After a few minutes of looking at my cheap compass, I discovered what the problem was. The compass depended upon an air bubble at the top of the gauge to make it rotate properly. The bubble had suddenly gotten trapped under the compass assembly and it pointed at random compass points every time I used it. In other words, no compass point was correct. Everything was out of kilter.
Our world gets this way sometimes, too. Life happens in unexpected ways and the road we're traveling makes unexpected turns. Before long, we find ourselves in places we never anticipated, wondering exactly where we are. If we are not careful, we panic and make things even worse. At moments like this, we've got to trust that there is a bigger hand at the controls of our lives than our own.
This past summer was an incredible walk in the woods with a malfunctioning compass. The experiences were wonderful. They occurred across a wide variety of compass points — Thailand, China, Peru, Texas, and Kentucky. Each of them involved young adults or children. They were each incredible opportunities to be involved in Kingdom-building ministry. Every single one of them grabbed my heart and made me fall in love with people I will never forget.
Now, several months down the road, I am not sure which direction my compass is pointing. I am forced to trust God in ways that I have never had to trust him — to care for people over whom I have little influence and whose circumstances are beyond my control and whose future I cannot secure. More than ever, I am convicted of the importance of leading people to faith in Jesus, so I know they are in my forever family, the family of God's grace.
This passion is not theory or theology: this is my urgent, daily, prayerful, passion. The only direction that matters to me now is Jesus. I want all these who are so precious to me moving toward faith in Jesus and a shared hope that we have a future together through him. Race, nationality, age, background, experience, politics, and money all pale in comparison to this one consuming passion. I want to point my heart and my hope in the direction of Jesus. Jesus is the only compass point that matters.
So, I'm asking you to join me in my journey in two ways.
First, I ask that you join me in praying each Monday for missions. You can call it whatever you want, movement toward Jesus, message of hope, but on Monday, let's join each other in prayer that the people we love can find their way to Jesus!
Second, I ask that you join me in helping care for those who need to know Jesus' love. This may be an organization in your community or supported directly by your church. Or this could be one of the two ministries to children we are highlighting this November and December at Heartlight.org: Sagrada Familia in Peru and Compassion International. (There is more on each of these efforts at the end of this message.) Let's find ways to help groups that care for children and point them to Jesus. Let's do this above our regular tithes to the Lord's work in our churches — in ancient days, most considered this kind of giving as alms, something given above the tithe. Especially during this time of Thanksgiving and Christmas, let's seize the moment and teach our families that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive and that the greatest way to say, "Thank you!" to God is to share his blessings with others.
Over the last week, I've been sharing about the incredible work among Peruvian orphans at La Communidad de los Niños Sagrada Familia. Please come take a look at the blog (http://thephilfiles.com), and even more importantly, take a look at the site (http://www.peru-orphans.com) and pray about supporting one of these precious children. This is a great place to help bless children and point them toward Jesus for only $25 per month. I hope you will join Donna and me in this act of grace. We have two Sagrada Familia children we are supporting.
In December, one of our key Heartlight.org team members, Ben Steed, will be going to Ecuador to meet the children and see some of the Compassion ministry sites. Heartlight.org and Compassion International have long been friends and partners. I was able to go on an incredible mission trip with them to Uganda (http://bit.ly/HL-9x6uv9) and my wife and I have three Compassion children we support monthly.
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me ... for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children" (Matthew 19:14 NLT). Let's help these children know that Jesus is the ultimate compass point!