Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Moment

I have a good friend in Louisiana. I like to call him “Big D.” He is a very kind-hearted guy with an interesting philosophy on life. He once taught me an important lesson.

Years ago while visiting the third world in Louisiana, Big D offered to take me for a boat ride. I quickly agreed, not understanding all I was in for. It seems he is famous for his boat rides. On this particular day in February it was cold on Lake Pontchartrain. I was unfamiliar with the bogs and curious about housing I was seeing and found it to be fascinating.

After a couple of hours we pulled into a beat up looking joint for lunch. I was unsure if the place met the sanitary codes, even in Louisiana. He assured me it was ok, even for people from “up north.”

I was inwardly shocked as he ordered us a bucket of crawdads for lunch. I remember catching crawdads in the creek when I was a kid but had never considered eating them. My friend was patient showing me how to eat the crawdads. I have to admit they were excellent. He even showed me how to suck the juice, and whatever else might be there, out of the heads. To my surprise this was the best part of the whole affair.

With our bellies full, and the restaurant customers at a greater ease with yankees, we pulled off the dock. The waves were rough on the lake. The sun was shining but the chill in the air remained, creating the perfect day. As I was enjoying all of this, my host let me in on his philosophy of life. “David”, he said, “life is really a series of moments; moments just all kind of strung together.” I swear to you with a belly full of crawdads staring into the setting sun as we scooted across the lake, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I’m not sure it it’s good or bad but I think something fundamentally changed in my perspective on life that day. I have never forgotten it and seem to even live it whether I want to or not. The philosophy has a power of its own that stands independent.

It seems to me that on most every mission excursion I am on, there comes a moment. It is a moment that seems to define in some microcosmic-sort-of-way the entire trip. After many mission endeavors, I have in my head, and I think even in my spirit, a lot of “moments” that are like a string of pearls displaying God’s movement across the world. I had a moment recently while in Asia.

We had been teaching in an underground setting for days but it felt like weeks. The schedule was more demanding than my soft western work ethic was accustomed to. We were teaching several hours each day and preaching each evening. We were in our last session of the meetings. I was tired and could barely stay awake.

The teaching was on the Beatitudes. Extensive time had been spent on this with about an hour devoted to each one of them. My friend was teaching on the last one, “Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” As my friend read this verse she began to get choked up. Her crying was enough that she could no longer continue.

This sort of public display of emotion in Asia is very uncommon, if not altogether inappropriate. She tried to gain control but was unable. I awoke from my daydreaming to see what was happening. Her emotion was being met by only stoic faces. What they could not understand I recognized immediately. As she read this passage aloud to a people who had been imprisoned and beaten for their faith, the truth of it was overwhelming.

I stood to help her. Honestly, I was overcome with the same emotion and was having some difficulty myself. I told them why we were emotional. I then shared that it is very difficult for us to stand before them and teach about persecution. I told them that while we don’t talk about it we knew what they had experienced. I told them it was not only us who knew they had been jailed and beaten, it was known by the whole world. I encouraged them by saying we were not their teachers at this point, but rather, they had taught the entire world the truth of the passage in front of us.

As I spoke, the stoic faces began to break and tears began to flow. They began to explain that they were unaware that anyone knew of their suffering. Their weeping was from a knowledge that not only did we know, but God had obviously seen their suffering. As they embraced us on the way out, I thought that perhaps that day, at that moment, they received the kingdom in a whole new way just as the scripture has promised. It was indeed a moment. I will never forget it.

David Fuller

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Inside Outside

I don’t know about you but sometimes I live life inside my head. I was at a conference recently where it was reported that the average person has 1500 words per minute of internal dialogue. I can totally believe it. Some of us have more than that! It is exhausting is it not? Not to mention confusing, lonely and sometimes tormenting.

Many times these thoughts lead us to despair or despondency. Thoughts like, “should have, would have, could have.” Thoughts like, “do they..., do I..., does he..., does she...what if...?” You fill in the blank. Thoughts of failure, past, present or future. Fears of all kind; death, aging, future, money, children and many more. We can become so confused about what we feel and what we know to be true that we end up paralyzed and immobilized. I am convinced the enemy has his fair share of these thoughts.

I have decided I don’t have time to live life inside my head. Why get bogged down and paralyzed on confusing thoughts that lead no where when there is an incredible and exciting life God has planned for me? What will be required to live this life outside of my head? The answer is Presence. I want 2010 to be a year that I contend for His Presence daily; a year where I take captive those 1500 words per minute making them obedient to Christ. We can’t afford thoughts that are not sanctified by a living holy God who loves us and has called us to be the light of the world.

I have no “New Years Resolutions” for 2010, just a prayer. Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.”

My prayer for the church in 2010 is that she will wake up to realization of the battle that rages over her mind to keep her in complacency, despondency and despair. I pray she will wake up to the realization of who she is in Christ Jesus and say “NO MORE” to that great foe of hers. I pray she will stand in the Name above all names and walk in her full destiny. I pray she will contend for the Presence of Jesus daily and live outside of her head and in the reality of Him.

Happy New Year!

Joy Fuller