The Blog

16 Mar

L(am)ent Devotional: Suffering Followers

LUKE 9:57-62 (ESV) | “As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’


MEDITATION
This passage reminds me of the ad placed by Ernest Shackleton, the British Antarctic explorer, in a London newspaper back in 1912:

“Wanted: men for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success."

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12 Mar

My Beloved: Identity in the Ashes

This post is part of our series on walking with God in suffering. If you are just joining us, learn why we are sharing stories of suffering in this introduction.

After serving nearly two years with InnerCHANGE in Little Haiti—a community in Miami, FL—the intensity of spiritual warfare, transitions, and ministry/personal challenges brought us to a place of distress.

We found ourselves, a family of six, preparing for an unplanned ministry sabbatical. It felt like my heart was torn out and shredded.

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09 Mar

L(am)ent Devotional: Darkness and Green Pastures

PSALM 23 (ESV) | The Good Shepherd
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

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07 Mar

Enlarging Our Hearts Through Grief

Tune in to the news. Look around. Listen to people around you. Consider the experiences of your own life, your family, your friends.

We can’t go far without seeing or experiencing the impact of suffering and loss. None of us are exempt. We meet suffering and loss in lots of things—like the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, or the loss of a job. We might meet it in the form of sickness or diminished capacity, a dream unfulfilled, or through our own sin or the sins committed against us. We might not always recognize it, but we sometimes meet it as a result of transition—even a transition to something good, because we’re leaving other things behind.

And wherever there is suffering or loss, there is grief.

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05 Mar

How to Stay in When It’s Hard: Making Disciples in Difficult Places

Many staff in CRM experience levels of suffering in their work and ministry. This is a unique kind of suffering, because it is a choice our staff make to live in challenging contexts. Today’s post from InnerCHANGE staff Jim Bloom gives guidance on how to keep following Jesus when your call leads to places of pain.


As followers of Jesus, we all share together his great call to disciple the nations (Matthew 28:19). We all share his great promise that he is with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). But some of us are called to make disciples in very difficult places, where Satan has long held sway and the brokenness of our world is especially evident.

I serve with a group of kindred-hearted men and women who focus on making disciples among the poor and marginalized. Some of us live and minister in intense places. Helping Christian workers stay in such places is crucial for what we do. We’ve learned that going to a hard place is one thing, but staying there is another.

What is it, then, that has helped my wife and me stay where Jesus has called us?

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02 Mar

L(am)ent Devotional: Valley of Sorrow

LUKE 22:41-44 (NIV) | "[Jesus] withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."


MEDITATION
Sorrow, grief, suffering, anguish, and anxiety. These are words we are all familiar with to differing degrees. Reading the passage where Jesus was in such deep anguish that he sweat drops of blood, I see that he was familiar with sorrow too.

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28 Feb

Called and Qualified: The Gift in Our Pain

This post is part of our series on walking with God in suffering. Learn why we are focusing on suffering in the introduction to the series.

“Often our core wounding becomes our core calling.” –Paul Rhoads

The last two years of my pastorate were more painful than the previous thirteen years. God was at work in that pain to move me into the wilderness of transition and rewire my heart drive. You see, God didn’t want me to continue to lead the way I was leading: having an idea and trying to convince people that it was a good idea, somehow claiming that God was in it somewhere, almost using people to get God’s stuff done so that I would look good. We were led to CRM, where for six months I had a lot of quiet times in which God was detoxifying my spirit from an addiction to doing things for God. I experienced an unprecedented love from the Father as a result of being disconnected from active ministry. That was one of the most painful times of my life, because I wasn’t in control. But God took that pain and used it to launch me into this incredible ministry to other leaders.

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26 Feb

From Head to Heart: What Do You Really Believe About Suffering? [Video/Download]

We're taking a two month journey into the heart of suffering and how to walk with God in the midst of it. If you're just joining us, you can find the reasons why here.

Last week we asked CRM's Staff Care and Development team leader, Alex Galloway, to help us grapple with a biblical view of suffering by sharing his knowledge and experience. If you missed the first part of that conversation, you can watch it here. Today we're asking Alex to explain a tool that can help us examine our hearts to see what we really believe about suffering at our core. It's a "Theology of Suffering Continuum" that lists a biblical view on suffering and a corresponding false belief that many Christians hold. Take a look at the continuum and then listen as Alex guides us through using this tool to realign our hearts with God's truth.

View the Theology of Suffering Continuum

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23 Feb

L(am)ent Devotional: The God Who Comes Near

HEBREWS 5:7-8 (NIV) | “During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered…”


MEDITATION
As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a mommy. My favorite pastime was pretending my dollies were my children, but four decades later—still unmarried and without kids—I found my hopes of ever becoming a mother fading with my childbearing years. Then one night as I was leaving a group of friends who were all married (as usual), I felt hot, angry tears erupting from within because of accumulated hurts and disappointments. Feeling powerless to change my situation, I spoke honestly to God: "Lord, I don't like the way my life turned out, and I am very disappointed with. . .YOU!"

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20 Feb

Why We Need to Talk About Suffering: Biblical Perspectives [Video/Download]

We wanted to continue our journey of walking the road of suffering with God by talking to one of our staff who's helped a lot of people on that journey—CRM's Staff Development and Care Team leader, Alex Galloway. In this interview, Alex speaks to why it's so crucial for believers to examine their beliefs about suffering and develop a biblical perspective. He's also shared a Bible study on suffering with us, which we've made available to you here.

Open the Bible Study 

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CRM works to create movements of committed followers of Jesus in nations all around the world. This blog captures our stories, learnings, photos, videos, and more. Welcome!

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