Sunday, December 11, 2011

Light of the World

So, my last post was pretty bold. I've read it, and re-read it. I've thought and prayed about it. I've considered editing it. I've considered apologizing.  (Can you see some of my issues shining through here? Overanalyzing, worrying, sticking my foot in my mouth...) But here's what I've decided... 

I can't apologize because I believe I spoke the truth. Its true for me (and that truth is regularly turning my world on end) and its true for all believers. We are the light of the world. Jesus is making His name known through us! And if we let His Light shine through us, that is if we act as His hands and feet and heart...Jesus' name will be lifted high for ALL to see and MANY will be saved. And if we don't wake up, if we don't let Jesus' light shine through us, we are affecting peoples' eternity.

I've been thinking tonight about people who have been the Light of Jesus to me, spurring me on to love and good deeds. These are ordinary people who are lifting the name of Jesus high and proud. The fruit of their obedience and sacrifice are lives transformed for Christ. I want you all to "meet" them, because I believe they will be just as much of an encouragement to you as they have been to me.

This is Todd and Deb's whole family with a judge on their youngest's adoption day..
Todd and Deb and their two biological children gave up the American Dream to pursue life as missionaries in inner-city Lincoln. They give generously of the resources God has entrusted to them: food, money (even when there is not a lot to be spoken of), time, love, personal space. They have fostered several children, 5 of whom are now permanent members of the family. They each disciple several people who would not otherwise know the love of Christ. Their home is a bright light to an entire neighborhood. There are literally people in their living room every day (It is not a strange sight to see Todd and Deb sharing their table with a homeless person) who come because they know this is a place where they can trust they will be loved, respected, well fed, and where they will meet Jesus. Todd and Deb have also given generously of their lives on my behalf. They have, and continue to teach me what it means to journey with Jesus. If it weren't for their example, and their support, I would probably not be adopting Samantha.

Jake and Penny moved to lincoln three years ago to pastor the church where I work. Jake is a pastor who practices what he preaches. In fact, I've never seen a pastor spend so much time out in the community. He meets people in grocery stores, daycares, and restaurants and invites them into the Kingdom of God. And people are responding! Last year our little church baptized more than 30 people, many of whom were people Jake discipled. Penny has taught me what it means to love someone to Christ. She is consistent and persistent in pursuing souls that need the Lord. These are two of the most loving people I have ever met, yet they also speak the truth, just as Jesus himself did. In the short time that I've known them, Jake and Penny have welcomed several people to live in their home. The young woman who lives with them currently has been COMPLETELY transformed, and is now discipling others to Christ.

Mike and Lenore (with Mike's mom, Nannette) felt led several years ago to serve God by caring for orphans. They sought out to start a small family ministry in Haiti (17 children), but when the Lord saw that they were faithful what they had been given, He grew their ministry to include 2 orphanages, 60 orphans, 3 schools (representing 400 children!), a clean water ministry, and a ministry that has brought the truth of Jesus to an entire mountain village. Mike and Lenore are both extremely Spirit-led. I am in awe of their testimony as well as the way they have humbly allowed me and my church to to join in the work they started. This ministry has changed my live forever. On the homefront, Mike and Lenore have also been involved in fostercare. Through the fostercare system they adopted a sweet little boy, and they continue to foster children and provide respite to other foster parents in their small community.

Richard and Tenise are front and center here.

Richard and Tenise found me in Lincoln's homeless shelter three years ago (or at least that's what we like to tell people...). Richard is a farmer, and Tenise a stay-at-home mom. These two radiate Jesus like I wish I could. When I visit their home, I literally study their family, because they are one of the greatest examples of a Christ-centered family and marriage that God has given me. I first met them when Richard came with his high school youth group to the homeless shelter where I was working. Since that meeting, God has used this couple time and time again as an instrument to show me His great faithfulness. They supported my ministry in the shelter over the course of a year, helping to re-model the children's building where I worked, bringing much needed supplies, and loving on the people there. They have loved me and supported me through months of unemployment (paying my car payments, inviting me into their home, sending notes of encouragement). Two days after praying that God would show me how He would have me be involved on the global mission field, Tenise called and invited me to go to Haiti with a team she was putting together. We are now partners in ministering to the House of Hope Community in Haiti, where I have now traveled 5 times! I could go on and on about these two...obviously. Today, I'm looking forward to a visit from them in less than a week. They are coming next Saturday to help with my apartment re-model!

As I've often said, I'll say again...God is on the move. Big time. My friends are only a few examples of what He's been up to. And He can do the same and even more through us, if we will only respond to Him with open hands and hearts. He can feed the hungry, set the lonely in families, and bring peace where there is none. He can change lives. He can save lives. And He can do this through us!

So again I'll say, wake up church! Wake up to the good life. God is calling us.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that's not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

We are called to the spread the news
Tell the world the simple truth
Jesus came to save, there's freedom in His Name
So let his love break through

No comments:

Post a Comment