Global Reach for Justice Africa 2014

I have the same anticipation that I get every year, when we begin our Journey to the Great Continent. As usual we will make stops in Uganda and Rwanda. Two places that God has truly put in our heart.

Global Reach for Justice is a local church ministry partnering with local churches around the world to effect positive change.

It is our goal on this trip to help the marginalized and to train leaders to continue to do so. To do our part in the over all scheme of Gods will in this nations.

Really I we want is to know that we have made a difference in one way or another.

This year I am doing something I have never done before. A mentoring trip. Two young men who see missions as a part of the dream of their life, a purpose for their life are going with me for the purpose of making a present difference, but more importantly to learn and develop thoughts, strategies and plans for their future in being global leaders. People who see the world as their home and fearlessly pursue the will of God to Go into all the world and carry this message.

My goal on this trip is to train, develop and poor into their lives the minimal knowledge and understanding that someone else gave me, so that together now and in the future, we can continue to help people around the world.

Leaders we can’t fear new leaders growing and developing we must empower them to do so. So we can see everything God wants us to do come to pass. Instead of fearing that they will be different, or that they will do it better we better hope that they do, or the dream will die.

Make sure what you are doing is not just providing for the present but that it is looking into the future and preparing to make a difference in the world has yet to come.

What is your AFRICA? Who are you taking with you?

The instability of Insecurity

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Insecurity creates an instability that is much like walking on sand. I was recently walking along the beach, what serenity the ocean always provides, and I love it.

We walked right beyond where the waves were coming in, because it was a bit cool. So we were walking on sand that had been patted down significantly from others walking on it.

It was hard, no give in it. It was like a solid surface. It was interesting though when we decided to venture out a little and get our feet wet.

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There was an immediate change in the surface we were walking on. The hard surface became immediately pliable and lacked stability. As a matter of fact if we weren’t careful the water could almost pull the footing right out from under us.

I have found insecurity to be much the same way. Insecurity is all about appearances. How do things look? How do they feel? On the outside things can appear great and much of the time our security is based, not on internal confidence but rather on, what other people think about us.

This is why when someone falls from greatness we are all shocked. “I can’t believe that would happen to them,” we say, because most of what we saw looked stable, but if we could see through all the pretense we would see the ground under them is not stable, but shifty. Add the right amount of pressure and it all comes tumbling down.

Jesus tells a story in the Gospels about a man who builds his house on the sand and one who builds on stone. Storms come to both their lives but the one with the real foundation, the stone foundation stood while the one on sand was completely destroyed.

Our foundation is the application of truth as opposed to the mere appearance of truth.

Insecurity is fear based on deceit. Lies that say “you will be rejected” or “you can’t trust anyone,” or “everyone is against you.” These lies force us to pretend, but in the end the truth comes out. Because the right amount of pressure will knock your pretend life born out of insecurity to the ground.

Stability and security are born out of confidence in the truth. Insecurity is about pretending. It’s not what something looks like that makes it stable it’s authenticity that is the foundation that can not be moved.

So…

1. Be real

Admit where things really are and make a plan to improve.

2. Be true

Drop the need for people approval and live to please God and His purpose for you

3. Be secure

Place your confidence In a loving father God who is generous and powerful

QUESTIONS:

1. How has insecurity created instability in your life or the life of someone close to you?

2. What are you doing about it?

3. How can I pray for you?

Drama

I think leaders, ministry leaders especially, are constantly dealing with drama.

Trying to figure out the balance between caring for people and managing the seemingly constant bombardment of drama that some people cary with them.

At times we think that if we dismiss someone’s incessant drama we will be perceived as someone who doesn’t care.

We don’t want to neglect those with legitimate need. What I have found to be true over 25 years of ministry is if we allow ourselves to be controlled or caught up by those who continually stir up, participate in and talk about negative things all the time we will neglect those who are in desperate need of our help.

Let’s face it, we want to help everyone and we want to be seen as pastoral so we tolerate those who live and breathe drama.

I learned long ago that there are those who want and need constant attention, and even if there is not a problem they will create one so they feel normal. Their normal is chaos and what makes them feel good is not coming out of the chaos but bringing others into the chaos. They have an issue with wanting emotional control.

The only way to break free from emotional control is to say no.

No

I will not let you dominate my time.
I will not let you project your drama on to me.
I will not let you suck the life out of me

Have you ever thought that freedom for that person lies within the parameters that others set for them. If there is no demand there will be no supply.

Meaning, if they run out of places to take their drama, the drama will subside.

So when dealing with those who thrive on drama, don’t worry about the accusations of you not caring or loving etc. If we entertain that type of thinking we fuel the fire of drama.

You care most when you clearly understand the situation and act appropriately, and sometimes the appropriate response is no.

It’s this simple don’t let their bondage become your prison. Give them the key to unlock themselves.

God has not Forgotten You

In Mark 5 there are two intersecting accounts that equally reveal the power of God and the action that moves Him. Faith.

One is the story of a woman struggling for years.  Having lost all of her resources, left to accept her fate and die. She hears about Jesus and acts on her faith. She decides that if she touches Jesus he whole situation would change and she was right. She pressed through the crowd touched him and was made well.

When she touched Jesus he was on his way to Jairus house.

Jairus, a great leader in the community had a desperate situation,  his daughter was gravely ill. He was so distraught, his status meant nothing, his influence meant nothing, his wealth meant nothing.  When he saw Jesus he fell to the ground in front of him and asked, “will you heal my daughter?” Jesus said yes I will.

On his way there he was interrupted by the faith of the woman. After his encounter with the woman, Jairus servant arrived on the scene and told his master, “no need to bother the master further, your daughter is dead.”

The words were final, cold, and must have caught Jairus off guard as the truth of them settled on his heart.  “Dead”, that word is so harsh. Have you ever thought about what Jairus must have thought in that moment. His answer was on its way but seemingly too late. If only Jesus had not been interrupted, if he had not stopped, maybe his daughter would have lived. Why does the women get healed and his daughter die?  Did Jesus forget?  Did He not care? 

In that moment despair, grief, fear, anger, sadness and regret must have landed on him like a ton of bricks. Should he have just stayed with his daughter, was this foolish to run after Jesus hoping he could cure her, had his desperation drove him insane?  Why? Why? Why? 

He believed just like the lady, he humbled himself, he asked for help. What more could he have done? 

He felt alone, abandoned, shocked, and his whole world seemed to be unraveling right before his eyes.

Jesus must have seen the sheer terror on his face.  He arrested his thoughts and said with an uncanny confidence. “Jairus, don’t be afraid, only believe!” Only believe, as if to say it’s time to stop all the torrent of thoughts racing through his mind. Don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t grieve, don’t be distracted, only believe.

Today if you feel alone, forgotten, isolated, disappointed, stop listening to the wrong voices, bring the crazy thoughts of doubt, fear, and discouragement to a screeching halt and Only believe. No matter how final things feel to you, nothing is final to God.

Help is on the way, He’s not late, He’s not forgotten you. It doesn’t matter how things feel or look, ONLY BELIEVE.

Just like Jesus rescued the daughter of Jairus he can and will rescue you.

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.

Lead Them There

Was getting my hair cut today, and as always having a good conversation with the girl who cuts my hair. Really nice lady.

She said, she hates it when people come in wanting their hair styled and say I really dont want to do anything with my hair. She said this happens all the time.

The obvious question is then why are you here? What is really happening is that person is trying to get the stylist to decide for them. She said she’s learned the best way to handle this is not to decide for them because they may not like what you do.

The best thing to do is to talk to them and lead them to a decision by helping them define what they want.

There are huge leadership implications here.  

Our role as leaders many times is not to decide for those who follow us but to lead them to a decision.

This takes communication, patience, and clear vision.

How does this relate to you and your leadership? Talk to me.

Its not the Drowning but the Fear of it.

I’ve always loved the Biblical account of Peter walking on the water with Jesus. It is an incredible miracle, and unbelievable opportunity and a massive step of faith for Peter. Not only that but we have gleaned such great leadership teaching and phrases from it. Like…

“If you want to walk on the water, you have to get out of the boat.”

or

“Faith is all about focus, when Peter took his eyes off of his source and onto his circumstances he began to sink.”

or

“Its safer standing on the water in a storm in faith, than it is being in the boat in fear”

All of these statements have such truth in them. They teach us that faith is not about feelings its about focus. Another lesson is that true faith adventure in life is about taking a calculated risk. One of the most significant lessons we can take from this, is the will of God is the safest place to be, period.

My thought today about this account is simple, and a truth that I have embraced as I have matured (nice way of saying, getting older).

The real fight, the real battle with the devil, is not the big things. Its not the massive storms, its not the life challenging, attacks. Those are diversions from what is really going on.

The waves didn’t make Peter sink. The wind didn’t make Peter sink. The water didn’t make Peter sink. The fact the Peter wasn’t supposed to be able to walk on the water didn’t make him sink.

The culprit in this account, the enemy that caused the fall. The activity that brought his dissension was simple. It was his own mind, and the fear erupting in it.

In our lives especially when it seems like everything around us is about to sink us, don’t become preoccupied focusing on those things, realize in that moment, the enemy is coming after your mind. He will say things like, this is impossible. Why would Jesus call you out here? Have you noticed the confusion all around you? What business do you have thinking you can do something like this?

The enemy is sly. He is tricky. If something is big and in your face from him, realize, that is not his ultimate goal. The ultimate goal, is the simple little thoughts that always seem to come in the form of a question. Not merely a question but a doubt phrased like a question. I can hear it now when the snake tempted Eve, “Did God say?…” satan knew full well that Jesus was the Son of God, yet, in tempting Jesus he said, “if you are the son of God” questioning his identity.

When your kid is sick or there is a lingering problem, that you can’t seem to get resolved, does the thought not cross your mind, “where is God?” Why isn’t he doing something?” I submit to you, that is where the battle is. Not in the circumstance, not in the boisterous problem. Not the wind or the waves, not in the drowning, but in the fear of it.

Meet the devil on his turf, don’t let him fool you. Don’t let it become about the the circumstance. Surprise him by meeting him at the point of his deceit and challenge those doubt filled thoughts that he is using on your mind, and subject them to the will of God. RESIST him and he will flee. The exciting part is, the moment you do, circumstances change.

One last example. Ive heard people say, I don’t want to do to much for God, I don’t want the devil to attack me. What you don’t realize is, he already has. His attack was sneaky, but powerful. He has intimidated you with the thought that something bad will happen if you do something good. So he wins. There you sit, doing nothing, because your afraid. HE WON! Don’t let him win, take his lies and deceit head on and demolish them with the truth!

When you realize what his game is, then you can beat him at it.

Just a thought.