In this African tribe, when someone does something harmful, they take the person to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds them. For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done. The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as a good. Each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace and happiness. But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes. The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.
They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: "I am good."
NABAJYOTISAIKIA, is a compliment used in South Africa and means: "I respect you, I cherish you. You matter to me." In response, people say SHIKOBA, which is: "So, I exist for you." Natasha Kyssa
I'm not courting God like a ravished lover - No. Mine is a much messier quest. I'm courting Him like a cocaine addict - counting worthless & selling off anything that stands between having what I seek....
Scouring the deep recesses of all my comfort zones for any remnant of change that may have slipped between the cushions... every penny counts & everything that is mine is handed over that I might apprehend Him, know Him, walk in the pleasure of His presence, & in His resurrection life... Even if it means fellowshipping with suffering. Here, anchored in the sweat & snot & tears & shakes of a morning 'episode' .. my longing overtakes my logic & reason. I curse my brokenness, swear through a vow, & hand over all my gods & goods for another sight of His face, his heart, His soul... Him. I'm not courting God like a ravished lover - This morning mine is a much, much messier quest - I court Him like a cocaine addict.
Up. Thinking about the kingdom. And my role in it. Up. Suiting up. Settling accounts on my knees & needs. Up. Suiting up. Riding out. Committing treachery against all my fears & lack. Committing treason against all my doubts & idols. Up. Suited up. Riding out. Wrestling down doublemindeness & divided loyalty & discipline. Committing myself to a cause much bigger than I. One influencing both acts of hiddeness & acts of chivelry across the broad landscape & tight into the smallest corners within & without in my corner of the world. Up. Thinking about the King of this kingdom. And my place both in Him & at His side. Up. Thinking. Suiting up. Riding out.
We wish & work to walk with God & others & make a real difference in our corner of the world.
But this walk is on a steep narrow road inwardly & a wide rugged road outwardly - Wide & full of potholes & perils:
Perils from evils & idols. Perils from distractions & temptations. And punches from other travelers who strike, shun, or attack perceived weaknesses in the name of God.
Getting up & carrying on takes courage. Getting up, carrying on, & gaining ground takes courage. To keep moving despite the bombs & bullets from both enemy & friendly fire takes courage.
Staying open & humbly vulnerable takes courage. Forgiveness takes courage. Exercising wisdom & compassion with the imperfections of others & ourselves takes courage. Forging ahead on the faith mission God has given takes.... Forging ahead deciding to leverage every trial for good, takes... Getting up, facing God, & surrendering all, knowing that you will still make mistakes, but must still carry on - this. takes. courage. To regularly & intentionally encourage & instill this courage in one another, we must. It is our charge & our call to en-courage one another.
I'd not seen him before. No one at Poplar would know him. He didn't look up. He just kept staring into the bag of groceries I'd just given him. He just kept looking down.
"My life didn't used to be like this... where did it go wrong..." he said. "There's something else....I've done something awful... I'm so ashamed..." A story of wrong choices, wrong friends, a drinking spree getting out of control, arrest, DNA swabs, cells & a rape charge has me sighing at the brokeness of what I was hearing.
The story told - he looks up into my face looking for rejection. I say nothing...
"My life didn't used to be like this... where did it go wrong..." I say nothing...
He half composes himself - "I'm in court next week... I'm scared..." I put my hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure you know if you are guilty" His shoulders shake as deep sobs interrupt the moment.
I look into his eye's "What do you want me to pray?"
Through his sobs he barely whispers "that justice will be done..."
Even as I fight my way to pass & cast the thoughts which exalt themselves above the knowledge of God - even as I sit here in the hollow of the day's noise - even now I get to decide & redecide that the battles & skirmishes & stumbles & risings - even these are a part of what makes the adventure great.
Instead of issuing out prayers of burden-themed-worry
as if it were a troublesome chore to be chosen to stand in the trial
& in the gap & in the faith that makes God-endings possible...
I stand honored & in awe.
Oh these wondrous tragedies & tests & triumphs
with their own timelines differing from mine -
even these provoke prayers of "Wow,
I can hardly believe I get to be the one entrusted with believing
& appropriating & growing & persevering
& ultimately overcoming for myself & for others."
And this morning I lean into the grace to rip off the whine & woe is me which daily seeks to adhire like burs, & instead rise into the storyline of this 24 hours - being fully what I am where I am... so that even what I am not yet stands proudly mocking all that would seek to prevent me from carryout out His life's work in the context of a great & freely given Soul-rest.
Before there was the 'all this' You called me to & set me into & keep in missional motion... Before there was the 'this & that', & all the ministrations & ministries which fill the bulk & span of my day's day...
Before there was an office, & a building, & a budget, & a pushing into the city with a mandate, & a pushing into men's hearts with a swab or a sword. Before all of this, there was You & I. And when all 'this' passes away, there will still be You & I. So here now, in the middle of the 'all this' that You started & keep going by grace; here I sit low to do nothing more than to seek & see You. Because for me it has never really been all about the 'what', but the 'Who with'. So... pardon my stare here in the wee hours of pre-day's start. And pardon my repetitive glances, down in the thick of this day's middles. And pardon my sins, too. To the One of whom I am cultivating an addiction, pardon the stalking tendencies I intend to display as I disentangle myself from the affairs of this life so that I may have a well tangled affair with You... and You alone.
In so many ways my walk with God is just so very good. It's wonderfully challenging, consistently satisfying, & solidly good. In so many ways I have the kind of relationship most Christains yearn for with God. Yet, often enough, I've made this statement to God; "I wish I knew You more". But in making that statement this morning I was immediately reminded of the times God desired to show me more of who He is, times where God drew closer to show me more of His heart, His thoughts, & His ways, but I drew back because I intuitively understood seeing that much more would certainly be costly to my current comfort & the kind of walk I'd grown accustomed to. In those moments I chose good over great. Seated even now in the strong reflection of that truth, I feel a sacred regret. Regret & hopefulness. If I'm able to look this specific truth in the face without feeling the need to tweak it, deny it, or avoid it while patting myself on the back with how good I've got it with God, then this in itself is a sign that I am ready to make different choices with the next opportunities. I hope so. I want to. Because, despite how good I've got it with a God, the truth is... I wish to know Him more and follow Him more fully. I'm just getting it that those two things are synonyms.
The way we are created for greatness, but can equally handle smallness, if that sometimes be the road to it. The way we are allowed to take up the Life of Christ & let that deep shift transform, addict, & grab us body & soul.
I got to thinking about us - The way we are empowered to taste the Passover; judgment flying over we hidden souls behind blood stained doors. And the way we're subsequently empowered to passover transgressions from others with that same un-shakeable & irresistible power of mercy & forgiveness. The way we're empowered to lay down our life for others as if it were an honor to be asked, instead of an imposition to be endured.
Got to thinking about us…Been thinking about how we are wired for greatness - The greatness it takes to take no account of suffered wrong, & to love strong enough for two when the love of one grows cold. For loving when hated. For embracing when rejected – Rejecting rejection when it comes at us like arrows. For interceding when denied- For standing against the tide… We're created for greatness.
Been thinking about how we've been given enough love for us & ours & for everybody else too.How we can take it, when required. And dish it out when righteously necessary. How we can go it, when the second mile is calling from out of some trying situation. Been thinking about how we can bend when flexibility is the better choice,& stand erect in the winds of foolish change.
Been thinkin' bout how we’ve been wired to hold the secrets of others & spread them spilling out like a whisper before the Lord alone in prayer. Bout how we can have that love of God spilling over, plenty for come what may protection against bitterness & criticalness offenses & grudges.Protecting one another instead of lashing out. Been thinking about how we are wired for twisting anger to peace with a calm response & gentle edifying words. For practicing ruthless mercy. For offering two garments & taking two slaps with the bigger picture in mind. For taking the high road when the low road seeks to evangelize us to its side.
Been thinking about us… About the way we are destined to bring shift change to our corner of the world with radical generosity & a revolution of goodness which runs headlong against the spirit of me, myself & I as well as the spirit of us & them. Yeah, we're called to greatness. Empowered to walk in it. Encouraged to yield to it, to accept the truth of it. And with that acceptance, to "forever north crying freedom, run on unshackled"
And now comes the season of iron sharpening iron as we shoulder close to know God's heart, bear His likeness, & live out His message. In childlike wonder, engaging in the pleasures of this life, we drink deep from the people, places, & things that make this world provocatively beautiful. We live full. We play hard. We leisure well. We pray hard. We laugh deep - we kingdom eunichs. We, Christ-apprentices, who take on the yoke, take up our cross, & put on the mantle of serving others as we simultaneously engage every "Follow Me" discipline that will help in our swift pursuit of the holiness & wholeheartedness which enables us to see beyond the headlines & into the details of God. We'll live wide & deep in the joys of earth but remain willingly severed from that which would distract us from companioning the King & fulfilling His earthly desires. He alone is now our deepest delight.
· A quarter of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people, live in severe poverty · Nearly 800 million people do not get enough food, and about 500 million people are chronically malnourished. More than a third of children are malnourished · In industrial countries more than 100 million people live below the poverty line, more than 5 million people are homeless and 37 million are jobless · Of the world’s 23 million people living with HIV/AIDS more than 93% live in developing countries · More than 840 million adults are illiterate - 538 million of them are women. · Around 2 million children died as a result of armed conflict in the last decade. · In developing countries 160 million pre-school children are underweight. · In poor countries, children are five times as likely to die before their fifth birthday due to preventable illnesses. · 1.2 billion people live without access to safe drinking water. · 110 million landmines lie undetonated in 68 countries.
Today’s society has the resources to eradicate poverty... · The net wealth of the 10 richest billionaires is $ 133 billion , more than 1.5 times the total national income of the least developed countries · The cost of eradicating poverty is 1% of global income · Effective debt relief to the 20 poorest countries would cost $ 5.5 billion - equivalent to the cost of building EuroDisney. · Providing universal access to basic social services and transfers to alleviate income poverty would cost $ 80 billion, less than the net worth of the seven richest men in the world · Six countries can spend $ 700 million in nine days on dog and cat food. · Today’s world spend $ 92 billion on junkfood, $ 66 billion on cosmetics and nearly $ 800 billion in 1995 for defense expenditure.
Living & dying daily to know God intimately - And in radical obedience & kamikazi servanthood, to carry out His life's work. ________
Having all these words be more than just words as I soul-press, excuses-crucify, life-surrender & present my body to embody the message of my friend Jesus.