That’s right, this time tomorrow we’ll be making our way to Chicago and then to Guatemala. Actually, we’re the sixth team that our young adults ministry has sent to Guatemala in partnership with Potter’s House. Potter’s House is a unique organization that seeks to “provide holistic opportunities for scavenger families by equipping them to be able to develop and transform their lives, families, and community.” Now you may be wondering what do you mean by ‘scavenger families,’ so let me tell you. Within Guatemala City resides the largest dump in Latin America where more than 11,000 people live near and scavenge throughout the mountains of garbage to provide for their families. Potter’s House is working towards a future in which not one of these Treasures will have to scavenge (that’s Potter’s House’s term—treasures. I love that—restoring dignity, recognizing who these people really are).
So tomorrow we will start making our way to Guatemala to help build a house for one of these families, to build relationships and see how God is at work in Guatemala. Prayers are greatly appreciated.
With all of the heart-breaking stories that are coming out of Egypt, this is a beautiful sight – a group of Christians encircling a group of Muslims so that they will be protected as they pray. Similarly, Muslims have been protecting Coptic churches while Christians pray.
One person commented on the photo saying, “This is how religion should work.”
This is how the Church should work.
Let’s be praying for Egypt.
Check out the full story here.
I have the impression that God knows the importance of humility for [us]. He knows our weakness, our pride, and he purposely sets in our path each day four or five humiliations, and in the course of our life, four or five great humiliations. If we do not comprehend them, if we do not accept them, it is a serious matter. But if we accept them, then we learn the generosity of God.
-Dom Helder Camara
Each week before our Gathering as the young adults ministry we have a dinner with all of the folks who are involved in the putting together of that night—staff, worship band, tech folk, set-up crew and so on. This often means that after the Gathering there’s left over food that needs to be cleaned up, which is often something I take care of—no big deal.
Well, I should say normally it’s not a big deal. A couple of weeks ago, as I was cleaning up, it felt like a big deal. I was one of those nights where all of those frustrations surface at once because you’re allowing them to build up in your mind. I was frustrated with myself for being frustrated (I always love that one). Then in the process of cleaning up the food I managed to slice open my heel by hitting it with the food cart and slosh a hefty amount of red soup on my nice white shirt (there’s a reason why my middle name is Hope not Grace). Talk about adding fuel to the self-centered fire.
So I was alone in the church kitchen ladling soup in my already stained shirt with one pant leg rolled up to prevent additional stains from the gash that wouldn’t stop bleeding all the while audibly trying to make myself take deep breaths to keep the tears that were beginning to well up from escaping—in short, I looked like a mess.
Then there was a voice that startled me at first, but in a soft and quiet tone asked if I needed help. I had managed to miss the middle school girl that snuck in while I was practicing breathing exercises. She dumped out the coffee carafes and returned things to their places while I finished up with the soup.
In the middle of my self-absorbed furry, grace showed up in the form of a middle school student. It caught me off guard. But then again grace tends to do that.
(On a different note this is one of the things that I miss about working in student ministries. Middle school students have a funny way of teaching me.)
This fall I took at class at Elmbrook’s Study Center which functions as an extension site for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It’s a great deal—night classes with TEDS professors for full TEDS graduate credit at a much lower price than being on campus. For me it’s the beginnings of chipping away at an MDiv (or so I think now).
This semester I took a course on the Corinthian Epistles, and last Thursday was our last class of the semester. Since then I’ve been trying to unpack some of the big lessons or take-ways of the semester. Here are a few of the things I’ve been chewing on:
- I need to become a better question asker.
- It is interesting how passages that are intended to call the church to unity and edification are frequently used to start arguments and cause division. Specifically I think of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 (refresher: heads, women, men, head coverings, angels and so on) and 1 Corinthians 14:1-25 (on the use of tongues and prophecy), both of which I was assigned to write on. We are so quick to divorce these passages (as with many others) from their context and read in our own interpretations. In both Paul is making a point that calls the church to unity when we look at the surrounding text. 1 Corinthians 8-11 is all about surrendering one’s rights for the sake of others within the church so that the gospel is not hindered (thus, as we can observe from studying the Corinthian culture at the time, within THAT culture the gospel was hindered by men wearing head covering and women choosing to not wear them; whereas today the gospel would be hindered by insisting that women wear head coverings). Similarly 1 Corinthians 12-14 is all about edifying the church. Even the definition of prophecy given by Paul (speaking “to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort” [14:3]) is all about building up the church. Yes, somehow we have taken passages that were written to bring us to greater unity to draw lines of division. I think Paul would cringe at this.
- What would it look like to be a person who is known by their walk with the Spirit?
- Giving as an act of grace – the giver both extends graces but also in their giving receives grace (2 Corinthian 8).
- Manifestations of spiritual gifts are not something that are ours, that we possess or control, instead they are movements of grace directed by the Spirit.
- Where the Spirit of God is at work, things are bound to be messy.
There is still much more to process through, but these are a few of the things that have been rolling around in my head as I look back over the semester.
With the beginning of this week, we headed into the Advent season. It’s a time where we join the entire Church in eager anticipation for what is to come. A time of waiting and hoping.
One of my favorites.
Emmanuel, God with us.
We wait in eager expectation for Emmanuel, resting in the truth of John 1:14 – the Word made his dwelling among us.