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Everyone has an Alabaster Jar

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I heard a message yesterday from a woman who had given up a prized scholarship to NYU in order to attend Bible School.

It was, in a way, her breaking the Alabaster Jar. Choosing obedience over a life of sin.

When it comes to missions and walking with God, we’ve all got our alabaster jar. Our sinful lives, our investments, our gifts… All that we might consider precious.

What does it look like to smash that jar?

A Time for Change

I don’t like the fact that missionaries speak a secret language.

Discretion, I get.

Talking shop, it’s understandable.

But when do we call a spade a spade and draw the line?

Should we be calling baptism dunking? Or should we simply stay silent?

Should we use military terms in missions?

Quakers used quilts to direct escaped slaves to safe houses on the Underground Railroad.

I’d like to see more quilts and fewer… Acronyms…

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“New demands led the language of the Third Reich to stimulate an increase in the use of the dissociating prefix ent- (de-) (though in each case it remains open to question whether we are dealing with completely new creations or the adoption by the common language of terms already familiar in specialist circles). Windows had to be blacked out (verdunkelt) because of enemy planes, which in turn led to the daily task of lifting the blackout {des Entdunkelns}. In the event of roof fires, the lofts had to be free of clutter that might get in the way of the firefighters – they were therefore de-cluttered {entrumpelt}. New Sources of nourishment had to be tapped: the bitter horsechestnut was de-bittered {entbittert}…

“For a comprehensive definition of today’s most important task, a word formed in an analogous manner has been widely adopted: Germany was almost destroyed by Nazism; the taks of curing it of this fatal disease is today termed denazification {Entnazifizierung}. I hope, and indeed believe, that this dreadful word will only have a short life; it will fade away and lead no more than a historal existence as soon as it has performed its current duty.”
– Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich: LTI: Lingua Tertii Imperii

Spiritual Gifts? “I have a blog.”

I have a blog, so what?

This isn’t an anecdote.

It’s thinking outloud.

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1 Corinthians 10:23-33

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Spiritual Gifts? “I have a cat.”

I don’t know how widespread this story is, but a lady reported it to me the other day.

A church was looking for what was next.

They all got together and a facilitator passed out little scraps of paper and pens.

“Everyone write down spiritual gifts he or she has,” the facilitator said.

They got the usual: mercy, service, teaching, etc., etc.

One lady wrote, “I have a cat.”

Instead of ignoring that as a clearly unspiritual gift, the group leaders picked it out as the most unique.

“Let’s go with this,” they decided.

They asked everyone who had a pet to come to a second meeting.

At that meeting, one pet owner noted that there was a children’s home down the street.

“Those kids can’t have pets,” explained the man. “Perhaps we could bring our pets to them.”

And an outreach was born.

An unusual method.

Let’s not limit our God to our own inadequacies.

What are your spiritual gifts?

Do you have a cat?

I have…

We Can’t Categorize People

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We try to make sense of missions.

We try to make sense of one another.

We try to prevent hurt.

We can’t.

That’s why we have the Bible, to show us how to reconcile.

To pray through those love passages.

To pray for Christ’s love to cover us all.

To pray for the humility to apologize.

We are hidden in Christ.

God created us in our innermost being.

WHY O WHY would we try to identify such a being by letters and numbers?

Why would we try to place that unique being on a graph?

Don’t do it.

Out of respect for your fellow man, don’t do it.

Fear God, and remember that he created each one of us UNIQUELY.