Monday, August 30, 2010

David Platt- What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

Please go watch this video. Take that half an hour that you would have used reading blogs and go watch this. Listen to it while doing whatever you were doing before you got on the computer or whatever you are actually supposed to be doing right now.
This is radical truth that needs to be screamed from the rooftops of our houses. Enough mamby-pamby Christianity. Enough living with our God-in-a-box who is ok with our busy lives and just pours down blessings when we need them. We live in a fallen world that is groaning for something more. Fulfillment. Love. Mercy. A sense of belonging.
They are groaning for the God who created them and loves them and MADE A FREAKIN WAY FOR US TO BECOME HIS CHILDREN!!! We, who were the poor, broken, ugly, wretches of this world, have been made His children through the blood of Christ. We were filled with sin and shame, too filthy to be in the presence of a holy God. There was absolutely NO WAY that we could ever make ourselves right with God until He stepped in in His great love and MADE THE WAY FOR US! HE did it. He sacrificed His one and only beloved son to come be the perfect sacrifice. He sent HIS son to come be the scapegoat for our sins. Not because of anything we did or could do for God. He didn't say "Oh hmm, these humans can help me out. How about I save them so they can help me out?" NO! we had nothing to offer Him and He sacrificed what He loved best to save us. "Us" being- those who hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. That is a God who is worthy of being praised! God poured His wrath upon His lovely, innocent son...all for our sake. To give us a chance to be washed white as snow and to be adopted into HIS family.
Why aren't we celebrating?
And If we are celebrating...what about the rest of the world who God made the way for... who have just never heard that this good news is for them as well?
What about the orphaned street child who is stealing food to survive and living the only way the world has taught him to live? WHAT ABOUT HIM?! What if He is never told of the God who loves Him and is waiting with open arms to heal and forgive him of His sins? The God who longs to show him that He is his TRUE FATHER? What if He goes through life miserably, never hearing this amazing truth that we celebrate and keep hidden to ourselves? WHAT IF WE NEVER TELL HIM?!
It doesn't matter so much that we feed orphans, and clothe them, and give them toys and mosquito nets if they never know of the love of Jesus! Orphan care is not truly orphan care until we bring them the Gospel. They need to know the good news that although they were sinners, unworthy to be in the presence of a Holy God, they have been adopted into a His family forever, have been forgiven, cleansed and redeemed. They need to have the hope that, although this life is hard and unfair, and injustice is rampant, this is not all there is. One day Jesus is going to come wipe away all of our tears and set all things right! He is going to make all things NEW! No more evil, no more injustice, no more exploited children, no more dying parents, no more not seeing Jesus face to face. We will be with Him forever. Safe, loved, with no worries...because those who believe and have trusted Him, are his children forever.
I want to spend my life for this orphaned street child. I want to spend my life telling others of this transforming, life-shaking, heart changing, good news.
This good news is nothing to be ashamed of. Let's quit living our lives, content with the amount of Jesus that makes us feel warm and fuzzy. Let's start living and loving the way He did.
God is transforming my idea of Christianity. It turns out, praying "The Sinners Prayer" isn't what its about at all.
(This is Henry. He lives in a village in Uganda. He is an orphan. Jesus died for him.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blackening of the hair? Whaaa??

Mix up in the hair department. Black is the new brown? Maybe not. It's more shocking in person. i promise. I saw myself in the window at school today and nearly screamed. Hopefully I won't scare away small children.
In other areas of life, there is just as much craziness.Yay school! I am honestly more excited for this school semester than any other before it. I am taking classes on things that I am genuinely interested in! Amazing. It probably helps that this is the home stretch for high school! I told someone I was a senior today and it almost felt like I was lying. Sometimes I feel like I'm 12 and shouldn't be graduating, other times...i feel like it's about time school starting wrapping itself up.
The Littles have all started school (homeschool) and may just be the cutest little learning children ever to learn anything. Fo Real. They just started AWANA this week as well! Those little Bible verse spouting children in vests will be too much cuteness for me to handle!
How are your school plans turning out for this lovely fall semester?
Speaking of the Oh So Glorious Fall! { I am almost afraid to mention its name, lest it see me and my black hair and run away in fear.}
Sweetest season of all, please come quickly so that I can wear boots, and play in the leaves, and actually breathe when I walk out the front door. Thanks a million.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mukama Yebazibwe {5-30-10}

Today was a glorious day filled with the presence and praises of God, clean water, sweet children, beautiful widows, and a precious little man named Marvin.

The Lord used to meet people in a tent in the wilderness. He never stopped. We had church in a tent made of orange tarps in the jungle. We used drums and our voices to Praise The Living God who works miracles in my town in America and in this impoverished village in Uganda. He is the same God that I praise at home, except here we praised Him in another language.
We didn't have to wear shoes or have air conditioning or even have a chair to sit in. We came as we were to praise God for being our deliverance, our redemption, and our hope.
I held a sweet little baby in my arms and I saw the story of the Widow's Mite in real life. She gave abundantly despite her need and danced all the way back to her seat. I want to give as joyfully as her, even if it means I might not be able to afford the things I had wanted, or maybe even needed. I want to trust God so much and love others so much more than myself that I will give without hesitation.
Please pray for this sweet church and for God to reach their village for Jesus in a tremendous way through them.
Marvin: Marvin spreads joy like no one I have ever seen. One of our Ugandan translators described him perfectly. "Mar-veen. Oh Mar-veen. He smiles unceasingly. He nevahhh speaks, only smiles...and that is enough."
He's a joy to be around. To say that he is less valuable than those of us who can speak is an outrage to God's heart. Marvin is fearfully and wonderfully made and I will treasure the moments that I got to spend with him.
The Well Dedication:
The Well Dedication was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. TONS of people from Namasujju and the surrounding villages came out for the celebration. It was an African Jungle Party and I've decided that these are the very best kind. There was music and dancing{...and when I say dancing, I mean dan.cing.}
They had put on their finest clothes and their brightest smiles.
We sang and played games with the kids, and then one of our team members, Kirk, beat boxed for them. {For the next few days when we would walk around the village, kids would see him, point and giggle and start "Pchhh, boom, kkshh"- ing. Then we would laugh with them and they'd run and hide behind something.}
After we'd all been there a few hours, I was walking to get something when the sweetest, most hilarious elderly woman I have ever met, grabbed my arm in a death grip. Our conversation went like this except in Luganda:
Me: *whiplash of the arm* "OH. Hi!"
Her:{ with the largest, brightest smile ever}: "Hello, girl! Please get me some water!"
Me: "Water? Oh, Ok..Ummm...I'll be right back."
Her: "AHHHHHHH!! You speak Luganda?!?! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" as she laughs hysterically and nearly falls off her chair.
Me: "Haha! Only a little bit!"
Her: "AHH! NO! YOU SPEAK LUGANDA! God bless you!!"
I found water and brought some for her and about five other widows with her and they bowed as I handed it to them. It was humbling and such a blessing to have the privilege of serving them. SUCH a blessing.
We became instant best friends. The original sweet woman grabs my wrist again and pulls me in to hug me. She asks me how long I am staying in Uganda and I tell her I'll be there about two weeks. She yells" AHHH two weeks?! NOOO. ONE YEAR! Stay one year!" She hugged me again and we talked for a few more minutes until I ran out of useful Luganda. Then we just laughed some more. For the rest of the day, when she would see me she would throw her head back and yell dramatically: "AHHH, GIRL!"
She was beautiful. Later, as she was leaving, she found me and hugged me/danced with me and began dragging me off. I wasn't sure what was going on until suddenly she snatched another woman's child and handed it to me. It was a sweet baby boy who was only two weeks old and was all swaddled in a pink blanket. They all stared at me and smiled their huge white smiles for a while and laughed hysterically whenever I would tell them how precious He was. Then they would all nod bashfully in agreement that their baby boy was indeed, a ham.
They were beautiful and I love them. We all laughed and hugged again and then they were off to their village a few miles away with their new mosquito nets. They would go to sleep tonight without fear of mosquitoes or malaria.
We distributed several hundred nets on this beautiful day.
Late in the afternoon, a member of Ugandan Parliament came out... well as several other local government leaders such as this hilarious man.
...and soon the more organized festivities began. There was more music and more dancing and then each of the leaders went up and spoke..for a while. They thanked SafeWorld Nexus profusely for helping their people and for assisting them in bringing clean water to this remote area.
{The children entertained themselves in various ways during this time of listening. Some held babies as big as themselves, some danced; my personal favorite can be seen below.}
I held the sweetest little baby who slept {and drooled} through the whole thing.
I don't know who it belonged to, but it was an extremely cute one that almost everyone had held by the end of the evening.
Matt shared with them about the seven other wells that will be dug in the area this year and they praised God. I got to share with them about God's heart for the orphan and how we will be back to care for their orphans and begin an orphanage there. They praised God.
I held several little girls' hands as we walked together to taste this "New Sweet Wo-tah".
We all walked across the dirt path to the well where all of the leaders had a chance to pump the water. I tasted the water. I praised God. We danced some more.
Photo Cred: Hayley Catt