Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Aroma of Christ to the World!

      God is stirring my heart for the world. Being here and knowing that everyday I have an opportunity and an obligation to share hope and Jesus with people who do not know Him is an opportunity not to be wasted. Even since being here, I’ve had to adjust my box of how I normally think of knowing God. It was always such a personal thing to me before. It is now becoming much more communal. It is wonderful spending time alone with the Lord, but what good does it do if you never learn how to know God in the real world or how to show others the transformation that happens through knowing Him. Sharing Him is another part of knowing Him. I have known the power of community before, but I really want to experience God in community, and in every part of my life I want to be seeking to know Him.
Already, I have had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy in reaching people with the gospel. I think God wants to teach me a lot about the power of the Holy Spirit this year. So many people here have no clue that they can really know God! At first it was very discouraging, and so many times I’m thinking, how can I make a difference here? Sometimes while sharing, I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall. But God is faithful and He is at work! I am confident He wants Slovenia to know Him because of what He says in His Word and I will have hope in that!
“II Corinthians 2:14-17 says, 14 But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
17 You see, we are not like the many frauds who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.”

            I want to be merely the fragrance of Christ, and people will respond to that according to what God wills. I pray that for those I meet  in Slovenia, it will be a fragrance of life and not death! And I am not adequate, but I ask God to give me boldness to speak with sincerity, and only by the authority of Christ! In Luke 9 Jesus says that He gives all power and authority to heal and cast out demons! Do I really believe that? Do I really believe that He is life-giving and am I prepared to deal with the response of those who reject me in rejecting Him? I pray that I would keep my fixed on knowing Christ and in turn only being concerned about His fame and glory. By knowing Him may I be filled with His love and compassion! May I be like Paul who was able to patiently and gently reason and persuade people to believe the truth of Jesus and His resurrection. No matter the opposition I will face, may I find disciples to build into who will embrace Jesus Christ!

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God! For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:20-21

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Following Him

I didn’t know goodbyes would be so hard. I am very surprised by how difficult and emotional it is, and I didn’t see this coming. I couldn’t wait to go to Slovenia up to this point, but now that it’s here I realize the sacrifices. But realizing that, also makes me realize how much I will need the Lord. I have felt so scattered. I want to feel excited for Slovenia, but I feel sad for what I am going to miss at home. This last week has hit me hard. I love home and its comforts much more than I realized. The comfort of being surrounded with friends and family. This last year I’ve gotten closer to my family. I’ve had the convenience of seeing my nieces and nephew nearly everyday if I want to! Very rarely does a few days go by without seeing them. It nearly breaks my heart to leave them! I’ve also gotten closer to many of my friends here and my relationships have deepened in a lot of ways, and I will be so sad to be away from them! I am excited for Slovenia, and I know God wants me there, but these anxieties are creeping up on me. Am I ready for this? Do I have everything I need? What if I get homesick? What if it’s not all worth it? Needless to say, sleep has been hard to come by this week. But yet when I think about why I feel overwhelmed and fearful, there is a solution that can overcome it all and thwart the plan of the enemy. Jesus.  Wherever I go…He will always come. He is the one thing I could never forget or be without. My 89 yr. old Grandma told me before I left.  “I’m so glad Jesus always comes with me wherever I go, because I would probably forget Him sometimes. I’m glad He’s going with you to Slovenia.” I am too Grandma! I know He is all I need and I’m glad that in spite of my worries and my focus being distracted from Him, He is going with me. He is the reason I can leave my home, my family, my dear friends and my comforts. I sometimes forget that He is the reason, but that doesn’t mean He will leave me. He is so faithful to me, and I trust Him! I trust Him with my life. He will be my comfort and He will be more than enough. People need to know His name. My time would be spent in vain merely staying in the comforts of my small life. My life was meant for more, and I am excited for this adventure He will take me on this year. I pray He will use me in spite of my weakness and in spite of my flesh. My hope is that He will overcome the fear in me with His perfect love, and that in turn others would understand that He is real and that He is the Savior! He actually is ALL you need, because in the end He is all that matters for every single person. I really need to think about what that means.
25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
28-30 “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’
31-32 “Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?
33 “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.
-Written 9/15/12