Last week I wrote about entire cultures comprised of people who never get a chance to truly celebrate Christmas—because they’ve never heard of Jesus. There are over three billion people who live in these ethno-linguistic groups, about 40% of the earth’s population. I also explained that of these people groups, there remain approximately 1,400 (around 568 with populations over 5,000) who are unengaged by the church. No one is yet doing anything to bring them the good news of God’s love.
It’s all well and good to make these lists and to bemoan the fact that after 2000 years, there are still entire people groups who are being left out of all our mission efforts. But awareness by itself accomplishes nothing. What can we do to change this situation? More importantly, what can I do?
I normally cringe when an election year approaches. I don’t enjoy politics. Self-promotion annoys me. I’m a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person, and elections are all about boat rocking. But of all the elections I’ve endured since I was old enough to vote (back when the redwoods were young), none have descended to the level of this one. What ever happened to thoughtful, respectful discourse?
It’s not the candidates—it’s their supporters.
I woke up the other morning realizing that, while my to-do list was quite full, there was nothing on it that posed a dire emergency, nor was there anything that left me feeling overwhelmed and incapable. That was such a change from the previous few months that I had to stop and breathe a sigh of relief. As I talked to God that morning, I prayed for others on my heart, but not for myself. In fact, I had the utter audacity to tell him that, for once, I had everything under control.
You’d think I would know better.
Since January, six thousand people—Christians, Kurds, Yazidis, have been brutally murdered by ISIS, the radical Sunni Muslim terrorist group that is carving an Islamic state out of northern Iraq and Syria. It’s incredibly painful to read the reports of the atrocities being committed. If you’ve ever wondered if Satan is real, read a few of these news items:
TRUE or FALSE: the Bible tells us to pray for people to be saved.
Have your answer? Probably, like me, you read this question and answered, “Of course we should pray for people to be saved!” I thought it was totally obvious, until our pastor said something that challenged my belief.
He told us, “God never said that we should pray for the harvest. We are to pray for workers!”
Jump out of bed. Throw on workout clothes. Fry egg, drink tea, spend ten minutes reading the end of Colossians. Rush out the door, head for Curves. Dive into my 30 minute workout; spend 15 more stretching, then cool down for half an hour while chatting with some very interesting ladies. Drive home, clean up, throw on clean clothes. Write blog post, run out door for appointment downtown.
And on and on it goes.
How in the world did I get so busy? Why do I have so little time? And I only work part time! What if I had a job that took up 40 hours a week—or more?
It’s not just me. Everyone I know seems to be running at top speed. We fill our calendars then wonder why we feel so stressed. It’s an epidemic.
Here are the other two prayer points for my upcoming trip to Swaziland. If you missed the first two, I posted them last time.
While we don’t want to overlook opportunities to share God’s love along the way, the primary purpose of our trip is to serve the orphans and their caretakers at a particular CarePoint in Swaziland. Some of the children who attend live with extended family, many live on their own, with only brothers and sisters to care for them—or for them to care for. They’ve watched their parents and other family members die, mostly from AIDS. They’re scared, alone, hungry, and to a large degree, unloved.