Friday, August 3, 2007

Crossing Boundaries

Each time I read about Jesus' ministry on earth, I marvel at the way He was able to reach people at every level: poor, rich, outcast, high-ranking, young, old. It was not His worldly status that opened doors for Him to build relationships with people. And He was not exactly an orator -- in fact, it was the very simplicity of His profound words that caused (and still causes) people to pause and listen. I conclude (and I think you might agree) that it was pure love that enabled Christ to make the difference that He did in the lives of those He touched.

I am always thinking about the idea of crossing boundaries. How do I best break through the walls of pain, or insecurity, or worldliness to reach that teenager for Christ? How can I demonstrate God's love to this person or that person when I don't know what their needs are? God is constantly reminding me that it is His work to make a difference; it is my work to simply love. And for that matter, I don't have to muster this love on my own. The Holy Spirit is with me to empower me to love as God has commanded.

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to enjoy watching God work through a teenager to overstep a boundary in love and share words of hope with a bitter, young African-American man. I took seven Student Venture students to a local mall to share the gospel with people there. One fifteen-year-old student, Josh, felt a nudge to approach a young man whom he described as looking "all tough . . . like a gangster." With God's boldness, Josh initiated conversation with the man: "Looking at you, people will probably assume that you're a thug." The man, surprised, explained that he had just had the same conversation with his friend. Apparently, throughout the time they had been in the mall, he and his friend had been trailed by a caucasian policeman, and this young man was experiencing feelings of bitterness and remorse because he felt that in spite of his "good standing" and his college degrees, he was being judged for his appearances. Josh was able to talk to the man about a relationship with God, assuring him of his value in God's sight.

As each student shared his or her experience after our outreach at the mall -- explaining who Jesus is to an Iranian soap kiosk-salesman, taking a 10-year-old girl through the plan of salvation, receiving encouragement from a fellow Christian, and so on -- I could not help but smile as I realized that we had done what Jesus did during His ministry on earth. We had made ourselves available, and as one student, Courtney said, "deeply felt God's love" for these people; and God had taken care of the results!

Friends, thank you for your partnership in making these opportunities possible. Whether you give financially or spend time in prayer for me and Student Venture Carrollton, "your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Someday soon, we will stand before our Righteous Judge and rejoice that we played a part in restoring the lost to Him.

I love you all, and you are in my prayers always!


Johanna ("God's gracious gift" - Hebrew) said...

I love you Simi! You are awsome! I am glad to have you in my life!

Love you,

p.s. Please pray for me, struggling with some internal/ emotional stuff. Probably valley after Mt. Top syndrome

Kelly Kendall said...

I miss you girls! I pray that the Lord will continue to use you according to His will and minister to your every need. Isn't serving Him just the best? Even when we are down, we know that He holds us in His hands and we can praise Him for who He is. It amazes me that He loves us so much..."What is man that you are mindful of him?" I thank God He crossed the greatest boundry for us.
Praying for you both,

Anonymous said...

Hi Simi, Johanna, and Kelly!!!!
It's Julian reunited!!!

I miss you Simi, and I pray that God would continue to lead and guide you as you reach out to others in HIS NAME!!!!
I want to leave you with a verse that I have been pondering - Psalm 32:8:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you".
I love you always, val