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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Compassion Sunday

One of my prayers for Spring Break was that God would speak clearly during this time. That it would be a time free from clutter where I could hear His voice and grow a little. In an attempt to help facilitate that I have been on a liquid fast. (I have the worst craving for a good steak!) God is good and in many small ways I feel that I have heard His heart. So far it hasn't been anything huge, just glimpses of things through "God glasses." Nothing that I felt the need to sit and write about.

Until today. Today was Compassion Sunday at First Prez. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion Internation was scheduled to speak at our church. There have been few presidents of companies that I care to hear speak. Great business men rarely make for what I would consider a good speaker - at least on a heart level.

My tears started when Sonya began to sing a song about a Somalian woman. The song was accompanied by a video presentation. The Mr. Stafford stood up to speak. He spoke of growing up on the mission field and how everything he knew about how to run an international company was learned around the campfires of that small, poor village. He spoke of poverty as if it were a person or spirit working to steal hope from people all over the world. The service ended with some of our talented keiki singing. My tears, however, are still near the surface.

There are so few things that Jesus asked us to do. Make disciples. Feed the poor. Clothe the naked. Visit the prisoner. I would venture to say that most Christians spend most of their time focusing on making disciples - if that.

Something else happened Friday that impacted me greatly as well. I went to a Cancer Clinic to pray with patients. One of our members is a radiologist in the clinic and they advertise that there will be healing prayer for those who need encouragement each Friday. I heard about it for the first time on Friday and decided that I needed to go. Our shift was only for 45 minutes and we spent most of that time with one woman. We prayed with her, but God opened the door for us to talk and learn some critical things about her. Things like she moved into a new house just before she was diagnosed with cancer and they began treatment. She is a single mom of 4. She sleeps on a mattress on the floor. They have no microwave in the house and she has felt too week to go to church during her treatment cycle. She felt shame to ask for help and therefore has no one providing meals and/or words of encouragement. God opened the door for us to be able to begin meeting some of this woman's needs.

How many more hurting people must their be out there? And how do we find them? Is it reasonable to expect that we live our lives to purposefully be in certain places at certain times? To try to allow our paths to cross with the hurting? If so, how do we do this?

One of my roommates feels a burden for children in the sex trade. Another one has a heart for the children of Africa. In fact, she is there right now. Trying to do whatever she can to make a difference in their lives. They are my heros. People who refuse to turn a blind eye to what is happening around the world.

Obviously this begs the question, what should I be doing? How do I respond? Contribute? I do have the opportunity to influence a number of children through my job. And I think that is good. But I don't think that is all.

I used to speak a lot in different churches. I have only done this a few times in the past couple of years and may be a bit rusty, but I just can't shake the desire to do just that. I can teach and I can pray. While I do want to see and help first hand as many as possible, my heart is actually in building an army. I long to go to churches, missions, parks, whereever God might lead and share what He has shared with me.

1) God sees you free. From whatever binds you up. God sees you as if you were already free. He knows your potential and longs to work with you to see it come to pass. No matter what your prison, it is not a barrior God can not work through.

2) God sees others free. As we learn to walk in freedom, God calls us to see others through His eyes of freedom. To see the potential hidden within. To love no matter the cost or the loss. He wants us to become vessels for His freedom.

3) God longs to empower us to be those vessels of freedom. On our own, there is little we can do. But if we learn to allow God's power to flow through us, there is nothing we cannot do.

So how do I combine those desires? How do I live in an intentional way? How do I communicate these things to my kids? How do I incorporate these values into teaching music? How do I organize my life so that the most important things do not get left out?

I am rambled out for today. Feel free to share your thoughts on any number of items I rambled on about today. :-)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Life As a Story

Tonight my pastor, Jordan, introduced a new sermon series. It centers around our stories, not necessarily our life stories but rather stories we have gathered throughout our lives. The series sounds quite interesting and I am looking forward to hearing these stories.

In his message, Jordan mentioned that a good story is full of unexpected turns, pain and suspense. He then asked us if we were interested in having our lives be a "good story." It got me thinking. You see I feel like God has been challenging me lately with the question, "How is your life different than it would be if you were working at a Mission Station in a foreign country?" "What things would you be doing there that you are not doing here?" etc.

I have stories to tell, but things have been rather comfortable since I started teaching in September. I have a couple weeks off to think and pray (among other things.) Maybe God will have inspired me with new ways to get out of the "comfortable zone" by the time it is over.

One theme that has repeated since I was in college is a faith-based Family Life Center. It has never come to pass. But I wonder if one day God will open the door. I don't really see it as being for families, but rather a place for Family to grow - not necessarily related by blood. :-)

And then this Friday I was reminded that our island is limited in what it has to offer children with learning or behavioral difficulties. Hmmm. More to chew on.

Who knows where God will lead.