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By Envision, Equip, Involve

After serving lunch to all the workers, the Haitian pastor pulled out his Bible and shared a devotional from John 4:1-14 in Creole with everyone.

[pullquote_right] Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”[/pullquote_right]

You see, today we began building a bridge across a small canal to allow greater access to a clean water station. Thanks to Water Missions International, the water system that has already been installed has the capacity for bringing clean, safe water to thousands in the community every day. But the rainy season makes it inaccessible because the overflow of water from the channel creates mud everywhere, limiting the church’s ability to serve the community.

Our team was able to bring the tools and funding to hire and train local people for the work to build the bridge and put finishing touches on the water station, which will provide greater access and outreach to the community. All the while, allowing Haitians to work for their own benefit, earn a living, provide for their families, and take ownership in their community. Several of today’s workers were members of the pastor’s church, while others have yet to embrace Christ.

See the “time-lapse” style images from the build and other media from the week’s outreach on the post Rise Up and find more photos on our Facebook page.

Get With It

By Envision, Headfirst, Personal
A wake-up call for those of us who need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and preach a message to an audience of one
  • Re-focus
  • Re-calibrate
  • Re-engineer

Whatever you want to call it, it’s time to get with it. To no one’s surprise, the latest disciple of poor exegesis was wrong about the end of the world. (Not before entertaining the mainstream media and giving them one more straw man to use as a whip to beat down on the faith community.)

So if you aren’t living out your calling, if you’re still waiting in vain for some excuse not to get your life in gear and start living for Christ, what is it going to take for you to make a change to your status quo?

Clearly the New Year’s resolutions aren’t working. Spring cleaning didn’t make it happen. No crisis stirred the need to crack open your Bible this morning. Your alarm clock did not usher you into the halls of worship. So why aren’t you living as if eternity is more important than today?

Have you invited the Holy Spirit to convict your heart of passivity? He is more than willing to help you re-focus on letting Christ rule in your heart. Will you stop and exhale for long enough to recognize that what you’ve been inhaling hasn’t been bearing the fruit you want in your life? It’s time to re-calibrate. Get your daily actions in line with producing what you want at year’s end. Your year is made up of many months, each month’s outcome determined by the composite of weeks. What you did today really does predict what you’ll possess at the end of your life. You’ve been told there’s no formula for living the Christian life? I don’t buy into that. No – one size does not fit all – because we are all uniquely created and wired. But if you don’t think you will reap what you’ve sown, you’re not just fooling yourself, you’re calling God a liar.[pullquote_left]For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12[/pullquote_left]

So yes, it’s time to re-engineer. If you aren’t living in your sweet spot, experiencing God’s favor and blessing, working out your faith, living to please the One who can say “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” it’s time to cut to the core and get that heart transplant you’ve awaited for far too long.

True discipleship – it starts with a pure, eager passion for Jesus. Remember that day you fell in love with Him? Start there. And just keep walking. Living in love with Him.

Haiti Scouting Visual

By Envision, Involve

Just back from Haiti, here is a brief overview of our trip connecting with current and future partners…  Thank you for all you do to help bring the Gospel to those who’ve never heard!



By Envision, Headfirst

Last time we left Haiti, we had to evacuate. This time, it is a more orderly departure – on time, and according to plan. I am thrilled that it has gone so smoothly – and it hasn’t required an emergency for us to recognize God’s hand on this trip.

Still, pray with us for Haiti – the preliminary election results from the presidential run-off are due to be released tomorrow, and they may again (like December’s 20+ candidates general election) spur mayhem in the streets and closure of the airport and other industry.

We are departing from what has been one of the most profitable fact-finding missions in my career. I honestly feel that we will be able to bring back the report we’ve been praying for: faith-filled, God-honoring, grace-sized view of the land… and more.

It took 40 years for the Israelites to obey God and enter the land He promised would be theirs everlasting.
Perhaps we are no Joshua and Caleb, but I pray we will be faithful and full of faith as we lead an army back here. I hope you will be among His troops (physically, spiritually, financially or however He calls,) and that we won’t need to waste time in the wilderness figuring out who the Commander is.

Part of my calling is to be a herald of the Gospel. Will you respond to His glory and majesty in bringing His light to the nations?

We will be back soon, to pray and to plan, and to blow the trumpet and assemble teams to go and bring the Gospel to those who’ve never heard!

So for now, we have reached our extraction point. But we are leaving markers in the field for our return….

Boots on the Ground

By Envision, Headfirst

Today and tomorrow will be filled with conversations and scouting out the land. As I explained to one pastor last night, our role right now is like that of Joshua and Caleb, to spy out the land, and to return with a faith-filled, God-honoring, grace-sized report.

Would you ask God to give us eyes not for what is here, but for what could be? That our souls would be filled with his vision and we would clearly hear from Him what He would have us do.

We want to be right in the middle of God’s will. Thank you for being on the journey with us.

** Update **

God is clearly answering our prayers and lavishing His grace upon us. We are Him open doors – or more accurately, break down walls and carve a clear path.

And today is yet another view into a world desperate for Jesus; lost, hurting, and in need. With warm hearted men, women and children.

Please continue to pray for us to see and hear God’s will.



By Envision, Headfirst

We have arrived safely in Haiti and spending some time with old friends. As soon as we are settled, we’ll be off to deliver some of the special gifts we brought. (Nothing like playing Santa when it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Despite fatigue from traveling overnight, we want to maximize this window of time to re-connect with some ministry leaders and friends and cover some new territory as well.

More to come…

Heading out

By Envision, Headfirst

Just a few minutes here at the gate en route to Haiti. This trip is going to be similar to the two trips I made last February when we needed to assess the situation and determine where we could help and be most effective, and develop longer-term partnerships with local ministries. After one year of labor and learning, we’ve reaches the point where we need to re-evaluate our effectiveness and also to reach out to ministries that we have met in the past year but haven’t had the opportunity to pursue.

We would value your prayers on this journey for God’s wisdom and direction, for His providence to be clearly revealed, for smooth transitions and appointments, for understanding despite language differences, and of course for safety and good health as we travel and for our families at home.

More soon!

Upstream / Downstream

By Envision, Headfirst

Disclaimer: Before I become the focus of anyone’s theological condemnation, let me affirm the truths that following God’s will can be painful, difficult and fatal.  Jesus told us following Him means we must bear our cross daily.  At the same moment, living the Spirit-filled life also sets us free, brings us joy, is an easy yoke to bear, and gives us Jesus Himself, a fountain of living water.  Several New Testament exhortations to persevere and endure literally mean for us to “stand up under” the pressures and trials (e.g. 1 Peter 2:19.)  So in this paradox it is possible that God’s will for me can lead me to brutal martyrdom, and to peace and simplicity.  There is no mutual exclusivity between suffering and joy.

So with that out of the way, let me honestly admit, I’d rather be the leaf floating down the stream than the salmon swimming up the stream.  Life is hard enough, ministry has relentless challenges; sometimes I am compelled to ask “why is it so hard?”  And since I’m a principled man, I think it makes a lot of sense that when given the freedom to choose – when neither selection is “right” nor “wrong” – there is nothing wrong with choosing the simple path.  Perhaps even the easy path.

Is it not accurate that God gives us choices, and we can choose to be blessed?  For instance:

  • God has made us stewards, and gives us great freedoms in our stewardship.  But we also know that giving generously is a blessing to others and to ourselves.  And it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35.)
  • The Lord promised Abraham that He would bless His descendants, and thereby all who bless Israel will be blessed and all who curse her will be cursed (Genesis 12:1-3.)  I choose blessing Israel!
  • Christ’s best known sermon included the Beatitudes which are all about how to be blessed.

I’m aware that the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to salvation – but sometimes we make spiritual matters far too complicated and difficult when Jesus regularly brought clarity to the world for His disciples.

This might seem a simplistic example, but God created our world with physical laws, including gravity.  This means that it’s a lot easier for a human, when stepping off the edge of a cliff, to fall rather than fly.  It’s more natural.  No one is surprised by falling.  Yet many followers of Jesus assume that once we are talking about the spiritual world, it makes sense to attempt to violate spiritual laws – at least if we pray a lot about them.

If there is truth to the premise that when we discover where God is working we should join Him in His work, that might mean that if we’re toiling fruitlessly we should ask ourselves whether it is hard soil that God has called us to labor in, or whether we are flapping our arms in the wind with futility as we fall toward earth.

Sometimes living out God’s calling and staying in His will is hard.  Sometimes an easy path is not from the Lord.  And sometimes Jesus offers us a simple path of blessing to follow.  Should you be swimming upstream or downstream?  I don’t know the path that God has called you to sojourn – just make sure that you’re on it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”  (Matthew 11:28-30.)

When Silence isn’t Golden

By Envision, Personal
[pullquote_left]Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him.  Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.  (1 Chronicles 16:28-29)[/pullquote_left]

I think all parents are acquainted with the maxim that “silence is golden.”   But the Lord was speaking to me this morning as I walked my dog, reminding me that when it concerns God and His Kingdom, there is no place for silence.  I felt His gentle rebuke of my spirit that I haven’t been lifting up His name with the frequency or volume that He merits.

Here are some of the things I must belatedly trumpet:

Each of these is true and needs no explanation. But God has illustrated each of these in my life recently, so I will give Him the honor He deserves and address why He put them on my heart:

  • The past year was financially tumultuous as the economy and other circumstances impacted many of our ministry partners and their ability to give to the Lord through our ministry.  Yet again and again, in His timing, God met our needs in the moment and is now engaging many new ministry partners to come alongside us and provide the means to advance our mission.
  • Thousands are dying across the Middle East as lost souls cry out for change.  They may not know that Jesus can give them the living water they are so thirsty for, but we must be ready to lead them to the Well. My heart is broken for those suffering and persecuted, especially for the believers punished for their faith.  I pray the Lord will enable us to again take part in building His unshakable Kingdom in this region.
  • Haiti also continues to be challenged in it’s governance.  The Lord is not surprised by any of the turmoil in the nations, but rather He holds the future in His hands.  I will follow Him back to Haiti and wherever He leads as often as He calls.
  • It’s all about Him.  There is nothing in my day today that has greater significance than living for Him and seeking His Kingdom.  If it doesn’t have eternal significance, why am I investing in it?
  • I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Songs 6:3.)  God has illumined and envisioned His eternal romance in my marriage, which grows sweeter every year.  I love being married to Anne, and I learn new things about Jesus through our marriage all the time.

Yes, there are moments in life when the old axiom about silence being golden can seem true.  But never when it comes to the glory of the Lord.  Lift His banner high!

Benefit Concert

By Envision, Involve

For those in the Southern California region, we’d love for you to join us at the Haiti Benefit Concert at 6pm this Sunday, January 23, 2011.  The event is being hosted by Crossline Community Church and there is no charge for admission, though it will be preceded by an all-you-can-eat international dinner for $10 beginning at 5pm.  (Dinner will be only $5 for those who purchase a $20 raffle ticket to the drawing for a “missions experience for 2 to Haiti.”)  Raffle tickets and dinner tickets will both be for sale on site, though again, the concert is free.

The music will be performed by Factor V, featuring Martin Gerschwitz of Iron Butterfly.  There will be a free will offering taken during the program, and the winning ticket of the Haiti raffle will be drawn at the conclusion.  (Winner not required to be present to win.)  All proceeds will go to support the ongoing ministry in Haiti.