(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)
Pura Vida! & Psalms 133 & 134
“When you add wet switch-back curves to some of the worst “improved” roads in the world, multiply it by 6,000 ft of rainforest altitude, divide that by conversing with passengers behind you in a bus with no shocks captained at 97 KPH by Jorge, the truly fearless non-English speaking bus driver bathed in Bruit cologne, and you take the √ (Square root) of that variable…it equals chewing Dramamine like a 10yr old takes down Smarties® on Halloween night. GREETINGS FROM COSTA RICA!
This week I have been serving Verbo Church in San Ramon, Costa Rica while partnering with a ministry based in Covington, The Abiding Journey. Our Mission: To develop, equip and train leaders in the Body of Christ to Abide, Serve & Multiply. In laymen’s terms we’re here developing disciples… who make disciples… who make disciples with the exponential expectations to multiply the Kingdom by joining along with Jesus in applying the model of the Great Commission. What a great way to partner with God in sewing seeds in those that will reach thousands of souls for the Gospel in Costa Rica and Central America. The harvest potential here is in the millions and the church’s potential we’re here serving is unlimited with their deep faith and vigor they serve with”
I have served on 2 Journeys before this trip, but with a little different goal. Those 2 trips were more about relationship building and organic discipleship to the very core of what being a Christian brother or sister should be. This trip was more about training leadership in specific areas of ministry; in simple terms…Develop a vision, develop a plan to implement to reach the goals of that vision, develop leaders to attach the plan and put it into action as well as train the leadership of the church on how to fund the body as well as initiate and implement capital campaigns.”
These are 3 paragraphs that I hammered out last week when I was in Costa Rica calling myself a missionary. It serves as a minute glimpse into my recent mission experience. If you’ve never served in foreign missions, I urge you to do so. Contrary to what you may believe, you don’t have to move to Africa, dodge poisonous blow darts in South America, build churches & houses in destitute cities, smuggle bibles into China or dig artesian wells in the poorest corners of the planet…And yes, before I’m castigated, those all have a place in God’s plan. What you do have to do to serve in foreign missions is have a willingness to shed the walls of cultural difference, doctrinal difference, and especially the differences in worship.
This was my 3rd trip to Costa Rica and each time I go I learn more about the culture, I’m taught that the people I’m serving love and worship the same wonderful God I do and their worship & prayer times are more vibrant, intense, intentional and free. In other words, it’s a WHOLE different ballgame than the Southern Baptist Church I grew up in, which I loved by the way. But, at first, I must admit when I saw these people sobbing in repentance and dancing with tears in their eyes to the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, I was not just skeptical but overwhelmed. Where I come from, you wouldn’t be invited to eat fried chicken at my momma’s house after church worshiping like that. Honestly, I’ve been to churches where you’d probably be asked to leave if you raised your hand during the 4th round of “I Surrender All” after a moving sermon.
The Psalmist in 133 & 134 gives us some insight into how we’re to worship. In unity, where the Spirit flows free…He tells us to raise our hands in Praise to the Most HIGH GOD! Through my experiences in serving in foreign missions has given me a glimpse of unbridled worship, undeniable faith and a passionate prayer that I honestly have rarely experienced here in the US and probably other places on this globe. Sadly, it’s not unusual to hear someone deny or bemoan another’s worship style, their way of or choice of when they pray, what “Style” of music they worship to or how they dress when they partake in worshiping our Lord. I’ve been there…I’ve also been reluctant to worship like I’ve wanted to for fear of being looked at differently or cast out.
Regardless of where you stand on this planet we all have the same God. He wants to be the object of our worship and He wants that worship to be free, genuine, loving, open, honest and accepting of the pouring out of His presence upon us. He wants us to acknowledge Him with our actions, our songs, our dance and our hands lifted high to give him thanks because He reigns. He wants us to join with our brothers and sisters to come together with no barriers between us and exalt Him in unison…The next time you see someone worshiping in a way that seems foreign to you, I challenge you to take the chains off and worship outside of your own comfort zone……
Speaking from experience …Pura Vida!*