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Friday, October 08, 2010

Christianity...humbling opportunities and wonderful possibilities

Wednesday night I was in the middle of my message to a bunch of young people - high schoolers.  It is a youth group with both church kids and non-church kids,  some who have already become young men and ladies and others who are still spider monkeys with textbooks.  There are some who have gone on mission trips and some who never even go to church other than to attend youth group.  There were also my fellow youth leaders.  All in all some 60 or 70 people approximately.  I remember teaching from a section of Matthew 25 and referring to a parable of Jesus that came before that section and I later realized that I had used the wrong parable!   They were both very similar but one was focused upon using the gifts given us by God and one was focused on rewards for service.

I mentioned the parable of the workers hired at different times of the day and receiving the same wages, when the one in Matthew 25 is about the servants given different amounts of talents (a form of money) and told to use them wisely.  In the first, all were given the same reward whether they had worked all day or only for the last hour.  Only the one who buried his in the ground was chastised in the second parable.  Both parables were used by Christ so that those with a heart turned towards God would get the message and those against God would not understand OR would get angry because they DID understand!

I am pretty sure a couple of the Bible-brains noticed but graciously said nothing.  Actually sometimes when I am teaching I mention various sections of scripture that I did not prepare for use or intend to use until the moment arrives...I don't think I ever mixed parables before.  Later on I realized what I had done.  The parable still applied and the teaching was correct but not the location of the verses.  So many students and staff commented about how good they thought my lesson was afterwards, a lesson with a flaw, and in retrospect I was reminded once again that God only uses imperfect people.  The perfect people do not need God and they do not care to know Him...not in this life.

Sometimes when I am teaching I feel a certain flow starting and I follow the flow.  I know God used the words I spoke.  I know that there is only one reward any normal Christian really hopes for, and that is to hear the Lord utter the words that are indeed in Matthew 25:  "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Later, as I thought on my mistake I also thought on what I had prayed before I spoke.  I told God that the message was all his, I was only a conduit, and I was asking Him to take it over.  That I made a mistake and He used the message anyway is a message in and of itself.  God is looking for imperfect people to do His work here on Earth.  He can make me a new creature but yet still a fallible one.  A hammer with a few scratches on the handle and a few dents and marks on the head still drives home the nail.  I would rather be a small hammer driving home God's truths than a big jackhammer collecting boatloads of money for my trouble.

So what is the point?!

There is no Christian who is not humbled.   We must humble ourselves when we realize that we are not king of the world and we cannot know all the answers and we certainly cannot save ourselves from our sins and our desires to sin.  Every Christian has had to climb down off of his own throne and taken off the crown from his own head and asked Jesus Christ to be Lord and forgive the sins and lead and guide from within.  Christians will understand this and atheists and atheopaths will not quite get it.  It is sad that so many people are too proud to admit that they need God and will build massive castles to hide themselves from the idea of God.  How many massive Rube Goldberg machines of Darwinist conjecture have been erected for the sole purpose of keeping God away?

I write this blog to help people tear down their walls.  I've turned down offers to write for pay in my spare time, including one that was very tempting, writing for my favorite sports team as a team blogger.  But I knew that if I influenced anyone to consider the idea that God did indeed create all things and turn that person towards heaven it would be better than writing the lead editorial for the Wall Street Journal and having talk shows invite me to speak, let along writing a sports blog!  I knew I could not commit to that sports blog and still do this radaractive thing.  So I will continue on...annoying the creepers of the blog world and hopefully bringing people to Christ.   

I am not alone in this!  So many very talented people who are superior writers to me (and less likely to make grammatical errors, which is why I needed an editor in my professional writing days) are blogging to make the world a better place.  Some of them are listed in my links section.  Some of them are actually relatively famous.  But most good bloggers are seeking to change hearts and minds rather than bring in money or acquire fame.   The ones who become well known and don't change their focus do the most good.  When I see Pam Gellar or Amy Proctor (just two examples) get some recognition, I am excited for them and excited for the world, because they both have important things to say.  If Angel is in a contest to win a blog prize, you can be sure I am voting for her!  Woman honor thyself is Angel's blog.  By the way, completely out of context,  you should go see her post concerning the service dog heroes of 9/11!

In taking on scientific issues I am sometimes out of my depth.  I hate higher math, so I did not even catch a hitch in one equation presented by John Hartnett and I had to seek help to determine whether it was actually a problem.  I have to research subjects by subscribing to technical journals and magazines and books and dvds and sometimes via email with scientists and educators.  I have to depend on other people to help me take on the jousting matches between myself and dedicated Darwinists.  No doubt a few of them will take delight in my admission that I am not perfect, although it follows that they are not perfect either.  Mankind is not perfect and there are no perfect people.  Some of us are forgiven and some refuse to ask forgiveness.  Saints and sinners, sheep and goats - there is really a right and a wrong and there truly is a basis for morality and it is God who has set the standard.   Let those of you without sin cast the first aspersion!

Would you like to help make the world a better place?

My wife brought the globe she made to encourage people to give to the cause of sending three friends on an 11- month mission trip:  Jeremy and Sarah (a young married couple who are on youth staff currently) and Kaity (a young college student who 'graduated' from our youth group).  It looks like this:

I suppose you do not get a good idea of the size of this thing unless I include this picture:

The globe is two, maybe two and a half feet tall.   It was a pretty big project for Debbie to turn it into a map of the world, complete with a three-dimensional relief aspect, that is, you can feel and see the rise of the mountain ranges in contrast to the flat ocean and the plains.

I think it is a great thing that you can simply click on a page for Jeremy and Sarah or for Kaity and easily just contribute a little or a lot to sending them to people in need in the poorest regions of the planet.   All three have been on missions trips before and they are looking forward to being used by God to help other people.  Imagine being a young couple and just leaving family and jobs and everything behind and just heading out to work hard in difficult conditions to be helpful to the poorest of the poor in the places that are hot and humid and often dangerous.   Or for that matter, a young lady successfully going through college just breaking it all off to go away, leaving her friends, delaying her graduation, depending on God.  They'll be on an eleven month mission trip.  Perhaps God will have them become missionaries on a permanent basis.  Perhaps He will send them back home to go back to where they were going, changed, but still going for God.  We are all excited about their coming trip and we are all hoping they find ways to update their blogs while they are up in the mountains or out in the jungle or on crowded streets doing what they can to help others.

I am thankful I have a wonderfully talented wife who can create something cool like the globe!

Here she is wearing a shirt she hand-painted and necklace and earrings that she made.   You cannot see it, but she buys white shoes and then hand-colors them as well.  My best friend and wife.

If you could know Jeremy and Sarah...they are kind and funny people.  Jeremy is a real joker, the kind of guy who wrestles around with the teenagers and might even engage in a fart contest.  Sarah is perhaps the straight line to his punch line,  she is not as noisy but she is equally focused on serving God and loving people. 
 Jeremy and Sarah

Kaity, she was my buddy for awhile in high school as I helped her with some history and science papers via email and encouraged her to be herself and trust God and now she is a beautiful young woman full of courage and conviction!  Awesome people!  I don't want to send them away because I don't want them around anymore, I want to send them away because they believe God wants them to go. 


I do not even want to get started on television preachers asking people to send them money and promising all sorts of things in exchange.   If you give to the World Race you will not necessarily get anything back other than the knowledge that you did something to help someone else help a lot of people with medical needs or home building or teaching or hygiene or prayer or encouragement...Even Jeremy and Sarah and Kaity don't know what they will be called upon to do yet.  They are just going to go by faith and believe that since they are going where there is great need, finding needs will NOT be the problem.  Having the energy and will and faith to go do it?  That is what they will provide.   I hope you find it in your heart to provide the financial assistance they need.

Just in case you didn't know, mission trips like this COST people rather than pays them.   All the travel expenses and various miscellaneous taxes and surcharge and basic food and drink must be paid for by the missionary.  They do not get a salary.  They go out by faith, they come back changed but with no spare change. 


Hawkeye® said...

Thank you for your dedication and service. You have a wonderfully talented wife. And God Bless your friends on their mission trip.

radar said...

Hi, buddy! I will be right over to see how things are going for you...