Monday, April 29, 2013

What Message Are We Preaching?

"There is no way that Eric is a Christian."

I turned and looked at Frankely, a 22 year old with a severe spinal injury that has left him bed ridden and wondered if I had understood him correctly.  After all, I frequently visited Frankely, one of my bank associates son's, and would often pray for him before leaving.  Who did he think I was praying too?

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"Well you just don't act like most Christians that I know" He responded.  "You don't wear the right clothes and you like to joke around a lot."

We continued talking and soon Frankely's brother joined in telling me how he used to be a Christian.  I asked him what had happened and why he doesn't consider himself a Christian anymore.  Sadly, he explained to me how he was publicly humiliated in front of his church for a pair of "demon" jeans that he had been wearing. He was so ashamed, he vowed to never go back.

As I left Frankely's house that day, I was challenged by his and his brother's perception of a Christian.  It was obvious that the members of the local church had missed it and in some ways I had missed it too.


I have been reading a book called "Creature of the Word" by Matt Chandler and he talks about this idea of preaching.  Literally, in the Greek to preach means "to proclaim as a herald."  All of us, whether we admit it or not, are heralding or proclaiming a message in the way that we live our lives.  Some proclaim joy, some proclaim despair, and some proclaim that power, money, and fame are the pinnacle of human life.

It was clear in Frankely's case that some local church members were proclaiming a message of good behavior and conformity to a list of rules.  If you read the Gospels, you see that message proclaimed a lot by the Pharisees.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure that that they were simply doing what they thought was best and hoping to edify the church by casting out "sin" but the message they proclaimed lacked grace that flows from a heart centered on what Jesus had done for them.  Their message was missing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I reflected on the message I had been proclaiming, I realized that I had been visiting Frankely for months now and hadn't once started a conversation about Jesus.  I had been praying for him and assuming that through prayer, my message would be proclaimed.  Don't get me wrong, prayer is a powerful tool and God can do some pretty cool work when we pray BUT my message was incomplete.  My message was missing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So while I have been enjoying my visits with Frankely and with his brother, the next time I go, my desire is to proclaim a message actually worth sharing.  It isn't just a message that prayer is good but a message that saves.  A message that sanctifies.  It is a message that speaks of the good news of Jesus.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

MiBanco Quarterly - Thanks

Last September, the Microfinance Site embarked on a journey to start five more micro-banks in the surrounding communities of Jarabacoa. We had written a road map to help us navigate to our final destination but we also understood that we would not be able to get there on our own. We would have to trust that the Lord would provide others who could help us as we slowly trekked along our way.
Since we took off on that journey, we have been able to raise $13,486 of our $20,000 goal and most recently hired a lady named Puny to help start the new banks.

While our journey is far from over, it has been awe-inspiring to witness the way that many of you have generously provided a cold cup of water when we have needed it most. Thank you so much for all the notes of encouragement that you have sent, for lifting us up in prayer, and for the ways that you have given financially to our ministry. You have been a powerful reflection of the generous and gracious King we serve. Thanks!

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this. Everything comes from you and we have only given to you what comes from your hand.”
- 1 Chronicles 29:14