Thursday, November 2, 2017

These Things

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things* will be given to you as well.” 
Matthew 6:33

As soon as I completed my Master’s degree in May, I began vigorously applying for jobs.  I was excited about beginning a new career and a new chapter in my life.  

As the months passed, scores of rejections began to pile up and a couple of hopeful interviews resulted in no employment.  I continued to apply for positions at an even more frantic rate because money is tight, and my student loan repayment date loomed closer and closer.

By the end of August, with no change in site, in an utterly frustrated and hopeless state, I confronted my heavenly Father about His lack of provision.  He responded to my spirit, “Channon, you are thinking too much about these things.”

My focus had shifted from starting a new life chapter to wanting the ability to provide more for my family: a different place to live, more travel opportunities, less debt. In my frustration, I had completely negated God’s providence.  For when have we gone without food or clothes or drink or shelter or transportation or gasoline or relationships or medical care?  Never.  And often, God provides our wants, as well, through His generosity.  

My spoiled rotten princess fit wasn’t about a lack of providence, but about the lack of control I had over my current life situation.  I had created a plan for complete financial security which hinged on a certain income.  The longer I went without a paycheck, the less relevant my financial plan became.  I had also mapped out my career growth and the next step in my education which would lay the foundation for our return to Europe. Without career experience, we would never get back to Europe, and that has been my plan all along.  My level of frustration, anger, and worthlessness continued to climb the longer I went without employment.

But, Jesus wants me to be concerned about His kingdom and His righteousness rather than these things.  He knows what we need; He’ll take care of it.  So, I should be asking God to show me the Kingdom work He has planned for me to do.  There’s plenty of opportunity in my home and my church and in the daily interactions I have with people.  And I have started to apply for jobs with purpose, jobs that stir and excite my spirit when I read the job description.

I don’t know what plan God is forging for me and my family, but it obviously has little to do with my own ambitious devices.  So I am focusing on Kingdom work while I wait for His plan to unfold.  And I am trusting that the day my student loan payment is due, we’ll be able to pay it because of the miraculous providence of God.

*Jesus clearly states that these things are food and drink, your life, and clothes (vs. 25 – 31). Jesus says He knows what we need in verse 32.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


I’ve been reading the story of Joseph for the past few weeks in my daily Bible study.  In Genesis 45, Joseph invites his brothers to move to Egypt in order to survive the remaining years of famine.  I stopped at this chapter for a long, long time.  Why would God allow His people to move to Egypt when He knew that in several hundred years, they would be completely oppressed by Pharaoh, enslaved by a vicious ruler?

And then one day, the answer came to me!  How would God’s people understand redemption if they had not been enslaved first?  Although God sent Moses to be the deliverer, it was through God’s mighty acts of power that the people were actually saved.  God showed His power through ten separate judgements, but the final judgement of the death of the firstborn established the feast of Passover, and more importantly, pointed to a redemption yet to come.  If the Israelites in Exodus had not experienced that final judgement, the Israelites in the New Testament would not have understood the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross.  They would have had no frame of reference for the redemptive shedding of blood nor what it meant to be delivered from slavery. God allowed His people to be enslaved by Egypt to provide a frame of reference for the work He would do centuries later.

Since we left Vienna, almost two years ago, there have been many times when we felt enslaved, oppressed, forgotten by God.  When you are separated from the people and the country you love while you are going through deep hurts and trials, it can feel like slavery.

God has given us so much in the last two years.  A place to live and work are just the beginning.  He’s allowed me to almost complete my graduate degree.  He’s given Joe two years of IB teaching experience.  He’s allowed the kids to gain a better understanding of their home culture.  And He’s planted us in a Church family who tirelessly works to break through the walls that we unknowingly create around our family to show us love. He’s brought healing and growth in areas of our lives that I thought were beyond repair.  He is a good and gracious Father, and I don’t want to take away the value from any of that. But in our hearts, we are often oppressed.

And just like the Israelites, we cry out to God for Him to remember His promise.  The Israelites longed to be in the land God had given them.  And we ask God to allow the pain we have been through to count for something, to be worth something, to be useful to someone.

When our Church announced an opportunity to minister to career missionaries serving in Northern Germany, we struggled for a long time with whether we should commit to go.  But one night, through teary eyes, we understood that all the pain and hurt we had gone through could be used to minister to these people who share the same pressures and stressors we had while ministering overseas.  It was as if God remembered us, assuring us that our past struggles would be used for His future plans.

The journey to our promised land is still filled with obstacles.  Rather than wander in the desert for 40 years, $4000 must be raised.  And instead of battling huge, walled cities and massive armies, work schedules, graduate school responsibilities, and the kid’s school tasks must be tackled.  But we trust that the same God who led Israel as a cloud by day and fire by night will lead us as well.

If you would like to partner with us on this short-term mission opportunity, you can make a tax-deductible donation through our Church in three ways:

     1. You can give online at this link
            Change the “To:” box to “Germany Trip Overby.”
     2. You can text your donation from your phone.
           Text “$xxdeoverby” to the number 84-321 (the xx represents the donation amount).
           For example, if you want to give $50, your text should read “$50deoverby”

        3.  You can also give by check.
           The check should be made payable to The Vintage Church with Overby Germany
           Trip on the memo line.
           Mail the check to The Vintage Church, 107 E. Lamar, McKinney, TX  75069

Thank you for prayerfully considering a donation to our trip and for being obedient to how the Spirit leads you.  We have been blessed by so many of you who continue to partner with us through each unexpected turn our lives have taken.  We thank God for each of you.