"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." Jesus Christ John 10:10
Jesus is life. He doesn't come to steal, kill, or destroy. Instead, Jesus comes to give a life that overflows with blessings. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we are given an abundant life that will last for eternity. This life is abundant because it is filled with God. True life, truth, and purpose proceeds from God and is poured into us.
The reason why we're moving to Banaba House Ministries is to help young people get to know the One who gives abundant life and help them experience that abundant life in relationship with Jesus.
Jesus said that to be a Christ-follower, you have to give up your life. When you become a Christian, you give up the right to live your life. In return, Jesus Christ gives you the life that He has planned for you. It's the best trade you'll ever make: your plans for His plans. It's a pretty sweet deal, once you get to know Jesus Christ in a personal, relational, daily-life sort of way. The truth is that Jesus Christ is our treasure. We get Him!
God has encouraged us with His word. In the Bible, there is a true story of a woman who was flat broke, except for a small amount of oil in a jar. God told her to borrow as many jars as she possibly could. Then, she poured oil out of the jar and filled all of the other jars. She was able to sell the extra oil and pay off her debts. Our life is like this. On our own, we are flat broke. With God, our days spread out in front of us like little jars. God is faithful and fills us daily, providing for us as our Dad in Heaven.
God has a call on the life of every Christ-follower. It's a call that is very specific to locations, people, and activities. The Bible says that we plan out our ways and it is God that directs our steps. The challenge for a Christian is to obediently seek God's direction as we make our plans. That's the hard part because that is where the risk is: Letting go of our control and following the path that God lays out.
In Mexico, we stayed with Shae and Ryan Steffensen at the Tres Cruces camp. They gave up their comfortable Oregon life to follow Christ, and He has given them an amazing life of ministry. Ryan shared with me that it is God who gives you the desires of your heart. As you pursue God and His calling on your life, God puts new desires into your heart. Those desires grow into the future ministry that God wants for you.
Andy and Monica Alvarez are the missionaries at Mixteco Christian Fellowship where we helped with summer school. They are impacting the lives of many, living examples of the hope and future found in Jesus Christ. At their house, young people gather to study the Bible, and often it is the young people who are teaching. Andy and Monica know their calling. They have traded in their future for God's future. God is giving them the desires of their hearts: They get to pour out their lives for their Mixteco friends. As Andy says in the video at the end of this blog, it is a "get to" and not a "have to".
Young people, like Belo, are serving and teaching.
It's easy to build our lives and follow our own calling. Instead, we need to pray for God's calling on our lives. It is hard to trade in our safe, carefully-constructed future for the adventure that God offers. But, when we live out saying "yes" to that adventure, we find incredible joy, peace, passion, and purpose. Actually, that really isn't the point! When we live out God's plans, we "get to" bring the good news of Jesus Christ to our friends... old friends and new friends. We get to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus Christ.