Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sometimes

I don't get homesick too often. I moved out of our family's house at the age of 17 when I went away to college and within six years I had lived in Tennessee, California, Hawaii and Arizona. I'm used to being away from friends and family (although that doesn't mean I don't miss them). However, every now and then a wave of nostalgia hits and I find myself wishing I was somewhere else. It happened around Christmas time when we got hit with the terrible rain and flooding...we wished we could be with family for Christmas. Today of all days it hit while I was driving in to prepare for church.

Today is Superbowl Sunday. I am not a big football fan and haven't really followed it much at all since I started surfing about 25 years ago. Yet, here I was, driving by the beach, wishing we were heading over to some friends' house to hang out, eat some junk food and watch the Superbowl. Obviously, it's not about the game...it's about the people. People that were a big part of our lives that we don't get to see any more. Every now and then we are reminded that there are sacrifices to doing what we do...big ones (like being away from friends and family or not having reliable running water for over six months...) and small ones (like laughing at the half-time commercials with people with whom you share a sense of humor). It has been over a year since our last visit to the States and we don't anticipate being able to come home until late July. It isn't as long as my parents spent in East Africa without a trip home, but it is a long time.

Tonight, we start the second half of Romans Chapter 5. Important stuff. Important concepts for us all to understand. We're born into a world filled with and infected by the disease we call sin. Just like smallpox was introduced to the Americas by one infected sailor (with terrible repercussions for everyone else in the "new world"), sin was introduced into the world by one man...Adam. Thank God that there's a cure for sin (unlike smallpox at the time). Thank God that life and reconciliation came through the one man Jesus Christ. Yeah, I'd love to be kicking back watching the Superbowl (for real) but this is a good thing too. Pray that this reality is grasped by those in attendance tonight... because understanding this; really, truly understanding it makes all the difference in the world not only in the long term but in how we live our lives on a day to day basis. The reality of God's grace and forgiveness is just a little bit more important than my desire to sit on a real couch and eat chips and drink a Coke.

I received this quote a couple of days ago. It really made my day. I hope you enjoy it too because it applies to everyone that is serving God anywhere at any time and in any way.

John 6:53-71
Just the other day someone said of a friend, "This man is destined for a great ministry," by which he meant he was headed for the big time - a high profile church with a big budget.
It made me wonder: Why do we think that God's call is necessarily upwardly mobile? Why wouldn't He send His best workers to labor for a lifetime in some small place? Aren't there people in obscure places who need to be evangelized and taught? God is not willing that any perish.
Jesus cared about the individual as well as the masses. He taught large crowds if they appeared, but it never bothered Him that His audience grew smaller every day. Many left Him. In John 6:66 it is written that, "at this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him", a fickle attrition that would have thrown most of us into high panic. Yet Jesus pressed on with those the Father gave Him.
We live in a culture where bigger is better, where size is the measure of success. It takes a strong person to resist that trend, especially if he or she is laboring in a small place.
But size is nothing: substance is everything. Whether you're pastoring a small church or leading a small Bible study or Sunday school class, serve them with all your heart. Pray, love, teach by word and example. Your little place is not a steppingstone to greatness. It IS greatness." David Roper

Making disciples in a small, obscure place. Sebas baptizing Anastasia two Sundays ago.







4 comments:

Whit said...

Awesome to see the pics of Sebas baptizing Anastasia!

Anonymous said...

Very Cool!!
Thanks for sharing the pics.
We are praying for all of you guys down there. Keep up the good work!
-Allen

Jeremy said...

Awesome post Barrett! Very encouraging. I'm going to take that quote and use it here in Roatan as well! Keep charging bro. We're praying for you!

Melissa said...

Hi you guys! I cried when I looked at those pictures of Sebas baptizing Anastasia. Such a beautiful work the Lord is doing in his life. It is encouraging huh. Your labor is not in vain. Heb. 6:10. Love you guys and miss you lots! Give a big hug to the girls from me! -Melissa Homakie :)