What a child reminded me

Last week I had the privilege to speak to a group of elementary aged girls about missions in general and what it means to be a missionary for me personally. I enjoyed this immensely! I know I have talked about how I disliked teaching in the past on this blog, but in all honesty; I love teaching. It doesn’t matter what the subject content is, if I know about it, I enjoy helping others learn it too. I struggled as a teacher, mostly because of the situations that the parents, students and myself could not control. But I digress, that has nothing to do with the point of this blog.

After I got done telling the girls about where I was going, what I was doing and I taught them some German words and phrases I opened the floor to questions. For anyone who has ever asked any kids for questions, this can be a little scary. You don’t know what is going to come out of their mouth. After getting through the “How do you say my name in German” questions and the “Were you allergic to anything when you were two” question (seriously a question that I was asked) one girl raised her hand and asked me a question that was as good as smacking me in the face.

It started like a bunch of the other questions, but then finished with a gut check for me. She said, “How do you say…Jesus in German?” I looked at her with a face that had to resemble how most people would look after seeing calculus for the first time. I was shocked, stunned and amazed. Such a simple question….but I didn’t know the answer. Holy goodness! I am going to Germany as a missionary and I didn’t even think to learn this yet. I’ve taken German for a few years, but that was at a public school, so Jesus wasn’t exactly talked about. I felt embarrassed  admitted my lack of knowledge and told the girls that i would look it up that night, because that little girl was right; I should know it.

As best as I was able to find online, Jesus is pronounced like it would be spelled Yeyzeus, kind of. The e sound used in German for Jesus doesn’t translate well to English. I could be wrong, but again not the major point of this blog.

Over the past two years I have been so consumed with raising financial support that I tend to forget the main reason I am going over. I am going to Germany to talk to people about Jesus, to develop relationships with people and to make online courses to help others spread the Gospel. I need to go back to the basics sometimes and return to the reason why God has called me to Germany.

So I say thank you to that young girl. Thank you for the verbal smack in the face.

What are you doing in your life that you need to be reminded of the real reason you were doing it in the first place? Leading or attending a Bible study? Teaching Sunday School? Going to work every day?

Let this blog serve as a virtual smack in the face and go back to the basic, the real reason God has us where we are.

Coffee, with cream and theology? part 3

If you didn’t read my blog on Monday, let me catch you up really fast. As I am today, I normally do most of my work at Plate 21, a coffee-house in South Toledo. Last week I was house-sitting about 15 minutes away so I decided to go to The Flying Joe instead. While there I noticed three pieces of art hanging on the wall and I wanted to share with you all my thoughts about the sayings contained within each one. Monday I talked about living a little each day for Christ which for most of us would be an improvement over our current day-to-day lives. Wednesday I talked about living with the fantasy of Heaven in mind.  Below is the third piece of art.

“Redeem Yourself, You Are Your Biggest Cash Prize.” Let me let that sink in for a bit…..

Ok, so what do you think about this saying? Do you think that if all of your potential was released that it would be as amazing as a big cash prize? Are what you are made of that awesome?

My answer to that last question is a simple yes…..and no. Alright it’s not that simple, but the first part is very simple. We are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) so therefor we are made of some pretty amazing stuff.

The no part is pretty simple too. As Paul says, “So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:17-19) I can attest that personal, I suck. I can do good things here and there, but overall I suck compared to how I am supposed to be living.

The awesome thing is what Paul says later in Romans 17:24-8:2, ” Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the powerof the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

So really, I guess what I am saying is that we aren’t the biggest cash prize we could receive. Anything that is good within us is only because of God. Jesus is the biggest cash prize we could ever receive and it is my honest hope that you experience just how amazing it is when you win the lottery that is a relationship with Jesus.