I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part II)

Posted on December 29, 2011

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Sailing on Lake Victoria

Sailing on Lake Victoria

Everyone is wired differently. The things that motivate one person may fall flat when used to motivate someone else. I have found that I am wired to be needed. Let me clarify. If someone approaches me with a request that I can’t turn down (the Godfather request); basically telling me that I have to do something, then my first instinct is to dig my heels in and resist, regardless of whether or not I want to do it OR have the spare time to do it. Reason usually wins out in the end and I determine whether or not I can fully commit to the request or not. However, if someone approached me and I am their last option and instead of telling me that I have to do it, they appeal to me based on their valid need for me to help them out; then I have a hard time saying no to that type of request. It usually leads to me overcommitting myself and stressing myself out, but the service tends to be its own reward. Those of you, who give of your time to charitable works, understand what I mean by that.

The invitation or calling to go to Africa was like a spiritual wake up call for me. It was the spiritual equivalent of a mid-life crisis and cold shower all put together. It shocked me awake from my self-induced slumber. Finding myself suddenly sobered and having clarity of thought again, I realized that I had become what I had most feared when I was younger. I was just another person sleep walking their way through life, doing my time. I was more zombie than alive, though not really fully alive, not really fully dead, just stuck in that middle ground. I was reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer comment, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.

Build Your House on the Rock

Build Your House on the Rock

I gave a talk to some youth a couple of years ago and an hour before I was supposed to speak, I felt convicted not to talk about what I had planned to talk about; inducing a near panic in myself, as I like to over plan everything. I felt very strongly that I should talk about the real problems in the church and focus on our individual responsibility and calling. As I spoke to the people at the summer retreat, the idea developed that the real problem with the church is that there were too many living people there.

Christ bids a man to come and die to ourselves. We start the process, but somewhere along the way, we get lost and forget to complete the job. This leaves many church attenders not fully dead or fully alive. They get lost in the middle. We become zombies, half dead and half alive. We forget that we were bought at a price and are slaves to Christ and begin to believe that we have rights.

The right to not hear drums in our worship services.
The right to be entertained on Sunday mornings.
The right to have our desires and concerns expressed and heard by all.
The right to not be bothered by the struggles and needs of the poor and unfortunate around the world and in our own community.

Remember a zombie is consumed by one driving desire and that is to satisfy its own needs without a thought or consideration to the needs of others. We believe that we have the right to build walls around the church and enjoy our own segregated community. I used to joke that if that’s the case then we should change CC from Community Church to Country Club. We in the church have become more akin to some horror film where things have gone terribly wrong. We are more reflective of ‘The Church Undead’ than the Church of the Glorious Resurrection. Instead of the Bride of Christ, we became more like the Bride of Frankenstein.

The Road Before Us

The Road Before Us

The call to Africa awoke me from my slumber. What was I doing with my life? How did I go from being engaged, connected and ‘in-the-game’ serving, to just another pathetic heckler on the overly crowded sidelines? From that moment, I began to see this God provided opportunity as my shot at getting back in the game, but after all I had been through, I still wondered if God could really still use me after all that I had done? In my heart, I knew then that I needed to say ‘yes’ and go to Africa, but there were a host of questions, concerns and fears associated with it.

In faith, I committed to going, in spite of all the fears that I had. How could I not? I am wired to be needed and the guy going to Tanzania definitely needed me, as no one else would go. I may not have been a tower of faith and power at the time, but If not me, then he would have to go alone. Even questioning my own personal worth, I figured that at least I was a better traveling companion than having him go alone.

From that moment, I began to be confronted by all manner of trials which seemed to specifically target areas of my personality which I had developed strong feelings about; mostly in the area of personal control. I did not recognize it at the time, but in hindsight, I can see how the uncomfortable situations were shaping me, reclaiming me for His purpose. Under the hands of the Master Craftsman, I felt the discomfort as He began to lovingly chisel away the many rough spots that I had developed, but which blocked the original image which He had created me to be. I have a feeling that this is going to be a very long process indeed.

To be continued…

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