Friday, June 11, 2010

Tanzania 2010! 7 Days & Counting!!

Lots to do and even more to prepare for.  I will be spending my first week in Tanzania in the Iringa District with Ray Menard of Cheetah Development.  We will be looking at a number of projects Cheetah is getting involved in.  One of which is a potato warehouse.  40% of the crops in Tanzania rot in the fields.  This warehouse will assist in the storage of the crops so more can be sold.
I will meet the rest of our team when they arrive in Dar es Salaam on Sunday morning the 27th of this month.  We will then all fly up to Mwanza where we will begin our serving first thing Monday morning.
You can read all about it on our Team Blog at:
This same blog will transfer to our Team Facebook profile at:
Please pray for us as we go.  Thank you in advance for all you prayers and support.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Relational difficulty, disagreements, arguments, misunderstandings, no matter what you call it, it sucks.  Whether it is myself, or someone I love, that fact of the matter is I don't like it.
My problem is that over the years I have become addicted to conflict.  It is not that I go looking for it, but the fact that if finds me, has changed me over the years.  Having spent 7 long years as an over the road truck driver, I have seen a more caustic side of my personality come out.  I am very introverted by nature, but I love being around people.  I have, for one reason or another had a lot of relational opportunities of different types over the years.  The fact that I am addicted to it comes more from walking through it with others.  I have had the privilege of walking through relational conflict with some of the bravest people I know who have committed themselves to reconciliation.  As we have walked out the other side of those reconciliation experiences, I have witnessed a transformation in not only their lives, but myself as well.  As they have done the hard work of talking, crying, laughing, yes laughing, through the often deep quagmire of relational reconciliation, they have been changed, and the lives of the people they have been in conflict with have changed.  They not only see the other party in a new light, but they also see themselves differently too.  Most of the time they understand more deeply how different we all really are.  They have begun to appreciate more that it is often more about "difference" than "right or wrong".
When we stop long enough to look at conflict as an Opportunity our whole perspective on everything begins to change.  When we stop long enough to alter our focus off ourselves and decide that we will focus on giving God Glory in the midst of our chaos, we gain a whole new insight on the process.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Recently at church we went through a series called "HNL--Taking life to a Ho Nutha Level".  It was both a huge encouragement and at the same time a huge challenge to examine areas of my life that I needed to step up in.  This last week in my quiet time I was reading, yes again, in My Utmost for His Highest.  Chambers was talking about "Vision by Personal Character".  I would like to share his entry for that day:
An elevated mood can only come out of an elevated habit of personal character.  If in the externals of your life you live up to the highest you know, God will continually say--"Friend, go up higher."  The golden rule in temptation is--Go higher.  When you get higher up, you face other temptations and characteristics.  Satan uses the strategy of elevation in temptation, and God does the same, but the effect is different.  When the devil puts you into an elevated place, he makes you screw your idea of holiness beyond what flesh and blood could ever bear, it is a spiritual acrobatic performance, you are just poised and dare not move; but when God elevates you by His grace into the heavenly places, instead of finding a pinnacle to cling to, you find a great table-land where it is easy to move.
Compare this week in your spiritual history with the same week last year and see how God has called you up higher.  We have all been brought to see from a higher standpoint.  Never let God give you one point of truth which you do not instantly live up to.  Always work it out, keep in the light of it.
Growth in grace is measured not by the fact that you have not gone back, but that you have had an insight into where you are spiritually; you have heard God say, "Come up higher," not to you personally, but to the insight of your character.
"Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?"  God has to hide from us what He does until by personal character we get to the place where He can reveal it. 
Are we really at a higher level than we were last year?  Some areas of my life I can readily say, "Yes".  Other areas I would have to admit, I'm not as far along as I would like.  My prayer for you, would be that you would allow these words to move you back to the most important words found in the Bible, that give true direction, peace, encouragement and ultimately eternal grace found in Christ.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Burning Heart

If you have been on a mission trip or a short-term outreach you most likely know what it means to have had a "mountain top" experience.  Beyond the cliche`, there are those times that stand out and make an indelible impression on the deepest parts of our lives.  We want that "feeling" to be with us and drive us on, always.

I was read again yesterday in My Utmost for His Highest.  Oswald Chambers was referring to Luke 24:32.  It talks about the a couple of disciples as they were walking on the road to Emmaus after having been in the presence of the resurrected Jesus.  They were reminiscing "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"  Here was a clear opportunity these guys had to be in God's presence, see Him at work, have scripture revealed to them.  Chambers puts it this way:
     "Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature.  For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be.  Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately.  But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don't allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended."
By not allowing ourselves the opportunity to allow God's Spirit to work fully in our hearts and minds and souls, we can limit what God wants us to experience or even what it is that He wants to do through us.

Much like Abraham and his choice to obey God and sacrifice his only son Issac, we are presented with choices and directions from God at times.  It is not and will not be a multiple choice question.  There will be those times in our lives when we will have one choice or another, and our entire lives may hang in the balance of how we choose.  As we put ourselves out there and participate on short-term outreaches, a sense of God speaking to us is very common.  We don't want to waste those or simply let them pass by us if God is speaking something to us that could alter the rest of our lives.  It can be something where we are simply called to be more sensitive to other cultures and have a renewed sense of prayer for other people groups and difficulties that they have that are so uncommon to so many in this country.  It could be a literal call to a radical change in our lives where we move into an different culture on the other side of the world.  It could be anything in between those things.  But we must act.

Chamber's admonition to us is that we cannot live on that mountain top, but we must obey the light that we received, and we must act on it.  We must not let the "reality" of our day-to-day lives back home erode the emotions that were stirred up in our experience.  We must not at the same time rationalize and dismiss the experience as simply and "emotional" high, and mentally move back into the daily rut that we often find ourselves in.

I was stirred in my love for God and appreciation of how a chosen culture has influenced me over the centuries when I had the opportunity to visit Israel in 1990 with my father.  I have now had two opportunities to visit Tanzania, once for two weeks with our team in 2008, and once by myself for three weeks last Nov.-Dec.

The two trips to East Africa, were life changing to say the least, but they were two very different experiences in and of themselves.  All three have been life altering, emotional highs, and spiritual awakenings for me personally. There is something truly life changing, altering, if I may use those phrases again.  For me I find myself in a continual process of how my life is being changed, especially from my previous trips to Africa and in anticipation of my third trip in less than 3 months.  I am sensing a shift in my perspective of other cultures and peoples.  I have been undone in my very soul of a racism that went far deeper than just the color of someone's skin.

I am being challenged and encouraged to share what I have learned and am learning as I explore opportunities to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and see another culture 1st hand and gain the opportunity to see beyond themselves and discover ways to make this a better world for everyone by improving cultures at grassroots level, one life at a time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Could This Be True of Me?

As I read "My Utmost for His Highest" again this morning, I was reminded that the longer I walk through life in my relationship with the Jesus Christ of the Bible, complacency and being "familiar" with God is my biggest stumbling block.

The challenge is to ask myself each day what I value most, what is it that grips my heart and pushes me to stay "Focused" on what is most important.  Sure there are fires along the way every day that I have to put out.  There are stresses every day that seem overwhelming that weight down on me.  But if I am not focused on what I am on this earth for, everything begins to blur.  When that happens, I tend to go into "Autofocus" if you will, and common sense takes over and drives my actions.  In Church-ease we say it is my "calling" in life, my purpose.  If I don't live on purpose, then life drives my purpose.

Chambers asks the question, "What do I really count dear?"  If I have not been gripped by Jesus Christ on a daily basis, Chambers reminds me that not only will I count my life dear to myself, but my service, and even my time given to God as dear, and not my personal relationship with Him.  If I am not focused on that relationship, then all other relationships and "things" in my life, and the things that I do lose their significance in what is really important in my day.

This may seem a little out there and even a little extreme for some.  Some say I am just simply thinking too hard. But if I can keep my relationship with Jesus as my focal point, everything else becomes clearer as I prioritize my day.  The entire image of my life becomes so much easier to sort through and compose.  If I don't do this, my common sense familiarity with God takes over and I tend to lean on my own understanding, and the Bible is very clear that that will get me no where fast.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Focus & HNL

I periodically sit and ask myself questions.  They are not always the same questions, but more often than not they bring me around to the same results.
One of the common questions goes something like, "Why am I doing what I am doing?  As I was "catching up" this morning in the devotional book I read, yes, I have fallen behind in my quiet time, again; I was reminded, again, how overwhelming life has been these last 6-12 months.  Am I doing everything out of relationship with Jesus or is it based on a "duty" to my family, to our associates at work, to my ego, to God?  Is all I do, period; is it divided into segments?  I must admit that in the busyness of my life these last few months, in the overwhelming stress, I have divided my work, my family, and my "service" to God into segments.  It seems at times to all be out of focus.  It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is in our day in and day out world we forget God's encouragement to do EVERYTHING as if we are doing it for Him.  When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we are given a new focus on life.  It is a focus of a love relationship with the God of the Universe, based on His unconditional Love to me.  As my segments have gotten more divided so has my focus.
When I take pictures, Focus, is critical.  It determines a bad image from a good image, a good image from a great image.  Focus can even change and/or alter the great image to shift attention within the image.  The overriding importance is my attention to the focusing.  In everything that I look at through the viewfinder I must, above everything else pay attention to the focus.  If I don't have an overriding purpose in my focus everything competes for that focus, for my attention; it all gets blurred.
As I read through my devotional book I was brought back to the verse that I wrote inside the front flyleaf of the book.  It has become my life verse, my Focus, if you will.  My focus must be about relationship; my relationship with Jesus Christ, and how that relationship influences all others.  Everything I say and do must be focused through that relationship.  If not, it becomes just another duty, responsibility, or simply drudgery.
That verse comes from the Amplified version of The Bible and is found in Philippians chapter 3 and verse 10:
"For my determined purpose is to Know Him -- that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power out flowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers; and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness, even to His death."
When my life is focused, it all makes more sense, it is much less segmented.  When I am focused on my relationship with Jesus, my mind is focused on what is most important and is not so distracted.  All the segmented burdens and stresses that come with everyday "life" and press down on my heart, come into sharper focus, and a clearer sense of priority is brought to bear.  It adds a renewed level of Hope to life and I am energized to take relationships and life in general to a HNL (Ho Nutha Level)!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Welcome to my new home

Thank you so much for finding your way here. I apologize for Blogger. My account/blog got hacked by a spammer and was sending out multiple ads per hour for MAC software and then when it switched to Viagra/Cialis ads, I had to shut it down as i was getting no help to stop it.
We will see how this goes, and hopefully don't have issues so that this will be where you will find my thoughts and ramblings about Tanzania or just what's on my mind.
Thanks again for making the effort to get here.