Take a look over the people that God used in the Bible. There are countless stories of people whose lives are literally ruined once they met Jesus. Ruined in the best possible way, but ruined nonetheless. There’s people like Noah was considered a fool in the eyes of his community for building a boat (a rather large one at that) in the middle of a drought. There was Daniel who was thrown into the den with a lion because he refused to stop praying to God instead of the King. Mary who endured ridicule for declaring she was a virgin, yet was pregnant, with the Messiah at that. Then there was Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his son’s life, all because God asked him to.
What is wrong with these people?!
Why would people do that? It doesn’t make sense! If this was to happen today I assume I would be quick to jump on the bandwagon and be throwing my own set of opinions at them.
Noah, seriously, it’s not raining. Daniel, it’s a lion. Let’s think about this. Mary, who are you kidding?! Abraham, I’ll calling social services.
Of course, knowing how these stories end none of us condemn them for their choices. In fact we share their stories with our children, we make crafts in VBS and share about the incredible un-wavering faith each of them had. We don’t question them. We admire them.
So, why would people do that?
Because they had a taste of something greater then themselves. They had an encounter with Jesus. In a way that made whatever happen on this earth; whatever hardship, ridicule, or self doubt worth it. They were telling a bigger story with their lives. One that when linked together tells this great story of redemption that envelopes the love of Jesus.
Have you ever thought about what our lives as believers would be like without people like Noah, Daniel, Mary and Abraham? What if their lives pointed to their self-dependence, logical thinking, and the explainable instead of their dependence on Christ, their commitment to who he says he is as oppose to what their circumstances said? I’m thankful for those people. The fact that their stories encourage my own, but also because it challenges me to live more like Christ. To take him at his word and to live in the hope that my life can be the Noah, Abraham, Daniel and Mary encouragement to someone else who hasn’t yet tasted amazing grace.
John chapter 1 we find the story of John the Baptist where he is telling the crowds (paraphrase) “I’m not Jesus…I’m just here to tell you what I’ve witnessed about him.” I imagine him just beaming saying “Guys, he is who he says he is!” John the Baptist had his own encounter with Jesus and that’s propelled his ministry. It was the key piece that made his life worth it. It’s the same key piece that caused Noah to hammer the first nail despite the naysayers, for Daniel to enter the lion’s den with confidence, for Abraham to be willing to sacrifice his son and for Mary to endure with such grace the rumors that were swarming around her. It’s because when you get a taste of Christ; the trueness of His character…you’ll do anything. Because grace is just that amazing. It ruins us in the best way possible. We can live in the realization that there is a bigger story going on that we get to be a part of. One that points us fulfillment and a life with purpose, because it’s pointing back to Christ. The gospel that makes everything makes sense.
This past year for me has continued to prove that regardless of the seemingly “crazy” or “illogical” things Christ calls me to…it’s worth it. It’s worth it because he’s worth it. This past year of ministry has proven to me that what God calls us to it to continue to just like Noah, Daniel, Abraham and Mary to live lives that point to the redemption of the gospel!
I’ve seen widows receive strength to carry on because of hearing God’s word; that they matter to him. I’ve seen youth give up drinking and clubs because Christ has become greater to them. I’ve seen a young man come to know Christ while being a team member on a team. I’ve seen young women break through the chains of legalism because they are learning how to navigate through the scriptures and find their identity in Christ.
Those are the things that continue to encourage my heart to move forward. It makes leaving a job where you knew your paycheck would come every month worth it. Everything that once looked like a “sacrifice” are just used to bring more glory to Christ. It’s in the most impossible situations, when it starts to rain, the lion licks your face, the ram appears in the bush and in new birth. Those sacrifices are just props.
There truly is something bigger going on here. So much so that I need more of you to join me. To continue to see Christ’s hope of the gospel come alive in the hearts of the people in Nicaragua, I need your help. Your prayers above all. But, I need financial help as well. To continue to do what God is calling me to do in Nicaragua I need your financial assistance.
Whether monthly or one-time gifts, those investments are what are needed to continue the work. To enable me to be the witness of Christ to the people in need of the gospel in Nicaragua.
It’s a big enough story that I know God is wanting this to be US not just ME! Would you consider being a part of my prayer and financial support team?
All gifts are tax-deductible and you have 2 options to give your support.
1) PayPal: By clicking here you will be directed to the Vision Nicaragua website where you can choose to contribute monthly or through a one-time contribution.
2) Checks: If you are still a check writer you can mail your contribution to:
Vision Nicaragua PO Box 2172 Fairview, NC 28730
In the memo line write: Missionary Support Lauren Parham