Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gratitude for God's Faithfulness



“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV

"Without worship, we go about miserable." –A.W. Tozer

“The surest index of your spiritual and emotional well-being is the degree of gratitude in your life.” –John Maxwell

As Quisqueya Christian School's High School Bible Teacher, I often have the opportunity to speak at our chapel services. This was last week's talk on "Gratitude for God's Faithfulness". Here I talk from Luke 7:36-50 and Luke 17: 11-19, a sinful woman anoints Jesus' feet and Jesus' cleansing the ten with leprosy. This talk explores the importance of, and the essential nature of, gratitude, thanksgiving and worship. Gratitude is God's will for our life.

For the Power Point for this talk, click this link here:


For the prayers from this talk, and the study questions for this talk, click this link:


Prayer of Thanksgiving

“Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.”(Book of Common Prayer, p. 101)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pruitt’s in Haiti Update, November 2014


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Thank You:

We want to say thank you to our supporters of our work of teaching, discipleship and counseling at Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Thank you for your financial support and your prayers! We depend on supporters like you to continue our ministry.

An update on the Pruitt’s in Haiti:

We are already almost halfway through our fourth year here. It has been a busy, good and productive year so far, and teaching, discipleship and counseling are going well. Several students re-committed themselves to Christ, and there have been many other ministry opportunities.

One highlight for Robbie so far this year has been helping to lead the Senior Hike to a pine forest tucked high in the Haitian mountains. The weekend retreat was truly Spirit-filled, as the students grew closer to God and to one another. A particularly meaningful moment for the group was an evening devotion time, during which students shared areas in which they needed to grow in wisdom. The students shared openly and honestly, and supported one another with true kindness, creating deep bonds of friendship and community.

We have also enjoyed hosting dinner and a Bible study at our apartment once a month. This weekly gathering (usually hosted by another couple), is an oasis of refreshment and fellowship for the community of teachers, who are often in need of a boost mid-week. Since we are blessed with a little more living space, we have been happy to extend hospitality to our friends and colleagues in this way.

Financial Need:

We continue to count on supporters of our work and we need committed monthly donors. We are currently running a deficit of $1,500 a month in committed monthly contributions. If you would like to financially partner with our work of Bible teaching, discipleship and counseling in Haiti, please click here. We appreciate your partnership in this ministry.

Prayer Needs:

  • For Robbie’s students, that they are open to grow closer to God and receive the Good News of the Gospel
  • For Robbie as he teaches and continues to take classes toward his Masters in Theology degree at CIU.
  • For wisdom for Irene as she mothers Grace and counsels students and staff.
  • For balance in life, ministry and work for us as a family, in a sometimes challenging place to live
  • For our travels and fundraising efforts around Christmas time
  • For Robbie as he prepares to travel on an Israel study tour in the spring, as part of his Master’s program
  • For opportunities to multiply influence and develop leaders around us

To read an article in the Quisqueya Christian School newsletter, click here.

You can keep up with more details about our work on our blogs here:

Our Life With a Little Grace: http://ourlifewithalittlegrace.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Satan Prowling

Statue of the Archangel Michael defeating Satan,

"We only fully grasp the gospel when we understand, as Paul did, that we are the worst sinner we know." –Tim Keller

Scripture:

"And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.'” -Luke 22:31-32

Jesus prayed for Peter when Satan sought to attack him. Jesus prayed that Simon’s faith would not fail. Jesus prayed that sin and evil would not win the day, and when it was all said and done, that Peter would return to Him and strengthen his brothers.

Peter Himself would later write, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV). Peter understood his sinful self and the presence of evil roaming around seeking to destroy him. Nothing would delight Satan more than to devour us.

It is God’s desire to see our faith remain steady. God desires us to be strengthened so that we might live and strengthen others. We must return to Jesus, stay alert, be sober-minded, and expect God to protect us and to lead us into His way and service.

Reflection Questions:

Does your awareness of your own sinfulness eclipse the sin you see in others?

How does knowing who you are compel you towards the Gospel?

Are there areas of your life where Satan is prowling around?

How do you need to rely on Christ to help your faith to not fail?

In what ways do you need to be alert and sober-minded?

Prayer:

“Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 831)


If you would like to financially support Robbie and Irene’s work of Bible teaching, discipleship and counseling in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, please click here. We continue to count on supporters of our work and we need committed monthly donors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Review of When Helping Hurts

Cover photo of When Helping Hurts from Amazon.com

It has been said, “The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions are not always good enough. In attempting to help others with our good intentions, we can actually do more harm than good. This is the issue Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert address in their thought provoking and challenging book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself.

We must be thoughtful and intentional in the ways that we seek to resource those who are in need. As Christians we are called to be restoration agents in the world, but we are also called into intentional and loving relationships. We are called to healthy relationships and investment in people over projects. This is not always easy, but it is essential if we are to be truly helpful, without doing more harm than good. Due to the fallen nature of humanity and the world, even the very systems through which we try to help people are fallen and broken. It is not enough that we have to navigate our own fallenness, and the fallen nature of the people we are trying to serve and help, but we must also navigate the fallenness of systems, government, infrastructure, culture and the like.

When doctors set out to do their call to serve the sick, their first rule of thumb is to “First, do no harm”. This is part of what is called the Hippocratic Corpus. As those who are called to serve others in need and to reflect the love of Christ, we too should practice, at minimum, “First, do no harm”.

There is an old proverb, which states, “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” The issue of truly helping someone, as Christians are called to do, is a complex issue. We must look at problems systematically and for the long term. A short-sided view of help, relief, is not as affective as looking at long-term solutions, which address systematic breakdowns. It is important to see beyond relief and to rehabilitation and restoration. Poverty alleviation is better than mere poverty pacification.

Poverty and need is a relational and structural breakdown and is a result of sin. This sin has caused us to be fallen in our relationships with God, ourselves, others and creation. Helping people can be difficult as we navigate our own sinfulness and is further complicated through the fallen nature of creation and the fallen nature of those we serve. We should not do for others what they can do for themselves. We do not want to enable people in our helping them, nor do we want them to become dependent on our aide.

Relief is a simpler and an easier solution than the larger investment of time and resources that it takes to do rehabilitation, development and restoration. Sometimes quick relief is appropriate, but often times what is needed and what is best requires much more effort, time and resources to help those in need when providing assistance. As Christians, our call is a high calling and should be focused on people and loving our neighbors in selfless service. We must consider others and engage the community.

As Americans we can be tempted to move toward the quick fix. We can also be tempted to throw money at problems rather than time, thought and relationships. The importance of the book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself cannot be overemphasized.

Any person who is interested in appropriately meeting the needs of people and impacting the community and the world for Christ should read this book. Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert have identified and addressed the issues that lead to helping actually hurting the people we are trying to serve. They offer valuable insights and suggestions of how to navigate the complexity of helping, how to honor God in our helping and serving, and how to truly help those in need to move toward reconciliation and restoration.

Bibliography

Corbett, Steve and Fikkert, Brian. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself. Moody Publishers, 2012.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reflection on Need

Human/Need/Desire, by Bruce Nauman, photo by eschipul, from Flickr

The other day a man came by our home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He knocked on our gate to get my attention. I was working on my bike outside. It was Sunday. The man had his little girl, a toddler, in his arms. I had never met this man before and was curious about what it is that he wanted. 

The guy outside our gate with his little girl: "I am angry!"

Me: "You are angry?”

Guy: "Yes. Very angry!"

Me: "You are?"

Guy: "Yes!"

I go and get my wife Irene and ask her to translate.

Me: "Ask what's going on with this guy, but do not let him in. He is angry for some reason."

Irene translates: "He says he is hungry."

Me: "Oh, this makes more sense."

We open the gate and give the man and his daughter some food and pray over them. Crisis averted, at least for the evening. And what about tomorrow? (James 2:14-17)

Scripture:

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." -James 2:14-17

Reflection Questions:

How do your faith and your deeds sync up or intersect?

What are the needs you see around you?

How is God inviting you to meet the needs of those who are around you?

Are there neglected areas in your life where you can make a difference?

Prayer:

“Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all your mercies, and
make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 835)


If you would like to financially support Irene and Robbie’s work in Haiti, please click here. The need is there and we appreciate your support.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Brief Update and Thank You


We want to say thank you to our supporters of our work of teaching, discipleship and counseling here at Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Thank you for your financial support and prayers! We depend on supporters like you. Thank you. 

If you would like to financially support Irene and Robbie’s work in Haiti, please click here. The need is there and we appreciate your support.

Here is a quick update:

We are already 1/4 the way through our fourth year here. Teaching, discipleship and counseling is going well. We have discipleship group every Wednesday and we have just returned from two weekends away, one a Sr. Hike with the Sr. Class, and the other a staff retreat for professional development. It has been a busy, and a good and productive year so far. We have had several re-commitments to Christ and there have been many ministry opportunities as well. I have had the opportunity to speak in chapel, to do staff devotionals and to lead a communion service at our staff retreat this year. I have also had the opportunity to participate in professional development and in leadership development at the school and in the community.

To read an article in the Quisqueya Christian School newsletter, click here.

You can keep up with more details about our work on our blogs here:

Our Life With a Little Grace: ‪http://ourlifewithalittlegrace.blogspot.com



Thanks again for partnering with us in this work!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Seguin Hike 2014

Mountain View, photo by Robbie Pruitt

To read this full article in the Quisqueya Christian School newsletter, click here.

If you would like to financially support Irene and Robbie’s work in Haiti, please click here. The need is there and we appreciate your support.

Our Quisqueya Christian School Sr. Class enjoyed their annual hike to Fondation Seguin this past weekend, September 19th-21st. It was a great blessing to join them and to study 'The Faithfulness of the Wisdom of God'. "Unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:24, ASV).

Over the weekend we looked at The Seven Marks of a Wise Person, by Mark Matlock. We looked at Proverbs, through The Wisdom Deck, and explored the Seven Marks of a Wise Person, which are: 1. Trusts in God, 2. Walks in Healthy Relationships, 3. Seeks Good Counsel, 4. Speaks Carefully, 5. Exercises Self-Control, 6. Keeps Balance, and 7. Manages Resources.

For more information on The Seven Marks of a Wise Person, please visit www.thewisdomdeck.com. 

There were 30 of us, 25 students and 5 leaders, on this year’s Seguin, Sud-Est, Haiti hike. The hike consisted of two nights and three days. We hiked to Seguin 10.5 miles on day one with four donkeys assisting us from just above Furcy, Ouest, Haiti. There was a 2,000-foot cumulative elevation gain over the course of the hike in.

On day two we did a 5-mile hike to a waterfall, round trip, and on the return we hiked through a 1.5-mile stretch of creek where we swam and worked together to get through.

The final day consisted of 2,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain over 10.5 miles, with 5 donkeys assisting.

Everyone had a wonderful time and completed the trip safely with minor muscle aches and scratches, and one minor sprained ankle.

We were all amazed at how God showed up during our time together and will be processing this wonderful time together for years to come.

You may visit the photo albums for this trip on Facebook here:

Sr. Hike to Seguin, September 19-21 2014: Day One

Sr. Seguin Trip, Creek Hike, September 20, 2014: Day Two

Sr. Hike to Seguin, September 21, 2014: Day Three

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A review of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

Cover photo of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church, 

AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church is a great follow up to Tangible Kingdom.

In their book AND: TheGathered and Scattered Church, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay address the balance that every church must strike between gathering together and scattering outward into the world in mission. While the church is supposed to meet together in corporate fellowship, congregants are also supposed to be scattered. The church is supposed to be missional and leave the corporate gathering and fellowship for going out in mission.

Simply put, the church is supposed to both gather and scatter. The church has left the building. The church is more than a building that we go to. We are the church, and as the church, we must not only gather together, but we must also go out into the world in mission.

AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church is an excellent book to balance out mission and fellowship, the gathering and the scattering.


Bibliography

Halter, Hugh and Smay, Matt. AND: The Gathered and ScatteredChurch. Zondervan, 2010.