Monday, April 27, 2009

April Update

Hey guys. This last month in Thailand has been awesome. It's now hot season and its really... hot. It can get up into the 40’s but it feels like the high 40’s. We are lucky if it gets below 30 at night time.
What better way to enter the hot season with the worlds biggest water fight, Son Kran. The holiday comes from Thai tradition. Each year families get together to pay respects to the elderly by pouring water on there hands. If you look at some of my pictures you can check out how that looks. Well what I think must have happened was an old lady must of taken the kids water and dumped it on them and then started a big water fight. Out of this, we now have the worlds biggest annual water fight. Here in Bangsaen which is a very good spot for Son Kran , we had water fights for one week straight. The traffic was unbelievable. I cannot even explain to you how crazy it is, it is definitely the best holiday I have been apart of. This main road outside our church is packed for miles down, and everyone is in trucks throwing water at people and dancing. Thai people dancing are very funny to watch I am sorry for not getting a video but it is quite amusing. Although most of them are very drunk, which would explain most of it. As well people would run around smearing this white clay substance all over your face. I do not know exactly where this comes from I just figure it is just an excuse to touch people. One funny story from Son Kran. Monks are absolutely off limits to hit with water, usually. As this Song Taow was driving by, which is like a bus but in a truck form, we through water at it obviously because Son Taows are fun to hit because everyone is dry. That and open windows. Well there was a female monk in there and we didn’t realize until I looked and saw her very angry. Don’t hit monks not good, unless it’s an accident or pretend it is. During the nighttime there were concerts down at the beach. We saw, Thaitanium, which is a Thai rap group. Got to meet them actually after there show, talked to them briefly. We also saw Potatoe, you have to say that with a rising tone or else it doesn’t make scence. Just say it very enthusiastically. This was fun rocking out to songs that I had no idea what they were saying. Son Kran was awesome, loved it. 
Another thing you should all know was we had visa troubles again. Although that is all solved now because we flew to Malaysia on Tuesday to extend our Visas so we can stay in Thailand for the next month of our time. I have received some messages of people wondering what is going on in Thailand. To be honest it is played up, I feel anyway. There was a state of emergency, but that was more less for the politicians. They are not going after people or anything. There was a confrontation with the army and the army did open fire and there were 3 people I believe that were killed. It’s not that bad though, I live 45 minutes outside of Bangkok so in no way am I affected by it and I was in Bangkok during some of the protesting and it wasn’t that bad. If you are planning on traveling to Thailand, don’t worry you will be fine. As well I don’t know if I mentioned this in my last message but 10 people were baptized in Cachengsao 3 weeks ago. If you want to check my video’s and pictures I have them posted up. Praise God for this. This community is being transformed. I really want to see neighborhoods transformed like this in Vancouver.
 One more month for my time in Thailand. I may be writing you guys when I am back in Canada. This has been an amazing journey and I am sad to see it come to an end here. I have really come to love it here and I feel it may be a bit weird going back into our culture. God has taught me so much in these past 9 months. Dave asked the question, “In this time in Thailand, what has been the biggest result of it?” My answer is simple, I feel like my relationship has deepened with Jesus. Some of you may hear this and go, “Yah, easy for you to say you have been on missions in these last 7 months.” Just so everyone knows, something I learned being here, and Kenzi said this as well. I learned Missionaries have lives. It is actually no different than being at home. Not to mention Thailand is only 2.5 % Christian, but growing, praise God. My relationship has deepened to the point where my love for God is wanting to move out in action. My whole life as a Christian I constantly have people telling me, “ you need to read your bible, pray, tell people about Jesus, and serve him.” Obviously those things are true and it takes discipline. I am at the point though that nothing else matters than God. My love for Him is so deep that I want to serve him, I want to pray, I want to read my bible, I want to obey him and I want to tell others about him. This is coming out in a love for him. I don’t want to waste my life; I want to use it to bring glory to God. I do agree that we need to set disciplines for ourselves. But I think there is a point where this needs to be real and we actually want to do it. You do not need to go on a special program for this to happen. A great testimony is my buddy Kevin Johnston. I am so thankful that God has put a guy like him in my life. That guy is going hard for the Lord out of love for God. He did nothing this year other than reading his bible and listening to sermons. His love for God is unreal. The bible is going to answer why this happens, why this love for God outflows in our life. It all comes down to the holy spirit. He is the one who changes our hearts. 1 Though because of sin, our love and worship for God is damaged. We are likely wanting to love people, things, and experiences rather than God. A lot of people like to worship things as though it is a god. We like to poor ourselves out in praise and action to demons, people, things and experiences that we love in place of God.
God created a plan to free us from this false worship and join us in a reconciled loving relationship. God planned from the beginning to send His son Jesus or Immanuel “God with us in flesh”. That was the plan that we know of from Genesis 3 when Jesus was prophesied. Jesus Christ, God in flesh lived a perfect life as an example of our life of love for God and others. He died on the cross in place of us sinners and then three days later rose again to bring us a new life so that God the spirit would indwell in lost sinners, regenerating us and sealing us as Gods possession.
Romans 5:5 “Gods love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
In John 21 Jesus asks Peter 3 times do you love me. Peter kept replying yes Jesus of course. But do you really love me, I mean just last week you denied me three times, so again are you sure you love me. We need to ask this to ourselves as well. Do you really love Jesus? Is this love being shown through your actions? Can people tell you have been changed by the gospel?
John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” There is this phenomenal article written by times magazine that you must read. I will post the link at the bottom. This known Atheist said in Time magazine and I quote, “ As an Atheist I truly believe Africa needs God.” He is not referring to Islam or anything like that. If you read the article he is talking about Christianity aka Jesus. This article blows my mind. THE GOSPEL IS CHANGING LIVES! Jesus is healing the sick! Jesus is freeing people from there sin! This thing is real! We cannot waste our lives. We must live missional lives in our communities. What are we waiting for? If you love God let this outpour through your life. People need to know about this Jesus. People are clueless; they have no idea what kind of God this is. I talked to some friends from the gym today; she thought Buddhism and Christianity was the same. I had to explain to her, MAI CHAI, aka NO there different. Buddhism you make merit, Christianity is you have faith and through that faith your heart is changed, your mind is changed to want to do the work of God. We are not based on a work system; if we were I would be going to straight to hell with no hope. Lets move towards Jesus. You must be getting spiritually fed. Please, please, if you are not involved in a local church, or a community group, get connected. We need to feed ourselves daily and we need to fellowship with other believers. We need to here preaching and we need to worship God. We need to be constantly reminded of the truth. Here is a great definition from a Pastor in Seattle, Mark Driscoll, he wrote a book called Vintage Church, 
“The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and communion, are unified by the spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy.”
This starts in the church and then we scatter into our neighborhoods and share this great joy! I know to many people who have so much pride in there hearts that they wont submit to Godly authority in the church. This needs to be prayed about and repented of. There are Godly saturated biblical churches out there but people keep making excuses on not to go. Please get connected. Be a member, submit to Godly authority, go get fed through preaching and worship and join a community group, a bible study and be fed. You get fed and you take that passion and love for God into your neighborhoods. 
Do we truly love God? Have we been transformed by the spirit through the death and resurrection of Jesus and sealed in his possession. If so our lives will reflect the love of Jesus. Our love will show towards God and others.


1. Vintage Church-Mark Driscoll

No comments: