19 01 2012

I have just returned from what turned out to be a life-changing Missions Trip to Ecuador.  I literally walked on the center of the world- but God did some stomping on the center of my heart!  Life is truly a precious gift no matter what shape or size or color or tribe or tongue it may be packaged in.  We human beings get so caught up in what we see on the outside that we often miss the jewels and diamonds that are tucked within the inside of our precious fellow brothers and sisters.  I was so moved via my heart by the lives of those that I was recently allowed to rub shoulders with and share a roof under and a meal alongside of.  Disney got it right when he proclaimed that it really is a small world after all even if it is discovered under God’s majestic expanse of creativity that far exceeds the limits of our own backyard.

 This is why it is time to speak out against prejudice and small mindedness that unfortunately we too often discover within the walls of our local churches.  God is not an American!  He is not even a Republican and Lord knows that He speaks lots more than just English when it comes to communicating the language of His vast love to His beloved universe that He created with His very own fingers.  It is time to leave our tiny yards behind so that we can begin to move and breathe and have our being within much bigger parameters.  For God so loved the world that He desired His children to do the very same and to be known for walking in the footsteps of their Father.  I think it is time we silence the bigotry and begin to sing out for harmony so that a new tune can be ringing through the lands.

Have we bought into the labels that society wants to hem us in with?  God longs for us to be much more than mindless followers of a lost humanity.  He created us to be His heartfelt disciples on a journey that extols the very life that He has so graciously bestowed upon us!  And if we don’t take the time to reflect and remember the truths of the present, we will be destined to be stuck in a time warp that will produce nothing more than a legacy of repeating the mistakes of the past over and over again!  We must not get so caught up in running the race of living that we have forgotten what the ideal goal of this life is all about in the first place! We speak when we should be silent and we are silent when we should be shouting!  And God is all about life and if we truly are all about God, then the fruit of our behavior will be actions that result in life being all about fighting for!

The book of Esther in the Bible tells the story of an unassuming Jewish girl who by divine providence becomes the Queen of Persia so that she can be in the right place at the right time to exhibit a faith in action and be used as God’s choice instrument to boldly save the Hebrew people from hatred and genocide.  There is a turning point in her adventure where Esther must decide if she is going to fight for all life or just shrink back and protect her own investment by rising no higher than attempting to save her own skin.  Will she speak now or forever be guilty of turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to do and be and say what God had given her a platform to accomplish?  The Scripture says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

 You have the right to remain silent, but I am not sure if you choose that option, it is very right at all.  Courage is the ability to move forward and do what your heart knows needs to be done even when there is opposition and an enemy abiding all around.  Real courage is like entering a dark room that might be filled with all sorts of dangers but is also accompanied by great fortune too!  We must be willing to risk the pain if we are to gain a new beachhead for the language of love to move forward!

I wrote the following back in 1984.  I want to dust it off and share it with all of us today not as a pointed finger but as a collective challenge that we are all in this together and our mission is clear- to love God with all of our beings and to love one another just in the same vain as He loves us.  Let the church be His church and let those on the outside start to long to be drawn to the inside and when they come- let us welcome and greet them with open arms!  Let us speak now or forever be guilty of not using the jargon of Jesus!     

 DOES IT BOTHER YOU? Written by Rudy Sheptock 1984                        Why Church- Do you let the world just die? Why Church- Don’t you hear the people cry?  Is it that you’re sleeping?  Tucked inside your pew?  Or is it that a dying soul- doesn’t bother you?  Christian-Can’t you hear the babies cry? They are tucked inside the wombs where they’re about to die?  Or is it that abortion- isn’t in your view?  Or maybe it’s just murder- doesn’t bother you?  Jesus allows us- to wear His Name- But the ways that wear it must put our Lord to shame… We fight over churches- and who should go where-While millions die starving- dare we say that we care?  Jesus- Forgive our divided heart…  And cleanse us- give us a brand new start!  Lord may we have Your Mind- In all we say and do… Cause we know what goes on here- Really bothers You- It really bothers You…  May it bother us too- Like it really bothers You…



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