It was a rousing discussion. I’d presented the following material and out of these simple comparisons conversation after conversation followed. We didn’t have time for all the thoughts and questions and dialogue.
I am constantly amazed by the connections of my past experiences with the requirements of my current work.
About twelve weeks ago I was requested by one of our indigenous pastor families in India a resource and Biblical references to assist them with the men in their congregation. Here is the exact request:
“Sister I need a study or a sermon on husband and wife relationship according to Bible or marital life with Christ because in our church we have many broken families. Women are hard working and their husbands are fully drunkards and they beat their wives like anything. Kindly I need a sermon like how they can change their husbands…..”
It took me some time to finish this material. I worked on it in bits and parts, due mostly to the necessity to write in the Spirit of our Lord, to check and double check what I was saying and its accuracy against scripture, and in terms of truly being in service to men who are caught in patterns of spousal abuse.
I was privileged to attend The Justice Conference via a satellite site this last weekend.
“Justice is rooted in the character of God and flows from the heart of God.” Ken Wytsma
Chocked-full with those leading the way in various dimensions and expressions of justice I came away chocked-full myself with new wisdoms and continued clarity to my own thinking and life and ministry.
In the past I’ve worked through refusing injustice in my own life personally. Since then I’ve journeyed others through the labyrinth of advocating justice within their own lives. Today as I work alongside indigenous pastors I’m joining conversations of justice at the rural indigenous church level.
“Justice is not just about solutions per se, but for us as peace workers it is an invitation to the table.” Sami Awad
“Thank-you for coming on the inside, for living among us, travelling as we do, eating as we eat.”
This came from one of the pastors after nearly two weeks of travel and ministry amongst ten churches spread over a wide area during my recent trip to Mozambique.
I am convinced that being on the inside is the only way to be in service to others.
By the time I’d arrived in Mozambique (after over 30 hours of travel) I already had a few clothes that needed washing. And as we were heading out for more travel within another day I took it upon myself to wash my clothes.
I was staying in a guest house that had running water and so it was fairly easy to in fact wash my own clothes. I had even brought some twine from home and so managed to hang them to dry.
The Mamma’s (the wives of all the gathering pastors) giggled and ooh’d and aah’d over this clothes washing. But later in the day Daniel came to me with a sincere apology from them that they’d not washed my clothes.
I was struck. My first misstep of the trip was washing my own clothes. Here I thought I was doing a favour but instead I was heaping shame and embarrassment. I made sure not to make that same mistake again. Rather, from there on I dutifully handed over my dirty laundry to Mamma.
Coming on the inside is an exercise in humility and requires great ease with one’s self. It requires trust in the human spirit and in the Lord’s direction and provision found through others.
In Luke 10 Jesus sends out the seventy-two and instructs them to enter towns, to stay with those who will keep them, to eat what they are fed, and to leave their peace to those who can receive it.
Right from the start of Capturing Courage’s international launch this has been the conviction of how we do what we are called to do. We do not enter a town and set up camp and say, “here we are come and see the great stuff we have for you” rather we come to visit and minister from the inside out.
Before ministering, before blessing, before encouraging, before healing, before wisdom, before prophecy, before praying, before anything, we arrive tired and in need of some basic care.
“Where is the toilet?”
And once some food is prepared we simply receive the hospitality afforded with due thanks. We shake many hands who have arrived to welcome. We sit and receive the stares of many who are intrigued and so delighted we are there. We smile our own greeting time and again.
We might then ask, “May I please lay down and sleep a bit?”
And everywhere we go, each place visited it is the same. Sit where I am sat, eat what I am given, smile and shake hands and affirm that ‘yes indeed!’ my own excitement of being there does match their own. We are on common ground and in good company together.
I am observed tired and hungry. I am walked to the toilets and given showers. I am cared for and fed. All before I ever open my mouth to share anything I might have from the Lord. First things first after all.
And then, by the time I am standing in front as the welcomed minister they’ve already seen that I am simply human like them. They’ve seen that I am as dependant on them as they might be on what I am about to speak.
The preaching and the praying, the wisdom and the prophetic words, are simply one small portion of the work as I travel. Perhaps 20%. The other part is in fact the coming on the inside.
It is the travelling as they travel, bouncing along in the back of trucks over rutted rattle-your-teeth-loose roads. It is sleeping at the train station just as many others are doing. It is being packed onto a motorbike with a couple others to get the last distance to our destination. It is making my butt fit into the eight-inch space left for me in the back of the bus (minivan packed with 20 people).
And what amazes me is how prepared I am for all this and how much I absolutely love it. The fellowship and camaraderie found on the inside is like nothing I can adequately describe. In this the Lord ministers to me profoundly. My own heart that has experienced so much loss and dysfunction relishes in these simple interactions that – thank God – are saved from pretence.
And I think this is what must mark any of our work and callings. Where are we simply glad to be on the inside? Where does our love extend past the inconveniences and difficulties?
You know, the Lord said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Where might that be for you?
For myself it has taken many years to get here. Primarily because it took this many years to eliminate the self-doubt, the lies I had believed, and the disqualifications that I held between myself and this work.
I still pinch myself at the amazing privilege and gift of this work.
Where might this be for you? What work are you called to that once you enter into it isn’t even work but rather a saving of self and deep fellowship and ministry to others?
But I suspect these are the wrong questions. For until we get there we cannot recognize this place. Rather, I will ask these questions:
What is the biggest disqualification that you are holding between yourself and what the Lord might call you to?
What are the deepest failures and regrets of your life? Where is your loss the most profound?
To what have you had the most sympathy, to whom are you drawn to help? Where do you keep tripping over yourself in your eagerness to assist? Where have you been most rejected in your attempts to help?
The answer to these questions is the same answer to those other questions.
Begin systematically and boldly removing the lies and the disqualifications that you so gladly hold up for all to see.
Put them down and begin the process of entering into work made just for you.
Fear can so easily undo any of us. When lived with for so long we may not even know what life would be without it.
What many don’t know is that I was once driven by fear. There were many things I was afraid of. Places I wouldn’t go, things I wouldn’t do, conversations I wouldn’t have.
And all through my life my expectation of bad things only brought me what I was expecting and further compounded my understanding of life.
I was living a fear-based life.
Then, thank God, I was rescued from this. First there was deep dissatisfaction about the tenor deep within me. I became tired of being afraid.
Second, I began to see that many of my gut fears were unfounded. There was no basis to many of my predispositions (all of them actually).
Third, my judgments and biases were sat down by the Lord and given a good talking to. So much of my fear was self-created. I was my own prisoner.
Then I found deep healing for all of these things. Giving my mind-set, my beliefs, my paranoia’s up in exchange for a new way of seeing things created a powerful shift in my being and life.
The fearful moments in my life that had been given much power – as I focussed and submitted to them – were undone.
Undone means gone. Kaput. Finished. And they’ve never come back.
Some of it has been a process, most of it has simply been freedom.
There is so much power in bringing our fears out into the open, the ridiculous, the mundane, the real and terrifying. All of it need not have a hold on our lives.
If you are interested in living free from fear, we can do something about that.
Together and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ fear can have its last day in your life.
I’m hosting an evening of corporate prayer & healing regarding this stronghold of fear that is in many lives. If you are interested mark your Calendar:
- Monday, November 11
- 7:00 – 9:30 pm
- 10082 160 Street, Surrey
Note: The evening is free although we will make opportunity for an offering to go to the work of Capturing Courage Int’l around the world.
We will first spend some time just talking about fear, exposing it’s personality and how it shows up in our life. Then I will explain the basis for which we can have freedom from it. Out of this teaching time you will have opportunity to join in as we together pray over our fears to the Lord.
I make one stipulation. Please only come if you are truly serious about getting rid of fear and doing life differently. We will be doing some work with the Lord and that work is not done flippantly.
I suggest that you consider fasting for some time prior to our gathering. Pervasive strongholds such as fear often require our masks and coping mechanisms put aside, and nothing does this quite like fasting. If you cannot fast food, then consider something else. Ask the Lord, he’ll tell you what it might be.
I look forward to seeing you on Monday evening, November 11th.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
A call from Uganda has me awake in the middle of the night – international work means there is not a regular 9-5 schedule, but it is something I’ve gotten used to in the last year and I’m pretty good rolling with it now.
At first I wasn’t used to trying to talk on a phone, hone my hearing carefully, understand through crackly airwaves, pick through various accents, all while rubbing the sleep from my eyes as I try to wake up.
But what I’ve learned is that to be present doesn’t require that we are all ‘set to go’, it just requires us to be present.
And being present does a work all its own.
Thoughts – Taking One Day at a Time
My latest book takes you through your year with solid thinking, one day at a time.
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With 365 Days of thoughts, you will be encouraged and challenged to refine, focus, consider, explore what it is that brings out the best in life.
We cannot grow at great rates of speed – smallest is best, and in this volume of small daily wisdoms you will find validation and peace woven into the ways you go after life.
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“The first time I met Cyndy I knew there was something special about her; she has a graceful presence that emanates her love of God and humanity. Every morning for the past year I have eagerly checked my email to be inspired by the “thought of the day” and I am simply delighted that they are available for all in print form.
This book is an outpouring of what is close to her heart: not just a collection of her daily thoughts but a series of careful meditations within the soul. Each page presents an encouraging and insightful glimpse into Cyndy’s personal journey of discovery. Many of these ideas are forward-thinking and challenge the very nature of our lifestyle. With life’s ever increasing speed, these thoughts act as a gentle prompt for us to dedicate time just to think. It is in these rare moments of processing that we often realize what matters most to us, and then recognize that we’ve been completely preoccupied with something less important.
I have known Cyndy for a few years now, and every time we meet she just makes me want to be a better person. After reading this book, I’m sure you will feel the same.”
Lynn Matson, Consultant
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