June 25, 2009

Red Letters Book

I have been reading a book by Tom Davis, titled Red Letters…Living a Faith That Bleeds. (click on this link and it will take you to Tom’s blog)

It has been eye-opening, thought provoking and challenging.

I wish I had a discussion group to contemplate this book with! But I will settle for voicing my thoughts here. I am just going to list the things Tom said that spoke to me.

(talking about the genocide in Rwanda) If we would have acted on our compassion, if we would have made our voices heard, this could have been prevented. To act out of compassion and then watch as our actions do make a difference. (my thoughts-- how many times would our actions have made a difference? On a grand scale and on a daily personal scale. How many times when my kind word or generous gift could have a made a difference in someone’s life? How many that we as a church have not reacted when our actions could have made a radical change ?)

What moved Jesus’ heart? Where was his compassions revealed? What received the most of His attention? The needs of the poor, the down and out, the handicapped, the orphan, the prostitute, and the widow. Over and over gain, this is where Jesus poured out His life. He didn’t do this out of duty or requirement. He didn’t stop to ask what led the people to their place of pain or need. He reached out because His heart was overflowing with compassion. He made other men and women’s sorrows his sorrows and other people’s sufferings his suffering. (me again—wow…what moves our heart? how often do we make other sufferings our sufferings? Or how often do we think “oh that’s bad” and keep on going with our comfortable lives?)

Living out the gospel is hard work. It’s easy to talk about. Any of us can sit in church and sing warm happy songs worship songs that make us feel good. We can nod agreeably with the pastor’s wisdom. And sometimes we can drop a few extra dollars into the offering basket. But it’s not so easy to actually go and DO what Jesus said to do.

What matters most is having a heart that goes out to those in need and then acting on that need! It’s a story about doing the work of God’s kingdom ---the work that leads to hope. The work that leads to life.

This isn’t just about “doing our little part” to make a difference. It’s about moving forward, putting into motion the mission that God has given us. We are Jesus, his hands extended. We are His voice of love. We are His feet. Where would Jesus be today? What poorest-of-the-poor would He walk among, offering His healing touch and life-giving hope? That’s where I want to be.

I’m back. The one thing that I loved about this book is that it gives you steps to get started. So many times we get ‘chastised’ or spoken to with out any real help of how to do kingdom work or how to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Here are Tom’s suggestions (How to Bleed) called

Join Five for Fifty.

1) Make a commitment to pray 5 minutes daily for people affected by HIV/AIDS and all the people of the world who suffer from poverty and hopelessness.

2)Give 5 hours a week to fast for those suffering.

3)Give 5 dollars a month to support worthy causes to help the suffering.

4)Give 5 days a year to travel overseas or do mission work in your home town.

5)Give 5 people an opportunity to join you in your journey. (Consider yourself invited!!)

Tom goes on to explain these in further depth in the book. I highly recommend his book. Has anyone else read it and care to comment/discuss? I have mine all marked up!

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