Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will someone please make a Venn Diagram?

What does ministry to the poor look like? How do we balance the Kingdom of God and social justice? What is the form evangelism should take in the city?

These are the questions that swim in my cranial juices as of late. I pray that they continue to bring my face to the Lord to look for answers. We know from scripture and the very nature of Christ that God mandates us to take care of the poor. “I command you to be open handed toward your brother and toward the poor and the needy in your land.” (Deut 15:11)

God has made both the physical and spiritual, how can we think that our service is only the spiritual? (Gen 1:28). I’m guilty of running to evangelize to the man that hungers for literal bread. His mind is consumed by the gurgling s of his stomach. I leave without a prayer for repentance and without a care for his hunger. This cannot be what God means by “mercy.”

The other side of the ditch is there too. The side that runs to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, but feeds NOT the words of eternal life and clothes NOT in garments of righteousness. These are churches that remove the name of Christ from their work and become just another government program.

I don’t mean to speak harshly; I only rebuke my own wanderings into ditches. It is evidence of God’s love in our life when we respond with balanced deed for need. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:16-17

Jesus teaches that anyone who has truly been touched by the grace of a merciful God will be vigorous in helping the needy. I ask you brothers and sisters, what does vigorous mercy look like?

In our human nature we tend to put limits onto our aid. We limit by deciding on our own accord the worthiness of a person in need to receive our help. We also limit by what we believe he or she may do with our aid. We make them out to be “deserving” poor. I was getting an oil change a few weeks ago. I was backing up my car when a man approached me and asked, “Do you have $.38 for the bus?” I barely looked at him, but internally I judged. “I can’t give money, I’m never supposed to give money, they’ll just spend it on alcohol, etc.” The middle-class mantras invaded my carnal mind. I limited my aid by judging both man and use of my aid. I counted him as “undeserving.”

Who am I? I’m the undeserving sinner obstinate toward the Lord. I spit at His grace in that moment, denying mercy to another. Who are we to judge worth? Who are we to limit the workings of the Spirit of God? The Holy Spirit is in the movements of mercy, in the acceptance of mercy, in the extension of the acceptance. That $.38 would have been blessed. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as I don’t claim to know any depth on this subject.


"Life comes, not in spite of, but because of death." Elizabeth Elliot

"I belong to Him simply because He deliberately chose to create me as the subject of His own affection." Phillip Keller

"You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. BUT let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." C.S. Lewis

"Humility is the soil in which everything good in the Christian life grows." John Piper

"It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself." John Calvin

"A man is justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone." Martin Luther

"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness" James 3:18.

"Abide close to the cross, and search the mystery of His wounds." Charles Spurgeon

"Grace Hurts!!" Kid after Pastor Eric dumped candy from the rafters to represent the Grace of God poured down.

"The great equalizer of human kind is the foot of the cross." Ryan Sather

"I know nothing, except what everyone knows - if there when Grace dances, I should dance." W.H. Auden

"Our black and white thinking of right and justice, hates the colorfulness of Grace." Lauren Taylor

"Drippings of grace: a scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited." C.S. Lewis


"God is so masculine that all creation is feminine by comparison." C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It’s exciting to announce that: I AM EMPLOYED BY CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST! As of yesterday, September 1st, I have started working! Thank you for all of your prayers and support in the last few months. You have been true instruments of the Lord, pointing me to the light of the truth when the journey seemed unattainable and uncertain.

My first order of business on the “dream job” was to take 15 inner city kids up to a fishing camp in Northern Minnesota. Who wouldn’t want to start off this way? Part of Here’s Life Inner City are after school programs, called S.A.Y. Yes! Centers (Save Americas Youth). These programs focus on building relationships with at-risk children and offering a solid foundation on which they can build a hopeful future. Through the local church, each child is ministered spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and socially.

What a joy it was to watch these inner city kids experience so many new things nestled in the beautiful Northern woods! The first night the girls had permanent wrinkled foreheads as they reasoned why mosquitoes are Minnesota’s state bird. It was hilarious to see them slapping their legs and huffing. By the morning they had adjusted, just in time to learn to put bait on the line, cast, and catch their first fish! For many of these kids, they had not been out of the city; never made S’mores; never seen the Milky Way.

Dylite, pictured in the red shirt, had an even more exciting first experience. One morning, she and I were fishing on the dock, light tickled the waves and a peace rested on us. This obvious presence of God ignited a spiritual discussion on Jesus. She asked to hear the story of Christ. Her eyes were fixed as I explained God’s decision to come to earth; His decision to stay upon the cross; His decision to destroy the strength of death. Dylite made the decision to love the Lord in return. What joy!

Upon returning from this trip, my spirit struggled with an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. I heard so many stories of life for these kids and their breaking circumstances. I was burdened with compassion, but felt I had no words of comfort, no idea how to “fix it.” I know this is the tip of the ice berg in realizing that I cannot fix it. My role is not to come into their lives and change everything to how I see fit. I am certain that I will discover more on this topic, now I’m humbly admit I know nothing. God has tenderly placed me on my knees, utterly dependent. I pray I’ll remain.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity-packing, moving, tying up loose ends with support raising. As you may know, in the midst, I lost my phone and my computer died. This limbo state has been refining. I was explaining this on the phone to one of my friends who replied, “You don’t sound stressed about it.” I hadn’t realized at the time, but I was completely free from worry.
Naturally, this lack of stress was a gift from the Lord for my nature would seek to mistrust. What it comes down to is the sovereignty of the Almighty. We serve a Lord that has complete power and authority in all things.
He, the Lord, is not made by human hands or discovered by human thought. He is as he ever was and ever shall be. "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill.” (Acts 17:29) What security comes from this truth! The tides of earth have no hold over the Lord’s strength. The currents of our troubling circumstances do not hinder His will.
Clinging to this light of truth, I do not worry that I still have support to raise. I do not worry that I have to move out of my house by 2. I do not worry that I lost all my files on my computer. I do not worry! For God has it all. “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the Light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5)