mY heArt aches for our other hOme

Not until the wee hours of yesterday morning, did I finally force myself to LOOK at what happened in Christchurch. I knew it was horrific and I just didn’t want to deal with it. I haven’t stopped crying since.  Other missionaries will comprehend and appreciate this statement-when GOD sends you to another country-HE makes it HOME.  You have a genuine LOVE and attachment for that place and you know that HE supernaturally placed those feelings in your heart. You miss America while you’re there-you never STOP missing your country-but you do love where you are and you’re content to be there.

Christchurch was the city where we lived the longest while we were in New Zealand. Our foster sons went to grade school at one of the community schools, our daughter finished high school and our son graduated from University there.  We went on field trips with Aaron and Walt, went to Jena’s rugby, volleyball & soccer games around the city.  Jena got her first car in New Zealand & since she learned to drive on the left side of the road- she says the wrong side IS the RIGHT side.

One of Joshua’s favorite bands is a kiwi group called ELEMENOP; he was stalked by a man for several weeks in a local mall where he worked-a FAVORITE inside family joke. We hiked the bush trails, swam and fished at the beaches, played in the parks, had cafes that we frequented on Sundays after church. It was where we lived the middle years of the MORGAN family life; no, it wasn’t always perfect and we had our share of ups and downs, but it was home and to see it lying in ruins and filled with death is gut wrenching.

Since both kids went to school in the downtown area, it would NOT have been uncommon for one of them to have been climbing the spiral tower of the Cathedral that came down and entombed several. There’s something surreal about people people climbing to the top of a church bell tower when a massive earthquake hits…

Rebuilding CHRISTCHURCH is mind boggling-the city where we lived is no more. It means a lot to have had so many people send emails or call to extend their well makes the hurt feel better, knowing that people here understand that we also had-a life there. It’s a wee bit soon to predict, but don’t be surprised to hear that Chip and Lis are returning to New Zealand- the truth is, those who’ve seen our hearts since we returned, know that- deep down-we never really left anyway.

sTranGers in tHe hOuse

Yesterday my Chipper received a call from a nice gentleman inviting him to be the guest speaker for their church this weekend. I gotta tell you-it was a happy time around our house for those few minutes. When your world revolves around what goes on at the church-it’s hard to just leave it behind.

People don’t fully grasp our zeal-our passion– even a little obsession. Pastors and most of the time their wives want things perfect when our family arrives at the house. It’s kind of like how you feel when blood family comes to your place for a special occasion or simple visit. That’s how we desire our church to be for the family whenever we get together.

When we visit another church-it’s a bit different than when a non pastor’s family visits. It’s not that we can’t enjoy worshiping with another family, it’s just that most of us have moved away from our blood families and have to give up all the normal times that we’d spend with them if we lived closer. We don’t go home for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and most holidays until after they’re over. When we leave our church-we leave our family-the ones who we spend most of our time with all during the year.

If our church is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, the visitors won’t feel like outsiders-but, we can’t berate ourselves because we LOVE our family and are happy to get together with them for worship and fellowship every week. I tell you what, if church is a dread for the regular family-we’ve got a major problem! 😀

I’m ready to join the church family waiting for us and I hope that they’re as excited about us coming as we are about getting there. I pray that we won’t overwhelm them too quickly with our endless ideas and dreams. My Chipper and I are known for different things, some better than others-but, you certainly won’t hear it said that we’re lazy! We thrive on keeping the body healthy and happy. Our previous church families for the most part anyway welcomed us, learned to love who and what we are and made us feel like a part of them with little effort. I anticipate that happening again.

While I appreciate the kindness at several of the local churches where we’ve been visiting-they aren’t our church. Take my advice and know that it comes from a heart that understands the loneliness of not being with a church family. When you gather with yours this week, overlook the small, petty things that irk you and be grateful for the place that GOD’S given you to grow. Hug more necks, shake more hands, spend more time letting your brothers and sisters know how happy you are to be churchmates with them. Focus on what makes you happy to be a member of your church.

Be thankful that you’re not the stranger in the house-but-remember how those who don’t belong feel. The ONLY way the church can grow is if those who aren’t a part of your family-believe that you really do want them there and are willing to do whatever it takes to make room in the pews.

After all-there really is no place like home.

will the REAL me pleaSE stand uP?

I’m a product of the sixties and seventies..peace signs, smiley faces and love chants have always been and still are my thing  I remember the invasion of the hippies and the Beatles. The world was going to hell under their influences-so preacher tackled their perceived attack on society the way they believed most effective. They preached HELL, FIRE and BRIMSTONE, a lot of it.

I’m a preacher’s kid and no one could be more proud of their heritage than me. After all, the BIBLE is full of prophets warning people to change their ways or face the wrath of GOD. I’m not disputing the WORD; if you read my posts, you’ll find I do a fair amount of prophesying about such things, so don’t misinterpret my words. I take the Bible word for word and believe it gives answers about a majority of sin. I don’t endorse any way into HEAVEN but-CHRIST. I’m not into passing out SHOT glasses instead of gospel tracts to bring people to JESUS, so please don’t misunderstand my message.

I believe we’ve lost contact with the REAL world; I’m concerned, saddened, desperate to remind people that GOD never commanded us to live in a bubble where the only those who live and act exactly like we do are welcomed. CHRiSTiANS are to be peculiar but, we must also acknowledge that this verse is taken way out of context more often than not.

If we do like JESUS-we’ll save tongue lashings for hypocrites who claim HIS name and choose to remain wicked. I challenge you to find any place in the Word where our LORD deliberately shuns or mistreats a sinner. On the other hand, search out how many self sanctified religious hypocrites HE called out in the PUBLIC square.

What is it about certain sins that cause mouths to water and tongues to wag? Through the years, my dude and I have received well meaning warnings about our tolerance for those living in sin. It hurts my heart to be scolded because I purposely associate with people who haven’t found CHRiST. I’m conflicted because Jesus didn’t minister to the lost with condemnation. He administered the truth with mercy and love.

I don’t want to forget the verse that instructs me to remove the tree trunk from my eye before I gouge in someone else’s for a splinter. Why does it draw so much criticism from fellow believers when they see us showing love and grace-before we point out the ugly? It doesn’t mean we’re giving our approval but, I spend a good bit of time in the company of holier than thou types, with their noses in the clouds and I gotta tell you, it’s nauseating.

I don’t condone sin-what I condemn is the way we pick & choose what and whose sins are the worst. I’m gobsmacked by the contrast of how patient CHRiST was with sinners but, not with the saints. HE didn’t avoid the woman at the well and went out of HIS way to extend compassion to her. Yet the pious behavior of the Pharisees irked HIM. We see it all during his ministry. The church should take a hint from the MASTER of outreach.

Being friendly with lost people does not make me a failure-backslider-sellout-or flunky CHRiSTiAN. I won’t apologize for opening the blinds of my life and allowing the world to see me-flaws and all. It is tough having people question my relationship with CHRiST because I have many unsaved friends.

The judgment of others is hard though, even after all these years. Just tonight I battled with-what will people think-about a dilemma I found myself in. By nature-I’m a people pleaser, so I’m tempted to cower inside the clubhouse when faced with the possibility of damaging my testimony. I know if I step outside of the holy circle to mingle with unclean, I’ll be judged but, my calling is to be a light to ALL people. It is your calling too, if you are a follower of CHRiST.

I picture Peter’s and Paul’s chat about doing one thing in one place while refraining from it in another. When Paul offered his advice to Peter-I suspect Peter thought sarcastically-Dare I remind you brother that you say to be all things to all people? How is what I do any different than what you do? The line of being real and being fake is a fine one huh?

How can I be PECULIAR-if I’m just like everybody else? There’s a spin to ponder. 🙂

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