March 5, 2013

Do something, not nothing.

I was at Target yesterday, waiting for the pharmacy to fill a prescription.

So I decided to wait in the little Starbucks area of Target.

I watched people order their drinks.

Yummy fluffy iced cappuccino's with whip cream and caramel.

I usually don't order stbx unless I'm specifically meeting friends at stbx for coffee. I'm a social coffee drinker, if you will.

But all these fancy drinks were making me want one. And normally I am not even tempted. But with all these drinks right in front of my face, I was practically drooling. I just wanted a treat to make myself happy.

And Sunday's sermon kinda hit me in the face.

Are you willing to sacrifice and risk something for the sake of the gospel?

Our pastor recently went on a trip to Thailand and Laos, and came back a changed man.

He met with our brothers and sisters in Christ, many of them pastors.

Basically, if they preach the gospel, they are persecuted and thrown in prison. The jails are so crammed, there is no room to sleep. So they have to take turns sleeping in awkward positions with their feet in the air.

They sometimes don't get food or drinks for 4 days straight.

Sometimes they are tortured.

All they have to do to get out of jail is sign a paper, denouncing Christ.

But they don't.

And if they are finally released from prison, they go right back to preaching and hundreds and thousands more come to know Christ. It's unbelievable.

And they rejoice, that they were counted worthy of suffering for the sake of Christ.

Are you willing to sacrifice and risk something for the sake of the gospel?

Back to Starbucks. What does this have to do with my coffee?

Well, you see, here in America, if you preach the gospel, there is very little risk of major suffering and persecution. At least for now. In Laos, if you decide to become a Christian, you automatically sign up for persecution. It's not a matter of if, but when.

Here...things are just different. If you want to be counted worthy of suffering for the sake of Christ, you must actively seek it and go against the grain of our culture. And it can be tough in a different way.

We are so tempted with all the material wealth and a kid in a candy shop...and we are supposed to walk out of the candy shop and say "No".  Kind of like how I was super tempted by all these Starbucks cappuccinos in my face...and I had to say to myself, "No. You don't need this. You could save the money and give it to someone in need".

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with buying Starbucks. But at that point in time, I had just listened to a sermon about people hungry,  suffering and being tortured and I'm like,

"hm, I want a Starbucks". It just seemed a little off, ya know?

There is such a huge disparity(inequality) between the way my brothers live in Laos and the way we live.

So what are we supposed to do about this?

My pastor's answer: "I don't know"

But he's starting to get an inkling. He read from Romans 12:2

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."

The very next day, this was the same verse that was in my Jesus Calling devotional. I think somebody is trying to tell me something. 

So. What is the pattern of this world? 

ME. ME. ME. We focus too much time thinking about ourselves and chasing what would make us happy.

I do this all the time. And it cuts me to the core. I hate it. Don't get me wrong. I think about other people a LOT too...but at the end of the day, I am pursuing whatever I can to be most comfortable after a long grueling day of raising my 4 boys. Gimme a book or a movie and let me rest in bed with a snack. And by golly, I must be warm. If I am cold, I will feel most excruciatingly miserable. 

And I may not give a rip about having a big house, fancy car, lots of clothing, vacations and dinner out. But I have my vices. Like etsy and ebay. Those are my danger areas. Those are my candy shops, so to speak. Alright, alright. I guess I like clothes more than I should too...

But I am comforted by the fact that is says "Do not conform any longer". Because it acknowledges that yes, I have screwed up. I have conformed. I have focused too much on my self and buying what I want. But from this point forward I can attempt to stop this pattern by renewing my mind in the bible. 

The most encouraging thing my pastor said was, "Instead of getting overwhelmed by being convicted over all of this...Do something. Not nothing. Don't be paralyzed."

He gave some examples, like preaching boldly in your workplace and rejoicing if you get passed up on that promotion.

Or instead of just giving the tithe, give above and beyond to where you actually feel it hurt. 

Take a step of faith and be willing to risk something...sacrifice something...for the sake of the gospel. And then embrace the resulting suffering. And then take another step. And another. 

Because suffering produces perseverance, which produces character, and character produces hope. The people of Laos have hope. Not in the things of this world. But in Jesus and the world to come. 

So I've been thinking a lot these past few days. SO much that my brain hurts. Steam is coming out. So many internal battles. And I have some ideas of things I would like to do...Things I am praying over. Things I am excited over but don't want to plow ahead unless the Lord leads. I have learned my lesson in this area. I know better than to fabricate my own ideas. I know better than to "do works" to earn the Lord's favor. 

Furthermore, I am super careful not to become legalistic over things. I'm not telling anyone they can't buy Starbucks or pretty new things (yah I felt a little shallow about my purchases after sunday's sermon). I certainly think it's ok to buy things, as long as it's not what you live for. Living a life for the Lord will look different for everyone. 

It's about your every day life, yielding to God and the Holy Spirit and obeying. It's about using your gifts/talents and money to further His kingdom. It's more about the gospel and being willing to tell people about Jesus even when it's so awkward. Believe me, I know about that.

Last week at the reading program, I got up in front of all the kids and gave the world's most awkward alter call. It went something like this. "Kids, following Jesus and giving your life to Him is the most important thing in the world. You can make this decision when you are small...or you can wait. But don't wait too long because you never know when you will drop dead"...

Eeeks. That came out kinda morbid. The adults in the room just looked at me kinda funny. 

However, it was good practice. And I will never get anywhere without trying.

(some of my boys I read with each week at the reading program)

I'm learning that every week at the reading program may not be a bucket full of excitement and I may not always see major life transformations. Heck, today they all came in bickering about something that happened at school. But relationships are being formed. The kids are learning to trust me. And just by virtue of being there, I get to see their tangible needs that I would be otherwise clueless of. It's all about the relationships that are forming and the gospel going forth.

Finally. I was at Walmart in line for a few items. The girls in front of me had on tons of makeup and looked borderline hooker-ish. The checker was an older man and he was chatting it up with them...making comments that were slightly inappropriate. I was skeeved and kinda shut down. But the girls treated him with such dignity, respect and kindness. My eyes kinda teared up at their genuine concern for this strange man. I was so ashamed of my snotty uppity self. That night, I learned to be nice to weird skeezy people because you NEVER KNOW how the Lord will touch the person in line behind you.


  1. This post spoke to me today. I've been having a lot of trouble lately getting the courage to talk about Jesus with people and to tell the gospel. It's definitely scary, but I'm so inspired by your words! When you said "take a step and be willing to risk something...sacrifice something... for the sake of the gospel" it really hit me hard. I have to be willing to sacrifice friendships for His kingdom. Thank you so much for this post!

  2. AMEN.
    lord, help us.
    good words here, sweet davi. you bless me.

  3. Davi this is great. Love that you were awkward for God in front of those boys,lol. Sometimes a lil fire n brimstone is ok :)

    Like what you said about the person in line behind you.

    My hubby is having surgery today and I've been gloomy about caring for him and our 7 week old. When I'm sleep deprived and cranky I will think of the people in Laos and embrace my suffering.

  4. Wow, Davi- Thanks so much for this. It is exactly what has been on my heart lately, except you put into words much better than I could have :)

    I appreciate you, and I'm so grateful for your encouragement.

  5. Good words. Really good.

    I've never been anything but self-centered really (We are created that way, of course) so it's hard to change that pattern for myself but I've been working on it. Counting my blessings and the easiness that is life here where I find myself complaining about not being able to buy that skirt I really want or worrying about the menial things I need to do.

    I can't preach the gospel freely yet I don't do it enough. Yikes. So many people in other countries risk everything to do it.

  6. So many thoughts - don't know how to express them all. Just wanted to say - thanks for taking the time to write hit home for me. Something I've been convicted about for sometime...'do I REALLY need another new shirt?!', etc.

  7. Thank you for sharing these thoughts!

  8. I love your pastor's words and your title: do something, not nothing. It is SO easy to totally shut down because of the sheer immensity of "things" to do or not do or whatever. Thanks for sharing these words and your convictions.
    I was getting to the "shut down" point and was totally feeling overwhelmed, and the Lord prompted me to go to Ann Voskamp's blog and one of her posts was about sponsoring children through Compassion International. THAT is something I can do, instead of doing nothing! Thank You Jesus for the ability to do something!

  9. I am in my 2nd year of Peace Corps service, serving both in West Africa and the Caribbean. Many Christians ask me, "Why PC over missions?" The reality is that PC service IS missions--to my fellow volunteers even more so than the locals. If I have learned anything, I've learned that the human soul longs for reunion with its Creator more than I (we) give it credit for. I've been humbled time and again by the open response to the gospel that I've encountered in such a worldly atmosphere. Continue to speak up, because people are more desperate than we think! The harvest is plentiful.

  10. Wow... so very deep- so very real- so very true!! What a great read for my morning- thank-you for helping keep things in perspective.

  11. Ahh, girl, Jesus is using you to pierce my heart! I am so serious, I was just thinking along these lines a few days ago, (trying to write a blog post, even) but I just wan't reaching any sort of conclusion. Not that I'm there yet (do we ever get there?), but the Lord has used you to totally help steer me there! Now to stir and pray over my "something"...
    Thanks again, Davi. :)

  12. That's a lot of God lessons in one week! It's so nice to know how hard God pursues us.

  13. great post! just what i needed to hear today!!!!!!! jesus calling ...such a great devotion! I love it when God stirs up our spirit!

  14. You are wise, and I love hearing your heart. God is using your words, my friend! xo

  15. dang. so good. so needed. you are so inspiring, friend. God is using you in mighty ways! i love hearing about it. makes me want more of JESUS too. love you.