Psalm 34:4-5 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This past week has been pretty crazy in the office! As the new vision of our organization gets rolling, Kent has a lot more things coming his way. He has countless phone conversations, meetings, and documents to draft, along with the other day to day activities of the office. We are also getting ready to host about 2 weeks worth of meetings here at our office in May, requiring planning and logistics. As Kent’s role has taken off, I have found mine has as well. I am now helping schedule these phone calls and meetings, coordinating times with people in multiple time zones, and taking on more of the logistics end of things. This has happened pretty fast, so it’s been a bit overwhelming. In the midst of this, I have had to work through a certain fear that has been a part of my life: the fear of failing or being a disappointment. I want to get everything done for Kent and do it perfectly. But, although I consider myself to be pretty organized, I am only human. 🙂 I will, at some point, make a mistake, probably even a big one.
As I’ve tried to deal with this issue this week, God has shown me more and more that I need to trust in Him, and let go of my fear of failing. I need to give my perfectionist tendencies to Him, and rest in His grace for me. One thing that has helped me keep my perspective is praying before I start each day. Before I turn on my computer, check phone messages or anything else (except putting my lunch in the fridge), I take time to pray for my day, for strength to accomplish each task, and for the UPGs in SE Asia that I’m focusing on this month. I think it helps set the tone for my day.
I hope that by seeking the Lord each morning (and throughout the day), I will be a shining light for Christ in the office. I hope that He will work through me to help me serve where He has placed me.
I am reading a book by Max Lucado called Cast of Characters (the one he autographed), about different ordinary people in the Bible who were used by our extraordinary God. I read a chapter this week about the Samaritan woman who came to the well to get water and met Jesus. Before when I’ve read this story, I’ve always thought the story was about how meeting Jesus changed her life. And it did- she felt loved and cared for more than she had probably all of her life. But reading the story and Max Lucado’s comments, I saw for the first time the impact that she had on the people of her city. After her Jesus-encounter, the woman went back to her town and started telling people what had happened to her, and people paid attention.
John 4:39-42 (The Message) Many of the Samaritan’s from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world!”
Even though I feel like God is calling me to be a missionary, most of the time I don’t feel very qualified. I’m not outgoing, super-talented, creative, good at learning languages, or evangelistic like so many of the missionaries in our organization. I’m not trained as a doctor or teacher or pastor, what your “typical” missionary has training in. But the Samaritan woman was just a woman, with even a not-so-great past, and she was influential in many people coming to Christ. I hope that I can be as passionate about sharing Jesus and what He has done in my life as the Samaritan woman was.
I read these verses and the prayer that follows a couple of days ago.
Isaiah 29:13-14 “The Lord says, ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish'”.
We have been skilled in religious performance. We can say all the right words, but still leave our hearts far behind. We have contrived our worship to make it predictable and safe, becoming as bored as we are proud. We’ve even become haughty of how well we conduct our rituals and routines. Thus we’ve approached You heartless and high-minded. Break through our pride. Gather our wayward hearts and ravish us with wonder. Astonish us in Your presence. Surprise us with Your supremacy. Stun us with how dangerous You are. Bear down upon us so brilliantly that the cloud of our clever religious pride will evaporate in the radiance of your glory. (Prayer guide from Waymakers)
When I first read this, I was a bit surprised at the strong language, but connected with the heart of the prayer. I started to think of the people or churches I’ve been a part of who have tended toward “religious performance”. But then my heart began to break (again) for those in the US who are stuck in tradition, focused on things that in the grand Kingdom-scheme of things don’t really matter. I felt my heart really echoing this prayer, not just for others but for myself. God, help me not get caught up in the surface things that don’t matter. Break down my own pride. Fill me up with more of You and less of me.
Kent and Erika decided they needed a day off, and rightly so. They also said that I didn’t need to come in to the office either, and although I didn’t feel like I needed the break as much as they did, I decided to make the most of it! 🙂 I think it’s important to do random things once in a while, and to take time for ourselves.
My first stop of the day (Tuesday) was at Starbucks. It was very relaxing just to sit and read my new Max Lucado book, do some journaling, and sip my vanilla latte.
Just a couple blocks from the church where we have our offices, there’s a park where I like to go eat my lunch sometimes. In the park is a little museum about the Interurban Railway that ran through this area, with one of the original cars and displays about the history of Plano. I had walked by the museum often, but was excited to get the opportunity to go in. There was a volunteer lady who had time to take me around and tell me about the different displays which was really nice.
I had been wanting to try some Asian food since coming back to the US. Even though I must admit I got a little tired of rice by the end of my trip, Asian cuisine still represented adventure and a part of my life for a month. I got online and looked up Chinese restaurants thinking that might be as close as I was going to get, and found out there are several Thai restaurants in the area. I found one that was pretty close, and it was small but really nice. I dined on vegetable spring rolls and pineapple fried rice- very delicious! I find joy in little things, and for some reason when they brought out the fried rice and it had a lime and cucumbers, which was how they served it in Asia, I was very happy. 😉
My last stop of the day was at our cheap movie theater for a Tuesday special $.75 movie. They have movies there that have already been in the main theater for awhile. I had seen most of the movies there already, so I decided to go to one called “Last Chance Harvey”. It was a romance story of a middle-aged couple, set in London. I shared the theater with lots of older ladies and older couples, which was interesting. I like finding things that are cheap!
All in all, it was a lovely day, and I’m glad I got the chance to find some new things in Plano.
One verse that has really challenged me this year is Acts 20:24. It says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (NIV).
There are a lot of things that are worth something to me in life: my family, friends, doing well in my current location, furthering my education. I don’t think Paul is saying all of these things have to be worthless to us. Instead, our focus should be on God and His task for us, which for me, is being a part of reaching the 27.9% of the world that has yet to hear the gospel. I think when our focus is in the right place, then these other things fall into the right perspective. I can still love my family from Texas or Cambodia or wherever God takes me. I can further my education as a way of better reaching the lost around me. But my desire is becoming more and more to testify to the gospel of God’s grace, and I pray that He will continue to fan the flame of that desire in me.
I’m going to try something different- blogging! I wanted to find a way to process all that I have seen and experienced in Luke 10 and my recent trip to Asia. God has been teaching me a lot! I’m not sure if anyone will ever read my thoughts, but I’ve decided to go ahead and put them out there.
Even though I’ve been working in the MUP Global office for almost 7 months, I have just recently started praying for specific unreached people groups. Today I prayed for the Kuy people of Cambodia. Their population is about 40,000, and less than 1% is Christian. Mostly they follow animism and Buddhism, wearing strings tied around their neck, waist or wrists to ward off evil spirits. The Kuy are at the bottom of society economically in Cambodia, and don’t have access to good health care, education or even clean water. I am praying for the workers already focusing on this people group, that they will have clear avenues for reaching the Kuy. I am praying that the blinders of tradition will be taken off and that God will raise up a Kuy church to reach out to their own people. It’s so encouraging to know that God loves each Kuy person just as He loves me.