Filter By:

Shepherding in the storm of COVID-19

About the author:  Etzer Thomas is the Executive Director of Momprince Thomas Foundation, which is supported by ZPC. Etzer was born in Lavanneau, Haiti, and moved to the US at the age of 12. In honor of his mother, who had a passion for helping the community of Lavanneau, he has committed the last 10 years to establishing and running a school, and medical clinic as well as leading evangelism and leadership training.  More recently, the ministry set up an orphanage for the children shown above. Etzer left his medical & pastor positions a few years ago to closely manage the operations in Haiti. He and his wife Maggie are currently transitioning from their home in Sabastian, Florida, to live in Lavaneau full time. They have two adult children, Abel and Patricia, who live in Orlando.  The ZPC annual VBS program in July is a favorite event for the community of Lavanneau with over 500 students participating. The school students begin asking about it in January.

SCRIPTURES: John 10: 10-13; Psalm: 23

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give abundant life. John 10: 11

There are three characters in the texts for today. The good shepherd, the sheep, and the hired hand (French Bible called this character a Mercenary). The good shepherd is Jesus Christ, the sheep is you and I, and the mercenary is COVID-19. Let me start with the sheep.

The sheep is an animal defenseless. Its survival depends on the master. The shepherd will protect his sheep, even risking his life. The sheep know the voice of the master and follow and obey the master. We as sheep have a master namely Jesus Christ. We can’t do what is pleasing to us, disregarding the instruction of our master.

The mercenary or hired hand is the same as the thief described in vs. 10. It comes to kill and to destroy. COVID19 also comes to kill and destroy. Many lives have been destroyed. Many families are hurt by so many deaths. The world is the flock that is running wild. The world doesn’t know where it is going as sheep in the desert. The world needs a master, the Good Shepherd.

The Lord is the shepherd of his people. (Psalm 23) My wife and I are at peace while many are very anxious. There are reasons to be anxious, but knowing who is watching over us gives us peace. We spend times in prayer. We pray with our children here in the US and with our children in Haiti. We reassure them that the one who keeps watch over us shall neither slumber nor sleep. When you know how powerful and mighty he is, anxiety calms down. 

ACTIVITies:

1. Each day, think of one mighty Bible story where the Lord has displayed his mighty power. Share that story with at least one other person. A good place to start is the ten plagues over Egypt. See how the Lord protects his children during each one.

2. Kids in Haiti start a vegetable garden. They plant tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper, and yucca. The goal is to see what comes first; my arrival to see them or harvesting the garden. They water the plants daily and see who wins; me getting there or vegetables ready to eat. You could plant a vegetable garden or other plants. As you watch them grow remember God's love for you.

PRAYER:

Our Father, Almighty God,
We thank you for supporting us in difficult times such as now. We ask you to console those that suffered great lost, and heal those that are sick. Please keep us healthy so we can continue to be your hand and feet in many parts of this world. Help those that are astray return to the flock. Let us all learn to hear what you are saying to us. We beg you to stop this plague on the world.
In the name of Jesus we pray.
Amen.

Posted by Etzer Thomas with

Dangerous Prayers

About the Author: Ali King is the Executive Director of Youth for Christ (one of ZPC’s supported missions) She recently moved to Haughville, an urban neighborhood in Indianapolis, to live out God’s calling for the underserved and often forgotten people in our city. Prior to this move, Ali lived and ministered for many years in Zionsville schools with Campus Life. She is also the proud mom of two grown daughters!

Youth for Christ shares the life changing message of Jesus Christ to 11-19 year olds in our schools, neighborhoods, and juvenile facilities all while helping them navigate difficult situations from the typical pressures of teenage years, to teen pregnancy, to inner city street life, to incarceration.  

Today's Scripture: Psalm 139

Psalm 139: 23-24
Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

I have not enjoyed being alone for the past couple of months! And now just the mention of Zoom makes me twitch a little; however, I have tried to hang on to a phrase for this season…“grow, not get through.”

Like many of you I have found comfort in the Psalms, but I also know I have to dig a little deeper if I want to let God refine me during this time. There is a reason the Lord is slowing us all down and I don’t want to miss it, so for a couple of weeks I have stayed in one place in Psalms–chapter 139 verses 23 and 24. It's a “dangerous” prayer. Repeating those verses and inviting the Lord into every part of my life. Daring to say: I want to see what you see; I want you to deal with the sin; and I want you to restore me. And then sitting with pen and paper in hand and waiting on the Lord to reveal himself to me each day, as I sit with these requests.

Lord Search me

Lord break me

Lord show me – what do you want from me? For my family? for my ministry?

God send me

So today I encourage you into this deeper water with me, because the Lord meets us there, knowing that if we are willing to take a risk, he WILL be found faithful.

Activity:

Find a few empty pages in a journal and write one of the four requests on each page and just start writing what comes to mind and, in time, consider sharing God’s insights with a trusted friend.

Posted by Ali King with

12345678910 ... 104105