Friday, July 24, 2009

The Furnace Burns

The theme of our time here in New Zealand  is boldness... To be bold with the gospel of Christ. But it seems that I have adopted a different theme. One of the things that I have been praying for quite some time is that God would help me to be humble. Where I may seem like a fairly humble person on the surface it is not so in my heart... at least not apart from constantly catching myself in the midst of prideful thoughts and prideful motives. 

I read a verse in 2 Cor this morning and as I thought about it I became broken over my sin.

“And even if our gospel is veiled it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this age (satan) has blinded the hearts of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.(This next part is what hit me) For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.” 2 Cor 4: 3-5

For us as Christians to be able to proclaim “not ourselves” but Christ, we can not be wrapped up in ourselves at all, but only in Christ. In my pride I often convince my self that  Richie is more important than Christ. With this unspoken thought in the back of my mind I go onto the campus of Otago and try to build relationships with students... and I make contacts and get phone numbers just like my team mates, but if I dig down deeply into my heart I must confess that I didn't love those students for Christ sake and for the sake of the kingdom, but for the glory of Richie. You could reword the verse to in 2 Cor to better fit my thoughts if it said: 

For what we proclaim ( at least in my heart) is not Jesus, but Richie Lisenby as Lord, with Jesus as your servant for Richie’s sake.’ 

So many times in ministry I end up doing it for the glory of me, not the glory of God. Even when my motives seem pure and I really and truly feel broken for people and long for them to know the Lord, somehow a Richie centered thought creeps into my mind... “I must be a pretty Godly person to care about these people I don't even know.” It makes me realize  how warped my view of God’s kingdom is... You don't realize how wrapped up in yourself you are until your summer job is loving people. I am  glad that God is breaking me of my selfishness and of my pride... but its definitely not fun. 

But the great thing is that even in my sin... my pride and selfish motives, God can still work for the good of His kingdom. He can do a mighty work through a week jar of clay like me. 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:9-10

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rugby Day

As you all know I am a small person. Small person + Rugby = Broken Person. On Saturday I joined the rugby team of Selwyn College, which is one of the dorms at the university. If you are unaware, the best way to describe rugby is American football without any pads. I only got the ball twice, and each time it was less that two seconds until I was tackled by a HUGE man. Although I could here my body crunch when I hit the ground I survived and was able to make some friends in the process. Please pray for the guys that we are meeting in Selwyn college. Also pray that I don't die playing rugby... really I'm not kidding...

That is me on the ground...
(below) I am the one on the end... facing the Asian guy

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

hip to the hop

Yesterday was an exciting day because I finally got to see exactly what kind of ministry I will be doing. I am taking a class on hip hop dance and a break dancing class to build relationships with people, and I joined a rugby team that is run by one of the dorms. I also joined Japan club... I am really looking forward to see what God will do this summer through these classes. I am constantly reminded how great God is. Yesterday, Jeff and I (my ministry partner) were walking around campus ( keep in mind that we don't know anyone here) and we were supposed to go "build relationships." I don't know about you, but I think that just walking up to people is a little strange and we didn't know how to just meet people in a campus of 25000 students. So we sat down and prayed that God would bring us to someone from a specific dorm and that they would let us be on their rugby team. About 15 minutes after we prayed we met a guy who was more than enthusiastic about getting us on his rugby team. It was so cool!

Last night at about 9:20 there was an earthquake here. I thought it was awesome but apparently the US news is saying that it will cause a tsunami. Dont believe it... we are fine and there is nothing to worry about. I can see the water from most places in this city and it has not started rising yet. Thanks for the concern though!

Its a little overwhelming to make friends with random strangers all day every day. Please pray that our team would be able to build relationships with ease and that we would be able to clearly share the gospel with them in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tropical Rain Forest? far from it... everything stays green even in the winter
The road closed sign on our way to Wellington.

Sheep I have discovered are very dumb creatures...
Some of the hills outside of Christ Church

They do get a little cold here I'm not going to lie.

Most of your team. There are students from 7 different universitys.
My first look at New Zealand.

I wrote this post over a week ago...but I had no internet


I have been in New Zealand now for about 4 or 5 days... I am really not sure how long to tell you the truth. The semester begins next week at the University of Otago and so we have one week to get adjusted to your new time zone (which is 17 hours ahead) and learn a little about Kiwi culture. The first two nights we stayed with a host family in the city of Christ Church before driving down to Dunedin. The weather here is cold... maybe not that much colder than an alabama winter, but there is usually not much heating in the houses... this is what makes it seem so cold. Usually I can see my breath inside the house. This makes for a chilly night and a very chilly shower experience. I was so thankful for the electric blanket in my bed at the host families house. 

Two days ago we left for the city of Wellington (the home of the first ever bungi jump in world). The drive should have taken about 8 hours... its not that long of a distance, but we had to drive through the Southern Alps. We drove about 4 hours and then it started snowing... 5 hours and it was a winter wonderland... 5 and a half hours, it was a blizzard. The next thing we knew there was a sign saying road closed... we had to find a new route. If we went ahead to Wellington we might have gotten stuck in the snow and even if had made it, the forecast said that we would have been snowed in Wellington for almost four days. So our guide (a kiwi university student named Amy) brought us to stay at her families house south of Dunedin. It just so happened that her family owns a christian youth summer camp that was vacant so we have had a place to stay these last few days while the snow storm subsides in Wellington. 

Today I slept while everyone was taking their showers... It was a bad move... its about 35 degrees outside... I would guess its about 50 inside... and the hot water ran out. I therefor took the coldest shower of my life. It was COLD! I cant even describe to you how it felt. My whole body was numb.