Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Freedom- HE came to serve.


I apologize if my Radical Chapter 6 post appear a bit of topic. You see, right before I read Chapter 6, I listened to a David Platt sermon entitled "He Came to Serve the Helpless". Platt’s words from that sermon echoed in my head as I read Chapter 6.

So, let me start my sharing with you what I learned in Platt’s sermon.

The sermon focuses on Mark 10:45. A short and simple verse that we have all read hundreds of times. But, perhaps, have never stopped to ponder its implications. It goes like this, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Platt’s basic message is this- Jesus came to serve us. Until we allow him to serve us in all areas of our life, we will not be able to love and serve in the ways described in Radical. Or put another way, in order to love as Jesus does and serve the poor, the lonely, the sick- we first need to let Jesus serve us.


Having just received that message, it was liberating to read Chapter 6. I gotta tell you, it would have been very hard to stomach the message of this chapter if God had not first reminded me that His Son came to serve me and I can change my selfish ways only if I allow Christ to serve me. I suddenly understood why it’s so hard for me to let go of my selfish ways and why despite all my efforts I always revert back to materialism. I fail over and over again because I try to do things on my own and change on my own without really letting Christ do the heavy lifting. For example, after Chapter 4 or 5 of Radical, I swore I was going to cut back on Starbucks to only once a week and give the “surplus” to Blood Water Mission. I succeeded exactly three days. Then work got busy and my daughter got sick and I returned to my almost daily SBUX addiction. When life got busy and tough, instead of letting Christ fill me up and serve me and nourish me, I turned to my own devices- overpriced caffeine!

Here’s the deal- I very much want to do what Platt challenges us to do- operate “under the idea that God has given us excess, not so we could have more, but so we would give more.” I want to dare to take things a step forward and “set a cap” on my family’s lifestyle so that we can give more of our resources away for “the glory of Christ in the neediest parts of the world.” But to take the next step is going to require total reliance on Christ. My husband and I both make great salaries and we are conservative spenders so we already have a surplus. A part of that surplus we give away to church, to Samaritan’s Purse, to Lifesong for Orphans, to the IMB, etc. But the bigger portion (after wise savings) just seems to go to things that simply don’t make an impact. So the next step is to reduce the waste! The only way to reduce that waste is to change our hearts and our minds. We can’t do that alone. We will continue to want the things of this world unless Christ has completely filled us up. If we don’t allow Christ to serve us and fill us, there will be empty places in our hearts and lives and our human nature is to fill those empty places with things.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Starting at Home

Let me start by confessing that I am having a hard time writing this post. I finally made some time in my schedule to get it done. However, the location is somewhat disconcerting. You see- I am sitting at Starbucks and my grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte could save lives in Africa right now. Not the coffee itself mind you but the money...the money I am drinking to fulfill my morning ritual could bring clean water to people in Africa or Honduras or many other countries. (If you don't believe me about what the cost of a cup of coffee can do- check this  out). So I feel guilty about my choices  and I am thinking about just how card it is to step off into living this Radical life David Platt describes in his book.

But I need to get past my own selfishness and focus on what God has been whispering to me.

Let me start with the first thing and the other things that have been swimming in my head will have to wait for a different post.

Here's the deal. I am a wife, a mother to an active 2 year old and an attorney working for a very big company with lots of work on my plate. How do I do the things that David Platt talks about in Radical? I have been pondering that question for over five weeks, waiting for God to write my answers in the sky with big bold letters. I did not find the answer written in the sky or on a billboard...instead it's tucked in the middle of chapter 5:
Instead of a formula he (God) gives us people and says,
"Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them.
Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me.
In the process, you will multiple the gospel to the ends of the earth."

As I read and re read those words, I knew precisely where God wants me to home. That's where God wants me to start. First to serve my husband to enable him to fulfill God's purpose for his life. Second to love and serve my daughter and lead her to follow Christ not just for her own edification but for the glory of God and so that the gospel will multiply. I do not need to search for a ministry to get involved in or look for a group to disciple- I have my very own God given captive audience at home. If I can't love and serve and lead there, how can I love and serve to the ends of the earth. Seriously- if I am annoyed by the fact my daughter takes forever to walk to the park because she stops and looks at every stick, rock and bug- then how can I have the patience to go to difficult places and take the gospel there?

I am giddy with anticipation to see how God uses my daughter and our family. God was gracious enough to give me a taste of that last night. While my husband and I went to a class at the church we are visiting (by the way- this church GETS IT- their mission is to glorify God by making disciples that will transform the world), one of Emory's former teachers from daycare came to watch her for us. When we came home she told us that at bedtime, Emory was starting to lay down and all of a sudden sat up and proclaimed to Miss. T "JESUS LOVES YOU." My jaw dropped and I almost cried...humbled by a two year old who is happy to tell everyone "JESUS LOVES YOU!"

So what does it mean for me right now at home. I still do not have a concrete answer. What I do know is this- my husband and I need to learn the lost like Jesus loves the lost. We need to love the poor and hungry and lonely like Jesus love them. We need to love justice and mercy like Jesus loves justice and mercy. And as we learn we MUST pass that on to Emory.

Now I need to work on finding concrete ways to do that. So I have started by exploring Christ centered resources. So far I have found the following and I can't wait to dive and explore the available resources:

I am going to sign off now because it's time to get busy doing what I have been writing about.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Radical Read Along- No Words

I read chapter three and finished re reading it last night. I procrastinated writing my week 3 post and now its week 4 and my heart is too heavy to re read chapter 4 (I read through chapter 5 weeks ago when I first read the book). My heart is heavy because God is opening my eyes and I am speechless. The scene described here broke me. Just broke my heart. My eyes are tearing right now as the words from the post swirl in my head creating pictures in my head that just should not be . What can I do? I want to call someone and find out how I can get money there RIGHT NOW. That four week old baby covered in spit up, crying in a room all by herself. That just should not be. It shouldn't. I want to send blankets and formulas and toys and diapers. Someone please tell me how can I do that?

But God isn't just showing me pain and misery and needs that are going unmet. He is also opening my eyes to the reality that there are people out there that I know personally who are getting up, leaving and going to the nations to teach people about the beauty and the love and the glory of God. In less than 3 hours my sweet friend (let's call her Grace), her husband, and their sweet almost two year old curly haired daughter are boarding a plane for Africa. Grace is pregnant. They are not coming back for a very long time. They are going to Africa- a country they love to - minister in remote villages. Where they are going there isn't always electricity and you cook over a fire. Friends- Grace is in her second trimester...Baby #2 will be born in Kenya (their eventual destination is much further in an unreached part of the world). They are walking talking breathing lessons on trusting in God's protection. They love God and they love God's people so they are going. They have every excuse not to go (seriously- taking a two year old to the ends of the earth and delivering a baby in the ends of the earth???) but they want to go... so today in just a few hours they will be on their way. I worry for Grace and her husband and their do you survive pregnancy in a mud hut with no running water or electricity. How do you do it? Then God reminded me of two things. First, millions of women do it every day. Second- Grace and her family are not alone. God the Almighty King of Kings is with them. Just reading these words leaves me speechless.

I don't have words...I don't know why God is opening my eyes like this. I don't know what He is doing...I don't know what He wants me to do...and that is hard. It's hard!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm getting stalked by adoption stories.

I have no idea what's going on or what God is up to. But the truth of the matter is that everywhere I go there is talk and there is action about adoption. In one year- two close friends have adopted newborns from local moms chose adoption or abortion. Their testimonies show that where God closes doors he otnes windows fly open when you least expect them.

In addition to real friends adopting, talk of adoption is ALL over my blog friend world. Just check out this post::  Dreaming Big and this post Adoption and this post Orphan Sunday

I know that when God says things over and over again, it's time to really start listening.

So I'm listening...waiting to understand what God is up to.