Thursday, August 7, 2014

Furlough Whatchamacallit Focus

Furlough: [fur-loh] noun
a vacation or leave of absence granted to an enlisted person in the military.

That's the dictionary definition. But from what I have been told and what I have seen... vacation does not really describe it at all. It may describe a very short portion of the time, but the majority of the time isn't spent lounging in a hammock sipping ice tea while reading a book. "A leave of absence?" Well, it is a leave of absence from the main field of serve, but it certainly isn't a leave of absence from ministry. It is work!

Some people have pushed for a change of the term "furlough" to something like "home assignment" or "home ministry." But what if we see the field as our home? And "assignment????" No one calls us up and says, "Hey, you need to come back to the States to do some work now." Maybe we should call it Ministry to the Passport Issuing Country. Sigh...

Well, no matter what you choose to call it, the fact of the matter is that it is part of the ministry. Since our family hasn't taken our first furlough/home assignment/whatchamacallit, I was all ears when a veteran missionary began sharing how God was preparing her for her next trip back to the States. When she sent me the list, I just had to share. And I am tucking this away for future use! Our furlough... or whatever you want to call it... will be here before we know it. I want to be ready physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Furlough Tips and Thoughts from Acts 20 - 21
by Tracy McGaha

Luke, author of Acts, kept a travel journal: places/churches they went, people they met, and what they did.

Tip #1: Keep journal of travels, meetings, people, events.

Paul made plans and purposed - Acts 20:3,16

Acts 20:3  And there abode three months.
And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria,
he purposed to return through Macedonia.
Acts 20:16  For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus,
because he would not spend the time in Asia:
for he hasted, if it were possible for him,
to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

Tip #2 Make plans and purpose to do - seek His guidance

Paul worked with his own hands to take care of himself and others with him - Acts 20:34

Acts 20:34  Yea, ye yourselves know,
that these hands have ministered unto my necessities,
and to them that were with me. 

Tip #3 Work to take care of yourself and others with you

Paul and his group said MANY goodbyes - Acts 20:37-38, Acts 21:6

Acts 20:37-38  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck,
and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake,
that they should see his face no more.
And they accompanied him unto the ship. 
Acts 21:6  And when we had taken our leave one of another,
we took ship; and they returned home again. 

Tip #4 Remember others have had to say goodbye too in their following of God's will

Paul prayed with people before departing - Acts 20:36

Acts 20:36  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down,
and prayed with them all

Tip #5 Pray with people

Paul taught and witnessed and encouraged everywhere he went - Acts 20:2, 7, 25, 27, 31

Acts 20:2  And when he had gone over those parts,
and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece
Acts 20:7  And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them,
ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 
Acts 20:25  And now, behold, I know that ye all,
among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God,
shall see my face no more. 
Acts 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God
Acts 20:31  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years
I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Tip #6 Teach and witness everywhere you go!

Paul prayed anywhere and everywhere - Acts 20:36, Acts 21:5

Acts 20:36  And when he had thus spoken,
he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 
Acts 21:5  And when we had accomplished those days,
we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way
 with wives and children, till we were out of the city:
and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed

Tip #7 Pray anywhere and everywhere you go!

Believers loved Paul and his group - Acts 20:37, Acts 21:5

Acts 20:37  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,
Acts 21:5  And when we had accomplished those days,
we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way,
with wives and children, till we were out of the city:
and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.

Tip #8 Rejoice in the love of other Christians

Paul followed God's will even when others told him not to go!!! (perhaps family has told you to stay with us/come home!) - Acts 21:12-15

Act 21:12-15  And when we heard these things, both we,
and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?
for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem
for the name of the Lord Jesus. 
And when he would not be persuaded,
we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. 
And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem

Tip #9 Follow God's will no matter what others think

When you can't persuade someone of something - leave it to God and pray for His will - Acts 21:14

Acts 21:14  And when he would not be persuaded,
we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. 

Tip #10 If you can't persuade others - leave it to God's will

Paul knew troubles were ahead but went anyway - Acts 20:22-24 he was even warned by others - God may be preparing you and them for future - Acts 21:10-11 

(Disciples didn't want Jesus to suffer either but it was God's will - they didn't understand.) 

Acts 20:22-24  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem,
not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city,
saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry,
which I have received of the Lord Jesus,
to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 
Acts 21:10-11  And as we tarried there many days,
there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle,
and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost,
So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle,
and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 

Tip #11 Press on

Paul reported about his ministry to believers/churches - Acts 21:19

Acts 21:19  And when he had saluted them,
he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles
by his ministry. 

Tip #12 Report to churches about your ministry

Believers were encouraged by his report of the ministry - Acts 21:20

Acts 21:20  And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord,
and said unto him, Thou seest, brother,
how many thousands of Jews there are which believe;
and they are all zealous of the law: 

Tip #13 Encourage others

Paul did conform to Jewish customs when in Jerusalem with Jewish people - for influence sake! Acts 21:26

Acts 21:26  Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself
with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 

 Tip #14 Follow US "customs" (Biblical of course) for influence sake -
By the way, it IS ok to look nice!

There will be wolves even among the believers (and leaders) trying to deceive - Acts 20:29-30

Acts 20:29-30  For I know this, that after my departing
shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 
 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things,
to draw away disciples after them. 

Tip #15 Be careful of wolves - be strong in The Lord

Guest post by Tracy McGaha
Posted by Charity by permission

1 comment:

Sweet By and By said...

This is great to bear in mind. Thank you for this post.