Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Post Kenya Thoughts...

The following is an e-mail that I sent out to our the 14 people who traveled with us to Kenya a couple of weeks ago for a medical mission trip.  As I have reflected on the message, I thought maybe it was worth sharing here.   It is about living the "Thin Life".  So here goes...

This morning I am sitting in our dining room, Pandora rocking on the headphones, and a fresh French press of coffee by my side (though it doesn’t taste nearly as good as what Jeff usually had waiting for me those Kenyan mornings).  We have now been back in the states for a full week.  So I wanted to ask you:  How is it going?  How has re-entry been for you?  How have the story-sharing sessions been?  How have the reflection times gone?  How has the photo sorting/deleting/publishing worked out?

OK…now that we have that out of the way…let’s get to the real intent of this message.  How is your “Thin Life” different this week than it was before Kenya?  Let me refresh you a bit on what I am talking about here.  When we were together in Kenya, I shared the idea that Celtic Christians had about certain places on the planet being “thin” – meaning, they thought they were closer to God (the distance between themselves and God in these places was “thinner” than it was at other places).  This idea seemed to resonate with several of you.  In fact, several of you expressed a desire to join me in the journey of the thin life.  You wanted to join me in seeking after God’s will, in what He was doing daily, in your life and in the world around you. 

Let me assure you that I am no expert in living the thin life.  It is a journey.  It is sometimes a struggle.  But it is a desire.  It is something that I want to experience more fully.  It is something that, like the Olympic athletes that I have watched intermittently this week on TV, requires training.  It seems to require me to intentionally challenge myself to stop and think about what God may be teaching me in any given circumstance.  It seems to be tied up in my ability to see life through different eyes than my own fast-paced, self-centered, lenses.  It seems for me to realize that my life is not my own…to remember than when I was baptized I died.  I died and now Christ lives in me.  It is His life I now live.  Imperfectly.  And yet, I live. 

So let me ask you again:  how is your “Thin Life” different this week than it was before Kenya?  I want to encourage you to keep going.  It is OK for the “Kenya Buzz” to fade.  It is OK for each of us to reengage the rhythms of daily life in the states.  But…I would encourage you not to go back to being the “you” you were before Kenya.  Allow what God showed you there to change your focus here. 

As I asked a couple of you while we were abroad, “How would your life as a ________ (police chief, doctor, pharmacist, student, pharmaceutical sales rep, vicar, pastor, mom, dad, daughter, person) be different in the states if you lived with the same mission/focus/passion that you are showing here in Kenya?”  Take a minute to think about that question this morning.  How would it look different if we saw the goal of life as trusting in God and sharing about our life in Him (witnessing)?  I want to challenge you to see all of life as God’s.  Everything is His.  We are His.  I want to challenge you to strive after the thin life by striving to see everyday events through the lenses of faith.  Consider how making pancakes for the kids can remind us of God as the bread of life.  Consider how that quick trip to the bank can challenge where our trust is.  Consider how a stroll through Wal-Mart can be an opportunity to see into the lives of other people we are called to love in His name.  Consider how He made the beautiful sunset…and He made you!  For the same purpose!  To glorify His name and to delight Him!

And, thanks for joining me in the quest for the “Thin Life”.  My life goal?  To live out my identity in Christ Jesus by growing in my love of God, my love of others, and in the disciple-making process.  After all…

…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)

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