Thursday, November 6, 2014

Don't Forget to Look Up

Ever feel like the cares of the world are sitting on your shoulders? Sometimes you don't even realize it's happening until you are almost physically hunched over. You go along, nose to the grindstone day after day until you realize that you haven't looked up in quite a while. Looking up is one of God's greatest gifts of peace. The biggest stress reliever ever created. 

After getting a series of stressful emails demanding answers, I looked up from my busy, stressed out grindstone mentality yesterday and saw my 5 year old sitting right next to me, laughing. I actually had the privilege of watching unconfined joy spill out into the room. And, I had the added benefit of being able to do a momma nuzzle on her soft cheek. Wow! My eyes were opened to see what true riches are and how they are right at my fingertips on a daily basis if I just have the eyes to see them.

This time of year, God is painting beautiful scenes like this all along your drive. You don't have to look far to see all the natural beauty He made just for you. You just have to look up to notice it. And so I'll say it again, "Look up.". Your peace is right there.

I lift my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 12:1-3

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. he will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:26-29

Please consider partnering with us in bringing curriculum to the children of Guatemala for the 2015 school year. Here is how you can help:

Go to our facebook page and click the donate button.

Also please pray for our family. Prayers are priceless!

Friday, October 31, 2014

You Are Enough

Forget feeling good about yourself, it's becoming increasingly difficult to feel even ok about yourself. Social media is in front of our faces constantly. You might get on FB to check on your distant family, but get hit by pictures of the latest fabulous party. The party that looks 100% prettier than the one you last threw. The party that many of your friends were invited to, but somehow you didn't make the cut. 
Then you click over to Pinterest to browse. And there, you can see the wedding pictures that were more beautifully & creatively posed than yours, the perfectly staged house that looks nothing like the crumb covered mess you are living in, and the children's crafts that make your child's last craft session look like someone from The Croods family made it. 
We have to fight against comparison stronger than ever before. We have to have God's anchor deep down in our hearts. So that when the strong blast of the waves hit us, we stay pointed up. 
Did you know that God made you exactly the way you were supposed to be? And you don't need a ton of self help books to make yourself into something else. All you need, is a healthy dose of daily sitting at His feet. Let him tell you that you are:

All beautiful, with no flaw in you. Songs of Solomon 4:7
Body and soul, you are marvelously made. Psalm 139:14 MSG
Written on the palms of His hands. Isaiah 49:16
Precious and honored in His sight and He loves you. Isaiah 43:4

And so many, many more. Let Him show you how to love the different ways He made you. Spend more time talking to Him about your life than you spend comparing yourself on social media. And  learn to embrace the place you find yourself in. This is your now. It's not tomorrow, it's not yesterday. It's now. Give all of your heart to God and then be who you are, love who you are right now. 

Please consider partnering with us in bringing curriculum to the children of Guatemala for the 2015 school year. Here is how you can help:

Go to our facebook page and click the donate button.

Also please pray for our family. Prayers are priceless!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Perfect Day

What would your perfect day look like? This question has been popping up over and over in my reading this week. I think I gave up on perfect days a loooong time ago. So when I first saw that question this week, I quickly dismissed it as a silly, unattainable quest. Life knocks us around quite a bit, hopes are dashed and we sort of give up. Eventually, we end up going with the flow, letting life push us downstream. We focus on the rough current. When we finally look up, years are gone. 

How ironic is it that I can, with conviction, tell a person living in trash that they should grab ahold of the hope that God has for them to get out of that place, but I am too scared to dream bigger for myself? That is weak.

We are only as strong, successful, and fulfilled to the degree with which we allow God to operate in our lives. If we don't open those places in our hearts and begin to dream with God, those dreams will never happen. It doesn't matter how farfetched and silly those dreams are compared to your current situation. With God, all things are possible to those that believe.

So, will you do it with me this week? Will you get out your journal and write some dreams down? Let's put some faith action into our lives. Let's dream big dreams with God!

Here are some questions to write down and answer about your perfect day/perfect life:

1. What do I want to be about today?
2. What do I want to achieve, create or experience today?
3. What kind of character do I want to cultivate today?
4. What do I want to learn, give and grow today?
5. When challenges come, how would my highest self (God's nature in my) interact with the situation?
6. Where would I live if I could live anywhere on earth?
7. What would my house look like?
8. What time would I wake up?
9. What would I do first thing in the morning?
10. What would I eat for breakfast?
11. What would I do for the first half of my day?
12. Where would I eat lunch and who would I be with?
13. What would my friends be like and what would we talk about?
14. What would my life purpose be?
15. How many hours would I work?
16. What would my relationships be like?
17. What would family time look like?
18. How would I wind down at the end of the day?

Ok, you have your work cut out for you. Write these down, and begin to talk to God about them. Go!

Please consider partnering with us in bringing curriculum to the children of Guatemala for the 2015 school year. Here is how you can help:

Go to our facebook page and click the donate button.

Also please pray for our family. Prayers are priceless!

I pulled these questions from two places:
The Charged Life
The Unstoppable Family

Friday, October 17, 2014

Do Not Be Afraid

This is the community built around the dump. They have plenty of opportunities to live in fear. Fear of going hungry, fear of abandonment, fear of dying.

There is so much panic and fear being spewed out of the media machine right now. If we aren't worried about an ISIS attack, we are worried about the person next to us coughing. They might have enterovirus or, even worse, ebola. We attended a big football game in Dallas last weekend. It never crossed our minds to avoid that area. We also flew our family to Guatemala three weeks ago. Several people wondered if we had been scared to fly overseas. But focusing on fear was never a part of our trip planning. Is that because we are special or superhuman? Not at all. If we had the time, I could tell you all about my past full of anxiety and worry. I could go on and on about how it has tried to consume me in different seasons of my life. But, God has taught me to reject fear. Fear doesn't change my circumstances. It doesn't help me to control anything at all. All it does is use up my energy and creativity. It also makes me feel bound up and miserable, stealing all the joy from my day. Instead, I get to make a choice:
John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not LET your hearts be troubled and DO NOT BE afraid. 

Yay!! We get to decide not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid. We can't control what happens to us today. We can't even control whether or not our lungs take a breath or our hearts keep beating. But our Father takes care of all of that and much more. So, if he can keep our lungs working, our hearts beating, the stars placed in the sky, the planets orbiting and much more, then let's choose to rest in His care. And let's choose to not let our hearts be troubled or afraid. And that, my friends, is powerful!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Only God Can Label You

Poor Jason. This picture was from his Guatemala trip last week with our friend and board member, Scott. To get to our schools in the mountains, they had to climb aboard a small airplane, which had to land on a tiny strip of gravel covered runway. The police had to be called to move the drunks off the runway so they could land. After a big bounce and sliding sideways, they finally came to a stop. Needless to say, it was pretty stressful!

The people in this mountain area have been labeled: Rejects. A people taken from their home years ago and dropped off in the middle of a mountainous no-where, left to survive on their own. No wonder they have the highest suicide rate in the entire nation of Guatemala!

So their government has done a pretty good job of selling them their label as rejects. How have people tried to define you? Circumstances and life experiences work to make us feel less than what God intended. But the truth is, each of us is uniquely made by God. How do we keep our hearts and minds focused on the truth of our identity? What is the key that opens the prison door of false, negative labels that attempt to trap us and make us powerless? The key, already in your hands is this:

Colossians 3:1-4
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Set your heart and mind focused on the truth of God's love and let that be the ONLY thing that defines you.

Please consider partnering with us in bringing curriculum to the children of Guatemala for the 2015 school year. Here is how you can help:

Go to our facebook page and click the donate button.

Also please pray for our family. Prayers are priceless!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Update: Where We're Going

Would you want this mural painted on the walls of your child's school? Take a good look at what is happening in the picture. This mural was painted on the entire width of one of the schools we will be in next January. We can't fix the situations these kids are facing, but we can help them find the life-giving power and hope of Jesus. 

Dirty, broken pavement and barbed wire fences might be what the school kids see every day in the 6 schools we have been gifted for our pilot program. But, once a week, they will be taught to look beyond their circumstances. 

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, barely 40 percent of Hispanic children graduate from secondary schools. International comparisons show Latin America at the bottom of the education barrel scoring on par with Sub-Sahara Africa.

Here is the hope we bring: In Bolivia, our curriculum has
Increased graduation rates by 45%
Reduced dropout rates by 37%
High school graduates advancing to any other type of education increased from 10% to 60%!!
Reduced teen pregnancy rates, gang participation, violence, reduced drug and alcohol abuse
Improved grades

Please consider partnering with us in bringing curriculum to the children of Guatemala for the 2015 school year. Here is how you can help:

Go to our facebook page and click the donate button.

Also please pray for our family. Prayers are priceless!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sow Your Seeds

"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.....I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well." Teddy Roosevelt

Has anyone else ever noticed the numb complacency that wants to settle over our lives like a heavy blanket? As soon as we sit back and get comfortable, it creeps in. We forget what it felt like to truly come alive. It becomes easier to shut our eyes and our ears to the hurting community all around us. And we let entertainment fill our days and lull us to sleep until we are contained like sleeping giants. 

What is it that we should be doing? 
Ephesians 4:7-13 MSG:

He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people......
Gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work in the body of Christ.

God has given us ALL gifts, treasures. He took the extravagant treasures back from the enemy and gave them to us. They were woven in to the very fabric of our being at the moment of our creation. These gifts are the seeds we are meant to sow during our short time on earth. They are our potential to change our world, the potential to send ripples of change that will never stop until the end of time. But, the enemy prowls around like a hungry lion, seeking whom he may devour. Looking for potential seeds to gobble up before they are sown. He knows exactly what those gift seeds are worth and he knows their power. After all, he had them in his possession for quite some time. 

I feel myself put on the mantle of who I was created to be when I  make the choice to use those gifts for God. I offer myself to God for the front lines of the battle for changing lives. When I am hooked up to God's voice and operating in the spiritual gifts he has given me, it is uncomfortable, painful and scary. But it wakes my warrior spirit up and I become fully alive. A fearsome thing for the enemy to behold.

So, this is the wake up call. Wake up sleeping giant! Rise up. Sow those seeds! Realize that you (yes YOU!) have the very gifts, placed in you by God, that this world is desperate for. Don't you know who you are?
You are:
The answer to someone's prayer
More than a Conquerer
An Overcomer
Salt and Light
Firmly Rooted
Greatly Loved
Full of Power, Love and a Sound Mind

Yes, these things are for you and your family. But they are also for the greater good around you.     

Now, get out there and    Change     Your     World!