24 February, 2012

Is it True?

I found myself in Georgia last week, on a campus visit with my daughter. It was Sunday morning and I was going through channels looking for a worship service. As you can imagine, the Deep South television offered me numerous choices. So I found myself listening for a few minutes then surfing to the next (kind of like my husband does at night….which totally frustrates me!)

I stopped on one station as the congregation was singing a favorite song of mine, “How great is our God”.

♪How great is our God, sing with me

How great is our God, and all will see

How great, how great is our God♪

I listened and sang. Then I watched more closely and saw a lack of expression on every face, a lack of realizing just what we were singing. I saw myself suddenly in Sunday worship. And it grieved me.

A few nights before this hotel experience I watched a film named EE-TAOW. It’s a story from New Tribes Mission about the Mouk tribe of Papua New Guinea and how they respond to hearing the Gospel message. As I recall from the movie, once the completion of the gospel story was fully explained, which occurred over several months, the people began to shout EE-TAOW, EE-TAOW, EE-TAOW. This means, “IT IS TRUE”, “IT IS TRUE”! The film indicates that the Mouk people celebrated this good news, this news of a Saviour for three hours! Three hours of dancing, crying, screaming, laughing… “It is true”, it is true”!

My mind suddenly contrasted these two viewings – a sedate singing of How Great is Our God vs. the out-of-control celebration of a tribe of new believers in New Guinea. Does this seem odd to you? Does the dancing, crying and laughing of “it is true” seem odd and inappropriate? Or does it seem that perhaps we’re missing something? Maybe we’re missing the meaning of the words we sing in worship. Maybe we’ve sung them for so long that they’ve lost their meaning. But have they? Are we living these words of truth?

Sing and cry out with me in total, unbridled joy: How Great is our God! It is True!

05 February, 2012

One Touch

She was so very sick. Years of sickness consumed her life. Did she really even have a life at this point? Twelve years of illness, doctors, specialists, medicines, herbal treatments…and still no relief. Her life had now become about survival. Those once close to her were long gone. Those who she once paid to help care for her were gone when her money ran out. She was so obviously sick that those in her small town began to avoid her. She was not important. She was not the leader. She was invisible to many.

Several weeks ago I heard a teaching on the hemorrhaging woman. This has always been a favorite scripture of mine and for many reasons. The woman’s belief and faith in Jesus’ ability, Jesus’ immediate awareness that the edge of His cloak had been touched even amongst the jostling crowd, the disciples reaction to His question of “who touched me”.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but on one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Luke 9: 43-47

Today as I ponder this story, I’m moved by one small phrase.

“She came up behind him and touched the edge of His cloak”…one secret, small touch...one decision to believe…one action.

The crowd was around Jesus and following Jesus. The large crowd was wowed and wooed by Jesus’ healings, miracles, and His presence. I’m confident the crowd consisted of people with very mixed motives for being there. Some may have just been there to see the action. Some may have been hoping to see some showmanship so they could say they had been there. Some were certainly there to love, support and follow Jesus. He was the one Love they had just found.

It’s easy to be in the crowd, to follow the lead of those up front. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd too.

But this sick, outcast woman…quietly, secretly, unnoticed by everyone else reached out with one touch. And this action changed her world forever. But it also changed Jesus’ world that day. And it changed those in the crowd who stood the closest…those who heard Jesus’ words, those who heard the woman’s explanation, those who saw the healing. One touch…lives changed forever.

That’s what I hear Him saying to me today. One touch…in a hurting world. One hour…to those who have not heard the name of Jesus proclaimed. One phone call…to a lonely widow. One lunch…with a new friend from China, Korea, Sudan, or your neighbor across the street. Just one touch…one reach…

For Jesus is the first One. He’s always been about One.

•I am the Alpha and Omega…One from the beginning and to the end.

•Love ONE another

•He gave One goal: go into the world and spread My message

But we stop and doubt whether our one touch will even make a difference. We want the world to change and learn of our God but forget He called us to take one step to serve one person and to follow One.

She took one step and reached out for one touch. And she changed her world, His world and their world. Can I? Will I? Can you? Will you?

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