Monday, August 29, 2011

Living in discomfort

Love your enemies! Pray for them that persecute you... If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Matthew 5:44,46+47

A minister at our church just finished up a 7-Sunday sermon on Matthew chapter 5.





This last sermon was on the last few verses in chapter 5 and I've put the ones that have convicted me the most at the top of the blog post here. Yeah, I've heard all about loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me. I've always envisioned that as those faceless people who hate Christians who need Jesus just as much as me. Those people I have never met but I am praying for them anyways.

However, this sermon pointed my thoughts in a different direction. It pointed out those unpleasant people in my life. Those people I would just rather avoid because they make me uncomfortable. Or they grate on my nerves just a bit too much. These verses are talking about those people, too.

If there is one thing God has been calling me to over this past year, I feel it is to love the unlovable.

That's not really all that easy to do.

But being in this ministry of Gateway Woods, I am surrounded by those people that grate on my nerves and just plain make me uncomfortable. But after hearing the sermon this past Sunday I was just reminded that that is exactly where God wants me to be. We have had (and currently have) residents that live with us that really know how to push my buttons. It would be my survival mode to just "put up with" some of these individuals and hope they move along quickly. But God has placed them where they are for a reason.

And right now they are living with me.

So, do I just put up with them and hope for the best?

Or do I show them Christ's patience, love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Well, if I go back up and read that verse again...I think I have my answer.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bittersweet Goodbyes

This morning we said goodbye to some very dear friends that we have gotten to know over the last 5 years.

Nathan and Rachel Mueller, and their four children, packed up their belongings and moved north to Michigan where they will be attending school to be trained to be missionaries. Their plan is to go live in the remotest parts of the world and bring the gospel story to those who have never heard of Jesus. Although this is a few years off, we are sad to have them leave even though they are currently only a state away.

I cry for my kids who have become great friends with the Mueller children. Kaine and Owen are only 9 months apart, Halle and Hannah only 6 weeks, and Layla and Maddie 2 months apart. Although they are not nearly as torn up as I am over the Mueller's leaving, I am sad for them and their friendship that will now have to be carried on from a distance. We hope to have our kids be their prayer warriors, each praying specifically for the Mueller kid who is the same age.

It's a bittersweet goodbye - we know they are headed for great things as they live out God's will for their lives and bring the Good News to those who have never heard, but are selfishly sad for our loss of neighbors and great friends.

I have taken several pictures of Owen and Kaine playing together this summer, knowing they won't have an opportunity like this again. I also took a few of the kiddos when we had the Mueller's over for dinner a few night before they left. In the one picture Owen and Kaine are looking through a National Geographic book looking for tribes for Kaine to go live with.

Nate and Rachel we cherish the friendship between our young families and pray God's guiding and protecting hand in your new adventure!