Guest Commentary: The Gate called Beautiful by Meg

Recently one of the contributors on the forum made a post that is challenging. This post points toward the looking toward appearance and failing to get to the heart of those hurting  and lost in darkness.  These words should be challenging to us all. Also remember it is Jesus who went after those outside this gate, the prostitutes and tax collectors.  So take time and read the commentary and let the Holy Spirit speak to you regarding the content.

It seems to me there is a gate on the American church called Beautiful. Its a gate gilded with money and success. It is all too easy to hide behind that gate and pretend that nothing on the outside of that gate matters. It seems to me that everything outside the gate called Beautiful is either too dangerous or too unattractive to look at closely. Or maybe its just too expensive; after all, these days time is money.
I knew a woman in 2006 whose daughter died of a drug overdose right here in the Bible Belt. That young woman was just outside the gate called Beautiful! Right outside!!! Her mother knew it, but there was nothing she could do to stop it, because she too was trapped outside the gate called Beautiful. My best friend died outside the gate called Beautiful. He never knew he had a choice. He thought God was a slot machine, nothing but random chance, and he got dealt the losing hand, he really thought that, and that horrifically mistaken impression killed him — slowly. I had the front row seat in that horror movie. That was one of the wounds I never thought could heal… It literally took an act of God to heal that one.

It seems to me that the church has decided that unless someone is getting paid to do something that nothing is going to get done. Since money is so important, they spend quite a bit of it to build impressive sanctuaries that attract money to pay the staff to “do something”, then they build a gate called “Beautiful” to keep the ugliness tightly shut out. Its safe in there, and it is beautiful; the money insists on that, because everybody knows that poverty kills, so therefore the lie becomes true, and the prosperity gospel becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with a great deal of credibility.

Doesn’t the dying matter??? I see it every day, the people who live behind the gate called Beautiful singing “Blessed To Be A Blessing” while they turn their backs on everything they don’t want to see. And its so convenient how everyone they don’t want to see find somewhere else to die. Cemeteries are very quiet places by nature, where death is hidden under the soil easily forgotten. The wealthy are so easy to look at that it is equally easy to turn away from anything that doesn’t fit inside the gate called “Beautiful”. They justify themselves with ministries to the homeless, who they cannot ignore, but its the people trapped behind the gate called “Almost” who are doing the real dying. They are the people who are easily ignored. They are the people who are pointedly ignored. They would rather work than steal, they work cheap and are easily replaced, and easily exploited as well. They neither cost much money nor cause much trouble, so the existence of the working underclass is both useful and easily taken for granted.

Turning your back is effortless. Nothing could be more visibly important than success, so it makes perfect sense to pour all their time and energy into creating more success. Nothing could be easier than failure, all they haver to do is stop trying, and since anything easy is cheap, and anything cheap is plentiful, hell is filling up fast, and anyone who doesn’t measure up is expendable. Right outside the gate called “Beautiful”…

KSTP to air story on Livesays on February 8th

   KSTP Channel 5 Eyewitness News recently traveled to Haiti to report on Minnesotans working in earthquake relief. 
 
For those of you in the Minneapolis metro area, tune in Monday, February 8 at 10:00 pm Central Time for the story on
the Livesays and work being done at Heartline Ministries.
 
Those of you outside the area can see the story after shortly after air time at www.kstp.com
 

Musings on Cures for Suffering

Suffering is awful. I see suffering every day. There are many diseases and global problems that really seem to be giants and the world would be better off if we had a solution to them and that suffering eradicated. Yet, it is worth noting that Jesus once stated, “the poor will always be with us.” (Matthew 26:11) The fact is suffering exists because of the sin of man. The first sin resulted in the twisting of all creation the proper order was displaced. Therefore, suffering is ongoing. Today thought about things such as praying that humanity develops a cure for cancer and other such issues. The reality is once one disease and suffering defeated, there is always something more discoveries. It is an ongoing process; it is death released by the separating from God and emphasizing self. There is only one answer to suffering, and that is the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is not about removal of suffering in this life, but rather being content, at peace, and whole. Ultimately, all suffering has been defeated at the cross. There will be an end to suffering and it comes at the cross. It comes in what is yet ahead. The return of Jesus will lead to the final defeat of the tyranny of suffering.

Now, it is very easy to say that but for those in the midst of suffering, it may seem shallow. Yet, the only true hope is hope placed in God and a reconciled relationship with the creator. The answer to personal suffering is recognition of God’s love for us and following his ways. Such a mindset does not alter the circumstances of situations of suffering rather it changes our perspective. Then when in right relationship with God and showing genuine response, we can reach out to those suffering in love, even at times meeting needs and touching those who are suffering. Ultimately, we are all suffering, every one of us. Our suffering diminishes with love. Only God’s love truly touches the deepest levels of suffering. The only real cure is to suffering is the return of Jesus which will restore all things from their twisted, decaying state and bring true wholeness. Therefore, there is a true cure for suffering. All suffering will end. It comes at the end of this world, when all the sources of evil and suffering are defeated. In the meantime, we have the ebbs and flows of life filled with trials and difficulties. Suffering is a cruel master and the world is in its grip. Yet, it is a defeated master whose time will come. All suffering only lasts a season.

Ministry Spotlight: Tara Livesay runs Twin Cities marathon. Raises money for missionary work in Haiti.

Troy and Tara Livesay are two missionaries to Haiti who were called to serve in Haiti.  They serve with Heartline Ministries and work as well with World Wide Village to both reach those in Haiti with their physical and spiritual needs.  In other words they not only address the poverty, illness, and other issues that easily gain the attention of the world, but they also share the Good News of the Gospel of  Jesus, and train others to do so as well.  Tara and Troy left Minnesota in 2006 where I met them as they are members of New Joy Church in Rogers, Minnesota

It has long been the intent of this blog to spotlight the work they do in Haiti, it was always something on the “to do” list of things to post on the blog.  Well, Tara Livesay recently had an article published about her and some of their work in the Star Tribune.   Tara caught the attention of the Star Tribune because the Livesay family has raised over $50,000 in support for starving kids in Haiti Tara running in tomorrows Twin Cities marathon.  The money is going specifically to supply Medika Mamba which translated means medical peanut butter. It is a nutritional peanut butter that kids enjoy eating and brings children from the depths of starvation back to health.  Tara reported on her blog about God’s call to run to raise money for these poor kids on their blog here: http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2009/05/marathoning-for-haiti.html.  They also show some results of Medika Mamba on their website here:  http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2009/05/medika-mamba-graduates.html.

This family are ones truly walking in following God’s love. They are walking fully in worshipping in spirit and truth.  They followed God at much loss to a land of great poverty. They walk out what it is to be Jesus to others as well as speak about the Gospel.  They are making a clear difference in the lives children both physically to the point of drawing the attention of the world, and spiritually through the spreading of the Gospel and making disciples.  God has much to teach us in their example of following God’s lead and not settling for complacent comfortability. 

In closing this spotlight, take a moment and view this family video which gives some of the facts about Haiti and a little bit about their ministry.  You can read more about at their blog http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/ or their ministry websites: Heartline Ministries and World Wide Village. You also can still donate to help starving children in Haiti get Medika Mamba just go to their blog and click on the box in the upper left section.

Also let these people challenge you to follow God with your whole heart and go wherever God leads.  Be about sharing the love of God in both word and deed. As reflect on Tara running a marathon and what it means for Christians and our direction to run the race set before us.