Kohl Hard Facts

This adventure we call life in the Kohl Family

GCF May 17, 2012

Filed under: Ministry Stuff — kohlhardfacts @ 9:12 pm

I haven’t talked a whole lot in here about what we’re doing here in the Fort.  The basic overview is this:

We’re doing an internship for a couple of years as part of the journey we are on to getting overseas.  The three main pieces are cognitive [learning about Biblical principles of leadership, the Church, etc.], spiritual [having a healthy spiritual walk with the Lord, getting healing from spiritual strongholds, and living in accountability with others], and practicum [helping plant an international church plant].  The goal is to better prepare us for the stuff we’ll be facing overseas.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Ok, so, why am I telling you all of this now?  Because I want you to have a basic idea of what we’re doing now so that I can tell you about what we will be doing someday in the future [I say we will with the understanding that we believe God has called us to this, and we leave room for Him to change that calling at any point…though, admittedly, I don’t foresee that happening.]

C and I both grew up going to Christian and Missionary Alliance churches.  Both of us felt called to cross cultural ministry when we were kids [thanks in large part to growing up in a denomination whose main focus is advancing the kingdom of light and pushing back the kingdom of darkness here in the States and overseas.]

One of the coolest things about the C&MA [in my opinion] is how they support their international workers.  It’s called the “Great Commission Fund” and it supports international workers all over the world.  This fund makes it possible for workers to focus on advancing the Kingdom rather than focus on raising funds to do the work.  Seriously, how awesome is that?!

This Sunday is what we call Great Commission Sunday.  It’s one Sunday a year dedicated to spreading the word – to let people know about this awesome opportunity to support the work of the CMA.  Someday, this fund will also help our family do the things God has called us to do.  For now, though, it helps many wonderful people that we know and love [and plenty that we don’t know] to do the work of the Kingdom.  I’m helping spread the word because I believe in the Great Commission Fund and the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the great work God is doing!

So check it out!  And maybe consider helping out.  🙂

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Reflecting on District Conference and Responsibility April 26, 2012

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,On Learning Life Lessons — kohlhardfacts @ 2:51 pm

District Conference went very well!  It was a wonderfully refreshing time of connecting with God, catching up with old friends, and getting to know some new friends.

The worship leader and the speaker were challenging, pushing me to deepen my relationship with the Lord.

The business meetings were…well…necessary.  🙂  Kidding.  There was some good and important stuff presented. And I enjoyed seeing the process of how things get done in the CMA.  It reminded me again of a lot of the things I appreciate about this denomination and why C and I want to do ministry and life with them.

The women’s lunch was a great encouragement.  I enjoyed hearing Mary K’s heart and passion.  It refueled my heart and passion for going overseas.  It reminded me of why we’re doing all of this, what sometimes just feels like jumping through hoops.  There is a purpose for it all.  God is training and preparing us, building us up in this part of the journey and readying us for the next part of the journey.  I try not to say, “I can’t wait” for this or that because I think that is an attitude that cheapens/disregards the here and now.  But my heart does burn to be overseas, and I look forward to the day that God allows that dream to become reality.

So here’s one of the biggest lessons God taught me over the last few days.  It’s a lesson I’ve taught to my students and the kids I nannied for many times.  Because it’s a scenario that occurs often with kids….and, as I am coming to discover, with adults as well.

“He made me do it.”   “She did it first.” And one of my personal favorites, “She disobeyed more.”

If you spend much time around kids, I’m sure you’ve heard various versions of these.

My response is always along the same lines.  “Did I ask you about him?  You made a choice for yourself, and now you have to deal with the consequences.”

The crux of it is:  You are responsible for your own actions, your own reactions, your own choices.  Regardless of what others have done.  What I want these kids to learn is that they cannot determine anyone else’s decisions, but they have to learn to determine their own.

And suddenly it was like God was speaking these words directly back to me.  There were attitudes and choices I was making in my life, but then I was blaming them on other people.

“Erin, why are you feeling lonely?”  “Because, God, that person over there isn’t pursuing relationship with me.  And the other one over there, they obviously don’t care about me.  And those ones over there, they don’t need my friendship.”  “Erin, why are you feeling lonely?”  “Because, God, all of those other people are making me feel lonely.”  “God, I’m so lonely, why won’t you bring more friendships into my life?”

In some form or another, these were the conversations I’d been having with God over the last few months.

And finally he opened my eyes [or maybe I stopped stubbornly closing them] to see that I was doing exactly what I am always trying to teach kids not to do.  I wasn’t seeking out friendship with those other people.  I wasn’t calling, e-mailing, or Facebooking them to hang out or chat.  And yet, I was blaming them for it.

Ouch.

Time to let go of some pride, take responsibility for my actions, and ask forgiveness.

I am so unbelievably thankful that the Creator God chooses to have a relationship with me, teach me, grow me, love me.  He is so gently and lovingly firm.  “O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!  Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!”

 

District Conference April 23, 2012

Filed under: Ministry Stuff — kohlhardfacts @ 2:34 pm

I’m very excited about this week!  We are going to District Conference!

For a lot of you, that doesn’t really mean much.  But basically what it boils down to is all of the pastors and staff members and international worker candidates and international workers and other leaders in our district [the Midwest District, basically Illinois and Indiana] getting together to worship, pray, learn, grow, talk business, and elect leaders.

I’m excited for several reasons:

1.  It will be great to meet/get to know other people from the district, especially other international workers/candidates.  And also to reconnect with some people we already know and love.

2.  I’m looking forward to worshiping and growing with this group of people who have a heart for the Lord and seeing His Kingdom move.

3.  I went to District Conference before when it was at Hope and I was a teenager.  It will be a great experience to go now as an adult, as a part of the team.  Somehow it feels like one of those “I’m a real grown up now” kind of moments.

4.  It feels like another step along this process of candidacy and moving toward overseas.  A much needed and anticipated step forward.  Sometimes it feels like we’re not really doing anything to move forward in that part of the process, so I’m thankful for this step.  I know our internship with Mission21 is part of that process too, but sometimes it’s nice to get perspective on the bigger picture.

5.  I love my parents and enjoy every opportunity I get to spend time with them [and the girls get to spend time with them.]

There you have it – what I’m looking forward to for this week [the first half of it anyway] in a nut shell.

Would you pray for us and the others at the conference?  Pray that it would be unifying and uplifting, encouraging and restorative.  Pray for safety in all of the traveling.  Pray that the Kingdom of Light would push back the darkness.  Thanks for your prayers.