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Monday, March 10, 2014

Vision Stopped by Division?

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Wanted to share with you the published article produced by Angelus, The Tidings Newspaper in Los Angeles California. As many of you know, I was invited to come to southern California to be interviewed and filmed for a mini documentary of our journey from adoption to ministry. It is being produced for a film festival this coming July with the San Gabriel Playhouse.  I am still humbled by the whole process and am excited to see how this is used to further create awareness for at risk children, woman and families in our world.  As a preface, I wanted to share a few more of my thoughts for clarification and at the end I have posted a link to the online published article. 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John13:34-35
One of our challenges we face in ministry is engaging individuals and uniting churches to the cause of the oppressed in their communities and world. In our attempts to rescue and provide support for those in need, we have found ourselves at times turned away from churches because we are not a part of their church body or denomination.  As an example, last year we rescued a mother and her four children from the streets, provided extended shelter and food and began to solicit the help of a church in their town to love on them and bring them into their church community.  This never happened even though this church had within their means the ability to rescue them and surround them with love. I still can not fully comprehend this refusal to extend love and hospitality to this precious family who was abandoned, abused and in need of help. But as sad as this is, I do understand how churches and individuals can get caught up in their own agendas, programs and busyness of life. How often I have done the same.  It is so easy to get caught up with life, our own families, our jobs and hobbies to the point that we unknowingly begin to close our eyes to the world outside of them.  To me, it is very much like the parable of the Good Samaritan. The reality of the story was those who passed by the victim didn't have time to stop or worse their religious doctrines got in the way. The practicle implication of this parable is that we all need to stop what we are doing at times, give what we can and help a life that comes along our path of influence.  We must not be  so caught up in life to the extent that we  close our eyes and do nothing.  And shame on us if we allow our religious differences to prevent us from showing the compassion and love of our God.  James 1:27 says: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Simply said, the evidence or fruit of our salvation becomes tangible in our acts of caring and kindness to those who are down and out in this life.  A powerful statement of this is in Mathew 25 were Jesus says: “...‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

It is my ongoing passion to see unity in the body of Christ, to see us lay down immaturity and differences of beliefs and view our world in the way that our God views it. What part of our religious belief system should ever cause us to refuse to work together to help the widow who can not provide for herself or the orphan who has no family or those who are starving or just need clean water to drink. We as Christians have been shown so much love and mercy that we cannot even begin to comprehend it all and the result of this in our lives should be love that overflows to others. 

1Corinthians 1:1 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

In closing, if the body of Christ with all its denominations and doctrinal differences could unite in maturity with one purpose to help those who are oppressed and in need of salvation, I believe that we could literally change the world we live in. A good friend of mine told me that we must each personally come in contact with the living Jesus. How is this possible?  Jesus said it clearly, "...when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.’

Online published article by The Tidings:

http://www.angelusnews.com/news/national/east-europes-orphans-missionary-seeks-la-catholics-aid/

Vision for the Children International 
www.VFTCI.org