Frustrated with Haiti Missionaries

I spent a good amount of time last evening surveying the coverage of the Haiti disaster on the national news as I interceded for those whom I saw. In ABC's coverage they briefly spoke to a Christian missionary couple at the international airport in Port au Prince. The couple was there with their 2 young children, waiting at the airport to leave the country. ABC reported that the family had been there for 4 years (it appeared that both of their children were old enough to have been born in the US before their Haiti mission).

In my prayers for Haiti, all the while I was thinking, "what can I do, how could I go help, can I rescue even one of those newly orphaned children?" And in that context I listened to these missionaries from Ohio say, "we came here to help, but now it's just not safe. We have to leave for our own children."

Now, I am not in their shoes, and I cannot judge their hearts, but my heart hurt at hearing that. Americans (Christ-followers and non) are wanting to get up and go to Haiti to help, and the Christians who are already there, are leaving. While we are not being allowed to get in. They are trying to get out. They know the culture, know the systems, have connections. They could get SO MUCH done. I assume that after 4 years, they have friends there... friends with children... friends with now-injured children...

So I struggle. I fully understand the instinct of parenthood to keep your children safe at all cost. And I am not God, so I doubt that I could manage to sacrifice my own child for others. BUT, I believe that Christianity is not supposed to be safe in human terms. I think that I will be called to be quite unsafe at times. I think that I am not unsafe enough at most times. (2 Corinthians 11:25-27) I would love the witness of Christ in His church to be a witness of bold service in the face of all kinds of trouble, seizing each opportunity to promote the cause of Christ.

No Christianity is not supposed to be safe in earthly terms. For my safety is my safety in spiritual terms. (Romans 8:34-36)

And even more hard to say, my children's safety is not necessarily earthly safety, but spiritual safety in Christ.

-- Text your Haiti relief donation to the Red Cross. Text "Haiti" to 90999.
--Give to your church's disaster relief missionary fund this Sunday.
--Watch for your chance to go and serve in the clean-up ministry in the months to come.
--MOST OF ALL, pray for God's grace to prevail in each circumstance and for His followers to rise up and show the depth of His love in Haiti, bringing many in the Kingdom of God.

The gospel of Luke

In our survey of the gospels this week, I have been not only reading the entries in the book Through the Bible Through the Year, but have spent some time reading in each of the gospels as well. Mark and John have always ranked as my favs. But Luke really caught my attention this week. Here are some of my observations and I hope they inspire you to spend some time reading God's story in Luke.

1. Luke gives us most of the parables (I love the parables... I always get a lot of depth in my study there).
2. Luke includes so many other characters in the narrative. The people Jesus heals and helps are more than just byproducts of the story. They are part of the story.
3. Luke writes the book of Acts as part of the gospel, not history after the gospel. THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE THING. I love the underlying notion that the story of Jesus is not over, but that it continues in us.
4. Luke pays attention to the details. I like that: in people, in authors, and evidently in Christian witnesses too.
5. Luke was bold. He is the only non-jewish Christian writer of the time. Yet he writes with no inhibition in his faith or in his task.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. (Luke 19:10)
Enjoy your reading!


The Rage of Herod

So far this week, I have most enjoyed my reading from Monday's entry in Through the Bible Through the Year. This entry regarding Herod's insane paranoia was very challenging to me. The entry concluded with this paragraph. See if you are as challenged as I am.

In principle, the same situation prevails today. Many people perceive Jesus as a rival, a nuisance, an embarrassment, what C, W Lewis called "a transcendental interferer." So we are faced with an alternative. Either we see Jesus as a threat [to something we hold dear] and are determined like Herod to get rid of Him, or we see him as the King of Kings and are determined like the Magi to worship him.

There are so many areas of my life to which Jesus' full authority presents a threat. There are so many pleasures that squeeze out His agenda in my life. There are so many desires that interfere with God's plans... Jesus is a huge threat to my autonomy.

Jesus is also my King. These truths are living in constant tension in my life. It is in this tension that my faith grows, and develops OR wanes and suffers. It is in this tension that my ministry takes place. It is in this tension that I pray, and praise, and serve, and reach out, and walk, and eat, and breathe.

I know why Isaiah said "woe is me" when he came into contact with God first hand. (Isaiah 6:5) How I regret the times when I have treated my King and my God as my adversary because of my own selfish life.

It's Epiphany

Well, it's epiphany. That's right, a Christian holy day that gets lost as we all try to recover from the mad rush of our Christmas festivities.

Officially, today ends the 12 days of Christmas, and it represents the arrival of the magi to worship the Christ. It's called epiphany because it marks the first known revelation of Christ to non-Jews.

Last evening with my Life Group, we shared some "Epiphany bread," (or a "Kings Ring" as some call it). Inside the bread is hidden a little toy baby Jesus and the finder of the baby Jesus receives that last gift of the Christmas season. Well, we didn't have a prize for the finder of the toy, but it was kind of fun to mark the day and talk about it's meaning.

So, to all of my Gentile believing friends, I suggest that you might take some specific time today to reflect upon the time when you had your own epiphany: the time or process of your salvation. For today celebrates the fact the Christ came for us specifically. As you remember the unfolding story of your faith in Christ, worship and thank Him for His sacrifice.

Happy Epiphany!

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