Settled and Finding Momentum

Years back I would wander the halls of Missions Fest looking for organizations that were working with indigenous pastors around the world.

I remember finding barely any. Merely one or two each year was only sorta like the kind of organization I was interested in collaborating with. I had a few interesting conversations but there wasn’t any conclusive sense that, ‘This organization would be a fit’.

Little did I know at the time that I was to in fact found and direct the kind of organization I was looking for.

And even when we launched Capturing Courage International, there was still only a vague idea of the international aspect of the work.

Looking back I realize I had many if not all of the dots, but in the moment I couldn’t connect them.

Thankfully, the Lord is the master dot connector! And so here we are, as an organization, now ministering to thousands of pastors who are in turn ministering our material to tens of thousands of people.

The work has solidified, personally I’ve navigated the concentration stage and with the work picking up momentum, we know exactly what we do and how we do it.

Simply put, we are equipping and encouraging indigenous pastors around the world.

We do this through:

1. Building authentic relationships of mutual prayer and encouragements via email, facebook, phone, and texting.

2. Sending out Capturing God’s Heart on a monthly basis – this is a topical Bible study that is assisting in the spiritual formation of both pastors and their congregations.

3. Providing Walking in Spiritual Authority, a CCI Discipleship School curriculum comprised of three parts – The King’s Heart, At the Cross, Spiritual Authority.

4. By being on the ground with our colleagues around the world, participating in pastor’s conference, preaching and praying the heart of God, bringing inner healing and deliverance.

I’m heading to Mozambique in October. Pastor Daniel along with 9 churches have been waiting for me for over a year and a half. It’ll simply be good to in fact show up, to fellowship and to experience the Lord touching and encouraging and healing lives and hearts.

It is his specialty after all!

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

To find out more head over to Capturing Courage International.

Shedding Idolatry

I’m in process of moving. Thankfully I have the summer months to fully complete the task, and so each day holds just a bit of packing, organizing, and deleting stuff.

When all is said and done, my seven pieces of furniture and my twenty-or-so boxes of long-term storage will tuck nicely away at my folks place.

I’ve been working on downsizing a long time now. Intentionally learning to live with less my life is increasingly freed up to more.

More relationships, more blessing, more ministry, more writing, more of nimbleness and ease of movement as the Holy Spirit directs.

I’m gearing up for full-time overseas ministry. Something for which I’ve been preparing for thirteen years now.

Here in the west we are dying of stuff. I’ve written about it before as I’ve been on a minimalist kick for some time. With a vision bigger than the things I own or the house I live in I just can’t imagine being under the curse of possessions anymore.

But it hasn’t always been this way. I was a consumer with the best of them. A decorator with excellence. Always looking to make just this corner or that wall just right.

Like most of us I took comfort and found security in my stuff, my home, my things. Thankfully the Lord broke me of all that.

A few years ago there was a time that I lived on a mattress on the floor of a small room. I had a foot of space to one side of the mattress and about three feet at one end. That was the amount of space I could call my own for some nine months time.

What a gift that time turned out to be. I’ve never been the same since.

I came to find that home is in my heart and that I can take it with me anywhere.

I came to find that God meets me no matter my circumstances.

I came to find that stuff simply binds us.

In fact, I am convinced, that stuff keeps us from finding home in our hearts.

The hunger we might experience for justice, for work greater than ourselves, for impact beyond our own worlds, are quite expediently silenced and satiated with our stuff. And it sickens me.

We are so lost here in North America – so lost.

Meanwhile we send our stuff overseas, thinking that they need the same numbness that we have come to know, and we’ve got it all backwards. Turned upside down and we don’t even know it.

My trips to Africa are some of the most relaxing times of my life. With my possessions on my back, my care in the hands of those I visit, simplicity of fellowship has no requisites or fancy packaging.

The simplest of spaces, a few sheets, a wool blanket, an old pillow, a bucket for bathing, make for the richest of times.

Meals are simple, beauty is different. Home is found in the heart of others and comfort comes from the inside out.

Ezekiel, speaking of Sodom and Gomorrah says this, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” (16:49 ESV)

I don’t know about you, but this applies to me, and most everyone I know here in North America.

Think about it. Let it break you. Come under its conviction. May it change your life.

For myself, I just can`t do this anymore. While it`s been some years of changing and shifting and seeing with fresh eyes, and while there will be more of the same to come, I can`t imagine going back to a life consumed with comfort.

I gave enough of my years to that idol. It`s time for other things now.

Find out about the work I do around the world HERE

Encouragments

We all need encouragement. From the simple getting through a day, to those stepping out and into bigger things, encouragement goes a long way.

Of course, to be encouraged we must receive, and to encourage others we must risk in small ways.

When I am having a bad day, often just a simple phone call or tea time with a friend is all I need. The swirling vortex of my own thoughts and emotions at such times, just needs the voice of someone I know and trust to enter in peace and assurance.

Other times it is the quiet whisper of our Holy Spirit by which I am most encouraged. Allowing and receiving the heart of God over us enters in quiet tranquility; this too is encouragement deep within.

Sometimes it is just changing up the routine, doing something different, trying something new, that brings encouragement and gladness to our souls.

Now, encouragement is not the same as flattery. When people try to stroke me with their words I am not encouraged, but rather discouraged. False words and those who rush to ‘fix’ me only renders additional loneliness.

This shows up every once in awhile when I am sharing something I am not good at. My friends, those who encourage me most, acknowledge my words and recognize the truth in what I am saying.

But there are always a few who rush to deny my words, push them away, refusing to consider what I am saying, pumping me with flattery, these ones leave me lonely and bereft, and I make a mental note of who not to share with next time.

Encouragers validate. They do not deny reality, but they enter into it and say, ‘Yeah, I know. So hard.”

“Gosh that must be frustrating.”

Encouragers are strong in themselves. They are not pinning their hopes on the reality of anyone around them. They can then enter in freely and with gifts of heart and soul.

Encouragers just sit alongside. They don’t have to fix things. They don’t come from a place of panicked response. They just enter in and sit alongside. An encourager has often seen and experienced many hard things, and so the hard things don’t scare them anymore. Which means your and my hard things don’t scare them. They simply sit alongside, giving dignity to the difficulty.

They know you can get through it

Encouragers trust the process of life. And in this trust that exudes from them, we are strengthened and brought to greater levels of trust ourselves. We don’t have to control. We don’t have to maintain. We don’t have to pretend.

Life is what it is. And if nothing else is true, life is a process. Like the ebb and flow of the waves our own lives will have ups and downs. And we, can, enter into the ebb and flow, learn from it, strengthen in it, find ourselves through it, and then we too can become encouragers for others.

Be an encouragment today. Allow those around you their process. Don’t rush to fix it. Just be alongside.