Statue on the facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Yesterday, many years ago, God entered the world as a baby. Today, many years later, the world is different. It may not seem different, but the divine became flesh and dwelt among us. The entire universe rocked as the Creator stepped into the boat. Creation is happily, joyously refreshed.
Don’t forget. As you return gifts and take down the tree, or as you travel back home and get ready for the new year, don’t forget. God has walked among us. Don’t forget why we now have hope. Don’t forget where our focus should be. Don’t forget. Because today the world is different.
You can see that on my desk is a copy of a new book on missions by my friend and co-worker, Shane Sebastian. This Change is Everything is the best new book to come out regarding missions since, well, my book that came out last year regarding missions!
There are two aspects to this book that make it important to anyone considering missions and to anyone working with young people who are considering missions. First, Shane helps us see how young people have been changing the world for centuries. Young people, mid-twenties and younger, have been making a kingdom impact since the days of the Old Testament. Why should it be any different today? We need to encourage people to see how much of a difference they can make in their youth.
In the second part of the book Shane deals with common barriers people face as they consider going to the world. These thoughts are spot-on, as Shane has been working with college students for twenty-five years and helping them work through these very issues. His wisdom comes from years of practical ministry. You will benefit from the hard lessons Shane has distilled for you.
Buy this book for yourself, or buy it to give away, but read it and and let’s help send a new generation to the world!
In my role as the National Director of Innovation for Cru Global Missions, I love developing new and creative ways to give Jesus to the world. This past year saw the inaugural trip for Cru Medical to Cote d’Ivoire and the continued growth of Cru Study Abroad. We have several other ideas for missions that will hopefully move from thoughts on paper to reality in the next year. The world is truly open to hearing about the hope found in Christ.
Dawn and I both value involving more people in missions, which is one reason why I wrote the book GO, Following Jesus to the Ends of the Earth and continue to blog. It’s also why we led a group on the Camino de Santiago this fall. We want to involve many, many more people in this great adventure.
As the year ends, it’s a good time to give to the people and causes that are close to your heart. As you evaluate your contributions, would you consider giving to the work Dawn and I are doing around the world?
You may not know, but on staff with Cru we raise all the necessary funds to cover everything we receive, including salary, health care, retirement benefits and ministry expenses. As we look towards 2017 we see several needs that will require an increase in our funding, including increased opportunities to open new ministries internationally.
As you would guess, this takes financial resources. Any gift you give helps us pursue our goal of putting the gospel within arm’s reach of students everywhere.
If you are so led, you can make a contribution through this link to CRU.
Thank you for considering our work and have a most Merry Christmas!
Supper at Emmaus, by Caravaggio
I love this painting. The original hangs in the British Gallery in London where I recently bought a large print. I’m going to frame it and put it up somewhere in our house (location tbd by my wife).
What do I like about it? I love the reactions of the two disciples when they realize that Jesus is sitting with them. Read the story again, it’s found in Luke 24:13-32, where two disciples met Jesus along the road after the crucifixion. They thought Jesus to be dead and were confused and disheartened by the recent events. The risen Jesus walked with them and explained all that had happened from scripture. As they neared their destination, the men asked Jesus to stay and dine with them, still not recognizing him.
It’s when Jesus blessed the bread and broke it for their supper that their eyes were opened. Caravaggio captures their surprise at that instant in his painting. Notice the third man, the innkeeper, who is standing next to Jesus. He does not know who Jesus is, not yet, so his face doesn’t register a response. But the two disciples, they know. Their eyes go wide and they start out of their seats. The intensity of the scene blows me away. Jesus is alive!
For the people who knew Jesus and had literally walked with him, this painting encapsulates the profound changes that swept their lives when Jesus rose from the dead. The world now has hope, life is not in vain, the Savior still walks among us! Scripture records that these men immediately returned to Jerusalem to report the Risen Savior.
How about you? Have you been surprised by Jesus lately? Has the intensity of your faith, of how you see Jesus, ever matched that found in this painting? Perhaps it’s time to ask Jesus to walk with you for awhile, to become real to you again. Maybe it’s time to ask Jesus to join you at supper?