Stephanie has an uncle named Dwayne. Dwayne is a missionary, but not a very typical one. He flies airplanes, not in the jungle, but in northern Alaska and Russia. He is a really interesting guy to talk to.
A friend of his just released Open the Sky, a book about Dwayne’s life and ministry. I have really enjoyed learning more about Stephanie’s Uncle Dwayne through this book. One thing that I have found really great about his example is that he sees everything in life as an opportunity to minister. He explains that life in Alaska is difficult and mere survival takes a huge amount of time. For most missionaries this would make it difficult to find the opportunity to minister, but for Uncle Dwayne it is HOW he ministers. He explains that you should be ministering to the people around you in everything you do, even in just surviving. He talks about the opportunities he has had to minister to people while cutting down trees and splitting wood and repairing airplanes.
I think this is a great testimony to what it means to minister to others. Although I don’t live in the harsh climate of Alaska and although I don’t fly or repair airplanes I feel like his testimony really rings true in my life, and I think it rings true in so many people’s lives. It takes the role of ministry out of some special place, reserved for special people like pastors and missionaries, and puts it right back where it belongs: in everyone’s life in all that they do. What we do and how we go about it testifies to our love for God and our love for others.
What do you do? Do you consider it an opportunity to minister to others or do you save ministry for special times and special people?
As you have probably heard by now, the world is going to be ending on Saturday. According to Harold Camping this Saturday is exactly 7,000 years from the day that God told Noah he would destroy the world in seven days. And we all know that to God a day is like a thousand years and all that.
This end of the world prediction is just so absurd that it isn’t even worth refuting, but, in an over-the-top kind of way it definitely demonstrates something I was talking about a couple months back: it is dangerous to try and interpret the Bible into current events. I specifically used eschatology as an example to demonstrate these dangers and never would have expected someone to come along and say “See me? I’m doing exactly what that guy warned you about!” but, as fate would have it, that guy has come along. Well I’ve got to admit he has given this a shot before, but I wasn’t blogging much at the age of ten so I didn’t have much of a venue to bring it up in at that time. He also predicted the end of the world in 1994.
When Camping’s ’94 prediction was proven wrong by, well, reality, he ended up making some changes. So here we are on the eve of the eve of the end of the world. While you are eagerly awaiting the Rapture or however it is that you understand Jesus coming back for his followers, might I recommend reading my Reactionary Eschatology series:
And, if you decide that this is really the End, and that maybe zombies will be part of the End then I would also recommend checking out Zombie Theology for Christian advice and encouragement in living through the zombie apocalypse.
People have this idea that I always think I’m right, that I am arrogant and don’t listen to other people’s perspectives. Well those people are dumb.
But seriously, I like to think of myself as a pretty open-minded person. I am ready to hear and learn from other people. The problem is that THEY think they know everything and usually they don’t.
Take this conversation I had the other day. I was talking with a guy about Amillennialism and trying to explain it in small words because, as I explained to him, he didn’t know anything about eschatology because his pastors never wanted him to think. So he started to argue with me. He couldn’t help it. He had been indoctrinated, brainwashed if you will. I tried to be patient, but he kept asking all these questions that I couldn’t answer. They were the type of questions his pastor probably told him to ask even though he paused thoughtfully before asking them (I think that was part of his training as well, to make the trick questions seem more genuine). Well I was getting exhausted trying to explain these difficult concepts to someone so under the brain-control of some local pastor. Finally I had to shake him up; I had to get his head out of the haze, so I said “Listen buddy, if you don’t believe this is true, then you are blind to the truth.” That showed him. He shut right up … and he left before we could finish our conversation, but it was obviously because he knew I was right.
There was this other time when I was telling a friend how God had spoken to me about election. How he had laid it all out there for me and I finally understood it all for the first time. Do you know what my friend did? Tried to “discuss” the topic with me. As if there were anything left to discuss! When God tells you something you know it’s true. Why would people try to change your mind about it?
Then there was this other time. A buddy of mine was concerned that I may be a little too zealous about my feelings concerning how I interpret the Bible. He explained that he thought it may not make sense to say that when you read the Bible in faith you come to the same conclusions I have. I said I didn’t understand his concerns. He told me there were a lot of people who interpreted the Bible differently than I do who have come to different conclusions, but they seemed to have demonstrated great faith in their Christian walks. I told him they obviously didn’t. He asked me why I thought that, and I said that if they had REAL faith they would have come to the same conclusions I did. He asked me how I knew this. I said it was because I had real faith. He went silent. That’s what I thought!
See, the problem isn’t that I won’t listen to others. The problem is that they don’t have any good arguments to oppose mine. Is it wrong that my views are hole-proof? I don’t think so. Maybe if other people weren’t so blind and faithless, and would actually listen to God they would come to the truth as well, and maybe then I could learn something from them.
Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church has graciously allowed me to share my thoughts with his readers. What was the one thing I wanted to say to them?
“You are not alone.” That is the thing that I want to say to you. You are not alone, even when it feels like it. Many readers on this blog see the value of community and meaningful relationships among the Body of Christ. Many readers on this blog have faced resistance when trying to implement those things into their lives and into the group of believers they are part of. That can be very discouraging and often very lonesome. I know. I’m there.
Check out the post, Guest Blogger: Not Alone in Feeling Alone, to read the rest. I really appreciate Alan giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on his blog! Maybe I can get him to write something for me sometime soon. We’ll see.
Oh, also, in the meantime check out Running Late, a short story Alan wrote for Zombie Theology!
In case you are interested in And the Dead Shall Rise First, the zombie novel I am working on, today, in the spirit of Friday the 13th, at zombietheology.com I have posted “Physician, Heal Thyself,” a working excerpt from the book. This excerpt, as well as the rest of the book, is far from polished, and I would love to get some feedback on it.
And the Dead Shall Rise First is a novel about the church’s response to a virus that has turned the majority of humanity into zombies.
It is the year 2020 and civilization died one year ago. A virus and horror like never before imagined has gripped our world. EPV (Evolved Photoplasm Virus) is infecting and killing the majority of humanity. It isn’t stopping there. The dead are reanimating and have one single drive: consume all life. Is this the End, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, those things foretold in prophecy throughout Scripture and history? Will the church be able to overcome her division to help bring relief and hope to the world in the midst of all this devastation, or will she simply wither and die in a fractured irrelevant self-induced coma? What hope can she bring to the few remaining survivors of the pandemic? What relief can she bring to so many people who find themselves widowed, orphaned, tired, starving, sick, homeless, and utterly hopeless? And, ultimately, where is God in the midst of all this mess? These are the questions that the Final Council must ask, and the answers are not only crucial to the survival of the faith, but to the survival of humanity.
Also make sure you get back to zombietheology.com next Saturday, May 21st. There will be another surprise in honor of Harold Camping’s “Judgement Day” prediction.