Being Hungry

When I come home from an Int’l trip, I’m often hungry for a hamburger or a salad – familiar food that are in my home culture. This isn’t to say that I don’t like ethnic food. I TOTALLY love to try new foods in various cultures. Some of the foods I’ve tried were not that tasty when I first tried them, but the more I ate them, the more I liked these different foods. 
Sometimes I think spiritual food can be similar. I find that there are some spiritual foods that are tasty & appealing. For example, we like where the Bible says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us in Phil 4:13. But some verses aren’t quite as appealing. For example, James 1:4 says that we should let endurance have its perfect work so that we can be perfect & complete, not lacking anything. 

Let’s be certain that we let the Holy Spirit cultivate our appetites so that we eat spiritual food that helps us grow & become mature followers of Jesus 🙂

What’s Normal??

  

I’m currently in Cambodia with our Saving Moses team, having a blast for sure! Normal here is altogether abnormal for the average American living. For example, hot soup is a common food while sitting outside in 98degree weather & 95% humidity. And in relation to traffic, well all bets are off with that adventure. I stopped thinking about the accident probabilities many years ago – go with the flow ,)
Seems to me that sometimes we take our human living & try to make our spiritual lives for around our human conveniences. Maybe Jesus intended for the “normal” experience for His followers to turn “normal” upside down & bring more supernatural into our natural & normal living – just something to think about for your Monday prayers 🙂

agile or fragile

I recently returned from a “quick” trip to Ethiopia, a country that I love for her magnificent people, fabulous coffee & opulent culture!  When I do alot of traveling in a short amount of time, I can often feel rather fragile & sometimes overwhelmed.  This trip, however, has been an interesting experience.  In the past, I’ve taken some time & space to kind of work through the fragile feeling that I experience from the traveling.  This trip is different.  Upon returning home, I’ve been confronted with MASSIVE amounts of work, pressure and demands – add on the jet lag & it could easily be a recipe for catastrophe, without a blink.

BUT

I’ve been praying A WHOLE LOT & I find that God is helping me to be more agile than fragile.  Let’s never neglect to ask God for Help, who is the Holy Spirit 🙂

look up

I was recently in Ethiopia & on a drive into the countryside, we took a pause to get out & stretch our legs.  As I was enjoying the nice weather, beautiful surroundings, listening to new bird sounds and taking in some nice fresh air, I quickly became alert that I needed to watch where I was stepping because of some conveniently deposited refuse from nearby wildlife (translation:  cow pies).  Nimble is a word that comes to mind as I write this 🙂

Sometimes we can get really focused in on our daily living and endeavoring the various “cow pies” that can unexpectedly jump onto our path.  Of course we must be careful where & how we walk (making wise & spiritual choices), but let’s also lift up our eyes & look up.  It’s really tempting to go through life looking for ways to avoid cow pies, but that’s never as rewarding as going through life with our eyes on Jesus, our Good Shepherd 🙂

A-MAZING, seriously

Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a church service in Ethiopia & I had an incredible experience during part of their worship – off the chain! Ok, here’s the deal: I LOVE praise & worship and I’ve been extremely blessed to join in fantastic worship services literally around the world for more than 3decades & what I experienced yesterday was nothing less than OUTRAGEOUS.
There was a really large group that had traditional instruments & dressed in the traditional orthodox attire, starting off with what seemed like a nice cultural presentation & just when I was settling in to enjoy some nice historical Ethiopian tradition, I lost the plot because I could sense the Holy Spirit in such intensity that I still can’t find adequate words, almost 24 hours later.
Yesterday’s experience was completely inundated with God’s presence & it had nothing about it that is modernly familiar or “normal”: no guitars, keyboards or synthesizers. There was 1 ancient calfskin drum played by a girl, no microphones or anyone addressing the audience. Instead, there were probably 50 or so men & women completely & passionately focused on giving praise to God, the Community of love. They sang & danced with 100% commitment no matter what the people watching were doing. As a result, I found myself totally dialed into focusing on God, joining with them to exalt & honor God.
Let me just say that there are many ways & expressions to worshipping God. Don’t fall into the trap that you need lights, cool music, trendy dressed leaders, mixes that appeal to your music preferences, perfectly regulated temperatures & a comfortable seat / environment to exalt our Creator. While these things can be very nice, let’s keep our focus, passion & intent purely devoted to lifting up the Lover of our soul. Clean, pure, intense & totally devoted worship, full stop

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jetlag

Oh the glories of waking up at midnight with complete alertness!  I’m currently in Ethiopia & it seems like this is a great opportunity for me to catch up with blogging, since my schedule presently is “unbooked” ,)  My internal clock says it’s around 4pm but the external clock here says its about 1am, or something like that.

With that being said, this trip to Ethiopia has really big personal significance for me.  It was here in Ethiopia about 5 years ago that God began to stir in my heart Saving Moses, having met twin newborn girls that had been abandoned on a field.  It has also been my experience that getting to minister in Ethiopia is an extremely unique privilege for me.  There’s something here that is deeply spiritual & personal for me so that whenever I get to visit here, I always seem to come away with greater awareness of God & God’s presence in my life.  So far, this trip has been very engaging & deepening for me with God.

I’ll try to keep you posted on what’s happening here, as the time & sleep allows, but in the meantime, as you read this, I pray that you will sense God’s deep and full love for you! 🙂

let’s get comfortable

Being comfortable conjures up different things for different people.  For some people, being comfortable can be the experience of sitting by a fireplace in a cozy blanket & reading a book.  For other people, being comfortable is best described as being at a really fun and vibrant party.  For me, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be comfortable and I’ve learned some interesting things to pass along to you:

  • being comfortable can sometimes be an impediment to a deeper relationship with God – discomfort usually makes me do something different
  • I never want my comfort zones to exclude God – indeed, life with God is a more accurate expression of who I really am
  • I’ve learned that I can be extremely comfortable in a variety of external situations because of an internal contentment that comes from some very sweet & rich communion with God
  • when I’m uncomfortable, I tend to lean into God better

 

I don’t care

When I was in high school, I used to like some of the Robbie Nevil songs that praised the glories of apathy & indifference (Wot’s It To Ya’, C’est La Vie).  I think I liked these songs at the time because I didn’t know how to handle my deep feelings of care, concern and connection for people and the world around me.  Sometimes I still feel this way & can get overwhelmed when I think about various situations, Saving Moses, people and events – I’m deeply concerned about what’s happening in Egypt with the instability there.

But just because my feelings can be overwhelming from these various situations, relationships and experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot become apathetic.  In my mind, apathy is just a socially acceptable word for passive violence.  So what do I do with these things that can easily overwhelm me?  Pray.

Prayer is the best immunization against apathy.  Pray often, pray quickly, pray fervently and pray all the time.

Behind Door #3

I’ve been thinking about some of the moms that I’ve met over the last few years in my travels with Saving Moses. In some ways they are 100% the same as us & in some ways they’re 100% different than us. They’re 100% the same in their love & passion for their kids – maybe even more pure in their love for their kids. What makes them different than us is that they don’t have have all of the “stuff” that we have. This has started me thinking about who I am if you strip away all of my education, stuff & sophisticated living. These are some questions worth consideration:
*Am I a nice person without all of the accessories that cushion my life?
*do I want to help people regardless of what I get in return?
*am I sincere & authentic?
*am I growing & letting God strengthen the weakspots that I avoid?
*does my education & sophistication enable me to help people more or do I use these only to my own advantage?

Just a few things running around in my head today 🙂

I’m hungry

The guy at Starbucks just did a good job encouraging me to buy some food to go w my coffee, telling me that the latest research proves that we need to eat 5 small meals a day for optimum health – of course my mind immediately goes to Angola with saving Moses and the hunger that I often see there.
But I think that all of us are fundamentally hungry for God. I think if we strip away all of our achievements, relationships, wealth, looks, etc, when we are just ourselves, we are designed to crave our Creator. Yes, I’m hungry but I understand that the hunger of my heart isn’t to look better, to increase my popularity, nor expand my wealth of achievements. At ground zero, we are all hungry for God & His presence in our lives. Recognizing this hunger will increase our potential to live a very fulfilling life 🙂

I have a dream

What a great day to honor a great man – Martin Luther King Jr.  I love watching his I Have a Dream speech & I find that it speaks to some of the core of who God has made me to be:

  • I have a dream that Saving Moses will be able to partner maternal literacy programs with our malnutrition feeding efforts to decrease infant mortality in Africa.
  • I have a dream that Saving Moses will be able to establish 3 nightcare facilities in Cambodia to care for the infants of prostitutes.
  • I have a dream that my relationship with God will grow increasingly intimate throughout this year.
  • I have a dream that I will have more wisdom in every area of my life.
  • I have a dream that I will be less & less insecure.
  • I have a dream that God will direct the decisions that I will need to make this year to reflect Him better & better.
  • I have a dream that people will be attracted to Jesus because of how I live.
  • I have a dream that God will help me to love with greater authenticity.

What are your dreams??

spring revnovation :)

I was talking w a friend this morning about  how she helped her daughter make a diarama (or however you spell it) for her class – sounded pretty cool.  On a personal note, I’m “craft impaired.”  Whenever I help my children with their school projects that require some craftsmanship – I literally cringe because even when I try to draw a stick figure, it’s generally pathetic.  However, I did just renovate the header for this blog to raise the visibility for www.savingmoses.org

I’d encourage you to check out this website to see some really cool things that we are getting to do around the world!  Happy Spring renovating 🙂

Some thoughts about Saving Moses

I’ve been thinking about Saving Moses & here are some things I’ve been pondering:

  • people from the ages 0-5 are often unable to clearly communicate their needs – how many moms have been at least a little frustrated trying to figure out what their unhappy newborn wants?  How much more a newborn with no mom??
  • the most formative years for a person is from 0-5years of age
  • a helpless infant doesn’t have to be hopeless or without a hopeful future
  • small things for infants and toddlers have massive results – both negatively & positively
  • Jesus, Moses, Josiah and others infants in the Bible had crisis moments where someone stepped in to protect them – to be a hero

This week on our TV program, Today w Marilyn & Sarah, we aired our 1st Saving Moses program – I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting this is to me.  Furthermore, we have our website up & running – www.savingmoses.org.  Finally, you can also following saving Moses on twitter:  savingmoses.  At the end of this month, I get to go to Haiti w saving Moses to check on a program that we joined to immunize infants against common diseases before the onset of the rainy season there, when these diseases begin to really escalate.  Such simple & small things making the difference between life & death, health & weakness, helpless & hopeful.

This blog is an unapologetic advert for saving moses 🙂

tomorrow

amazing travels

I’m presently sitting between 2 of my kids, Isbell & David, thanking God for the most fantastic family – seriously!  God is indescribably amazing.  In the past 1.5 weeks, i’ve been to Ethiopia, Turkey (quickie), Jordan & Israel.  The best part of all of my travelling has been the fellowship i’ve had w God – such richness, depth & tantalizing closeness.  Sometimes, it really helps my walk w God to get out of the daily routine, out of my comfort zone, & increase my dependence on God. 

Ethiopia:  fantastic time with God, the orphanage we connect with & my friends.  The orphanage that we work with, over the last year, has really undertaken working w abandoned babies.  This was really touching, particularly as this is so close to my heart w the “saving Moses” campaign we’re launching w worldchild.  I also had the privilege of ministering in Pastor Eyob’s church in Addis & i can just summarize this by saying that my church family is now extended to include this church.  My time in Ethiopia has been rich in fellowship with not only family & friends but most importantly a rich depth with the Holy Spirit.  i can’t even begin to describe how completely riveting / captiving the Holy Spirit is to me, particularly during my time in Ethiopia.

Israel:  i joined the group trip w mom & had a great time getting to know some new people, reconnect w some old friends, share about God & see some cool places / ruins.  We visited Petra (in Jordan), Masada (in Israel), drove by the dead sea & then onto Jerusalem.  The group trip is going well & the travellers seem to be experiencing God in many different rich ways by being in many places discussed in the Bible.

Travelling:  i’ve been in lots of airports & on lots of airplanes – all total, in 10 days, i’ve been on no less than 10 planes & spent well over 100 hours on planes & in airports, to include 1 lost & now found blackberry. 🙂

if you’d like to check out some pics, pop over to my facebook & you can see some cool friends, places & experiences 🙂

Again, the best part of the last 1.5 wks has been the rich & deep fellowship w the Holy Spirit – the treasure of my life! 🙂

hello from Ethiopia!

Greetings from Addis Ababa! I’ve had a spectacular time of ministry here for the last 4 days – simply wonderful!! To begin, we’ve been able to launch our “saving Moses” campaign for worldchild – I was able to visit the orphanage we sponsor in Gondar Ethiopia, where I met the baby girls who had been rescued from being abandoned in a field last year. They’re doing AWESOME & I plan to post some pics shortly. The orphanage in Gondar in the last week received 5 babies who have been abandoned.  I’m struggling to wrap my head around this problem of abandoned babies – I think it happens in the world much more than we are aware.  It shakes my heart to see these babies who are abandoned.  I’m rather speechless on this.

From Gondar, I flew to Addis where i’ve had the privilege to minister in a church on leadership & also for the Sunday service.  The ministry time here is really powerful – they are so eager to receive, very gentle & humble and open to God speaking into their lives.  Its a very humbling experience to minister here, a very RICH spiritual experience.  In one of our services, you could sense God’s presence with tremendous weight – such that even now, words elude me from describing how powerful this experience was. 

Additionally, I’ve been able to connect w some great friends from last year & I’m so very grateful to God for bringing me here.  This has been a really powerful time for me w God on a very personal level & i’m extremely grateful to Him for allowing me to come back to Ethiopia.  Of course the food & coffee are great & I always LOVE to pick up some of the language – most of all, i love the people. 

In a few hours, i’ll fly to Israel to join the group trip w mom & I know this will also be wonderful.  Thanks for being patient with the blogging thing – the internet in Ethiopia can be kind of like a safari experience.  that’s all i’m gonna say about that.

So let me leave you with some spiritual thoughts:  don’t reject God’s provisions just because they don’t meet your expectations.  perhaps God is testing you so you can see some of your weak spots.  🙂