How God is teaching me
The name of this blog post was stolen from my boss, friend, mentor Rob. I thought it was so fitting of the life that I want to live. Jesus in Matthew 9, beginning in verse 9 calls Matthew, the tax collector to Follow Him. No matter the mess that Matthew was in (tax collecting by the way was the worst possible mess, according to ancient Jews), Jesus still wanted Matthew in his presence. Jesus knew that if Matthew just gets into an environment with me over time, it is impossible for him NOT to change.
Matthew did the only real thing he knew how. He said to Jesus “what do you want me to do.” Jesus replied to Matthew “I want to have dinner with all of your friends.”
I can just imagine James, John, Peter looking around. They probably spit out their wine when they heard this. I bet they even pulled Jesus to the side and said…”Um Jesus…have you looked at his Facebook profile? Instagram pictures? I mean there are sinners and then there’s Matthew”
Jesus probably laughed and said “Yes….man he looks like he has a GOOD TIME. Different eh?”
What I love about Jesus is that he was willing to put aside any personal preferences he may have had to do whatever it get people into an environment with Him. He even told the Pharisees in Matthew 9:13 “For I came not to call the righteous but the sinners.”
Jesus was at home around Levi’s table. Levi’s table a place where there were thief’s, prostitutes, Roman soldiers, and tax collectors is where Jesus was dining. He was in an environment with people who were far from him.
That’s a problem here in Belize in the local church and a problem with some of our Christian walks as well. We are uncomfortable at Levi’s table. We are scared to go out and meet the helpless, hurting and broken where they are. We are hesitant to be around them. I know I am guilty of that from time to time.
This past week I went Tuesday and Thursday night to play basketball at the courts across from church. When I got there on Thursday no one had a ball so we had some time. My friends, Delly, Beard, Patch, B, were all cutting and rolling their blunts for the evening basketball time, and I was sitting their….sitting their around Levi’s table. Uncomfortable for sure (I even needed to move out of the haze zone). But still willing to be there and play ball and care about them. So I stayed, played basketball (terribly by the way) and left.
Did any of them come to know Jesus that night?…NOPE. But as the night grew on, I was beginning to realize that I wasn’t Jesus at this Levi’s Table of the Basketball court. I realized I was one of the tax collectors or sinners. I realized that I am just as messed up as I think they are.
I started to see the helplessness, hopelessness in my life in areas (like how I spoke to Madeline that day, or how I was at serving Amy, or how I was at surrendering my time to the Lord) and realized that the more conscious I become of the work Jesus has to do in my life, the less critical I was becoming of the work I perceive He needs to do in their’s.
Then I heard a phrase that I want to become my mantra here in our village:
People that were nothing like Jesus, liked Jesus
And Jesus liked people that were nothing like him.
If I am to influence the culture of the local church in our village, I need to like (SPEND TIME WITH) people that are nothing like me. And those people who are nothing like me, need to like me. I’m a sinner in need of a savior who is just trying to take my next step to a more complete life in Jesus. Like everyone else, I need a spot in the presence of Jesus at Levi’s table.
What’s going on in Belize!?!
- School started: School has started for Madeline (2nd year of Preschool). We are so excited for her to spend some time with her friends and new classmates.
- Playground: Through some money that Amy and I saved up and a donation from a generous co-worker, we were able to purchase a playground for the kids. We are desiring to use this for Madeline, Jojo, and Elijah obviously but more for the kids in the village. We want our house to be a house kids can come and hang out at and play at!
- Children’s Ministry – We are targeting starting the children’s ministry in our village in October after we return from Pastor Ed’s training. Pastor Mark is sending 3 people from church with Amy to the training to be equipped in kids ministry. We can’t wait to see over 100 kids come each week to hear about Jesus on their level. For some it will be the first time on a weekly basis they do more than memorize KJV verses or color a simple Bible sheet. Lives are going to be changed! Praise God!
- Community involvement: Playing basketball 1 – 2 per week at the courts in our village. (Note: Pray I play better because another terrible showing like last Thursday and I wont be welcomed back). I also had the opportunity to preach at church last night, and did the devotion at the primary school this AM.
- Boldness – Pray for boldness in both me and Amy to step out in this community and meet people and talk to them. It comes more naturally for me than it does her. Pray that for opportunities for Amy in this. Pray for her to volunteer once this week at Madeline’s school
- Work: I am leading a team next week. Pray for the team as we serve at Bethany Preschool and the Youth Hostel. Pray for Amy and the kids while I am leading this team. Pray for strength for Amy and immediate obedience from the kids.
- Work 2: I am in the process of praying through how Praying Pelican Missions teams can be involved in some sustainable ministries down in Belize. Things like a feeding program for children with a communities own chickens, or assistance with school tuition. Pray for wisdom and discernment for me through this information gathering process.
- Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training: Pastor is praying for 61 churches to be represented at the training in October. Join me in praying for 75 churches to be there!
- Support Raising: Amy and I are working through our contacts currently. We sent out our financial report from Year 1 last week. If yo have any questions, please let us know. If you are interested in supporting us financially, please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate, Scroll to find our names and click away!