Brief Bio

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Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines
I am a runner, pastor, sociologist, teacher, and missionary. After living in Chicago for 6 years, I discerned a call to go to Manila, Philippines to live and work among the urban poor, and combine my passions for ministry, running, and the oppressed. After serving in the Philippines in 2012 and 2013, I returned to the United States for two years to finish my dissertation, get ordained, spend time with my family, and work at a neighborhood center in Kansas City. I have recently returned to the Philippines this year (2016) to work again with Companion With the Poor as a missionary. Each day I look forward to how God will direct my steps as I live into His work of restoring a broken world.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lent Devotional #1: The Great Reversal

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."
- 2 Corinthians 8:9

Prior to laying on the cot the first night, I never understood the full significance of God sending His son Jesus into this world in the form of a man, dwelling among us as a lower-class citizen. You see, God, in all his glory left his throne room in Heaven to come live with us! He had it all - even the richest man in the world cannot come close to having a fraction of the riches God possesses in Heaven - and yet he became poor. He took up residence in a tiny town called Nazareth to experience the mess man had gotten himself into.

Laying in my bed, surrounded by 25 to 75 year old men, men who did not have a home and had to stay in temporary shelters to get out of the cold, I realized why Jesus did what He did.




You see, staying at the shelter as a guest put me at a level with the men that I didn't have as a volunteer who after serving go back to my bed in the suburbs. By stepping into their world, they told me things they wouldn't have told me otherwise, and they allowed me more of a chance to minister to them. Jesus did the same thing! By coming to earth in the form of man, He allowed us an opportunity to be in relationship with the God of the universe once again.

Then, as we read in the Bible, Jesus died a criminal's death, taking on our sins, and then raised from the dead, conquering death and sin once and for all...and all this so that we could become rich (in faith, hope, love, life, and humility; not wealth, privilege, and power)!

I'd like to pose some questions for us this season as we remember Jesus' death and resurrection:

How do we, in following the example Christ left us, leave our positions of wealth and privilege to minister to those who are less fortunate than us (both here and internationally)?

How are we doing with taking up our cross to follow Jesus' command to those wanting to be His disciples?

What about our churches? Do they look like places of sacrifice and service, or comfort and consumerism?

I want to encourage each of you in this next month leading up to Easter to follow the example of Christ and get uncomfortable for a change. That may be serving at the local soup kitchen or shelter, inviting a non-Christian friend or co-worker over for dinner, or tutoring at an inner city school. We have been called to follow Jesus to the very "least of society," and in doing so to experience and exhibit abundant life.

Be blessed and encouraged this Easter season!

2 comments:

Dr. Claude Mariottini said...

Paul,

Good post. I will link your post to my blog. Keep up the good work.

Claude Mariottini

Dan said...

It's good to open up the web first thing in the morning and find something challenging instead of entertaining. Keep it up, man.

DL