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Sunday, February 12, 2012

the next generation

HOPE. This next generation of kids GET IT. THEY GET IT. there are more "20 somethings" giving there life away at home and overseas then EVER before. IT is ASTOUNDING to watch. And it is not the easy road. These kids are dealing with malaria, special needs, malnourishment, HIV/AIDS, DEATH on a daily basis. THeir "daily dealings" would leave most of us over here in our "comfy little lives" in counseling for years.

My nephew is one of these kids. My first trip to Africa we took him along. He was a typical kid. He had a little rebellion in him...just enough to make you wonder what he was thinking:) His heart has always been as big as EVER, but his "tough guy persona" overshadowed it a bit. I knew if I could get him in the right setting that he wouldn't be able to resist the tenderness that was really in his heart....and that is basically what happened on our trip. LITERALLY, before our eyes, we watched a transformation happen. Writing about it today brings tears to my eyes. He is a junior at UT. Any extra time that he has these days, he is boarding a plane serving. Honduras, Haiti, name it and he desires to GO AND DO. I received an email from him a few nights ago and this is what I read:

Passion. What exactly is passion? Webster’s dictionary describes the word passion as an emotion, an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction, and also as love, a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. As followers of Jesus Christ, what does the word ‘passion’ mean to us and what are the implications of it in our lives? First and foremost, we are to have a passion to seek and pursue Jesus. After all, if scripture is inherently the word of God and is God inspired, which we do believe as followers of Christ, we should look no further than the Word of God to reach a verdict. I believe to truly be passionate about Jesus, means to be passionate about the things that Jesus himself was passionate about. One of the clearest passages of Scripture that sheds light into what Jesus was passionate about is Matthew 25 verse 31-40. Jesus is speaking about the final judgment of mankind and the manner in which man will be judged. He talks about separating the goats from the sheep according to how they had lived their lives. Verses 34-40 read:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing, I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?”

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”

James also sheds light into Christ’s heart in James 1:27 when he says:

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

Jesus was passionate about those in society that were in the most dire and destitute situations. He cared deeply for ‘the least of these!’ If we love Jesus, and desire for His will to be done in our lives, wouldn’t it make sense to love the people that he loved? To care for the people that he cared for? This is the essence of Christianity! As John the Baptist says in John 3:30, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” It is not about you!

As we pour our lives into His people, feeding the hungry, ministering to the homeless in our communities, giving clothes to those who don’t have any, visiting the sick in our hospitals, and the prisoners that have been incarcerated in the name of Jesus Christ, we are fulfilling God’s will for our lives!

I have often asked God what his will for my life is. For a long time I was frustrated because I didn’t feel like He was telling me anything. However, after spending time in His word it became clear to me that Jesus has already told us in His word what His will for our lives are, it just varies depending on where or what you are doing as a vocation.

In what has been termed ‘The Great Commission’ Jesus tells his disciples their last duty as disciples of Him. Matthew 28 verses 18-20 reads:

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the command I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This is our charge also as followers of Jesus Christ. To go! What does that mean? It might mean to get on the interstate and drive to your local rescue mission and minister to the homeless in your community. It might mean to get on a plane and visit the orphans and widows that are dying of HIV in Africa. We have all been called to different things. Some have been called to adopt, some have been called to help finance the adoption process for others, and some have been called to disciple youth in their church. Whatever it is, Jesus says go. The word ‘go’ is a verb, it is an action! It’s also important to remember that Jesus says make disciples of ‘all’ the nations. Some might say that they really have a heart for the least of these in their own community, which is fantastic. However, if you only have a heart for those in your own community then you are ministering to a very small percentage of Jesus’ heart. I don’t believe any person that says they are a follower of Christ does this on purpose, but Satan deceives and convinces people to believe and act in such a way.

If someone asked me what I am passionate about, I would first say that above everything else, I am passionate, and unashamed (Romans 1:17), about Jesus Christ because He saved me and has completely changed my heart. I would then say that because I am passionate about Jesus, I am also passionate about the 147 million orphans that have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) that don’t have mom or a dad. I am passionate about the 27 million people in our world that are enslaved, the most in global history. I am passionate about the more than 7.5 million children under the age of 5 that day each year from malnutrition and preventable causes. I am passionate about educating the 785 million illiterate people that live on our planet. I refuse to believe that God would create as many people that live on our plant, in His image, for them simply waste away and die. We are to have an eternal perspective, in that we view every single living person as either going to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus, or eternal damnation in Hell. The sense of urgency is real, and because of I am passionate about these people because Jesus was passionate about them and I am in love with Him!

I ask you to examine your heart and seek Jesus Christ through Scripture and prayer so that when our time on earth is finished we will be as Paul was in 2 Timothy 4 verses 7-8:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now, the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me, but all who early look forward to his appearing.”

What, or whom, are you passionately living for?

Now, this makes an auntie's heart proud.

My Grace is the same way. Our Honduras trip was just enough to hold her over until she can step foot on those red dirt roads this summer. My Michael is starting to ask also..."when can I go?!" It's such a huge pull at their hearts to get out and DO that they can hardly stand it. THE BODY OF CHRIST....the next generation GETS IT and I am so thankful that I have a front row seat:)


Lib at Truly His said...

This post is so encouraging, Grace. Thank you for your insight and passion!

The Gutmans' said...

Wow, what a wise beyong his years young man!!!! He totally gets it, my 14 & 12 year old will be reading this entire post!!!! Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Oh yes we do get it! Glad there's somebody out there who doesn't think that kids who are called to go overseas are wasting their time 'cause we're NOT!

Anonymous said...

I love to read your blog, but haven't been able to for the last few weeks. Brown font on top of burlap doesn't work well for my computer. Would you consider changing it back so I can continue to be inspired by your words?

Joy said...

I so enjoy your blog. If your nephew is a student at UT Knoxville and interested in serving a group of Burundian refugees--the program is always looking for volunteers. There are about 250 refugees from the small African nation who now call Knoxville home and as you can imagine they need help in so many ways. Anyway my email is if this is an area he might like to serve in while he is stateside please forward my email and I will give him further info.

Hillbilly Rockin' Robin said...

With five boys of our own - hoping they "get it" - your nephew's words are such a blessing to read! Oh, young men, rise up! Thank you for sharing. Keep doing what you are doing. Thank you for blessing others by advocating for those who need a voice. Blessings! Tell your nephew He is leading other young men b/c I plan to have my boys read this post!! What a gift. We are making plans to go serve in Ghana as missionaries helping the orphans. I hope our boys keep following Christ like your family!


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I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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