Forefront Leaders

P1320276 compressedIndigenous pastors are at the forefront of community care and development.

Taking orphans under their care,  building schools, arranging for water developments, and more, they are serving and caring 24/7 in ways that outpace many (I should say most) of us in the west.

With limited resources much is being done and the level of faith and trust in the Lord’s provision in the mix is something we can all learn from.

One of our colleagues in Kenya was part of a Pastors Conference a few weeks back, and during the time there an elderly woman died. Turns out she had under her care three orphans with now, nowhere to go.

This man took the children to his mother’s, with the last of his money, and managed to get home to Nairobi, albeit tired and hungry (he had spent his travel money on a funeral for the woman).

Talking with him this morning we found that he had just been back to the interior of Kenya, to his Mom’s home to ensure that the children were beginning their term of school with everything they needed.

This is but one example of the ongoing and unexpected, but privileged work, that indigenous pastors are accomplishing in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In fact, when this gentleman first told me of the elderly woman’s death and of these children his exact words were, “I am excited for these children, they are under my care now, and the Lord has good things in store for them.”

With an attitude like that, anything is possible, and much will be accomplished in and for the lives of these children.

This and more stories like this is what makes it such a privilege to be serving indigenous pastors, they are after all forefront leaders in their communities and it is simply an honor to bless on them.

Please keep these children and their benefactor in your prayers.

Ministry of Presence

P1230297 compressedThere is something to be said for a ministry of presence.

In our North American culture it is all too easy to think we must be always doing something, accomplishing this, managing that. But what if we don’t?

Trained as a coach one of the most powerful paradigm shifts I came to learn was to consider that just maybe, everything right now, exactly as it is, is just the way it is supposed to be. Just consider for a moment that nothing is wrong. What might that change for you today?

Now, the technical answer is that there are many things wrong in our world. Justice demands that we do in fact enter into everything that has gone wrong and in the name of the Lord set it straight.

At the same time, what if we could do this work in the peace that comes of God having everything in hand, and the knowledge that we are in the exact right place this very minute.

What might that change for you today?

Because of my own journey through immense difficulties, and the subsequent profound presence of the Lord in the midst of them, I learned that everything need not rush to be fixed. I learned that God is in our messes just as much in our cleanness.

Once we have learned this in our own lives. Once we’ve stopped frantically trying to assuage our own comfort, once we’ve ceased from controlling our outcomes we are well equipped to come alongside others in a gift of presence.

Instead of speaking into the matter we can just sit alongside.

Rather than finding ourselves distraught we can hunker down and be a companion.

A friend of mine had cancer a few years back, and my favorite thing to do was to just climb up onto her bed beside her and simply be there with her.

We had such rich times of prayer and whispers and silence.

In many ways, this is the ministry of Capturing Courage around the world. We are climbing in alongside hard and difficult circumstance and simply bringing a ministry of presence.

With rich times of prayer and heart whispers heard by God and profound silence found in his glory.

None of us are the same afterwards, and we are simply so much richer.

For nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed, once we’ve been in the presence of the Lord together.

 

So Sad

new perspectiveMy weekend has been one of sadness.

Now sadness is an interesting thing. Years back I learned to be sad. Rather than fighting sadness I learned to roll with the pain, sitting in the sadness till the sadness lifted and I wasn’t sad anymore.

I am pretty sure that we all have sadness from time to time. I don’t think that I am any stranger or sadder than the rest of us.

At the same time, I get the distinct impression that most are not okay with sadness, that when someone is sad we rush to fix it.

My sadness of these past few days are a combination of a personal sadness of mine, added to a spiritual carrying of another’s sadness, added to a spirit of sadness that settled on me from an outside source.

It’s been quite a bit all at once and yet the only real difficulty in it all has simply been that I am very tired.

It was two years ago today that a friend of mine lost her son. It was a tragic accident and the marked loss has remained as sharp as ever. My friend relives the knife-cutting death of her son nearly every day, the sadness these last few days being particularly pointed.

I am helping to carry her sadness.

Another friend has buried anger and bitterness and these horrific lies coming at her (and out of her) about the origins and journey of her life. Over the weekend I came face to face with the power of these lies, and in it was nearly stifled with an immense sadness that permeated my soul.

I am experiencing her deep sadness.

To top it all off, I’ve a relationship of my own that is not doing so well. With bumps and hurdles the pain of that relationship has been most acute this past week. I don’t know what the answers are. There is no immediate help for the difficulties.

I am moving through my own sadness.

Years back I learned that it is okay to not be okay. I still remember the relief of finding that out and even more profound I realized that God is in the worst of it at all times.

I was going through a crazy difficult time that had me simply wanting to run. I was overwhelmed and in an over-loaded state of being. Everything around me was hard. I was exhausted.

And to my mind’s eye came an image of a gigantic pile of manure. You know, the kind you order for your garden each year and that sits in the driveway until it is all distributed.

Or if you live on a farm, that heap of manure to which more is added day by day.

Imagine that pile of manure as big as can be. Now imagine that this is how my life was. My entire life. One gigantic pile of poo. (it is how it felt at the time)

And to my mind’s eye came the crystal clear realization that God was in the center of the crap. That God was right there for me in the midst of all that was bad and wrong, as long as I didn’t run.

That instead of turning in the opposite direction I could enter into the difficulty and I would find even more of God.

I learned that God is in the shit.

All of it, all the time.

Personally I’ve hardly been more relieved by any other theology than this one. This theology meets us in the center of the worst of circumstance and the middle of profound sadness.

Even though we are sad, we don’t have to do it alone.

So I am doing my part joining in and carrying sadness for others. It’s not something I necessarily run to do and yet I am aware of the honor and the privilege of entering into the midst of others difficulties with a prophetic work of sharing the pain.

It is part of God’s Kingdom and part of God’s work.

For whom might you be sad today?

Capturing God’s Heart – Prophetic Lives – Volume 17

In Job 9:33 we read, “If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together.”

Job had been talking about the utter lost-ness of his position. That no matter how much he tried, no matter how well he kept the law, no matter how perfect he could manage to live (and he did live an innocent life before God), it didn’t bridge that gap between him and God. We find Job’s heart crying out for a mediator between himself and God.

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Privilege

P1230715 comprssedA river, to be healthy, must first of all have a source, and then a destination.

The water comes in, and it flows on.

So are our lives.

In every single area of our lives we can see the health of who we are, by the inflow and the outflow, and the relative size between the two.

If we have little coming in with a lot going out, we have depletion.

If we have a lot of inflow, with only a little going out, we have flooding (hoarding) and destruction.

If we have little coming in, and little going out, we have stagnant ponds of death.

Whether this is in terms of our hospitality, our finances, our gifted places, our family interactions, our friendships, our careers and business’s, it doesn’t matter what area, the principle of inflow and outflow holds true.

And even beyond the ‘easy to see’ places. It holds truer still for our manner of being.

If we are trusting and trusted, the flow is great both ways. If we are generous the flow is both ways. If we are gracious and compassionate, the flow is both ways.

The healthiest financial picture, for instance, is where there is much coming in, and much going out. Always enough, never hording, never depleting. A basis of health that extends and creates positive ripples to many around us.

Same with joy.

Same with passion.

Same with wisdom.

Same with integrity.

For in all these blessings and healthy manners of being, we have privilege. Privilege is that awareness of all the good things that we are enjoying and are privy to.

But if the privilege stops with us, we die. A sad and lonely death.

Privilege is not for us. It is for others.

It is a privilege to take our gifting and use it to bless others. It is a privilege to take our education and train up others. It is privilege to have social standing and use that to change the world. Privilege gives back. And as it does, it increases, and then it gives back some more.

There is not a one of us on this planet who cannot give back. Some of the most generous folk I know are those with little (so it seems) to give. It is because privilege and the principle of the rivers of our lives, are not a matter of quantity, but of relativity.

How much are you offering back? How much are you investing in this world? Is the outflow commensurate with your inflow?

Perhaps you are familiar with Sodom and Gomorrah of the Old Testament. Of how that city was destroyed by God for their wicked ways. It was a city of debauchery and sin. But what was the real sin? What was it that really brought it down?

Perhaps you will be surprised to find this, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom; she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned” Ezekiel 16.49

The river, was flowing in, but wasn’t being sent out. The engorgement of their own lives is what destroyed them.

Privilege that took it all for themselves. Leads only to death.

We have death all around us too. Poverty thinking in the midst of much. Poverty thinking in the midst of little. Poverty says I want this, I need that, lets have more, and it says, no we can’t get rid of that, we might need this, lets just hang onto that.

Stingy is a matter of the heart, not the circumstances.

When our lives are lived according to our own insecurities, and fears, and idolatries. For anything that does not reflect the heart of God, reflects ourselves.

Generosity, a matter of the heart, not the circumstances.

As sons and daughters of The King, as co-heirs with Christ, as children of the Kingdom of God, we have an incredible bounty and resource right at our fingertips. All the riches of heaven are ours to give away. Ours to extend and to offer and to bless with.

The privilege of kingdom living, is not for us, it is for us to extend to others. That is real privilege. That is the heart of God.

Only as we lose our lives, will we find them.

Only as we walk with loose hands and full hearts, will we have life.

Only as we let grace settle deep into ourselves, will we have any for others.

The river of life must flow in, must saturate the ground of our lives, creating pools of refreshment teeming with life, and then it flows out, tipping over into lives around us, changing the climate of our cultures and lives.

Only when the river is flowing, is everything working well, and we are not destroyed.

Privilege: are you aware of the privilege of your life?

Privilege: are you flowing life out to others?

Gifts for the Journey

Mbale March 2012 398 compressedThere are those moments I wish I could have taken a hidden video recording.

This particular day in Uganda the video would have shown myself with hat on my head, water bottle in hand, and my smaller backpack on my back, simply standing, and being watched, stared at, observed. I’m not sure what to call it.

Have you ever climbed a hill or mountain, or stood looking around at the scenery, well this was me that day. I too just stood there, taking in the sights of the soccer game going on nearby, of the traffic on the one-lane road nearby, and of whatever I could amuse myself with.

But unlike that experience of climbing a mountain and beholding a view alone or with a few companions, this day I beheld my views with an audience. For in an almost complete circle around me, were about fifty people.

Mostly children and teens, but adults also, they gathered, and stood, and looked, at me.

And there we all stayed for some 45 minutes.

The nurse was busy distributing medications to those who were in need, and so there were many around him. Pastor Kakuba was busy chatting to those who were around him.

And there I was, with even more around me. Though we did not have the luxury of a task at hand like the nurse. Nor did we have the luxury of a shared language or culture and therefore something to talk about like Pastor Kakuba.

No, we just all stood there. Now I did shake some hands, smiled lots of smiles, jostled with the boys as they dared each other to shake my hand.

But one can only smile at the same people for so long, greetings are meant for greetings, not 45 minute greet-fests. And so we did simply fall into silence for some minutes. I watching the soccer game, looking down the road, taking in whatever I could manage to find interest in.

And they continued to stand and stare.

And in those minutes, with time to think, I recalled how throughout my entire life I have always been stared at. (I don’t know if I really have always been stared at, but my experience of life and how it feels to me is that I have always been watched and looked at.) And there I was, in Uganda, in a remote village, the center of attention, with little to do but stand there and simply be the center of silent staring.

With stark recollection I realized how I had been prepared for that moment (and many more like them) my whole life. How I had been groomed so to speak, to receive the frank stares of others. For it did not bother me, having everyone round about staring. I didn’t feel uncomfortable, or claustrophobic or irritated.

I was simply glad to be there, they were glad to stare, and we got along famously.

After some time of the silence and the standing, I would feel the odd finger on my hair, as one of the gals reached out to see what my hair felt like. I turned, smiled, offered my head even more for her to touch, and then touched her hair. A funny exchange in many ways, but rapport and camaraderie that worked and warmed my heart.

Or the finger along my arm, feeling the ‘white’ to find of course, that it feels no different than their brown. And I was struck with how prepared I was for this kind of attention. How normal it actually felt to me, and how it didn’t bother me in the least.

A simple thing perhaps, this being okay with being stared at, but to me it is so much bigger than that. For as I have traveled to Africa there have been many many little things that I clearly recognize as small preparations and grooming to enter into this work; the freedom to be stared at just one of them.

The point is this. God does not call us into something without our being made ready for it. Our lives are in many ways like an orchestra, with years of numerous parts and some seemingly random experiences all adding up to one amazing piece of work.

We often hold back on certain works of our lives, for fear of not being ready. Just a little more preparation, a little more learning, a little more… something.

But we must remember that we are not the only one looking out for our journey’s. There is a co-author of our lives, one who knows so much more than you or I, and whose heart is all about preparing and making a way for us to enter into something bigger than us.

Whatever you are facing or looking ahead to, whatever you are journeying toward, trust that you have been prepared more than you will ever know.

Settle into a confidence that all the good the bad and the ugly of your life are key, and in fact gifts, to the rest of your journey.

Uncomfortable Constraint

adventure and privilegeOff to Uganda, you are reading this as I’ve arrived, been received at the airport by David and taken to he and his wife’s home. I’ve had a nights rest at their home (they’ve given me their bed to sleep in), and I am off to buy medicines in Kampala with Mildred today.

And constraint is all around.

The work of coming and traveling and ministering in Uganda is all about constraint. And in fact, on my last trip here, I made a list of all the constraints upon a person, that I might alert any who want to do a trip to really count the cost, seeing if they are really up for it.

For instance, in Canada we are used to our space around us. We are used to sitting in a vehicle with room for our legs and with room for our arms. In Uganda it is much different. The taxi service is more like that feeling of camping in a very cramped campsite.

My legs have no space in these vehicles. I am fairly long-legged and I must sit with a slight rotation to my hips and back in order to fit (and even then my knees are jammed into the seat in front of me). On either side are my traveling companions, some I know, most I do not. Regardless, we get used to our hips and legs in close quarters and the skin of our arms stuck together in the heat. And though the journeys are any number of hours in length, and there are no bathroom stops nor pauses to stretch, we give no sigh of disdain or contempt.

We have entered into another persons home and we will make no complaint.

My luggage is sparse. And I have ensured it is no heavier than I can carry myself. Constraint of time and space as well as energy and strength, ensures I don’t overdo my luggage, and in the consequence make a fool of myself.

The surest way to be ashamed in a developing nation, is to pack too much.

The roads are rutted, graveled and sometimes soggy from recent rains. And suitcases on wheels are a joke in the crowded city of Kampala. If you can’t carry it, don’t bring it. Constraint saves us.

The boda-boda rides (motorcycles) prove the same. Imagine your gear and suitcases strapped onto a boda-boda along with you and a driver. Imagine it, and you will ensure you do not overdo it. Constraint saves us.

The habits of minimalism do one well when in Africa. Well thought out planning and execution alongside frank consideration are must-haves. Last trip I took three pairs of socks, and didn’t put one pair on once. Silly. This time I’ve taken one pair, and very small and thin at that.

In service to the people there, my days are not my own. But years of child-raising has prepared me well; constraint on my person is certainly not unknown! Fact is, I am simply honored to be their guest, and at their disposal. “What shall we do today? Here are my thoughts and ideas, but really, you tell me.”

We somehow believe that when we enter into the most important works of our lives that we will be freer, that we will be with less responsibility and more expression. And while some of this is true, in actual fact, the greater the work, the greater the constraint upon ones person, time, stamina, and responsibility.

The CEO of a company does not carry less, but more. The president of an organization does not have it easier, but tougher. The Leader of a nation deals with more and therefore has less. The one who ministers to many can only do so as constraint is embraced and welcomed and given over to.

For instance, praying over fifty, one-hundred, two-hundred people as they come one by one, lined up and waiting… Is not about more. It is about less. How much are we willing to pour out? How much of ourselves will we give over.

The greatest works of our lives require constraint, and discipline and responsibility.

Another way of saying the identical thing – enter into constraint, discipline and increased responsibility, and your life will ooze of great works.

p.s.

The Bible speaks over and over again of the little that we can bring in order for much to come of it. Nowhere does God say, ‘Come to me and I will make you great’.

Rather, it is, ‘Lose your life and you will find it’.

‘The one who is last will be first’.

Leaders are those who have determined to put their lives in service to others, be it through non-profit service, business, politics, or community involvement. They walk a hard road, without complaint and without murmur, and with much constraint.

God bless our leaders.

Walking in Spiritual Authority – Part One – The King’s Heart

Your particular gift set, your experiences, your story and your unique personality are perfectly matched with the needs of this day and age. Learn how to completely settle into your own life and then into how to give it away.

This course is for those who want to do more with their lives for God and for others. It is for those serious about leveraging all of who they are for The King, the Kingdom of God and for people, the great loves of The King’s heart.

Your life is currency. How might you invest it? Learn how to express it.

Part One: The King’s Heart & Understanding Authority

The entire conversation about spiritual authority must solidly reside within the context of the Kingdom of God and the work of Jesus Christ. In Module One: The King’s Heart we dig deep into the character of God and how everything about who we are can reside within the light of Christ.

  • the King’s heart | the Kingdom of God | Lex Rex | becoming indispensable | value and worth | fullness of God | process | alignment | shining | ambassador of God | sowing and reaping | judgments | intimacy | strength | influence | transparent | safe | bold

In our humanity our understanding of authority is often skewed and misrepresented. Not only have we been hurt by authority in the past, but many of us shrink from authority. In this we leave our legacy of co-regents in the Kingdom of God aside. It’s time to unpack Godly authority and take it on for ourselves.

  • overview of authority | natural authority | positional authority | specific authority | cautions about authority | church authority | spiritual authority | growth | experience | authority gone bad | transformation | anointing | assignments
 

Spiritual Authority is all about representing the King of Kings. It is about working out His will on this earth. It is about stepping up, taking the land and restoring to God’s original plan the details of our lives and our communities and this world.

Before we can know authority we must know its author. Risking to open our heart to the King of Kings, risking to have his heart opened to us we are equipped from deep inside to live authority that mirrors him and expresses him. That place where all things are made new.

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, and Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29 ESV.

 

Please Note that we have this course written for a North American audience and also specifically written for our overseas indigenous colleagues.

Contact US for information about the material specific to you.

Work that Satisfies

P1260740 compressedIf my last trip to Uganda was called ‘Experiencing’ this trip is called ‘Learning’.

It’s as though all the previous dozen years of visions and prophecy and wisdom is coming together into one dynamic whole.

All of what I am to be about, and what I am not to be about, is getting washed through in the mix of these days.

Like panning for gold, all the superfluous matter is being washed away.

I can’t tell you how good this feels.

To have a vision fine-tuned down to the very work, to the very core, means there is so much not to be done, that simplicity is all that is left.

But it’s not been without it’s challenges. There are those who would like to take what I am bringing to the table and organize it and plan for it and around it and into the future with it.

But of course… none of that is going to happen.

We’ve entered a new era in time. It’s not just through what I am doing and how God is leading me, but it is showing up across the globe and in almost every sector of society.

It’s the ability to move with agility and to remain nimble. To move with clear purpose but without a plan that is unwieldy or locks any one of us into place.

It is the era of the artist.

No matter your work or aspirations, your gifts or callings, the work of an artist is that which flows out of the core of our beings. Artists best work comes in the flow of our days and out of the depths of our hearts.

The guiding mantra of the artist are not clocks and time-frames, calendars or others expectations, but work that exemplifies care and expertise, work of masters and skilled craftsmen,

Work delivered right on time

In the words of Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the worlds deep hunger meet.”

It is the work of an artist.

The way of 9-5 and you are guaranteed a paycheck have passed. (In case you didn’t know it).

The work that pays the most these days are the works that come out of our very guts. Out of our souls and spirits.

But it is exactly the kind of work we shy away from,

For it is work that requires we give of ourselves, in great risk and with great passion.

This is the kind of work, the only kind of work, that meets the worlds deep hunger.

And it is the only kind of work that will ever satisfy. And the world is ready and waiting for this work. For the very work that will spring from your core is desperately needed somewhere.

It’s why every time a baby’s birth is announced I write, “Welcome to the world little one, the world has been waiting for you.”

Because it’s true.

Every single one of us have something unique to bring to the world, and each one of us have been uniquely positioned to bring that something, whether we know it or not, whether we will go after it or not,

It is there, waiting to be released, waiting to bless and be blessed

Every one of us has something that others are desperate for. Every one of us has something that others have been praying for. Every one of us has a touch of God that will change lives,

If we just take the time to touch, to reach, to stretch out past our comfort zones.

It is an exhilarating ride to say the least, scary as heck, uncertain as anything ever was, but oh so stunning in the process,

The world truly is waiting for you

Capturing God’s Heart – Anointed – Volume 1

The Holy Spirit had been bringing to my heart and mind thoughts of our authority in God, about being anointed and the mark of God upon our lives; about the oil of His Spirit.

“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed” Psalm 20:6

Now we all know, that oil softens the skin. It makes sore muscles relax, gives shine to our hair and heals parched, cracked skin.

Our physical bodies are soothed and comforted and healed by oil.

It is the same for our spirit.

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