We live in a dark world...a world that suffers the affects of sin and evil. Yet this is the world God send his Son, Jesus Christ who is the light of the world bringing us deliverance from the darkness of sin and evil. But Jesus also gives us his Word to light our path, to guide us, and to take to the far reaches of the earth. As His word says, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Reflections

Last week, a friend of mine sent me a link with a couple of pictures in it of a frozen lake in Michigan.   Well, you might say, "It's winter in Michigan.  Of course the lakes will be frozen."   That's true, but it's rare to have what is called "clear ice".   On Lake Charlevoix, the weather conditions were just right for this phenomenon to occur.  What is fascinating is that you can see through the ice to the bottom of the lake.  It looks as if the person is walking on water.  The person's shadow on the bottom of the lake along with a perfect mirror-like reflection are part of this unique occurrence.  It's just another one of God's fingerprints that he leaves in nature to remind us of His creative power.

"Clear Ice" on Lake Charlevoix in northwest Michigan!


I have been to Lake Charlevoix a number of times but never in the winter and never when it was this clear.  I think it would be awesome to witness this rare phenomenon in person...to see my shadow and reflection perfectly.  But in this case, a picture will have to do.

This picture also reminds me of how the Lord uses each of us to reflect His glory, love, and hope to the world in Jesus Christ.   God's Word says this to us: "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."  (2 Co 3:17–18  NIV).   Those reflections are not only important for each of us but to those around us as well.

As I stand at the beginning of 2017,  I have looked back at how the Lord has allowed me and the missionary teams to reflect his glory and yet at the same time, I am looking forward to this spring and summer at how the Lord will use us to continue to reflect his glory.   It is an awesome phenomenon that occurs only by the grace and mercy of the Holy Spirit working in us and not by anything any of us can do on our own.

As an example, this past fall took me to the remote community of Muskrat Dam, Ontario.  There was a new VBS team that went there last summer.  I wanted to touch base with the Deputy Chief, Roy Fiddler and Rev. Roy Morris who help coordinate the team's accommodations and location for VBS.

An ariel view of the healing center at Cat Lake, Ontario on the way to Muskrat Dam.
Over the course of their week at Muskrat Dam, the team exhibited that reflection of God's glory to the children and their families.   In my discussions with both Roy's,  they were pretty emphatic that the community would like to see them more often!   They believe that providing additional Bible based programs for the children is important to the community.   They are seeking and desire to see the reflection of God transform their children!

Roy Morris, Pastor/pilot Dennis, and Deputy Chief Roy Fiddler
If anything came out of my visits and conversations this past summer and fall with the communities I serve in Ontario and eastern Manitoba, it's that there is a need and desire for more spiritual care than just a summer Vacation Bible School.  Additional programs for the children and community are high on the priority list for the First Nation people.

As I begin my third year with LAMP, the vital need for taking the Gospel of Jesus to the First Nations communities in northern Canada has become more and more apparent.  Communities see not only VBS as a valuable need but are looking to LAMP to provide additional assistance such as Sunday school resources, workshops on parenting and grief, and pastoral care and support.   They want to see LAMP’s volunteers and staff missionaries more often.  It’s a task I am passionate about providing, one that we so often take for granted here in our own communities.

I’m currently preparing for a trip the second week of February to Shamattawa, Manitoba to conduct a family and parenting workshop.   The volunteer missionary team that teaches VBS in Shamattawa will be there with me as we seek to reflect the glory of the Lord by caring for the children and their families with compassion only our Savior can provide by His Word and Spirit working through us.  I also have a trip scheduled to Sachigo Lake, Ontario at the end of February to conduct another parenting workshop at the request of the community.   Then in late March, missionary team members and I will be traveling to Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba to provide programs for the children in addition to a parenting workshop.

The Lord is blessing LAMP greatly with expanding opportunities to reflect God's glory on a year-around basis to communities in the north. 

It's also an opportunity for you to be that reflection of God's glory by your support, both in prayer and financially.  You would be a true side-by-side coworker with LAMP in taking the Good News of Jesus to the First Nations people.   So please consider becoming a partner in ministry with me so that together we can reflect God's glory and transform lives through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Peace be with you!

Dennis.