Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Africa Part 1: Who would Jesus hang out with in your world?

When you walk into a room who do you look for? When you find yourself in a conversation what topics do you bring up? Often I find myself looking for the people I know. Then I look for the people that may be the most important and most influential. How about you? Do you look for the people in the crowd that are the movers and shakers? Do you find a way to mention how important you are or maybe how important this other person is? If not then you are better than most of us. Most of us do this without even thinking about it. So it may take some time to consider your actions and to be truly honest with yourself about your daily conversations.

Why is this important? As I look at scripture, I see Jesus hanging out with those that are outcast and disconnected from the elite crowd of His day. Jesus did not center His attention on the most religious, actually Jesus considered the value of all people. Jesus soiled His personal reputation for the sake of others. Stop now and think about this. Our Savior and Lord had a reputation of being a drunkard and a glutton. Jesus hung out with drunkards, tax collectors (thieves), prostitutes, and a host of other sickly outcasts. I love that Jesus was a friend of sinners. No other religious leader of His day was. So what does this mean for you and me? What does this have to do with Africa.?

Most people would not see the people that we ministered with and to as important or influential but the thought came to me while walking through these remote villages, "This is where Jesus would be." How would Jesus treat these people? I saw believers in the land of the persecuted living by faith and shaped by the authentic love of God. I saw a sweet community of believers clinging to the precious word of the Gospel. I now see these wonderful people as modern day saints teaching me what it truly means to walk with Jesus. I was humbled and blessed to be in the presence of some of our greatest followers our our day. Followers who will most likely remain anonymous known only by there Father in heaven. They may not have a degree, write a book, or go to largest church but they are faithfully walking daily with our Lord. Oh, how much I have to learn about value in in the Kingdom. I must be honest, I need a daily perspective check. I thank the Lord for His grace to be a part of their lives, even for one brief week!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Internal Impact

How long has it been since you have been impacted in a significant way? How does God get you attention? What does it take for you to be open to the work of God in this world? I am not sure how you answered these questions but I know that God got my attention last week in Africa. To be fair, we don't have the luxury of going to Africa each time we need a new perspective on life. Most of the time I believe that we are jaded and distracted from God's purposes. This past week God woke me up to some of the most amazing truths and took me to a new place in my own walk with Him.

All People Matter - Jesus Thinks So
The Ministry of Presence
God is Not A Drive-Thru
God's Kingdom is Advancing
The Necessity of Daily Obedience
A Spiritual Death Sentence - Growing Dead Churches
Poverty in The World
Getting off Our Crutches
Learning to be Dependant

These are just a few of the lessons that I took from last week and will write on over the next few days. I look forward to relating my trip to Africa as I write and hope that you will be encouraged and challenged.

Don't forget:
God is always trying to get our attention. Are you attentive to work of God in your life and to His perspective on this life? Let God do a deep in work in your life. I know it is hard. I put up a fight. Let's let God have His way with us. God will speak and will to take us to a new place of faith. Let's give Him the space He needs and respond obediently to His leading.