Tuesday, July 17, 2007

There's something indescribably comforting about rain in the middle of summer. A single dark day in the middle of so much light. It helps me breathe a little easier.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Love for who?

We have all heard that as Christians we are called to Love. Many of us today are increasingly being convicted that this is how the world will best know Christ - through love. 1 John tells us repeatedly that this love must not be in word alone, but in deeds. Because of this we see today an influx of community service by certain branches of the church. Other believers, reacting to this, hold ever more fervently to the importance of verbal evangelism. There is a strong sentiment that deeds alone are not enough, but must be accompanied by the words of truth. And so some sort of a debate has begun.
Being of the certain age and social group that I am, I am admittedly drawn to one of these models above the other, though I see the argument of both sides. However, is it possible that both have missed the mark?

One of my favorite bible passages to contemplate these days is Acts 2:44-47. It reads, "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
As I read this the first thing to stick out to me is the communal living of the early church. Lofty thoughts of Karl Marx and the abolition of private property automatically spring to mind. However, as much as I do long to violently slay this monster of greed living inside of me which claims things for myself to the exclusion of others - something else struck me about this passage today.
This was the words, "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." We notice in this passage that the church has staged no major outreach event. This passage describes neither a wide spread influx of door to door evangelism - nor does it describe the church helping the needy of the city and thereby winning them over to Salvation.
There is great love in this passage. A love that drives people to share all their possessions and care for those in need. But WHO is this love directed towards? It is directed towards other members of the church! Could it be that this is the missing component to our evangelistic strategies today? That we have viewed evangelism or "outreach" as our culture has taught us to - that in order to draw more people in, you must reach out. In short: marketing. But is the gospel ever in line with the common sense messages of our culture? Rarely. Could it be that the best method of drawing people into the church is to love and care for and spend time with those who are already members of it?
This teaching is hard to accept because it calls us to a level of trust in God's work instead of our own that we are not accustomed to bearing. It takes the responsibility for drawing unbelievers into the truth away from us and places it in God's hands. Can we really trust him to do this work?

Finally I will conclude by quelling any fears that by this I am saying we should end all efforts at "out reach" - whatever your particular congregation defines that as being. By no means am I saying that. I believe that the excitement of this Truth that we know should be so bubbling over the edges of our soul, and thereby out of our mouths, that we cannot help but share the message of Christ with any unbeliever who we have an opportunity to share it with. I believe that we should be so filled with gratitude for the Love Christ has shown us that we are equipped and able to love all people at a radical level which includes caring for their physical, emotional, and mental needs - whether they are in the church or not. This comes as a matter of course.

But in this let us not forget what Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another." John 13:35

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

...Was blind, but now I see.

My wildest dreams have come true. After 16 years of terrible eye sight, being blind on every occasion of swimming, and not being able to read the clock when I wake up in the morning, I am forever rid of nearsightedness! That's right ladies and gentlemen, I am a successful survivor of this amazing new thing the kids are calling "Lasic Surgery."

The road to full eyesight was a little windy. I went up last Thursday expecting to be fully cured of blindness, but alas they could not secure a good suction on my right eye though they tried repeatedly. As a result only my left eye was fixed and I was more than a little traumatized by the experience. Yesterday, which was Monday, I returned to the Beaverton clinic for a second try on that tricksy right eye, and this time, success! And with none of the fright instilling failures of the first time. Quick and simple and now... I have sight! I wake up in the morning and I can see!

The only downside to this procedure, besides the first few hours of pain, is that it broke the capillaries in both of my eyes causing the whites of my eyes to turn bright red. Over the next few days they will turn yellow, and then green, which has the effect of startling many an unsuspecting customer at my coffee shop, causing my little brothers friends to run away from me in fear, and more than one explanation that I am in fact neither stoned, abused, or possessed by any evil spirit.

The upside is that I have the best boyfriend in the entire world, and he managed to send me a beautiful bouquet of flowers even though he himself is travelling around Argentina and Brazil. Eyesight and flowers from my dearest all in the same day?! I am overwhelmed. The Lord has been good to me indeed.

Is he the sweetest, or what? I can't even believe it.

This is after significant improvement. You should have seen them the first couple days after surgery... Thankfully it didn't happen in my right eye again yesterday...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Dramatic Chipmunk

Just way too good not to share. Thank you Alex Wilgus.