Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

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Hey friends! Thanks for checking in with us. We hope you stop by from time to time and read our latest stories and thoughts from the Way family, the Tulsa Boiler Room, and our mission in Uganda. God bless you!

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Tulsa and Uganda — Ways’ Update

Posted By on July 26, 2017

Jill and I were in Uganda in May, and it was pretty incredible. We connected with old friends and ministry partners and participated in some leadership equipping events. Our eyes were opened once again to the tremendous need for leadership development in Africa, and we had several requests for help from pastors and overseers.  Whole networks of churches are precariously holding on, while leaders and churches struggle to remain faithful. We are praying about how the Lord might enable us to serve in this field. Right now we are working towards the idea of traveling to Uganda once or twice a year and developing a solid training path for local church leaders. We would present this through retreats and conferences with key leaders, who would then pass on to others in their networks. We also have a burden to work with young leaders who are full of vision and zeal. All of this is in the very developmental phases, but this is what we’re praying and dreaming about. Please let us know if you’re interested in hearing more.

Locally, things are really hopping as well. We have jumped a little deeper into ministry to the poor and homeless. I now work out of a building called the Merchant, which is a relational outreach center for ministry to the marginalized. I love it. Just recently I was able to talk with a couple of people who are struggling with some tough life circumstances, rejoice with a homeless man who now has a dog, and help a long-time homeless friend get some clothes. That same day Jill met up with a woman here with whom she has been building a relationship, and was able to spend some good time with her. In all of this, out heart’s desire is to lead people to Jesus, to walk with them into true life transformation, and to see them fully alive as children of the Father and witnesses of His love and mercy. If you are in the Tulsa area, I’d so love for you to stop by sometime. We are located at 605 S Peoria. Click here to fine out more: http://TheMerchantTulsa.com

Of course, we are still actively involved in pastoring our small community, the Tulsa Boiler Room. After meeting solely in houses (and parks) for years, we have ‘gone public’ as one friend put it. We still emphasize family-style gatherings in homes, but we also meet on Sunday mornings at the Merchant. This is a partnership with the ministry to the homeless, and our desire is to be a congregation who actively welcomes the marginalized and homeless. It’s been an interesting ride so far, and we believe God has some good things on this horizon for us. You can learn more about this here: http://tulsaboilerroom.com

Thanks for reading our letter! I would so prefer to catch up personally over a cup of coffee (if you’re in the area, would still love to do that!). It would be great to hear back from you and know how you are doing.

From Scoundrel to Volunteer

Posted By on July 24, 2017

One of my favorite things these days is being part of the Merchant.  Here’s a recent update I wrote…
Oh my word! Jesus has been so good to us at the Merchant! We see our dreams beginning to take shape week by week as we spend time in this space with which the Lord has entrusted us. Friends stop by for a drink or water, a word of prayer, or a little conversation. We have the chance to give clothing and hygiene items away almost daily. On Sundays we gather together with the Boiler Room family to worship and dive into God’s Word, and to foster friendships and community. And to drink coffee.

Lovable Scoundrel

On any given day if you were to stop by and see us at the Merchant (which, by the way, we’d love), you might get the chance to meet our buddy Joe [not real name]. We first got to know Joe more than eight years ago at the very first Thursday night dinner at Owen Park. In some ways he has always been part of this ministry. He’s kind of been the lovable scoundrel, always getting into trouble or causing mischief, but also always finding a way to make you smile. You can’t help but love him. We’ve lifted his name before the Father so so many times over the years.

I think I personally never saw Joe sober for the first four years that I knew him. He was regularly black-listed from local shelters because of his belligerence and general trouble-making. I don’t know how many times he called TNL friends, who would come help him in the night with a sandwich or a blanket. He has certainly lived a hard life, and he’s been a hard man.
But something is different with our old friend these days. About a year and a half ago, Paul and others helped him to get into housing. I honestly never thought we’d see Joe off the streets. He keeps his apartment immaculate. He loves to spend time reading, watching tv, and drinking lots of Maxwell House coffee. But something else he loves to do is spend time at the Merchant. He has taken on the responsibility of keeping our clothing donation room organized, and he does an amazing job at it. He takes the bus with a bag lunch in hand, and shows up for work. He’ll spend hours in the hot storage room, going through donations and sorting everything out so that we can find what we need. He does not get paid for this. He’s sober. He is full of conversation and laughter. It’s just amazing.
To be honest, Joe still has a long way to go. I am praying that the work the Lord has begun in him will be completed. Mostly that he will know Jesus and have a vibrant relationship with Him. But there is so much to rejoice over and give thanks for, and so much cause for hope.
When I see Joe these days, I am more convinced than every that the Father is reaching out to lost and desperate people, and that He truly has the power to transform. That nobody is too far gone. That we need to persevere in grace. I’m even more of a believer in the work of the Merchant and excited about all that lies ahead. Thanks for being part of this journey with us.

To find out more about the Merchant:

http://themerchanttulsa.com

Uganda 2017

Posted By on June 1, 2017

It’s so hard to know where to start. Jill and I returned from Uganda a few days ago, along with a couple of friends who traveled with us and joined in the ministry there. Jill’s first visit to Uganda in twelve years was a special time, and we are incredibly grateful. We saw old friends, taught in pastor conferences, shared the Gospel, encouraged faithful servants of Jesus, preached in various congregations, and helped to facilitate a mission team from ORU. And we genuinely had a lot of fun as we did it.
We walked along once-familiar streets, muddied and messy in the current rainy season. Children flocked to stare, and called out “Bye Muzungu” as we ambled by. We drank endless cups of sweet, milky tea and made our way outside to relieve ourselves in the still-not-really-comfortable squatties. We ate matooke with g,nut sauce, posho, chapatis, sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin, chicken, beans, goat, beef, and lots of sweet pineapple and bananas. We gazed into the night sky, once again awe-truck by the uncountable starry host. We reveled in the untamed beauty of the Mountains of the Moon, and nervously closed our eyes as we bounced through them and over them and around them in our minivan crammed with missionaries and Africans. We slept under mosquito nets as the mice played with our stuff. We looked fondly at Lake Victoria, and took in the lights of Kampala from our favorite viewing spot on Namirembe Hill, in the shadow of the great cathedral. We were assaulted by all the odors and sights of outdoor markets and trudged through the overcrowded streets of Uganda’s capital city. We enjoyed coffee and sweet rolls at Cafe Frikadellen in Masaka and good Indian curry at Faze 3 in Entebbe. We received the warm hospitality of Ugandan pastors and Western missionaries. We were entertained with concerts by groups of orphaned and abandoned children, and worshipped our God with many wonderful brothers and sisters.

One of the primary purposes of this trip was to investigate the possibility of deeper involvement in the equipping of leaders for God’s work in this nation and beyond. We prayed into this and had some meaningful conversations with pastors and leaders of church networks. If nothing else, the great need in this area was certainly confirmed. It would also appear that an open door is there for us. The questions now revolve around discerning God’s particular guidance for us, and in considering the hows and the whens and the with whoms and the cost and the feasibility. We’d so appreciate it if you would enter into prayer with us regarding this.

The first week we were in Uganda, we were hosted by our friend Pastor Robert. Robert oversees a network of 130 churches, spread throughout the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda. A number of the pastors in this movement were at the conference where Micah, Bob and I taught for three days. The second week we conducted similar teachings in Masaka, working with around 35 pastors plus other ministers and church members in the Mt of the Lord network of churches, lead by our friend Pastor Kintu. This network includes nearly 100 churches primarily in central and western Uganda, but also with a few in Tanzania and Rwanda. We spent time talking with a couple of other church network leaders as well, each of whom confirmed the need for training and invited us to continue working together. All our teaching was simple but well received. The core message of the Gospel, particularly as presented in the book of Galatians, was our focus. 

In between pastor conferences, Jill and I visited several homes for formerly abandoned or orphaned children, including one that is operated by our friends Fatuma and Darren. Fatuma is a dear friend who became part of our extended family when we lived in Masaka, and it is such a thrill to see her now so fully engaged in Jesus’ work of caring for the vulnerable. She has been reaching out to Masaka’s street kids for years, and has now been able to gather a number of them to live with her and her family in a big home. The kids experience the love and acceptance of Jesus, and many have testimonies of radically transformed lives. Such a beautiful work!

Thanks so much for your interest in our lives. We really appreciate you.  

God bless you!

Leadership Development

Posted By on November 13, 2015

Last Friday we had the great joy of graduating and ordaining Seth Kittinger, one of the young men who was part of the Transit discipleship program I led seven years ago. Since that time, Seth has continued to develop as a follower of Jesus and as a leader. One of my great joys in life right now is administering and teaching in the Antioch School, together with my friend Gyle Smith from Believers Church. This is a church-based leadership training program and accredited seminary. Seth recently completed work on his Certificate of Ministry. We currently have four other students who are working on Masters Degrees, along with fourteen others who are auditing — going through the classes, but not earning credit.

In addition to the graduation, the leadership of the Tulsa Boiler Room agreed that it was right for Seth to be recognized through ordination from our body. What an amazing joy to have been part of his journey over the past seven years, and to continue to serve side-by-side with him in kingdom endeavors.

As the Boiler Room, and in partnership with Believers Church, we are also operating the Vision Course, a young adult discipleship program through 24-7 Prayer. Seth is giving primary leadership to this ministry, and it is my joy to support him and serve in different ways. One of my favorites is through coaching the students in the outreach piece of the program, and meeting with them on a weekly basis to dream and discuss how Jesus might want to use them to touch the city of Tulsa.

International Missions

Posted By on November 13, 2015

This week I am in the midst of researching travel to Asia. I’ve never been before, and am excited and nervous. I plan to be in Delhi, India, from January 9-16. I’ve been invited to spend the week teaching a group of leaders about Mentoring and Coaching. This is a subject that is dear to my heart, and one that I’ve been studying and practicing a lot over the past decade. However, I am deeply aware of my inadequacy to teach this, though I highly value the subject matter. I’d really appreciate your prayers. I am very excited to think of all I will learn from my soon-to-be Indian friends and partners in ministry.

After Delhi, I plan to hop over to Myanmar, to visit our friends, Caleb and Heather Overstreet and family. I know from experience the encouragement that a visit from the home country can be, and my hope is to be that for these faithful servants. I also hope to connect with other leaders while there, and learn what is happening in the church in that troubled but hopeful land.  The finaces for the India portion of this trip are covered, but I will need to raise more for the Myanmar portion.

It’s been a year since I’ve been to Reynosa, but Isaiah and Emily recently returned from a trip. Along with them and their team, we continue to pray for the Lord’s direction and vision for ministry there. We rejoice in the continued testimony of women like Blanca and Lucia, who have overcome addictions and all kinds of bondages to be free and vibrant witnesses for Jesus.

Uganda. Wow. It’s also been fifteen months since I’ve been to Uganda. I did have the privilege of coordinating a mission team from ORU, who went to serve with my friends last summer. I heard wonderfully encouraging reports of God’s work among His people. I continue to have opportunities to coordinate and train for this annual outreach, and am praying about my next opportunity.

For the past several years, I have helped to coordinate the missions team at Believers Church, which oversees the various missionaries and missions endeavors of the church.  We currently have missionaries serving in Ireland, Papua New Guinea, and a number of restricted-access countries.  What a joy to serve these friends who are being witnesses of Jesus all over the world!

Ministry to the Poor and Homeless

Posted By on November 13, 2015

Last Thursday we had a special evening with our friends on the street. One of our Boiler Room couples provided an amazing meal — pork tenderloin, mixed vegetables, mac and cheese, and apple pie. It was crazy good. After our Bible study, instead of lining up for food as usual, everyone was seated at a table. The food was brought out and put on the tables family-style, and a group of teenagers served everyone, being sure to keep the hot food piled high. So there we were — sitting at table and eating together. Homeless and middle class. Jesus-followers and seekers and uninterested. Addicts and students and old and young. It was beautiful. I squeezed in between my son, Philip, and my friend, Doug. Doug has been on the streets for a long time. He’s an admitted alcoholic, and is frank about his lack of willingness to give up the bottle — though he told me tonight that he is thinking that he may need to change his mind about that. I’m praying that the relentless pursuit of Jesus will eventually penetrate his heart.

Robert, a Thursday night regular, has been coming to Boiler Room events for the past six weeks or so, including our Tuesday evening Bible teaching and discussion. He is an eager participant, and seems determined to leave behind his old life of drugs, alcohol, and immorality, and to follow Jesus. He’s been making some poor choices lately, unfortunately, so please pray for him.

Our biggest event of the year is fast-approaching. We’ve spent every Thanksgiving for the past six years (this will be number seven!!) with our friends on the streets. This year we will set up in a downtown parking lot, and hang out for a good part of the day. We’ll have sandwiches, desserts, and hot drinks (there are several other options for full Thanksgiving meals downtown). We are also planning some games, and are bringing a big tv with us so we can watch football together. And we’ll pray and worship, and one of our friends from ORU is going to share a gospel message. Please pray that all who come feel the welcome of the Father, and that the gospel message touches the hearts of all who are there — and that some give their lives to Jesus. That would be so fantastic!

The Prize

Posted By on September 22, 2015

“Pray for me? No, God doesn’t care about us.” I looked past the middle-aged Ugandan man, to the small hut in which he lived with his family. And then at the other huts all grouped together, just a few feet apart. Hundreds of them. Thousands, actually. An “Internally Displaced Persons” camp in northern Uganda. For 20 years they had lived like this. Not starving to death, thanks to the good will of others, but never satisfied. No hope of leaving, or of anything better. Poverty. Dirt. Sickness. Crowds of people. Death. And fear covering all like a blanket.

I had just asked this man, naively it seemed now, if we could pray for him. His simple and despair-filled answer knocked the wind out of me, and I had nothing to say. What could I say? In a few days I would be back with my family, in our home, far away from this dreadful place. What did I know of his suffering? What kind of comfort or hope or answer did I really think I could offer?

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone that day. My friend Kasozi, a pastor from southern Uganda, was there. And he gently, but confidently, shared the gospel with this man. He shared about the love of Jesus that is true and eternal, no matter what may happen in life. He spoke of the God whose power can transform people from the inside-out. He even dared to speak of hope.

I don’t know the rest of this man’s story. I never saw him again. But I do know a couple of things. Later that day, I met with others who were in the same situation as he. Living in the same camp. The same conditions. The same lack. And yet they were singing and praising God with exuberant joy. They had discovered something in Jesus that brought them peace in the midst of this awful, chaotic, horror. Truly a peace “beyond understanding,” as Paul had claimed. I also know that, ten years later, unbelievably, against all odds, there are no more such camps in northern Uganda. The long, seemingly endless war is over. People have gone home, and are rebuilding their lives.

I know that later that night, in my room, I repented. I asked Jesus to help me to never again doubt His power. To never lack the courage to speak the Gospel. To never again believe the lie that I have encountered a person for whom Jesus is irrelevant or insufficient. He convicted me to the core of my being with the truth that Jesus Himself is the prize. There are billions of people alive right now who have problems that I cannot hope to understand, let alone solve. Refugees fleeing war and death in the Middle East. Women being exploited in Mexico. Men and women living on the streets in every American city. I do not have the answers. But for each person living in these realities, Jesus is still the great prize, and I can show them to Him.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:44-46)

The Kingdom of heaven is the rule of Jesus. It is the presence of Jesus Himself. Those who are in the Kingdom are those who have put themselves under His rule. They are those who know Christ and trust in Him. To be in the Kingdom is far and away the best thing that could ever be. Nothing comes close to comparing with it. In fact, it would be worth it to give up absolutely everything else. Reputation. Money. Possessions. Family. Friends. Safety. Job. Home. Health. Even life itself. If we gave up all of that, along with anything else we value, it would not even come close to having amy significance as compared with the Kingdom. As compared with being in Christ. Jesus made this point over and over in the gospels.

If this is true — and if we believe the gospel at all, we have to confess that it is — then what does that say about “ministry” to people? What does it say about love? What of value do I truly have to offer any other human being?

I can offer many things. I can offer money, to the extent that I have it. I can give my time. I can use my knowledge or my skills for the sake of others, to help them have a better life. I can offer friendship. Those are good. But, what if I could offer the most ultimate prize in the whole world? What if I could offer the Kingdom? Could offer Jesus?

What about those who are less fortunate than me, as far as worldly goods and position go? The poor. Refugees. Orphans. The addicted. Imprisoned. The homeless. What do I have for them?

Maybe another way of looking at it would be this. What is the biggest tragedy in a person’s life? Is it that they are unemployed? That they have enemies? That they are homeless or in prison or on drugs or in a refugee camp? Is it that people are trying to kill them? Those are all hugely tragic situations, and, as a follower of Jesus, I should do whatever I can to help overcome them. Without a doubt.

But I submit that there is a deeper, darker, and more sinister tragedy by far.

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” (Luke 9:25).

Is it possible that we could help someone overcome drugs, and get off the streets, and get a job, and have friends… But they still be lost or destroyed? That we could in fact help them to ‘gain the whole world,’ and still they lose everything?

Or, looking at it from another side, is it possible to help people overcome the deepest tragedy of their existence (their separation from the Father), and yet much of their lives still be extremely hard? Is it possible for us to help someone discover the greatest prize in the universe, and yet he still be materially poor?

There was a time someone wanted to follow Jesus, and Jesus responded by saying, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58). If you want to follow me, Jesus told this hopeful seeker, you’ll have to be homeless — at least for this next season. But it’s worth it.

Don’t worry. I am not advocating that we don’t try to help people get housing, or jobs, or stability in their lives. That we not seek solutions for refugees or rescue for the enslaved. Not at all. In fact, I’d love for us to do more along these lines. It is good and right for us to labor in this. It is the heart of our Father.

But in those discouraging moments when we all ask ourselves, “what are we doing?” there is a more significant answer. We are pointing people to the entrance to the Kingdom. We are showing them the field in which the greatest treasure in the universe is buried. We are guiding them to Jesus Himself. At least, I hope that’s what we’re doing.

Over the past six years, I’ve seen a good many people get off the streets into housing. And I rejoice every time. It is amazing, and worth celebrating. And yet, my heart still breaks for some of them, because they have not discovered the treasure. They have what they thought was the greatest thing they needed. A home. In some cases freedom from addictions. In some cases a job. They will often readily acknowledge that God helped them get what they have. But still many have not found the pearl of such value that they would lay down all that they have gained in order to attain it. And so, sadly, as Jesus warned, they are still on the wide path that leads to destruction. And my heart breaks. Some of these I have know well. We’ve shared many meals together. They have been in my home. We’ve talked about Jesus and His Kingdom.

There are others — and my heart hurts for them as well — who are still living on the streets, or in poverty, but they are living in the Kingdom right where they are. Do I want them to get a better situation? Yes, I do, with all my heart. But I also rejoice for them, because they have found what is the most important.

Sometimes we are tempted to let Jesus be the means to what we consider a greater end. We want people to encounter Jesus, so that Jesus will fix their lives. Sober them up. Get them off the streets. Jesus will not be used like that. He is after far more. He is the means, for sure. But He is also the great end. The purpose. The prize. The goal. The only One worth losing everything else for.

I often ask myself, or am asked by others, “What are we doing on Thursday nights?” I still maintain that what we are doing is hugely important. It’s not about the food, really. It never has been. It’s about us building relationships with the poor and the homeless and the outcast. But it’s not ultimately about that either. It is that through the relationships we build, we can actually lead our friends into the relationship that will change everything. The relationship with Jesus.

The prize is Jesus Himself. And He has given us the power and the ability to bring Him to others.

“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!'” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)

This is amazing. It’s what it’s all about.

Jesus is the prize. Our friends can know God. And we can help them. Sometimes — many times, I hope, by the grace of God we can help them get off the streets. Sometimes that won’t happen, or it won’t happen quickly. But even so, our friends can know God.

 

Good Friday

Posted By on April 3, 2015

It’s Good Friday. Words fall pitifully short in trying to express what this day means to us.

We commemorate today because Jesus died on the cross for people like you — whatever you perceive ‘like you’ to mean. The failures. The successful. Smart ones. Not so smart ones. Good people. Bad people. Poor. Rich. Happy. Sad. Leader. Not a leader. Important. Insignificant. Loved. Abandoned.

Jesus died on the cross for people like you.

I’ll take it a step further. He died for you specifically. I try to wrap my head around this one, and it can be so tough. But I know it’s true, even though I can’t comprehend it. Don’t know how it works. He died for you. The stuff you’ve done played a significant part in putting Jesus on the cross. Your immorality and your pride and your hatred and your drunkenness and your self-righteousness and your lying and your greed and your selfishness. Jesus went to the cross because you desperately needed Him to do something. Without Him intervening in an extreme way, you had no hope. Jesus went to the cross for you.

Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be tortured on the cross because He loves you. Not just you plural — but you. You! He wants you to be reconciled with the Father. He wants to be with you eternally. You are not hard for Him to love. He genuinely and sincerely likes you and cares about you. Yes, about you! You’re not too exasperating for Him. Too dull. Too lazy. To weak or evil or mediocre. You’re not too annoying or too far gone or too pathetic or too insignificant.

And His love makes all the difference. Some of you are going through tough stuff right now — and I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out in the short term (as in this life). But I do know that His love makes it ok. His love is so great and wonderful that the trials you and I face pale in comparison. His love sent Him to the cross. For you. How can anyone love you like that? How can the One with such impossibly high standards love you like that? I really don’t know. But He proved His love on the cross. What more can He do to convince you? Some of you are doing great right now, and are excited about life. All that you have is a gift of His love, and only His love makes anything significant or worth your attention. Rejoice in His love.

Jesus went to the cross because He loves you deeply and genuinely.

I’ll take it one step further. Jesus went to the cross for us. He died so that you and I can be united as one. He died for a bride. A body. A family. He died so that we can love each other. Jew and Gentile. Liberal and Conservative. Fundamentalist and emergent and charismatic and traditional. Cavaliers and Longhorns and Tarheels. Artists and business people and young and old and black and white and rich and poor.

Jesus died on the cross to make us one. His death makes us a family. Me and you.

Jesus died on the cross for just your kind of people.
Jesus died on the cross for you.
Jesus died on the cross for us.

Jesus died on the cross for me, because He loves me so much. Wow.

I am praying today that the Father convinces you even more of His love for you. I know we tend to doubt it… But Jesus died for you! He loves you!

 

Uganda 2014 — Part B

Posted By on August 26, 2014

Last week I was in a place called Kansenene, deep in the Rwenzori mountains of western Uganda. This is where my friend Israel Nabimanya has established a church and high school. It is an incredibly beautiful place, and the hospitality of Israel’s family was amazing as usual. I preached 7 times between Wednesday afternoon and Friday afternoon to a group of pastors and their spouses. I can’t even begin to tell you what a privilege and joy it was for me to share with these faithful men and women, who zealously serve Jesus and His church in the midst of hardship, poverty, and isolation. They inspire me.

We talked a lot about the gospel, and how our belief in it (or lack of belief) impacts our day-to-day lives in every facet of life. I shared about our calling to know, believe, live, and proclaim the gospel. The gospel is God’s power at work, saving everyone who believes it (Rom 1:16). But we often truly do not remember what it is, or believe that it is really true.

Again, the pastors conference was such a joy. I got to see several former students and friends. One man, Francis, used to host me or a member of our team every month for 2 years, as we held a training school in his village. I hadn’t seen him in a decade, and it did my heart good. Robert also came towards the end. I’ve stayed in Robert’s home many times, and had countless cups of sweet milky tea with him, as we discussed everything from the gospel to politics to church ministry to history to culture to whatever. Robert oversees more than a hundred churches, and spends his days riding his motorcycle all throughout these mountains to get to remote congregations and encourage and help them. I last saw him five years ago, when Seth and Tyler went with Israel and me to his home. He rode through the rain to come see me last Friday — the day before I left Kansenene.

Now I am in Mukono, teaching at Uganda Christian University. My students are from various parts of Uganda, and there is one from Rwanda. Some are teachers. A few are pastors. Several work for non-profits. Others in business. One or two work for the government. They are Anglicans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and one Catholic. Our conversations related to Ethics have been pretty charged and filled with energy.   I am excited to see what happens as the week progresses.

 

The Gospel

Posted By on August 26, 2014

We are called to know, believe, live, and proclaim the gospel. The gospel is God’s power at work, saving everyone who believes it (Rom 1:16). But we often truly do not remember what it is, or believe that it is really true.

The gospel is all about Jesus (Rom 1:3). I wonder if a total stranger came to the boler room consistently — to our teachings and our spuds and our social activities and worship nights — would it be obvious to him that Jesus is the reason we gather? That He is the center of our community? Of our individual lives? The gospel is all about Jesus — and our salvation and very life as a community of faith is built upon Him. At least, that’s what we profess.

Jesus is God’s very Son, and he became a man and lived a perfect life. In doing so, He revealed to us exactly what the Father is like. He also showed us how we as people are meant to live. More than that, He lived perfectly for us. He lived perfectly so that He could give us His perfection in exchange for our sin. And that’s what happened when He died. He made an exchange with us. We have His righteousness — His rightness — and all the rewards and benefits that comes with that. And He got our sin — and the punishment that came with that. This really is good news! He took our shame and guilt condemnation and brokenness. And we got His purity and wholeness and rightness. There is no condemnation for us now. Not for the sin you committed ten years ago, or the one you committed a minute ago — or even for the one you will commit tomorrow. No condemnation. No guilt. No shame.

Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered all that was darkest and most vile. He defeated death, and gave us the promise of eternal life. God Himself died and was buried in the tomb — the darkest and most hopeless situation imaginable — but He rose again. We are people of resurrection. People of hope. Jesus ascended to heaven. He is preparing a place for us, and for all who believe. We have a home with Jesus. We are family. He is interceding for us. He is praying for you. That’s pretty sweet. He also sent His Spirit to dwell inside of us. This is crazy. The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within YOU. Like, right now. And always. Even when you act like a moron (which, now that I think about it, is a really good reason to not act like a moron). Because of this, you can live a life of victory over sin. A life filled with things like love and joy and peace and kindness and faithfulness. A life of power and of witnessing to the reality of Jesus. Together, filled with the Spirit of God, we can reveal to the world what He is truly like. That’s crazy. But it’s our calling and our privilege and our purpose and our destiny.

Jesus is coming again. He’s going to make everything right. None of the evil in this world is going to survive. It’s days are numbered. Injustice of every kind. Poverty. Sickness. Violence. Hatred. Pain. Depression. Fear. You name it. It is overcome, and will be no more. Instead there will be joy and peace and goodness. There will be love and plenty and satisfaction. There will be true rest and true work and true relationship. True worship and true celebration. Because of this, you can take whatever muck life throws your way. The worst thing that will ever happen to you is absolutely nothing compared with the goodness and the wonder and the bliss that awaits you.

That’s the gospel, friends. I don’t think it’s really that we don’t know it. We just, kind of forget about it. We don’t think it’s relevant to our situation right here and right now. But it is! There is nothing more relevant to your current situation that the gospel! Think about that. I’m convinced that it is true.