If you would have asked me where I would like to spend my summer several months ago it would not have been in Portland, Oregon. When my church back in Tennessee presented the opportunity to go to Portland on a mission trip, I had no desire to come. Oregon has never been a place that has seemed super interesting to me. However, for some reason I had this feeling and nudge that God wanted me to step out of my comfort zone and spend not just one week in this city, but five weeks to intern with the church out here called, Kaleo.
I have been living in Portland for about two and a half weeks now and my heart has grown to really love this city and the people that are in it. I have made it to the halfway point and it has been really neat to see all that God has been revealing to me.
One cool thing that the Lord has shown me since being here is the unique, awesome ways in which “Church” can look different. I think a lot of people think that church is just a building where you have corporate worship together on Sundays. That can be so good and I love being able to do that back home, but it is not the only way it can work and be glorifying to God. Kaleo meets in someone’s home weekly where you share a meal, and then read a passage from Scripture, meditating and discussing it together and afterwards pray for one another. It is such a beautiful picture of what community is supposed to look like, and the way God has designed it to be. Living life on life, encouraging, challenging, and pushing one another to walk in righteousness. It is messy and hard, but so worth it.
Another neat thing I have seen is the ways in which Kaleo is living out the calling of being the Church, the body of Christ. They are serving within the community and reaching out to be the hands and feet of Jesus and it has been so humbling and encouraging being apart of it. There is a lot of injustice and brokenness in the city of Portland and many people are hurting or trying to run from the truth, because it can be painful and open up old wounds. But, God is using the people of Kaleo to enter into people’s hurts and walk with them, serving and loving them. And that is exactly what God has commanded us to do. I think to when Paul is exhorting the church of Ephesus and he said,
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. [Ephesians 4:1-3]
As Christians we are to live in a manner worthy of the adoption, holiness, and unity to which we have been called! We have such a powerful, beautiful gift and we are to share that with the world that is desperately trying to rebel against God.
Being here, the Lord has also shown me just how powerful, and incredible the Holy Spirit is. In Romans 8 it says,
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those whoa re in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you”. [verses 6-11]
If we believe and follow Jesus, we have the same power indwelt in us that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and raised him up. The presence of the Spirit within me testifies to the new life I have because of the righteousness of Christ. Wow. That is insane and such a profound truth. We, as Christians are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.
I often want to do everything on my own strength and believe the lie that I need to be perfect, but the Bible tells me differently. It is comforting to know that I don’t have to try and muster up my own courage or strength but that the most powerful being in the universe lives inside of ME, empowering and strengthening me to choose godliness. Being in Portland has not been easy. Coming out here to serve and be apart of Kaleo, does not mean all my struggles and sin have just went away. I am daily, having to remember to preach the gospel to myself and rely on the Spirit to give me the strength, confidence, and discipline to keep seeking things that are above and trust in Him rather than in myself. And to also not be so critical of myself but to remember and know that I have a Father that deeply loves and cares for me.
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him”. [Psalm 103:10-13]
The people of Kaleo have been absolutely wonderful. I have felt so loved and welcomed into their family and am honored to be here in Portland. It has been so nice to know that I have community here that is challenging me and walking with me. Talking to many that are apart of this church, God has taught me a lot about obedience. That even in the hardest days, and in the unknowns of what is to come next, we are to faithfully surrender it all and follow Jesus, no matter what. That could mean a number of things and it looks differently for everyone but we are all told to be faithful. I have been meditating on the lyrics to the song,
The Cost by Rend Collective,
“I’m saying yes to You and no to my desires. I’ll leave myself behind and follow You.
I’ll walk the narrow road cause it leads me to You. I’ll fall but grace will pick me up again.
I’ve counted up the cost, oh I’ve counted up the cost, yes I’ve counted up the cost and You are worth it.
I do not need safety as much as I need You, You’re dangerous but Lord You’re beautiful.
I’ll chase You through the pain. I’ll carry my cross cause real love is not afraid to bleed.
Jesus, take my all. Take my everything. I’ve counted up the cost and You’re worth everything”.
Praying that these words become true for my life. Thankful to be in Portland and so so glad that God has much better plans than we have for ourselves. Pumped to see the ways in which the Spirit is going to work these last two and a half weeks of being here and what the Lord will continue to reveal to me.
That’s all for now. Peace.
Abby Davis J