It has been four years since I was missionary in Guatemala. As the years pass, there are old dear friends still in the work — and they warm my heart. Then too, there are new friends, also a joy. The video is of Andrea, who shyly explained what she liked about the school, el Liceo Bilingue La Puerta, that I left working in Guatemala. I’m proud of her.
Tag Archives: love
An analogy is powerful persuasion. But it also has its flaws in that it never holds 100% correspondence to what it is being compared to. Such was the case of my last post, math = God’s systems. Specifically, I focused on order of operations, and how it you do math out of order, you get the wrong answer. I compared this to fudging God’s order from the Bible. For example, many people now think (especially in California) that it really doesn’t matter if you have sex before marriage. I insisted the correct order does matter.
Then http://marshajobrien.com/ pointed out that my post didn’t sound right. It sounded condemning, compassionless, cold. Maybe it turned a lot of people off to the gospel when my wish is to attract people.
While I believe there is a great truth to the order-of-operations analogy, at the same time there is a fallacy: Grace trumps. God redeems the brokenness and hurt of our lives. He gives us new beginnings. Think of doing the math problem wrong and still getting the right answer: that is grace.
Grace is when we turn to God, realizing our sin. We want forgiveness. We want a new start. And He embraces us with compassion. He shows us a better way to live life. When we blow it, He continually gives us a new opportunity.
The tension between grace and law are summed up in the prodigal son: He was restored to full sonship, but his part of the inheritance was entirely and irrevocably squandered. We do lose blessings by our bad decisions. But God works the math to always favor us. Even this runs the risk of lacking grace.
Hooray for the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver fined Clipper owner Donald Sterling $2.5 million and banned him from the NBA for life after the real estate mogul was recorded making racist remarks against blacks to his girlfriend.
Hooray for Dani Alves. The left defender from FC Barcelona mocked racial taunts. When a fan from the other team attempted to provoke the Brazilian by throwing a banana at him during a game (message: you are a monkey), he picked up the banana, took a bite and kept playing. Footballers in support took pictures of themselves eating bananas and posted them on Instagram. The fan has been banned for life from attending soccer stadiums.
Church, take heed! I have been mortified by brothers who, thinking they talk in confidence with me because I’m as wait as a freshly bleached sheet, share their evil racism with me. There is no room for racism in the church. It is a sin. For too many years, “apologists” accommodated and justified slavery with a wicked twisting of the scriptures.
I’ve got news for you. In Heaven, all the races live together in harmony. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. — Rev. 5:9.
If you secretly harbor thoughts of the superiority of one race, repent of your sin before God and convert in a truly loving Christian.
God forbid that the NBA and a Spanish soccer club be more loving towards rejected people than the church.
Sterling may fight back. He can dicker over due process. He can prosecute whoever illegally recorded his conversation (presumably his girlfriend). But his doom has been decreed. He’s not going to make much headway.
If you don’t know anguish, relief is boring.
If you ignore what misery is, you will be void of compassion.
If you don’t understand how your sin puts you into desperate straits before God, you will never grasp the imponderable wonder of grace and salvation.
If it’s always somebody’s else’s fault, you will never know what it means to forgive.
If you only love yourself, you do not know what love is.
Even though I face rejection on all sides.
Cutting myself off from people would save me the hurt. But it would deprive me of human warmth, affirmation.
Too bad so many people see others through competitive eyes. They can’t just be friends. They have to put others down, downplay others’ giftings. Life must be miserable when you can’t enjoy friendship.
I’m going to keep reaching out to find friends. To find people who can accept me for what I am. My strengths and weaknesses. My quirks. People who don’t try to re-make me according to what they think I should be. God made me sensitive. If you don’t like that, too bad for you!
I’m going to keep reaching out because that’s what Jesus did. Spurned, he still gave love. I’m going to keep reaching out because the alternative to rejection is loneliness — which is worse.
But we take no heed to the danger of negative or sinful thoughts. The Bible says, “Take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.” If the direction of your thought life is toward depression, low self esteem, drugs or some other negative, take the steering wheel away from the devil and direct your thoughts towards positive things.
A good chunk of my life went to the mission field — almost 16 years planting churches and a school in Guatemala. It’s been four years since I left, and now that I visit, I see miracles, miracles, miracles. Miracles continue.
These kids have an environment free from bullying, free from cutting, free from drugs, free from pornography, free from so many quicksand pits that are swallowing the lives of our youth.
To be sure, there have been failures. One kid who was expelled is now dead. Another just got out of jail. Another got pregnant out of wedlock. Not all the stories are success.
But there are undeniable testimonies of revolutionized lives. One kid unwittingly ran the errands of narcs. He had been kicked out of every school he enrolled prior. Today, he is an upstanding parent and put his girl in our school. Excuse me while tears well up. Jesus did this. I just let my life be used.
It took oodles of prayer and oodles of work, but it was all worth it. And the momentum continues. Miracles of salvation and healing continue. Pray for the Door Church in Guatemala.
Think about Job’s friends. They wanted to console Job. But their theology was too black-and-white. Through some 20 chapters, they degenerated from help to hurt, from wanting to encourage to discouraging. Eventually, they just argued.
Don’t be like Job’s friends. They started on the right foot. The Bible says that when calamity slammed Job, they sat with him in silence for seven days, grieving with him. They showed strong moral support.
But then they searched for words. They sought reasons to explain the unexplainable. They spoke eloquently and gradually became enamored with their fine speeches and forgot about the purpose of uplifting the victim. Instead of infusing solace, they spiked Job. Dogmatism doomed them.
Their lack of words spoke more powerfully than the florid poetry they poured out trying to convince Job he was wrong. In the end, they did more harm than good. Eventually, the dragged Job into the fray and provoked him to some unwise statements. At the end, God rebuked them.
If only they would have finished like they started, friends showing mute affirmation.