Passover to Pentecost

I wonder:

How many people that yelled “crucify him” during Passover (Mark 15) were then “cut to the heart” at Pentecost (Acts 2)?

Surely there were some?

50 days.

Enemies of Jesus.  Violent.  Hate-filled.

Suddenly transformed.

Do we believe that God can still transform lives like that?

Do we pray to that end?

Shouldn’t we???

 

Don’t Forget the Mission!!!

I was reading from Mark 13 this morning – as Jesus is telling Peter, James, John and Andrew about the signs of the end of the age. He’s telling them about what will happen to them and how they will have power (from the Spirit) to know what to say.

BUT, in the middle of it – as if he’s telling them “don’t forget the mission!!!” – he says “And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.” Just right in the middle.

Brothers and Sisters – let’s not forget that we have a Jesus Mission in the midst of all that is going on in our world! The gospel must FIRST be proclaimed to all nations (our own included!).

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13:9-11

Make them dangerous!

I’ve said it before.  I’ll say it again.  This is not a mommy-blog.

That said, my kids started school today.  Aren’t they a great bunch???

10527843_10152698935930320_2420538904785269511_n

I saw a meme on Facebook today and it read:

Father,
Please keep them
safe
this year.
Amen

Hm.  I understand that the world we live in can be scary, but I propose that mission-minded families say a different prayer as we begin this school year:

Father,
Please make them dangerous!
Lead them to engage a broken world.
Strengthen their faith
and USE them for your glory!
Amen

That’s what I’m praying for these six.

Will you join me?

 

Living in the Not Yet; Longing for Redemption

We were riding in the car, talking about the day ahead and planning the schedule.  Our Brother said that there was an opportunity to go along and visit the home and family of three of the children living at the orphanage.  They had only been back to their home one other time and that was four years ago.

Did we want to go along?

I have learned that these opportunities are usually the very ones that God uses to stretch and grow me; the ones that aren’t on the original agenda.

We said “yes”.

The next morning, we loaded up and followed another car that carried the three children to visit their parents and “di-di” (little brother).  When I met these children just the day before, they greeted me with wide, bright eyes and smiling faces.  I caught a glimpse through our car windows that morning; their smiles were gone.

After driving for over an hour, the car came to a stop at the base of a foothill.  The area around us was stunning.  The land was lush and nearly untouched by industry and technology.  A short hike up the hill (in a skirt and flip flops, no less!) led us to the place these children had once called home.

IMG_4686

 

IMG_4687

 

My team mate and I stayed back while the children, our Brother and our Sister, the orphanage director, went to engage the family.  I’m not sure the family knew we were accompanying the children on their visit, but they didn’t seem to care that we were there.

Our Brother came to us after a short time and started to paint the picture of the family situation.  Poverty.  Mental illness.  Misplaced value of marriage.  Selfishness.  As he spoke, my heart broke into a million pieces…

“Why in the world am I even here?” was the thought that pulsed in my heart and mind.

Left alone again with my thoughts, I looked out into the hills and wondered how many voices cried out from unmarked graves; victims of a family planning policy and hundreds of years of a cultural preference of sons over daughters.  My heart continued to break…

The family gathered for a picture.

IMG_4689

 

Mental illness allows a smile – one that is oblivious to the circumstance.  Apart from that smile, the picture is void of joy; the weight of the situation is evident in the faces of the other 5 members of the family.

As we prepare to leave, the di-di is overcome with emotion; the older three maintain a stoic mode that gets them through the good-byes.  Their mother waves and smiles; their father encourages them to work hard and succeed. Our Sister, the orphanage director, chokes back the tears.  She reaches for left-over breakfast food and runs it quickly to the di-di.

As we drive away, the tears swell in our Sister’s eyes; she can no longer contain them.  She wants to do more.  She wants to bring the di-di with us; he begged as we drove away.  She simply cannot house one more child right now.

The car ride back to the orphanage was silent.  Too many thoughts in our minds and hearts.  I was overcome with emotions I didn’t think I was capable of.  I was so frustrated!  Where could we even start to help?  How could we help without hurting?  How could we even begin to fix this?  No amount of community development can erase generations of tradition, thought and prejudice.

In that moment, the Father stepped into the middle of my thoughts and reminded me:

You live in the not yet.
I will step in and fix this all.
No more mental illness.
No more poverty.
No more fatherless children.
No more gendercide.
No more hunger.

Even as I recount that day – almost 2 months later – I have to allow God to remind me that we live in the not yet.  The faith He has grown in my heart that He will step in and redeem all this brokenness is what allows me to work on behalf of the orphan now.  In this not yet, He allows his people to be active agents of reconciliation.  We cannot fix it, but we can love like Jesus did.  And somehow, loving like Jesus did makes us more like Him.

Right now, that has to be enough…

 

(re)

Reconciliation!

Rejoice!

Revival!

I’m enamored by “re” words lately!  These are my current favorites.

One of my favorite songs is “Rejoice” by Dustin Kensrue.

Two books I am working thru are:

“ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church” by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch

and

“Replant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again” by Darrin Patrick and Mark Devine

My heart is longing and begging God for revival…

Lord, reconcile a lost world – and your Church (!) – to Yourself!

Give us a heart of rejoicing in the gift of your salvation!

 

The Nations… Around the Dinner Table

The Mr. and I just returned from a week in Mexico.

Yes.  It was amazing.

He was invited to speak at a conference.  The host of the event was happy to have me along!  Basically, the Mr. worked all day and then we had our evenings together.  If he’s working all day and I’m at the beach, then this was bound to happen:

10548262_10202286471064984_8944608343020210613_o

The lighting was likely off in the room, but I did manage a pretty sweet tan.  And the Mr. looks like he went to a conference in a fluorescent lit building.

Part of his time commitment was dinner with the attendees of the conference.  I was kind of dreading it.  I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation about business and marketing and such.

But, then God… isn’t he kind?

He sat me at dinner every night – with the Nations!

A couple from Australia.  A Scot that currently resides in Costa Rica.  An Israeli that lives in South Africa.  Italians. Canadians.  A Chinese man living in New York City.  A woman from Chile.  A handful of Americans from places far from me.  And many more that I didn’t have the pleasure of dining with.

It was amazing.

I loved it!  I truly believe that each and every person I engaged in conversation knew how interested I was in their country, their culture, their family and their stories.  Dinner every night was an incredible blessing and gift for my heart – not the boring business conversation I was dreading.

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4