Monday, July 4, 2011

Women's health class

I have a story to tell.  Remember how I was going to be doing a class at our church for women in the community called "Taking care of the health of your kids at home"?  (Read about it here) Well, I want to post an update.

The second week had me extremely discouraged.  We passed out around 50 fliers, bought some beans to give them, and no one showed up!  I was wondering where the women from the week before were!  They all seemed like they enjoyed it.

The second week had me worried.  I passed out another 50 fliers and had a worry in the pit of my stomach.  I went to have a Bible study with a girlfriend of mine the morning of the meeting when I got a call from the physician who was supposed to teach.  She wasn't going to be able to come.  She didn't have time to give me the material that she had prepared, so I was going to have to teach it.  No problem, I thought.  I can do that, although I had serious doubts that the women would trust me because I am not a doctor.  Oh well.  Brandon was not free to help because he was going to be teaching an English discussion group at a local private school   Brynne (the intern)  was committed to work at a skate park (a ministry of a dear friend of ours) and was not going to be able to come, but Gladys (our house helper) had said she could come and she was going to have to watch our 3 kiddos.  Well...when I got home from the Bible study, Gladys informed me that she wasn't going to be able to come.  She had something that she needed to do with her family.

Alright.  Now I was really worried.  I was supposed to have a training class that provided child care, and I had no doctor, no one to watch the kiddos (including my 3 that I had to take with me), and I was totally unprepared to give the class myself if anyone even came!  I was really stressing.  I had to go get Brynne after lunch from the orphanage and so had about 40 minutes in the car alone.  I started listening to a sermon on the radio.  What he spoke ministered directly to my circumstance.  He spoke about obedience in faith.  He mentioned that with faith there is no room for fear.  He quoted that without faith it is impossible to please God.  He spoke about belief in what God has promised.  (he said quite a few other things that were garbage like if you believe, it will happen, it will happen because our faith always works!  Bologna.)

But the good stuff corrected some very bad thinking.

I was freaked out because I was going to have to do something that I didn't think I could do.  How big is God, again?  He does promise to equip us to do the work He has planned for us.  Obviously He had this for me to do.  I was going to have to teach about what to do with cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds and amputations. If God can give the disciples the words they need in front of all kinds of rulers and judges and kings, then God can certainly equip me to teach a little first aid.

I was worried that no one was going to come.  Who was I trying to please?  The women, supporters, who?  God?  If I was trying to please Him with my efforts to help these women, then I must have faith.  Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him!  Did I have a promise from Him that people were going to come?  No way.  But that isn't really the point, is it?  My faith was not in that people would come, but that God is faithful to do what He wants to do in the lives of these women.  And my job is to be dependent in faith and be available, whether or not people come.

I was worried that people would come and there would be no one to take care of the kids.  
If God was going to do this, and it was becoming very obvious that He was going to, then I can trust Him to take care of things.  Fear was a lack of faith, and if I really want to please God with the work I am doing here, then I have to have faith.  Real trust that if it is God's will that certain women receive this training, that He would accomplish it and would bring those He wanted.

So, I submitted my fear, my will, my desires, my worries.  All to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than  all we ask or imagine,  According to HIS power that is at work with in us.  To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever. about a peace that passes all understanding.  Do you want to hear how it turned out?
My neighbor said that she could come to watch the kids, Gladys ended up being able to come at the last minute to hear the talk, I did a quick bit of research and gave a plenty good talk on cuts, scrapes, punctures and amputations.  And 8 women showed up.  Wow.  Big wow.  Did my faith bring those women?  No. That's silly.  Did God, in whom I have faith bring them and accomplish something?  Big yes.  Was my faith rewarded?  Yes!  God is good and He does good.  All for His glory! I have nothing to offer!!  That is so awesome!

This last week 4 women came and we had a guest doctor speak.  So far we have given out 15lbs of beans.  I won't be able to attend the next 4 meetings or so, even though I am organizing them, so please pray for this ministry.  Another friend of mine gave me some ideas for publicizing the class a little more, so I will be trying those things this week.  Imagine what can be accomplished if we are united in prayer to feed, encourage, love on, and train the women of Xela?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It is NOT all about ME!!

Its been difficult taking the time to blog lately.  We've had a ton of stuff going on around here, including witnessing quite a bit of betrayal in those close to us.  Seems like the enemy is on the prowl, and some humans are just all to glad to open a few windows for him to sneak in.  Maybe I'm taking that analogy too far.

Anyway, I wanted to write about some things that have been racing through this over occupied brain of mine. 1st of all, I have found what it is that I hate about the prosperity movement within the evangelical church.  Let me back up.

I spend between 1 1/4 hr and 2 1/2 hrs in the car everyday taking Brynne (our intern for the summer) to and from the orphanage where she is serving.  Some days Brandon either takes her or brings her home, but the majority of the time it is me.  Everyday on the way to go pick her up I listen to a preacher on the radio.  He is the senior pastor at a very large charismatic church here in Xela.

I listen very critically.  I have been challenged and encouraged by some of his teaching, but over all...I hate it.  I absolutely hate it.  It took me over a month of listening to really put my finger on it.  On what I hate about it. Let me say one thing before I move on.  I have listened to a very small percentage of that pastor's teaching.  So what I am about to say is just commentary on what I've heard, not on the man or the rest of his teaching.

Although I disagree with much of what he says regarding the role of faith or God's promises in relation to us, he isn't teaching total error.  The error isn't what I hate.  What I hate is the focus.  It is entirely ME driven.

God wants good things for ME, God has a plan for ME, God doesn't will that I would suffer, God wants to provide for ME.  God gives ME peace, ME provision, ME goodness, ME, ME, ME!!!  You know...many of that is true.  But for goodness-sakes, when did the Bible become a book about ME?  Since when did the existence and work of the Trinity become solely for MY benefit?

This is just INSANE!  AND YES, I'M YELLING!  God existed for eternity before He created man.  He didn't create man to fulfill some basic need in Himself.  He wasn't lonely or lacking in anyway before He created all of us.  We are certainly not the center of His universe!

Let me make something very clear...and if you don't agree, please speak up...God's existence and work is for His glory, not our benefit.  This is, I believe, one of the greatest and gravest missteps of my generation (and even before).  No wonder the church is so obsessed with "growth" in terms of larger buildings, larger programs, larger staffs.  Why we as members of the body are more concerned with (and spends more money on) baggy thighs and wrinkles  than with the lost and suffering.  Why "self-esteem" is preached more than self denial.  Why we do everything in our power to eliminate our own suffering and remove any uncomfortable circumstances from our daily lives as well as our spiritual lives (as if those were really separate) and are taken totally by surprise and blame God when bad things happen to us good, Christian folk.

The chief end of man is to glorify myself and enjoy my stuff forever.
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Is that my chief end?  Is it yours?

Ok...that is the end of that rant.  Please share your thoughts.