I was teaching all day at one of the Latvian summer camps in Ligatne. We had a good time and I got to teach the same teaching four times in a row as the camps participants was divided up in four groups. I was teaching on relationships and specificly the road from singleness to married life.
Afterwards someone told me it was the best teaching of the whole week. While that is a fantastic thing for a preacher to hear it still left me empty. Travelling around in different places you seldom get to see the fruit of your work and I don’t think that just because someone enjoyed the teaching that it was any good at all. All we have evidence of then is that we have provided good entertainment.
The real question is did it have any impact? Did the young people who listened change the way they think about marriage and dating because of it? Will they change the way they live? Will it influence any every day decisions?
If any of these questions is answered with a yes then it was a success in every way, if not then it cannot have been a very good teaching at all. I usually say that I don’t like to hear that my preaching was good but that, of course is not entirely true, I love to hear I did a good job, but I long to hear that it had a lasting effect. I’d rather have people walk away from my teachings shaken than entertained, rather disturbed than lighthearted.
Retorics does not a good teaching make, the spirit of God who speaks straight to the heart does.
(For those of you who where there, click here for the 100 topics to discuss before marriage pdf)
Staying in Croatia, where the temperatures sometimes climbed up to 38 degrees celcius in the shade, we stayed in with the clima some days and watched television. Some of our favorite shows where showing reruns and it hit me that one of the qualities I like in a TV show is that they have characters acting out what I think a christian life should be (if you take away the supernatural element)
I was watching, among other shows, boston public and Judging Amy. And I ask myself are we, as Christians, as invested in our lives as these fictional every day heroes. The Principal who uses all his time to try to help students realize they have a future, the teacher who will go to a students home out of concern for their welfare, the social worker who actually cares about every case that comes on her desk and weeps over the misfortune of these children, the judge that gives up every waking moment to give fair sentences and take all the time every case needs to dig to the bottom of it.
What all these have in common is that they are in the buisness of restoring people, as we should be as Christians. We should be restoring people to teh high value that God has placed in them, restore people to what they should be had the human race not fallen.
Telling people that they are indeed valuable and then showing with our actions that we truly believe so. What are you doing today in your work situation to lift people up? Are you doing your very best every day to reflect the glory of God and give frelly of the Love that we have been given so freely from Him who loved us while we where yet sinners?
The love of God is not reserved for sunday morning, lets be Salvation Army soldiers lets show the love of God on our every day job, strive for excellence and achieve miracles.
We have now had our fill of vacationing and are happy to be back in Latvia. It was very nice to bed down in our own beds and wake up with a freshly made Latte made in our own kitchen.
Back on the job now I am getting ready to launch the fall program for the youthwork here in Latvia and I am really looking forward to get it all kickstarted.
If you pray, please continue to pray for our familly as this fall might be very tough spiritually as we are advancing our positions in Latvia.
I happened by a friend who needed help with some computer stuff, so here I am in front of a computer first time on my vacation.So far it has been good 27-40 degrees in the shade and a constant 26-27 in the water.
Angelina Has started bathing a little bit carefully daring to walk into the water, and me, well I have been on four dives so far spotted a lot of lobsters, (they are quick buggers, so no lobster dinner so far) and yesterday to my utter delight I saw a manta ray!
Anja is being very kind, sleeping well and handling the heat very well.
Hanna is deciding that we are never coming back on one day and deciding that we will buy furniture for our room the next. She is working very hard taking care of the girls and trying to translate both language and culture for me. In the end Anja and Angelina are demanding her constant attention and tho I try to spot for her it seems that with the added tention between Hanna and her parents it is not the vacation Hanna was hoping for.
After two and a half weeks here I think we are both ready to return to latvia and get on with all our plans.