Saturday, February 28, 2009

41 kids, 20 students, 14 pizzas, and one great game...

yesterday, our friends from the chuukese christian fellowship brought 41 kids to come spend time with college students. i stressed about the sign ups all week, worrying we wouldn't have enough college students to make the day fun for the kids, but we had a great group. we sang songs, played some really funny games, danced a bit, ate a ton of pizza, and decorated some sandles for each kid.

watching the kids make mummies out of the students with toilet paper was hillarious, but watching the kids dance singing "i got the love of Je-ee-sus, deep down in my heart" was most assuredly the highlight of the day for me. the kids were so gracious to us and to each other. a few kids didn't have shoes because they didn't sign up but came to the bus last minute yesterday. so a few of their friends gave them one of their shoes to decorate for them. it really was a great day. here are a few other highlights:

1. we had less than 10 lemonaide spills, making cleanup less terrible.

2. we all rolled with laughter while pibc students ran around with blindfolds trying to follow their teams directions.

3. "je-ee-sus, deep down in my heart"

4. the face of one of the kids who decided to taste his markers...

5. we got to see something we really believe God set into motion work better than it could have in our minds.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

boy a

this week we'll be talking about freeing the prisoner in our college bible study. jesus tells his followers that they need to visit those in prison, he quotes Isaiah 61 in his home town, and he gets a few disciples out of jail while joining others inside in the book of Acts.

if you are looking for a good movie to watch this week, rent "boy a." its about a young man released from prison for a crime he commited as a 10 year old. redemption is a heavy theme in the film. it wouldn't get out of my head and really posed a lot of questions we may address on thursday. if the movie wasn't so raw, we may have watched some of it.

thats all i have for now. but if you want to think about the way Jesus redeems the prisoner or formerly imprisoned, read matt 25, isaiah 61, the sermon on the mount... and watch "boy a."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

jesus healed people.

its been a while since the last post, but i've been busy. we're having our bible study in the dorm for the first time tonight, so i've kinda been scrambling.

tonight we're talking about healing. i just looked at that sentence and all the normal doubts and fears and arguements surrounding this subject attacked my brain. sometimes i'm afraid to talk about it because i worry i'm being super spiritual or charasmatic. other times i want to list all the times Jesus doesn't heal and talk about comfort. right now i just want to make a crazy face and throw my cap down in frustration because jesus never seems to heal the same way twice. there's no boxed method around all the stories in the bible.

he spits in a guy's eye (or at least puts it there after playing with it in the dirt), he lets a few blind guys screamand fumble their way through a crowd, he heals casually (if you can use that word for Jesus) while sitting down on a hill, he heals with touch, he doesn't heal at all sometimes, he heals from far, other times he's close and whispers, sometimes he heals relationships, he gives emotional healing, he heals groups, couples, face to face... he heals men, women, children, the poor, the rich, the soldier, the beggar.

and today while thinking about Jesus i realized something profound to me. its simple really, but a lot of times we fret over how to heal or when to heal or the faith to heal or who to heal and we miss a very simple reality. He just did it. Jesus healed people. all the time. it characterized his coming and his disciples and his church. it didn't just happen around him, he made it happen. so maybe we should look at this with a little more simplicity. maybe we should just heal people. mend wounds that broken relationships cause. heal wounds caused by our broken world and evil men. too often destroying or breaking things chacterizes our lives, now its time to put broken things back together. we should be healers.

that may mean we ask god boldly to heal our sick uncle. it may mean we listen to a heartbroken friend 9 nights in a row. it may mean that we stay with a broken marriage and put it back together. but i know we are supposed to heal.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

getting started

i was thinking it may be good to list some creative ideas i've read or heard or tired myself to get involved with the less fortunate around us. these ideasw aren't always fulfilling the gospel in and of themselves, and if just left to "acts of kindness" are perhaps lacking in the sharing life area... but they may be a helpful start.

1. ask someone's story. me and a friend in boston once just sat by a homeless guy next to the subway and asked about his life. he seemed surprised to have someone actually ask him questions. his story was fascinating and sad and intresting. then he asked our stories. we sat with the guy for a while and then gave him a few dollars and prayed with him.

2. carry a lighter. my buddy in ct does this because he gets asked for a light from street guys. good conversation ensues.

3. volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen. one day a week can change your world, just ask my friends dave and erin. once a week while they were dating they'd go cook food at a shelter.

4. adopt a family with your lifegroup or sunday school class. my friends kirk and kerra have an amazing life group involved with a struggling family in their community.

5. pray everyday that God makes you generous. the results might be stretching though...

6. alright, this one is sometimes illegal and unsafe if you are alone, but me and friends sometimes pick up guys needing rides. there are some funny stories with this, but usually they end up with good prayer time or at least a thankful rider.

7. pay for the table next to your's meal. this one's tough for most of us, but if the money is there, it helps teach the kids to be generous.

8. at christmas, my friend randy bond and family make christmas lists... of what they want to GIVE each other, not receive. and you know, their kids like giving more than getting.

9. be on the watch for ways to give. my roomate from college daniel was always buying kids shoes or coats or ties for school dances because his ears were opened to needs around him. and the kids at the boys and girls club LOVED him.

10. instead of buying a new coat next year, maybe spend that money on a few to give away.

11. give to some organization or person you believe in. i can't tell you the blessings i've received because my friends didn't eat out for a month and sent that money to me or to the ministry out here.

so again, these are just a few simple ways to be a blessing. what are some ideas you may have? we want to continue to find creative ways to be a blessing, and more than anything else want an open door to be a part of each others lives. and really, write in with things you've done or seen...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

location, location, location...

after pondering involvement with the poor and the word "involvement" itself, i've developed a theory about myself. its easier for me to see poverty and oppertunity to engage that very poverty when its at least an arms length away. usually its much more than an arms length in fact. trees in china, aids in africa, orphans in peru, street kids in thailand (not that i'm involved with these things)... all these occupy my brain and spark an adventure nerve. but what of the poverty in my personal space?

its easier for some of us to imagine helping the poor in another country, which isn't at all bad. in fact, some are called by god to go to these places. but some get discouraged because of an inability to travel to russia or india. others don't actually DO anything because of eyes only looking to future "trips" or information about the newest "trendy" activism adventure. and we miss the needy in front of our faces. we cannot think globally and fail to act locally.

the early church was said to "not have a needy one among them..." because the rich were involved with the lives of the less rich. they shared. they ate together. and they did so in their own community. can we imagine what our churches would look like if people said, "wow. there isn't a need unmet by that church." what would happen if the church indeed thought and dreamed globally while ACTING locally? what are the needs of those in our space, those close to us, the ones we can touch?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

getting involved with the poor

i met a wonderful couple (we'll call them jeff and susan) last week who will speak at our fellowship live on thursday. their story is wonderful.

they worked and raised a family in alaska before moving down to to portland. after their kids were out of the house and they both were able to retire, they set out building their dream home. as they sat on their property they realized they didn't want to spend the last 20 years of their life sitting in a beautiful house on a nice piece of land. they left the dream house and the american retirement and moved to western asia to live with a culture group labled the poorest in their country.

their were no believers in the entire people group and they suffer poverty and malnutrition in the mountains of western asia. so this older couple decided to live near them and love them. after lots of conversations and hikes across villages, there formed a wonderful idea. apricot trees grow in similar terrain and climates in india. so our buddy jeff took a trip to india to see how well these apricot orchards were doing. he came back with different seeds and some advice on how to grow the trees.

now, after much hard work and care over the first ever orchard in the area, they are ready to plant a tree for every home in this people group. going from village to village they're giving and planting a tree, a gift, their heart next to every home that wants one. and in 5-7 years, the trees (under their occasional supervision) will bear fruit giving the people much needed fiber in their diet. but the trees have already begun to bear the fruit of friendship and faith for this couple and their new friends in villages across the poorest people group in the country.

they are looking for volunteers to travel to asia and plant some trees in a few months. what a wonderful oppertunity to do more than send a check, although checks are good... they are deeply and with all their hearts involved with the poorest of the poor. i love their story.