Monday Morning Meditation: Is God Writing Your Story?

Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, a man who was killed in Ecuador alongside Jim Elliot and 3 other missionaries by the Waodani Indians in 1956. I learned of Steve and his father Nate through the film, End of the Spear.

In many ways, Steve has continued the work of his father through his organization I-TEC. The organization’s focus is “opening doors to the gospel by meeting needs with innovative tools.” In the testing of one of these tools in June of 2012, Steve was seriously injured by a falling piece of equipment. He was partially paralyzed from the neck down. He has made some progress since then, though he is still quite limited in many ways. I-TEC recently posted this challenging video with a one year update. Grab a tissue – it’s worth watching all 7 minutes.

Here are a few excerpts of what impacted me.

“None of us knows what our life is gonna be like. I wouldn’t mind dying, but I’m gonna stay here longer. I want it to count. And I want my grandchildren to see that life isn’t good when everything is fitting together right. Life is good because we know that we have a hope when this life is done.”

“My theme has been ‘Let God write your story.’ He doesn’t promise all easy chapters, but He does promise that if we let Him write our story, that in the last chapter if not before, He will make sense of all the other chapters and then He will take us to live with Him in paradise.”

“I want God to still write my story.”

Are you allowing God to write your story? As a song line I love states so clearly*, are you opening your eyes to let Him rewrite even tragedy?

As your week progresses, as you find yourself confused or frustrated about how God is allowing things to play out, shift your perspective. Surrender to God, the all-knowing author and perfecter of your faith. Believe He has what is best for you.

Let God write your story.

*Sara Groves “Rewrite this Tragedy”

Do Today’s Christians Idealize the Early Church?


Some friends and I have been discussing a blog post of John Piper’s entitled Don’t Equate Historically Early with Theologically Accurate

I am neither endorsing or not endorsing (what’s the opposite of endorsing? rejecting? disapproving? anyway…) John Piper or what he has to say in his blog post. But it got me thinking:

Do today’s Christians idealize the early church?

I just began reading the book of Acts again (prior to that, I read all the gospels), so this question really hit home for me.

I think many Christians do try to “reclaim” the early church by trying to create a church service or environment that looks like what they perceive the early church to have looked like. So they meet in homes, sometimes without a formal leader, focus on the book of Acts and the epistles, abandon a lot of the structure and programs that have come to mean “church” today. I’ll be upfront and say I am not at all “anti-house church”. Not at all. I am aware of some of the dangers (many do not have strong oversight and accountability, for one) as well as the benefits (many don’t have a set leader, so all input is valued, family worship is encouraged, to name a few).

But I think trying to recreate the early church environment is missing the point.

I have been reading about Amy Carmichael, and something she said really struck me (if you follow me on Twitter, I quoted this a few weeks ago):

I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has.

Those who idealize the early church seem to want to live church as the early church had church, but they don’t want to live lives as the early church lived their lives. I don’t mean we have to live on a commune, having no possessions of our own and striving to figure out what it means to have “everything in common“. But we often are not willing to live our lives generously, sacrificially, reaching out to others often with the truth of the Gospel.

That is what identified the early church – not what their meetings looked like, but what their lives looked like. Read the book of Acts to get a full picture of what the early church looked like, as well as the epistles, to get an accurate idea of the challenges they faced.

May we commit to living lives that glorify God and put Him in the center, sacrificially, generously, devoting ourselves to the Word, to fellowship, to prayer and breaking bread, caring for each other and bearing each others’ burdens, as our early church fathers did.

Perspective: Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch

Today, the founders of Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch visited my church. They had visited our church several years back, and their mission has been heavy on my heart. It was great to see them today and hear an update.

Their main work is the rehabilitation and defense of street children in the Philippines. Happy Horizons monitors and cares for hundreds of street children, many of whom have been abandoned or orphaned by civil war, abused or rejected by dysfunctional and poverty-stricken families, and further traumatized by the indifference of the societies in which they live. They also rescue children from the sexual slavery. You can read more about their mission here.

Did you know it is estimated that:
~ 27 million people are currently enslaved
~ 80% of those are women & children
~ 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year

Glenn Garrison, one of the HHCR founders, shared a story about how children at the Ranch need to be told that they will be having meals 3 times a day; otherwise, they don’t finish their meals but rather stuff food in their pockets to save for later. They are used to eating every few days. This, in particular, struck me. My parents never gave me the “there are starving children in Africa” line in order to get me to finish my meal, and we do not participate in the “Clean Plate Club” at our house. But having overcome an eating disorder, I still sometimes struggle with knowing when I’ve eaten enough and definitely have eaten when I was not hungry because I felt like eating or the food tasted good. There are children everywhere who do not know where their next meal will come from. This striking story reminded me of the importance of giving my body what it needs and stopping there.

Glenn shared that these children are often completely defenseless. A man comes along and buys a girl a meal and a nice dress and she feels indebted to him. Many of these children don’t have a name and don’t even know their birthdays or how old they are.

I can’t help but think of my own children. Jesus said “whoever welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me.” The Garrisons are doing exactly that. It’s an important work. Check out their website and support them if you are able.