Friday, November 29, 2013

Awake At Midnight

Yesterday I read on the Internet that a Pizza Hut manager was fired for refusing to open his restaurant on Thanksgiving.  Seems as though consumerism has encroached on the few occasions that have traditionally been reserved for nothing but family celebration.

It's not the cost of airfares or our attempt to maintain two residences, in nations that are separated by 10,000 miles, that is our greatest expense. Attempting to increase options in a third world nation carries a steep price in terms of our biological family back in Oregon.

It's Friday morning in Uganda and the term Black Friday has absolutely no meaning here. If the nostalgia atmosphere we woke with yesterday was all we had we might be having our own "black" Friday.  But the Lord has gifted Pam and me, among other things, with an African family.



We woke this morning with great anticipation. Today we are starting our own African Thanksgiving. A couple of our African kids arrived from Kampala last night.  Most of the rest of them will gather with us tonight.  And, we will celebrate the goodness of the Lord together with kikayli .(chick-a-lie).. a delicious African pork dish ... and apple and pumpkin pie ... a traditional American dessert.  We will worship together.  We will share stories from our lives with each.  Stories from our personal lives that declare the grace of God.  And we will share communion.

Survival better describes the history of all of these kids rather than consumerism.  One acknowledged that each of the others originated in severe poverty ... and it is true. They know what it is like to sleep hungry and to have only one or two changes of clothes.  Only one has a vehicle and all are used to depending on public transportation and a lot of walking.  They have a historical identity with two thirds of the  population of the world ... that of being genuinely poor.

The day before Thanksgiving I commented on an American friend's post about the irony of Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  I wrote
Addressing some of the foundational questions such as "Who am I?' and "Why am I here?" can help some of us transition out of the default system of the powerful feeding on the powerless to a culture of gratitude and grace.  I trust I'm in the process.
One of the Psalmist included this statement in the lyrics of his lengthy song:  I rise at midnight to thank You.  Our Father has given us EVERYTHING that pertains to life and godliness. Entitlement is not the character of the Eternal Family.  Grace brings blessings.  How we use these blessings, in gratitude, is what matters.

Followers of Christ are beneficiaries of God's grace.  The love of our Father, through His Firstborn Son, has given us a new identity as part of a new creation and culture.  We are sons of God, intent on accirately representing the character of our Father.  This is who we are.

Far too many believers are bored with their misunderstood Christianity.  Following Christ and being ALL IN, as Mark Batterson describes it, results in the most amazing adventure available to man. Our purpose  is to follow Christ.  We are here to manifest, demonstrate, and exhibit the marvelous grace of God in gratitude.

It's not a day.  It's not an event.  It's a lifestyle that may push us out of bed at midnight to thank Him.



12 comments:

  1. Going "ALL IN" for Christ may be a gamble in this life but it's a sure bet in the next. Even in this life, we may lose some comforts, but we will never be left or forsaken.

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    1. I believe that going ALL IN for Christ is a sure deal here on earth.

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  2. Beautiful perspective, Papa.
    Thank you for sharing what Christ has put on your heart and thank you for so tangibly living the Lord's call to die to self.
    Both you and Momm are an indescribable and undeserved blessing... even from ten thousand miles away.
    ~Jared

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    1. Thanks Jared. I think of you often. I wonder how your journey with Christ is going and what the status of your educational pursuit is. I believe the best for you and pray for you. Having Ben here with us until May of 2014 makes me think of the great times we shared here in Uganda for 2 months. I love you man.

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  3. Paul and Pam,
    I am thankful for you, your beautiful hearts and consecrated lives to serve God. I love the vocation you are called to and how you live it out. Love you both and give my love to Daurelle and her husband.
    Jenny Bumcrot

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    1. Thank you, Jenny, for your kind and gracious encouragement. We are confident that we are where we are supposed to be and we know that it is not us that makes any difference, but it is the favor of the Lord that is on us. (Isaiah 61) We appreciate your love.

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  4. Thanks Paul. You have a beautiful way of helping others (Me) see a bigger picture. This statement grabbed hold of my heart, " Grace brings blessings, how we use these blessings, in gratitude , is what matters ". We all missed you and Pam so much on Thanksgiving Day, but I"m very grateful that we can say with gratitude , we are thankful you are sharing your blessings with those dear souls there.

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    1. I love you Mom! Thanks for giving your daughter to Jesus Christ and to me. It's been a great adventure with her. It helps me to know that you don't jealously want us there in the States, but instead prefer for us to be doing what we are doing half way around the earth. That is grace with gratitude.

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  5. Paul, I'm so glad to know you and Pam are there doing what you do. I understand the meaning of this blog. (ie., with the many gifts and blessings we have been given, EVERYDAY is thanksgiving day) A blessing or gift is best appreciated when it is shared and blesses others. I know of no other to show true thanks.

    Those that miss that lesson will miss an important part of life and what we are called to do. They fully understand a secular holiday and what our society has grown to expect of it and others. It is such a superficial interpretation in my opinion, but we all learn things at our own rate. May God continue to richly bless you and Pam along with all of those you touch.
    See you soon my friend,
    DK

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    1. And it won't be long until you are here with us in Uganda ... AGAIN! ... and we will be sharing this adventure together. I love those time when you come. I anticipate them and don't want them to end when you are here. You and your team have been leaving leaving a huge impact for Christ here in Uganda.

      I love you. And, I think one reason is because the Lord has allowed me a peek into your heart over here in Africa that is not evident there in the States.

      See you soon brother!

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  6. Thank you and Pam for the great example of what a godly marriage can be. You two are an amazing pair/team for the things of the Kingdom. In my life I have much to be grateful for and that starts with the people I know that are demonstrating for the rest of us, the way things ought to be. See you in a few months. February might be too optimistic, but for the time being, its still on my calendar. Love ya, Nolan.

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