If you live on the top side of of the Blue Planet, our hopeful greeting these days is, “April showers bring May flowers.” Down Under-ers (who firmly believe that it’s really they who are on top because the map-makers got it wrong), are mostly looking forward to cooler days. And all those in between say, “What’s the difference?” Regardless of these differences, look at our world, isn’t God great?
“Have You Eaten?”
Yes, that really is a first-time greeting in some ‘hospitality-focused’ nations! Food is a common denominator, and enjoying a meal is – or should be – a pleasant and relaxed affair.
“How old are you?” “Where are you going?” “How-do-you-do?” “How are you?” are some other greetings used in different cultures.
Most of us would use, and be familiar with some form of “How-do-you-do?” “How’re you doing?” or “How’re ya going?” Mostly we almost unthinkingly answer, “Good, thanks.” Or maybe, “Not bad.”
But do we really mean what we’re saying? When we ask, do we really care how that person is doing? And if they did tell us how things really, really are for them, do we even want to hear about it? Quite frankly, most of us aren’t equipped to handle the stuff that might come spilling out; life is difficult and many of us aren’t ‘doing’ well. But, it seems, we must keep a ‘stiff upper lip,’ and make like everything’s okay.
Sometimes a simple and cheery, “Hi!” is best – when spoken with a genuine smile – not always easy for some of us. A greeting together with a caring and interested look on your face can do wonders for both the giver and the receiver, and could ultimately lead to more and deeper relationships.
After initial introductions, what usually comes next is, “What do you do?”
I’m getting to dislike that question. Intensely. It seems harmless, but think it through. Is your or my value just in what we do? I hope there’s more to me – and you – than our main line of work. The answer to that question neatly fits you into a specific category – as compared to me. And as we know, comparisons can be odious. (They stink too.)
So I try to get around the, “What do you do?” by being a bit more probing – and sneaky. “What’s your ministry?” I innocently ask. (This only works for believers.) The problem is that most believers think that their ‘ministry’ means things they do on Sundays.
The answers range from, “Oh, I teach Sunday School,” or “I’m on the worship team,” or “I’m an usher,” that sort of thing. Of course, what I’m digging for is what they do all week; their main ministry, the one that takes up most of their time; not just their Sunday serving. I told you I was sneaky.
You see, whether you’re a President or a plumber, a mother or a mortician, a teacher or a techie . . . these and all other ‘doing-things,’ are ministries and are worthy callings in life. Your ministry is what Jesus has called you to.
But there is a deeper and scarier question to ask, if you dare. (Don’t ask this one it if you’re not willing to answer it yourself! And you need to be in a safe environment.) It’s not about doings, achievements, trophies or accomplishments; nor is it about photos, certificates or awards that hang on your wall. And it’s not something you’ll find in many resumés or CVs.
Ready for it?
The other day, a very dear friend of ours sent me a short article that tells how South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu once gently threw down five-word gauntlet to a young man. . .
“Tell me who you are.”
After his thoughtful response about what was in his heart, about the passions he carried and the things he would die for, the young man’s life changed dramatically (see link below).
Although Jesus already knows what’s in our hearts, I kind of think that were you or I to meet him on the street next week, his first “hello” would include, “Tell me who you are.”
In closing I would ask, “Have you eaten?” You never know where that might lead!
You can read the young man’s story at http://fxn.ws/113uyOE
Profound (but not so) Pithy
The world now claims we cannot love the sinner without also loving, or at least tolerating, the sin – even what the sinner does not think is a sin, or is in denial of that sin. But to tolerate the sins of the flesh and hedonism is to do to others what you should not want them to do to you. The Christian tries to love the sinner, but not the sin – because we want the sinner led away from sin and back to Christ’s grace.
Yet the world treats Christian grace as an insult unless the grace a Christian shows becomes worldly – tolerant of sin without the necessity of repentance or Christ. This conflict between karma and grace leads more and more Christians into danger, making the gospel they share weak or nonexistent.
Erick Erickson from “Christ in a Karmic Age”: http://fxn.ws/XoKQ8i
Going to the Dogs
About 100 years ago, G. K. Chesterton said that at least five times in the previous 1900 years, it seemed as if the church was going to the dogs. But each time, he said, it was the dog that died!
As Christians we’re called to live a paradoxical existence in a backward world. We follow a truth that doesn’t make sense to our natural souls, and we deny the very things this world is after most. The great preacher-teacher A. W. Tozer put it this way:
“A real Christian is an odd number, anyway.
He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen;
talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see;
expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another;
empties himself in order to be full;
admits he is wrong so he can be declared right;
goes down in order to get up;
is strongest when he is weakest,
richest when he is poorest,
and happiest when he feels the worst.
He dies so he can live;
forsakes in order to have;
gives away so he can keep;
sees the invisible;
hears the inaudible;
and knows that which passeth knowledge.”
Alignment; what does it look like?
It could look like an orchestra gathered to play a symphony . . .
The musicians take the place allocated to them according to their instrument, laying down the right to play whatever music they want, whenever they want and they follow the conductor’s directions. He chooses the order of the music played and sets the tempo. The musicians’ responsibilities are to keep their eyes on the conductor, follow his lead and play to the best of their ability, creating one beautiful, harmonious sound.
Another example is a flock of Canada Geese flying in ‘V’ formation . . .
The geese at the front use the most energy as they provide an updraught for those flying behind them. When the leader gets tired it drops back and lets another take over, but it does not drop out of the formation. Those at the back frequently and loudly encourage those in front, “We’re here with you!” they honk; “keep flying – you’re doing well!” This way they all share the effort required and arrive at their destination together.
Canada Geese mate for life, so when one gets injured and has to leave the formation, its partner will stay with it until ready to fly again; none are left to make the journey alone.
Like the geese we are on a journey together – but unlike a relay race where each team member takes a turn then stops – we are to stay active in the group, playing our part, knowing our place and all following the leader as one unit.
From Articles by Shirley Jones, YWAM Associates Europe
A New Feature for
It is said that, “A change is as good as a rest.” If that resonates with you, and you are hankering to serve ‘out there’ again – short term – would you pray about giving your vacation as an offering? There are YWAM associates who head up ministries that would love to offer you a Service Opportunity (ServOpp).
This month we feature . . .
http://www.hopeforce.org or telephone 1-615-371-127 Click here to email
Here’s an established 10 year-old ministry that’s headed up by Jack & Cherie Minton, formerly leaders with YWAM’s Mercy Ships. Hope Force goes to the tough places: New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Haiti after the 2010 earthquake (still there!) and New York’s 2012 Hurricane Sandy.
If you’re physically not able to handle the tough stuff, often just a compassionate ear will do as much – there’s a serving opportuinity for everyone.
I was asking the Lord what was on His heart for you this month and I sensed Him say, “The same thing that was on my heart when I walked on earth. I want you to love Me, the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul and mind, and love others, as you love yourself. Do to others what you would want them to do to you.”
It’s not complicated. It’s simple when we abide in His love and become one with Him. WHEN WE’RE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD WE’RE FILLED WITH HIS LOVE. Be continually filled. Relying on God’s love takes away all fear. Fear will increase in the world, but God’s love through His people, will increase as well, if we abide in Him.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” Out of our love for Him, we listen carefully to Him and walk in obedience, trusting Him. You may say, “What if I make a mistake?” That’s okay, because He’ll see that our hearts are to obey Him, to please and love Him.
It doesn’t matter what others think. Out of the fear of man, Peter denied Jesus. Yet Jesus, before He went home to be with His Father, reinstated Peter as a disciple, asking three times, “Peter do you love Me? If you do, feed My sheep, care for my lambs.”
Do you think it was difficult for Peter to receive Jesus’ forgiveness and to forgive himself?
My friends, Christianity is simple obedience to God out of love for him. And out of our intimacy with Him every day, every step of the way, will come our ‘ministry’ in the home, the market place, the church or wherever God has called you to reflect Him.
Live for eternity when you will see Him face to face, and He will say something like, “Well done My good and faithful son (or daughter). You loved Me and walked in obedience to Me, you loved others, and reflected Me and My glory.”
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P.S. U.S. President Obama quoted scripture at the Interfaith service in Boston after the bombings, “Run the race with perseverance . . . God didn’t give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and of self-discipline.”
(Heb 12:1 and 2 Tim 1:7) God’s Word will not return void – and as you can see, I’ve also quoted several scriptures. The Holy Spirit reminds us of what is already written by Him.
Renewal Camps & Gatherings 2013
A Dean Sherman Tripleheader this summer in Europe!
June 16 – 22 Piemont, Italy: Speaker – Dean, click here for details
June 20 – 23 Black Forest, Germany: Click here for details
June 30 – July 6: Restenäs, Sweden: Dean, again! click here
July 7 – 13: Sighisoara, Romania: Dean, Once more! Yes! click here
July 22 – 27: Skjærgårdsheimen, Norway: Edwin Fillies, click here
August 4 – 10: YWAM Champagne Le Gault, France have a look here
For more information about the European Camps click here
November 6 – 10: Singapore: Dean Fujishima, Peter & Donna Jordan & Team
click here to email for information
And Finally . . .
I want to coin a new word – ‘prumble’ Proudly humble. Think it’ll catch on?
Till next time,
The Small Print
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