Sunday, November 28, 2010

All things work together for good?

How big is your vision of God? Do you believe that God can use the tragedies of our lives for a redemptive, God-glorifying purpose? I believe this! Take the following story as an example:

Over 100 years ago, a tornado struck the prairies of Minnesota. Many were killed, hundreds were injured, and one small town was almost demolished. In the midst of the disaster, an elderly British surgeon and his two medically trained sons worked almost around the clock for days aiding the stricken, bandaging wounds, and setting broken limbs.

Their heroic work did not go unnoticed. Their excellence as physicians and their selflessness in the service of those in need created a following among the tornado victims. The doctor and his sons were offered financial backing to build a hospital, provided that they took charge.

The men agreed and in 1889 founded a clinic that soon attracted nationwide attention. Their little clinic grew.

The city was Rochester, Minnesota.

The elderly doctor’s name: William W. Mayo.

His sons: William J. and Charles Mayo.

Their clinic is called simply “The Mayo Clinic.” It now consists of over 500 physicians treating more than 200,000 people a year. It is known worldwide as one of the premier places of health, healing and excellence in medicine.

I’m sure if you asked the citizens of Minnesota about the Rochester tornado at the time, they would have said it was all about death and destruction, an unqualified disaster.
But, put in the perspective of better than a century, and in the hands of a creative God, the tornado was really about life, help, and healing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pray for church in North Korea

I heard it today in church from our visiting preacher, that for many people who live under repressive regimes, coming to faith in Christ is very costly. Please take a few minutes and listen to the testimony of this 18-year-old high school student speaking at Lausanne Conference last month in South Africa, then act. Please join me in praying great prayers for the people of North Korea and for the spread of the gospel in that country.

Here's my question: which is preferable...having political freedom (as in the West) but have a passive/luke warm faith; or facing  persecution and trials (as in many repressive countries) and yet have a vibrant faith?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life on Purpose

Max Lucado has done it again. With his keen understanding of Scripture, his love for God and his love for people, Lucado’s newest book, Outlive your Life: You were made to make a difference, encourages readers to live for causes that are bigger than their own personal ambitions. Personal ambitions have a limited shelf life that will dissipate after death. The key is to live for some greater purpose that impacts the world long after you are gone. The book, based on a series of sermons preached on the book of Acts, seeks to motivate Christians to do more than talk; Christians are called to live their faith in very tangible ways.

Lucado’s heart for our troubled world is felt through every page. The statistics are grim: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations. Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. And in the few minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases, and on and on it goes. This is why all the royalties raised from the sale of Outlive Your Life will be given to benefit children and families through World Vision.

I was deeply moved by Lucado’s writing. He is an effective communicator; he presents his ideas simply, yet profoundly. Since reading Outlive your life, I am more conscious of the need to pray, think, and act with compassion to the people I meet. If you are not interested in being disturbed and roused from our entertainment induced somnolence, then stay away from this book. But if you are seeking to grow, pray, and serve the needs of others, Outlive your life, will help you demonstrate the compassion of Christ to the world.

At the back of the book are a set of very helpful discussion questions and action guide. For example, one of the practical action points asks the reader to grow in their cross-cultural awareness. Learn about the group that lives on the other side of a dividing social wall in your community or region. Eat where they eat, shop where they shop, and meet people. Listen to their stories, Find out what you have in common. Find out what differences are crucial and be sensitive to them. Instead of creating paralysis due to information overload, Outlive your Life, motivates the reader to find even one thing, and do it; anything done in the name of Christ for others helps to heal the world.