Engaging in some random thinking tonight as the nation changes with the sweeping in of Republican leadership. I predicted this almost two years ago when the stimulus bill was passed, by the way ("Did Republicans Just Win the 2010 Midterm Elections?" Feb. 17, 2009). I don't think that Americans chose the Republicans as much as they are disgusted with the course of the country and are throwing out whoever is in charge. If Republicans don't somehow produce massive change in the next two years, Obama will be re-elected, Democrats will keep control of the Senate, and the Republican majority in the House will decrease. If anyone thinks that America has suddenly turned conservative, they are mistaken. Americans are angry and are going to blame anyone that they can. Republicans had better do something with this opportunity, or the Tea Party will splinter off and weaken the Republican Party to the point of being unelectable. We need some leaders with a real vision for how to move the whole country forward, and those leaders are few and far between right now. Maybe they will emerge in this Congress and over the next two years. I hope so.
This past week, Andrew Jones (Tallskinnykiwi) and his family came to visit us. He blogs at http://tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com, in case you didn't know. I have known Andrew and his wife, Debbie, for over 10 years now, having met them in San Francisco in the late 90's. They impacted me deeply then and continue to do so today. You can listen to the audio download of our time together here (see 10/27/10). Andrew is one of the major reasons that I started blogging years ago, and he continues to have a huge influence on believers around the world, especially in the missional church movement. He was one of the pioneers of faith-based blogging and continues to exert heavy influence in that arena.
When he was with us last week, I asked him how he and his family came to the point where they were willing to give up everything for Jesus and follow Him all over the world? How were they able to give up all of the stuff that we accumulate and depend on in our Western lifestyles? He said that all that stuff wouldn't fit on the truck. Andrew, Debbie, and their kids have been traveling all over Europe in a truck that they outfitted to carry their family wherever God might lead them. They only take with them what will fit. I was stunned by the answer. So many of us focus on the "stuff" and wonder how we can fit God into our lifestyles. We try to find a little room for God in the midst of all the other junk that we carry with us. But, the Jones' had a different answer. They decided to follow God first and only take with them what they needed. Revolutionary concept, eh? I think that Jesus said something along those lines.
After the sharing time, we prayed for Andrew and Debbie and for their family. They are traveling across America over the next few months and are then headed back to Europe and then across the Middle East to India. We have established a way to help support them in their travels and ministry through a non-profit that we have set up called Community Development Initiatives. If you would like to help the Jones' in their traveling quest to share the message of Jesus with the nations, let me know and I'll get you the information on how to do so.
Sunday evening, we had a major outreach through our church. We have a Fall Festival every year where we invite the community, play games, give out food and candy, love our neighbors, and share the gospel. We went out the week before and invited our neighbors and prayed that they would come and that the event would be effective. God answered our prayers. We had around 500 people come to the event, which made it the largest outreach event in the history of our church. I am so thankful for Jeremy and the Children's Ministry Team for putting all this together and for those who prayed and invited people to come. It was a very multicultural group, as well, with many African-Americans, Hispanics, Koreans, and Muslims from the Middle East who came by. I was able to talk at length with a Muslim from Morocco and, through conversation, share the gospel with him. It was an amazing night and I am excited about how we continue to be salt and light in our community. God always seems to bless us whenever we step out and put ourselves out there in our neighborhoods and around the world.
Politics, mission, global connections, local impact. Those are the things that are on my mind tonight, and I lay down to rest, I remember that God is alway working, always moving us down along the shore of life, unexpectedly and surprisingly at times, but always according to His will. We can confident of that.