Monday, September 25, 2006

Thoughts on Sunday

Yesterday I went to the Youth Congress at my friend’s church. I was singing at the morning service and Tiago and his father and his friend who’s visiting from Tennessee all showed up. It was good to see my boyfriend...but it will be better to actually get to talk to him when these two weeks of visitors is over...I am not a fan of being chaperoned!

The pastor at the morning service gave one of the best sermons I've heard in ages...years...he had me riveted to my seat! Some of my notes:

* a judgemental attitude is tantamount to immorality
* "the Holy Spirit cannot work in people who are self-sufficient"
* A lot of people in the church are "bom salvos mas pessimos servos" (good redeemed ones but terrible servants)!
* Our evangelism must stop being "funebre" or dismal. We must show love, God's love, and REAL love to the lost. Correcting in love is more than just telling people they're wrong and need to stop and repent and all that jazz. Correcting someone in love means putting ourselves in their shoes, knowing where they're at, and then being willing to help them change.

I loved that last part, because I hated that part.

It is so much easier to "love" someone, tell them they need Jesus, and then walk away than it is to really love someone and let them into my life. It's so much harder to be the Jesus with skin on than it is to be the hellfire and brimstone preacher.

For instance.

The other night I was with a friend and her daughter when she started crying uncontrollably. So we walked to a nearby park, found a bench, and sat down to pray. My friend has been going through a really hard time financially, physically, emotionally, occupationally, family-wise...and that's just her! Her husband is also struggling...and they are just broken by the trials that have come into their lives. So we decided to just sit and pray. In front of us, about fifteen feet away, was a street preacher. When I reached into my bag, I realized that I had left my Bible at home. Now, normally I always "travel" with a small Bible, because you never know when you might need to reference a verse. But I'd cleaned out my bag the night before and left it I looked around, noticed the preacher and called out to him, "Sir, may we borrow your Bible for a second?" He looked at us, must have seen my friend's red and swollen crying face, and gave us the brush off. A later sign. A later which never came, even though he never opened his Bible the entire time we were there. So we sat there, in the shadow of this windbag, and prayed. We paused, and a lady appeared before us. Angelica. She was selling sweets in a wrinkled blazer and short skirt, with straw blond hair and a heavy, aged appearance. We declined the offer, and I added, "I'm sorry, but we're here crying because of money. We don't have any to give you..." She misunderstood me, in the Holy Spirit's funny way of using my accent, and she cried out, "What? You're praying??? Will you pray for me???" Sitting down beside me, she asked for prayer and we huddled around and began to pray...

It was beautiful.

And I thought about it later, that image. The street preacher preaching repentance to the wind, with not a moment to spare for anyone who might need anything other than the words he was prepared to give. And all around him, crying, hurting people in need of Christ, who needed a gentle touch, not sharp words. "A bruised reed he will not break..."

I'll be working an evangelism crusade this week...I hope that we can emulate Christ in these days, not forcing salvation as if our Lord was a spiritual rapist, but remembering that God always knocks on the doors. He doesn't barge in even if he is the owner. I want to be as well-mannered when I go as his emissary...

And that's all for now.

Love you all, by the way! I've gotten a couple personal emails this week, and I've enjoyed them ever so much! Thank you!


Ellen said...

how do we manage to keep our lives lined up across continents? i don't understand it! i should just cut and paste from your blog to mine! nope. you are more willing to share about your life than i am. people have to read between the lines in my poems if they want to know more personal, intimate stuff in my life. how do u become some comfy in sharing your life on the internet?

Ali la Loca said...

Hi, I ran across your blog randomly following the link of a missionary whose writing I follow who is here in Mozambique.

I lived in Brasil for several years (Parana and Rio) and loved it so much my mom and I ended up buying a house in Santa Teresa in 2001. All my brasilian friends loved to tell me how dangerous Santa Teresa was, how insane I was to live there.

Sure it's got its problems, but Sta Teresa is nothing compared to where you are! I must say I really admire your courage and conviction to do lead the life you do and live among the people you feel called to help. Muito legal.

I've read your archives yesterday and really enjoy your writing and perspective on life in Brasil.

Boa sorte com tudo. Beijos!!

Ali, an american in Mozambique (for now)