Poverty Strongholds #4 – Lack of Knowledge

Poverty Strongholds – Part Four – Lack of Knowledge (common sense)

  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

Today we explore a lack of knowledge, where common sense is missing, and where as a result faith is over-applied.

When I was working in the professional development field one of my colleagues would always comment on how people are meaning-making machines. His observation was that something would happen and that people, by and large, would rush to ascribe meaning to it, to try and make sense of what happened.

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Courageous Failure

There is a portion of my life that could very well be a failure at the moment. I don’t completely know. From a number of outward appearances this would appear to be so and yet I know it will take some years in fact to really render a verdict.

I suspect that by that time it will prove to not be a failure, but at the moment I’m not so sure.

And the question comes to mind, how do we walk in failure? If this particular scenario is in fact failure how do I navigate it? By what do I move forward?

Some years ago at Church there was a young intern and he preached one of his first sermons one Sunday morning. It was the worst sermon I’d ever heard.

I was sitting near the front and as I squirmed under the boredom and wished I had sat at the back, “Why hadn’t I sat at the back?!” I wailed in my spirit (so I could leave of course), the Lord said this to me, “Cyndy, if I asked you to preach and you did as bad a job as this, would you still do what I asked of you?”

I was struck. Of course! It’s not so much the results as the willingness of heart and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

I learned something that day. I’m remembering it now.

This situation that just might be proven a failure was undertaken with much forethought. It wasn’t gone into lightly and all the potential down-sides were reckoned at the front end. The pieces that were out of my control had been counted as well as all the upsides and potentials and opportunities.

Yet here I am. Some years in and realizing this may have been a big mistake.

From what I can tell I’m about half-way through to any firm sense of conclusion. There is no way back and I cannot force success on this one. Nor can I rush through to a sooner ending.

My gut says it won’t be a failure but it sure feels like one at the moment.

So what do we do when we are in the midst of what might be failure that might be a success that might really turn out to be a failure?

First off, we stay the course. 

Too often we rush around changing our minds and our commitments. And this never accomplished anything.

Part of being bold and courageous is the boldness and courage to fail – big time if one must.

Part of any success is the willingness to walk on the edge of failure.

Part of moving forward is refusing to be bullied by failure.

If fail we must then we will go to it with courage and muster.

Secondly, we hold off our conclusion.

We give it time to really flesh out and prove itself one way or the other.

Holding off conclusion is hard work. It’s the same capacity that doesn’t have to control or fix or make pretty. We don’t rush to micro-manage. We don’t give in to panic.

Here on the edge of failure our holding capacity is grown.

Third, we trust failure to take us forward to success. 

If indeed we are in the midst of failure we can be sure that it is a key ingredient to future successes. There are no lessons out of line.

Every piece today is an investment in tomorrow. Even failure.

Perspective is everything. What looks one way today looks another way tomorrow looks another way ten years from now.

It is possible that what we think are successes today will show to be failures and the failures we think we’re living today will prove to be successes.

The line between failure and success is a fine one indeed.

And living on this line requires courage and humility.

The strength of a bull. And the innocence of a kitten.

I’m gathering the courage to fail.

I’m living courageous failure.


Maybe not…

Who’s the Boss?

As with any para-church organization, as with any start-up of any sort, as with any new church plant, we at Capturing Courage have been walking through financial challenges and lessons for awhile now. And we have learned a lot of things.

I used to shy away from money matters. Money used to frighten me and there was always a sense of confusion about how to navigate choices and decisions regarding money. But of course this didn’t do me any good whatsoever. I used to think that the answer to this confusion would be to have more money. After all, if I wasn’t hindered in my choices perhaps I wouldn’t be so confused.

But large infusions of money are never the answer. I know this now. For if we are not competent in the little we won’t be competent in the much. These last few years have seen us becoming competent in the little. And it’s been a really good thing.

In the midst of the last couple of years a few definitive things have been sorted out within my own being that are now impacting the character and nature of us at CCI (as in any organization the leader sets the tone and standard and growth – the organization won’t grow beyond the leaders growth).

The first thing the Lord did was to separate my sense of self from money. In other words, who I am has nothing to do with, takes no bearing from, where our money is at at any given time. Meaning, if I had debt (I learned this in the midst of debt) I was not a less-than person. God poured into me his love and grace and comfort and leading just the same in debt as in much.

This was the work of many painful months (as the Lord dismembered my unholy soul ties with money – I was way too associated with money), looking back I wouldn’t undo this. For this separation then set into place the ability to have much without it making any statement about myself as well. And as we go forward within the many promises and assurances from the Lord that there is plenty of money for the work called of us it is imperative that much does not speak of us but speaks of our Lord.

In other words, I am the same person whether in want or in wealth. This was a critical first thing to learn and something I learned down to the marrow of my bones. As Paul wrote in Philippians, ” for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” 4:11-12

This journey with money has simply been a process of removing ego from the mix. In any of the things we are called to, but particularly within the spirit realm, there must not be anything of us in the mix. Meaning, where we are in the flesh we are weak and prone to compromise and confusion (and outright attack). Where we are in the spirit things are clear and systematic, genuine and true investments in the kingdom of God.

Ego particularly shows up in money decisions. I recently received a text from one of our Ugandan pastors who was expecting me in January. I had let him know that we had made the decision that I would not travel there in January for a number of reasons. His reply was laden thick with disappointment and it caught at my heart.

All of a sudden, where one day before I was so sure that I wasn’t to travel, I now desperately wanted to head there in January. But upon further study of my heart I realized that there was still woven through me this lie and feeling of being a disappointment. I went before the Lord with it, did some business alongside the spirit, wept and prayed it through, and have come out the other side freer than before.

You see, if our decisions are laden with our own ego and the lies and such woven there, our decisions will be bad ones. And we will end up ineffective and unproductive in the work at hand.

We have made it very clear in our statements about how we decide when and where to travel and that we move according to the Holy Spirit only. We don’t go with our best ideas or anyone else’s for that matter. Yet right there in the midst of feeling a disappointment all of the careful movement with the spirit was almost thrown out the window.

For, with the spirit + not disappointing = really bad decision making.

Ego had to be removed once more from the equation. Money matters and the decisions around them highlight where our ego’s remain in the mix. For in my need (notice, my need, not the Lords) to not disappoint I was ready to bombard our donors for more money and to ‘make it happen’ for January in Uganda.

But in this I would have violated so many of the things we have learned. For instance:

1. Do with what we have.

2. God is not in a rush.

3. Faithful with a little.

4. Trust the timing of each trip.

5. Slow steady growth is best.

6. Do not move with the programs of men.

7. Rest in the Lord and he will provide.

And quite frankly, if the only way we can follow the leading of the Lord and understand his timing is by the money at hand or not at hand, we are still crippled as leaders. If the only thing that tells us that ‘yes now it is time to go to such and such a place’ is the money available we are sunk.

It’s one of the other things I’ve been learning and that must still be fully realized in my being, that money is a non-entity. That in the kingdom of God money holds no more power than a flea on the ground. It is us who give way too much power to money. It is us who exaggerate its voice.

To truly move by the Spirit would be the ability (for us at CCI) to hold back even with much money in the bank. For are we making rational decisions alongside the spirit or emotional decisions alongside money?

Our hearts want to go everywhere today. As we continue building and investing and showing up in relationship after relationship my own heart is torn and tested time and again. We cannot go everywhere at once. I’m not even so sure we can go everywhere in this coming year. So how do we decide?

What I do know, is that we wait on the leading and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. We put aside our own best thoughts and wisdoms and we truly wait. Then, when the Lord says, ‘Go’, then we go, and not before. At the same time when the Lord says, ‘Go’ we make our plans in the provision of the Lord even if we cannot see it all at the front end.

Money is simply passion and energy and vision and we call it forth in surrender and service to the leading of our Lord. The lack of it will not lead us, the much of it will not lead us. Rather, we are led by the Spirit of our Living God.

As we surrender again and again to this way of being alongside our Lord we create a space, we lead the way, we set the stage, we model to money that it too must surrender to this way. Money must also bow itself to the timing and direction of our Lord here at CCI.

Amen and amen in the name and the blood of our Living Lord Jesus Christ.

With all glory to you Father.

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.

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.


great beauty in restingOver a year ago I sensed that the Lord was saying to me, “Rest”, and then, “Rest” and then, “Rest”.

And it was really making me angry.

I had no clue what that meant. I had work to do, bills to pay, months to make up for… and I was supposed to… Rest?

It’s been more than a year since. What a year it has been. Launching full-on into full-time ministry work, leaping off of the cliff, shifting my focus and life dramatically, it has been a busy and full year. But in the midst of all that, I can honestly say that I now know what was being suggested to me.

I’ve learned a few things in terms of rest.

The first thing I’ve learned is that rest comes from the inside out. While we in our western culture (and most likely around the world), impose rest and play and entertainment and holidays and and and, on ourselves, we don’t really know how to rest.

I’ve realized that real rest has nothing to do with our external circumstances. That the environment which we create for ourselves has little ability to grant us ‘rest’ if in fact we are not resting in our inner person.

And so, rest in the midst of work, is quite possible. And rest in the midst of increasing pressure is possible also.

Rest and resting has nothing to do with what we are doing. True rest, is all about how we are doing life, and who we are being in our inner selves.

Rest is that state of knowing whom holds our world together, knowing the ebb and flow of life around us, and yet being centered into a state of peace from deep inside.

There are some interesting scripture passages about rest. If you are interested I encourage you to read Hebrews 4. All throughout that chapter we are told that there is a rest that is available to those who walk with God. That we are to try to enter that rest for it is made just for you and I.

Of course the idea of rest is laid out right at the beginning of creation, when God spent six days working and rested on the seventh. And while we have become distracted and legalistic believing this to be about what we are doing, true rest really does come from inside ourselves.

Dependency: this is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the inner state of rest.

It is only in dependance on God for our very lives, that we can enter into rest. As long as we are the ones making things happen, putting the pieces together, holding all in our hands, we will never enter into true rest.

We may manage the outer accoutrements of rest. We may have vacations and short work weeks, we may have time for any number of recreational activities, but all of these things will come up hollow and like an itch never scratched, if we do not have real dependance on the Lord and the rest deep within that comes from that.

The more dependent we are, the more rest we have.

It is as simple, and horrible (to our human pride), as that.

Alignment: is the second word that comes to mind in the quest for real rest.

  • Are we in alignment with the heart of God for our lives?
  • Do we carry the load that is ours to carry?
  • Have we stepped into the risking that is required of us?

The further we step into our gifted and anointed places, the more rest available to us.

It is simply a matter of proximity. How close in are we to the heart of God’s presence?

Imagine an open umbrella, and the handle as God’s presence. Imagine that we are doing life alongside this presence, sometimes nearer and sometimes farther away.

Now an umbrella gives protection from the elements. It is a safety in the midst of overbearing heat or damp.

God as our umbrella is the same. The closer into the center of this umbrella, we find greater safety and covering.

Now, some of us have been tempted from time to time to live outside of this umbrella. I think back to years ago when a close friend was moving away from the center of God’s presence, and I was tempted to follow along.

But in the onslaught of ‘bad things happening’ (seriously), I realized my error, and though it was not my wish to break fellowship with my friend, it became crystal clear that if I had to choose between my friend and God, that God would win out.

And so, I distanced myself from my friend, and moved back into and under the covering of God’s presence. We cannot find God outside of where God is. And when we try, when we refuse to make hard decisions unto God, we will not find rest.

Simple and horrible as that.

All this to say, as we increase our dependency, and as we align our lives unto Godliness and into his presence, we find rest.

Deep within our beings, and even in the midst of not having all the answers, even in the midst of relationships that we can’t make happen as we would like, and even in the midst of life different than we may have ever imagined, we find God.

We enter into The Presence. We are never the same. We rest.

Without Wifi

when things don't go as plannedWell, so much for ‘follow my trip on my blog idea. No Wifi for an entire two weeks ensured that there would be no blogs; there would be no emails, no updated ADVANCE, and no connections with family other than scattered and very short phone calls.

But I’m home now, and catching up. Phew!

It’s the middle of the night in Vancouver, Canada, but my body is still on Uganda time, so here I write – as it is really the middle of the day – wink, wink.
There was a strange feeling of entering another land once I truly realized I would be without Wifi. For starters, time slid by oh so slowly. And while I did manage to add another 30k words to the rough start of a book I’ve been working on, it truly took me a few days to settle into the fact that I was not going to be online for some time (and to stop even trying).

A friend awhile back had mentioned that nothing works in Africa. This trip, I got to experience this full-on.

I had made all the necessary preparations. I’d budgeted for the wifi modem for my computer, budgeted for the generator necessary to keep my ‘machines’ charged and topped-up ready. And I had my Ugandan phone with airtime all set to head off to the village.

But things didn’t go as planned. I’ve lost track of the exact rhythm of mislaid plans, but it goes something like this.

First day in, the computer runs out of power.

We wait on the generator to arrive.

I have the generator, but it needs petrol (gas in Ugandan English).

We wait on the petrol to be fetched.

We have petrol and the generator runs for a tiny bit, and then dies.

Oh, we need oil.

We wait on the oil to be fetched.

The oil arrives, we can charge one thing at a time (I only have one adapter, note for next time: bring three adapters on a trip) and it takes 5 hours and $5 of petrol to charge my computer.

The day is now gone, my computer is charged but the phone is not, and we wait for another day.

Another day arrives, but the boys are at the garden. We wait for them to come home later in the day so they can begin the generator.

The generator won’t start today – send for the technician.

Meanwhile, I work on my writing, and get a lot done, but the computer is now out of power once more.

– Repeat in alternating and various order for every day of my stay –

With my phone it was much the same:

I have airtime, but there is no network in the village half of the time, due to storms and cloud cover.

Oh the network is on, and I make a few short calls home just to say I am alive and well.

I run out of airtime.

Next day we go searching for airtime, but cannot find the kind I have in the village.

A few days later, we switch networks, and get new airtime.

But now my phone is not charged any longer.

I wait on the generator, (see the story about the computer), and a few days goes by.

My phone is now charged, but no one knows my new number.

And now the network is down.

Another day or two or three passes… with about 12 hours in-between each of these things… truly I tell no lie.

There is no way to exaggerate these delays and difficulties.

The point of all this: I don’t know.

What I do know though, is that for me, it was a gift. A tedious gift, but a gift nonetheless. And though my blog readership is down for this month (nothing to read after all), and though I must catch up on emails (that I am still afraid to open and process), two weeks offline did its work in my heart and life.

Though this trip was a bit of a blurr and it will take me some time to process it all, I know there was some deep work done. Both in my life, my kids lives, and in the life of Capturing Courage International, and for the work and people there in Madudu.

Somehow, the time spent in hours of heart depths and inner thoughts rendered well, with prayers and pleas for many, I am pretty sure that the hours and hours without, will prove to in fact be, hours and hours invested; a turning point that I will look back on and be forever grateful.

I can feel it, I just can’t all the way explain it.

But I do know, that when things don’t go as planned (despite our best planning), that there is usually something better in the mix.

So in (best that I could manage) casual African style I settled in and rolled with the punches, and despite my driver personality, (or maybe because of my driver personality) still managed to come out of the slowest whirlwind of my existence, with something to show for it.

(I feel like I’m babbling, and most likely am, lets just blame it on the jet-lag, and trust that you just might get something from this post for yourself.)

If nothing else, remember, that when things don’t go well, there are still gifts to be gleaned in the mix. Dig for gold baby, it’ll be there!

Spiritual Constraint

powerful constraintWant to be spiritually powerful, employ constraints.

My last post was a precursor to this one; a brief introduction to the power of using constraint and limitation. You can find it here.

What we call the spiritual disciplines are also simply constraint, yet applied to the deepest parts of our inner person.

Physically we know the power of constraint. Focus on running, pour yourself into the martial arts, spend your time devoted to hockey, (but not all), and you will become a champion in your own right, if not literally.

Relationally we employ the power of constraint and limitation all the time. It is why we marry, and why we make choices of these types of friends but not those types.

In education we create constraints. Limiting access eliminates those who want a free ride, or who are not as serious as others. Ensure there are hoops to jump through and those who really want it, will be the ones on the other side.

Spiritually speaking, constraint works the same. It is why we have the disciplines and simple good habits of, taking a day of rest for instance. Limiting our work days to six ensures we are rejuvenated and restored on a regular basis.

Fasting is a prime example of a spiritual discipline. Fasting invests in something we cannot see, asks for favor we can barely touch but know we need, and joins into a work of God and of Spirit that barely makes sense, but invest we will anyway.

Prayer also, focuses our thoughts and worries and gladness in one concentrated conversation between ourselves and God. By coming into constraint of thankfulness for instance, of limiting our focus to that which we are thankful, creates a powerful catalyst for more of the same. Sow thankfulness reap thankfulness.

Spiritual Authorities work the same way. The question might be asked like this – How big is your sword? Constraint as spiritual discipline is the work that proves one can handle spiritual authority.

For the bigger the sword, the less it is swung. The bigger the sword the stronger one must be to swing it. And the bigger the sword, the wiser one must be in the swinging.

Constraint proves this. Constraint ensures this. Constraint enters into powerful work without flippancy, without jumping ahead and without random actions. Constraint proves our character and our habits.

A person without constraint, we call a wild-card. A wild-card cannot be completely trusted. A wild-card runs ahead, then lags behind. Always out of sync with those round about, a wild-card makes a mess out of time, money, energy, integrity and choices. To name a few.

Spiritually speaking, a wild-card is someone who has authority but who runs out of sync with God.

The difference – Constraint. Constraint not employed and we have anarchy and chaos. Constraint employed, and we have well-fashioned inner persons, employing well-fashioned constraint through all parts of their life.

The spiritual disciplines hone our walk and work alongside God. Constraint fashions us into someone useful in the Kingdom of God, where we become partners in setting things right on the earth.

How might you grow your spiritual authority today? Enter into constraint.


As you read this I am on my way to Uganda for some days of leadership development and spiritual training for rural Pastors in a village 150km west of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala.

Constraint is applied over and over again in these spiritual works. Constraint becoming a natural course of the rhythm of spiritual work. My days prior to this trip, my inner person was quieting down. Deep inside I was hunkered, waiting, preparing, garnering the energy necessary for the work to come.

And now, the reality of about 30 hours of travel is a welcome opportunity of continued investment in the constraint of a work to come. The to-do list has been completed, the preparations are finished, the backpack has been packed and packed again, and now the hours of silence and of physical stillness only adds to the work.

I am thankful, and glad you are joining me for the journey.

Capturing God’s Heart – Trusting with Little – Volume 13

The journey with our God is an interesting one.

We quickly learn that God’s timing is not our timing, and that God’s ways are not our ways.

In fact, there are many times when God simply says ‘No’ or ‘Not this way’.

It is at times like this that our motives and heart are tested and tried.

We tend to make Plan A with God. We come up with our best scenario, and then we invite God into it.

But Plan A is usually not the best plan. For the first plan we think of is usually the easiest, and with the least amount of risk.

Much like Gideon in the Old Testament, we want surety and guaranteed success.

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One Very Small Step

Journey of LivingThe deepest places of our beings we barely mention. We hold the most fragile reckonings of our lives in secret, pondering them in silence.

This has been my journey. For the last dozen years I’ve kept in secret a conversation between myself and the Lord. A conversation about traveling the world speaking life-giving words, encouraging words; giving strength to many many people.

When I was first brought in on this conversation (at God’s initiative), I thought I was nuts; that I must be imaging things, that this vision and possibility couldn’t really be for me.

For starters, the initial vision and idea came at one of the worst possible times in my life. I was a full-time Mom to five young kids, my husband at the time, had just come out of a number of intense years of drugs and alcohol addiction; I was fragile to say the least.

My world had shrunk down to survival mode, I was exhausted and emotionally spent, and into that small shrunken space came these visions of my words touching a multitude of people around the globe.

Who, me? Really? Are you sure?

I’ve always been a deeply spiritual person. Always in tune with the movement of God in my life, attuned to the Spirit’s direction and leading, with the testimony of ‘God in me’ always the same. Ever since a teen, time and again I’ve been told something to this effect, “I still remember what you said to me years ago, it has never left.”

The mix of God in me has always been about words. It is where the supernatural intersects the natural, where the finger of God takes normal and makes it into something so much more.

Every one of us has a place and an expression like this. Where the living God intersects our ordinary and makes it extraordinary. I don’t know where this is for you, but for me it has always been in my words.

So when I began sensing that I was to impact many with my words, and though I initially thought I was nuts, the evidence of likelihood was just enough to have me tentatively believing the visions and prophecies. Just enough to move me forward bit by bit.

For we can only ever move forward bit by bit. Nothing in life comes of large leaps. There is always a process of growth and faith and personal integrity (and so much more) that must happen to support and nurture any work of our lives.

Nothing ever just happens.

(So if you are waiting for something to ‘just happen’, you are wasting your time, get in there, engage in action, put your feet to the pavement)

I know that my own actions in light of this call to Africa seem nuts. Here out of the blue Cyndy is off to Africa. And not just once, but multiple times… But it has not been out of the blue. And in fact, though it looks like high risk, it isn’t.

There have been so many thousands of words, verses and passages, multiple visions after visions, with so many encouragements and prophesies by others, that to disbelieve and to reject the invitation… that seems nuts to me.

And I wonder about your own journey; about what the living God might be inviting you into?

Fact is, we don’t have to do a thing with these invitations. We all have free will. We don’t have to take God up on anything, ever. It is our choice.

With no recriminations either. A number of times along the way I’ve been asked by the Spirit, ‘Do you want this?’ and ‘Are you sure?’ and ‘You do know what this would mean for your life don’t you?’

‘You don’t have to do this’

It is all an invitation.

But I’ve said ‘Yes.’ And the work is exploding around me (this has been prophesied too), and so though I am overwhelmed and stretched in many ways, none of this is a surprise to me.

The Pastor Training in August, in a small village in Uganda has gone from fifty participants to five-hundred registered. Just like that. And we’ve mapped out the next year: six trips, eighteen weeks of travel to eleven centers in six countries and on two continents.

To sum it all up. We don’t have to do a thing with the prophesies of our lives. They don’t have to happen. And in fact, they won’t happen, unless we participate.

This journey of walking alongside God is not a ‘have to’ anything. We can say ‘no’ at any time. But that is scary to me. That is nuts to me. Why would any of us say ‘no’ to the Living God.

Whatever journey God is inviting each of us to, it will not come to be without adequate equipping and preparation and attention to detail. Looking back on my own life I see how every single little piece, every random everything, has been preparing me for what is to come; preparing me for this assignment.

And I have truly only just begun. We are still easing into this work, still warming up. Still easing into full stride.

There is no way to predict our futures. No way to know the full extent of anything, where it will take us, and who we are becoming.

But we are given glimpses. Like a curtain that is pulled back just a touch, giving us a small view of something more than what we’ve known. An invitation to something we never would have imagined for ourselves.

What are you being invited into? What does the curtain pulled back reveal to you?

And how might you participate, stepping forward bit by bit; how might you put action to faith, one very very small step at a time?

‘Exception’al Living

Life and LegacyI dropped my phone in the paint tray. Never have I so willingly plunged my hands into paint. Never before have I run my phone towards water.

We have the ways by which we do life, and then we have the exceptions.

When it comes to phones, the rule is, Do NOT submerge in water.

“Stay away from the water”

But there I was, rushing my IPhone 4S to the water,

Rinsing, washing, rinsing, washing, and then rinsing and washing some more,

Literally aiming that stream of hot water INTO the phone’s portals.

It was the strangest thing to find myself doing the exact thing we know we are NOT to be doing.

The exception of course: where said phone is nearly completely submerged in paint.

Half-way through the process I exclaimed, “I cannot believe I am running my phone under water!”

Inexplicable action, that saved my phone.

If I had stuck to the hard and fast rule – Stay Away From Water – my phone would now be encased in a hard coat of paint, never to recover again.

While rules present useful parameters and generally good ways to be doing life, they also generally fall short sooner or later.

Rules are static while life isn’t.

A Police Chief said it well, “Rules are for fools while common sense is for people.”

I am reminded that the art of life isn’t in the rules, its in the exceptions.

‘Exception’al living is about knowing when to break the rules.

It’s about knowing the bigger picture and serving that, orienting to that.

Rule-living can be pretty small and petty, increasingly narrow and small-minded.

While rule keeping is predictable and controlled, its far too easy to become encased in hard, judgmental paint-like veneers.

Life on the other hand, to be served well, must expand and reach, to stretch and find new grace and fresh manner of being.

Rules will never do this.

After its very hot and thorough washing, my phone went to live in a bucket of rice.

We didn’t know if it would recover or not. Would it work?

Taking a full 48 hours for all the water to be absorbed by the rice and removed from the phone, I am happy to report that all appears A-Okay.

And while the goal will never be to plunge a phone into paint ever again,

I am very glad that exceptions are available to us at any time.

Exceptions will always be counter-intuitive,

But by them we are stronger, and life has more give.