Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

I am learning to love people

I love people, not nations.

I love the people, not the countries, certainly not the governments.
The governments should exist for the people, not vice-versa. We can love
people despite their color, their smell, their accent, their religion.

I think of the acquaintance I made on a train from Beograd to Novi
Sad. A veterinary student from Montinego. A serb. He spoke of the
history of the Serbs, of their religion, Serbian Orthodoxy. He spoke
of his saint and his family, of their fight. How he fled Bosnia as a
child because his father had seen the war coming. I listened
to him carefully as I had others and heard his heart come through. I
asked him to think of Jesus. I taught him the Jesus prayer. I asked
him if I could pray for him and he agreed. I prayed the Jesus prayer
with him and told him the stories from the Bible from which the Jesus
prayer comes. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, have mercy on
me, the sinner” I sensed that he thanked me with a different heart than when he told me of the plight of the his people.

I think of the women I met in Bosnia. But just barely in that country, for the office of their co-op was meters from the river that separated Serbia from them. From this office I could see the border crossing where guards on both sides kept people out who their government said should not come in. It was at this very border that two friends and I were detained, they were questioned and our car searched as we made our way to a memorial service for victims of genocide. Why? Because governments often fear and in turn, instill fear. I was sitting within view of this very border as I listened to these women tell of their efforts to help seventy families eek out a living from the land. They sought to better the lives of these families who gathered and grew herbs and mushrooms for packaging and selling. They were people, not nations. These Serb women worked to help others both Serb and Bosnian earn more for their families. I had been introduced to them by an Asian missionary who had followed God’s calling on her life to leave an up-and-coming country where there was plenty, to bring the message of Jesus to these people, not to a nation, but to people. Through her humility, I am learning to love the people, not the ethnic group and certainly not the country. She lives among them, often in great personal difficulty, because God had cultivated in her a love for people. She did not hide who she was as a follower of Jesus, she taught them English, she showed them the love of Jesus, she demonstrates the faithfulness of God.

I am learning the love people from a man with whom I climbed a treacherous path to a place of prayer on top of a mountain covered in knee deep snow where we stood together and prayed for a city that is populated by Muslims who need the love of Jesus. I learned from this man that his love made him live in a place where he was misunderstood and lived a somewhat lonely existence with his dear wife, teaching English to those who were interested, so as to find those who might, through conversation and reading the Bible, learn to believe in and love Jesus because Jesus first loved them. I learned to love from his wife who was active in the arts and who, through her willingness to teach the performing arts was deepening and cultivating relationships in hope that these relationships would show this love and result in conversations that might just result in people hearing God call them to join us in following Jesus and loving people.

I am learning to love people from a man and his family who have given their lives to living in a rural town at the foot of a mountain on which sits the ruin of a 13th century castle that was a symbol of safety against attack. This family is living the love of Jesus who is the true fortress, among people who have not had the privilege of dwelling deeply with God, but this man and his wife are living in such a way as to disciple people, young and old, single and married, happy and sad.

I am learning to love by talking with a young couple who have left the big city with big education and moved to a small country to teach people how to love the Bible and teach its message. I am learning to love as I watch them struggle with their life in a new place through deep snows, sickness, misunderstanding and living far, far below a standard that their education and intelligence could afford them back home.

I am learning to love people from a man who has given his life and family to the betterment of his own people and others from his region who have looked to him for provision and even safety and provision during war. I am learning to love by seeing him plow ahead toward the great vision that God has given him for a better society which is made up of reconciled enemies.

I learned to love by hearing the stories of a man who brought provision to a war torn country and now lives among these people, doing many things to strengthen the churches and start new fellowships of people who live and share the love of Jesus. Because Jesus loved them – us – first.

I am learning to love as I sat in a car and prayed for women who went out in bitter cold to take hot tea and God’s love to prostitutes. Girls who are caught in the desperation of the sex trade, who stand on the side of an industrial road waiting for men who will pay them money they need to pay their bills. They are told that God loves them and that He wishes for them to know and love Him. I learned to love from the pastor who goes with these women to pray while they serve and who then goes and talks to the pimps, for Jesus died for these men too.

I am learning to love from a family who left behind the comfort of good jobs in industry and the university to dwell among a pessimistic people who don’t understand why Americans would live in their small city and love and teach them and their children English. I learned to love from a man who worked slavishly on a sports field for the benefit of children who may, through sport, see and hear of the love of Jesus.

I am learning to love people from young people who, fresh from their university studies, go to teach children, teenagers and collegians in foreign countries. They receive little appreciation and often live in loneliness and despair, except for the love of Jesus who speaks to them through colleagues who show the love of God. I am learning to love because of the sacrifice these young people are willing to make because they believe in the power of the Gospel of Jesus.

I am learning to love from a doctor who gave up medicine because he discovered abandoned children in the cold unused spaces under an apartment building. He then devoted his life to changing the lot of these children and made a difference in his city and country for God.

I learned to love from a man who at times seemed to be without a country but pushed ahead only by the power of God to take his family to a place that the world has forgotten but was just years ago the focal point of a brutal war. I learned to love from his wife who followed and supported her husband when it seemed almost no one else did.

I am learning to love from a family who give their love and lives to the desperately poor in an African township by teaching people how to grow vegetables to help the AIDS medications work more effectively while showing and telling the story of Jesus.

I am learning to love people as I consider the sacrifice of parents and families of these people who are giving so much because they love.

I am learning to love people as I consider the people who give their prayers and encouragement and their nickles and dimes and dollars and hundred dollars to support all these people.

I am learning to love people because I have met and heard the stories of people who love God because He loved them first. I am learning to love people because of the love that God is cultivating in me.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, ESV)

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smartphone (computer and social networking) addiction

“Not long ago only doctors were on call all the time. Now everybody is.”

“How many people can honestly say that they have never pruned their e-mails to put off tackling more demanding tasks?”

“Employees find it ever harder to distinguish between “on-time” and “off-time”—and indeed between real work and make-work. Executives are lumbered with two overlapping workdays: a formal one full of meetings and an informal one spent trying to keep up with the torrent of e-mails and messages.”

“None of this is good for businesspeople’s marriages or mental health.”

These important quotes are from a recent article in “The Economist” I urge you to read it and interpret it broadly… in other words, not just your smart phone, but all the screens you sit gazing at… oh, and if you are not a business person, this STILL applies to you. Click HERE to read the whole article.

Oh, I have “The Servant” ready in Netflix… you may hear more about it…

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Bible display at B&N

I think this constitutes both culture shock and reason for pondering.

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THIS I did miss!

For the record: bacon and egg on everything w/ lettuce, tomato and light mayo & coffee

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THIS I did not miss

Gimmie some BKV

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