Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A New Revelation of Love

I came to a new revelation several weeks ago and I've been mulling it over ever since. It's caused a major shift in my thinking and I've even had to take a good look at some of the other things I've believed without question.

There are several major questions that non-Christian people will ask of Christians: Is it wrong to drink alcohol? What about sex before marriage? How do you feel about homosexuality?

My first reaction is sadness. If that is what non-believers first see in Christianity, us Christians are doing pretty sorry work in spreading the Gospel. How often do you hear people say, "Oh, you're a Christian? Man, you guys are the greatest bunch of people around!"? I'm willing to bet on... oh... never. More often than not, I get, "You're a Christian? I guess that means you're not allowed to drink of swear or have sex. That sucks."

I heard a preacher say once that Christians get in trouble when we shout what God whispers and whisper what He shouts. Jesus never shouted about homosexuals or alcohol or liars. Jesus' life on earth screamed LOVE!

Here's my revelation: I have gone for so long disregarding all those who say that gay people are born that way. Hold on right there, I'm still not saying they are, but I've had a shift in thinking about this one. According to God's Word, we, as in all of humanity, are born with a sin nature. We are pre-disposed to sin. That means all sin. No sin is greater than another whether it be lying, stealing, cheating, adultery or murder.

What makes a person lead a life of sin is a lack of control. A Christians, we are told that we need to renew our minds. That means, replacing our sinful thoughts with God's thoughts. We cannot expect non-believers to grasp this idea and we cannot fault them for it. Sinners are supposed to sin. That's their job and most of them are pretty good at it. So why do we Christians frown at them for it?

When was the last time you heard God say, "Hey you over there, go judge your neighbour. And you, yeah, you in the white shirt, you haven't pointed out enough sin today." That's not what God is all about.  All through the Bible, God's message to sinners was a message of love. Love. Love. Love. It is not our job to point out sin, nor is it our job to judge. Leave that up to God. He deals with it better anyway.

It's time for Christians to change their thinking. Am I still appalled by blatant displays of homosexuality? You bet I am. But I should feel the exact same way about adultery, lying, murder and everything else that does not include living a life of love. You can't go tell a person all their doing wrong and then jump right into, "So, do you want Jesus in your life?" If all a person knows of Jesus is that he doesn't like their sin, where's the attraction in that?

I want to live a life that attracts people to the Jesus in me. I want sinners to find me attractive because I have something they don't. My actions should be shouting out the love of God while my voice cries of His love and glory.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Choir of Infinite Voices

My mother got into my car the other day.  I turned it on and immediately music blared from the speakers.

"You were listening to it that loud?"  My mother asked once I'd turned it off.


This incident got me thinking this morning.  I got in my car to drive to work and, again, music pumped out of the speakers rattling the air freshener hanging from my rearview.  The song was "In Your City" by Phil Wickham.   If you haven't heard it yet, google it.

Oh the glorious day when we arrive
And Heaven's gates are opened wide
All our fear and pain will fade away
When we see You
Face to face

Our Great and Awesome King
You will reign in brilliant light
Forever glorified
In Your city
And we
Your daughters and Your sons
Will see the kingdom come
In Your city

Love will rain and joy will have no end
When the saints go marching in
God we pray that You come soon
'Cause we were made
To be with You

Our Great and Awesome King
You will reign in brilliant light
Forever glorified
In Your city
And we
Your daughters and Your sons
Will see the kingdom come
In Your city

When we've been there for ten thousand years
Our song will be the same
Praise to the One who has brought us here
Jesus is His name
Jesus is His name 

In a perfect moment made in heaven, I sang along and, as I looked to the west, a broad rainbow arched the expanse of the grey sky background.  In that instant, I imagined the choir of infinite voices gathered in the throne room of heaven singing Holy, Holy, Holy.

The sound of my car radio is no match for the sound of heaven.  Oh the glorious day when we arrive...  Oh to hear the angelic choir singing God's praises and to be invited to join in.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trouble With A Captial "T"

Yes, there's trouble!  Right here in Surrey City.  Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for... Police?

Yep, police, right here in Surrey City.  Not that police in Surrey are anything new.  Neither are police in my area of Surrey.  But it still gets the neighbours talking when the fuzz are out there chatting with the residents across the street.

After noticing some uniforms, I did what anyone would do.  I called my mother.  After informing her of the situation brewing across the street, she let me know that there had been a similar incident to the house next door to that just weeks ago with police and even fire trucks!

The question now is, what's with all the sudden influx of law enforcement in our neigbourhood? If I were to base my assumptions purely on past experience, I'd say it has something to do with drugs and the growing of. But this one I'm not so sure about.

These are relatively new neighbours and they keep to themselves. Kind of a strange sort of folk. There's a young woman who likes to sit in a white plastic chair just outside the door while still in her plaid pyjama pants. There she smokes cigarettes in the morning.  There is an older woman who wanders around the yard in her housecoat at 3:00 on Saturday afternoons. There is often a big, barking dog on the upstairs patio and cars of all makes and models coming and going at all times of day and night. I couldn't tell you what kind of car any of the residents own (or even how many residents reside there), but there was a PT cruiser in the driveway this afternoon.

The man I saw talking to the police today was a middle-aged white man with a bluetooth in his ear.  Though I couldn't hear anything while he was speaking with a female officer, he was gesturing wildly and pointing toward the open garage.  It seems that no matter who is living in that house, that giant garage is always seemingly full of junk.  When the previous residents vacated the abode, they were forced to rent a dumpster to dispose of the refuse.

Now that I think about it, I don't think this is the first time I've observed the police at the residence across the street.  Would these people be daring enough to try a growing operation?  Is there a foul odour of domestic violence permeating the house?  Perhaps there is a decaying body among the trash in the garage.

Even I, in my infinite wisdom cannot settle on a reason for the recent happenings at my neighbour's dwelling.  Perhaps understanding will come at a later date, or perhaps not at all.  For now, though, I will sit and wonder and create in my head glorious stories with infinite possibilities.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seeking His Heart and Not His Hand

Maybe it's just me.  Then again, maybe it's not.  I've been noticing a trend in the North American Church of late.  It seems to me that many churches these days are looking for the signs and wonders - the manifestation of the things of God.  Don't get me wrong, we need to see God move.  The signs and wonders are what bring people into the kingdom, but I believe that we, as Christians, get off track when we start to look for the miraculous instead of the One who makes the miracles happen.

If Mark 16:17 says that signs and wonders will follow them that believe, why are we running and chasing after the miracles?  The picture that comes to mind here is a dog chasing his tail.  If signs and wonders follow us and we're chasing the signs and wonders... Do you get the picture?

What happened to seeking the Kingdom and God's righteousness?  Wasn't that our instruction?  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you."  I heard a preacher/rapper once say that we need to be seeking God's heart rather than His hand.  Seeking the gifts and signs and wonders, that's all in God's hands.  Where's his heart?  His heart is in our prayer.  In our worship.  In time spent with His Word.  In our every day.  Revival isn't in the seeing, it's in the believing.  It's a heart change, not something we can grasp with our hands.  When we reach for God's heart, He will open His hand.

My brother's heart melts every time his baby son lights up and says, "Hi Dadda!"  God wants us to greet him like that.  "Daddy!  God, my Father, my Lover, my Friend!"  It's not what's in the hands that counts.  It's all about the heart.  We love God for who He is, not what He can do for us.

Personally, I'd rather have a grip on God's heart than His hand.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where oh where has my little life gone?

Sometimes it seems like just days ago. Sometimes it feels like decades ago. In reality, it was somewhere in the middle. Though my life has never been one to be considered dull or bland, I start to wonder where it all went.

I've been back in Canada for a little over a week. I didn't even have the comfortable luxury of taking a break to realign myself with our fair culture. In a mere 18 hours, I made the jump from a hot climate and culture, to a cool climate and culture. (After a month in the Amazon, even Vancouver's record mild winter felt like an Arctic ice storm to me.) I miss Peru more than words can say. It's a different life down there. I live the South American version of my life. People who have seen me live both lives know that there is a Peruvian Jordan and there is a Canadian Jordan. I'd like to be both all the time, but I don't see how that is possible.

For someone who has never fallen in love with the jungle, let alone a third world country, the concept seems odd and foreign. It leaves a residue in the minds of the well-cultured. The concept of giving up a life in the land of opportunity seems misguided at best. Even for those who know me, the concept is difficult to grasp.

I am torn between two worlds. One part of me resides in the land where I was born and raised and love with a passion I cannot describe. The other part in a land I never expected to love, but cannot imagine my life without.

I have no great words of wisdom on how to reconcile these two parts and I am not sure that they even create a whole. There was a day when I thought I knew exactly where I was going and what I wanted and now... I want to go so many places, I want so many things. I wonder if I could have done more or if I could be doing more now. I wonder if I am where I should be or if I've missed the mark completely.

I know that I am not alone in these thoughts and feelings for there are many who share the concept of being torn between two lives. I know that there is an answer and I know that it must be sought.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We are all the same

People are people no matter where you go, no matter what you do. Nationality, race, language, they all become trivial when compared to our humanity. This is a generalization and I use it presently in reference to the church.

Every church has certain types of people. There are the committed ones. These are the first people to show up for anything and everything as well as the last to leave. They are the first to volunteer their time and the last to betray the rest. They give of themselves out of a love for Christ and His Body.

Then there are the benchwarmers. People who show up to church because its the thing to do. They don't really get to know anyone and no one really knows them. They feel good about contributing their presence on Sundays and even drop a few bucks in the offering plate as it passes by. They are contentedly complacent.

There are also the disgruntled. People who are openly unhappy about everything that is said and done in the church, but since there is something wrong with every church, they've decided to stick it out in yours because they'd feel guilty if they left the church altogether.

There are part-timers. People who show up only when they begin to feel guilty about skipping out for a few too many weeks. They'll show up for a week or two, make a couple of generous contributions and when they've eased their troubled hearts, you won't see them for a while.

Sadly, there are also wolves. These are people who appear to be committed, but are actually any of the above in disguise. You won't see them openly complain, they will attend most functions and get involved more than the average member. But in the end, it's the petty things that give them away. One disagreement too many and they're out the door before the second phrase of Amazing Grace.

Oh, that all Christians could be of the committed variety, but we're not. We hurt, we talk, we put on a show and, in the end, the truly committed are few and far between, left to console each other and everyone else in the aftermath when the wolves are brought to light.

The Church hurts in North America. It hurts in China, in Egypt and here, in Peru. All I ask is for prayer for the ministry here. For people who have been hurtn for strength, for wisdom and for peace that passes understanding for evey person involved.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A slower way of life...

Life in South America cannot even compare to our lives in the North. While life here may appear fast-paced, there is a leniency that does not exist in our North Western culture. If you say you will meet someone at 4:00, its not uncommon to be nearly an hour late. This is not a lie, but merely a different understanding of the concept of time. You get to something when you get to it. If it doesn't get done, there's always tomorrow or the day after. People here do not seem to be put out by tardiness.. They just go with the flow. Even the river here seems to flow a little slower than the one back at home. While the current is just as strong, the pace sets it apart.

The people of this amazing Southern culture are quick to forgive as well as to love. I cannot count how many sweaty cheeks I have kissed, how many damp shoulders I've embraced or how many clammy hands I've shaken. I've greeted many a stanger with a smile and many friends with hugs. I like to say that a personal bubble one may have in North America will pop the moment one lands in Iquitos.

I love this country, this city, this culture, these people.

Friday, January 29, 2010

How Good is God?

Mi dios es muy grande. Here in the Amazon, God moves. The idea of God moving is nothing new. The Lord knows how much we, in North America, talk about it. But how often do we see it? Do we come into the house of God hungry? Do we expect to see great and mighty things? I believe we think we do and we are earnest in our thinking, but I don't believe we are as hungry as we think we are.

At this very moment, I sit in a church with a tin roof, a concrete floor and only two walls. With me sit about 300 women who have come from near and far expecting God to meet them here and to make a difference in their lives. These women are going to change this country. It makes me wonder how quickly we would see revival in our own nations if we truly came to God expectantly. I came here to minister and it never fails - I will leave here feeling like I've taken more than I've given.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network