Sunday, January 28, 2018

Defeating the Wisdom of the World

Imagine Marcy. She’s been a single mom for the last few years.  Her little family of three lives month to month barely scraping by. Yesterday her boss came up and suggested she could get a promotion and a small raise if she will just leave out some details on this month’s report.  Not lie.  Just not share this particular information.  Marcy is torn.  She calls you asking for prayer and good advice.

What would you tell Marcy?  Where can you turn in the Bible for this kind of absolutely practical advice?  We know there is no, "Thou shalt not leave out important details." It is in situations just like this one where living in and living out the story of scripture helps.  Let me suggest a story from Jeremiah.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Up in Smoke

Recently as I was giving my servants their morning chores (in other words I was loading the dishwasher and starting the washing machine), I was listening to my audio Bible.  As usual, I was lost in listening.  Suddenly I gasped aloud in shock.  From the other room my surprised husband called out to find out what was wrong.  Here’s the story…

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Small Part of God's Mission

Missional.  It's one of those "Christian Buzz Words" like "Jesus Follower" and "Community." They all evolved out of a need to recapture the meaning of another word that was being over/misused.  Unfortunately though what happens sometimes is that they become a kind of sign.  "Cool church ahead!"

To be fair I like the word "missional". It simply means our every action is should further God's great mission in His Kingdom.  And it was built on a solid Biblical foundation--Jesus' words in Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Yet like the other buzz words I fear that much of its impact has been lost in our hashtag culture. The grand visions-defeating addiction, stopping hereditary poverty, saving orphans and solving the refugee crisis-are too big for one ordinary person to tackle. We live in a world that seems to imagine that a FB like, a retweet, a pin, or hashtag promotion is the answer. I like awareness as much as the next blogger (IE a lot), but I am not fooling myself. When in the parable the Lord was asked, "Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?" He did not reply  ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you included my hashtag, you did it to Me" (Matthew 25:37-40).

Why is this on my mind? Let me share some pictures with you. 

Ready to be a part of God's Mission in a practical way today?  Come learn more about how you can personally bless 42 orphan children in Kenya suffering from a drought today.
In Kenya, in the Maasi region, there is a terrible drought.  Simply put the rains did not come in their season and as a result animals, crops, and people are dying.

Ready to be a part of God's Mission in a practical way today?  Come learn more about how you can personally bless 42 orphan children in Kenya suffering from a drought today.
The church in Leboo

In this same part of Kenya there's a church.  In the picture above they have a couple of guys from the Commerce church of Christ in Texas stopping by to visit with them.  They've been providing funding for buildings etc. for the last few years.
Ready to be a part of God's Mission in a practical way today?  Come learn more about how you can personally bless 42 orphan children in Kenya suffering from a drought today.
The children at school

That church answered God's call to take care of the fatherless, and late last year opened its doors to 42 orphan children.  They built a Christian school for them and for the local children to attend.

A school, a church, an orphanage and a drought.  What does that add up to?  Well in the words of their evangelist, Nathan Oloumu...

"The great challenge that we face here as a community is the lack of water. There are no wells in several villages. People will walk for over 7 Kilometers to get to the nearest water source. As for the orphanage will need help to get a well and also get tanks to harvest the rain water." (Read his full statement here)

A well is expensive business.  The one Mr. Oloumu is working on to provide care for these children and his village will cost 18,000 dollars (see detailed invoice here). It is not meant to only alleviate the current drought but provide a convenient and safe source of water for years to come.

Which brings us full circle back to grand visions and "missional" life.  

Ready to be a part of God's Mission in a practical way today?  Come learn more about how you can personally bless 42 orphan children in Kenya suffering from a drought today.

I have never been a grand vision girl.  I've never started a charity that served millions.  But I have asked friends for a 100 dollars so I could buy Bibles to give away so my students could read God's word for the very first time.  I have never been able to see that all the orphans in Africa had what they needed; my part in God's great mission is a small one. But I'd like to ask you, to be a small part of that mission today.  Not to help not every fatherless child in Africa, but 42 thirsty orphans in Kenya.  

My local congregation is partnering with Mr. Oloumu and the Commerce church in Texas to raise money towards that 18,000.  Our local church is small and not wealthy, but we raised more than a 10th of the price in a single Sunday of giving.  And with an active GoFundMe we are hoping to give others an opportunity to participate.  

How could you help?  

You can give a little money.  There is no overhead here, no sense of paying for administrators or offices.  You are buying water for orphan children.  And not bottled water that will run out next week but the supply of water they will need to grow up strong and healthy.  Find our GoFundMe here.

You can also get the word out.  I know that social media will not change the world.  But we aren't raising awareness here, we are trying to find enough Christians to solve a real problem. I have reached out on all my outlets (including this one now!) to the Christians I know.  Can you do the same?  

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Table Privilege

Privilege might seem like a obsessively modern term. We discuss it in terms of social leverage, financial, educational, gender and racial divides. But the divide is more ancient than modern.  Take the story of the cross: Jospeh of Arimathea and the woman who followed Jesus.  

All of the gospels tell Joseph's tale, a rich man, a powerful man religiously, socially and politically.  When it comes to privilege, he had it all.  All the gospels tell the women's tale as well. When it comes to privilege, they had less: less money, less power, less standing in their community, and less political influence. 

Yet they all wanted the same thing: Jesus’ body.  United in this common desire to honor their Rabbi, they were brave.  Joseph was afraid of declaring himself yet goes to Pilate and asks for the body of Jesus.  The women watched all the disciples/apostles but John flee, yet stand at the foot of the cross as mute witnesses to their own Lord’s death.    United in their common desire to honor their Rabbi, they honor his corpse. Joseph takes the Lord’s body and brings the it to his own unused tomb. (Would that I ever had the opportunity to let Jesus take my place of honor.) The women follow him from afar to see where they can come after the Sabbath to bring their spices and prepare his body for burial.  

In Jesus each of us bring all that we have-energy, time, money, standing-to the table as a gift. In our desire to honor the body of our Lord, we stand united at the table of communion. His table permits no divide: one Lord, one meal, one body. Thank God for the privilege of celebrating at His table. 


PS.  Interested in more of these devotionals?  I'd love for you to subscribe and I will send you a FREE PDF/Ebook with 12 short communion devotionals each one perfect for savoring with a cup of coffee on Sunday morning!