Tuesday, September 6, 2011

some ranting

Many of you know that I am going to Africa.  More about that here.  We leave 5 weeks from tomorrow!  Part of going on a trip like this is writing support letters.  Letters that tell people you are going and ask them to pray for the trip and also to help fund the trip.  The letters about my trip going out have started the comments.  It is easy to be mad about these comments because I used to think them.  Used to say them to other people and now it just makes me mad that I didn't get it.  Mad that others don't get it now.

The top annoying questions:
1.  Why are you spending so much money to go somewhere?  I'd much rather just mail my money over to the country and let the people there use it for good.  $4000 could do them a lot of good.
Yep, you are right.  $4000 could help the people in Uganda and Kenya A LOT.  If everyone that got a letter this week would really send that money to Africa it would really help.  Really change their lives.  But are you really planning to do that or are you simply questioning my motives in going on a trip and voicing your displeasure that the cost is so high?  Yep, it is a lot of money but if that is what it takes to get to the people that need us, need God, need love, who cares.  It needs to be spent.  Because they need relationship.  They need connection.  They need to be touched and loved and valued.  They need to know about God.  And money alone just can't do those things.  Only Jesus seen through His people changes lives.  I AM NOT JESUS that is for sure, but I am sure glad God chose to send a person to earth to pay the price for me, not a check.
2.  Why Africa?  There are so many other places that are safer to visit? 
Safety is a far too often obstacle for Christians.  It paralyzes.  It keeps us from living as Jesus did. He wasn't very safe.  He took a lot of risk.  I am not talking about stupidly living for Jesus with no regard for anyone's welfare.  I am talking about radically living for Jesus and changing our view of  DEATH to the ultimate prize He gives.  Sure I don't want to leave my kids and Gabe.  Sure I don't want to be hurt or risk dying now when I believe I have more life to live.  I am a wimp and don't like pain and suffering.  But I want to follow Jesus more.  I want to die to self more.  And Africa is where God said to go for this trip.  So I am.
3.  I just don't feel led to do things like that.
Watch out this one is that tricky Christian churchy language. Just read something in What Difference do it make?  by Denver Moore that had me smiling from ear to ear.
...after reading our story they felt led to help the homeless, to come alongside the down-and-out.  But when it comes to helpin people that ain't got much, God didn't leave no room for feelin led.  Jesus said God gon' separate us based on what we did for folks that was hungry and thirsty, fellas that is prisoners in jail and folks that ain't got no clothes and no place to live.  What you gon' do when you get to heaven and you ain't done none a' that?  Stand in front a' God and tell Him, "I didn't feel led?"  You know what He gon' say?  He gon' say, "You didn't need to feel led cause I done wrote it down in the Instruction Book."
This is pretty convicting.  We often say we aren't led to do this, led to give to that, led to serve in that way.  God does lead in our lives, there is no question about that.  But He also commands and we are to obey.  If we are sitting around waiting to get a subpeona from God to show up to the Christian life, it isn't going to come.  He already wrote the things we are to be doing with our time, our money, and our lives.  He worked pretty hard to make sure we would have access to them so we'd know what He wants.  What He expects. What He demands.  The excuses of not being led or called to do this or that aren't going to stand up.  Yes, we make choices.  We can't say yes to every good thing.  But we don't say no to the ones that are closest to His heart.  The things that the gospels are filled with. 

So, am I saying we all have to go to Africa to obey God?  I am not sure.  That isn't for me to say.   But I do believe that if Jesus came today and lived among us, He would be there and in many other places where people need love, food, shelter, and hope.  And I do know that His Word tells us repeatedly to take care of the least of these.  And I don't remember seeing any "but only if you feel led" exemption phrases in there.

4.  Your kids are really going to miss you and it will be so hard on Gabe.  That isn't very fair of you.  You should wait until your kids are older to go anywhere.  
Thankfully I have a family that is supportive.  They understand that not doing what God wants because we may think it isn't good for our kids is ridiculous.  Again, not blatant disregard for the blessings God has given, but not allowing those blessings to become excuses that keep us from putting God first.  I only have today.  None of us knows when God will be finished using us on this earth.  I don't remember Jesus saying that waiting is an option.  Complete surrender to Jesus happens in every moment of life not when the kids are grown and things are easier or there is more time.  Life hopefully will be long and I pray that someday when the kids are grown we will still be serving God with everything we have in whatever way He asks.

Well I think that about covers the ranting for today.  I needed to be reminded.  Needed to take a deep breath and read from the book of Matthew again what Jesus wanted from us in following Him.  I was starting to doubt my choices as I heard all the pessimistic human questions and comments.  Serving God isn't socially accepted and the cultural norm, even in Christian circles.  I pray that someday changes.

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