Monday, March 03, 2008

Walking the streets of North Africa, with the nationals.

Walking the streets of a new city, in a new country brings many things to the surface. You are aware of how much you must depend on the Lord. You become aware of the depth and richness of tradition and history in each place. Your eyes are keenly drawn to things that are very different.

Each land has a display of its wealth in people. People of different means. Some with much, many with little. The children of every land draw my attention. They have learned to make do with little.

They occupy themselves with whatever they can find. They are creative and come up with games on their own, if they cannot afford what society entices them with. They usually stop to acknowledge presence of Americans. Many want to engage us for a time.

A discarded can becomes a "futbol," or a bald head, a "genies lamp." Fun is to be had in the streets of foreign lands. The universal language is love, and when it is invested by the giving of time, relationships begin and doors open for the sharing of what is most important.

The hunger for truth is present everywhere. It is often masked behind the faces of curiosity. Whether hiding behind veils in some lands, or false self assurance in others, there is a hunger for what is right, what is real, what is true.

These lands are filled with people who are searching. The eyes of most are hollow and empty. There is a sadness that resides behind toothless grins or expensive smiles. In the deepest places of their souls, they do not yet know truth. They mostly know oppression and unsatisfactory substitutions for relationship.

Many nations make their attempts at reaching God. Most through man made religions that seek to bridge the gap through works. There is satisfaction if working. There is a feeling of worth and value that comes from doing things. However, this is fleeting. One is only as valuable as the last work, they completed. A person must continuously strive to do more to earn the relationship that will transport them to Gods presence one day. If they practice their religion faithfully, they may one day make it to heaven.

BJ wrote, "God is not religion, but reality."

He understood that God brought restoration to each of us through His Son, Jesus Christ. A relationship with Him is not earned. It is a free gift, brought to each of by grace through faith. This is harder for most of us to reconcile. We get something as radical as "Salvation" for no investment? Many struggle to embrace this as Truth, and yet this is the Truth of Jesus Christ.

The reality is that once we have given our hearts and lives to Christ, we want to invest. We have an inner desire to follow Him wherever He leads. For some, this will be to foreign lands where the streets routinely fill with lost souls. For others it will be taking the Name of Jesus to their places of business or to coffee with a friend.

When our lives are transformed by Truth, we are changed from the inside out. Where selfishness previously resided, a heart for others, deepens. Love is patient and kind, and seeks to meet the needs of others.

When you walk the streets of your own neighborhood or a land far away, don't focus on doing things, focus on spending time. Reach out to the lostness that resides behind made up games or made up faces. Both are hungry. Both respond to Truth, and the reality of Jesus.



At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your post today, Brent. You truly encompass the need for a Savior, not a religion. A need to relation with Him, not earn His love by our behavior and our works. It's hard for humans to grasp that this is a GIFT of GRACE from our Savior who hung to free us from the luggage of our need to do something other than act and live in LOVE. As in the 1st chapter of BJ's book --- not saying we love, SHOWING and ACTING in LOVE in all we do, because we are loved so completely by Him.
Vicky Ward

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brent and Family -

I felt compelled to write to you after reading your book about BJ and taking a look at your blog site. I had not prior to reading the book heard about BJ or your family. I believe that God led me to the book. I was in the Christian bookstore that day for some music, not books, but found myself browsing the aisles anyway. Somehow I wound up in the biography section, a section I rarely visit. I don't know what caught my eye, but, the moment I picked the book up I knew I would be purchasing it. I just knew God wanted me to read it. This is of particular significance to me as I believe the Lord has been calling me since Sept. last year, guiding me in His plans for my spiritual growth and life. After purchasing the book I put it aside so I could finish a couple others that I had been reading first. I seem to be devouring books as of late sometimes reading 3 or more along with the Bible at a time. Again, God had other plans for me. The last couple of weeks have been tough, as Satan has been launching attacks designed to distract me away from my quest at building a closer relationship with Jesus. The book, which was on my dresser, caught my attention every time I entered the room. Soon, I realized that He meant I was supposed to read the book NOW! I was so amazed at BJ's inspired thoughts and writings; how spiritually mature He was. Though some of my thoughts mirrored his, BJ took these to a new level and therefore was able to take me there too! As we get older and become weighted down with all the "responsibilities" of life; work, family, home, and activities (the list just seems to keep getting bigger the older we get!) it gets harder and harder to surrender the control of our lives to His will. At 42, I find myself still struggling to give up "the driver's seat." Although, much of the book "spoke" to me, the section on obedience really hit home, particularly that of IMMEDIATE obedience. I know that is one thing Jesus has been trying to teach me. So, I wanted to thank all of you for sharing this with the rest of us. I know that the story of BJ's life and his death will be, through the Holy Spirit, a blessing for so many people. BJ "got it", and I know, as you do, that he would want the rest of the world to "get it" too! To God be the glory!

Lisa Potter
Santa Cruz, CA


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