First of all, it was beautiful and thrilling how many people came out to encourage our Lighthouse (short-term missions) teams tonight. It's a rough week for most people (like me) but if there's one thing missionaries need (besides funding :) ) it's prayer and encouragement. The theater where the service was held was packed out, all there of their own volition and all with a passion and a heart for the importance of missions. Beautiful.
The music took on a new, tangible meaning for me, too. The "generation rising to take its place" was real, composed of my peers and friends. They cried for God to "fill my heart and make me clean, open up my eyes to things unseen. Show me how to love like you love me." They will need it. My friends will need to be filled up, to be satisfied by Christ's love when everything else is unfamiliar and maybe even frightening, and to move past their concern for themselves to see what God is showing them through images of disease, poverty, godlessness, and unrest. I hope we mean all the words we sing in chapel on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I know that those men and women who will represent Taylor University most certainly meant those words together tonight.
Finally, Scott Moeschberger showed me what I want my future in missions to look like. He spoke from Micah 6:8, a verse most people around here know quite well: "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." But people the world over cry out for justice. Hamas and the IRA demand "justice." How is the Christian's justice different from the world's justice? It is motivated and dictated by the Love of Christ, the loyal, faithful, undying and self-sacrificing grace and mercy of our own dear God. And not only that, but when we give of ourselves we must do so with only Him in mind, demonstrating that we are nothing but servants of the great Judge, the one whose Truth will reign forever over the righteous and the wicked.
We speak of the "passion" of Christ on the cross. What is passion? Passion is love lived out, freely given from sacrifice and the depth of our souls. Passion is action motivated by faithfulness to the Holy Father who calls us and demands our very lives. Maybe it's easy (though I doubt it) to have passion for one month on a Lighthouse trip. But what else will you commit to your God?
This morning in church, Jason Dorsey (*sigh* my favorite) said that, yes, when you become a Christian, God will indeed require you to give up drinking or your sexual promiscuity or your gambling. But I'm sorry, that's only the easy part. GOD DEMANDS YOUR LIFE. Don't take this Christianity lightly. It goes beyond tithing or resisting temptation. When you sing, "Show me how to love like you have loved me," you had better expect Him to do that--because He will and it will hurt. It will be painful. If you turn your life over to God, He will turn your life upside down. HE WILL MESS WITH YOU.
Mercy, justice, humility, love, and passion are the road to which you commit yourself. Don't fool yourself when you try not to fear where God will take you. Don't diminish the call He has placed on your life. It will try you as the cross tried our Lord.
But know that His love and truth will be your comfort in the darkest of times. He will never lead you where He won't accompany you. He will not require of you what He did not do for us Himself. And wherever you go, even if you don't have an auditorium full of brothers and sisters to comfort you, live in the confidence that He will bless you richly for responding to His call. He will know you and you will know Him. You will be His witness and He will be your God.
Please pray for Sarah Albinson, Julie Coddington, Julie Hogan, Kayla Cange, and others who will be traveling to foreign countries in January to serve on Lighthouse teams.