Jerry Iamurri's blog

Transformed Lives

InFaith missionaries serve at camps all over the nation. Last week I had the privilege of spending time at Galilee Bible Camp in LaFollette, TN, where I witnessed lives being transformed. Here is an interview with one of the children.

A God Story

I love to hear the amazing God stories that our InFaith staff around the country share with us. I’m thankful for the mission of our Field Director for Southern California, Keith Stringfellow, who shared the following story recently: Great plans were laid for an Easter outreach in Sunshine Summit, a family activity to share the events of Jesus’ final week. The various stations, crafts, game supplies, BBQ, and volunteers were poised and ready to greet the many or few who would show up in the impoverished little trailer park. This ‘Amazing Race’ was supposed to begin at 10 on Saturday. By 10:30, still no one showed interest from their shrouded trailer windows. I, Keith, began to feel discouraged, even angry, that all this effort was for naught; and how embarrassing to the team of volunteers who gave their time and heart to reaching kids for Christ. Then God said, “Do the race anyhow, make it fun and special” for the three church kids who were there with their parents. So, the “race” began with a junior high and high school boy racing against the Young family. This family team included a 10-year-old, his Dad, and his two older siblings, including Jacob whom I had never met. I couldn’t help but notice the pure happiness that this family was experiencing as the 10-year-old and his siblings in their 20s were mutually encouraging each other and cheering on their Dad. At the final station, “the empty tomb,” they all sat attentively on the ground as I shared the resurrection of Jesus and hope we have today. We enjoyed the BBQ lunch; it was like an old fashioned, country town church picnic. I got to know Jacob a bit as he shared about his experience as a college student and lack of any...

Facing Trouble

“For our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us a glory that will far outweigh them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 The scripture for the week at Camp Grace in eastern Wyoming was from 2 Corinthians and all about facing trouble and distress. As we discussed the text, it reminded me of all the InFaith missionaries and pastors from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church who openly discuss their discouragement in ministry. Covid and our political climate have worked together to create a tension in our churches and mission points that is unique in our lifetimes. For many in the Lord’s service they feel they can echo the words of the Apostle who declared, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Cor. 1:8). But if we continue in 2 Corinthians 1, we hear from Paul in verses 9 and following, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…” Trouble in our lives helps conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), it helps drive us to put our trust in the Lord more fully (2 Cor. 1:9) and it helps us to help other people (2 Cor.1:3-7). Despite all of our afflictions, we can affirm with confidence what scriptures teaches in 2 Cor. 12:9 where the Lord declares, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” If you’re struggling today with discouragement, turn to the Word, remember God’s faithfulness to you in the past, and have courage relying on his faithfulness for the future.

Camp Grace

"One thing is certain, that the unity of believers in Christ must be made more manifest as an undeniable fact somehow, if the Church is to realize her vocation as a holy nation called out of darkness to show forth the virtues of Him whose name she bears, and win for Him the world's homage and faith...Without unity the Church can neither glorify Christ, commend Christianity as divine, nor have the glory of Christ abiding on herself." - A.B. Bruce What an extraordinary week of Christian unity I just experienced at Camp Grace and Dry Creek in eastern Wyoming! At Camp Grace, about 70 students ages 10-18 plus over a dozen leaders, studied the Bible, played, sang, and worshipped the Lord Jesus Christ. On the last night, 30 children gave testimonies to God’s faithfulness in their lives. At least two campers prayed to become Christians and at least three spoke to me about being missionaries. Of all the wonderful things observed, one of the most encouraging was the way the campers responded to one another during the testimony night. However polished and practiced the campers were (or weren’t), they were met with pure affirmation and a lot of love as they put themselves “out there” and talked about how God is working in their young hearts. Of course the Bible teaching, preaching, spiritual conversations, and organization were all greatly edifying as one would expect from a camp whose history goes back to the 1930’s. The unity of theology and purpose, the bold and clear proclamation of the gospel, and the warm relationships between campers, staff, and parents made it absolutely unforgettable.

Joe Kim

As of last Friday, InFaith Missionary Pastor Joe Kim is the Moderator-Elect of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Pastor Joe is one of those unique followers of Jesus who is passionate about creating Christian community where none exists and then sowing the seeds of God’s word, watering it with his prayers and cultivating it in collaboration with his brothers and sisters in Christ. As Pastor Joe has gone about laying the foundations of the Hope-Philly church plant, he is keenly aware of the needs, feelings, and the concerns of other people—and he puts them ahead of his own. At a recent Bible study led by Pastor Joe, a 7-year-old girl had composed some lyrics for a song—in crayon—from a torn page of a coloring book. As the Bible study was concluding, she walked up to Pastor Joe, lyrics in one hand and a pink child’s guitar in the other, and said, “Pastor Joe, will you put my words to music and sing my song to the group? Now?” On the spot, without skipping a beat, Pastor Joe tuned the guitar, set the words to music, and sang the little girl’s song in front of the whole group. The smile on the child’s face said it all. He made her day and gave all of us gathered an example of Christlike leadership that places the highest significance on even the tiniest disciple. Pastor Joe has a heart for people that seeks out the good of others and that will make him a wonderful addition to the long line of passionate InFaith missionaries and faithful EPC Moderators.

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ, Part 2

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God’s being, sustaining all things by his powerful word . Hebrews 1:3 When it comes time to handle persecution and hardship, the Bible tells us that our only hope is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. We learn in Hebrews 1:1-3 that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of truth, and we can see in today’s verse the very highest language in the Bible about the nature of Jesus Christ himself. Jesus is the transcendent and uncreated God of the Universe. He is the creator and sustainer of all that exists. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. In the Old Testament, when Moses is bringing the children of Israel out of captivity in Egypt the radiance of God’s glory appears as a fiery pillar at night and in daytime it looks more like a cloud with fire in it. It is so awesome and so powerful that when the Egyptian army is after the children of Israel, the fiery cloud stops the Egyptian army, and they can’t get past it. Later it leads the children of Israel through the wilderness and when it comes down on Mt. Sinai there is thunder and lighting, and no one can even touch the mountain, or they’ll die. Years later, when the temple is dedicated under King Solomon, down comes the glory cloud—the fiery cloud—and it comes into the temple and anyone near cannot even stand on their feet and they fall to the ground. What is that fiery cloud? It is the radiance of God’s glory. One pastor describes it as God in a form we can see that expresses his brilliance, his beauty, his infinite overwhelming shattering greatness and importance…Now in Hebrews we see that Jesus...

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ, Part 1

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. Hebrews 1:1-4 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. Hebrews 2:1 “If God is committed to me then why is life so hard?” Hebrews answers this question by showing how the Christian life is a journey toward a destination. It is a journey from persecution into the presence of God. It is a journey from trouble into triumph, from sin to salvation, from exhaustion into rest. And you only get to your destination by keeping your eyes on Jesus Christ and holding on to him alone. Our temptation is to drift away from Christ when things get difficult, but God is reminding us in the Book of Hebrews that our only hope is to be anchored into the truth. And the truth is that the only way a believer can endure hardship and trouble is if Jesus Christ fills their vision. The letter to the Hebrews encourages believers by reminding us “who Jesus is” and “what Jesus came to do.” These issues are as important today as they were then—because when your vision of Christ begins to fade your faith weakens...

Our Deepest Need, Part 2

Read Mark 2:1-12. Very often we come to church with our deepest wish, only to have Jesus say, “You need to go a lot deeper than that. I am offering you more.” This is what Jesus is offering: “Your sins can be forgiven. You can be reconciled with me, united with me, you can have a friendship with me. You can have meaning and purpose, fulfillment, fellowship, and satisfaction when you begin to organize your life in reference to me.” How can Jesus say that? He can say that because Jesus Christ is God incarnate. The scribes wondered in Mark 2:7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus’ response: “That’s right and that is who you’re talking to…” Jesus refers to himself as God by using the Messianic title: The Son of Man. “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Mark 2:10. Jesus is called by that title 80 times in the Bible…that is His favorite way to reference Himself. What does it mean? Where does it come from? In Daniel 7, The Divine Eternal King from Heaven is referred to as “Son of Man.” Daniel 7:13-14 says, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” What an amazing text. Daniel was written about 575 years before Jesus came to earth. And in Daniel’s prophetic vision a being appears...

Our Deepest Need, Part 1

Read Mark 2:1-12. Can you imagine the scene? A tiny, first century stone house with a flat roof made of mud and straw... A crowd of people so large that it spilled out of the doorway and overflowed into the street… A mob so impenetrable that even a paralyzed man carried by his friends couldn’t get in. So, they take the outside stairs, climb onto the roof, and start digging. They lower their friend into the house and Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven .” It seems like Jesus is missing something, the man is paralyzed. I can imagine the man saying, “Oh, that’s not why I am here, I am here because I can’t walk.” This is the way we all come to Jesus—with a pressing visible need. But Jesus knows something that the man doesn’t know. Jesus understands the man’s deepest need, which goes far beyond his immediate desire. This man has a much bigger problem than his physical condition. Jesus is saying to him, “I understand your problems, I see your suffering and it matters—because you matter. But please realize that the main problem in your life—the main problem in every person’s life is never their suffering; but always their sin.” And by sin, the Bible means our fundamental separation from God—every bad thing proceeds from our fundamental separation from God—Bible scholars refer to this as “The Fall.” We live in a fallen world. A world that is broken. A world that is fractured. A world that is divided and paralyzed. As a result of the Fall, many people live their lives without reference to God. They know the brokenness of the world, the fallenness of the world and they try to fix it—their own way—by relying on something else besides the Creator. They may believe,...

Distractions

“The jet turned at an impossible angle. It was going too fast to make a safe landing. It can’t be a passenger plane, or it would be in trouble.” Those were my thoughts standing by the gate at Sacramento airport. As it got closer, I could see it was a fighter jet and it very lightly touched down before rocketing off the runway and steeply banking to the left just a few hundred feet away from the panoramic windows. As it launched, a roar many times louder than a passenger plane filled the waiting area. That was the jet’s first of several “touch and goes.” What struck me most was not just the plane’s stunning agility, speed, and sound but the fact that no one was watching. Everyone in the waiting area had their heads down, looking at their phones, or just staring off at some far point on a wall seemingly oblivious to the airshow just outside. At one point, an older gentlemen noticed and started looking, but of the hundreds in the waiting area no one else seemed to pay any attention. We live in a distracted country. 24/7 access to the internet has created an insatiable hunger for digital content that cannot be sated by physical reality — even when the reality is visually and aurally spectacular. What does this mean for our spiritual lives? If virtual reality and metaverse connections are so compelling that we become disconnected to the people and events that surround us, how will we ever appreciate supernatural truth? With constant (and seemingly endless) digital input, how will we ever long for eternal reality? This is not an entirely new phenomenon. For decades we have known that if you stand in the middle of Times Square you’ll never be able to see the...

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