Discernment: Local v. Third World Missions

QuestionQuestion: Why is it so much easier finding Believers willing to serve the poor across the globe than finding Believers willing to serve the poor within 15-30 minute local driving distance?

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

The above question was posed by a local missions’ coordinator trying to develop ways to encourage the congregation to passionately and equally serve the poor locally and abroad. Every year thousands of students and professional adults leave the shores of their Western homeland to serve in the third world. “I think the Lord wants me to serve the poor…in Mali. So help me raise $10K to get there.” We’ve all either personally had this experience or know someone dear that has had this experience. Many of these individuals have come to understand that there is more to this world than the status driven, materialistic society we live in and in turn devote their lives to serving others as God commands. It is praiseworthy to leave the safety of a Western community and serve often unreached third world communities stricken with illness, extreme poverty, and crime. On the other hand, don’t you ever wonder why just as many Believers in Christ Jesus do not seem to receive the same volume of life changing revelations to serve the poor communities locally? It takes not even a 1/4 of tank of gas and anywhere from one to twenty hours per month to reach a local inner city, rural, or reservation community. On the other hand, it takes several months pay and work leave to reach the third world communities across the pond. Yet even with all these factors, international missions seems to outpace local missions for volunteers in outreach of the poor. Body of Christ, maybe you were never aware of the needs locally or see yourself as a Nations evangelist. Here’s a challenge, let’s see if we can balance the scales in local and international missions. The world is becoming more global by the minute and opportunities already exists to serve the Nations in the Western world and third world. There are many poor communities in the Western nations that are driven around daily that could use some Jesus TLC. Cancel the “I’m afraid”, “I might get robbed”, “I can’t relate” or the many hosts of fear based excuses we use to justify ignoring the poor placed around us. Take a leap of faith, get out there, and serve the poor…locally.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Holy Spirit come and reveal to us what hinders us from obeying your commands to serve without partiality. We ask all of this in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

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Spiritual Warfare: Hospitality v. Favoritism

hospitality v favoritismDo not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Hmmm the challenge to the Body of Christ*. Yes! Such a simple thing, be hospitable to everyone. We have no idea who God will send across our paths. Abba requires our impartiality and welcoming others. And sorry friends…SELECTIVE HOSPITALITY…is NOT HOSPITALITY. That would be FAVORITISM which Abba forbids. If Abba does not have favorites, why does the Body of Christ? Favoritism in the Body of Christ is counter to Christ, it is not of Christ, and Abba is challenging us to cancel the lie that we believe justifies accepting, excluding, etc others because of our personal philosophy, branding, culture, race etc. If you are participating in exclusion practices, rethink it. This includes purposely avoiding other Believers. This is not hospitality and not of God. Rethink this my friends. Abba is very clear about this. To grow the Body of Christ, you must be hospitable. Period. Selective hospitality is not hospitality. That is favoritism.

Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality” Acts 10:34

Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it. Deuteronomy 1:17

For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1 Peter 4:9

The Body of Christ needs healing. Massive defection of Believers from the Church is not acceptable and not saying anything about it is especially not acceptable. Abba has commissioned (Great Commission) us to bring individuals to the Body of Christ not create exclusive social clubs. Remove the callous over our hearts and scales off the eyes.

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:1-8

Abba, have mercy on us and pierce our hearts. We repent of our favoritism in using race, age, gender, social status, and all other human forms of judgment to welcome or reject others. Forgive us Father. Bind up the hardened, calloused hearts and blind eyes within us and loose your supernatural vision to us of the hurting in the name and Blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen

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Photo Credit: Amen-Amen

*Note: The posting is in reference to no particular congregation but the larger Body of Christ.

Discernment: IF LOOKS COULD KILL………………OR GIVE LIFE!*

EYEIf looks could kill, I would have been a master assassin!  Some of you know “the look”, the “sister girl”, the “evil eye”, or “mean mugging”  that you inherited from your culture (translation = generational sin).  It’s not exclusive to my inherited culture but to the cultures of many nations.  Regardless of earthly culture, “the look” is not typically used to spread joy or be hospitable.  It is usually used to show disapproval, disdain, or judgment.  I recall now over a decade ago some stranger asking me “Girl, why don’t you ever smile?”  I either thought or quipped in my best attitudinal “look”: “What is there to smile about?!”  Yikes, that stranger could have been an angel unawares (Hebrews 13:2) and I bombed that hospitality test big time.  The joy of the Eternal Papa had not gotten hold of me yet and would not for many more years.

It wasn’t until five or six years ago that a friend mentor, Pearl, would explain to me what “ the look” really meant.  Pearl knew “the look” very well first hand.  She was the recipient of “the look” for two decades.  She knew the feeling of being shamed and criticized by what I dismissed as an innocent “look” and she explained that “the look” was not walking in Kingdom love.   Yes, one could technically say they were not saying anything harmful but my countenance was effectively shaming and criticizing others without words and pushing others away from the Kingdom I professed to know.  “How could this be?  Generations in my culture have done this and it’s normal.  Right?”  Hmmm….Pearl was lovingly and gently challenging me with God’s Word on countenance.  That seemingly simple “look” or countenance was not walking in the love of the Kingdom but displaying a manifestation of the flesh.

Proverbs 15:13 “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”

IF LOOKS COULD GIVE LIFE

About ten years ago when I began graduate school I met a wonderful lady named Lisa.  Lisa was my school’s leader of the African Diaspora branch of Cru.  She was an incredibly beautiful Believer with this unusual amount of never ending joy and glow.  She was curious to me, as I could only recall a few women in that season of life that had that same beauty that was far beyond the physical.  She never had a scowl and always had these great kind words to draw people out.  She was phenomenal in reaching students for the Kingdom.  When I met her daughters who were not much younger than I, I was even more amazed.  They too along with Lisa’s husband had this inherited beauty that extended far beyond their natural prettiness by human standards.  I was frankly puzzled.  As silly as this sounds, I could not figure out how they could just be so joyful.  It would take me almost a decade to finally figure out where their joyfulness came from: spiritual fruits.  I remember reading over these fruits in Galatians 5 but never had I truly embodied them in my person.  There were hints of them that would be displayed during convenient times for specific situations or people but their display was not consistent.  December 2010, Eternal Papa leveled with me in gigantic proportions.  He unveiled to me my true nature and it was not a Kingdom nature.  I was not like Abba who is not a respecter of persons (I had favorites).  I did not extend grace freely, kept running tallies of others transgressions, and used my countenance to shame and criticize others.

Abba began removing the old feisty flesh and brought forward a new fiercely faithful woman for the Kingdom.  He imparted a joy within me that I could not explain in words.  My heart felt uncontrollably merry and I could not help but smile persistently.  I became a Church greeter and felt for the first time in life like I could share the same joy that Lisa and Pearl knew of.  I even began to enjoy singing songs to the Lord and worshipping Him in my free time…alone.  The joy of Eternal Papa had gotten a hold of me!  What I have learned is that serving others is a tremendous honor and a smiling face is an easy way to bring others to the door of the Kingdom.  There is nothing canned in a Kingdom smile but a purity of the Lord.  It is a smile that lights up the room and warms the environment.  It is a smile that both children and adults are drawn to.  It is a smile that reflects the beauty of our Eternal Papa.  It does not scowl, shame, or criticize.  It is a smile that makes both Believers and the world wonder, “What makes that person so joyful?”  I encourage each of us to consider our countenance and ask two questions.  Do we give the “look that could kill”?  Or do we give the “look of life”?

Abba, please reveal to me anything in my outward temple that does not reflect your joy.  Change my heart so that I can show an unconditional joy and attract others to the Kingdom.  – Amen

*Real names of friends have been changed

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