Chapter 21: Compassion

Chapter 21: Compassion

God has been bringing Compassion to mind.  I’ve not always been a compassionate person myself.  Years back I was rather intolerant of people.  Yet the Lord is faithful to do a work in our hearts and minds.  It is the Lord’s grace that teaches us compassion.  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.

For starters, the Bible is pretty clear that the only way we come to know God is because of his compassion extended to us.  We find a picture of the Father’s compassionate heart in Hosea,

“I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws and I bent down to them and fed them.” 

Hosea 11:4 ESV

This is a beautiful picture of compassion that ‘bends down’ to serve and to free.

We are only a changed people because of compassion.  There are other ways to motivate and try to change people, such as criticizing, condemning, and manipulating, but these do not create lasting change.  Only the compassion of God creates a work in our lives that cannot be undone.

Compassion is the heart of God and compassion is the hard emotional work where miracles happen. (footnote #1 below)

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”  Matthew 14:14  ESV

Compassion steps us into another person’s experience and from their point of view we gain bigger perspective.  When we do not run from the hurts of others, we are exhibiting compassion. (footnote #2 below) 

The thing is, we can know all sorts of things, be wise in all measure, have education and knowledge in great ways, but without compassion all of this is a waste.  It means nothing, if we cannot connect with others hearts and lives.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV

Compassion is hard because it requires that we set our own needs aside.  It is the language of the heart, not the mind.  It is a learned skill to see others with God’s heart and not through our own code of right and wrong.

But the Bible is pretty clear that compassion covers over a multitude of sins.  Compassion understands that we are human and that we have sin. Every one of us. (footnote #3) 

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.”  Proverbs 10:12 ESV

Compassion demands that we leave our judgements and condemnations behind. 

Compassion has no room for such.

In the professional development world we talk about the difference between force and power and how force is used by those who have no real power for force demands and threatens others to our way of right and wrong, good and bad.

Force may feel good for a short period of time, but it does not create long-lasting results. In fact, force does just the opposite.  Force undermines and destroys.  It destroys trust, it destroys affections, and it destroys influence and relationships.

Force is the opposite of compassion and we get a good picture of the effects of this lack of compassion and the use of force in Ezekiel 34.

“… you do not feed the sheep.  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.”  Ezekiel 34:3-5 ESV

Real power, on the other hand, is like a whisper.  Have you ever been in a crowd that has been noisy and needed to get someone’s attention?  Have you ever tried yelling but found no response, but then tried a whisper and were able to be heard despite the noise?

Compassion exhibits this kind of power.

In 1 Kings we have a beautiful passage about the Lord as he reveals himself to Elijah:

“And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:11-12 ESV

Consider next Jesus’ response to the woman caught in adultery; a fabulous example of the power of compassion.

The ‘law-keepers’ had found this woman and had brought her to Jesus.  The Jewish law at the time stated that the punishment was to be death by stoning.

We find the story in John 8:

“Early in the morning he came again to the temple.  All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  So what do you say?” 

…. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them,  “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 

But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, 

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said,  “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more.” 

John 8: 2-11 ESV

Compassion ruled the day.  And compassion brings from each of us our best.  It does not force, it does not demand, and it does not condemn.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

Compassion opens our hearts and enables us to see each other and our communities with God’s heart and God’s eyes.

At the same time compassion is a work of our hearts that we cannot manufacture ourselves.  We cannot make our selfish narrow minded hearts expand, only God can do this.

So we ask him for expanded hearts, we ask for compassion to flood through us, and we step into God’s compassion for us.  When we know God’s compassion personally, we can then give it out.


“Father God, we come to you today in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We clearly see that we cannot make compassion happen inside of ourselves.  This is a work that only you can do, and we are dependent on your doing this in our lives.  Please bring your compassion into my life.  Help me to see others with eyes of compassion.  Help me to act with compassion.

I welcome your compassion to flood my being, heart, mind, spirit and body.  Thank-you for your compassion.  Thank-you that in compassion you sent your son Jesus Christ to die for my sin and everyone’s sin.  Thank-you for extending to us fellowship of compassion with each other.  I receive you and your compassion this day in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all glory to you Father,  Amen.” 


There is a book called Leadership & Self Deception.  It describes what happens when we refuse to do good for others. 

It is like this:  At the moment when we have a thought of doing something good for another person, we either move forward to do that good thing or we immediately create an excuse along with a judgment as to why we could not do that good thing. 

For instance, I once passed by a homeless person and had the thought of giving this person some money. But I did not move to share any money with the person and immediately into my mind came all the ‘reasons’ why I couldn’t share that money.  My thoughts became, “Well, he would just spend it foolishly, now I am no longer near him, and I don’t think I was to do this.” 

Can you see, in this example, how I pushed aside the thought to do good and instead chose excuse and  judgment?

good thought pic

The Bible actually calls choice #2 sin.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17 ESV

We are called to follow the conscience that the Lord has given us for it is through our conscience that the Holy Spirit speaks and directs and commands; there are things we know to do simply because our hearts compel us to do them.  This is the Holy Spirit at work within us and we best not ignore the compelling of the Lord. 

If we consistently ignore the thoughts we have for doing good to others, we will grow a hard heart and these offences (sins of omission) pile up between ourselves and others.  Unless we confess and repent we then begin to defend and deny our wrong-doing and the wall between us and others (and God) grows bigger and bigger. 

Bottom line: begin to pay attention to your own thoughts and begin to follow through on the good thoughts you have for others. 

Summary – compassion 

Compassion flows from God.  Hosea 11:4, Matthew 14:13-15

Gentleness builds people while harshness tears down.  Colossians 3:12-13

Love for others must come before everything else.  1 Corinthians 13:1

We work to remain in trust with people.  Romans 12:9-13

We do for others as our spirit tells us.  James 4:17 


Footnote #1 – It seems that miracles are the place where God’s heart intersects with our hearts, where we allow ourselves to be moved by the heart of God and we call out to him, by which God’s heart is then moved by our hearts, which moves our hearts, which moves the Lord’s heart – here in this intersection between God and mankind, miracles happen. 

To allow our heart to be moved is the emotional energy of allowing compassion. In compassion we are moved beyond ourselves for the benefit of another. 

Footnote #2 – It is interesting to realize that every place where the Bible tells us that Jesus had compassion on the people, it was at times of personal weariness where the term compassion seems to indicate a putting aside of Jesus’ self-concern and an extending of himself in a way that offered more to the people than he would have humanly felt he had at that moment. 

I don’t know about you, but I can think of times when I don’t feel that I have anything to give to others, and it is at these times that we are particularly called to extend ourselves in a way that ministers to others, beyond what we feel we can give. I know that at these times, in our weakness, that God takes over and ministers through our sacrifice in a way that we can never do in our own strength. Compassion is a call to go beyond ourselves in the service of others. 

Footnote #3 – In a later part of this course we will learn more about Sulha and this profound spirit of the Lord that we can walk out in relationship with those around us. 

Chapter 5. Agreements

5.  Agreements

per — Capturing God’s Heart Volume #29

The basis for all of our spiritual work and authority is the principle of agreement.

The foundation of all our spiritual work and authority is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 ESV

In his death, burial, and resurrection, we have been given the keys to life in Christ, relationship with Father God, and the Kingdom of God on earth.

The key is agreement.

When we agree with the work done by Christ we come under the gifts of the cross and of his resurrection.

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  John 10:28 ESV

Without agreement we have nothing.  The power of agreement is laid out time and again throughout scripture.

Initially we are introduced to the principle of agreement through the Jewish laws that declared there must be two or more witnesses before a charge could be laid.

“This will be my third visit to you.  “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”  2 Corinthians 13:1 NIV 

Agreement amongst a few was necessary, and all that was needed, to go forward in matters of business, family, and village life.

Jesus Christ affirmed this and added to it the instruction of agreement in his name as that which would accomplish anything.

“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 18:19 ESV

Jesus could say this because he represented God the Father in his life and work on earth.

It is in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all heaven and hell is moved.

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 ESV 

Acknowledging this, working under this, agreeing with this, is our only work.  Everything of any value flows from the work of Jesus Christ.

“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.  Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”                     2 John 1:9 ESV

As believers and ministers of the gospel our agreement begins with the work of Jesus Christ, and then continues on out and over others.

Agreeing with Jesus regarding our own being is powerful.

Agreeing with Jesus regarding others is world changing.

So we must ask, what does Jesus say about you and I?

To what are we agreeing?

1.  First we agree that we need a Saviour, that there is waywardness and sin in our lives and that we cannot be rid of these things on our own.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 ESV

2.  Second we agree to the character and goodness of God.  That no matter how it might seem to our natural eyes, that God is indeed good and worthy of our praise and allegiance.

“For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.”               Psalm 33:4 ESV

3.  Third we agree to God’s creation of us as sons and daughters of The King.  Agreeing with this we embark on a journey of discovery, finding once more our place within the Kingdom.

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”         Romans 8:16 ESV

4.  Fourth we agree to our value and worth and purpose within the Kingdom of God.  All people are invaluable and esteemed by God and created for good things.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10 ESV

5.  Fifth we agree to the Father’s heart over humanity.  We agree to the spirit of God that seeks all mankind and loves all people.

“Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”                1 Timothy 2:4 ESV

6.  Sixth we agree, and give our lives over as a testimony to the goodness and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Father God.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17 ESV

And as we work out our lives in agreement with the heart of God we find peace and joy, purpose and celebration, belonging and deep gladness.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Romans 15:13 ESV

Regardless of our life circumstances we find God’s presence burrowing deep into our hearts and thoughts and understandings.   And even in the midst of difficulty we find that God’s presence makes all the difference.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 ESV

We are strengthened, given wisdom, made glad.

Agreeing to the heart of God, the work of Jesus Christ, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is powerful.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.   And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 ESV

Our lives are not the same.

We are transformed.


“Dear God, thank-you for sending your son Jesus Christ to be our salvation.  We receive fully and completely the work of the cross into my life this day.  We agree in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Kingdom of God in our lives.  We say yes and amen to the love of the Father, the encouragement of the Spirit, and the covering of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We ask this day for your favour and grace.  Bless us with your peace, make our hearts glad, remove from us worry and strain, we give our whole hearts to you this day.  Jesus Christ please come and live in every nook and cranny of our lives. 

We thank-you, we love you, we worship you.  We agree to your goodness, we agree to your salvation, we agree to your plan over our lives, we agree to life and we disagree with death from this day forward. 

We welcome you Lord Jesus, Thank-you.” 


Our agreements with the enemy show up as bad fruits in our lives.  We see all that is wrong and bad in our communities and we may put much effort and strategy to ending the bad fruit.  There is nothing wrong with this of course, for we must invest in freeing our nations unto good things in the Lord. 

Yet, we may not know that the bad roots are the reason for the bad fruit.  We may not realize that our agreements with the enemy allow, and in fact invite, the power of satan to be at work in our lives, communities, and nations.  As this diagram shows, the roots of our lives create the fruit, and in the case of bad fruit there are always sins of the heart below the surface of our lives.   

CCIM at the roots - Version 2

These agreements with the enemy are hard to see for they are in the realm of our hearts.  Our hearts carry attitudes and judgments that do not reflect the heart and manner of God.  Our inner beliefs and perspectives participate in either the love and blessing of the Lord, or participate with the lies and condemnations of the enemy.   And our lives and communities reflect this.

Therefore, it is important to humbly go before the Lord and to begin to ask what is at the root of our problems and difficulties.  We must ask for the revelation of the Holy Spirit to our part in the problem, that we may repent, turn from our agreements with satan and make new agreements with God.  As we do this, our lives, communities and nations will be transformed by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

This is, in fact, the call of the body of Christ and part of being salt in the world.   Add a little bit of salt to the pot and all the food tastes better.  In the same way, as we live out Christ on this earth the whole world is blessed and made a little more glad and whole.  We are the ones to bless earth and it’s inhabitants.  We are the ones to bring Christ’s healing to our nations. 

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

We, therefore, require great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we might hear and understand how we might repent.  The Lord will lead us as we draw close to him and as we listen with an intent to hear and respond. 

1.  Gather with two or three others from your church.  Set aside an hour or two for listening prayer. 

2.  Welcome the Holy Spirit and set the space: 

“God we gather together in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We want to hear from you.  We declare this space and time covered and kept in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We stand against all lying, deceiving or confusing spirits, binding them to silence in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We invite you Holy Spirit, to speak to us, to guide us.  Thank you for meeting with us.  Amen”

3.  Ask the Holy Spirit simple questions and wait for an answer: 

“Jesus, what is hindering your spirit from moving in this place?” 

4. Once you hear an answer, respond by taking responsibility for this hinderance and come in confession and repentance.  Confess the hindrance to the Lord, take responsibility for it.  Admit that it is there. 

*Use the prayer steps to freedom that begin on the next page. 

Summary – agreements

Our agreements establish the work of God or the destruction of Satan. 

Matthew 18:19,  2 Corinthians 7:14

  • Agreement with God equals life.   John 6:35 
  • Agreement with Satan equals death.   Ephesians 4:27

Our Agreements show up as: 

    • WORDS:  our words matter (for they create agreements).   Matthew 12:36-37, Ephesians 4:29
    • ACTIONS:  what we do matters.   Romans 8:13, Romans 8:6
    • ATTITUDES:  the attitudes of our hearts.   Ezekiel 18:32, Pro verbs 6:16-19
    • JUDGMENTS:  our condemnations of others reap bad things in our own lives. 

Romans 14:10-13, Matthew 7:1-2

To change our agreements we confess and repent, breaking agreements with satan and making new agreements with God.  NOTE:  the process for this is taught in the next lesson. 

Fasting Unto the Lord

P1290233 compressedThis is the fasting that God wants: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you.

Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Then you will call, the Lord will quickly answer, ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.

Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.

Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

Isaiah 58:6-12

Capturing Courage Stories & Prayer from around the World

You are Invited - April 21st

Don’t Let the Bed-Bugs Bite

time to say 'no'

Spiritual Authority rather is the influence that we carry within us to make a difference in this world and in the lives of others. It is the assignment or calling that would have us entering into something bigger than ourselves.

Spiritual Authority rests on the knowing of our position in Jesus, it is about confidence of who God is and who we are made to be. But let me tell you a story.

I was in Uganda for almost another week. Visiting another area found me in yet another beautiful woman’s home. Nice space, good bed, hospitality and gracious warmth, all wrapped around me in comfort.

Until I woke in the middle of the second night to find numerous bedbugs. On the bed and on my mosquito netting both inside and out.

So with my flashlight and my kleenex (I’m really glad I had experience with lice years earlier, it somehow prepared me) I scringed them all in my tissues. And then tried to go back to sleep.

This continued for the nights I remained there. I tried all sorts of things. I laid a mat I had been given on top of my mattress. I then tucked my mosquito netting under the mat (as opposed to around the edges of the bed), then laid myself on top of the mat. This set-up made a figure 8 of sorts that they would have to navigate in order to get to me.

Well, navigate it they did. Bed-bugs are smart. We settled into a routine of sorts. Sleep fitfully, wake up to dispose of bed bugs, sleep fitfully, then wake to dispose of more, each night until morning came.

Long story short, I made it out alive (and lived to tell about it), and managed to not bring one bed-bug home with me. Phew!

Three months later and I am heading to Uganda again. To the same home. For three weeks this time.

Back to the bed-bugs.

But the Lord had been speaking more and more to me about my spiritual authority. My confidence was increasing all the time, and the anointing and level of authority had been increased as well.

And we were praying. My prayer team and I silenced those bed-bugs all the way from Canada, weeks before I was to be there again.

We really didn’t know what we were doing per se. We just prayed a bit.

Upon my arrival in Uganda and settling straight away into this same home and same bed found me that first night setting the stage.

I got into bed and spoke out loud, “I declare myself covered in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ, and say to all bed-bugs ‘be still’ – insert praying in tongues here- Amen.”

No bedbugs. Days went by, a few weeks went by. Not one bedbug.

I was thinking, wow that is amazing. What did they do? How did they get rid of them?

We all know how impossible it is to get rid of bedbugs.

Until one night that I was woken in a nightmare and demonic attack. Three times I was woken, and the third time there were three bedbugs. One I had flicked off myself, killing it as I severed its head from its body, and two others clinging on the inside of my mosquito netting.

(sorry for the graphic detail)

There lay the one dead one, and there were the two on the netting, and I simply spoke to them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that they were to ‘be still’ (meaning not to get to me) and simply went back to sleep.

I never saw them again.

In all of this, the only element that changed from trip one to trip two was the power of prayer and the increased confidence that I carried, knowing that I could command these critters and they had to listen.

Not because of me, but because of who my God is.

And it made all the difference.

This is spiritual authority. Knowing who God is, understanding that ‘he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world’ and with the confidence to stand in that truth, to declare from that truth, and to rest in that truth.

Now imagine this same knowing, this same confidence, this same declaration made on behalf of the broken hearted. Imagine this same advocated for those who have no voice. Imagine angels released to heal, hope infused in the hopeless, freedom where before there was bondage. Imagine.

This is spiritual authority. It is first the place where we meet the living God ourselves. We find sufficiency and grace and healing and love and hope. We find confidence and our voice.

And then we bring this knowing to bear upon this world. We learn to advocate the love of God on behalf of others in powerful and effective ways. This is Spiritual Authority at its best. And this is what I am teaching.

To the bed-bugs, and to everything else that has ever gone wrong in this world, we say, “You will NOT bite. Your authority is cancelled here.”

God reigns.

Blotter Paper

pondsA favorite book is the true story of a couple heading into BC’s Chilcotin area in the 1930’s. There had been rampant trapping of the beaver in the early 1900’s and the Chilcotin was no different. In fact, there were no beavers left in that vast area.

What had once been a thriving land was dying of thirst.

Without the beaver to build and maintain their dams pond after pond dried up. Certainly the rains came as usual but without structure in place to ‘catch’ those rains they galloped down the hillside.

Farmers on the lower levels had to deal with either flooding or drought, and on the upper reaches cattle trying to reach water, would enter the boggy remnants of ponds, get mired down and would die.

What had once been fresh healthy water-ways and reservoirs had become cesspools of death and decay.

The beaver dams helped to hold back the waters in each pond, to create generous aquatic life and wildlife that flourished. Without ponds (lakes really) and their grasses there were no mink or otter. The larger animals of moose and bear went elsewhere.

The infrastructure of health and well-being had been disrupted. And it took some 20 years for the beaver and health of the land to be established once more through the determined and unending efforts of a man, his wife and son.

Like any come-back tale what took the longest time was the permeation of enough water back into the peaty bottom of the ponds. Before water could run from one pond to another pond and to yet another pond and ultimately to the farmers canals and irrigation ditches far downstream, it was necessary to drench the ‘blotter-paper’ so to speak, at the bottom of each pond.

Once the bottom of each pond was saturated, only then could the water level rise to a height that supported beaver and fish and all good things.

This then was the goal of each pond throughout the entire waterway. Shore up the leakage at the end of each pond, maintain the dams by hand for long enough until the waters began to fill back in, and until there was enough for beavers to return.

It is an amazing story of commitment and perseverance and of dogged determination and of a solid plan worked out day by day over years and years until success came.

I tell this story because it is such a picture of our lives and of our organizations and business’.

The ‘ponds’ of our lives, the elements of healthy living, the eco-structure required to get on with business is all a finely tuned interplay between its parts.

Leave one part to dry up, leave one dam to decay and destruction is the result.

Personally I am still in this process. The ‘ponds’ of my life and the chaos that reigned on various levels is still in process of being fixed, healed you might say.

But like anything here at Capturing Courage we take back the land of our lives day by day, task by task, relationship by relationship. With dogged focus and a good solid plan, anything can be rebuilt.

Anything can be built.

Our Capturing Courage team spent a weekend away together; looking at the year gone by and all of its movements and parts, and looking ahead at all of what is to come.

We are establishing our ponds, building our dams, shoring up the flow, establishing the run-off, with green things growing and life on all sides and are simply thankful.

I wonder what the ponds of our lives represent most? If you had five ponds that inter-played and depended on each other and upon which the health of your entire life rested, what might they be?

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

One Step at a TimeClarity comes in bits and pieces. It is step by step we come to know the path.

At Capturing Courage we have been walking step by step down this our path. It hasn’t always been easy.

Looking back, what stands out most of all is the fact that the most trying times have been the most clarifying times.

While full of emotion, riddled through with frustration, trouble to the point of weary, these exact moments are when we’ve most known what we are and are not to be about.

And while I’ve never been a big one for conflict I’ve come to appreciate the value in it. The crazy hair-pulling moments have in fact lent us much wisdom. Much, much wisdom!

The thing about paths is that there are the missteps every side of every step on that path. Like driving a car we must constantly be making adjustments. A little to the right, a little to the left. It is the only way.

But in the midst of life and ministry and business the steps too far to the right or left feel like failures.

And yet, are they?

My family has a house on one of the gulf islands here in British Columbia. A couple of years ago, in the middle of winter when the sun sets early, I had taken the ferry over and was walking to the house.

It is very dark on Mayne in the winter. There are no street lights, and unless the moon is out you cannot see your hand in front of your face.

But I took it as a challenge to walk and it was quite a bit of fun I must say. I found my way quite successfully all the way, simply by the feel of the road under my feet.

Paved and with a gravel edge riddled by grasses, I could tell where I was depending on if there was smooth pavement under my feet or whether I was crunching through rocks.

Obviously I hit the rocks as much as the pavement. In fact, the rocks at the side kept me from wandering into the middle of the road. They helped keep me on track just as much as anything.

And isn’t this the way with life.

The crunchy parts keep us on track. They tell us step by step, ‘Move a little to the left, move a little to the right.’

Without the trouble, without the frustrations, without the difficulties we would carry on our merry way and most likely end up somewhere we never wanted or intended to be.

Long story short – don’t mind the crunchiness of life. Get used to it. In fact, make use of it.

Paths are meant for one step at a time. Forward-Ho


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Cyndy Lavoie CoachingProfessionalism will never steer us wrong. Holding back on comments, reserving judgments, and keeping ‘us’ out of our responses enables a space in which much can happen.

The opposite, where comments are too-easy to come by, where judgments are without understanding, and where ‘us’ drives the entire process, we actually and in fact find process (and might I say progress) shut down.

Not much can happen in a space encroached upon by opinion.

Opportunity needs a nurturing space to grow as much as any of us.

We give a child room to grow. We hold back our warnings We refuse to utter threats. We do not dare foretell the future for we get it that a child is a living being, capable of much, wired to grow and to expand, equipped with intuitive strengths that will in fact lead him or her forward naturally.

The same is true of ourselves and each other. Nurtured with safe spaces we will naturally grow, we will mature, we will get to that next level, we will find our passion and go after it. These things need not be made up, but they can certainly be shut down.

Our organizations and our opportunities, our teams and our projects are the same. Nurtured with safe spaces they will naturally grow, mature, get to that next level and congruent with inherent passion.

Professionalism understands this and holds back on comments, judgments and opinion. For nothing shuts opportunity down faster than these things.

Wisdom is clear but also subtle. We must be the same. Walking in wisdom and in that professional space where ‘what we think’ takes a back seat, we find expansion and growth that we never dreamed of.

Humility understands that there are many more pieces to any pie than what we are seeing at any given time. We are not omniscient.


compressedI’ve been working on the plan for next year.

Now plans are a tricky thing. Because they cannot be guaranteed to work out just the way we envision them.

With any plan there are elements of it that we can control, that we can ensure and that has the locus of control right in our hip pocket so to speak.

But then there are the elements of any plan that depend on others, on specific circumstances and details and assumptions that once in the midst of the plan we realize will not jive.

Plans usually have the hows and wherefores down. ‘We will do such and such at this time and in that manner.’

(I’m pretty sure this sets us up for failure)

I’ve made a plan like that for 2013. It was a good exercise. The process refined my thinking, opened up my creative planning, and really made me look at what can be done.

Rather than being stuck in overwhelm or waffling in confusion, unsure how to go forward and not knowing what can or can’t be done, the process of making a plan turns stalemates into forward action.

Every plan requires decisions made, the future envisioned and that certain crisis within us that takes on the courage necessary in order to go forward.

Plans are great things.

Yet, once the plans are made, so many things can go wrong.

The plan I’ve made has multiple holes in it. There is room for all sorts of error and miscalculation and simple misunderstandings.

For the plan isn’t just about me or for me, it is about and for a number of others.

My friend in Uganda, who originally invited me there wrote me about a month ago with this, “All we know Cyndy is we need you back in Uganda.” He had been speaking to the Pastors that I’d already been alongside and this was their conclusion.

My other friend and primary interpreter for much of my times in Uganda said this to me last August, “Okay Cyndy, you’ve been here three times now. It is time to make this more official. Raise up a team of us, teach us to carry on the work.”

So I’ve been praying and contemplating, digging deep and reaching farther into myself for this next leg of the journey, and I’ve come up with a plan.

It sounds good. It looks really good on paper. But like all plans, it will need its fair share of tweaking. For like any plan it is just a compilation of my own ideas. A general sketch so to speak of the year to come.

That sketch will be filled in with color and with light and with flesh on the bones. Most likely in ways I could have never foreseen.

There are cultural differences to take into account, differing world-views and expectations, and then the simple matter of logistics and technicalities. I really don’t know so much of how the year will work out.

So while the hard emotional labor has gone into the plan, while I’ve dug farther into myself to see what is really there, and while I’ve put words to what I envision and what I think is possible, I’m holding my plans loosely.

In open hands stretched out.

It’s now time to harness those plans with something that is even more powerful.


Pure and simple commitment.

The rough idea is laid in place. But the goal, the real goal, the end result that is the reason the plan was made in the first place, this is where our commitments reside.

Allowing the details of my best laid plans to fall to the wayside, reveals my commitment. ‘To grow a small team of forward thinking, visionary leaders, leading in humility kind of godly leaders within Uganda’

This I can commit to. This is really the plan.

How it will work out. Exactly. I haven’t the foggiest idea.

Yet taking it from a plan to a commitment we find incredible power. Not because of you or I, but because a commitment will draw from us more than we even know we have to offer.

It will be messy and unmanageable in many ways. There will be surprises every single step of the way. Some things will work and other things will not.

The power of commitment though, cuts through all that.

So my suggestion as we are nearing another year. Make your plan, yes.

Yet even more powerfully, what is your commitment?

For that is where things will happen.


time to say 'no'What constitutes action?

A query that has been running in the back of my mind for some time now.

I am a person of action. At least I like to think I am.

I am also a person that enjoys all things relationships, and this means the interactions via the web. With twitter and facebook and blogging leading me to many that I would not have otherwise known, these mediums are a definitive gift to our time.

Except for one thing:

False actions.

It is all too easy to post a picture, write a blog, share a quote, and think we have done something.

But like a video game where battles won give false bravo and false accomplishment, so to does posting online, give an impression that often has little real substance behind the posting.

I have observed that there are those who post amazing pictures and quotes but have a life that in no way reflects what they are posting. And while this is the very few (on my wall), it worries me.

In the wake of Amanda Todd’s death, I am brought face to face once more with this need for action. A need for something tangible and real, in terms of bullying and so much more.

Action, is what i needed. And from where I sit, that means in our own lives first and foremost.

Bullying is insidious. And wearing a pink shirt ‘in memory of’ won’t stop it.

I know, because I’ve lived with bullying.

And I know, because the action required to stop bullying is gargantuan.

I left my marriage in order to remove myself and my children from bullying.

I left my church when their bullying proved no different than what was in my marriage.

I stay out of relationships that in any way smack of bullying.

Where others are made to feel small, it is not okay.

There comes a time when we must break fellowship with those who bully. When words (or wearing pink shirts) makes no difference, we stand up, we take action, we make changes, we say ‘no more’.

Not by words, because when words lose their effect, we go with action.

We take strong stands. We toss our lives and everything we know to the wind to make a statement of ‘no more’.

I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost the respect of others, I’ve been misunderstood and maligned because I simply would not be bullied any longer. Simply because I was not going to allow the insidious patterns of bullying to continue to my grandchildren, to the next generation.

Bullying is rife throughout our entire population and culture. It is not just a teen thing. Where do we, after all, think they learned it?

It is in our churches, it is in our families, it is in our nice little gatherings. It is in our leadership at youth events, it is in our schools, our nice little bible studies, and in our conversations.

And the ONLY way to make a difference, is to take action, to make changes, to order our lives around something that is better and stronger and purer.

Posting nice sayings, beautiful pictures, and wearing pink, won’t do it.

This is all-out war.

So, where will you make a change today? What conversation will you have with the bully in your circle of friends and family? And in light of the result of that conversation, what action are you prepared to take if necessary?

Action, profound life changing, earth rattling action, your and my world upside down action, is the only thing, that will make a difference.

So, are we really ready to eradicate bullying?


P1330927 compressedToday has gone nothing as planned. Have you ever had days like that? Where no matter what you try it goes sour, where tasks that are ordinarily simple turn into vast quagmires of complication and delay?

Today is one of those days for me.

Uppermost in my mind, is how we deal with such days.

And I have a few tips (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) that I am eager to pass your way.

(get out your pen and paper, you will want to take notes!)

First and foremost: stress out

Throw a few things, yell at whomever is closest, wind yourself up and generally make sure that everyone knows you are having a BAD DAY.

Next: forget to eat

Make sure that your blood sugar goes real, real low. This way you can make a claim to hypoglycemia and maintain your innocence and victimization in the midst of having such a BAD DAY.

Then: make things up

Yes, you heard right. Make things up. Everything can be made to have a good end if we just tweak reality a bit. Enter in a bit of denial, add a dash of balderdash, mix in a good dose of imagination gone bad and wow! what a great day is becoming of your very BAD DAY.

Boy do I ever feel better!