Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Caught It

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

I’m now reading 2 Samuel, the story of David, in my daily Bible reading. You probably know the story better than I do – David was very pleasing to God, became a just king of Israel, was beloved by many, accomplished great things in God’s name, and yet succumbed to sin. Although I haven’t read the entire book yet I’m already forming the opinion the moral of 2 Samuel is that indeed all of us sin, even God’s most favored people, yet he still loves us anyway.

You know, if even David could fall into sin, why are we so caught up in the false hope of not becoming a sinner? Who among us is clean enough to rise above the temptation of sin? Someone told me last night of a gentleman who believes he does not sin, and his worst fear in life is that one day he will sin. I think those who fear loosing God’s love as they fall into sin don’t really understand grace. If God’s love is unconditional, then it is unconditional even as we sin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not embracing sin, just rejecting the tendency to measure ourselves against one another by the number and severity of our sins and the piling on of guilt and shame as if God loves some of us more and others less.

In the old days I was a believer in the guilt and shame philosophy and just knew in my heart that God loved me less because of my sin. But in the last few months, especially as we’ve studied Romans in church the last twelve Sundays, I’ve come to see things differently. I now lean more on God’s love than away from his wrath.

I could be wrong about it all, I hope not, but in the meantime I’m praying for wisdom. As I’ve read, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given to you,” (James 1:5).

So on Monday I spent three hours with Rev. Tim Cummins, who runs Whirlwind Missions. You might recall the description of this ministry from yesterday’s post. I’ll post his story as soon as I’ve finished it, hopefully by tomorrow. Here’s a little of what we did:

Dined on roasted goat in an Ethiopian restaurant and talked about God; we were perhaps the only Christians in a room full of Muslims.

Delivered Bibles that had been translated in Swahili, Napaleze and Arabic to an International Church in a Somalian neighborhood.

Visited one of the 35 apartment missions he operates in the International Village; I watched Latino children doing homework on the computers he has set up in an apartment bedroom.

Visited a sewing ministry where women refugees of South Africa are taught to sew so that they can clothe their family and make items for sale to raise money.

Tim’s motto is Bring the Church to the People. I think he’s figured out how to do just that and is doing great deeds in the name of the Lord. Go Rev. Tim!

While I was with Tim I met another gentleman who is also motivated to serve others. As we talked he said something that struck me as so true: You can’t be taught servanthood; you have to catch it. I so hope someone reading about the various ministries I’m now profiling will hear the call to volunteer for a local ministry. Once you catch it, it changes you. You will find joy, walking as Jesus did.

I’ll let you figure this next thing out. Over a week ago I injured myself and was having a lot of pain that restricted my mobility. I’ve had difficulty getting dressed, climbing in and out of the car, descending stairs, etc. Sunday night I went to bed worried I would have to cancel my day with Tim, not wanting him to wait for me as I hobbled along, stooping over in pain now and then. Sunday night I prayed, Please don’t let this keep me from the ministries. Monday morning I jumped out of bed pain-free and haven’t slowed down since.

Guess what? I’ve been asked to join the Board of the Community Outreach ministry. Yahoo! And only three weeks left to complete my Stephen Ministry training! I’m having a great year!

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

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