Let’s bring Paul back up. Now, we do know he went away––almost directly––after he was converted into the wilderness and was taught by the Holy Spirit the things of the Lord. There, I’m sure he prayed and fasted and sought the Lord. There, he was prepared to do what the Lord had called him to do. Then, when he returned from the wilderness, he sought out the disciples (a like-minded community). All of these things were preparation and investments into what the Lord gave him vision for (pun intended). Continue reading
I think part of our act of stewardship is committing to our piece of the vision. Commitment has two parts. The first is starting. Going out on a limb, taking risks, and actually taking the first steps to “doing” it is the first part of commitment. Continue reading
Over the past six days, I have had the privilege of being able to come out and visit everyone here at Achord. It has been great to see each person again and talk with them about vision, what God is doing, and where God is leading them. As Mike would say, “It’s an exciting time to be alive.” I couldn’t agree more. Continue reading
“We can only evangelize out of an overflow of our intimacy with Jesus.” Those words ran through my mind as I awkwardly walked down the streets Shibuya, a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan. Earlier that Friday morning our team had met to spend time in worship and pray before going out for street evangelism.
We split into teams and then we headed out. My team planned to go to the park, play worship music and talk to people as they walked by. We took a brief stop at the local family mart and I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to buy bread and water. So, I picked some out and continued on my walk to the park. Near the entrance I saw a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. The Holy Spirit told me to talk to him. Fear of man suddenly overtook me as I walked on ignoring that small whisper.
My group continued on and got to the spot where we would set up camp to worship. At that time Holy Spirit whispered again to me telling me to talk to that homeless man. Fear came over me again, but this time I did not let that stop me. Before Jesus would minister to people, the Scriptures say he was filled with compassion. At that moment I began to understand what He felt. So this time I decided to obey the Holy Spirit and began to walk back through the park to talk with that homeless man. When I found him I awkwardly sat down beside him, said konnichiwa (good afternoon in japanese,) and asked him if he spoke any English. Of course to my luck, he could not speak any English at all, neither did I know any Japanese.
I took out that piece of bread and broke it in half and ate together with him. I went back to the store to get some hot food for him. After giving it to him we then sat for 2 hours trying to communicate through hand signs and facial gestures. I think we talked about basketball, Obama, and World War 2. What started out as an awkward meeting turned into a great time!
My friends (who spoke Japanese,) thankfully stopped by to translate for me. The homeless man expressed his shock of how people would stop just to talk with him, especially foreigners. He talked about how his own people looked at him with shame and disgust. We were able share the love of Christ with him and view him on our level, not some worthless homeless man that society told him he was. My eyes began to water as it was time for us to depart. We prayed for him and gave him hugs as we left.
Passion for Jesus fuels everything. We cannot even attempt to love people without first loving God. So many times have I disobeyed that small whisper to show love and share Truth with someone. If we were really in love with Jesus, wouldnʼt we want to always introduce others to our great passion? I believe there is a good reason why Jesus listed the 2 greatest commandments in the order He did.
Karl Barth said “I can edify myself only as I edify the community”. I love the quote for several reasons. I love that it presupposes we live in community and that the message that edification comes through putting others first. I must admit that at first I couldn’t think of any scripture to support it but then I thought of “look not only to your interests but to the interests of others”, “Jesus come not to be served but to serve”, and “ Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for another”. It goes hand in hand with the “no salvation outside the church” (extra Ecclesiam nulla salus) or to put it another way baptism is not a solitary act but baptism is an identification not only with Christ’s death and resurrection but his life. So we are baptized into Christ and into his body. Continue reading
I’ve been reading the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren as part of my devotional time. In this book there is a chapter about why we are here, on earth. The book states that we are here for God’s pleasure, not our own. Which is true, by the way. Continue reading
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Sometimes it’s the things that aren’t said that mean more than the things that are.
Wow! I cannot believe that it’s already December! It seems like just yesterday that it was my birthday (August), or the beginning of summer. It even seems weird that it’s already a year since last Christmas. And, of course, with the arrival of December comes what people still insist on calling the “holiday season.” Although I am seeing less and less evidence of “holiday spirit.” I work in retail, right? So I see greed pretty much every day. People coming and spending anywhere from $100 to $1,000 on things that they definitely do not need. They come in and say “Oh man, I really need to change the decor in my house!” Then they proceed to drop more money that I’ve ever seen at one time on frivolous and unnecessary things that they’ll probably just change out next year anyway. And don’t even get me started on Black Friday!