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In Memory Of...

Posted by David Manske , 02 August 2013 · 1383 views

On Memorial Day weekend, we honored our deceased loved ones, and those who have impacted our lives. No doubt, you remembered someone in your family, or in your life, and retold their story of military service, valor or sacrifice. It was during the Vietnam war that I was growing up in an Alliance church and I saw missions in a new light. Families like Richard and Lillian Phillips were Alliance IWs in that war-torn region where my friends and I had relatives or brothers-of-friends in combat.

Some of our IWs were captured by the Viet Cong. Some, like the Phillips, escaped or were released...others were not and died in the service of Christ and the edification of His Church among another people group. Retelling this story, and others like it, brings honor to God and perspective to our own lives today.

Soon after that war, we saw refugees come to our midwestern town. Some of our own missionaries came home to minister to, love and serve the very people they went to minister to, love and serve. I saw missions and ethnic church ministry right in front of me. People of God, who lived the two greatest commands (MT 22:36ff) in this way brought honor to God, showed dignity to displaced and persecuted people, and brought perspective to many of us as our worldviewwas being strategically molded.

In my 20s, my life was influenced by the church planting and missions passion of two men. They were out of the box, innovative men whose commitment to contextualizing the message of Christ was unique. One was a transitioned IW. The other, was a church planter. Whether they were unpacking ministry to local leaders in Minnesota, or in tribal areas in foreign lands, interweaving an amazing ministry tapestry that inspired many of us to see effective churches launched here and overseas. I remember their lives of chosen integrity, compassionate motivation and tireless desire to communicate God’s heart to see His Church established, to us...the next generation. Someone like this has touched your life, too! Remembering their testimony, is remembering the “great cloud of witnesses” who surround us.

Those making up this “cloud of witnesses” are also still living! They are still creatively inspiring us and teaching those who want to learn. Some are younger than I am, but teaching me about prayer and fidelity. Some are older than I am, and are teaching me about grace and God-honoring values. In my world, these people have names and faces...and I’m privileged enough to walk this life with them! No doubt you walk in-stride with saints like this in your life, too. Most likely, we are also influencing new lives as our daily walk. We are role-modeling through our transparent reactions and missional living...so that they, too, may run the race with endurance! (Hebrews 12:1-3)

In memory of... It’s really in memory of the living Christ that we remember those who have gone before us. Like their Master, they lived sacrificially. They denied personal rights and pleasures to serve their Lord with focused fervor. By remembering them - living and dead - we are praising our God by realigning our lives with His desires, and citing His faithfulness as seen in the lives and choices of people like us!

  • David Manfred, Monty Winters and Don Sappington like this



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