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,

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…

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!

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!

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

What a Difference a Prayer Makes

A Narrow and Protected Path

“A Narrow and Protected Path” Photo by Tabitha Lennox, April 2014

It was just over one year ago when I actually took my desire to serve in Cherokee and formed it into a fervent prayer. I may have prayed that prayer before, but unfortunately I can’t remember praying with the vital element of believing. But the Lord remembered! He is faithful when we are not.

We recently returned from a quick trip to Cherokee. We spent a few days helping new team leaders prepare for their summer trips with teams from their churches. It was during that training trip last year when I prayed to the Lord to bring us back as MTW missionaries. And he did.

During our trip we were able to meet new people and spend time with fellow missionaries to Cherokee, Scott and Ruth Hill. The Lennox and Hill kids were able to get reacquainted and create new memories. We also were able to see our dear friend Tammy Jackson. It is because of her prayers and efforts that MTW has been able to serve in Cherokee. She served as a short-term missionary for many years, but she now works for the tribe, which gives her a great vantage point from which she can serve the Lord. We are extremely excited about what the Lord is doing with her.

Tammy attempting to evade the public eye (she failed).

Tammy attempting to evade the public eye (she failed).

The local dance instructors. Regina was the  first in line.

The local dance instructors. Regina was the first in line.

We had a great time during our cultural experience presentation. We were visited by two Cherokee men who played beautiful music, told stories, and explained many of the traditional ways of the Cherokee from yesteryear. Later they joined us for dinner and provided us with great conversation.

Aside from a short trip in June, we will remain in Sanford, Florida until we reach our fundraising goal. The Lord is providing us with opportunities to tell people about our mission and funds are starting to come in. Please pray with us as the Lord directs our path to Cherokee. Be sure to sign up for automatic updates from Lennox Letters. You can do that by hitting the widget on the top right-hand margin of our other pages (for some deeply mysterious and technological reason, it doesn’t show up on the Home page).

Until next time…

We found our home. Unfortunately the park rangers won't give us the key to get in.

We found our new home. Unfortunately we were unable to convince the park rangers of our plans to move in. Evidently there is a law against that in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, so we came back to Florida.