What are we living for?

What are we living for?  Millions are implicitly asking just that question.  As believers we know that the purpose of life is found in Jesus Christ.  I believe then we must ask a series of other questions, such as, how do I fulfill that purpose, what does God’s plan for my life specifically look like, how am I an asset to the Kingdom of God and not a liability?

During our ministry transition I am constantly asking myself these questions and believing God each day to show me specific steps as we keep doing what we know to do.  How refreshing it is to know that because of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us the answer is never hidden or kept from us but revealed as we continue to pray and trust Him.

As we took one of those God steps this past weekend we visited our good friends from Honduras that now reside in the States, Mark and Sandra McCllellan.  What fond memories were awakened as we talked about all the life and ministry experiences in Honduras we shared.  It was as well encouraging to share what God IS doing in each our lives today.

During our stay we ministered in a Spanish church, where a majority of the congregants were from Honduras.  It was such a blessing to Jessica and myself as I shared and she translated.  It was as if we went back to Honduras without ever leaving the States.

We are now back in Georgia meeting with various pastors, ministers and friends as we work on our itinerary for the rest of this year as well as our 2016 ministry schedule.  We continue to covet your prayers as we daily trust God to guide our every step.  Specifically right now we ask for your prayers as we look for a house to set up our home base here in Georgia.

Thank you for keeping up with us by reading the newsletter and sending encouraging emails, texts and letters.  We truly love each and every one of you and thank God for the gift you are to the Body of Christ!

William, for all of the Deagles.

 

A New Season

 

In the other gardens and all up the vale,

From the Autumn bonfires see the smoke trail

Pleasant summer over and all the summer flowers

The red fire blazes, the gray smoke towers

Sing a song of Seasons! Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer, fires in the Fall.

“Autumn Fires” by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

The sky seemed to be on fire last night as we drove through the sunsetmountains of Tennessee. The blood moon was set to appear and the heavenlies were ablaze! Fall is in the air and it’s my favorite time of year. In school we are learning the poem Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson (he’s one of our favorites). The author associates the season of Fall with fires burning so we each went around and shared what the idea of Fall stirs within us- pumpkins, leaves, cooler weather, football , smores…all good things but they barely probe the depths of what this season brings about in me.

I shared that Fall has always made me think of new beginnings and preparing for a new time of life. The leisure of Summer is over and school begins. The days become more scheduled and, to my thinking, more purposeful as a result. I love the buying of new books and school supplies and setting  vision with the kids of what our year will look like. Even our clothes become new as we lug down big boxes from the attic and switch over our closets. We trade the lighter layers of summer for the sweaters and scarves of Fall. In the South, we Fall clean and change out our rugs and throw pillows, our decor takes on the tones of oranges and browns as we place pumpkins around the house and signs that proclaim, “Give Thanks”. Heavier drapes may replace our summer shades and our world gets a mini makeover.But what about us personally? Where is the inward transformation our soul burns for this time of year?

Interestingly for the Jews, Fall is the beginning of their new year. Rosh Hashanah took place on September 13 this year, just a few weeks ago. The day itself means “Head of the Year”. It’s literal translation is “a day of shouting and raising a noise”. I understand. That’s definitely what Fall does for me! The smells and temperature and general snap in the air make me want to throw up my hands and shout “Anything is possible! It’s Fall y’all!”

There are fires themes in Rosh Hashanah as well. Rosh Hashanah is also known as The Feast of Trumpets and is commonly accepted by the Jews as the day Adam was created. The day is marked by a shofar blast and God’s people reaffirm Him as King over their lives. The blast of the shofar also significantly marks a call to repentance…it is time to change. Rosh Hashanah is the first day in a ten day period called Teshuvah which means “return to God”.  The Harvest is being completed and tares are separated out from the fruit and taken away to be burned. Finally, it all culminates on the tenth day which is known as Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the highest Holy day of the Jewish calendar. For Christians following the feasts, we believe that it marks the second coming of Christ. It is a day of forgiveness and purification. During Jesus’ time, when there was still a temple, this is the day the high priest would enter in to the Holy of Holies and present the blood of a perfect sacrifice which he smeared across the mercy seat. Paul teaches us in Hebrews that the blood of Jesus was the once and for all sacrifice that opened a way for all of us to enter into the mercy of God and receive forgiveness once and for all.

As you rake your leaves this Fall and burn them in a pile, ask God what things need burned out of your life. Are you aware of the tares that have sneaked in and now masquerade as fruit in your life? How about with your children? Your marriage? Your work and ambitions and even christian service? What is there in your flesh that needs to undergo a a change as you re-establish the Kingship of Jesus in your heart and life this season? Are there autumn fires that Christ desires to ignite within you?

In William Deagle Ministries, as we plan and pray and prepare we are truly in a new season and it feels like the Head of a new Year for us. We are reflecting on the fruit of our lives and asking God’s wisdom to remove what are the tares, the useless weeds that get harvested often along with the valid crop. We are asking the Lord to “weed out” anything in us that does not need to be there. We are seeking to reaffirm Christ as King like never before and affirm our bond with Him as “the very essence of our identity”. In a way, we almost feel like Adam and Eve being created anew and receiving instructions for how to care for this new garden we’ve been placed in and called to tend.

William and I are together this week in the mountains taking time to pray and seek the Lord on His direction for us. Would you please pray over the next four days specifically for us. There is so much happening in the heavenlies (the super blood moon appeared last night) and there is much stirring on the earth as well. Just this morning we read several news stories of the way some churches are closing and others are growing yet overall there is a hunger for people to know God and be taught His ways. We are praying to know our unique part in what God is doing and how He alone is building His Church and Kingdom. Please pray with us and may you be blessed in this season of change as you do. May you present yourself before the Lord and allow Him to weed out the tares in your life and carry them away to be burned. may we all repent and reaffirm Christ as King in your life as we all look to a new season and new beginnings.

  • **Picture note: The sunset above occurred just before the Blood Moon. We were not able to see the moon due to clouds but the sky was on fire just before the eclipse!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

wizard of OzWhen I (Jessica) was finishing up my final year of Nursing school, I performed the role of Dorothy in a local theater troop’s version of The Wizard of Oz. One of the highlights was getting to sing the enchanting song made famous by Judy Garland, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It tells of a young girl’s dream of a magical land not so far away where “troubles melt like lemon drops”. She wonders why , if the happy bluebirds can fly there,  she can’t  as well. She longs for this land to lift her out of the circumstances of her current world and transport her into a world of life and color where dreams seem to come true. It was a fun show to do and a wonderful song to sing. I did leave for a faraway land just weeks after our final performance of that show- the mission field of Honduras! My troubles did not magically melt like lemon drops there but I was forced to grow and stretch and my world was definitely enlarged.

(Here I am back in 1999, the year I left for Honduras- hello to my friend Ken Hartley!) Jess OZ

It’s tempting to want to escape reality. In fact, the enemy often uses discontent as a device to get us off track and cause us to miss becoming the person God created us to be. We often find ourselves longing for a magical land, an escape. We may look for it in a job promotion, a change in circumstances, a new marriage or even an accomplishment. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the beautiful garden, man has wanted to get back into that door. When Jesus came on the scene, He made the astounding announcement that surely His disciples could not have missed- He said, “I am the door”. He is the gate for the sheep, he is the Way to eternal life. He gives us access back into the gates of Paradise. Through Jesus, God has left an open door ever before and invites us to walk through.

My family is standing at a place in life where we are facing many doors. There is an open door before us to walk through and it feels at times as if we truly are following a yellow brick road on an exciting adventure. But I will tell you a secret about this open door. What we want most is not what lies behind the door. What we want most is the One who opens it. As we walk through these doors set before us, we go in the power and strength of the Lord. We walk with Him. The magic of this open door is not the new circumstances, the new location or the ministry opportunities to come. It’s actually crossing the threshold by faith and learning to follow God’s leading that turns where we are into that magical land. Never have we lived so dependently upon Him. Never have our children watched so closely to see how God will come through for us. Never have we had to push under the discomfort of the flesh that so likes to have a plan as we have  in these days!

What we want more than new lands and new teaching opportunities and new ministry is to experience God. We want to be people who dare to be brave. We want to resist the urge to do what feels safe. We want to jump into the waters that are deep, wide and alive and swim with all our might to the Glory of God. We want to be changed into who God needs and desires us to be in order to accomplish His purposes. We want to spend ourselves for the Kingdom of God and see it advance, not our own lives or legacy. So, seeing an open door set before us, we walk through now- not as curious about what is on the other side so much as we are longing for who we will become by crossing its threshold.

Have Thine own way Lord

Have Thine own way

Thou art the potter, I am the clay

Mold me and make me after Thy will

While I am waiting, yielded and still.

 

Parting the Waters

“Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh God my Father

There is no shadow of turning with Thee

Thou changest NOT Thy compassions they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever will be!”

 

Everything in our lives right now is going through incredible change. Hardly anything is remaining the same. In these times it is such a comfort to know that our God is faithfull and He changes not!!

We left our lovely home of the past fifteen years and officially turned over our key this weekend. Before leaving, we stood in the empty, echoing living room and talked about the faithfulness of God. We reminisced about drawing out house plans on a napkin and then building what we drew. We spoke of bringing our little babies home from the hospital and the precious memories that each room held. We cried a little and then prayed for the gentleman who bought our house- that he would be blessed in that place and come to know the Lord if he didn’t already. But then we did the most important thing of all- we walked out of the door, got in our car and we left.

In the great stories of faith that we read about in the Bible, God was always looking for someone who would believe Him and then act on it. When the priests were standing on the cusp of the Jordan, holding the ark of the covenant they were waiting for the waters to part. God was waiting for them to step on in:

8”Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river……… 13 It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap.”

It seems as though the greatest moves of God follow the action of man. The priests could have stood on the shore and waited for the waters to part and they would still be waiting to this very day. The journey would never have continued. Often when God begins to call us or prompt us, we wait for Him to “make a way where there seems to be no way”. What we fail to realize is that He is making that way as we move with Him!

This life transition has been so challenging and yet so strengthening to our faith. We are learning to move with God. We take a step and He reveals another. Pulling out of our driveway this weekend and saying goodbye to the house was a huge step for us. What we have learned is that until we are faithful to step into what He has already shown, there is no more light. We want the big picture right up front so that we can freely blaze ahead but He wants a child who trusts that He sees it and will lead us there step by step. This is hard. We like to see, we like to know and we like to be in control yet living by faith is a surrendering of each of these faculties to God and truly letting Him lead. It is scary yet liberating, uncomfortable yet thrilling. The best part is, we are really seeing God move and we know that it is Him bringing it to pass! We are stepping in….God will part the waters!

Kids showing how their hands have grown since we first poured this sidewalk at the house-

kids handprints

Rob

We gave away our dog today. His name is Rob.

We walked outside and watched him drive away in someone else’s car, being loved on by someone else’s children.

And then we went inside and cried.

William was crying, I was crying and we had to pull ourselves together enough to go and comfort our children and explain one more time why we were giving away our dog, our sweet and obedient dog. We had to rehearse once again why we were packing up our beautiful home and why we were sleeping on the floor because everything else was packed away into grey plastic storage containers. We ate chicken soup, and we talked about when we first adopted Rob. We sat gloomily peering into our soup bowls and we were sad. We questioned, we wondered and we doubted. Was all of this necessary? Why did we have to make such a radical change? Was all of this for nothing? As mine and William’s eyes met over our soup spoons there rose once again the unspoken mantra that had carried us through leaving his job, selling our home and venturing forth with William Deagle Ministries. “We trust You, Lord.”

Throughout the day as we thought of Rob and tears threatened to flow all over again, I continued to hear the words of Jesus saying,

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms (and in my heart I added ‘or dogs’), for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.…”                       Mark 10:29-30

We trust You, Lord, and we move forward in faith that what we are pursuing is a greater calling. We leave houses, lands and dogs for the place you will show us and may You be forever glorified through our lives.

Below: Rob made it into the kid’s room for the last night!

Kids with Rob

Getting Out of the Boat

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” 28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” 29-30 He said, “Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” 31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” 32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”

The Message (MSG)

We took our three children to the lake this summer and they all learned how to water ski. Our oldest, Jon Langley, even popped right up on the wakeboard and zipped all over the lake. He was a natural. Shea was determined and that kept her trying and trying until she had it down pat. Josiah, our youngest, was fearless as usual and wanted to join right in. We were both in the boat cheering and coaching as they each had their turn. We watched the younger one’s legs wobble a bit as they adjusted to the feel of “walking on water” and balancing on the rumble of wake streaming from behind the boat.

Always pushing the limits, our youngest wasn’t content to just be pulled. He wanted to jump the wake and get on the outside where you could really fly. As he attempted and fell several times, we would circle back around in the boat only to hear him shout, “I wanna do it again!”

“Stay in the middle,” we cautioned him, wanting to see him stay up as long as possible; but as soon as he popped up, he would venture over to that side wake, look down and fall. “Those waves are gigantic!” he cried out once we had circled back around.

From the safety of the boat it was easy for us to keep those small waves in perspective. But JoJo was out of the boat, his feet strapped in awkwardly long skis with only a rope to hold on to. We were helping with momentum in the boat but the balance and nerve were all up to him. I heard William holler out, “You’re doing great! You don’t fall until you look down. Those waves aren’t any bigger than others you have faced. Just keep looking ahead with your eyes fixed on us and not the water.”

Sure enough, he became a pro that day-jumping the wake, skiing for long runs and learning how to drop off when he was ready, right in front of the safety of the dock. For all three of them, the first step to skiing was simply getting out of the boat.

Throughout the past months of this radical life transition, we have felt the Lord coaching us and encouraging us in the same way. “Get out of the boat. Keep your eyes on me and not the circumstances around you. Strap on your skis and let me be your momentum. Come to me.” The call of God is the same today as it was for the disciples in the New Testament. II Chronicles 16:9 tells us “ For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Another version says that God is looking for someone to show Himself strong on their behalf. Praise God for that. We desire to be those people!

God has been so faithful to show Himself strong on our behalf, caring for every detail of this transition. When we knew that God was calling us to get up and go we began to make preparations by putting our house up for sale. It sat for almost a year with little to no interest. We continued to pray that it would sell at the right time to the right person for the right price but doubts were creeping in. As William’s final day of work at the church drew to a close we began to notice more and more the swells and waves all around us. Only a month to go and still no interest on our house. 2 weeks left. One week. Finally, only days remained. With one day of work to go, we received a call that someone wanted to come and see the house. The next day, William’s final day of employment at the church, we signed a contract to sell our home. To God be the glory! His timing is perfect and His momentum is steady. Our part is to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and watch Him do what only He can do for those who believe Him. We testify to the goodness and faithfulness of God. The journey has already begun for us and we look forward to what now lies ahead.

Enjoying the Journey

“Redeeming the time while never forgetting our destination”

Starting out –

Almost fifteen years have gone by since the Lord did an amazing thing in our lives- He joined us together for life and ministry and confirmed a call in our hearts to the Body of Christ through full-time ministry with a specific focus on teaching and equipping the Church across many nations.  We have always known that we were called as a couple and that calling had an international bent to it somehow. However, ironically we sensed God’s leading back in 2002 to leave the mission field of Honduras and move to Virginia where William would eventually begin to serve his home church as youth pastor. We loved ministering to a thriving youth group of more than 120 kids and William had a beautiful outlet for teaching every Sunday. Still, the highlight was organizing summer mission trips for the youth and introducing them to the need for the Gospel and Discipleship in other lands.

As the church grew, our position changed and we found William’s organizational gifts and planning abilities found wonderful use as the church’s Executive Pastor, a position he has held for 8 years.

Now we sense the Lord bringing about even more change. We feel a calling to leave the wonderful church family we have here in Virginia and move forward into the next thing that God is showing us. As part of that move, the Lord has opened a door for us to function as a ministry through the avenue of William Deagle Ministries, Inc., a 501©3 non-profit organization founded in 1998.

In this season, we have taken Proverbs 16:9 as a key scripture to lead us:

“A man plans his ways but the Lord makes his steps sure.”

With that in mind, we are moving forward. We feel called to travel now in full time ministry. We know that we have a passion for marriage and family and for strengthening and encouraging the Church both nationally and internationally, across denominational lines. As we plan our ways, we are daily trusting God to make our steps sure.  You can read more about this and various ministry outlets on our website, williamdeagleministries.org. We will be sending regular updates and happenings through this blog/newsletter. Please watch for more to come and know that we are overwhelmed with the love and interest that you have shown concerning our lives and what God is doing in and through us as a family. Thank you for helping us to start out this next leg of our Journey with great joy!

Enjoying the Journey,

Team Deagle

William, Jessica, Jon Langley, Shea and Josiah