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some treasures and challenges

September 9, 2008

“You cannot discover who you are by yourself– it has to be in the context of serving people. It’s the only way because by nature, you’re identity of who you are in God is connected to how you manifest Him in certain people around you.” –Bill Johnson

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recently been challenged by this, especially as I pray for God to root me…

Jackie Pullinger lived in the Walled City of Hong Kong for about 20 years, reaching out to heroin addicts and prostitutes. She saw many come to Christ and be delivered from heroin through prayer with little or no symptoms of withdrawal… here in her book, Chasing the Dragon, she is referring to the blessings she received from her long term commitment versus the short term visits from others:

// So we were present at one of those times in history when the past blares, intruding the present, and I am in them both. I often tell visiting missions teams of this phenomenon. It is fashionable nowadays to visit Asia, China, and the poor for a few days, weeks, or months and call it outreach. Over the years we have had hundreds of short-termers who want to get the picture immediately– if possible, on video– so they can show it to their home church and have an inspired evening. I have begged them to love the people and stay like Sai Di did for me 30 years ago. the disadvantage of short term missions is a wrong perspective based on this generation’s need for instant results.

…the remarkable fact that after so long we still see most addicts who come to us believe in Jesus, pray in tongues, and detoxify from drugs painlessly does not obscure the fact that they need a changed mind. So the voyeurs leave. They have their video clips, but they never saw. It was either all too good or all too bad, and neither was accurate. We love our people whether they turn out well or not, and the successes do not vindicate our ministry nor do the disappointments nullify it. What is important is whether we have loved in a real way– not preached in a n impassioned way from the pulpit.

…If God meant a child to grow slowly and safely in a loving family for up to 18 years, why should we be angry at those who do not change at our pace for the sake of statistics, furlough or sadly for some, funding?

…people I had spent time with so long before never forgot, even though we lost each other for a while. Suddenly, someone from the past would reappear again, and it would turn out that he had not killed the memory of a love that was so extraordianry that the giver spent Himself in giving until He died. So we have been the delighted, sobbing representatives of the Father whoese prodigal son crawled or rushed home after all. Our summer missionaries did not stay to see this, although we hoped they might yearn for it somehow. Stay for the party. The fleeting volunteer sometimes catches a course– sweet and sour– but no one savors the whole menu like me. ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink,’ said the master of the banquet when He called the bridegroom aside, ‘but you have saved the best till now.’

…and they expected me to do it all. And so much of the rest of the church was engaged in discovering their giftings rather than giving. //

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