As we learn these new ways to know God, it will change the way we talk about God…We won’t be able to talk about God without telling stories of how he met us in our ordinary days and our messy bodies and we lived him. (Smith, Mandy. “Unfettered” pg 197)
Day 59 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Breaking news today is that Russia has begun to storm the steel plant in Mariupol. Click here to read AP News’ coverage of this massacre. During my 40-day fast of social media, it kept me away from a lot of distractions, but it also kept me away from the unprecedented coverage of some amazing heroes reporting from the front lines in real time. If you have Instagram, click here to follow Nick Laidlaw, the creator of battles.and.beers, an Instagram page that Mr. Laidlaw has made as a way for former military personnel from around the world to share their personal stories. Mr. Laidlaw does his best to verify the stories and the ones he deems truthful, he publishes to his page. Mr. Laidlaw began receiving stories from the Ukrainian and Russian soldiers on the frontlines months before the invasion began, offering an incredible point-of-view for the world like never before. He has continued through this conflict and just recently posted a lengthy video from the heroes of Mariupol, whose lives are in extreme peril. This message from a warrior nicknamed “Gandalf” will probably be the last known recording from this brave man. This war is disturbing and the world’s response to it is simply disgusting.
It is hard to focus on anything else when so many innocent lives are being erased from Earth on the other side of the planet from us lucky Americans. But on this side of the world, life goes on. We blessed Americans continue to be so consumed with ourselves we barely give a thought to all those hurting around us. We are too busy fighting over Mickey Mouse’s sexuality, we barely give the truly important issues a real thought.
But there are some compassionate souls among us doing great things. I want to invite you to follow “Bethany’s Happy Bags”, an outreach started in 2019 by a FIVE-YEAR-OLD CHILD out of Savannah to provide bags of food and supplies to the endless homeless population in the Hostess City of the South. This sweet young girl brings bags to all the police precincts for us to hand out to those we interact with every day. I handed one out the other night and this man’s reaction reminded me of the good still in the world, and the suffering many are afflicted with, many from mental health disorders that America fails to properly address. Oh how I wish the Son of Man was still able to touch these poor souls and set their minds free. But the compassion of Jesus still lives in the hearts of many. Seeing the happiness, as temporary as it may have been, when I handed a homeless man one of “Bethany’s Bags” on Thursday night, was a powerful reminder that simple acts of kindness is the change this world desperately needs.
Speaking of happiness, next week we begin reading “The Good Life” by Dr. Derwin Gray. We will be reading two chapters a week as we breeze through this book in May to pave the way for Dr. Gray’s newest work, which will be our book for June.
We have wrapped up our study of Ms. Mandy Smith’s beautiful book: “Unfettered.” This was the book that taught us to find our childlike faith, to abandon the adultish ways of western culture and remember how to “fly like that;” to follow the natural prompts from the Holy Spirit, to dance when we feel like dancing, to sing when we feel like singing, to love when we know that love is all we need, and to follow Christ like a child, the way we were designed to do.
Finally, the song below is part of the New Music Christian Playlist from Spotify released yesterday. “Inheritance” by Life.Church Worship, featuring the great Matt Maher, is a powerful reminder of the inheritance we all are given, as the Children of God. What a mighty inheritance we have: an inheritance of life and breath, an inheritance of love and true happiness, an inheritance of eternal life and grace upon grace. And it is given to you without regard, with the only stipulation that you Love God and Love Others. Click the image below to hear this epic new worship song.