Sunday, November 25, 2018

Being Close : The Lovesick Evangelism Tour 2018

When we searched for and found two unreached people groups in India, we were chased out of both villages. But we left groceries, prayed, and learned more about God’s nature as a searcher. He’s searching for a Bride. 

We’ve been loving through Southeast Asia for 46 days today. After 13 flights and six countries with lots of kids, pastors, trash dumps, cries, support, and bowlfuls of rice; many more human beings know that being close to God and being close to each other- it’s the “being” He has created us for. 

Missionaries in India, raising their kids in a town that’s half Muslim and half Hindu, giving their lives away for their Muslim and Hindu friends to know the Savior of the world; they hosted us and fed us and let us into their extraordinary days. 

Kelley and I had a nasty fight in a small town in southern India. After several mean words were thrown, we turned our attention to Jesus, sitting at His feet in the hotel room with Indian horns honking loudly on the street, and listened for His voice. 

A taxi ride and few minutes later, we stepped out of the car into a parade; it was held in our honor by 70 kids who know how to launch yellow flower petals and drum a cadence and set off fireworks and squeal their affection all over us. 

God’s like that. We have a fight, our self-centeredness beams bright, and He throws yellow mercy-soaked flowers on our heads. 

Adam on the flight from Malaysia to Singapore, a young guy from England, just found out his dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He felt guilty that he’d started praying since the diagnosis, only because he wanted God to do something for him. “Do you think that’s bad?” he asked. I told him that big beautiful truth: “God likes the sound of your voice, Adam, and He likes hearing it even if you’ve been ignoring Him for awhile.” Adam spent the next hour asking questions about God and what to do with suffering. By the time the plane landed, Adam, Kelley and I had held hands across row 23 and asked Jesus to help Adam and his dad, holding them close. 

We went to a church on a mountain in Kalimpong, India. “I have many things to do, but you’ve reminded me to just sit before God,” said the beautiful old Indian lady at the end of the service. 

It was a simple sermon. And similar to the ones I’d been sharing around India- Jesus enjoys our company and wants more of it. As my friends and I prayed for the ladies, Jesus met with them and showed them how kind He is. They cried and He hugged. 

That little boy, about 11, wouldn’t stop holding my hand. We were in a church in a garbage dump in Manila. And there was a little girl, bright eyes and pretty smile, who was determined to stay by my side. She sat on me, hugged me, kissed me, smiled that smile at me. 

“Gosh. This must be a little glimpse of how God feels when I give Him my attention.”

God made us to be like Himself.

He is the loves-being-loved Lord Jesus. The reason I enjoy when a kid chooses to lather their love all over me is because I’m like Him. He loves when we love Him.

I didn’t know what to do so I started braiding hair. Those kids in the trash dump in Tanuku, India keep showing us God’s Heart. It’s got “the broken,” “the poorest of the poor,” “those who suffer” written all over it in all caps. I’m not sure her hair had ever been washed, but it’s now been french-braided. 

Pastors in India, driving a little car with huge pans of rice in the back to feed 200 hungry people every day, then going home to the 30 kids they’ve brought into their family; they drove us around and shared with us their dreams and showed us more of His hold-mankind-close desires. 

The missionary who hosted us in Thailand wouldn’t let us wash a dish. Not even one. We had hours to pray and eat and sleep and let Jesus hold us. 

Living at His feet, aware of His wanting-nothing-but-to-be-close-to-us style; He’d like to make it a lifestyle for all of us.  

Isaiah 60:13
“I will glorify the place of My Feet.”

I want to live at His Feet- looking at Him, listening to Him, feeling His eyes look right at me, both of us in love with each other. 

There sure isn’t anything wrong with praying before bed. But God wants more than that. In and out of approximately 452 cabs in the Philippines; many of the drivers responded to questions about knowing Jesus with saying they pray before they go to sleep. That’s wonderful. But He’s wanting un-interrupted, 24/7, love-filled dialogue. May He get it from all of us. 

Our team, comprised of beauties from Michigan to South Africa, have been warrior-esque. We have bonded and prayed and cried and gotten frustrated and learned and God’s made love inside of us grow.

There were other foreigners around, but that day, the little boy and girl in the Philippines picked me to be the recipient of their time and attention and hugs. Being chosen feels nice. 

Us choosing, volunteering, to give God all our love, choosing to be close to Him; it’s what He’s always wanted and it’s what He will all ways want. 

The Gospel is being preached and Jesus is getting a Bride. With my own brown eyes and small but growing heart, I’ve watched Him reach down and touch nations with fire-like affection. It’s quite a sight. There has been a large pretty assortment of people and churches involved in the Lovesick Evangelism Tour. Thank you very much. Jesus is excited about all of us and we get to live close to Him, in love. 

Isaiah 62:12

And you will be called Sought After.