A Day of Honor

Today at Summit Church we had what we call a day of honor. We invited the leaders of our community to join us for our worship experience and honored them.

Most importantly we prayed for them and committed to be there for them as a church. I was so proud of our church this morning.

The thing that stood out to me today was how appreciative the leaders were and it dawned on me that city leaders often hear complaints, frustrations, and fears of people, but how often do they hear, “we appreciate you” “thank you for your sacrifice.” 

I believe our church today did just that as they rose in applause of our leaders.

After service leader after leader said thank you and the look on their face was one of refreshing. That’s what appreciation does, it refreshes you.

Lets work to honor leadership in our lives and continue a culture of honor into the next generation.

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Thank God for King Louie!

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I’ll never forget one day when my 17 year old daughter was 5 or 6, we were driving down the road going home.

Her mother and I were talking in the front seat and out of the back seat from her little voice came this phrase, “Thank God for King Louie.”

We said what? She said it again, “thank God for King Louie.”

We asked her what she meant. She begin to tell us how grateful she was for Him because the things He had done made it possible for her to play with her African American friends.

She had just gone through a unit on MLKJ at school and had just gone to a sleep over at her friend Adrian’s house. She put those together and realized in our society years ago unfortunately that probably wouldn’t have been possible.

At first we laughed because she confused his name but then I remembered the famous words in the “I have a dream” speech. He said, “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

I thought to myself to an extent his dream is being realized. I am so thankful that in my families world we live that dream. Our lives are interwoven with diversity. God is no respecter of persons and is a lover of all mankind. Lord, let that be true of all of us.

Many still hold on to their hate and prejudice and many still feel the effects of it, but thank God for “King Louie” who was willing to stand for justice at the cost of His own life.

Today we celebrate Dr Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage to look injustice in the face and articulate the vision to drive it out of our nation. May we all be the personification of His dream.

The Greatest Gift

The greatestest gift is without question Jesus Christ.

As my family grows and I get older the gifts I want become more and more clear and less and less material. Don’t get me wrong I love to get great gifts just like the next person, but when I really think about what I want for Christmas it is for my family to be together, for everyone to be healthy, and cared for and most importantly that myself and my family are serving and intimately connected to God through his son Jesus.

The more I think about it that is all our father God was trying to do when He gave us the best gift ever. Literally the greatest gift known to man.

I love giving gifts: there is nothing like hearing your spouse or kids say, this is the best gift ever! It makes your heart swell to know you hit the mark, you identified what would make the most impact on them and you made it happen. Wow! What a great feeling that is!

There is a scripture that personifies this thought.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:17, 18 NKJV)

And it’s related to this scripture:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17, 19 NKJV)

God saw our world his intended family, He saw the corruption, the confusion, and condemnation and decided to give us a gift. Not just any gift but the greatest gift.

This gift was…

1. Not the most flamboyant, but definitely the most expensive

2. Not the most prominent but definitely the most powerful

3. Not the most popular but definitely the most prolific!

This gift, the greatest gift, was not wrapped in the most beautiful paper but in swaddling clothes, it was not presented to the world in pomp and circumstance but in the humblest of contexts, this gift was the person of Jesus. God himself brought down from majesty to the very minimum of modesty the form of a baby.

This gift…

1. The perfect given son became flesh to become sin

2. The compassionate savior of our souls became sin to become our sacrifice

3. The victor over death hell and the grave became our sacrifice to become our savior.

And all for what?

To bring us as a gift to his father to say father your family is home together, healthy, healed, and whole.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NKJV)

ACTION

Ethnolinguistic map of Uganda.

Image via Wikipedia

As I sit here at the watoto village called Subi I realize the difference between talk and action.  It is clear that much of the church world can talk with the best of them.  We have a tendancy to tell about the things we are going to do, or cast vision about what we should do, but There is a significant difference between talk and action.  We all know this, but when you are in Uganda and you see the results of acting on what you say it is an eye opening experience.

It seems to be this simple for the Skinners.  Uganda has an orphan and Widow problem, we are going to do something about it, lets take them in.  Now what ever that means in terms of practically building facilities, raising leaders, creating a philosophy is merely steps of action on the way to doing something about the problem.

James said, I’ll show you my faith by my works.  Yes we must talk, we must share, we must cast vision, but at some point for things to change, action has to be taken, and if we just keep it simple the “way” to do it will become clear, as long as we are committed to ACTION!

Power in Partnership…

Well, we only have two and half days before we head home.  That seems so fast, but I think everyone will be ready by then.  I would say that the key word to this years global reach to Africa is Partnership.  I have had so much fun this year in building some new relationships and partnering together to make a difference around the world.

God has partnered us with some great people who have a heart like we do to reach the world.  God has put a new friend in my life this last year, that I have grown to value a great deal.  A man named John Osborne.  He is the director of ROC (Rwanda Outreach Coalition), and works at OC in their program to help Rwandan Students as well as working with Christ Church Rwanda.  He has connected me with some more new friends.  Brian Hixton a great man, who has a heart like God.  He cares for people, and is an exceptional planner and details man.  Which just means, he cares a lot.  Pastor David The Senior Pastor at Christ Church and His team, Pastor Rusty, Pastor Eddie, and Pastor Moses.  What a great team.  These men and their wives have made commitments to the cause of Jesus that few have, and it is apparent that God is using them in a mighty way.

We partnered with them in Rwanda, partnered with Watoto in Uganda, partnering through the local church is where its at.  The only way to make a long term impact is to partner with long term local church teams.  I urge all short term missions programs out there, to take a hard look at the way you are doing what you do, make sure it is connected an partnered with a long term local church partner.  If you don’t, you may feel like you are making an impact but in the long run, it’s a shot in the dark.  You can know that your efforts are not in vein and have a long term impact through partnership.

I urge you long termers to use the energy, passion, and gifts of short term teams to help train your teams and give you a big momentum bump when you can.  Ive always been a partnership person, and now more than ever.  Church its time we took the limits off, joined hands, and let God do His thing.

I’m inspired and truly appreciate the power in partnership.  Its a divine principle established by God, lets do it, partner.

We are here safe and sound

sorry it has taken a minute to get this post up, but this is the first time I have gotten to a place to get on the web.  There will be pictures on the next post, later today.

We are having a great time, everyone is doing well and feeling great, we started with a bang last night.  We invited leaders from the next generation from two colleges here in Kigali and had around 280 show up.  We packed the church building out and the worship team really were anointed, its an amazing thing to worship with Christians around the world and realize they serve Jesus just like we do.  The whole team expressed what a great moment it was.  I spoke to them about healthy leaders being dreamers.  It was a great night and a great response.

The team is out today, one group is painting school rooms for the local church here who also runs a school, one of the best in the nation.  This will help them move forward in development and accreditation.  The worship team is practicing and setting up to do a high school assembly this evening, and the other team went to an elementary school in an impoverished area and gave them shoes.

God is doing great things in and through the team.

thanks for all your prayers and support, not only for us on this short term team, but for the ministries here long term likc Christ Church Rwanda, and Rwanda Outreach.

More to come…

Confrontation a Leadership Requirement…Written Notes

So many people look at confrontation as a negative thing. There’s a big difference between confrontation and conflict. If we’re effective at confronting issues and people, then we can avoid a lot of conflict. Confrontation is merely, directly addressing things that need to change in order to teach and train those who are being confronted. This is not a negative, but very much a positive. So here are some thoughts about it.

1. One of the major differences between successful and non successful people is their willingness to confront. Successful leaders are willing, to have the tough conversations, in order to see real change, and forward progress.

2. If you want to lead you have to confront. Confronting is taking a person from where they are to where they need to be. Thats called leadership. To be an effective leader you must embrace confrontation.

3. Avoiding confrontation is just delaying and ensuring a major conflict. Things that need to be confronted but go unchecked ultimately turn into major conflict, and are much harder to deal with than they would have been if the leaders would have confronted them early.

4. You can do it! And do it right. Go into it with their best interest in mind and they will love you for it. If the purpose of your confrontation is to help the person being confronted then it will go well, and they will ultimately love you, for caring enough to confront them.

5. Jesus was a great confronter.
Woman at the well, he lovingly but directly confronted her issues.
The acusers of the adulterous woman and the woman herself, he confronted them for their religious hypocrisy then confronted her sin.
Peter, He confronted peter for his denial.
James and johns power play, He confronted Mary and James and John directly for there attempt at seizing power.

We know it needs to be done, so how do we do it? Here are ten ways to do it.

HOW?

1. Admit it needs to be done. Don’t avoid it because its awkward. If it needs to be done, then do it.

2. Do it in the right time. Timing is everything. Don’t do it in front of others and embarrass someone, don’t hit them while they are down, be considerate of their state of mind when you confront.

3. Pray going in. Always pray before confronting and don’t take it lightly.

4. Use it as a teaching moment. Its not about who’s right, or who’s wrong, its not just about pointing out faults. Its about teaching them, and helping them grow.

5. Be positive and caring, John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.” its true. Be positive and caring, make it clear you love them, and care about their life.

6. No hinting or beating around the bush. Get straight to the point. You can lay a foundation, and ground work for what needs to be said, and many times that is necessary, but don’t hint, or assume they get it. Be direct, come to the point, just say it. If you are not direct you will confuse them and the situation will get worse.

7. Tell them what their getting right. Don’t just point out their faults, but let them know you see the great things they are doing well, and this is just an opportunity to teach them to do even greater things.

8. Act the same to them, let them know you see past it. After the confrontation is over, don’t be awkward around them. Deal with it, forgive it, and move on.

9. Don’t take forever. Get it done. Confrontation doesn’t have to take too long. I realize that there are some situations that need more time, and if its that big a deal, there probably needs to be some counseling. If it’s just a correction, it should only take a few minutes.

10. Don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. No Drama, Minimize, don’t maximize. Don’t let it have a life of its own. Its just a correction, its not the end of the world.

So there are my thoughts on confrontation. Hope it helps.