Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Wider World

Today I head to Rio de Janeiro for a three day conference for Brazilian pastors. It is interesting that this first invitation is taking me to an area of Rio that is one of the most densely populated in Brazil and is very near the area the Brazilians call their "Gaza Strip." It is an area of deep poverty and violence. Interestingly enough it is also the location where churches are seeing great spiritual progress. It is a great place to teach Abiding.

To go in the direction of the pain is a characteristic of spiritual life. To take up our cross and follow Jesus is to make pain a servant of God's intentions. Our nature apart from God allows pain to take us wherever pain wants to go. To take up a cross forces pain to go where God wants it to go. "All things work together for good...."

I am humbled to go to the church that is hosting this meeting. The leaders of this church are heading in the direction of the pain with Jesus. Every day they wake up and the live with incredible pain staring them right in the face. I will drive there for a few days with another Brazilian pastor. I will see it up close and personal but it is not the pain I must face each day. I will head home on Saturday night.

All of us wake up each day and we must choose to go in the direction of the pain with Jesus. If we do not then certainly the pain will continue to come in our direction until it takes us where it is going. It is far better to go ahead and go with Jesus in the direction of the pain. He is a much better Lord and leader than pain. Let's go with Him and learn how God makes pain his servant.

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