I recently returned from a “quick” trip to Ethiopia, a country that I love for her magnificent people, fabulous coffee & opulent culture! When I do alot of traveling in a short amount of time, I can often feel rather fragile & sometimes overwhelmed. This trip, however, has been an interesting experience. In the past, I’ve taken some time & space to kind of work through the fragile feeling that I experience from the traveling. This trip is different. Upon returning home, I’ve been confronted with MASSIVE amounts of work, pressure and demands – add on the jet lag & it could easily be a recipe for catastrophe, without a blink.
I’ve been praying A WHOLE LOT & I find that God is helping me to be more agile than fragile. Let’s never neglect to ask God for Help, who is the Holy Spirit 🙂
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
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! 🙂
Being comfortable conjures up different things for different people. For some people, being comfortable can be the experience of sitting by a fireplace in a cozy blanket & reading a book. For other people, being comfortable is best described as being at a really fun and vibrant party. For me, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be comfortable and I’ve learned some interesting things to pass along to you:
being comfortable can sometimes be an impediment to a deeper relationship with God – discomfort usually makes me do something different
I never want my comfort zones to exclude God – indeed, life with God is a more accurate expression of who I really am
I’ve learned that I can be extremely comfortable in a variety of external situations because of an internal contentment that comes from some very sweet & rich communion with God
when I’m uncomfortable, I tend to lean into God better
When I was in high school, I used to like some of the Robbie Nevil songs that praised the glories of apathy & indifference (Wot’s It To Ya’, C’est La Vie). I think I liked these songs at the time because I didn’t know how to handle my deep feelings of care, concern and connection for people and the world around me. Sometimes I still feel this way & can get overwhelmed when I think about various situations, Saving Moses, people and events – I’m deeply concerned about what’s happening in Egypt with the instability there.
But just because my feelings can be overwhelming from these various situations, relationships and experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot become apathetic. In my mind, apathy is just a socially acceptable word for passive violence. So what do I do with these things that can easily overwhelm me? Pray.
Prayer is the best immunization against apathy. Pray often, pray quickly, pray fervently and pray all the time.
I’ve been thinking about some of the moms that I’ve met over the last few years in my travels with Saving Moses. In some ways they are 100% the same as us & in some ways they’re 100% different than us. They’re 100% the same in their love & passion for their kids – maybe even more pure in their love for their kids. What makes them different than us is that they don’t have have all of the “stuff” that we have. This has started me thinking about who I am if you strip away all of my education, stuff & sophisticated living. These are some questions worth consideration:
*Am I a nice person without all of the accessories that cushion my life?
*do I want to help people regardless of what I get in return?
*am I sincere & authentic?
*am I growing & letting God strengthen the weakspots that I avoid?
*does my education & sophistication enable me to help people more or do I use these only to my own advantage?
Just a few things running around in my head today 🙂
The guy at Starbucks just did a good job encouraging me to buy some food to go w my coffee, telling me that the latest research proves that we need to eat 5 small meals a day for optimum health – of course my mind immediately goes to Angola with saving Moses and the hunger that I often see there.
But I think that all of us are fundamentally hungry for God. I think if we strip away all of our achievements, relationships, wealth, looks, etc, when we are just ourselves, we are designed to crave our Creator. Yes, I’m hungry but I understand that the hunger of my heart isn’t to look better, to increase my popularity, nor expand my wealth of achievements. At ground zero, we are all hungry for God & His presence in our lives. Recognizing this hunger will increase our potential to live a very fulfilling life 🙂
I was talking w a friend this morning about how she helped her daughter make a diarama (or however you spell it) for her class – sounded pretty cool. On a personal note, I’m “craft impaired.” Whenever I help my children with their school projects that require some craftsmanship – I literally cringe because even when I try to draw a stick figure, it’s generally pathetic. However, I did just renovate the header for this blog to raise the visibility for www.savingmoses.org
I’d encourage you to check out this website to see some really cool things that we are getting to do around the world! Happy Spring renovating 🙂