We’ve all heard the story of Jonah and how he tried to run away from God. Of course, we know that didn’t work out too well for him. He had to sit in the belly of a giant fish until he decided that he would listen to God. We all have our Nineveh. It’s that one thing in the back of your mind that you know you need to do but it’s the last thing you want to do. Jonah ran away because he was scared and often we do the same thing.
For a while, my Nineveh was mission work. I heard God speaking to me through the people at my church calling me to get involved but that scared me. I haven’t even graduated high school yet God was calling me to leave the country and do His work. That seemed much bigger than I thought I was able to do. So I just ignored the nagging in the back of my mind for as long as I could. Obviously, I didn’t end up sitting in the literal stomach of a huge fish. However, I always felt drained and never quite right. Eventually, I got the hint and I talked to someone from my church who had decided to sell all her stuff and move to Guatemala for mission work. By the end of the conversation, we were making plans for me to come down and do missions with her for a week. After that God had opened my heart and I felt joy for the first time in a while. This then led to the opportunity to join the LHI team in going to Peru. Both opportunities have been nothing short of a blessing.
The amazing thing is that if God calls you to do something He’s not going to send you into the situation unprepared and empty-handed. I felt unqualified for what God was calling me to do, but all I had to do was open up my heart to what God was trying to show me. So today as you think about what God is calling you to do, whether it be a huge project or just a random act of kindness, let God guide you, without trying to run from Him.
Missions Spotlight: Nicaragua
Alex Davila leads a small group Bible study in Nicaragua. He also maintains a public YouTube channel and radio broadcast, sharing the Good News. If you would like to check his website out (La Biblia y las religions: The Bible and religion), you can visit http://labibliaylasreligiones.com. He is also a perfect Spanish-English bilingual and would love to hear an encouraging message from you!
Pictured above is Alex preaching at the Lima Church in Peru. We love it when Alex accompanies us when we travel to Peru.
Community is a compound word: common and unity. This means that we are a group of people unified by what we have in common. This is a perfect example of the Body of Christ: unity through common beliefs. Just like our human bodies are unified by the drive to survive, the body of believers are unified by Christ.
Sometimes, as Christians, we can get caught up in our differences. Quarrels over wine vs. grape juice for communion, tattoos vs. no tattoos as a Christian, and Sunday school before or after the church service take place all over the nation. Now, some of these quarrels seem silly, but you know as well as I do that feelings are hurt over simple differences in ideas. In Galatians 5:6, Paul reminds us “for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love”. It is our faith, exemplified by our love, that counts, not the small differences (or similarities) we may have.
Today, I want to remind you that we have more in common with one another than we have differences. The Church should be the tightest-knit group of people in the universe. We should have the highest sense of morale and comradery. Watching the Olympics gets me hyped as I see hockey teams, and ice skating duos, curling teams (yes, even curling can be exciting) accomplish big things together. Their sense of togetherness and years of hard work to achieve a common goal awakens my drive to seize the day. Guess what, we have GOD and His son, JESUS CHRIST living in US!!! Imagine the radical acts of love we can achieve with divine power, strength and grace living in us. Jesus says that the world should be able to know who we are by how we love one another. What are you doing to show your neighbor your radial love?
You have probably heard this verse before, but I want to take it back to its original Greek. 1 Corinthians 6:19 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own..”. All of the times that you and your are mentioned in this verse they are actually plural which translates from the Greek into English as ‘you all’. Grammatically, this is known as the second person plural, and something our English Bibles hide from us sometimes because we do not have a direct translation for the second person plural that sounds nice in English. The closet thing we have in English is ‘you all’ or if you are in the south then ‘y’all’. Can you imagine your Bible saying “do you not know that y’all’s bodies are a temple of the Holy spirit”? Due to the mistranslation of this verse into English people usually take this verse on an individual level. The meaning of this text then becomes a verse used to support exercise to keep your “temple” nice however what the author originally intended was to mean the body of Christ is the temple. This means that how we treat each other as the body directly correlates to what the temple is like. That is a very important statement! When we are angry with or hate our fellow believers, we are desecrating the new temple that God has set up.
If you look at how the temple was treated in the Old Testament we see how holy and sacred it was. We need to translate the holy aspect of the Old Testament temple to the body of Christ today. So what exactly does it look like to be holy to each other? It is patience, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Next time you want to be angry at someone remember that how you treat them affects the holiness of the temple, the place that God dwells. Reading the passage for its original meaning is much more difficult than a simple command to exercise and eat well. It is a command on how we should be as a community. Try reading the passage in this way, “Do you not know that your community is a temple of the Holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God”. This is Paul lifting the community of believers to a higher level. I encourage you to take up that call and to bring even more glory to God’s community of believers.
The latter half of Acts 2 describes a true community of Christ. The Church devoted themselves to teaching, to fellowship, to breaking bread together, to giving to the needy, and all the while with glad and sincere hearts (Acts 2:42-47). Let’s reach out to each other. Let’s strive to love each other in a radical way that makes the world hunger for what we have.
Reaching out is exactly what Alex is doing in Nicaragua with his radio ministry. Our love doesn’t stop within our culture, or backyard or our nation; we are an international community. Although we can’t break bread with our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, we can encourage them even from afar. Alex would love to hear from you! Just a simple message saying hi, the church you attend, and that you are thinking of him can go a long way. You can find him on Facebook under the name ‘Alexander Davila’. Remember, he is a perfect bilingual, so no need to use a translator. Radical love awaits us ❤
Josiah & Amber Cain