Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shepherds and Sheep

It's no secret (at least we hope not!) that we have come to feel an increasingly stronger call to long-term, bi-vocational ministry over our past few years as volunteer missionaries. Indeed, in some ways it feels like a natural extension of the sort of multifaceted work we've been doing in coffeehouses overseas.

For those reasons, this morning's reading from our devotional guide resonated even more strongly as we begin to think and pray and dream about what sort of pastoral opportunities God might be calling us to in the not-so-distant future:

"The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 

"You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them.

"So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them." -Ezekiel 34:1-6 (NRSV)

Such challenging (and convicting) words for ministers and missionaries everywhere! :) We all know sheep who have been lost for some of these reasons - and some of us have even been the sheep who got lost for these reasons!

We invite you to pray alongside us as we seek to know God's will and plan and (especially) timing for the things God is calling us -all of us- to do, and that we might be the people that God is calling us -all of us- to be. :) God can be trusted!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I think.

There is always enough money for our needs.
That's God's provision, I think.

But there is seldom (ever?) enough money for our wants and needs.
That's stewardship, I think.

There is never enough money, it seems, for everyone's needs.
At least not if we're all wrapped up in pursuing our wants.
That's why we're called to social justice.

To feed the hungry; to nourish the thirsty; to shelter the stranger;
to clothe the naked; to visit the imprisoned.

I think.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Disciples serve.

"The world's system of reward has nothing to do with the disciple's reward. A disciple of Jesus Christ is called first to be servant of all, and the leader is to take the lowliest position of service. 

This system turns the world's concept of leadership upside down. The first disciples found it hard to understand and even more difficult to live by such a value system.

But Jesus seems to say there is no other way.  Disciples serve.
-Reuben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God