You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Psalm 91:13

Posts tagged “Missions

Finding God in the Midst of Horrors

On Wednesday, April 6th, 1994, Rwanda began a series of actions that stained and darkened its history in a way nothing else could. Families turned on one another and friends betrayed each other. Arbitrary definitions of people and class deceived a nation into forgetting that they are all humans and they are all made in the image of our Creator. On that Wednesday began the Rwandan Genocide. It would continue for 100 days and by the end of it 1 million Rwandans were murdered.  Women being raped, children being murdered in churches. Parents losing children and vice versa.  All by people like you and me. For 18 years since, a mixture of humility and shame has been part of the mood of this country. Reconciliation has been the driving motivation. Wounds like that don’t heal quickly though, sometimes not for generations. And for many, it’s still fresh upon their minds.

God’s love isn’t easy to talk about in context with these events. Not to those who were there and those who lost people. Those who lost everything. Those whose scars still haunt them. God’s love isn’t even easy for us to talk about while watching documentaries and movies about it. Still something can, and should be said.

Christ’s death bore the sins of all humanity. God came down and took upon himself the sin of the world so that there could be rebirth. Sin is in nature, sin is our very humanity now. No part of creation was untouched. We see where nature has been touched and affected by our sinfulness in Genesis. We all know that Christ bore the grief and suffering of the entire world. That means not only our sin, but all suffering, all sorrow, all disasters, all genocides and wars. He felt and took on all that grief.  He wept over every lost pet, every illness, every burned home, every dead relative and every soul on its way to hell. It nearly crushed him, but by grace he took it and conquered  the grave. Can you imagine that? No you can’t, nor can I. But mediate on it long enough and you will cry, and you will hurt and you will have an understanding that God bore something that is just intangible to us; something words just can’t say.

One might ask, where was God when the terrified boy or girl watched his family be struck down with a machete?

The honest answer is, He was on the cross. He was bringing the child’s anguish upon himself. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual affliction. He accepted its horrors on the cross. He took it to buy a way out.

Jesus wasn’t the only one crucified, it’s not miraculous to be crucified in itself. What made the crucifixion unique, what made it beyond measure, was that he while upon the cross, he consumed the suffering of all, ever.

We brought this world upon ourselves, and God paid the price for what we had made. Our sin we accepted, demanded a price for it, and that price was death. And yes, Jesus paid it!  He didn’t have to, but he did. That doesn’t rid the world of pain. It doesn’t make it any easier. It brings hope.

Where was God while that child’s family was dying?

He was making a way for him and others, to come through the shadow of death and into abundant life. Life everlasting. He opened the door to the exact opposite of the incomprehensible misery Christ took on the Cross.

We deserve genocides, murder and betrayal, but that’s the amazing thing.

The suffering and horrors we see every single day are outrageous, that’s why Jesus did the most outrageous thing.

Just like that moment on Calvary, the darkest point, when it feels like all is lost, that’s the moment hope can be found.

There is hope for Rwanda. Turn your eyes to it. His name is Jesus.

Much Love,

Luke

“One son God hath without sin, but none without sorrow.”

Full disclosure: This might seem eerily familiar, that’s because it’s an edited version of my post on the Tsunami\Earthquake that hit Japan. Still just as relevant, only a new context. The reason for the new context, is this summer I’m going to Rwanda and I’m raising support. I’m needing to raise 3400. To be honest, it’s really really hard and I know that literally, I personally can not raise that much. However, I know with Christ all things are possible and I know it’s extremely easy for him to bring that money forth. So if this post moves you in any way, I ask that maybe you would take a moment to give to help me get to Rwanda, so that I and others might be able to help make these truths a reality for many hurting people. Thank you.

Click for my Donation Page

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I am raising support for a trip to China this Christmas and New Years, any support I can get will be greatly appreciated. If you would like to help donate please go here: http://bit.ly/9kS5Q4 or contact me at unsungliddell@gmail.com. Thanks!

Much Love,

Luke


Prayer to Suffer, Pt. 2

Welcome back, I left on a real depressing note last week and I did that with a purpose. I’m hoping that purpose was fulfilled, that is to let it sink in. To most of the world, that’s not a depressing statistic. That is life. It’s a life Jesus has called us to reach out to. To try to do all we can for this broken world, for God’s glory. Let’s look at some scripture.
Luke 12:33
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
Luke 14:13-14
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
1 John 3:17-18
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
James 1:27
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


So let’s see. We believe in God and Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Check. We believe that the bible is God’s infallible word. Check. Living out all the things commanded of us in the bible Ch—No. You see the issue here? If Christ is real, and the Word is true, we can not deny what has been asked of us.
How can we stand by Jesus and yet not do what he asks? This isn’t your parent, this isn’t your boss, he isn’t some teacher. This is the God who according to Psalm 148:5,  commanded and all things were created. If we believe this then how can we dare make up excuses not to live these? Believe me, I’m no better than anyone else. My eyes have been opened to what’s going on around me though, and I can’t sit still any longer.
I said it last time, I’ll say it again. How can we really love thy neighbor, like our selves, when the world is so broken and we live such pampered existences? Is it just me or do we have a sense of entitlement? Doesn’t it seem like this is our life? Our luxury? Our everything? That we are entitled to it, it is ours, to do with as we please.  How can that be so?
The cold, hard fact is when you are born, you are only guaranteed one, sole thing: death.  If you at some point come to Christ, then you at that point, you are guaranteed two things: death, followed by life.
You may die the moment you are born. You may be disabled. Life in itself is a privilege.  That air you breathe? A gift. The fact you have any place to live at all? A gift. The money you have? A gift. Your family? A gift. Your moments of peace? A gift.
All these things are given to us, as gifts. Gifts with a clause. They are all meant to be used to glorify God and make His name known. They aren’t for us to be lazy, happy, satisfied, unresponsive etc. Our satisfaction is in God alone. Not His gifts.
How can we use our gifts to glorify Him? How can we help the poor and needy in this world? By acting. Not waiting. We are richer than most of the world. We have better educations than most of the world. So what is to stop you right this moment from doing something? Nothing. Jesus took 12 of the dumbest, most ignorant and clueless people he could find, absolute nobody’s, and changed the world as it was known.
He does not call the equipped. He equips the called. You saw those verses, at the beginning of this, you’ve been called. I’ve been called. As believers, we’ve all been called. Do we forget that it’s the God of endless power and miracles from the bible who lives in us?
Are you unsatisfied with the way, we show our “love” for others? I am. What are you going to do?

Much Love,
Luke
“What are you afraid of? Let God act. Abandon yourself to Him. You will suffer, but you will suffer with love, peace and consolation. You will fight, but you can carry off the victory, and God Himself, after having fought with you, will crown you with His own hand. You will weep, but your tears will be sweet, and God Himself will come with satisfaction to dry them. You will not be free any longer to give yourself up to your tyrannical passions, but you will sacrifice your liberty freely, and you will enter into a new liberty unknown to the world, in which you will do nothing except for love.” – Francois Fenelon


Prayer to Suffer, Pt. 1

I have an optimistic vision for the future of the Church. The youth are rising up and preparing to take their place in the leadership. They are no longer satisfied with this thing we’ve made, this hypocrisy. They are longing for the gritty, honest, hard, sold-out truth.
They are looking to throw aside rituals, the politics, the rules, all the baggage, even themselves to chase with full abandonment, the new dream. The Christian Dream.
This generation has seen where the American Dream has led Christianity and they are done with it. Instead, they want to give up on that manifesto and seek biblical truth and biblical driven dream that makes up a true Christ-follower. They are believing whole heartedly that they are to die to themselves, carry their crosses and seek God above all else.  They want Jesus and only Jesus. None of the “fluff”.
They want nothing to do with the prosperity gospel. This group plans to to take the church to its knees and begin again with a true gospel-driven, Acts living agenda. We aren’t talking about a division or a new sect. We are talking about a revolution from within. There will be no compromising. It’s Christ or bust.
These people are patriots to God. Willing and hoping to lose it all to Christ’s glory. I’m one of them. Interested?


This all comes down to this. If the bible is true, then how can we deny verses like Luke 9:57-62. What about 1 Peter 4:12? How is it that we see all through Acts 2:42-47 the believers living the way they do and God adding to the saved daily, yet we seem to ignore it?  Jesus showed us the way to live. He wasn’t rich, yet he was eternally wealthy
We hide behind our talks of abundance and blessing but do we really understand it? God gives us our abundance to steward and use to glorify Him and meet the needs of those around us! Not to watch Flat Screens, spend our money on fast-food and waste our time and money. No. I believe Jesus would look in disgust at such things.

Not with the following facts:
6.8 BILLION people alive on Earth.
Liberal estimate has 1/3 population Christians. (This isn’t talking true Christ-followers, but EVERYONE who says they are Christian, regardless of anything else. However, for the sake of this, we will pretend all 1/3 are living for Christ.)
That leaves 4.5 BILLION people who are lost and on a path to a eternal Hell.
That’s not all though. Let’s look past spiritual need and look at physical need.
850 Million people will go to bed hungry every night.
11 Million kids will die before their 5th birthday.
This means 30,000 kids die daily from hunger and preventable diseases.
This means 1 kid every 3 second dies. 1…2…3… gone.
In some countries 1 in 5 kids die during childbirth.
20% of the world has no access to clean water.
1.6-2.5 million children die of diarrhea that is preventable every year.
In the least developed countries the average literacy rate is 51%
Afghanistan for women has a literacy rate of 12%
More than 1/2 of Africans do not have access to even basic modern health facilities.
This results in 10 million deaths per year from the four most common preventable diseases. Such as Diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria and measles.
Many countries do not have life expectancies beyond age 30.
Other countries, only 10% of the ENTIRE country is able to be formally employed.
Now for the real kicker.
1 Billion live on less than $1 a day.
2 Billion live on $1-2 dollars a day.
1 Billion live on $2-4 dollars a day.
4 out of 6.8 BILLION people are living on less that FOUR dollars a day.

Quoting a book by Peter Greer and Phil Smith “The wealthy, and that includes everyone reading this, lead lives that many of the four billion living on less than 4 dollars a day consider an unreachable dream.”
Can we truly say we are loving thy neighbor as thy self and saying we are caring for the least when we look at all we have and how much they are in need?  I can’t. I’m not sure Jesus would either. Think about it. I’m not done with this. Be ready for more.

Much Love,
Luke


A Plea on Behalf of Those Silent

Hello everyone. I will have the second part of that series sometime tomorrow hopefully. However I have something else I feel like talking about more right now. I went with my friends Thomas and Jessica and her amazing family to see To Save a Life. I’ll tell you now, If you haven’t seen it, then you need to, it’s something that happens every day in many high schoolers lives.

It brought up some good points that I feel are necessary to repeat. We all skip over the little guy, the geeks, the oddballs, the misunderstood. It doesn’t matter who we are. Saved or unsaved, friendly or not. We all miss them. We see them and we think at the very most, ugh, I’ll go talk to them, so that way I’m being nice. We do it out of obligation or out of image. We want to look a certain way or it’s something that we don’t want to deal with a guilt trip over. To some degree it affects us all.

Maybe for some of you, you are like that at the worst, but maybe some of you are worse. How many of you have at some point made fun of someone for being different? For wearing something different, looking strange, having different interests?

I won’t lie. I have. Sometimes I’m the one guilty of saying it, other times, I’ve laughed and joined in following friends lead. I even left a school system because of it. I realized what I was becoming and I left. I got rid of doing the wrong thing. I missed the part of doing the right thing though. I refused to stand up for the guy that was being made fun of and discouraged. I kept my head down wanting to stay out of the light. When I did help someone, I did as “charity”. I was hoping to look noble from it. I’m sure all you have at least one similar story to that. It’s something I myself have to work on. You see as a Christian I skimmed over some really important principles.

If there something that needs to be made clear. It’s this righteousness isn’t avoiding the wrong thing. It’s DOING the right thing. PERIOD. I’m sorry, but we need to get rid of our pharisees’ mind set and get off our butts and really be righteous.

James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Do what God commands. Not just avoiding what He says don’t do.

He makes a truth we can’t deny in Matthew 25:34-40.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Does that sum it up? That guy you feel “obligated” to talk to? That girl you laugh at for her looks? The kid who wants nothing more than to be liked? You might as well consider yourself talking to Christ. Would you feel obligated to talk to Him? Rather I would fear that I would be taking up HIS time. They say Christ looked unbearable to look at on the cross, yet you say you wouldn’t dare laugh at him. Though you laugh at that girl? You want and beg for God’s mercy and attention and he gives it openly, lovingly, and freely. Why wouldn’t you do the same for another? Who are we sinners to pick and choose? Who are we to judge? We are people who have been adopted in our utter filth by the Holy of Holies, how dare us accuse anyone else of being lesser than ourselves. Do you do it because you are afraid of being persecuted like that person? Are you afraid of being alone? Well for being alone, I’ll tell you, I’d bet anything that the person you stick up for clings to you harder than you could ever imagine. For persecution, look to God’s word:

Matthew 5:10: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I don’t even need to explain that one.

I’m going to share with you a little story of mine, that happened not too long ago.

My dad got remarried last May, it terrified me. Last time I had a mom in the house, my life was horrible. I had been an only child for 17 years and suddenly I’m told to be a brother. I had no clue how to handle it. My dad was stressed out trying to make sure it all worked out that he never realized the toll it was taking on me. I was freaking out because I wasn’t sure how to be a good brother to these two siblings and my dad kept telling me be a big brother Luke! He didn’t realize it was tearing me apart like this. My dad also isn’t an emotional man, he’s very stoic and so we had issues of just being understood.

Then I did somethings with my girlfriend that I’m not proud of…and before long, her parent’s found out. Within a week, it seemed like everyone I cared about had shunned me. It seemed like the church had shunned me, her parents (who I was desperately seeking their love) shunned me, and a few friends did too. I knew I had done wrong and I felt ashamed before God over it, then when the church wasn’t talking to me, I felt as though I wasn’t good enough anymore to be a Christian. I thought if the children reject me, then what hope do I have with the Father? Her parents who didn’t know it, but I was putting all my hopes in receiving love from them, refused to speak to me, I went from being the cool kid, who was well liked, had his act together and was someone you would take home to meet the parents, to a broken insecure wreck who couldn’t find hope, and remember I was saved. I always thought I was a good person until that day came and then suddenly I thought maybe I had it wrong, maybe I was a really bad person, I questioned if Paul was good the moment of conversion or if he had to earn it etc.

With myself being too ashamed to go to God about it, and with no one to turn to, I tried to kill myself by swallowing a bottle of hydrocodone. I was scared though and wasn’t willing to take them all at once. I planned to take a few, then a bit later take some more, and then more and then more and so on. I took three and never made it to taking more, I fell asleep and woke up horribly sick the next day. I got really lucky that time. I never got the nerve to try again but for the rest of the summer I wanted to so badly. Then school started, and two things happened. One my girlfriend at the time (the one I got in trouble with) broke up with me and soon after she told me some potentially life-changing news (which we soon found out wasn’t, thankfully).

I was down and I got kicked again, you can see. Instead though, something happened that saved me from where I was at. Rather than being content with standing by. Someone did something. Jessica Schneider was a girl who I was told wasn’t the type of person to hang with and she might look down on me and she thought I was the kind of guy you that was asking for trouble. However, she posted a status update on facebook that I saw, and connected with over switching schools. I took a chance and just told her I knew how it felt. She even with her inclination to view me as the wrong type, invited me to a football game.

Before long I was at her bible study, and now she is my best friend. When I was worried about the possibility of dealing with BIG issues, she was getting me whatever I needed and willing to stand by me as much as needed. When I couldn’t quit beating myself up over what I had done and been. She refused to let me settle with it and she insisted that I was a better person than that. She provided me with a person to talk to, she redeemed my faith in fellowship. I can honestly stand here and testify that she saved my life. Now we’ve come a long way since then. I’m back to where I was before I met those obstacles, smarter and wiser. You see there are a lot of things we could learn from what Jessica did, but one thing sticks out to me the most. The world wants to see miracles and wants to see Christ. Christ left 2000 years ago. He told us He was leaving, and He promised to send his Spirit until He returned. Christ is in us. What Jessica did was a miracle, they use to heal the blind and deaf, and she healed the heart of a guy on the path to destruction. You might say, well anyone could do that, and you’re right they could. Yet she did do it. She reached out and offered a hand when it wasn’t cool or beneficial. That’s a modern day miracle. People miss the biblical heroes, I’ll tell you now, people like Jessica are biblical heroes. We can all be one too. It just requires you to take a step and act. Be the hero in someone’s life. I guarantee their are people all around you crying out for help, just look! Maybe they are the popular kid who is in a tough time in his life, maybe it’s the teacher who is treated poorly by all the students, maybe it’s the kid who doesn’t have lunch with anyone or the pregnant teen. All it takes is one friendly, hello and you never know it could change everything. This goes for adults too. So as you go on with your day, just think about the difference you could make in someone’s life. It had happened to Jessica, it can happen to you. Let God move within you, all you have to do is let him. I want to end with a verse from a song called Hero by Superchick, it’s a remix of it actually. Think about this please.

Little Mikey D. was the one in class who everyday got brutally harassed
This went on for years until he decided that never again would he shed another tear
So he walked through the door, grabbed a four four out of his father’s dressing drawer
And said I can’t take life no more
And like that life can be lost
But this ain’t even about that
All of us just sit back and watch it happen
Thinking’ it’s not my responsibility to solve a problem that isn’t about me
This is our problem
This is just one of the daily scenarios which we choose to close our eyes
Instead of doing the right thing
If we make a choice and be the voice for those who won’t speak up for themselves
How many lives would be saved, changed, rearranged
Now it’s our time to pick a side
So don’t keep walking’ by
Not wanting’ to intervene
Cause you want to exist and never be seen
So let’s wake up and change the world
Our time is now

Much Love,
Luke
“It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.”

Be Doers!

As a Christian, I live in the greatest time and place, I could possibly hope for. The most impactive Christian known would have to be Paul of Taurus. He went from persecuting Christians to spreading the faith further than any single man has since. He did all of this without bibles, transportation, communication, protection and so on. It was dangerous to be a Christian! So dangerous, he was beheaded! Jump ahead 2000 years and here I am. I live in a country that allows me to practice AND share my faith, I have cars, planes, trains and boats. I have phones, paper\pens, computers, TV, radios, books AND the bible. I am given this HUGE opportunity! Look at social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. I am connected to THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people. If me and a few others, put our minds to it and have that Fire in our hearts like Paul had, we can literally change the world. Forget Obama and change and hope. You want to be heard and make a difference? Campaign Christ. You want change? Bring it about with faith and witnessing and testimony! You want hope? Look to Christ! Help others see that hope too! Look around and figure out who around you, you aren’t sure is saved. Do you want to be partly responsible for their home in hell? Think about it.