I can physically feel the heaviness of one very simple fact: I don’t have the words to convey what’s going on inside my heart.
Over the past few months, it’s been pricked, poked, clenched, squeezed, stretched, enlarged, beaten, bruised, slapped, massaged, cradled, ruined, and held.
Can’t. Take. Much. More.
Except I can, because when I let Christ have my heart to do what he wants with, it can somehow withstand all of this and keep right on ticking.
Chapter 4, shall we?
Did anyone else want to take a baseball bat to that pastor who’d rather just annihilate all the lost people and send them to hell? And then did you feel the ugh of complete conviction when you realized that that’s essentially what we’re doing when we don’t tell them about Jesus?
I’m going to be gut-honest here. I can talk all I want about Cambodia and the ends of the earth and helping with a multi-ethnic church plant in my city. HOWEVER, that doesn’t change the fact that I can hardly return a Redbox DVD at the Walgreens on the corner of Cleveland and Morse without feeling a little jittery. “God, are you suuuuuure these are the people you want me to reach out to? But I’m so… white. And scared.”
I’m trusting God to shine his brightest where I’m most inept and uncomfortable.
I love, love, love the part on page 65 where he breaks it down into 2 simple parts. We’re here to 1.) enjoy his grace and 2.) extend his glory. “And to disconnect God’s blessing from God’s global purpose is to spiral downward into an unbiblical, self-saturated Christianity that misses the point of God’s grace” (71).
I love how he says that “God loves me” is an incomplete synopsis of Christianity. “God loves me so that I might make him–his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness–known among the nations” (70-71) I AM NOT THE CENTER OF THE GOSPEL. GOD IS.
And I’m so thankful that he addressed the question, “Why do we need to be involved in other nations when there are so many needs in our nation?” And I’m so glad that he exposed the question for what it is: a smoke screen. Because you know what? The people who actually ARE INVOLVED in meeting the needs in their own community, city, whatever? They aren’t the ones asking that question. The ones asking that question, generally speaking, don’t really care about the needs of people overseas OR in their own backyard.
I desperately want to be a person who cares about both. And does something about it.
My heart breaks when I read stories like this one. And when I linked to it last night on Twitter and Facebook, my heart swelled with the encouragement of knowing I have so many friends and family members whose hearts are breaking for the things that break God’s. I need to focus on those rays of hope when I’m tempted to be completely discouraged by Christians who (at least from what I can tell) couldn’t care less about the poor and needy, the orphaned and oppressed.
In the words of my friend Rich, “I want to die empty.” From this moment forward, I don’t want to hold anything back, save anything for a rainy day, hoard anything for “just in case.” Like the apostle Paul, I want to be poured out like a drink offering, down to the last drop.
I want to be spent, wasted, bankrupt.
And I’m clinging to Jesus, because I know it’s not going to be easy. Nothing worth anything ever is. But oh my joy, after getting just a taste of what a sold-out-to-Christ life might be like, I can’t settle for nothin’ less.
So tell me: What did this chapter do to YOUR heart?