Poverty Strongholds #9 – Blaming & Excuses

Poverty Strongholds – Post Nine – Blaming & Excuses

  1. Demons
  2. Poor Stewardship – link to past article
  3. Lack of Knowledge (common sense)
  4. Mind Sets (faulty thinking)
  5. Lack of Holiness
  6. Agreements with the Enemy
  7. Bad Theology
  8. Blaming & Excuses
  9. Refusing to be a Blessing
  10. Pain Upon Pain

Let’s take a look at the 8th Poverty Stronghold – Blaming & Excuses

Blame Wheel

We begin in life with the ability to take responsibility for our own lives within our specific context and circumstances. We would say that we have 100% ability to be responsible for our lives – this could be described as having the power to move our lives forward — As in DIAGRAM  A

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The Power of Waiting

Cyndy in rural Uganda - November 2011I am heading to Mozambique in less than a week. The invitation has been since the early months of 2012. They’ve been waiting quite some time.

I’m finding though that our characters are proven in the wait. That what we think we are ready for right now may very well need some more time before coming to pass.

From the time that God first spoke out the possibility of Capturing Courage International until it was launched there was nine long years of preparation and prayer and waiting.

I don’t rush to make things happen so much anymore. I’ve learned that God is not in a rush, and that everything has its own best time.

In the waiting we grow in commitment, patience, and bigger picture understanding. Nothing else produces these things quite like waiting.

While we want everything yesterday God says, ‘Walk with me awhile, we will get to it.’

This last year has been another year of waiting. It’s been over a year since I’ve done an international ministry trip and how difficult it has been to stay home.

But in the waiting of this last year we have learned quite a few things at CCI. We’ve realized the core of our work. We are settled in the few solid things rather than trying a myriad.

Waiting did this. Waiting set up the framework for wisdom, for clarity, and with perspective that is deeper than our own best ideas and thoughts.

Waiting grows our capacity and I am realizing that until God can trust us with waiting he can’t really trust us with action.

So however you are waiting today, engage the wait, learn from it, allow it to expand your soul and your mind, take on the difficulty of waiting, rest in it.

God is in the waiting as much as in our actions. Find him there.

The Gift of Hope

calendar 7In my readings this past month I came across a comment from decades ago, stating that the poor and the outcast “have no right to hope.”

It was a shocking statement to read. Really? Who believes this?

It was a bird’s eye view into another time and way of thinking. But even as I read it I could see that this same thinking just might be a large part of the undercurrent that keeps modern poverty and slavery alive.

Do we have this same thinking as an undercurrent of our thinking. Does it have impact on our justice and aid work. Do we believe that those less fortunate ‘deserve’ what they get.

A few years back I wrote a blog post about grace experienced and passed out. I relayed a situation that was less than ideal and how the grace of God broke in and pressed down.

And some of the responses were so angry. One woman responded with, “If only I had experienced that grace.” Another could hardly stomach the grace, for she had slogged through her own failures, thank-you very much.

It seems that grace makes us angry. If we have not known it we certainly don’t want to give it. And once we’ve spent years trying to fix our lives, make everything right, slogged through our ‘lot in life’ we certainly don’t want to see someone get off scot-free.

Grace, the hope of God, does this.

It covers over. It breaks through. Regardless of class or past or present or circumstance God delights to pour in and make things new.

Thus the anger. Thus the rage. The sense of justice thwarted. How dare ‘they’ hope.

For some time now the impact of Capturing Courage has eluded me a bit. I’ve been working to understand the core gift that we are giving out to those in rural third-world countries. I think it is hope.

And I’ve come to conviction and conclusion. Everyone deserves to hope. Everyone is entitled to grace. Because God said so.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Ministry in Mozambique

The summer is flying by, and with it we are thick into preparations for our fall ministry trip to Mozambique.

Pastor Daniel and nine churches have been waiting for over a year and a half for us to be there, and we are deeply glad that the time has come for fellowship in company of each other.

The plan is that I (Cyndy) will head there on October 16th for 15 days on the ground. We have received donations enough to cover about two-thirds of the ticket price, and half of the total cost of the trip.

Thank-you to all those who have donated so far – The work of Capturing Courage is dependent on the donations and prayers of ordinary folks like yourselves.

A few specific things to keep in prayer about:

– Clarity in our final communications as we near our travel time.

– Full funding so that we stay on budget for this trip.

– Heart preparation for a work of the Lord, for both Cyndy and the people in Mozambique.

– All details coming together.

art auctionThere are also five evangelists and pastors from Kenya and Uganda who would like to travel and join us in Mozambique – please pray for clarity, direction, and funding to work for them as the Lord leads.

The work of Capturing Courage continues to solidify and expand. As we are faithful with the depth the Lord continues to increase the breadth.

Please be in prayer for us beyond this trip to Mozambique. The question of ‘which country next?’ is playing in the back of our minds and we wait on the Lord’s specific direction.

The choices forefront in our minds at this time are India, Kenya, Myanmar, & Uganda.

Your prayers for clarity and wisdom and guidance on our behalf are very appreciated.

If you live in the Vancouver area mark your calendars for our Open House & Art Auction Fundraiser coming in late September.

If you are new to the work of Capturing Courage Click HERE.

“Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous portion of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”  2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT

To support this work around the world Donate HERE

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ART Auction

P1180261 croppedThe last weekend of September we are hosting an Open House & Art Auction Fundraiser for CCI’s ministry trip to Mozambique in October.

We are asking for all artists and creative folk out there to donate ONE work of Art towards the further encouragement and equipping of our Mozambique pastors and congregations.

Besides raising money for Mozambique we are simply excited about viewing and celebrating artists in our local area.

We are expecting a great range of work and with a few donations already counted for, it’ll be a great showcase of a great mix of really talented people.

There will be more info about the event itself, but we wanted to get the call out for artists to donate and to showcase what they are about.

The picture at the top of this post is by one of my daughters and I think it catches the spirit of hope and joy and continued journey’s with our Lord that CCI is all about.

Be blessed today!

Obedience is Powerful

I’ve been reading a book titled The Art of Significance. What caught my attention about this book is the very first chapter ‘Practice Obedience Instead of Free Will Agency’.

Stunning, is all I have to say.

I’ve never seen this written out anywhere before.

The Walking in Spiritual Authority Discipleship Course that I am currently writing is very strong on this. When we are in sync with the Lord, when we are walking in obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, this is when we are most effective. It is when God can trust us that we are then entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom.

When young and as we grew we believed that adulthood came doing what we wanted, when we wanted. But as anyone who has advanced knows, the most influential among us are the most disciplined. The most adult among us are the one’s surrendering their actions to a higher wisdom and the ‘rules of the road’ that this world runs by.

Contrary to this, the opposite of obedience is disregard. I’ve been witness to this in people over the years and it is quite sad actually – a heart and spirit that cannot obey, that refuses to respond to say the (literal) simple rules of the road, or the wisdom of experts (because what do they know anyway), are at a significant disadvantage.

The inability to obey has one flailing on one’s own, unable to access wisdom gone before.

Walking with the Lord is a simple equation actually – grow in obedience, respect, and surrender.

Being used by the Lord is the same equation. Do you want to be used by the Lord? Grow in listening, in responding, in acting on an instruction even if it you don’t understand all the way.

Obedience is a prerequisite to a fulfilling life. The obedient are marked by self-control, by wisdom, and by deliberate action and reaction.

The ability to take oneself in hand and set a course of action, of being intentional and following through with excellent execution, are not the skills of someone doing as they wish, but rather the disciplined outcome of one who has an obedient way of doing life.

The disobedient think they always know best and simply follow their own path and formula.

It never works.

Rather those willing to learn and to grow reap many rewards. The patterns of success are evident in every sphere of life, and it is those able to ascribe their life accordingly that will receive the satisfaction of a job well done and a life well lived.

Where are you shrugging obedience? Where are you doing your own thing?

And where might obedience make difference for you this week?

Those wanting health must obey the rules of healthy living – eat right, exercise, get lots of sleep. And try these ideas

Those wanting financial health must obey the rules of finance – spend less than you make, tithe, save for a rainy day. This is a great list

Those wanting business health must obey the rules of business – be strategic, do not make emotional decisions. Check out these 15 rules

Simply put, grow in obedience, our lives will thank us.

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

Come and See

Jesus Christ SavesThis is a reminder to those living in the greater Vancouver area that tomorrow we are having our Capturing Courage Tea, Story & Prayer gathering.

At 2pm – 4pm, Sunday April 21st, we are gathering to share and pray for God’s heart around the world.

It’s been about six months since our last event, and there have been a lot of things going on in that time – Come and get caught up.

Our last few weeks at Capturing Courage have carried some sorrow and loss – Come and honor with us.

The investments are increasing, relationships are expanding, growth is slowly yet steadily taking hold – Come and celebrate with us.

A trip is in the wings, we are praying and planning – come and look ahead with us.

  • Sunday, April 21
  • 2-4 pm
  • 10082 160St
  • Surrey

“Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life could be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.” Mark 6:12-13 The Message – And the task we are about

Capturing Courage Stories & Prayer from around the World

You are Invited - April 21st

What’s The Fight About?

the body of ChristAre we fighting with people. Are we fighting against people.

What if there was another completely different vantage point. What if we might fight for people.

Fighting with people has us choosing sides, using either/or language and sometimes blindly acquiescing in ways that are not beneficial to anyone.

Fighting against people also polarizes and separates, creating divides and a conquer and a take all kind of thinking. No one wins.

And often, with each of these options on opposing ends of a continuum we bounce back and forth between fight with and fighting against.

Sometimes we are fighting with and sometimes we are fighting against. Bi-polar in our positions we are not stable people, our life manner cannot be counted on, we swing from one way to the other depending on who we are with, depending on what buttons they are pushing in us, and depending on our frame of mind on any given day.

Might I suggest this is a crazy way to be in the world. And yet, how else might we do this?

Well, in contrast to either of these two ends of a continuum the servant-leader (and anyone can be one of these) brings those two opposite ends of the continuum up and around joining the two polarities, creating something brand new.

Instead of with or against, we have for. Fighting for others is a much different entity.

It is a place whereby we are in fact for people. We hold ourselves in honor to others, we give benefit of the doubt while simultaneously giving push back.

Fighting for others requires that we bring a lot more of us to the table, than fighting with or against ever does.

Fighting for requires that we have the best interest of those we are serving at heart. It requires a bigger picture kind of thinking, a life that seeks to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and that quite simply breathes life instead of death.

It doesn’t mean we won’t disagree; we will.

Yet fighting for is a strong place. It does not require acquiescence, it does not create false fronts, and because of this only in fighting for can we engage true unity.

Fighting with or against are both passive states that masquerade as action, they look alive and meaningful, but its all a ruse.

It is so much easier after all to take a polarized position than to truly enter into the dirty messes of reality and invest in listening, and humility, and seeing things differently than we have ever seen them before.

Only in fighting for do we really engage all the difficulties and the uncountable realities, only in fighting for are we part of the solution, and only in fighting for are we able to truly serve those around us.

The Heart of Our Work

P1230297 compressedThere are a lot of missions organizations out there. I just discovered a site that has some dozen different trips to choose to be part of this year.

When I look at these sites and these missions organizations I know that Capturing Courage is not the same, is quite unique, yet I’ve had a hard time articulating the difference.

Released into the international aspect of our ministry 1 1/2 years ago it only took a couple of months to know that we were not going to be taking ‘teams’ overseas in any way.

Let me try to explain why.

For starters, we stay with the people. Jesus told his disciples to enter the towns, stay with whom will keep you and eat what they feed you. This is what we do. In each place where we go we stay with a family. We are not looking for nice per se, need no hotels, just simple and safe.

Doing this enters us into immediate interdependence. Sure I may be there to pray over and train and to facilitate an intimate encounter with the Lord, but I am dependent on those who keep me. In this we are mutually coming under each others leading and guiding.

Fellowship doesn’t stay at the surface. It goes much deeper.

Because I’ve gone by myself on all of my trips thus far, I’ve entered into relationship with those I’ve been privileged to be with. There is no other Canadian nearby, the easy comforts of a persons familiarity are not right at hand, and this forces real dynamics between myself and those I am with.

Our primary goal is building relationships. In fact, our entire ministry is dependent on the relationships we build. No relationships, no ministry.

Investing in each other has us looking ahead together in each other. I’m not sure how that can completely be done in a team setting. Can you imagine moving six or more people through a crowded city street, or onto a taxi, or via boda-boda’s into the villages and to sit with the elderly. I can’t.

Which brings me to the other thing that is different. We move as they move. Capturing Courage uses the same transit that our hosts use. In fact, our hosts are the ones arranging all the transportation.

We are entering into their worlds. We are not bringing ours with us, rather we do life and our time there in the same way they do. This is our goal.

The world over we have this prevailing idea that more is better. But I am convinced that less gets the job done far more. With less of us we connect more. With less of us we fit in better. With less of us the conversations are richer.

It is similar to years back when I would take my kids to Science World. Here in Vancouver we have a science playground of sorts where an entire day can easily be had. And there was a marked difference in the ways we could spend a day at Science World.

When I and just my five kids went, we found that we took our time. We went from area to area at our own speed and pace. We delved deep into the areas that struck us that day. My interactions were with my children, each one in turn and as we conversed together.

Every so often we had this ‘great idea’ to go with another family. Another mom and her kids would join us, and it was never as good a day. For all of a sudden I’m talking with this other mom more than with my own children. The conversation that did happen with my children was brought down to the level of giving instructions, issuing warnings, calling and commanding.

Sure I loved visiting with my friend, but all in all, these were far less superior days. The quality cannot even be compared.

Instead of moving at our own pace and entering into deep discussion and learning that was not rushed, we instead gave way to being in sync, organizing the children’s needs (who needed to go to the bathroom now?) with our conversation about planning and strategy and other such sundry details.

As much as I loved the idea of going with another family it was just never what we imagined it to be.

And I am pretty sure that moving a team through a foreign land would amount to the same. All the shuttling, strategizing, planning, organizing, timing, checking in, double checking, and more and more, certainly is not what we at CCI are called to do.

We must think very carefully about what the actual goal and the job is that we are taking on.

For instance, get a job in women’s fashion at a local department store as a ‘customer relationship manager’ and you will be folding and hanging clothing all day long. Is that really the job you wanted?

If a missions organization wants to pay thousands of dollars (actually charge you thousands of dollars) to move a team through airports, and in vans and through villages, care-taking the team, managing the team, providing for the team, solving problems within the team, ensuring the team has something to do, maintaining equilibrium within the team, and so on, then go for it.

But maybe we don’t want to call it missions so much as a grand team experience. Lets get real.

My niece recently said to me that when she did a missions trip to Mexico a few years back, that she never once interacted with a local Mexican person. So, I may be new to this scene, but there is something about this that is not okay. In fact, there is something about this that is very bad.

Having said all that, there is an organization based out of South Africa and they explicitly say, we do missions trips so that western youth might see other world realities. This is great. They are sure of their mandate and are stating it explicitly. Way to go for them. Because here the goal is to manage a team, grow a team, develop individuals to work within that team. This is honest. This is clarity.

It is hard to find clarity in anything we do in life. Even more so the rather nebulous arena of ‘helping’. What exactly might that be anyway! Well at CCI we enter into relationships and into life, into interdependency and mutual blessings.

There is nothing so grand as walking out of an international airport completely dependent on one person to be there to receive you. Nothing so amazing as to put one’s safety and care into another’s hands and guiding, “You lead the way, I’ll follow.” Little else compares to humbly receiving and sinking into the one family bed that has been prepared for you as your recover from your flight.

Nothing like receiving the jug of water that has been warmed for you that you might bathe. Nothing like falling asleep to the low sounds of the family conversing from bed to bed as they settle for the night. Nothing like your host following to the toilet (a pit toilet/outhouse) to stand guard since it is now dark outside.

It is these intimate adventures through life that bond us to each other. And it is out of these types of dependent interactions whereby we settle into each other, acknowledge each other and can then turn together looking forward committing to the future together.

At CCI it will never be about ‘here let us come help you’. Rather it is all about ‘we see the amazing strength and passion of your life, we see the work you are doing day in and day out, unceasingly and with great faithfulness, how might we encourage you?’

It’s as simple and profound as that.

At Capturing Courage we are simply finding friends we never knew, family we hadn’t yet met, and colleagues we are simply privileged to enter into the work alongside.

If you want to support this work head over to Love Global