Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roots & Parasites

Lately God has really been dealing with me about the disconnect there is between the talk about relationship with Him.  So many talk about God in this country.  Somebody wins a football game or makes a new gangster rap album and they glibly give glory to God but relationship with Him isn’t just about saying Yea Lord every time you get what you want then when you don’t act like God’s failed and you’re desperately angry with Him.  I’ve heard it said that spirituality in America is a thousand miles wide and an inch deep.  Some would call this secularization but I think you could just as easily call it religion.  Religion to me is defined as a form of godliness without the power thereof.  Simply put it’s talking about God without actually knowing Him at all.  I hate that in my own life and strive to know the heart of God when I look in the Bible or pray.  I don’t want to quote scripture that isn’t alive to me personally or just say what someone else says or just put up the scripture of the day without doing my own reading.  Faith comes by hearing the Word of God according to the Bible…I’m convinced hearing doesn’t mean in one ear and out the other hearing.  We are moving out in a big way this year.  Doing far more than in years past.  The Philippines is a huge piece of what we’re doing.  The dangers there are very severe and my family and I will leave a month before everyone else to prepare a way for them…find housing for a large international team with members from Ghana and Canada and the US, open bank accounts…establish a firm relationship with the new contact we have there…it’s immense and can’t be done without faith.  Faith will only come with relationship with God and actually listening not only to what He says but trusting Him…that can only come from real relationship.  Remember us in prayer please!  Next month we will be heading to Chicago for some meetings in a Ghanaian church.  The pastor there was touched by the ministry when we went to Ghana many years ago and this could be a very good connection.  Our plan is to go to Ireland again this April for three weeks and by God’s grace go to the Philippines September through the end of October then return to Ghana in January of 2012…this will require great faith to say the least.  We are a small ministry in numbers but God delights in using that which is foolish in the eyes of the world (and to us at times) and making great things happen.  Again:  please remember us in prayer!  Christ and our faith in him is the root of our strength…doubt and religion are the parasites that seek to destroy all.


Looking back on our trip to Ghana I still hear the echo of God’s plan.  It does help bolster my faith.  While there we saw such amazing trees…some looked to have a gnome in the bark…can you see it?  I thought that the vines were a natural part of the tree but like when we lived in Tulsa, OK when my parents attended Bible school we were looking at trees that had parasitic vines attached to them.  These vines restrict growth and suck the life out of the trees.  Often al that would be left is a lifeless husk of the tree while the parasite vines were all that was left alive.  Note the holes in the trunk of that tree?  This was made more evident when we came to one of the largest trees we’d seen up to that point in our stay in Ghana.  It was so large you could go inside and look out through the hard wood husk that the parasites had killed.  It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.  Standing inside this dead tree looking outbut then I looked up and beheld a far more amazing view!  How was this tree still standing at all?  From the outside it wasn’t so easy to tell that it was actually deadin fact you might think that woodpeckers had visited but surely this huge tree couldn’t be dead!  Now though you could still see the roots that looked strongit was completely dead, we were the most lively thing about this tree now!  Abby and Bridgette joined the funbut I was listening to the still small voice in all of this.  Here stood a perfect example of what I was speaking about in the paragraph above.  God’s good tree, relationship with us has been eaten alive by the parasite of religion to the point where often all that’s left is a shadow of that which is meant to be but unlike this tree that has no hope to live again we always have hope to revive that which is often lost in a world of inch deep spirituality.  I almost felt dizzy with these thoughts rushing into me striking my heart.  We walked on seeing something that always reminds me that I’m in Africa…nobody can balance loads on their head like Africans…how she kept her load from melting all over here I have no idea!  I love the jungle and it’s exotic wondersyet even here in this land so different from what I know here in America the familiar voice of God was speaking to me.  Leading me down familiar paths with new revelation that continued to prove the case that our God is alive!  He’s not some dead husk of religionbut is a person who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten son that we may have relationship with Him…this is the path I choose


I want to finish this with the remaining pictures of the jungle area we walked…I hope it warms you up!  I wondered what this structure used to be.  Looking down I saw this…you’ve got to be kidding me!  LOL!  Obama Biscuits?!?  I don’t know what these are actually called but I thought they could easily be calldd jelly fish orchids!  These were so strange and wonderful!  Oh, how beautiful!  Hans and his wife Barbara was with us…Hans will be going with us to the Philippines but the grace of God.  The sounds of the jungle…all was perfect…but where’s Tarzan?  I’ve walked to villages in the Philippines and Thailand on paths much like this one.  Wanna climb a vine?  Then the torrential rain came but it didn’t dampen the spirits of any of us…if this doesn’t bring a bit of a smile to your face and a bit of warmth to your heart I don’t know what else to do!  God bless you all!