Jesus and crack houses

This is a picture of my neighborhood, where I have lived in Iraq for the last 10 months. We call them the "crack houses". Probably not the most endearing term, but fitting with all the bullet holes in the masonry from gun battles in past days.  Every day I walk toward that SUV parked there on the right at 5:30 pm to go work out with about 30 other friends that I have met here. I'm in my last few days of doing this and a bit introspective as we tend to get towards any change point in our lives. The other day I was making my journey down this road to suffer through p90x and out of the blue was interrupted by thoughts of Jesus. I wasn't singing a praise chorus or in a church building but just walking down a dusty road on an old Iraqi Air Force base. When these thoughts invaded my head I just stopped, looked up at the sky, took in the evening sunset. I didn't hear voices or get a vision to save the world. I just came to a realization the Jesus was with me. I smiled. I looked down the road and saw two soldiers cleaning an MRAP and I was made aware that Jesus was down there too. I wondered about those soldiers, had they lost someone on this tour, did they have a bad break up, were they too just counting days till it was time to go home. And then it dawned on me that I was thinking about two dudes that I didn't even know and had never met and I was concerned with them. I think that is what happens when we live and move daily with Jesus, He leads us beyond ourselves and into the lives of others just like He does. Sometimes its pretty awesome when we can get over ourselves.


Jim Pemberton said…
Amen, Brad!

I know in the States we can get too caught up in ourselves, even in church. Especially in the Bible Belt it's too easy to find people we agree with and are comfortable with to the extent that we can create an insular Christian subculture that is effectively self-serving.

It's difficult and often unpopular, even in church, to notice the poor in spirit on our fringes and concern ourselves with them and help bear the burden of practical sanctification and discipleship in their lives.

You have a ministry that separates you from an inside group and places you square in the midst of the harshest needs of others. It seems that God as such continues to strengthen you for your immediate calling.

God bless, keep the faith, and press on, brother!

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