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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Redemption Is So Much Better Than Perfection

It’s the title of a song by Kristene Mueller. The title alone speaks volumes and moves me every time I think about it. So often we struggle for perfection when God is all about redemption. Think about it. Which is more beautiful, something perfect and in need of nothing, or something that has been devastated, broken beyond repair and put back together to such a condition that the brokenness is not even evident? We are tempted to take the credit with perfection. God gets the glory in redemption.

I was thinking just this morning about a situation in my life many years ago. David and I were living in another state working in inner city ministry. It was a difficult place to minister. At that point in our lives we didn’t even know what spiritual warfare was. We were so naive. We thought we could do inner city mission work, which had consumed our lives, without a spiritual covering. We were on a merry-go-round. Our marriage hit an all time low. Then I found out I was pregnant. Let me say loud and clear that I believe children are a blessing, but talk about timing. I had a few things to say to God about the matter. He surely did not know what He was doing.

Many years later I continue to marvel at the goodness of God and how He used that child to bring redemption in my marriage. I stood again this morning with tears in my eyes reminded of His goodness as that child spoke to a crowd of teenagers about being a servant of God. I could see the calling on his life. I could see the perfect timing of his life. I could see the blessing he is to so many. I could see today what I couldn't see many years ago. God didn’t just redeem and restore my marriage, He gave me a beautiful gift that I can look at everyday as a reminder of His great love for me; His goodness; His redemption.

Things lost, stolen, broken, thrown away, and used up are the things He works best with. They are like fresh clay in a potter’s hands. He doesn’t do much with perfection; except maybe humble us. If you find yourself thinking “it’s too late”, I pray you’ll be encouraged because there is One who longs to redeem your rubble for treasures.

The darker the night the brighter the day

The fiercer the fight the stronger the faith

So I place my hope in you

The deeper the sin the stronger the blood

The more to forgive the more reason to love

So I place my hope in you

In your ways oh God, redemption so much better than perfection

In your ways oh God, redemption so much better than perfection

over and over you prove yourself faithful

over and over you prove yourself a redeemer

So I place all my hope in You

Song by Kristene Mueller

Joy Fuller

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Go?

Not long ago as I prepared to leave for a particular country in the Middle East, I was confronted with a question. The question came in many forms but the essence of it was always the same. The question rose from several sources, however it primarily came from church folks. The question had two parts to it and was generally asked in the midst of what appeared to be a state of shock. The question was, “You are going where? Why?”

Now, I understand the nature of this question even if I am not in total agreement with it’s premise. My tactic was to seize the moment to make a point. My wife tells me this is not one of my finer qualities. I assured her I gave a Jesus-like response with “Why not?” You see how much like Jesus this is? When you read the New Testament quite often Jesus answered a question with a question. Sometimes He still does this when I ask Him something. I am convinced I was providing a WWJD response. My wife says I was being a smart alec.

Moving beyond just a “why not” answer I think the question really does deserve a response. Why would one go to a country known for it’s fundamentalist Islamic extremes? Why would one go to a country that is basically in an undeclared war with our country? What reception could one realistically expect in such a place?

In reality the why is simple. Jesus provides this example in the gospels as He traveled to every town and village. There were some towns He went to where crowds gathered in adulation. In other places He was basically run out of town. Still He went. He went to every town and village. He went to proclaim that the kingdom had come and the offer of becoming a citizen in that great kingdom was open to all who would come. He went to display this kingdom bringing healing and deliverance so that the nature of it might be understood. The “why go” is pretty easy to understand. We go for the same reason our master and model went.

The harder question is actually “how?” This is implied in the questioning I get. When you go won’t they do harm to you? Isn’t it true that people have been abducted or even killed in that place? How will you go to such a place and do anything constructive much less kingdom building?

I don’t mean to be cavalier with the response but I think it’s important to understand the how. The how is in fact rooted in who we are. Far more important than the strategy of how to go is to go with the understanding that we are the sons and daughters of the King! A King whose kingdom is superior to all others. A King to whom all others must bow. Consequently, we who are His children have inherited every spiritual blessing of this kingdom and in fact, are co-heirs with this King.

I am still here to testify that there are physical and/or natural repercussions to this spiritual and supernatural truth. We walk in a different realm. I have noticed the reality of this absurdity. I have noticed it when seeing eyes are blinded to articles brought through customs. It was noticeable as Imam’s welcomed the word of God in their mosques. I have noticed it as we worshiped and prayed for fundamentalist Islamic soldiers. I saw it on the last trip as devout Muslims befriended us and helped us.

The cool thing about all of this is the recognition that all of us are free to be involved with our King in His work. No matter where and at what point that invitation is extended, we can accept the invitation without fear. We can accept the invitation with confidence. Not confidence in and of ourselves but confidence in a King who rose from the grave and is seated at the right hand of God in heavenly places far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named AND in a King who has seated us with Him in the same heavenly places.

David Fuller