I Live Here too……

Numbers 35:34 (The Message):  “Don’t desecrate the land in which you live. I live here, too—I, God, live in the same neighborhood with the People of Israel.”

I live here too.  

God lives in your neighborhood.

God lives in my neighborhood.

How cool is that?   No matter where you live, God lives there too.

But now think of something else, if God lives in your neighborhood and God lives in my neighborhood, that means He also lives in the slums in Chicago and He lives in the jungle in the Amazon and He lives in the poverty stricken places like the Central African Republic and Rwanda and Cite Soleil (the biggest “slum” in Haiti.”)

And God says those are His neighborhoods.   

Do you think the time is going to come where God is going to ask us, those of us who live in really nice neighborhoods, a really important question?

“What did you do to show love to those who lived in my neighborhood – but it wasn’t as nice of neighborhood as yours?”

“What did you do to show love to the people in my neighborhood who were struggling?”

“What did you do with the really nice neighborhood that I gave you to live in?”

God lives in our neighborhood – an awesome thought – but also a big responsibility…….

Tom

Why Not?

Last week, we talked about the Matthew West song and about how God has created us to make a difference for the hurting in this world.

You can read that here – http://tomvanderwell.net/2014/04/god-created-me/

Today, I want to wrestle with the next step.    So, let’s assume that you’re okay with the idea that God created you and God created me to make a difference and to fight injustice in this world.

But there’s part of you that says, “Yeah, I’m good with fighting injustice as long as I stay comfortable.”

But what if God says different?    What if God says He wants you to step way out of your comfort zone?    What if God says………?

Our typical answer is going to be “Why?”

Why did my position get eliminated?

Why haven’t other doors opened up?

Why isn’t God’s plan clear right now?

Instead, I think we need to ask a different question.

Ask “Why Not?”

Why wouldn’t God pick me to make a change for Him?

Why not me?

Why not me – to lead the fight to end injustice?

Why not me – to advocate for those who have no one?

Why not me to step out of my comfort zone?

Make sure you ask the right question……

The answer will mean the world to someone – and maybe to  you too.

Tom

The Wizard of OZ

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading through the devotional book, “He Walks Among Us” by Richard and Rene’ Stearns.   

In the section that I read today, Rene’ says something really important while talking about the Wizard of Oz –  “Like Dorothy’s friends, we also  have within us the capacity to be more than we make think we are.”

More than we think we are…….

Hmmmm, that kind of hits home, doesn’t it.   We have more capacity than we give ourselves credit for.

Does that mean we all have the capacity to move overseas and become a missionary?    Hah, even asking the question is funny.

Does that mean we all have the ability to adopt a child (or children)?   Nope – there are a lot of people who aren’t, for a variety of reasons, in the right time and place to adopt a child.    Many will never be.

But many who say, “I’m not able to adopt” really are, they just don’t think they are.

And many who think they aren’t able to volunteer at the local homeless shelter are.

And many who think they aren’t able to do “something” to help the less fortunate really can, it’s just outside of their comfort zone.

How does the saying go?

God doesn’t call the qualified.   He qualifies the called.

And He’s calling all of us to be a lot more qualified than we think we are capable of.

So what is He calling you towards?

Listen and follow.    The world will be a better place if we all do.

Tom

Accept the Cure

Another one of the “jewels” that I learned again on Easter Sunday morning is something that I’ve known all of my life but I heard it in a new way that makes it a lot easier to explain to people.

Many people say that there are “unpardonable” sins.   That someone who has murdered or who is in jail for sexual assault or _______________ (fill in the blank) can’t go to heaven because of what they’ve done, who they’ve hurt or the pain they have caused.

God says that’s not true.    God will accept anyone and everyone.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

Sin is a disease.   It’s the worst disease ever.

God gave us the cure.    We remembered the events behind God giving us the cure this past weekend.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

That means we need to say, “God, I know that I’m a sinner, I know I don’t deserve it, but I want your cure.   I believe in your cure.”

All we have to do is accept the cure.

That means that once we accept the cure, God wipes us clean of the disease.

Our sin is gone.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

And no matter what we’ve done, no matter how we’ve messed up, no matter who we’ve hurt, God claims us as His own.

All we have to do is accept the cure.

I have, have you?

Tom