when we have the chance to give

 

 

You’re coming home tonight. We can’t wait to hear about the trip. You’ve been missed!

Here’s a message posted yesterday on Facebook from your youth pastor:

One of the most beautiful things happened today here in Chattanooga. The students saw that most of the children they were serving in the poverty stricken area were constantly talking about how hungry they were as well as some of their parents. On the last day of serving in the community, ALL the students collectively decided that they would give away their lunches to those in need. They gave away 30 lunches to whoever was hungry. They sacrificed their lunch so that someone else could have a good meal. They realized how good they had it and others didn’t and I was blown away by their generosity. They showed the love of Christ in a REAL and PRACTICAL way. A ton of tears fell as the students said goodbye to the children, parents and our students. To say I am proud of them would be a huge understatement.

I hope you’ll remember this – what it feels like to meet others needs, sacrifice for someone else, show Christ’s love in the truest form – by giving.

 

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me you faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” – James 2:17-18

 

we are called to go

 

 

I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.  John 17:23

The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest …  Luke 10:2

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:19-20

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel …  Mark 16:15

 

investing in your platform

 

I follow a few writers’ blogs. And I sometimes buy books on writing even though they seem to say a lot of the same things.

Whether you’re a teacher, a pastor, a speaker, a baker, a singer, an artist, or a writer, most books suggest:

Do your craft often.

Understand it well.

Build a platform, a place where people can buy or read or listen to the message you’re relaying.

Take a risk.

Stretch yourself.

Understand social media. Jump in.

And somewhere sandwiched between it all is:

Say something dangerous.

Something bound to get you noticed. Do something bold that sets you apart from the crowd. Wear polka dots in a sea of beige.

Do what it takes to stand out.

But can I tell you something, a little piece of truth?

You are clearly seen. You aren’t invisible.

We all have an audience.

They will one day live with you. They’ll cut grass across the street. They’ll know your name. They’ll shop at your grocery store. They’ll ask how you’re doing. They’ll let you borrow a bowl of sugar.

Our words may zip through texts and emails, Facebook and twitter faster than ever before. It may reach those we’ve never even met. But strangers can’t be our primary audience.

We can exhaust our energy persuading those we don’t know to listen, notice, love us or we can actively pursue the audience Christ has hand selected for our lives.

Our families. Our friends. Our relationships. Our influences.

Nurture those.

Care for those.

Reach their hearts first.

This is the platform that must be sturdiest, strongest of all.

 

throwing out perfection

 

Your dad told me driving down the road he wasn’t allowed to hang posters in his room as a child. And I laugh, “Me either!”

Maybe it’s because his mother spent hours meticulously painting football helmets to match his favorite sports teams and my mother labored over fabric swatches until she found the perfect blues and yellows.

Today, as you’re in Georgia, I find myself in your room, praying a bit, but mostly cleaning.

I once let you tape a postcard over a dresser and that postcard has multiplied into notes and lyrics, cards and pictures. The cluttered collage makes my eyes hurt.

I take it down piece by piece, albeit with a twinge of guilt. I know it isn’t a big deal.

But in the quiet, I realize it’s not the room I want perfect, it’s you.

I’m embarrassed to type it. Too often, I expect more from you than I do myself.

Perfect choices and perfect disciplines, perfect friends and perfect responses — it doesn’t matter that you’re a teenager still growing, still learning,

And really, perfection, she’s an eerie ghost, said to be out there but none of us can find her.

We have a handful of summers left, me and you.

They will be far from perfect.

But so will we.

 I will give thanks to You, for I am beautifully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14

Karen - July 19, 2012 - 8:51 am

Oh Amanda… I so hear this post! Love it :)

what will we leave behind?

 

“On the way to contemplation we do the same thing that Jesus Christ did in the wilderness. Jesus teaches us not to say, “Lord, Lord,” but to do the will of his Father. What must primarily concern us is that we do what Jesus has bidden us do. Jesus went into the wilderness, ate nothing for forty days, and made himself empty … Of course, emptiness in and of itself isn’t enough. The point of emptiness is to get ourselves out of the way so that Christ can fill us up. As soon as we’re empty, there’s a place for Christ, because only then are we in any sense ready to recognize and accept Christ as the totally other, who is not me.” - Richard Rohr, Simplicity

Jake is still in South Africa and you loaded a bus this morning at 5 am with three filled-to-the-brim bags. You’ll spend a week working with children two states away. I want God to do a mighty work in both of your lives as you step out of these routine days.

But for God to use us, we must first be emptied.

Emptied of our agendas, our fluorescent yellow schedules, emptied of our worries, our hurried steps, our ideas of how days should be spent.

And when we do?

Others will know.

Because when you’re gone, when you’ve boarded a plane or settled back into the comfort of an air-conditioned bus,

you will have left hope, faith, purpose for tomorrow.

You will have left a Holy gift.

The gift of Christ.

 

 

 

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