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,

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.

IMG_20160313_135322025

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.

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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.

 

 

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…