In an earlier post, I asked the question, “How is God working here?”, and I’ve been trying to show little by little how God was moving in El Zapatillo and along our journey. We had a team of 21 in total, 17 from The Pointe Church, and 2 from CH Global, plus Rudy and Sully Rojas.
Every evening our mission team gathered together for a time of reflection, devotion, and sharing. We were working from the book “On Mission”. I enjoyed the book, although some of the stories in the book took me by surprise due to the frank confessions, but this opened us up to be vulnerable with one another and share. In a sense, we were able to “Get Real” with one another and with God on a deeper level.
Just because we go to church and claim to be Christians, doesn’t mean we have our own lives together. We’ve all lived life and we continue to live life. We bring all the junk in our lives with us. Sin’s decay doesn’t stop at the church doors; the stench follows us in. Repairs only begin when we give that stuff to Jesus. Our mission team was no exception.
One of the hardest things in our culture to overcome is a need to be self-sufficient. We’re all taught that we should be able to provide for our own needs, but the reality is that no matter how hard we try, or what we do, we can’t fix any of it on or own. God created us and provides even the air we breathe and only he can fix what we’ve broken.
The time of sharing allowed me to develop a closeness to my team members I hadn’t experienced since my youth when I was involved in our church group. It’s been something I’ve searched for thirty years, and when I found it, I finally understood something. What I’d been searching for had been right there with me the whole time. I had been looking for a feeling of closeness, an open, non-judgmental acceptance… love. But God was there the whole time and that closeness, openness and non-judgmental acceptance … the source of it … wasn’t from my team members. It wasn’t even from my friends in youth group. It was God’s holy spirit and the closeness I felt was his spirit shining through others. The difference was two things. First, it was my willingness to be obedient to God and seek Him. The second was my friends willingness to be obedient to God and seek Him.
When I made some sinful choices in my life, I had pushed away the holy spirit and gone my own way. He was still there, but he would only reveal himself to the extent that I allowed him to with my choices. My personal journey on this trip was done in obedience to God because I love him. It was done because there was a need I could meet with my life. I made a sacrifice of my time and money to go. God honors us when we love him and when we give up our lives to him to use. When we do these things we come closer to him. My team members made that same sacrifice to follow him and God rewarded us with a closeness that will last for an eternity.