Give yourself

Seems like I’m still in the “giving” theme.  This quote comes from Juan Carlos Ortiz.

Now we must make a concrete application. When we speak about love or anything else in the Bible, we must be specific, or it is like sewing without first making a knot at the end of the thread. You can sew and sew and sew, but things stay the same as they always were. Sometimes we even try to sew without any thread at all—just the needle. All we do is make little holes. But the garment stays torn because we don’t take specific steps to conserve our gains.
God does not say, “Love your neighbors.” You cannot love the whole world. He says, “Love your neighbor.” So take one person, one family. Start to pray for that family. Start to look for their problems, their needs—spiritual, material, psychological, all kinds of needs.
Don’t go to them with a tract; you will look like a sales-man. Go to sell yourself. Go to give yourself to them. Let them know that you love them, and give your service to them.  We had an older lady in Argentina who, as she put it, “could never win a soul to Jesus.” (Actually, we don’t believe in winning souls; we believe in winning the soul, body, and spirit—the whole person.) She had been in the church many years. But one day the Lord showed her His Love. She understood that God didn’t send a tract from heaven; He sent His Son, who came and lived with us and healed people. He helped us and shared with us.
The woman decided she could do the same thing.  In front of where she lived was a house for rent. As soon as the new people arrived, she was prepared. She went over with coffee and donuts and said, “I’m bringing you something to eat, because I know you’ve just moved, and you don’t have things ready for cooking yet. I’ll come back later to get the dishes—don’t bother to wash them, because I know you’re busy.  “And by the way, if you want to know about the grocery store, it’s at such-and-such a corner ….” She didn’t put a tract under the donut. She just brought the food and gave them help.  After awhile she came back to get the dishes. She said, “If you need something else, I’m here. If you want anything, I’ll be glad to help you.”
She never preached about Christ. But a month later the whole family was baptized because of the light she had brought them.  Jesus didn’t say, “Let your mouth speak before men in such a way that they may hear your nice words and glorify your Father.” He said, “Let your light shine”—your love!

Advertisements

But I have nothing to give

Yes, you have, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Some people I meet, tell me that they want to do some kind of missionary work or want to do “something”. I usually tell them to go. Then the excuses start. They do not speak well. What will they do when they get there? The unknown is always scary and I can sympathize with that. Here is some advice. Connect with people that are already in the field and tag along. And when you get there…Be a servant. Wash the dishes. Clean the floor. Plant some flowers. Look for opportunities to help out and serve.

If you come to South Africa, come to love. Be ready to hold children. God gave you two arms. Use them to show love. You may think that this is too simple, but it’s not. Bill Kinnon’s daughter and her best friend were here in South Africa teaching art at an orphanage. You can read all about it on their blog, but there is one post I want you to read. It’s called “A giggle of joy”. Look at the pic. That is what you CAN do. I will never forget the first day when Anette(my better half), came home and told me she had to “teach” the mother of a 15 year old boy how to hug him. As in “this arm goes here, that hand should hold there. His head should be here.” In 15 years he has never been hugged. In 15 she never told him that she loved him. He was not the exception. We have 10 year olds running households because the parents died of AIDS. I’m very sure they need a hug or two.

So there you have it. You have enough to give. Come anytime.

hug

Freedom

One of the best studies I’ve ever came across is by Neil Carter, called “Free at last”.   It is a study of Galatians and I consider it one of the most important pieces ever written on freedom in Jesus.   We read it at presicely the right time and it gave words to what we felt at the time.

With his permission, I’ve put it a PDF document.  Download it, read it and study it.  Do it slowly.  Take your time.  It’s brilliant.

Free At Last

Here is an abstract.

But by far the most significant thing about these two lists is that Paul calls the activities of the flesh “works,” while he calls the activities of the Spirit “fruit.” What is the difference? Only the difference between two completely different worlds! If there is one word which describes how the flesh operates, it is the word “works.” What we need to realize is that most of the things we have been doing for God are works, rather than fruit.
Did you know that the flesh wants to serve God just as much as the Spirit? Only the Spirit does it because the Father wants it, while the flesh does things for God in order to look better.

Neil also wrote a book called Christ in Y’all.(There seems to be a recurring theme.) It can be bought at amazon,

I hope it will have the same impact on you.  God bless.

Question 13

What struck me about the people around Jesus is that the worse they felt about themselves, the likelier they saw Jesus as a refuge.  Peter could not wait to get to Jesus after he betrayed Jesus.  A prostitute entered the home of a Pharisee to wash the feet of Jesus.  That is a pretty hostile environment for a prostitute.  The down-and-out were never afraid to touch Jesus and always tried to be close to Him.

My question then is this:  Do we(the church) have the same effect on people?

Children

Consider these words by Frederick Buechner.

We are children, perhaps, at the very moment when we know that it is as children that God loves us—not because we have deserved His love and not in spite of our undeserving; not because we try and not because we recognize the futility of our trying; but simply because He has chosen to love us. We are children because He is our Father; and all our efforts, fruitful and fruitless, to do good, to speak truth, to understand, are the efforts of children who, for all their precocity, are children still in that before we loved Him, He loved us, as children, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sometimes there’s a comfort in knowing that God loves me as a child.  I will never forget the day we came back from work only to find out, we’ve been burgled.  The thieves went through our home and had thrown everything on the floor.  It was a mess.  Everything was lying all over the place.  You could hardly walk.  In came Laura.  I think she was about 2 years old.  She looked around and started to sing her favourite song.  Then she proceeded to skip and hop over the mess.  She was totally happy.  I remember thinking, “This is from God.  God is showing me…something.”  He was there, in the mess.

Now and then, I look at the world and see the terrible and heartbreaking stuff that’s happening.  I tend to grow “old” and cynical.  Doom and gloom can take a hold.

Mike Yaconelli wrote this in his introduction of “Dangerous wonder”.  When I was six years old, my favourite comic book character was Superman. I admired his strength, his x-ray vision, his colourful uniform and bright red cape. What captured my imagination most was Superman’s ability to fly. Many of my childhood fantasies were about flying. I wanted to fly! I honestly believed flying was still a possibility. I would talk my friends into playing Superman, and they would play for a while, but soon they would tire of the game because I wouldn’t let anyone else be Superman. I had to be Superman, I told them, because I knew more about flying than they did.

Sneaking into my parents’ bathroom, I would find the stash of forbidden towels (the thick, new ones reserved only for guests). Once outside, with the towel tied around my neck and dragging on the dirt behind me, I would run as fast as I could and jump off the highest survivable launching pad I could find. With arms outstretched, cape billowing behind me, wind rushing past my ears, I believed I was flying.

Then came a day when, without warning, without provocation, I woke up, never to wear a “cape” again. Wherever the knowledge came from, it came nonetheless, and from that moment on I knew flying was nothing more than a childhood fantasy. I would never fly … and there is no Superman.

In retrospect, my day of “enlightenment” was a very sad day. I know now that something inside of me died that day. Whatever the “something” was, it was the stuff of dreams and imagination—the place where dancing, singing, laughter, and playing lived. Even at six, I understood that the possibility of flying wasn’t the point: it was the aliveness I felt when I thought I could fly; it was the voice I heard deep inside—a warm and loving voice, a living, believing voice, a wild and dangerous voice. Every time I heard that voice, I recognized who it was: God. But that day, when I was just six years young, my God-hearing went bad.

My God-hearing also goes bad from time to time.  But then, God reminds me of the time Jesus said we should “become like little children”.  God loves me as a child and with that, the doom and gloom seems to lift and a world full of wonder and promise opens up.  A world where God is present in the mess.

Thank You Father!!