I Hate Giving Blood, But…

I hate giving blood.blood

Don’t get me wrong, donating blood is an incredible thing that we can do to help others that really need it. I think it’s wonderful, our church supports it, and I have no beliefs or opinions against it.

My body, however, does not agree.

I am not exactly sure why my body freaks out when I give blood, but it is rather embarrassing. The first time I ever donated was in high school. I was sitting there, chatting along, and all of a sudden I got really dizzy and even more pale than I already am. Everyone started putting ice packs on me and buzzing about.

That’s pretty much how it goes every time. So when a blood drive rolls around every few months, I don’t get too excited. I really hate it, because I want to do it, but it’s hard.

However, there have been a few times when certain people I personally know have had urgent needs for blood or platelet donations, and my donation could really help them. In spite of my physiological aversions, I sign up and give. It’s never easy, and it usually ends up the same way every time. Still, there is an urgent need, and urgency demands action.

I’m not writing any of this to boast, because there anything for me to brag about really. But in the past several weeks our church family has been studying through Dr. Jeff Iorg’s book, Live Like a Missionary, which is challenging us to share the Gospel in our everyday lives. There are many reasons why we do not share Christ with those around us, but one that is huge is a lack of urgency.

Matthew 25:1-13 contains a parable told by Jesus of the Ten Virgins before a wedding. Five were prepared, and five were not. When the bridegroom came, the five who weren’t ready missed out. Jesus told this story because He wanted His disciples (and us) to always live with urgency and be ready. Verse 13 says, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

One way or the other, our time is short. Time is short for the people around us. We must have urgency when sharing the Gospel. It may not always be easy, but people NEED Jesus – they need what we know!

I hate giving blood, but I do it because there is an urgent need. Now, don’t read too much into the analogy, I DO NOT hate sharing the Gospel, but it hard for us sometimes. The Gospel is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. The main point is that there needs to be a sense of urgency in our lives.

Maybe sharing your faith is hard for you, for whatever reason. But please do not let that stop you from sharing the life that Jesus has given you with others. Without Christ, people are dying, and we can share with them what gives life.

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We’ve Been Living Life Inside a Bubble // Acts 11:1-17

There’s a Coldplay song called “High Speed,” there a few lines that repeat throughout that simply go, “We’ve been living life inside a bubble.”

While the song itself doesn’t really apply to my thoughts today, that line keep going in my head as I read through Acts 11 today.

This past weekend, I spent one of the few free Saturdays I have at a local airport taking a skydiving course. There were 11 others taking the same course, and they had come from all over the area. And leading the course was the owner of this skydiving place plus his other instructors.

I learned a lot that day, but not just about skydiving – I learned a lot about people and myself. I’m not sure if it is just the sport of skydiving that attracts a certain type of crowd, but me being a Christian and a minister did not fit in very well with everyone else. No one was mean to me or anything like that, in fact everyone was quite nice and friendly, but it was clear we had very different ways of life.

Throughout the day I kept finding myself creeping up on a judgmental high ground every time certain words were said, jokes were made, or other things of the like happened. I’ve told people before that I would fight this same battle if I had to stop at the store on the way home from church. There I would be, in my dress clothes or suit, and I would see people that obviously just woke up or weren’t at church. Often I would think, “Well, I know where you weren’t today.”

Looking at both of those examples in my life, I realize how wrong I sound. I also realized how much of a bubble we as Christians can live our lives in.

It’s hard for us sometimes to be around people who aren’t like us. We even make our own Christian genre of arts and entertainment, clothing, and so on…and so when we do meet a lost person or try to build a relationship, it’s so foreign and difficult for us.

The first Christians faced this same struggle. They were Jews with a prior history of being nationalists and elitists, even having laws that made it wrong to associate with being who weren’t fully Jewish. So when the Holy Spirit starts to lead the apostles to start the church, God tells Peter about how he will reach out to Gentiles (non-Jews) with the Gospel as well.

You can see the struggle Peter and the others had with the bubble they were in:

1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying,3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.”4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order:5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me.

6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.

12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter;14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”

Don’t live your life inside of a bubble. I’m not saying, and neither is God, that you compromise who you are. What I am saying is let the Holy Spirit guide you to bring the love of Christ to some that you may be avoiding. Don’t keep the Gospel inside the walls of the church or reserve the love of God for those that “act right.”

What I find most interesting about this passage is in verse 13, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter.” Both of Peter’s names are used here, one that signifies his old life and the other his new life in Christ. It’s almost as if the Holy Spirit was reminded Peter that without the love of Christ, his life would look no different from those he did not want to talk to.

So before you decide to stay in your bubble, remember, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)