So it is Saturday and I have been traveling now for almost 2 days straight. We started at Bush Intercontinental on Friday at about 8:30 am it is now 7pm in Tel Aviv, Israel and I am sitting here in the airport on about hour 4 of a 9 hour layover. We were going to go into the city but it was to expensive to rent a car for just 6 hours. We will be back in Tel Aviv on the last leg of our vision trip so we decided to just hang at the airport and check our e-mails and blogs.
I am so blown away by the ability to skip across the globe in a matter of 24 hours. I know we all know we can do this but everytime I take a trip like this I believe that possibly now more than ever followers of the way have a responsibility to go across the ocean to touch the lives of others in desperate need of physical and spiritual healing. So far in the past two days I have been from Houston to Boston to Madrid to Tel Aviv. At midnight tonight (America time) we will land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On the plane I had the awesome opportunity to talk with Elana. She is a Jewish girl from New York that was going to Tel Aviv to visit her brother who now lives there. She asked me what I was doing and my response was “we are doing humanitarian work in Ethiopia”. She asked why and I told her because Jesus told us to. Of course then we got into a great conversation about the differences of Judaism and Christianity. I am so glad that 6 years ago I took a class on Judaism in college so I was able to speak on the topic and not be ignorant. She was a self-admitted wishy washy Jew, meaning she was only devout when she felt like it. She admitted that she had no clue why she kept all the rules she did, or attempted to eat kosher. It was intersting to me just how bound up in legalism she was and how hard it was for her to embrace the grace of Jesus. It was like Paul said, it seemed to be more of a stubling block than anything. We had a great conversation I listened as she shared, and she listened as I shared.
One thing that struck me was that many southern baptists I meet are just as legalistic as this girl. They would never admit it, but although we say salvation is by grace many have not really embraced that beyond simply giving it some sunday morning lip service. Many of us in the church are practicing legalists…
After my conversation with this nice girl I am so grateful for GRACE!