Archive for May, 2014

May 30 2014

Hustle, Love, and Wasted Lives

Published by under Life,Love

I got a question for you.

Why in the world do we hustle so hard after our dreams? What do we imagine waits for us on the other side of our hard work?

Satisfaction? Comfort? Pride? Money? Fame? The admiration of others?

Here’s what scares me: that I’ll work my whole life and never do it with love in my heart. 

If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
_1 Corinthians 13:2-3

Whatever we might gain through hustle can all be negated if we don’t have love. God’s scorecard often looks different than ours but it’s the one that matters.

Crushing it. Killing it. Hustling. Dominating. All good things. But without love, meaningless. 

I’m old enough now to know that love doesn’t naturally flow out of me. Cynicism and sarcasm and discouragement do. So how can I find love?

Ultimately it is only the man who feels quite hopeless about himself who really trusts God.
_Martin Lloyd-Jones

We get love from the one who IS love. 

…God is love.
_1 John 4:8

So my encouragement to myself (and you): get to hustling! Just make sure you’re hustling to God for love, too!

Make us love like you, God!

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May 26 2014

How Soldiers Can Inspire Us To Great Things

Published by under Life

One day when I was about three years old I got sent to my room for misbehaving (something that happened pretty much every day). About 30 minutes later, mom walked in my room and immediately knew something was wrong. The window was open and the window screen had been removed. I’d escaped.

Panicked, she ran through our neighborhood searching for me and eventually tracked me down watching some teenagers breakdancing on cardboard.

Mom walked in my room, saw things weren’t right, and took action.

There are so many things not right in this world. And we need people who care enough to run and make those wrongs right.

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
_Jesus, Matthew 9:37

Do you know the context of Jesus’ words? It’s not what most modern evangelical Christians say. It’s not just about salvation in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It includes that but is far broader.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
_Matthew 9:35-36

There are millions, even billions, of people in our world who are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. They suffer from poverty and disease. I personally get to meet them on a regular basis. And it ain’t right.

There are a lot of people out there raising awareness – they’re taking photos and making videos about poverty. We need to hear the stories. But far more useful are people working to implement solutions. Jesus himself said it: “The workers are few.” To have our emotions moved to tears is a good thing. To have our wills moved to resolve and action is better still.

Once upon a time, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill dreamed of a world free from Hitler. And they committed every resource they had toward that end. On this Memorial Day, as we remember the sacrifices of years past that have led to our freedom, I can’t help but think God desires the same from us – that from our rich resources, we would sacrifice our lives to help free those who face countless threats and suffering every day.

Is there any better use of a life?

Suppose we DO take action and work through our own insecurities and confusion. Might there eventually be a day of memory in other people’s lives when they recount their thankfulness to US – to you and me? Might there eventually be a day when we meet God and he remembers all the kindnesses we showed to people hurting in the world?

If we want to get to loving, there’s a sure way to know we’re at the top of the pile…

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
_John 15:13

Soldiers have done it for millennia – showed incredible honor, courage, and commitment. May they inspire us to do the same!

Oh God, help us also to follow the example of Jesus – that we would lay down our lives out of love for you and other people in order to build your kingdom on this earth and find true happiness. Lord, we ask you to send out more workers into the field! Do it, Lord. Amen.

“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something, then I realized…
I AM somebody.”

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May 25 2014

A Short Bit of Career Advice

Published by under Life

Making career decisions is tough. So many factors: enjoyment, pay, stress, co-workers, commute time, benefits, advancement path.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
_Ecclesiastes 3:12

We can do good anywhere at any time. But how incredible to get PAID to do it! And how incredible to spend the bulk of our waking, productive hours working to do good!

Take one more thing into account when making a career choice – good. Life isn’t primarily about careers. And it isn’t primarily about money. Our bank accounts won’t win the day when we meet Jesus. Our faith and our faithfulness to him will.

God will call the past to account.
_Ecclesiastes 3:15

So often we read a verse like that ominously. It doesn’t need to be so! If we live today while thinking of our last day, we’ll be well-placed to meet God!

We have to do something with our time on this earth. We might as well do good!

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May 22 2014

A Super-Practical Tool to Learn About the People of a Poor Community

Published by under Community Development,Haiti

If I ever have kids, I won’t try to impress people by how soon my kid reads or how far they can hit a baseball. By the time my son gets to be 3, I want him mowing the lawn and painting the house. Grown man, grown responsibilities.

Isn’t it true, though? Parents love to encourage their kids to do more and be more as soon as possible. Parents are always bragging about their kids and what they can do. No parent excitedly says, “Guess what!? My kid is 8 and STILL doesn’t know how to walk! I carry him around everywhere!”

But when it comes to working with the poor, this is often what happens. The wealthy spoon feed and carry them for a really long time.

There are times where spoon feeding is appropriate. When someone breaks their arms, they sometimes need help eating and doing certain things. But once they heal up, they’re back to eating on their own.

Communities affected by disasters (e.g. hurricanes) and other situations where an event “breaks their arms,” usually need some spoon feeding for a period of time. But eventually that community heals up to the point they can do things on their own.

In situations where communities have NOT been impacted by a disaster but are continually languishing in poverty, the first step is to establish what they actually believe about themselves and the world.

The poor typically feel powerless. And it makes sense they’d feel that way. If they had power, they would get themselves out of poverty. So poor people often have a very low view of themselves. They also feel like they can’t control very much.

In order to establish how the community views themselves and how they view the issues in their community, you can conduct a Worldview Analysis using the Ten Seed Technique.

First, you discuss with the people what assets are in the community – knowledge, skills, natural resources, geographical advantages, etc. At this point, the people are now thinking about all the things that are RIGHT in their community – not just what’s wrong.

Second, you ask the people what the major issues are that affect their community. You then plot these on a diagram that looks like this…

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 9.08.14 PM

You’re asking yourself right now, “What are the rings about?” Remember yesterday when we talked about The Three Controllers of a Community’s Destiny? A community can change…

  • From inside by community members
  • From outside by advisors and friends
  • From God/nature

So the rings each represent one of those controllers….

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 9.11.59 PM

The people then get 10 seeds for each major issue in the community and they can distribute them to each of the three controllers (what they control, what outsiders could help them control, and what God/nature controls). An example using one issue might look like this…

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 9.26.48 PM
You can see in the example, that 20% of the problem (2 out of the 10 seeds) could be controlled by the community (inside ring), 50% could be helped by outsiders (middle ring), and 30% is up to God/nature (outside ring).

This process allows you to find out how the community understands THEMSELVES. Before they place the seeds, they have discussion about the problem and you simply listen to them reason out their existence. You hear what they can control and where their speed bumps are. Since they use actual seeds for this exercise, they can easily move them as the discussion progresses. When the analysis is over, you draw the seeds onto the chart.

So let’s look at an example from real life! Here’s a picture of the Leadership Council in Camp Marie, Haiti…


After much discussion, their Worldview Analysis currently looks like this…


The circled numbers in red are the order of importance that they place on each issue. What you’ll see that’s very interesting is how many seeds are in the very inner circle – this is what they believe they can control on their own. For them to understand exactly what it is they control in their community is a huge deal.

We want them to stand on their own. We want them to be empowered. Truly empowered. That is, we want the people to increasingly gain a sense of power over their problems. I have rarely met a dumb poor person. They might be uneducated, but the knowledge they have is significant. When they start realizing this, the mood of a community changes and they want to get to work and start saving money for their dreams.

Before I close, I want to mention that I’ve been in Haiti this week with an organization called 410 Bridge. They’re 100% legit and if you’re looking to do work in Haiti, I highly recommend them!

If you want to know more about these topics, you can read some white papers on them here:
Ten Seed Technique
Holistic Worldview Analysis

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