As I mentioned in an earlier article, when I tell people I am going to Mexico to serve, I get asked “are you crazy?”, and “are you going through a mid-life crisis?” I always think this is an interesting response because it just seems like the next step to me. It has become even more clear lately, so humor me while I explain.
I facilitate the women’s Sunday school class at my church. Our latest study was on the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I have done this study before. In fact, God used it to speak to me as I was beginning to feel the pull to go into full time ministry. Chan reminds us that true service and obedience to God does not come from a sense of duty, but from love. After all, the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37-38). This realization didn’t just come from reading this book (although Chan certainly articulated it in a way that made me say “ah ha”), but through study of His word and watching how He works in and through life’s circumstances.
Now, I will be the first to admit, I am not and emotional type…although the older I get, the more my tears escape my eyes…especially during cheesy commercials and movies. And because of this, “love” is not the easiest thing for me to express. I do not trust feelings. I have always told myself that emotions trick us into believing what we want. So, I have “tough” skin (on the outside anyway). I became independent and told myself that I don’t need reassurance of others. Hold onto that thought…
Anyway, back to the book… some people strongly suggest daily devotionals…and while I do have one, and I see its benefits, I know this is not the type of “study” that develops the kind of love Chan is talking about in his book. He continually tries to convey that “our love for [God] always comes out of His love for us” and asks, “Do you really know and believe that God loves you, individually and personally and intimately?”
So, how do you really know this love? I mean, if we only partake of God’s word in little snippets and quotes (devotionals), how do we truly understand the depth of His love? Answer? Study His word. Then again, intellectual study can lead to much knowledge on a subject but not necessarily an understanding that leads to a love response. In light of this, I believe that thorough study of the Bible partnered with self reflection and application of the Scriptures (whether it is as small as applying what you have learned to a change in attitude, or making a total life style change because of a new truth you have learned) is what helps us see God’s character… understand His love for His children… realize the amazing commitment He has to revealing His glory.
So to refer back to the previous paragraph where I explained my low opinion of emotions, I now have given myself permission to feel those emotions (I actually did this a while back, but I haven’t admitted it “out loud”). I now know (and am trying to apply) that God created those emotions. Ultimately to use them to express our love for Him. Of course, I am still skeptical of emotions and proceed with them cautiously… but I have begun to feel an overwhelming sense of “crazy” love and devotion to my God. I am sure this is where my “crazy” desire to be in full-time ministry has come from, and I know that God is the one who has put that in me.
To sum it up… I don’t want to be someone who goes through the motions of “church” and “being good”. My desire is to live in a way that reveals God’s glory, shares His love with others around me, and is committed to making life count. Why? Because God loves me. He has shown me this over and over…beginning with sacrificing His Son on the cross as payment for my sin. And I see no other way to respond to this but to love Him like crazy. And the funny thing is… I have this weird love for people I would have never loved before I understood this. I say weird, because it isn’t something I would have done within myself. I look at my attitude toward people now and compare it to how I used to be (judgmental and closed) and all I can say is that Christ is the reason I have changed.
Change with me. See His love for you. Feel the kind of love that goes beyond human understanding. If this all sounds Greek to you, start here: GOD IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN SATISFY THE SOUL
Just Four More?
Thanks to many of my supporters’ generous gifts, I now have over 80% of my committed giving covered. This means that I still need about $400/month more to set a date and begin booking my flight and making final plans to leave for Mexico. In a nutshell, that would be just four more people committed to giving $100/month (or smaller amounts and more people) or one time gifts totaling $4,800. If you are currently reviewing your year-end giving, I ask that you to please consider giving here. Or commit to giving monthly here.
On another note… if you haven’t heard, my family has opened a coffee shop in Kaufman called Side Street Coffee. We serve HOPE Coffee and offer a place for the community to meet and work (free wi-fi). The profits from coffee sales go back into the communities in Honduras where the coffee is grown. If you are in the area, please stop in and support this ministry as well! Our website tells a little more about the shop and the coffee.
We just finished celebrating Thanksgiving. Amanda, Casey, Joe and I drove down to Corpus Christi to visit Natalie. We had a great time together. I always love it when we are all together. They are so much fun. As usual, we posed for a photo that will be included on our Christmas (or soon after) cards. I am very tempted to show it to you, but I am going to wait! Here is a pic of my plate… I would like to say I did all of the cooking, but I only did the mac ‘n cheese. HEB did the bulk of it. My mom made the dressing for me to take with me and Czech Stop Bakery made the biscuits. Natalie made some awesome dessert too. It was all yummy!