Poverty Strongholds Post #3 – Poor Stewardship

Poverty Strongholds – Post #3 – Poor Stewardship

  1. Demons
  2. Poor Stewardship
  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

Walking through these poverty strongholds we will begin with our second stronghold, Poor Stewardship. I’ll write a post on each of these separately, for I am realizing the depth of the material to explore.

Let’s Begin: Poor Stewardship 

Poor Stewardship refers to the basic principle of being faithful with a little. From my own experience and observations this ‘faithful with a little’ is either a character strength or a character flaw. We either take care of the things entrusted to us or we do not.

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True Poverty

I’ve arrived home from my trip to Mozambique. It was stunning and simple, beautiful and layered in profound peace. It will take some time to put words to the time and experience. Yet bit by bit I will share the goodness of God in Mozambique. Where to start? This is pressing on me:

I came across my first poverty this trip. And it had nothing to do with available possessions or food and everything to do with pain and sorrow.

Here in a small church we found sadness pressed down running over. It was all we could do to stay there. Even our small group found ourselves pressed under it.

The houses were the same as everywhere else I’ve been. The cookhouse was large and spacious. The dirt floors were no different than any other we had been in. The storehouse of grains and such seemed well stocked.

The first indication that things were different was that the floor in the house was not as well swept as other places we’d been so far.

The second thing was the sorrow of the children. I don’t think there was a minute that passed without at least one child sobbing over something.

My heart was already heavy as we gathered for worship that evening. The songs were the same, the dancing by the young teen girls was the same, and yet such a difference.

There were visible medical difficulties. A number of the people, young and old alike, had crossed eyes. One young teen was mentally challenged.

And to my shock the ‘choir’ girls mocked and laughed at an old woman passing by. I had never before encountered such disrespect. To the girl who was mentally challenged they laughed and made fun. This is when I really knew that something was very wrong in this place.

While singing my own heart had been despairing. Every persons eyes carried so much pain. And into the weight I too almost became bowed down to hopelessness. Yet into that space God reminded me that he was big enough for the problems here. “Of course!” I was reminded.

I was to bring the message that evening, but opted rather to simply pray for the children. To speak, to declare, goodness and light over their lives, to agree with God’s hope and plans for their futures. And so one by one I prayed and declared the goodness of God over each little life.

It was the least and the most that I could do.

At first I thought that the parents just didn’t know how to love their children. Children would cry and parents would laugh or ignore. But in the course of our twenty-four hours there I realized that it wasn’t that they didn’t know how to parent, but that they were all caught in crippling cycles of deep pain.

It is no secret that those in pain pass on pain to others. That when loss and sadness increase we either work our way through these things or we become hardened and flat in our own responses. Hardened in our own responses we have nothing to give to the pain of others. We cannot meet them in their pain for our own is just too great.

In that space we begin to mock others, to make fun of those less than us, to hold off hope, to refuse comfort. We cannot, after all, give what we have not yet received.

And so I began praying against the cycles of pain that are there. Began standing in the gap, like one putting a stick into the wheel of a bicycle that just must by stopped.

Our one evening there, over an open fire and under a stunning starry sky I did share a message on my heart. A favorite one of mine, that we need not bring our much to God, but rather we bring our little, and God makes it into much. Of how we do one day at a time and of the importance of leading in generosity toward each other. Of confessing our fear and trusting God to pour through us in ministry to each other.

It seemed appropriate in this place that was bowed under such weight of sorrow and sadness. God’s way out of heartache and despair is the same for each of us. Truth transcends culture.

This word was well received and in the gentle spirit in which it was given I trust is even now making its way through layers of hurt and pain.

As we left the next day, we gathered as usual in the main home to sing and pray. I closed off the time in prayer and made sure to speak directly to the cycles of pain and to declare their end and in their place the goodness of God.

My prayer was of course much longer than this, for in the praying I sought to validate where they were at, the state of things as they were, and to bring hope and a sense that healing is possible as they go forward.

As I finished off and said my Amen the women wiped tears from their eyes.

This community will continue to be in my prayers. And the churches nearby are gearing towards more intentional care and mentoring and healing alongside them. This place of true poverty, that had nothing to do with possessions or food or clothes has everything to do with cycles of pain and of sadness that overwhelmed.

It is as I have suspected. Poverty is not often about food or clothes or housing (although I understand it sometimes is), but the most crippling poverty of all is a lack of knowledge of the goodness of God. True poverty is an absence of hope.

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

Thinking of Running Away?

I have a hard time with those intent only on when Christ is returning.

Though my own calling is in many ways to prepare the bride for Christ, so that we don’t shrink back but welcome forward, the preoccupation with when this will happen has always seemed a waste of time.

Just today I read someone’s comment about how going to war with Syria just might bring about the rapture sooner. Really? Towards what good end I might ask.

I’m a firm believer that the quality of our experience in heaven will reflect the manner in which we lived for Christ here on earth.

If we are avoiding life here, how will we find life there?

If we are only longing for escape and that golden shore, who are we leaving behind? What have we left unfinished?

Now years back I was of the same folly. Welling up from within was this longing for Jesus to return. Often I would utter the words, “Come Lord Jesus, Come.”

We considered painting these words on a wall at my church, and I was upset and angry when that didn’t happen. Don’t we want him to come? I railed.

Until one quiet evening when the Lord said to me, “It’s not time yet Cyndy, stop it now.”

I was out of sync with the Lord’s timing first of all, but even more important, I was out of sync with the Lord’s heart.

God is holding back, that all might come to know him. ALL

And this is what gets me about longing for heaven. It’s pretty selfish.

When we are not able to settle into the presence of God here on earth, when all we want is escape to some nirvana, when all we can think about is what will be, I truly wonder what we will get.

About the same time that the Lord reprimanded me for my selfish heart, I began to understand that the work we do on earth will in some way impact eternity.

The days we invest here become investments in eternity. Eternity is not the end of now as we know it, it is the continuation of now.

So, here in the now, what are we investing in?

Is your life given over to the things that God gave himself for? Or are we selfishly looking to run away from our messed up world?

God didn’t run away. Still isn’t running away. Neither should we.

Investing Mommyness

real emotions and strong livesI began my own mothering journey some twenty-five years ago. At the time I had no idea the years to come and the full hearts and years of being a Mom.

Today I look back and I am simply so glad that I invested years into the lives of my children. I’m also deeply thankful for the profound strengths that they built into me.

The journey of motherhood is fraught with emotion and momentum, with service beyond what we think we can do, and with the unaccountable at every turn. Mothering is hard work.

Yet the privilege of carrying lives in our hearts is just that, a profound privilege.

And it is not unlike our opportunity in service to others around our world. All ministry is the heart of a mother’s heart. It is the courage to carry another in the heart, to resonate with dreams and priorities different than our own.

Being a Mom simply makes our hearts bigger – and into this expanded place of love we have much to pour out into other lives. Once made strong we have strength to give to others.

This is the privilege of being a Mom.

It is meant to take us beyond ourselves, and into the world.

Our bodies, as women, are prohibited from bearing children for our entire lives. It appears that the Lord set it up so our years as Mom would in fact be limited, for there is just so much more of the world that needs the strength of Moms.

The lessons learned as Mom are to be taken out there. While we are nurtured in our homes and with our families, the goal of all nurturing is to make strong people, to instill confidence and skill sets that can serve a wider audience.

This applies to Moms as well. The most resilient and strong people on the planet are Moms.

So, harness up your life, and invest it in something bigger than yourself. You’ve already been doing this for years no doubt, where might you like it to go now?

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

A New Normal

the glory of GodIt is a sunshiny day on the west coast of Canada. Something that we do not always have, so when we do we must comment on it!

There are a lot of things going through my heart and mind this morning. The communications have been many this week from various parts of the world. I’ve still to respond to a gentleman from India today.

Playing on the world stage is interesting to say the least. I always knew I wanted a bigger sand-box to play in, and it appears that I’m in it.

But like with any game the bigger the stage the different our thinking must be. My own thinking has gone through many shifts. Once afraid and suspicious of many things today I am simply worn out by the fear of others. There simply is not time or space for fear.

There are things we leave behind any time we step out beyond our normal. Ways of thinking, the lenses by which we see the world, the expectations we carry with us.

Sometimes I have no idea how I have moved beyond the person I once was, yet move I have, glory be to God!

All this to say, if you are wanting to live and play a bigger game, work hard on your paradigms and the lenses by which you see the world.

Different lenses, different world.

No matter what change you might be looking for, it can only come about by you changing your thinking, by you shedding your fears, and by you doing the hard inner work to stretch farther than you ever imagined possible.

Thing is though, your new normal is just waiting for you. Will you take hold?

Bartimaeus

P1310658A new year brings all sorts of expectations and possibilities. It is no different here at Capturing Courage.

With a Team Weekend Away in just a few days, we will be looking at what 2012 was and then directing our gaze forward.

My own heart has been meditating on the question, “What do I want?” It is the same question offered to me by the Lord, “What do you want?”

It is a question beyond all the ought and should that so easily entangles us. It is a question that presumes upon an open arena upon which to play. Like a canvas that has not yet been painted on.

What do you want?

It is the same question that Jesus asked others.

The blind man Bartimeaus was by the side of the road, he was calling out to Jesus and trying to get near to him, and Jesus asks, “What do you want?”

It is both a liberating and offensive question. (He is blind, can you not see what he might want?!)

And yet in this question Jesus puts Bartimeaus in the drivers seat of his own life. Yes Jesus could work a miracle for him, but did he want it?

Jesus in no way ever presumed to know what another wanted. He always asked.

And God is still asking each and every one of us this same question every single day, “What do you want?”

It’s not an easy one to answer. For the query leads us to what and how might we engage what we want. There will be action and risk put to task. There will be a stretching of who we are and we won’t remain the same.

What do we want?

While the course is laid, the manner of movement established, the values and the non-negotiable made plain to see, the actual action we then take comes down to what we want.

It is the place where we must sink into our passion. Where our hearts desires are first acknowledged and then given voice.

As I personally look at 2013 there are twenty-three overseas communities that have invited me to come and visit and minister to them. That is more than I can do this next year. So how do we decide? How do we figure out where Capturing Courage will be going?

We decide by heart. What places are drawing me to them? Which ones resonate the strongest? Whom might I enjoy serving alongside the most? Where might I pour love this year?

There is for sure an element of where might God like me to go and the timing is of course very important, and yet at the base equation I cannot check my heart alongside his heart if I do not yet know my heart.

What do I want?

God has opened every door and therefore every door is free to go through. Open doors are a done deal.

It now comes down to, “What do I want?”

So that is the question I am settling into these last weeks. I’m getting in touch with my own desire and passion and hearts response amongst the invitations and grand folk I’ve already met and the phone calls and emails of those I’ve not yet met.

Problem is, I want to go to each one of these places. My heart says ‘yes’ to all of them, and so I must in fact go deeper and get in touch with my own passion on a more intimate level in order to answer the question.

It isn’t easy. Passion never is.

Blind Bartimeaus could have asked for lunch for his next day. Or he could have requested a fresh pair of socks. Maybe a new t-shirt or shoes even.

But Bartimeaus had been doing some soul searching. He had been getting in touch with his passion and the deepest desires of his heart and so when Jesus asked him what he wanted he was ready, “I want to see.”

He was instantly healed that day. (see Mark 10:46-52)

“I want to see” are profound and beautiful words.

How many of us are really honest about what we want? How many of us are willing to risk asking and speaking a desire that is so risky that if we put it out there and it doesn’t come to be we will forever be shamed?

Not many of us. But that is the task of our every day and the privilege of living.

Ask and it will be given to you.

What are we asking for?

What do we want?

Permission

096 compressedI am entering the new year somber and waiting. It does not feel all cheery and rose. I cannot shout Happy New Year for I want something much deeper than that.

The Lord has set up 2013 well for Capturing Courage. An agreement that would have bound us is broken – grieving has taken its place, and for all this I am deeply glad.

I see the working of the Lord on our behalf. It does not feel very nice, but it is oh so good.

And this is the dichotomy of our lives. Where it is not nice it is very good.

Where we come to the end of ourselves God steps in.

Where we can no longer see we gain vision from heaven.

Where our knowledge falls short we draw on his wisdom.

Glory be to God.

The end of ourselves is something for which we are naturally afraid. I run across this time and again as I journey others to freedom via prayer ministry. The cry of our natural heart is, “Who will I be if not with these bonds?”

We are deeply afraid. Every one of us.

The only solution is the presence of God. In God we have nothing to fear. In God we have everything to offer.

In God we can cast ourselves aside. The worries about today or tomorrow, the details of this and that, the upkeep of our lives ad nausea can be ours to carry, or we can offload them onto the Lord. The choice is ours.

The choice is always ours.

We think we must ask God permission. But he gave us all the permission we need at the time of conception. Just by being here you are called into something. By the act of God breathing breath into your frame you are allowed. You are allowed.

But because we are unsure of this, God asks our permission.

“May I bless you today?”

“Might you join me in this work?”

“I’d like to pour my love over you, what do you think?”

“Might you take hold of salvation today?”

And by our actions we either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

The decisions we make determine our lives. The agreement with either heaven or hell determines our days.

Agree with hell and you get hell.

Agree with heaven and you get heaven.

God says, “I love you.” What might change in your life if you really believed this?

What shift would you make in 2013?

Give God permission this year to do something amazing in and through you.

Will it be nice, no not always by any means.

Will it be good, yes and always pressed down running over and amen.

Give God the permission.

Walking In Spiritual Authority – Part Three – Spiritual Authority

Spiritual Authority ultimately plays out as a function of who we are. We move from doing to being.

While it is straightforward to take orders the Lord calls us into a deeper kind of walk and work of the Spirit. The power of who you are, your passions, your dreams and goals and the visions given you by the Lord are welcomed in the King’s Kingdom.

For more than anyone else he gets you, sees the real you, and expects you to join him.

Taking back this world for God requires full participation of all of us.

Part Three: Spiritual Authority & Moving Forward

It is in losing our life that we find it. And here in Spiritual Authority we begin to bring all of the prior lessons into a practical grid by which we do life. Under the radar and hidden in the light of Christ has us experiencing and making a difference in our own lives and in this world.

  • war | taking the land | our Lord Jesus Christ | respect for the enemy | birthing authority | expressions | thresholds | heart | will | risk | human | discernment | wisdom | language | cleansing | holiness | presence | markers | no renegades allowed | freedom

We are better together. Moving forward has us settling into the best of each other. In the community of the body of Christ we find a culture of strength and empowerment. We find our impact here and now stretches forward beyond time.

  • answerable to God | who’s on the bus | ministry | how big is your God | fear | support system | persecution | strength needs support | in the game | your team | four pillars | falling | open lives | for the church | transitions | spiritual freedoms | binding | claiming | sealing | eternity
 

Pushing through and into ministry that carries on after us requires certain things. After the initial investment and excitement comes time for staying power. For yet more faithfulness, more transparency, more authenticity.

For more love, more wisdom, more courage and more strength. These we find in the body of Christ. The work is bigger than us, and while we may find courage as one, we find strength as many.

Any Questions? Contact Us

 
The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV.
 
 

A Favorite Re-Post

P1120119 compressedAll sorts of things depreciate in value. Cars, stereo equipment and phones… just to name a few. No sooner have we bought something but new technology makes our ‘latest wonder’ obsolete. The current depreciation curve is steeper and sharper than at any time in history.

But there is one thing that appreciates, and that is you and me.

As people we have the opportunity to invest in ourselves and each other in a way that ‘appreciates’ us. In a way that makes us more valuable as time passes. Each month, and certainly each year, should find us more and more invaluable to the people around us and the business and services we provide for others.

If you are not appreciating, how come?

What is your plan for ensuring you are more valuable this time next year?

Working in the training and development business I find myself quite often encountering a short-sighted kind of thinking; a thinking that believes training and personal development is the responsibility of the company that provides the paycheque.

Yet, those who wait for others to invest and push and pull them forward, don’t tend to go anywhere. They find themselves stuck and wonder why life doesn’t seem to be working for them.

In contrast, the ones who take on the responsibility and privilege of their own professional and personal development, are those that shine like stars amongst the masses. They find greater authority in their jobs and greater favor with decision makers… (they become the decision makers).

Their own satisfaction level of life increases and they have ‘say’ over their future.

If the only thing that appreciates in value is people, then we would do well to make personal and professional development a priority.

The First Step: Take 100% responsibility for your life. Refuse to make any excuses. Everything that has gone wrong and is not working well, say, “I did that”. And then get on with making it different.

The Second Step: Challenge your thinking. For the thinking we have today will not take us to where we want to go tomorrow. While today’s thinking has gotten you to today, what kind of thinking will get you to tomorrow?

The Third Step: Surround yourself with different kinds of people. We tend to gravitate to what we have always known, and this includes our support systems and sub-cultures, never realizing that we become stumped in forward movement. Actively seek out those who have different experiences and wisdom that you don’t have. You will be challenged, and you will be equipped to go forward in new ways.

The Fourth Step: Say what you want. Risk to make goals and go after them. Don’t take the passive way out, letting someone else decide the trajectory of your life. You are in the drivers seat. Speaking what you want, you will be amazed at the results!

The Fifth Step: Ask yourself, “How do I want to be appreciating over the next year?” What kind of pay increase can I expect in the next year? How do I add value to those I work with now, tomorrow? Are the activities I am involved in now leading to a richer life next month, next year?

The Sixth Step: Prune. Whatever is not assisting in your appreciation value, get rid of it. Shed it from your life, make some hard changes, let go of the dead wood.

The Seventh Step: Advocate for yourself. Ask for business (but only if you are adding value that can’t come from anyone else). Ask for a raise (but only if you have appreciated in value). Ask for opportunity… and remember, look only for those who are looking for you.

Our future’s are in our hands

100% Responsibility

No Excuses

How will you be appreciating this next year?