Monday, April 30, 2012

Human Trafficking - What is the Solution?

I have heard many different discussions about Human Trafficking but had never completed much research to really make my own investigation into this horrendous issue that currently goes on in our world.  I have been at home sick all weekend and my family has been holed up at my in-laws to avoid getting my germs.  While I was at home last night I was watching a special on the documentary channel about Human Sex Trafficking in Eastern Europe.  This documentary was mainly focused on the women from Western Europe.  It was really an eye opener for me.

The film maker was from Bulgaria and said that when they were under communist rule the women made the same wages as men did; however when communism fell that was no longer the reality.  This forced and still forces a lot of women of all ages to go abroad to earn a living.  Due to the resources needed to legally go across the different borders a lot of these women cross illegally and get trapped up into the sex trafficking trade that happens in Eastern Europe.  What was so amazing was that some of the women had the opportunity to leave and go back home but did not do it.  The money was too good.  

As I was watching this I was thinking about how we as a church absolutely have to do something.  There were mothers and fathers who did not know where there children were and did not really care to know.  There were young girls having their lives spiral out of control.  So my first thought was we just need to build factories or some other means of an income in these western European countries.  Seems easy enough right?  However, I don't think this addresses the root cause of the issue.  In my humble opinion this whole human trafficking business is based on something that goes back to the old testament.... IDOLS and people WORSHIPING them.

Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.....".  

To me this says one thing, we can only serve one thing; or in another way of saying it we can only be addicted to one thing in life.  And there is only one thing that is worthy of our addiction, Jesus Christ.  What we see going on here is that no matter what sort of rescue camps we set up, what sort of intervention programs we start; until those people - both the trafficked, traffickers, and their customers - are discipled into a relationship with Jesus Christ it will not matter.  To put it bluntly - THEY NEED JESUS!  Right now they are a slave/addicted to/worshiping their idol as it is related to the trafficking business.  I believe for the traffickers and those that are trafficked but don't want out their idol is the money.  For the customers its quite obvious, sex.  At the end of the day one passage gives us clear direction:

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

We are told point blank to go and make disciples of all nations.  A lot of time in church we focus so much on this piece that we overlook the awesome tools God has given us to do this with.  Jesus point blank tells us all authority has been given to us and he is with us all the time.  The only reason that these people are not addicted to Jesus is because we as the church have not told them.

Now I am not saying we are all called to move to Greece to fight the trafficking; but I think we all need to prayerfully consider how do we directly impact this problem with the only true Solution - JESUS.  There are many ways to get involved and make an impact.  

I will close with this statement.  The reason that I am so passionate about this is when I see young girls having their innocent lives ripped right out from under them for a little cash it actually makes me angry.  I have 2 daughters and to think that there are fathers out there who know their daughters are caught up in this but choose not to think about it simply because they have no hope - because they have no Christ - kills me. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Night Before

As I sit here on this night before easter I have not been very faithful in spending time in the word or with the Lord this week. I have taken a new position at the company I work for and have been working 2 jobs. However, that is by no means an excuse. My Lord considered my life valuable enough that he gave up His is a really brutal way. For that I confess, to whoever reads this and to our God. I am rocking my 8 month old daughter and begin to think about what the disciples must have been going through on this night just a short time after seeing Jesus die on the cross.

I think it is amazing how when we look at the week leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection we can parallel it to our own salvation experience in so many ways. I want to focus on the night prior to His and our resurrection. I have heard many people say I wonder how the disciples were feeling on this night? And truthfully we will likely never know. The bible does not give us a lot of details about the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection for the disciples. However, I know for me I can look at the moments, hours, and days leading up to my new birth in Christ and get a pretty good idea.

You know they had to be thinking "really? This man, who I dropped everything for and followed Him, who claimed to be God just died. Where do I go from here.". I have no doubt in my mind that they believed Jesus but there had to be doubt. You know everyone in their lives had been telling them that Jesus was a lunatic. When I look at my life as it lead up to the point where I truly surrendered and was born again I had the same feelings. I had grown up in church, been baptized. Everyone thought that I truly believed. I even thought I had believed.

So many times we focus so much on how our physical lives can reflect our relationship that we never have a resurrection. We focus on living right, trying to follow God in our actions; even talk about Jesus. However, until we reach the point where we lay all that aside and recognize that because Jesus conquered death (and therefore sin) through the resurrection; it means nothing. You see, had Jesus not been resurrected then all the disciples had taken part in and witnessed would have meant nothing. Same way in our own lives, if we just try to live right without acknowledging the resurrection in our hearts through surrendering to Christ then it means nothing.

So you know that as the disciples were in that room they were feeling the same anticipation and anxiety that any person believes in the moments leading up to being born again. They knew in their hearts He was for real, but until he walked in and proved that He was who he said, they were doubtful.

I hope that if you read this and do not know if you have a personal relationship with Jesus you would think about it in that way. Just as the disciples surrendered to Him once you surrender your life to Him, He will walk through the door of your soul and resurrect you to a new life.