More lessons learned…
Something I have been more and more convicted of in the last few months and especially after returning from Belize, is how we take some truths in the gospel to be “gospel” and other truths to just be “suggestions.” If we believe that the Bible is absolute truth, then why do we sometimes treat it as not? If we see some truths as “well…this is maybe what Jesus meant to say…” then we are deceiving ourselves and making the Bible into what we WANT it to be. There are commands from Jesus that I seem to “forget” about and don’t do. There are things that pass by me daily, that I don’t jump at the opportunity to do because I am oblivious to what God may be saying to me. God commands us to make disciples of all nations. I have never been more convicted of that, than I have been right now. I am not saying that we are moving to the Philippines (for example). God knows EXACTLY where He is going to land us. Destination TBD. What I am saying is that God puts people in my path everyday, to reflect His image to. Do I? Or am I an innocent bystander, just walking through life, not being intentional about Who I represent? Going to Belize taught me that you NEVER KNOW who God is going to put in your path. There were people I met in Belize, that I am forever thankful to have met. In fact, I received an email from one of them today!
That leads me to my next lesson learned – how much a Bible is a need. As much as the physical needs in Belize (hunger) were great, so was the spiritual hunger. I have never met people so HUNGRY for the Word (I know I’ve said that a bazillion times, but it was rather impactful as you can see!). Do I wake up DAILY, with that same hunger? I have I think 3 Bibles that I use. Really, that is too many considering the fact that there are unreached people groups that have never even HEARD of Christ. And here I sit with a couple Bible on my shelf. Being able to hand out New Testaments to the people of Belize, opened up my eyes and only created a deeper hunger for God’s Word. When I saw their hunger for the gospel, mine only increased as well. To think that we have the VERY WORDS OF GOD sitting on a shelf, just gives me chills!
Brings me to the next point – how essential it is, to have mentors and teachers, to those who are digging into God’s Word. I specifically didn’t say “to have mentors and teachers for new believers” because I too, need mentors and teachers in my life to continue to guide me. God calls us to make disciples. Think about Jesus. Jesus chose 12 disciples, and then chose an inner circle out of those 12. They needed mentoring – someone teaching them. I must say I am a little jealous that they had JESUS, THE SON OF GOD as their mentor, but hey, one day I will meet Him! While in Belize, yes, we handed them a Bible and talked about some of the truths within, but it was hard to walk away. We STRONGLY encouraged them to go to the church just up the path on Sundays. You can give someone a Bible and pray that God will open up their hearts to understanding, but having a church body and teachers to explain what they are reading, is essential I think.
That is why Dan and I have such a passion for youth ministry. To teach what the Scriptures say. I forget who said this, but someone once said “we must hold the newspaper in one hand, and the Bible in the other.” We need guard our hearts and minds from the things of this world – not saying that we shouldn’t be aware, read, or come in contact with the world. But in everything that we come into contact with in this world, we need to match it up against what the Bible says. So as we read the newspaper (using the example given above) and as world views jump out of the pages, how do we match them up with what the Bible says? That is why the Bible is essential. That is why HAVING a Bible is essential. That is why having mentors and teachers is essential.
God used our mission trip to Belize to teach me to not take His Word for granted. That His truths are truths. He has given me a map for LIFE and there are people who don’t know what LIFE is. Eternal life. It doesn’t matter where you live. We can all be disciple makers. We just have to choose to be one. Are we willing to make the sacrifice? God will test us left and right to see if we will stand true to our convictions. Are you ready?