Start with a Shovel

With a handful of reed, I stuffed the wire guide to contribute to the 9-year old boy’s remade house. Immediately after the church service, just two days after arriving in Mozambique, members of the Celebration Church campus in Xai Xai head out to Jose’s house upon finishing lunch. Ladies with babies strapped to their backs hold a huge bundle of reed on their heads, grasping them with their hands to hold it balanced. Franco, originally from South Africa and the white minority in the church, utilizes his construction talent to fix the roof on this rebuild. We all take turns doing various jobs, and no one stops until the house is complete. The next few days even have their own construction project of building a kitchen for the church with a similar construct as the reed house–manually manufacturing cement for the floor and an open flame oven, building walls from scratch–then later, fixing a broken wall of another campus. All components of each project took every person who helped work to do so. Everyone was tired, but no one was miserable. People helped each other, conversed, and when a hand was needed one or two pairs of hands were always right there contributing. Whereas ‘serving’ is something that Americans have to think about and praise themselves for, Mozambicans just considered it life–not one effort to a thought was even made on the manner. Though we saw this as part of our “mission trip”, they saw it as Monday through Wednesday–nothing out of the ordinary except for a few Americans with t-shirts that said “Celebration Church“. We made conversation and learned about the people who would later etch their names in our hearts, forming the beginnings to relationships more akin to family–working never seemed so joyful!

Perhaps my greatest lesson was the one I hadn’t expected–ministry begins, not preaching behind a pulpit, but with a shovel in your hand. Continue reading

John 14:6 – Part 1 – “I Am The Way”

5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:5-6

Perhaps John 14 has grown affectionately recently, but the profundity of Jesus’ claim motivates one to contemplate and write.  Thomas, often known as “Doubting Thomas”, is someone I can relate to well.  He’s the one who says, “Wait a minute, let me get this straight!”  People have often put him down for not having enough faith, and maybe he sometimes wasn’t paying attention, but I think Thomas was a bit of a rational thinker.  The incident for which he is most remembered is in John 20 when he missed Jesus’ appearance after His resurrection when he says, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25).  He didn’t necessarily doubt that Jesus was risen, but that they truly saw Him.  Thomas struggled with the same thing I myself do–he always wanted to know for sure because he needed certainty.  That’s why his faith was lacking, as does perhaps my own–he needed to know.

sneak peak at the Sri Lanka 2k11 trip

Yet Jesus said, “I am the way”, thus answering Thomas’ question.  In this statement Jesus equated Himself with the Father, who with Moses in Exodus 3 says, “I AM who I AM”.  Essentially, Jesus is saying, “I am the way to life”.  He changes our expectations on how the question should be answered.   Continue reading