March 21, 2006

Returning home

Well I just returned from China. It was so much more than I had expected. The travel was the usual. My heart was different. I haven’t had much time to digest all the experiences, but I did journal on the plane home. What follows is that. It’s fairly raw, but then so is my heart. More to follow:

So. Am I that guy?
Lots of activity, lots of passion, lots of need. How might I serve? Is it God? Do I want to, so I look to force what the Lord is doing? What is a single man’s role in the mission field? Can I do it all? It this simply freedom of opportunity? Is it ‘all or nothing’ right now? Do I have any authority to do anything?

An aside (a context for this moment in journaling)…I’m flying back to SFO from Tokyo. Sam [21ish, fiancĂ© to a soldier back in Seoul] to my right. Kathy [late 20’s, married with child] to my left. Sam’s a nursing student and a lovely girl. Kathy is an RN and lovely mother. Both engage me in depth, become comfortable and presently napping on my shoulders. Am I becoming the father I never had? Or do I simply not get out much? As we were so often told…the sisters far out number the brothers. As I was so often asked…no I don’t have a family.

I know that a genuine long-term commitment to serve and help raise disciples is my central purpose. What does that commitment look like? I think about the children I’ve met in Beijing. Am I a man that could be a part of those children’s lives? I remember some of the women I’ve met. Do I have it in me to be celibate? It isn’t a thick lustful heart, but rather desire to be a part of their lives. I feel drawn to what it appears they are – women of God with passion and vision. I don’t see lust, rather their beautiful smiling faces. Their glow, energy, their spirit inter-twined with that of the Spirit. It’s simply intoxicating. Is this to remind me that I’m not Paul? Or am I simply a man that may not be whole if left alone? I do enjoy the company of my sister’s in Christ.

Is Hong Kong a fit for me? Keep in contact, but let them “invent” the opportunity. I would love to work with these people. But I think that this is key : I am to be available to serve within the opportunities they invent. God’s will, then bless what he’s doing.

We always (I always) tend to want to create a position for ourselves in what is happening around us. Is that God? What is my heart? Am I a Kingdom oriented servant-leader? Yes I am. Am I a flawed sinner? Yes I am. Do I require community and relationship to become the man of God I was made to be? Yes I do. Alone I simply am. With council, care and community I learn the wisdom in God’s path for me. He speaks into my life.

Quickly from Hong Kong I look to friendship and opportunity with a new friend in the hills of Kunming. I am built for this. Though new, it seems familiar. But then I am built to teach as well. Can I do it all? Can I begin to dream God’s dreams? There is simply teaching English again. There is being a professional in those “relevant” market-place areas. And I look to see my two girls sleeping on my shoulders - comfortable and sharing with this new man. God is so good to invite me into the pleasure and wonder of seeing his children as the salt and light they are capable of being. Extraordinary!

I want to be the Disciple of Christ God has designs for. I want my will to conform to that which he has for me. In this I will be selfish.

New language in prayer.
New vision/pictures/thoughts/words in prayer.
Knowledge and tongues from God? Yes I do think so, These moments, these gifts – how the creator speaks with His creature/child/creation. More and more departure from myself – more direction from Him, wisdom from Him. Relationship with the Father in manners He chooses to communicate. A servant’s heart, a broken heart, love for your brothers and sisters. Willingness not only to be available for His direction, but action in the pursuit of His Kingdom. Where do you draw the line in the sand for your thoughts and feelings? At what point do you stand and say, “This, I’m afraid, is mine” rather than simple obedience. Fall, get up, brush off, pray, pray some more, repent and continually seek him.

We have much to learn from the Church in the Book of Acts. Love not fear. Embrace, passion and heart – not recoil, coldness and bargaining.

What are culture, context and sleeping comfort? Who is foreign in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? Is it the saint willing to stand and receive ministry from his brothers and sisters? Is it those that will lay hands, fully expecting God to move? Is it those that are more simply ‘willing’ to be available, is it those that show up? Is the kingdom, God’s Kingdom, foreign in our culture or context? God I pray you make all of us unsettled citizens of your love, will and action in our worldly lives. I pray for wisdom and understanding of what it may look like to have more of you and less of me, truly. I pray simply for the courage to embrace the teachings of Jesus and walk that out. And if called father, to run. And when I fall, when I am attacked, to find comfort in your love and your church. I pray for the wonders of your church here and now...

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