So we realize that, theoretically... on paper... its Fall. But for the first time in my 30+ years of life, I have had no real indication that Fall is anywhere to be found!
This week has been in the upper 80's and low 90's with evenings that barely dipped below 80 degrees...
in fact, we have had two of the hottest nights since we arrived just this past week!
Fall is a favorite time of year for me... 10 years working in a retail coffee business helped to make it even more special... Pumpkin spice coffee and cappuccinos, chai lattes, fall mugs, spiced apple cider, pumpkin crisp and bread mixes, candy corn. And then there's always cooler weather and breaking out the sweatshirts... and evenings wrapped in a blanket reading by the fire... You get the idea!
I have to say that our transition to Haiti has been amazing and our whole family has adjusted really well to our new home... but I am realizing NOW how much we take advantage of the things that are just always the same.
As I thought about that truth, it reminded me of an even greater truth about God... how often do we take advantage of the seasons, surroundings, families, blessings that God has given us... the things that are just always there?
What about this...
How often do we take even our FAITH for granted?
Friday morning in chapel Matt spoke on what it truly means to be a Christian. He began his message with a rhetorical question...
The Christian: Committed to an ideology or transformed by the power of the Gospel?
When you read that statement you may be thinking that the obvious answer to that question would be the latter of the two.... a follower of Christ is committed to being transformed!
But if we really stop and think about this statement... is it REALLY true?
Let's stop for a minute and break that down...
An ideology is a system of ideas or beliefs... a person who is committed to an ideology is following the doctrines or customs of that particular group.
Although we may say that we believe that transformation is the desire of the Christian, how many of us are simply going through the motions of doctrine or customs... attending church on Sunday, going to a Bible study or youth group, reciting the Apostles Creed, singing hymns or worship songs from memory...
Don't get me wrong, all of these things are good things in and of themselves, but if that is what its all about, we are missing it! This is NOT the Gospel!
The apostle Paul spoke against this very kind of "faith"... he lived most of his life committed to an ideology. One day, on the road to Damascus, he was confronted by Jesus and he was radically changed... transformed by the power of the Gospel. It was no longer about the customs, laws, rituals, but all about allowing the Holy Spirit to come into his life and change him from the inside out. Paul didn't settle for a one-time experience with Jesus... he chose to dedicate his life to Him! He understood the great need for the world to know of that same transforming power... that God desires to have His Kingdom come on EARTH as it is in heaven.
There is SO much more to life than an ideology... there is so much more to faith than just going through the motions. I will even go so far as to say, because the Bible clearly states, that a Christian cannot JUST be committed to an ideology we MUST be transformed.
We miss the message of Jesus when we try to live for an ideology. And more importantly, we miss our opportunity to show a world in need the truth of the Gospel message!
Here are the questions that all of us should be asking ourselves...
Have we taken advantage of the "faith" that we have always been "doing" instead of living out our faith through the Spirit?
Did we settle for a religion instead of a relationship?
Are we committed to an ideology or are we truly being transformed by the power of the Gospel?
Our hearts desire is NOT to bring ideology to Haiti but to live transformed lives and to show others how they too can be transformed.
I sure do miss Fall... but at the same time, and in the same breath, I can say that I KNOW that God desires for me to be here and I wouldn't exchange this opportunity for anything.
Please continue to pray for us as we seek His will and desire for our work here in Haiti.