Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Video Review of 2016

This year was a very busy year at Galilea. We had 14 teams, built houses in 6 Zapote and also 3 others in Zorzoya, Escuintla, and Magdelena. We built about 20 stoves also. Our teams chipped up the cracked concrete floors in Zapote and tiled the school. They also repaired the underground drainage at the Zapote school and poured concrete in an unfinished part of the school yard. We hosted a medical clinic in Membrillal and worked with 2 others in Zapote. We finished the walls of the Church in Membrillal and put the roof on. The Church was dedicated in November.

Teams that came did Bible Schools, Special ministries to the kids after school. They did food give aways to families in need. One team did teacher training led by teachers and a school administrator. We were able to hold an evangelism event for the workers and drivers of the company that delivers fuel to the gas stations and another one for their families later in the day. We did street fair outreaches in San Lucas and in Membrillal and we walked the streets of Membrillal prayerwalking with one team and sharing the Gospel with another.

It was a year that kept us busy. There was such a variety of projects and outreaches that there was never time to get bored.

We finished the year with graduations at both schools and then a gift giveaway for the students. All of the students in Membrillal received backpacks ans in Zapote they received shoes. The schools had about 300 in attendance this year and we got to share the Gospel and demonstrate the love of Jesus to them on a regular basis. This is the reason that we are here.

I am going to stop writing but  I would like to share a video with you that shows some of what we were able to do this year.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Kid's are Preparing to Move On!

In the last couple of weeks we had three graduations. Our 6th readers completed their school year in Membrillal. In Zapote the 6th and 9th graders graduated and finally, We got to go see Beverly graduate from law school in the city. She  was sworn in on Monday at the Supreme Court and now is a full fledged attorney in Guatemala. To me, seeing Beverly's graduation was incredibly encouraging. It is not only the end of a chapter in her life that required lots of hard work to write but it is also a source of hope for many others.

Byron has been around since the beginning.
A couple of times I have been in Membrillal hen the question was asked of students, "What do you want to be?" I have heard psychologist, social worker, teacher and chef along with many other things. Kids know how to dream about their future lives. It is good to hear them vocalize those dreams and get them thinking. In Zapote, Sonia, our valedictorian from last year wants to be a doctor. What an amazing dream for a young woman that grew up in a rural village and seldom ever had contact with doctors even. The first part of accomplishing anything is to imagine it or have an idea for it.

Unfortunately, most of these kids have grown up in rural areas with parents that were field workers or laborers in low paying jobs. The parents and grandparents grew up in a time of war and had no opportunity to have a better career because education was not available or was disrupted by the realities of war. After two generations, the poverty mentality and a willingness to settle for any job that comes along becomes a way of life. For many of our kids this has become their reality.

In our schools kids are allowed to dream. They hear about different careers that are available for them. They begin the education process that opens the doors for them to be able to continue on in school and even go to university. Most importantly, they are taught that they were created with a purpose. God did not stick them here by chance but He designed them and gave them a destiny through Jesus. They are allowed to believe that dreams can be more than just a fading hope killed by the realities of adulthood.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Romans. We all know 8:15+16. It tells us that we are adopted and that by the Spirit we cry "Abba, Father." Just after that though, there are some verses that intrigue me. Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

In these verses there is a now and not yet sense. We read that we have received the Spirit of Adoption but there is also a waiting. Many read this to mean that it won't happen until we physically die and are in Heaven but I do not believe that. I believe that we are progressing into the reality of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Creation is longing to see what each of us is going to become as we more closely resemble Jesus and as our position as sons becomes a greater reality in our lives. The world is missing many things that it needs, partly because of sin but partly because sons of God are still trapped in thinking that they are just fallen men and servants. The world is longing and eagerly waiting for what you are called to be.

I believe that Jesus wants us to know who we are in Him and then to help others discover their rightful places in His Kingdom. To make disciples means to help people walk into the revelation of their place in the Father's heart. It means to see people released into their gifts, callings and anointing. It means that they provide the things to the world that it desperately needs because the Father has entrusted it to them to give, in His name. The world is longing for sons to be revealed. Our job in the schools is to help them to know what their life is to look like as a son of God. Jesus was the firstborn but through the cross He made many others sons. We need to help our students and then their communities to realize this.
The 6th and 9th grade graduates at Zapote singing

In Ps 139, David had this revelation of who he was and more importantly, how good the Father was concerning him. I believe that it was this revelation that empowered David to be king. He faced lots of hardships first from his older brothers, then Saul and even some of his own sons. In the end, he continued on and trusted God. He became on of the wealthiest men and maybe the greatest human king ever. When we know who we are and we are secure in Whose we are, we can do almost anything. With Holy Spirit leading, we can remove the almost. We can fulfill every purpose God has for us. The world will be changed because sons of God knew who they were and they walked that out.

I believe that Guatemala and Latin America will be changed as our students come to know their place as sons. They will bring transformation as they become secure in the Father's love. They will become fearless in ministry when they see how God wants to use them. They will bring glory to the father as the name of Jesus is proclaimed in all that they do. I am looking forward to many graduations and even more to seeing how they bring the Father to the world.

I believe that this work is worthy of time and effort. These kids need us to be faithful in our lives so that they can see Jesus shine in and through us. I love the role that I get to play but I need your help to continue. It is not expensive to live here but it is also not free. Soon I will be coming up with a budget for next year  but I want to plant the seeds now so you can pray about your role if any in the support of this work. My personal needs for next year will be  between $12,000 and $15,000. This includes food, travel and normal living expenses and most likely housing and utilities. It does not include transportation. I am still in need of finding a reliable car and raising  $7,500 or so for it. Please be praying for these needs.

Other things to pray for:

  • Where our graduates will be going to school or working now
  • Reliable transportation for me
  • New Church building in San Lucas
  • Sale of the property in San Lucas
  • My housing for next year
  • Finding and hiring the right teachers for the next school year
  • The teams that will be coming and the work that they will be doing next year.
  • Health of the Galilea staff has been attacked.

If you would like to contribute you can send checks to:
Life Church Morris
PO Box 679
C/O San Lucas Mission
Morris, IL 60450

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Papa Jorge

A few years ago I wrote about a word that a man gave to me. When he told me that he thought God was showing him something about me, my naturally skeptical self was a little doubtful but as he shared, he spoke words that were right out of my heart's desire and prayers. I have always loved children. I often can be seen talking to them and paying attention to them and ignoring the adults in the room. The word he had was simple. He told me that he felt I was Papa Jorge and that showing the love of the Father to children was a primary calling in my life. I received that word with joy. It really did speak to me.

It has now been three years and several seasons of work in Guatemala  later. After working with many teams and with the school children, that word still rings true for me today. I see kids without fathers or with absentee fathers, I hear stories of abuse and neglect and I want to step in and help each of them. I want each child I come in contact with to know that they have a Heavenly Father that loves them regardless of their earthly fathers role in their lives. Spending time with the kids, being their jungle gym and climbing wall brings me energy and life. I want to do this forever. I pray that my strength and stamina hold up for many years so I do not have to stop. I think the kids feel the same way. I cannot walk through the schools without hearing my name being called out repeatedly. When the kids are free, they are looking for attention. I think that it is a mutually beneficial relationship I have with them. Best of all, I know that they are having the opportunity to see themselves as people with value, worth and dignity. They see me and others going out of their way to make time for them and just show them love.

Today in my Bible reading, part of my reading was John 13. In this, Jesus washes the disciples feet and shows Himself to be a servant to men that were about to abandon Him, deny Him and betray Him. Jesus did not serve them because they deserved it or because they made it easy. He did not do it to make them feel good. He did it because He knew the Father and wanted them to know Him also. The Father's love was at the center of all Jesus did. He concludes the chapter by telling us to love each other the same way and by doing so, the world would know that we are His disciples.

Reading this reminded me of the earlier word. It is not just children that need to see the Father's love. He was also working tirelessly to show it to these grown men that had just spent over 3 years with Him. His intimate connection to the Father affected everything about Jesus and controlled His interactions with the people in His life. He loved others as the Father had loved Him. He gave of Himself freely. He served people even when they were unlovable. Jesus lived in love to make the glory of the Father known.

A week and a half ago I got to go out in Membrillal and share the Gospel with people on the streets. Some of the team was doing a teacher training for the school but 3 of us had little to do so we decided to go out and share Jesus with people and pray for them. For the first half hour I was the best Spanish speaker available. It was incredible to share Jesus with these people. It was great to hear the man who told us that he loved to tell  people about Jesus, that Jesus was in his heart and mind, in his mouth and ears. that Jesus was in his eyes. Jesus affected everything about how He interacted with people and you could see it on his face as he talked. Sadly, we met another man that said he knew Jesus but could not come to Church because he drank. He did not know of the transforming love of Jesus that draws us in and then changes us. We invited him on Sunday and shared the Gospel with him but I think he still believes he needs to get his act together to come.

As I have been thinking about my experiences and these words, I realize my role is bigger than I imagined. The world needs a Papa Jorge, at least the part of it that I live in. Broken, hurting people are not just kids. People of all ages need to see the love of the Father demonstrated through our lives. Jesus is calling us to a deeper intimacy with Him and a greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we can effectively show the love of the Father. He has called me to be Papa Jorge to all I come in contact with. He is calling me to become more familiar with His love so that it overflows out of me to others. This is not just for me but for all followers of Jesus. The world is a scary place. Our job is to step into it and reassure people that it is going to be okay. Papa is here. We are just a stand in but since Jesus is in us, we can do a pretty good job and the real Papa, Father God can be seen and restore His children to the lives He created them for.

I often need to remind myself of who God is calling me to be and also of how I can effectively do that. I have changed the name of this blog as a reminder. It is now Papa Jorge. I hope that as I see it I am reminded to remain close to the Father so that His love can be seen in me. I also hope that as you see it, you will pray fro me to see an know the love of Heavenly Father more today than I did yesterday. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings and I pray yu are touched by something that you read also.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Last November I spoke at the Church camp one afternoon. The theme for the camp was radical and I spoke on Gideon and Esther, 2 people that were radical in their pursuit of God's call at one moment in their lives. They both had to set aside their own plans to fulfill God's at a time that was not particularly convenient to them. They both saved their people because of their radical obedience at the moment. The question that I had to ask myself was "What does radical mean?" The answer is that it means from the root or to return to the original purpose. They both accomplished their purpose because they allowed God to direct their activities.

I do not know about you but sometimes I get tired and burned out. I feel like my efforts do not make any real difference. Some days I dream that it would be nice to go back to the 9 to 5 world, have a 401K and employer paid health insurance. It would be nice to just go someplace for relaxation and enjoyment rather than to travel someplace to work. It would be nice to have a steady income. Those thoughts come but fortunately they do not last. I know that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I am called to do. As for tomorrow. God has that planned and I do not need to worry about it. There is however something that I need to do regularly and that is become radical. I need to return to the root or the original purpose of God for my life. He has called me to know Him and walk with Him.

My theme verse for this blog is Micah 6:8
"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness.
and to walk humbly with your God?"

God calls us to do justice. There are many people that are oppressed, voiceless and powerless in society. It is our job as Christians to listen to them and encourage them. We are to point them to hope when they have none and to help  them receive it. We are also called to love mercy. There are many people that feel like they are beyond redemption. They believe that the only hope they can have is for God to go easy on them because they know that they deserve punishment. It is our job to help them find forgiveness and freedom. God's desire is not to punish people but to redeem them and restore life in them. As the Body of Christ, we get to participate in both of these high callings and it is amazing to see how God works when we become involved in these ministries of justice and mercy.

There is a final part to this verse and some days I forget that it is the most important part. We are called to walk humbly with our God. We need to maintain a closeness to Him. We need to position ourselves to hear His voice. We need to remember that we are 100% dependent on Him for strength, wisdom, and favor to be able to fulfill the other two parts of this verse. Without the direction and involvement of Holy Spirit, we cannot accomplish anything. Unless we spend time in His word and seeking  Him in prayer we will nit have wisdom when situations that are beyond us come up. Without being filled to overflowing with the love of God directed at the people we are working with and for, our efforts will seem hollow and be ineffective. Humility demands an acknowledgment of dependence.

In the final segment, there is another operative word. "walk". While there is certainly a time and place to rest in the presence of God or sit at the feet of Jesus, we are called to walk. God is moving. He is at work in the world. He has called us to move and work along side Him. He has the power and authority to accomplish the work. The resources for the work are His also. Our job is just to go and obey whatever He says. We often want to pray about situations but God calls us to walk into them with Him. Prayer is the beginning but not usually the end. Gideon feared the enemy and wanted to hide in a wine press while trying to work, God called him to get just enough men to go and testify of Israel's deliverance. He needed to be on sight where God was at work. He needed to trust God and participate but the victory came in such a way that only God could have done it. We are called to be like Gideon and walk or go with God.

Sometimes we have a hard time hearing God's voice. We do not always feel as close to Him as we do at other times. There are days or even weeks when it feels like He is silent. For those times, we need to be like Esther. We need to find a Mordecai , a person that is in tune with God and has His heart for people. We need to align ourselves with him (or her) and let them lead until we hear God again for ourselves. I think sometimes God lets us be in a place of dependence on others so that we can learn to function as a body. This dependence is part of learning humility. In the west, we have a strong desire to do it by ourselves and to prove we can do it on our own. This is contrary to God's plan. He called us to work in unity. He created us to need each other and to depend on one another. He also created us to work under authority,  first His, but also under a structure of leadership that is submitted to Him. As Esther listened to the wisdom of Mordecai, the Jews were saved and an evil authority structure led by Haman was brought down.

I guess I just want to close by asking how you are doing. Are you working for justice while showing mercy? Are you walking in dependence on God and moving with Him? Have you seen Him move lately and bring victories to hopeless situations? Do you have a Mordecai to help you discern the will of God when you are struggling? I go through time that I need to return to these question, return to radical and I find that it re-energizes me. I get a fresh viewpoint. I have renewed expectations. I come back to believing in the importance of the things that God is calling me to. I fall in love all over again with the life that He has me living. I came back to Illinois tired and grumpy. I am returning to Guatemala next with with a sense of anticipation and excitement for the last couple months of work for the year. I hope that you too experience these things in your lives. I pray God directs you to move with Him in ways that you maybe never have before and that you sense a fresh excitement as you discover the radical you.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bloom Where You Are Planted.

A couple of years ago I was talking to Peter Furler. He had come to Guatemala with an organization called Lifelight to do a concert. He is an avid motorcyclist and so he and several members of the band rented motorcycles to tour a little of the beautiful countryside. They were riding up and down mountains on highways on motorcycles much smaller than anything I would feel comfortable on even on Illinois flat roads. He normally rides a BMW or at least that is what I see him on in pictures. Bigger motorcycles do present their own challenges but I never feel safe if having power to escape a situation is not an option. I commented on that and he told me that you have to bloom where you are planted. In other words, you cannot change every circumstance but you can choose to grow wherever you are and in whatever situation you find yourself. You attitude is a choice.

I have been involved in the Christian Youth Center of Morris  since it began. It is a ministry that is close to my heart and always will be. I miss it and especially the kids when I am away from them. When I come back to Illinois I always spend whatever time I can there with the kids. I love it but I must admit that it is changing. The kids that I have known for many years are getting older. Many of them have stopped coming because they are out of school, moved away or left for other reasons. Now I often feel like I barely know most of them. Even those I know I wind up getting names wrong. It is an awkward situation. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just not bother and I wonder if it would really matter.

Over the years I have worked with hundreds, maybe thousands of kids in this ministry. Many left a lasting impression. Some because they were so involved and were an encouragement to me in the way they chose to pursue God. Unfortunately there were others that left the lasting impression for different reasons. They came but they chose to live life on their terms. They were angry, hurting, self destructive young people. They could not allow themselves to feel love or compassion from anyone because their trust had been betrayed too many times. They were wounded and nobody was going to break through the walls they put up. No matter how often they were told and shown that they were loved, they could not receive it. I watched countless leaders try to break through their tough shells but they would not open up because they thought that they were being set up. Their lives to that point had told them that was all they could expect. Their was no such thing as selfless love. People only wanted to get close because they wanted something from them. It was heartbreaking to see how deeply they  hurt and how much their trust had been violated.

I have thought about many of these kids over the years. Occasionally I will see something about them or be reminded of them. Sometimes this prompts me to pray for them. Occasionally I will see something on Facebook or hear something from one of their friends and it will encourage me. There is one that came to CYC for a couple of years and I know that they struggled with some things. I did not know how to help but I tried to be there when needed. I realized that they needed more than I could do but still wanted to help when I could.

A few months ago I saw a post on Facebook and I realized that God had intervened in their live and things were changing. Since then I have seen many other posts and realize that God has a plan for each of these kids and we may not ever see fruit from it. We may never know how He reached them and did what we could not but we need to keep praying for them. I do not know if the time at CYC had any part to play in their decision to follow Jesus. We need to keep making ourselves available to wounded, hurting kids, even though it can be painful or frustrating. We need to live beyond our understanding and share love and truth with them  as often as possible. Holy Spirit is the one that is leading them to their Father. Our job is to be available when we can.

I do not know how every kids story will turn out. I do not know what percentage of these wounded, confused kids will look to Jesus for the answers in their lives. I do not know what will happen. I can just choose to bloom where I am planted. Let God use me however He wants today. I can choose to let Him redeem my time whether in Morris or Guatemala. I can remind myself that God's timing and mine are not always the same and I can continue to pray for those that have crossed my path over they years. Jesus loves each of them more than I ever could. He is at work on their behalf. Lastly, I can be His hands and feet to demonstrate His love wherever He places me today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summary of the first 8 months of 2016

My Church came to visit and work for a week. Thank you Life Church Morris.
This is not the sexiest title but I thought that it was time to review the first 8 months of the year. It has been very busy and we have all been through some tiring weeks but we are grateful for all that God has allowed us to be part of this year. I wanted to give you a brief summary and then let the pictures share the story.

This year we built about 5 houses in Zapote. I cannot recall the exact number and built about 10 stoves.  We replaced much of a home in Magdelena that had water issues and built another house and stove in Escuintla, a new town for us to work in. Just this would have seemed like a busy summer a few years ago but now it is barely a start. We had so many other projects we worked on that I am not sure where to start. I will try to break it down by location.

In Membrillal we had a lot of work at the Church and school. Our biggest task was to finish the walls and the drainage system and then put the trusses up and the roof on. This task was heavy, time consuming and occasionally dangerous. I cannot count how many buckets of concrete and mortar we had to lift over our heads to finish it then we had to raise the trusses. That is the part that might have been dangerous but they are up and the roof is on. We also painted the outside of the school, replaced the netting around the playground with chain link fence, installed the office doors and worked on walls on the second floor.

In Zapote we had just as much to do. We needed to pour concrete in an unfinished part of the playground and install drainage to eliminate standing water and mud. In the process we found that much of the existing drainage needed to be replaced. We also needed to repaint the school,inside and out because the volcanic dust and frequent rains (not to mention dirty little fingers) turn everything black in a short time. We refinished all of the doors and white boards also. Our biggest task was the first floor flooring. Initially it as rough concrete with a skim coat of smooth cement over it. That is a normal process here. For some reason though the skim coat did not bond and it had many cracks so the decision was made to break off the skim coat and to tile. Several teams took hammer to cement to remove it all and to begin tiling the first floor. The rooms and hallway are complete but the cafeteria still needs to be finished.

Along with all of these things, we also hosted a medical clinic in Membrillal and helped a Kid's Alive team with another one for a week in Zapote. We had after school programs and Bible school programs run by a few teams. We had street fairs in San Lucas and Membrillal, and a few other evangelism events and a food distribution to needy families in the schools. Most of all, we have 300 kids in our schools and 600 people in the Churches that hear the proclamation of the Gospel every week because of your ongoing support and work.

It was a long and busy year. I want to thank all of the Churches and groups that came to work with us this year. I hope that you enjoy the pictures

Program for kids in Membrillal

Trying to break up a rock to big to move.
(It eventually got moved)

This was a whole house but now is just a kitchen

Stove being built in the kitchen

The replacement house

Program for older students in Santo Tomas

Street fair in Membrillal
Can't hit me

Street fair in Membrillal

Mixing pegamix for the new tile
Tiling a classroom

Street fair in San Lucas

Sanding new chair rail

Painting around the tilers

Holding the ladder in place

Chris reuniting with Pastor Mario

A house ready to be torn down

The replacement

Before the work started
Replacing the drainage system

Ready to pour 

Poured new pad with drains

Painting outside a classroom.

Kids want in on the action

The finished product

Working on the second floor

Cutting the metal to make trusses

Finishing the gutter system for the Church

Welding Trusses

Getting in place to set the first truss

Truss going up (first attempt)

Got to get higher

Almost got it

Getting there

Success, only 4 more to go

Not for the faint of heart

It took a while but they did it.

Roof going on

Hanging out in Membrillal

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

I would like to share the direction of my thoughts over the past weeks and pray that they give you something to think about as well. I have been challenged by these same thoughts many times over the past  years and they directly relate to my being in Guatemala. Even though I often forget what I am about to share, God is faithful to remind me regularly.

Lat week my Life Church Morris family was here along with a medical team from HFL. Much like the team from Fox River and Three Rivers Churches, I anticipated this week on the schedule for months. It is great when friends come and many people have become friends here over the years because they continue to come and our friendship has grown out of that. Even more, when the people that I have worked and minister with in the States come to work with us in Guatemala, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation. It is always good to remember our shared past and also to see that there is still a future together in ministry.

Unfortunately these friends leave also. While I am where I am called to be they are called to a different life and a different ministry. We are all working for the advancement of the Kingdom of God but in different places and different ways. We have a common goal but not the same roles. Because of that, we cannot always be with the old friends that we love and cherish for the time being.

This is also true for our natural family. In missions, we do not get to be part of everything that goes on back on the home front. We miss birthdays, graduations, weddings and funerals. We only get to spend time with those we love a few weeks a year. For some it is even less. Going where God calls means leaving behind many people, places and things that we love.

I am not writing to this to whine or complain. God has brought many new friendships and other blessings into my life. He has filled my life with lots of laughter and occasionally some tears. He has let me see and join in with people in their triumphs ans well as in their defeats. My life has been filled many times over beyond all I could ever ask for.  God is good. His plans are good but leaving and separation still hurt. Being reunited with family and friends, while a huge blessing just leads to another goodbye.

Now, on to what God reminds me of frequently. Paul told us that to live is Christ and to die, gain. He understood that our life on this earth is not about looking for comfort or luxury. It is not bout avoiding pain and suffering. Our purpose here is to be aligned with Jesus and to walk in His plans. We live here for the purpose of Jesus. He is to be Lord of every area of our lives. Sometimes that may lead us into painful places. Because there is sin in the world, people suffer. To be the hands and feet of Jesus means sometimes we suffer and other times we enter into their suffering. It also means that there will be times of separation from those that we love. We are not called to live for this world or to hold on to anything in this life. We are called to have the attitude of Paul who said that He counted it all rubbish or dung for the surpassing joy of knowing Christ.

When we start to realize that we are called to live for eternity and not the here and now, we are set free. We can become fearless in the face of danger. We can run at adversity. We are able to go anywhere, do anything and fear nothing because our current circumstance is temporary. God has eternity set as our destiny and as our reward. We are not holding fast to what we cannot keep because He is giving us an inheritance that we cannot loose. God has a plan and He is bringing it together but the focal point is not here and now. It is Jesus and eternity with all of those that surrender to Him.

We are all going to say goodbyes to people. We cannot hold onto them forever in this life. Some will move, change jobs or Churches. Others will just loose our bond of common interest. At some point, we all will die. We cannot escape the temporary nature of our relationships in this life. All we can really do is surrender to the purposes of Jesus and trust Him to work in the lives of those we love. We can obey Him and pray that He draws our family and friends to Him. We can live for the day that we will never have to say goodbye again. We can live for Jesus and for eternity. We can walk in obedience to Christ and in His power and authority in such a way that those who see us can come to know the reality of  Christ in us the hope of glory.

My blog title is "He Holds My Future." I cannot live for today because there is too much at stake. There are people that I love that will only see Jesus if I am willing to obey Him wholeheartedly. There is eternity and all of the promises of God that await. Me. I do not know about you but I am not willing to miss out because I demanded to much now. I want to live for the big picture, life unending and the rewards of my Father.

Are you living for a big enough purpose?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Harvesting an Attitude of Gratefulness

I have to admit. Sometimes I get up on the wrong side of the bed. I start the day with a bad attitude and have a hard time seeing the good in anything. Other days I start out okay but the day will be stressful or the work will be dirty and tiring and but the end I find that I am saying things and demonstrating attitudes that are negative and hurtful. I can get grumpy and be hard to please. While this is not an everyday occurrence it does happen more than I would care to admit. When it does happen, the people that I love and am closest to pay the price. They can easily become the targets of my poor attitude. I am writing this because I know that I am not alone in this and many struggle with allowing negativity to infect everything about their day.

I have come to realize something and I praying that I can learn to incorporate it into my life. When my attitude is wrong it starts with a wrong focus. If I do not begin my morning by turning my thoughts to Jesus and focusing on who He is and who He is making me to be, The cares and circumstances of the day will overwhelm me and cause me to only see the bad in things. It is only when I keep Jesus at the center of my life my that my attitude can be right.

One of the things that I have realized is that I need to be grateful for the work I am doing. Some days it is really dirty and hard. I can be carrying 100 lb bags of cement or lifting buckets of concrete over my head. Other days we might be digging, moving boulders and leveling ground in 100 degree heat. It is easy to get a negative attitude. I need to remind myself of the privilege I get of being allowed to join in the work that Jesus is doing. Over that last 30 years I have been able to work with several hundred young people in the States and now to work with three Churches and 2 schools in Guatemala. I have gotten to hang out with 300 kids and gotten to know many of them. I have been getting to see lives transformed, people set free and come into relationships with Jesus. When I obey Him in the moment, He works and I get to join in the celebration.

It is a privilege to be involved in the work of Jesus. Sometimes it can feel like hard work but it is always a privilege. The bulk of the work is done by the Holy Spirit but we get to see our efforts multiplied by His work. We get to join in with our limited strength and enjoy the fruit of His limitless ability. The key to these things is intimacy with Father so that we can hear and obey Him and a heart of thanksgiving so that we can recognize and appreciate what He is doing. You do not have to be in Guatemala or some foreign country to develop this pattern. You just need to spend time cultivating a relationship with Jesus, practicing thanksgiving and obeying Jesus in the things He shows. You.

I wish that I had been thinking along these lines for all of my Christian life. I know that there are many things I would have done differently. I would not have hurt many of the people that I did. I would have been much more content and even happy with life. Most of all, I would have enjoyed many more of the fruits of my labors if I had not complained so easily. Jesus wants to fill us with joy but we often work against our best interests. Prayerfully, I will learn to break this cycle by focusing on Jesus and harvesting a grateful heart.

The pictures below are just some reminders of how God has opened doors and brought many new people into my life as He has led me in different directions. Each one of them only came about because God wants to use us to minister to others and share His love.