Sunday, June 10, 2012

Setting an Example

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."
1 Timothy 4:12

As you may have noticed if you've been following our blog, the GO Bolivia 2012 team was not exactly a team of seasoned veterans with decades of life experience (in fact, the majority of the team was only weened off the bottle and began walking and talking two decades ago).  The vast majority of team members are between the ages of 20-22 years old and are either still in school or are recent grads.  A handful will have the opportunity to vote for the President of the United States for the first time of their lives this November.  Yeah...we're young!

We're part of a rather confusing generation...our generation LOVES rallying behind causes.  Whether it's seeking world peace, helping storm victims, cleaning the environment, fixing world hunger, or attacking illiteracy, there is no shortage of causes you can see our generation promoting energetically.

We're also part of a generation that has almost everything at our fingertips.  We were raised with with Barney, Power Rangers, and Blue's Clues as everyday lingo, yet "Google," "Youtube," and "Amazon" were commonplace terms as early as middle and high school.  In ways we've been taught that we don't have to try too hard to find information or reach goals because technology can pick up the slack.  Don't get me wrong here, while it can instill "lazy" attitudes in some, it is utilized by the majority for amazing purposes.  

The level of global interconnectedness through the internet and social media is mind-blowing, and it has been fully embraced by our generation.  Like it our not, you can now be "friends" with 1,000 people and only see 20 of them over the course of a year.  Social media has certainly provided an incredible way to communicate, although our generation is slowly losing the ability to effectively and intentionally communication with others face-to-face.

We're also part of a generally dishonoring generation, and that is only getting worse.  It's no secret that our nation is on a gradual moral decline and has been for decades.  Certainly all generations are messy beyond belief (we are fallen in the depths of sin), but the Scriptures are being fulfilled decade by decade by people who are increasingly "lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power." (2 Tim. 3:2)  Also don't get me wrong when I say this...I am not pointing to any certain country, people group, or person...I was once very characteristic of these qualities and am by no means perfect in all of these ways.  However, I do think we all understand that people in general are continually meeting these qualities more clearly and outwardly.  It's ingrained in our is all around's often even praised.

Meanwhile, the American Church has not been unaffected by the gradual moral decline that is shaping the world and this nation.  We hear of our generation that we are leaving the Church at remarkable rates.  We hear of our generation that we have little desire to integrate with the older generation (our parents and grandparents) because of their old-fashioned ways or otherwise indifference.  We hear of our generation that we have a tough road ahead because of the lack of faithful servants who have the gifts needed to lead fellow believers but who often lack the desire to utilize those gifts.

Perhaps it is because of these observations and notions that GO Bolivia 2012 was an amazing and refreshing blessing...because our team did not meet the above-mentioned expectations.

Like our generation, we are ALL ABOUT rallying behind a cause.  But unlike our generation, the focus of our rallying cry does not solely concern people, social issues, and this life: the focus of our rallying cry is the Name and Renown of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior with serving people, meeting needs, and bettering life as methods by which we glorify God.  And the primary method by which we seek to accomplish these things (serving people, meeting needs and bettering life) is by pointing to the Servant (our service) who has become the Way (answer to the need) to unending joy and satisfaction for all eternity (which EVEN affects every area of this life).

It is from an overflow of our personal relationship with our Lord and Creator Jesus that we seek to relate with people, share God's love and light, and reflect God.

It is from an overflow of realizing that Jesus is the only One who is worthy of praise that we seek to make Him the center of our lives and others' lives.

It is from an overflow of joy in being loved by God, captivated by His truth, and Him shining light into the darkness of our lives that we seek to share God's love, light and truth with others.

It is from an overflow of experiencing God's goodness that we seek to do good for others.

We may be young.  We may be relatively inexperienced in life and missions.  And we may be part of a confusing generation.  

But we are first and foremost children of God, followers of Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit.

If there was anything remotely praise-worthy, it was because of God.  We are only incapable servants led by a fully-capable God.  In everything, may there be thanksgiving and rejoicing and praise TO GOD!

GO Bolivia 2012 provided an amazing example of unity in the Body of Christ: people who authentically desired to make Christ known and who by the Spirit's indwelling displayed love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  As a result, it is my strong belief that we truly did set God-honoring and Christ-exalting examples in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.  

I pray that through the power of God we set this example to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. To those younger than us and those older than us. To our generation. To our families.  To our friends.  To the readers of this blog.  To the Bolivian missionaries and fellow servants.  To the people of Consuelo, San Ignacio and Santa Cruz.  To those we sat beside on the planes and buses.  To all those we came in contact with.  To all we never met but who will continue the work we left behind.  To Charlotte.  To America.  To Bolivia.  To the nations.  

"And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes."
Ezekiel 36:23


  1. Amen, amen and AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A whole-hearted "amen" I say to that, brother. Praise God forever and forevermore, in Jesus' precious name, amen. :)