Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Dan Jarvis.

Pastor Dan Jarvis: We got married, and we started moving through life together as a couple. We’ve always tried to look at things as we’re a team in everything we’re doing. It’s not that she has her life and I have mine and we’re ships passing in the night or something. It’s we really want to do as much of life together as we can, because we believe that we can accomplish more for Christ together than if we were trying to do all those things separately.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Surrender: The Heart God Controls, for Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: All this week we’ve been exploring the subject of "Faith Frontiers." We’ve been challenged to move forward in faith to join God in what He’s doing in spite of whatever hurdles or obstacles might seem to get in our way.

Dan Jarvis serves with Life Action Ministries, the parent ministry of Revive Our Hearts. He’s also a pastor in the area where Revive Our Hearts is headquartered. This week, we’ve heard Dan speak on Faith Frontiers. We’ve also heard from his wife, Melissa, on how this family has lived out this message—even in some tough ways.

We’ve heard how moving to faith frontiers can be challenged by risk, by lack of resources, and a lack of resolve. Today as we hear Part 4 of this message, Dan will pick up with another challenge that we face in our walk of faith.

Pastor Dan: So here’s the last challenge. . .and this is where I think it gets to be a lot of fun! This is already fun—I mean, the life of faith, as hard as it is and difficult and sacrificial, it’s an adventure! It’s exciting to wake up in the morning and know that you’re on a course that’s eternal, not just earthly. It's exciting that God has things in mind for you that are way beyond what you would expect or plan for on your own.

But there’s one thing that we all need in the midst of all that, and I think it’s relationships. That is, it’s very unlikely that you would ever cross a frontier by yourself.

So just imagine it . . . early 1950s. Neil Armstrong gets up in the morning, looks out at the beautiful moon and says, “You know what? I’m going to put my foot on that place. I’m motivated. I’m going there! I don’t need anybody’s help; I’m going to do it on my own!”

How far would he have gotten? Nowhere, right? It takes a team to get something like that accomplished. It’s very unlikely that you would proceed forward in your Christian life without people in your life to walk with you.

So here’s where it gets fun. You circle up with other people who also have this mentality of living by faith. Say, “Let’s walk together. Let’s cross the next frontier together.” I really think that’s the reason that God organized us into churches.

You say, “I come to church because my kids like the program.” Well, that’s great. “I come to church because I like to sing.” That’s great, too. But the actual reason that we’re together is not those elements.

I think the reason we’re together is because we get to be a team—we get to be a family—we get to work together for the cause of Christ! We can accomplish way more together for the gospel than we could if we all worked independently.

It’s going to take a team if we’re going to cross a frontier. You don’t want to take steps alone here. This is where you want to involve other people in the story. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.” But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken (Eccl. 4:12).

So, we’ve got five challenges in front of us. How do we move forward? I feel like we did spend most of our time in Romans studying the life of faith and what God has done for us, and all that God has made possible.

But even if you go before that, in the narrative of our church teachings and things—all the way back through last year—we’ve been talking about living by faith quite a bit! We’ve been talking about the need to say “yes” to God quite a bit!

You say, “I think I’m ready. I think I want to go ahead and move forward. I’m not sure even where that takes me or even what that means.” That’s the whole idea—this is faith! “But, Lord, yes. I’ll sign up; I’ll go.” Here are just a couple parting encouragements if that’s your heart.

First, look at the instructions that He has given us already. You can open up the Bible, and you can see that God has already laid out priorities for our lives—that we can all work toward. It’s very possible that God has already directed you, in some specific way, to do something. Maybe you’re like my mom . . . you’re just kind of holding out because you’re afraid.

Hey, take the step! Move forward. Take the directions He’s already given you and jump in, trusting in Him. Ask God for direction—of course—and other’s for advice. This is why that team thing is really important, the relationships.

I don’t think it’s wise to jump into a whole new realm of some big faith frontier by yourself! Seek wisdom and counsel from other people. Get involved with a team and walk together. In doing that, you’ll not only get to accomplish more than you could alone, but you probably will avoid some mistakes as well, just leaning on each other’s wisdom—in that regard.

The third thing to do is go ahead and make your plan for action. If you just live in numbers one and two—you keep praying about it, you keep learning about it, you keep talking to people about it . . . You’ll just live a whole life of good intentions but nothing will ever actually happen.

This is where number three is important: you actually have to lay it out. One thing I’ve found about taking steps—really, in any part of life, but taking faith steps—if I put it on my calendar, it actually starts to feel real—like it’s really going to happen.

“Lord, I feel called into this particular type of ministry, and I think I should go try it out. I think I should go meet with that guy, or do this or that or take a step into that new area.”

Well, that’s all nice intention, but why don’t you write down on your calendar when that’s going to happen. Suddenly that faith frontier has a date and a place and you start moving that way. For me, I’ve found that’s really helpful.

But even that doesn’t get you across the finish line. You have to take the very obvious step of doing it! Neil Armstrong had to actually get on the rocket with thousands of gallons of liquid oxygen and everything underneath him and let them light that thing if he’s ever going to get to the moon.

You’ve got to take the step! You never know what that results in and where you end up, but you’re in God’s hands. That’s the point! You’re living by faith, not with everything worked out ahead of time. You’re living by faith.

People who wait for perfect conditions or peaceful circumstances will never cross frontiers—they just won’t. They’re the people who stay home in New York instead of heading to California. Or they’re the people who stop in Denver, or they’re the people who sit on the sidelines and think, I always wished I could have been an astronaut, but I never signed up for the program.

We don’t want to live there as Christians. God has allowed all of us to be a part of this amazing faith walk, if we just say "yes" to Him. If we just trust Him more than we trust ourselves, then we’re off and running. It’s an exciting place to live.

Here’s one verse as we conclude and as we part: “The kingdom of God is not a matter of fancy talk; it’s about living by God’s power” (1 Cor. 4:20 paraphrased). You were created to live that life. I was created to live that life. Together, we get to do that life. It starts when you say “yes,” when you take a step toward that next frontier.

Nancy: You’ve just heard the conclusion of a message that Dan Jarvis preached at a church near our ministry, in our local area, a few months ago. I’m so thankful for how God spoke to my own heart through that message. And then we have Dan and Melissa here with us here in the studio today to talk about what this has looked like—this walk of faith, these faith frontiers in their own life.

So, Dan and Melissa, thank you so much. Thank you, Melissa, for taking time out of your day with your six children at home and Dan out of your work day here at the ministry to just talk with us about what this looks like. 

I think people have been very encouraged to hear from you. You’re so real and relatable. Our listeners’ circumstances may be very different than yours, but you’ve helped us to see some basic, primary fundamental principles that have to be underlying to a walk of faith.

This one of relationships that you touched on today, this is huge. I think we don’t realize how important it is that we need others in this walk of faith. We will accomplish more together, we will avoid costly mistakes many times, if we’ll do things with others.

We’ve seen that in this ministry; you’ve seen it in your lives. As I look at the two of you—starting with your own marriage—this has been a key relationship where the Lord has brought a lot of fruit (not just a lot of children . . . that, too!), but a lot of mission, gospel endeavors.

How has your marriage really helped you to be more fruitful, more productive? How has that relationship helped in your life of faith?

Dan: Back before we got married, we had had this discussion. We’d had dinner or something and we were driving. I didn’t want to drop her off at home yet. I just wanted to keep talking to her. So we were just kind of driving around randomly, you know.

I was asking Melissa all these questions about her purpose in life. I was really trying to gauge, “Is this a person . . . The Bible talks about being unequally yoked. Is this a person I would be equally yoked with—to really be on a team with and drive the same direction?”

Everything Melissa was saying was very much in line with the direction that I wanted to go in life. Since that time—and then when we got married and started moving through life together as a couple—we’ve always tried to look at things as we’re a team in everything we’re doing.

It’s not that she has her life and I have mine and we’re ships passing in the night or something. We really want to do as much of life together as we can, because we believe that we can accomplish more for Christ together than if we were trying to do all those things separately.

I think our marriage has enabled me, as an individual, to have a far bigger impact on people’s lives and on the kingdom because I get to do life with Melissa than if I had stayed single and on my own.

Melissa Jarvis: Yes. And I think, for me too, it has brought new opportunities just to have more relationships with people I probably would never have met. Being married to Dan, obviously, we get to speak sometimes around the country and sometimes in different places in the world, too—so, just relationships.

I met somebody who actually came up to us after Dan spoke and said, “So, what does it really look like to foster?” I got to share about that. Now we text back and forth—for the last two years—weekly, sometimes. She’s a foster parent now.

Nancy: So the Lord sent you and Dan out on a life of faith. Now He’s using you and your friendship and encouragement to help others step into a life of faith.

Melissa: Yes, right. Meeting new people and realizing that those relationships that God is bringing into our lives may have a purpose beyond just meeting that day. It may have a purpose for the future and for their impact on other people as well. That’s been really cool to see how just being together and doing ministry together, we’re actually a team.

Dan does parts of it, and I do parts of it. My job is easier for me, because I just get to love on people and talk to people. Dan has to prepare messages. They sound really good, but I can just be me and love on people that way. So that’s been really encouraging to me that I’m still a part of his ministry, because it’s not his ministry—it’s God’s ministry, and it’s our ministry together.

Nancy: This reminds me so much of my parents. My dad died after they had been married twenty-some years, but in those couple of decades they so sought God’s kingdom together. My dad was a businessman. He wasn’t a professional ministry person. But they did more ministry together than probably a lot of people who are paid to do ministry.

They put it all on the line. They served together. They used their individual gifts but brought them together—with a busy household of seven children. We were all a part of that in many respects. I think about all the people who have been born into the kingdom of God, the marriages that were saved, the ministries that were started or encouraged or funded because of their heart to do this together! What a great illustration of that Ecclesiastes principle.

If my dad or my mom would have tried to do all of that on their own—not that God can’t and doesn’t use single people to do great things for His kingdom—but whether you’re single or married, you need other people in the body of Christ to be as effective as possible.

So God has used your marriage—Dan and Melissa—to each other to bring forth much fruit for His glory, to help you in your walk of faith. Melissa, are there other people that the Lord has used in your journey to help you take further steps of faith as a wife, as a mom, in the calling God has in your life?

Melissa: Yes, specifically there were four people that I can think of right now: Tim, Billy, Carrie, and Jamie, who—when we were first starting to foster parent, they just encouraged us. They came alongside us and said, “We can’t be foster parents, but we’re going to help you.”

I can remember many times Tim would call us and say, “Hey, I have a free Saturday. I’ll take your kids. Drop 'em off. You and Dan go have a date.” He’s a single dad, and he did it for us.

Nancy: The power of relationships!

Melissa: Yes, and then my other friends, they would sometimes just say, “Hey, you guys haven’t been on date in a while. Drop your kids off. We’ll cover.” Billy would say, “Let’s go to coffee this morning. Bring your kids, and we’ll meet at MacDonald’s; they can play on the playground.”

People like that joined us in our journey of foster parenting, and they really actually made it possible. We could not have been foster parents without them.

Nancy: And, Melissa, you’ve had a real burden for mentoring other women—for older and younger women connected. Our listeners know that’s a passion on my heart. That’s the message of my latest book, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. How have you seen those kinds of woman-to-woman relationships be fruitful for the gospel?

Melissa: I would say, just in the recent past, seeing God work in the lives of older women mentoring younger women and how that impacts the future of the way they raise their own kids . . . I saw that as a single person and I thought, What can I do as a single? So I just started reaching out to some teens and thinking, They still need encouraging. They still needed encouragement in their walk with Christ. I can be that influence for them, or I could help their parents by doing that—having another person in their life who wants to live for Christ and be influential that way.

Now today as a married person, I actually want to see young moms do the same thing, but I crave an older woman mentoring me. I think about that and I think, I’m getting older, too. I need to be mentoring younger moms. 

In one of the churches we worked at, there wasn’t really a mentoring program for women—mentoring other women. There was one Bible study, and I went to it. I felt like I was the only one there under the age of eighty.

I thought, Well, I could still learn from them, and I could still sit here. But it was kind of sad to me that there weren’t any other people involved. I prayed about it, and I kept asking older women, “Would you start a Bible study? Would you mentor some younger moms in our church?” Everyone kept saying, “No.” “No.” “No.”

For two years I prayed about that, and I kept thinking, Why aren’t they willing to do it? Then God just said, “Well, why aren’t you willing to do it?” And so, that’s what happened—I decided to start it.

It went from one little group in a home with nine young moms to eighty women with, like, five different Bible studies going on! All I did was organize it, and God did the rest. It was really, really amazing to see—God just started working in their hearts.

People would call me and say, “I went out to coffee with this lady that I never even had talked to at church before. And she gave me some encouragement about what to do with my kids, because I didn’t know.”

And I just thought, That’s really why older women need to mentor younger women—because we need that encouragement to keep doing the day-to-day things. We also need the wisdom that God has given them through years of just persevering as a wife and a mother and in their relationship with Christ.

We need that wisdom that they have, that we don’t have yet.

Nancy: Growth comes out of those relationships. As I say in the Adorned book, that doesn’t need to be highly structured or formal or some official program. It can just be a life-on-life way of life.

I’m thankful that I’m in a church where there are a lot of people of a lot generations, and we’re all in the same service together. We have some nonagenarians in our church (I think that’s how you say people in their nineties). Some of those people I’ve watched their walk for years, and they’ve encouraged me.

Now, I’m one of the older women—not quite the nineties—but one of the older women in our church. I love talking with these younger women and doing life together—exchanging prayers and wisdom and conversation and seeing how we grow.

I know as a pastor, Dan, it’s got to be encouraging to you to see those kinds of relationships springing up within a church for the sake of gospel ministry!

Dan: Yes, absolutely! If you just imagine for a moment, if you’re about to cross your own faith frontier do something bold for God, how encouraging would it be for someone whose already walked a road like that to be coming alongside you (who’s ten years older, thirty years older) and to say, “Let me pray with you; let me give you some advice; let me give you counsel.” I’ve had people like that in my life that I look at as mentors. Sometimes those relationships aren’t super-structured, like you were saying.

I think structure can be really helpful—it provides a context—but sometimes it’s just the person. If I really have a hard decision to make, who do I call? I’m blessed that both of my parents are still alive, so I’ll call them.

But there are also a few other people that I look to. Those are the older men mentoring me. (I guess I could still count as a younger man—not for much longer!) I want to pass that forward to the next person and be looking at guys who are a little younger than me and trying to give them encouragement.

It’s not just about getting through the day. We’ll all accomplish more for Christ together and we’ll see the Great Commission coming to completion as all of us give our best to Christ. We can help each other do that through mentoring relationships.

Nancy: That’s the heart behind the conference Revive Our Hearts has coming up at the end of September in Indianapolis—Revive ’17: Women Mentoring Women. We’re going to dig in, together, to Titus chapter 2 and see, “What does this life look like? How do we live out the beauty of the gospel together?” I hope you’ll contact us if you’d like more information about being a part of that event.

I want to move on to just one other piece of conversation here with Dan and Melissa, because I’ve seen the gospel spread out from your own relationship and your own marriage and family to the churches where you’ve served, the ministry where you serve, the relationships you have . . . But I’ve seen you step further out in faith, going to new faith frontiers—even to have a heart for what God is doing around the world! I know that India is a country that has really captured your hearts. 

Could you just give us a snapshot of how God has brought people together in relationships to do something in another part of the world that you could not have done as an individual—or together as a couple, even?

Dan: Sure. Anytime you talk to people who are involved in global mission work or any kind of ministry work, you usually hear the word “partnership.” I think, for me, I’ve come to a new understanding of what that really means. 

There are things that any of us would love to be a part of for the gospel that we physically can’t do. Either we can’t do it at all, or we can’t do it alone. If you had a burden on your heart to reach out to some other part of the world, in all probability, it’s not you who can go there and do all that’s on your heart, but you could partner with people who are there and do that.

I had that heart. I had another pastor introduce me to a ministry in India that I became involved with. I ended up going on a few trips and got to write a book about India to try to motivate people to share resources to sponsor pastors and churches there. There’s a great church growth movement happening that’s very exciting!

But I think for Melissa and I, the faith step involved is that that’s way out of our normal operating procedure. With a young family, small kids in the home, how do we make time for India?

For me, I’ve been able to be out on the front line of that. I was the one who got to go take the pictures and ride the airplanes and meet all the pastors on the ground. Melissa’s had to stay home and weather the storms of our family while I was gone.

I know a lot of people travel, so it’s not super uncommon that people would take that kind of a risk and go around the world. I would say that even in that, for us, it was a step of faith—to get started on that journey. We were able to link up with some other people who had that heart, both in India and then other people here who are a part of that mission.

As a result, we’ve been able to have an impact in places that I can’t even pronounce the name of. It’s just an exciting way to live! Actually, our first project in India . . . We were just getting to know the country, and we’d heard about this program where you could adopt a village.

There was a church and a pastor who had just started a work in a village. Some of these villages are very impoverished, and they need fresh wate, and they need education. This ministry had packaged it altogether into a fairly large financial commitment do all of the work. The commitment was way out of our range to do, personally.

As we were looking at that and praying about it, we were thinking, We really want to be involved in this. Then came an obvious idea: Why don’t we ask our friends if they want to join us in this? We just recruited a few friends, and we pooled our resources and made a five-year-commitment together to support this work.

We were able to adopt a village on the other side of the world. Then I ended up getting to go and visit the pastor. It was just really, really neat to see how God used that.

Melissa: That was actually a step of faith for me, because back then there wasn’t Facetime or a way to contact your loved one across the world. Dan was going to be gone for ten days, and I wasn’t going to be able to talk to him. We weren’t going to be able to communicate very well.

It was just like, “He’s going to fly around the world! What if something were to happen to him and I’m going to be raising six kids alone?” or “What if . . .?” Lots of things were going through my mind. Things like: this is not a country that is totally open to the gospel everywhere. There are people who are persecuted for their faith. What if that happens to Dan? There were many things that were going through my mind like, “Oh no, God! You’re asking me to do this—to let my husband go and do this.”

When Dan came back (he actually got to that village), they took the picture of all of our friends and us and hung it on the wall in this little tiny church. They prayed for us by name, and we have this connection with this village around the world—that people in that village know Jesus because we said “yes” and we asked our friends and they said “yes!”

It’s such a really fun thing to remember—the pastor there and his family prayed for our children and we prayed for theirs. There’s the connection right there, that God just had it in our hearts. It’s an amazing thing when you join up with other people to accomplish a mission for Christ!

Nancy: I love that, Melissa. I love how God has used Dan and your lives together to illustrate this message on faith that we’ve been listening to all this week. Again, I just want to encourage our listeners to ask the Lord, “Is there a new frontier of faith that You’re wanting me to step into? What would that look like, and how can I band together with other like-hearted, like-minded believers to see that be possible?" 

I want to encourage you to join us tomorrow as one of our staff from Revive Our Hearts and I are going to have just an informal conversation about some of the faith markers in the history of Revive Our Hearts, some of what God has done—the challenges, the times we wanted to throw in the towel—but how we’ve seen God provide, how we’ve seen Him give us resolve, and how He’s used partnerships and relationships to help make this ministry possible around the world.

I want to be sure that you hear that conversation which will just be another illustration of this message that we’ve been hearing all this week on "Faith Frontiers."

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with Dan and Melissa Jarvis about the way you can help other people live out God’s calling on their lives. You could be an invaluable resource for people who need the body of Christ around them.

All week we’ve heard from Dan Jarvis in a series called "Faith Frontiers." He’s addressed one of the challenges that can tempt us and hold us back. That challenge is lack of resources. Nancy, I know you can relate to that.

Nancy: Yes, Leslie, lack of resources really can be a challenge. In fact, we’re living that out as a ministry right now. We see some huge, beautiful, exciting faith frontiers on the horizon: increased ministry in South Africa, exploring the next conference in Latin America where the need is so huge and women are so hungry. We’re getting ready to train women’s ministry leaders at Revive '17 and making plans for True Woman '18. But at the same time, we’re also facing a dramatic dip in resources. Giving to the ministry recently has been lower than was projected, and we’ve had to tap into reserve funds to stay afloat.

So here in May, as we’ve been sharing with you, we’re asking the Lord to provide $830,000. That would make up the budget shortfall of recent months, prepare us for the summer months when donations usually decrease, and help make plans for our outreaches in the year ahead.

I’m so thankful that, in the body of Christ, we have relationships! As Dan and Melissa talked about the importance of relationships in our faith journey today, I’m so thankful for those listeners—like you—who have a heart for this message and this ministry and want to see it continue.

So, as we’re facing today the most critical need that we’ve experienced over the past several years, your generous gift at this time would be such a great encouragement, and it would make a significant difference as we continue to move forward in faith, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Thank you so much for being a friend of this ministry. That relationship means more to me—and to the Revive Our Hearts team—than you could possibly know!

Leslie: To get involved, call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com for more details related to the budget gap and to give online. 

Our guest tomorrow has seen God at work through many ups and downs, and he’ll encourage you if you don’t know how the Lord will provide next. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the NLT unless otherwise noted.

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