I’m in Chicago, for my job, which is very fun. Yesterday I spent the afternoon in south Chicago with my friend Milton getting a first-hand look at Cru’s Inner City ministry. The Agape Community Center sits, on the one hand, unobtrusively along West 111th Street, and behind their grey front door there are all sorts of Kingdom, Light of the World, Jesus is Real, sorts of things going on. One 20+ year tradition begins again next weekend when they, along with hundreds of folks from around Chicago, will put together some 2000+ “Boxes of Love” filled with food and supplies for needy families around the city. Kids are cared for after school every other day, men and women from all walks of life are brought to faith in Christ through the love and compassion of this team and their many interns and volunteers.
As I rode away from the Agape Center last night I was sobered, challenged, and compelled by the faith, tenacity, and perseverance of my brothers and sisters in the inner city. I am humbled. My life is so easy in comparison.
I returned to the city to have dinner with my friend Jan, an NBC executive, and faithful servant of the King. We sat at dinner and shared our lives – as we have done weekly (and mostly over the phone) for nearly four years. In contrast to south Chicago, Jan faces challenges of a different sort. Her heart and desire is the same as Milton’s and his team – to bring glory to God and the light of the gospel to everyone she comes in contact with. I admire her humility, her sensitivity to the Spirit. As we headed out of the building, I observed how everyone from the security guard near the elevator and the guys in the parking garage all greeted her with warmth and friendliness. She’s made a mark over her 25 years of employment – the light of Jesus shines.
I returned to my hotel after dinner to an email from a friend of mine, Sandy, who is going to Haiti with a group of believers from her church in a few weeks. As she asked for prayer, she reminded her readers that Haitians were hit by Hurricane Sandy. A lot of their job will be to help rebuild the rebuild of the rebuild.
My brother, Mike – Cru National Director for Nations, is gathering this weekend with a group of about 200 Native American college students in New Mexico (or was it Arizona?) to talk about the gospel. Mike and his family have been ministering with Native students for the past several years – he often reflects on his life with me and says things like, “Did you ever imagine your brother would be meeting with tribal chiefs and going to pow wows?” He has become both a student of and a spokesperson for Native American students in our country. I’m praying for a significant time for this group, for unity, reconciliation, and a mighty move of the Spirit of God.
I went to bed with my heart pulled in all sorts of directions.
As I spend time with Jesus this morning I’ve been reading my bible (the Gospel of John) and another book by Eugene Peterson on “practicing resurrection” – through his comments on Ephesians 1:3-14 I’ve been reminded that as believers we’re “predestined” according to the will of God, and we are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Practicing resurrection is waiting and watching, listening for and hearing, responding and participating in the call of God. Our destination: His Kingdom.
Peterson writes: “The sheer size, the staggering largeness, of the world into which God call us, its multi-dimensioned spaciousness, must not be reduced to dimensions that we are cozily comfortable with…if we calculate the nature of the world by what we can manage or explain, we end up living in a very small world.”
My, your, our destiny is in His hands. I surrender myself to the works He prepared beforehand. I need His help to walk in them. I wonder where He’ll lead?