God as our "life goal"
The very first time I came to visit Nashville was for a fundraiser. I was a college pastor at the time and one of the girls on our ministry team invited a few of us to accompany her to a benefit ball her friend was throwing. At the time I was still thinking that my future was as a recording artist and I planned on doing some ceasing some networking opportunities. The event was about as fun as I expected. Dancing, live music, horderves and so on. I was introduced to Phillip who is the manager for a few notable Gospel acts. But Philip is not the kind of guy you can scmoose. He’s just a normal guy from Indiana with a heart for the nation of Haiti.
Philip brought this passion to Darren. Darren used to lead a young adults ministry and was also a music industry guy. The passion grew into a mission and the mission into a bible study. Before long a group of penniless 20 somethings were making a substantial difference in Jacmel Haiti. They met once a week to study the word and decided early on that any money that came in would go directly to the people of Jamel. So all of the sudden, these musicians and singles we’re giving to something way beyond the scope of “normal” and it was adding up fast. To the tune of thousands of dollars.
That Bible study is now a church. A church that takes half a dozen trips or more to that little town in Haiti. A church that has given 100’s of thousands of dollars to begin changing a nation. It’s not a very large church less than 200 people and many of them or still penniless 20 somethings, only now they have spouses and families. It’s an incredibly boring story with incredibly exciting results. There was no big fanfare, no celebrity endorsements, no overnight mega church. Just a small group of people listening to the voice of God, being obedient, and changing the world one village at a time.
So much so that when the tragic earth quake hit in 2010 this church was there almost immediately. They had been there serving for three or four years prior and so those more intimately involved were able to use that familiarity to make things happen, dynamic things. This is what happens when we obey the voice of God, and do it for no other reason than because we love Him. And His heart is to love others and so as believers we start seeking to do the will and heart of God and it constantly brings us into the face of loving others.
When God breathed life into Adam, scripture says He literally blew into Adam’s nostrils. He you can’t do that unless you are intimately close. A pastor friend of mine put it this way, “It seems like God gets right down in the sand and blows into the nose of man, and so the very first thing man sees are the eyes of God. Man awakens to life staring in the face of Love.” And that is the gospel; awakening man to a new life that starts by being face to face with Love. Community is not sharing MY life with YOU, or YOUR life with ME, It's sharing HIS life with EACHOTHER.
My friend Ryan started this thing called “People Loving Nashville”. A few years ago PLN was a couple of friends making a few meals and feeding a handful of people. The last time I visited Ryan they had 30 or 40 volunteers serving 130 or so meals. And they were clothing people with a storage locker full of clothes, they were even in the early stages of rounding out their Gospel call by setting up times to visit the imprisoned and the widows. Ryan didn’t wake up with some huge vision of grandeur. He simply answered a simple call to love his neighbor.
Following God is simple it’s just not easy. But I truly believe as we allow Him to truly love us in all the wounded, broken, hurting places of our heart our souls will be restored and renewed and the desire to serve others will grow.
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,