Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yeah, I'm home!!!

What an amazing experience I had in Venezuela!!! The beauty of the people there is second to none. I spent my time with pastors and church leaders from around the state of Portuguesa, primarily. They are deep in the Word, have a passion for Jesus and reaching the lost. I have seldom seen such spiritual depth and breadth.

The men I served with have been tools in the hand of the Mighty God. The far reaching impact of Christ's work through them and others from our church is very evident.

I have traveled through many countries, and seen many believers interact. I am not sure I have ever felt as loved and readily accepted as I did in Venezuela.

The country is beautiful and very hot. It was 95 to 100 degrees F, most every day. I came home last night to over 70 degrees colder! Most may want to turn around and go back because of temperatures alone. I would go back because of the way these people love on my Savior, and as a result, love on each other.

When the body of Christ live and thrive in relationship with Him, they also tend to do so with one another. It is by this evidence and fruit, that many are drawn to our Lord. Those who are not believers, see the difference and a desire rises within them to be involved in a love like this.

The petty quarrels and arguments that we often allow to separate us, also keep the unbelievers separated from Him.

It is our unity in Christ as a body, that opens the eyes to a different life and a different approach to love. It's why Christ plead for it, when He went before His Father in Heaven (John 17).

I made many new friends, who were already my brothers and sisters in Him. I am not sure I have ever felt so instantly, unconditionally loved and cared for, as I did by these people.

It was a valuable lesson for me.

Love on people, and let them know why. It's not a difficult concept, but one that gets diluted by assertions from personal agendas. Anytime self gets in the way, the Way to the Master becomes clouded.

Because of all we hear about their political leader, it is easy to make assumptions about an entire people group.

Clearly, those would be dead wrong.

These beautiful people are a shining example of how we are to love.

To be honest, at times I found myself being reluctant to open myself up to them. I feared being viewed as a source of potential funding for projects unknown. There is a certain relevance to that thought. People from the USA are seen as wealthy in most every other nation.

Though I am not, I am, by their standards.

In general, I do not believe this was the motive of those I got to know. There are always exceptions, but the purity and genuineness of their pursuit of me as a person, eclipsed this buried thought stream.

It is interesting to note that it costs more to buy four bottles of water than a tank of gas. Around 9 cents/gallon is the cost to them (in US currency). Can you imagine?

Turning 50 has caused some pretty serious introspection, on my part. I want to follow my Savior's heart with the remainder of my life. My own desires war within me.

I have learned a great deal by visiting these people. I need to be more like them... more like Him.

Generalizations should not be made about those we do not know or have not met. God loves them, and I need to as well.



At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Tina Dorward said...


I ordered "To Die For You" and have been reading it over the last few nights. It has been such a wonderful reminder of BJ's love for Christ and how he walked the talk, truly dedicating his life for Him.

We went and saw Chris Tomlin's Christmas concert last Sunday just south of Milwaukee and it was awesome!! One of the best parts was that they were kind of oversold and so they called the kids to come down front. Looking down on our two boys, ages 12 and 11, worshiping and thinking about how we don't even know what may grow from the seeds planted that night through Chris' music and through Louie Giglio's message made me tear up just thinking about it.

BJ is such an amazing example of God growing a mighty harvest from the seeds planted in BJ over the years. I pray God will grow that same type of might faith in my sons that they will then share with others, just as BJ did.

FYI, the woman involved in the situation and I met with our new pastor. Although reconciliation did not completely occur, it was a start. Please continue to pray as she is feeling she is justified in keeping me from serving "in HER ministry" as she puts it, b/c I have a different style from her. She's right, I do, but that doesn't make it wrong. Anyway, continued prayers that her heart would be softened some more would be greatly appreciated.

Blessings, Cedarburg Tina


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