Imagine sitting on a thin, nicely covered mattress on a cement floor in a cement blocked single-car garage sized room. A tarp-covered roof shades the room from the 95 degree temperature, and a small water cooler (portible AC) unit tries to pour in coolish air. After traveling 22 hours with a short night sleep, this was a wonderful way to start my first day on this Global Work trip.
This was my first visit to a Refugee Camp in the Middle East. The Global Worker, another volunteer and I were graciously invited into the homes of different families of 8 to 14 members, who have nothing to do all day except school for the children, is hard to describe unless if you see, hear, smell and touch it. We visited 3-4 families each morning and then another 3-4 families after lunch.
After introductions, the Global Worker focused on seeking to help them medically and physically. The Global Worker asked questions, made evaluations and then interpreted this information to me so I could type it into an ipad. I enjoyed taking people's blood pressures. After a thorough investigation on their physical condition, the Global Worker focused on the families' emotional and relational health. The walls were slowly coming down after they had been cared for medically and physically. The Global Worker sensitively asked those questions, "where are you from and why are you here in this camp?"
They responded with stories that no one would ever forget. In the past 2-5 years, ISIS had driven these Muslims from their homes either by warning that they are coming, or bombings or by bullets rittling the side of their nice homes. So, they fled. Some are missing their husbands and fathers either by death or not knowing where they are. Some with fathers and older sons with missing limbs and bullet wounds. Others mostly physically intact but emotionally scarred. Obviously, their homes are nothing worth going back to. And if there was something liveable, they would not move back because ISIS would probably show up again and remove them.
As I watched this care without knowing the language, I could physically see the unloved being loved, the rejected being accepted, the unwanted being wanted and the once strangers now becoming friends. What a gift these Global Workers are; being the hands, the feet, the eyes, the ears and the love of Jesus.
As I sat there, praying, what could I do? It was at this time, I thought, since we have gotten to know them, it might be natural for them to get to know us. I pulled out my phone and showed them photos of my family. The Global Worker did the same. The Muslim family smiled and asked questions about our families, connecting us even more.
But, then the Global Worker offered another gift, spiritual care. It was at this point the Global Worker and I would be praying for a way to shift the conversation to the spiritual. I marveled at how God would give the Global Worker or even myself an idea on how to naturally shift the conversation toward Jesus. One time it was through family relationships. Another time it was through the topic of stress. Another, questions about Jesus like, "Have you ever read a story about Jesus?" Our Global Worker pulled out his smartphone and had them read a story about Jesus in their mother language, Arabic. Sometimes they would watch a video narrative of a story of Jesus in Arabic. For most, this was the first thing they have heard about Jesus other than from the Muslim perspective and teachings. There is always something so attractive about just reading one story about Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. The goal, plant some seeds about Jesus. Help them to possibly desire to know more about Jesus. Then pray. Pray that Jesus would come to them in their dreams.
Ahhh... hearing the stories of Jesus showing up in their dreams was one of the best things about this Global trip.
Stay tuned until next week.
Amazed, humbled and deeply grateful,
Jesus loved to use common things of culture to communicate. Sheep and shepherds were part of every aspect of life back then but not so much today. If we look into sheep and shepherds we would understand that sheep are defenseless animals and they need a shepherd in order to survive. Jesus offers to be our shepherd in so many ways...
"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:35-36
-If we bring our wounds and pains to Jesus, He will give us compassion.
We can clearly see in this passage that Jesus sees all of our pain, sickness, selfishness, and more. He is deeply moved with love towards us. Let's move towards Him and share our hurts and let's receive His personal loving attention.
-If we get off course or lost, Jesus knows where we are and will bring us back.
When Adam and Eve were hiding in the garden, God asked, "Where are you?" Did He really not know where they were? Of course, He was helping them see where they were and what condition they were in. This is part of Jesus' way of rescuing us; helping us see how far off course we have gotten. Remember Jesus parable about the shepherd leaving 99 sheep to find the one lost...
-If we fall or fail, Jesus is right there to heal and help us get back up.
Jesus wanted to confront religious "do's" and "don'ts" by saying He is available 24/7. "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!" Matt 12:11
-If we ask Jesus to rescue us, Jesus will adopt us into His eternal family.
As much as we try, we can not save ourselves, that is God's job. Jesus explained, "I give (My sheep) eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand." John 10:28
Are you experiencing Jesus as your shepherd?
In what ways do you need to talk with Jesus about your life?
So grateful for Jesus' compassion and strength,
There was a historical man named Jesus.
He was born like no else was born. He lived like no one else lived. He taught like no one else taught. He served like no one else served. He loved like no one else loved. His heart went out to those who were overlooked, left out, marginalized, despised, forgotten and excluded.
On Friday, His great courage got Him arrested. His great love led Him to the cross. His great passion for sinners carried Him through the suffering. His great sacrifice allowed Him to die. On Friday, it was such a horrible ending to such a wonderful life that it was marked by darkness, earthquake, the dead walking and the veil ripping.
On Saturday, there was great silence as Jesus lay dead in the grave. There was great mourning as the Great Leader seemed to no longer be leading. There was great sorrow as the Great Lover seemed to no longer be loving. There was great shock as the Messiah seemed to be a fraud.
On Sunday, the stone was rolled away. On Sunday, the grave clothes were neatly folded. On Sunday, the tomb was empty. On Sunday, the bloody, ripped up back, the wounds from the crown of thorns, the wounds from the beatings, the wounds from the nails, the wounds from the spear were fully healed. The dead was no longer dead, death lost its sting, the grave lost its corpse. On Sunday, darkness was derailed, the devil was dethroned and hell was defeated. On Sunday, faith was vindicated, the prophets validated, the disciples animated. On Sunday, sin lost, shamed died, hope soared and love won. We got something to live for. We got something to die for. We got something to hope in.
Easter is therefore, the greatest victory, over the darkest enemy, by the noblest hero, for the loftiest cause, that is the central proclamation in the history of the world. If there is anything in this broken, dark world worth celebrating it is that Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead. He is risen, He is risen indeed!
How is your life different because of this Easter? Or did you miss it? What is Jesus saying to you?
Humbled, changed and inspired,
3.31.16 Blog originally posted by Chris Reinertson
What is the best thing about Christianity?
Could it be overwhelming grief suddenly turned to hope...
"When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body." Mark 16:1
How difficult was it for these women to get up, go shopping, and do their duty for the most important dead person in their lives... Who will roll the stone away they discussed...
Grief is a part of life and extremely difficult to walk through...
Grief due to a promising business that fails.
Grief due to a life enhancing relationship ends.
Grief due to a life mission being destroyed.
Grief due to a loved one whom dies.
Grief due to failure of any and every kind is enough to keep anyone and everyone in the bed of depression and discouragement.
Back to these devoted followers of Jesus.
As they arrived, the stone was already rolled, the tomb was empty, an angel began to speak to them.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words. Luke 24:6-8
The gift of light in darkness.
The gift of life in death.
The gift of hope in hopelessness.
The gift of the resurrected Jesus.
How can we live as if every day is Easter?
Let that one word in Luke 24 grip you and enhance your every day life...
Remember Jesus is alive. He is with you. He is in you. He is for you.
Are you with Jesus? Are you in Jesus? Are you for Jesus?
Some daily ideas...
1. Plan an extended date with Jesus every day.
2. Be in constant communication with Jesus all through out your day; as you do your tasks and relationships.
3. Memorize joyful and helpful passages of Scripture. Remember, Scripture is Jesus.
4. Use meal times to invest in building others up; both Christians and those far from Jesus.
5. Be generous.
6. Be thankful.
"Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Col 4:2
Living as Easter is every day - because it is!
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.