Archive for June, 2011

Posted in Church Planting on June 30, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

Worldwide, the human population is growing 1.2%.
In contrast, Christianity is growing 2.6%.

What does this map say to you?

To view this map on a much larger scale, click here.

Advertisements

Book Review: Nine Marks of a Healthy Church – by Mark Dever

Posted in Book Review on June 27, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners
author: Harry Gill, Director of Church Relations
There are healthy girls and there are pretty girls.  Then there are healthy, pretty girls.  I married one of those healthy, pretty girls. (I originally wrote “pretty healthy girls” but Janet took exception to that.)
Just as a pretty girl has to be healthy to be attractive, a congregation must be healthy to woo and win those who are flirting with Jesus and the hope of eternal life.  Mark Dever goes beyond the veneer of the local congregation to suggest that what is needed is an exhaustive internal medical check-up.  These Nine Marks include a Biblical understanding of such vital issues as effective expositional preaching, sound Biblical theology, the gospel, conversion, evangelism, church membership, church discipline, discipleship and church Leadership.
The VEF has a number of programs to make churches more attractive to the guest who is coming to try to find the Lord or peace or whatever.  These programs teach how to welcome, impress, educate and mature the guest until they become committed members.  But, some of these programs presume that the church will have the Biblical  foundation to lead that person to salvation in Christ.
This excellent book is a wonderful guide to the physical exam that all churches need from time to time.  I give it four and a half vente hazelnut lattes. I also would suggest that it is a great book for the Elders of the local church to study together.


Thank You! – Joplin Relief Team

Posted in Joplin Relief, Thank You on June 23, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

Thanks to everyone who kept up with the VEF Joplin Relief Team here on our blog! Your prayers and support helped encourage and energize our team during their time in Missouri!

Thanks to everyone who supported the trip financially – hopefully this blog has been evidence of the great things  your money went towards through the VEF. There wouldn’t have been a trip at all without you.

Thank you to the amazing volunteers who took time off of work, summer vacation, and away from your families to travel across the country to help those in need.

And a great big thanks to Phil Murdock, who did all the hard work of writing a daily summary, uploading pictures and video, and relaying his experiences for us all to enjoy! Through you, we were able to get a closer look into the tragedy and hope surrounding the tornadoes that his Joplin.

Click here for one more news article from the Joplin Globe about the service our team provided in Joplin. They even mention the Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship by name!

Joplin Relief Update – The Car

Posted in Joplin Relief on June 17, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

The Car

Last night, we had a guest for dinner.  His name was Daniel.  He lived in the “ground zero” area of Joplin and we asked him to come and share his story.  He has raised six kids but on the day of the storm, only his wife and youngest daughter were at home.  His other kids and grandkids were scattered around town.

He said it was incredibly calm and he actually never heard the sirens.   However, he saw his cat go from being perfectly calm to running through the house.  He knew it was time to move.  They all ran into the master bath and huddled together.  Then it happened.  He remembers saying to his wife and daughter, “Here we go.”  He held onto his wife as the storm began to rip apart their home.  He could feel his wife but at some point could no longer feel his daughter.  He remembers yelling to his wife, “where is (daughters name)?!”  However, he said it was so loud he could not even hear his own voice and she could not hear him either.  Then the tub they were in started to lean.  He remembers yelling, but not hearing his voice because it was so loud.

The thing we have learned from being here is that it is not the wind itself that knocks down homes or strips trees of their bark.  It is the debris flying into the homes at 200+ mph.  Things like refrigerators, cars, bricks, etc.  We visited Daniel’s home and saw where three, sixteen foot, 2 x 12 boards that were nailed together that went through the back of the house, in and out of the refrigerator and then back out the house.  It was not tossed into the house, it was rocketed.  This debris has a sandblasting or shotgun effect.  Only, instead of little grains of sand, it is things like boats, cars, roofs of homes, etc.

At some point, the roof lifted off his house.  He said he did not see it happen because they were all looking down as they were huddled together.  Meanwhile, walls began to fall on them.  Then… it was over.

At some point, his wife assured him that she still had their daughter.  In fact, she had held her so tight that she actually bruised herself.  Somehow in the chaos Daniel’s arm was broke.  He used that arm to shove two large walls out of the way in order for them to get out of the now destroyed home.  He said he would love to have the video of that moment when he pushed those walls out, because as a man, it was AWESOME!

Once out of the house, the family sat down in what was once their flower bed.  They just sat their in shock.  Shock at what had happened.  Shock at what their neighborhood now looked like.  Shock that they were alive.

A couple of weeks before the tornado.  Daniel bought a car for his son who turns 17 next week.  He planned to give that car to his son as a birthday gift.  It was one of four cars they lost in the tornado.  It was not insured.  The birthday gift was gone.

Since the storm, Daniel has been volunteering his time shuttling volunteers around town and trying to get his family moved into their new home.  That was actually the home we painted on Thursday.  He is a good man with a big heart.  We decided, this man needs a gift to give his son next week and we have a car!

So, last night, we invited him for dinner.  He shared his story, breaking many times to put his hand over his mouth and look up, in an attempt not to cry.  He voice cracked as he shared the details of his story.  He also shared that since this time, he has had a chance to witness to his neighbor who did not go to church.  Last Sunday, he baptized his neighbor.  He said, “I will gladly lose my house to gain a brother.”  Wow.

After his story, we surprised him and presented him the keys and title to the car.  He was speechless and his eyes were filled with tears.  He drove it away that evening and that, in many ways, was the “happily ever after” of our trip.  Only, we know it is not.  There is still SO much to do here.  I cannot adequately explain to you the destruction we have seen.

We bumped into a man from the Army Core of Engineers on Wednesday.  He has been with the Core since the 1960’s and has worked every major storm since Hurricane Camille.  He told us, “In all my years, this is the worst I have ever seen.”

Enough said.

Please continue to pray for the people of Joplin.

Joplin Relief Update – Thursday

Posted in Joplin Relief on June 17, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

Day Five.  And We Are Out!

Well, today we finished clearing the lot we have been working for the last couple of days.  We worked hard and the old skid steer did the trick.  It was nice to leave the property clear and ready for a new home.

Another crew went over and painted the house of a family who lost their previous home in the tornado.  They were GIVEN a new home but it is in need of some serious TLC.  We painted the entire exterior today which made it look MUCH better.

We had knock off a little early today because of storms.  Nothing crazy, just a some rain and a little lightning.  Fortunately it held off until we were done with both projects.

Today I got to experience another highlight of this trip.  Let me fill you in.

The day after the tornado, I read a story about a teenager named Malachi Murdock.  His last named jumped out at me because there are not a LOT of Murdock’s in the world.  Furthermore, his mother’s name was Susan Murdock, which is my mother’s name. Malachi was in a play theatre when the storm hit.  As the story goes, he was getting people into the basement when the tornado plowed through that area of town.  He was hit in the face multiple times by bricks and debris.

His father left after the storm to pick up Malachi, having no idea that a tornado had just ripped through town.  He got within about a half-mile of the theatre and was blocked by debris.  He jumped out and ran to the theatre and began to dig for his son.  After more than an hour, he got a text from one of Malachi’s friends with the name of a hospital.  That was it.  He had to make a call, stay and dig or go to the hospital.  He left and made his way to the hospital.  The scene was chaotic and it took several hours for him to find Malachi but he did.  He was in serious if not critical condition.  His face was smashed, he was on a ventilator and needed immediate surgery.

In the following days, my family prayed for Malachi.  I cannot explain it, but I felt a strange connection.  It was out of this… “feeling” that I decided I needed to bring a team to Joplin.  A day later I asked Dave Hileman if we could make it happen with the help of the VEF.  He could not have been any more supportive.  The rest, is well…. not yet.  It get’s better.

The church we worked out Sunday was College Heights Christian Church.  We were met there by Tim Cole’s sister and mother.  I asked them if they had heard about the story of Malachi Murdock.  Had they heard it?  Malachi was a member at THAT church and a very good friend of her (Tim’s sister) son!!!  I told her, “You have to get me his address.  I have got to go meet him.”

So, this afternoon, I left the worksite and headed to find his house.  I knocked on the door and his grandmother answered.  I said, “You don’t know me but my name is Phillip Murdock and I am from Virginia.”  I began to explain my story and connection with Malachi.  She smiled, invited me in and introduced me to her grandson, Malachi.

Malachi and I talked for a bit.  He shared his story with me.  His mouth still wired shut from all the surgeries.  His cheek, eye orbital and jaw were snapped.  He says he has lost about 2-3 weeks of memory.  His throat still bears the scar from the tracheotomy they had to perform to breathe for him because the facial trauma would not allow them to intubate.

He is a very cool kid and he could have not been any friendlier or gracious to a stranger who just showed up unannounced from Virginia.  I stayed for about 20 minutes, had prayer with him  and his grandmother (almost lost it at this point) and then I hit the road.  I was thinking to myself, “Now that.  That was awesome.”

Me and Malachi.

Tonight we pack up and tomorrow we leave for Louisville.  We have secured housing at an amazing lodge owned by Southeast Christian Church for the night.  The cost… you guessed it, FREE.  It normally is $90 a night in the off season.  When we told them our story, they said… “just come on and we will take care of you.”  I am telling you, this trip has been AMAZING!

Hope to give our car away to a very special person tonight.  Will share that tomorrow.

Night All.

Joplin Relief Update – Wednesday

Posted in Joplin Relief on June 17, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

Day… What Day Is It?  Oh Yea.  Four.

Today we worked on the lot we are clearing.  We are helping out an 80-year-old man named Danny.  We are helping him clear his lot because he had no insurance (his home has been obliterated).  The city will clear it for you (like it or not) in 30-60 days.  Only problem is, they will put a lien on your property for the cost of the debris removal.

With that in mind, we rented a skid-steer today.  We knew we needed some heavier equipment to get the job done before we leave on Thursday.  So, we searched around and found one we could use for two days.  It has really accelerated the pace of work and (perhaps more importantly) it is FUN to drive and has air conditioning!  We would wrap ropes and chains around the walls of the house and… pull!  Once a wall is down we will move it to the road.  If you can get it within teen feet of the curb, the city will pick it up for free.

While we were out there, the home owner showed up.  You should have seen his face.  His eyes were glassy and all he could do was give the thumbs up.  He came over and gave hugs.  We asked if we could pray for him and he said, HE wanted to pray for US (see pic).  He told us his story and the story of how his family has been affected by the tornado.  His story is just like so many we have heard.  Heart breaking.

We also sent a team to the hospital to sit with an elderly lady who was severely injured in the tornado.  She also lost her husband in the tornado.  When she wakes up she panics and is confused.  We had some people who went over and sat with her today in the hospital.

I also sent a couple of smaller teams to do jobs on the outskirts of “ground zero.”  This is where people’s homes were salvageable but needed some TLC.  We cut up trees and removed debris and met some amazing people.  Including a 75-year-old man who invited our team into his garage to see his collectables.  People, American Pickers would have LOVED this man.  His stuff was just AMAZING.  He had almost a dozen full size church bells, WWII jackets and a TON of other stuff that was worth a mint.  He tried to make our team take something before they left.  He felt like it was the only way he could pay for their help.  Of course, they refused.  An opportunity to see his collection was payment enough.

The town of Joplin has a very post 9/11 feel to it.  Remember what the first few weeks felt like after that terrible day?  The since of unity and pride?  Well, that is what it is like here everyday.  Flags everywhere!  Even on top of toppled homes that have their roofs missing.  Somebody climbed up there and placed a flag.  Messages spray painted on their condemned homes saying things like, “Thank you volunteers,” and “Our family is thankful you are here.”  People honk and wave as you go down the road.  We ducked into the Starbucks at Target today for a coffee.  The lady asked if we were here for the relief work.  We said, “yes” and she said, “Then, it’s free.”  While we are working on the job site, people just show up from the community giving you gatorade and water.  It is just amazing.

This trip has been amazing.  In ten short days, GOD worked out housing at Ozark Christian College, vehicles, trailers, money ($12,000+), tools, 25 amazing people, meals for the week (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for free, amazing lodging on the way home (will tell you about that later) and sooooo much more.  I say God because I truly believe His hand has been in this from the beginning.  There is no way WE could have pulled this off.

For me, this is what my relationship with Christ is all about.  If you could put the “essence” of the Church in a bottle, this is what I believe it would look and smell like.  Not like Sunday morning, not like a fancy church building or a gym, not like traditional or modern music, not like dress clothes or flip flops.  Just people who believe in a God who cares, mirroring that love and care to others.  If only it was always that simple.  Leave it to us to mess it up.

Sorry.  Got a little preachy there.  Off to bed.  Sleep comes very easy these days.

Unexpectedly the home owner showed up. You should have seen his smile. We asked to pray with him. He said no and prayed for us.

Joplin Relief Update – Tuesday

Posted in Joplin Relief on June 15, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

Day Three.  Today was another busy day.

Today we worked primarily at a site where a family lost their home and needed the property cleared of debris.  There were home when the storm hit in the back bedroom.  It is amazing, that they were not killed (see pic).  Twenty people worked for six hours and there is still a TON of stuff to do.  We cut down trees, knocked down walls, hauled tarps (many tarps) of small stuff and a ton of other stuff.  In the yard, we found passports, debit cards, family pictures, etc.  It is crazy when you see such personal items just laying around.  We have no idea where they came from but will return them to Southern Missouri State University where the government takes these items, catalogs them, and makes a list available to the public.

I also found on this property a gas meter that had been ripped off the back of a house and out of the ground then thrown who knows how far (see pic).  The power of this storm is just unimaginable.  The trees are stripped of their bark, not from the wind, but from the sandblasting effect of the debris blowing 200+ mph.  There our entire blocks where there is not one house still standing.  You never get use to the site of the damage.  If you have ever seen pictures of Hiroshima after they dropped the bomb in WWII.  It is just like that.

At 2:30pm, we packed up and headed to the reveal.  This is the Makeover house we worked on ALL DAY and NIGHT yesterday (see previous note).  Home Depot bussed in 300 employees from all over this region to be here for the reveal.  We were pushed to the back to make way for orange HD shirts for the media coverage.  However… we made our way to the front :-).  In fact, what color were the shirts of the people closest to the front door.  Yep, yellow.

It is really no big deal.  We kind of laughed about it.  The glory is God’s, not ours and who cares if we are in the media coverage of the house.   Home Depot DID donate all the materials, furniture and appliances  AND they lost their entire store (and people inside) during the tornado.  So, with that in mind, good job Home Depot (I will probably still shop at Lowes).

The reveal was amazing.  The family was so awesome and soooooo overwhelmed.  They had MODOT (Missouri DOT) workers there to escort them in.  The owner, Larry, was driving a MODOT vehicle when he was hit by a drink driver.  His passenger was killed and he was disabled.  His MODOT buddies were there with him today for the reveal.  That was cool.

The house was fully furnished and beautiful inside.  The backyard was serene and Joey Lagano and his team built a tree (what was left of it) house for the grandkids (see pic).  Anyone would be proud to call it home

After the reveal we headed back to campus.  We showered and ate dinner.  Dinner has been AMAZING for the last two nights.  Two of our LifePointe people are actually from this area.  They coordinated to have meals brought over from the Joplin Regional Stockyard.  Last night brisket and tonight, pulled pork.  So amazingly good!!!!!

I am going to ask that you pray for our team.  There are many hazards out here.  The biggest is the air quality.  We have large construction equipment demolishing homes (what is left of them) and moving debris around us all day long.  Not to mention the stuff we are demolishing and moving.  A LOT (ok, most) of the homes in the hardest hit area were built pre-1970.  Our ears, eyes and noses are filled with dust when we go home.  Dust that has all sorts of dangerous particulates in it, including asbestos.  We are all wearing N95 respirator mask but it is still dangerous.  Please pray that we will be healthy and safe when we return.

That is all for today.  Off to bed early tonight.