Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tanzania

It's been 50 days roughly since I returned from my trip to Tanzania with OneVerse to hand deliver the first words of Scripture to the Ndamba people they had ever read or even heard in their own language.

I haven't blogged about it yet because I think deep down the massiveness of the experience could never fully be explained in a blog short enough for people to want to actually read the entire thing. After a dramatic occurrence such as this trip, it usually takes time for the more 'important' memories to remain as the less influential ones fall to the brain's cutting room floor.

As my friend Mark says, "The long and short of it is," my guitar player Nate and I met in Atlanta and flew with Kyle the videographer and Jill the OneVerse rep to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa and drove via Range Rover (or Land Cruiser, I can never keep them straight) 500 kilometers through Morogoro to Ndamba country. In essence the middle of nowhere, where on Sunday Morning we attended their church service, being asked to sit on the platform the entire time, worshiped with them, were fed by them then worked our way back to the coast, soaking in a week's worth of all things Africa along the way.

The stand out moment for me was during the 3.5 hour long church service, which didn't seem that long. At one point in the beautifully unorganized service, the pastor approached me with a stack of orange paperback Gospel of Johns. He wanted me to hand them out! I only had about 40, there were more coming, but I handed out about 20 to the men's side and 20 more to the women "audience right" to a sea of outstretched hands, eager eyes and grateful smiles. Then I dazedly returned to my seat on the platform while the pastor spoke in Ndamba. I saw an older lady in a beautiful, dark yellow headdress motion toward one of the many children sitting on the floor in front of the women. I had just handed her my last Bible. A child stood and walked toward who I assume was his grandmother. She handed him her Gospel of John and I unsuccessfully choked back tears of joy as I witnessed GOD'S WORD having already been passed on to the next generation of Ndamba believers.

Lord God, infuse Your Truth into their hearts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The King's Speech

I was never on the debate team in High School. I see myself as easily swayed by people's arguments and must pray for wisdom and discernment to see the truth. I first prayed "give me words to speak, because I can't think of anything worth saying" because I truly had no eloquent words or stories or clever turn of phrase in mind to make people think, "Wow, that's true!"

So, I am incredibly comforted when I read I Corinthians 1:17. Paul says that Christ sent him "to preach the gospel, not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." This coming from the guy who wowed the Athenian philosophers, arguing that their "unknown god" was the very Lord of Heaven and Earth! (Acts 17:16-34). Christ did not send Paul to speak about the Good News with wisdom or eloquence, because the power of the cross could be emptied! The next verse says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God."

Do not fear an inability to speak persuasively or eloquently. Do not fear an inability to be a clever wordsmith. But as Paul pleads, "Pray also with me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel. (Eph 6:19)

Finally, consider these quotes from this generation's most well known communicator of God's love:

"I am not a great preacher, and I don't claim to be a great preacher. I've heard great preaching many times and wished I was one of those great preachers. I'm an ordinary preacher, just communicating the Gospel in the best way I know how."

"I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with authority, quoting from the very Word of God - He takes that message and drives in supernaturally into the human heart."

"People do not come to hear what I have to say - they want to know what God has to say."
-Billy Graham

Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee