The pictures in this post are from the church we taught at Sunday morning. The man pictured is 86 years old. After a few songs, he came to the front and began to introduce ‘his’ children from the orphanage he takes care of. One after another he brought them up stroking their faces, patting their heads and telling the unbelievable horror stories of what these children have suffered before winding up in his care. I cannot tell you how deeply his stories touched us. The teen girls and the little ones pictured here were horribly physically abused. I sat in my seat as the little one in the green and grey stripped shirt began to cry as their protector told of her horrifying life. My heart broke as I thought of the incredible need for people to come and minister to the hundreds of thousands of children just like these.
Being in Kenya has been an incredible eye-opening revelation. We have learned much. Here is a short synopsis…
People… need people
To begin with please do not interpret this as criticism to any person or organization doing active ministry. Our Father has called many people to many different things. Many missionaries are doing an incredible work of compassionate service to the people of Kenya.
But, our personal observation of things going on around us lead us to wonder if those things have any lasting effect on the advancement of the Kingdom of God. As the incredible missionary to India, Amy Carmichael, once wrote in her courageous book ‘Things As They Are’ … all things are not as they appear.
At first glance, East Africa seems to be inundated with Christian churches. It will even appear that many of these churches look like they are filled with zealous disciples of Christ. Sunday morning services are filled with emotion, exuberance, and stirring testimonies of how God has blessed them. Yet most of those blessings are centered around the accumulation of money or other physical enrichments.
Yet, is this what excited the early church? No! This is the testimony of the early Christians …
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; (col. 1: 3-6)
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles ’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4: 32-35)
It was the revelation of the Life of God that first century disciples excitedly wrote about and not how much God gave them. They’re hearts were set on the advancement of the Kingdom of God… not the advancement of the kingdom of stuff.
Secondly… Somehow we have imagined ourselves spiritually ahead of people who lived in the first 300 years of the church.. but sadly … we are not. They knew that when God had something to say to humanity… He didn’t do so through a book, track, or a teaching (much less Facebook). When God sent His word to humans in the early Church … He wrapped His word in a human. How else could they understand what is spoken? There is no substitute for human presence. It is how our Father designed the advancement of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Just trying to teach the meaning of the scriptures, fails to do much spiritually, without a living example demonstration of what is meant by those scriptures! Please don’t misunderstand me … we need bibles, books, tracks but we equally need people to demonstrate what they mean! It has taken years for the people listening to our teachings to understand what we mean when we teach them even the basic doctrines of the faith. And rarely is this is ever accomplished without living out what you mean in front of them.
It is revealing that Christ asks these questions to His disciples…
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14,15)
The first two questions are answered by accepting the importance of the last two. Lost people don’t need materials and information as much as they need people who can demonstrate the message they bring. In the same way even saved people need gifted people who can demonstrate what they teach.
People… need people.
That is why Christ gave people to the church and not just learning materials.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; (Eph. 4: 11-13)
Ask yourself… what am I doing with the majority of time in my life? Serving myself… or serving God? People … children… women… are (literally) dying for help. What am I doing to help them? If you are not actively involved in ministry please help us… help them!!
Much grace…and love … the StoneHouse Family of Disciples.