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!

Something to Say about INJUSTICE

Its encouraging to see how many people are becoming aware to the injustices and need around us and around the globe. So many great organizations are taking it as their responsibility to do something about injustice. Many are attacking this plight on humanity called “Human Trafficking.” Slavery is as real today as its ever been in the history of the world. We are going to stop it however, by Speaking out, Reaching out, and Helping out.

Many are attacking the injustice of hunger. There are families right here in the US and around the world, who are hungry. My wife being a teacher sees it all the time. Kids who are not being cared for well, either hungry or sick because of the lack of good food. The issue around the world is unbelievable. Just what I have seen in the places I have been will blow your mind to think that people live in these conditions. We are doing our best to do something about it. Yes these situations occur for different reasons, and truthfully those things need to be dealt with, but in the mean time, we will not let the innocent suffer the injustice because of some judgement we are making. How is this injustice being dealt with? People are Speaking out, Reaching out, and Helping out.

We could go on and on, about poverty, about exploitation, about clean water, about orphans, and homelessness, and when we look at all of this, it makes us afraid, overwhelmed, feel hopeless, and an over all resignation that there is nothing we can do. Truth is the way things change in the world, is by the pattern I’m talking about now. What we can do is very simple, and doable if we truly have passion to do it. Speak out, Reach out, and Help out.

Because I spend time developing ministry and projects to address these issues, and raise money to help with this and take trips to do the work, I have learned something very real. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. Truthfully if everyone did something, we could wipe out, some of the injustice in the world.

So join me in the following.

SPEAK OUT! Do some research, become and expert on the issues and talk about the problems, make people aware of what is going on. Share stories and solutions, force people to get their head out of the sand, and realize we are our brothers keeper. Talk it up.

However without action TALK IS CHEAP!

REACH OUT! So now that you’re speaking out, start reaching out. Align yourself with people who are doing something. Reach out to them and partner up. Reach out to those who are on the front lines and support. Things don’t change because we wish they would. They change because we do something about it. Doing something about it costs money. Some go, and Some send, but everyone can do their part. Don’t remain isolated and indifferent, reach out.

Now you’re speaking out, and reaching out, good, one more step though.

HELP OUT! Its not enough to speak or reach, we must cross the barrier, find out what we can actually do, and do it. When we first started thinking we could do something, it was daunting, but we realized, there are people who stand around overwhelmed, there are people who talk forever about grandiose plans for change, and then there are people who actually take steps, however small, and do something. We decided, we would be the latter. Whether locally, or globally, we would do what we could. What we have found is that over the years, the little we can do, turns in to generational blessings and help for people who are suffering injustice. We starting helping out.

So there you have it. The pattern for change, for dealing with injustice. SPEAK OUT, REACH OUT, HELP OUT!

Please share your thoughts, solutions, and concerns about injustice. Lets right the wrongs around the world.


We can do something…

In the last blog I gave some thoughts and statistics that are really staggering, heartbreaking, and shocking.  Several people responded and most said what most say.  They were outraged, irritated, and frustrated, then went on to say, someone has to do something.  What can we do?

A few years ago, when I became aware of the sex trade, and the unyielding problems that come with hiv/aids internationally the effects of war, and poverty, and the lack in underdeveloped nations, it profoundly effected me.  I always knew about these problems, but you can know, and not really “know.”  I knew mentally, but had never seen it for myself, and I have to say its way to easy for us as Americans to bury our head in the sand and just deny what goes on around the world, and even in the impoverished areas of our own nation.  People think if they just ignore it, it doesn’t exist, but when i took my first trip to Cambodia there was no denying the travesty that exists, and no ignoring the roaring voice in my mind that yelled, “DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!”

My mind realed, i was thinking about all the problems.  starvation, poverty, disease, war, children being orphaned, the sex trade, and so much more, and for a moment i just became overwhelmed.  I was thinking, this is horrible but what can I do?  I mean, really what can I do?  Then I adopted a new thought.  “I can’t do everything, but  I can do something, but what I will never do, is nothing!”

So we have been doing something.  You can read in previous blogs some of the things we are doing, and in future blogs what we are going to do, but I want to give you some thoughts, on how to do something.

Whether local, regional, national, or global you can do something.

1.  make up your mind you will do something. Something, meaning anything that you have the power to do.  Many people do nothing because they think if they can’t do something huge it wont make a difference.  The truth is most of what is making a difference in the world today are things that started by someone saying, i will do what i can, and just grew from there.

2.  Wake yourself up, and those around you up to the need, and take responsibility for it. If everyone is thinking someone else will do it, then no one will.  It takes all of us doing what we can, when we can, where we can, to effect a change.

3.  Brainstorm what you can do. Don’t think that the answer to everything is merely money.  We have lots of resources that are based on talents, and time, and not just treasure.  Yes it takes money but you can do things that make a difference that don’t cost a lot.  Its at least a place to start, and remember our resources go a lot further in the third world than they do here.

4.  Become a partner. Nothing significant will ever be done on any level without partners.  We need each other.  Others need you and you need them.  We all bring something different and good to the table, and working together gets more done than trying everything on our own.  We are developing partners all over the world.

5.  Make people aware. I used to think awareness efforts were a waste of time.  I would say, people need to quit talking and start doing something about it.  Then I realized that with our ability to ignore things awareness is very important.  To do what we do we need financial partners and we have learned that people are motivated by getting a revelation of what is really happening, rather then us just saying we need help.  People need to know that little girls and boys are being sold and bought for sexual perversion.  People need to know that people have no medical care, or no education, or no hope because of corruption or poverty.    When we make people aware it incites a riot on the inside of them, it turns their world upside down and demands action.

6.  Don’t get frustrated when people aren’t as motivated as you about these needs. It takes time and your frustration will only negatively effect you and put an edge on you that will repel people not attract them to help you.

So those are some things I think about.  Just remember you can do something.  So do it.


What we can do

What we can do

How Can I Help? This is the question that many American Christians ask today. The emphasis is not on help but on I. In other words, what can “I” do about it? There are many issues, and when we really start thinking about all the things that need to be done, it can be overwhelming. In our world these issues are not small either, they are enormous it seems. There seems to be injustice everywhere. Injustice is when something is being done to a person they don’t deserve, it is assault on innocence.

I just got back from Africa and the issues there range from poverty, starvation, malnutrition to sex slavery and trade, abuse in every form, and corruption runs rampant through the continent. It is incredible however to see the Christian church alive and well there, and they are literally changing their world. You don’t have to go to Cambodia to find these types of issues. America has its own problems with foster kids, and prison recidivism rates, as well as homelessness and a plethora of abuses.

We all know how overwhelming it can be. We are in good company however. Gideon said, “what can I do?”, Moses said, “what can I do?” Esther said, “What can I do?” The truth is we can’t do everything, and we can’t change the world over night, but we can do something. One thing we can’t do, one thing we can never, ever be guilty of as the church, is doing nothing!

What can we do? What did God say to Moses? He said, “What do you have in your hand?” Moses had the equipment of his occupation, his staff. God is not asking us to do what we can’t He is asking us to do what we can. We have the equipment to do what He wants; we have the ability, skill, and talent. What we can do, is within our reach, it is no further than our next decision.

What can we do? Take responsibility. Realize, the issues that surround us everyday, whether locally, regionally, nationally, or globally are not going away, we can not hide from it, we must stand up and move out. There is a scripture in psalms 119:68 “you are good, and you do good; teach me your statutes.” David basically encapsulates the character of God in one simple statement, and then says, “Teach me how to be like you.” We’ve done well as the church at the first part, being good. We learn about how to grow and develop as a Christian and How to be spiritual, or at least appear that way. We need to begin to practice the second part, doing good. What worked in Cambodia and what is working for us right here in the metro of OKC, is coupling the two characteristics of God. Being good, and doing good. It is living the mission of Christianity, by being Christ to the world. We are spreading the message of Jesus, and we are doing works of kindness like He did, and these two things brought together, will change our world. What can we do? Not everything and we can’t change the world over night, but what the church must not ever be caught doing is nothing. Jesus did something and so can we. Lets tear down old thinking and limitations and then transform our minds, and actions to be that of Christ, and let the world know that in our churches the least of these are being effected and changed, because we are being and doing, what Jesus led us to do.

An eye opening experience

some of the pastors and some of the team a picture of the family at the group home

Yesterday was incredible! We started the day with an early breakfast, and a small meeting as a team, just to talk about the day and what our expectations were and the attitude we wanted to take so we would be the most effective in our ministry to these wonderful people.

After eating we boarded the van to go to a group home for Rwanda survivors. These are homes that are set up with extended family members who come together to help one another. This particular home had several young adults and teenagers, cousins who lost all of their immediate family and were helped by having this home provided for them and receiving support to be able to function. These kids were all trying to get their education and were helping each other live. There were children and early teens and young adults. 32 People in this house. It’s better than nothing, but it’s no near enough space. They are still facing difficulties like money for education, transportation for education and work, and money for medical bills.

We met with them as a team, and after the formal introductions and a bit of small talk, we ask them to tell us their story, one 23 year old young man stood up and begin to speak. He was very unassuming and humble and maybe a little intimidated. I will tell you now the story he told is hard to imagine, hard to even think about, never the less he actually lived it.

He was about 9 years old when the genocide came into full effect, and he was in his home with his mother and Dad and his two sisters. The soldiers busted down the door, they came to kill the family. According to his account they chased his mother and father around the house with machetes and killed them. They then proceeded to chase down his two sisters and killed them both. They came back and got the young boy, and built a coffin in front of him, and told him we are going to bury you in that coffin alive, in fear of such a tortuous death he ran for his life. He hid in the woods and waited to see if it was safe. They had a practice of burning the wooded areas and all the refugees would run out of hiding, when they thought they would burn to death. That’s what they did that day. So when it started burning he ran out of hiding and continue to run, until he ran into a lady who said she would help him, she told him not to worry, then she started berating him for his race, she threw him on the ground and said you are worth nothing, I know this is graphic but true, she then proceeded to urinate on him as if to say you are lower than human waste. She then had him beaten and cut and he showed us scars on his arms and legs and head where he was cut with a machete. They then pulled this nine year old boy who had just watched his mom and dad and two sisters massacred, stripped him of his clothes and tied him in the crucifixion position to a tree, and beat him, and left him for dead, to make sure he would die they set him on fire, then left. Amazingly the fire burned through the ropes and he was spared, when the ropes burned and ran to safety.

As we set listening to the young man it was hard to believe he was standing there in front of us even able to communicate such an occurrence. Can you imagine what this must have done to the mind of an impressionable nine year old boy.

They were made to feel like trash, lower than trash, like nothing. Like they didn’t matter, they were referred to as cockroaches.

As we listened the Lord prompted me to tell them the story of Joseph and how he was abused betrayed and was completely innocent, and how God had given him a vision, and I related to them that God has a plan and purpose for their lives as well, and they should hold on to that and move forward. We then prayed for those who were still suffering physically and emotionally from things that happened during that time, three of them had been shot and still suffer physically as a result.

Pastor Jackson, a man of faith and an excellent spirit is a great visionary and he and his church provide for this home and 23 others. The Church is alive and Well in Rwanda.

We then proceeded back to our meeting hall and had a great first day of conference. The people are wonderful, and have a true heart for God. We did worship, several of our team shared, and I spoke on the identity of being a child of God. The one thing that this nation struggles with is identity. We declared, you are Christian this is your identity, which transcends the thoughts or limitations that man puts on us.

We had a great time with the team and some pastors that with us to hang out, we had some great bacon cheeseburgers, yep that’s right, right here in Kigali. Things are going well, our team is awesome, let me say people of harvest are just a different breed and really live to serve.

Today we start the pastor’s portion of the conference and we hope to help them with church growth, reaching out and leadership development.


My hero part two…

Hero’s are truly all around us.  In my mind a hero is a person who is actively involved in making a positive difference in the lives of others, by sacrificing themselves.  I know numbers of people like this.  People who have been blessed and see life as an opportunity to be a blessing to others.

Hero’s see need and say, something has to be done.  To them this is not a suggestion, rather a statement of fact.  Hero’s never point at others and say you should do something, they take the responsibility themselves and do what they can.

Hero’s realize they don’t have all the answers, and they can’t fix all the problems, but the difference between a normal Joe and a hero, is action. Normal Joe says, “someone should do something,” hero says, “I will do something.”  We can’t do everything, but we can do something, and what we must never do, is nothing!

Whether you are a teacher in the classroom, a professional in business, a mechanic in a shop, a worker in a plant, a doctor in a hospital, a pastor in a church, we can all do something.  Will it take us beyond our level of comfort?  Yes.  Will it require sacrifice?  Yes.  Will it feel like its more than we can do?  Yes.

I think we should all go that extra mile, stretch beyond our boundaries, lead beyond our level, and achieve change.

Pat Bradly, of International Crisis Aid, is one of my hero’s.  Pat is a man who is truly doing things to change the world.  A few years ago he was in a crisis moment of his life, and he asked God to help.  God helped him make a major life change, which saved his marriage and his life.  He has an advertising business and is a blessed man, and is a blessing of a man.  Pat with his non-profit organization International Crisis aid, goes into “no go” zones.  He feeds the hungry, brings medical care to the malnourished, and is helping to rescue young women out of the sex trade, which is modern day slavery that is effecting the entire globe.

Here is a man, who is as down to earth as it gets.  Hes normal, fun, excited about life, has a great family, and is making a difference.  The way you know a person is really making a difference is they will always say, we need to do more, which I hear Pat say frequently.

So Hats off to my hero, Pat Bradly.