Browsing All Posts published on »December, 2011«

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part IV)

December 31, 2011


The experience of preparing to go to Africa and my time in Africa was revealing to me that the importance we place on our actions is a misleading one. The motions that we externally go through in this life are less meaningful than our reasons and driving motivation for doing them. It is our attitude and the condition of our heart that moves us to action which is the single most crucial aspect of walking out our faith. God is concerned first and foremost about the condition of our soul more than our vain human attempts to deceive others into believing that we are better than we actually are. Is it not from out of the abundance, the overflow of our heart that the mouth speaks? Doing the right things for the wrong reasons earn us nothing except perhaps the deception of others and their misguided praise.

I am reminded of Jesus’ admonition to remember Lot’s Wife. She heard the message of warning from the angels to leave the city before it was destroyed. She acted upon that knowledge and left the city with her family. She was with people being saved, BUT she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. What’s up with that? It’s not like she didn’t do anything; she at least made an attempt, she went through the motions, she was with others getting saved but in the end she is lost, turned into a pillar of salt. How different is she from the countless folks who dutifully take their seats in the pews of churches each Sunday morning and go through the motions and the rituals of religion without the understanding the spirit behind the actions? They are hearing the message and with others getting saved yet I can’t help but wonder if their fate will be any different than that of Lot’s wife.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part III)

December 30, 2011


For all my myriad of faults, when I commit to a work, I am invested in going the distance. So when I formally confirmed that I would be going to Tanzania, come hell or high-water, I was going to find myself in Africa. It was then the problems began to pile up. The ‘old’ me would have expected this, but as I mentioned previously, I was just getting my spiritual footing again in the area of service. I should have been familiar with this ‘cause and effect’ process by now, but apparently I had become spiritually rusty as of late.

The principal is this. Whenever someone takes a step of faith, the one thing that you can count on is that problems will begin to surface. It seems as if the entire world, previously occupied in a plethora of various disparate pursuits, is suddenly solely focused on providing reasons for you to second guess your step of faith and the excuses to extricate yourself from the commitment begin to pile up. It’s the Death of the Vision principal. God gives you a vision of something amazing that you can accomplish or be part of and immediately afterwards, the world conspires to killing the vision. At that point, you can give up and walk away; many people do BUT if you move forward in faith, holding true to the original vision, the vision which had died is miraculously resurrected, frequently even bigger.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part II)

December 29, 2011


Everyone is wired differently. The things that motivate one person may fall flat when used to motivate someone else. I have found that I am wired to be needed. Let me clarify. If someone approaches me with a request that I can’t turn down (the Godfather request); basically telling me that I have to do something, then my first instinct is to dig my heels in and resist, regardless of whether or not I want to do it OR have the spare time to do it. Reason usually wins out in the end and I determine whether or not I can fully commit to the request or not.

However, if someone approached me and I am there last option and instead of telling me that I have to do it, they appeal to me based on their valid need for me to help them out; then I have a hard time saying no to that type of request. It usually leads to me overcommitting myself and stressing myself out, but the service tends to be its own reward. Those of you, who give of your time to charitable works, understand what I mean by that.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part I)

December 28, 2011


There are some who believe that our lives are defined by our mistakes. Our mistakes become who we are and how we will be forever known. It has been said that the mistakes we all make, the seemingly indiscriminate trials that are beset upon us and the hurts that are inflicted upon us, are our story.

Let me reassure you that while they are a small part of our story, they are not the entirety of our story. They do not have to define our life. Really they are not even the most interesting parts of our story. The really interesting part of our personal story is what happens next. How do we respond to our mistakes after we make them? How do we respond when tragedy hits us? How do we respond when others inflict hurts upon us? That’s when the audience leans forward in their seats, captivated to see, how we respond, how we move forward.

The truest measure of a person’s character is not whether or not they have made mistakes. We have all made mistakes and we will all continue to make mistakes, so long as we are alive. The truest test of our character is how we respond to our mistakes. Those are the really interesting and pivotal moments of our life story. I am discovering that the dark valleys of our life do not have to define us or defeat us. If we allow ourselves to see behind the curtain, the dark valleys are really places of learning and growth, but only if we do not allow them to keep us discouraged and overwhelmed by self-pity.

Sure, we all desire the mountain top experience, where we have peace and clarity, but the best fruit is grown in the valley. If we are to grow, each one of us will need to walk through those valleys of trial. Walking through those valleys can be the defining moments of our life, not because we experience them, but based on how we respond to them; how we move forward. If you are experiencing a trial, the audience is leaning forward in their seats, to see how you fight back and move forward. You are not alone; the experience is part of all of our stories. It is part of my story.