R.A.M.’s mission is to evangelize and revitalize the rural communities of America by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus Christ through His word and compassionate action.
The Holy Spirit continues to open more and more doors of opportunity for us to introduce Millennials to the rural mission field! Next summer we are targeting rural communities in 4 different states. For the past two years we have had our eyes on the northeast part of the US hoping to partner with Ohio Valley University in targeting rural communities in the Ohio Valley Region. It appears that God is opening that door for us in 2016 as the pieces are coming together to recruit, equip and send a team to Rittman, OH. Take a few minutes to pray for each of the following communities where we are planning to send student teams in the summer of 2016. Please pray for the Lord to provide the 20-25 students we will need to man these teams and pray for the leaders who will lead them. Praise God for all that He has done so far and for what He is about to do next!
Mission point: Cordell, OK
Pop: 2921 souls
County: Washita – 11,000 souls
County Seat: Yes
Host Congregation: 4th & College Church of Christ
Team Leader: Chris Perry
4th year participant
Mission point: Seymour, TX
Pop: 2652 souls
County: Baylor – 3614 souls
County Seat: Yes
Host Congregation: Seymour Church of Christ
Team Leader: Lee Skelton
2nd year participant
Mission point: Belle Plaine, KS
Pop: 1681 souls
County: Sumner – 24,132 souls
County Seat: No
Host Congregation: Belle Plaine Church of Christ
Team Leader: Ed Burrows
1st year participant
Mission point: Rittman, OH
Pop: 6491 souls
County: Medina & Wayne – 287,403 souls
County Seat: No
Host Congregation: Rittman Church of Christ
Team Leader: TBD
1st year participant
Jesus inaugurated His ministry quoting Isaiah 61;1-2. It begins with, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . ”
Us humans don’t fare well when in captivity, whether it is of our bodies, minds or souls. Today in rural America, Satan is taking alarming numbers of people captive through meth addiction. According to a study by the US Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, meth use is twice as prevalent among 18-25 year olds as it is among their urban counter-parts. It is a scourge on our land and a ruthless taskmaster dragging our youth and young adults to destruction. But what an opportunity for the church to kick in the gates of hell where it would really hurt!
Coming up against this stronghold of the devil is no small matter. It will cost us. We will have to embrace the addict with an unconditional, and yet, firm love. It will take opening our hearts and arms, while not enabling continued abuse. It will force us to re-evaluate our priorities and convictions as Christians. It will require our time, our money, our comfort and especially, our hearts which we so carefully protect.
I recently sat in the living room of a dear friend and brother in Christ. Since I have known him he has taught me some deep lessons about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, especially as it relates to my own moral brokenness and undeniable need for His grace and power. This brother has been an addict for the majority of his life. In the latter part of his life he became a Christian. His transformation from addict to Christ-follower has been gradual, but powerful and inspiring. He has had stretches of great progress and periods of great struggle. I was in his living room this time because he had been struggling. Old demons had sung their haunting strains like sirens near the reefs, luring him towards disaster. When he found himself broken on the rocks they raised their ugly, guttural voices in self-condemnation and loathing that easily morphed into anger and judgment that he slung at those who truly love him. Until that day. And the days that have followed.
Since then he has opened his door and his heart to more of his brothers and sisters in Christ who remain in his life and invite him into theirs. They are loving him with heaven’s love, and there are few on this planet that can resist it if they are open to its influence; including him.
Meth has taken many captives, but Jesus will set them free. Church, bring the Kingdom of God to rural America. Set the captives free!
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. - John 17:20-21
Our quest for unity as believers does not begin in the halls of debate where human pride and will prevails and divides. No, it begins in an upper room round a table of fellowship and a basin of dirty water; it begins in imitation of the humility and brokenness of God as revealed in the prayers of Jesus, son of man son of God, pleading for the unity of all who would believe in Him as Lord and Christ. If our Lord began in the humility of prayer, why would we do any less?
If the proof of Jesus’ Messiahship to the world is the unity of all His believers, where is the effort and energy being spent to see it happen? It appears that our greatest opportunity for evangelism is through our unity in Christ as His followers. If this is true, where are the Christian leaders who have made this their passionate pursuit? Shouldn’t we be joining hands and bowing knees before the cross of our Redeemer and King and at least beginning with this prayer be unified? Why aren’t our public and private prayers continually echoing our Master’s plea for unity? Before we have another gospel meeting to win the world why don’t we insist on prayer meetings among ourselves begging God to forgive us of our pride and indifference and pleading with Him to make us one in Christ? Do we really believe in the power of prayer? Do we really want the prayer of our Lord and Savior to be answered? Do I love my God and my fellow man that much? Or should I say, that little? The absence of our prayers for His divine intervention betrays our feeble desire for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven regarding unity.
The undeniable example of our Lord reveals that unity is of divine origin. It begins in heaven within the perfect unity of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the source of our inspiration and power to attain the same; both with our God and ourselves. Prayer is the conduit to the divine power of heaven and the will of God. Prayer positions us before the cross and enables us to humbly receive the grace, power and wisdom of God that will bring about the unity we have so far failed to attain:
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints. – Ephesians 1:16-18
Perhaps by uniting first in the humility of prayer, God will forgive our arrogance and divisiveness and open our eyes to the error of our ways, whether in doctrine, deed or attitude. Who knows what degree of unity is awaiting us if we will prayerfully humble ourselves in expectation of the Spirit’s power to enlighten our eyes and soften our hearts?
We have failed our Father far too long. Our failure has prolonged His anguish and delayed, obstructed, or I fear, even prevented the redemption of our fellow man. There is not another minute to waste. To some, the walls between the “children of God” appear insurmountable. But if the prayer of Jesus is to be answered, it must begin in the humility of our prayers. Who among us that claims to be His disciple will begin to beat the doors of heaven until by His power we are brought to complete unity?
“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” -John 17:23
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Romans 15:5-6