SPRING GREAT PLAINS REVIEW
Great Plains Region of the Missionary Church
Seeing Dinosaurs from Pastor Andy Petro
Some years ago, I had a poster hanging in my office. You have, perhaps, seen something like it. It was riotously colored—brilliantly speckled with blue, red, green, and white squares. At the top was a blue band sprinkled with white. The blue band blended into a red band dusted with white dots, as with flecks of snow. This band, in turn, blended into a green band, also speckled with white. My co-workers assured me that if the poster was looked at just right, you could see dinosaurs. Nonetheless, for all the time that poster hung in plain view, I could never see anything but a blizzard of colored squares. I never mastered the proper art of looking at such a work. Apparently, it’s necessary to stare at the center of the picture and let your eyes go out of focus. When you look at the picture too intently, you fail to see the hidden design.
In a way, this poster might be said to represent the human condition. So much of life appears, at first glance, random and chaotic. The harder we look, the more disordered it appears. Our circumstances, a curious amalgam of weal and woe, resist simplistic interpretations. We are neither obviously rewarded for good behavior nor swiftly punished for sin. We suffer despite our goodness and prosper in spite of our malfeasance. What moral arithmetic applies here, we can’t help but wonder.
Life throws us many unexpected curves. No matter what measure of control we think we exert over our lives, we soon recognize that, in any meaningful sense of the word, we have virtually none. The economy unexpectedly falters, and the best minds in our nation don’t know how to set it right. Our health fails, even though we’ve strenuously attempted to take care of ourselves. We get the dreaded phone call in the middle of the night alerting us that tragedy has befallen someone we love. In a heartbeat we realize with perfect clarity that we’re not in control.
One of the problems we have in understanding the unpleasant turns our lives take is that God’s purpose for us and our own may not be the same. Often, we devote a great deal of energy to changing our circumstances. We exert enormous effort to land a new job, move to a new neighborhood, make more money, improve our health, and so on. We shouldn’t disparage these efforts, but we need to realize that God may have a radically different agenda for our lives, one in which a rewarding career, financial security, and good health don’t figure prominently. We tend to focus on changing our circumstances; God focuses on changing our character.
We might think that we’re as interested in character formation as is God; but listen for a moment to how we pray. Often, we pray for God to change our circumstances instead of praying that he would change us. We pray for health and wealth, not recognizing that sickness and poverty may well be the instruments God intends to use to make us what He wants us to be.
Does this mean that God never wants to change our circumstances? Of course not. I’m
not espousing a “grin and bear it” theology. But we need to recognize that God intends to
make us righteous, and He will use whatever means necessary—including hardship and suffering—to accomplish that result.
Some of us never master the art of seeing our suffering this way. We see but a chaotic riot of what seem painful and pointless circumstances. But just as seeing the dinosaurs involved not staring too intently at the dots, so we see our suffering best when we see it from the corner of the eye, with our gaze instead firmly fixed on Jesus.
2023 Upcoming Events
Speaker: Michael Johnson
Registration open at greatplainsregion.org
Registration fee: $250
Rate increase: May 1
June 26-29 at Timber Lakes Camp
Registration open at greatplainsregion.org
Registration fee: $250
Rate Increase: May 1
Who builds a boat, with no rain in sight? Who walks up to a giant and picks a fight? Crazy people
who are trusting Jesus! This summer we are looking for CRAZY campers and counselors who are willing to stand up and be counted as Crazy for their faith! Get ready for games, crafts, stories, and many more activities that are wild, and yes, Crazy! We will learn how God’s love never fails for those who are willing to have Crazy Faith!!!
Speaker: Bert Jones
Registration opens June 1 at greatplainsregion.org
We are excited to have Bert Jones in to share with us in the evening session this year and Andy Petro will do the morning teaching. Missionaries and worship leaders for 2023 with be the Wagner family.
Spring Event Review
March 10-11 at Timber Lakes Camp & Retreat Center
Around 70 men gathered together for our 2023 Men's Conference. Together we spent the weekend seeking Jesus through prayer, worship and teaching lead by retired Pastor Joe Wenger. Joe challenged us to be built on the Rock of Christ. To recognize our need for Jesus, and to allow the knowledge of Christ to renew and satisfy our hearts and minds to better serve Him. It is always a joy to catch up with the men the Great Plains Region and hear testimonies on how the Lord is working and moving in our lives and churches. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17.
We reach out to the men of the region to please be in prayer for and consider attending our 2024 conference (March 8-9) where we will be exploring the theme "Deeper". Hope to see you there.
Speaker: Todd Habegger
The Midwest District Conference was held March 20-21 at Hillside Missionary Church in Clarinda, IA. It was a great time of gathering together as pastors, leaders and delegates from across the district. It is always good to see one another and catch up on what God is doing.
We enjoyed times of worship led by the Clarinda church and some anointed prayer times coming before the throne of our mighty God.
We enjoyed studying the Word. Pastor Todd Habegger taught three sessions on the sufficiency of Scripture. It was a rich time of reminding ourselves of the importance of God’s Word.
We also heard reports from the district and denominational leaders of what God is doing through the Missionary Church throughout the World. New Churches have begun and disciples are being made worldwide.
A big part of the business time was spent approving the new by-laws for the Great Plains Region. Praise the Lord for unity and insights in this huge task!
Hillside did a wonderful job hosting us and we left blessed!
Speaker: Tara McCord
…You have forsaken the love you had at first… Striking words against the Ephesian church in Revelation chapter 2. They’ve worked hard and persevered, not grown weary in enduring hardships for Jesus' name and yet they are called out by the angel for leaving their first love.
Are we in the same place? Do we do good works for the church in the name of Jesus but all without the desire for God we first had? Are we walking in obedience for the sake of obedience rather than love of the Lord?
This is only one of the things Tara McCord brought out during Women’s Retreat this year. She also discussed Loving the Brethren-what does it mean to love other believers? Unity, humility, encouragement, service, forgiveness, and prayer are all parts of loving those who love the lord.
Tara’s final session emphasized loving those who are lost. We must be the living, moving, breathing word of God for them. We must pray and we must share the gospel clearly with the spirit's leading.
We also worshiped with a group of ladies from Southwest Iowa and spent dedicated time in prayer asking God to reveal himself in our lives. Along with all of this the over 80 ladies in attendance enjoyed fellowshipping together, praying together and the beautiful weather.
Retreat 2024 is set for April 5-6. We hope you will be able to attend.