April 2017

When I was in sixth grade, Eagle Lake Camps became my safe haven. My parents had just divorced and life was crazy and painful and I just wanted to escape. That’s when I first went to Eagle Lake as a camper.

My relationship with my dad became especially difficult after the divorce. It was during another summer at Eagle Lake that I had an amazing breakthrough. At a time of worship one night, I realized that my dad is human and will continue to disappoint me. But I also learned that God is my heavenly Father, and because He is God, He will never disappoint me and will always be there for me.

I grew up in a religious context where my motivations for doing good things were guilt and the fear of getting caught! As people rescued from darkness (Colossians 1:12-14), we are meant to do good things, living as citizens of a new Kingdom. But are guilt and fear really the twin fuels of Kingdom living? Where do we find motivation and power to live an obedient life in the ways of the Kingdom?

Jesus used mealtimes as an opportunity for fellowship and to teach more about His Word. Throughout Scripture we see Him interact in homes, feasts, hillsides, and beach fires—sharing food, fellowship, and teaching with His followers.

At Marine Corps Base Quantico, Navigators Michael and Velma Jacobs follow Christ’s example. Each week they have Marines in their home to share physical and spiritual food. They use these times to encourage and disciple new Marine Lieutenants going through basic training school, Marines preparing for duty in U.S. embassies, officers attending Expeditionary Warfare School, or those flying the President’s helicopters. By intentional discipleship and fellowship around the table, they are laying foundations for generations of laborers throughout the Marine Corps.

Ministry is similar to baseball. The greatest players in baseball have a batting average of around .300. If a player gets a hit three times out of 10 and maintains this average over the course of his career, he is considered a candidate for the Hall of Fame. As I take my “swings” in ministry, starting spiritual conversations with students, I never know when I will get a hit or when the message will seemingly miss. But I keep swinging and pointing students toward Jesus, because I know that the hits aren’t up to me. And even if I feel foolish at times, I keep swinging.

When my family moved to the Dominican Republic in 2015 we started building relationships in our community—with my softball team, parents in our children’s school, university students, and more. While each person we met was important, we prayed for wisdom on which people to invest in, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:2—those who would be qualified to teach others.

The foundation of any estate plan is a will. Sadly more than 50 percent of Americans have not taken the time to craft that end of life document.

The latest tragic story is unfolding in Minneapolis with the estate of the rock legend, Prince. Prince’s estate is estimated to be in excess of $350 million dollars and he left no legacy instructions. The probate court and his sister are sorting things out, and experts say it could take years.

Following Jesus through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt, and the Seas

Jesus called those first disciples from the nets, but He called me to the nets. The essential thing for all of us is to answer the call to “follow me.” That phrase in the original language means literally “to walk the same road.” And what road did Jesus walk? A road of healing the ill, feeding the starving, teaching, forgiving …

At work, Matt* does accounting and finance for a high tech startup company. But outside of work, Matt hangs out with his friend, Tom* , who lives in a completely different reality.

Tom and Matt met years ago at a Christian camp. Matt was a senior in high school and Tom was in middle school, so they didn’t interact very much. Tom lived with his grandmother who sent him to Christian camp. It was there that God brought their paths together. They connected a few more times over the years, and became Facebook friends.

Fred had turned away from God, divorced his wife, and had other struggles. Finally he realized that he wanted to be restored. He started going to church and met a Navigator, Dale Coffing. Dale describes Fred’s desire to change: “We started meeting every week, reading the Bible together, praying together, and Fred started radically changing. He was ready to grow deeper and follow God.”

Pastor Tito Ruiz at Stonemill Church Atlanta

Tito Ruiz first met Jesus through his passion for music. Tito came to the United States from Nicaragua when he was 19 years old. A friend invited Tito to be part of a church worship band and he accepted the invitation because he loved music, even though he wasn’t a Christian. Through relationships at the church, Tito soon learned about God’s love for him and he accepted Jesus Christ into his life as Savior and Lord.

Georgia Tech International Students Explore Faith

International students at Georgia Tech may have never heard anything about Jesus or any stories from the Bible. These students are full of questions and curious about God, since most of them have grown up in an atheist culture that has no room for God.

David and Anna Rau lead The Navigators International Student Ministry at Georgia Tech. They befriend international students who have come to advance their technical and professional skills. Many of their friendships are with students from Asia.

The ministry of Casa Tanya started with a woman in an alley

Erika Lobatos, I-58 Navs administrator, was walking her poodle on 25th Street in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood when she spotted her. The woman was in her early 20s, and she sat with her back against a brick wall. Above her, a man towered over her and yelled. The woman looked numb.

Erika could not shake the scene she had just witnessed. Something deep inside her told her to turn back. She thought it had to be a nudge from God.

For much of his freshman year of college, Santhosh Ebenezer (pictured below) wanted anonymity, to get absorbed by the students filling the Quad or walking down Halsted Street at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He had graduated from a private Christian high school with a class of 21 kids, but within months, he had started classes at one of the state’s biggest universities, where he could fade into the background. At a school of 30,000 students, he felt isolated.

In Detroit, a group of women gather to read the Bible together and see how God’s Word relates to their daily lives. This scenario of pointing people to Jesus through His Word is a familiar one for Navigators. What is remarkable about this gathering is that it took place with a group of Albanian immigrants in Metro Detroit, in a beauty salon owned by an Albanian woman!

Going on a short-term missions trip is a great way to serve and grow in our relationship with Christ. I have been on several mission trips and have been stretched through the experience. On a trip to Zambia I felt God working in and through our team—when I returned home I didn’t want to lose that experience of living a missional life full of impact. That mission trip was life changing for me.

Evangelism is on the cutting edge—the contested space—where the Kingdom meets the world.

Gospel-sharing is rarely described in such epic terms. But Navigator and New York City Collegiate Director Peter Trautmann is passionate about getting students equipped and in the battle. He sees open hearts yearning for the Gospel everywhere he goes.

Using technology to spread the Gospel

Usually the domain of memes, logistical planning, and witty banter, texting isn’t often associated with spreading the Gospel. But NYU Navs has seen texting help fuel an evangelism explosion.

GroupMe®, a mobile group messaging app, allows many users to join a unified real-time conversation. The NYU Navs outreach team had been using GroupMe for freshmen outreach for several years. This past year, engagement skyrocketed.