May 20, 2011

Hudson Taylor, sacrifice, and other good news

I am loving reading Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret. Timely encouragement as we are busy selling our possessions, and feeling the stress and strain of all that entails...

"How few of the Lord's people have practically recognized the truth that Christ is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all! If we can judge God's Word, instead of being judged by it, if we can give God as much or as little as we like, then we are lords and He the indebted one, to be grateful for our dole and obliged by our compliance with His wishes. If on the other hand He is Lord, let us treat Him as such. "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say?"

In these days of easy-going Christianity, is it not well to remind ourselves that it really does cost to be a man or woman whom God can use? One cannot obtain a Christlike character for nothing; one cannot do a Christlike work save at a great price, "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptize?"

People ask me if I want to go to Argentina. I guess they find it surprising, either because they know how much I hated it before, or they know I am leaving the first world for the third, and am I okay with that? Argentineans are especially curious, "So, how are you, Chris? Are you happy? Do you want to go back to Argentina??". I say yes I am, and I do. I never wanted to step foot again there, but God changed my heart. That's all I can say. I truly see it as a privilege that He is sending us there. What an honor, to be commissioned by the King. I don't deserve any good thing He gives me, but He not only gives me good things, He is seeing fit to use a wretch like me to reach others. How can I not be happy about that?

There was a plane crash yesterday in Patagonia - it had just taken off from the very city we are moving to. 22 dead, including a baby. That makes me nervous (in that I want to go by banana boat now, not plane - not a fan of flying tin cans), but it also makes me yearn to just be there. I watched the news, the interviews of the humble people that live out in the middle of nowhere Patagonia where the plane went down, and where not much else ever happens, their faces revealing their indigenous roots, and I would just love to be there with them. That is the greatest miracle of all to me, that God has given me a love for the Argentinean people I can honestly I didn't have before. The greatest miracle of all sometimes is the miracle of a changed heart. If He can change my heart, He can change anybody. If He wants to use me, take me anywhere and use me, then I happily say, "Here I am, Lord. Send me!".

Last night our daughter also gave her life to Christ. First our boy, now our girl *sniff* - God is good. Although her personality is a happy one, she has been angry lately, frustrated, unhappy, fighting alot with her baby sister, selfish, mean. Last night, in her frustration, she announced that she had made a decision: she was not moving to Argentina. She was staying here and that was final. She also informed us she was not ever going to accept Jesus into her life because following Jesus is boring. We weren't sure where it was all coming from, maybe she was feeling the stress of the move, maybe we have been busy lately and not giving her the attention she needs - so we had a long talk with her to try to figure out what was going on in her little heart. Tony opened up the Bible and showed her a few verses, I talked to her too, but she still said she didn't understand. At one point I just shrugged and told her what Mom-mom told me once when I asked her why we had to go to church and what the big deal was, "When you're older you'll understand." I told her she didn't understand because she doesn't have Jesus in her life. She looked up at me and asked me if I wanted her to accept Jesus. I said of course, but that was a decision that she would have to make. She asked if she could do it when she was 93, right before she died. I said sure, but who says you're going to live until you're 93? Remember the people in the plane crash? They probably thought they would live many more years too. But they didn't. They probably didn't think that they would get on that plane and not get off alive. I reminded her that her Mommy and Papi wasted many years of their lives on stupid stuff and we hope that she doesn't make the same mistake. I asked her if she would like to pray to accept Jesus and ask that God help her to understand all those things that she doesn't, and she (to my surprise) said yes. We prayed right there in the kitchen, dirty dishes and all. As my tears fell down onto her face she looked up at me and said, "But I didn't cry". I told her that everybody's experience is different, tears or no tears is not proof that you are saved or not saved. Some people come to a gradual understanding of Christ and their need and their sin, others have a powerful, marked experience of great weeping and repentance. Faith is like a little seed, sometimes it starts very small, and grows gradually into a big tree.

Afterwards we found and told Tony, and talked late into the night. She asked a whole bunch of questions, questions not typical of our goofy, happy, tends-on-the-flighty-side daughter - real, deep questions about how to be born again, and what does that mean, and oh you mean like Nicodemus, and what about hell, and am I going there, sincere questions about the blood of Christ and what it means and judgement and how to get to heaven and the Way.

I asked her if she believes in the wind. She said smiling, "Yeah...". I said God is like the wind. You can not see Him or touch Him, but He is there. You see evidence of the wind: the leaves rustle, you can hear it, you feel it, but you can't see it or hold it or even prove it is there. God is the same way. We see evidence of Him everywhere, we feel Him, we see him move. All we have to do is chose to believe He is there, to just believe in Him. Sometimes it's only after we believe that we finally are able to understand many things. The way to God is through Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the Way, no one comes to the Father except through me."

After a while she seemed satisfied and announced, "I feel happy now. I'm going to try to make it a habit of praying every night when I go to bed!". And that was that. She happily bounced off to bed.

Oh, God is so good and He works in such unexpected ways! How can I not follow a God like that? Even if it means sacrifice, going to a third world country, to the ends of the earth? All we can do is be faithful to follow Him and share the Good News, it is only the Holy Spirit that can bring conviction, and Christ new life. Our work is to share and to love, God's work is to save souls.


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