Get Out of the Bubble!


Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a sterile environment without physical human contact? No doubt you've heard the phrase, "living in a bubble," or something similar. It was coined a few decades ago, based on the movie of a boy with an underdeveloped immune system who had to live in a bubble-like environment.

This made-for-TV movie came out in 1976 (The Boy in the Plastic Bubble), combining the life stories of two boys with rare diseases. Of course, the movie dramatized the story (added some fiction) and a romantic theme far from reality. But the concept of living in a bubble, like an incubator, caught hold in a cultural expression.

In real life, these boys were unable to venture out of their bubble-like environments without fatal consequences. And yet, their great desire was to live outside the bubble.

Living in a bubble

It wasn't long before people applied the phrase living in a bubble to other situations and people. For example, the office of the U.S. presidency is bubble-like, with the 24/7 Secret Service guard, and screening of people whom the president will come in contact.

Today it could apply to people focused on their cell phones, gaming, and social media in a virtual bubble. The phrase came to describe anyone isolated from the world around them.

[bctt tweet="Living in a bubble can describe anyone isolated from the world around them"]

Sadly, this describes many Christian believers. Many Christians live in an insulated Christian world surrounded by other Christians, and locked into Christian-oriented media and music. And, many Christians like it this way and don't want to leave this protective bubble—their faith bubble.

Even more sadly, the world around them is untouched by their Christian beliefs and values. Why? Intentionally or not, we've constructed an ivory tower of faith.

Not as Jesus intended

This is not what Jesus had in mind when He spoke of the Kingdom of God on earth. Not at all. This bubble-like isolation isn't reflected in Jesus' teaching about the kingdom. Jesus had an entirely different way of life intended for His followers, which is seen in several parables and other teachings.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sent out twelve disciples to "preach the kingdom and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1-6). Later, in the last year of the Lord's ministry on earth, Jesus sent out seventy others in the same way (Luke 10:1-12.

His final instructions to those who would lead the church after His departure extended this same message—

But the Holy Spirit will come on you and give you power. You will be my witnesses. You will tell people everywhere about me—in Jerusalem, in the rest of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world. (Acts 1:8 ERV)

This is also echoed in all four of the gospels and termed the Great Commission (see What Do You Not Understand About "Go"?). It is clear, Jesus intended for His followers to be empowered to go out with His message to the world around them.

Getting out of the Christian bubble

For the "Boy in the Bubble," leaving the bubble put him at risk for his life. But it's different for us followers of Christ. Our spiritual life is at risk if we don't get outside the bubble. We need to engage people who have different values and beliefs than our own. Here's a blog post by Pastor Cary Nieuwhof that addresses this— The Evangelism Conversation No One Is Having.

Over the past several weeks, I've posted articles related to this week's topic—sharing our faith without being aggressive or overbearing. But, we have to be willing to get out of the Christian bubble to engage people who don't share our faith.

Here are the links to those articles—

One simple question— Are you willing to get out of your own faith-bubble to engage people about faith?

A Time for Tears, Laughter, and Rejoicing


This past weekend was filled with lots of emotion—both tears and laughter. In the midst of sadness, there was rejoicing.

We had our reunion-celebration this last weekend, June 20-22. People had the opportunity to share some testimony, as we highlighted specific areas of Rainbow Village's ministry over the past 23 years.

It was a good time. A time of remembering, affirming, and closure for those gathered.

Opportunities to share from the heart


The first night was an overview of Rainbow's history where some of our missionary staff shared important highlights from their point of view. Then the woman who helped us establish our process for adoptions shared, along with some sharing from adoptive families and those adopted.

The Filipino staff got to share what was on their heart, and got to see some of the fruit of their labor all grown up.

My daughter closed Saturday evening by sharing an overview and highlights from our restoration program for abused girls. Some of them shared also, so you can imagine how emotional that was.

Trying to make sense of it all


Sunday morning was a time of worship with our international-Filipino praise band. It was sweet seeing these who had come to Rainbow as children, now leading as young adults.

I also brought a short message based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11, 14. The gist of it follows.

Life on this earth is neither a random string of things that just happen, nor a fixed chain of events sealed by fate. Each person has free will and yet, God is sovereign over all.

One person's free will can be exercised at the cost of another's—in the form of abuse, violence, and even slavery.

In these times it may seem as if God stands by and watches without caring. Or, so it seems to us with our limited view of life. If we have  a personal relationship with Him, we know He cares. Yet we still ask, “Why God? Why do these things happen?”

This is where ministries, agencies, and NGO's like Rainbow come in. We are God's hands of restoration. RVM is one small part of a much larger network of people who bring restoration—to heal those who are abused, and to bring hope in the midst of despair.

Some perspective

The great and wise King Solomon understood this. His poetic expression reminds us of the ebb and flow of life's events on earth. Life is not random. There is a season and a purpose for everything within God's creation.

God called us—our family and others—from America to the Philippines for a specific purpose within a season of life. It began officially in 1991, but God stirred our hearts for this in 1988. It was a combination of things that stirred our hearts.

We were foster parents of two Filipina sisters for several months, along with other foster children. I came to the Philippines for a short-term mission to teach with the ministry I would join two years later.  My friend with that ministry came to the US on a furlough. While visiting with us, his wife shared her heart with Susan. They adopted an abandoned child, Aaron. His story stirred her heart with a burden and vision for an orphanage for abandoned children.

Rs_sharingThe end of Rainbow's role in God's greater purpose

Our role in God's purpose ends this year, but God's purpose continues.

Susan and I, our family, many missionary staff, and our Filipino staff were not the central focus of Rainbow Village. We were partners together with God.

The central focus was always the babies, children and young women we cared for, whom God brought to us. Their life stories continue on as a reminder of God's kindness and care—His love.

We saw many children reunited with their families, or placed in new families all over the world. Young women experienced restoration, and some started their own families.

A change of seasons

Will we miss the ministry of Rainbow and this place? And, our friends and extended Rainbow family? Sure!

But as we look over the last several months, we see Rainbow's season and purpose is completed. More work is to be done, but others will do it.

The seasons and cycles of life continue on. When we look at the bigger picture, as Solomon did, we see our place and purpose within it all.

Beauty and eternity

In verse 11 (Eccl 3:11), We are reminded that God makes every thing beautiful in its time. This is according to His time, not our time.

We are also told that God has put eternity into the hearts of people. God has put a longing in the heart of every person to play a part in His grand story. If, we choose to do so

We may not understand everything, but it's because we only see our part within the larger picture. We only see this within our season of life.


Frustration or fulfillment?

Whatever God does endures. Though things may appear chaotic and random around us, God's purpose prevails.

We need to see this bigger picture and respect Him. If we do not, our life will be filled with frustration and emptiness.

But when we see our role and purpose within God's greater plan, and understand it as one season among a series of seasons throughout the ages—we experience fulfillment.

Do you know your place within God's plan? If not, seek Him and ask Him to show it to you. He will if you're heart is sincere. He's given us a way to know this and to know Him, thru His Son, Jesus.

Looking forward in faith

When one season ends, another begins. Our responsibility is to find our place in God's purpose within each season. Rainbow's season has come to an end.

I don't look forward to the final closing of the gate. I will miss this beautiful place and the life we've been blessed to share in it with others. But I look forward in faith, because I've seen what God let us be a part of these past 23 years at Rainbow.

I hope you can look forward in faith also. My prayer is that you will always seek God through His Son Jesus, to know your place in His family and your purpose within His plan for your life.

Daghang salamat sa Ginoo!

There you have it. It was a full weekend, and it went too fast. It was a time for tears, laughter, and rejoicing.

We're thankful to have shared this time with those who were able to join us. And again, we're thankful for all those who served and supported Rainbow over the past 23 years.

As we say in our place in the Philippines— Daghang salamat sa Ginoo! (thank you so much, Lord!)