Friday, July 27, 2007

Tonight, Whitney flies in to spend several days with us. We cannot wait to see her and for the four of us to spend time together. We are going on vacation together, and will be away from the internet until this time next week.

The difference between what happens on the mission field and what happens here at home can sometimes be attributed to comfort zone habitation.

On the field, no one knows us. We know we are there to serve Christ alone. We depend on Him completely as our knowledge of the area we are working is limited and our grasp of the language much less than that of our own. Cultural differences keep you on your toes.

Living and moving as a group of 19 is not always easy. We set up parameters to maximize safety. We meet frequently, we give information on our schedule as needed to keep our team on the edge of what is happening next.

We get into the Word together and discuss its applications. We share from our times alone with God (even though during that time we might be surrounded by others). We teach the Word, exhort from it, train from it, rebuke from it and grow from it.

Discipleship is a huge part of what we do on the field. This brings encouragement to students and adults alike. We grow as a family, understanding more of who we are in Christ, and what is expected from us as a believer. These things all contribute to a harmony that is often absent at home. Much of the reason is because of the pride we each foster in our own hearts by giving in frequently to our own selfish desires.

When we are home, people know us. They know who we are, how we move, what our schedule is like, what we talk about, what our focus is, and what we spend our time doing. Often, these are not the things of God, and bring us to the place that Christ spoke of..."a prophet is without honor in his own hometown."

In my lifetime, the field is the closest I have ever come to living an Acts 2nd Chapter lifestyle. It is hard to convey to you how blessed and incredible this is. It is not just this way for me alone. Those who experience it together, long for it upon their return.

This is because, once home, others who have not experienced the growth, the unity, the difficulties in living so closely with others...yet overcoming them by denying self, only know who we were before we left, and offer little to no space for change. For them, there is conviction over the lack of time spent pursuing His will, and so they unknowingly try to force the missionaries back into the box they fit nicely into, before leaving. For some there is the undercurrent of belief that it cannot have been as good as they make it sound.

Those who have spilled themselves out in prayer during the time the missionaries were away come the closest to having true understanding and insight into what was experienced, and what the longing is like for return to that place. These have drawn close to the heart of God and know His mind and His will as they have been at the hem of His garment seeking Him for the duration.

However, those who truly do this are few.

It should be no surprise that there is an element of discouragement after being home for a time. Schedules collide, friends and family are unavailable...either physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

The desire to return to church and share from the depths of how God moved is overwhelming. The prevailing lack of interest from the body of Christ is underwhelming. The 2nd Chapter of Acts church has suddenly disappeared into a sea of new priorities. Few of them have to do with bringing God glory. Most are about keeping on schedule...our schedule, for our sakes.

Therein is the problem with many churches in our blessed country. We have so much and it has become about having, not serving.

Jesus came to serve. His Word compels us to be like Him.

Our comfort zones don't allow for service as they are wrought with time spent in the pursuit of gain for gains sake. Too many have the attitude of "I will let you tell me about what happened on your little mission trip this summer, but that is not reality. Reality is my world and the suffering I experience because my needs are not being met as I would like."

The truth of that is, that we make up a small percentage of the world's total population (4 or 5% I think), and consume a number approaching half of the worlds resources. The audacity of our lifestyles and expectations are not realistic. They certainly are not Christlike in their attitudes.

One day as we were concluding at a ministry site, a man happened upon the scene who was disturbed at our presence there. He began hurling verbal insults at us for being American. As our bus was about to leave, his frustration exploded within him, and he picked up a large rock and hurled it at us.

The rock struck about 3 inches below the window of one of my team members, scratching paint and denting metal. No harm was done to us physically, but the mental picture of that moment sent shock waves through our thought lives.

Our comfort zones don't have places for being persecuted or suffering for Jesus. Those are extremes in the lives of others.

We saw a tiny glimpse of what our martyred brothers who have gone before us must have experienced before stones actually penetrated their bodies...piercing flesh and mangling bone and muscle.

We did not suffer on this trip. The reality is, we suffer more upon our return home due to the lack of true Christ-like living within our churches here.

"It's time to raise a revolution. God will give me the strength."

brent (dad)


At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen...your words convict me. One of my most common prayers is for the Lord to show me His way...what he has in store for me when "I grow up". I know there is more for me than to consume.

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen...full of insight and truth Brent. \o/

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We hope you all have a blessed vaction. We love you guys.Thank-you for everything. I'll keep praying for you all.
all your friends in Indianapolis, Indiana

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so true. The hardest thing about being home is the body of Christ's lack of zeal for the things of God that we wish to share. Thanks for the encouragement.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BJ's Dad..

this is for you....I ask that you look up family is going through a similar situation as you went through with BJ. I followed your comments ~ and prayed for your family. I'm now personally involved in Charity's life.

I know the Lord can use you to encourage them at this time.

Thank you....God is still on the throne!

Love in Jesus,

At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have followed this site for queit sometime now. It has brought me close to the lord and it's my special time each day to reflect on my life. I'm currently unemployed and pray each day the lord will help me get a job. I would appreciate any prayers you can offer. -- Karen (Tennessee)


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