That has actually happened to us before - of the 35 missionaries we met in Pemba, one happened to live less than 10 minutes away from my parents! She was around my mom's age, painted as a hobby, just like my mom, and had an interest in missions, also just like my mom - they're really good friends now. This came at a time where my mom really needed some more Christian friends. Truly, God is alive and powerful, and interested in our lives!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Did I mention God is totally awesome? Out of all the churches helping out in Africa, one 30 minutes away from us (in Salem, MO) works with a church in the same city that we're in! Of the around 20 missionaries working in our area from around the world, some happen to live right next door!
For anyone who doesn't think the messages of mercy, grace and forgiveness are applicable to this generation, check out the music video for Linkin Park's What I've Done - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjBZh-yRmkc. The song was a major hit last year, and the music video made me cry when I stumbled across it on You Tube. Wow... Every once in a while, there is a secular song that comes out that is just gut-honest and I love them - there is nothing else that makes me more aware of the world's need for the gospel than when you hear non-Christians crying out for it. This wasn't just the cry raised by a single band - evidently, it touched a deep cord within many people and ended up topping the charts for weeks. The You Tube video was one of the 50 most popular videos ever on that site...
So why aren't all these people flocking to churches? Maybe we've got the wrong message... Maybe the Good News isn't that you can pray a prayer and get into heaven - maybe the Good News is that you can exchange your life for a new one. Maybe the Good News is that we can change because of what Jesus has done! I think that by making the gospel as easy as possible for people and throwing out the "let the dead bury the dead. You follow me" aspect and dieing to your old self (Gal 2:20, 2 Tim 2:11), we've thrown away much of the power of the gospel as well.
Don't get me wrong - the prayer is absolutely true. All you need to do is repent and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior to be let into heaven. But accepting Jesus as your Lord means giving up your old life and following Him. So many people have prayed the prayer - very few people in America have yet to at least try. But then they get disillusioned because their life wasn't changed. Power doesn't come from a prayer - it comes from Jesus, who needs your permission to change your life into something else. Every one of the missionaries in the Philippines had two parts to their testimony - when they prayed the prayer, and when they gave their life to Jesus, most of the time with many years in between.
If you want more proof, look up the greek word "sozo" - in the New Testament, it's translated as "to save, to heal, to be made whole"... In short, it's the transfering of a person from the kingdom of Satan and everything about that life to the kingdom of Jesus (Col 1:13). Over 80% of Americans think they are going to heaven - the message of heaven isn't nearly as good of news (or so people think) as it was 20 years ago. Peace, a life without stress, something real and not fleeting, a way to change, true love - these are the things my generation seeks after...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We've started this blog as somewhere that we can talk about our ideas, struggles, and things that God's been teaching us - things that just didn't quite feel like they belonged in our Updates. This website is linked to our other blog and website - just click a link on the left side. God bless and we hope you enjoy!
- Jon and Carla