Thursday, April 17, 2008

Love = Live = Give

I'm fired up, so get ready for this. Last week was Idol Gives Back on American Idol. I taped it and watched it tonight. I watched as images of poverty-stricken people flashed before my eyes and I became angry. There are children who don't know what it means to live in a safe neighborhood. There are children who are raising their brothers and sisters ALONE because all of their family has died. There are children who have a disease that could easily be prevented by a net and pill but don't have that option because their family can't afford it. There are families being torn apart by disease and lack of resources. It makes me absolutely SICK to see these images and hear the stories of these people and know that I live in a country where we pay professional athletes millions and millions of dollars a year to play a sport while there is a mother across the world who sits anxiously next to her malaria-stricken 18 month old baby girl as she fights for her life because the mother cannot afford the $10 net and $2 pill it would take to keep her family safe. There is something EXTREMELY wrong with this picture. The ridiculousness of this situation really hit me tonight. I want to do something. I NEED to do something. I need to get involved and help these people. Nothing gets under my skin more than seeing people in despair. There is so much that can be done to help these people and it goes beyond just loving them. Christ called us to love, but He also called us to live. He called us to live as He lived, and if I recall, that means living life with those on the margins on society. Living is an action. Living involves meeting the needs of those around us and giving of what we have to make sure that happens. I am so tired of those who say they want to see the Kingdom of God being lived out here and now and in the same breath say "oh that's too bad - how horrible" to the images and stories of those who are in desperate need of a dose of life and turn and walk away. I am challenging myself to love, live, and give. I want to love those around me and see them as the people they are, not the problems they have. I want to live life alongside those who are desperately crying out. I want to give of myself and my possessions to help those in need. I challenge you to do the same - I want to see the Kingdom come to life. "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life and Church, not to be confused with LifeChurch

Life. Life is full of experiences. These experiences help make us who we are. Today I ate lunch with a couple of older ladies from work. I got to spend 30 minutes listening to them tell stories from their life experiences and I loved it. One of them told me that when she was in about 5th or 6th grade she was eating dinner at a friend's house and Martin Luther King, Jr. came to dinner and ate with them. My mouth hung open when she said that. I cannot even imagine how cool it must be to be able to tell people you ate dinner with MLK as a child. It was that story that made me realize what an awesome thing life is. Every day life is filled with experiences. I want to soak up life in every possible way and experience everything that I can. I want to be able to tell stories one day of the experiences I have had. Life really is short and I want to be able to look back on my life and see that I have soaked up as many experiences as possible.

Church. What defines church? Is it a building with a steeple that people enter to attend worship services weekly, monthly, or yearly? Or is it a group of people living out the Kingdom in community? I like to think of it as the latter. I don't think it's up to a building to define a church - it's up to the people. Too often people allow 'church' to be bound to the definition of a building with a steeple used for worship services. To me, 'church' is much more than that. Church happens when the Kingdom is lived out, whether that is through showing love to a deprived child, feeding those who are hungry, or worshipping freely with people who look different than you. The church building may be the place where worship services occur, but 'the church' is the people living out the Kingdom and portraying the Gospel. My heart, passion, and desire is to see more of 'the church' occuring outside of Church.