Once again I am thankful for my home. After travelling "Down Under" for 4 weeks, I spent a day in Olathe before packing up again and heading to Michigan to be with family for 9 days. I am now back in Olathe and, at least for the next 6 weeks, am home to stay. Below is a short story from Howard and Bonnie Lisech that has challenged me to be on my guard during my time of re-entry and my preparation for long term service in New Zealand:
THE FROG IN THE POT
" Drop a frog into a pot of hot water- it will instantly jump out. Drop a frog into a pot of cold water and it will just swim around. Put that pot on the stove, slowly heat it, and the frog will simply adjust to the changing water temperature until it dies.
We believers are somewhat like that hapless frog. Our surroundings are constantly changing, but often we are oblivious. We just don't seem to get it. In scripture, God clearly revealed that we have three enemies- the world, the flesh, and the devil- will always be at war with the spiritual man or woman that desires to walk with God.
We are exhorted not to be conformed to this world, yet we are pounded with its values, sights, sounds, philosophies. The media seems determined not to merely report the news, but to subtly shape our thinking. Advertising tries to convince us that happiness comes from the 'right' kind of shaving cream, cosmetics, or SUV. Our values are "cooked" by the slowly increasing temperature of our surroundings.
A short term mission trip can be a slap-in-the-face wake-up call. It reveals that God is more interested in lost people than he is in our resumes, job potential, or the balance in our savings accounts. We see we have so much compared to those who have so little.
Because our values have been challenged overseas, it's easy to become disillusioned with the church and other believers. Returnees often react to money spent on plush rugs, paved parking lots, padded church pews, and the life-style of their friends compared to the kids they saw trying to survive in the garbage dumps of Manila or Mexico City. However, just a few weeks earlier, their thoughts and actions mirrored those of their friends.
How can we live in this world without getting cooked? We must prioritize time with God! It is imperative that before, during, and after our short-term experience we set aside quality time for God's Word and fellowship with him. Every believer acknowledges he or she needs to do this. However, many of us are so busy that we push this discipline aside and sacrifice it on the altar of life and ministry activity. Remember that poor frog? Things seem so cozy, and it's only a degree or two warmer.. .
. . . if we are too busy to change, then we better check the water temperature. It's never too late to "jump out" and avoid the fate of that frog that gradually lost its will to change and survive.
" Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:4-5).
-- Howard and Bonnie Lisech, Deeper Roots