Thursday, August 26, 2010

Give us Your Courage

There's an excellent song by Tim Hughes that gets played a lot on my iPod. It's called Give us Your Courage. Check out the lyrics:

I'm not backing down
I will stand my ground
Lifting high the name of Jesus

Holding out Your light
To a world in need
Living out the love of Jesus

And though the battles rage
Your blessing still will come

To the ends of the earth we will go
To the ends of the earth we will go
Fill us with power
Fill us with power
For the truth of Your word we will stand
For the truth of Your word we will stand
Give us Your courage
Give us Your courage

Be our strength and song
Till the battles won
Nothing is impossible for You

Stretch Your hand to save
You will never fail
Nothing is impossible for You

Would You breathe on us
Would You breathe on us
Would You breathe on us
Would You breathe on us

It just reminds me that as I go out on to the streets of the West End, I'm not going in my own power. I don't have to depend on myself to be good enough to save people. I can trust that as I go, I go with God's power in me. Using me and fueling me to be his light on these streets. Here's what Romans 8:5 says in The Message version:

"Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!"
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead walks the streets of Ibiza with me every night. My prayer is that I would go out in HIS power, and awaken people from the spiritual death that they've been living in.

Amen!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Won't Be Silent...

I'm working her in Ibiza with a great group of other Christians. It's been challenging and life changing for me to get to live life in community. Some of the team live here year round, and during the winter they really felt like God was speaking Isaiah 62 to them for Ibiza. I wanted to share it on my blog, because I think it's so powerful! (Zion or Jerusalem have been replaced with Ibiza)

"Because I love Ibiza, I will not keep still.
Because my heart yearns for Ibiza,
I cannot remain silent.
I will not stop praying for her
until her righteousness shines like the dawn,
and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
The nations will see your righteousness.
World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name
by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—
a splendid crown in the hand of God.
O Ibiza, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
they will pray day and night, continually.
Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
until he makes Ibiza the pride of the earth."

Wherever God has placed us, we are watchmen on the walls. Let's not give God any rest, let's pesevere in prayer, until his work is complete!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Real Love


We have a church service that we do in our center every Sunday. I know God smiles when he looks down at the rag tag bunch of people we are. Some of us sure of our relationship with God, and other’s full of questions…seeking. Today, I got to speak, and I spoke from 1 John 3:16 which says this:

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we ought to give up our lives for out brothers and sisters.”

I read that verse one day, and just started meditating on what Jesus giving his life up for us says about real love. Here are a few of the thoughts I came up with:

1. Real Love is self- sacrificing – Jesus put our best interest before his own. He thought of our needs first. (Philippians 2:3-8)

2. Real Love is love with NO LIMITS! – Through his sacrifice on the cross Jesus showed us that he was willing to give EVERYTHING for us. He loved us with wild abandon, not holding anything back, but giving us ALL he had to give.

3. Real Love changes us for the better – Jesus showed us real love by giving his life for us. When we put our faith in him, we’re made right with God. (Romans 3:22-25)

4. Real Love takes the 1st Step -

“ But God showed his his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS.” (Romans 5:8)

Real Love puts itself out there, it makes itself vulnerable. It doesn’t wait until it’s safe, or until it knows how others will react. It’s not afraid of looking foolish. REAL LOVE GIVES LOVE NO MATTER WHAT THE RESPONSE! Jesus showed us love while we were still in our sin. While we still had our backs turned on him, he was loving us.

5. Real Love forgives, when there is no reason to – Through Christ’s death, we are forgiven. God showed us mercy, when we didn’t deserve it!

So what should our response to Real Love be?

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”
(1 John 4:11)

We need to be self sacrificing in our love. Putting other’s before ourselves

We need to love with no limits

We need to love people in a way that points them to God

We need to take the 1st step and love first

We need to forgive, even when it’s not deserved

“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:12)

I’m loving that verse! It gives us a role in revealing God’s love to people. God loves people, and his love is perfect, but when I follow in his foot steps and show people that same love, his love is fully expressed in me. We have a hand in other people seeing God’s love in action. It’s up to us to show them love like he did.

I challenge you this week to show Real Love to the people that God has put in your life. Stop living life on auto pilot. See the people that God has put in your path, and ask him to show you how to love them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Three Guys, Three Bibles

Most times if we’re out at night, and we find someone who’s really intoxicated that we’re helping back to their hotel, we really don’t get to chat with them a lot. We’re working to try to figure out where they’re staying, or we’re dealing with their friends, or they’re just too drunk to have any kind of conversation with! The good thing is that most people who come to the island come for at least a week, and sometimes longer. So if I get to help someone, and somehow I find out that they’re here for 10 days, and it’s only their first night, I pray that I run into them again. The other night I was out on the streets with Christine, when suddenly these three guys come rushing up to us. The first thing they asked us is “Are you guys the Christians?” We of course replied that yes we were.

Just a little background before I continue. When we go out on the streets we wear our 24-7 Ibiza shirts.



24- 7 Ibiza has been on the island for several years, and has really established a good reputation. The West End is a very branded kind of place. It’s common to see lots of different groups walking around in shirts advertising their club or bar. I’ll always remember my very first night on the streets Claire and I approached a young guy sitting in front of a bar who needed some help. When the bartender saw us this look of relief came over her face. She saw our shirts knew we were with 24-7 Ibiza and that we were there to help.

I say all that to say that the reason the 3 guys stopped us is because they saw our shirts. It turned out that the night before, one of them had gotten pretty drunk, and got separated from the rest of the group. Now if you’re a guy, and you’re drunk and passed out somewhere on the streets of the West End, one of two things is going to happen to you. You’re going to get robbed, or if the police find you, they’re not always so nice. Before anything bad could happen to this young guy, he was found by someone from 24-7 Ibiza, who got him back to his hotel safe. So these three guys were stopping us to say thank you. In chatting with them, I got to talk to the guy that got helped. He told me that he’d never heard of a Christian doing anything like what we’d done to help him. He admitted that he never really thought about God, but because of the kindness of a stranger in God’s name, he’d decided that maybe he should take a closer look at this whole God thing. So I got to chat with him when he was sober, and encourage him to give God a chance…We also were able to give the three of them bibles, that we personalized with a little message and a scripture for them to read.

Later that night when we got back to the prayer room, one of the other teams that was out told us that they’d seen three guys sitting outside of a bar reading their bibles.

How cool is that?!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vomit Monday...

First of all, aren’t you glad this post doesn’t have a photo?!

Monday night out on the streets was an interesting one. Somehow I’ve managed to make it two weeks without really being exposed to much vomit. Monday night ended my streak!

When we go out at night, we go out in pairs. On Monday I went out with Neil, and the evening started slow. After our first hour out we were back in the prayer room about 5 minutes when we got a call, about two girls alone and in trouble. Neil and I were able to help them get back to their hotel. In the middle of the madness of helping them, I was able to have a conversation with one of the girls about why she doesn’t believe in God anymore. I’m still a little overwhelmed by the amount of opportunities I get to share God with People. I was able to encourage this girl, by telling her that God was still there, and reaching out to her. I got to give her a bible, and I really just felt like the whole situation was a divine appointment. Like God brought me all the way out here to Ibiza just to meet her, and share His love with her. As I get to help people, and talk to them, and pray for them night after night, I'm struck by that thought that my being here is God's love. That he's loving people through me. He's meeting them where they're at, and reaching out to them. In the middle of vomit, and mess, God is here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Franciscan Blessing

May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for
justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that
you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able,
with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator,
Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Saviour,
and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, be with you
and remain with you, this day and forevermore.

AMEN.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Greater Intimacy...


One thing I’m absolutely loving about my time here in Ibiza is that I get to spend some quality time with God. This week I was listening to a great sermon by Francis Chan which you can find here. It’s called “You Have Everything You Need,” and It’s based on one of my favorite chapters in the bible 2 Peter 1. One of my favorite verses is number 3 which says:

“By his divine power God has given us everything we need for living a godly life, we have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
The Message version says it like this:

“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!”
During one point in his message, he asks everyone if they had one wish, what would they ask for. He gives them time to think, and then he says this:

“Would you have asked for greater intimacy with God, believing that greater intimacy with God is the solution to all of your problems? Believing that a greater knowledge of him will lead you to the more grace and peace.Do you really believe that the knowledge of God is the way to be fulfilled in life?”

That really hit home with me. I think sometimes we get into this mindset where we pray to God to help us with our problems. But we don’t really get, that our knowing him more is the solution to everything. Knowing God more can help me with:

Financial issues

Relationships

Problems at work

Self-Esteem issues

Addiction

Dealing with my past

The knowledge of God is a powerful thing, and something that I’m learning more and more to desire above everything else. Like I said earlier, I’ve gotten to spend some quality time with God since I’ve been here. If I’m being honest, I’d say that a big reason for that is because I don’t have a TV here! In the quiet, I’ve been feeling God challenge me to continue this no matter where I am. Here in Ibiza I have this freeness in my schedule to be able to spend as much time with God as I want. I want to have that habit so engrained in me that from now on, I never let anything distract me from seeking him.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jesus LOVES Ibiza

We have these super cool Jesus Loves Ibiza bibles that were made specifically for 24-7 Ibiza.



Here’s what the back says:

Does Jesus Really love Ibiza?

Totally. We don’t know what you think about Jesus, but we do know that He loves this beautiful island and all who inhabit it. Jesus loves everyone, regardless of race, gender or social standing.

Following Jesus is a bit like dancing. The wrong things that we have done have put us out of step with God and left us in a mess that we can’t get out of by ourselves, but Jesus made a way to rescue us if we follow him.

Following Him is about catching His rhythm and allowing your life to move to the rhythm of his beat! His dance is a dance of love, mercy, justice, forgiveness, selflessness and sacrifice. It’s a dance that lead us to repentance and relationship with God…”


So far this summer we’ve given out hundreds of these bibles, and I’m so struck by the power of God’s word reaching out to people. The awesome thing is that people aren’t just taking them and forgetting about them, they’re actually reading them!

In Isaiah 55:10-11 God promises this:

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the the grain to grow producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
As I get to give out bibles this summer to prostitutes, and sun worshipers, and summer workers, I’m trusting that God keeps his promises!

Last Night on the Streets...for now!

Tonight was my last night on the streets...for now! And to top things off I also lead tonight. As I sat in the prayer room before everyone e...