Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Christ: The Greater Superman

 



A while back I had a great conversation with a friend about superheros; mainly which one was the favorite. This lead to an in-depth look, not only at different superheros (which our culture is fascinated with evidenced by the tremendous number of movies that have been made about them), but also to a survey of our culture's accumulated psyche in why we like them. This wasn't the only conversation I've about about this subject; in fact, I've talked with several people about which superhero was their favorite. While the answers were all different in regards to which was their favorite( Spider-man, Batman, &The Flash were recurring favorites) they were similar in respect to why, and by result, who wasn't the favorite. There was one popular superhero that was continuously left out of the mix and that is Superman. The reason he was left out and why others were chosen were remarkably similar: according to all the people I talked to, Superman was seen as too perfect, his powers too comprehensive, his moral convictions too absolute; in short he did not have enough weaknesses. Sure there's the kryptonite issue, but being from a destroyed planet the supply of it is too limited to be readily available, wasn't considered to be a true weakness. While pondering these conversations this continual disqualifer about Superman stuck out: people can't relate to Superman's lack of weakness because we are constantly reminded of our own weaknesses and faults. Batman is a vigilante who is constantly locked in a personal mental battle of right and wrong and if the ends justifies the means, Spider-man, despite his spidey powers is the perpetual underdog, as is the Flash, despite his speed, he is almost always over-matched with his opponent and has to use his mind to figure out how he can use his speed to counter balance his lack of other powers, but not so with Superman, he has strength, speed, can fly, and is bullet-proof, he is always the favorite in any match up - this simply over stretches any ability we as fallible, mortal, conflicted, broken people have to relate with him.

This conflict over favoritism toward imaginary superheros parallels what we have seen and experienced ourselves towards missionaries. Most people view missionaries as spiritual superheros, having heard or read amazing stories of faith in the face of persecution, or of great stories of revival breaking out, or of great provision in the face of great need; and while these are amazing testimonies of what God has done and how He is glorified most people have trouble relating these types of stories to their actual experiences and daily walk with Christ and therefore cannot relate. So they disassociate and re-categorize and compartmentalize stories like this under a different "type" of Christianity than what they experience, and therefore see missionaries as different from themselves. However this couldn't be further from the truth. Missionaries are just as weak and sinful and broken
as anyone else.

When we began pursuing missions someone once told me "it takes more than a plane ride to make a missionary." Now, over a year into support raising, I can testify to the validity of that statement. The instrument God has used in our lives, and I would wager in the lives of countless other missionaries, has been suffering. We are not immune to suffering, want, or lapses in faith. Despite God's amazing provision in our lives we still struggle with doubt, questioning, and insecurities. Recurring sins in our lives are the sin of control and the subtle, yet destructive, sin of pride. We, as are all missionaries, are no different than anyone else; we are no superheros.

Yet there is hope, hope for us as we continue to pursue and prepare for missions, and hope for you as you are on mission everyday at work, school, church, or in your neighborhood;, that hope is found in Christ. While none of us are perfect, He is! But that brings us back to the dilemma at the beginning: if people can't relate to Superman because his lack of weakness and seeming perfection, how are we to relate to Christ in His perfection? The answer to that is two-fold; in the incarnation and in the cross. In the incarnation Christ did what superman is unable to do: He became like us. He left the perfection of heaven and took on, fully and completely, humanity; He hurt, He cried, He was tempted. He encountered and experienced the full range and spectrum of Humanity, therefore He knows! He knows what it is like to be sad, happy, angry, scared. He knows the enjoyment that comes from a good meal with great friends, and He knows the sorrow that accompanies losing a loved one. We can relate to Him because He chose to relate to us by coming to us. We can also relate to Him because not only did He come to us but He made a way for us to come to Him. At the cross Christ payed our debt of sin, that we were unable to pay on our own and that separated us from Him, and he accredited us his righteousness and perfection. So not only is our debt cancelled, but we are given all His riches. This again is how Christ is the better superman. Not only could superman not become human but he couldn't make humans kryptonion. Christ on the other hand did both of these: He became like us in the incarnation, and through the cross allowed for us to become like Him.

This knowledge of the Gospel, when allowed to sink in, affects our lives and changes us! I said earlier that missionaries aren't superheros, well that's not entirely true. In the context of comparison it stands, but the truth is because of the Gospel, and what Christ did on the cross, ALL believers are "superheros." We are all accredited His perfection and His righteousness. This means that we are all empowered for mission, be it in Uganda or in your hometown. This doesn't mean, however, that we will no longer struggle. The struggle will remain: doubt, fear, control, & pride will still be present. When our sin lingers behind us and our circumstances seem impossible before us, we persevere. Through the Gospel we claim the promise of Mark 10:27, "with man this is impossible, but not with God; All things are possible with God." In front these words offer hope, hope against the struggle and in the fight, and behind these words offer humility, the antidote against pride and self-righteousness. All our victories and accomplishments were only achieved through God. This truth is the inoculation against the compartmentalizing that occurs among Christians towards missionaries. It is not the missionaries that get the praise or glory, but rather God. As missionaries we cling to 2 Corinthians 3:15, "not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything from ourselves, but our competence comes from God." and Romans 11:36, "For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen."




Prayer Requests:


1. We need a vehicle! please consider an end of the year donation to help us raise $12,000 for a vehicle.

2. We are at 90% and only need $600/month to meet our goal! please pray that God will continue to provide supporters to help us meet our goal!

3. We still need additional supporters, if you know of anyone who may be interested in partnering with us, please let us know.




Special Request:

Would you consider increasing your donation by 5%? Please take time to pray about increasing you support. If all of our donors increased by 5% (which is $2.50 if you are giving $50/month, or $5.00 if you are giving $100/month.) that would put us at 95%!!!




Praise:


1. We have scheduled our visit to the Sending Center in Philadelphia to have our final commissioning with Serge.

2. God continues to show us his faithfulness, providence, and grace as we trust in Him.

3. We look back over the past year and are so thankful to see how God has worked in our hearts preparing us for Uganda.

4. Had a Skype call with Josh and Anna, our team leaders, and discussed our housing, departure and vehicle plans. We are very excited to be begin planning for these things!




Here is our link for donations if you'd like to give an end of the year gift towards a vehicle:

https://www.serge.org/staff/id-51036/

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fun Facts Aabout Uganda


Fun Facts about Uganda:

  • President: Yoweri Museveni
  • Capital: Kampala
  • National Language: English
  • National Bird: Crested Crane 
  • Flag: 6 horizontal bands and the crested crane












Black: African people, Yellow: African sunshine, Red: African Brotherhood

  • District that we will be living in: Bundibugyo
  • Village/Town Name: Nyahuka
  • Language that we will learn: Lubwisi
  • Link to an online dictionary: http://lubwisi.webonary.org/




  • The size of Uganda is comparative to the square miles of Colorado
  • Uganda sits on the equator and is surrounded by South Sudan (North), Kenya (East),Tanzania (South),  and Rwanda (South), Democratic Republic of the Congo (West).
  •  In 2012, 37.8 percent of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day
  • Major Exports: Coffee, Tea, Cocoa beans, and Fish

Brent's Ministry Title: Property Manager.  
Tasks include:
  • Building and maintenance
  • Teaching skills classes to local men 
  • Bible Study and discipleship

Alisha's Ministry Title: Medical Worker
Tasks include:
  • Severe Acute Malnutrition Program (SAM)
  • BundiNutrition Program
  • Bible Study and discipleship









  • We are at 85% and praying the additional 15% will be provided by the end of October. Please pray with us that God will meet this request as we are anticipating leaving for Uganda in November!

  • We are in need of about 10-15 people to partner financially with us monthly to meet our goal. Please pray about whether you would like to partner with us.

If you would like to give towards our ministry please click the link below:

https://www.serge.org/staff/id-51036/







Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebration

A few days ago I had an image in my mind of God celebrating along with all the people in heaven.  I could picture angels dancing around, singing, and worshiping. It was this beautiful image of a heavenly party.  They were celebrating because Brent and I resigned from our jobs. Maybe it was my own made-up party in my head for not having to go to work anymore, but it got me thinking.  God delights when we have faith and follow Him. God delights when we trust Him with all of our heart, and are obedient to His will.  And, I believe this little act of resigning from work, quitting our jobs, and giving up all of our own securities, gives God great delight.  Great joy floods my heart. Indescribable, overwhelming, steadfast joy. Many would think the appropriate response would be anxiousness, fear, or doubt.  But in the trusting and in the obedience, God is here, and I know He is in control. There is a beautiful aroma that fills my heart, a great joy in Christ, my Savior. A dearly loved daughter of the King, even in all my brokenness and sin. He loves me. He delights in me. (Zeph. 3:17)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Renew My Heart Again



6 months and counting... Our plans for Uganda continue to move forward.  In 2 months we will prepare to quit our jobs, sell our house and begin raising support full time. I've posted our furniture online to sell, we sold our car, and our kayaks. Last week I took a load of clothes to the consignment store, and when I find some time, we need to try to sell our road bikes. I feel like everything around me is marked and ready to be given away or sold. I have forgotten how much I idolize my possessions and use them for comfort and security.  Right now God is stripping away layer after layer of my comforts until I am left feeling completely exposed.  But as I sit and seek God in this moment it occurs to me that isn't that the beauty of being a Christian, allowing the Spirit to work in our lives so that we can worship God more genuinely and rid us of hindrances? In order to worship Him, I need to remove idols. In order to trust in Him, I must let go of everything that I use as a security net... My job is my security net currently. As we prepare to move to Uganda, everything else seems so uncertain and out of my control-- except for my job and my paycheck. It's going to be really tough leaving work (not only because I have really great coworkers) but because that is my one and only independent item left that I have some control over. Once that's gone, so is my control. And that scares me. Yet, I know in my heart that God will provide. I trust in him.... but I still feel like a flying trapeze artist jumping with no net to catch me. Taking that leap of faith isn't easy, but that is exactly what faith is, believing it is Him who provides for us, and that it is Him who will protect us. So, in the midst of humbly surrendering every ounce of my control, I am learning to jump with excitement and not with fear.

Worship is the only thing that can calm my anxious heart. It's in the sweet moments when I sit at His feet and praise His name that everything in the world is right. In worshiping God, I acknowledge His sovereignty, His power, His beauty, His love, His grace, and His mercies. It is removing my eyes from myself, and placing my eyes on Him-- the author and the perfecter of my faith. How can I even consider doubting the Lord when I step back and view his splendor and majesty?  He is in control. Don't I know that by now? Yet daily I struggle... And daily I am renewed by his grace. 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamintations 3:22-23


Lord, renew my heart again today. Take control of my selfish ways. Lord, I desire your will to be done, not my own. Continue to strip away everything that hinders me from worshiping you and remove everything that prevents me from worship. May my life serve to worship you. May you be glorified. Lord make me desperate for you daily, for it is with you that I find rest. Help me to receive faith to trust in you each day. That I may not trust in my own self, but in you.