Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Better Off Hungry

After a couple days of "civil unrest" (a euphemism for riots and tribal warfare) things in Conakry finally calmed...well, maybe not to a state of calm but at least to a state of retreating to regroup.  I was glad...and I wasn't. Because somehow, the break in the fighting doesn't feel like peace. It feels like halftime.

My friend Al is from the Susu tribe, who are the indigenous tribe to Guinea, and also the ones who have stayed out of the fight between Malinke and Peul.  I heard experts give their assessment,  but no one summed it up as well as him...and he barely speaks English.  "Malinke love power.  Susu love power."
Yep! That's about it.
Yesterday another local friend and I were talking and commenting on the brief calm we're in right now, he said, "They will fight until they get hungry. Then they stop. It is when they are not hungry, they make trouble."

Ouch.  This leads me to the other thing that has been weighing my mind lately.  Back home in the good ole' US,  some of the churches I adore are in hard times.  They may not realize they're in hard times, but they are.  They are attacking other parts of HIS body, parts of HIS body that truly love and serve the FATHER. It makes me angry. But my African friend hit the nail on the head. "When they aren't hungry, they make trouble."
and the American church is not hungry.  Not yet.
We're rich and fat and church is a club... because it can be. It costs nothing to be a devoted church member.
 So, with full stomachs and lack of need, we cause trouble. We complain and pick one another to death and  get mad when they won't dance to our flute. We have our precious law (our rules of the club) our doctrine, our denomination and we have made the KINGdom of GOD a matter of talk. And oh do we talk... But JESUS said that the KINGdom is a matter of power.

This sounds harsh, doesn't it?  Dang it.  That' not what I want. I don't feel harsh... I just feel sad.  I really wish I could sit and tell you this post face to face instead of as words on a screen.  I wish you could hear the love I feel for the body of JESUS in America and the sorrow I feel at our failing.  I want HIS church in America to get that being the church means that your life is JESUS.  And life in HIM is infinitely greater than a political party or a denomination or a religion.  I long for us to be hungry for JESUS, to be totally consumed with loving the brothers, to find our fellowship in the SON...just the SON...not in our preferences or personal convictions.

I long for us to stop devouring one another.
 It's ironic, isn't it?  That it usually takes persecution, need and hunger to make us stop eating one another.  
A hungry church won't spend their time nitpicking others in the body and tolerating personal sin.   They are too busy fighting the real enemy!  They are too hungry for REAL FOOD to waste time with the empty snacking on other believers...they want bread that satisfies---the UNLEAVENED BREAD.  The BREAD that brings fellowship and unity and brings us back to the simplicity and reality of life--JESUS. Beautiful, Satisfying, JESUS.

GOD make us hungry

Friday, September 21, 2012

If you read this blog...

and have grown to love Guinea as I do---pray for their peace right now. Conakry has erupted in tribal violence and it is spreading so quickly. Pray for HIS people to wear their boots of peace right now and cause it to cease. Ask GOD to protect HIS people and show HIMSELF great.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Mouths of Babes

These are wild days we are living in.  The Bible is reading like the front page of the newspaper. And in this generation where HE is so actively revealing HIMSELF, and the plans HE determined before the creation of the universe are playing out in real life, something else very marvelous is happening.
HE is showing up in our children. I am seeing GOD display HIS greatness through small children and the uneducated, simple, reliant lovers of GOD in Africa.  
In the GOSPEL of Luke, from an overwhelmed heart, JESUS' burst out with, "I thank YOU, FATHER, LORD of Heaven and Earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children!" 
That's how I feel lately!  HE is doing things in my kids that blow my mind! They know things, see things, experience things, understand things that GOD alone has revealed to them.   I love it!
 HE loves it!! 
HE gets all the attention when simple, humble people are the outlets of HIS glory. 
Isn't that so freeing?  We can study and chase after GOD for the simple joy of knowing HIM better--not to be more qualified.  HIS qualification is a humble heart!

There is nothing in my life I feel more urgent and passionate about, nothing I pray about more, nothing I talk about more, nothing I want more in all of life than this: for GOD to pour out HIS SPIRIT on and in my children.  
I ache for the people of Guinea to come to JESUS.  I ache for my friends and family members who are not under the LORDship of JESUS CHRIST to come to HIM.   I want to minister to those around me but I don't even want any of those things more than I want my own three little blessings to belong to and love JESUS with every fiber of their being.  It would break my heart to end my life having won many people to the LORD if it meant I ignored the three that GOD planted right in my own home. Sometimes I wonder if that's wrong.  
See, I told you I was passionate about this.   

I know that many of you recognize what GOD is doing, the urgency of HIS call on us to prepare our children, to train them, to be intentional, to raise up lovers of GOD (not church kids).  It is for you, that I share these verses, they are constantly part of my conversation with the FATHER for my own children.  
GOD is doing this thing, y'all!  HE is using little children---let's be part of what HE is doing and pray pray pray that our own children may be included! 

(Discovering them yourself is half the fun. Happy Hunting!)
Ephesians 1:17-19
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Psalm 112:2
Joel 2:28
Isaiah 44:3
Isaiah 28:26
Jeremiah 1:5-9
1 Samuel 2:35
Deut 30:6
Isaiah 49:1-3
Isaiah 54:13
Psalm 8:2
Psalm 90:16
Isaiah 59:21
Isaiah 61:9
Gen 28:13-15
John 4:24
1 Cor 1:9-12
Eph 3:14-19
Philippians 1:9-11

Go on! Talk to GOD about your kids. HE has plenty to say... and then say it all back to HIM <3
May GOD be shown beautiful to the world and HIS body through our children!!!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

All Aboard

Thursday afternoon I stood in Starbucks and drank a caramel latte.

18 hours earlier:

We received a last minute email inviting us on a tour of the Mercy Ship.  It had arrived in Guinea the previous week and greeted the city by inviting its sick and wounded to be screened on September 3rd.  In something straight out of the GOSPELs, over 3000 diseased, deformed, crippled, tumored, burned and blind people descended on the People's Palace for their chance at healing.  
I wasn't able to be there, but many of my friends and colleagues were.  One of them had the task of escorting out the ones who couldn't be helped.  She said she cried disappointed tears with them the entire day.  Many of them would return to the end of the line and try again.   One mother brought her baby for help to my friend *Tammy who told me she could literally see the baby's exposed heart beating.  They couldn't help her. She left. 

The Mercy Ship is a floating hospital staffed completely by volunteers. Every sailor, crew member, nurse, surgeon, doctor and specialist pays to be on the ship, high profile surgeons even flying in to help for short periods.  Some of the crew have lived on ship for years with their families.  This particular Mercy Ship, the "Africa Mercy" is set up to perform plastic surgery on burn victims, orthopedic surgery on children with deformities, cataract surgery, hernia surgery, and tumor removal.   They have created an extremely organized system that allows them to reach and help thousands of people in West Africa.   

My Man and I walked aboard the ship the day after receiving the invitation.  We were immediately led to a cafe to visit with crew members.  And by "cafe" I mean a Starbucks. There, I talked with people from all over the world who live and work on the ship.  The chef of the ship told us how he had been a restaurant owner turned musician who toured the country living the party life...until JESUS captured his heart.  He worked in California at Teen Challenge and then ended up aboard the Mercy Ship.  
This wild JESUS lover full of humility and joy still looked a little like a rock star.  
(That's what HE likes, you know.  Loving HIM, worshiping HIM in our own weird, wonderful style. HE doesn't just like it---it is HIS way!)

We went to a meeting room where the Captain of the ship briefed some diplomats, the press and a few oddballs like me about the work of the ship. He showed us before and after photographs of people they had helped.   Blind people given their sight.  Crippled legs were straightened.  People who were so deformed with tumors and injuries that they looked inhuman, were given faces and smiles and restoration.  My heart was full--I thought of JESUS.  Believe me, I know HE heals miraculously.  HE does it every day.  But as I watched this, I also felt the joy of the LORD  when HE chooses to use people to heal others.  There is something so glorious about human beings being allowed into the healing work of GOD. 
The photos ended and the Captain spoke again.  It was then...there, with all those "important" people and swarm of media and oddballs that he said they had come to Guinea...
in the NAME of JESUS.

My eyes filled up.  Do you remember the scene in "Elf" where someone mentions Santa to Buddy and he screams with surprise and excitement?  I wanted to do that! I wanted to yell, "JEEEESUS!! I know HIM! I know HIM!!!"

I love this wild GOD. I love HIS wild followers. This is where making the KINGdom of GOD a matter of talk, a matter of doctrine and matter of theology prove to be so failing.  It's a matter of power! Following JESUS is a life. It is a reality--it's so much bigger than words.  It's life. It's the kind of life that takes you from  drugs and parties to cooking for people in West Africa.  It's the life that takes rich surgeons from lush homes to Conakry, Guinea to open blind eyes for people who have nothing. 

And I thought the latte would be the best part of the day...