November 2008

I am becoming more and more aware of just how much I have been blessed with in my short life.  

I have an amazing family and great friends.  I have been blessed to travel a lot of the world, playing music.  

I LOVE my job and it’s exactly what I want to be doing.

I have so much, and I am so unaware of it at times.  I am trying to be intentionally aware of the blessings that God has bestowed upon me over and over.  

How does that old song go? 

“Count your blessings, name them one by one…count your many blessings, see what God has done!”


One of our teams recently spent three weeks working with established missionaries in the Philippines.  The team’s presence there gave those missionaries the opportunity to interact with thousands of people.  These interactions, which were often evangelical in nature, might never have occurred if our team had not been there.  The following is an account from one of our team members about one of those interactions:
Carl on Drums

Our drivers in Cagayan de Oro City were not Christians. In fact, I don’t know for certain that they are now, but I know God has had an enormous impact on their lives.  

When we first met them, they were shy and all business. But as each day progressed, and I made it my habit to smile and greet them every time I saw them, I saw their eyes grow brighter, and their smiles wider.

And then Sunday night, I was called on to give the impromptu Gospel presentation for our concert.  As I explained the Gospel I happened to look over at the drivers. I offered up a silent prayer that God would work in them.

John, our contact in the Philippines, told me later that the drivers had finally “understood”. I don’t know what that means exactly, but praise God! If what I said leads to them understanding the gospel, then my entire trip was worth it.

From that night on, the drivers lost all inhibitions. They went out to the crowds and met people with us. They sang our songs with us at the top their lungs, and their smiles grew and grew.  They were becoming our friends.


Why? Because we treated them like friends. We said hi to them, we thanked them, and included them. Praise God. We finally learned to love like our Father wants us to.

-Carl Dernell, Team Member

“The problem with God – or at any rate, one of the top five most annoying things about God – is that He or She rarely answers right away.  It can take days, weeks.  Some people seem to understand this…I, on the other hand, am an instant message type.” – Anne Lamott


Yesterday during our staff devotion time, I shared some thoughts about how and why we pray (or don’t, for that matter).  Recently God has been teaching me a lot about prayer (Mainly through a book by Bill Hybels), and one of the things that I am learning is that one of the main reasons that we don’t pray is that we don’t believe that God is able to do anything about it.  I mean, sure, we say all of the right things, and acknowledge with our minds that God can handle it, but deep down, way below the parts of our consciousness that everyone else sees, we aren’t confident in His ability to come through for us on this one.  We say things like: “God, it’s been so long, and obviously it’s not Your will, so I am going to stop asking.”  Or, “God, You can do miracles, but not for this person, or in that circumstance.” 


Those are lies.


The reality is that God is able.  More than able, in fact. 


So whatever it is that you’re praying about right now that you’ve been waiting for an answer on, don’t give up.  Remind yourself often of the examples throughout the Bible, and your own life, that God proved Himself sovereign over nature.  Remind yourself of the times you’ve seen God accomplish something through you that you never could have done on your own.  Think of the people in your life that God has redeemed from seemingly certain destruction at their own hands.  Above all, remind yourself that God is able. 


And then pray like you believe it.  

A fellow-blogger/Marketing Director of AIM/good friend of mine has started a little project about what church really is.  He is posting responses from several notable bloggers/authors/pastors/average Joe types, etc.

Go check it out here.

Paul’s November Support Update!


Philippines Tour!

On October 22nd I traveled to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to pick up our fulltime team returning from their overseas tour in the Philippines. They had just finished traveling for over 40 hours and were understandably jet-lagged, but the evidence that they were filled with the joy of the Lord pushed through any amount of weariness that threatened to hide it!

While in the Philippines the team worked in three major cities: Cagayan de Oro (CdO), Cebu, and Tacloban.  Since these three cities are on three different islands, figuring out the logistics of traveling from one island to another with all of their sound equipment proved to be quite challenging for the team.  It also provided many opportunities for God’s provision to become apparent. 

The stories from the team members are breath-taking.  I encourage you to check out their blog at our website for more detail.  While they were there, they ministered to well over 10,000 people, which is a very conservative estimate. 

Your support for me helped to mobilize this team so that thousands of people could hear the Good News.  Praise the Lord!


Taiwan Tour!

The day after I picked up our Philippines team, I made another trip back to the airport to pick up our team returning from Taiwan.  Their traveling schedule was a little less intense than the Philippines team, but they were actually overseas for a week longer, so they were very weary as well.  However, as was the case with the other team, there was obvious evidence that God’s fingerprints were all over the team.  There are few more joyful things that seeing people who have been fully used by God!

While they were in Taiwan the team worked with and organization called Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in the greater Taipei area.  The team reported that a lot of their ministry was relational in nature, which proved to be somewhat of a challenge, given the significant language barrier that existed between English-speaking Americans and Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese.  This, however, was yet another opportunity for God to show His provision in our weakness. 

The team spent most of their time in an area very near a university.  This provided many ready-made ministry moments for the team.  They also spent a lot of time ministering at a coffee shop run by YWAM.  The coffee shop provides free drinks and free English lessons to the youth of the area.  It gives the YWAM staff a great opportunity to develop relationships with young people as they seek to share the Gospel and disciple them. 

From all accounts, the Lord used the team mightily while they were in Taiwan, so thank you for partnering with me in that effort!


My Current Support Status:

Because of your wonderful generosity, I have raised nearly $3,000!  Praise the Lord for that huge blessing! You might recall that my goal for the end of this year was $10,000, so there is still much to be raised. 

I would like to extend a special thank you to all of those of you who have given towards my support goal, especially those who have committed to being monthly supporters.

There are many of you who are supporting me in other ways too, and for that I am so thankful!  Please do continue to pray that God would cause the financing to be there for my time at CTI.  I know that this is where He has called me and I also know that He will provide because He is faithful!

To support my ministry just click here and fill my name in the staff member to support blank.


Specific Prayer Requests:

          Team 14:21, as they are on their Fall Tour

          Team 14:22, as they are on their Fall Tour

          My support goal for 2008

          My continued housing search


Life around the office:

October 31st was David Lanning’s last day as the President of CTI Music Ministries.  He has moved on and is seeking the Lord for the next step in his life, but will remain involved on the Board of Directors here.  We are moving forward in our interim structure here at CTI and everything is well in hand! 


The Board of Directors has done a masterful job making sure that we won’t miss a beat as we move forward, seeking to serve the Lord to the fullest of our abilities!