The Other Side of Sunsets

old Indian mound Sanford IMG_20170219_180958078
Our time is short. The sun is setting on our time here in Florida. The picture above is an emblematic bitter/sweet reminder of where we are on the timeline. Now we are facing the reality of leaving the company and comfort of family and friends. But for every sunset there is also a sunrise. For the last eighteen years, we have called Florida home. The last three have been spent trying to raise our support team to get us to the mission field in Indian country. We are almost there.

As the sun has been setting on our time here in Florida, we have been getting a behind-the-scenes view of the sunrise on our new mission field at the Mokahum Ministry Center in Minnesota. Mokahum is an Ojibwe word that means ‘the sun is rising’ or ‘new day.’ It represents a new beginning for the students as they enter a new chapter of life in their walk with Jesus. And of course, it is a new beginning for us as we strive to follow the Lord where He leads.

We have not reached our destination yet. Although our departure date is fast approaching, we have not yet reached our budget goal. Please consider joining our support team with a monthly, quarterly, or annual pledge. We would love to connect with you.

To become a pledging supporter or give a special gift, click here GIVE.

Please feel free to CONTACT US with any questions and to learn about the best way to give.

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Patrick & Regina are MTW missionaries burdened to serve among Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations peoples. They received a call from the Mokahum Ministry Center located on the Leech Lake Reservation near Bemidji, MN. 

 

 

*We took that picture during a boat ride at the end of a great day with friends. The gathering was in honor of missionaries supported by our home church. Our hosts’ home is on the banks of Lake Monroe in Sanford, Florida where there are multiple significant archaeological sites. The palm trees are growing on an ancient Indian mount, most likely created by the now-extinct Mayaca people.

Piper Nails It!

Thank you, John Piper, for your boldness to say what we don’t want to hear!

And for everyone viewing this post, thank you in advance for prayerfully considering to support our outreach to the 567 federally recognized Native American tribes in the US and the 634 First Nations in Canada.

We need 17 more partners to give $100 per month to send us on our way to the Mokahum Ministry Center in Bemidji, MN.

If you have been challenged by John Piper’s message, and would like to talk about how you can partner with us in Indian country, please Contact Us. We would love to talk with you.

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick & Regina Lennox

MTW Missionaries to Native America/First Nations

Dear #TGC17 Friend,

Dear TGC friend,

We are Patrick and Regina Lennox – MTW missionaries to the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. We want to affirm our love for the church and our commitment to the gospel and the Great Commission. We are Reformed in theology and Presbyterian (PCA) in polity. Our missional burden is for the 1,200 federally recognized Native nations in the US and Canada. Of particular importance to us is how we apply our theology to cultural engagement. We trust that this is a priority for you as well.

As we spend the next few days taking in a lot of good lectures and discussions, I want to challenge you to consider how we can apply what we are learning to our Native neighbors. In order for us to be good witnesses for Christ, we must be good neighbors. We are available to talk with you about how we can be better neighbors to our nation’s first mission field.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther. Credit: Adobe Stock

This year as we celebrate 500 years of the Protestant Reformation, our burden is to awaken the church to a mission field that has become invisible to the average American Christian. Unfortunately in order to do that, we must deal with some unpleasant truths that have been largely ignored for generations. How can I say this politely? If your knowledge of Native America is mostly from high school text books, Hollywood, and/or news media headlines, then you have no real knowledge of your 5.2 million Native neighbors in the US and Canada or their history.

Read HOW: Where you informed about Native Americans? here.

I do believe there is much to celebrate when it comes to gospel proclamation among Native Americans. Yet there is so much more to lament when we understand what was done in the name of God and country that has caused irreparable and ongoing damage to Native people for nearly a half millennium.

We are calling the church to reflect, lament, repent, reform, and go to Native America again with boldness in the gospel and with humility and meekness in spirit. We cannot do that if we don’t first take a look at our history from a Native perspective.

Click here to see a sampling of resources from a Native perspective, Native America Today.

Many of the discussions here at TGC concern racial reconciliation, justice, cultural engagement, or the “re-shaping” of culture. Please understand, Native Americans have nearly had their culture completely wiped out by the dominant society that proclaimed itself Christian – and yes, the church was actually directly involved in that process.

This is by no means a critique on the legitimacy of our efforts to culturally engage the world around us. This is simply a reminder that if we ignore our failures as a church in history, then we are destined to repeat them. Jesus deserves better than that. We can do better than that. The best days are ahead of us if we learn from our errors that turned the Great Commission into the Great Imposition. The question is, are we willing to recognize those errors, own them as part of our history, and then seek to re-engage a mis-reached and forgotten mission field for the Lord of Glory?

If your answer is yes to that question, we would like to talk with you. We are striving to reach our mission field by summer 2017. We would like you to be part of our team as we make disciples in Native America. We will be at TGC on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you would like to Skype or ZOOM, call, email, or text, we are available for that.  You can message us on the TGC2017 app or text us. Better yet, come by the MTW booth. We’d love to talk with you.

Patrick & Regina Lennox

Missionaries to Native America/Mokahum Ministry Center/Bemidji, MN

 

 

Dear Missions Committee

Dear Missions Committee

Dear Missions Committee,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are Patrick and Regina Lennox, MTW missionaries to Native America. We are striving to serve the 567 federally recognized Native American/Alaska Native tribes in the US and the 634 First Nations in Canada.

Currently we are at 70% of our pledged support. We don’t get to the field until we reach 100%. We are hoping your church would prayerfully consider partnering with us in Indian Country at the Mokahum Ministry Center near Bemidji, MN.

About Mokahum and Our Work

cropped-mokahum-sign.jpgWe are extremely encouraged by what the Lord is doing at Mokahum. The name is derived from an Ojibwe word, which essentially means “the sun is rising” or “new beginning.” MMC is a discipleship/leadership training center in Cass Lake located on the Leech Lake Reservation.

Although that is Ojibwe country, the school is for all the Indigenous peoples of North America, both US and Canada. Mokahum fulfills a great need in Native America serving Native Christian men and women who desire focused discipleship that they may be more effective witnesses in their communities in Indian Country. There is also a leadership track for those who believe tzane-williamshey are called to Christian ministry in a greater capacity.

Mokahum has a long history – and a new history – and a good reputation in Indian Country. Our missions organization, Mission to the World, is striving to expand its reach throughout Indian Country at many levels. Mokahum and its leadership are deeply embedded in Indian Country. Under the direction of Zane Williams (Navajo, CMA), Mokahum is a ministry of the Center for Indian Ministries and is well connected with other ministries to Native America from Native America.

We are looking to join another MTW couple, Bill and Susan Carr, who are already serving there. Bill is the director of education. I (Patrick) will be the director of student life, as well as a teacher. Regina will be available to the female students as a mentor – a key component to the education model at Mokahum.

Our Current Challenge

david-brainerdOne of our greatest struggles is educating people about the history of Native America and the need to continue missions. Some people know of the 18th century Presbyterian missionary to Indians, David Brainerd, but that is the extent of their knowledge of Native missions.

From our travels over the years, speaking with people of all ages and walks of life, we have observed that the average Christian just doesn’t know about our Native neighbors. This is true of so many pastors and fellow missionaries as well. In fact, “I just didn’t know” or “I had no idea” are common sentiments expressed to us by so many people. I was one of them.

They Don’t Need “Fixing”

Jonathan_EdwardsThe great 18th century theologian and missionary to the Mohawk and Mohican Indians, Jonathan Edwards once said, “The English of Massachusetts were too interested in fixing the Indians…rather than giving them the gospel.” Sadly, the Americans followed suit.

Native Americans do not need “fixing.” They have been “fixed” for nearly 500 years, and we are still dealing with the painful ramifications of deeply flawed mission strategies embedded with paternalism and colonialism.

Missiologists have recognized this problem with indigenous peoples around the world where the thomas_watsongospel came with Western domination and the resulting marginalization of indigenous people. The so-called Doctrine of Discovery gave license to trample over so many rich harvest fields.

Every day I feel the sting of the words of my favorite Puritan, Thomas Watson, “By every unjust action, you deny Christ, you stain the glory of your profession. Heathens will rise up in judgment against you.” If we knew our history in Native America, we would understand the indictment that stands against us.

We Need a Better Ending

During 2017 Protestants around the world will be celebrating 500 years of Post Tenabras Lux that began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door, thus igniting the Protestant Reformation. Indeed, there is much to celebrate. But as we examine the treatment of our Native neighbors by both Catholic and Protestant missionary endeavors during the last half millennium, there is much to lament over and still much yet to reform.

lutherAs heirs of the Reformation, we must use this year to take a hard and sober look at ourselves as we move forward into the next 500 years should the Lord tarry. As we do, here is my one thesis I am nailing to your door:

Jesus deserves a better witness in Indian Country. We need a better ending in the history of Native American missions. We need to lament, repent, reform, and go.

By God’s Grace, It’s Not Over

His mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:23). The fields are still ripe for harvest, and the Lord of the Harvest bids us go. And as we go, let these two questions and resolutions guide us:

  1. What is Jesus already doing in Native America? – Resolve to join Him and be a part of it.
  2. What does the Native Christian church have to offer the rest of the church in this country and throughout the world? – Resolve in humility to expect it and receive it.

I have said a lot of hard things to ponder, but let me be clear: I don’t believe in guilt-driven or statistics-driven ministry. This is gospel-driven ministry. We go because Jesus said so, and the Lord of glory deserves a better name in Indian Country. If the world stumbles, let it be because of Jesus, the Rock of Offense (1 Pet 2:8), not us and our misguided missional strategies.

Billy Graham said years ago that he believed Native America was a sleeping giant. There are signs of an awakening. Please consider joining us in our mission. If you haven’t already, please include a line item on your missions budget for our first neighbors. They still need the gospel. The best days are ahead of us if we learn from history. Help us raise up disciples and leaders at the Mokahum Ministry Center with our Native brothers and sisters that we may strive together to reach the lost in America’s first and forgotten mission field.

See our Contact Us page to reach us. We are always available to speak with you.

Thank you for your consideration.

Patrick & Regina Lennox #14241

MTW Missionaries to Native America/Bemidji, MN

Now You Know: Answering the call to Native America

Not Feeling It?

freedomWhat motivates you to give to a particular missionary or ministry? We continually ask people to pray to see if the Lord is calling them to join our team. The question is, what would it take for the Lord to show you that you should be a part of this effort to reach Native America? What is keeping you from giving?

For some people, it is simply a matter of finances. Money is tight for a lot of folks. We understand that. Really. We’re feeling it, too.

For other folks, it is a matter of simply not feeling it. But what does “feeling it” feel like? Do you give based on a personal benefit or fulfillment that you get from a particular ministry? Do you receive educational/edifying materials and/or a sense of community from that ministry? Simply put, do you get something out of it?

Or do you give based on a sense of urgency about a particular mission field such as feeding the hungry or giving medical attention to the poor? Or is it adventure based? Are you driven to give to a missionary based on an element of danger like venturing into a hostile nation or perhaps going deep into uncharted parts of the world?

The Home Court Disadvantage

I believe the Native American mission field is suffering under a home court disadvantage. For many folks, it just doesn’t seem like a valid mission field anymore. It’s too close to home. For more than ten years, I have heard Christians question the legitimacy of missions to Native America. Much of mainstream Christian America simply doesn’t recognize Native Americans as distinct people groups. Comments like, “They’re Americans, aren’t they?” or “Why don’t they get off the reservations and come to our churches?” or “Make them assimilate?” or “They have their casinos. They’re doing fine,” or perhaps the saddest of  them all, “Do we even have Indians anymore?” The worst part about those comments is that they are uttered in our churches. But I can assure you, there is still a harvest in Indian Country.

forest picture frame on dry ground texture Nature Conservancy co

Greener on the Other Side?

I firmly believe if we were talking about the indigenous people groups in foreign lands like Brazil, Central America, or somewhere in Asia, it would be a different conversation. There would be a greater sense of urgency and adventure. But here at “home,” I truly think there is an apathy and cynicism towards missions to our indigenous neighbors here in the U.S. and Canada. Perhaps Native America is not exotic enough for us. Have our Native neighbors become too familiar? Are they not “indigenous” enough anymore?

What We Thought We Knew

hollywood-staaapPart of the problem is that most Americans believe they have a real working knowledge of Native Americans and have relegated them to the past. I can assure you that if your knowledge of our Native neighbors comes mostly from a high school text book (Christian or public), news media outlets (conservative or liberal), and movies (Hollywood or otherwise), then you have an impoverished understanding of your Native American neighbors. And that was no accident.

I am certainly no expert on Native America. Even with my intentional studies over the last few years, annual trips to Cherokee, NC since 2006 (and other reservations), friendships with members from many tribes, I remain simply an informed novice. The real history of Native Americans and their continuing story is much more than what we can passively glean from our cultural sources.

What We Do Know

We already know that Jesus wants to make disciples from among Native American and First Nations peoples. He said “Go, therefore to all nations…” (Matt 28:19). There are 567 in the United States and another 634 in Canada. So there is no shortage of harvest. But there is a shortage of workers. They are few, so we are told by the Lord of the Harvest to pray for workers (Luke 10:2).

Here is a thought: Perhaps when you first began hearing us talk about our mission to Native America, you didn’t think the Lord was calling you to support this ministry. But let me challenge you a bit with our original question: What would it take for the Lord to show you that you should be a part of this effort to reach Native America?

Consider this:

  • Have you been awakened to the need for missions to Native America in a way that you didn’t know before?
  • Have you been convinced that Jesus’ name was mis-represented in some very significant ways in Native America?
  • Are you convinced Jesus wants to do great things among the Indigenous peoples of North America unlike any other time in history?
  • Do you actually believe that the Lord wants to build up His church and expand it in Native America?

How much of your knowledge of Native American providentially came from reading our posts? Whenever we speak to people whether in churches or privately, we hear the same response, “I just didn’t know.” If you have been reading just a fraction of what we have posted on our blog, LennoxLetters.com (which itself is very little), you most likely have learned more about Native American/First Nations peoples than most people you know.

Now You Know

Perhaps before you didn’t know, but now you turn knowledge into actionknow. What will you do with this knowledge? There is a ripe harvest out there in Indian Country and there are Native Christians who are being raised up at the Mokahum Ministry Center. We have received a call to lock arms with Christian Native leaders to make disciples and raise up leaders from among the 1,201 federally recognized nations on the North American continent.

Billy Graham said it years ago that he believed that Native America is a sleeping giant. There is good reason to believe the awakening has begun. The Lord is doing it, and he has given us the call to join him. Now you know. What will you do with that knowledge?

If you have obeyed Jesus by “earnestly praying that the Lord of the Harvest would send laborers into His harvest” (Lk 10:2), then rejoice! We are a partial fulfillment to that prayer. Now that He has answered your prayer, please consider joining us as we answer the call to Native America as we prepare more laborers for the harvest.

Please Let Us Know

If you believe the Lord is calling you to join our support team, please let us know. If you have read this entire post, congratulations, you have endured more than most readers. This proves your concern. We need your support.You can contact us anytime. Call, text, email, Skype, FB Message, however. Let’s talk about you coming aboard our support team and be part of the harvest in Native America.

To Contact Us, click here.

To Give, click here.

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick & Regina

 

*For more about cynicism and apathy towards missions to Native America, read my post Who Needs Fixing?: A New Perspective on Native American Missions.

*To learn more about Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans and its affect on American culture, watch the documentary Reel Injun.

Whoever Watches the Wind

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”

– Ecclesiastes 11:4, NIV

Thunderstorm

The end of the year is upon us, and we need to finish strong. ‘Strong’ for us means that we have a sharp increase on the pledge side of our ledger. Our barns are not yet full. From our vantage point of life under the sun, we don’t see hope for our mission. That’s why we need faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1).

Looking at the economy over the last few years and reflecting on the many trials we have endured on this long winding road to the mission field, things don’t look good. Winds of change have prevailed against us numerous times over the last couple years, yet hundreds of people persist in praying for us. But we are still waiting for the answer to those prayers. We don’t know when the Lord will allow us to reap what we’ve sown, so we continue to plant.

Planting with Pledges

With the end of the year approaching, we anticipate a certain amount of people will give us financial gifts of all sizes. End-of-the-year gifts are needed because of either regular or extra expenses. During our team-building phase of ministry, we need money to cover traveling, communication, training, and our stipend. BUT the journey to the mission field would be a whole lot shorter if people would commit to a pledge.

A pledge is the actual stepping stone that paves the way to the field. If all those year-end gifts were actually pledges for the next four years, we would probably be on our way to the field.

Missionaries never know what will come in at the end of the year. That’s why we can’t really budget according to one-time/special gifts. We need people to commit to a pledge for at least four years. So much of the end-of-the-year giving ends up being used for more travel, more communication, more newsletters asking for pledges. Again, all financial gifts are used for ministry, but we are hoping and praying that we would move to the next phase of our ministry on the field at the Mokahum Ministry Center. But we can’t do that without … you guessed it … pledges.

Regina, Patric, Huron Claus (CHIEF Ministries), Richard Pratt (Third Millennium Ministries)

Regina, Patrick, Huron Claus (CHIEF Ministries), Richard Pratt (Third Millennium Ministries)

Planting with New Partnerships

In the meantime, we are currently working with CHIEF Ministries and Third Millennium Ministries as they coordinate a special project together involving 500 Native pastors and leaders. There will be a conference for Native American/First Nations pastors and Christian leaders July 2017. Five hundred Native Christian leaders will be given an introductory thumb drive that contains nearly half of the Third Mill curriculum. That’s about one-year of seminary education for FREE with more online. Imagine the potential!

Please pray for us. We do not have a team of marketing campaigners, development officers, or callers. It’s just us. We are striving as hard as we can to reach the field, but it’s not enough. We need the Lord to move on our behalf. We need more support. We need a bigger team. We are depending on our support team to introduce us to more people who may want to join us. Please pray about that and contact us.

Just give us a call. Text us. Email us. Skype with us. Go online to MTW.org and search out our name under the Give page. On the back of this page, there are all the various ways to contact us and different ways to give. Let’s talk. Let’s get together. Consider having a home gathering with friends.

By faith we are going into another year of the unknown, yet we are confident the Lord is with us and has already gone before us. So we plod on. We pray that He is calling you to join us on our journey to Indian Country through the Mokahum Ministry Center on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation near Bemidji, MN. The King awaits our arrival. Will you join us?

To GIVE, click here.

To CONTACT us, click here.

 

 

 

Giving in Light of the Reality of Advent

navajo-woman-tending-sheep-orginal-2

A Navajo woman with her sheep circa 1920 credit photograph by william pennington western history genealogy dept denver public library via library of congress

‘Tis the season when we celebrate the Advent of the Good Shepherd. He was born into lowly conditions among people who had nothing according to our worldly standards. Recall how Mary and Joseph remained outside with the livestock as they awaited the first and greatest Gift of Christmas. Remember as well the shepherds outside in the fields who made haste to go “see this thing that has happened” (Lk 2:10).

Fast forward two millennia. According to predictions, Americans will individually spend nearly $800 dollars on Christmas gifts this year. On the eve of Black Friday, scores of people will literally camp out in front of stores anxiously waiting to get the best deals on the latest and greatest the market has to offer. They are striving and persevering to get someone the best gift. That’s determination.

In light of the reality of Christmas, how determined are we to get that Gift to others? Is our zeal to the spread the free gift of eternal life greater than the materialistic impulses that dominate this season?  (Find comfort, as long as you keep repeating to yourself, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” while you rack up credit card debt, you are not a materialist.)

We are earnestly striving to fulfill the Great Commission in Native America as we look to the Second Advent. We want to bring lost sheep to the Shepherd by training future Native shepherds at the Mokahum Ministry Center. We are praying for a support-team who shares our determination to see Jesus glorified among Native American/First Nations peoples. Is that you? Will you persevere with us?

The great news is that you don’t have to camp out in front of our house to be a part of what we are doing. Just give us a call. Text us. Email us. Skype with us. Go online to MTW.org.  Go to our Contact Us page for more information. Let’s talk. Let’s get together.

To learn more about the best way to Give, click here.

 

 

Confessions of a Materialist Book Junkie

books-2

A few of the keepers

Yes, that’s me. I admit it. I am now a recovering materialistic book junkie. Knowledge puffs up, and no better way to get a fix than reading the latest book on a profound theological issue or movement.

As we are preparing to move to the field, I have been going through all the books I have purchased over the years – all of them good, and easily “justified” purchases for a seminarian, writer, ministry director,  and now missionary – but in the end, I will never read most of those impulse purchases at the seminary book store and national conferences. I could add up hundreds – yea, thousands – of dollars that could have helped a missionary or two on the field or fed a child somewhere in the world. And that is only books! What else have I wasted my money on?  

Regrets and Redemption

There is an unforgettable movie scene that ever haunts me. It’s the one at the end of the movie Schindler’s List where Schindler learns that the war is over. In that moment, the bottom falls out from under him when he realizes that he could have done more, but he didn’t. He realized that the ring on his finger or his expensive car could have bought back so many more Jews from the death camps. That scene comes back to me again and again when I consider my own efforts for the kingdom throughout the years. But it is not over. Jesus has already won the war for us, but unlike Oskar Schindler, we still have time and more resources than most people in world history. Great is His faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:23). Let’s live in mercy and not regret.

Warning:  At this point, someone may be tempted to think I hate books, and that  I am trying to guilt people out of buying books and giving all the money to missions instead. Resist that temptation. This is not either/or. Christians need to study more, and they need to give more to missions. Based on my own personal sin of literary gluttony and from observing other personal libraries, my argument is that we are way too quick to buy books we will never read, or, even worse, we will buy books that are redundant. Let’s be honest. Many of us collect books like baseball trading cards.

For a short list of books I recommend to those are interested in learning more about our Native neighbors, see my post Talking Leaves.

The End is Near!

Actually the end of our fundraising season is near.  We need to be on the field by July 2017. If you are looking for place to invest in the kingdom of God with your year-end giving, we implore you to consider us. In fact, would you consider us for the next four years? That would be considered a pledge that would move us to the mission field. Learn what a pledge is here.

Like most missionary efforts, our ministry, is focused on smaller segments of societies that are not noticed by most people. But I believe that the Lord takes pleasure in small beginnings (Zach 4:10). Unlike the big ministries, we have nothing to offer our supporters as far as goods and services are concerned, no books, no DVDs, no conferences. All you receive are reports from the field, gratitude from the missionaries, and a benediction from the Lord “well done thou a good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21). Will you dare to join us? 

Be Bold in Your Prayers – Our God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps 50:10)

If you have prayed for us but have not yet pledged, include yourself in that prayer. Ask the Lord if He wants you to be on our team. Have you prayed that way yet? Go for it. No, really. Pray that right now. He just may surprise you with the funds to fulfill your desire to pledge.

We need you to join our team and send us to serve the Lord in Indian Country at the Mokahum Ministry Center. We have received the call. They are waiting for us. The Lord has cleared a pathway for us. Will you put down a paving stone with a pledge?

The learn more about the best ways to give, click here.

To give right now, click here.

To contact us, click here.

All for the kingdom,

A Blessed Burden

New Opportunities
Years ago I was given an open invitation to speak at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, by my former professor, Dr. Elias Medeiros. While teaching in Orlando one summer, the Lord used him in a big way to get me onto the mission field. This past October, I took him up on his offer to teach in his missions class. What a privilege to teach in his class on a subject we love so much! We also were able to speak at a lunch the next day on campus. [excerpt from Lennox Letters Fall Report 2016 newsletter. Click here to read the full newsletter.]

I remember my first day of Missions class in seminary. It was one of those week-intensive courses during the summer with a visiting professor. That year RTS Orlando invited Dr. Elias Medeiros from the Jackson campus to teach us everything we needed to know in five fast days. For many of us, this class was the most memorable, and for me in particular, the most life-changing.

On the first day I realized that I couldn’t enjoy this class without Regina. I told Regina that she would have break from the kids at home and sit in on the class for at least one session. Regina and I met in Bible college, and missions was the original passion that drove us there, but it seemed like a distant memory at this stage in our lives.

Dr. Medeiros gave us four eight-hour days of preaching through missional passages of Scripture (I was not exaggerating about being taught everything we needed to know). On the fifth day we took a field trip to the largest mosque in Orlando. By the time we got to the mosque and parked the cars, Dr. Medeiros was already making friends and giving out gospel tracts in the parking lot. He is the real deal.

During that unforgettable week, the Lord reminded me of why I started out in went to Bible college in the first place. I wanted to be a missionary. Serving on church staff was a good experience in many ways, but my heart was always longing to serve as a missionary. There was a reason I kept bringing my youth group to Cherokee, NC every year. The Lord blessed me with that burden to serve among Native American/First Nations peoples. He has been faithful to give us the desires of our hearts, and he will do the same for you.

To help us serve among Native American/First Nations people, click here to GIVE.

To talk with or contact Patrick and Regina, click here.

Ten Days in the North Woods

Ten Days in the North Woods

We recently returned from a ten-day visit to our mission field at the Mokahum Ministry Center. Although it was a short trip, the Lord used it in many big ways. The trip was three-fold. First, our children got a site visit to see their future home. Secondly, the MMC needed someone to teach a writing class, so they asked me. And thirdly, we were able to attend an important seminar by Craig Smith, author of Whiteman’s Gospel, an important book for Natives and non-Natives about the gospel and Native ministry. Craig is the brother-in-law of MMC director, Zane Williams. Zane’s sister and faithful kingdom servant, LaDonna, is on the right.

(excerpt from Lennox Letters Fall Special Report 2016, to read the full newsletter, click here)

We Need Not Wait

The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels.

The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels.

We need not wait for another. The Lord has come, and He has commissioned us to go forth into all the world to proclaim the good news of the kingdom to a world that desperately needs to hear it. The task is huge. There are over seven billion people in this world, and all who are still outside the kingdom are hostile to our message to one degree or another until the Lord changes their hearts. But the Lord goes before us, and He has been preparing us for this impossible work before we were born (Eph 2:10).

An important part of that preparation has taken place in Brussels, Belgium during the month of July 2016. In my little life, it was historic. We trained in the capital of the European Union, more than that it is the seat of the United Nations offices in Europe. But Brussels doesn’t only represent European nations. Many other nations from around the world are represented on the street level. We truly have been sent to the nations this month.

Belgium is rich in history. Everything we celebrate about culture can be found here at every turn. As I beheld the great churches and works of art, e.g. The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, I found myself underwhelmed. I have read the books, seen the pictures, and now I have walked the streets, yet my feeling has not changed.

The "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb." Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent_Altarpiece

The “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.” Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent_Altarpiece

When I think of historic milestones in the progress of the spreading of the kingdom, my thoughts do not gravitate towards the grand architecture and art of European Christendom, Reformed or otherwise. Rather I think of Jesus’ words in Luke 7:22: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

From these words, Jesus’ metric of gospel progress is identified in far different terms than our worldly measurements. When I think of kingdom advancement, I think of the churches many of us have worshiped with this past month. Small churches like BethelKerk in Schaarbeek faithfully preaching the gospel tell me that the Lord is here.

Bethelkerk in Schaarbeek, Belgium

BethelKerk in Schaarbeek, Belgium

But what about us? How have we been shaped by this experience? For me at least, CCMI (cross cultural ministry internship) was critical milestone in a journey. We learned a lot. We did a lot. Here we are now on the eve of our departure from Brussels. Some of us are going straight to the field, most of us back to the “campaign trail.” Where ever we are headed, questions for us to ponder are will we be faithful to the call of Christ on our lives? Are we believing that He who began a good work in us is able to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus? He is faithful, so let us trust in Him and see where He takes us.

Note: The article above was written for our in-house newsletter during our cross-cultural ministry internship in Brussels, Belgium during the month of July. Patrick and Regina Lennox are MTW missionaries to Native America and have accepted a call from the Mokahum Ministry Center in near Bemidji, MN.

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More than Tourists

I am a tourist. I got my passport and fist full of Euros. For years I have been watching Rick Steve’s Europe preparing for such a time as this. I am reminded of my status every day as I navigate the greater Brussels area.IMG_20160701_185422598_HDR

But something happened during my walk back to the apartment in Diegem with my family. I had an epiphany. I realized that I was not living and commuting in a tourist trap, but rather in someone else’s hometown. Belgian streets may have postcard appeal, but ultimately they are home to ordinary people just like us. From that moment on, it all suddenly became ordinary — mundane. The thrill was gone.

But we don’t depend on thrills (as much as missionaries are ready for adventure). Ultimately we need to live by faith and not by sight nor by feelings. We need to see the world through kingdom eyes. More than anyone, we should be able to enjoy our Father’s world, even in its fallen condition. Still we should be able to recognize all the good culture has to offer, while searching for opportunities to communicate the gospel.

Seeking God’s Glory in the Mundane

IMG_20160629_150959022In God’s grammar of redemption, the Lord has chosen the mundane things to point us to heavenly realities. In 1 Peter 2:5, Peter draws upon the common building material of his day to describe the people of God, calling us “living stones…built up as a spiritual house.” God, our “architect and builder” (Heb 11:10) is building a dwelling place for himself amidst his people.

The common building material in Belgium is brick. As you walk the streets, behold the abundant variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns. Each brick has its own character. In every wall there is a story. Consider the ZavCenter where we are currently training. Originally a factory, there are parts of the building that date back to circa 1248 A.D.  From then until now, there have been additions, demolitions, renovations, and repairs. The 13th century brick layers had no idea their bricks were being used for a missionary training center nearly eight centuries later. Today the story continues.

Living Bricks

I don’t think we would be stretching Peter’s metaphor to compare us to bricks. Unlike Pink Floyd’s popular refrain, we are not “just another brick in the wall.” Our God knows who we are. We are not numbered but named, and he has carefully placed us exactly where we belong. Much of our work in missions is mundane. We may feel insignificant at times, but we have no idea how the Lord will use us as he builds his church.

IMG_20160709_153445543_HDRAs we walk the streets of Europe captivated by the great cathedrals and other architectural achievements, don’t let your wonder get snagged in the spires — however high they may reach. Let your wonder ascend into praise and adoration as you remember that God is building us into a “spiritual house” in which he will dwell forever.

Patrick Lennox

Note: This was written while we were in Belgium for cross-cultural ministry training.  More than Tourists was originally posted in our weekly newsletter for our fellow MTW missionaries.

The Indian Boarding School Movement: Christian Complicity, part 2

Looking unto Jesus

The following post is the second in a two part series, The Indian Boarding School Movement: Christian Complicity. You are encouraged to read part one here. I understand most thinking folks will question the subtitle of this post, wondering why I chose the word “Christian” rather than “church” or some other term. I know full well that the issue we are dealing with here was not prescribed by Christ, therefore we cannot properly ascribe it as Christian. I chose the term so we (the church) would feel the weight of the criticism as the world sees it. We need to feel it. To answer that criticism, I highly recommend the book This Rebellious House: American History and the Truth of Christianity, by Steven J. Keiller. Keiller does a great job parsing the difference between European/Western cultural expressions of Christianity and the biblical Christianity. Much of missions to Native America was not the Great Commission. It was the Great Imposition, to say the least. Paternalism and colonialism were confused with gospel mission.

This post is simply a list of resources to for you to investigate yourself. A simple Google search using the term Indian boarding School or Indian residential school will give you plenty to grapple with. Below are only a few select resources that I have found. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject. I am just a guy who believes that the world, especially the church today, should know what happened in this country as late as the twentieth century. More than that, I want the people in Indian Country to know that many Christians are grieved to learn of so much pain was caused in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is a Healer and Friend. We know the pain continues for you.

There will be many of us who will be shocked at what they read, see, and hear. Many will seek to minimize the extent and effects of the boarding schools on Indian people. To those folks, I simply implore you hear the personal stories from the victims themselves. When we consider the hundreds of thousands of Native children who passed through the schools over a one hundred year period (1879 – 1979) in the U.S. alone, not including Canada, it is little wonder why their is so much distrust and pain in Native America. When people ask why there is so much brokenness in Indian Country, the answer is quite simple: they were broken.

Books

Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875 – 1928, David Wallace Adams

Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School, Adam Fortunate Eagle

Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879 – 2000, K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Brenda J. Child

Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900 -1940 (North American Indian Prose Award), Brenda J. Child

Video

There are so many videos worth watching, it is difficult to decide which ones to highlight. If we can get passed our need for big-budgeted “quality” productions, and just listen to the stories being told by the people themselves, we will gain a better understanding of the realities behind the propaganda of the government and churches.

Unseen Tears: The Native American Boarding Schools Experience in Western New York Part 1

Unseen Tears: The Native American Boarding Schools Experience in Western New York Part 2

The Wellbriety Journey to Forgiveness

Online articles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_boarding_schools

http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageServer?pagename=airc_hist_boardingschools

http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/boarding.html

http://www.nmai.si.edu/education/codetalkers/html/chapter3.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16516865

 

I will continue to add to this list as I discover more resources.

 

 

 

Discipleship with Dignity: An Invitation to Native American and First Nations Peoples

A few months ago, I met Dr. Richard Pratt, founder of Third Millennium Ministries at a missions conference where he was the featured speaker that weekend. Richard’s goal is to provide biblical education for the world for FREE. Upon hearing more about what they do and how they do it, I became very excited about the prospect of what kind of impact this could have on the Native Christian church, and by extension, the rich mission field in Native America.

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Here we are with Dr. Richard Pratt and Rob Griffith of Third Millennium Ministries. Dr. Pratt was the keynote speaker at the Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church’s annual missions conference.

I suggested to Richard that he give a personal invitation to the Native American/First Nations peoples to partake of the rich biblical resources from Third Mill. But I told him that he would first have to address the elephant in the room – his name. General Richard H. Pratt was the father of the Indian boarding school movement. He coined the term “Kill the Indian, save the man” back in the 1870s. That adage was the essence of the guiding doctrine that has had devastating effects on Native families and communities.

Same Name, Different Story

I couldn’t help but see the radical differences in educational philosophy. Richard H. Pratt sought to strip the Indian of all cultural identity. Native children were taken from their families, given a “Christian” name, stripped of identity, clothes, language, and dignity and were abused in ways unimaginable. Western (American) ways were forced upon them, and worst of all, Christianity was forced upon them. If it were only the U.S. government, then my lament would be tempered; I expect that from the kingdoms of this fallen world. But sadly the churches participated as well. You can learn more about that on my previous post, The Indian Boarding School Movement.

Compare that with Richard L. Pratt, Jr., minister of the gospel. His whole ministry is designed to get biblical education to where the people are in their own cultures wherever they are in this world. They retain their dignity and study God’s word in the context of their culture, allowing the people in that culture to be led by Scripture as they make their cultural adjustments if and when needed. For this reason and others, I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for a new chapter of history. I am hopeful.

IMG_20160524_134420552

Lunch in the situation room with Richard (and Princess) and the GO team.

Still Dreaming

A personal bonus for us is that Third Millennium Ministries is only a twenty minute drive from our home here in Florida. A few weeks ago, Regina and I were invited to sit in on the recording with Richard and dream with the GO team at Third Mill. We are still dreaming together, but for now, the main thing we want to do is get this invitation to as many Native American/First Nations people as possible. With the internet at your fingertips, you can be a part of reaching that goal.

In the Meantime

Until we get to our field, the Mokahum Ministry Center in Bemidji, MN, we are still traveling, blogging, Facebooking, and Tweeting – essentially educating the church about the rich mission field in Native America. Opportunities like the one with Third Mill remind us that we are right where we need to be in our journey to the field. Ministry is happening now. Please continue to pray for us. Please also consider joining our support team. We can’t get there without you.

To join our team as a financial supporter, click here to GIVE.

Third Mill behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

Richard Patrick Regina 2

Dr. Richard L. Pratt of Third Millennium Ministries, Patrick and Regina

Who Needs Fixing?: A New Perspective on Native American Missions

Jonathan_Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (1703 -1758), Puritan pastor and missionary to the Mohawk and Mohican Indians, and author of The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

Are the best days behind us? Have we missed out on a golden age of missions to Native America? The history of missions to Indigenous peoples of North America is extremely complicated with much to rejoice and lament about.  One particular lamentable observation came from the revered Jonathan Edwards in the early 18th century while reflecting on his predecessors. He said, “The English of Massachusetts were too interested in fixing the Indians…than giving them the gospel.” How true that was then, and sadly, that sentiment was an underlying motivation for many churches all throughout the history of missions in the U.S. And where has that actually brought us?

Why bother?

I’ve been reading Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life lately. It is truly one of those books that makes you want to pray. Really. I have been recognizing my own personal shortcomings in prayer. One thing in particular that Miller points out is that many of us have become cynical regarding prayer. After pondering that idea, it hit me. I realized that I was able to identify something I have been sensing over the years regarding a common attitude toward Native American missions. I just could not put a name on it, but now it is clear — cynicism.

Too often when I bring up the topic of Native American missions, I continually hear the predictable mentions of casinos, animism, alcoholism, and government handouts. When folks hear of the plagues in Native America such as alcoholism, addictions, violence, and suicide, they are so quick to attribute it all to government handouts that are keeping Native Americans lazy, which in turn causes them to drink because of all the time on their hands, and so goes the vicious cycle.

With that as the accepted backdrop, the shrewd potential donor would ask, “What is the point in sending missionaries to Native America? They are not really poor, just lazy.” I don’t have enough space to address that position, but if I am reading the tone correctly, it seems that many Christians simply have become cynical regarding Native American missions. Why do we keep giving to them? Is it really helping? We will never fix them.

Then there others who, although seemingly hopeful, speak very fondly of a short-term mission trip to a reservation where they helped build a porch, paint a house, or met some other material need. I hear those stories again and again, and I rejoice with them.

As much as I wholeheartedly believe in those outreach efforts, I am afraid that that is all those people imagine Native American missions to be about. I am proposing that they, too, are affected by cynicism without knowing it. They don’t really think there is anything else to do but to ease the pain in Indian Country with mercy ministry efforts. Is it that these folks don’t really expect anything more out of Native Americans other than to be passive recipients of a generous church group?

Let’s fix our perspectives

How about this? Let’s stop trying to “fix” people. Let us not be condescending or paternalistic. Let’s come along side our Native American brothers and sisters and walk with them. Let’s expect great things from the Native Christian church. Is it possible that such a suffering people empowered by grace can display and proclaim God’s kingdom in ways that we have not witnessed in a long time? Let’s believe that God can heal the brokenness in Native America.  Let’s believe that the Native Christian church can strengthen the rest of the body of Christ and teach us something about forgiveness and perseverance. Let’s actually believe that the best years are ahead of us starting today.

To learn more about how can help serve Native America, click Five Things You Can Do.

To learn how best to give to our mission and support us, click GIVING.

Footnotes:

*Source: Jonathan Edwards DVD series by Dr. Stephon Nichols, Ligonier Ministries.

**Tribal sponsored sign in the Crow Nation. Source: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com

Welcome to My Dream World!

Campaigning for the Kingdom

All the big Christian para-church ministries are doing it, so why can’t we? You know, ask for money? And there is nothing wrong with that. They need money to run their ministries that provide us with those edifying goods, services, and well…ministry. Aside from selling products, a common strategy for ministries to get money is to offer free stuff. Just call the toll-free number, give your name, address, and phone number and receive your free gift. Shortly afterwards, you will receive an appeal letter and follow-up phone call asking if you would like to partner with the ministry. Many of your favorite ministries have a whole team of callers dialing up prospective ministry partners. Again, nothing wrong with that. That’s just how it works…and it does work.

Et Tu Reginae?

IMG_20151130_115302So what about us? We don’t have a radio show or podcast. We don’t have a catalog full of various teaching media. No national or regional conferences. What we do will never be available for public consumption. We are missionaries. We are the night callers. We raise our funds by asking people like you to support us so we can go to minister to other people. Aside from chocolates at our display table, you don’t get free stuff, only the satisfaction of giving so others can benefit. *Full disclosure, we gave away free DVDs at a TGC conference once, but not much response.

Welcome to My Dream World!

Classic scene from The Truman Show (1988)

Classic scene from The Truman Show (1988)

I remember a couple of years ago when I had a conversation with a pastor about our decision to go to the mission field. He told me that I should be a pastor of a church. With all sincerity, he proceeded to tell me how bad the economy was, that I was not a fundraiser, and how I was living in a dream world. The funny thing was, he was right on all three counts. It’s true, the economy is bad, I am not a “fundraiser,” and yes, I am dreaming.

I know that the economy is not what we want it to be, but I also know that next Saturday morning, like always, I will be watching my favorite shows on my local listener-supported PBS station. People will be buying their designer coffee at a local coffee shop. Next November we will have a new president-elect promising to turn the economy around, and our favorite ministries will be doing what they always do. They will all get their funding.

Native Girl on switch boardAs you read this, I hope you will consider dreaming with us and supporting this missionary family. Help us answer our call to serve Native America at the Mokahum Ministry Center in Cass Lake, MN. You don’t have to give a lot, just something regular we can count on. We hope you would dare to dream with us and see the glory of God displayed in Native America.

To help us get to the mission field and stay there, please visit our Giving page here.

Year-end gifts are great, but to learn how best to give, please read Fair Winds.

If you truly have no money to spare, please read about Five Things You Can Do.

Give us a call. Let’s get together (Actually, we have some money in our budget to buy you dinner, shh).

Also, would you please SHARE this post using the social media buttons at the bottom of this page. Let’s go for at least 200 SHARES!

Until next time…

Back Home Again

We made some new friends while visiting our old stomping grounds at the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando (No more stocking the book store tables).

We made some new friends while visiting our old stomping grounds at the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando (No more stocking the book store tables).

After a busy travel schedule since the beginning of the year, we are home for a while. We’ve been to Maryland, Virginia, Georgia (multiple times), Alabama, and every corner of Florida. We are coming off the road, but we are not resting. There is a lot of following up, re calibrating, and planning our next steps. Pray for wisdom for us.

Back, Forth, and Onward
Our journey has been challenging to say the least, especially with our change of field. Because of that, our budget was increased, and we have lost some significant support due to the economy, which moved us backwards. We are still past the half-way point, but we have slipped behind a few percentage points.

But the Lord is in control, and we are in forward motion again. We are really praying to be 100% by August. We want to be serving in Mokahum by the fall semester. We need 80% by July before we get to Belgium. This is an impossible thing to pray for, but we serve a God who specializes in things thought impossible. Will you pray with us?

 

Here we are with Dr. Richard Pratt and Rob Griffith of Third Millennium Ministries. Dr. Pratt was the keynote speaker at the Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church's annual missions conference. Currently we are working on a special project for Native America together. I will let you know when it is finished.

Here we are with Dr. Richard Pratt and Rob Griffith of Third Millennium Ministries. Dr. Pratt was the keynote speaker at Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church’s annual missions conference. Currently we are working on a special project for Native America together. I will let you know when it is finished.

What do we need?
We need a bigger support team. We need more churches to visit and more people to meet. We need your prayers, but more importantly, we need the answers to those prayers. A significant part of those answers is in the form of pledged support. Without those pledges we don’t get to the field. If you have already given us a special gift, or if you give regularly but have notified us that you plan to continue giving, please consider making an actual pledge. This is essential to our departure.

Click here for a list of Five Things You Can Do to help us.
Click here to learn about the best way to Give.

Will you pray for us?
1. We need a bigger support team. If all our friends gave just $30 per month, we would be packing our bags tomorrow. That is one dollar a day. We are praying for pledges of all kinds: $5, $25, $50, $100, $200, and $400 per month for at least a four-year commitment.

2. Pray for yourself. If you would like to give, but don’t think you can, ask the Lord to make it possible. Are you bold enough? Scripture encourages you to pray that way (Heb 4:16, 10:19). Go for it.

3. Pray for our perseverance as well. It has been a long road so far and there is more to go.

4. Pray for a special project we are working on with Third Millennium

Here is Regina ready to teach the children at Orangewood Presbyterian Church's missions conference. Regina taught the children to sing Amazing Grace in Cherokee playing a ukulele. You should have seen the children how they reverently sang such a beautiful song in such a beautiful language. They actually requested to sing it again -- and we did.

Here is Regina ready to teach the children at Orangewood Presbyterian Church’s missions conference. Regina taught the children to sing Amazing Grace in Cherokee playing a ukulele. You should have seen the children how they reverently sang such a beautiful song in such a beautiful language. They actually requested to sing it again — and we did.

Ministries. We are very excited about it.

Thank you for taking time to read this. The Lord bless you.

This is a picture of us while visiting the Mokahum Ministry Center near Bemidji, MN. We are striving to get there to serve. Please prayerfully consider joining our team.

This is a picture of us while visiting the Mokahum Ministry Center near Bemidji, MN. We are still residing in Florida, but we are striving to get there to serve. Please prayerfully consider joining our team.

 

 

The Indian Boarding School Movement: Christian Complicity, part 1

Carlisle_pupils

Pupils at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pennsylvania (c. 1900). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_boarding_schools

“Kill the Indian, Save the Man”: A Few Opening Remarks

Perhaps you have seen the movie, The Education of Little Tree, a film released in the 1970s based on a novel by a white-political activist, and promoted as a true autobiographical account of the author’s life. Although the story turned out to be fiction, sadly the realities of the Indian boarding schools represented in the story were not.

For the next couple of posts, we will focus on a critical piece of Native American/First Nations history that most people simply don’t know about – the Indian boarding school era. It was a social experiment  of the U.S. government and Canada designed to eliminate the Indian culture, understood then and now as cultural genocide. The driving doctrine for the U.S. was “Kill the Indian, save the man” — a term coined by Gen. Richard Pratt. That philosophy was to educate the Native child to the end that they would forsake their Indian ways and be productive members of Christian American society. The means by which that was carried out will be left to Native voices to tell you (see video below).

To say the least, it is a very painful part of their past, and as we shall see, their present reality. But this long ugly era cannot simply be relegated to NA/FN history. It is very much a part of U.S. and Canadian history. And sadly, as we shall see, it is also part of church history. This is not common knowledge to many people, so much of what will follow with be a shock to many people. There was complicity by the churches. But as Christians we should never be afraid to take a hard look at ourselves, then and now, and learn from our mistakes that Jesus may be better represented among the nations.

The past is the past, right?

So why bring all this up now? Isn’t that all in the past? What does any of this have to do with Christian missions to Native America today?  My purpose is not to stir up anger, but to give perspective. To many Native Americans, Christianity represents a destroyer of a people at every level of their existence. Because of that, it hinders missions today. Another thing that I believe hinders missionary efforts is an apathy on our end. After all that bad history, do we really believe that Native America has great value and potential for the Kingdom? Are the fields still white for harvest?

Taking a hard look

It is no secret that there are many hard issues facing Native Americans. It is no secret that suicide rates rank highest among Native Americans, twice the national average, more than any other ethnic group. It is no secret that alcoholism, drug addiction, unemployment, violence, sexual assault, high school drop out rates, and teen pregnancies are higher in Indian Country than anywhere else in North America. None of these things is peculiar to Native Americans, but what is alarming is that all these things rank highest among one segment of society on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.

So what is the problem?

The simple biblical answer to the question is sin. But we all have that problem (Rom 3:23). So that does not really answer the question concerning Native America in particular. Typical answers to the question are, “They are stuck in the past while refusing to move on.”  Or “That is what happens when you give people government handouts. They don’t want to work, so they sit around getting drunk all day.” Or the less political, more scientific answer, “There is something about Indian DNA that makes them prone to alcoholism.” And the list could go on. Each of those simplistic answers is fraught with assumptions stemming from an abundance of myth, lack of facts, devoid of context, and full of condescension.

Actually there is a problem in the question itself, what is the problem, as if there were only one problem to be solved that would be the key to end all problems. Again, let me affirm that the only answer to the world’s problems is Jesus. That is the only thingBoys praying I can say with absolute confidence.

The rest I submit to you is only part of a deeper problem that has led to so much collateral damage, which NA/FN people suffer under today. How much damage? Only the Lord knows the scope and magnitude, but one thing I can be confident in is that most (if not all) non-Native people I have spoken to have no idea about the reality and ramifications of the government sponsored, mostly Christian-run, Indian boarding movement.

In Their Own Words…

When informing people of Native American/First Nations issues, I prefer to use their sources, their voices, their own words. The first video clip, Truth & Reconciliation: Stories from Residential School Survivors, is one of many that shows the life of First Nations people in Canada at the residential (boarding) school. It is important to know that Canada has recognized her grievous sin imposed on First Nations people.

The next video clip, Unseen Tears: The Native American Boarding School Experience in Western New York, part 1, tells identical stories in the U.S. If you would like to see the following parts, they play sequentially once part one concludes.

What’s next?

There are so many more videos that could have been selected, but these should give you a better understanding to Native American/First Nations peoples. I hope this gives Christians perspective. I hope we realize that their history did not end in some Indian War out on the plains during the 1800’s as most public school text books would have us believe. They have remained – and survived – yet the ramifications of abuse and neglect on generations of hundreds of thousands of people also remain. Let’s show them the real Jesus whose arm is not too short to save and is willing to heal their wounds by His stripes (Isa 53:5).

You can read part 2 here.

Patrick Lennox is a MTW missionary to Native America. Currently he and his wife, Regina, are preparing to serve at the Mokahum Ministry Center located in Cass Lake, MN.

 

Mokahum: A New Beginning

Dear friends,

Mokahum is an Ojibwe word that literally means ‘sunrise’ or ‘new day.’ Metaphorically it represents a new beginning for Native American Christians as they set out on a journey walking the Jesus way.  The Mokahum Ministry Center provides discipleship and leadership training for Native American and First Nation Christians. By God’s grace, we were extended a call from Mokahum to serve among Native leaders (and non-Native), serving future Native leaders, in the middle of Indian Country. Below is a message from our brother in the Lord, Zane Williams:

A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR

Mokahum Ministry Center’s purpose is bringing Native American people to life and maturity in Christ by equipping disciples and training leaders through culturally relevant biblical education, ministry training, and life skills development. Together with students from all over the United States and Canada, you can come to Mokahum to learn from veteran ministry leaders, develop your gifts in a local church, and build lifetime relationships. Mokahum Ministry Center has a long history as a residential ministry training facility.
Zane Williams
It’s been rewarding to see firsthand how God has worked in the lives of the students who have received their discipleship and ministry certificates since our reopening in 2009. Our staff is committed to training tomorrow’s Native leaders today!
If you have a personal relationship with Christ, I invite you to consider being a student at Mokahum. Come just the way you are and see what God does in your life.
Zane Williams (Navajo)
Director of the Mokahum Ministry Center
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We have not yet reached our financial goal that will enable us to get to the field. We are halfway there. Would you consider how you can financially help us get to Mokahum? By partnering with us, you will be a part of an essential ministry to Native America. Please take a look at the most effective way you can GIVE to get us to the field by reading our FAIR WINDS post. Once you have read that, please go to our GIVING page here. Please CONTACT US, we would love to share with you what the Lord is doing in Native America.

Please prayerfully consider being a part of the this vital ministry to Native America. Let’s see the name of Jesus proclaimed in all nations!

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick & Regina Lennox

Free Stuff

Source: rainydaypennies.com

Source: rainydaypennies.com

Christmas is coming! Black Friday came and went and Cyber Monday began on Sunday. The retailers are beckoning you with deals that will be impossible to pass up. Let me tell you a secret: they want your money. And not only retailers, but everyone else, too. Right now presidential candidates are on the campaign trail receiving millions of dollars to advance their bid for the highest office in the land. They are asking, and they are receiving.

Just this past weekend, with no consideration for me and my Saturday rituals, PBS interrupted their (my!) usual programming in order to raise money. Imagine that! They’re pushing for a strong fiscal finish by the end of the year with your tax-deductible gift. As much as I love watching This Old House every week, I didn’t make “that call” to continue receiving that “quality programming.” But I admit they were offering some really cool appreciation gifts: DVDs, special club membership status with all the benefits, etc. You know the spiel.

Campaigning for the Kingdom

Likewise Christian ministries do the same thing. You know, ask for money? And there is nothing wrong with that. They need money to run their ministries that provide us with those edifying goods, services, and well…ministry. Aside from selling products, a common strategy for ministries to get money is to offer free stuff. Just call the toll-free number, give your name, address, and phone number and receive your free gift. Shortly afterwards, you will receive an appeal letter and follow-up phone call asking if you would like to partner with the ministry. Many of your favorite ministries have a whole team of callers dialing up prospective ministry partners. Again, nothing wrong with that. That’s just how it works…and it does work.

Et Tu Reginae?

IMG_20151130_115302So what about us? We don’t have a radio show or podcast. We don’t have a catalog full of various teaching media. No national or regional conferences. What we do will never be available for public consumption. We are missionaries. We are the night callers. We raise our funds by asking people like you to support us so we can go to minister to other people. Aside from chocolates at our display table, you don’t get free stuff, only the satisfaction of giving so others can benefit. *Full disclosure, we gave away free DVDs at a TGC conference once, but not much response.

Welcome to My Dream World!

Classic scene from The Truman Show (1988)

Classic scene from The Truman Show (1988)

I remember a couple of years ago when I had a conversation with someone about our decision to go to the mission field. With all sincerity, he proceeded to tell me how bad the economy was, that I was not a fundraiser, and how I was living in a dream world. The funny thing was, he was right on all three counts. It’s true, the economy is bad, I am not a “fundraiser,” and yes, I am dreaming.

I know that the economy is not what we want it to be, but I also know that next Saturday morning, like always, I will be watching my favorite shows on PBS. People will be buying their designer coffee at a local coffee shop. Next November we will have a new president-elect promising to turn the economy around, and our favorite ministries will be doing what they always do. They will all get their funding.

Native Girl on switch boardAs you read this, I hope you will consider dreaming with us and supporting this missionary family. Help us answer our call to serve Native America at the Mokahum Ministry Center in Cass Lake, MN. You don’t have to give a lot, just something regular we can count on. We hope you would dare to dream with us and see the glory of God displayed in Native America.

 

To help us get to the mission field and stay there, please visit our Giving page here.

Year-end gifts are great, but to learn how best to give, please read Fair Winds.

If you truly have no money to spare, please read about Five Things You Can Do.

Give us a call. Let’s get together (Actually, we have some money in our budget to buy you dinner, shh).

Also, would you please SHARE this post using the social media buttons at the bottom of this page. Let’s go for at least 200 SHARES!

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Why Native America?

mokahum signPeople often ask me, why Native America? Of all the people groups in the world, what is it that makes you so concerned about Native Americans? Why not just pastor a church somewhere in Central Florida? The short answer is that God has given me a burden for Native Americans. Now that is the simplest and easiest answer I can give, but that does not exclude the countless secondary causes that God has providentially used in the course of my life. I will not list them here, but there are two things that compel me to serve the Lord in Native America.

  1. I believe Christ was poorly represented among indigenous people for five centuries in North America. This does not ignore the many, successful missionary endeavors of the various denominations, mission agencies, and good Christian neighbors throughout history. There are wonderful stories  But when we look at the overall scope of history, Jesus was poorly represented by His church. We must take a hard look at ourselves, identify our mistakes, learn what attitudes and thinking patterns caused those mistakes, repent, reform ourselves, and continue to pursue our Native neighbors with the love of Jesus Christ.
  2. We need Native Americans in the church. We don’t need a Native church, that is, we are not looking to create a separate Native church and/or keep the Native churches to themselves, although the location of local congregations may dictate that. All of us  in the church — both Native and non-Native — need each other. We are stronger when we are unified and diversified. That is New Testament 101. Part of the problem in the church’s mission strategy of the past (and dare I say ‘present’) to Native America was the notion that Natives need us. Well, they actually do need us, but we truly need them, too. Really! We need to be mutually edified as we unify with our Native brothers and sisters. This is where Jesus is glorified. He prayed for this in John 17. I want to worship and serve with my Native brothers and sisters and offer them whatever gifts our Father has given me to reach, serve, and build up more Native Americans for a stronger church.

I could list more reasons, but they would be sub-points to the two listed above. I will expand on these reasons in another post, but for now, I hope you would have a better idea of why Regina and I, with our family, are hoping to serve in Native America. Would it be enough to say that we just love Native Americans?

When will we get there?

We are still living in Sanford, FL until we receive our full funding. We cannot go until we have all of it pledged. We will be serving at the Mokahum Ministry Center near Bemidji, MN (the first city on the Mississippi). Please consider partnering with us with your prayerful and monthly financial support. We cannot do this without you!

To give sign up to be a pledged supporter or give a special gift, click here.

To learn about the different ways to give, please read the Fair Winds post.

To learn about other ways you can help, please read Five Things You Can Do.

Until next time…

Is Jesus Calling You?

Is Jesus Calling You?

Many people have asked us if we have received any responses to this post. We have had a few inquirers, but nothing yet. Please continue to pray with us about this. Thanks, Patrick & Regina

Lennox Letters

“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had no place to call His own (Lk 9:58). He stayed in various people’s homes, like Zacchaeus’s, and oftentimes under the stars (Lk 19-10, Lk 6:12). Perhaps someone today would call Jesus homeless. His critics may be tempted to label Him a free-loader. But as in the case of Zacchaeus and others (Lk 22:7ff), we know that the Lord of Creation has divine prerogative to use whoever and whatever for His purposes. And He still exercises His authority today. Now He is moving on people’s hearts and minds by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Please take a few moments to see if Jesus is calling you to help us get to Cherokee.

View original post 794 more words

A Better Ending

American_progress

This painting (circa 1872) by John Gast called American Progress, is an allegorical representation of the modernization of the new west. Here Columbia, a personification of the United States, leads civilization westward with American settlers, stringing telegraph wire as she sweeps west; she holds a school book as well. The different stages of economic activity of the pioneers are highlighted and, especially, the changing forms of transportation. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny

We live and worship on land that once belonged to a diverse mission field. Living on this beautiful continent, which we now call North America, were many civilizations — great and small, peaceful and warring, admirable and some less admirable. We now commonly lump them together as one people called American Indians or Native Americans.  They lived here in great numbers until the American experiment decided to forcibly take it in the name of a superior civilization and progress–often with the blessing of the church, both Catholic and Protestant, under the pretense of God’s work.  Rome’s Papal Bulls of the 15th century gave birth to the Doctrine of Discovery along with the millennial theologies in Protestant circles created the perfect environment for Manifest Destiny and euphemistically, ‘westward expansion.’

Living Up to Our Values

We have told ourselves and the world that our country was built on Judeo-Christian values, yet when someone found gold in Georgia, for instance, the Cherokee and other tribes were removed from their home lands, marched away on the infamous Trail of Tears. Many of them were our brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank the Lord for the missionaries like Presbyterian missionary Samuel Worcester and the Moravian missionaries who fought tirelessly for the rights of the Cherokee and served among them for the kingdom of Christ.

American missions was once an exciting venture for our early forefathers like Jonathan Edwards and David Brainerd, while the country was forming. It just seems strange to me that now our country is established, and so much damage has been done by a nation that declares itself to be Christian, that our zeal for missions to Native America has waned. Yet they remain. More than that, their populations have rebounded from 250,000 by the end of the 19th century to over 5 million today. Some chapters have closed, but the story is not finished.

God’s Perspective

Isaiah 52:10 tells us that our God is a God of the nations:

The Lord has bared his holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.

Our Lord Jesus tells us to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:18). There are 566 sovereign Native nations within the borders of the US, and many more to the north and south of our borders. The Great Commission is to every tribe, tongue, and nation. To not recognize the 566 Native nations is to not recognize Jesus’ authority over the Great Commission.

By Grace, It’s Not Over

Let’s have a better ending. The first 500 years of missions in this country is a story of praiseworthy successes and dismal and lamentable failures. Sadly, it seems our failures have had the most lasting effect. But I believe we are in a new and exciting chapter of Native missions. There is a better ending to be written in Native American missions. The fields are ripe for harvest. The door is open, and the Lord bids us go.

I hope you will want to be a part of this new chapter and go with us. You can do more than you think. Please read Five Things You Can Do and Contact Us.

When Irish Eyes are Singing: A Tribute to Pastor Carl Guiney, part 2

Carl Guiney“God’s people ought to be a singing people.” This was the conviction of Pastor Carl Guiney. My first introduction to him was when I first walked into First Assembly of God in Woonsocket, RI, on a cold winter morning back in 1990.  As I took my seat, some dear singing soul behind me handed me a hymn book opened and awaiting my participation.  Embarrassed to say, I didn’t sing a note. I can’t even remember the song, but I know it was joyful.

A Musician’s Musician

The singing was led by Pastor Raymond Shepherd while his wife, Edna, played the organ. On the piano was Pastor Guiney, a man small in stature, but full of joy, wisdom, and meekness. I didn’t know he was the pastor until he took his post at the pulpit when the singing concluded. As a musician, I was very impressed by his musicianship. He had full command of that piano. He could play every hymn in the book and many more from memory. Not only did he play what was on the page, but he also had the ability to improvise and create beautiful bridges into other songs all the while admonishing the people with words of encouragement. He had excellent technique, full of power and finesse. His style was lively, tasteful, and reverent. Not only could he sight-read with ease, he could also transpose the song on the fly if it were in a key too high for us to sing. He would then call out the key to Edna on the organ with hand signals like a baseball catcher calling pitches to the mound. He really was a musician’s musician.

A Singing People

The music at First Assembly was a combination of hymns and praise songs. During those years, I was completely oblivious to the so-called worship wars. Under Pastor Guiney’s leadership, I developed a real appreciation for hymns mostly and other styles of music as well. I will resist a long discussion on the old debate of “traditional vs. contemporary,” except to say that as a young bass player in a heavy metal band during those years, I had no hang-ups about singing those “old-fashioned” songs. It was in that church where I first sung “What a Day That Will Be,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” and “Sing Oh Sing of My Redeemer.” And our praise songs were usually taken directly from Scripture, “Therefore the Redeemed of the Lord” (Isa 51:11), and “As the Deer” (Ps 42:1). We sang every Lord’s Day morning and evening, as well as Thursday night Bible study — before and after. In fact, every time we were together, we sang. We were a singing people.

Teamwork

Pastor Guiney had a great team to lead us. Pastor Shepherd, who was Pastor Guiney’s father-in-law, chose many of the songs for worship and led us in singing with a powerful voice that really did not need amplification. Pastor Shepherd’s wife, Edna, faithfully played the organ. We were also graced by Pastor’s wife, Faith, as she offered songs of encouragement and praise, many times in duet with her mother, Edna. It was a family affair, of which we were all welcomed to join.

Pastor Guiney truly was inspirational and encouraged everyone to use their musical gifts. One day Pastor Guiney asked me to consider playing my bass in service. I was honored and terrified. I did not sight-read very well, and even when I was able to decipher the music, I had to figure out how to take piano bass clef and play it in a way that made sense on a bass guitar. So I set up my amp next to the piano and followed Pastor Guiney’s left pinky when I got lost, which was often.

‘Singing and Making Melody from Your Heart to the Lord’

I appreciate Pastor’s graciousness toward others like me who wanted to participate in the music. Because of that, we were blessed by a lot of great singing. All of us came with different skill levels, and we all played and sang a lot of bad notes. Now of course Pastor Guiney knew that the Bible teaches us that singers and musicians ought to perform skillfully, but he also knew that God did not require perfection to be pleased. So we sang and played at our varying skill levels with hearts to the Lord offering our sacrifices of praise.

Sour Notes

I have heard people express the belief that it is not proper for the pastor to be a musician during Sunday worship. Somehow, as the reasoning goes, the people will not be able to transition in their minds from the musician to the pastor, therefore the pastor will lose his authority and respect among the people. I can’t say this emphatically enough: If you believe that, you simply didn’t know Pastors Carl Guiney and Raymond Shepherd or the congregation they served. Their love of song and praise only added to our respect and admiration for our leaders. If anything, they set the bar too high for other pastors, but I speak in jest.

Forever Singing

I have been in churches that excel in musicianship. I have heard great choirs and ensembles. I have heard the giant pipe organs bellowing out heavenly and thunderous sounds that move the soul (O, how I wish Edna could have had one!). But for all that it is worth, I still hold those early years with Pastor Guiney at First Assembly most precious. It was there I joined the singing people of God and learned to make a joyful noise to the Lord.

Pastor Guiney was brought up in church and did not remember a day when he was not singing. Now ‘with no less days to sing God’s praise,’ he is singing with the heavenly choir in the Church Triumphant. I thank the Lord for his life, his deep love for music, and his ability to shepherd his people with ‘hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs’ (Eph 5:19).

You may read Part 1 of A Tribute to Pastor Carl Guiney here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does the Constitution Have to Do with It?

us-constitutionAre you an American who loves your country? Do you believe in a nation of law rather than a dictatorship or the tyranny of the majority? Do you love your Constitution? What part of the Constitution are we allowed to ignore?

I ask these questions because I have spoken to so many Christian voters over the years who have wondered, how much is enough — when will we stop giving the Indians government money? They have their casinos, don’t they? In a world where people are conquered though out history, how can we be expected to keep paying for our sins as a country? Can’t we just say that bad things happen in this world, and they are lucky they were not completely annihilated?

Worldview Adjustment

From the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian

From the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian

I hope the following will help folks answer those questions for themselves. As Christians, especially those who defend the premise that our country is built on Judeo-Christian principles, we ought never argue from a “bad-things-happen-in-this-world-therefore-get-over-it” perspective. As Christians we know that God holds governments, i.e. ministers of justice (Rom 13), accountable for the upholding and the maintaining of justice. As such earthly governments represent our covenant-keeping, law-giving God. The “bad-things-happen” view is simply not the premise we should begin with when considering Native American relations, or any other people group.  Most American Christians I know would never accept this premise when their opposing political parties ignore the Constitution.

What About the Constitution?

Recently I was reading the new book, Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, by Suzan Show Harjo. As the title suggests it traces the history of Native American treaties. I would like to commend it to any Constitution-loving Christian. The first thing that struck me at the very outset of the book was this clause from our Constitution:

The Constitution, and the Laws of the United States, which shall be made in Pursuance thereof: and all treaties made, which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” –United States Constitution, article 6, clause 2

Glen Douglas, Lakes-Okanogan Indian, (February 1, 1927 - May 23, 2011) joined the U.S. Army when he was just 17, the start of a long and distinguished career that saw him take part in three wars: World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. He was with the 101st Airborne in Belgium in 1945, was injured by a grenade in 1953 during the Korean War. During his first tour in Vietnam he was an intelligence analyst with a Special Forces team...

Glen Douglas, Lakes-Okanogan Indian, (February 1, 1927 – May 23, 2011) joined the U.S. Army when he was just 17.

This is the same Constitution that so many Americans died defending, including thousands of Native Americans. The treaties with Native nations were made in perpetuity. The U.S. government has broken its treaties again and again. But breaking a treaty does not dissolve it, and time does not forgive. The treaties are still legally binding today. If you are a Christian who loves the Constitution, you should be all the more eager to recognize these things and even demand those who represent us in Washington do so as well.

More than a Political Issue

But lest you think this is political-activist post, let me assure you that I don’t wish to spend too much time in the political arena. My place is in gospel ministry. I bring it up only because I believe that false assumptions, ill-informed political opinions, and basic ignorance in our churches are dampening our missionary zeal to Native America. These ideas are prohibiting our mission efforts to the 567 Native American nations within our borders. And yes, they are real nations, and are part of the “all nations” to whom the Lord has sent us (Mt. 28:18-20). It just doesn’t seem fitting to me that so many churches who worship on land that was once Indian country do not have a line item in their missions budget for Native America.

I hope to awaken as many people as possible to the need in Native America, and how we as Christians should put the kingdom of Christ far above our earthly kingdoms.  Please prayerfully consider being part what we are doing in Native America. The harvest is ripe and the doors are open. Please read About our mission to Native America here.  All for His Kingdom!

Faith Promises, Hobbies, and Priorities

hobbiesRecently we had the opportunity to hear a missionary couple share their ministry report at a church dinner. The husband of the couple, who came from a business background, shared how one day he decided to re-prioritize his giving to missions. Before he was a missionary, he felt convicted on how much money he spent on his hobbies (hunting, fishing, golfing, etc.) in comparison to the money he gave to the Lord’s work. From then on, he decided to match every penny he spent on his hobbies with his giving to missions as a faith promise. To this day, even as a missionary, he and his wife support numerous missionaries throughout the world.

A pastor friend of mine recently awakened me to the fact that most hobbies of adults are at least $1,000 to start. Add it up: Golfing, hunting, fishing, biking, music, sports, and the list could go on. How much time and money goes into these things?

Have you been challenged by this idea? I know I’ve been. I lament the thought of all the money I wasted on luxury and self-indulgence in this life. Don’t get the idea that hobbies and creature comforts are sinful – they are not – but, I continually think of the scene at the end of Schindler’s List when Mr. Schindler learned that the war was over. He was overtaken with deep sorrow because he realized there was nothing more he could do to buy freedom for Jews in the Nazi death camps. Although the war was over, Mr. Schindler came to the haunting realization of how much more he could have done. That unforgettable scene shows Mr. Schindler, a wealthy business man who had given so much, looking at his car in deep regret as he estimated its value by how many people he could have set free, or even the ring on his finger for at least one or two more.

Although we serve a sovereign God who will bring all of his own to himself (John 6:37), I don’t think it is a stretch for us to imagine ourselves on the last day looking back on our lives and assessing our priorities. Will we be able to say that we strove to give it all for the kingdom?

Where are we now?

Currently we are unofficially at 45% of our support. Unofficially means that although 42.5% registers on our account, the other 2.5% is promised to us by new supporters. We are thankful for what the Lord has done, but we are praying and striving for the balance to come in as soon as possible. We are coming up on our one-year anniversary of becoming MTW missionaries. It would be great to get past the halfway point before then.

Currently we are itinerating around to different churches, but most of a missionary’s support comes in from individual donors. I cannot stress enough that if every one of our friends pledged something, we would be on our way to the mission field. To learn more about what you could do, please Contact Us. Before you write a check, please read Fair Winds first. Please take time to read Who Should Support the Great Commission? as well. If you truly cannot give any money, but want to do something, please read Five Things You Can Do. On-going pledged support is what we truly need to be able to minister in Cherokee. We would love to sit down with you and talk about what the Lord is doing and how you could actively be a part of it.

All for the Kingdom!

Is Jesus Calling You?

Is Jesus Calling You?

“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had no place to call His own (Lk 9:58). He stayed in various people’s homes, like Zacchaeus’s, and oftentimes under the stars (Lk 19-10, Lk 6:12). Perhaps someone today would call Jesus homeless. His critics may be tempted to label Him a free-loader. But as in the case of Zacchaeus and others (Lk 22:7ff), we know that the Lord of Creation has divine prerogative to use whoever and whatever for His purposes. And He still exercises His authority today. Now He is moving on people’s hearts and minds by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Please take a few moments to see if Jesus is calling you to help us get to Cherokee. Continue reading

Let’s Get Together

2015 National Conference

This year we will be attending the Ligonier Ministries National Conference in Orlando, February 19-21. We don’t want to give any false impressions here; we are not displaying at a booth (and surely not giving a lecture). But as for the last fifteen years or so, we will be enjoying good teaching and meeting up with old friends.

If you are planning on going to the conference and would like to talk to us directly about our mission in Cherokee, then let us know. We can have a lunch, dinner, or coffee. We are already scheduled to meet with some folks, but we would love to take some time for you, or perhaps your pastor or missions committee chairman. We can share our vision and answer any questions you may have. Let’s get together! Give us a call or text, 407-416-1482 or 407-416-2348. We hope to see you there.

Who Should Support the Great Commission?

I don’t believe missionaries should have to raise their own support. It is an unnecessary burden for them. The church should be sending missionaries, therefore I will not support you.

This was essentially the answer I received from someone who was invited to partner with us. I was saddened for a number of reasons, but the one that troubles me the most was the reasoning he gave. And not so much that it was his reason, but it was once mine, too. He was firm in his conviction and for me to insist on a longer discussion on the matter would have been pushy and argumentative. But I have been challenged to think about the matter more and hopefully the following will be helpful to others.

Hi, I am a missionary. Please give me money…

Yes, there are times when I would rather just not go through all this traveling, and calling, and texting, and calling, and emailing, and calling, and writing, and calling, and asking. But, believe it or not, Continue reading

HOW: Were you informed about Native Americans?

HOW: Were you informed about Native Americans?

How many of us have ever gone through the age-old ritual of that standard, cliché, Indian greeting? You know the one where you put on your best blank stare, raise your right hand as if to take an oath in court, and with monotone voice, you say, “HOW.” In case you didn’t know, it’s not a real greeting, and it’s not real funny. But it is a real sign that you may be misinformed about a real people group living among us.

As non-Indian American Christians, let’s turn that around and get informed. Perhaps we can convert an uncouth greeting into a prompt for a series of questions that will better align us with Christ’s purposes:

  • How can we better love our unbelieving Native neighbors?
  • How can we be better witnesses to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to Native Americans?
  • How can we avoid age-old, man-made stumbling blocks that get in the way of the Great Commission?
  • How can we be better brothers and sisters to the Native American church?
  • How can we change our assumptions, ignorance, and unchallenged ideas about Native Americans?
  • How can we reach out to Native Americans as emissaries of peace for the kingdom of Christ rather than repelling them as just another misinformed generation of non-Native Americans?
  • How can we better pray for Native America?

. . . and the list could go on.

Excerpt from HOW: Were you informed about Native America? To read more, click here

Six Common Perspectives on Native Americans

Caricatures, Perspectives, and Reflections

I have met a lot of people with various perspectives on Native Americans. After a life-time of living among non-Indian Americans, and being one myself, I feel somewhat confident in my knowledge of what non-Indian Americans believe. Although not exhaustive, the list below provides a good cross-section of perspectives I have encountered during this past year in particular. I would like to say that they all are exaggerated caricatures, but I would have to cross my fingers behind my back. The reality is that many of us hold to a combination of these perspectives. The challenge for all of us is to read through the list and see where we find our reflection, and ask the Lord to give us His perspective through the lens of the gospel.

Six Common Perspectives on Native Americans

1. Relatively Oblivious – This person has little to no knowledge of Native Americans today. This person has never met a Native or at least has no knowledge of meeting one. This person doesn’t not know that reservations still exist, yet when they learn of that fact wonder if Indians still live in teepees. I have even met people who thought the Indians were all gone.

2. History buff/antagonist perspective – This person read a lot of American history and is very eager to point out the sins of Native Americans by educating you on Indian attacks on white settlers. Recent court cases ruling in favor of a particular tribe that resulted in restitution are often cited.

3. Hollywood-informed, sympathetic perspective – You generally cheer for the underdog. You saw some movies like Indian in the Cupboard and Dances with Wolves. You have actually memorized the epic scene with Wind in His Hair’s emotional farewell to Dances with Wolves. Just thinking about, you really want to watch it again. Go ahead and watch it here.

4. Hollywood-informed, unsympathetic perspective – This person saw a lot of John Wayne-type westerns and believes the narrative that the Indians were irrational, blood-thirsty savages who were getting in the way of the progress of American civilization. “The only good Injuns are dead.”

5. Politically-driven perspectives* – This person sees life mostly through political goggles, which usually have either red or blue lenses.

  • Blue lenses seem to create an overwhelming sense of the proverbial “white guilt,” which can only be relieved by creating new tenants of political correctness enforced by yet more big government solutions. Oddly, the blue-lens perspective is just as paternalistic as our forefathers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, which has caused most of our problems today.
  • Red lenses have a tendency to reject anything that smacks of political correctness. Typical mantras in this camp include: “Disband the reservations, tribes are socialistic anyway. Tax the casinos. Build that oil pipeline through their land, and frack, baby, frack! It’s all about jobs. Make them assimilate! Go Redskins!” The red-lens view often sees reservations as welfare states attributing all the social ills such as high addiction, crime, and suicide rates to the dependence on government subsidies. Although it recognizes the tragedies of the past, it believes that the best thing to do for Native Americans is to disband the reservations and take them off government “hand-outs.” Problem solved.

6. Pro-Western, seemingly biblically Reformed perspective **– This perspective is related to the politically driven perspective, but now mixed with just enough theology to sound biblical. Foundational tenets include: 1. God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, 2. This is a nation based on Judeo-Christian principles, and 3. Providence has shown that God judged the Indians using a Christian/Western nation. Therefore, the U.S. was justified in its conquering the land and Natives. There are multiple variations of this view.

More can be added to the list, but these common perspectives are the most frequent I encounter when talking with people about our mission to Cherokee.

Excerpt from HOW: Where you informed about Native Americans?

MLK, Native Americans, and the Rest of Us

On this day of recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments for all Americans, I would like to take this moment to draw attention to a people group who are usually not at the forefront of our minds when we think about racism, civil rights, and inequality — Native Americans. Below is an excerpt from an article, HOW: Were you informed about Native Americans?, I wrote challenging us to examine our views about Native Americans and  consider the ripe mission field in Indian Country.

How many of us have ever gone through the age-old ritual of that standard, cliché, Indian greeting? You know the one where you put on your best blank stare, raise your right hand as if to take an oath in court, and with monotone voice, you say, “HOW.” In case you didn’t know, it’s not a real greeting, and it’s not real funny. But it is a real sign that you may be misinformed about a real people group living among us.

As non-Indian American Christians, let’s turn that around and get informed. Perhaps we can convert an uncouth greeting into a prompt for a series of questions that will better align us with Christ’s purposes:

  • How can we better love our unbelieving Native neighbors?
  • How can we be better witnesses to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to Native Americans?
  • How can we avoid age-old, man-made stumbling blocks that get in the way of the Great Commission?
  • How can we be better brothers and sisters to the Native American church?
  • How can we change our assumptions, ignorance, and unchallenged ideas about Native Americans?
  • How can we reach out to Native Americans as emissaries of peace for the kingdom of Christ rather than repelling them as just another misinformed generation of non-Native Americans?
  • How can we better pray for Native America?

. . . and the list could go on.

To learn more about misinformed views of Native Americans and how we can better love our neighbors, please read the rest of the article HOW: Were you informed about Native Americans? here.

All for His Kingdom!

Patrick Lennox

Unless the Lord Builds the House…

Lennoxes enjoying family time at the Old Carriage House on Scarborough Beach, Rhode Island.

Lennoxes enjoying family time at the Old Carriage House on Scarborough Beach, Rhode Island.

Unless the Lord Builds the House

Here we are at the beginning of a new year, looking forward to see what the Lord will do with us as we continue our journey to Cherokee. One lesson we have been reminded of again and again is that no matter who we are, what we have done or thought we have done, or who we know or thought we knew, or what plans we have made, “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps 127:1, ESV). This is both humbling and encouraging. This passage reminds us of our weakness and dependence on the Lord, while assuring us that He can establish our plans for His purpose and glory. Of all the worldly vocations Jesus could have engaged in, providentially He was a carpenter, and He didn’t retire went He went to glory (Jn 14:1-4, ESV). Jesus still is the Master Builder, and He challenges us to believe that today. I hope you will accept that challenge and labor with us to see what the Lord builds in Cherokee.

Excerpt from Lennox Letters January 2015

Please take time to read our latest newsletter: Lennox Letters January 2015. Click on the Newsletters tab to see past issues. To subscribe to Lennox Letters eNewsletter, sign up here. 

A Recommended Article: Faithful Over Little by Tony Carter

As I prepare for our January issue of Lennox Letters Newsletter, I was reviewing last month’s issue and re-read this piece entitled Do Not Despise Small Beginnings:

We worship a God who does not despise small beginnings (Zech 4:10). There are many other ministries doing great things worthy of your support. Unlike many of the big ministries, missionaries don’t have much to offer you except first-hand reports from the field and opportunities to pray. There are no big conferences, multimedia productions and broadcasts, or cool t-shirts (yet?). There are many ways to minister to Native Americans, but our primary effort right now is to plant a church in Cherokee. If the Lord wants to do more, which we are pretty sure he does, we joyfully and eagerly await his leading. Please join us in this journey and see where the Lord takes it. (excerpted from Lennox Letters December 2014).

At the risk of being redundant, I felt encouraged to re-post this after I read an article written by an old friend, Tony Carter, who pastors East Point Church in the Atlanta area. Yeah, I guess I am name-dropping, but that’s okay, because Tony really is my friend, and he has been a source of encouragement to me since we worked together at Ligonier Ministries (did I just drop another name?).

Well back to the article. It doesn’t take much set up, and I won’t spend much time tying my thoughts above with his article except to say that it is our job to be faithful to the Lord and he will worry about the size of our ministries. I couldn’t help but think of my first pastor, Carl Guiney and the many pastor friends I have who have been pouring their lives into the Bride of Christ in seemingly obscurity outside the glow of the limelight.

The article is entitled Faithful Over Little, and you can read it here: http://thefrontporch.org/2015/01/faithful-over-little/. Be sure to join Tony and his other friends on The Front Porch from time to time. You will be blessed.

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick

Fair Winds

Hello friends,

As the year comes to an end, the Lord is blessing us in big ways as people are generously giving to our mission. This post is to help guide your giving in a way that will get us to Cherokee quicker. I have tried to make this post as short and sweet as possible. Not sure I achieved it, but please take a few moments to read it.

Types of Giving: One-time, regular, or pledged?

Allow me to give an illustration of what the different types of giving can do. Picture one of those 17th century sailing ships taking a long voyage across the ocean.

Carving of sail ships in Old Indian Meeting House in Mashpee, MA

I couldn’t resist using this picture I took of this carving from the balcony of the Old Indian Meeting House (est. 1684) in Mashpee, MA.

One-time gifts are comparable to gusts of wind in the sails, which provide extra push to move the ship forward—always helpful, always welcome. They cover various costs, e.g. initial and additional training, communication costs, support-raising travel expenses, etc., and they also close the budget gaps resulting from the occasional shortfalls in the pledged-giving responses. No matter how big or small, all one-time gifts are essential to the big picture!

Regular and pledged giving are like fair winds that are continually filling our sails keeping us on course—pushing us forward and sustaining our voyage. No amount is too small.

What is the difference between regular and pledged gifts?

Regular gifts come from friends who want to help by giving on a fairly regular basis, but have not committed to an amount or schedule. Those gifts are like repeating one-time gifts: they come in at varying amounts at varying intervals; we are not sure they will happen again; but they are always helpful and appreciated.

Pledges are what we can bank on. A pledge is a commitment that says, “I will give this amount and you can expect it every year for at least four years, either monthly, quarterly, or year-end.” This kind of giving will enable us to know we will be sustained throughout the journey. The most important things about a pledge is that it is predictable and dependable. Once we receive 100% or our pledges, we set sail.

Important note: Your actual giving does not have to begin the day you pledge, but pledging now will determine our start date in Cherokee. You may pledge now and start giving once our pledges are tallied at 100%.

Although very large one-time gifts have come in, we are still at 32.5% of our pledges. Our goal is to be at 50% before year’s end. One percent of our monthly need is $98.50. Average pledges are about $66, but any amount is helpful.

— If every one of our friends made a monthly pledge of $30 today, we would be packing our bags tomorrow! —

We truly consider it a privilege to be called to Native American ministries with the Cherokee.  We are asking you to prayerfully consider joining us in planting a church among the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. To get on board, visit our Giving page. We cannot do this without you.

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick & Regina

 

Back from Cherokee

Can you guess where Ryan is?

Can you guess where Ryan is?

The Parade

We just got back after a wonderful weekend in Cherokee.  We were asked to march in the Cherokee Christmas parade. Norm Dunkin and the gang from Carriage Lane Presbyterian who have been marching in the parade for many years extended the invitation to us last week and we jumped at the opportunity. They have been such a dedicated church committed to ministering to the people of Cherokee for two decades.

Looking for Our Replacements

As fun as it was to romp around in a silly costume, there was a very serious side to it. We were able to see the faces and meet more of the people we want to reach with the gospel. As I handed out candy and souvenirs to the little children, I wondered if any them would be part of the church we are looking to plant. I was looking for my replacement who would one day be a leader in the church and raise up others for the spreading of the gospel throughout all of Native America. Will any of those young boys grow up to be elders, pastors, youth leaders, or missionaries? Are any of those little girls going to become a Sunday school teacher one day, or maybe even a missionary like Tammy Jackson (MTW missionary to Cherokee and Lummi)? We can only wonder, but the Lord knows.

Regina and Shiah

Regina and Shiah

While in Cherokee we met with our fellow missionaries, Scott and Ruth Hill, as well as Norm Dunkin. We were able to dream, plan, and pray about what we hope the Lord would do on the reservation — a very productive and encouraging time.

We also had an opportunity to present ourselves during Sunday school at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Sylva, NC. We cannot recommend that church enough to anyone in that region looking for a great church — fine preaching and excellent music, and a great bunch of folks. Pastor Philip Sealy and his wife, Lori, really know how to show hospitality, too.

Regina with dear friends, Whitney and little Kailyana

Regina with dear friends, Whitney and little Kailyana

Giving Update

Over the last couple of days, some very significant gifts came in for which we are thankful. We also just got word of another church supporting us as well, although we are not sure of the amount just yet. But right now we know we are at 32.5% of pledged regular giving. Pray we get passed 50% before year’s end.

Norm and Blue (Ryan)

Norm and Blue (Ryan)

Rivercam Sham

We want to apologize to any of you who tuned into the Rivercam Saturday. We were told by a lady at the visitor center that it was turned off. We searched for it anyway after the parade in the dark. Although there were not enough votes for me to get into the water (thank the Lord!), we had something special planned, but it did not work out.

Last Words

It was a bitter/sweet time we had in Cherokee. The trip was out of the blue, but it turned out to be such a great blessing. We long to be the there and minister among the Cherokee full-time. There is so much to do. Please help us get there. Please visit our Five Things You Can Do to learn about how you can get us there.

Until next time…

The Lennoxes

 

Cheers!

This Frappuccino Is The Most Expensive Drink Ever Ordered at Starbucks, http://greatideas.people.com/2014/05/28/starbucks-most-expensive-drink-frappuccino/

This Frappuccino Is The Most Expensive Drink Ever Ordered at Starbucks, http://greatideas.people.com/2014/05/28/starbucks-most-expensive-drink-frappuccino/

Shopping season is upon us. Here come the offers via email, web ads, and flyers. Restaurants and retailers want your money, churches and ministries as well, and without apology, I do, too.

Of all the great ministries in the world, I want you to give to our particular humble ministry to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. More than that, I desperately want you to give, but…I have two necessary conditions with a preferred third condition attached to my request. But before I tell you what they are, there is one thing to know about my request: it is that you understand that this is just a request, albeit a passionate one, but a request still.

Now here are the conditions. First, I would like you to give willingly, that is, not under compulsion, and secondly, I would like you to give cheerfully. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul tells the Corinthian church that “each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 

I never want to be accused of putting those infamous “guilt trips” on people. That would be compulsion. You are under no obligation to give to us. We are asking for gifts, not tithes. But I will always challenge you to consider giving to our cause. I may even challenge you to re-examine your budget and your discretionary spending habits. Here’s a challenge just for fun: find ten things sitting around your house that are collecting dust, put them in a pile, add up the approximate cost and think about what that could have done for the kingdom (Yes, I have done it myself, and I am embarrassed with the results — we’ll keep you posted on our next yard sale!). Here’s a challenging thought: How much designer coffee do we drink per week, per month, per year?

It is ultimately between you and the Lord what you should be doing with your money. You are the steward over the money God gave you, not me. All I can do is ask.

Thirdly, regular giving is what we are asking. Willingly, cheerfully, and regularly. We can’t get to the mission field unless we know that the funds will be there for at least for a four-year period. No amount is too small. One of our dearest supporters gives $5.00 per month — a true widow’s mite. You have no idea how encouraged we are because of her and her faithfulness. The Lord is teaching us something. Never be embarrassed for giving even a little.

Jesus tells us all that “we have not because we ask not” (Matt 7:7).  We already asked Him; now we are asking you. Would you truly pray about giving willingly, cheerfully, and regularly so that we may plant a church in Cherokee, NC with the Cherokee people?

We are Back!

We are Back!

IMG_20141112_221112

Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

We are Back!
After a ten-day road trip, we are back in Sanford, Florida. We traveled to New England visiting the ‘Biggest Little State in the Union,’ Rhode Island, as well as Massachusetts and Connecticut. It was a joy to see family and old friends again. We were able spend a day as a family in Narragansett and explore the rocky shoreline of the Ocean State – a much needed respite after that long drive!

We visited churches in New England who are remaining faithful to the Lord’s work. We also had opportunities to meet with pastors and decision makers of churches in Virginia who have sent short-term teams to Cherokee. It seems we will have three, possibly four, new churches supporting us.

On our way up, we visited the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. and took some quick pics of the Civil War Memorial in front of the Capital.

Civil War Memorial in D.C.

Civil War Memorial in D.C.

Wampanoag Mashpee Natives, Greg Joseph and Nick Hendricks

Wampanoag Mashpee Natives, Greg Joseph and Nick Hendricks

263

Old Indian Meeting House, 1684, Mashpee, MA

A particular joy was visiting the country’s oldest Indian church in Mashpee, MA. The actual date of the establishment of the building is debated, but you can read more about it here. We were told by one of the men keeping the grounds that day that there is no longer a congregation meeting there, but nonetheless it was edifying to be in a structure where Wampanoag Indians worshiped the Lord so many years ago. Not only were we able to have a private visit in the Meeting House, the caretakers arranged for us to have a private tour of the Wampanoag Museum down the road even though it was basically closed for the season.

While in Providence, RI, we visited the very first Baptist church in the country (see our Instagram for a pic of that). Later that night we were in a church located in the same area where the great missionary to the Indians, David Brainerd, ministered while in Connecticut. On our way back home, while traveling to Centreville, VA we stumbled on Manassas National Battlefield Park where Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson earned his name “Stonewall.”

Cannons at Manassas Battlefield

Cannons at Manassas Battlefield

Remembering the Past, Looking to the Future
We had no idea how much history we were going to take in on this trip, and especially did not know how that would evoke such variegated thoughts and emotions. But our mission to Cherokee is about what the Lord is doing today. At the same time we as the church always need to keep an eye on the past examining our successes and mistakes while looking to see what the Lord wants to do with Native America in the future. I hope our posts and newsletters challenge you to think more in Kingdom categories that transcend our political, cultural, personal, and (dare I say?) denominational preferences, which will allow us to better examine ourselves as we seek to be true Reformers tenaciously embracing the doctrine of Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming.

Below are photos of the exhibits from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

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Appeals to Washington

149

Compulsory prayer at an Indian mission school

148

Removal (click on photo to enlarge)

140

Great Nations Keep Their Word

Now that we are back in Sanford, we are back to writing newsletters, blog posts, and appeal letters, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, presenting in home and church gatherings, and doing all the things necessary to raise our support. Please pray for perseverance on our part. The Lord has the funds out there somewhere. It is up to us to pray, work, pray, wait, pray, receive, pray, and repeat.

All for His Kingdom!

The Lennoxes

Above is an excerpt from November issue of Lennox Letters newsletter. See it here. Click here to SUBSCRIBE.

Support Report – November 2014

Support Report – November 2014

"Unless the Lord builds the house..." (Ps 127)

“Unless the Lord builds the house…” (Ps 127)

Where are we financially?
Currently we are a little over 30% of our pledged regular giving, although more is coming per month in the form of one-time gifts. We need 100% before we can get to Cherokee. Only 70% more to go! Please pray with us that we get to more than 50% by year’s end.

End of the Year Giving
“Sleigh Bells” are already ringing in the malls heralding the encroaching Christmas shopping season. As much as we complain, we eagerly look for the sales. If you are the average consumer in the U.S., then you are projected to spend around $700 on Christmas gifts this year, perhaps in November alone. Before we are consumed by the holiday rush, please consider making a year-end gift to our mission that we may further the Kingdom Jesus was sent to establish.

Regular giving is essential, but we also need one-time gifts to cover additional costs. We need to raise approximately $15,000 for CCMI (Cross-Cultural Ministry Internship). This is a month-long training experience in New York City for the whole Lennox family, which we must go through before we can serve in Cherokee.

Pledge Now, Give Later
You may pledge now and give later when we actually get to Cherokee, but please remember that without pledges, we don’t get there at all. Many folks are already giving, which helps us now, but if you would like to give, but can’t right now, you can still pledge for the future. Please contact us with any questions about that.

All for His Kingdom,

The Lennoxes

Above is an excerpt from November issue of Lennox Letters newsletter. See it here. Click here to SUBSCRIBE.

October Update

Photo by Rey Villavicencio

Change of Season

Fall is here. Facebook and Instagram are lit up with beautiful pics from our friends who are beholding the glorious autumn displays of the Northern states. I love the four seasons. Our memories are better cataloged using them as reference points to measure this short fleeting life. I will never forget my first broken arm the summer before fourth grade or the February snowstorm that first Sunday morning I went to church as a new believer.

Seasons change with predictable segues punctuated with defining moments that don’t submit to the calendar. When I lived in New England, the defining moment when I knew summer was over was when I stepped outside and felt that first real chill on a late August/early September morning . Even though it would warm up later in the day, you just knew that the summer was fading into the past, another chapter closing.

Yet there are other seasons of life that are not measured by changing temps and foliage.  I not referring to the four-fold division we use to measure our stages of life, e.g. young years = spring, young adult = summer, etc., but rather the different places we find ourselves that are measured by emotional, spiritual, situational, relational, and even vocational influences. Unlike the four seasons of the natural world, these seasons are not so easily predicted and never truly repeated, yet there are segues and defining moments that are written in to our story by the One who orders our steps by the loving hand of providence.

New Beginnings

Currently our family is experiencing another transition into a new season. After a fast summer of life changes and significant milestones, the Lord is moving us forward. After hundreds of phone calls and letters, along with blog posts and newsletters, the phone is starting to ring. The Lord is bringing forth fruit from our labors. We are now at 30% of our pledged giving. We have had many friends, family, and churches join us on our journey to Cherokee. Yet we have a long way to go, but I truly believe that if everyone we knew pledged just a little right now, we would be in Cherokee at by spring of 2015. Pray for that if you dare.

No Turning Back

Now we are about to embark on our first road trip. We have received numerous invitations to churches in New England and Virginia. Although the full glory of the New England autumn will be gone by the time we get there, we are rejoicing in this new season of life for us. We leave October 28th and return November 6th. We then return to a home gathering on November 7th in Longwood, FL. If you live in the area you are invited. Please pray for a successful and safe trip, that we would be able to awaken people to the need on the Native American reservations that only Christ can solve.

We are also praying that the Lord will enable us to sell or rent our house and live in an RV for the duration of our fundraising effort.  We have a lot of traveling to do, not just this year, but as missionary life requires, we will continually be traveling throughout the years. We have a lot of work to do on our house and a lot of money to raise for an RV.  If you or someone you know has a class C  motor home to give or loan us, please let us know. Does this sound impossible? Yes? Good, even better. We would hate to have you waste time praying for things we could accomplish with our own power.

In the meantime, please venture around our pages to learn more about the Cherokee, what we are hoping to do, and how you can help. We will be posting on our usual social media outlets during our trip. Stay tuned…

www.facebook.com/patrick.r.lennox
Twitter.com/patricklennox
Instagram.com/patrick_lennoxletters

All for His Kingdom!

The Lennoxes

The Lennoxes

 

 

Dear Facebook ‘Friends’

Dear Facebook ‘Friends’

Group of Young People at a Party Sitting on a Couch with Champagne

A toast — to all our Facebook friends!

Dear Facebook ‘Friend,’

Thank you for taking the time to read this message. According to advertising gurus, I am supposed to fill this post with some really good pictures of things that will either inspire you or give you a warm fuzzy feeling to keep you interested in reading, and my word count should not exceed 300. So I will try (and fail) to meet those industry standards and hope you are smarter than a fifth grader and trust you will take some time to read on. If you don’t think you can persevere, jump down to the #ThePoint section below. [insert cute winking smiley face here]

According to our last count on Facebook, we have 603 friends. That means we either sent a friend request to you or we received one from you. Either way, I am glad we are friends. [insert lots of smiley faces in a row here]

I never really used FB much. It was mostly Regina who did all the liking and commenting. I saw many of the viral videos of flash-mobs singing in the mall and tear-jerking pics of cute animals. But over the last six months, I have come to understand the potential social media can have for the kingdom of God. Since March we have been posting about our new direction that the Lord has taken us. So we post, and post, and post, yet with limited response. But then I learned that only 20% of our posts ever get to our ‘Friends.’ I am not even sure what that statistic means. Does it mean that only 20 out of 100 posts get to all 603 friends, or does it mean that 100% of our posts get to 20% or our friends? [insert funny face that looks confused]

#Warning: By the time you finish reading this very long sentence, I will have reached my maximum word count of 300, and I will lose a significant amount of my reading friends to boredom. [insert sad smiley face]

But that is not all that bad, because I just got a FB notification that someone just ‘commented’ on one of Melissa Gill’s photos, which I must say are always beautiful. Behold…

Melissa Gill's photo

Melissa’s inspiring and envy-inducing photo of her neighborhood in Alaska, which 56 of her friends ‘Like.’

#ThePoint

Now to the point. As 20% of you may already know,  we are going to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina to plant a church. We won’t have a worldwide ministry with books, conferences, alliances, and lots of free stuff, nor will we ever reach that level. Nor will there be trendy t-shirts with pictures of Calvin et al smoking a peace pipe with Geronimo and Sitting Bull and a cool Latin phrase signifying ‘Reformation on the Reservations.’ And for the last nail in our coffin, we probably won’t even have an app. Sorry. But we hope our church will raise up missionaries that will go through Native America both on and off the reservations and even throughout the world. Then maybe an app.

As missionaries we need to raise our support to get us there and keep us there. So far we are at about 28% of our goal. Many of our FB friends are already part of that number. For the rest, this is our plea to you:

Would you prayerfully consider pledging $12, $25, $50, $100, $200 per month for at least a four-year period?

If every one of our friends would pledge even at the lowest amount, we would be packing our bags tomorrow. No amount is too small. Really. But don’t wait for the other person to do it. We are depending on you. Churches only account for about 30% of a missionary’s budget. You are the 70%.

#WorkingTogether

If you really have no money to give, you can still help us by connecting us with others who may have a desire to see the kingdom spread throughout the Native American reservations.

Go to the ant! Proverbs 6:6

Go to the ant! Proverbs 6:6

Here’s some other things you could do:

  • Do you attend a Bible study with a mix of people from different churches? Tell them about what we are doing. We will send you some of our prayer cards.
  • Talk to your pastor.
  • Consider having a home gathering at your house with us to share our vision with your friends.
  • And here is the easiest thing you could do: Re-post our FB posts to your friends. Remember that dreaded 20% number.
  • On the upper right hand corner of the pages of this blog is a widget. Click it. It gives you updates whenever they happen. Re-post.
  • Follow us on Twitter and re-Tweet our Tweets.
  • Check out our Newsletter and SUBSCRIBE to keep updated, and pass onto a friend.
  • Commit to pray with us everyday.

We can do more with Facebook and all social media than pour water on our heads and create flash mobs. Please pray about what you can do and act on it before another trendy viral post hits. [insert long string of happy faces with ice water being poured on them as they sing the Hallelujah chorus in a mall]

Truly and seriously, thank you for taking time to read this post and prayerfully considering joining our support team. If you decide to give, simply go to our Giving page. If you would rather call (as we prefer), our number is 407-416-1482 or 407-416-2348. We would love to talk with you.

All for the Kingdom,

Patrick

P.S. You persevered! Congratulations!

Warm Fuzzy

Warm fuzzy photo of girl and puppy

#lennoxletters, #nativeamerica, #missionary, #mtw, #redsox, #Cherokee, #pray, #pledgemoneytothelennoxessotheycangettoCheorkee #icecream #ants #sluggard #funnyfaceinsertinstructions #wearetheseventypercent!

Bridges

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 2:4-5, ESV

Dead Stones
When I was growing up in New England, I used to walk along the top of dry-stacked, field-stone walls that seemed to weave through the woods for miles. I never knew why they were there nor was I curious. They were simply fun to walk on. I later learned that they were once border fences for cow pastures in the east end of Woonsocket, R.I., now overtaken by neighborhoods and a few patches of maple and oak. The walls are badly dilapidated and breached. The stones have become more and more disorganized through the years, and their purpose has been reduced to a mere silent witness to a time forgotten.

Living Stones
I love stone. I love all the shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. I even love the smell that is produced when you bang two rocks together. The uses of stone are endless. God used it as the foundational material for our planet, and as his image bearers, we follow suit and use it for nearly every facet of life: dwelling structures such as homes and temples, property markers, grave stones, walls, bridges, roads, tools, jewelry, and the list goes on.

In God’s wisdom and artistry, he has chosen to use stone as a metaphor throughout Scripture for who he is, who we are, and our purpose. There is so much in 1 Peter 2:4-5, but I would simply like to focus on Peter’s identification of Christians as ‘living stones.’ Think about that metaphor for moment. We are stones that are living — not cold dead material, but living, breathing, personal stones that make up the ‘spiritual house’ in which God delights to dwell. We live, move, and have our being in Jesus Christ, ‘the living stone rejected by men.’

Building Bridges, Crossing Boundaries
Jesus is the name that will be known by every tribe, tongue, and nation. His kingdom is transnational. Boundary markers and walls cannot stop it. As I watched the video below, I pondered how the Lord puts us together and uses us to expand his kingdom to new territory. In his plan, God the master builder uses his living stones to reach cold dead stones from all over the world. As the church, we are multiethnic and multicultural–all colors, shapes, and sizes. All of us are carefully placed, interdependent, bearing the load together. None are insignificant. Each of us has an important role in missions to cross barriers and reach those who are lost that they may know the Living Stone who died to reach them.

We Are Still Here!

We are still here! There, I said it. It is apparent that many folks are still under the impression we went straight to Cherokee back in May. “What are you still doing here?” or “Hey, I thought you were in Cherokee” have become standard greetings from so many people we run into. Regina and I have  lost count on how many people who were surprised when they would see us on a Sunday morning. Let me clear up any confusion, we don’t get to Cherokee until we reach 100% of our funding. Support raising is the first and never-ending part of missionary life. It comes with the territory.

The end of May concluded my time with Saint Andrew’s as the director of education and youth ministries, but that  was not our start date for Cherokee. Throughout the summer, I have been finishing my final seminary classes while raising support since March when our missionary status officially began with MTW.

The best way to know what we are doing is to check our blog, Facebook, or, better yet, give us a call. For the next year or more, we will continue to visit other churches as well as Saint Andrew’s Chapel. I am very excited to report that this fall we will be visiting my first church back home in Woonsocket, RI. We are also having home gatherings to share our vision with small groups of people who would like to know more about what we are doing. We will also continue to send letters to our friends asking for help as well. Please remember that most of a missionary’s support comes from private donors, rather than churches. Hence you see why it is important for all our friends to know that we are not yet in Cherokee. We don’t get there until we have raised enough pledged support to keep us there for a four-year stay.

For those who have received a letter already, but have yet to receive a follow-up call from us, please forgive us for that. We have been mighty busy these past few months, but we still would like to talk to you. If you would like to support us, but you are not sure if you are able, please remember that no amount is too small. Really. We truly appreciate any pledge that comes our way. It is a huge encouragement to know friends are striving with us as we seek to serve the Lord in Cherokee.

So where are we now financially? Currently we are around 20% of pledged regular giving. We are told by the home office that that is actually good considering the fact that it is summer. God has also graciously poured in a lot of one-time gifts as well. Only 80% more to go!

Until next time, keep checking our Prayer Journal page.  Go ahead and hit the widget on the side of the pages that automatically sends you updates to this blog when they occur, and most of all pray for us.

All for the Kingdom,

Patrick

Christianity and the Native American Religious Experience

If there was ever one video I would have Christians watch when considering Native American ministry today, it is this one. Let us not be comfortable with our ideas and opinions until we have them challenged and informed. This short video provides a quick overview of Native American and Christian relations in early America.

About the speaker

Linford Fisher is assistant professor at Brown University. He graduated from Lancaster Bible College in 1999 and received masters degrees in religion and church history from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2002. Fisher completed his doctorate in American religious history at Harvard in 2008. The topic of his dissertation—how the 18th-century religious “awakening” in New England impacted Native Americans—is also the subject of his first book, The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America.

Posts, Tweets, Confessions, Disclaimers, Etc.

Image found @CEO on Twitter

Image found @CEO on Twitter

From time to time you will notice that I post a variety of things on social media concerning Native America in general and Cherokee specifically. It may be historical or current, political or religious, historic or simply culturally interesting. I post, tweet, re-tweet, and pass stuff along as I notice them from my Native American media feeds. I do this that you (we) may gain a better perspective of how Native Americans view the world. Since most of us have had our ideas about Native Americans shaped by Hollywood movies and U.S. government history books, it would only be wise to allow them to speak for themselves.

James 1:9 tells us that we should be quick to hear and slow to speak. Although I have studied a bit and have some knowledge of Native Americans, I don’t feel entitled to any real opinion that matters, except that the name of Jesus was too often misrepresented among them and only He can provide true reconciliation. By passing something along to you, I am not asking you to agree with all that is represented, but I would hope that you would try to understand why an individual or tribe may feel as strongly as they do about things.

Cultural sensitivity is not the same as political correctness. As Christians we need to be kingdom focused. We should do everything we can that doesn’t violate Scripture to break down every barrier and remove every stumbling block that hinders us from clearly proclaiming the gospel to Native Americans. The Apostle Paul became all things to all men that he might save some (1 Cor 9:19), but too often Christians are not willing to do that. We hold so firmly to our denominational and political allegiances (dare I say racial/ethnic  and socioeconomic as well), that we have no idea what it means to follow Paul’s example. I am not exempt from this charge. I hope you will join me in getting acquainted with our Native American neighbors and hopefully get reacquainted with the Lord of the Harvest whom we represent.

Please visit our Contact page to see the various ways you can track with us. You also may want to check out John Piper’s sermon on 1 Cor 9:19 by clicking here.

Giving Update

Some of our closest friends at the Big Y Community Center, June 2014

Some of our closest friends at the Big Y Community Center, June 2014


Quick Survey and Praise Report
As we look back at the month of June to see what the Lord has done, we are encouraged. While we were in Cherokee for those twelve days, we gained six supporters, while a few more came on board since we got back. Just this morning, another family came on board with us. We thank the Lord for that. We have even had some Cherokee youth sincerely offer to support us if that would get us there sooner. Words cannot express how that encourages us even more to work harder on getting back up there.

One-time vs. Regular
Which is better, one-time or regular giving? All gifts are accepted, helpful, and appreciated, no matter how big or small. Regular monthly, quarterly, or annual giving allows missionaries to plan better. It gives them the opportunity to do the ministry supporters want them to do without spending most of their time fundraising every year, throughout the year. All gifts are received with thanksgiving. As you consider a one-time gift, please consider a one-time gift next year as well.

Home Gathering
We are happy to report that we have four home presentations lined up for the month of July, but there is always room for more. If you would like to host a gathering at your house where we could present our vision before a group of 10 – 20 people, please contact us. We would love to talk with you. Please pray about that. Believe it or not, this method is better than visiting many churches, which usually only allow 2-5 minutes of speaking time (if at all). In your home, we can give a fuller picture of our ministry goals and answer all the questions people my have. If you would like to attend a home gathering, let us know, and we will let you know if there is one near you. Did I mention desserts?

Until next time…

When Irish Eyes are Smiling: A Tribute to Pastor Carl Guiney, part 1

Carl Guiney

Cold Morning
I remember walking into a church voluntarily for the first time when I was twenty years old. It was a very snowy February morning in New England. At that time I was anxiously searching for significance as a bass player in a heavy metal band. My life was a wreck in every direction. After reading the Bible for about a week or so, I decided that I should go to church. So I put on my best Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and black skinny jeans and headed off to church in my girlfriend’s car. The snow came down fast and hard. Unable get up the long steep driveway, I just slid backwards off to the side, put the car in park, and trudged up the hill on foot.

Warm Welcome
Already late, I was cheerfully met by a man who eagerly introduced himself with a smile and handshake. “Hi, I’m Marc,” he said, “Welcome.” The congregation was already singing as Marc found me a seat. The music was robust, beautiful, and joyful. As I was getting my bearings in this foreign environment, I looked over to the man playing the piano singing with all his heart. He glanced over my way and give me a warm welcoming smile. He seemed to know what the wind just blew in.

When the singing concluded, the man at the piano made his way to the pulpit. To my surprise, he was the preacher, too. There was one very impressed bass player in the congregation that morning. This was my first introduction to Rev. Carl Guiney. I later would call him pastor.

Mission: Woonsocket, RI
I could write pages and pages on Pastor Guiney’s impact on my life, which I intend to do, but for now, I want to highlight his influence on me regarding missions. Pastor Guiney had a heart for missions and it was contagious. He planted that church where he wholly gave himself to until the day the Lord took him home. That was no small task in a small New England city chock full of Catholic churches. Fresh out of Bible college, he drove from Indiana and went to Woonsocket, RI. He took different jobs to support himself and held Bible studies until a nucleus was developed and a church was born. He didn’t apply and wait for a job as a pastor; he simply planted a church where one was desperately needed. He tied himself to the mast and committed himself to serving the people of Woonsocket.

Mission: Native America
At our church we didn’t have to wait for an annual missions conference to meet missionaries. Pastor Guiney had them coming through the church all the time. I was always excited to hear what the Lord was doing throughout the world. He had them speak either Sunday morning or evening services or Thursday night Bible study. One particular missionary really got my attention as he talked about life on an Indian reservation. His name was Joe – “Injun Joe” as his Native friends dubbed him. He was actually Italian, but his heart was for Native America. He awakened me to the need in Native America. I would love to be able to say that it was that night I decided to become a missionary to Native America – that would make a really great story – but that is not what happened. I can tell you that it was because of that particular missionary and Pastor Guiney’s passion for missions that I am a missionary today.

Sacrifice
During those years, First Assembly of God in Woonsocket struggled to pay the mortgage, and sometimes even the pastor. Yet Pastor Guiney was committed to missions. Some churches would never think of giving only $25 a month to a missionary. How would that look? Always willing to give more, First Assembly was not too proud to give a little. Pastor Guiney was not concerned with appearances in that regard. He simply wanted the name of Jesus exalted among the nations.

A Reflection
To my Reformed brothers and sisters, yes, I ultimately left Assemblies of God to pursue my studies in Reformed theology. Leaving that church was one of the most painful decisions I ever made. I am a confessional Calvinist just as much as the the next guy, but I must confess that I am starting to feel a chill, only this time it is not coming from outside. Yet my heart is warmed when I think of the day when I was welcomed by Pastor Guiney’s smiling eyes (yes, he was Irish). I am grateful to the Lord for his life example of sacrifice and faithfulness. He taught me to endure and wait upon the Lord – a lesson I need to learn again and again.

Until next time…

You may further read about Pastor Carl Guiney here:
http://104067.agchurches.org/?TargetPage=4DBBF6F3-D87F-49C0-887A-86F02AAC7DA8
http://www.woonsocketcall.com/node/2436

Who Do You Think Jesus Is?

Great friends + great view, = great day

Great friends + great view = great day

Every year as we hold our teen outreach at a local community center, kids from the different corners from the reservation come out to spend their days with us. Our program is pretty simple, shoot some hoop, play some dodgeball, sing some songs, and have a time of Bible teaching and prayer, followed by pizza. Later we take a field trip into the mountains and enjoy God’s creation.

Although we have gotten to know and love many of the youth through the years, we are blessed to meet new kids all the time. During one of our trips on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I asked a couple of the new kids about their exposure to Christianity. I learned that one them went to church when she was three-years-old, while the other one had never stepped foot in a church his whole life. I was all the more eager to tell them about Jesus.

As we continued to drive through the mountains, I asked them to tell me who they thought Jesus was. If you recall, Jesus asked Peter the same question in Matthew 16:15. Our new friends reluctant to answer, so I carefully explained that there was no wrong answer. I made it clear that I was not asking them to tell me who He was, but rather, I wanted to know what idea they had of Him with what little exposure that they had to biblical teaching. One of them dared an answer. In that guessing kind of way, she said, “I don’t know, was he a really good Christian who fought for freedom?” I said, “Ya know, I like that answer.” As much as a guess as it was, I liked it because of the truth in that assessment (yes, of course I gently clarified the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and Christians are the ones follow Him). I like it because Jesus did fight for freedom – freedom from sin, freedom from death and God’s wrath, freedom from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Yes, Jesus did fight for freedom, and he who the Son sets free is free indeed.

We are praying for more occasions to disciple the youth of Cherokee. We want to see them set free. We are praying for a day when they share in Peter’s confession to Jesus, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” (Matt 16:16).

A Better Way to Build: Lessons from an Angry Pastor

building house - bricks and project for construction industry

There is an age-old technique pastors have used to give their church a sense of unity and mission. It’s called the building campaign. Trust me. I have heard about it, read about, and have seen it. Now don’t get me wrong. This is not the case with all building campaigns. Even as I write this, my home church is doing a long overdue renovation and is engaging in a long-term building plan. In fact, they put off the an expensive building plan for many years in order to support more missionaries on the field.

So What Exactly Does Compulsion Look Like?

We have visited a lot of churches. I will never forget the most awkward church service I have ever attended. It was immediately after we began our journey as missionaries. Up until that time, I only heard about such things, but that Sunday, we actually heard it with our own ears. It was a pastor chastising the congregation for not participating on a capital campaign. To be clear, he wasn’t chastising them for not fulfilling a pledge; he reprimanded all those who chose not to pledge to the campaign. He proceeded to tell his congregation that he was “angry, saddened, and vexed” when he thought of all those who didn’t give. More than that, he told them that he knew the names of everyone who didn’t pledge.

boss scolding his employees and these will run

This particular capital campaign was an effort to pay down the mortgage debt earlier than scheduled. The rationale for the quick retirement of the mortgage was so the church could increase its missions budget. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with that rationale. The backstory, according to a member, was that the congregation already heard that before while worshiping in their original building. Shortly after that mortgage burning, the decision was made to sell the church and embark on a new building campaign.

If that chastising were not bad enough on that Lord’s Day, the really strange part was that the pastor proceeded to preach on 2 Corinthians 9:7 only hours later at the evening service. Let’s remind ourselves of the passage:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (ESV)

I don’t know how that preacher handled this passage that evening, I wasn’t there. But I can assure you that what he did that morning was a betrayal of the passage. If that was not compulsion by the pastor, I don’t know what is. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident in the Lord’s church.

WWPD — What Would Peter Do?

Now I agree that pastors must admonish their congregation to give to the work of the kingdom. Of course, someone may call upon Acts 5:1-11 where Peter rebukes Ananias and Sapphira for not giving all they declared to have given. That was a pretty severe situation and ought to put the fear of God in us. But I don’t recall Peter expressing his personal anger to them (not that Peter was incapable of expressing his frustration with people). As far as we can tell from that passage, Peter dealt with them in a straightforward fashion declaring how the Spirit was going to deal with them. Yet even if Peter did indeed express deep vexation towards that lying couple, we have seen enough of Peter to not emulate him during his emotionally extreme moments.

According to studies most Christians don’t give anything that resembles a tithe, while so many give sacrificially. Our requests for support are turned down time and time again because churches have really tight budgets, or even more, they are operating over budget. Let me emphasize my appreciation for the pastors who give their all and encourage their flock to do the same for the kingdom. We know many of them.

Lesson Learned

Mood swings in a girl

This                                                                                        Not This

Like angry pastors, I, too, can get frustrated. I would much rather be serving on the field with all our funds raised right now rather than waiting for folks to cheerfully give to our ministry. But we are on the Lord’s timetable not mine. He moves the hearts of people, not me. And He doesn’t need me scolding His people for not giving to our ministry.

As painful as it was to watch, I am thankful that I was able to be there that particular Sunday. By God’s providence that year, I was able to witness something I wouldn’t have believed if you told me. The Lord used that occasion to remind me how not to raise funds even thought that scolding worked–they ended up meeting their goal, and they never did decide to partner with us. All by God’s grace!

Are You a Cheerful Giver?

I don’t know who is reading this post. I don’t know your financial situation. I don’t know your heart condition. I don’t know who you are, and even if I did, I promise I won’t publicly expose you for not giving to our mission.

I cannot tell you that the Lord of the Harvest requires you to give to our mission, but I can tell you that He requires you to give to the Great Commission. We can only hope He moves on your heart to give in our direction.

hand nurturing and watering young baby plants growing in germination sequence on fertile soil with natural green background

We don’t have anything to offer you except our prayers and reports from the field of what Jesus is doing in Indian country. We don’t have any forecasts or projections of how Jesus will give you a really good ROI (return on investment).  But God’s word tells us that we should not despise small beginnings (Zach 4:10). Some plant, some water, but we are assured that the Lord who gives the increase (1 Cor 3:7). Our ministry does the watering. Please consider our small beginning and see how the Lord increases the fruit of our labors.

If you would like to talk to us about our ministry and how you can be part of our support team, please contact us. We are always available to talk to you.

Talking Leaves

*Talking leaves is a Cherokee reference to pages of books, newspapers, etc. It was first coined by a Cherokee man named Sequoyah who brought literacy to the Cherokee. Read about his story here

The following list of books here represent a small sampling of my personal resources that have challenged and shaped my thinking. Essentially they give perspective. They were written by both Christians and non-Christians as well as Native and non-Native alike. Perhaps one day I will provide my reasons why I chose these books.

Bridges to Reconciliation

Bridges of Reconciliation: It’s All About Grace, by Bruce and Linda Farrant. Bruce and Linda have been serving Native America/First Nations peoples for nearly twenty years. This is an essential read for anyone who is interested in serving in Native ministry. Bruce is the NA/FN Ministry Coordinator with Mission to North America (PCA).

Whtiemans Gospel

Whiteman’s Gospel by Craig S. Smith (Ojibwe) is written for both a Native and non-Native audience. As a Native Christian, Craig offers a great apologetic of biblical Christianity to Native American and First Nations people and provides perspective on the difficult issues that have hindered gospel advancement.

One Church Many Tribes

One Church, Many Tribes, by the late Richard Twiss (on the cover)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown

Lies My Teacher Told Me 2

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James W. Loewen

Education to Extinction

Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928, David Wallace Adams.

All the Real Indians Died Off

“All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker

This Rebelious House

This Rebellious House: American History and the Truth of Christianity, Steven J. Keillor. This is for historians, students, Christians and all citizens of conscience caught in the crossfire of our nation’s current culture wars. Keillor does a brilliant job articulating the difference between biblical Christianity and Western Christendom.