Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Let's Move!

Steve and I got new FitBits for my birthday this year. And I've been surprised at it's effectiveness. No, I've been amazed. I mean let's get real, the FitBit doesn't really do anything. But we are spending a lot of time strategizing and planning our day around advancing those little blinking lights. Suddenly, a rainy day is an obstacle that must be overcome. It's almost an obsession. Somehow the magic of FitBit has managed to motivate us to get up and move.

So what if there was a little device that could motivate the church to move? An honest, accurate little FitBit that reported our progress. Would it excite us and drive us to make a bigger difference? Would it galvanize our commitment to Kingdom work? Would it drive the church to obsession?

Almost every day we're hearing from pastors, missions boards and outreach leaders who say they are inundated with requests day-in and day-out. Of course, they'd love to be able to support everyone. And they would like to meet and talk about what God is doing around the world. But there just isn't time. And, probably more accurately, there just isn't money. You may have even thought the same things as you're faced with opportunities to give to various projects, organizations and causes. And while we certainly understand your position, I can't help but wonder what this means for us as a church. We have a God with infinite resources. Yet there are countless servants who are frustrated, discouraged and unable to fulfill God's call to minister to the world because His church is overwhelmed by need. Why?

I am convinced that God has not abandoned us to our own devices. Instead I've come to the conclusion that we, as the church body, have woefully mismanaged and underestimated God's resources. Well I say this is no time for us to be sidelined by small thinking. The world is hurting. People are dying. It's time to move. So it's up to us folks--you and me. We have to be the FitBit that gets our churches off the couch. We have to start planning our days and weeks around advancing God's Kingdom. We have to get our sick healed, our poor fed and our missionaries funded. If we don't, who will?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Home Sweet Home

I've quit watching the news. I can't seem to stomach it anymore. The mere mention of current events other than the weather outside makes me queasy. I can't change the subject fast enough. So I'm out of touch. For example, I know that there's been outrage about police shootings, but I have no idea how it started or why. The news is discouraging and disheartening―hopeless. And to be quite honest, it frightens me. I'm quite content to focus my energies on the problems of a third-world country far away from here. Heartache is expected there. And somehow, that seems easier.

That's how my heart was hardened to the troubles in the U.S. But God wants to re-ignite a love for my home. And He began in Korea. Oh, I'm sure there were plenty of reasons for the Lord to bring the Korean Children's Choir to the Steer, Inc. Missions Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. Afterall, they are a well-renowned international performance group. But in my heart, I know they were there to sing just for me―and just one song. Those precious kids probably didn't even understand the words they were singing. But when the long-forgotten chorus of "God Bless America" rang out, I couldn't stop the tears from forming in my eyes or the words from forming on my lips. I was on my feet and singing with the rest of the crowd before I had time to think.

The Korean Children's Choir sings at the Steer, Inc. Missions Conference in Bismarck, ND.

That moment brought back a memory―not of an event, but of an intense feeling. We've spent so much time focusing on our love for new home in Honduras that it was almost lost to me. But God is restoring it. From the recesses of my brain I remember the pride, passion and tender devotion I used to feel my country. Without my even knowing it, I've slowly been replacing those emotions with bitterness, frustration and fear. But isn't just like Our Father to use little children from another far away land to remind me of my blessing here in the U.S.?

Over the last months, we've learned that Homeland Ministry Assignment (HMA) is giving us an unexpected gift. Steve and I get to travel all over the country together. We've been in seven states in the last four weeks (that's over 4,000 miles, for those who are counting). It's like the ultimate road trip we always dreamed about. So we've decided to take advantage of this unique opportunity. We've committed to specifically pray for each state we travel through this year. We should be able to cover most of the Midwest and some significant southern states in prayer over the next weeks and months. And it makes me laugh when I think that since we made this prayer commitment, our calendar has been filled with two different opportunities that will take us through at least six new states that we wouldn't have visited otherwise! I guess the Lord is taking us up on our prayer offer.

God so loves the nations. And He gave us a great one. No matter what's on the news tonight, there's hope for us, my friends.