Where do we draw the line between contentment and progress?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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My wife and I have been talking about how difficult in life it is to be content.  What does it mean to be content?  Does it mean to be satisfied?  Much of the time people struggle with being satisfied.  Life can be going along just fine, yet a disatisfaction creeps over us and causes us to stir it up, as if to say this is not good enough.

Im not talking about people who have nothing, or who are struggling.  I know people who create struggles because internally they are discontent, and disatisfied.  The truth is this is an internal problem.  It literally has nothing to do with external things.  People at all levels of life and from all different places in life struggle with this.  Its killing marriages, businesses, churches, governments, individuals.  Discontentment reveals an internal void.

Don’t misunderstand me to be saying that contentment and satisfaction means you should never try to do or be better, not at all.   I know people who never make an effort and are discontent, I also know people who are constantly working it out, and struggle being content.

Discontent with our lives, our friends, our spouses, our children, on and on leads to one place.  Isolation.  Being discontented is a vicous cycle that leads to our being disconnected and  shrinks our lives into lonliness, which is the fruit of never being satisfied.

The apostle Paul tells us that contentment is very important in our lives.  That no matter what our state is we should not find ourselves struggling and striving.  It’s not things or people or money that satisfies, it’s Jesus.  No matter what your situtation you can be content, because contentment, and satisfaction are all about internal peace, and when we know the prince of peace, we are settled, we are satisfied, we are content.

So move forward, grow and develop, but don’t expect progress or growth to satisfy.  Don’t expect people, things or money to satisfy, those are all externals.  All those things can be blessings in your life, but only one can give you peace.  Get to know Jesus, and in Him contentment can be found.

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The Heart of a World Changer

Sochan, is a great young Pastor. His wife Esther and his two daughters are so precious and committed to the cause with him. Sochan has a great testimony, he was an orphan Himself, and has for years taken in orphans. I can’t tell you all the story but he has grown into a fine pastor who is over seeing 26 church plants at the moment, as well as several feeding centers responsible for feeding about 500 children a week.

He is a man of integrity, he does what he says he is going to do. He is a man of faith. When God speaks to him he steps out in faith and knows that God will come through. He is a great leader. Gathering partners to help him with his work, all the while creating ways to sustain the work he is doing. He and Esther not only have a heart for orphans, but for the Next generation in general. Every time I see him is surrounded by young people. His heart is to reach the next generation.

His feeding programs, consist of Teaching Bible, Teaching English, Feeding and care for the children. They are truly a shining light, and are without a doubt world changers. There is not a self promoting bone in his body. Everything he does is motivated by his desire to help these kids and build the kingdom of God. I am proud to work with him, and hope to be able to do even more as we work together in the future. Next year we will do a Next generation festival along with the other things we are doing.

If you are interested in helping them continue to help orphans, feed the hungry, and grow churches, please contact me at david.gadberry@harvestokc.com.

Worship is Universal

One of my favorite things is to worship in different cultures. It’s amazing to me how you can be in OKC, Oklahoma, or Rwanda, Africa, or Uganda, or Cambodia or anywhere around the world, and you can find Christians gathering and worshipping. There is nothing like it. The first time i ever experienced it over seas, i just stood there and cried, because it became so real to me that people are serving and worship Jesus everywhere, and its in that worship experience that you truly connect as family. You realize these are my brothers and sisters, this is our Family, Jesus is our brother and God is our Father and we are one! That is the power of Unity, its the power of Family, its the power of the Local church, its the power of Christianity. The worship experience is one of the most compelling experiences in humanity, never be afraid to bring your friends or acquaintances or even strangers into your worship experience, there is something about it that supersedes mere human inhibitions, its a true picture of Gods people lifting up their creator, their savior, their king. Here is a small sampling of our team worshipping with the orphans in the Hope center in Kampong Thom Cambodia. Pastor Sochan, runs several kids programs, where he teaches them english, bible, and worship, and he feeds them, over 500 a week. Sounds like God to me.

The Big Event…

It seems, as Christians, and especially church staff’s and Pastors, that we spend our lives, our time, our thoughts, on the next big event. The next conference coming, the next outreach, the next growth opportunity, the next global trip, or just the next big day at church. I have come to a realization, somewhat slow I guess, since I’ve been in ministry full time over 20 years, that living life waiting for the next big event, or strategy, or opportunity is no way to live. It seems to create a vicious cycle in our lives that in a lot of ways is unhealthy.

It forces us to compete with ourselves, one upping ourselves each time we do something. It creates a dissatisfaction with life, a discontentment. It makes us feel as if the day to day is mundane, boring, and insignificant. As I get older, I am realizing that the day to day, carries the most weight, and the most power for successful living. Its what we do in the day to day that breathes life into the rest.

Why do we do this? Many times its because we don’t have an ongoing vision or direction for our lives really, so we replace it with events, hoping that when tied all together they create something purposeful. Truth be told the only way the big event has purpose is if its merely a piece of the pie. If it is merely a stepping stone to the purpose and vision God has given you.

Another reason we do it, is because it gives us a sense of security, a sense that we’re doing something, we’re not just setting on our hands. Some of us need to sit and be still for a minute and really think about why we’re doing some of the things we are. How much money is spent on doing something “big” because thats what we think is attractive to people, or is the symbol of whether or not we are succeeding. How much time spent preparing for things that have little or no value in the long run.

Now, some of you who know me, will say, “you’re always going from one thing to the next” and that may seem true, and it also may seem that I don’t like events by what I am writing. That is not at all what I am saying. The point I am making is this, what is the purpose of all that you’re doing? What difference is it making in the lives of others? Is it contributing to the over all purpose that God has for you, and your organization?

The big event is not the next big opportunity you have. The big event, is not the next thing you pull off, or your next service, or conference or outreach. The big event is your whole life! Your day to day, minute by minute existence. The whole thing in total is truly the big event! If we try to replace the meaningful with the meaningless because of a feeling of adrenaline or excitement, then we miss the point of life, purpose, and success all together.

So welcome to the big event, the main event! Live it well.

David

Talk is Cheap, Action is Priceless…

I’ve been home a few days now from Cambodia, and have been so excited about the response of people who have kept up with what we are doing in Asia and Africa. First of all thank you to all of you who are praying for us, and for the work that is being done on these continents.

I think we live in a time that is prime for making a difference in our world. The world continues to get smaller and smaller, and more people are getting it. The church is waking up to the responsibility we have to cary the Gospel throughout the world. I love the way we get to carry it. We always Teach and preach, but we also reach. We reach out to people by helping meet real day to day needs in their lives. Its the way Jesus did things and its the way we should do them as well.

James says that faith without works is dead. If you say to someone who is naked and hungry, go your way and be clothed and filled but don’t give them clothes or food, what good does that do. No good at all. So for us to carry the love of Jesus without the corresponding action is nonsense.

Thanks for getting it. Thanks for praying, giving, going, and sharing the Love of Jesus around the world, to all those that are. Not just Harvest but so many great partners out there who are doing kingdom work tirelessly and significantly.

Lets not forget, that the principles we use in global reach, are the same principles we can use right here at home. Your neighbors, friends, relatives, and acquaintances, all need to hear, and see the love of Jesus in action. Our world is looking for the authentic Christian. The real deal, and that is what we can be, and when we are it reaches, it ministers it helps those around us.

I have said before that it is amazing to me, how similar different cultures are, and because of that similar things reach people. So today, use the kindness and love of Jesus, to show someone you care, it could be the very thing that changes their world forever.

Thanks
David