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  • November 30, 2017
    8:15 AM


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I want to start by saying Good I. We are happy to be here. With you in a stroll you know. And I'd like to say more in Australian but it's really hard I don't know how you all do it. But Rod just said you know if you don't know what else to say just say Bob's your uncle and everybody. So Bob's your uncle and God is good and we're going to share with you this morning some of the things that the Lord has been teaching us and we just want to disclaimer up front that we're not the model to follow we haven't learned these lessons perfectly yet so look to the Lord not. We're sharing. Things that he's taught us and on our personal journey and obviously in the time we have we can only share a few things we actually the Lord led us to write a book my wife really did the bulk of it. That is available if you want to hear more of the. The sordid details. We made a lot of mistakes but anyway God is good so this morning we're just going to share briefly God is good and he said Faithful and that's always what we want to. Portray So we pray that's what you'll hear this morning so this is just a bit of our journey but we really don't want to focus on our journey as much as the principles that we've learned in our journey but if we don't set a bit of foundation Well the principles wouldn't make nearly as much sense either so John and I married in 1987 and in 1988 we made a grand adventure to Kenya where the Lord truly opened the doors for us to teach at Maxwell Adventist academy and we which is just outside of Nairobi Kenya probably for me it was my 1st experience with country living I had never I just kind of been a suburban girl all this was pretty much out in the country and a different country at that. There we worked with the students largely missionaries children not totally but largely from all corners of the of the earth in fact some from Australia we've really looked for them while we've been here but not found them. Anyway it was a very foundational experience for us I guess I would say. We thought I guess in our minds we knew we were not going to be a life time missionaries you know some people have that calling but even at the very beginning we told people that we felt like it was the foundation God was taking us overseas and we were going to get the foundation but we had no idea what a foundation we would actually get and in those 6 years it was a very I open experience we went as 2 and we returned as 4 and well you can't see him in that picture that's just the back side of everybody but our oldest daughter Kiersten and our oldest boy Jonathan were born there well once we started having children we were became much more serious about life as I think all of us do and we were the youngest and in the staff on the campus and we were just kind of. We pray never judging but if you don't look at what kind of fruit you want to get in your garden how do you know what to do to get it you know you can have to go from the fruit back to the root right I mean it's a it's a gardening principle if you want good fruit you better talk to Whitmore and make sure you have good soil but 1st you have to plant the seed we can all do that so anyway we started looking and it was a sad reality that the fruit wasn't the kind of fruit we hoped for in our family you know we really were struggling with major issues in the students of the children of missionaries children by the pretty much 1 cause of neglect neglect and you know what happens to the garden if you neglect it if it gets full of weeds it's it's no different in the lives of ourselves and our children and so we saw a lot of neglect and we started really analyzing OK if we stay in this path How different is it going to be for us are we going to get any different fruit is there any so that was kind of the beginning of our journey we left Kenya after 6 years of service we wouldn't change it for anything it was a wonderful experience we love the people we love our work but we came away wanting something more and it was a rather. It wasn't a direct path God often doesn't take us on a direct path because he has a lot of lessons he wants to teach us through the winding path and that was a true thing for us so we left Africa in 94 and we actually were not really call to farm until 1998 so in those 2 years. Excuse me in those 4 years John received a Master's of education and he began teaching at a 1 room school we were teaching kind of together but we were 1 step closer but we were really no steps closer so the goal when we left Africa was to to reclaim some time for our family because boarding school is 247 so then we hoped to reclaim it by getting into day school with elementary children we'd have summers we'd have weekends we'd have vacations but it wasn't we were not even into the 2nd year when we realized we were not meeting our goals and the Lord lead in very near Oculus ways for John to leave teaching. Many would say it was foolish My mother is here with us I'm not sure where she's probably still in the kitchen if you see the white curly headed lady in the kitchen that is my wonderful 80 year old mother and she's with us but I heard her saying to somebody since we've been in Australia we thought they were nuts when they left teaching of course our parents had every right to think we were in but what God does is is always good and it takes us through some very low valleys at times but. The end product isn't about us but it's about God's faithfulness and the things that he's taught us so. As as we were. As we were seeing the fruits of what was going on there we really started searching and the Lord we don't have time to get into the details but the Lord really began to show us what we believe were principles that we should be living by. And the 1st thing he taught us was that we need to live by principle and not by circumstances you know I think many of you realize how easy it is to let life run you rather than YOU RUN life you know every day is all I got to get this done in this. But it's not principle it's living by circumstances and so that was really the foundation that he laid for us and then on that foundation we're going to share 5 principles he tot us he speaking he's teaching and so we're still learning and the 1st 1 is that your family is your 1st mission field you know as Pam was saying there Maxwell. We were dealing I was on the discipline committee and we were dealing with lot of issues from parental neglect I think that's the bottom line these people were out saving the heathen while at the same time losing their children and I would say a real turning point for us came 1 day I was I was the chaplain and Bible teacher and a lot of other things but I was also counseling in the dormitories 2 nights a week and so we had these 2 young children I wasn't there hardly at all and so 1 night after being in the dormitory. I'm sorry this always chokes me up but I came home. And my wife sat me down and she said Honey. If something doesn't change some day it's our children that are going to be seeking counsel from a pastor and that really cut to my heart and I said. How. That's not what we want and that's when we really started searching and when we started seeing that God had a plan he has order in his plan for evangelism. So 1 of the 1st things that we did is we took a weekend and we really just sought the Lord and we found some real gems and that weekend and this was 1 of them 1 well ordered well disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached while my husband was preaching a lot of sermons at that point so that when he really spoke to us for sure. But that was a real high time where the Lord really. Started to show us. The orator that we were that we needed in our lives and you know I still I still want to challenge you as the LORD continues to challenge us if we really believe that statement if we really believe that 1 well worded family speaks more on behalf of the Gospel than all of the sermons that can be preached that would change everything about our lives. Because we are involved in so much evangelism which is wonderful we don't want to down you know your your health of vandalism and your revelations seminars and all those things but this has more power than all of that do we believe it and lest we think we can make that well ordered this 1 thing have only we can't we can it comes from totally recognizing that God has all power and then it was just like as we started really seeking the Lord trying to understand his plan he kept showing us quotes and verses this 1 we read in a devotional it just happened to come at the time when we were really studying this assault saved in your own family circle or in your own neighborhood by your patient painstaking labor will bring as much on or to the name of Christ and will shine as brightly in your crown as if you had found that soul in China or India now do we need to be concerned about the souls in China and India yes we do but let's not be going out there if the souls and our own family circle are not connected with the Lord this is another great 1 but for time's sake we'll skip over it and I'm sure many of you have read out been as home if you have just encourage you to go back and read that. So the 2nd principle is that God's plan is for families to live together novel idea and the world we live in isn't it but in Genesis 2 it's not good for a man to be alone it has never been good and I don't think that means alone I think that means away from his spouse alone and in. Yeah it is not good for man to be alone in Genesis 3 it's not good for a woman to be alone and that of course is the story of the fall and. Our hypothesis is that I don't think Eve would have fallen if she had stayed by Adam's side. We need each other. And number 4 it's not good for children to be alone this by the way as our clan we have 4 boys and a daughter and 1 fine son in law so in Genesis for it is the story of Cain and Abel and again maybe we're stretching it here but I think if the Vatican even had been nearby. Cain never would have done what he did to Abel So the point is just that families together are a healthier situation you know most fathers go off to work and spend more time with other women. Then they spend with their own wife you know. I think we see the results of this in the world today most children are gone from home more than they're at home who's going to have the greater influence we felt God calling us to live a life together and we want to challenge you with that. So this was a scripture that you all probably know and it spoke to us and now shop teach them God's commandments at Speaking of diligently on to their children and shall talk of them when now citizens in 1 house and when that walk by that way and wind down and when the rise the Stop the picture you get is a picture of being together. So the dilemma as as John was saying it's just a dilemma in the world we live that everyone goes and does their own thing and that's become the norm. So we felt God calling us to number 1 worship together morning and evening worship the family altar that is so important and even if it's only half an hour it's amazing. What can be accomplished over the years in that half hour you know if we told you all the books we've read together as a family it really is amazing just a few minutes a day but it's cementing that relationship with the Lord and putting it as a priority in the day we felt called to eat together you know the family meal time I don't know how it is here in Australia but in the states most families don't eat together they're missing a great social time in our house it's it's a it's hard for us to stop and get back to work sometimes we felt called to work together and we could say a lot about this in fact my wife will say more in another seminar but there's there are very few things that as bonding as tackling hard task together. And accomplishing them where the little ones and the older ones all feel important you know you can make shores for your children and have the. Have them. Take out the rubbish or sweep the kitchen and then that's important but sometimes I think the children can see this as filler you know it's like busy work. They don't feel like they're really doing something important but the beauty of agriculture and in 1 reason we're so passionate about it is that it's something that families can do together from the youngest to the oldest there's something for everyone and then as well I'm sure there's many others but played together and again we want to emphasize this because. We know for ourselves how easy it is for life to consume our days and we never take time to play with our children. And that is so important as far as tying the hearts of your children to you I don't think there is anything that does that as quickly and effectively as playing with your children so take time to play I don't believe God frowns on that at all in fact this is why has some statements encouraging that. Number 3 for time. To lead a quiet simple life it's not. What's. Right this meeting ends at $915.00 is that correct. Yeah so we're we're OK. Well then I want to back up and just say something about playing together because that's 1 thing that I feel like we have really seen. The blessing in and we've been kind of surprised at how few parents actually play with their children once they get to be above toddlers and it doesn't have to cost money you know we have a frisbee we brought a frisbee on this trip and I can't tell you how many times it's been out we were on the beach yesterday throwing a frisbee we were in the airport in Hawaii they had a patch of grass and we pulled the frisbee out and we tossed it just something to. To do together. So anyway by the way we should mention our youngest son is here with the scale of 14 and so it wasn't just him on the right. Although although I would still like to do it if it was just. You know we are so blessed to have Caleb with us and I'll just say this. Our family is a little bit stretched out so our oldest are all in their twenty's and the boys are all at home still Jonathan is 24 he runs his own business farmer's friend and Joshua is farming full time with us that's why we can be here because we have a great son he's 21 at home who's who's running the winter farming for us right now he actually does the winter farming we don't really we're involved in that and then our next 1 Zach he's still finding his way but he's planning to open up a small engine shop in the spring and Caleb is has like the privilege of being with us on this trip so here this was our motto. You need to. This hung on the wall in our kitchen or in our dining room for many years let me just say 1 thing on play together before we move on I saw there's a Foursquare court out here do you want to play Foursquare much in Australia if you know how to play Foursquare. And ball well maybe we can learn from you or we can get you a similar how to play Foursquare if we can find a ball I'd love to teach the young people how to play Foursquare you know you think of it as a child's game but I'll tell you we have some wild Foursquare games at home with these 20 year olds it is really fast and furious. So the more quiet and simple the life of the child the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature the more favorable is it to physical and mental vigor and spiritual strength I want to tell you that quote is more applicable today than it has ever been in this earth's history and it really. We have a lot of passions on our hearts but 1 is this middle part here free from artificial excitement this world is so full of artificial excitement when we're talking about playing with our children we're talking about a ball a Frisbee the soccer simple pleasures simple things and I'm going to say something this might sound totally crazy I really don't know kind of the culture here and so you have to forgive us if we're way out on 1 side or the other. Have Grace on us but we did what was very out of step for our culture and we did not allow our children much computer time we did not use the computer in our schooling we did not. We did not encourage it the only thing we used it for was to teach typing because we still feel like that's a very important skill. None of them had. In the devices before they were 16 none of them had a phone until they needed it so that that the age varied a little bit in that. When our daughter and son went campus sing and Kiersten was only I guess she was maybe 18 and he was 16 but she looks she looked like she was 12 so we definitely we put a phone in her hand before that and she had 1 after that Jonathan didn't have a phone till he was 18 so we have taken a road less traveled with devices and praise God Our kids were willing to travel that road with us even today. All their devices have controls on them now any smart kid can hop over those fences and get to the back side but if their heart wants to be protected and they're willing for you to set boundaries. It's been a huge blessing for us not a perfect you know it's we still live in a world of sin and Satan is is seeking to devour them and he finds many of loopholes but if you're there to help work through it and move on but parents don't be foolish enough to put a phone or a device in the hand of your children without being smart enough to help them manage it. We could talk a lot about that because we feel as my wife said pretty passionate about it but this quote was our motto literally we chose to put that on the wall and remind ourselves of it regularly because we felt like this was the key I mean. Do we want an atmosphere that is more favorable to physical and mental vigor and spiritual strength isn't that what we want as parents here is the recipe the more quiet and simple again because we don't know the culture here as well as we wish we did we don't know how it is but we guess it's pretty similar to the US and that is that mums you have mums we have mums. Mums here are probably on the go with their kids all day long you know in the States after school it's soccer practice and then it's. Karate and then it's music lessons and then it's you know is that quiet and simple we think that we are providing our children all these great advantages by doing all these things I'll tell you from our experience in the classroom our experience in the home and observing the best thing you can do for your children is give them a quiet simple life free from artificial distraction and what's the next part. Can you all read there are. No more in harmony with nature. Our society is so out of touch with nature. And of course that's why we're here talking about agriculture. And I would just say that in the midst of it all Satan was there often to tempt me that we were not seeing the fruit that we wanted to see and I just want to encourage parents you know to stay on your knees and by faith claim the promises and I would claim that this was what you promised we've kept as quiet and simple in life as we knew how to and just to emphasize that what we've seen is that when you follow God's way the fruit may be slower to mature. You know we never get we didn't have any child prodigy. Because we didn't push the education the books until they were closer to 8910. And anybody who knows anything about agriculture you know that many times you take off the early fruit to give the roots more strength and vigor and in the end you'll have a much healthier plant so don't be looking for early fruit. Be looking for a strong healthy plant. OK And this is another text that we came across early in our study and this 1 really kind of blew us away this this was. In the N.I.V. 1st US alone eons for 11 make it your ambition to lead a quiet life you should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody what a wonderful text. Those were new thoughts to us so the 4th principle is that we knew we needed to learn more about living by say you know the Bible says is there going to be faith when Jesus comes we knew that we were lacking in living by faith how many of you know the story of the impressive dream where Mrs White. Was on a journey in wagons do you know that story. I did we don't have time to tell the story but just I'll just try to briefly summarize it in this dream she and her family were in these wagons going up a mountain and as the road got steeper and narrower they realized they were going to have to leave the wagons behind and so they had to leave just unhitch the horses and leave most of their goods behind and then as they continued on horseback further the Pass got narrower and they eventually had to get off their horses and it kept getting narrower soon they had to take their shoes off and somewhere along there they saw So they were you know traveling this path on 1 side the deep chasm in on the other side is a sheer cliff and at some point they saw these ropes hanging down they didn't know where they were coming from but they hung on to that rope and that kept them from falling off the edge and as they went further and further as the way got more different called that rope group and finally they came to the edge the end of the road in across this deep chasm was this beautiful meadow which clearly was heaven. And the only way to go across was by hanging with all their might on that rope and swinging a crop. In the cry went out who holds the rope and they knew who held that it was God And so James 1st swung a cross and then Ellen an amazing story I can't remember exactly where it is or I would have given the reference there is a number of impressive dreams that Mrs White had but I encourage you to go back and read the story because I think there's so much for us to learn but 1 thing that I think is clear that what is that rope represent the thing face so at some point we are going to have to put all our weight on that road and the Lord was impressing us you need to be learning how to hang on by faith most of us live so comfortable life that faith is more obdurate abstract than concrete So Faith doesn't just grow in a moment a grosser exercise now I'm not suggesting that we put ourselves through trials but I am suggesting that if we are committed to following the Lord he often allows trials to grow our face and I don't really have time to. To really help you to understand the depth of this experience that I'm going to share but I'll try to just summarize it by saying our 1st crop was incredibly. Faith shaking experience. The stage here that in 1900. Form and if you want to. Learn more about that you know how to get the book but. We felt called to to do strawberries we felt I mean I wouldn't say we felt the Lord saying do strawberries but we did we did our research and we thought this is what we're going to do to earn our livelihood so yeah so and wind and the other thing we have to say is we knew nothing about gardening really I mean we've had a home garden for a few years but we really were totally unprepared and our our 1st crop someone who was a good an avid gardener in this area had said oh these all these are winter weeds and they'll die off them or all summer weeds I'm sorry their summer weeds and when the winter comes they'll die off so we made the wrong mistake of letting those weeds grow up and I'm telling you our 1st crop was a total weed patch and a total failure but a grand success for our faith and stretched us and started to teach us things so the 2nd year we determined we are not going to let that happen again and we started right at the beginning weeding weeding weeding but even so we had an acre I don't know how that compares here. But it's a lot 18000. Plants and it was John and myself and our children were about 3 we only had 3 at that time and they were about to. No they might have been a little bit anyway 24 and 6 roughly they were young so we didn't have a whole lot of work force. But we did our best and we had maybe half of it that we had reclaimed 2 thirds that we had reclaimed and 1 3rd that we were not able to reclaim we hadn't sat through John seminar we. There was no such a seminar the. And there were very precious few people to learn from that's the other thing is that the way we were growing strawberries it was just not being done in the south east at that point organically there were a lot of Starbucks being going we were determined to do it organically so the 2nd crop we redid we had 2 thirds reclaimed the plants went into spring looking amazing I mean we just were rejoicing in the hard they were just. Blooms and the fruit was starting to set and where we live we get a lot of late frosts and so we had done our research you know we knew what it took. To you know to protect them from the frost and we really weren't totally prepared because the best protection we didn't have while we had the Lord we were counting on him being our best protection but we had gotten some row covers and we had covered them and it gives a few degrees of protection so. We slept soundly we've done our part we knew we were going to get a frost that night and this is really our 1st experiences with frost protecting because the previous crop was there was really nothing to protect So I think we did it a few times successfully. But we can have days and on 1 of those days you know you're pulling the covers on in the afternoon and we'd always pray over it and. We went home we had a good night's sleep in the morning we woke up and we saw the thermometer there and we knew that it was lower than the covers really were good for but we were we were strong in the large I mean the Lord was on our side I I knew he was on our side and so after breakfast John and I went out together I think the lead together and we pulled up the cover and all we saw was dead flowers the little center of a strawberry flower is yellow and if it gets the slightest bit a frost they immediately turned black. All we could see was a sea of black flowers and I cannot tell you after what we had been through that 1st year the 2nd year really shook our heads we were just like her and you have called us to this and now you've just kind of a hunger sound to dry you know we just felt like he had lopped the stick off we responding on it was a it was incredibly. Soul searching time for us and I remember John just kind of retreated because what we did when we needed to connect was we just secluded ourselves with the Lord and so he secluded himself for the Lord and the Lord was able to start to help him to sort it out I went home to deal with the children and you know what you have to do when your faith is shaken. You have to do what's right you have to put on the smile you have to put the best foot forward to your children or you'll shake their faith and we just said Lord no matter what happens we are not going to. Give our children a reason not to trust you I mean we were grappling and I was ferociously you know quickly journaling every chance I get to try to work it through in my own mind but I want to tell you that we laid hold of Christ in that moment and in those days and he told us something that we've clung to all of these years and that is that when you come to the place that I'm all you have you'll find him. I'm all you need Pam I'm all you need you don't need that many in the you don't need. What you need is me I'm sufficient and I'm enough so just to emphasize the reality that you know we were and we were naive all admit but we were thinking that we could get a year's worth of income from this strawberry crop and then we were selling you know transplants and other things at the same time but we were dependent for our years income on this crop and obviously with the previous crop being a disaster you can imagine we were really really struggling financially and sold to see what it appeared to be a total disaster the 2nd year was just you know Ward How are we going to make it what are we going to do. And the Lord just emphasize that you know do you need these strawberries or do you need me what are you depending on is it the strawberries or is it me and that was such a powerful lesson but once we started depending on him guess what we really had a great strawberry crop that year I mean you know strawberry you don't have all your blooms at once and so if the Lord just multiplied the the blooms that were still coming on we don't ever try to figure out what God does but he he took us through that valley and then he gave us a testimony because when arced when our customers came when people started coming to pick the strawberries we were able to share a testimony of God's multiplying power OK in our last principle that we want to talk about here in our remaining few minutes is we felt called to serve Now 1 thing I was going to say at the beginning with my astrology and accent but I got bogged down in there I'm actually happy Australian. Yeah and you and facts and I see how a cousin here that will verify that. My mother was born and raised here and this is a picture of her actually so we're through it and I'm thrilled to be here because I feel like 2 to fold number 1 I'm coming back to my roots never been here in 54 years Secondly I feel that. Agriculture is coming back to its roots in Adventism you know most of Mrs White's councils on agriculture were given from Australia and so I'm just thrilled that this is happening here and I think we're coming full circle we're excited to see what the Lord is going to do that's a little aside that was supposed to be at the beginning but. You know when when we felt called to leave teaching the problem was the Lord didn't show us right away what he was calling us to and so I turned in my resignation to teaching without knowing how I was going to support my family that was a that was a step of faith and so I was really spending a lot of time with the Lord struggling saying Lord what do I do I have a family I have responsibility how am I going to make a living and in 1 of the most clear impressions I've ever had on my heart as Aaron said last night almost like an automobile voice but I felt the Lord saying your job is not to focus on making a living. Your job is to focus on service and I'll take care of the rest is really just a paraphrase of Matthew 633 Seek ye 1st the Kingdom of God in His righteousness and all these other things that we worry about you know the clothes in the food and the housing all take care of those focus on service. So this was part of kind of a repeating pattern in with us and that is that John would go away and have time with the Lord and then he'd come back and he'd share with me what the Lord said and it was always hard for me to accept and I I can remember being quite upset about. The call to serve it's like well wait a minute what about serving your family what about providing in the end you know what about what about. And it was hard for me but that very next week my mother in law was really struggling with her health and on the Sabbath and I don't remember the details except that God just knew whatever I needed. She needed someone to take her to the emergency room and she was really struggling. With her health and this was 20 years ago so she was it wasn't it was not normal the normal fare and so I was the 1 I maybe I just decided I was going to take her I needed some time away myself and so I grabbed the desire of ages and I went because in the emergency room in the US there you spend a lot of time before you get anything done they took her in and they were working with her and I was able to step outside and under beautiful trees there was a bench and I sat down on the bench and I just started pouring my heart out to the hard saying Lord. Understand and you know want to be supportive to my husband but some of the things I mean I wasn't in favor of farming either that's a whole nother thing you know so there just was a number of things and this was before the call to form the call to serve. But the Lord took me to the chapter in desire of ages called the invitation and in that chapter I read this and you know this was right after John had you know I had been called to serve take my yoke upon you Jesus says the yoke is an instrument of service Christ teaches us that we are called to serve to service as long as life shall last we are to take upon us his yoke that we may be coworkers with him and I wish I could read the whole of it but we try to reduce it so it's not too much but go back and read that invitation chapter that the 2 chapters there are the invitation and be still Peace be still those chapters have really ministered to to us over the years and 1 other that I just want to mention when it comes to ministering to us the last 4 chapters of desire of ministry of healing help in daily living so the Lord the Lord convicted me yes we are called to serve so just to review your family is your 1st mission field God's plan is for families to live together that was his original plan that hasn't changed to lead a quiet and a simple life number for live by faith and number 5 we are called to serve so we didn't talk much about agriculture here but we felt for us we felt convicted that agriculture was God's chosen means the teachers these principles and I think if you look at the principles you can see how well culture fits with them. After 20 years we believe more strongly than ever that these still apply and we just want to commend these principles to you you know your individual circumstances will be different but God I believe is principles are not changeable you know there are certain principles that apply to all of us and so we just want to challenge you with that as we continue to be challenged that God wants to lead us deeper with Him God wants to lead this into a deeper faith walk and he wants us to live by principle and not by circumstance let's pray Our Heavenly Father as we've shared this morning we just pray that your spirit will take our feeble words inadequate words and make them into something that would convict and encourage and motivate So as we go from here I pray that you would help us to to see you as to what you would have missed Do you read the message. Thank you for being here in Jesus' day. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more service leave a visit W.W.W. audio verse or.


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