Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday, a Missionary’s Worst Enemy

This is a re-post of Johnny's Blog which I feel he very well stated. I might add that Christmas, Valentine's Day, and every other holiday along with birthdays, anniversaries and over the top spending sprees should be added to the list of enemies of helping the widows, orphans and those who are sick that need help. Missionaries are not people who are on vacation to better themselves or live a life of ease. Well, I must qualify that and say I don't know any that are or think that way. I do know Johnny and Kate and I can safely assure you their life is not one of leisure or ease. They pour themselves out for those God has entrusted to them. They are constantly on guard for their safety, care and spiritual growth. They are good servants of God and have all my respect for living in Kenya the past 8 or so years on faith. 

Johnny and Kate with their children in Nakuru, Kenya

As I say this I also want to remind you there are many of our friends that are missionaries and involved in mission work around the world. They need our support, too. They could have chosen to do the American dream and lived their lives for themselves and their children but they did not. They chose a life of giving up their American dream and giving all they have, physically, mentally and spiritually to God for His service among people who have great need. Not just physical need but spiritual need to be joined together with other Saints in the work of the gospel where they are. They could not pick themselves up out of the slums and start a new life without someone to help them.

So without any more hesitation, Heeeeeerrrrrrreeeeeeesssssssss Johnny!

Black Friday, a Missionary’s Worst Enemy

Every year, Thanksgiving Day comes around, and we give thanks for the myriad blessings in our lives. We get together with family, some of whom we have not seen for the whole of the year, and gorge ourselves on great holiday foods. Good times. It is also when our minds begin to turn to the Christmas season. Actually, retailers and marketers force our minds to the Christmas season. To be honest, I wouldn't think of Christmas till the 24th if it were not for marketers. None the less, the atmosphere changes, and the pressure begins.
Black Friday. That day of the year when you cannot find a parking space no matter how far from the door you go. The day after Thanksgiving when retailers would have us all in their places of business instead of at home enjoying the extra long weekend. They have tricked us into believing that elbowing our way through the crowds for a once in a year deal is actually fun, beneficial, and even keeping with the Christmas Spirit. The day when greed gets the best of us.
Kate and I have come to think of Black Friday as our enemy. How can people be expected to remember missionaries in Kenya when they must go out and buy that latest IPad  Nintendo U, blue ray player, computer, clothes, and all the other gift items this year? There is a sense of great satisfaction in paying much less for something. You actually get to hold it, caress it, use it, and discard it. Proof of your frugality, fruit of your early morning wake up call, justification for the charge, exists in your hands after shopping on Black Friday.
Giving to us just doesn't produce the same results. All the fruit of your gift is enjoyed on this side. We see the hungry fed; the naked clothed; the sick cared for; the lonely, distraught, dying embraced. You cannot. We get to hug, kiss, and otherwise love on these orphans-no-more. We see first hand the changes wrought in their lives. We glimpse the hope they now have in their futures. You can only do so vicariously through us.
Yet we cannot experience this without you. We need donors. Simple. To save these children we must have money, and that money must come from donors.
Which is why Black Friday is our enemy. Not Christmas, not gift giving, not the holiday season, but the excess that Black Friday represents, that it encourages. When the deal is too good to pass up, and when there are multiple deals too good to pass up, there tends to be nothing left over at the end of the day.
Obviously, this is not a rant intended to stop you from participating in Black Friday. If I had wanted to guilt you out of shopping that day I would have posted this on Friday or Thursday. Many of you already shun the shopping day, and give us hope. No, this is not about shaming anyone, but just an expression of our frustration.
Johnny and Kate each have a FaceBook Page and a campaign on you can check out. Please consider showing them support as God enables you but most of all offer your prayers for them and their continued work in Kenya.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shallowness of Character

This is a repost of Oswald Chambers Devotional that got me to thinking about how many times I might act like this. We are creatures of habit and the more we think of ourselves as above others, more profound than others and elevate ourselves above all others, the deeper in trouble we sink. 

The trouble being that we don't thin of ourselves the way we ought to. We don't see ourselves in Christ. Hidden and covered by his righteousness. There are definite times for being reserved and quiet but for the most part we need to loosen up and stop being so stiff. You know what I mean. That posture of aloofness and disconnect. The "that's too beneath me" look and feel.

I am going to work on that being the abnormal behavior for myself. I want to be connected and involved in peoples lives. Sometimes I feel inadequate among those I count as specially blessed of God and withdraw into my own little room in my head. Other times I have obtained some thought about myself that exalts itself above all others. It competes with God and I don't want to do that. I don't want to compete with anyone, actually. I just want to be free to be who God made me and life this joyous life for all that God designed it to be.

How about you? How does this practically work out in your life?