Friday, February 19, 2010

coming to the water's edge

How long has it been since you've come to the water's edge?

She sat across from me, her piercing blue eyes thrusting me back to years of memories of a friendship that has always been one of iron sharpening iron.

She asked, "Do we have the right to hold on to our shame and guilt?"

We had attended a mentoring class earlier that morning and had been challenged to look at our purposes for mentoring. It was a great class. The brainstorming of 'Who I Am' and 'Who I Am Not" as a mentor, was fun to watch. I sat in an American Church, a group of believers I knew not, and a wonderful warmth of honey oozed over me. The questions of each of the leaders were provoking and they prodded us to think beyond the 'standard verbage' and force the attendants to dig deeper. I soaked it in.

Later that evening we sat in my friend's living room. She was sharing what had been the topic the last time this group gathered. And this provoking question, "Do we have the right to hold on to our shame and guilt?" she pitched out to me.

Hummmm....Do we have the right to hold on to our shame and guilt? How have we stopped short of the full Gospel with those we mentor? Those that come to the cross and accept Him in their hearts with us as their guide? Have we brought them to what I call 'the water's edge' and walked them through accepting Christ's forgiveness for their sin but stopped short in explaining that in His sacrifice and atonement the sins are no more. If the sins are no more than there is no need to hold on to the shame and guilt they have produced - in essence didn't Christ's death put an end to our shame and guilt as well? Why do we insist on holding on to it? What are we gaining from holding on to it? What does holding on to it create within us? Are we walking in Christ if we choose to hold on to it?

Am I walking IN Christ if I choose to hold on to it?

I didn't really like this question. It jarred me. My first response: "Hey now! Don't mess with my shame and guilt. I got a lot and I ponder over it often." I mean I know that I'm saved by Grace and should be walking in freedom, but come on now... I wallow often! And I wallow in those waters long and hard with my Sweet Jesus.

And here it was. A proposition of water's opening and walking across on dry land. For the first time I pondered the possibility that by not entering into the fullness and letting go completely could I be hurting my Lord's heart. I don't know why I haven't thought about that before. Yes, I have thought about and owned how He died from my sins, that I am IN HIM, that He has washed me clean... but clean from my sins. I think I have held on to some shame in the process... some guilt in the process... WHY? Not to say I haven't intellectually thought of all of this - but it so often takes a new perspective to see a depth and force us to walk to the water's edge. Am I willing to stick my toe in and believe that His blood sacrifice in washing away my sin dissolved my shame and guilt?

I come to the water's edge.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

im remembering my first days...

in my apartment in Germany. They were days of confustion. Days filled with, "How did I get here?" "God will the furniture ever come?", "God will the language ever be understandable?" "God are you sure you meant me?... I am so unworthy, not really capable of speaking, don't have all the answers, in fact more questions than answers are in my head... God... Where are we going?"

But, now after 4 years I am so excited to see where He has lead, how He has lead and where He is leading! It is a miracle of sorts. So, as I sit in my son's home in Grapevine, Texas and contemplate the greatness of this God that I serve, I know that He has it all in His hands. I see that the last few years have been from His design in His way.

I gave a talk tonight and I heard a talk tonight. It was really great for me to hear. It confirmed so many things about my being in Germany. I was almost dancing on the table to have a man from another mission organization, with another mission vision, (but really the same), stand up and speak with such love and concern, such understanding of exactly where I am in Germany without him speaking about Germany at all. Yes, he was talking about another culture, another language, another ministry. But not. The most important thing in a culture is to learn their culture, their language, and then to teach them about the Bible... not about our own culture...I don't want to impose my Americanisms on any culture... I want to teach about things that transcend culture and also how to teach the bible... so they can teach... the nationals can teach the nationals... and we get out of the way and let God reveal Himself through the word... that they learn how test all that come after and see what God says in the Word about those philosophies... and then... and then... and then prayerfully the following generations will know Him and will seek Him! This is my prayer... this is my desire... this is my goal. And I will move forward and ask, "Who are you Lord?" and "What do you want from me?" over and over and over again. May He reveal Himself to me step by step. May He lead me in His paths and protect my steps. I love Him so and am so thankful to Him for His mercies that are new every morning. Can it be that He would love one such as I???? Can it be??? What a miracle - What a GOD!

your mutating missionary
& ebenezer