Monday, August 10, 2009

Fight for living right

Yesterday was an interesting day. I must confess that a day like yesterday a few years ago would have just been something to blow off, from which to be bored, or just get angry. Feeling uncomfortable or challenged can sometimes do that.

It started with the songs at Church. For the first time in a long time they had the overhead projector going, which meant for me an opportunity to read what I was singing, something that for me helps me in attempting actual worship instead of just singing along. I read and listened to a song I did not really know, and I wanted to like it...but as we repeated it several times, I had time to think about the words, all of which were focused with words like "mine", "me", "I."

I have been convicted of late that so much of what we want to make worship about has to do with us. I feel like it gets on people's nerves to mention that it is not about us. Sure, in the context of a mission trip I have heard that language, but when I think about the lyrics to a song...or many songs that focus on ourselves in relationship to God, and just ask "should this be what we are singing to God? A song about us?" that seems to not be so well received. I like the hymn "I Surrender All" but is the point that I do anything? And although the ideal as God works in us to be more like we really even come close to surrendering all?

Then the sermon yesterday was about how we handle Christ. Given what I just wrote, you can see how this might have piqued my interest. The sermon went on to point out God working in people's lives...but that ultimately it was about how we react to that. I grant that we have responsibility for how we act and react, but the Bible does not rest on my reaction or is about God acting! Reducing the work of the Holy Spirit stirring hearts of stone to flesh to come to repentance and be a Christ follower down to a logical choice after being presented the facts may appeal to our human nature and our desire to be in control, but I do not see how that lines up with the God of the Bible. We do all too good of a job of creating our own gods, gods that fit in our box, in the limitations where we want them, lest they be beyond our understanding or control.

I would love to preach a sermon about the terminology we use in the Church today..."when did you accept Christ?" "When did you make a decision for Jesus?" "When I believed" "I believed out of my own free will" and how the focus is on the reaction that comes naturally only after first being touched by Him. It is so pervasive...and ultimately it seems to be so counter to what the Bible would teach us about salvation, about justification, about sanctification...that all comes from God, not us. (Ephesians 2, Hebrews 12, Romans 9 & 10etc.)

Lest you think I am writing all this just to convince you of this, I write just as much to remind myself, because I too fall into such traps set by the evil one as well. I read Romans 9 and I cry because it speaks to me...that no matter what I think is fair or unfair, or how it should work, God tells us through Paul plainly how He says it works, and that He is so perfect and what right do we have to question how He would work?

The day continued...what about those who say Christ has entered their heart twenty years ago, but there is no fruit in their life? Valerie and I discussed this in very real terms for us as it has to do with people near to our hearts. Instead of taking people by the words that come out of their mouths, we should look at their fruit. Not that everyone needs to be leading a Bible study or be a pastor, but as I have heard it put....if being a Christian was illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Matthew 7:15-23 speaks to this... first in 15-20 by their fruit you will recognize, good or bad. Then in 21-23 as if to clarify...there are going to be bad fruit that while they were alive said they were good fruit. For us, we see their fruit, and we pray that God would bring them to repentance and to follow Him as we witness to what He does in the lives of those He calls. It is hard...but it is what we are to do.

Then came a discussion of finances. We were talking about it, and someone Valerie knows called to see about help for a mattress. How do we handle our finances? Valerie struggles with seeing the needs of those that she knows and trying to meet all their needs, to the point where sometimes she just wants to give away all the money she has. First, at least to me that is extremely impressive, and I see her living that in what she does, how she treats others, etc. Then it seemed like it fell to me to be the rational man, saying how that would not be feasible, not responsible, etc. because this was not the conversation where I was just supposed to listen...she really wanted an answer...if not from me, than from God...we need to know what we are doing, what is God's plan and how do we live that? But I could not say all that with full conviction because I know we are called to do exactly what she does to some extent...somewhere between 10 and 100%, but where in that range? All this of course being everyday sort of light conversation. We talked about it, we prayed about it...but I confess I still do not have a full grasp on it...but we press on and try to continue to find what He would have us do.

Catching up on last week, we had our friend Lynn (a pilot) here with some family and a friend here for three days. It was good because it allowed us to take the time to do some things that needed done, but without a group here, fall to the back of which was doing a clothing distribution in Guasucaran, where this time there was not space in the room for me to just hang out it was so full. Side note...I could see God calling us to start a Church reminds me of Sampedrana in more ways than one of the boys there was very excited to see a soccer ball, supposedly there is no soccer field in the community, and only one small Church...a Seventh Day Adventist. Hmmmm.

We sorted VBS supplies the groups this year had left to distribute to six different locations for Sunday school crafts, etc. (the four Churches we administer, the one in Teguc, and the milk project) and cleaned up some of the containers a little...including taking a load of supplies from the now empty corn container up for the mission house in Sampedrana. We took six mattresses (some of which are strapped to the roof) which allowed us to measure how to fit the bunk beds, as well as more cabinets from my grandparents house...which just gives me one more location from which to thank God for their lives. Gender was in classes, but we got to see the bathroom done, it is very nice. With the cabinets installed, tables located, the rocking chairs in place, and with Oscar going back today (with help from a master trainer, evaluating and helping implementation of CHE there) he is taking the hand rails for the stairs...all that will be left is building or finding the bunk beds and painting the outside of the downstairs and it will be all set.

Oscar has someone beginning the fabrication of the box and turbine of sorts, to test his theory of using that in combination with a car alternator and batteries...along with the river water being diverted through the Church property in Sampedrana to generate electricity for lights, etc. If it could prove to be very interesting not only for the Church, but for others in that community, and possibly in other communities we know. Time well tell. This would be even better than solar of course because as long as there is water coming down the mountain, it would keep generating electricity.
One thing we might take to Sampedrana if this electricity thing works would be this washing machine. It certainly fits with the Sampedrana look. We figure it is somewhere around 60 years old, but can not be sure. It actually runs and works, but is probably not exactly an energy star when it comes to how much electricity it uses. If we use it there though for when groups are there and for the pastor, it would not be an issue.

1 comment:

The Mom (Leah) said...

For our school building 50th party this spring, we decorated our classroom doors in retro. I chose the wringer washer. From research I'd say your machine is a little more modern than 60 years, especially with the safeguards on the wringer. But it is still old!