Am I fat?

People who came to Christ in Sankpem

The beautiful feet of the man who brought the message.

June 25, 2008, mid afternoon.

From Aidan: “Everything that has happened God has ordained. If I had won my treasurer election, I would not be here today. When I left for Ghana, I prayed one person would come to Jesus. Today three did. I didn’t realize God was so powerful until now.”

Today I shared the Gospel in story form three times. The first time, the woman was smiling and ready to receive Jesus. What a blessing when she prayed along with me! Her face beamed. Although it was raining and flies were landing on me, tickling my skin, God was there, swirling around the red dirt at the feet, legs, heart and head of this Ghanian woman. Her name? Mary.
I am coming to a stark conclusion. God is more easily seen in an elemental, simple life. We think we Americans are so advanced. We think we need to advance the world. Yes, running water and electricity are wonderful things, but the merchandising and materialism that follow chokes a person’s need for Jesus.
Simply put, we are fat. We have few needs. When we are sick, we go to a doctor. If we lack food, we can use food stamps. We don’t need to call on something higher than ourselves. God is an addendum to our lives. A postcript to our daily agendas. He is an appendage, but He is not everything. We do not need Him because on this earth we live like kings.
I once heard a preacher say, “The average American lives far better than queens and kings centuries ago. We are wealthy beyond belief. And yet, we have lost our imagination. We have heaven here on earth, so we do not reach heavenward.”
But every person I’ve met has been interested in prayer. They want us to pray for them, for their health, finances, relationships—everything. They believe God will listen, that He is big enough to answer prayers. They have nowhere else to turn.
May it be that we who have much will realize we are naked and poor and blind. This verse sticks out in my mind for the American church: “I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich and have become wealthy and have need of nothing’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Revelation 3:15-17.

The advice he gives those in this state is to go to God for everything you need. “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him the sit down with me on my throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 18-22.

We dupe ourselves to believe that riches will make us feel right with the world. We satisfy ourselves not in Jesus Christ, but in stuff. We settle for things instead of investing in people. (I am preaching this to myself, and am convicted writing this.) But God tells us to lay it aside and gain His wealth. To forsake the hold money has on us (because we believe it to be the answer to all our problems), and instead become rich in other things. Good works. Prayer. Evangelism. I want to run to God for His provision instead of spending my life conjuring up my own provision. I don’t want to be lukewarm like the Laodiceans. I want to be on fire for Jesus. To not be so preoccupied with the décor of my house, the state of my cars, the clothes on my back that I forget to thank God, go to God and ask Him for His mercies to rain on me every morning. This is what Africa has taught me so far. All I really need is Jesus.

Pastor Mohammed gave us all Dagbani names today. Here are ours:

Aidan: Wuntuma which means Work of God

Mary: Ganguni, which means Who Do I Favor?

Aidan’s advice for being at the crusade: “Dance and sing as much as you can to keep the bugs off.” Tonight we go to Sankpem for a crusade, the village Aidan’s well is being dug. I will dance and sing, hoping the bugs will leave me be. And while they preach, I will pray many, many will come to know Jesus.

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