Friday, November 23, 2007

Spiritual Urgency

I have been reading through Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret the last week or so. It is the book of the month for the learning community that I am in. I actually read the book just before I began Moody in the summer of 2001. It is hitting me in some different ways now that I am 6 years into ministry. I just wanted to share a quote from the book that was convicting and challenging to me. Keep in mind that Hudson Taylor lived from 1832 to 1905. He was one of the first missionaries to China. He wrote, "We may have more wealth in these days, better education, greater comfort in traveling and in our surroundings even as missionaries, but have we the spirit of urgency, the deep, inward convictions that moved those who went before us; have we the same passion of love, personal love for the Lord Jesus Christ? If these are lacking, it is a loss for which nothing can compensate." That's a "spiritual punch in the chest."

I thought I would share one other quote that might encourage my fellow "support raisers" out there. He wrote, "Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small. Depend upon it, God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supplies."

Who's Ministering To Whom?

We recently had a game night at our ministry center. We had about 20-25 kids and 6-8 adults there. We played spades, Taboo, Monopoly, and the Nintendo Wii. We had popcorn and chips and eventually ordered pizza. We concluded the night by watching a video together called “Invisible Children.” It is a documentary film that tells the story of thousands of kids in Uganda who are on the run from rebel soldiers. The rebel soldiers are looking to kidnap kids from various villages in order to violently force and train them to be killers. Every night thousands of kids walk miles to sleep together in large groups in bus garages and hospitals. They do this as a matter of survival, and many of them have seen siblings and friends abducted and/or killed by the rebels. It is the type of movie that really grips your heart and makes you wan to get involved somehow. After the movie had concluded we split the kids up into groups and all of the leaders took a group to discuss the movie and to pray about what they saw. I took 7 guys with me into one of the side rooms to discuss the film. The guys I had ranged in age from 10 to 14. I watched most of the kids as they viewed the film, and I really wasn’t sure if the film had impacted them very much or if some of them had even paid attention. My assumptions were definitely wrong. I began the time by asking them basic questions about the details of the film. They answered every one of my questions with more detail than I had even asked for or expected. I then asked them if we should care about people who live half way around the world from us. They were very adamant that we should care, because we would want people to care about us if we were in that predicament. I think they especially were moved by the fact that most of the kids that were portrayed in the film were the same age(s). I then asked them what we should do about it. One of the first responses was from Rakeem who said that we needed to be praying for them. Daronte added that we should send them some money. Darron spoke up and said that we needed to make sure that whatever we sent them was given to Thomas and Nicolas - 2 of the boys that the video focused on that had lost their parents and had a brother abducted. The fact that someone his(Darron’s) age was without either parent and without a place to stay really struck him. The other guys agreed with him, but pointed out that if we did that it wouldn’t be fair to the thousands of other kids that were in the same predicament. Rakeem then spoke up and said we needed to load some airplanes with some supplies and drop them off in Uganda. I was a bit taken back by the “largeness” of his idea and started to tell him that his idea was a bit too “aggressive.” But then I was convicted. Kids have big ideas because we serve a big God. They have a childlike faith. We need to encourage their big ideas not thwart them no matter how big they are. My conversation that night with those guys really ministered to me. We decided that we need to do 3 things together: (1) continue to spread the word about the invisible children (2) to collect money during the month of December that we will send to them at the end of the month, and (3) pray. These young guys got it. They were more compassionate in their response, and had bigger ideas than I did. Over the years, I continue to be amazed about how much I learn and am encouraged in my faith by the young people. Sometimes it makes me wonder, “Who’s ministering to whom?”