IN ALL ERNESTNESS


Haiti…in the shadow of the quake.

As I sit here at my computer in the safe comforts of my home I find the words hard to come by. What do you say when a country you love so much, when a people who have stolen your heart, when a son you long to hold and bring home have been through so much…are going through so much? We have watched CNN and other news sources basically non-stop, Anderson Cooper has become a fixture in our home, our twitter and facebook accounts have been on overdrive and our computers are being tested as we scour blogs from friends and acquaintances looking for information.

The mixtures of emotions take their toll as fear ravishes us as we wait without word to find out that our son in Haiti is okay, elation follows when we finally find out that he along with others we greatly care about are okay, then heartbreak as we think about those under the rubble and of those crying out in agony because words can’t express the depth of their loss.

I have been fortunate enough to walk the streets of Port Au Prince and other areas in Haiti. I have looked into the faces of those who live there, I have climbed the mountains and swam in the waters. It is a country with little when it comes to possession but much when it comes to pride and resilience. Their smiles light up the place despite their lacking and you heart is warmed as each person you pass greets you with a pleasant “Bonjour!” I love that country, I love those people, and now my heart breaks for them. A friend of mine once shared a Haitian proverb with me that I found to be true. It says, “When you go to Haiti it will break your heart and you never leave with all the pieces.”

As I think about the quake two questions came to mind…

Why? Why did this have to happen? I can’t fully answer that but I do know that my God is good and He is in control and He can make beauty from the ashes…I see this as I witness the needs of the Haitians being brought to the forefront…not just the needs from the quake but the needs they face everyday. The fact that 80% of Haitians don’t have access to clean water, the unemployment rate is estimated to be around 60 percent, the literacy rate is approximately 45 percent, 80% of the population lives in abject poverty and the unemployment rate is estimated to be nearly 90 percent as half the population of Haiti earns $60 or less per year. The fact that there were 1.2 million orphans in Haiti (who know what that number will be now). The fact that we live in such comfort as there are those such as Haiti who live so much without.

What? What can we do? How can we help? It is not feasible for you and I to jump on a plane and run over there. In fact, their resources are so limited that if we were to how would they feed us and provide shelter for us when they can’t provide the same things for themselves. So what do we do? We pray! Then we pray some more! Pray for the Livesays and McHouls in Port Au Prince. Pray for Lori and Licia and the others at the Rescue Center in Cazale. Pray for Pastor Henry and Mrs. Gladys and the others at Canaan. Pray for all who are in Haiti. God is able to do exceedingly above all we can ever ask or think. Then we give! Give of your time getting the word out. Give of your finances. As Americans we whine about the recession we are experiencing but we are still a blessed people. Give to organizations like Compassion who are providing for the needs of the Haitians. A $35 donation to Compassion can provide food and water to a Haitian family for a week. Buy a Help Haiti shirt in which 100% of the proceeds go directly to those in Haiti. Don’t forget. As the days began to pass don’t allow the everyday hub of life cause you to forget the people in Haiti that need your help and prayers. And then, if you can, adopt. As previously stated there are over 1.2 million orphans in Haiti. They need a home…could that be your home? They need a family…could that be your family? They need love…could that love come from you?

God, we pray that your love and mercy will flood the country of Haiti. We pray that your greatness and your glory will be shown. We pray for the loss and teh devastation the people of Haiti are experiencing and pray that you would fill them with the peace that passes all understanding. We pray for us, as we live in the comforts of one of the richest nations in the world and watch these events take place in one of the poorest, that we will moved to action. – Amen

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This is what Jesus looks like…

My wife directed me to this video today. It directly fits into the many conversations we have been having lately regarding our own family and our own lives. This is what Jesus looks like. Too many times we go to church and we play church but what if we actually were the church? What if we truly became the church to the world around us? What would that look like? What impact would that have? What if? What if I, what if you choose to be Christ and to be the church to those around us?



Where does my help come from?
April 9, 2009, 10:12 pm
Filed under: life, love, ministry, people, prayer, religion, Uncategorized, whatever | Tags: , , ,

The battle rages. The war tarrying on. When will it ever end? Is victory in sight. I grow weary. My body, my mind, my soul; how they ache…tired from battle and wondering how much longer can I go on? How long until victory is obtained? Will it be obtained? Every time I think I have gained the advantage, that I have taken the higher ground, the momentum shifts swiftly and I find myself fighting again. I can’t do this on my own…I need reinforcements. I need rescue! But who will rescue me? Who can rescue me? Oh yes, it is He, my Savior, The Liberating King, Jesus Christ!

Oh, how often does my life reflect the battle Paul spoke of in Romans 7.

Spirit v. Flesh
Faith v. Fear
Confidence v. Doubt
Love v. Anger
and the list goes on…

Paul ends the narrative of his struggle with, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Thanks be to God that through Jesus Christ our Lord we have the victory!

In Him we find true salvation. That’s what Easter is all about. Salvation. The thing we fail to remember sometimes is that salvation comes through resurrection and resurrection only occurs through death…and death as we all know, hurts.
May we find true salvation in Jesus Christ and as we strive to follow Him may we die to self daily so we may become more like Him.



Making a difference…

I want to start out by asking you to read this blog when you are finished here. It is a really good story of the journey a great and close friend of mine is beginning to travel. I am excited to see where the journey leads…

I really think it is an awesome thing to be able to see people as they begin to think beyond the norm, think beyond themselves, and dare to change…dare to be change. I think one of the best questions we can ask is “How can I make a difference; how can I create change?” It is when we allow ourselves to think this way and act upon the answers to these questions that we unleash a powerful, wild side of who we were meant to be. I truly feel that none of us were created to live just for and be about ourselves, rather to live in community; in relationship and with a desire to help, to make a difference, to create a positive change in the world and in others lives. There is something freeing; something liberating about being about giving, caring, loving others with a wild abandonment. To dare to be different; to make a difference. It has been said that we are never more like Christ than when we give ourselves away.  This is an expression of love and we are called to Love God/ Love People. Pretty simple isn’t it? Simple to say. sometimes harder to do.

My challenge to you…dare to be different… Dare to make a difference…Dare to create change…Ask yourself, “What can I do to create change, what can I do to make a difference?” Then, when you get the answer…do it! Don’t think about it, don’t over analyze it, just do it!

Don’t forget to read my friend’s story here!



….

sometimes words are not sufficient…



Daring to Dream

I have deep within a passion to be a part of something bigger than myself. To be a part of change; to make a difference. One of my greatest fears is to slip into the rut of complacency and live the life of the mundane. I am more interested in living life than making a living. I want to do more than just exist. I have a burning passion to travel the world and touch, and love, and feed, and clothe, and give drink, and minister, and be ministered to by the least of these. I want to help out churches, missionaries, and brothers and sisters all around as they strive to do the same. I yearn to be a part of that kind of life. This is the thing that when I think about it or talk about it my heart begins to beat faster, and my palms begin to sweat, and mind begins to travel in a million directions.

I also want to help others to be able to do the same. I am tired of just telling people about faith and about what it looks like, and examples of it in the Bible. I want to go beyond that and mobilize people to be able to live faith, to experience faith, to own their own faith and then to go out share it with others. Don’t just tell people they need to love God and love people but show them what it looks like and give them opportunities to do it.

What is your dream; your passion?



The Season of Lent…
February 24, 2009, 10:02 pm
Filed under: justice, life, love, ministry, people, prayer, religion, Uncategorized, whatever | Tags: , , ,

Tomorrow begins Lent in the Christian calendar. Growing up I always looked at Lent as something Catholics did and it didn’t pertain to me. I mean, it was nothing more than just a religious ritual…right? But then again so is everything else we do in the name of Christianity and religion if we end up doing it out of habit or obligation. Lent, I have found out, is like any other Christian “tradition” or “ritual”; it all has to with your heart and your motives.

For 40 days we have the opportunity to give up something; to sacrifice something in the name and for the sake of Christ. Not to say, “Look at me – look what I am doing for God! What a great Christian I am!” and not to sat, “Woe is me God, look at all I am giving up for you, I hope you’re taking notes!” It’s a beautiful opportunity to lay aside self; to lay aside something we enjoy, something of worth to remind us of the love and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus, The Liberating King. As we yearn and desire these things our minds are reminded of the purpose of this fast and is refocused on Christ. It is an opportunity to purposely break ourselves of comforts and pleasures to draw us back to Christ.

As we begin the season of Lent tomorrow, if you have never participated I challenge you to lay aside any pre-concieved notions and any poius opinions you may have and consider what you could give up, what you could sacrifice in honor of your King, in honor of drawing closer Christ, The Liberating King, The Lover of your soul.

If you have practiced Lent my challenge would be that you approach it with a new sense and appreciation for what it is about. Approach it as a new oportunity to search self and come to God anew. Don’t approach Him out of mere tradition or ritual, approach Him with a pure and clean heart.

In Isaiah 1 it says, “‘The multitudes of your sacrifices – what are they to me?’ says the Lord. ‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and of the fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs, and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, the trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings!…wash and make yoursleves clean. Take your eveil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong. Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the fatherless, pleasd the case of the widow. Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. ”

Let us go before the Lord with broken hearts and open ears. May we search oursleves and our lives and our motives and approach Him in sincerity and genuiness. May we use this time of Lent, these 40 days preceding Easter, to redirect our hearts, our minds, and our souls to Him!