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TO BE SENT IS TO BE...

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LOVED. 
To be sent is to be...loved.  

Just before Jesus turns His disciples loose to carry on His mission to make disciples who make disciples of all nations, He says to them these words.

"Peace be with as the you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."  John 20:21

It was out of radical love for humanity and creation that the Son of God was sent, and it is out of responding to the love of God in Jesus Christ--through faith--that we are sent into this world to saturate it with the Gospel.

On July 13th, 2016 six Middle Schoolers and 4 adults were sent, by faith, to San Francisco.  Faith is a funky thing, isn't it?  

When faith in God is at the core of what we do we don't know how things are going to turn out or exactly what it is that God is going to do along the way...that is what is so exciting about following Jesus into all of life!

 

Think about it... When faith in God is expressed in action we get to trust Him to enable us (individually or in family) to somehow and someway embody the Gospel through demonstration and proclamation; it doesn't matter where or what it is, whether: jumping into a 12-passenger van fully of teenagers, going through the doors of our schools, entering into a foreign or familiar city, walking through the doors to our job or even our very home.  

We have the opportunity in the everyday unique and normal experiences of life to encounter God do the impossible.

What does it look like for you to intentionally trust God?

This very vulnerable place can cause us to run in the opposite direction, or can cause us to cling to our magnificent God to do what we absolutely cannot do without Him.  Let me tell you, it was soooo cool to watch and join in with our students and adult leaders step out in faith in God in very spiritually dark and unknown places to most of us!    

While in San Francisco we were able to partner with 3 remarkable ministries: City Team, Center for Student Missions, and Soma San Ramon Valley.  It was with these ministries that we had the privilege to practically love and serve many women, men, teens and children who were homeless, outcasts, broken and rejected, through providing meals, listening, laughing, praying and sharing our lives and the Gospel with them.

Our team stepped out in faith and experienced God do what seemed to be impossible, through our lives, over and over again.  Here are some of the ways our team describes their experience:

"I learned not to judge people on how they look, rich or poor they can all have needs." - Sam

"I learned that everyone has a different story and sometime they just need someone to listen to them." - Sydney 

"I saw how difficult it is to live without a home and how God can impact lives in amazing ways that I can't explain, and that God really can call others to come and serve even in San Francisco." -Ellie

 "I watched God answer our prayers and give us courage and strength when we didn't have much left." - Alana

It was amazing to not only see the courage and changes in our Soma kids but also the Spirit changes in my own heart as we served in San Francisco. -Sam 

God opened our eyes to extreme needs, brokenness, and the power of the Gospel breaking into hopeless situations and bringing life and transformation.  We learned simple and creative pathways to love complete strangers and each other well, and are returning with a fresh perspective of the joy of being sent into our world as family, servants, and missionaries!

"I saw God do amazing things. We gave the poor and homeless people we met the dignity and respect of listening to their story and treating them like human beings made in God's image. It was something they very rarely experience." -Rich

Bethany shared this, "...Some people thing that like different countries need the most attention, but there is so much need all around us that we need to take not of.  It doesn't take very much to make a homeless/needy persons day and I think we should would towards helping the people around us." 

"...because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." I Thessalonians 2:8

Our trip provided a great opportunity to build new friendships, and experience God in amazing ways as we responded in faith and stepped out of our comfort zones to love and care for many people who are rejected by most of society.  

To be sent is to be...loved.  
Thank you for loving us well!

With Joy!
Stephan, Alana, Sam, Rich, Sydney, Olivia, Kellen, Ellie, Bethany & Samuel

 
in Prayer

Get Connected Spiritually

 

I forgot how dependent I was on the web until our power went out for the entire day. Our phones could not get any signal. There was apparently some sort of wind storm and we could not send or receive emails, texts or calls. We could not get on the web either.

It was very disconcerting. 

Being connected to the world at large through our phones and our other mobile devices has become a way of life for us. Even my children would rather look at the weather forecast on my phone than go outside and feel the fresh air. Whether it is needed for work email, or facebook, or getting driving directions, a day without connectivity would feel like torture.   

This constant connectivity has a parallel in our spiritual lives as well. Our souls are built to be connected all the time. And prayer is how we stay connected to God.

“Pray without ceasing” This is how the New Testament puts it. Live your life in constant communication with God. There is no place you can go where God cannot hear you.

Psalm 139 says

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence”

If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in the grave, you are there!”

Praying is what we were created for.

You can see it in the beginning. Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). Being human meant spending time in relationship with God.

You can see it in the end. In heaven this is exactly what we will be doing. John writes about life after death, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with humanity. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3).

So why don’t we pray more?

One reason is that our lives are filled with distractions, busyness and lack of solitude.

In her book, The Call of Solitude, Ester Buchholz, Ph.D.  says, “The need for genuine and constructive aloneness has gotten utterly lost, and, in the process, so have we… Now, more than ever, we need our solitude.”

Solitude was something Jesus himself practiced. The gospel writers all include stories of Jesus getting alone for prayer.  

 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35

 

 

"And after he had dismissed the crowds he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone," -Matthew 14:23

 

 

"But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray." Luke 5:16

 

A Huffington Post article titled “The 10 Important Reasons to Start Making Time for Silence, Rest and Solitude” makes this same point.  

“They’re an endangered species: silence and solitude; yet great revelations and benefits are found in them.” 

I used to have an easy time finding solitude when I was young and single. But now that I am married with four young kids and one teenager, it seems solitude is harder to find.

But if prayer is what we were made for, then we have to push through this difficulty and make time for it.

In an interview on prayer recently Tim Keller gave his insight on this difficulty. Tim says “my wife used an illustration on me: If the doctor said you have a fatal condition, and unless you take this medicine every night from 11:00 to 11:15, and swallow these pills, you will be dead by morning. If that was the case, she said, you would never miss. You would never say, I was too tired, or, I didn’t get to it, or, I was watching a movie, and I didn’t leave time. You never would do that.”

Here are some places I have found in Seattle and around the Eastside where you could find some solitude for prayer

1) Larsen Lake in Bellevue  has a path around it and several secluded spots where you can sit and pray. 14812 SE 8th St, Bellevue, WA 98007

2) Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle is an amazing chapel for prayer. (https://www.seattleu.edu/chapel/) It is open

Monday - Thursday: 7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

They do a Catholic midday mass at 12:30pm but otherwise the chapel is quiet, empty and a great place to kneel, read, and pray.

3) Gene Coulon Park in Renton1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA 98056 If you park at the North end there are several benches overlooking the waters of Lake Washington as well as a walking path along the shore.

4) Issaquah Highlands Central Park South Pond Loop Trail in Issaquah. 1907 NE Park Dr, Issaquah, WA 98029. The South Pond, which is part of Central park, is off of the beaten path and a great place to walk and pray. http://your.kingcounty.gov/ftp/gis/Web/VMC/recreation/BCT_GrandRidge_brochure.pdf

5) Newcastle Beach Park in Newcastle 4400 Lake Washington Blvd SE
Bellevue, WA right on the shores of lake Washington with a dock that stretches out into the lake and a sandy beach where you can often see bald eagles. 

 These are places you can go for solitude and prayer.But you can also use an empty conference room, or your deck.

Finding solitude is important for those times that I would call, "Retreat Prayer". These are blocks of prayer that last an hour or more. Most of us would do well to aim for a time of Retreat Prayer like this once a month. If you have kids, you and your spouse can trade off who is watching the kids while you send the other one away.

In the next post I will talk more about "Regular Prayer"  those short one sentence or 1 minute prayers that we carry on in the midst of our everyday life while we work, while we play, and while we shuffle from one obligation to the next.

For now, I challenge you to get out your phone and look for a time in the next few weeks when you can schedule some Retreat Prayer to get alone and pray. It doesn't need to be one of these places listed above. It could be a room in your house, or a sidewalk in your neighborhood.

Connect by praying the Psalms.

Psalm 9 is a good place to start.

Jesus said,

"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”

Posted by Rich McCaskill with

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