30th birthday

Was like. 

Last night, what I would guess was around 20,000 people gathered to celebrate 30 years of Watoto church ministry. 

To try to describe this would sound at best like sheer exaggeration, and at worst inarticulate, however I will try to let you in in one of the greatest experiences of my life. 

A night filled with beautiful, passionate voices, and skilled traditional, as well as modern dance weaving a story throughout the night of the burden, vision, and fulfillment of a dream given to Gary and Marylin Skinner who, when receiving it must have been overwhelmed by it, while not being able to see in full what has actually become of it.   A dream that has fought cultural, spiritual, and economic battles to exist, and might I say has come through in victory on the other side. A dream that is consistantly and continually giving a hand up spiritually, economically and culturally to an amazing city of Kampala and Nation of Uganda. 

Everything about the beginnings of this, it’s place in history, the nationality of its leaders, the dream itself screams “this wil never work!”  Yet 30 years later to call it a success would be to underestimate it on every level. 

The stories as told through music, media, readings, narration and the fact that the story tellers are not acting out the life if another, rather were telling their very own story. The sincerity and authenticity of that left me in tears most of the night. 

Stories of the most graphic unspeakable horrors that can be perpetrated on one human being to another. They didn’t stop there but went on to finish the stories with the hope and forgiveness that only Jesus Christ can bring in any circumstance. 

I want to give specific examples but it would be impossible because one would lead to another and another and another. Stories of devastation followed by hope and forgiveness. I guess you should have been there. 

All this was capped off with Israel Houghton leading one of the best worship sets I’ve ever heard and what must have been 20,000 people singing, dancing, rejoicing in our great God and Savior Jesus Christ in a unity I have rarely felt anywhere, ever and the energy level was off the charts. To tell the truth the rapture of the church would having been fitting at the end of that night. Just another level. It was all culminated in a song befitting these victorious Ugandans and their understanding of the testimony God has given them. “I am not forgotten”

I am not forgotten 
God knows my name 
He knows my name

And I will praise Him for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Light in the darkness
The father to the fatherless 
Strength in my weakness
He knows my Name

At the very end the combined Watoto children’s choir and the Watoto church choir which must have been 250-300 people strong. Sang a song about rising from the ashes, and as they sang hundreds of floating lanterns rose from the back of the stage and filled the night sky, leaving us with a visual affirmation of a people who have and are rising from the darkness carrying a great light. THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

We left their last night lifted, strengthened, refreshed, convicted, and empowered. 

Let me just say this, without being presumptuous, for the sake of the spiritual hunger in your church, for an opportunity to make a difference in the world, for perspective and hope, do yourself a favor and get connected to Gary and Marylin Skinner and Watoto church. So many ways to get involved, so much benefit to your church in eternal, purposeful ways. 

I love the church, and Watoto church like all of us is not perfect, but are what I believe Is one of the best examples of what God intends for the church to be. 

The idea that #wecandosomething is the way they live every single day. 

http://www.watoto.com
http://www.watotochurch.com

Advertisements

Uganda

Today was our first full day in Uganda, and it was an excellent time. We woke this morning and had breakfast with some of the team here and just talked about what God was doing in our lives.

We then had the good fortune of being able to visit the bulrushes the ministry to rescued babies by Watoto church. One of the most unique ministries I’ve seen in the world.

A ministry that truly rescues babies from trash heaps, public toilets, some who’ve been buried alive and others who were picked out for sacrifice to whatever god would demand such a thing.

Babies who were unloved and unwanted, for whatever reason. There is hope for such children in Uganda because of a special place called Watoto. Watoto this year is celebrating some significant landmarks. 40 year marriage anniversary of the senior Pastors Gary and Marylin Skinner, there 30th year as a church, and the 20th year committed to child care ministries.

Watoto is one of the great churches in the world! We are so excited as a church and as Global reach for Justice to be partnering with such an amazing church and vision.

The team of this great church are compelled and compelling people. I am stirred with passion every time I get around them. Their culture of compassion exudes from their very pours. They love God and love people, and I believe they are one of the great innovators of our day.

I could go on and on with stories of at risk women who’ve been helped and orphans who’ve been taken in and lifted to places and opportunities unavailable to them otherwise, or churches that have been planted and lives changed. The truth is Watoto church is an incredible extension of the hand of God in a beautiful nation, and what’s more they are a huge inspiration to the church at large. If you think your facing an impossible task read the history and bio of Watoto church and realize if God says to do it NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

I’m inspired to reach my community, region, nation for Jesus. I’m inspired to love people, beyond their problems and weaknesses. I’m inspired to give people and hand up and not insult their dignity by giving them a hand out. I am inspired to do what we can to effect positive change.

Tonight I go to bed happy to have held and fed little Ruth, who will live a fruitful life, fed, clothed, educated, cared for and most importantly loved. It was my honor and privilege to pray for her and declare the word of God over her life and I have no doubt God rescued her for great purpose. Now lets go about the business of rescuing all those around us who desperately need it.

Born for Hope

John 18:37 NKJV)

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 

hope[ hohp ]

The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

>>>we live in a point in History where hope is challenged everyday. 

What steals our hope?

>Deception
>Greed
>Hatred
>Bitterness 
>Hard and difficult circumstances
>Condemnation and judgement 
>Conflict in the whole world
>Violence
>A constant bombardment of information of the worst actions of mankind. 

>>>>However, no matter what happens, what the circumstances are, what is going on around us, if we have Christ we have hope!

Anne Frank said…

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

>>>In life we will have disappointments, its inevitable, as Christians we will have tribulations but Jesus said we should be of good courage, because Christ has overcome the world. 

Martin Luther King Jr said…

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

>>>>I think of the passing of the great South African liberator Nelson Mandela, who from a jail cell, had such hope for reconciliation, such hope for a love and harmony between the races that he lead a movement from a jail cell for 27 years, and His hope brought him out of that cell and into the presidency and to accomplishing that which he hoped could be accomplished. 

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 15:13  

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Jesus was born to bring us hope. 

>With Jesus there is always hope
 
No matter your circumstances there is hope in Jesus.

>Because Philippians says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you 

>No matter the lack in your life there is hope in Christ, the word says “my God shall supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory. 

>No matter the problems or issues in your life there is hope in Christ. The word said In CHRIST all the promises of God are yes and amen. 

Break the Bottle

Romans 12:1 (AMP)

1I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

Definition of worship:

reverence honor and homage paid to God
formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage to God

Break the Bottle.

Mark 14:3-9 (NKJ)
3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.

1. A woman boldly Came.

Praise and worship is something we do on purpose. It’s a choice we make, a decision that we come to. Its not a feeling, its not a gathering, its not a night, it’s a decision.
When David Brought the ark back into Jerusalem he decided to worship radically.
When Miriam arrived on the other side of the red sea, she decided to take a moment and worship him.

When this woman who had so much sin, who had been delivered from so much pain, basically couldn’t take it any more and decided to worship Him.

When The children of Israel walked around the walls of Jericho, they were instructed but had to make a decision they would do it.

2. Have an alabaster flask of Very Costly Perfume…And she Boldly Broke it.

Worship is a “using what you have” experience
Worship is a “giving it all” experience
Worship is a “sacrificial” experience
Worship is a bold experience

I Chronicles 21;24

Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”

3. Some people don’t like boldness.

Some times people don’t understand why we worship the way we do. They don’t
Get the faith in it, or the celebration of it. It makes them uncomfortable. They’re not
uncomfortable seeing this kind of behavior in other areas but for some reason
When it comes to praise and worship they just can’t take it, it offends their pride.
It offends their religious thinking.

They said this is too much, we could have given that to the poor, too much?….to much for the king of Kings, too much for the Creator of all?….too much for our savior?….no its never too much.

David’s wife Michael mocked him, david continued to worship with complete surrender

The People of Jericho mocked Israel, and the walls fell

Regardless if people understand it, regardless if people are to religious for it, regardless if peoples pride hinders them, Our King, our savior is deserving of our praise and worship….we must give it to him.

4. What she does is good.

God created us to worship Him…..Everything created was created to worship its Creator. Jesus said even the rocks will cry out…revelations 4 says we were created to worship him.

5. Our praise and worship is our breakthrough….its the fragrance of our lives

When we praise and worship God in advance of our solution we are doing it in faith. It is like a sweet smelling savor to God, and brings unbelievable results in our lives.

Paul and silas after being beaten, prayed and sang praises to God and their chains fell off, and the chains of those around them fell off.

6. How do we praise and worship God

Don’t misinterpret our worship for the expressions of it. Worship is the embodiment of bringing glory and reverence to God, based on who He is. The expressions of that worship are many.

Singing,
Playing instruments
lifting hands,
Dancing
giving
Shouting
on and on the biblical methods of the expression of worship go…

but worship is our everyday being the believer, the Christian, the church God has called us to be, paying homage to God and bringing glory to His name.

No more talk of how bad it is, and who doesn’t care, and what are they going to do about it, lets let the fruit of our lips be praise to God.

Every time its hard…Break the bottle,
every time we get a bad report, Break the bottle,
every time our family doesn’t act right…break the bottle
every time we are facing a challenge….break the bottle
instead of complaints….break the bottle and let the fragrent smell of our worship go up before God and see what happens.

When we break the bottle we are fully pouring our lives out on Christ and saying Jesus you are Lord, and I reserve nothing of myself for myself, but I give it all to you.

Mission Accomplished

When you take a short term missions trip the goal is to come along side local churches in different nations to resource, strengthen, and help in whatever way you have ability to help.

What usually happens however is as much as you want to make a difference, the greatest difference made is in you.

You are inspired, gain perspective and most importantly build some life changing relationships.

We did what we came to do. Helped orphans, street kids, several local churches and trained pastors and leaders.

God did what he sent us to do. Used us to make a difference in the lives of many while awakening each of us to higher heights and deeper depths spiritually. 

Mission accomplished.

Everyone Doing their Part

Today is an excellent day in Cambodia. The team did a work day at the hope center in Kampong Thom and Janae and I attended the new life staff retreat. We heard some great teaching and had the honor of teaching and praying over the staff.

This afternoon and evening the team are having a game time and ministry time with the orphans and attending and helping with an English class.

We will continue the retreat tonight. Believing God to truly use us to make a difference. Helps us to encourage and strengthen the church here in Cambodia.

Please continue to pray for the team. Thanks for the part you played in sending us.

The Church World Wide

I’ve said this many times but it rings as true today as much as ever. The church of Jesus Christ is alive and well and on the rise around the World.

As I told a room full of leaders and pastors in a village in Kampong Thom this morning it’s powerful to think that we have brothers and sisters all over this world because of our relationship with our father God through His Son Jesus.

The church is truly the expression of the love of Jesus. In all cultures, languages, and nations the church brings hope to the world.

I love Cambodia. The people here are so endearing, and full of faith, even in harsh circumstances.

Global Reach for Justice is doing what we can to make a difference in the world. James 1:27