Tag Archive | theology

Why You Should Work Hard, Even When It Seems Fruitless

weights sxchu tome213I knew it was going to be my last week of college athletics, ever. And I didn’t care a lick about finishing strong.

My final season playing football for Furman University started out well, with three wins, and our only loss was a respectable game against a much bigger Clemson program. But a series of decimating injuries (by the end of the season, 9 of our 11 defensive starters were freshmen) led to 4 losses in the next 5 games. Needless to say, it was heart-breaking, especially for a perfectionist like me.

So, that last week, on Monday afternoon, I was walking down the hallway of our athletic facility, heading to the weight room for my next-to-last workout of my career. (We lifted weights on Mondays and Wednesdays during the season.)

I thought, “Is there any reason to work out hard in the weight room? What’s the point? Even if we do win, we’ll still have a losing record. And since I am a back-up, I’m not a major contributor to the team’s success. Will it really make a difference if I work out hard? What difference will it make if I just slack off?”

As soon as I stopped asking these questions, I heard a voice in my head as clear as can be. It said:

What did it say? Read on…

Part of His Story

Lord of Rings flickr Zanastardust

Last year, I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and watched the movies). The first time I went through the books and movies years ago, I was lost and confused, because I couldn’t keep track of who was who. The old guys looked alike, the elves all looked alike, the dwarves were all bearded-short guys, etc. It didn’t help that they all had funny names.

But going through the story a second time, I was able to do better keeping track of each character. And what I got to appreciate this time was the importance that each person (or creature) played in the grand scheme of things.

Bilbo (the “original” Hobbit) had his part of the story, as did his nephew Frodo. Samwise had his. So did each human (good or evil), elf, dwarf, orc, ent, . . . Everyone. Even (as Gandalf the Wizard taught us) the conniving Gollum played a crucial role in the fate of the Ring, and the fate of Middle Earth.

Everyone has a part of the story. But no one has the whole story, and no one is the whole story.

Read more of God’s story, and ours, in Allendale…

Questions for a Missionary (Summary)

question_mark_sign fotopedia Colin_K

Last summer and fall, I did a series called “Questions You Can Ask a Missionary.” I answered the 12 questions listed in an article on the Paracletos blog. These questions address the most common stressors that missionaries feel.

In case you missed any of the posts, or as a way to review what I already wrote (especially in light of us transitioning from Allendale over the next six months), here is a list of those questions and answers:

  1. How Is Your Support Level?  Very solid.  
  2. Did You Take a Sabbath Rest This Week?  I think I’m getting better at this.

Proverbs and Poverty and Justice

wisdom-rebuke-proverb everystockphoto_lowsl

We’ve already seen what the psalmists had to say about helping the oppressed and less fortunate. Now let’s look at Proverbs:

11:24

There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.

13:23

Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor,
But it is swept away by injustice.

14:21

Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

You will be WISE if you keep reading…

What the Psalms Say about Helping the Poor and the Oppressed

bible_holy_Psalms sxchu winjohn

Here are just a few verses:

Psalm 9:18

For the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.

Psalm 10:17-18

O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.

Psalm 41:1-2

How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.
The Lord will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.

Psalm 72:1-4

Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s son.
May he judge Your people with righteousness
And Your afflicted with justice.
Let the mountains bring peace to the people,
And the hills, in righteousness.
May he vindicate the afflicted of the people,
Save the children of the needy
And crush the oppressor.

Psalm 113:7-8

He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes,
With the princes of His people.

Psalm 146:5,7,9

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,

Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.

The LORD has a heart for those who need help. Shouldn’t we?

Related Links:

**image courtesy of winjohn via sxc.hu

Living the Gospel Requires More Than Good Intentions and Random Acts of Kindness

This a guest post from Nate Livesay, someone in SC that I connected with earlier this year. You can click here to learn more about the ministries he is involved with, including World Orphans.

I read a quote from John Perkins several week ago and I just can’t get it out of my head.

“Living the gospel means desiring for your neighbor and your neighbor’s family that which you desire for yourself and your family.”

Lets be real.  I don’t meet that standard very often – but I am struggling to work out what it looks life in my life. Working for World Orphans in developing countries and my experience as a teacher and coach in South Carolina public schools has brought me face to face with children who are suffering the effects of generational poverty and institutional injustice.

You would have to be pretty cold and calloused to work in these environments and not feel compassion for these children. But after the compassion and sadness comes then what do you do? Do you walk away sad? Do you blame it on the lack of character of “those people”?

Read more from Nate by clicking here…

“In What Ways Do You Feel Like You’re in Over Your Head?” — Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 7

Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.

If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)

question_mark_sign fotopedia Colin_K

Question 7:   “In what ways do you feel like you’re in over your head?”

I like how this question assumes that I’m in over my head. Because I am. And I think that is a part of being a disciple and living on mission.

If you never feel like you’re in over your head, it means you are not risking anything. (Of course, you could feel like you’re overwhelmed for the wrong reasons, but that’s another post for another day.)

Being overwhelmed with life is a good thing, even when I don’t like it. Being overwhelmed drives me toward Jesus, because my own resources and spirit are lacking. I am reminded that the gospel is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9).

From the Get-Go

The fact that I’m in over my head has been apparent since I started working in Allendale. God helped me understand that the “harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” That’s true in Allendale, and everywhere. There is no place on earth where Christ’s redemption is not needed.

Click here to read more…

“Have You Been Able to Spend Meaningful Time in the Word This Week?” – Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 4

Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.

If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)

question_mark_sign fotopedia Colin_K

Question 4:   “Have you been able to spend meaningful time in the Word this week?”

I do a pretty good job getting up in the morning for a time of solitude with God. It’s not that I absolutely love getting up early. It’s just that I know that if I want any time of quiet and concentration in the house, it has to be first thing in the morning.

I started reading the Bible regularly soon after I became a Christian when I was in college. At first, it was only a couple of days per week, but now I do it every day (with rare exception). Some days I get more out of it than on other days. Some days I read longer than others. But I’m in the Word nonetheless. And I am glad that I read an article that explains the importance of Reading the Bible the Cross.

Click here to keep reading…

Critiquing the Missional Movement

BlackMissionalCritique Verge

Kyle Canty, an African-American who grew up in north Philadelphia, writes:

“During the past couple of years I’ve recognized the homogeneity of these circles [of the missional movement] — most of the speakers are white. Interesting enough, many of the topics that are being written about and presented at these events are topics that I’ve heard about throughout my life. (e.g., justice, mercy, meeting felt needs, etc.)

Well before these were popular topics within evangelicalism, these were important issues among black pastors, preachers and theologians. The black church finds its uniqueness in the soil where it is cultivated — usually within marginalized and oppressed communities.”

I think he has a great point. The originators, leaders, and followers of the missional movement tend to think they have come up with a new strategy, or at least are reclaiming an old and forgotten vision. And I am just as guilty. 

Click here to learn more…

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