Friday, March 23, 2007
I've been away in Winnipeg teaching in a YWAM Discipleship Training School(see their blog here). One of my former students is now the director, along with his wife, of the work up there. They have an evident heart for the city, their community, our mission and the church. I had a great time sharing with the students and God led me in a way that I have not really experienced before. Teaching in a DTS has always been something I'd like to do but never really had the opportunity until this past year. Jimmy, Aaron, our friend Josh and I went to teach the students in Bishop, CA this past Fall and had a blast. The DTS is a great idea. What better way for younger people to catch the vision of ministry than to bring them along with you for a few months?
As I prayed about what to share with this class, I sensed very little instruction to share any of the teaching I've developed. I love teaching. I love the process of tackling an issue and trying to put the truth around the matter into understandable language. I love communicating how much God loves people. I love it all.
My topic was "Evangelism" and as I prepared, I seemed to be directed to just share me with this group. Not my nifty thinking about evangelism, but just to share stories about my life. I did share 2 prepared lectures and we watched a movie together...but the rest of the time was discussion and story telling. It was thoroughly enjoyable. And isn't that the heart behind what true evangelism is? Sharing our lives and the good things that God has done in us with one another. To encourage one another down the road.
The word "evangelism" comes from the Greek word that means "the reward given to a messenger that brings good news." It's also the root for our word "angel." We shared together about the disconnect in our minds between our everyday life and "evangelism". Why do we think that way? It's our pleasure to be able to carry with us the good news about Christ...into our world. Not the romantic image of the missionary leaving for foreign shores, of course, that's included but what about carrying Christ to your children, spouses, friends, co-workers, neighbors, fellow church members, the poor, the lonely, etc.
I almost don't like to use general terms anymore like "the poor" or "the lonely" because that conjures romantic images to our minds. We disconnect that from where we live, convince ourselves that you have to go somewhere else, be something else and do something else to reach "those people." As if that was for someone else, not us. But, as Christians, our ministry is to Christ...the real Jesus. And how do we minister to Christ? We feed those without food, give drink to the thirsty, clothe those who do not have clothes, visit the sick, visit the prisoner and welcome the stranger.
Who in your life is hungry? Who is thirsty? Who needs clothes? Who is sick? Who is in prison? Who is a stranger? If you will, take some time to write these things down and put actual names beside them. We all know them. We all have ready access to them. Pray for these names and ask God to lead you in not only ministering to these needs, not only ministering to these people but in doing so, have a mindset that you are actually, not poetically, ministering to Christ himself.
If we cannot bring the good news to one another, how will we ever bring it to a broken hurting world? It starts where we are and ripples ever outward. Do not wait for whatever it is before you commit to become Christ's messenger. It's as close as the person next to you. "Let's have coffee.", "How can I pray for you?", "What can I do to help you?", "Can I share my story with you?" These and only these will change the world.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
In Canada...there is a coffee shop that I love. the coffee is cheap and has a cheap coffee smell and taste but there is just something about it. It is Tim Horton's. Coffee, donuts, muffins, bagels, sandwiches...they have everything.
There is also a special time of year at Tim Horton's that my friends in Ontario hallow almost like it's Christmastime. We would wait for it, plan for it, celebrate it. It's "Roll up the rim to win" time! That's where Tim Horton's hides free prize vouchers under the rim of their paper coffee cups. You roll up the rim to see if you've won. There's cars, bikes, TVs, ipods and free donuts and coffee under there.
There is also "Please play again" under there. Boo.
So here we go...almost in real time...I will show you what it's like to anticipate a free donut or something under your rim. Here goes...
Here I am with a "Tim bit"...a tasty little donut ball...
I drink my last bit of coffee...
I roll up my rim and...
Boo! "Please play again." I'm 0 for 3! Oh well, I'll just have to try again tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Well, I'm spending some time with the Discipleship Training School in Winnipeg and last night we had a "fun" night...which really meant we played some crazy games together. And to start off the festivities was....indoor, mini-smores...
Get some kebab skewers, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and Golden Graham cereal...
Get some candles...
And that's that...quite tasty...indoor, mini-smores. You need to eat about 15 of them to actually feel like you've eaten something but hey, it kept us busy.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
This is the Chicago airport...ridiculous! There are soooooo many people here today. I am on my way to Winnipeg, MB to share at a YWAM Discipleship Training school. But I have to wait here for about 2 more hours. I've been here about 2 already. I knew this and was ready for it. So I settled in for a 4 hour haul. I found my distant, other terminal gate, found an ok Chicago "kinda" pizza place called Uno's and called Amie while I was eating. After I hung up, I hear, "Passenger Whitler, your flight is leaving in 1 minute, if you are not on board...blah, blah, blah". I freaked. I downed my soda, throwing it in the recycle container on my way to the gate...I know I made it in under a minute but the plane was pulling away. I interrupted the clerk helping another customer, "I'm sorry to interrupt but did you just call my name? I'm Whitler and I'm booked for the 6:25 flight!"
She barely looked at me, "oh" nonchalantly (is it possible to do something "chalantly"?)..."it's gone", still not looking at me.
"Well, am I still booked on the later flight?" I say intently...possibly chalantly.
"I wouldn't worry about it..." She says, trailing off. Service these days...cheesh. I won't say what airline but I will say I wish this worker had been more UNITED with my idea of customer service. Well, I went to the customer service desk where I guess they specialize in this sort of thing and found that everything was worked out. Yay! I have 3 hours to wait.
Oh, my in-flight movie was "Stranger Than Fiction" with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson. Mind you, I saw the "edited for content" version but it was very good. Not at all like the trailers made it look. While funny, it is not mainly a comedy but a nice and thoughtful look at life, connection and the things that make it all worth it.
I'm sad that I missed our first St. Patrick meal at New Hope this morning. But Amie and I started our new St. Patty tradition. We bought Irish soda bread and if you haven't had it...go get some now! With real imported Irish butter, then we ate the whole thing. So yummy!
When Amie and I were in Ireland, the Irish liked to remind us "mutt" Americans that it's because of Patrick that we were all Christians...I don't think the logic works but I do know that we serve a scheming God that likes to make strange connections. Long story short, Patrick evangelized Ireland and inspired the celtic monastic movement, who in turn evangelized Europe and that is the way my ancestors received the gospel. It's not the only way they could have but it is the way it happened. Patrick's life and obedience to go to his former enslavers with Christ's love can be an example to us all. Suddenly, it's not so tough to walk downtown or across the street with the same stuff that enabled such forgiveness and devotion in Patrick.
And the soda bread doesn't hurt either.