Monday, February 11, 2008
India Part 3
I have spoken briefly about my inability to give of my whole self even in intimate relationships. I believe this is primarily due to the issue of self-acceptance. Put another way, I know that I have a problem accepting grace into my life. God has certainly been working with me and stretching me through the course of the trip and beyond by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Seamonds writes, “Thus gracious self-acceptance, delighting in ourselves because God loves and delights in us, is an essential aspect of spiritual and emotional maturity.” If I can not come to terms with the reality that all of my sins have been paid for, sins of the past, present and future, then I will be hard pressed to take the next step on the road of Christian discipleship.
The greatest example I can think of involving self-acceptance and the reality of grace given unconditionally were the orphans at
Keeping the above experience in mind, I am also learning that God takes the opportunity to shake us up a bit so that we can realize and be appreciative of His good gifts. It was a gift and a privilege to have the opportunity to fly half way across the world and visit God’s people in
A second area which God is stretching me in leadership is in the temptation to be relevant. I worked as a youth pastor in the two years between my undergraduate program seminary. Relevance to the youth was highly touted and trumpeted in the youth leader circles of which I was a part. The question was always, “What can we do next that is cool so we can get and keep their attention?” The problem was is was always self defeating. Nothing cool ever kept their attention. Towards the end of my brief career, I began to question this tactic and I have been even to this day, but old habits die hard. Nouwen states, “The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success, and to bring the light of Jesus there.” This tells me that we should make a clear break with relevance and concentrate on relationships instead. Namely, infusing or bringing others into a relationship with Christ. Relevance is objectifying and filled with propositions. Relational is subjectifying and filled with the reality of Christ. Relevance always looks for the next big thing. Relational always gives concern for the care of the person.
This was all confirmed to me on this trip. Richard Bates and I had a brief conversation about what it took to be successful in
 NKJV, 2 Corinthians 12:9
 Seamonds, pg. 127
 Nouwen, Henri J. In the Name of Jesus.
it's good reading and encouraging.
peace be with you,
Seriously though, some good thoughts. I never realy considered that God may have wanted everyone to be sick like they were. Leave it to me to be the one guy who goes all the way around the world, doesn't get sick there, but gets the flu when he gets home (and after that expensive flu shot too!) But I guess it never occurred to me that it was God's will that it went down that way. Good stuff man :)