Thursday, April 15, 2010

M is for Mission Field



 is for Mission Field

I love where I live. I live here on purpose. I am not from Longview. In February 2005, I believe God, through the wisdom and counsel of Godly men and certain circumstances led us to move to Longview, Washington. It is a beautiful city, especially in the Sping and Summer when everything is green and blooming.

Longview has a beautiful park name Lake Sacajawea that was created when an old slough was dug out and formed into a man made Lake. It has small but accesible “islands” in the lake, places for picnics, weddings, and such. Gorgeous running trails circumvent the entire lake for some three miles.

The streets are lined on both sides of most streets extending into the center of the street. The branches almost touch from side to side as if they were holding hands. Numerous cherry trees, azaleas, and shrubbery have been strategikcally planted to make the city “blossom” with beauty.

Unfortunately Longview has a dark secret that first, is heart-breaking, and second, one of the reasons I moved here. Among many things, Longview struggles against a major illicit drug trade. Longview has a methamphetamine problem. Some have said the problem is rampant and out of control.

Some folks, including the old-timers will tell you it is the economy. Almost all of the local mills have closed. They will also “blame” the closing of our aluminum smelting plant. The unemployment rate in Washington is the highest here in Cowlitz County.

Others, especially the “kids” will tell you it is simply small-town living. They say Longview is boring and there is nothing here for them. Many who turn to drug use say them did so because there was nothing else to do. From a “worldly” point of view I understand exactly what they are saying. I don’t excuse it or accept it, but it makes sense to them.

Why do I love this community so much? Why would I move here knowing there is a segment of our beautiful and planned community that is shackeled by drug use?

The answer is found in the Second Epistle that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Paul has chosen to “defend” himself to the Corinthian Church since false teachers have slandered him mercilessly. In chapter ten Paul “defends” his ministry to the Corinthian church. Paul has been accused of living “fleshly” or worldly and using less than “acceptable” spiritual means to wage warfare against “spiritual” enemies.

So, he states in verse four, “…the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”

The word Paul used for strongholds is the Greek Word that is translated as stronghold, fortress, or a castle. This is not a picture post-card castle everyone would want to visit. It is a well armed, fortified, guarded and defensive fortress holding captives.

People whom Paul denoted as “carnal” or non-Christian in his first letter to the Corinthians are held captive by sin. They are in bondage to their sin nature. The only freedeom that they have is the freedom to live in obedience to their basic appetites and desires. They are completely controlled by their desires, appetites, or sometiems translated lusts. Apart from a work of Christ in their heart they cannot free themselves from these chains. They are bound in fortress-like castles or prisons that hold them captive. Even though freedom is promised in one’s own srtengh, through a world view, pyschology, sexual revolution, humanism, relativism, and a host of other “isms” they are bound and imprisoned in these fortresses.

Many of the residents of this city are bound in those fortresses. They are imprisoned by their own sin nature. Day by day after day they move through this life unaware that they are imprisoned in a fortress that will one day become their tomb apart from the good news of the gospel.

I love this town. I love these people. My heart is broken for the ones who have broken minds, souls, bodies, and families due to any imprisoning sin including methampethamine. I move here to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ that can truly set a person free. Free from their own lusts, appetites, and desires. Free from immorality, free from lying, free from anger, hatred, jealousy, gossip and even drug use.

I believe that through the gospel, through weapons that have divine power some of these strongholds or fortressess can be destroyed. I believe through the gospel some of these imprisoned souls can be set free as the wicked thoughts of their heart and the enemy are taken captive and made to be obedient to Jesus Christ.

My heart breaks for our communtity. I pray for our city regularly. I pray that this rising drug epidemic can be tharwted by the moving of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our citizens. My desire is to spend the rest of my life in Longview sharing the gospel with imprisoned souls and watching the power of Christ setting them free.

So, M can be for methamphetamine, murder, mayhem, misogyny, man-slaugher, molestation, matricide, mugging, or misbehavior; they are all fortresses of wickedness or darkness holding people prisoner. M is definetly for my mission field!

Anyone want to come up and help?

12 comments:

INSIDE THE SHRINK said...

Longview Washington sounds much like small towns around the country. I live in Southwest Missouri, considered to be the meth capitol of the world. I admire and respect your calling to this place to deliver the Good News. I believe as Christians, wherever we are is a mission field as their are captives next door, at the grocery store, at work, at the park, etc. I pray we all take our calling as sincerely and commited as you do. Thanks for a great post.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

It was loveley to read where you live. It seems a special place for you and your description does it justice.It made an excellent blog.
Take care
Yvonne,

Linda said...

I agree with everything you said - and actually wrote about it today! We are all the mission field, whether it is foreign or much much closer to home.

Shannon said...

Gregg, I think a lot of us live in that same small town, or have previously lived there, Grants Pass is beautiful but has a very bad Meth problem as well as gangs who like to ocassionally tag our two stores..great post and our mission field is right where we live and do life!

arlee bird said...

Of course we have our meth and gang problems down here in L.A. In my immediate neighborhood the problem seems to have improved but still it is prevalent throughout the country. Young people, and everyone in general, need to be motivated to go beyond feeding their own pleasures. Motivation and inspiration is sadly lacking in our country.

Lee
Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

Tori Cooper said...

I am so glad that you see that there is hope in the midst of mess... it is true our communities are our first priority when it comes to missions. There is a lot of work to be done... May God give the strength, courage and love you need to minister to your neighbor's. Keep the fire burning! Great post topic!

Raquel Byrnes said...

What a blessing to your town that you lift them up in prayer daily.

Trevor Peck said...

Praying the Lord finds you both faithful and fruitful as you serve. May He be pleased to save the lost for your joy and His glory!

RCUBEs said...

God has you where He wants you to be...And God bless you for your willing heart to follow Him. May the Lord bless you and protect you as you work for His Kingdom.

AL said...

Awesome post!
How much better would our country be if every Christian were sharing their faith as we are commanded in the Great Commission? Too few are quiet, I've heard that only 2% of professed Christians share the Gospel on a regular basis.

May the Lord bless you in being faithful.

Lisa said...

What a blessing to view your town as your mission field. We should all look at where we live in that way. It's a calling for every one of us, if we will just answer it.

Great post, Gregg!

Brian Ray Todd said...

I once saw a David Barton (of Wall-Builders) DVD titled " The Spiritual Tour of the United States Capital', where he discussed the Christian founding of this nation. One quote from a Founding Father struck me profoundly was "society must ruled by the Word of God or by the sword". Either the love for God or the fear of man. It means that Laws are established for lawbreakers only (many new ones every year). Change the heart towards God (through spiritual rebirth in Christ) and you no longer need the law. God bless you in your ministry to change hearts and save souls for it is done in Jesus' name. Brian