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Mary Did You Know?

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPIby Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Common folks who meet famous people often make human-like comments don’t they?

“Why, they are just a normal, typical family.” (like the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty) Or they say, “He puts his pants on one-leg-at-a-time just like you and me,” referring to a movie star or political leader’s commonality.

MaryThe crowd saw Jesus in a similar way. They said, “What can be so special about him? We know his parents and where he grew up. His siblings were our classmates in school. He’s just a carpenter’s son. How can he be this special ‘Son of Man’ or ‘Son of God’? How can he take away sins, be a miracle worker, and have the audacity to equate himself to God?” (Matthew 13:53-57)

To me, being completely human, it is remarkable that Jesus persevered through the pain and suffering on the cross. Equally astounding is that 33 years earlier he poured all the majesty, all the power, all the glory, all the honor, all the wisdom and yes, all the creative love, that the world has ever known into the eight-pound body of a baby!

I guess that’s why the song Mary Did You Know resonates with me so powerfully at this regal time of year.

“Mary did you know that when you kissed his face, that you kissed the face of God?”

God is as present with you and me now, today, as when we will live with him in eternity. The only difference is that in heaven, we will be more AWARE. That my friends, is what the miracle of Christmas can, and should, be all about, a heightened awareness of the incarnated Presence that we call Immanuel, God With Us.

So have a Merry Christmas with God!

Fallen One

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI
by Mike Schrage, Executive Director, GNPI

A week ago today I received word that one of our own, Deepak Dhingra, went to be with the Lord. He was 53. Deepak’s death has to be tremendously difficult for his beloved wife and four children. It’s hard for me to be thousands of miles away, unable to comfort the family or console his (and our) colleagues in person.

Deepak Praying

I have to wonder what occurred that day in the spiritual realm. Just months earlier we as an organization unanimously said we must do more to “be” and to “take” the Good News to the people of India. Ephesians 6:10-12 describes the reality of the challenge; actually, Paul calls it war. Deepak was recently making plans to become even more effective than he already was, to go further with the battle.

So was Deepak’s death a simple medical reality or was there more? I don’t pretend to have it figured out because I know and believe the truth “that He who is in me is great than he who is in the world” and yet the Bible is clear that Satan revolted in heaven. Satan negotiated with God about torturing Job. Satan “fell from heaven” and Jesus was there. Satan delayed the arrival of angels that God had deployed. So bottom line, I see through a mirror dimly. As C.S. Lewis says, “this life is our ‘shadow lands’ imitating on earth what is being played out in the spiritual realm.”

Yes, one of our own has fallen. However, Deepak, like a growing number of us through the centuries, have pledged our allegiance to the only “Fallen One” to rise again, Jesus. That is Good News and gives hope even in times of grief.

Accident or Providence?

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI
by Mike Schrage, Executive Director, GNPI

Every once in a while God raises His voice from more than a whisper; today was one of those days!

I had set up a 30-minute meeting with a representative from the Betenbough Foundation in Lubbock, Texas. This visit came as a result of going through some of our former ministry partners with my colleague Matt Brock, who suggested we make contact.

As I shared about the ministry of GNPI, the foundation representative became more and more excited about the connection. After the first half-hour she offered another half-hour and called in a few more people, including an IT specialist and one of the principals of the foundation.
Accident_Providence
I shared about GNPI’s 37 years of ministry. I mentioned our passion of partnering with nationals and seeking other engaging partnerships. Later, I talked about our goal to have an element of sustainable growth in each of our regional centers as a part of our strategic plan. I listed projects that address evangelism and leadership training, two primary elements of any financial partnership with Betenbough.

God had gone before to arrange the time, to enable a principal to be available and present, and for the incredible connections to occur. Accident or providence? I’m leaning towards the second and I’m excited to see God at work!

David Langford, senior minister at Quaker Avenue Church of Christ, friend of GNPI said, “We supplied the heart and He (God) supplied the money!”

December 17 Update – GNPI was privileged to receive a check for $13,500 from the Betenbough Foundation. Praise God that the Betenbough Foundation decided to provide the requested grant, and with their gift, the ultimate goal of $100,000 for the Multi-Purpose Resource Center in Ukraine was reached!

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