Among the Living Stones

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Fall17 Glocal Trip – Our team arrived to the beautiful Holy Land, while this has become a second home to three of our team members, for two of us, it is our first time. The unknown of what the trip and country would be like has quickly been put at ease as the hospitality of our driver and the people where we are staying is so loving and caring. Our first official day started off by driving to several sites to see where Jesus walked this earth and began His ministry. We passed through the Judaean desert where Jesus fasted, moving to the Jordan river where Jesus was baptized by John, to Nazareth where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary announcing that she was with child. We witnessed where Jesus declared the prophesy of Isaiah and where the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish were multiplied. Our team was able to put our feet in the Sea of Galilee and look out to the beautiful home site where Peter lived. To be honest it was an amazing day of site seeing.

Day two started off with a statement; “many people come to the Holy Land to look at the dead stones but, little is said about the living stones.” This is where the Lord revealed the beauty of His work in what He is doing in and through His Church. This is not a site seeing trip but an engagement trip. I’ve seen first hand what domain engagement with some of the leaders in the city serving in the Social Worker domain looks like. We walked through a half-day training session with 13 social workers titled, “Resilience, The Power To Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities.” It was during this training and leading small breakout sessions where we were able to hear the hearts of the people. In the midst of what is taking place in this country there is a peace about the people and the work that each one of them engages in daily with helping others. It was humbling to think “who am I,” to be walking through a training session with these leaders in their field who are bringing comfort and encouragement to the hurting.

This morning, prior to heading out to the session, in my quiet time God revealed Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” I felt God was reminding me not to have the typical American posture of “we have it all figured out,” but to listen and learn from others and allow Jesus to lead the conversation. Today’s session was a display of God’s work, through His people, to grow relationships and to bring conversations to a deep and vulnerable state — showing that each one of us are allowed to walk through adversity so God can be displayed. Today was truly a display of 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Today, our team not only cultivated trust, teamwork, and a better relationship with the people of the Holy Land, we witnessed the living Lord working through us to serve and love-on the living stones that bless and love the city of Bethlehem by serving the social domain.

I can’t wait to see what Jesus does tomorrow!!!

Dan Worrell, Houston Northwest

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Eclipse 2017 — A Pivotal Moment

solar-eclipse-9Today we sit in anticipation of a full solar eclipse. A total eclipse that will be seen across the Unites States and beyond. The likes of which have not been seen in the US in nearly 100 years. It will likely be a once in a lifetime event for us all.

The sun, moon and stars represent three of the most stable things in creation. The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar based on the predictability of the moon’s movement. The rest of the world is based on a solar calendar or the predictability of the sun’s movement. We chart our direction in the earth by the stars. Think pre GPS days when you were in the Scouts with your compass. But when a total solar eclipse like the one we are anticipating today takes place predictable movement of the sun, moon and stars becomes obscured.

When the most stable of created things becomes obscured, the very things we use to tell us the day, time and direction — it is not a sign that the Lord will return that day or the earth is ending. It is not a sign of pending judgement. Even without such a phenomena the Lord’s return, and judgement are imminent for humanity and all of creation. While many end-time prophets will find deeper and more specific truth revealed in today’s eclipse, it will be speculative at best and blatant error at worst.

Today should not be a day for debating over the end time significance of this rare eclipse, getting lost in minutiae or speculative arguments. No, today should be a reminder that even the most stable and predictable things in creation are subject to the God of creation.

During this eclipse we should reflect on our lives. We should prayerfully examine where we’ve chosen to walk in darkness rather than the light of God’s revealed truth. The eclipse should be a reminder that one day creation as we know it will end and God will fully usher in His eternal Kingdom. Our works in the earth will be judged and we will stand before Him without excuse. The most significant question on that day will be, “do you have faith in the Son?” “Have you received and followed Jesus?” Do the works of our lives demonstrate a love for the stranger, remembering the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, and clothing the naked? Or have our lives become consumed by vain pursuits, petty divisiveness and triumphalism? Do we walk past those living in the margins and dehumanize those who don’t look, live and vote like us?

This eclipse, although temporary, can serve as a pivotal moment that accomplishes eternal good. Let’s repent of the darkness that is within us and turn to the brightness of Christ. As the sky darkens let us view it as a call to repentance and cry out to the Son.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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We’re All Worshippers

Unknown-2We are all worshippers! Every single person you’ve ever met is a worshipper. We often see only those who go to church on Sunday, Temple on Saturday or a Mosque on Friday as worshippers. But all of mankind is reverencing, pursuing and serving, something or someone — a person, an idea, a spirit or God through Christ Jesus.

No one you’ve ever seen or encountered is exempt from this truth. We are all in daily, constant pursuit — desiring, pursuing and serving, something or someone. Every human being is made in God’s image and after His likeness and we are all in constant pursuit of peacefreedom from anxiety and a sense that everything essential is in place; we are all in constant pursuit of purposea deep sense of fulfillment in and from our daily activities; and we’re all in pursuit of praiseworthinessa deep sense of identity and worth. It is these basic and shared needs that make us all worshippers.

God is our greatest need and our only true supply. He wants our worship. He doesn’t want our empty, repetitious acts, performed in an attempt to get some other object of affection. God needs to be the one we crave and are unwilling to do without. Nothing drives us, shapes us and ultimately defines us more than what we worship. John 4 — “The Woman at the Well” is an account entirely about worship. Jacob’s well represented much more than the essential need of water for the Samaritans. Jacob dug this well on his own purchased plot. The well this woman was drawing from was sacred and believed to be the very spot where their asserted ancestor had dug his well and built his altar. The history of the place and their proclaimed patriarch meant peace with God, purpose in His plan and gave praiseworthiness — value and identity to these people. The Samaritans worshipped this well and the place it sat upon. They came to it to meet their basic needs but they also looked to it to meet their deepest needs. We all share the same basic needs and the same deeper need. Our lives are shaped by our worship — how we seek to meet our basic and deeper needs.

This woman had likely been coming to this well all of her life. She had been coming to Jacob’s well on this sacred mountain but she was still thirsty and her needs were still unmet. She’d been worshipping at the wrong well. Jesus — the well of living water — points out her six illicit relationships to prove to her who He is and how inadequate Jacob’s well is as an object of worship. It has shaped her life.
She has no peace, she has no sense of purpose and she is known as anything but praiseworthy. She is the least among her people (Samaritan, Woman, Unwed, Been in 5 illicit relationships, Living unmarried with a man now). She worships at the wrong well. Her being there at high noon (the worst time to go for water in that region) by herself, is proof enough of just how far she has fallen and just how futile her worship there is. She hides from others out of shame. Even though she is with a man, she is really alone.

God is man’s greatest need — But my God shall supply all of your need. We will worship the Creator seeking Him and living in His truth or we will worship the creation seeking life in a well with stagnant water. To worship in spirit and truth is to go to God as the source for our most basic and our deepest needs. Where we go shapes us, our hearts and our lives. The Father is seeking worshippers. The Father made us to be worshippers. May we all seek and drink from the Right Well — Jesus.

perfect God. perfecting people.

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