Fun. Clever. Colourful.
So decided to make a craft lesson out of it….
this is what we came up with…
Fun. Clever. Colourful.
So decided to make a craft lesson out of it….
this is what we came up with…
When we die, unless we have some Lazarus experience it’s what I would call final. Complete. No turning back.
What then becomes of our leftovers? In this instance of course I am not primarily talking of food (though I suppose if you died in the middle of a meal then I could be talking literally 🙂 ). I am talking about one, the things we have accumaulated, two, the activities we have engaged in and three, the relationships we have fostered (or not). Left-overs are the part of the meal that is left when we have finished up the original meal. Other people will be the ones to partake or throw out our leftovers and once we have had the meal (this life) we cannot decide what becomes of leftovers.
Are the things I am spending my time, money and emotions on worth passing on to someone else to continue to partake of? Or are they destined for the rubbish, the smell pungent as milk left out in a sundrenched car or worse- off fish. Have I left the feeling of others wanting more and wanting to duplicate what has been my meal?
I heard that a beautiful old man spent his time asking: If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity? But I don’t think that is the end of the questions. If you have chosen to make Jesus Christ your God and know that heaven with Him awaits you, then I think that there are further questions we must begin to ask ourselves.
Does my life reflect the One I follow? Will my lifestyle and the choices I make cause someone to seek out my lifestyle? or be non-plussed? or even repelled by it? I read in the Bible today in the book of James that it says that “anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes and enemy of God”, it says that when we ask God for things we do not recieve them because we ask with wrong motives, so that we can spend our money on sinful pleasures.This passage is not talking about locking ourselves up in our room and never interacting with other people. It is talking about when we live for our pleasures, when we seek out things with selfish ambition. When we fill our lives with lust, drunkeness, witchcraft (no matter how “tame”), jealousy, hatred then we become an enemy of God. Our leftovers are not one that will leave a legacy for our children and definitely not draw people to know our Christ.
In all honesty, how do I stand out from those that have no belief in our Jesus? Am I quick to forgive because I have been forgiven much? Do I choose to stay away from things because it might cause someone else to stumble? Do I choose to fill my mind with things that are pure, noble, trustworthy or just what will give a laugh, what will get me ” popular”? Have I seared my conscience that I can’t hear the Holy Spirit when He says, walk this way, don’t watch that, DO talk to that person etc… Am I more concerned about ME and the enjoyment I can have on this earth that I have forgotten that it carries no weight for my future destination not to mention future generations. Have I been more consumed with accumulating wealth on this earth for me that I have forgotten my hungry brothers and sisters?
I ate some really nice leftovers today. Chicken stirfry from last nights meal. Sometimes I think food tastes better as left overs…. That is the kind of taste I want to leave in peoples mouths when I pass from this life to my destiny. I want people left wanting more, copying and bettering what I had done. Remembered for my love and passion for God, his people and life. Remembered for the sweet aroma that comes from being with someone who has allowed themselves to be purified in the fire. To be laid on the operating table and healed.
And so my question to you today: If you were to die tonight…what would become of your leftovers?
One day short of two weeks ago our first outreach team arrived on our doorstep. A team of energetic teens and some wonderful leaders, not to mention a superb cook and a quirky bus driver. We didn’t know quite what to expect. What will we do with all these teenagers at our place for a week and how our boys will handle the onslaught of so many people invading their territory, but it was more than a pleasant surprise: it was wonderful.
Some of the team had been many times before, but for about 8 of them it was their first time. One girl was only 11 (i think, maybe 12) and so she looked a little wide-eyed at times.
So what does an outreach team do? Well our church in Alice Springs is a part of many other larger churches around Australia (not to mention other parts of the world). And these churches send teams to churches in Central Australia and beyond, to run kids clubs or street ministry and give our regular ministry team a break on the Sunday so they get a chance to be ministered to. Depending on the team coming and their strengths usually shapes some of the things they do, but they all get stretched whether they are old hat or not.
Back to our team from Seaton Christian Family Centre (and two fellas from Hobart CfC). They came in single file carrying their swags and all but one with a big grin ready for action.
They went around to different parts of Alice to invite kids to the Kids Club they would be running over the next few days and then set up ready to begin. I had the pleasure of being a part of one of the bus runs out to the town camps past the gap. It was a time when I could get to know a part of the team and also form relationship with the kids that came on the bus.
By the end of the week we had over 50 kids coming along, and then we ran a BBQ by the Todd River on the Saturday night. The team were great. Some of the ones who had been shy and reserved at the start of the week were talking with people and inviting them to come and have a free feed and a chat. It was great to see people asking for prayer and wanting to talk about Jesus.
Sunday morning, we got to see some faces from the BBQ the night before as they turned up for our regular service. It was great to see the outreach team full of young teens so keen to serve people regardless of their background. Some of the team shared testimonies, some sung, others helped out at Sunday School or handed around communion, but they were all involved. It was lovely.
It wasn’t all work and no play. We had a nice time in Todd Mall shopping, and watched the sunset at Anzac Hill and cut hair and tattooed their skin (ok not permanent, don’t get alarmed)- some talented artists in our midst I must say.
Pastor Tim did a great job of keeping everyone together and dealt with minor hiccups so effectively you hardly noticed they were happening.
If I had to share my feelings about having the team here, I would say I was a tad ambivalent. I was encouraged to see young people want to serve. I was impressed by their behaviour (can’t say I would have been able to say the same at their ageJ). I was touched by how God was working in their lives and in the lives of the people they met. I laughed more than I have in a while, and made some new friends which is always a bonus.
When they left however, I was saddened. Although encouraged that the team would come all this way to support us and the church family here in Alice, I suddenly felt just how far we are away from everyone. And I felt the most isolated I have since we arrived. They came and had fun and ministered, and left. We came, have fun, minister… and stay. Not that I want to go. I just maybe got a glimpse of what people were meaning when they looked at us in a strange way when we said we were coming out here. The silence was a little disconcerting for me the day the team left. I was exhausted but had really enjoyed the fellowship.
Now before any of you get any ideas that I am in crisis and start your worrying, I am fine. Actually it was good for me. Good to remember the call. Good to take stock. Good to be thankful for my church family here, and not take friendships for granted.
And so you know, our boys enjoyed the team and were treated so well. Josiah although a tad nervous even warmed to them.
My prayer for the people that came on the outreach team is that they would not just have a “camp experience” that is so exciting when they first get that touch, or rush of excitement and then fade into a nostalgic memory. But one that becomes embedded in them. That it will be the start of a deeper walk with their Creator. That as they walk on from here into their ‘normal” lives that the voice of God won’t be drowned out, but they will listen and respond quicker and more obediently every time. That they will throw off and get rid of the things in their lives that hinder them and that they will run with all their might with the ultimate prize in their eyesight. Not earthly treasures but the ones that are worth more than gold… eternal treasures. I pray that they have the boldness and strength to do it, even if it is not the popular thing to do.
If you came on the outreach team and are reading this, then thank you for a wonderful experience. We hopefully will see you again up here, but if not here then down in Adelaide some time.
I helped a lady from her seat to walk her to the communion table and she began to cry. She quietly cried and cried. I could feel the presence of God on her. As I held her hand and she was crying, I too began to cry and pray. I prayed for this woman with kind eyes, who looked as though life had been tough for. That was Good Friday morning at our house. I had never met this lady before, but she had wanted to come to church when I was picking up others on our usual bus run and so her and her daughter had hopped on the bus.
It was a beautiful morning. Touching. Moving. Reminded me again of why God wanted us here: to keep our hearts soft.
Friday evening we went to Topsy, a local hostel for indigenous people who come into town from remote communities mainly for health reasons. The people there couldn’t come to our service today because many of them had dialysis in the morning so we came around to have communion and sing with them. It was a lovely time. We prayed together and enjoyed fellowship. One lady we had prayed for the night before was beaming. She had chest pains, but after we prayed, Jesus had healed her. The smile on her face was priceless. As was the smile on the other people’s faces as our boys handed out the bread and juice.
From there we went to the hospital. There is a girl there that has just lost her leg and her brother died a couple of weeks ago. She has been so sad. Today she was a little brighter as her family had been able to take her out to a local footy comp that was on over the weekend. My heart was breaking for this young girl as we shared communion with her, she loved that Zion gave her the bread, he insisted that he serve her.
Zion loves to visit his friends as he calls all the people we go to see. And they are. They love him as much as he loves them. There is little verbal communication, but much is said. There is one lady that Zion always borrows her walking stick and pretends it’s a hunting gun shooting kangaroos or a bow and arrow etc…
Saturday morning, I went into another hostel where a lady was staying who was also unable to attend the service on Friday. Church is one of the highlights of the week. They get to go out and see their friends and sing so when they miss out they sometimes are quite sad. So we went in to visit this lady, and she was in so much pain she was shaking and couldn’t focus. She said “my head, my head”. I prayed and then we poured communion and partook of the emblems. As she ate the bread and drank the juice the shaking stopped and she began to look clear. She smiled. I asked her if the pain had left and she said it had! I tell you, there is NO power in the juice and NO power in the bread, it is what that communion represents.
There is more to tell of Resurrection Sunday and my findings but it is for another time. Let me just say that once again. I was undone, broken and moved to love how Jesus loved. And was grossly made aware of what we consider necessities and what we take for granted. We need not leave our country to find the poor and undernourished and neglected. It does not take much to befriend the lonely, the unloved, the weak. But it does take some pride swallowing, and some soul-searching. We need more people who are willing to lay down their lives to share Jesus and instil a hope for the future right here in Australia.
See we can try to fill a physical need, but unless we couple that with the hope for the future and an assurance of better things to come then it is like sticking a band aid on a festering wound. It will only do a temporary fix. I do know this is where some of you will tune out and say Rebekah is on her soap box again. aah, did I ever get off it? 🙂 I have seen many feel good, self-healing, fix-the-world things happening, and they are good… but I have seen nothing that transforms a person’s life, like one that has been touched by their Creator’s hand.
The power of the blood of Jesus is alive and well. It heals the sick. It brings emotional healing. It can restore families. I know that this is just the beginning of things to come. I would love to see whole families transformed, and I tell you they are BIG families here. God is not interested in lording it over people… He just wants people to be in relationship with him and experience freedom. He said in John 10:10 “I came that they may have life and have it to the full“.