Well, school is almost out and we're nearing the end of our year long study of Matthew. I have been amazed at its urgency to tell others about how it's all really going to go down in the end. My notes from a previous week said that 1 in 20 verses talks about judgment. I have been in church all my life, but to sit down and actually go through a Gospel is an eye opener -- it's not just parables and healing and miracles. A LOT is about making sure you are not deceived into believing you have a relationship with Christ when you're actually going to hear, "Depart from me, I never knew you."
Sadly, I think so many Americans crassly summarize Jesus' words into some kind of uncomfortable coercion like "turn or burn!" instead of recognizing the fulfillment found in Christ and the grace He wants to bestow on all of us because we're ALL messed up sinner folks who were created by a holy God. No matter where you've been or what you've done, it's wiped clean through Christ; it's like someone handing you the keys to your shackles. More on that in a minute.
Jesus also has a lot to say about those who know they are saved to be good stewards of their time, talent, and treasure. Not to waste spiritual opportunities when so many are available to us. I want my children to understand as they grow in their relationships (with peers especially) that we all have different circumstances, but it doesn't lessen the call to be faithful to that which He has called us to.
To that end, I wanted to give a plug for a way we can be a part of sharing Christ's love to the "least of these" -- street children in Guatemala. My husband works for a missions organization called AMG International and I can personally vouch for the amazing work God is doing in the countries they are in.
AMG has recently partnered with a film company, Athentikos, whose heart is for the people of Guatemala. The director and his wife have adopted two children from Guatemala and have made two documentaries on the "least of these" in the country. The first movie, Reparando, explains about Guatemala's civil wars and how amidst the hopelessness, hope in Christ is blooming there. Here's the trailer:
The second movie, Becoming Fools, is about a clown ministry that was started by a Christian man named Italo who tirelessly served the street children. Fueled by the love of Christ, he would pick them up when they were strung out on drugs and helped many of them change their course. Tragically, Italo died in a drowning accident and the movie serves as a memorial to his legacy of loving those who had nothing and pointing them to the One who could heal the broken. Here's the trailer:
Neither of these movies mention AMG's work directly, but some of the children in Becoming Fools are served by AMG Guatemala's childcare centers. The director of AMG Guatemala said that as he's worked with the suffering, nothing changes these children's life fully but the love of Christ. Material things and education are provided for them (just as many "humanitarian" organizations do), but a security in people and material things have been taken away from these children before. When they truly believe that Christ's love can never be taken from them it fills the void they tried to find through drugs, sex, and a host of other vices. The Gospel focused ministry is what sets AMG apart from many other aid relief organizations and why I enthusiastically support them through volunteering with them and financially supporting their work through child sponsorship.
AMG is sponsoring a showing of Becoming Fools in several places in the US (some will be added later), but I wanted to promote the one here in Chattanooga.
Here are the details:
When: April 29, 2014 (TONIGHT!)
Time: 7pm (doors open at 6pm)
Location: The Tivoli (Downtown Chattanooga)
Hope to see you there!