Monday, April 22, 2013

Nehemiah and a few other things

“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah 1:4

Jason and I have been listening to Matt Chandler's sermon series on Nehemiah. Chandler challenges us to move out of our complacency and into action.  He points out that Nehemiah isn't descriptive it is prescriptive.  Nehemiah shows us how we are to respond to the hurting in our world.  You can go to The Village Church website and listen to the podcasts for each of the sermons. The first sermon  ( Empathy and Human Flourishing) in this series is on page 2 of the list of podcasts.  There is also a study guide that you can download for personal use.

This video.  Definitely worth your time to watch. Ben is a life changed.  He was raised in Korogocho, the third largest slum in Kenya. Today, because of Compassion's involvement in his life, Ben and his wife, Stephanie, sponsor 4 kids through Compassion.  If you are not a Compassion sponsor...please consider sponsoring a child!  Our family is  so blessed by our sponsored children, more than we will ever bless them. Jesus has changed us through sponsorship.

Laundry...did you know that just by buying laundry detergent you could help a family with adoption expenses. Hope Suds is made by the Cheeky Maiden Soap Co.  It is all natural, smells great and can be used in HE washers or just regular old washing machines.  Since we all have to do laundry and we all have to buy laundry detergent...why not make it count for something and help to make a difference?  50% of each sale goes to the family of the month.  

Poverty tourism...a good article by Kent Annan.  "But if the longest lasting result of my working or visiting a place with much suffering, is that I feel a little better about my own life...well, then I've probably exploited people struggling with poverty even more than they're being exploited already."

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

date night brought to you by The Kilgoris Project

Tonight Jason and I get to have a date night!  I am excited.  Who doesn't get pumped for date nights...especially when they don't happen very often?!!!  This date night though has a purpose behind it...a fundraiser to help a build a school. Some incredible people are giving up their Friday night to babysit our kids so that kids a half a world away can go to school.   We get a date night and the money that would have gone to pay a babysitter will go towards the goal of building a primary school in rural Kenya through The Kilgoris  Project.

I am asking you to consider making a donation to The Kilgoris Project to help build this school. Let me tell you a bit about TKP.   

The story of Kilgoris started in 1999 when a couple from California was on safari in Kenya.  This couple  ( the McCormacks) struck up a friendship with one of the waiters (Willie) at the game reserve and they bonded over their mutual Christian faith. Over the next couple of years the McCormacks and Willie corresponded.  They learned of the desire of Willie's church to build a church building and start a preschool and The Kilgoris Project was born.

Fast forward 14 years later and there are now four schools, a church, a tea farm, women's co-op and basic care (nutrition, clean water, and medical care) that is making a huge difference in the lives of those living in the Kilgoris village and the surrounding villages.   The schools are educating the children, providing them with an opportunity to find employment when they grow up. The tea farm is producing a sustainable way to pay the teachers at the school.  The basics such as food, clean water and medical attention are there to keep the children healthy so they are able to learn. The women's co-op is a way for the moms to learn to make crafts, which are then sold in the U.S., enabling them to provide for their families. 
From the Kilgoris website...
Through these four schools, the churches and the tea farm, now known as The Kilgoris Project, the villagers are able to touch their neighbors.  Many children are learning for the first time.   Parents see hope for the future.  And community sees a visible expression of God's love.

Poverty, exploitation of the poor, modern day slavery and human trafficking as you know are huge problems.  Injustice. I cannot read the words of Christ or the Old Testament  (Micah 6:8, Isaiah 58:6-7, Zechariah 7:9-10, Amos 5:24, Matthew 12:7, Matthew 25:40,Luke 1:52-53, Acts 4:34-35) without being reminded about my role in this. I can't read 1 John 3:17 which says How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?...without being convicted and just cut to the heart.  It's not about doing church right, it's not about us and how comfortable we want to be, it is about Jesus and bringing him glory. It is about seeing or hearing of  injustice whether here in America or half way around the world and doing all we can to stop it. We don't respond  to pat ourselves on the back, we respond because it is showing the love of Christ in a tangible way.

Building schools, and  teaching moms a trade... these are ways to combat poverty, exploitation, slavery and trafficking. Ministries like The Kilgoris Project are hitting it at the core...educated children grow up to have opportunities to lead them and their families out of poverty, change their own country  and parents who are able to provide for the needs of the family are not easily exploited or coerced into selling their kids into slavery.  In the book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn they cite a study that UNICEF came out with that says when women are empowered (educated, taught a trade) the future of that society changes.  We can be apart of helping them, to change their society.  This is justice.  This is what  Isaiah is talking about in chapter 58:10, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the opressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your light will become like the noonday.

Will you help build a school? Will you help change the future of these boys and girls in  Kenya not just because it is the right thing to do, but because of your love for Christ. If you would like to help, you can go here and select One Time Donation.  In the comments section you can add that this is to help Kadi Fit build a school.

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Not Today

DEFEND the weak and the fatherless, UPHOLD the cause of the poor and oppressed, RESCUE the weak and the needy, DELIVER them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3-4

Slavery and human trafficking are huge problems.  Thankfully there are ministries and organizations that are shining a light on slavery and calling us to action. A new movie is being released this Friday, April 12th that is shining a light on the sex trade industry in India.  Not Today is a  movie  produced by the Friends Church in Yorba Linda, CA.  The story is of a wealthy young man, Caden,  who finds himself in India on a whim with his friends.  He will never be the same after an encounter with a father and daughter who are at the bottom of the Caste system.  Caden finds a world that few of us in here in the U.S. have experienced... the thriving world of human trafficking.  After Caden feels guilty for not helping this man, he goes back to find that this father has been forced to sell  his daughter into slavery.   I am excited to see this movie.  Unfortunately, it is opening only in certain cities. Not Today will be opening in cities in CA, CO, FL, GA, MD, OH, OR, TN, TX, VA and WA.   Here is a list of the current cities it will be playing in.  If Not Today is playing in your city or near you, please consider going! 


Friday, April 5, 2013


Have you ever had the experience of reading a part of the Bible that you may have read a hundred other times, but this time you are hit in the face with the words spoken? I have found myself being undone at the words Jesus spoke in Luke 18:9-14 even though I have read it many times before.  We read that scripture as a part of The Jesus Tree readings and then we watched that same scripture being acted out recently in the History channel's mini-series, The Bible (episode 4- Mission). I was humbled.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’  “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:9-14

If I am honest with myself I tend to be more like the Pharisee than the tax collector. I think it is all too easy for those of us who have been going to church for awhile to get caught up in having the right answers, having God all figured out, and doing church the right way. I don't want to be like that anymore! I want to be humble, I don't want to go around looking down my nose at anyone. I never want to be so prideful that I actually think of myself or the church I attend as the one or ones who are "doing it right"! Then it becomes about me and not about Christ…. it becomes all about how I perform. I never want to forget that I am a sinner. Matthew Henry in his Concise Commentary on Luke 18 puts it this way... “Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.”

Ultimately, it is about Christ being glorified and he is glorified in my humility, not in my pride.