Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Drink up!

Not to very long ago I was having a conversation with my friend Andrew. Andrew his wife Kathy and their two sons serve the LORD as a Missionaries in Columbia. http://tinyurl.com/7spacu Ask Andrew about how he ended up in Columbia and he will chuckle and tell you the story of how he “agreed” with God to go to Columbia for two years, that was over 21 years ago. He was the Pastor of a small Baptist Church in Allentown NJ back then, recently married and on fire for God……….

As I was saying, I was having a conversation with Andrew. He had called from Columbia on his Vonage phone service. Vonage is phone provider that allows its users to make and receive unlimited phone calls from all over the world for one small monthly fee. (or so I have been told). I have another friend, Dr. Mark Wilson who teaches in Turkey. http://sevenchurches.org/mark/ He and his wife Dindy spend about 10 months a year in Turkey and two in the US. Mark also has Vonage. I met Mark back in 1978 while we were both attending……………………….

Sooo back to where I started, Andrew called and as you might expect our conversation revolved around the work the LORD is doing in Columbia. The city Andrew is serving in is Medellin. Medellin is a city of around 3 Million people and is considered the most dangerous city in the world. Each year over 3000 people are kidnapped there. I took some time and did a little research about the city and found that about 5,000 people per year are murdered there. That works out to almost two murders for every thousand peo…………...

I’m sorry I got off track again. Andrew was telling me about the GREAT works the LORD is doing in Columbia. He says that they hold a crusade in the Bull Ring, I think they do this monthly. I wasn’t aware there was bull fighting in South America. I somehow thought they only did that in Spain. Apparently, bull fighting is very popular there and the people there enjoy it a great deal.

AHHH! I did it again! I sat down to write an article about the Great work the LORD is doing in Columbia. To tell you about the Great hunger that exists there. To tell you, as Andrew tells me, about a thirst for GOD that the people have, a thirst that I can hardly comprehend. I wanted to explore why the people in Columbia have such a real hunger for GOD while in America many, if not most of us, say we believe, yet live lives testifying to our true complacent attitude. Why?

Perhaps the first four paragraphs above serve to illustrate what may be part of the answer. In America, the USA, we just plain have too much going on to distract us from what is really important. Perhaps I, and I think others as well, have been overly de-sensitized by a constant bombardment of TV shows, the latest cars on the market, who won last night game, the seasons newest fashions, the new iphone, gaming platform or latest software. The morning coffee is enjoyed with the backdrop of the morning news telling me way more then I need to know about last nights televised sports event, some celebrities substance abuse problem and opinions of why President Elect Obama would go to the beach “shirtless”. The list of voices that compete to hold my attention and consume my life is endless, their march - relentless.

I, like most of those who will read this, am an American. My grocery stores are overflowing with row after row of ready made foods. I have credit cards enough to meet my every whim. I complain to no end about the price of gasoline but think nothing of spending $1.35 on a cup of coffee, a bottle of Coke or even a bottle of water. In a moments notice I can buy a ticket and jump on a plane to just about anywhere. If I have a headache- Tylenol is on the shelf. If I’m feeling blue - I should tell my doctor about the pill I saw on TV last night. If I slip on my neighbor’s front porch – I have a lawyer ready to start the civil proceedings. For every desire, need and appetite, real or contrived there is a product packaged and ready.

In short I have it all! I don’t need God, well not today. I’ll attend to religion some other time. After all, the playoffs are on TV tonight.

Two thousand years ago Jesus, speaking of all humanity addressed our cavalier attitude towards God. The “problem” was important enough to have been recorded in three of the four Gospels.
Matthew 19:24, Luke 18:25 and Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Jesus, talking with the Governor of Judea, just hours before his crucifixion, said "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
Pontius Pilate’s response, "What is truth?" could be paraphrased as “I have more important things to think about, so what?” John 18:37- 38.

In no other place and at no other time in history have so many had so much. Conversely, no other people at any time have wanted, no needed, so much.

The answer isn’t new, there are no commercials advertising it, and regardless of the how many credit cards you have you can’t buy it. The answer isn’t free but it is offered to us pre-paid. The answer is called the Gospel, it is The Kingdom of God.

Luke 9:2-6
and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God……….. So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
You decide which is best, a kingdom (government, country, world) of men ------ or a kingdom of God ?

Jesus, speaking of what he will freely give to us said. "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14

Drink up! It’s not an acquired taste. It is what you were created for.