation, spiritual preparation andministerial preparation* (meaning: the basic needs of humanity are the same everywhere. If you learn how to minister right where you are, you’ll learn how to do it in the land of your calling).
  5. It is like finding the will of God for your life: …you must find the next right step and just do it. All those steps together, lead you into the will of God or, in this case, into that state of prepared-ness.

In short…

What a great time of inspiration and formation all rolled up into one!  If you’ve got a call… Feed it!  That’s what we’ve been doing and what we continue to do as we prepare ourselves for our departure in January.

Come back Saturday morning when I’ll have an update on our financial preparations… Exciting news that you won’t want to miss. We’re praising God for great things!  We capped off the weekend by having the Poitras’ in our home for supper the night before their departure back to St. Louis. We’re thankful for their enthusiastic encouragement and their friendship and for believing in us!

See you Saturday!


I’m on the Winning Team

So they went over to him and asked:

  • Who brought you here?
  • What are you doing in this place?
  • What is keeping you here?” (Judges 18:3, HCSB).

It is often therapeutic, directive, and beneficial to pause to reflect for a moment concerning the why behind what we do. This lesson caused me to do just that.


There are at least seven reasons why I became a minister. This blog covers five of the reasons. A previous blog covered another two.

  1. I was indebted to One that gave all for me. How could I withhold or do anything less than my best (1 Corinthians 1:14-16).
  2. I recognized I was a servant. Not just to anything or anybody. I became a servant of this gospel (Acts 2:38 salvation message).
    1. “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working on his power” (Ephesians 3:7, NIV).
  3. I wanted to be on the winning team. Everybody does. Remember those days when teams would be selected and every fiber of your being was silently calling out, “Pick me! Pick me!” and “Please don’t pick me last.” I hated being chosen last.
    1. We get to be involved in the greatest enterprise on the face of the planet: reaching souls.
    2. I was hand-picked. He saw not what I was but what I could be.
    3. Like someone said, “I’ve looked at the back of the Book and I know who wins.”
    4. We not only envision but we can have an end-vision. The church will be triumphant. See Revelation 5:9; 7:9. People from everywhere will be there in heaven.
    5. We all can be a winner. We have a race to run (it’s specifically designed for us) and we can win.
    6. Our confidence and trust is not in ourselves but in who He is (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).
    7. I am insufficient but God is all-sufficient.
    8. We are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). We are on the winning team.
  4. I have the message that changes the hearts of men and impacts the world.
    1. We have the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).
    2. We have something to say: a message to proclaim.
    3. We aren’t like the runner in the Old Testament, who hastened to the king, but didn’t even have a message.
    4. We persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11).
    5. We have the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16:18).
    6. Like a student in the classroom, I have the answer.
    7. Preach the Word (Titus 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:2; Romans 1:16)
    8. Preachers of the gospel have some of the greatest job security in the world. As long as there are lost souls, there will be a market for preachers (Romans 10:13-15).
    9. When He calls, He equips and empowers.
  5. God chose me.
    1. My selection was based on His ability and my availability.
    2. He called me. Yep, He chose me. Recruited. Drafted.
    3. It is humbling to realize that out of over seven billion people on the planet He selected me.
      1. He was thinking about me (Psalms 8:4).
      2. He gives us the desire of our heart(s) because He plants that desire there in the first place (Psalms 37:4).
      3. He enables us to reach our expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

photo credit: jairoagua via photopin cc

Acts: His-story, Our Story, and My Story

Robert P. Menzies in “The Role of Glossolalia in Luke-Acts” contends, “We Pentecostals have always read the narrative of Acts, and particularly the account of the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), as a model for our own lives. The stories of Acts are our stories: stories of ordinary people in need of God’s power; stories of fishermen called to hear bold witness for Jesus in the face of great opposition; stories of peasants persevering in the midst of great suffering…Pentecostals the world over identify with these stories, especially since so many face similar challenges. This sense of connection with the text encourages us to allow the narrative to shape our lives, our hopes and dreams, our imagination.”


He goes on to say, “The hermeneutic of the typical Pentecostal is straightforward and simple: the stories in Acts are my stories…that shape our identity, ideals and actions.” He reiterates,

“This simple hermeneutic, this straightforward approach in reading Acts as a model for the church today, is one of the key reasons why an emphasis on speaking in tongues played such an important role in the formation of the modern Pentecostal movement…”

“Acts is simply not a historical document; rather Acts presents a model for the life of the contemporary church. Thus, tongues serve as a sign that ‘their experience’ is ‘our experience.’” Acts is His-story, our story, and my story. The question is it your story as well?

Acts History The Experience

In Acts 19, Paul’s understanding of theology, coupled with his personal experience became the basis of his discussion. Experience should not be the starting point for biblical interpretation, usurping biblical authority, but should not be locked outside the door either. Charles Parham and his students did not have the experience but were looking for what was expected or could be considered normative.


“Luke is very careful to describe his method of researching and compiling material.”


Validation of eyewitnesses – “…Just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word” (Luke 1:2)

Meticulous handling of truth – “…handed down…” (v.2) and “carefully investigated” (v. 3).

All-inclusive study – “Investigated everything from the beginning” (v. 3); “All that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1).

Correspondence of written material with divine purposes and activities – “Certainty” (v. 4).

Systematic, organized presentation – “Draw up an account” (v. 1).

Role of the Spirit in directing the writer for the origin and certainty of prophecy – “…For no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s private interpretation…” See 2 Peter 1:19-21

Confirmed by revelation – “From the beginning” (v. 3) This phrase is from a Greek word translated elsewhere by “from above.” Luke suggests that what he writes, derived from those that were eyewitnesses, is also confirmed by revelation (Scofield 2004 Edition, 1338).

Traditionally, Pentecostals have hidden behind their experience, and probably over-emphasized it, coming up short on other aspects of hermeneutics (biblical interpretation and exegesis). This author recalls, after conversion, often hearing others say, “Pentecost; it’s not a religion, it’s an experience.” Still others advised: “People can argue with your doctrine; but they cannot argue with your experience.” We would do well to present both doctrine and experience in a way that it cannot be easily discarded.Pentecost happened for our example. It was recorded by Luke for our instruction. It is the pattern for the church in all ages. Scripture sets the stage for this: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

This writing concentrates on the experiences found in the Pentecost narrative concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is not limited, however, to Acts 2 (the Jerusalem Pentecost), but extends briefly to the Samaritan Pentecost (Acts 8); Gentile Pentecost (Acts 10); and the outpouring on the disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19). We should ask: What took place in the first century church which must happen in the ongoing church?

Acts: Their Story. The Experience

How frustrating to read of a potentially life-changing book, only to order it, and discover it is out of print. How annoying to rush to the store to purchase the perfect gift and to find it is out of stock. How aggravating to want something and find that it is unavailable. How disturbing to hunt for a part and find it is now obsolete. How equally frustrating, annoying, aggravating, and disturbing it would be to walk down the aisles of the Book of Acts only to find those things we desire: divine empowerment, miracles, healing, and things pertaining to the supernatural are no longer available, out of stock, and meant only for the first century church.  Regretfully, that is exactly what some believe happened, or should happen, when thinking that the baptism of the Spirit, evidenced by speaking in other tongues, stopped at worst on the Day of Pentecost, or at best at the end of the Book of Acts; having a brief life span of some thirty years.


Steven Ger shares his reflections:

The book of Acts grants readers a unique and fascinating glimpse into the world of the early church. We peer through the corridors…and see the still vivid foundations of our own faith….Acts shows us the road we believers have traveled to arrive at our present state….It is story—a simple story about regular human beings who are just like us. They share our same hopes and similar fears, our worst biases and best qualities. In fact, Acts is, essentially, our story. It is your legacy and mine. It is the record of our brothers and sisters who came before us, blazing a revolutionary, messianic trail from Jerusalem to ‘the ends of the earth.’ (Ger, 2004, 1).

Unfortunately, Ger eventually and sadly, comes up short, believing Pentecost was unique, unrepeatable, and possesses no timeless truth or doctrine. How perplexing. How confusing.

Even questions arise within the Pentecostal ranks, but are often swept under the proverbial carpet, silenced, or excused away as a lack of love for truth, and drifting from the old paths. Not all questions indicate moving away from what is right. What is left could be a sincere desire to understand; the ability to intelligently, logically, and persuasively explain beliefs to others. Rather than forcing such questioners into corners—causing them to be hesitant in asking, afraid of being misunderstood—one would do well to create an environment of learning; freedom to ask, freedom to explore, freedom to experience, freedom to discover, and a freedom to learn. 

F. L. Arrington said:

The interplay of Scripture, experience, Pentecostal tradition, and reason under the direction of the Spirit have strong implications for a Pentecostal approach to hermeneutics. Out of the Pentecostal reality and dimension of life in the Spirit emerges a uniquely Pentecostal approach to hermeneutics. (172)

Experience and history reveals that tongues did not cease with the Apostolic Age, and have not disappeared during the Church Age (the entire period between Christ’s first and second coming). Church historian, Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. revealed, “Speaking in tongues has always been in the Church, although with varied levels of expression and acceptance” (874). It would be difficult to convince over five hundred million Pentecostals and Charismatic’s worldwide their experience is invalid and ceased a couple thousand years ago. They represent the second largest ecclesiastical body in the world, second only to the Roman Catholics. Not bad for a group that recently celebrated a century of existence. Many are receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit daily. Each evidenced by speaking in tongues. Each persuaded their experience is biblically based. F. J. May (1990) tells of an old-timer that said, “You are wasting your breath trying to tell a man he can’t have what he has already got” (84).

Whereas experience can never be the basis of theology, experience is the contemporizing of history. Thus, the understanding of the Bible generally, and Luke-Acts, particularly, involves a hermeneutic cycle. In this cycle the record of the experience of the divine by God’s people in the past addresses the experience of God’s people in the present, and the present experience of the divine informs the understanding of the past. In this way the divine word as a historical document becomes a living Word—a Word, which, like God himself, is, was, and is to come. (Stronstad 1995, 64)

This is referred to as an experience-certified theology. Every interpreter brings to the text, a cognitive and practical presumption. Pentecostal hermeneutics should be holistic; combining experience, the Spirit, genre, and incorporate traditional, and rational forms of interpretation. Unfortunately, non-Pentecostals lack the premise of experience, and the ability to verify it.