Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Irresistible Christ in Me

Dear Church,

This year has been incredible.

After returning from India in December, I went through a season of awareness of earth's brokenness. In the mornings I had to grab onto hope with both hands and in the evenings I would not sleep until my soul found rest and escape from the weight of the day. He was enough. Understatement.

Joy was present, but it was hindered. I was more focused on what there is to lose, instead of what there is to gain. I was distracted by the desires of my flesh and could not fully delight myself in the Lord. I remembered His whispers to me in the night:

"My child, your delight will be as full as your surrender."


More recently, when I lost the one thing that I begged Him not to take, I began to experience a freedom that I would not trade anything for. Job said, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away."

Lately I've been viewing it the other way around: He takes away so that He can give. The Lord gave Job double what he had before it was taken away. And now He gives beauty for ashes; Love's unselfish trade-off.

(At this point, I would love to interject a poorly-made exegesis on Psalm 44. The beginning explains how He gave His people abundant victory and strength. Verse eight takes a turn and goes into an explanation of how He made them "a reproach" to their neighbors, "the scorn and derision" of those around them. Swooping in with verse 17, the writer proclaims, "All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten You or been false to Your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back...but You crushed us..." The Psalm ends with a desperate request: "Rise up and help us; save us because of Your unfailing love." He did what was pleasing to Himself. The Lord is gracious and just; strong and beautiful; dangerous and irresistible. More on that...now?)

Switching gears:

When some friends of mine were sifting through their relationship, the only thing that would come out of my mouth (and fingertips) toward them had to do with their identity in Christ. I was not aiming to sound like my pastor and friends who "got it." It just...happened.

But as the days progressed, the Spirit began a new work in me: I began to understand more than ever before the implications of the power of sin and my identity in Christ. Or better yet -- Christ's identity in me!

If Christ is in me, and if His Word is true, and if my flesh is the only thing that is left to be redeemed -- then my lot is joy, rest, and awe. Christ is in me. All of Him. All the time. He fulfilled the law. He fulfilled me! Now all there is to do is let the cat out of the bag -- let the Jesus out of the me. He knows how. He gives strength for rest. He prompts me to ask for strength to rest so He can work through me. He does things before I even ask. He is Sovereign and in control. And me? I get to follow Him around.

And He has promised an unimaginable future for His people. This life is easy to "do," but it can be difficult to endure. Creation is longing in eager expectation for our adoption as sons. Just a few more weary days and then -- we'll fly away. His Word illuminates the path of delight. Daily, hourly we choose to delight in the Spirit or in the flesh. One will endure; the other will pass away. Treasures stored up in heaven will never spoil or fade.

Conclusion? Never! My thoughts are scattered and I do not know how to formulate them properly,but I cannot help but tell about these things. Jesus is alive and surrender is delight.

Restored and in awe,

**The purpose of this post is two-fold: To release thoughts that have been building up and to remind the Church of her first Love. It is not to display my "wisdom" (foolishness), but rather, this:

"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3

"The new self...is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator." Colossians 3:10

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hope of Glory

Dear Church,

A facebook friend of mine recently asked me how my time in India was. This is what came out:

"That's a loaded question. ;-) I spent last semester in India working with orphans, lepers, and those in the slums.

Short story: We got to see God's provision in a way that shook me awake to His graciousness.

A few weeks after arriving, we did a teaching to the kids in the Christian children's home based on John 6 (when Jesus fed the five thousand) and Philippians 4:19. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the glorious riches that are in Christ Jesus."

We had each of the 35 children write their name on a paper fish and put it on a big piece of white paper that was hung in the hallway outside of the girls' rooms.

One day in November, our American contact sat my team down and began a heavy conversation with a desperate prayer. He then jumped right to the issue:

"Asha House is in danger of closing. There is not enough money to get them through December."

We were hit with reality. If God did not provide for these precious children, they were going to be released into the streets of Delhi to fend and beg for themselves. I had seen enough of this -- children begging -- already, and to this day it stirs up rage within me.

Needless to say, we had to DO something.

We immediately contacted our supporters and told them the situation that needed to be acted upon as soon as possible.

A challenge was given for the Body of Christ to seek first His kingdom and store up treasures there.

A challenge was given to consider others as better than ourselves.

A challenge was given to believe that all things are a loss compared to knowing Christ.

I could go on.

The Old Testament came alive to me again. In Nehemiah, he prays for his people,

"...they are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great strength and Your mighty hand. O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of Your servants who delight in revering Your name. Give Your servant success today by granting him favor..."

And this, from Daniel, caused me to weep,

"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servant. For Your sake, O Lord, look with favor on Your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your name. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. (!!) O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear Your name."

The thought of Asha House ("Asha" means "hope" in Hindi) closing was inconceivable to me. These kids are the future light of India! This home is a place where transformation happens and the gospel is made known every day! I'm telling you, kids that have been exposed to the truth and reality of His love are so visibly different over there. Those who were once closed off and reclusive begin to dance. They play. You should hear them laugh! God makes Himself so known there. With all of that in place, everything within me was screaming, "This place CAN'T shut down!!"

And you know what? It didn't. It still hasn't. Over $12,000 came like a flood within a matter of weeks. It was neither under nor over what was needed. "Neither poverty nor riches..."

I envy their opportunity for such faith. And I wonder how much of that opportunity can be had here. I believe now that it's not about the condition of my finances or abilities, but about my God. It's not about me. And that's the greatest thing to hear when my inadequacies are always before me.

So, that's a small bit of how India was. Our God is powerful and compassionate. And there's a lot more where that came from. :-)

Oh -- and if you're interested in donating to them, as they're always needing donations, check out



Yours for the Kingdom,