Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Zealand Day 3: Culture Stress, Spiritual Warfare and . . dancing?

Yes, dancing!

My heart was so blessed tonight as I spent the evening with the youth  from the All Nations church here in Auckland, praying, singing, reading scripture and . .. yes, dancing! (Cultural dances and really, just plain silliness!)  A whole slew of ethnicities were represented: Korean, Fiji Indian, Fijian, Cook Islander, Samoan, Kiwi, Maori and of course yours truly, the resident American.

What a life-giving time of fellowship and refreshment to me!  The past two days we have been receiving helpful insight and orientation regarding the various cultures and people groups here in New Zealand and the very real struggles that they are facing.  Contrary to popular belief, there is trouble in paradise.  There is a growing resurgence of the traditional Maori religions here in NZ and syncretism (the combining traditional beliefs and worship of false gods with Christianity) is resulting.  Domestic violence and teenage suicide are issues that face youth in our churches way too often, and the country as a whole is becoming increasingly secular.  Prostitution is legal here in NZ and our own people are dealing with issues I would never even imagine. 

 With all this information thrown at you, it is easy to become discouraged.  And yet, discouragement is not from God.  That is a tactic that our enemy, the devil, uses to attack the Church, strike the shepherds and scatter the sheep. The reality is that Christ is victorious and is still completely active in changing lives and delivering from darkness. The reality is that we have power through the Holy Spirit, to boldly witness of Christ's love and deliverance, and to be a part of miracles.  The reality is that we pray and God actually hears us and acts on behalf of the people for whom we are praying.  The reality is that God reigns!

So perhaps you need to do a little bit of what I did today.  Whether your facing culture stress and feeling the weight of inadequacy in a new responsibility like me, or just need to be reminded that this in indeed "our Father's world", do a little dance and remember to  . . .

"Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord all my soul and forget not all his benefits- who forgives your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. . ."
~ Psalm 103: 1-4

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