Tag

cross

Finding Jesus in the Chaos

By | Blog, Equip, Headfirst, Personal

You may have seen the jokes posted with the tag #FirstWorldProblems.  They ridicule the frustrations of our lives in contrast to the life struggles of the 3rd World.  Some are mean-spirited, but many raise awareness that sometimes our “big problems” are insignificant when held up to the “big picture.”  I’d like to offer one contrast of my own: Too busy for God.  This applies to Christ-followers and unbelievers, but my comments here are intended for the believers who are drowning in this conflict every day.

This isn’t a book, so let’s skip the chapter where I try to convince you that there is chaos in your life and you’ve allowed it to distance you from God.  If you don’t have this problem, move along.  I do, so I’ll just write for myself and you’re welcome to read along as an observer.  (Yeah, I just said that I have chaos in my life, and even the calling to lead a missions ministry has not made me immune.  Actually, it contributes, just like any other occupation.  It just has it’s own unique twists.)

So let’s embrace reality: my work, recreation, health, family, iPhone, friends, hobbies, travel, responsibilities and to-do lists…  they’re all part of a noisy, clanging, distracting battle where focusing on God and my relationship with Him gets obscured and lost.  Not because they are bad things, but because they aren’t Him.  They don’t simply dovetail into a beautiful symphony.  Some people recognize this, begin to re-prioritize, and re-launch the search for the elusive “balance.” (Surely if all my choices are honoring to the Lord, then everything will supernaturally sync.  Right?)

Let’s go after this from the other direction.  I want to find Jesus.  I want Him everywhere in my life.  I want to walk with Him but my life is full of chaos.  Not because I’m making horrible unbiblical decisions.  Rather, because I don’t live in the Garden, and I’m plagued by the consequences of sin and all its deformities.  Death and disease have come into this world, and I must work and sweat and battle.1  Jesus has won the war and I am victorious in Him, but every day until His Kingdom, I must battle.  One of those battles is against chaos.

There are two pillars I’ve learned that guard my soul in the fight against chaos so that I might walk closely with God.  Their names are Peace and Order.  We need to see that when we instill peace in our lives, we restrain chaos.  Peace means more than quiet (though silence is certainly peaceful.)  Quieting my heart means slowing, slowing, stopping.  My mind begins to drift to other thoughts that are not of Jesus…  stop.  Come back.  Slow.  Easy.  Nothing else, just Him.  Peace means surrender – of my soul.  Learning to be present in His presence.  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”2  How could my heart be still then?  Only in my abandon to the Shepherd of my soul.

Order also restrains chaos.  It is more than structure – putting things in their places so that nothing distracts.  Order is intentionality.  Singularity of purpose.  I have no other agenda.  The Creator brought order out of chaos.  He can do the same in the depths of my heart.  “No weapon forged against you will prevail.”3  Purposefully give Him His rightful place and deny that which brings distraction and disharmony.

When I guard my heart and mind in Christ, when I let His peace and order reign over me, the chaos fades and I can find Jesus.  It’s not easy – surrender never is.  I must lay my will down and lift His cup.  “Not my will but yours be done.”4  It happens in His power or we fail every time.  I’ve been learning to invite God into moments and to ask Him to help me yield to Him.  To usher in His peace and His plan… and to let me come to a stop and purposefully surrender, that I might know Him.  More and more.

This week, the Lord brought to mind how much I need Him every moment.  A hymn came to mind and I decided it would help me build the pillars higher as I battle chaos.  I found this version on YouTube – the author (Sam Robson) seems to have created a number of these moving performances.  It was exactly what I needed to help me enter His presence.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3wSbLa2uGg

  1. Genesis 3:17-19
  2. Psalm 23:5
  3. Isaiah 54:16-17
  4. Luke 22:42

Whatever it takes

By | Envision

I guess that’s the theme I’ve been thinking about lately on this mission trip. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to get the Gospel out there? It might be something that’s mostly fun, like getting our whole team of 18 somewhere in a single “tap tap” by stuffing in so tightly that a few might suffer temporary loss of circulation. Or it might be trudging through the sludge, grime and sweltering stench of refuse, excrement and dead fish of the local market stalls for a 2nd and 3rd hour long after the romance of discovery has worn off.

What I choose to remember is that (as Madeline spoke of so eloquently in our team devotional tonight) this is part of being called to take up your cross daily and follow Him. When we get to play sports with kids, it’s not so bad – well, not until you start getting dehydrated. (Doesn’t it seem like our emotions are linked to our physiology more closely than we’d like to believe?) But as Ally shared in her story of commitment to Christ tonight, there isn’t a comfortable way to carry a cross.

Today we walked with God through the ups and downs, all because we had confidence in His calling. So we sang and memorized Scripture with over 200 kids, helped them understand what it meant to surrender to Christ and offered them a clear opportunity to come into a relationship with Him. Several did. Tomorrow we will continue the program and invite more of them into an eternal relationship with their heavenly Father.

We spent hours on the soccer field, and talking on the sidelines, and helping advance a project at the water station, and three hours in the open air market (amazing what 18 + friends can do!) buying supplies to feed a traditional Haitian meal of chicken, beans and rice to at least 500 hungry kids and their families. That will take place tomorrow after the conclusion of our “Romans Road” kids bible school. (With many thanks to Dean-o and the Dynamos who wrote the curriculum and offered it at Crossline Church, and invited the kids to “give TVBS” to Haitian kids, who then raised over $10,000 in one week. Kids: you are the ones who raised the money to feed the families, and sponsor this outreach and much, much more this year.)

I can’t wait to get all the media uploaded that will go along with this post!

For now, we learn to be content, be thankful for what we have, and recognize that we must do whatever it takes to pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus.

More to come…

Not my will

By | Headfirst, Personal

Why am I going back to Haiti again?  A third time?  Sometimes people assume that because of my heart for God or my heart for the lost, I’m just not like other people.  After all, everyone knows that missionaries aren’t normal.  We can’t relate to them because they’re just wired differently.  Maybe so.  Maybe not.  But I’m not going back because I would like to.  Actually, part of me wants to never go back. So Why Go?