Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Compelled by love... transition, ministry, and a life of miracles

COMPELLED BY LOVE….

It seems every time we have returned back to the states the rhetoric and narrative of people feels angrier.  It appears that more divides us than unites us. Positions are secured fighting for what we are against and not about what we are for… and in the end we celebrate the division and call it democracy. 

By age I am a baby boomer but in heart a millennial. My deep sense of justice, anchored in love, longs for a shift in culture. I believe that the church needs to drop the culture wars and begin loving people where they are rather than where they are not. It's time to engage the younger generation in all their friendships; creating a safe place where they can bring their LGBT friends and not feel judged or talked down too. Lynn and I have many friends who don't fit your typical church pew resident. We don't see tags and preferences when we look at our friends… we see friends, family. I loved that Jesus saw a women at the well not a prostitute. What do we see? 

A few months back the president of Focus on the Family asked forgiveness for the anger projected to those in the LGBT community, to those who were on the other side of the culture wars of abortion, same sex marriage, or Obamacare. He got a bit of heat from the church. German Chancellor, Willy  Brandt, in December of 1970 spontaneously knelt down while visiting a monument to the Nazi-era Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He remained silent for a short time. Many point to this moment of humility as a small step in the healing of Germany and Eastern Europe. But he was ridiculed by all political parties in Germany for being unpatriotic. Recently at a senate hearing someone said that America needed to ask forgiveness for our past mistakes. She too was blasted as unpatriotic. When had forgiveness become synonymous with a lack of patriotism? 

Back in the day the mantra of the church was to hate the sin but love the sinner. Let's be honest we hated both. And I for one repent for buying into such a lie. There is only one response required. Only one war to be waged…. love. To be compelled by love brings into light my linchpin of tension. Do I trust God more than I distrust man? Do I really believe that Abba extends, and keeps on ruthlessly extending, His heart to everyone…. no matter their station in life, sexual orientation, political party, colour, or whatever? Do I believe in a God who transforms people into His image? Do I trust Him to do what He says? Or do I succumb to my perceptions of man's heart which cannot change, and in the end convinces me that I must work harder to convict, shame, and guilt the change I think God desires. Over the years I have walked through much healing but it is times like now that remind me of the journey and the process of being His son. It has always been His loving kindness that has led me to repentance and transformation. And when I rehearse that truth I live in grace, give a wider birth in grace for those around me, and I find love once again compelling.

TRANSITION AND MINISTRY….

The Hodge Tribe.... all 24 of us!
The transition has gone well but tougher than expected. We put our things in storage in White River at the end of June and have enjoyed times with our family. We miss our home and have been a bit nomadic these past weeks staying in a few different homes in the Greenville area. When we arrived the record rains flooded the flat we usually stay in and the repair work has been tedious and extensive. Please pray for our dear friends, Ben and Milly Daniel, who own the home and have been hit with an endless list of things to fix or replace. 

Taiwan Team... Caleb and Natalie Dather, Clay and Rhonda Danner 
We started off our time in Greenville hosting a retreat for a team of two couples launching a ministry in Taiwan next year. It was a great weekend of team building, identifying core values, and forging mission, purpose, and scope. We have spent much of our time investing in people and enjoying the community of City Church in Greenville. The church recently named one of their pastors to lead the church and we are so encouraged and excited in this transition. Often when you are walking out things with people or organisations you process things as well. In this transition time at the church, and in our own transition, I have been reminded that we're called to fellowship with all, partner with some, and build with sons. We sense that this is a processing time for us in moving into building. To build something that will outlast our lifetime and leave a legacy for others to embrace and build upon. In the next several months we'll be praying and intentionally pursuing the foundational pieces to begin building. 

All Growed Up... (L to R) Grammy, Josh, Kathryn, Ben, Heidi, Richie, Sierra, and Pop Pop
The Lord has invited us to many places this year to share His heart and invest in the people of His Kingdom. We are traveling to Vancouver, BC in a few days to officiate a wedding (Aug 7-12) and hope to speak at a local church. The bride was in a DTS in Cape Town a few years back and in a special moment during the week Abba healed her heart and I told her one day I would come and officiate her wedding… and to think we get to love on people for a living! We'll return to Greenville and be there until the 24th of August when we fly to NYC. We'll speak at The Bridge Church (25th) in Elmhurst, NY. The next few days we'll be teaching at a DTS in the NJ area then fly to Brazil (August 28-Sept 18). We'll be speaking at various churches, seminars, pastors conference, and YWAM bases. After our time in Brazil we'll fly to Australia (Sept 19- Nov 2) Teaching in YWAM bases and speaking in various churches. From Australia we'll fly to Cape Town to teach at a few YWAM bases and secure our housing for the move from White River in January 2014. We'll return to Greenville mid November with the plans to bring together a few strategic people to help us flush out what we have been thinking, dreaming, and praying as it pertains to building. 

LIFE OF MIRACLES…

As we close this update we are trusting as always for His provision to go and love people and invest in their Kingdom design and destiny. It seems that the rhythm of our lives is a life of miracles…. whether it is a place to stay, travel needs, ministry; trusting him entirely is the only option. It is also the greatest place of challenge. To live in the moments extending our faith in what we don't see or get yet is not always easy. With every new day comes another adventure of challenge and trust. We are stepping out in trust again with clear calling but little resources for the ministry trips to Brazil, Australia, and South Africa… sounds so much like a YWAM'er:) We need a miracle in the next 15 days for our travel and ministry. Pray with us that everything we need will be met and more! If you would like to invest there are a few ways. YWAM works best but in their process we'll not get the funds until after we leave. We do have another way to give where you can receive a tax-deductible receipt and it can get to us quickly. Drop us a note if you would like to participate in this other option or call us at 864-608-3608. You can also go to our blog, richlynnhodge.blogspot.com and click the donate icon and give through paypal. Unfortunately you cannot receive a tax-deductible receipt with paypal.

 Abba is releasing this miracle. His hands are already moving and we'll be excited to give you the news of all He has done…. PRAISE JEHOVAH SNEAKY!!!

11 Grandchildren... crazy good!
We celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary on the 19th of this month  and we have we been so blessed!!!
                  
Rich and Lynn                                                                                  


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


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