June 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
Blog excerpt from Ryan Hammil:
On June 25th, our Global Urban Trek team will arrive in Thailand to live in a Bangkok slum for over a month. We will stay with a family, serve with the local church, and learn about urban poverty and what it means to do “incarnational” ministry. This term is taken from the Incarnation, the event in which God took on flesh and became human—Jesus’ birth. In the same way that God became like the people he wanted to reach, so incarnational missionaries become like the poor they want to reach. In what is essentially the textbook of the Global Urban Trek, Scott Bessenecker describes this missional incarnation as, “breaking out of the padding that separates and protects us from the harsh realities of poverty by embracing it voluntarily and stepping into relationship with the poor without the power dynamic that is normally present between the poor and nonpoor.”
One week left til the Trek begins.
June 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
As you know, I have about 2 weeks until I leave for Thailand for the rest of the summer. I don’t know if I am just naturally born to over-think everything, or if people just choose to leave this part out whenever they begin their missions training because it’s not too pretty, but parts of these last few weeks have been the most uncomfortable weeks I have ever experienced because reflecting on my life in light of the gospel has been nothing short of emotionally unsettling. Colliding with my own character at its root began to accumulate into feelings of anger, irritation and, in all, I flat out became disillusioned with our generation.
Mostly because we have this faith– but do we really? And then when we get a glimpse of how flawed we are and try to commit to changing our lives, we become complacent with the work-in-progress mode. Ironically, how many of us are actually stagnant in that phase today? Bottom line is there is no urgency with sharing the gospel like there is to finish your education, or attain the status in a job you believe you deserve. We don’t consider time being wasted when we sit in our cubicle at our 9-5 job, but we consider how much time we have to set aside in our lives to partake in missions, or how much time we will “waste” in the process—I mean how absolutely backwards is that last one? I also began to think about the concept of sin and how we still cling to the bondage Christ freed us from. How we all entertain it, let it break us, and how we let it create this colossal chasm between us and a God that sacrificed it all for us—and then the cherry-on-top fact that we know all these things, but somehow can’t avoid it? That we are actually that weak.
Anyways, throughout all those “fun” (half bitter—sorry working on it) thought processes up there I’ve come to the conclusion that I think it all boils down to focus. Me choosing to focus on my failures won’t solve much, and if anything will escalate into fear or insecurity. I think what I’m beginning to realize is all of us have these unique failures because we are all so different, so naturally we have different definitions of what failure looks like. Failure could be our focus, or our focus could instead be on channeling the unique perspectives we’ve gained from our failures to allow God’s grace to consume us. For me, personally, all the junk I am going through right now is so necessary because it is now keeping me desperate for grace—and that by NO means is any justification—we have to constantly keep reminding ourselves that this relationship we are even able to have with God is solely by His mercy. I am teaching myself to stop being discouraged when I look at how perfect Jesus is and compare it to how broken I am because, in all, it just makes the story of grace an even more captivating one.
But He said to me “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Initially, prep for this trip cultivated many doubts that I was ready for this kind of experience, but the first step in preparing actually was my realization that I needed to rid my mind of the idea that I’d be doing anything at all. If we give Christ’s power room to work, His power will speak for itself. Learning to be strong isn’t anything we will do ourselves. It is actually the realization that we are weak and flawed, and that through our weakness Christ is revealing His power.
So again, it all redirects back to focus. Are we going to be focusing on how discouraged we are by our weakness, or focused on how Christ’s power is revealed through our weakness?