Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reflection IV

Three months have already passed since our trip to Addis. What stays in my mind, and what I see in my memory everyday are the beautiful faces. While sitting in traffic one day, just over the guard rail there was a shepherd boy sitting on a steep hill. His goats were grazing in the stubbly grass while he sat, staff in one hand, chin resting in the other. He was deep in thought, and I wondered what his dreams were. What opportunities would be open to him?
I see the smiles of the Great Commission staff that we met, and feel again their love and graciousness. I was humbled by their servant hearts.
Remembering the children makes me smile! Everywhere I went I would hear “Hello! Hello!” I always answered, and loved the responses I would get. (maybe I just like the attention J)
Another face haunts me. It was the earnest, desperate face of a legless man who was begging from cars at a busy intersection. His eyes were clear. He was strong. And he had no legs…a condition that had defined him. What would an education have given him?
How will lives be changed, and a country impacted if we begin to train up leaders and equip believers in Christ to reach children? How will lives be changed when people discover their role in the Big Story-the part Jesus created them to play? We can dream. We can join GCM Ethiopia as brothers and sisters in Christ with a common mission-and maybe future generations will look back and say “look how they changed the world!”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Different Spirit

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1.7)

The world without God and Christ is run and driven by fear. Even for those who know Jesus, we can be controlled by the very subtle forms of fear.

I am learning to keep my guard up against all forms of fear to influence my decisions and actions in life and ministry.

Acts 8 Ministries firmly stands on the conviction that Jesus is absolutely sufficient. Therefore, His people we minister and partner with do indeed have all the power, love and wisdom to follow the Holy Spirit to do all things through Christ who strengthens them and to turn their world upside down.

Our strategy is, therefore, to focus on building local leadership rather than direct aid and resourcing. This takes time. This is not glamorous because we are trying to be the coach rather than the quarterback.

Subtle fears creep in. "You are too naive; nobody will buy such a philosophy of ministry." "If your ministry is not on the front line (i.e. ministering to the poor, preaching the Gospel), you will not be able to gather people, funds and resources to fulfill your (organizational) mission."

Every time I sense them, I have to reject them and bring them to the obedience of Christ. Acts 8 Ministries will operate in the spirit of power and love and self-discipline [prudence] and stay true to its calling.

When and where have you sensed the subtle forms of fear in your life? You have the spirit of power and love and self-discipline to stay true to your calling.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

There Is Hope

Can the prey be taken from the mighty, 
or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?
For thus says the Lord:
"Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken 
and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you, 
and I will save your children."
(Isaiah 49.24-25)

What is your "mighty" and "tyrant" from which you need to be rescued?

They may be sins or addictions. They may be habits that you feel powerless to change. They may be the spirit of resignation so that you often feel resigned to whatever happens to you or the spirit of hopelessness so that you have lost heart.

God promises that He will fight for us. He will fight with us. He will rescue us from our mighty and tyrant that keep us captive. He will set us free!

Yes! There is always hope!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jesus (Part 3)

Listening to God or hearing His voice, as critical and normative as it is for our walk with God, is not the end. As the result of hearing God is to love Jesus deeper.

Being in the beginning of a new year, the fresh start in my life, I am brought back to this. Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind (Matthew 22:37).

If you love him, you will obey him. Then he will manifest himself to you. There is a life-giving power in his manifest presence.

The heart, soul and mind, here, do not refer to three different parts of man but are essentially the same - the center of who you are as an individual human person. Thus, to love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind simply means that you are all in when it comes to loving God. No turning back, no regrets, no reservation, no limits. You love God with all that you are and all that you have every moment of every day, all the days of your life no matter where you are and with whomever you are.

The heart, soul and mind also remind us that the nature and characteristics of our love for God are passionate (heart), alive (soul) and creative (mind). Our love for God is the adoration of our heart, the affection of our soul and the admiration of our mind.

It is my goal for 2012. To love Jesus more in response to his love for me (1 John 4:19).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

This past week, I became doubtful about the upcoming February training trip to Ethiopia. Voices in my head said, "This will never work." "You will fail and disappoint everyone." "Who do you think you are to send a team all the way to Ethiopia?" "This whole thing is insane!"

I knew I was supposed to have faith. But I was having a hard time shaking off these lies and accusations at that moment. So I turned to Scriptures. Looking for verses on faith, I came across Hebrews 10:38.

My righteous one shall live by faith.

Yes! I thought. Actually Hebrews 10:37-38 was a quote from the Old Testament. So I continued.

And if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.

My heart sank. Doubting God's grace and my role in the mission and ministry the Lord clearly invited me into, I was the one who was shrinking back. The Lord would take no pleasure in me. It was a conviction and not a condemnation. So I felt remorse. I quickly asked the Lord for forgiveness for my lack of faith in Him. I never wanted to be the one in whom His soul would have no pleasure. 

Then my eyes fell on the following verse (verse 39).

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

"You are not of those who shrink back but of those who have faith," the Lord clearly spoke to my heart.

Thank you, Father. My burden was lifted. The voices ceased. I heard the Lord through Scriptures. The Word breathed life back into me.