The Greatest Injustice in the world…
The greatest injustice of all, would be having a world full of well fed men, women, and children with no disease, fresh water to drink, a rich supply of clean clothes, every orphan and widow provided for, yet all of these cared for people, still facing a reality in Hell because we didn’t give them Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives.
That is the ultimate injustice. That would be the greatest trick of the devil. To have all this good work take place, but none of it matter eternally for those who were cared for.
ReturnHope wants to do something about this “greatest injustice.” However, this injustice can only be conquered by using a specific strategy that will impact not only women and children eternally…but men too.
It seems to me that there is a lot of ministry taking place around the world. Good ministry work. It seems most of this good ministry work is focused on the care of the women and children. I haven’t met anybody who is okay with watching women and children suffering. But if we want to solve the problems of the world…it is going to have to be through the changing of the lives of men all around the world too. Let’s admit it. Men cause war. Men have testosterone. Men are the muscle of the world. World problems are caused on a majority basis…by men. Change the men…change the world! Change the men…and women and children will be blessed too.
Injustices can only be fully conquered when the man is impacted along with the entire family for Jesus Christ as Lord.
ReturnHope wants to take on the impossible task of being used by God to change the hearts and minds of the men of our world and turn those hearts and mind towards the Lord Jesus. In this endeavor, think of how blessed the women and children of the world would be too!
In the American Church…there is a comparable man problem that relates to my point. If your Church reaches the mom of the family, the mom and kids will become the church, but the man of the family, more than likely, will stay home and not become the church and miss out on the growth opportunities that being the church creates. If the kids are reached, then mom will likely join the church too, but dad will end up staying home. What this creates is a frustrated mom and child(ren) because the heavy influence of unchurched dad outweighs the influence of the church on the mom and kids. (One hour of Church added with another 2 hours of small group influence for the mom and kids cannot compete with the other 168 hours of the week controlled by unchurched dad’s influence.) So, a church that aims to reach the man for Christ, can be confident that mom and the kids are highly likely to come too. It’s a whole family philosophy of how to design a strategy of the church…and the same should be for a world mission’s strategy!
The last 15 years of my life I have been privileged to travel to places like Peru South America, Uganda Africa, Jerusalem Israel and other amazing places. In these locations, I’ve encountered injustices that are ruling that culture. The same cause is evident in all these locations. The cause is… men aren’t leading or being impacted by the good news of Jesus Christ. Men are not being partnered with, or challenged to become responsible to their God given purpose to work, provide and steward the family that He gave them. Men seem to have been given up on, and I think, that is a perpetuator of injustices.
So much good work is being done around the world towards the injustices of lack of clean water, nakedness, lack of shelter, disease, orphan and widow-hood. A majority of this good work is being focused on the women and children. Now, understandably, it is a very good thing to help the women and children. ReturnHope International is going to do a lot of ministry for women and children everywhere…But…I beg of all people involved in the family of ReturnHope to be focused on being used by God to change the lives of the men of the villages around the world too. As we do all our work, I beg of the ReturnHope family to always be thinking about how our work is being perceived by the man of the family, or the men of the village we are impacting. If we are not careful we can easily create welfare situations where women and children become dependent on the American difference maker. Please Lord, don’t allow ReturnHope difference makers to mistakenly fill the position of the man of the family in the foreign culture! We want the native man to step up into his God designed role for him to be the provider and care taker of the family that God asked him to steward. As we do our work for women and children, let’s never stop thinking about the man and how our work might be affecting his heart, mind and self esteem. Let’s involve the man by walking alongside him as we do good work together for women and children!
We must go after the grown men too.
This is an impossible task. This is a task where we must begin by only praying and planning and then moving forward with what will be trial by fire. Chuck Swindoll said that when there is an impossible task that needs to be tackled, He will find an impossible person…crush them…and then use them to take on the impossible task. I’ve been told by quite a few that, “I’m impossible!” 🙂 The last 3 years, God has been crushing me and allowing me to be crushed by others. (I wrote about this on this blog site if you’d like to read it…click the following links…its two part and its called “The Crushing part 1” and then “The Crushing part 2”) I believe God has allowed this crushing to bring me to the point of right here..right now. He is asking me to take on the leadership of ReturnHope and team with you to use our talents to begin this impossible ministry. I imagine that when this life is over…our efforts will have been fully worth it…whether we failed or succeeded. Let’s spend the rest of our lives in this pursuit and then we’ll do high fives together about it all in eternity together…red, yellow, black, brown and white….male and female!!
Please start praying with me about our first encounter with a group of village men in Uganda. These men will be sitting in a big circle most of the day in a distant village. In the middle of the circle will be a large bowl of home made alcohol. Each man in the circle will have a long straw that reaches from the bowl to his mouth. This drinking begins in the morning and goes all day. At night…well…this is when evil reigns. These men in their drunken state rape their wives and abuse their daughters, beat their kids and fuel injustices towards total hopelessness….does this cause you to hate them? If so, then I ask you to pray for them and change your heart towards them. The men in this picture are only doing what they have been taught by their fathers, who were taught by their fathers… Pray that ReturnHope will break this vicious cycle by also reaching the men sitting in these circles. What is exciting for me is to explain to you what you cannot see in this picture. All around this picture are groups of other men who are not drinking and being responsible, groups of women singing and playing with their children and/or cooking lunch or dinner. Children are playing soccer or climbing in the trees and they all want to know you, and spend time with you. On every trip ReturnHope goes on, you will be able to choose which group you want to get involved with and interact with. It is truly an amazing adventure and trip that will change your life.
ReturnHope has a man on the ground in Uganda right now who is scouting out our very first village. We will enter this village by providing a fresh water well (Money is already raised for this well!) and beginning a relationship with the village leaders…the men, and also the women and children! The date isn’t set yet, but we are getting ready to go! I personally am going to be working on the men of the village. ReturnHope will need people who want to do good in the villages for the other people all around the village too. My gut tells me that this first trip might be more spontaneous that most of you are prepared for, but that is just a hard reality of the first trip ReturnHope takes. Once the first trip is complete, we will be able to plan ahead a bit more!
In the mean time I am asking you to pray specifically for the men we will encounter in this first village. Please pray frequently, so that when we arrive and meet these men, they will have been prayed for by hundreds of you…Hopefully thousands of you. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will help us pick God’s first circle of men that He wants us to influence. Pray that these men’s hearts will be prepared for our encounter. Pray for a man in the village who is a pastor who ReturnHope will equip with material and training to be even more impactful in his ministry work for the Lord. Pray that as we encounter these men, they will give their lives to Jesus and accept the challenge to work alongside us to conquer the injustices they face in their own villages and country! We as Americans cannot do the work ourselves, we must walk alongside the foreigner and team with them. We must be learners alongside them as we teach each other.
This will not be a one time encounter. When we enter a village, we enter into a life long covenant and relationship with the people of the village. We will return on occasion to continue with these villagers as our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who someday will live lives that are not controlled by injustices. The relationships that we build with these men, women, and children will last an eternity. We will all impact one another in a mighty way. It really is a beautiful picture of returning hope to one another. I believe it is what God intended for the Body of Christ to be…aka…The Church.
Every time you eat…I’m asking that you would pause and pray for this endeavor. When you read your Bibles, pray again. When you meet for your Bible study, ask the group to pray specifically for our success in impacting this first village of men, women and children that we encounter.
Again, we (you & me — ReturnHope) are beginning in Uganda Africa. As soon as we pick our first village…I will inform you of its name and location and when we are planning on leading a group over! Our trips will consist of impacting Men, Women and Children. I will give updates all along the way. I pray that you will share this post with the people in your life who are looking for a purpose to get involved in that lasts eternally!
Will you pray everyday about all of this? Will you go with us over there?
It has begun.
Let’s ReturnHope to places that are imprisoned by hopelessness…and then ask them to pay it forward by returning hope to others too!
What a cool and challenging adventure!
What is the Renner Family up to now? :)
In 1997 my wife and I started a brand new Church, named Parkway Christian Church, in Surprise Arizona with 20 strangers. In January of 2010 (13 years later), I was prompted by God to give Parkway to Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) so we could have a stronger impact for Christ together, whether it benefited me or not. The rest of this post is a description written from the perspective of 20/20 hindsight at how God has prompted me and used others to bring everything together right up to this point.
I look back at our time at Parkway and I remember doing a sermon series where we studied every teaching and command of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was the most amazing sermon series I have ever done. It changed me. It haunted me. I didn’t fully understand all that God was prompting me throughout this series, but I sensed God telling me to do something more by serving the less fortunate around the world with with my time and other resources. Within a year of that series starting, I created a new 3 year church vision for Parkway; “We as Parkway love people so much that we will serve anyone in our line of sight who is hungry, lonely, thirsty, or has a shattered life…AND…we will send 50% of our Church population to all 7 continents to do the same!”
The combination of the Teachings and Commands of Jesus, and that missional statement made it clear that my time with what was known as Parkway was coming to a close and big change was coming. Parkway became Christ’s Church of the Valley and I became a team preacher that rotated preaching with Don Wilson, CCV’s lead pastor.
In August of 2011, while on staff at CCV, I sensed the prompting of God again and again. One day at the Willow Creek Leadership summit conference, Bill Hybels asked all in attendance to write on a broken clay shard, a phrase that described what my life calling for God is. I wrote on the shard, “Whatever YOU want. I will not back off. I will not hold anything back from YOU.”
That sentence, unleashed three years of a head-spinning roller coaster ride for me and my family. The Bible says that God will never tempt us, but it is clear that God will refine us and try us while always being there with us. Trials and Refining are never easy, but the return on the faithful person being tried and refined is greater purity and personal closeness with the Lord. Just like gold being refined, a sword being sharpened or a diamond being cut and polished.
So, with the clay shard vow, God prompted me to walk away from the securities of being on the leadership team and preaching in a church of 21,000 people…into the unknown. I didn’t hold back and I submitted my resignation.
At this point in time, I had been in professional ministry for 20 years and 15 of them were as a Lead Pastor. It’s what I was good at. It made sense to me to simply find another Church to Lead. God was telling me different. I ignored Him. I wrestled with Him. I kept thinking there is no way that God would prompt such a thing, I had to be hearing God wrong.
After a year of refusing to listen to God about all this, God gave me what I was demanding. He let me lead a church whose leadership was so full of legalism and behavior modification religion, that after seven eternally long and grueling weeks I had to resign. What had I done? I had just moved my family of six across the USA to be a successful Pastor again in a church that was begging for leadership to bring the change that a majority of the people wanted for this Church. God used a powerful and dysfunctional few in this church to show me that I did not want to get stuck behind four walls of a Church building and argue with Christians about their personal preferences. God used these dysfunctional situations to try to get me to listen better to Him. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man paves the way, but the Lord directs his steps.” After my experience with this church, I want to add to that Scripture passage, “and sometimes has to use a 2×4!”
I resigned from the Church in Florida after 7 weeks and lived off my emergency funds until I could determine what I was supposed to be doing. Nothing was making sense. At this point in time I began to hear, via Facebook and personal meetings, from many people who had been injured in the previous church with all its legalism. It made sense to start PulsePoint Christian Church and try to be used by God to breath new Church life into these great but wounded people and reach others at the same time. We began to meet in parks and finally we secured the Oviedo High School auditorium and we became a very fast growing church. After 7 months we we had about 170 in attendance and yet I was being prompted by God that I was not doing what He wanted me to be doing, but only doing what I knew I could do.
This is when I met a pastor named Mitch in FL. Mitch leads River Run Christian Church just down the road from the High School where PulsePoint was meeting for Sunday morning worship. God used Mitch to keep prompting me about what I needed to be doing…God was prompting me to give PulsePoint to River Run, just like I gave Parkway to CCV. God has called everyone of us to be like His Son Jesus and be willing to give, asking nothing in return. I vowed to God that I would hold nothing back from Him and I meant it. I won’t share all the details, but the merge began and at the very same time that merge was coming together, I received a call from Hope4Kids International in Phoenix AZ. I had traveled with them to Africa a couple of times and loved the work of this ministry. The founder of this ministry is a friend of mine. Looking back, this phone call was really just God repeating what He had been telling me from the beginning. God used Tom Eggum to bring me back into the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix AZ to be the Vice President and Executive Director for Hope4Kids International. I was really pumped about this opportunity. All of God’s promptings and this job offer came together. All the years of sacrifice and being willing to hold nothing back from God were now having what seemed to be a great return. It finally was making sense.
After only 5 days from the job offer by phone, my kids were on a plane back to Phoenix to start school and Kelli and I began to pack our rental house and prepare for the 36 hour drive. I announced it to our Church on that next Sunday and we packed and moved in days. The people of PulsePoint have been dispersed to a couple of Church plants and to River Run. I am in contact with some of them regularly and I love seeing them be pushed and challenged by the will of God too. I used to preach regularly this phrase, “Shift Happens.” I believe God moves fast and you and I must try to keep up by being swift and nimble as well. Don’t put your faith in a pastor or a specific Church because Shift Happens. The only one who doesn’t shift is Jesus Christ for He is the same always.
I began my new ministry and life at Hope4Kids. My whole family was excited and curious about our new future. I was given the challenge to lead a staff. I was given the challenge to develop the organization’s budget. I was to create an Ambassador program, and lead the staff meetings, and speak at churches to raise money for the good work we were doing. And so I did. After just 90 days, I was confronted by my friend and boss, Tom Eggum, and for the first time in my life, I was fired. I had hoped to do what this organization does for the rest of my life. I was told my DNA was all wrong and that I was leading the organization in a direction that Tom and the staff did not want to go. I was deeply confused, but accepted it as God’s continued refining as I had promised God that I would hold nothing back. So, I packed up my office went home and shared the news with my wife and four kids and sat stunned and numb. From my perspective I have done everything the Lord had asked of me. I had given so much away over the past couple of years and the only return I kept getting was a beating, tossed out, and wondering how I was going to be able to provide for my family. I battled the temptation to be deeply angry at God and demand a return on my sacrifice. I was tempted to do the very thing that Jesus didn’t do.
A pastor friend , challenged me to handle these new temptations in a holy manner. I listened. I’m grateful. I didn’t follow through with my temptation to demand angrily from God. But I sure had some hope in what might be some kind of return on my investment. By the way, it wasn’t just my investment. I fully acknowledge It was also the investment of pain and shift on Kelli, Madison, Riley, Garrett and Mia. They had a lot of skin in this game too. I am so grateful for them and their patience and trust in me as their husband and dad…and more importantly their trust in Jesus Christ.
Kelli and I didn’t know what to do. No income, no job offers, nothing. This story is just a continual stripping and refining. When does it end? When do I get a return from the pain of faithfulness to hold nothing back. I had no option and desperately applied for Unemployment insurance which would provide food stamps and maybe some small income that would allow my family to stay afloat, that was even denied. I began to job hunt for anything that would allow me to pay the bills and feed my family.
Eight days after being fired by Hope4Kids International, I received a call from a guy with a pretty lofty title, in which he doesn’t even like, but it is the title of Dr. Rev John Mitch King. He goes by Mitch. He is the founder of an international mission called “Omega Alpha International.” Mitch, through this ministry, has personally been used by God to harvest somewhere around a half a million souls for the Kingdom of Heaven through preaching crusades and doing the work of Christ, serving the least of these in many countries. Mitch is now in his 70’s. His daughter was a committed member at Parkway Christian Church. Mitch was asking me to come work for him until he was ready to give the Org to my leadership. I was humbled by the opportunity, but found myself living in my own version of the movie Groundhog Day. This would be my FOURTH recent opportunity to work under someone who founded “their” ministry. Founders are amazing people…but one thing a majority of them have is what’s professionally called, “Founder’s Syndrome.” Google it! I kindly stopped Mitch in his offer and explained my past four experiences and told him I would not repeat another experience like those again. I then asked Mitch to give his ministry work to me and to ask nothing in return just like I did with Parkway Church and PulsePoint Church. He prayed about it and the next day he said yes. I tested his release by saying the first thing I would do is change the name of the ministry. I tested him more by telling him I am going to change the corporation 501c3 so we can start with a fresh beginning, fresh financial bookkeeping, etc. Mitch’s reply was, “Okay…This ministry has never been mine and I ask that you lead this ministry into the future and acknowledge that it all belongs to God.” He said, “please keep it about seeking and saving the lost around the world…that’s all I ask.”
I am inspired by this Rev. Dr. John Mitch King. By the way, Mitch also served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. The song by Salt N Pepa is coming to my head, “What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!” If I sang those lyrics to Mitch…he would smile, but he would also shake his head and say…”I’m only serving the Lord…Jesus is the good in me.” Mitch asks nothing in return, but only returns the hope that was given to him through the love of God proven through the sacrifice of Jesus. I’m inspired and touched by this man’s life. I am grateful to have been chosen to carry the torch he carried for Jesus. I will carry it diligently and only for the Lord. I vow to never think that this ministry is mine. It’s all Jesus’s and I must hold on to it all lightly.
So…here we are! The Renner Family…Wondering if God is turning the refining heat off for a time so that we may all cool off and see if we are better, purer, holier, and grateful for it all. I have been given the leadership baton for this ministry. Kelli and I, vow to serve only Jesus through this ministry. I pray that it accomplishes only what Jesus wants it to accomplish.
As I have been trying to return hope to people, due to the fact that Jesus gave hope to me, I found a man in Mitch, who is willing to give his life’s work and who only wants to return hope to me as Jesus gave hope to him. I found a man who truly proved through his action that nothing is his and everything can only be returned to the Lord. The immediate future might be tougher than the past three years, but I am hopeful. I fully understand that nothing comes easy. I desire to honor the Lord and continue the legacy that Mitch started through this international ministry.
It would make sense that Jesus gave hope to Mitch and Mitch returned hope to many many people throughout his leadership of Omega Alpha International. As Mitch has given me the leadership baton, he gave me his blessing to lead this ministry in the direction that Jesus is asking me to lead it. There are no strings attached. I sense God prompting me, Kelli, Madison, Riley, Garrett, Mia, and YOU…to spend the rest of our lives returning hope to as many people around the world. True hope is only in Jesus Christ as Lord of life. True hope is restored through more than just clean water, or child sponsorship, or traveling to Africa to serve Africans…True hope is found only in a strong relationship with Jesus Christ that overflows into the relationship with yourself, others, and the material things that God has asked us to manage.
Thus, I believe God is asking me to call this new ministry venture in which He has given my family….ReturnHope International.
Or…just for fun…what’s your honest opinion about this idea for a logo and branding campaign??
The logos and ideas above are not our official logos, but its the beginning of some creative brainstorming we have started. I am asking some people to create a branding theme and design an edgy and youthful feel for ReturnHope that will catch attention on T-shirts, billboards, and social media. Got a rockin idea? Send it to me…who knows maybe you will have branded ReturnHope.com’s future! My email address is email@example.com I have reserved the name returnhope.com and returnhope.org and will be in process of building a website as our communication center. My wife and I are in process of creating a fresh vision and new beginning for a ministry that has been changing lives for Jesus for the past 30 or 40 years. The only obstacles I face in this new venture are obstacles of practicality and of the devil. We are working hard and fast on adapting our new 501c3 documents from the organization’s old documents. Please be patient as we wait to hear from the State of Arizona and the IRS about our current paperwork and forward movement. Kelli and I pray that this great ministry might benefit from your personal investment. I will have to raise my own salary for the year 2014…which is always a challenge, and I ask that you will pray about your ability to support this ministry. I would be grateful. We pray you might consider giving to help lay the administrative foundation so that hundreds of thousands more people can discover the Hope found only in Jesus Christ. Kelli and I pray that you would be a part of the start up of this new vision being built upon Omega Alpha’s foundation through Mitch’s leadership. Mitch is going to introduce me to his contacts and networks around the world. (I will post instructions soon about your ability to give year end gifts and how.) Please stay tuned and prepared for that news.
If you know me, my leadership decisions will be devoted to us all working together to ReturnHope around the world in the name of Jesus. We will teach the Good News of Jesus Christ in the areas He commanded of us…to the ends of the earth. We will focus hard on the specifics Jesus talks about when He referenced true religion. Orphans, Widows, Prisoners, Hungry, Thirsty, Naked, the Least of These. Those things are bully’s that steal Hope. You and I have been chosen to be the Body of our God, Jesus Christ, and to ReturnHope through Him across our streets and across our seas…to the ends of the earth! We will have a simple strategy for this ministry based off of 2 words. RESTORE, RETURN! It will all be Christ centered. If we are going to do this together…let’s do it right and let’s do it dynamic.
I can’t predict the future. I gave up trying to do that awhile back. I don’t know what waits around the next corner. I know I’ll make mistakes, but it won’t be the kind that offend God. I do know I have a lot of learning to do in this International adventure we are beginning together. I’m guessing you do to. I am asking you to journey with me, and learn with me and my family in this ministry to the least of these around the world.
Stay tuned for more information very soon!
I love you and I’d do anything for you…I have received so much hope from you and from the Lord. I know you have received love from me. Let’s join together and ReturnHope to others in the name of Jesus Christ!
Laid Back Day in Africa…Saturday
What a good day. Very simple. AFter yesterday I needed a mental and emotional break. Today we went back to True Vine Ministry and visitied some of the same kids as we did on Wednesday. I guess we did more than just visit. We played basketball with the kids, the ladies in the group let the girls braid their hair, other guys in the group played soccer and volleyball. Today was just a relational day.
I had a chance to run downtown Torroro and purchased some soccer balls and basketballs to give to the ministry and school we visited. I took a motorcylce ride back. I went with a group of about 8 and we most definately stand out. We where the only white people in town. The Africans call us MUZUNGO…which means White and rich. Its not meant as a slam, just slang. Kinda like Gringo in the Mexican world. So as all 8 of us rode back on separate motorcyles and our drivers all lined up in a single file line people shouted Muzungo Train!
I have never met such a freindly and kind group of people. They actually see it as improper to not greet one another with a “Hello, How are you?” Everybody smiles. Its so refreshing. I think we Americans could work on this a bit. We have a tendency to be so independant and nervous around each other we’ve lost the art of friendliness. I want to challenge you for the rest of the day to say hello and smile to every person you make eye contact with.
One other quick story that is just fun and differnet and it proves that God is the creator of all things and He made everything very similar. So here’s the story. Just outside the front of our hotel is one giant tree that has a whole bunch of yellow birds. You know the kind you see only in cages in America. They are called Yellow Weavers. Beautiful bird. They are all making these round nests. Its seems like you could count 50 or so nests being woven together in this tree. The nests are round and about the size of a large Grapefruit. These Yellow Weavers hang upside down from the bottom of the nest and weave them together. In fact I found out that males are the ones who do all the work weaving these nests. You can watch these passionate men working away trying to make thier womans home just right and see all the energy and effort it takes. They leave a hole in the bottom of the nest and the birds enter the nest by flying up into it and then there is a flat inside the nest that they grab and rest and lay eggs in. Well after all the hard work of making the nest you can watch the male stop his work and sit on a branch close to the nest and he is chirping away with great pride at all his hard work. What happens next is amazing. The female then flies up into the bottom of the nest. She seems to remain inside for about 30 seconds to maybe a minute. If she approves of the nest, she flies out and then lands next to her male mate/husband and they chirp in agreement. If she doesn’t approve of the nest she flies out and lands just at where the Male Yellow weaver attached the nest with a braided string and she snips that string with her beak and the nest falls to the ground and is destroyed. The male looks at his work as it falls…seems to take a sigh…shake his head and then starts all over. Typical Wife….moving the furniture. God really did make all of creation very similar. You can tell there is only one great creative artist!!! LOL
Well, we’re back at the hotel. Its raining again. You can hear the rain coming down and you can actually hear monkeys running across the roof. Not sure what dinner is tonight, but I’m glad I get to blog a little early tonight and therefore get to bed earlier. .
Africa is outstanding. I hope you will plan on going someday. Traveling with Hope4Kids International makes it very simple.
I am so blessed to be here.
Thanks for reading.
I’ll update tomorrow. I’m going to an African Church service tomorrow…I have heard they can go on for many hours.
Gather with your church family tomorrow and celebrate how much God loves you. Don’t just go and attend a show…really give thanks to God. Bring your tithes and offering with you and sing out with all your love for God and take great notes as your preacher shares the Word of God. Then Go out and Be The Church!
The Hope of the World is the power of God working through your hands and feet and heart. Gather with people you love, enjoy the community of it all and keep being the Church! It really is the only hope our world has that lasts.
My Trip To Africa!
I’m waiting at Sky Harbor Airport to head to Portland and then to Amsterdam and then to Entebbe Uganda! I have 20 plus hours of flying ahead of me. The lady behind the counter with Delta got me an exit seat to Portland and I pray for the same as I fly the 10 hour flight to Amsterdam.
I am excited about the trip. I am curious what set of emotions I will experience as I arrive in such a mysterious and mystical place. Will I be disgusted at the unjustifiable poverty I find in Africa? Will I be frustrated at what is a lack of gratefulness and thankfulness of the quality of life we have in America. I wish I could pack up the whole “Occupy whatever town” in America and drop them in a 3rd world country so they could learn to count their blessings instead of cry out with entitlement mentalities.
I am asking God on this trip to make it clear to me if I am to dedicate the rest of my life to missions work or if I am to step back into a Lead Pastor Role of the Church. When did we ever separate the words Missions and Church? What a travesty. They are the same thing!
Anyway…time to go check in and get “comfy” on the plane. I ask for your prayers that I may return home with an expanded mind and experience in life.
I am honored that you are reading this post and the future ones to come. You matter to me and I want the very best for your life. Stay tuned!