Hello from Ethiopia!

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 πŸ™‚
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!!

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Hot Topic: religious movies

Lately, the US has several movies with religious overtones, like “God’s Not Dead”, “Noah”, “Son of God” & a few more. For those of us who follow Jesus, we get really excited for the general public to see some of things from the Bible with God participating in the human experience. For people who are not followers of Jesus, they can sometimes feel like Jesus’ followers can get dogmatic & judgmental. I find all of these ideas & paradigms interesting in light of what Jesus said about His followers in John 13:35 – people will know that you follow Me because of your love for one another. Seems to me that the defining characteristic of Jesus’ followers from Jesus’ teaching is love πŸ™‚

Leaping & Looking

There’s some good advice that says look before you leap & I used to make fun of that. Now I like that advice because my leaping & then looking has made for some scratchy challenges. But there are times when we can get paralyzed from looking – when we see a seemingly insurmountable challenge, when something looks impossible, when we don’t like what we see & much more. When Noah went in the ark, he’d been looking at that boat for a long time. Maybe he had some doubts or concerns, but he took the leap & saved humanity from being wiped out. Sometimes obeying God feels my like a flying leap πŸ™‚

The Real Goal?

When Jesus started in His ministry, he would speak to big crowds & sometimes we get really impressed with big crowds (Ukrainian demonstrations, Super Bowl attendance, web users, TV audience, etc). One day, Jesus was speaking to another large crowd from a boat & there were a few fishermen repairing nets on the beach. The size of the crowd could be our focal point, but maybe Jesus was speaking to the crowd with the ultimate goal of connecting with Peter, a smelly, tired & seemingly trivial fisherman who just happened to be fixing his net – Peter who would leave his net & profession to follow Jesus. The crowd was big but possibly the real gold from Jesus’ preaching was His connection with Peter.
In my thinking, crowds were important to Jesus but what I love the most is how Jesus is always zeroed in on individual relationships with Him.

Knowing what’s important

I was helping my son study for his chemistry test & we were learning about atomic weight, atomic numbers, etc. at one point, he told me that some of the stuff I was quizzing him on wasn’t important – which of course made my eyebrows raise.
Knowing what’s important & unimportant in life is really essential & here’s my guiding verse for this concern: Jer 9:23-24. Check it out!!

How more than what

I think we all want to do things that are meaningful, significant & have impact. I don’t want to waste my life or time doing things that I feel are small & irrelevant. But I find myself doing dishes, getting groceries every week, driving kids to various appointments, doing car maintenance & many such things I could consider petty, small & irrelevant. But here’s an important distinction: how we do things is often more important than what we do.
Mother Teresa said that not all of us can do great things but we can all do small things with great love. How we do things is very important πŸ™‚

Charm School

I was talking with my friend this morning about charm school & I’m thinking that maybe we all could use some charm school help, but not in the conventional thinking. Perhaps we could all use some charm school help with:
*being more thoughtful with our words and actions, particularly with people who work in service industries (baristas, waiters, police, flight attendants, hair stylists, etc)
*being quick to forgive & slow to judge
*teamwork more than narcissism
*selfless more than selfish

The best teacher for this type of charm school is the Holy Spirit particularly when we endeavor to be cooperative students πŸ™‚

In the Middle

Busy, hectic, demanding, red zone & frantic. Our lives go through seasons where these are the only accurate adjectives & we would like to stop the merry-go-round & have a pause. But I’m remembering that Jesus stayed in the middle of many situations that were frantic, stressful & demanding. Consider Lazarus being raised from the dead, the water into wine miracle & Jesus frequently being mobbed by crowds. Regardless of what’s happening or not happening in your life, Jesus is in the middle with you!

School Shooting

I live in Colorado & I just saw that there’s been another school shooting here at a high school in Denver. While I don’t really know very much about what is currently happening (because I’m writing this as the events are unfolding), these kinds of incidents can make us super anxious & jittery – especially for those of us who remember the columbine high school shooting.
Here are some helpful thoughts:
*praying is extremely important when we have crises happen
*be careful that your mind & worry don’t run away w you
*ask Jesus for peace