t’giving in g’mala

We just returned from an incredible Thanksgiving holiday in Guatemala. We visited the children of Casa Shalom, the orphanage where our daughter and her husband live and work. One of the highlights of the visit was the Thanksgiving meal. We cooked six turkeys, 75 pounds of mashed potatoes, 2 gallons of gravy, 50 ears of roasted corn and 10 sheet cakes. The kids really enjoyed the pavo (turkey) and kept coming back for more. No doubt, this will be one of our more memorable holidays. Enjoy a couple of videos of the fun.

a matter of the heart, not our circumstances

My friend, Bob Scheumann, from The Gathering, sent me this interesting tidbit on Thanksgiving. Hope you enjoy and are challenged.

“In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years’ War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousand of his parishioners in one year, an average of fifteen a day. His parish was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster. In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children:
‘Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.

make it memorable

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? The usual…turkey, pumpkin pie and football? Awesome, sounds like a great day. But I would suggest adding something to your day. Try to spend even a couple of minutes serving. There are lots of soup kitchens and community meal functions that could use your help. There are probably a couple of college kids you know who can’t go home for the holiday who would love an invitation to dinner. There may be a senior citizen, or even a nursing home that could use your help.

During the most difficult holiday season of our lives, Letha and I invited a complete stranger to spend the day and meal with us. We knew nothing about him, only that he had no place to go for the day so we had him over. It was a little awkward. But it sticks out in my mind. I don’t remember that guy’s name or even what he looked like. I don’t think we ever saw him again. I just know that he was in need of a family for the day and we reached out to him. I’m glad we did.

I get amused by the skeptics who say things like, “serving a meal on Thanksgiving is so cliché, how about every other day of the year?”. OK, my question is, are you doing anything for others the rest of the year? If so, great, keep it up. If not, I like my plan better.

Don’t wait until Thursday, plan now, make a call, set something up. And please keep in mind that the same people who need you on Thanksgiving will need you next week, month and year.

ride to provide

What would cause 35 people to get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to ride a bicycle 62 miles? The 2nd Annual Ride To Provide would! These athletic men and women met at 7:00 AM in Carlin Park in Jupiter, Florida this morning to ride 62 miles to raise funds for New Life Nicaragua Orphanage in Managua. Ride to Provide is a part of the wecanshareit.org outgo adventures being promoted by Maranatha Church. My good friend, John Greene has put this ride together for two straight years. John is one in the colorful spandex, oh wait, that’s everyone! He is the one picking up his young son in the 3rd picture. The funds raised last year went to help purchase a brand new van to transport the children to and from school. Thanks John and all of the riders for all of your hard work and generosity. The kids of New Life will be greatly appreciative!

a devotion

My good friends and colleagues, Than and Megan Graffam told me about a devotion that challenged them recently. It is called, Affliction, No Stranger, from On the Highroad of Surrender by Frances J. Roberts

The devotion is based on Job 13:15 “Even if God kills me, I have hope in him” (NCV)
Here is what Roberts says:
“Affliction is no stranger to the child of God. Darkness falls upon both saint and sinner. Those who know Me intimately will find a deep joy in the midst of life’s bitterness.
I do not smooth out the way for My loved ones, for how then could they testify of My provision?
I prepare you in order to use you in the hour of crisis. The crisis is not the time to cry for deliverance, saying, “Lord, save me,” but to cry “Lord, use me.”

Check out Than and Megan’s ministry blog at: maranathachildren.wordpress.com

dark clouds

It seems to me that many people are living their lives these days surrounded by negativity. I think they are taking their cues from a society that puts too much emphasis on money. Because our economy is in bad shape (compared to what it used to be, not compared to most of the rest of the world), they act as though the whole world is going to hell tomorrow.

If your eyes are on money and you don’t have enough, you will get discouraged. Discouragement unchecked leads to feelings of hopelessness. Feelings of hopelessness are poisonous and they are contagious.

Believers in Christ cannot be hopeless. Faith in Jesus, and giving up, cannot coexist. Jesus gives us hope. He is Hope. It may seem heartless to rebuke the hopeless. If one’s despair is connected to finances, the answer is simple: Jesus said, “you can’t serve God and money- take your pick” (very loose translation). If you worship money, get ready to be hopeless. If you serve God, hope will be abundant.

Today, in a great consulting session with Dr. Fred Garmon of People For Care And Learning and Leader Labs, Inc., I heard a good definition of hope. Fred says: “Hope is the awakening of the human soul that life can be better than this.” A marvelous definition.

If you trust Jesus, you have to believe that, no matter what you are facing, life can be better than this. Jesus did not say that It would get better by us getting rich. He did say that He would give you The Kingdom. How’s that for hope?

Let hope blow away your clouds of doubt.