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Trust Walk

While creating the video for “Billie Jean”, Michael Jackson ran into a problem. The stage was dark and he couldn’t see where to place his feet while dancing. The director came up with a plan to light up the ground where he was going to put his feet. The only problem was that for it to look right, the light would only come on as he put his foot down. He had to trust the director to light up each step as it came during his complicated dance moves. The result of him trusting the director was an iconic video that was a hit.

If you’re like me, too often my path appears to be dark and hidden. I don’t know where my next step is. The fear of taking a misstep can be paralyzing. Because I can’t see the next step, I often stay where I am longer than I should. I pray and pray for God to show me where to go and what to do, but more often than not, the path seems to be hidden. As a result, I’m not where God wants me, when He needs me to be there. I miss out on my potential.

The reason this happens is I want God to light up my next step before I take it. God. Who is the director of our lives, is often telling us, “Trust me. Take the step and I’ll light it up. I know it seems complicated, but I’ve orchestrated everything.” So much of His plan for our lives relies on our ability to trust Him and to step out in faith. Isaiah 50:10 says, “All of you that honor the Lord and obey the words of his servant, the path you walk may be dark indeed, but trust in the Lord, rely on your God” (GNT).

Our lives are really a trust walk. We have to trust God to light up each step as we take it. Things may be complicated to us, but He knows your next move. He knows where you’re going to put your foot down. He’s ready to light it up, but will only do so once you pick up your foot from where you are and take that step of faith. God, the director of your life, will not fail you when you step out in faith and trust Him. When you do, the result of your life will be a beautiful masterpiece that could only have been directed by God Himself.

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Beautiful Feet

When most people think of feet, “beautiful” is not a word that comes to their mind. In the Middle East, feet are used to convey negative emotions rather than positive ones. The Bible discusses feet in that context over and over. In Genesis, it implies that we will bruise the enemies head with our heel. Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when people wouldn’t receive the Good News. It was a really big deal that Jesus washed feet. By holding them up to wash them, He was teaching the disciples to be lowly servant leaders.

In light of all that, it is significant that in Isaiah 52, God called feet beautiful. If you think that doesn’t compute with us, imagine the significance to that culture. Verse seven says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (NLT). God took what was once used to insult someone and showed how it could be used positively.

We all know that the Great Commission is to go into all the world, to carry the good news of salvation to every tribe, tongue, and people. God sees it as a beautiful thing when we obey His command and share our faith. You were never meant to keep it inside of you or to yourself. Your feet were meant to help you carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I like how Bob Goff says that if you don’t know where to go, grab a globe, spin it, and put your finger down. You’ve already been called to go. God will bless you when you follow His command.

If you want these “beautiful feet”, then go into the world spreading the Gospel. I understand that some of us can’t physically go, but there are still a couple of ways to have beautiful feet. We can all pray for those who go and live apart from family and friends, and give up the comforts of a familiar place called home. The other is that each of us can support those who go. No gift is too small for those who live and serve on the mission field. The money you sow into their ministry will yield a harvest of souls that you will be a part of. Each of us can have beautiful feet in God’s sight.

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Valuing The Imperishable 

I recently went with our church’s youth group to serve an inner city mission. This ministry doesn’t just serve the needs of those who live on premises, but they also serve the community around them. We were there to help them organize, clean, do yard work, and to serve lunch. About an hour and a half before lunch, people began arriving in the lobby to wait for the food to be served. Some were individuals and some were families who needed a little help. They come each day for a meal that won’t cost them anything.

In John 6, Jesus fed 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish. The people were ecstatic about the free meal, but also realized they were a part of a miracle. The next day, they went looking for Jesus, who had gone to the other side after walking on water to the boat. When they got there, Jesus called them out. In verse 26, Jesus said, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free” (MSG). People were looking for a free meal, but Jesus was wanting them to be hungry for spiritual food.

In verse 27, He said, “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last” (MSG). The people at the mission waited a couple of hours for food that would only satisfy their hunger for a few hours. Don’t get me wrong, they needed the food and there was lots of ministry going on during the lunch, but the people went for the physical food rather than the spiritual food.

Our human nature seems to crave the perishable things of this world instead of the imperishable. You and I have to teach our minds to expend our energy and time on the things that matter for eternity. We have to re-teach our minds to value the things of God. You’ll know that you’re valuing the imperishable when you make time for things like spending time in prayer, reading God’s Word, and serving your neighbor. That’s the food that satisfies more than a few hours, and that’s worth waiting for.   

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Leaving The Doldrums

Not long after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, other ships began to make the voyage across the pond. Several ships noticed a strange phenomenon as they sailed near the equator. There was very little wind and ships would drift there for weeks or months. In time, this area of the ocean became known as the doldrums. Sailors avoided it because they didn’t take the provisions to survive a trip that got stuck there for a long period. It was a place of stagnation, depression and death which is why it became known as the doldrums.

There are times in life when you and I sail into the doldrums. Everything seems to be going fine, we are moving along and then the wind stops. We begin to float along. We get stuck and can’t seem to get out of the place we are in. It often seems like God has forgotten us. We question ourselves and what we could have done to cause God to leave us in this place. I’ve seen people stay in these types of doldrums for years not knowing how to escape. It seems like their prayers to put wind back in their sails are falling on deaf ears, but that’s not the case.

If you read the first part of Acts, the disciples had been in the doldrums since the crucifixion of Jesus. They had moments where Jesus would appear to them, but when He left, they would feel just as stuck as before. On one of those occasions Jesus spoke to them and said, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised as I told you before. (Acts 1:4 NLT).” Wait? For how long? How could Jesus leave them adrift in the doldrums? It was a dangerous time to be in Jerusalem. Just 40 days before, Jesus had been killed and they feared they were next.

They met in the Upper Room and prayed for the next ten days as they waited. Then Acts 2:2 says, “Suddenly there was a sound from Heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. (NLT)” God sent the wind of the Holy Spirit to fill their sails and push them out of the doldrums. That wind pushed them and the message of Jesus all over the world. They were no longer stuck in their depression and doubt. They were revived and renewed because they waited on the Lord in prayer.

If you’re stuck in the doldrums, let me encourage you not to give up. Wait on the Lord in prayer and ask for Him to send the Wind of the Holy Spirit into your life. I’m talking about spending some serious time in prayer. The disciples prayed and waited in one place until God answered. We need to do the same thing. We need to commit to praying not just a one or two sentence prayer, but an active, waiting on God all day kind of prayer if we truly want out of the doldrums. We need to wait on the Lord until He answers. Be prepared though. When that rushing, mighty wind blows into your life, God will take you farther than you ever dreamed possible.

One final thought: The doldrums are where hurricanes originate from. What seems like a windless place is where God launches the most powerful forces.

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Haiti Day 4: Feeding The Least Of These


Day four started out like most days. We were up early, ate breakfast and had a morning devotion. We heard from one of our team members about I Corinthians 13:1-3. It doesn’t matter what we do on this trip or back home. If we don’t do it in love, it’s not worth anything. We were challenged to look at our motivations in helping these orphans. We also shared some take aways and what God spoke to us the night before.

We went back to the Gonaives orphanage to continue the paint job. The day before, we had done cut work and trim work. Today, we had to retouch, finish cutting and then start painting the walls. The children loved the bright yellow that we were painting. We also painted the outside wall to the orphanage so that the entrance would stand out on the street. The staff seemed to enjoy it as well.

We took a break from painting when it got close to noon. We loaded up in the trucks and drove across town. We went into the poorest part of Gonaives to a place called Raboto. It sits right on the ocean and is where a lot of fishermen are. The beaches are covered in the filthiest trash you can imagine. There are pigs roaming around eating what they want. Broken boats and boats that look broken are also strewn about the beach. Children are running around in all of it as well. Their houses, made of tin, line the beach and have walls up to keep them from seeing it directly.

It’s in a place like this that our team not only encountered Jesus, but became His hands and feet. We weren’t going just to see how the poorest people live. We were taking them food. About 150 children crowded into the room where we were setting up to feed them. They were singing and laughing. The energy level was high. You sense how excited they were. Our being there meant that they were going to get to eat that day. Their parents have barely enough money to feed themselves, let alone their children. This food is the only meal most of these kids will get.

I watched as a couple of them brought other containers with them. When they were handed their food, they carefully split it up and put some into the other container. I thought, “Wow! That kid is taking their parents some food.” As I watched a couple more kids do it, I remembered that it was Saturday. We typically bring food in Monday through Saturday. That meant these kids were rationing their food so they would have some the next day when we don’t feed them. It broke my heart to see that.

After our team served these children lunch, I took them to the back to show the school we had built. Since so many children were coming each day for food, we decided to provide them with an education that they couldn’t otherwise afford. I had them look at the beach and pointed a few hundred yards away to the salt flats. There, people dig holes so when the tide comes in and goes back out, they are filled with water that drains into the earth leaving salt behind. It was there that our youngest orphan was abandoned by his parents. He had been left to let the tide take him out. God ordained that a fisherman would come into that spot and hear his cry. His life was rescued.

We went back to the orphanage to continue painting and doing crafts with the kids. We came back to the guesthouse to clean up, have dinner and devotions. God moved again during our time of honoring Him. The message we heard was simple. God wants to use what we have. We heard stories of an 8 year old holding a concert in their front yard to raise money for orphans. We heard about a 16 year old who raised $16,000 in two months to be able to outfit and paint every room in the Myan orphanage. We also heard of a dentist who took 100% of what came in on one day at his practice and donated it.

Each of us have something we can give God. The less we have in our hand to give Him, the greater the miracle He can do. He is looking for us to offer Him our everything instead of excuses of why we can’t do anything. He is looking for people who will listen to what He wants to do through them in their community and then to step out and do it. Each one of us are able to reach people that others can’t. Each one of us have God given ideas. If God gives them to you, He wants you to do them. He’s not asking you to tell someone else to do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough in your hand to make it happen. Step out in faith and let Him work. If He gives the vision, He’ll make the provision.

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Small Things Are A Big Deal


On our fifth day in Haiti, what we had planned changed and we learned to be flexible. We arrived at Myan first. They gave 5 of us shovels and gardening rakes. We split up, climbed to the roof of each building and scraped them clean of rocks. It was hard work in the burning sun. With no breeze and very few clouds, we had to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. I started to feel bad that we all needed to take so many breaks, but it was necessary to keep going. It’s a lot like prayer and reading the Bible. Your spirit man requires them to keep going and to stay fresh.

While we were doing that, another group gathered the children together on one of the porches. They sang with the kids and did a Bible lesson for them. It was great to be up on the roof watching as they held those kids during that time. We weren’t just meeting their spiritual needs, but that team was meeting their need for love and physical contact. By holding those children, they were showing them that they are accepted and loved. Most had one or two kids in their laps and others on every side up against them.

Another team went inside the building we have been painting all week. They were able to go in and paint all the accent colors on the walls, window sills, door jambs and columns. It’s a night and day difference with the new colors. Their cafeteria / meeting room will be a relaxing place where they will enjoy good food, great company and experience an all mighty God. I kept imagining all the children who will go through there and be feed physically and spiritually. To be a part of something so small is a big deal. We all want to do great things for God, sometimes those great things look like insignificant things.

While all of that was going on, another child was brought to us. They were asking if we could take him. I didn’t get to hear his story from where I was working. What I did see was them introducing him to a group of children in the same boat and those kids welcoming him. There were smiles all around as if to tell this boy he just hit the jackpot without even knowing it. He won’t have to worry about where his next meal will come from, if he’ll be able to go to school, where a clean water source is, where he’s going to live, if he can afford medical treatment or if he’ll be able to get a job one day. When you take those worries away, by doing what we do, he has the chance to just be a kid.

We left mid day to come back to the guest house to pick up cupcakes that several of our team members made and presents. We went to the Gonaives orphanage with them and celebrated birthdays for the kids who had one in March. Each child that had a birthday this month was brought out front. They were asked how old they were and what would they like from God this year. We then prayed and asked God to give it to them. After prayers, we sang “Happy Birthday”, handed out cupcakes and gave them each a present. It was beautiful to see these kids beam with pride as we honored them.

We went next door to play basketball while the orphans watched and cheered us on. We then headed back home, ate dinner, got more cupcakes and headed back to Myan. The local children we’re let into the orphanage and our team had double duty on loving children. We went into the building we had been painting all week and celebrated birthdays there with cupcakes and a movie night. As the movie went on, one by one the kids fell asleep until there were only a few awake at the end. We sent them to bed and rode home looking at the stars in such a remote place.

There is a lot of poverty here, but there is also great beauty. Each day as we work, I’m reminded of the work God does in our lives. We don’t always recognize it or know what He’s doing. Everything He does though, is for our good. Sometimes we need the rocks cleaned off our roofs so He can grow us and take our lives to the next level. Sometimes he gives us a fresh cost of paint. He makes us feel good inside and that reflects on our outside. Other times He simply loves on us, holds us and let’s us near Him just so we can feel loved and know we’re free to be His children. Each of us were spiritually orphaned and have the ability to be adopted by God. Instead of it being His choice, He makes it ours. We have to accept His love and offer of adoption. When we do, we become joint heirs with Christ, His son.

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Where Do You See Jesus?

We made the five hour drive from Port au Prince to Gonaives yesterday. The trucks aren’t big enough to house the entire team so many of us rode in the beds. I prefer to ride back there since it helps me to take in the sights, sounds and smells. It brings me closer to the country when I see the people interacting in their daily lives. There is something particularly humbling when you drive through tent cities.

The tents are made of tarp and are duct taped together. Thousands of them side by side in a field or on the side of a mountain. Their homes were destroyed by the earthquake a few years ago and they can’t afford to get a new house. The unemployment rate here is astronomical. Those who do work make less than $5 a day. People walk the streets selling what they find or grow. Doing what they can to make a living.

We stopped at the mass grave site where tens of thousands of bodies are buried. So many died during the earthquake that they couldn’t embalm or bury the dead. They drug the bodies into the street, burned them to prevent the smell and carried the bones to this site. As we stood there, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How many knew Jesus?” Who had come before to tell them of His love? Who had obeyed?

When we arrived in Gonaives, we stopped at the guest house to drop off our luggage and then headed to the orphanage. When we arrived, the gate was closed. TJ, the missionary with us, looked through the hole and knocked on the gate. As they came to open it, the children were shouting his name. It has been months since he was here. He ran and hid behind the truck. The gate slid open, a rush of kids came pouring out and their smiles quickly went away. They couldn’t find him.

When he appeared from behind the truck, 30 kids attacked him with huge and smiles. They climbed over each other and on us to get to him. For several minutes they poured out their love on him. They sang him a song they had learned just for him. It was beautiful. After the song, they instinctively crawled into our laps and hearts to get a refill of love. Each person on our team had several kids in their laps.

Loving them turned into playing with them. They playing spilled over into the street. There is a basketball court nearby and we all ended up there. Several locals showed up too. The next thing you know, we’re locked into a game of hoops. As one person from our group noted, there were people from Haiti, the US and the Philippines playing a game together without being able to speak each others languages.

At the end of the night, God came and met us on the balcony of our guest house. TJ asked us to share where we had seen Jesus throughout the day. Each person had seen Him somewhere and in different places and ways. It got me to thinking, “How often do we Jesus in our daily lives?” Better yet, how often are we looking for Him? He’s involved in our lives daily, but we’re so distracted by our busy lives that we fail to see Him.

Today, start your day with the intent of looking for Him. It could be in any encounter at work, school or at the store. It could be in someone you don’t know, but you see what they’re doing and God points something out to you. This is something we should all be in the habit of doing. God is not far off. He’s working for you and in you each day. Keep your eyes open, you may even look in the mirror and see Him there because you were His hands and feet to someone.


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My 2013 Theme

Great organizations and companies have vision and mission statements. They also have themes each year that are reflective of their goals. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, a church or any other organization, it’s important that everyone on the team knows what the goals are so they can work together. As a reminder, they put out a theme for the year and keep repeating it so that others can run with them to accomplish their goals.

In January of this year, God spoke to me out of Ephesians 4:1. The scripture says, “Lead a life worthy of your calling.” He said that this was to be my theme this year. All year long I have tried to make changes in my life that were reflective of that theme. When an opportunity showed up, I would ask myself if that would help or hurt my theme of living a life worthy of the call. By making better decisions based on my theme, I saw incredible growth in my spiritual life this year.

Was I able to live a life worthy of that call 100% of the time? No. Am I closer to being who God wants me to be because I have tried harder than ever to live a life worthy of that call? Yes. I believe having that theme has helped me in many ways. It kept me on track where I would have usually failed, it helped me turn my daily commute into prayer time, it helped me to be obedient in starting this blog and it helped me share with others the calling that I have.

Since tomorrow is the start of the new year, I have a new theme. My theme for 2013 is found in John 3:30. It says, “I must decrease and He must increase.” Everything I do in the coming year will be reflected and measured by that verse. The question I will ask in each situation is, “Will this be for my glory or for His?” If it’s for mine, it will go against the theme and be detrimental to my overall goals.

“I must decrease and He must increase” means that I am to put God’s needs above my own. I need to see that His ways are more important than mine. I must recognize that His message and will are more important than my own. This is not an easy theme to follow. It will go against my very human nature. It will take crucifying my flesh and desires daily. Honestly, I’ll need help from others to keep me on track. It’s not something I can do on my own.

Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it.” Quite simply, this is why companies and organizations write out their themes and keep mentioning them. It is so others who read it can run with it. I’m writing mine out so that anyone who reads this can run with me and help me to accomplish what God wants me to this year. I know a few of the things God has in store for me this year and they will require me to decrease my desires and put His first. I’ll be writing about them for sure.

What is your theme this year? I’d love to know so that I can run along side of you to help you accomplish what God has for you this year.


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Recognizing attacks

Are you falling behind or not doing what God has called you to do? You are not alone. Circumstances and situations seem to eat up our time and prevent us from doing what we are supposed to do. It happens to all of us. We get caught in a cycle of things happening that continues until we give up on our calling.

If you have plans to be effective for Christ, then you will be under attack. Things will happen in your life that will prevent you or slow you down and keep you from being effective. I’ve heard that 21 days makes a habit. If the enemy can keep you from your task for 3 weeks, he has a strong chance of keeping you from your mission.

There are some common tactics he uses and we can see them by looking at Job’s life.

1. He attacks your mind

If he can win the battle of your mind, he can render you ineffective. That’s why he attacks this first. He may attack you, your family, your job or your belongings to get your mind off of God. A lot of times when bad things happen, we even blame God for it. When you blame God, he has won.

This happened in my own life. I lost just about everything that was important to me in my life during the span of about 8 months. I lost the battle of the mind when that happened and I was rendered ineffective for nearly a decade. We need to recognize that when bad things are happening, it could be an attack and you need to guard your mind. When Job was attacked this way, he fell down and worshipped God and said, “Naked I came into this world and naked I’ll go out. The Lord gave to me and the Lord has taken away. Bless the name of the Lord.”

2. He attacks your body

If he can’t win the battle of the mind, he will try to attack your body. He did this to Job and he’ll do it to you too. He will afflict your body until you physically can’t accomplish what God has for you. When you are taken down through physical illness or injury, it is hard to move around or go where you are supposed to go.

This happened to me recently when my back went out. During that time, I spent less time in prayer, read scripture less, wrote less and couldn’t attend church. The attack kept me from all the things that feed my spirit. When your spirit isn’t fed, it grows weak. When it grows weak, you are able to be defeated. Job was not defeated when he was attacked physically. Scripture says that during that time, he did not sin against God with his lips.

3. He attacks through friends

Another tactic that is used against us is that our friends and family can be turned against us. When Satan can’t turn you against God, he will turn the closest people to you against you. They will tell you things that will break you down and break your heart. Their words become obstacles that will build doubt and keep you from your calling.

There is an old Irish proverb that says, “In times of trouble, friends are recognized.” When bad things start happening to you, a lot of “friends” seem to disappear from your life. You start to question each of the relationships you have and sometimes you are left with no one standing with you. Job experienced this. His wife and friends told him to curse God and die and even accused him of hidden sins. Still he did not let it sway him.

What’s going on in your life that you may not have recognized as an attack? Is something taking you away from what you are supposed to be doing for God? If so, then you are probably under attack. Don’t yield if you are being attacked. Stand up, fight back and get back to doing what you need to do for God!

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