I have a friend in Cambodia & he has a heart of gold. Vimean is his name & he always provokes me to love well. He lives on the outskirts of a massive garbage dump & he’s always generous, super encouraging, positive & eager to share about Jesus. Vimean’s heart is golden. I was thinking about him in contrast to some other folk who have gold in their hands. Sometimes wealth in our hands can be really helpful but let’s always be sure that our hearts are full of gold no matter if our hands have money or not. Money in the hands doesn’t guarantee that a person has a heart of gold.
The first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection was Mary Magdalene. Mary seems to be an unlikely prospect for Jesus’
considering that He could’ve appeared to some “higher quality” folk. In Mark 16:9, we read about Mary, “He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.”
Why would Jesus pick a former lunatic chick to make His first appearance? Why not Peter, who denied Jesus but was clearly a leader among the disciples. Why not Mary, Jesus’ mom? Why not John, the disciple whose love for Jesus was noteworthy? Why this Mary Magdalene?
I totally love that Jesus first appeared to this woman. I love that Jesus picked the least likely person who had possibly been the most deranged & to her He revealed His resurrected self.
On our journey to Pentecost, let’s allow Jesus into the “crazy” places in our lives. Indeed, Jesus is our resurrected Prince of Peace, the One who calms the chaos & dispels the darkness.
Let’s keep walking toward Pentecost!
In about 24 hours, I’ll be swimming in babies & toddlers in Angola with my Saving Moses work. One part of me loves this immeasurably & one part of me hates this almost more than anything. I loathe seeing emaciated babies, whose lives are literally hanging by a thread & their faces from previous trips still haunt me.
Being comfortable conjures up different things for different people. For some people, being comfortable can be the experience of sitting by a fireplace in a cozy blanket & reading a book. For other people, being comfortable is best described as being at a really fun and vibrant party. For me, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be comfortable and I’ve learned some interesting things to pass along to you:
- being comfortable can sometimes be an impediment to a deeper relationship with God – discomfort usually makes me do something different
- I never want my comfort zones to exclude God – indeed, life with God is a more accurate expression of who I really am
- I’ve learned that I can be extremely comfortable in a variety of external situations because of an internal contentment that comes from some very sweet & rich communion with God
- when I’m uncomfortable, I tend to lean into God better
A few years ago, I had to privilege of taking my kids to Berlin when Reece & I were doing some ministry there. It was a really cool experience for all of us. Before we left, I did some educational work with my kids about the modern history of Berlin, including the Berlin Wall, Cold War, Communism, etc. We went to the library & checked out books on these topics, we watched interviews with people who had lived there & we even saw a cool Nat’l Geog special about the development of the Berlin Wall over the decades of its existence. I loved getting to do all of this educational leg work with my kids because I knew that when we arrived in the city, we’d be able to visit many sites that they had read about, we’d be able to go to the Berlin wall & visit East Berlin & get to 1st hand interact with the material we’d learned about – it was a SUPER COOL experience. I remember doing this kind of thing as a kid when my parents took me to the Pyramids in Egypt.
So here’s my point with this – I think God uses the same kinds of teaching techniques. I find that many times, He gives me the schooling I need in the Bible to help me walk out what I’ll be exploring, learning and experiencing in life. The other day in my prayer time, I was hesitant to leave & enter the demands of the day because I was having such great fellowship with God. Nevertheless, I felt God encourage me that I wasn’t really leaving our fellowship, but rather we were merely changing the contexts – from the “classroom” of our quiet time to the application of daily living. Hopefully, after reading this, you also will recognize that our fellowship with God doesn’t have to “end”, but instead it just expands to include more areas of our life 🙂
Here’s something really cool: today, I have the privilege of getting to minister at Gospel Life Center in Munich Germany. This is particularly meaningful to me for lots of different reasons. First, German was my major in my university studies. Second, I almost always sense a special presence of God when I get to minister internationally. But most importantly, twenty years ago when I was studying in Germany for my degree, I turned my back on Jesus to explore other faiths & make my own decisions as they related to what I believe. Twenty years ago, I visited this exact church when I was wrestling with my faith. Twenty years ago, I felt disconnected from God & almost like He had forsaken me.
Today, I get to breathe redemption. I get to share about loving Jesus & having an intimate relationship w Jesus in a place where I had been lost & turned away from God.
I love getting to be in Gospel Life Center in Munich. I love the people. I love the heart of this church. I love getting to experience God in this place, with this spiritual family. I love getting to worship God in German. They’re rehearsing now for worship & I can hear them singing “how great is our God, sing w me, how great is our God”.
Yes and amen, how truly great is our God.
Tomorrow I get to experience Gods greatness in Albania w saving Moses. I’ll be blogging everyday – so come along & let’s enjoy this trip together!