Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Conundrums of Fundraising...

  Somebody asked me the other day how I felt about having to fundraise for missions and I gave them this honest depends on the moment.  Call it a lack of faith or just being human but I tend to swing back and forth between being totally confident in God and totally freaking out about the amount of  money I need to raise.
  On the one hand I absolutely believe that God pays for what He plans.  I think Hudson Taylor said it best when he said "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply".  We serve a God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and thus I have no doubt that God can provide for me or anyone as He sees fit.  And so in that vein, a part of me does not worry at all...why should I?
  But...then on the other those moments, when I am staring at the facts and figures and realize that I basically have to raise in four and a half months what it takes me about eight months of work to earn....I am overwhelmed.  Can this really be done?  How is this going to work out? Obviously the only solution is that I need stop eating and driving and basically doing anything else that costs money for the rest of the year so that I can save my every last penny for this mission!
  The reality is though...that this....raising money for missions... is not suppose to be like that.  It's not about making my own way and being self-reliant.  It's about asking people to join in the ministry with you and involving others in the work God is doing through you!  And while it's humbling and completely awkward to stand before people over and over and over again, pleading with them to give you money...ultimately it's not about you...or in this case me.
  So am I stressed out about this part of my mission...Yes!  Am I confident that God will provide...Yes!  Do I still worry and freak out...Yes!  But do I trust God...Yes!  I'm not sure how those all fit together...but they do...and that's where I am at.  So pray for me people...and then, if you feel led, join in this ministry with me!  Amen! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In Spirit and In Truth...

  The other day (meaning over a week or so ago) I was reading through John as part of my read through the bible in a year program, and I came to the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).   It's one of those stories that I am quite familiar with and thus I have a tendancy to skim it more than actually read it.  However, this time around, I got stuck on verse 23 where Jesus says, "But the time is coming - indeed it is now here- when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.  The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way".
  I couldn't help but think what does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth?  I hear people say this verse all the time (and by people I mean other Christians and pastors), but honestly I can't say I've ever really thought about what it means.  So I did a bit of a word study...meaning I looked up the greek words for "spirit" and "truth"...and I came up with a pretty interesting description (although I do not claim to be a bible scholar in any way, so this is just for my own understanding). To worship God in spirit and in truth is to worship Him from the essence of your being without pretense, deceit or falsehood.
  That's the kind of relationship I want with God....a relationship where I am not laying my claim or pretending anything or even putting on a show for God or anyone else.  But rather a relationship where from the very core of my being I am truly seeking God, longing to know Him and make Him known, and worshipping Him with all that I am, because I know how completely loved I am by Him and how much He has done for me!  That's my prayer!  That's what I want my life to look like!  And that's what I think God is looking for!
  It's kind of crazy to me though that all of that can come out of studying ONE verse...and that even weeks later it's still having a lasting effect on my life, in that every day I find myself praying that God would make me a true who worships in spirit and in truth. It doesn't always happen like that though...that I read a verse and it sticks out to me and becomes so meaningful....but when it does, it reminds me of just how living and active God's word is and that He still is speaking to His people through it today!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Narrow Road or a Load of You Know What...

  Lately I have been feeling kind of lonely.  Not that I don't have people in my life...I do!  It's just...I feel....distant....or at least unable to fully connect.  And it's not with fact I've been overwhelmingly surprised by they people who have really stepped up to be friends with me and those who have seemingly chosen to take a step back...but...yet....still...I feel separated....or maybe just separate. And honestly...I don't know if this is a God thing or a me thing!
  The Bible says in Matthew 7:13, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through It".  I want to believe that I am on the narrow road heading to the narrow gate and thus I'm walking with the few...and therefore it's obvious that I would feel this sense of loneliness.   I even googled it and the amount of pastors and missionaries and people who are involved in ministry that say they have experienced this sense of "loneliness" that I am feeling is pretty high. 
  So maybe this is normal.  Maybe this feeling of not quite fitting into this world is just an outpouring of trying to live for a kingdom not of this world.  Maybe this longing I have that I can't explain for something beyond what I experience in the here and now, is just the reality of longing for God.  For even C.S. Lewis, the great Christian writer, said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
  But...there's also this part of me that thinks I sound crazy in talking like the problem is really in me and I'm just trying to justify it with words from scripture and scholars.  Maybe that's true....I've been known to push people away when I think I might be hurt by them and the fact that I'm leaving in a few months means I'm possibly setting myself up for the hurt of saying Good-bye.  So I could be alienating myself a head of time.  Yet... as I said above...I have people in my life....people who care and spend time with me and show me love in the way I best except it....and people who allow me to do the same for them. 
  So what's the deal?!  Do I need to change or accept this is life?  Should I learn to walk in the loneliness or do I need to try harder to crawl out of it?  Is it me or is it God? .....Guess I need to spend more time on my knees!