Archive for the ‘welcome to my head’ Category

ReCreateI like coffee, I like good chocolate, I like soft t-shirts and I like justice. I also work for a non profit organization and raise all my own support, so I am very conscience about money and what I spend it on. We all live by faith, faith that we won’t lose our jobs, faith that our jobs will still be there tomorrow, faith that (I’m my situation) my supporters will no lose their jobs so that support continues to come in. As a result of this, I used to spend minimal dollars on things that I need/want, like chocolate, coffee and soft t-shirts.

Lets go back to the first sentence where I wrote ‘I like justice.’ Justice is a right relationship between God, man and creation. Justice is giving that which is due, injustice is the abuse of that. When I purchase goods at the cheapest price there is a good chance I am not giving that which is due, but actually doing an injustice. When I purchase something that is fair or direct trade then I am (to the best of my knowledge) giving that which is due and doing justice.

I used buy the cheapest things, and sometimes still do. To be brutally honest I am hesitant to spend a lot of money because I am cheap. I live in the space that if I  buy the cheaper brand I am being a good steward of the money I receive, when in reality I am actively living in a way that I hate, unjust.

I have been challenged lately with my view of God as father and provider. Does God care about justice? Yes. Does God want me to do justice? Yes. Is God a provider? Yes. So if God cares about justice, if God wants me to do justice and if God is a provider then why in the H would I purchasing the cheap goods at the risk of doing injustice? I should be purchasing goods that are ethically made, pay a living wage and provide jobs and life for the farmer growing the coffee, cotton and cocoa that I buy?

Do I have enough faith that God will provide for me if I spend more money on items that I know are giving life to others? This is my hope and prayer. I have faith in a God who does justice, yet I struggle with the thought of “can I buy this as I am not sure how much money I will have next month.” I am not talking about consumerism here, I am talking about using our money to give life to others and in turn meet a desire that I have.

Finally (for now) buying ethically made goods taste better, last longer and make you feel better about yourself in the long run, which is all around a beautiful thing.

Check out a few places doing great things:

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Cambodia_SoJ_Aug2013_2-36I have been leading short term trips for the past 20 years. I have brought teams to Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Seattle, San Francisco, China, Korea and the Philippines. Even though all of these trips were short term trips and even though I work with a short term mission organization called YWAM, I don’t believe in short term missions.

Let me explain. I believe in short term mission trips. They are effective, they are life changing and they are worth every penny (if done right). This is very different than short term missions. The concept of short term missions is that I only do missions short term. It says that sometimes we preach the gospel, sometimes we go on trips and sometimes we don’t do anything. There is no where in the scriptures that commands us to into all the world on a short term basis and preach the good news at certain times and in certain seasons. In fact, the scripture says in Timothy that we are to be prepared in season and out of season.

This summer we are bringing people to Cambodia on our Matthew 25 trips. These trips are one step that we can take as we live our lives on mission, it is an introduction to mission for some, and a refresher for others. This trip is set out to show us how we can live life as missionaries in all circumstances and situations. The call on all followers of Jesus is to live life on Mission. This call has no end, it is a call on all of our lives  weather or not we are stay at home parents, students, career workers or full time/long term paid/supported pastors or missionaries.

The reason Steps of Justice exists is to provide practical ways that you and I can live on mission, the mission to Love God and Love others. We are called to to this regardless of what we do as our full time work. It all starts with one step, and maybe for you that step is coming over to Cambodia with us this summer.

Written by me.

Picture by Lindsey Brunsman

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justiceThe last thing Jesus said before going back to the father is found in Mark 16:15-18. “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 

What is the gospel that Jesus speaks of in March 16:15? Other versions translate this word ‘gospel’ to say ‘good news.’ The good news of the Kingdom is that Jesus came so that we could have life and life abundant. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not just in the afterlife, but life hear and now. The Kingdom of God is upon us, which means the ‘Gospel’ is fullness of life which comes from Jesus life, death and resurrection.

Jesus spent his live doing two things very well:

  1. Loving God
  2. Loving Others

Everything Jesus did came out of these two commands. How did He love others and how did He call us to love others? Here are a few examples:

In Matthew 25 Jesus says that those who served the least of these were serving Him and those that denied the least of these denied Him. Those who denied the least of these spent eternity separated from Jesus. This is a strong word. Jesus is basically saying that if you call yourself His disciple you will love others out of your love for Him, this should be the natural fruit that comes out of being rooted in Jesus.

This in short is why I believe strongly in social justice, because it is following in the example of Jesus. It is not just getting people into Heaven and it is not just meeting peoples needs here on earth, it really is both and. I am not into helping people out of my own compassion, I am into helping people out of my faith, love and commitment to Jesus Christ, this is why we ‘do justice.’

A book that I am currently reading helps a lot in why we ‘do justice’ and what that looks like. Check out Rethinking Social Justice here.

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Sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight home. The time is Cambodia was life changing. New friendships were made, lives were changed and there is no turning back. Thanks for your prayers. Here are a few pics from some of the team to show you a bit more of what it was like.

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Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 12.54.40 PMToday on the way to lunch I passed a little girl and a crying baby laying in an excavation site on the side of the road. The girl was curled up and asleep and the baby was crying in a hammock. I asked my driver to turn around so that I could take a picture. I struggled with the fact that I wanted to take a picture of this heart breaking site, but I felt like I needed to.

As I passed these kids my heart started to break, as it always does in the city of Phnom Penh. We come here to learn about injustice, hear from people who are serving the poor and be challenged in our response. But what could I do in this situation? Then I felt this from the Lord.

“I lay down with the poor as they sleep in the dirt and the hard places. I hold their hand and intercede for them.” God is with the poor, this I know.

His prayer is most likely that people (locals) would rise up and love the poor, giving them opportunity and hope. This is my prayer for us as a team. That we would hear Gods voice, be broken for the hurting of the world and go home and serve our local communities, or alter the course of our lives and serve among the poorest of the poor in the world.

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