“Our fears, anger, and anxiety reveal the gods we trust, serve, and worship in place of the true God.”
– Alfred Poirier, The Peacemaking Pastor
One of Reconciled World’s core principles is “Depending on God.” In truth, this principle is core to all Christians everywhere. (Hey, we never claimed to be cutting edge.)
The fact is, all of us depend on God whether we want to or not. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) We literally wouldn’t be breathing without God holding us together. But…let’s be honest, breathing *feels* like something I can handle on my own. I often forget my state of total dependence.
This story comes from our TCT program in Southeast Asia. We love glimpsing the way God can fulfill His promise to lift up those who humble themselves. Tasks like creating dirt roads or cleaning up garbage can be pretty humbling. But God uses them in amazing ways…
In one area there was no road from the village to the main road. This meant that they had to carry crops on their back through the jungle to the market, so they were not able to sell very much and remained very poor. After TCT training, the church in the area decided that one way they could serve their community was to build a road for the 5 kilometres from their village to the main road.
Christmas wasn’t supposed to be terrible. My husband, Chris, slipped his hand around my waist and we smiled, looking at our kids playing with their new toys on top of all the strewn wrapping. We exhaled and congratulated each other on giving our kids another Christmas to Remember. And then:
“You got more presents than me! That’s not fair!”
“Your present cost more than mine! That’s not fair!”
“I think you should give one of your presents to me! This Is not fair!”
Our faces went slack. What happened? They knew Jesus was the Reason for the Season. We read the Bible story an hour ago. We had more Nativities than Santas. Where did this ugly entitlement come from? How did our kids miss the point of Christmas?
I try to help my neighbor through a crisis, and she shuts me down. I give cold water to a homeless person, and he says what he really needs is money. I offer to pray for someone and they look at me like I’m a crazy cult member.
Can’t you people see that I’m trying to love you? I quit.
It’s easy to get discouraged when our sincere attempts to love people as Jesus did are rebuffed. That’s why I so needed this story from one of our TCT partner churches in Southeast Asia–a glimpse of how God works through people who just won’t take “no” for an answer.
One of the things that we believe God has spoken loudly and clearly to us about is local fund raising. The typical international model is: get the money from the richest places and do the work in the poorest places. It MAKES SENSE.
God hardly ever tells us to do things that make sense to us. Something about His ways being higher…
Anyway, He told us not to neglect the widow’s mite, the gifts of the poor.
This year, God has been teaching and reminding the Reconciled World team to depend on Him no matter our circumstances. Over and over again, we’ve heard our program directors say that they are being reminded to depend on God and that He is faithful.
Take Create Commission, for instance. It has been a season of dynamic change for the team. Anthony and his family arrived in 2015, and have been doing the hard work of transitioning to a new culture and city. At the same time, Anthony has stepped in to teach workshops and develop curriculum. The founder and director of Create Commission began a leave of absence to pursue an MFA in visual art. Another member of the team has stepped up to provide leadership over the next two years. He says, “Stepping into this role is good and stretching at the same time. [I’m learning about] depending on God and abiding in Him. He is all we need–be it wisdom, direction, clarity, provision…everything.”
October 11 is the third annual “International Day of the Girl Child.”
If, like me, you live in the United States, you might be asking yourself, “Is that really the best name the UN could come up with?” And then, your next question might be, “What is that day even for?”
Well, funky name notwithstanding, October 11 is really a big deal kind of day. We live in a world where:*
- Gender-based violence is the second leading cause of death among adolescent girls.
- Close to half of all girls aged 15 to 19 (about 126 million people) think that it is sometimes justified for a husband to beat his wife.
- 250 million girls and women alive today were married before the age of fifteen (1 in 3 of those women live in India).
- More than 200 million girls are “missing” from the world population due mostly to sex-selective abortion and infanticide.
Partnership is one of those tricky words that gets thrown around a lot. And it can mean different things to different people and organizations. Since one of Reconciled World’s Core Principles is “Partnering with Churches,” we want to take a few hundred words to unpack what we mean by partnership.
Just to be clear, Reconciled World is a community of programs that apply biblical truth to brokenness in a wide range of circumstances. We have all committed to the principle of partnering with churches, but that doesn’t mean we all do it perfectly or identically. We are all at different places on the journey. But we are all striving for the same goal–that the church would take its rightful place at the center of God’s transformational plan.
Our Wholistic Development Center (WDC) is welcoming a new group of incoming students this month. Every two years, WDC selects twenty-eight young adults to live together on campus, study a vocation and commit to an intensive truth-centered discipleship course. These students often arrive with little education and little knowledge of God. Some come from areas where there are no Christians. Many make the decision to follow Christ while at WDC.
We spent several months this year visiting and interviewing alumni to find out how their time at WDC impacted them and what they are doing now. Here are a few of their stories. As you read them, we hope that you will pray for each of these graduates and for the class of incoming students.
Chapter 8 of When Helping Hurts begins to look at how we can effectively engage with people who are experiencing poverty in North America. Fikkert points out:
For the first time in history, more poor people live in the suburbs than in cities…Hence, many suburban churches now find themselves on the front lines of America’s war on poverty without even realizing it. (page 169)