Greetings & happy mid-week to you! I’m working on a message about family & really want your input. Please answer this question (I’m not “grading” any answers & I’m not looking to judge or critique your feedback – I just want your wisdom, thoughts & insights):
I was recently in Ethiopia & on a drive into the countryside, we took a pause to get out & stretch our legs. As I was enjoying the nice weather, beautiful surroundings, listening to new bird sounds and taking in some nice fresh air, I quickly became alert that I needed to watch where I was stepping because of some conveniently deposited refuse from nearby wildlife (translation: cow pies). Nimble is a word that comes to mind as I write this 🙂
Sometimes we can get really focused in on our daily living and endeavoring the various “cow pies” that can unexpectedly jump onto our path. Of course we must be careful where & how we walk (making wise & spiritual choices), but let’s also lift up our eyes & look up. It’s really tempting to go through life looking for ways to avoid cow pies, but that’s never as rewarding as going through life with our eyes on Jesus, our Good Shepherd 🙂
Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a church service in Ethiopia & I had an incredible experience during part of their worship – off the chain! Ok, here’s the deal: I LOVE praise & worship and I’ve been extremely blessed to join in fantastic worship services literally around the world for more than 3decades & what I experienced yesterday was nothing less than OUTRAGEOUS.
There was a really large group that had traditional instruments & dressed in the traditional orthodox attire, starting off with what seemed like a nice cultural presentation & just when I was settling in to enjoy some nice historical Ethiopian tradition, I lost the plot because I could sense the Holy Spirit in such intensity that I still can’t find adequate words, almost 24 hours later.
Yesterday’s experience was completely inundated with God’s presence & it had nothing about it that is modernly familiar or “normal”: no guitars, keyboards or synthesizers. There was 1 ancient calfskin drum played by a girl, no microphones or anyone addressing the audience. Instead, there were probably 50 or so men & women completely & passionately focused on giving praise to God, the Community of love. They sang & danced with 100% commitment no matter what the people watching were doing. As a result, I found myself totally dialed into focusing on God, joining with them to exalt & honor God.
Let me just say that there are many ways & expressions to worshipping God. Don’t fall into the trap that you need lights, cool music, trendy dressed leaders, mixes that appeal to your music preferences, perfectly regulated temperatures & a comfortable seat / environment to exalt our Creator. While these things can be very nice, let’s keep our focus, passion & intent purely devoted to lifting up the Lover of our soul. Clean, pure, intense & totally devoted worship, full stop
I’m presently in Ethiopia & it’s a really wonderful privilege to be here!! My first time to visit Ethiopia was 6years ago & it was during that visit that God first out Saving Moses on my heart. During that time, I met twin newborn girls, sarah & Ruth, who had been abandoned on a field. I was absolutely overwhelmed by these newborn girls & it was from that experience that God launched Saving Moses.
Now 6years later, I’m back in Ethiopia & I’ve learned that Sarah & Ruth are doing very well & are now in 1st grade 🙂
My time in Ethiopia now is totally amazing! First of all, the people here are nothing but wonderful!! They’re extremely gracious, generous & kind. Furthermore, they have a rich & long history of Christianity here & so there’s a deep culture that honors both Judaism & Christianity. Consequently, it seems to me that whenever I come here, it’s always a really big spiritual highlight for me!! In the last few days, we’ve been able to visit a rural school, farm, join some wonderful church services, enjoy some FANSTASTIC coffee as well as explore Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia. I’m attaching a picture from the church service this morning – it was an incredible demonstration of worship to God! Ethiopia is absolutely wonderful!!
Oh the glories of waking up at midnight with complete alertness! I’m currently in Ethiopia & it seems like this is a great opportunity for me to catch up with blogging, since my schedule presently is “unbooked” ,) My internal clock says it’s around 4pm but the external clock here says its about 1am, or something like that.
With that being said, this trip to Ethiopia has really big personal significance for me. It was here in Ethiopia about 5 years ago that God began to stir in my heart Saving Moses, having met twin newborn girls that had been abandoned on a field. It has also been my experience that getting to minister in Ethiopia is an extremely unique privilege for me. There’s something here that is deeply spiritual & personal for me so that whenever I get to visit here, I always seem to come away with greater awareness of God & God’s presence in my life. So far, this trip has been very engaging & deepening for me with God.
I’ll try to keep you posted on what’s happening here, as the time & sleep allows, but in the meantime, as you read this, I pray that you will sense God’s deep and full love for you! 🙂
I really like basketball & the recent racial disgrace with the NBA Clippers & Mr Sterling has been disturbing. Adding more fuel, there’s been some public comments about Magic Johnson & then Magic replying about these comments. The nature of the banter gives us a place to look into ourselves & consider our own actions & words.
Some things to consider:
*If someone verbally attacks you, do you attack back? Magic Johnson replied that he would pray for Mr Sterling after Mr Sterling made some questionable comments.
*If we expect perfection from public figures, we are indeed naive & perhaps our focus is misplaced
*Whats the high ground? It seems to me that all high ground almost universally includes forgiveness.
*If you’re looking for someone after whom to model your behavior & to idolize, pick Jesus 🙂
Just when you think that everything is smoothy, groovy & you’re plugging along, some lunacy can hit the fan! YOWZERS!!!!! So what to do when there’s lots of shaking , stirring, changes, surprises, etc? Here are a few ideas that you might find helpful (feel free to send the link of this blog to everyone you know that’s going through some chaos, challenges &/or changes):
keep your eyes on God no matter what changes may come down the pike – God is strong, wise & helpful!!
be practical: drink lots of water, exercise, eat your fruits & veggies, don’t OD on coffee, try to stay in a healthy sleep groove
keep a few helpful Bible verses handy for dealing with any potential dark thoughts (Jer 33:3, Jer 29:11, Prov 3:5-6, Matt 6:33, Phil 4:13, Rom 8:28-29 and LOTS more!!)