Stretching Your View

In our daily world, most of us have become use to seeing the same ole visual images caped in different clothing:

 

  • The same tribal office work colleagues in dressed different apparel
  • The same neighborhood that transitions in different seasons of the year
  • The same apparel of clothing we have in our closet, but we mix and match them according to the weather
  • The same usual routes we drive around our neighborhoods, yet we may drive different streets when road construction impedes our way
  • The same summer visits with family and friends
  • The same summer vacation destinations

 

Yet very few of us will desire frequent changes in life.  I heard a church sermon some years ago and the topic was “Do You want to be a Pioneer or a Settler?”  Here are some key highlights I remember from this sermon:

 

  • Pioneers are pacesetters; they pave the way for others and find themselves often exploring new territories
  • Settlers’ mission are to reach a point and stay at the place forever

 

Early in my adult life, I once had the belief that I would “settle down” and: (1) earn a formal education; (2) become satisfied with a level of wealth; (3) get married and have children; (4) work a traditional 8 to 5 job with benefits and meager vacation days.  I accomplished at least three of the above four ‘settled’ objectives.

 

But later in my life, I always wanted something much better.  I didn’t know exactly what it was specifically, but I always attempted to stretch my view….my mental view that is.

 

Stretching your mental view causes you to:

 

  • Think harder
  • React faster/often to issues stirring in your heart
  • Question or Challenge the Status Quo
  • Pray even more
  • Question the law of humanity
  • Have a sense of understanding the world a little bit better

 

Traveling around the world excites me, especially when wanting to meet new people!  Having simple conversations with others allow me to become better as a listener.  The sound waves and pitch patterns of various human voices echoing through my ear canal creates a hunger for knowledge and understanding.

 

I believe the opposite of ‘not’ wanting to stretch your mental view can lead to:

 

  • Stagnation
  • An unwillingness to learn, which can close your mind to an ever changing world
  • Isolation
  • Being Argumentative

 

Because I have such a passion for making a different in my world, I found several ways to “Stretch My View”

Local View

Global View

  Take in a new ethnic restaurant

See an independent film

Take a foreign language class

Help at a refugee crisis center

Study world history/cultures

  Travel to a different vacation spot each year

Have dinner in a home of locals

Sign up for global affairs events

Go on a short-term mission trip!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Pressing On!

It’s not unusual to find yourself in a conversation with someone who spends much of their time talking about past issues and then concludes the talk by say “I’m just going to press on!”  When you happened to meet that same person again, they will resurface the same ole past issue.  And as they continue to mouth off their frustration with no ending in sight, your brain neutrons are scampering to form the question – “I thought you said you’re pressing on?”

In these situations, it may be hard to resolve the ‘past’ issues before you can press on.  It is those past issues that will:

  • Prevent you from truly ‘moving forward’
  • Eventually resurface into a larger problem
  • Delay any progress in fulfilling your passion in life

How can one deal with ‘past issues?’  The answer is simple: ANSWER IT!  There is usually a word that typifies the issue.  For example, let’s say you were involved in a bad relationship and you don’t know how to get past the issue.  The goal is to remove yourself from the situation and ‘press on.’  You might say, we’ll just leave the relationship – most will do that.

However, the odds at keeping a positive new relationship will falter because of dealing with similar issues that may be that of past relationships.

I discovered a way to deal with ‘past’ issues properly, first:

  • Identify the problem within the relationship
  • Come to (self) terms of the problem
  • Learn and discover why the problem persisted
  • Embrace and utilize tools to heal from the problem
  • Develop a plan to “press on”

Identifying the problem and addressing them may take some time to complete.  But the process is one that give you satisfaction and redirection to fulfill your passion.

Your passion to help others may be found in the example of your past!

His Overflowing Passion

This month, I had the privilege of attending a religious conference in Richmond, Virginia  Well over 7,000 conference attendees swarmed the city for a 3-day course of learning and networking.  Exhibitors of the conference represented some 285 mission related world-wide organizations all vying for the attention of conference goers.

As I gazed from a glass room on the second floor above the massive exhibit hall, it looked like a typical convention.  I couldn’t help but to notice hundreds of two legged creatures moving about the exhibit corridors carrying stuffed plastic bags full of literature, books, conference tchotchkes, and plenty of unnecessary sugary treats.  Don’t forget the colorful/creative booth space designs also appealing to your attention.

But this particular conference is quite different from the hundreds I’ve attended over the past 15 years.  These 285 exhibitors primarily represented outreach ministries stationed in some 145 countries world-wide!  From US based ministries like Christian Appalachian Project of Kentucky to Bach Christian Hospital of Pakistan, all present to attract mission minded candidates for short or long term mission opportunities.

Many prospect candidates attending this conference are college bound youth looking to plunge into some kind of spiritual global trek adventure.  Adults like myself, look forward to networking and collaborating.  I believe the core of the three day recruitment tangle between mission candidates and outreach ministries is to channel our focus on Kingdom building.  God has uniquely given ‘us’ people passion – to help those who aren’t capable to help themselves.

Beyond the exchange of brochures, business cards, books, confectionary candies, and gawking at international artwork and crafts comes the real work.  It is the stories of people throughout the world who some tonight may face starvation, illness, sudden death, religious persecution, or the quickening to leave their home because of tribal warfare.

It’s not new to us that the world is besieged by strife and trials.  The question is often ask…Who shall go to help? Who will advocate and confront these terrible issues?

The notion of being surrounded by 7,000 conference goers and 250,000 US missionaries currently serving around the world, a level of confidence is obvious that ‘someone’ is doing ‘something’.

Unfortunately, the 80/20 rule may apply…after the convention, some conventioneers may go back to their busy lives, responding to Twitter, Facebook, occupying a work cubical Monday thru Friday for several hours, and playing the day care shuttle.

Others may view and pour over the free literature once they go back home and pray to ‘fit’ a mission schedule into their personal calendar for next year.

Only a few will answer the call; leaving the comforts of home for the sake of giving comfort to those who haven’t had a fair chance to live in dignity.

The “few” possess God’s overflowing passion to take that risk, defy the odds, and ignore the criticism of family members and friends.  It is that overflowing passion that keep them up in the wee hours of the night.  It is that overflowing passion that encourages them to hear successful stories of other missionaries overcoming challenges in unreachable communities.  It is that overflowing passion where God is speaking and providing the next steps for kingdom assignments.  It is that same overflowing passion that caused me to buck the trend of what people my age aren’t doing yet.

What is that God overflowing passion that possesses you – yet you decided not to have a ‘coming-out’ party?  Is it causing you to change?  Is it causing you to breakout yet?  Go for it!  Don’t be scared…do it today.

G.P.S. – God’s Passionate Servant

It’s been several months since I last wrote on my blog.  The temporary absence was due in part that I was blessed to lead mission teams into two Caribbean destinations.  The training and planning for these summer journeys consumed much of my time – including the opportunity to write on occasionally on my blog.  Never-the-less, the time and dedication to serve the teams were worth the brief hiatus.  I came away from this experience knowing that each team member was able to passionately serve the people of Jamaica and Haiti!

Jamaica Mission Team

In July this mission group, tagged as “NavySeals10,” truly exuded a raw sense of passion for the people of Jamaica.  Team members were eager to go out each morning to engage the people on the downtown streets of Montego Bay.  And every afternoon on the hillside of the country, the team would spend quality time with inquisitive, yet excited children of Jamaica.

No one exhibited a tepid attitude nor did they become recluse to any of our day-to-day assignment.  These passionate mission servants were willing to do whatever, give to whomever, and go wherever.

Haiti Mission Team

In August this mission group, tagged as the “Fantastic5,” demonstrated qualities of a servant:

  1. They made themselves available to serve.
  2. They paid attention to the needs of others.
  3. They did their best with what they had
  4. They were committed to every task and gave it 100%
  5. They remained faith to the ministry (even after arriving back to the US)

We spent most of our time in an orphanage one hour south of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Every gentle hug, every smile displayed, every positive affirmation given, and every cheerful expression was intended to speak directly into the heart of our Haitian children.  These passionate mission servants were willing to provide hope and comfort in God.

We are now preparing for next year’s collection of uniquely designed mission travels with an expectation of training and sending 95 passionate missionaries throughout the world.  Do you have a passion for serving others?  Visit my ministry’s website at www.lifewalkmission.org and discover the wonderful opportunities to become a G.P.S.!

Passionfully!

Was there ever a time in your life when you got out of bed with a defiant thought to accomplish something BIG that day? You probably felt that neurological venom flowing through your brain charging the rest of your body to ‘make-it-happen.’

By the end of that day, you accomplished what you needed to do – and then something occurs…you want to do it again the next day! And then repeat it in the coming days. That’s when you know you a Full of Passion.

Some people go on to build on that level of Passion while many will succumb to distractions. You can find many people in the entertainment business chanting how they struggled in the early stages of their career. One person in this business comes to mind – Sean Combs. This forty-five year old mogul (American rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur) shares intimate details on how he had to work hard in the early days of his pursuit to become famous. One story is the time when he sold his own music out of his trunk!

I confess that I don’t follow the rap genre that must. And nor am I a big fan of his music; yet I respect the diligence and passion he must’ve felt day after day, week after week…

It’s that unique energy one must have to stir the heart and mind. Even on days when the body isn’t strong enough to execute – the heart beats for more!

It is people like Mr. Combs who will be remembered or studied for years to come. It is also people in your neighborhood who overcame great challenges – they too will be remembered. The passion they had is profound. What about your passion levels? Are they boiling over, simmering or just room temperature? The challenge is to assess where you are today, build a plan and take baby steps toward your passionate endeavors!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Heart Work -vs- Hard Work

Do you recall the day you arrived at your first well-paying job? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment – ready to conquer every new job assignment presented to you? Were you then able to find yourself 100% fully committed to the values of the company? Wouldn’t it be nice to feel this way for the entire tenure of working at your job?

A few years ago, I watched a person-to-person interview with the late Bea Arthur, popularly known as the outspoken female liberal of the 70s hit television show Maude and 80s television show The Golden Girls. This actress, comedian, and singer worked for a span of sixty-one years in show business. Well up to her last years on Earth, she was working on Broadway and while taking a break, the journalist ask her “After a successful acting career, when will you decide to retire from all of this?” Ms. Arthur, who is naturally tall (5’9”), sternly stood up in her chair and without a word, gave the interviewer this famous distasteful “Maude” look [you have to see a YouTube clip of any episode to get the visual of her facial expression – yet this time it was for real http://youtu.be/3P89-jCOv6k]. She said to the interviewer….”There is NO such thing as retirement, if you love what you do!”

Maude is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972 until April 22, 1978.

Maude is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972 until April 22, 1978.

To me, that sounds like “HEART work!” When you wake up every day and ‘love’ what you do; that reflects heart-work. Whether you face insurmountable challenges in that love for work, your heart becomes the steering wheel of your intentions. Your passion level exudes and your mind stays focused on the work.

On the opposite spectrum of HEART work is HARD work. To be honest, there is no such thing as Hard work. It’s all in the mind…you can either refuse to make it hard or just make it hard. Our brain is the most incredible organ given to man. Imagine….we came from nomad living centuries ago to a tech culture of today! From the days of the Egyptian Empire, who would’ve thought then that people could physically land on the moon? In 1977, NASA launched a space probe named Voyager 1. At a distance of about 12 billion miles from Earth, it is the farthest operating spacecraft from our plant! Who would’ve thought that a man-made spacecraft could still communicate to us while operating 37 years later? There are new inventions and discoveries yet to be birth, but it takes brain power, passion and heart work to achieve it!

Discover your Heart work before it’s too late (smile)!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Dash’in Toward Your Passion!

Imagine walking on a seashore of a beach and you discovered a decorative gleaming long neck glass bottle with a removable cork. You pulled the cork and instantly, a smoky shaped Genie figure oozed out the neck of the bottle. The Genie tells you that he has mystical powers to make your life easier. Much to your amazement, the Genie then say that he’ll grant and fulfill two of your greatest wishes! Would any of your two wishes be something you passionately want to do in life? Or would both wishes be self-gratifying desires.

In reality, the good news is that you don’t have to look for a Genie in a bottle, our heavenly Father can be relied upon to fulfill the desires of your heart. From the moment you came into the world, you were molded and wired to do something for greatness. You have unlimited wishes you can request – just seek Him first!

So why is it that most people feel like they’re trapped in mundane work; unable to move toward that ‘thing’ they really want to do? What is keeping individuals away from their passionate work? And why can’t they just start today and dash or sprint right into it?

Most will give you responses that leads to financial security or the fear of not having sufficient earnings to live. Others will say they don’t have enough time; especially if they have a young family, ever increasing job responsibilities, church/civic duties, continuing higher education, and yes, yard work.

Many will know their passion(s), but stay clear away from it because of the above excuses. Only a few will break beyond those reasons and plunge into the challenge to dash toward their passions. Those same few will also delay gratification just to balloon their [at-the-start] non-generating passions. The pursuit toward your passion can start of shaky and difficult; yet gratifying enough to keep you up during the wee-hours of the night! Comedian and National Syndicated Radio DJ Steve Harvey said “Your career is what you’re paid for. Your calling (passion) is what you’re made for.”

Wondered if you began to channel your energies to pursue your passion? Many famous people did…and the moment they decided to advance toward their passion; their personal finances substantially increased, their network of influence grew, they were able to impact the lives of people wherever they traveled, and they grew spiritually in the direction that God led them.

So what’s stopping you again? Can you move from “I wish I could…” to “I will become…?”

Your passion(s) is/are waiting for you…run to it!

D.A.W.N. of a New Day!

Let’s be real folks…at the beginning of each morning, some of us seek to refuel our lethargic minds with fresh baked information of the day. All too often, we switch the television on or dial our favorite radio station in the car to gain information. These mediums are generally about everything that is wrong in the world. You can assume that the “A” block of news in the morning will discuss the following things:

• Political indifferences
• Social indifferences
• Natural Disasters
• Out-of-this World or Bazaar news
• People in crisis

As I write this, I’m beginning not to feel too good (SMH).

How can you eliminate those morning stressors? Many would tell you to:

1) Drink a cup of fresh brewed coffee
2) Spend time to Meditate/Pray
3) Relaxing Exercises or Stretches
4) Listen to soft-easy soundscape music

That’s all good, but how to maintain a positive start throughout the day you might ask? Well, consider the following:

D = Discover the benefits of your Passion

Yes, whatever you want to do in life, daily challenge yourself to seek the benefits of your Passion. For example, if you believe you are gifted in music and you’d like to play the piano, think about the reason why you want to play the violin. Is it to relax yourself, or would you think it will benefit the elderly in a nursing home? Is playing the piano a way to add extra income, or should it be your chance to perform with a world renowned symphony orchestra? Is it for the benefit to become the next great Liberace, or do you want to be a blessing by playing with your child at his/her Christmas pageant? Spend some time each morning to discover what would be those benefits.

A = Act out your Passion

From the provoking questions above, all you have to do is just ‘act’ out on them. Start today and practice those Christmas songs – it’s now July! In five months, you’ll be ready to present a musical concert of songs for the kids. What better time of the day is to use the morning to review those holiday song sheets!

W = Seek the Wisdom of those living their Passion

You can either self-teach yourself to play the piano or hire someone who ‘teaches’ others to play the piano. I’ve always felt to have someone to mentor or coach me in things that I don’t know. The wisdom of others will make it easier to reach your Passion faster versus going it alone.

N = Your Passion is Natural to you

You immediately feel something once you place your fingers on the piano. That feeling isn’t nervousness, it isn’t frustration, it’s a soothing natural easiness – you feel free. As you play out the holiday songs on the piano, it takes you:

• back to your childhood singing Christmas carols at school.
• to a moment to feel the warmth of a home in winter and the smell of fresh baked gingerbread cookies
• to a time when you stood around the family piano and saw your own grandmother play Christmas songs as everyone else sang the verses!

The D.A.W.N. of each new morning can put you into a pleasurable feeling and give you a sense of emotional balance that carries you through the day! Make it your mission to fulfill your passion so that others may benefit from it!

Let go people and do some good!

Heavenly Moments in Haiti

By reading the subject of this recent blog, you might disagree with the lexiconic statement. How could “anyone” experience heavenly moments in Haiti? Well, I recently did…

I traveled to Haiti last month on my second mission trip of the year – my year-long mission expedition for www.lifewalkmission.org. Once there, I met other mission-minded travelers who all were enlisted by a U.S. based organization called Adventures in Missions. Unlike other mission travels, I would not know any of my team members before I took that first step onto to the third largest Caribbean nation. Looking back on it now, I’m so grateful to have new relationships with the most incredible individuals who came from all parts of the United States – even one who traveled all the way from London!

Four several hours at the airport, we patiently waited for everyone to arrive on different flights – yours truly was the fourth of eleven travelers appearing through international customs that day. When our last member arrived, we then boarded a bus for Carrefour, Haiti. This hillside hamlet community awaited our presence; a town that is said to be near the epicenter of Haiti’s catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake four years ago.

Our first night was filled with high excitement and group learning activities. As the navy blue skies darkened and the flicker of universal stars began to illuminate ever so brightly above us, our team leader wanted to begin bible study on top of the flat-roof where we slept.

Mission work to me is all about serving and of the many years of mission work, never had I experienced what was to take place that night. It was from the bible passage of John 13 where Jesus performed the most humbled act to his disciples – the washing of their feet! Our humbled and passionate team leader Jonathan M. performed this gentle act to each of us on the cool breezy night on the roof-top.

Jesus’ simple act of foot-washing teaches us the kind of humility God wants us to have. For the rest of the week, the spirit of team unity was so profound and prevalent. No one balked, complained, refused, nor murmured during our time in Haiti. And though our walking travels throughout the town was physically rough and challenging, we were commitment to find the lost, the least and the left.

Each day our team weathered the sweltering heat of Haiti; their perspiration of passion was evident as we played, laughed, and encouraged young kids during Vacation Bible School on the open soccer field in the community. We divided into small teams to canvass the hillside village to speak with those who did or didn’t know Abba father. Toward the end of the week, we put on a skit for the community that displayed how God can be ‘your’ EVERYTHING – a five minute moving exhibit of a person going through the evil temptations on Earth and eventually displaying how God is still there with you through it all.

Our work wasn’t done just yet! Of our last day together, we went to the local public beach to enjoy the quality of time in Haiti. The team realized that one of our members had never been baptized. God was giving us one more instruction – to officiate a candidate for baptism! As we surrounded our sister and prayed together, the waters near the shore grew calm; and the heavenly clouds opened to present the glowing sun above. It felt as if we were in the Jordan River! The angels looking over the balcony of heaven rejoiced that day!

The international community may never show or discuss the positive side of the country – yes, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. How strange that one of the richest countries lies at a distance of 90 minutes in flight! Someone said to me years ago, “The world doesn’t have a wealth problem, but a distribution problem!”

While Haiti may be a country with wide-spread poverty, YOU can encounter heavenly moments there!

Let go people and do some good!

Be Real

Keeping it Real” – a slogan often heard by television entertainers and comedians. Urban dictionary.com defines it as “a reaction stated by individuals claiming to deny pop culture and sticking with their own thing.” For me, I find that most individuals are REAL if they are truly passionate about the things they do in life!

The “Realness” in you speaks for itself. You will often receive compliments and praises when “Realness” is presence. While people tend to gravitate to a real person, people repel from bogus individuals.

Here’s a permanent formula to remain “Real” to others:

Harbor yourself with real people [to] do real things [to] make real impact!

Harbor yourself with real people

Like [positive] minds tend to thrive and produce. We find that evident in Toastmaster clubs throughout the world. We find that evident in social clubs. We find that evident in churches. We even find that evident in some of our circle of friends! Real people edify and challenge each other – good or bad. Real people accept criticism or hurtful comments and turn that feedback into positive outcomes.

Do real things

The former South African leader and renowned world-leader Nelson Mandela said “Real Leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

Can you imagine the tumultuous life Mandela endured for decades in jail? Can you imagine the emotions he had to manage while separated from his family? Yet, he stayed faithful to the cause in doing the real thing – to see that his people would one day be free from Apartheid. The thirst within his veins kept him hungry for that quenchable taste of justice.

Make real impact

Here’s the benefit for those who gravitate to Real People:

  • Real People have something to give that will make others change or improve
  • The wisdom of Real People can leave a profound legacy
  • Real People duplicate greatness throughout his or her community
  • Real People are purposed to demonstrate and model servanthood

This formula can and will keep you passionate and purposeful!

Let go people and do some good!