Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why Water

It begins as a simple whimper and builds in volume. At its peak, it’s a heartbreaking mixture of longing, discomfort and anger mingled with uncertainty, fear and frustration. This is the cry of a child; it is the cry of my newborn child. It’s a cry that every parent learns to recognize and satisfy. That is the beauty of my child’s cry, not the cry itself but that I have been given the knowledge and provision to sooth my child’s cry. In a small village, halfway around the world, there is another child crying and another parent who recognizes the hunger and need for sustenance within that cry. My child’s cry begins to quiet and her eyes begin to close, there are a few remaining little sniffles but even these soon are gone. She snuggles herself into my arms and against my chest and soon I recognize the sound of her breathing as she falls asleep, comforted and safe, her hunger satisfied. Half way around the world another child’s cry begins to diminish, this sound is not as pleasant to the ear as the peace that my child experiences. This cry is fading due to weakness, disease and unfulfilled hunger that little lungs are no longer strong enough to express. This child’s eyes close not because they are satisfied, comforted or safe, but these eyes close because the end is near. My child sleeps quietly, safe and secure, her belly full and her emotional needs met. Half way around the world, the end has come but there is a different cry to be heard. It is a cry, filled with pain and anguish as a mother or father morn the loss of their child.

Is this child now with Jesus? My faith and hope says that this is the case but I find nothing solid in the scriptures to support this theory. My faith tells me that a loving God, a God that loved so much he sent his only son to die for all, could never take such a small and innocent life without the offer of an eternal Heaven. At the same time my flesh screams that a loving God would never take such a life in the first place. While these two sides, flesh and spirit, are locked in battle, I know that eventually, the spirit will win and Faith will prevail. My faith will dictate that I cannot possibly begin to understand God completely and that if I could then he’s not worthy of being God. My prayers tonight will ask for wisdom and understanding and forgiveness for my weakness and praise for my faith, of which he is the faithful provider.

At the same time I struggle, I wonder about the heart of the father or mother left behind. Do they know the Jesus that I have come to lean so heavily on in my times of struggle and despair or have their hearts been hardened a little further to a Jesus who called for love and sacrifice for the sake of others but whose so called followers sacrifice little and love even less. Have they heard or read about the Christ who gave his own life so that they may have victory or have they only seen and read about the Christ who lives in huge brick or multi-colored Glass houses filled with gold representations of that which was really ugly, broken and bloody. Maybe the only Jesus they’ve heard about or experienced is the one that rides on bumpers or as fish symbols on trunks of cars and goes everywhere yet does nothing that resembles the true Savior.
God has created something beautiful and disturbing. While knowing Jesus brings comfort and peace his love will not allow us to be comfortable with the suffering of others. He has given me a beautiful gift and blessing of having a gorgeous little girl and I would be a selfish fool to not want to share that feeling with the rest of the world. To think that I could make a difference so that halfway around the world that child closes it eyes in the same peaceful sleep as my child instead of the alternative gives me no choice but to take action.
Even if you don’t believe in God or know Jesus Christ, there has to be something deep within your moral humanity that would cry out that there is something wrong with the way things are!

Why water... because 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. 42,000 people die each week, 4,500 children will die today because they lack clean drinking water. $20 dollars can give a person water for 20 years.
Why water... because I will make a difference.
Why water... because you can make a difference.
Why water...... because somewhere halfway around the world a child has begun to whimper…

to make a difference, go to www.mycharitywater.org/Living_water

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The unexpected

This is a short clip from one of my all time favorite movies called Dangerous Minds. It's a movie about hope and inspiration and the soundtrack is pretty good too. In this clip you see a teacher/parent visit after Raul (the student) has just gotten into a fight and been suspended from school. You can tell from the parents actions that this is not the first time that Raul has been in trouble. Then Miss Johnson (the teacher) does something that is totally unexpected and shocking to them. She praises Raul for being a good student and tells his parents that he is "one of my favorites".

While watching this clip for about the twentieth time this morning, it struck me as to gracious and loving this is. It showed genuine care and concern for this troubled youth. Too many times we look at pieces of peoples lives and make harsh judgements and criticisms which harden our heart toward them, when we should be showing them the love, grace and mercy that is available through Jesus Christ. You may never know what affect that moment of grace, love and mercy may have on someones life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Witness

I just witnessed a man being bound by handcuffs and placed into a police car. I can’t recall, as I sit here, ever having seen this in my sheltered life before. It wasn’t really a shock to me other than knowing the life I’ve lived, it is a little surprising that I haven’t seen or experienced this before. I write this today as a witness to this thing which for some reason wasn’t that shock but instead… it seemed to do something to my heart. It appears that it has stirred something deep inside of me that weeps for this man. Now before you start thinking I’m being all bleeding heart liberal, I confess that I do not know this man’s story. I cannot tell you where he came from or where he was headed. I know nothing about his guilt or innocence. I did see little snippets which led me to believe that he was a traveler with no home. That he was probably coming off the highway and stopped in to “grab” some supplies before continuing on his journey. I think that it was probably the “grabbing” part that led him to the moment that I witnessed as I was loading my supplies (groceries, which still sit in backs, waiting to be put up) into my very nice pickup truck. Still, something about the scene I witness sets heavily in my heart. It could be that I was in one of the nicer sections of town. I was in an area that recently got a facelift, due to the building of a very nice winery, shops and hotel. It could be the crowd of people gathered around, some smiling with curiosity as this man was being taken away. I hope those aren’t really the reasons that something in me feels broken about what I witnessed, because I hope that I will not be judged in that manner when my time comes, as just an onlooker who just sees part of the story.
I can’t help but be disturbed over the fact that I have some much and was filling my truck with even more, while watching someone who just needed a little more was being led away by police. I sit here in the middle of my plenty, wondering what else was in that back pack other than what he had taken. As I was leaving, the policemen (God bless our servicemen, all of them) was getting ready to go through this guys back pack. I almost stayed an extra couple minutes to see what would be pulled out. In that moment, it occurred to me that the bag could contain everything this guy owned. What was in there… a bag of chips, some nabs, a fresh pair of socks, an additional t-shirt, a bottle of water… I’m not saying that stealing is right or that this man is justified in his actions but rather, I cannot help but wonder what the world would look like if I was more willing to let loose of all that I have and be more generous to those who don’t have. Even now, when I say world, I don’t mean “The World” but rather that inner part of me that wonders if I could have made a difference in this man’s life. Maybe not a difference at the exact moment I was a witness too but maybe in some point leading up to that moment. I don’t know… and I don’t know that I have the answers but I do know that something about this story isn’t right. That if Jesus were here, that the outcome would have been different.

Isaiah 58:6-10 (New Living Translation)
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Years Prayer

I know I haven't written in a while so if anyone is still reading this then I apologize. If not, my pastor once told me to use my gifts even if no one was around to hear them so...

I stopped making New Years Resolutions a couple years ago. It just seemed like it always ended up being a good way to track my failures from year to year. I'm not much of a planner anyway so it was something that was easy for me to give up. I realized pretty quickly, however, that just because I stopped making these resolutions and telling others that it didn't really stop me from thinking about them. So... I've been thinking about this years "changes" and I've been able to narrow this very cumbersome list down to just one item. I cannot take credit for this item because it's something that I got from a Craig Groeschel podcast series called "30 days to Live". It comes from week 2 of this series about the life of a man named Larry Damerval. Larry was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and shared his thoughts and emotions during this very moving series about what life would be like if you only had 30 days to live.

So... instead of making a resolution, I think I'm going to take Larry's advice and adopt it into a prayer. In the video above he makes the following statement.

Look at life as “How can I take one step today to be closer to God than I was yesterday.”

That is my prayer for this year. I want to draw closer to God every single day.

you can find more about larry and other messages at www.lifechurch.tv