Luke 24:13-32
This is Jesus heartburn(I have to credit Dallas Willard for this term!)...31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

water into wine

Over a month ago some of the girls sang a song in church that has been stuck in my head since then. It doesn't help that I hear a child singing it at least once a day; it has a catchy tune and I can't seem to stop singing it....the lyrics go something like this...(you'll have to add your own tune)
"Mary, Mary was a virgin woman
Mary, Mary was a virgin woman
Mary, Mary was a virgin woman
Master Jesus turned water into wine.
David, David was a small boy
David, David was a small boy
David, David was a small boy
Master Jesus turned water into wine."
There were lots of verses naming characters of the Bible and each ended the same.

This morning, in our Bible Study, we came to the verses in John where Jesus went to the wedding and turned the water into wine...the kids had some great did Jesus drink wine?!? why did he talk to his mother like that?!? why didn't he announce what he was doing and do it infront of everyone instead of keeping it a secret?!? (okay, so maybe these were questions Pst. Daniel and I asked but I'm sure the kids were thinking them!) and the discussion lead to a point where we talked about Jesus taking what is ordinary and turning it into extraordinary...
God took and ordinary girl and made her the mother of the Messiah!
God took a small shepherd boy and turned him into a king!
God took a homeless murderer and saved a nation!
Jesus called some fishermen and made them leaders of a world-wide movement!
Jesus took a small meal and fed a multitude!
Jesus turned H20 into (okay so here, if I was smarter, I'd put the chemical dohicky for wine, I'm sure it's much more complicted that H20!)

What was the point really? That we are all ordinary. Many days the confession that I read this morning in my new favorite book I am naked and I am right ashamed. I know how monstrously inhumane I can be. Raging at children for minor wrongdoings while I'm the one defiling the moment with sinful anger. Hoarding possessions while others die of starvation. Entertaining the mind with trivial pretties when I haven't bowed the head and heart in a prayer longer than five minutes in a week. My tongue has had a razor edge and my eyes have rolled haughty and my neck has been stiff and graceless and I have lived the filth ugly, and idolater, a glutton, and a grace thief who hasn't had time for thanks. And yet God uses me.

I had the priveledge this week to listen to our senior staff tell the stories of redemption that make them the men and women they are today...

A Muslim boy became a pastor who leads hundreds to Christ...Master Jesus turned water into wine!
A street wise girl became a children's ministry leader and the mother of 2...wait 25...Master Jesus turned water into wine!
A man hurt terribly by war became a man who brings peace....Master Jesus turned water into wine!
A young mother, abandoned by her boyfriend became a nurse who encourages and calls our girls to chose a different way...Master Jesus turned water into wine!

For the children we talked about how God chose them...they were no different than any other child living on the street or in the fatherless & motherless homes of Sierra Leone. Yet, God chose them for a purpose, a plan bigger than themselves and bigger than any of us can fathom.
Some of them will end up in America because God has a plan and a purpose for them there.
Some will stay in Salone because God wants to change a nation for himself.
Some will go to Ghana, Malawi or wherever! (One boy thinks Brazil would be a great place for God to send him because they have a FINE soccer team!!!!) God will take these ordinary children and turn them into extraordinary followers of Him! None of them will be left out or not chosen...God has a calling for each of them...they just have to be willing to listen to the Jesus Heartburn.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I have to let you in on a bit of a secret...the kids at The Covering are KIDS...they are not always precious little angels dressed up all cute in their Christmas clothes and filled with gratidue and gentleness. I'm sure that's a surprise to you! It always surprises me when the darling little 3-year old girl pitches a fit or that sweet boy that loves to cuddle with me hauls off and slaps the darling little 3 year-old. It happens all over the world! Even in Sierra Leone with our special little ones.
Here's an example, you know that moment, after everyone has opened their Christmas presents and said their thank yous and then you wish that you had gotten something else...maybe the sweater is the wrong color or the vidoe game is the wrong version...and in America we have this little thing called a return policy and we return what we didn't want and get what we did! It's soooo convenient! It's hard to be grateful for the thing that we didn't want or didn't seem to work right. Our kiddos did the same thing...just minutes after opening Christmas presents (that they were EXTREMELY grateful for and it was so fun to watch them open all the gifts) some of them started looking around and noticing that others got something "better" than them, there were a few that were missing pieces, and some of the boys didn't realize that if you take the motorized car apart it won't work anymore:) they had theirs in pieces in no time! And then it was, Aunty Cari I want that one or I don't like this color or mine is broken. And there is no return policy in Sierra being content with what we recieve is one of  the hardest lessons to learn on either side of the pond.
And here's the deal...I realized in the midst of it that I do the EXACT same thing with God (and something tells me I'm not the only one)...I recieve gifts from him, presents everyday and after a few moments of gratitude I begin to wonder "WHAT WAS HE THINKING!?!?" this is not what I expected or asked's messy or's painful or not quite right. "Gee, Lord, thanks for this beautiful day to spend at the beach, but it would have been better if the waves were a bit bigger." "Lord, this $15 pint of ice cream I splurged on for Christmas is sooo good, thanks for providing it for me, but could you just make sure the electricity stays on because the more times it melts and freezes the worse it tastes:)" OR "Lord, thank you for the priveledge of being a part of bringing hope and life to these kids, but it's just not home and I am tired of being in this 3rd culture exsitance." "Lord, I'm grateful for these precious moments, BUT..." and there seems to always be a BUT.
So, I've done my gratefulness list...and I'm going to keep working on it and now I need to work on getting rid of the BUT...maybe SL will help me erase the buts and my butt (sorry, I had to put that...just some "little" humor since I missed all the holiday jokes!) 'cuse rice will do that and so will $15 pints of ice cream and no return policy.

-dancing boys during prayer time
-dreams for tomorrow
-reconnecting with friends
-quiet mornings