It has been quite a while since I wrote a post, but I would like to share with you something on my heart and mind this evening. Do you know where God is working? Do we ask Him to come work where we are or do we look for where He is working and go to Him? Can it sometimes be one way and sometimes the other?
In America, life for most people is very easy compared to life around the world. Many people spend more time complaining about one thing that’s wrong than being thankful for all the other things that are right. On my community social networking site, Nextdoor, many posts are about complaints regarding restaurants or service providers in the area, or how the neighborhood children are carousing too much, etc. During the Covid shutdowns and the US political elections of 2020, Facebook became so toxic that I couldn’t even post “Keep praying,” without someone looking to make a controversy with me. We disagree, they call me nasty things, defriend me, and all I have left is to talk to people who think and believe the same way I do. As a homeschooling mother of four children now, I simply don’t bother with social media anymore as it is largely distracting and a waste of time. If I need to talk to a friend or if I want to catch up, I can talk to them directly. I don’t want to know about my friends, I want to know my friends. That is no criticism to those who do engage in social media. My husband still does, and I may again. That’s just where I am right now.
My church just held an outreach event, hosting a MLE (Major League Eating) event at a church for the first time in history. The challenge for the competitors was to wharf down 20 pounds of banana pudding in eight minutes. The goal of the church was to bring people to the campus who otherwise would not come. People from seven states traveled here, and an estimated four to five thousand people were expected to be in attendance, but closer to one thousand came. The video was tracking for half a million hits online. The church gave away $3,000 of church funds to the contestants in prizes, aside from all the other expenses associated with simply hosting the event, having food trucks and other entertainment available. I would have hoped that the church would have shared the gospel with the crowd during the event, but since we made it an MLE event, they had control of the microphone. I don’t think the gospel was shared, but I hope I’m wrong. By my conscience I could not support or participate in the event. I think pastors hoped people would come back for church and hear the gospel then. The next Sunday, our pastors invited anyone who was attending the church for the first time because of the MLE event to stop by our “connection point” for a free coffee mug for the MLE event. I haven’t heard of anyone joining the church because of the MLE event, and I wonder how much swag is still sitting in the church right now. Less than a week later, lightning struck the church. Electrical damage was done to all areas of ministry across the campus, affecting all the succeeding gatherings and activities there right now until it is fully repaired, which may take weeks. I can’t help but wonder if that lightning strike could have been related to the church hosting the MLE event. Not only is it gluttony that the church endorsed and chose to use an a community outreach, but the Lord’s money, the tithe money of the congregation, was given to support these professional eaters whose lifestyle is gluttonous and whom are setting an example to the Christian and secular community saying “This is okay,” even that this is the face of Jesus we would choose to present to someone who is encountering a Christian community for the first time. I have never disagreed with my church so fundamentally before, and with a world food shortage around the corner, I can’t help but wonder how my brothers and sisters around the world would feel about this. Surprisingly, the other churches in my area thought it was a great idea, and were even envious that they didn’t think of it themselves. I don’t know if my husband and I have felt so lonely in the Bible Belt before. Is this where God is still working?
I am reading a book called Hearts of Fire by the Voice of the Martyrs, a collection of stories from women in the persecuted church around the world and across time. If you are interested in the book, you can request your own free copy from the Voice of the Martyrs. They will send it to you. As I read about how people are miraculously healed in places like Bhutan and Iran, it inspires me. The chronically ill can live normal lives again, and the crippled can walk. That is obviously where God is working. Christians facing their level of persecution would not even imagine spending thousands of church dollars on a banana pudding eating contest. Do people come to Christ because they are entertained or because they are in need and Christ meets their need through a believer? Did the early church say, “Hey, let’s get the gospel out there by hosting a gladiatorial event!”
People in America just don’t see healings. I have been miraculously healed by God’s grace, but not from the same level of affliction as paralysis, blindness, and being crippled, or even dead! Let me be clear that my healing doesn’t make me more special than anyone else. I had sudden adult onset asthma that lasted for over two years and would not respond to any treatment. During that time I learned how to be content in all circumstances (Phil. 4:11) and to understand that in Him I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28). I asked God to heal me and for a while He would not, but after I learned to be content trusting in Him in any circumstance, He healed me. I speak about this experience some in my book Learning to Love: A collection of Poetry and 40 Daily Devotions. One of my neighbors who was raised Catholic scoffs at my testimony and laughs at it even mockingly. He must think I’m quite ridiculous, but I don’t live to please him or anyone. I live to please my God, and I hope that is what I do. God is largely doing His healings in other lands, and while new disciples are called from every nation and tribe and tongue, America is on a continually steep spiritual decline.
I am writing again because one pastor my husband follows online says most of his support and viewing comes from oversees. People who cannot afford seminary can view his channel for free. I know many of you who have followed me or viewed my site are from oversees based on my stats page. Let me just encourage you by saying that though you may have it more difficult, you are where God is working. In fact, that may be the confirmation that you are where God is working. Jesus said you will have trouble (John 16:33), but rejoice that you are worthy to suffer for the Name (Acts 5:41). To my American readers, please examine if you are where God is working, and if not, find out where He is working and go there. Your time, tithes, skills, and prayers must go to His ends. God bless.