March 14, 2011

Excerpt from "LUCKY", Chap. 3: "The God-Dependent" [The following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Lucky: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People.] There was a man who was looking for the kingdom. Sort of. He was blind. Nevertheless, with everything inside him, he was longing and looking for the rule of God to come. As a blind man in the first century, he was cast out onto the streets, perhaps because his family thought it was his sin that made God curse him with blindness. Either way, the blind in the first century were completely nonself- reliant. Society had done little to make basic survival possible for the handicapped. Pagans viewed them as weak, inferior to the healthy. Many Jews didn’t improve the situation. The blind, the cripple, the lame were also the poor, the others-dependent. They could do little for themselves. They were reduced to begging. Such was the case for Bartimaeus. He was a beggar, completely dependent on others for his survival. Every day he sat by the side of the road hoping he would get enough … food, drink, money, clothes … to make it through another day. Then one day, a crowd was going by. He heard whispers of the name: Jesus. The Jesus from Nazareth? he thought. The rabbi everyone has been talking about? Feet kept shuffling by him. Dirt was dancing around his skin. This was his moment. Bartimaeus cried out, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Son of David. That was Messiah-talk. It referenced the ancient prophecy from Isaiah. Did Bartimaeus really think Jesus was Messiah? His cry was met by the sound of angry voices. Male voices. Deep, gravelly barks. Be quiet! Enough out of you! Don’t trouble us! He had heard those voices his whole life. Voices that pushed him aside, told him where to...
Excerpt from LUCKY, Chap. 5: "Those Whose Best Life Isn't Now" [The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of LUCKY: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People.] Six bags. Six bags were all they had to fit their life in. They were leaving in the morning for Cambodia, and Jacob and Noelle had to make some difficult decisions about what to take with them and what to leave behind. The most difficult decision, though, had been made over a year ago when they decided they were going to move to Cambodia. But the truth is the journey began years before even that. Noelle had been going on short-term mission trips since she was fourteen but had always been glad to return to America. But in 2005, in her mid-twenties, she took a trip to Nepal with theMILL, New Life Church’s college/twentysomething ministry, and everything began to change. I could live overseas, she thought to herself. Still she returned, took a job as pastoral counselor to the young women in theMILL, and wondered when the day would come. Jacob, in a similar way, had developed a heart for ministry overseas through several short-term trips but never envisioned himself living anywhere but America. I could support missionaries, he thought. I’ll have a big house and provide a haven for missionaries on furlough. As the IT manager for Compassion International, Jacob was content to facilitate someone else’s work overseas. But the more trips he took with theMILL, particularly in the summers of ’05 and ’06, the more he began to consider actually becoming a missionary. When Jacob and Noelle started an unlikely dating relationship, neither spoke initially of their desire to do ministry overseas. At times it might even have seemed that they had different visions of their future. Yet quietly the burden for long-term missions work—particularly in Asia—began to grow in each...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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