Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Growing God-Move in Bangkok

I'm thinking about Bangkok. I fly there next Thursday morning. It has been my great privilege to be part of a team that is assisting Jeff and Annie Dieselberg in their rescue efforts extended towards the thousands of people caught in the dark web of sex trafficking.

Annie heads up Nightlight. "NightLight is an international organization committed to addressing the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by catalyzing individual and community transformation. NightLight’s vision is to offer intervention to sexually exploited women and children, to enable them to discover their dignity, and to provide a program of holistic transformation, empowering them to live and work in their community. NightLight’s mission is to build relationships and provide hope, intervention, rescue and assistance to women and children exploited in the sex industry by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom. NightLight builds support networks internationally to intervene and assist women, men and children whose lives are negatively impacted by the sex industry."

Nightlight is a business that hires young women to make jewelry. Nightlight is God's business. God is busy, today, going into this dark, punishing evil and shining his light of freedom and life. This is real Kingdom-of-God stuff. This is representative of: THE MOVEMENT. Last year God moved in my heart to join this branch of the God-movement. I could hardly contain myself when I heard Jeff and Annie talk about what God was doing through them, and the brilliance and ingenuity and cleverness of God as to how He was doing this. I remember saying to a number of my Jesus-friends, "We have got to do something about this!" And we are. Because, as Thomas Merton says, desire without discipline is an illusion. Or, as another friend of mine says, "intentions minus actions = squat."

I'll be posting from Bangkok in a week. The Monroe Evening News has agreed to publish my daily journal entries.

I'm bringing two books with me which will, I think, in combination with seeing NightLight up close, reduce me to a greater, softer, more expansive, Ezekiel-ish heart of flesh. I cannot predict what I am going to look like when I return to Monroe. I am a container. Fill me God. So I cannot contain You in me.

The two books: The Hole in Our Gospel: What does God expect of Us?, by Richard Stearns. About this book:
"Read this compelling story and urgent call for change-Richard Stearns is a contemporary Amos crying 'let justice roll down like waters….' Justice is a serious gospel-prophetic mandate. Far too many American Christians for too long a time have left the cause to 'others.' Read it as an altar call." --Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The Message, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC

"Rich Stearns calls us to exhilarating obedience to God's life-altering, world-changing command to reflect his love to our neighbors at home and globally. The Hole in Our Gospel is imbued with the hope of what is possible when God's people are transformed to live radically in light of his great love." --Gary Haugen, President & CEO, International Justice Mission

"Richard Stearns is quite simply one of the finest leaders I have ever known.... When he became president of World Vision I had a front row seat to witness the way God used his mind and heart to inspire thousands.... His new book, The Hole In Our Gospel will call you to a higher level of discipleship.... Now is the time...Richard Stearns has the strategy...your move!" --Bill Hybels, Founding and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL

"Rich Stearns has given us a book that makes absolutely clear what God hopes for and expects from each of us.... He reminded me of my personal responsibilities and the priority I must give them and also where life's true rewards and fulfillment are to be found." --Jim Morris, former executive director, United Nations World Food Program

"World Vision plays a strategic role on our globe. As the largest relief organization in the history of the world, they initiate care and respond to crisis. Rich Stearns navigates this mercy mission with great skill. His book urges us to think again about the opportunity to love our neighbor and comfort the afflicted. His message is timely and needed. May God bless him, the mission of World Vision and all who embrace it." --Max Lucado, author of 3:16-The Numbers of Hope, Minister of Writing and Preaching, Oak Hills Church, San Antonio, TX

"Rich Stearns has penned a passionate and persuasive book aimed at Christians who find themselves absorbed with their own existence, pursuing the American dream of health, wealth and happiness. Rich traces his own spiritual journey from having it all, to sacrificial living on behalf of those who have nothing. Not only is Rich eloquent, he's right." --Kay Warren, Executive Director HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA

"An urgent, powerful summons to live like Jesus. Stearns weaves solid theology, moving stories, and his own journey of faith into a compelling call to live the whole Gospel. Highly recommended!" --Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action, Author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

"With passionate urging and earnestness, Rich Stearns challenges Christians to embrace the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ by embracing the neediest and most vulnerable among us. After reading the moving stories, the compelling facts and figures, and Stearns' excellent application of scripture and his own experiences at World Vision, you will no doubt be asking yourself: What should I do?" --Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship

"This book is a clarion call for the church to arise and answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?"... If you read this book, you will be inspired, but if you do what this book is asking, you will be forever changed. Rich Stearns' book is like a safari for hurting souls that cannot be written in the safety of an office suite.... If you have been feeling something missing or an aching emptiness inside, read The Hole in our Gospel. It will show you how to fill that void!" --T.D. Jakes Sr., The Potter's House of Dallas, Inc.

"Rich Stearns' book is showing us through stories and examples how it is better to see a sermon rather than hear one. This is an important book for all of us!" --Tony Hall, US Ambassador and former US Congressman

"This is much more than "just another book" from a Christian leader. It's a message to Christendom that we all need." --Dr. Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University, author of Red Letter Christians

"This book represents a powerful personal story; face to face experiences with the poor which changed the author's life, plus, an insightful scriptural commentary. As happened with Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision; Richard Stearns' heart has been broken with the things that break the heart of God. Now, Stearns is using his considerable CEO skills to serve the poor and oppressed. I highly recommend this book." --John M. Perkins, President, John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation & Development, Inc.

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, by Siddharth Kara. About this second book:

"An impressive, scholarly book that will prove an asset for the global anti-trafficking movement in the next decade." -- Holly Burkhalter, Stanford Social Innovation Review

"A disturbing and illuminating study of one of the underbellies of economic globalization: the global sex trafficking industry." -- Padraig Carmody, Irish Times
"An eloquent, campaigning book that addresses an evil that belittles our humanity." -- Jonathan Birchall, Financial Times