This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Posts tagged ‘Bible’

Numbers Matter at the Porn Show and in Pakistan

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called followers-are-not-fruit. Numbers do not necessarily indicate success. We so often get that confused. That being said, I would not liken that to numbers being unimportant. They are important because every number represents a person and people are VERY, VERY important.

It’s been 5 years now that I have lead a team for outreaches at the porn show in Vancouver. Each year we set up a booth, talk to entertainers and patrons, and hand out thousands of Bibles. It’s not just the numbers of Bibles that we hand out that is impressive – it’s the fact that a high percentage of people we give them to have conversations with us, and year after year many come back to talk with us more and tell us that they have read or are reading the Bibles. I am sure many end up in the garbage, but I am also just as sure many don’t, and lives are being changed as a result.

I recently reconnected with a pastor from my childhood. He was the pastor of a dear friend of mine that has gone home to be with Jesus. He has been telling me about his missions work in Pakistan. It’s not a place I have ever felt called to go but I love to hear about God working in and through others in their unique callings.

There were three things that really got my attention from his stories. The first was that there was a festival and some Christians had set up a booth to hand out Bibles – sound familiar? Some members of the team however were beaten by people who didn’t like what they were doing and then the police arrested those team members, thinking they were causing trouble. After some incredible time at the police station that emulates the story of Paul and Silas, the police escorted them back and assisted them by providing protection while they handed out their Bibles.

I am so grateful that our team has never been threated, let alone the victims of physical violence while handing out Bibles. Also the amazing story they have of then receiving police protection is so encouraging.

The second thing about his stories was the actual numbers. At our church’s last Easter service we had baptisms for 5 people (one being my daughter, proud mama here). Those 5 are extremely exciting! The area where the pastors have been ministering takes 8 hours to get to by bus and they were going to make another trip there once 100 people were ready to be baptised. I’m not sure how long that would be but I will say it would be less time than if we waited for 100 people here in Canada. Again the number itself isn’t important but the fact that each number represents a life is! 5 is exciting – so is 100!

Through their missional efforts they reached 400 hundred families – not just people, but families. This leads me to the final thing that impacted me; they only had 200 Bibles to give and so 200 Bibles were given to 200 families and 200 families who want a Bible are without. It’s hard to imagine as I look at the 7 on the shelf in front of me now, what life would be like to want a Bible and not have one.

Just as I have asked people to help us pay for the Bibles we give out in Vancouver, I also implore you to support this team and help them give out Bibles in Pakistan. You can learn more about what they do and donate here at: Bibles for Bahawalpur.

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The non-lonely journey

We are all in need of a Savior. I am sure there are lots of different reasons we come to accept Jesus as our Saviour and receive our free gift of grace. I have noticed a common pattern many people go through. First they get saved, then the start doing all the things they think Christians should do, or maybe even than other Christians are telling them that they should do. Then they screw those things up and so they try harder. They pray more and read their Bible even more and maybe attend another Bible study or volunteer more hours at the church. You can only keep this going for so long, before you are completely burned out of this cycle.

It’s like we recognize we need a Savior but once He has saved us we try to earn it, or prove we were deserving of it after all, or maybe that we were not as bad as we used to be. We go through all these motions and I think this is where a real religiosity can set in because motions are all they become. All those things they are doing are not bad things at all, but they are meaningless at this point.

Here some people give up. They can’t keep it going and decide this God thing and church thing and religion are just not for them. Others find some way to perpetually keep the cycle going, but they are hollow inside and really just fake people.

There is another group though, that reaches this crucial point and realizes that something is wrong and it’s not with God, it’s with them. They realize they don’t HAVE to do any of those things. They don’t have to read their Bible or go to church or pray or stop swearing or smoking or cheating or anything. We are never forced or obligated to do any of it. This is where their real relationship with Christ is birthed and grows. This is where they read their Bible to get to know Him more and not because they have to or because they are not good enough or to prove they deserve anything. They pray because they want to talk to this living God who listens and answers. They go to church because community grows us and we are not just here for ourselves. They work on issues in their own lives because they realize there is more to this life than the things that are keeping them back and they want to be more like Jesus. If you don’t know him you won’t want to be like Him. You can’t know Him if you are too busy going through the motions to hear Him and His heart.

There is a shift between doing and being. Christianity is no longer something I do or believe in, it’s who I am. I screw it up all the time and that’s ok. My life is a journey. It has crazy twists and turns, ups and downs and it is anything but perfect. The reason it’s ok is because He is Immanuel – God with us. He’s with me every step of this journey and all the things I do all need to be about walking with Him and as much as possible enjoying this journey we are on together – not because the journey is easy, but because I am not alone.

Look At Women

Just recently I read this blog http://earthtourist.org/2013/07/05/modesty-misunderstood/ by Travis Klassen. His viewpoint was not brand new to me, though it was not what I was taught growing up. The fact that it was coming from a man was new to me. The idea that a man’s lustful thoughts are the responsibility of the man, and not the women he is lusting after, is something that has come to make sense to me, but again was not how I was raised – by my parents or the church. Anytime a women has posted this viewpoint I feel like she is too often dismissed as looking for an excuse to dress “inappropriately.”

A few days after reading that blog, my devotions fell in Job – specifically Job 31. Verse 1 says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” It really stuck me that Job said he would not look lustfully at a girl, he did NOT say he would not look at a girl.

We demean men into mindless animals when we except that they could not look at an attractive woman without being reduced to something with no self control and completely bound by a sexual instinct. Can a man look at a woman and lust – yes. Can a man look at a women and not lust – yes.

We tell men to avert their eyes from women so as to avoid lustful thoughts. But what if they learned to look at women and not lust? Are they going to be attracted to some women – yes, because God made us to find certain things attractive about others but that doesn’t mean it has to go further. By all means if you are looking at a women and find yourself having lustful issues and need to “bounce your eyes” please do so. I am a woman and I have done so. I have also been guilty of lusting at times. It all depends on the self control that I use or don’t use over my own thoughts. Where am I allowing them to go? Am I looking at this attractive man as someone God made that is appealing to me but I will only allow my thoughts to think on him as a brother or am I letting my thoughts go to places they should not? Why is the expectation different for men? I don’t believe it should be.

Men are strong – in body and in spirit. They are fully capable of viewing women – even scantily clad women as sisters. I know because I have brought men with me to porn shows with www.xxxchurch.com to hand out Bibles to porn stars. They tell them that Jesus loves them and they look them in the eye to show respect and that they are more, so much more than just a physical body. Why can’t we raise our young men to do this? Why can’t we instil in men that they are more than just lustful desires that are beyond their control?

Into the Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You remember those guys right? They got thrown into a fiery furnace. I lead 9 other people to the sex show in Vancouver for the fourth year to hand out Bibles and tell people that Jesus loved them.

Here’s what I know:

The furnace boys were not alone. Jesus was with them.

The furnace boys had an impact in their world without mega phones and preaching.

The furnace boys were not harmed in anyway and didn’t even smell like smoke.

The furnace boys lives were changed.

This weekend…so were we. All the glory to God.