Unless you’re new to the blog, you are aware that my focus in ministry since 2011 has been exclusively on two things:
* In writing and study, it’s been on historical Jesus studies, deeper life themes, and Christology. My book Jesus: A Theography is the latest resource in this effort.
* In practical ministry, it’s been a complete focus on developing relationships with non-Christians (some of whom are agnostics and atheists) on the one hand, and walking along side of and aiding the poor and the afflicted on the other.
I’ve not written on organic church since 2009 and am not focused on it during this season. Though I still stand by everything I’ve written on the subject.
I’d like to share on the present focus of my ministry.
At this moment, I have in mind the faces of the poor and afflicted whom I’ve worked with in 2011 and 2012 and will continue to, God willing.
Some of them have very few friends. Some of them are living in poverty. Some of them have mental illnesses that regularly torment them. Some of them have legal problems. Some of them have gone nose-to-nose with suicide. Some of them are incredibly needy.
This practical ministry has been – at times – emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.
Phone calls in the middle of the night, sometimes lasting several hours just to try and help keep another mortal from harming themselves.
Losing sleep, fighting off the temptation to worry.
Leaving the hospital discouraged.
Dipping into the limited savings to keep someone off the street.
Recurrent images of their plight is sometimes too much to bear. Weeping is not uncommon.
Sometimes I get tired.
Sometimes I grow weary of seeing God do something amazing, only to see it overturned a month later.
Sometimes I rejoice in seeing some of these people learn to walk with God.
Yet amid the light and the shade, I believe this is where the Lord wants me in this season.
The whole experience has been transforming. It reminds me of how deep the Fall goes. It keeps me dependent on Jesus for fresh grace. It keeps me in touch with the frailty of humanity. It keeps me in touch with my own frailty, my own brokenness, and my own daily need of a Savior . . . Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is Resurrection and Life.
It also puts things in perspective. When your mind is absorbed with the plight of others, what happens to you doesn’t seem all that important.
Blessed are the undesirable. They are God’s true gifts to this earth . . . and to us.