Breaking Out of the Box in South Africa

August 19, 2015 by Jordan Congdon
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they could not keep you in a tent
they could not keep you in a temple
or any of their idols, to see and understand
we cannot keep you in a church
we cannot keep you in a Bible
or it’s just another idol to box you in
they could not keep you in their box
we cannot keep you in ours either
you are so much greater
who is like the Lord
the maker of the Heavens
who dwells with the poor
and he lifts them from the ashes
and he makes them sit with princes
who is like the Lord

As I look back on my life, I see a cycle.  

I have God in this box.

God busts out of the box.

My perspective and life are transformed a bit.

I get comfortable with the transformation.

I start to embrace the transformation.

I then begin to fit God into another box.

Boom! God busts out of the new box that I’ve created.

While we were in South Africa, I had the opportunity to share one evening with Urban Saints on the topic of the crucifixion and the resurrection.  As I wrestled with what to share, my “in the box” answers went swirling around in my head:

“Well, we all have this sin issue.  Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross takes this away when we believe in Him.”
   “The crucifixion is like this bridge over a massive gap between us and God.”
   “In being resurrected, Jesus defeated death so that we can have hope of eternal life.”
   “We should follow Jesus’ example of going to the cross, of being willing to sacrifice  ourselves for others.”
“Jesus’ example leads us to the cross where we die to ourselves so that we can be resurrected and live a new life.”
“For this is how God loved the world: God gave Jesus, His only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
“Believe in Jesus, repent, have your sins forgiven, and receive the Holy Spirit!”

I thought of the many depictions I’ve seen over the years (some better than others) about sins being forgiven and the many sermons on the proof of Jesus’ deity in the resurrection.  I wondered, “Is this what I should share?” and I simply could not.  

It’s not that I don’t believe these things (maybe not exactly how they are worded) - I believe in the forgiveness of sins and I believe in the resurrection of Jesus and I believe in following his example of sacrificial love and I believe in the complete transformation of a life lived here on earth and I believe in the hope of eternal life with God and I believe in “carrying our cross” daily and I believe...  

It’s just not what I was hearing and it’s not what I think was wanting to be heard.  

So as I was listening to the words in this song it hit me, this God of whom I get to speak, this Jesus that I get to introduce to some of my friends for possibly the very first time, does not fit into nice and neat answers (even some of the most central teachings of Christianity), and he certainly isn’t one to introduce based on what he will do for my friends.  His life, his teachings, his actions, his birth, the way he walked, the way he talked - that’s the way I want to introduce him - and so, the crucifixion and the resurrection were not so much focused on what they meant for life and for eternity - what Jesus did for all of creation - but rather, what they say about God - this out of the box, not needing a temple or building or book, in the streets and prisons, with the lowly and poor and humble, loving and healing and creating, constantly-on-a-journey God.  

The crucifixion and the resurrection shout, “You can’t contain me!”


If I hadn’t been working for Amor Ministries, and I hadn’t been in South Africa, and I hadn’t been with the people that I was with, and I hadn’t been sharing on this topic, and I hadn’t been working alongside many people to build four houses, I may have never seen this truth: this is what we get to do as Amor.  

This is the God that we get to share, this is the Jesus that we get to introduce, and rather than focus our attention on the destination, we offer an invitation to a new journey - a journey of sacrificial love, doing what is right, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

we’ve tried to keep you in our tents
we’ve tried to keep you in our temples
we’ve worshiped all our idols, we want all that to end
we will find you in the streets
we will find you in the prisons
and even in our Bibles and churches
who is like the lord
the maker of the heavens
lover of my soul
who takes me from the ashes
who heals me of my blindness
who is like the Lord

Amor Presents The Lion Chase 5K 9-26-15

Topics: Jordan Congdon

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