As you can tell, its been a busy spring. I've scarcely had a moment to write, even though I've had more than my fair share of moments to ponder different things and see God working in dry land.
When I went to Moody, personal evangelism was a favorite class, but not a favorite pastime. I had this really incredibly passionate proff, Dr. McDuffee, and he spoke a lot about sharing the gospel. I don't remember much he said, but I do remember his passion, and I like him for it, even though I could barely understand why he had such passion.
He would even go out on the streets of Chicago and preach. I admired him for his guts, but still thought he was pretty nuts.
13 years later and I'm here in Southern Spain, and I think I've gone as nuts as he was and probably still is. How did I get from point A to point B?
Frankly, it all started in Africa, when Andrew and I trucked over the Uganda to do a project for ACTION. We ended up in the north, in the worst part of the world I've ever been in. I met AIDS victims, war victims, former sex slaves, former ex militia, and they all told me one thing, God changed me.
I would hear the people singing in church, "there is power in the church today" and for the first time in my life I really began to believe it. I'd been quite a doubting Thomas and I really did need to see evidence, and than I began to really believe.
Before that moment, I had seen God work in my life on a personal level, healing me from various hurts in the past others had inflicted on my psyche. But while in Africa, when I talked to three ladies that had AIDS, and how when God saved them, he also healed them to the point they could walk and talk, feed their families and care for each other, I really began to believe.
So we came back, fired up about God's power. I continued on my personal journey...and there's more to that, but essentially, I've gotten to a really unique point this spring. I am unashamed and fired up about the power of the Gospel.
You see, I realized first that I was ashamed of the Gospel. Its awkward, its bumpy, it offends people, its bloody, its painful, it requires change. Many of the TV shows out today talk about how people can't change. True, without the Gospel, is there really change? Anyway, I digress.
Living here in this culture, where shame controls live and what you do...has opened my eyes to what shame really is. Whether or not we believe in shame, we actually do have it, and do operate our lives around it. We as Westerners may not take vacation, because we are afraid of what people will think about is. If we really boil this feeling down, its shame of what other people will think.
All this to say, I was ashamed. But after seeing the power of the Gospel, in Africa, in Spain, I have lost my shame. And now I fully understand the statement Paul makes in Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.
I guess I had never really thought about that verse before, even thought it was long ago committed to memory. But since I've lost my shame, my desire to share the Gospel is tenfold.
And, this month, I taught the youth about some of these concepts, and together as a youth group we prayed one night for four different people. We prayed only that we could have opportunities to share the gospel, and boy did I have them this month.
Almost every week I had one. Most recently, my 15 yr olds in my English class asked me about spiritism and what I thought. My boss at the Academy asked me why our "religious group" was different. I ran into some guy that runs a tea shop here in the Arab quarter, made some comment about how I believe in a God that holds my future, and proceeded to have a long conversation about what I believed. I found out he is a Spanish Moslem, having converted from being an Evangelical.
I can't stop talking about what I believe. Do you believe in the power of the Gospel? If you do, you will lose your shame, and witnessing becomes as natural as breathing, even if it isn't your "gift". As a believer, its your calling.