Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Putting God's Kingdom First

Back in 1996 I went to Hyderabad, India with Teen Mania Ministries. Angel Meagher (though that wasn’t her last name at the time) was one of my Project Directors on the trip. Of all the missions trips I have been on, India was the one place where I went that I didn’t want to leave. That trip had a very strong impact on my life and influences a lot of my current ideals and values. God moved so strongly in India, in me, and in the people there. I've always wanted to go back. Angel Meagher left India when I did, but not for long. Eventually she moved back and married a man from India, named Matthew Meagher. Together they have a wonderful ministry that impacts India for God’s Kingdom in several ways. For example, they have an orphanage that houses 700 kids!

This summer, a team from my church, Crossroads Vineyard, will be taking a trip to Hyderabad. We will be partnering with The Jesus Way, Matthew and Angel’s ministry, on this trip. We will be helping them in the orphanage, teaching English, helping with the construction of their new facility, feeding orphans and widows, and loving on the people of Hyderabad.

So, why do I want to go on this trip? I love the Indian people and I want to tell them how much God loves them, minister to the poor, love on those who are so often neglected in our world, and give them the opportunity to know Jesus. But there's more to it than that. God has been working a lot on my heart lately about living a life that seeks His Kingdom above all else. I have to admit that I have not always done that. I have often lived in a way that promoted my own kingdom of self and comfort. When I was younger I committed my life to God’s Kingdom. I dreamed of a life of adventure, bringing the Gospel to those in need. I even said to my parents, “Who wants a normal life?” Every decision I made regarding my schooling and training was with the purpose of enabling me to fulfill the calling I felt on my life. However as time went on, I let the worries and cares of everyday life take priority, and I let my own comfort become an idol. I wasn’t disciplined enough to delay gratification, especially with my finances and habits. I was very shortsighted and allowed momentary desires to guide many of my decisions rather than seeking God’s Kingdom first. This type of life is not the life I desire to have. I desire to live the life of faith. I no longer want to be hindered by the consequences that come as a result of poor choices. Don't get me wrong, I love my family so much it hurts and I am so thankful for the relationships that I have and the blessings God has mercifully given in spite of me, but I’ve realized that the time to make big changes has come. I want my kids to know there is a better way to live. It’s time to stop giving lip service to putting God’s Kingdom first, and actually start doing it. This means my life will have to be different than it has been. It will be uncomfortable for me and for others at times. I will have to learn walk in the Spirit, delay gratification, ask myself at every turn which choice puts God’s Kingdom first, and walk the narrow road of the Kingdom. Thank goodness I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I’ve already shown how miserably I fail when I try to walk the narrow road in my own strength.

So, does putting the Kingdom first mean I’m going to hop the first plane to a distant continent and become a full-time missionary? Well, no. Not yet anyway. I do have a family and obligations that God wants me to honor, but I can go to India this summer, if God makes the arrangements. It will not be easy for us to get there. Because of our current financial situation and potential schedule conflicts, it doesn’t look likely for us to go. The trip is June 24th through July 5th. We may be moving around that time, and family may be coming in during that time as well. The first deposit of $500 each is due on March 24th. There is no earthly way we can make this happen, but with God all things are possible, so I’m putting this out there in faith. Further, I currently need $135 to get my passport as it takes several weeks to obtain one. Please join with me in prayer that God will provide. If you feel He is leading you to be a part you can make a secure, tax-deductible donation via my church’s donation page. (If you make a donation on the page, put "For India missions trip via Ordinary Marvels" in the comment section.) Please, don’t make this decision out of sympathy or a sense of personal obligation, but only because of God’s prompting. What happens if someone donates, and Shawn and I don’t go? Well, my desire is to help the team get to India whether I go or not. This is not about Shawn and me, but about God’s Kingdom. So in the case that I raise money for the trip, but don’t end up going, I will give it to the team so others can go in our stead.

Thanks for joining with us in prayer. I know God is going to move in a mighty way!

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