“Fear Not The Scar”

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My Son…You hold the power within you…The power to give life, the power to girdle one’s source for life.  The power to make one step out on the water or the power to flood another with paralyzing doubt.  The power to build a bridge, or the power to build a wall. But the power must first be realized before it can bring a anew.

You have the power to be truth in a world, and too often the church, that defines itself by its’ own lies.  The power to heal in the moment when a heart reveals its’ most tucked away of vulnerabilities.  The power to be the sound of those without tongue.  So, what will you say?

Beware, my son, the insecure one chooses to accuse another in an attempt to hide his own perceived inadequacies. May he be pitied as his own perceptions have poisoned his own well as he thirsts only for that which will parch. The strengths of others are seen as a bottomless source for resentment as they are not seen in him and don’t benefit his cause. Search for your security in that which will not fade nor wither.  So, strive to celebrate the strengths of others, and you will find rest. You will befriend peace.

The proud one believes he is the gift to humanity as the humble heart toils to carry the burden of who the Gift is intended for.  The proud’s words cut and thrive on the ears of the deaf.  His glory is only seen with his own eyes as it vanishes as quickly as it is perceived. His barren existence only watered by shallow words of no worth nor depth. But if only the proud man could see the water that lies below the surface, what would become of his desert?

Preacher man presented the truth at he read Micah 6:8.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

These are trying times, My Son. But where there is great dying, there is great opportunity for life. See through that which demands your eyes and let your faith lead as you lay your life down. Seek to understand the destitute, the refugee, the broken, the forgotten, as one cannot speak the language of the land one is not from. Defend not politics, but Truth as it will never change. Seek to see what is broken in you, so you may lay it down. Cry out to understand even though it may result in you walking away with more uncertainty. And fear apathy as it’s road is a mere circle.

My Son, you were made for life, so fear not the scar as they will come as you fight. As you fight your self in order to act justly, as you will be torn as you learn to love mercy, as you are healed, you walk humbly with your God.

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“My Vow”

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My Vow

You are the one for whom my life I will daily give.

You are the pursuit of my heart, the holder of it too.

You are the one I find so pure, so lovely, so beautiful.

The one I long to lead as my heart is being directed.

The one for whom I long to share this great adventure.

I will come to you daily with a humble heart as I offer it, my dreams, my mind, my self as I long to be found acceptable, beautiful, forgiven and loved.

I do not deserve your love but accept your giving of your self as my most treasured of gifts.

I will protect your love and wash its’ feet.

I will nurture it, listen to it, serve it.

I will hide it in the deepest parts of my heart and let it redeem me as our Redeemer reveals Himself through you.

You, my Darling, equal my yoke.

You, my Dreamer, share my life’s pourings and passions.

You, my Beloved, are and will always be my daily pursuit as I submit to the Father.

“I Can’t Change The World….”

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My Son,

This picture was taken while we were in Northern Ireland.  A brightly painted mural on the side of a house was I’m sure painted by a dreamer pleading to be heard by a divided people. We took it at a time as our own country struggles with this challenge.  Rather than gazing through our own heart’s door we sadly seek a poster child to blame.  We continually scroll our feeds for opportunities to defend our perspective and what little we think we control.  Rather than quieting our minds and placing ourselves in another’s shoes, we rant about all the reasons we are right.  But comically, a world full of us’ would still be broken and full of tragedy.  It would still be afraid and insecure.  It would still be arrogant and polarized.  We should wrestle with the changes we need to make but most often we ignore this daunting task as we are afraid of what it might reveal.  As a country we don’t even attempt to hide our arrogance and are filled with comfortable communities whose apathy has led them to believe they are thriving as long as their screens lie in their palms.  It reveals a church losing relevance as it seeks to control a hopeless world rather than one who serves and grieves.  A church that has often not earned the right or platform to be heard as it falters to perform its’ most basic task of caring for the fatherless, the forsaken, healing the broken, advocating for those who suffer from injustice, or be driven by the pursuit the Father’s heart. As families we busy ourselves to the extent that we don’t know each other, and as as individuals we have bought into the idea that we deserve and are our own gods.  This struggle isn’t a new one, but I want to show you my Son the best example of humility, of courage, of love.

For thousands of years now people understandably want to understand.  But too often the understanding is desired in order to assign blame, to mask insecurities with the pointed finger, to shallowly avoid having to feel.  The lepers were believed to be impure and the blind suffered due to their father’s sin. For thousands of years now, people have cast the first stone as their own plank blinds them. But sadly my son, that is not why we are here.  That is not what gives life, nor hope, nor reconciliation, nor freedom.  Christ walked the dusty streets and healed those who believed. Those who only hoped to touch his cloak.  The forsaken, the wealthy, the minority, the educated, the unclean, the slave, the owner, the whore, the visibly broken, the thief nailed to the cross beside him.  Those who only hoped He could speak healing from the distance.  He took the time to listen to the Samaritan woman at the well and showed mercy as He dined with the hated little crook who came down from the tree.  He cried with Lazarus’ sisters who wished He had just returned a few days prior, and yet his own brothers couldn’t stay awake in His time of being forsaken.  When they did awake, their fear swung the sword.  He pursued understanding one’s grief and situation.  He spoke life into those who wanted to hear, but first He served.  He earned the right to be heard through how He gave.  He spoke life through relationships and humility.  He was not out to prove himself right but to be love, and give freedom through truth.

Your own humanity will be a constant struggle.  Your own arrogance will be a never ending battle, but fight on, my Son.  See the urge towards pride, young servant, and let it make you quiver.  Root it out, little warrior, and let the passion and disdain for the death it brings lead you to change the world within you.  Fear not what you are able to see, but fear what you don’t think you are capable of.  Do not let your eyes turn to the distractions that surround nor take the bait to place the blame as you protect your own paradigm that is most often a facade.

If you want to be brave, then face my heart’s fears.  If you want to be great, then learn to lay you down. If you want to be beautiful, then use the reflection of Truth and a brother’s insight to guide you as you groom your heart and mind.  If you want to be remembered, learn to listen, seek understanding, and weep with the masses who grieve.  Do not be afraid to feel.  If you want to be happy, learn to be thankful.  If you want to be strong, you must learn to face the humanity in you that must be changed.  If you want life, seek wisdom and understanding. If you want to live forever, you must daily lay your will down and pursue the heart of the Savior who redeems you.  You will be a world changer, my son, but it will be the result of you….. changing you.

The Rwandan Wedding, Part I

Let me tell you a story, son, of how I married your Ms. Jess…..

A year ago today, our world changed in a way that will never be undone. Ms. Jess and I were married in the most extraordinary of ways, in the most exotic of places, with the most beautiful people whose hearts welcomed and celebrated new family.

It all started as Ms. Jess prepared to travel to Rwanda and we began to dream of how our family would start. I threw out the idea of getting married in Rwanda and then suggested having an American wedding in the fall. I never thought she would be up for my half joking suggestion but she agreed and was excited about all that we did not know. We didn’t have a clue if it would be the two of us on a mountain or if we could find a church in a city. What we were confident of is that whatever happened would be beyond our wildest dreams.

Ms. Jess visited Knemwe, of the Twa people, with I.U.’s  SPEA program as a videographer and captured their plight but more fascinating, their joy. They are an example of poor community development from a governmental perspective.  They were only five years removed from being hunters and gatherers who had lived in the forests since their beginning.  The government saw them as a risk though as the most least valued of people groups could not be monitored in the forests and the forests were often used for planning during the genocide. So, they removed them from their homes due to “landslides” and put them on a lava rock reservation where the government had built them huts that were completely exposed.  The tragedy though is that they have no education, little access to it as the sole teacher for the whole village actually is one of their own and now has a fifth grade education. They have no way to hunt nor  soil to farm. They have no experience in small businesses or logistics, nor have access to capital. They are equally in urgent need for advocacy as they are seen as the least among the three people groups and have little to offer.  The community of over 500 families lack sufficient access to clean water, are deficient in employability skills, and now they have been exposed to new diseases that are killing them. But through all their grief, when she asked them if they would want to have a wedding for two strangers, they obliged. Humbled by the possibility, we also began to dream as to where this relationship may lead.

I arrived in Kigali at midnight on June 1st which was a Sunday and Ms. Jess waited for me outside the Kigali International Airport with a “Marry Me” sign but was in tears as she thought I missed my plane as I was the last one leaving the airport due to filling out paperwork for my bag that didn’t make the transfer. We rented a Rav 4 the next morning to head to Gesinye which was a small town on Lake Kivu which borders Congo.  It took four hours of dodging donkeys, motos and kids sleeping on the side of the road.  Rwanda is absolutely stunning and some day we will go back. Ms. Jess used an app on her phone to get us around and believe it or not, Google doesn’t know everything as we had to do a little off-roading too. Little did we know the adventure that awaited.