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I am a wreck right now. I cannot seem to get my mind off of something, and it is literally dominating my thoughts right now no matter how hard I try to get back to “normal.” But I guess that there is no “normal” anymore…
Let me explain. This weekend, the Young Adults Ministry that I lead just hosted a one-day conference-style event called “Get Uncomfortable”. It was actually a six-week small group study written by a man named Todd Phillips. Todd is also the author of a book called Spiritual CPR: Reviving a Flat-lined Generation, if that tells you anything about who he is. The point of the study is to challenge to church to become socially relevant again. There was a time when the church rose up injustices such as slavery, child labor, needed prison reforms, and much more. But we have gotten very quiet and… well, comfortable.
Our group wanted to do this study, but we did it a little differently. We did all of the sessions back-to-back, all in one day. I knew the study from cover to cover, and I actually taught two of the sessions myself. However, there was something about having other young men from the ministry teaching the other sessions that made the lessons hit me pretty hard. I sat there and watch these guys (and ladies) pour out their hearts, and the importance of what we were doing started to sink in.
We talked about people who go to “bed” hungry every night, while we clear the refrigerator of any old leftovers to throw away on garbage day. We talked about the little kids that have to get water from dirty rivers, and asked when the last time was that any of us had to drink or bathe in water like that. We talked about dying babies who are being sacrificed for the sake of “choice”. Then we asked ourselves what we are doing about these and many other injustices.
Soon I will be posting the videos from this event on YouTube, and will probably discuss most of them here. But I can tell you that this whole thing has really done something to me. My eyes are much more open to the seriousness of this “call of Christ” on our lives. Here’s the funny part…
After this event, I stopped at 7-11 and spent a few dollars on a Snickers bar, and a big slam Diet Mountain Dew. Earlier that day I taught about how 1/3 of the world lives on less than $2 per day ($720 per year), and I was just spending that much (or more) on a “well deserved snack.” Later on that evening, we had dinner over at my brother-in-law’s house, and played Mario Party on his Nintendo Wii. And I just could not shake the image in my head of the dude sleeping under the overpass for the Interstate just down the road.
Then I went to church on Sunday, and watched hundreds of people during worship cry out to God and asking Him to come visit us, as many of us sat there in our comfortable, padded chairs in a very nicely air-conditioned room. It was actually a great sermon by one of our pastors who was obviously challenged from our little conference as I was. But my point is that I was standing there thinking about where God’s heart was in our very own community, and I had a hard time seeing Him wanting to stay very long in a big room like I was in at that time.
Now, let me be clear… I am not trying to be overly critical and say that God wasn’t at our church. But I am saying that I think that His heart is breaking for us to do something about the thousands upon thousands outside of our church in our own backyard that literally need the hand of Christ to reach out and lift them up.
But how is that ever going to happen if we don’t make it happen?