Sunday, February 23, 2014

What You Think About What You Don’t See

I am on a plane returning from a week on a mission trip. We worked with Project Honduras on the island of Roatan. For me, the week was a roller coaster of emotions. At times, I felt myself struggling to release my control and yield to the plan that God had for each of us there. At times, I was frustrated that we didn't do more while we were there. At times, I questioned my faith. At times, I had pure joy. At times, I found myself moved to tears.

I started well before we actually left on the trip with my own ideas and expectations. Almost none of them were met. Except one. That one expectation was that we showed the love of Christ and had we did work as sowers. Only God can cause the growth that comes next in those we touched.

At the closing, our leader with Project Honduras, Joe, said something we should all consider. I’ll paraphrase what he said, but essentially I felt a little “called out” on my perceptions. He said that as Americans we judge others based off what we think is best for them. Both as a nation and as individuals. I one of the small villages affected each of us differently, but very deeply. The town was one of poverty. By our measuring stick they were poor…literally dirt poor. Joe challenged our thinking. WE labelled them poor. Not them. When we think of it that way, it was no surprise that there was so much joy and excitement in the community when we were there. There was a part of me that thought what it would be like to live in that city. Not how bad it would be, but how joyous it could be. Joyful for what you have. Faith. Community. Thankfulness. Joy. Many things that are often missing from our daily lives.

One of my favorite sayings is “Ignorance is bliss.” I still believe it is true. BUT, and that is a BIG BUT, with ignorance comes passiveness. Ignorance leads us to inaction. Accepting YOUR status quo leads you to do nothing. But we have a higher calling that extends beyond our own little world. We are called to be sowers; to share the love of Christ. To suffer with Him. There is so much work to do.
I was guilty of looking at the people I worked with as “poor.” My label on them. What I found was a group of people who were very rich. I almost have a sense of dread returning to my mansion, in my luxury vehicle, to my lush accommodations, to my wasteful life. Not mansions or luxury by American standards, but definitely from where I have been.

Just got a push from the Holy Spirit as I was trying to figure out how to close. “Made to Love” by TobyMac has a few lines that were so true for me this week:

What became of the flame that made me feel more
And when did I forget that...

I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me I was made to love
and be loved by you.

Anything I would give up for you
Everything, I'd give it all away 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What is Your Mission?

I saw a post on Facebook that really made me think. It was a post by Barrett Johnson called 'How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home'. The title did it's job; I was intrigued. It certainly made me think. Are you raising your child to be a Christian, or are you raising a good, moral pagan? He challenges you to think about your objective as a parent and what you are really teaching them.

We have had several discussions close to this in Serenity Now, my Sunday School class. We often find ourselves missing the boat as parents. Working hard to raise 'good' kids. Kids that are socially acceptable. Well-rounded kids. All of these are important, but are we addressing the spiritual need? The need to know and understand that Jesus is their savior? We talk about football, basketball, dirt bikes, and Call of Duty frequently. How often do you talk about salvation? How often do you talk about not trying to do it all yourself and relying on God? If you are like me, not nearly enough. Sure there are occasions where we seize the moment, but there are not very many purposeful conversations about this. I mean, we have conversations about puberty, sex, and potential diseases, but not the same type of conversation about your soul spending an eternity in Hell. That topic is pretty important too [unfortunately you can't read how sarcastic that was in my own head]. "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" Matthew 16:26.

Based off scripture, the United Methodist Church stated its purpose:
“The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs” (From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church—2012, p. 91).
Part of that discipleship is ordering our lives in ways that embody Christ’s ministry in our families, workplaces, communities, and the world [read more here].

So here's the question: What is Your Mission? Maybe it is more real conversations at home. Maybe it is reaching out to your local community. Maybe it is a mission trip to Honduras. There are opportunities for mission everyday. The United Methodist Church's website also talks about the multitude of opportunities.

"With Every Act of Love," a song by Jason Gray, put it this way:
"God put a million, million doors in the world for His love to walk through; One of those doors is You!"