I honestly think I could write a book on the adventures that occurred last week while on my anniversary trip to New York. What was meant to be a short 24 hour trip turned into 4 days of adventures! I am going to be writing several blogs in the next few days and here is the first of many…
This was our 15th wedding anniversary. He is my best friend in the entire world and gets me on so many levels. He knows me. I surprised him with a romantic trip to New York City. I had the plane tickets purchased, the tours and hotel reserved and we were set for our trip. We had incredible quality time -holding hands on the streets through NYC, kissing in Times Square and we talked for hours at a time. This was truly the best trip we have ever been on together even though it was constant chaos. When we arrived in NYC the first thing I noticed is that hardly anyone smiled. People were walking fast going somewhere and yet they seemed to be so robotic and such loneliness filled their eyes. Now of course I don’t mean every single person we passed or came in contact with but A LOT. I saw a huge city with bright lights, beautiful buildings that were breathtaking and yet there was a feeling of sheer loneliness. We were walking through the park and saw a homeless man laying just a few short feet away from a very well dressed business man who was sitting on a bench listening to his ipod and playing games on his Ipad –I saw a lady doing yoga- to a girl laying out in the sun to an elderly lady sitting on the edge of the grass drawing the entire picture. I looked at all the people and no one seemed to connect with anyone other than themselves. I thought about what the lady drawing saw- Did she see what I was seeing? Did she see everyone trying to block out the chaos of their city life in the quietness of this park? Were they escaping a bad home life? Was this a brief attempt to escape work? Was this the only sleep this poor man gets? Now I am sure I didn’t come close to getting any of their stories right nor did I talk to any of them- but I watched with such intensity. We saw so many areas that were just BROKEN! I could only think of the dreams that many of those people had and yet shattered by something-
It made me think about the area we are planting our church and the people who flock every Wednesday to our block parties. I mean 60 -70 kids/teens come running (literally) when they see us pull in the parking lot. Dirty hands, snotty noses, BAD language and the worst “your mama” jokes I have ever heard and yet I LOVE these kids. I can’t wait to be immersed in the midst of their culture each week. Even more my kids are right in the mix of it all. I have some pretty funny discussions with them following but they are serving and playing with these kids and they are building friendships with them. I truly know and believe that some people are called to do foreign missions but I am also seeing brokenness right in front of me IN MY CITY. We always think of the great commission as GOING somewhere else and I truly believe that if we all GO then who is going to GO next door? GO into the projects? GO into the streets on behalf of those who are broken directly in front of us. I have a good friend serving in Honduras this entire summer and she is passionate for those people -she truly wants to be an instrument of change in that area. She is studying and learning the culture of the people surrounding her. The other night we were on skype and she literally is soaking up every second of that culture up. I truly feel that when God places an undeniable passion within us and we allow life to get in the way we are missing HUGE opportunities to see God move. We can be apart of watching a city change right in front of our eyes and people come to know Christ on a whole new level! Remember when you were a kid people would say STOP-LOOK-LISTEN before you cross the road. What if we would apply those same three words every single day and truly begin to see people in a whole new way and offer a love that can literally change them from the inside-out.
Matthew 4:14-16 (MSG)
14-16″Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.