Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alaska Adventures: From Garbage to Grace

Sunshine and blue skies.
A phenomenal way to kick off our first full day of mission work!
The "Toy Makers", as our team is called, actually stayed on site at First Baptist North Pole to help with their ministry that provides donated items for free to members of the community.
When they pulled back the flaps of the yellow and white tent reminiscent of a circus, I knew this was indeed the job for me!
This yard sale going, organizing queen found herself amongst truckloads of what many would call junk...but I knew better!
We spent the morning sorting, moving, stacking pile after pile.
And to some it may have seemed like an infinite task, but to me it was access to infinite treasure.
Every moment, at every turn there is something that was thrown out, tossed aside as used up, finished, without purpose.
It has been labeled as junk...trash.
But with every dig, every shift of these endless piles, I discovered old that I wanted to make new.
Possibilities for these cast aside treasures flooded my mind all morning...and I wished that this tent wasn't thousands of miles from home!

Later that afternoon we went onto the Airforce base and led a back yard Bible club for children of military families. It was quite an experience just getting the pass from security to go on the base!
We were going in completely not knowing what to expect, but played it by ear as best we could.
I pulled out some kid songs that to some may be considered tired and overused, but we saw these kids come to life as we engaged them in praise through these simple melodies.
We acted out the story of Jonah, played Duck, Duck, Goose, Freeze Tag, and ate Goldfish...none of it new, none of it what anyone searching out curriculum for kids ministry would call mind blowing by any stretch of then imagination!
But it strike that....He worked.
He worked in it. He worked through it.
He worked in US. He worked through US.

Our Father, Creator has a way of doing that doesn't He? That's kind of His thing...taking the old and making it new.

Taking this old me and making me His all-kind-of-amazing NEW!

See, these things we found under that old smelly tent, might have indeed been old and smelly, but they weren't discovered and taken for what they had been, they were hauled into those cars and trucks with anticipation of what they would now be.
And those songs so overly familiar and those stories so frequently told and those games played for decades, they were heard wth fresh ears, embraced with expectant minds.

And what if we, His people, quit labeling it all old and used, and when presented with what we call junk, the used up and over used, instead chose to hunt for His treasure amidst it all?

Because isn't that what He did with us?

The world, my enemy called me done. Over. Finished before I started.
But God called me HIS.
And that changed it all.

What if we saw ourselves the way He sees us?
What if we saw others the way He sees them?

What if we took His eyes of Grace?
Rescuing eyes.

Because it isn't about what we were. It's about who we ARE in Him.
The purpose He calls out in us, raises up in us.
Going beyond what we see, diving head first into the depth of His life giving NEW.

Our gray, cloudy, rain filled, melancholy lives transformed into His sunshine, bright blue skies of Grace.
Indeed, a phenomenal way to begin our mission...and an even better way to live our lives.

"You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known."
Isaiah 48:6 ESV

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us."
2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

"Because of this decision we don't evaluate people but what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; the new life burgeons! Look at it!"
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 The Message

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