Sunday, June 28, 2009

Salt and Light

Verse 1 You make me want to be like You Your holiness I will pursue I want the heart of Jesus Show me the meaning of Your grace I want to give the world a taste Of the love of Jesus Chorus 1 Make me salt make me light Let Your holy fire ignite Reveal Your glory in my life I am not ashamed to lift up Your holy name Make me salt make me light Misc 1(BRIDGE) Set me as a city on a hill A lamp upon a stand Mold me in Your image The work of Your hand CCLI Song No. 3470093© 2002 Integrity's Hosanna! Music Jan L'Ecuyer John L'Ecuyer We sang this song in church today and it got me really thinking. Besides having a great rhythm and bass track it words are such a calling. As Christians we are called to be salt and light to the world. We are to be set apart and to make a difference. Others looking at us should see that difference in us and should be intrigued. It should be obvious that we have been called out. I think about the past week. I had an awesome week sharing VBS with other Christians. All of us gathered for a sole purpose of bringing the gospel to children. Creation 2009 was held this week and many Compassion advocates went to work shifts at the festival for child sponsorship. They had an awesome chance to encourage others, fellowship with others and to promote the ministry of Compassion. I spent yesterday at River Valley Ranch yesterday with another advocate promoting Compassion. Our results were not great but we had an incredible day with others worshipping and sharing our ministry. My step-daughter just got back from a week in the Dominican sharing the gospel with others and of course being with an incredible group of Christian kids and adults. These are the "Holy Fire" moments from the song that should ignite us into action. I can only imagine these as a taste of what Heaven will be like for us. However if we just hold these moments within us they lose their luster. If we take these moments and use them as "kindling" for something greater how much more powerful can we stand out and make a difference for the Kingdom. Each of us has our own ministry and gifts to be used for the Kingdom. Pushing them to the side does no one any good-Especially not the Kingdom. It is my prayer this week that you closely look at the words in the song-meditate on them- think about what they are really saying. They are a calling to something greater...whatever your focus, whatever your ministry this week, wherever you may be.....Do not be ashamed-Give the world a taste- BE SALT AND LIGHT!!!!!! Blessings <><

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Holy Land Adventure- Rome (Paul and The Underground Church)

This week is VBS week at Fork Christian Church. We are doing Group's Holy Land Adventure. It is based in Rome and it is around 60AD. We have a marketplace with vendor shops, live animals (donkey, dogs, chickens, birds) and a food cart. Basically the story centers around Paul ( who is under house arrest) and The Underground Church. The children are learning from Paul about God's gift of love (salvation), that it is eternal and it is worth sharing. I am playing the role of Paul for the week for the elementary grades. It is a blast. I am chained to a Roman Guard while under house arrest. The children have been great. They bring me food from the marketplace (Cheese and water). One even drew me a picture of the "fish"-the secret Christian symbol. The cool thing is that my guard is getting to know Christ and by the end of the week will become a Christian. The kids don't realize it but they are playing a big role in this. We have tweaked the scripts a little so they are showing him compassion and praying for him. All in all it has been an amazing week so far.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Just thought I would go a little off track and say Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. I am blessed to have both a wonderful daughter and step-daughter. Both are great teenagers and make me proud to be a part of their lives. They are teenagers so time with them is sometimes far and few but I am proud of the young ladies they have become. ___________ On the other side of the coin I have four special children in Honduras. I am not their father but I know I am playing an important part in their lives and development. It is Karen's and my hope that they will grow to become Christian leaders in their community. The first time I met Linda ( whose father is deceased) she told me she "thought" of me as her father and wanted me there for her QuinceaƱera in 2011. I will honor that wish as if she was my daughter. ________________ Finally I wish that we all remember that we have a Father in heaven that cares more than we could ever know. He loves us and wants to call us His own even more than we could say that about our own children. His love for us is so deep and wonderful. On this Fathers day I can only hope and pray that as Fathers we can show the same type of love and understanding that He has shown to us. God Bless and Happy Father's Day!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Celebrating Compassion/ Changing Two Lives

Last Friday Compassion celebrated the fact that 1,000,000 children are concurrently being sponsored. This is a milestone and an awesome testimony to the ministry. I have told my story many times and yet it is not unique. Sponsorship impacts both the child and the sponsor. Lives are transformed and changed as only God can do. I stand in awe on when I hear stories of how sponsors are now broken. I stand in awe at events when I see the joy in the eyes of sponsors as they pick up a packet ( and the best is yet to come and they don't even know it). I am totally amazed on sponsor tours watching the transformation that takes place when child and sponsor meet. It is just a taste of what Heaven will be like.

This video was show last Friday at Compassion. I apologize to all the advocates and sponsors that have already seen it on Facebook or Youtube. However this blog would not be complete without including it here. Compassion employees sharing the words of is well worth watching over and over. It is my prayer that if you are not sponsoring a child maybe now you will understand the call. If you feel inclined there is a link at the top right of this blog that will take you right to Compassion's website where you can find that special child.

God Bless!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

$38 or $32- It's really a matter of what God can do!

Recently Compassion announced that the cost of sponsoring a child would be going from $32 monthly to $38 a month. A increase of $6.00! Of course as has been the case with all of the sponsorship increases it is optional. You can opt out if you wish. When we first started sponsoring Linda in 2004 the cost was $28 a month. I think it was within four months we got a letter advising the cost would be $4.00 more if we opted in. I think my first thought back then was one of surprise...what had I gotten myself into? Was this going to be the typical thing -increases every once in awhile. This was not what I was told. OF COURSE BACK THEN I DID NOT UNDERSTAND. Regardless we opted in. No big deal and not worth getting upset about.

Five years later, two sponsor tours later and being an Advocate I understand the entire picture. Take a look at this girl. She is a child at one of the projects we visited. I am not sure if she is new, scared or what. However what I see in her eyes is the lack of hope and options. The families at that project basically lived in barely standing homes on land they did not own. They could be evicted at any time. Average family income was probably less than $3.00 a day. They would be lucky to have a complete meal for the family.
Currently we sit here in tough economic times. I think many of us know of people who have been laid off, fired or had positions eliminated. Things are certainly not easy. Yet even at these bad times can we even imagine what the impact has been on these developing countries? What is tough for us in magnifed many times over for these people. The global food crisis was truly a crisis before it even hit our media. The purchasing price of our dollar has diminished greatly in these countries. It has been declining since 2005.
Frankly I am suprised that it took this long to decide on an increase. Frankly I am suprised it is only $6.00. I realize that much thought and prayer went into this decision. It was not made lightly. Those already sponsoring will more than likely understand and will gladly accept the increase. The overall impact will be on the new sponsorships. People that were on the fence at $32 are going to be even farther when $38 is mentioned. However it is still ONLY $1.25 a day to make the difference in a life of a child.
Having seen that the model works, that Compassion is making a difference I cannot begin to put a price on that. In fact we sponsored our 4th child (Sophia) knowing full well the increase was coming. Compassion is my ministry and now my calling is to explain to those potential new sponsors that it is not the amount that matters but rather what God can do with the amount. There is obviously a tangible reason for the increase- there is a need. However what is far more important is the difference it will make in the lives of these children. Through God all things are made possible.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beth Crosby is an independent music artist with Compassion. She was part of my family group in Honduras and I count her as a very special friend. This is her video that she put together. I sat here with tears in my eyes remembering what we had seen, what we had done and what we had learned. It was special seeing it through another's eyes. If you are interested, her webpage is: In the meantime sit back and be blessed! <><

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Altar and The Door

The title song from the Casting Crown's album "The Altar and The Door" has an interesting theme:
Lord, this time I'll make it right, here at the altar I lay my life
Your kingdom come but my will was done, my heart is broken as I... (Chorus)Cry, like so many times before
But my eyes are dry before I leave the floor, oh Lord
I try but this time, Jesus, how can I be sure I will not lose my follow through
Between the altar and the door
Here at the altar, oh my world so black and white
How could I ever falter
What You've shown me to be right
How many times do we come before God with the best intentions and then leave that spot and go back "into the world". Somewhere between the altar and the door we lose our holiness and revert back to our usual ways. This is something I struggle with each and every day. I have the best intentions, I want to be Christ-like and yet when I take my eyes off the goal it is so easy to slip up. In church, with my Christian friends everything is clear- black and white. Yet later things fade to gray and it is so easy to slip.
Mark Hall, the writer of the song, best explains it as getting the things we know are right in our head- into our hands, our feet, our actions.
It is not easy- it is what our journey really is about. We will always be walking that distance between the altar and the door. It is my prayer that each time we get up from the altar we take a little more of Christ with us. As we journey down that path to the door we gather more and more- we don't falter but keep our eyes on the prize.
Being part of a growing church, a great small group, and having my ministry focus being Compassion I know that is helping me each and every step.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Divided Loyalty! A Lighter View Today

Ok- It is Saturday night and I am sitting in the family room watching a Soccer Match between the US and Honduras. It is a World Cup qualifying match for 2010. First off I am not really into soccer but this intrigued me. I know that soccer is an important sport in Honduras whereas in the United States we seem to be more interested in baseball, football or basketball depending on the season. I know that I attempted to play some soccer against some of the kids in 2007 while visiting Honduras. I quickly learned that this was not a great idea. I mean these kids are born with moves I can only dream of. Their ball handling and skills were fantastic. This time I did not even bother but watched some of my fellow travellers make the same mistake. LOL! Anyway soccer is THE sport in Honduras so I thought this match would be fun to watch. Not to mention it is being played at Soldier field in Chicago. I have my Honduran soccer jersey that I bought as a souvenir in 2007 and am rooting for Honduras. I am American all the way- it is just a funny thing that for over the past two years Honduras has played an important role in my life. I pray daily for our sponsored children and their families there. I pray for the Compassion workers there and I do pray for the Country.When you are talking about praying and thinking about something over 1000 times it becomes a part of you. Seeing the Honduran flag, seeing pictures or even the word in print brings good thoughts. When I said I left my heart in Honduras that is pretty much true. Our conscious decision was to sponsor all of our children in Honduras and we hold that country dear. We got back from Honduras on Sunday May 24th- I hung up a Honduras flag from my deck without realizing that the 25th was Memorial Day. My bad! My neighbors probably think I am a little strange but really I think in my heart it was a statement....I wanted that Memorial Day to be a little reminder of what I had seen and to remember what my ministry was. I had seen plenty of heartbreaking things in the past week. Anyway the match started- Soldier Field is Blue and White----seems more like a home match for Honduras. Game tied at the half. I am rooting for Honduras....I hope they qualify. It really means more down there. After all we have our Superbowl and World Series.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Viva La Vida-Coldplay

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries Wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter will call my name
Never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world.

I am not really a fan of alternative music not do I know a lot about Coldplay. However I recently heard this song and it has haunted me. It speaks to me about what I once was and what I now am. I have been watching on Facebook as a lot of my fellow tour mates are now sharing the ministry of Compassion. Having met the children, seen the poverty and realized the hope we can bring there is no other calling. Once we lived for ourselves...we ruled our own little worlds. We were puppets on a string. Now we are called- we are the voices for "the least of these".

I worked an event last night for Compassion and tonight I had dinner with another advocate (Thanks Teresa!)-I enjoy sharing with anyone who will listen the difference that this ministry makes. I love telling of the difference I have seen in the eyes of my own sponsored children. My dreams and hopes are now about them.
Living the Life is no longer about what I want but more about what I can do. Things that mattered seem so silly now. My heart was broken in 2007 but it is still broken-I like it that way. We have pictures everywhere in the house to remind us of what our ministry is. I have a wife that has a heart for the children and is so supportive. She should be an advocate also.
My prayer tonight is that those reading this will understand my heart and understand the calling that we all have.
God Bless!