Tag Archives: Jesus Christ
Jesus, I believe in you
and I would go,
to the ends of the earth
to the ends of the earth
for you, alone are the son of God…
and all the world will see
that you are God…
We were singing that at my church in downtown Toronto yesterday.
I realized something that I thought was kind of ironic.
Right now, the end of the earth that I’m being called to is… my hometown.
I love Toronto.
But right now I really feel that God wants me to go home. I’m excited to be with my family. Plus I know there’s a lot of things I have to learn that are best learned there. I also have high hopes for lots of Jesus time in there in the midst of family and working.
I’ve got a little less then a week left in this city. It’s almost time to say good bye to my Victory kids, to try to see some of my Peace kids one last time before I leave, and part from friends who have become family over the last three years of my life.
Then it’s Kingsville. Finding a job. Getting my license. Growing up a little.
Learning from the wisdom of my parents. Hanging out with little Philip-ay. Bothering Ronald and Toady. Getting to know my not-nearly-as -little-as-last-time-I-saw-her niece.
And serving Jesus right where I am, in my little hometown.
I think I might be ready for this.
I’ve been singing the words in that title as a prayer for the past couple of days. They’re from a Kelly Clarkson song, but none of the other words actually apply to the situation, so I stick to those ones.
Only a couple days ago I finally got over the pain of losing my camp enough to start to realize something: I miss my kids. A lot.
Every so often my thoughts start to wander into all the wrong places and a simple but dangerous phrase comes to mind: “Life Sucks!” My cynical nature tends to rise up, and I decide to agree. “Well yes, that’s right, it sure does!”
But I always remember a particular day that I was taught otherwise, and I’m forced to change that opinion:
The whole group was sitting around a couple of tables just finishing off their Fun Day Friday meal. One of the little Peace boys abruptly stated that phrase that I’m always tempted to believe: “Life sucks!”
I don’t think I was going to say anything about it… At least I held back from agreeing.
But one of my boys who had found Christ about a year prior corrected him: “No, life doesn’t suck, because of Jesus.”
You’re right my little friend. Not only does it not suck, it’s actually pretty awesome now that I come to think of it. Because of Jesus.
The Victory kids are amazing. That camp is full of personality. If there’s a shy one amongst them I have yet to meet him. (I wouldn’t be surprised if there actually is… It wouldn’t be hard to hide in that group!)
I miss my Peace kids, and I hope to see them soon. I am however happy to be getting to know the kids of Camp Victory. My knowledge of children tells me that I’ll have many a quote for you soon. And my knowledge of God tells me that these kids will teach me a lot, just like the kids at Peace did. Maybe I’ll even have a few more children telling me just how far life is, in fact, from sucking.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
Some of you will know that I have a somewhat ridiculous memory. I call it ridiculous in response to my friends always wondering how on earth I remember those little obsolete things that apparently, they don’t.
Well, I’m currently wondering if God gifted me with this filing cabinet type memory for moments like this, so that He can pull out a file when He chooses and bring me into flashback mode:
It was two weeks before I came to Urban Promise Toronto. I’d been here the summer before but I was now making a year long commitment.
I had yet to announce it to my church. (I know, it’s awful. I was incredibly shy back then, ok!?)
I felt complete peace that it was where God wanted me for the year. But I wasn’t excited. I had no passion for what I was about to do. I was about to embark on a missions year but my heart was not there. So, I started to pray. I asked God to put my heart in the right place.
It was Sunday morning. We sang what I thought to be an old Catholic song, in my Baptist church:
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I thanked God for speaking to my heart and I asked if I could take a moment the next Sunday, the last Sunday before I left, to tell my church what I would be doing.
One day that week I went to Lakeside, that amazing park in my town, and I sat on a bench looking out on the lake and I told God my worries:
“God, I know I’m going. But I’m not excited. I don’t really care even. I feel awful, but my heart just isn’t there yet. I don’t even know why I’m going. I just know I am. I feel like it’s right. I want to be where you want me”
I went to my church and I told them I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was going to try and follow God’s calling and to hold His people in my heart.
I came back at the end of the summer overflowing with love for a group of children, and for the community they live in. I told my church with excitement that they should remember Camp Peace and Alexandra Park in their prayers.
At the end of my first year internship I stood in front of them once again. This time with stories of the amazing things God had been doing in my life and the lives of these kids that I love. People who hadn’t known me told me they were inspired, people who had told me how drastically I had changed. I wasn’t as timid as I had been a year before. (Our God does not give us a spirit of timidity you see…)
Now, well into my second year internship, Urban Promise will no longer be working in Alexandra Park. Camp Peace has closed. For the next three and a half months I will be serving at Camp Victory.
I wish that at this moment I could be sitting on a bench in Lakeside Park looking out at the lake. It might be cold, but at least it’s familiar. I have another outpouring for my Heavenly Father:
“God, I know I’m going. But I’m not excited. It hurts a little even. I’m sorry, but my heart just isn’t there yet. I want to be where you want me. So, I’ll go. You gave me a heart for Downtown Toronto. Now I need you to work that love of yours in me again. I can’t help but think that my heart just doesn’t have room for a new place and all new children. It’s up to you, once again, you’re going to have to lend me some of your love. I can’t do it on my own. But I will go where you lead me Lord. And again, I will hold your people in my heart.”
My roommate Sarah and I were talking the other day about the love God’s given us for our kids. They can be so mean. But we love them so much. It seems like a mini reflection of the way He loves us.
I’m guessing that any parent can relate.
The kids love can be so conditional. They love you when you give them a huge high five as they walk in the door. They hate you five minutes later as you interrupt their game of Spiderman and peel them off the walls.
You love them anyways.
Yesterday My Little Best Friend was climbing on a table then making a snarky comment to another leader. “That looks like a time out to me buddy.” I told him, as he’d already had two warnings. Another leader lead him off to time out room but I was soon called in to explain the time out to my supervisor, Hosanna.
It turns out the little guy knew exactly why he was on time out. So I started to ask him:
“Do you think it’s ok how you’ve been talking to your leaders today? I heard you shushing them… Even calling someone a jerk?”
“I was singing a song.”
“Well, if someone thought you were singing it to them don’t you think it would hurt their feelings?”
“Yeah.” he said vaguely.
“Are you listening to Rumour?” Hosanna asked, “She loves you and she’s trying to help you.”
“Yeah buddy, I love you very much. I don’t just lecture you for no reason.”
“We really do love you around here.”
After a second of thought he asked, “If you guys love me, why do you give me suspensions?”
“Well.” I started.
Hosanna jumped in, “I’ll let Rumour answer that one.” And went off to make sure my program was running smoothly. I was glad for his confidence in me.
“When you are eighteen years old.” I started again, “And you go up to a police officer and call him a jerk, and disrespect him like you’re disrespecting leaders today, what’s going to happen.”
“I’ll go to jail.” He said, not sounding the slightest bit worried.
“I don’t want that for you. You know, my brother’s in jail and…”
“Your brother’s in jail?”
“Yes. And I wish that when David was little – ”
“His name is David?”
“Yes… Not David from YMAD, but his name is David. And I wish that when he was a little boy he had lots of leaders to give him warnings for doing all the bad things that he seems to think are ok now. ” Dave was eight when my parents adopted him. Only a year younger than my Little Best Friend is now. From that point on I can think of great leaders he had, especially my parents, but there was something that my brother is lacking that my little friend has. Jesus.
“Why did he go to jail, stealing from someone?”
“I think maybe he stole from lots of people.”
“How long is he in jail for?”
“Well he’s been in jail lots of times, but it might be two whole years this time. So, if I come back to see your mom in ten years I don’t want her to be telling me that her son made bad choices and went to jail. That would break my heart. For real break my heart, I’m not kidding this time. But you know what, I don’t think that’s going to happen, because you’ve got Jesus in your heart and He’s going to help you.”
“He doesn’t have Jesus in his heart?”
“No. We pray for him all the time, we love him and he needs Jesus a lot.”
“Five minutes are over.”
“You would get me chatting for your whole time out wouldn’t you?”
I love that little man.
Even when he kicks me.
But, when he does kick me, I will suspend him,
Because… I love that little man.
Speaking of unconditional love. Do my parents ever love that boy of theirs. I love him too, he’s my big brother. If only he’d made the decision to accept Christ when he came to us at 8 years old! The very same age that this little buddy of mine accepted Christ. His life would be so different now. He’s twenty-six now, but we’re not giving up hope. Keep praying.
I was three. It seems I’d been pondering this awhile. I was told that I should give my heart to Jesus. Now I wanted to know what He was going to do with it.
“If I give my heart to Jesus, does he put it on the shelf?”
Well that’s what my mother says I asked. I don’t remember what she answered, probably nothing too complicated. I was three.
Still her answer was enough assurance for me. I decided I would gladly give my heart to the one who had made me and loved me so much.
You can tell me I was too young to make that decision, but I stuck with it. So you would be wrong.
This time last year I was going through some tough stuff. I can remember sitting on the corner of my mom’s bed as she told me to make sure I was guarding my heart. Judging from the heartache I experienced I’d have to say I didn’t listen very well.
I was listening to the song All I Can Say by David Crowder Band not long ago and I realized something. When I was trying to deal with all that hurt I knew in my head that God wanted to comfort me. But in my heart I saw him staring down at me shaking His head and saying, “I told you so.” I kind of figured that He knew I deserved it, so He didn’t mind that I hurt.
As I listened to that song I realized that not only did He care immensely but the whole time He was crying with me.
I thought you might need to know… He’s crying too.
I didn’t notice You were standing here
I didn’t know that
That was You holding me
I didn’t notice You were cry’n too
I didn’t know that
That was You washing my feet
Listen to the rest here: All I Can Say – David Crowder Band
It went off without a hitch.
I never thought I’d be able to say that… But I did quote the Bible yesterday on the fact that God can do immeasurably more than I can imagine. He had shown me in His Word, now He has shown me in my life. I never could have imagined that this night could have worked out so well.
It wasn’t as if we had everything perfectly managed and set out. When the first bus arrived we were in a far from ready. We were running around instructing volunteers on the different stations around our makeshift Bethlehem. Somehow it all worked out. I ended up manning a station I hadn’t expected to – but it meant that I got to help my kids experience something of Bethlehem and talk to a bunch of other kids I hadn’t seen in awhile. It was so much fun.
I was in charge of our miniature production of the Nativity story.
At a trumpet call the kids walked into the Inn and the Innkeeper greeted them. Mary and Joseph walked in late and found that the Inn was full, they had to stay in the barn. We all ate together in our Bethlehem Inn. The Innkeeper brought food out to the barn for Mary and Joseph.
When the kids were finished and getting restless another trumpet sounded. Mary was holding the baby Jesus and three shepherds ran up too see the new born baby. Then they came to us, the people of Bethlehem, and told us about their night. That the Christ child was born.
Just as the sky was filled with Angels to announce the Messiah’s birth, I’m sure that room was filled with His Angels. Guarding our children. Chasing off the enemy who would like to spread his lies in their hearts. Making room in their hearts for Truth.
The volunteers were amazing. The actors were AMAZING. The kids are always amazing.
Thank you so much to those of you who were praying for us. I would say that God answered your prayers.
It was an amazing night.
I’m sitting here in complete awe at the things our God can do.