Tag Archives: Caleb Colton

Caught Up In The Moment

The last six weeks at work have been challenging as my observation of two and a half years’ worth of misguided movements came to a head.  Each step shifted the alignment of the organization off center, further and further away from its core mission.  I felt woefully inadequate as I was unable to cure the immediate hurts or address the over-arching cultural ailments.  I had been accustomed to working behind the scenes to reshuffle the pieces to almost any awry situation back to the center of the board.  By flipping switches and pulling levers, I could turn on the magnets that would draw people back between the bumpers.  As this situation continued to wobble further and further out of control, I leveraged every resource available to me to adjust the alignment back to center.  No matter how much strength I used or torque I created, I could not move the mountain.  My blood pressure then sky-rocketed, headaches ensued, and hope dissipated.  The Lord then said to me, “get somewhere and sit still!  To move mountains, you must have faith, you know, the size of a mustard seed.  I am not feeling faith.  I am witnessing you muster mortal strength in man’s world.  You are making a mockery of the miracle process.  I am responsible for those and simply sometimes use man as delivery vehicles.  As the devotional told you the other day, meet Me in the moment and leave outcomes to My Father.  Listen to the sage.  I sent her.  Calmly do these two things each day and leave the rest to Me:  Ask the Father what He would have you do today and work towards it with excellence.”

No words were rendered as no response was required.  I took a week of time off, went away, and did nothing but reflect on His guidance.  Each day I spent time with Him and I asked what He would have me do.  Everyday His answer was the same: love My people and see the wonders of My work.  And that is exactly what I did.  I engaged with as many people as I could and enjoyed the beauties of nature.  Five days after I returned to work, His glorious plan began to unfold.  The miracles of the Messiah moved the mountain.  He made a way for resolution to my plaguing problem and I am extremely thankful to Him.  As Lincoln Brewster tells us: Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.  The heavens declare Your greatness.  The oceans cry out to You.  The mountains, they bow down before You.  So I’ll join with the earth and I’ll give my praise to You.Majestic

The long, drawn-out difficult observation time that ended just before I took leave was chocked full of faith forewarnings for me.  Particularly, I had watched a high-ranking person determine that reaching the next rung on the ladder was worth everything and he was willing to do anything to get it.  In his haste to reach the next level, he failed to realize that anything received at any pace other than in God’s time can never bring fulfilment, but is merely an accelerant of spiritual degradation.  You see, “any cost” is the only price the devil is willing to pay and the moment we name that price is the second we sell our soul.  Every move from that point forward is a contorted turn or ill-conceived twist that leads to places of no return.  The intersection of greed and power is named Hubris Hill.  The crossroads of arrogance and opportunity is called Corruption Court.  “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.” – Caleb Colton

At that point, anyone with half of the currency can now convince us to give the whole thing away, leaving us begging for borrowed time from hollowed hearts.  As the pace gets faster and the stakes get higher, we find ourselves over leveraging our diminishing worth while clinging to vacated promises backed by overdrawn credit. Suddenly, the suitors stop knocking and no one takes our calls.  It is then that we realize the time we spent perched in dark smoke-filled rooms sipping single malt scotch and savoring select cigars was likely in Lucifer’s Lounge.  We sat at the table listening to his lies while debating the Spirit’s voice in order to rationalize righteousness into a wicked situation.  By negotiating, we risked what we had to gain what we didn’t need.  We rolled the dice with the devil, the master of deception, and lost it all.  As two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, neither can God and evil.  By dismissing the Spirit, we gave the devil a foot hole.  The hunt is now over and it’s time for the kill.  The wicked one has won!

Or has he?  He is jealous for me; loves like a hurricane.  I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy; when all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.  And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me… And we are His portion and He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes.  If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.  And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest.  I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us…Oh, how he loves us allHe Loves Us – John McMillan

Just like us, God gave the ranking person worth and his value comes through Jesus Christ.  Through our relationship with Him and community with His people, a paved path to the foot of the cross is always beneath our feet.  To the extent that we lose our way, simply say, “Jesus, please help me!”  He is a loving Lord and an eager savior, longing for a relationship with His children.  We strengthen that relationship through worshiping only Him, loving His people, reading His word, and praying.  As Matt Redman reminds us, When the music fades, all is stripped away.  And I simply come longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless Your heart.  I’ll bring You more than a song, for a song in itself is not what You have required.  You search much deeper within, through the way things appear.  You’re looking into my heart.  I’m coming back to the heart of worship.  And it’s all about You.  It’s all about You, Jesus.  I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You.  It’s all about You, Jesus Heart of Worship.  If we simply remember that we cannot sell what we cannot earn, His grace will remain on the forefront of our minds, preventing us from placing our salvation in the showcase window of Hell’s pawn shop.  This life is about advancing His kingdom, not our selfish pleasures.

Now is a time for prayer and encouragement, not casting of stones.  As we have done so much for which we wish not to be judged, forgiveness is a large paving stone on the path to the foot of the cross.  We’ve all had the experience of being caught up in the moment.  Remember, character assassination kills more than just a reputation.  It massacres minds and slaughters souls.  The scars on His hands are reminders of our redemption, not reverberations of our self-righteousness.  Offer healing to the hurt and love to the lost by being fast to forgive.  We are His beacons who have been called to shine His light.  So beam brightly!

I pray fervently for the ranking official.  Lord, may his resignation resign him to Your ways.  May he raise his hands and heart to You to receive the blessings You have in store for him.  May he live the rest of his days gaining strength from time with You.  May we heal from the difficulties and offer forgiveness to our brother, remembering the experience as a shadow that casts shade on the dog-day decisions that we may one day face.  May pride never prevent us from calling Your great name long before our darkest hours – In Your son’s name, Amen.

Romans 12 tells us, 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.  (MSG)


Calico’s Corner II

“Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power.” – Caleb Colton

The captain was hubris and here are his officers:

Calico’s top brass of smiling faces and nodding heads did well because they appeared to be doing good.  Their pleasant demeanor and non-confrontational attributes earned them a place in the inner circle.  They were pleasing and loyal to the captain during peace.  When tensions erupted, they never rose above the battlefield to see what was really happening.  They hedged their bets that the captain would survive and wanted to remain in the good graces of the one they presumed would be in power.  As you cannot serve two masters, their smiling faces and nodding heads were of service to none.  Luke 12:48 tells us, 48 “But anyone who is not aware that he is doing wrong will be punished only lightly.  Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater – (GNT). Was their search for the Savior obscured by the presence of a pleasant face?  Did their comfort of going along to get along outweigh their requirement to stand up?  Had they ever defined personal integrity such that they would know when that line had been crossed?

And then there was the top brass who cowered on the lower deck.  These faithful soldiers usually lived their lives in neutral, moving along when impacted by another mass stronger than them.  They were always propelled by institutional inertia but had no meaningful energy independent of other forces acting upon them.  When caught in the downspout of the realization that the captain’s experience amounted to less than that of the most junior yeoman and that his actions imperiled all of the sailors, the sensory overload of it all as well as the storm and the mutiny overwhelmed them.  They, opposite the ship, rocked onto their port sides.  The motion of their jousting thoughts swayed their minds as they wondered if they could have made a difference.  Everything they had previously heard along the way was worth repeating amongst themselves but they couldn’t find it within them to report any of it to anyone who could do something about it.  James 1:22-24 says, 22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.  Act on what you hear!  Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like” –  (TLB). And so they lay, motionless on the lower deck of the sea-tossed ship.  Did they ever feel confident enough to make a difference?  Were they always only in it for themselves?  Was there ever a moment when they offered him wise counsel?  Where they rejected so much that they finally stopped trying?

The first officer had been one of Calico’s greatest supporters until he became the captain.  He believed the captain to be a person of the people until his ego grew above his rank.  He then believed the captain was a changed man.  At that point, the first officer began providing closely held information to the offended sailors and the fleet’s stakeholders.  He armed the sailors with sling shots and ensured the stone of the mutiny struck its intended target.  “We often pretend to fear what we really despise, and more often despise what we really fear” – Caleb Colton.  Was the first officer reacting out of scorn disguised as deception whose reality lay in the blindness that was before him?  Was he reeling from the shame that he had never walked with kings and the guilt that, at least for a time, he lost his common touch?  Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law. – Psalm 119:18 (MSG)

The second officer operated with a spirit of courage and believed that, “Physical courage, which despises all danger, will make a man brave in one way; and moral courage, which despises all opinion, will make a man brave in another” – Caleb Colton.  She moved the fastest and got the most done when the major crisis struck.  She had previously advised the captain that the building material was inferior and pointed him in the direction of the craftsman but was counseled for the delivery of her interjection.  She spoke with a smiler and a nodder to let them know the state of affairs only to receive a reprimand.  She sent notes to her counterparts in the fleet and letters to regulators in the industry but no one responded.  She met with the cowards and prophesied the mutiny and the storm, but they simply stood still.  She listened to the first officer and encouraged him to take constructive action.  She knows that the third officer’s report to headquarters will be the third time they have heard the story.

The third officer, motivated by a sense of duty, was troubled to have to deliver such harrowing news to headquarters.  She knew that the captain’s actions were wrong and that sailors were in grave danger.  Following the lead of the second officer, she helped to loosen the ropes of the life boat.  Provided she lives, she knows others will ask her three questions: What she knew?  When she knew it?  What did she do about it?  She believes she must have something respectable to say.

The saga continues on the Mediterranean, five miles off the Italian coast.  While water permeates the ship’s hull, it allows the floating Rome to burn.  Will 48 sailors make it to shore alive?  What about the rest of the crew?  Will the capsized ship sink?  How will the officers answer for their actions?  I will respond to those questions when the story ends.  In the meantime, are there times in your life when you have exhibited the traits of each of these officers?  Where are you on any given day when you forget to put on or give up your armor of faith, the knowledge of His word, the spirit of courage, the guidance from prayer and wise counsel, or a line of sight to the foot of the cross?

James 1:2-12 tells us, 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves.  Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.  9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!  And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer!  Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.  You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers.  Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem.  Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.”  At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.  12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate.  For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life”  – (TLB). 

In You Are I Am, Mercy Me reminds us that while we doubt, God delivers.  I’ve been the one to shake with fear and wonder if You’re even here.  I’ve been the one to doubt Your love.  I’ve told myself You’re not enough.  I’ve been the one to try and say I’ll overcome by my own shame.  I’ve been the one to fall apart and start to question who You are.  You’re the one who conquers giants.  You’re the one who calls out kings.  You shut the mouths of lions.  You tell the dead to breathe.  You’re the one who walks through fire.  You take the orphan’s hand.  You are the one Messiah.  You are I am

When you choose to sit out, be prepared to stress out because the shame of standing by lasts a long time.  If you choose to get strung out be prepared to stroke out because the guilt that comes from abandoning others can never be medicated enough.  If you choose to stand out, you may strike out but you can rest with the dignity of knowing you gave it your all.


Calico’s Corner

“To know a man, observe how he wins his object, rather than how he loses it; for when we fail, our pride supports us – when we succeed, it betrays us” – Caleb Colton

Psalms 119:143 teaches us, “You are right and you do right, God; your decisions are right on target.  You rightly instruct us in how to live ever faithful to you.  My rivals nearly did me in, they persistently ignored your commandments.  Your promise has been tested through and through, and I, your servant, love it dearly. I’m too young to be important, but I don’t forget what you tell me.  Your righteousness is eternally right, your revelation is the only truth.  Even though troubles came down on me hard, your commands always gave me delight.  The way you tell me to live is always right; help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.”  (MSG)

I heard a story of an Irish longshoreman who moved to Italy to find work.  He found a job in the Italian fleet as a deckhand.  He later promoted to the engine room and then onward to the bridge.  He was a family man who was a person of the people.  He showed up every day, made a living and a positive impact on the people and the environment in which he operated.  He was very laid back and there were few complaints about him or around him.  Even though he was aware of great imperfections in those levitating above him, he seemed happy and content where he was.  One day, a crew from a coast guard boat boarded the ship and compelled him to discuss the shortcomings and weaknesses of his superiors.  He dutifully did what he was asked to do and told what he knew about the captain and first mate’s arrogance and unfairness.  But, when he realized that the words he spoke were going to be used against others to bring justice to the justified and that his involvement would be made public, he immediately packed his bags and jumped ship.  A couple of years later, after the deck had been cleared, the dust settled, and peace had been restored, he returned and reclaimed a place of higher prominence.  He returned as the ship’s first mate.  His friends from before were elated to see him return.

At first, his presence seemed innocuous.  He spoke highly of the people to the people about the people.  “If you take care of the people, the work will take care of itself” was his mantra.  With self-decreed leopard’s prowess, he surrounded himself with smiling faces and nodding heads.  Their smooth surfaces reduced friction and avoided conflict.  He began building a maritime community that defined happiness as the absence of complaints.  No issues were ever caused by limitations, deficiencies or failures, but were merely personality conflicts that could be resolved through persuasion or negotiation.  All seafood catch production was deemed high quality and fishing impact was seconded to happiness.  He thrived on the crescendo-ing ride to captain as his pride distended and his illusion of distinction bulged.  But overtime, the façade of reputational grandeur thinned and illuminated this calico’s stripes.  As clients began to object to the standards of the quality label and stakeholders questioned the product’s impact, his former supporters erupted about their personal oppression by the suppression of their thoughts and ideas.  The seaward Silk Utopia quickly denigrated into the aquatic Plateaux du Combat.  It was apparent that the tabby captain had built a ship made of particle board and carved lands and grooves into the thin stock.  From a distance on a dry dock, its condition appeared pristine.   The reality was that the vessel was not sea-worthy.  Nonetheless, without seeking the wise counsel of the master craftsman wood workers and machinists who also worked in the shipping yard, he charted a course for his boat that took him into deep water.  As the storms approached and the salt water penetrated the hull, the impotence of his singular ideas, the imprudence of his design, the frailness of his crew, and the inanity of his leadership philosophy, placed his crew in great peril and left his investors at a loss.

Once again, he was faced with the images of faults and defects.  This time, instead of turning tail and running, he stayed; not to face his flaws as a leader head on but to illuminate the blemishes of others.  As more light shone on the mastermind behind the mess, tension from the sailors grew.  The crowd’s earlier cheers of praise became chatter about the problems and then chants for a successor.  They then mounted a mutiny.  Most of the ship’s officers surrounded the captain or cowered on the lower deck.  Some hedged their bets on his success while others didn’t know what to do.  Still three others disconnected from the corps.  Instead of acknowledging his leadership voids, he shifted blame to his crew while he negotiated his exit and re-employment with another shipping company.  Meanwhile, the ship began taking on water in the high winds of the storm.

As the Silk Utopia violently swayed to her starboard side, a pressure-bound explosion started a fire in the engine room.  Half of the sailors began dousing the flames with foam while the others stormed the weapon’s room and then began searching for the captain.  The three outlying officers stayed on deck.  One then ran below the deck to help the sailors find the captain.  One ran up the port side of the ship to see if the life boats were still attached.  She then made a hard right and headed towards the bridge to use the intercom to call the sailors to the life boats, to use the radio to call Mayday, and to set off the beacons and the flares.  The third officer ran for the satellite phone and called headquarters to inform them of the situation.  Once the first officer accurately steered the searching sailors in the direction of the captain, he returned to the deck to help the two other officers load and dump the life boats into the water.  When the three officers realized that there was only one water worthy life boat that held 48 passengers when 84 sailors remained aboard, they each had a come to Jesus moment.  They had each jumped into action moments earlier for very different reasons but never imagined that the situation would degrade to the circumstance they were facing separately and as a team.  One took action for the satisfaction of seeing the captain get his due.  The second officer acted because she wanted to save the other sailor’s lives, and the third because the manual prescribed a specific protocol.  Together, they were the only sense of guidance the sinking ship had.  What if you dig and what if you find a thousand more unanswered questions down inside; that’s all you find.  What if you pick apart the logic and begin to poke the holes.  What if the crown of thorns is no more than folklore that must be told and re-told.  But what if you’re wrong?  What if there’s more?  What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?  Nicole Nordeman – What If

Each of us can relate to the Irish captain is some way.  Some of us are from humble beginnings while others of us are looking to make a better life for our families.  Others still are on a corporate climb, seeking to extend our networks, in pursuit of that next best thing.  The truth is our failure is imminent without:

  • The armor of our faith
  • The knowledge of His word
  • The strength of a spirit of courage
  • The guidance from prayer and wise counsel, and
  • A line of sight of the foot of the cross

Without these, the sores of our humanity gaped open by the arrogance of our egos will ooze the greed of our insatiable appetites for worldly wealth that leads to our demise.  As Casting Crowns reminds us, Be careful little eyes what you see.  It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings.  Be careful little ears what you hear.  When flattering leads to compromises, the end is always near.  Be careful little lips what you say, for empty words and promises leave broken hearts astray.  It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away.  It’s a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray and thoughts invade; choices are made.  A price will be paid when you give yourself away.  People never crumble in a day.  Slow Fade

More to come on seeing ourselves in the character of the officers.  In the meantime, here is where my reflection on the story has me:

  1. Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisors who tell them the truth. (Proverbs 16:13)
  2. The honor of good people will lead them, but those who hurt others will be destroyed by their own false ways. (Proverbs 11:3)
  3. First pride, then the crash — the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

The journey from your mind to your hands is shorter than you’re thinking.  Be careful if you think you stand, you just might be sinking.  Slow Fade


Diamonds and Pearls

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods.  Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.  Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father.  It just isolates you from him.  The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.  1 John 2:15-16 (MSG)

God wants us to love one another! I had the privilege of having lunch with a sister who is new to the area and new to the church.  We spent time getting to know each other and musing about where God has us right now.  It was very obvious to me that we are two very different people who have intersected on the same path.  A cascade of thoughts led me to see that we are both gems in God’s eyes.  But I am a diamond and she is a pearl.

There are many of us who grew up in the era of re-engineering and on the mantra of “do more with less.” We flew the coup at 18, got a college degree, and turned pro.  We chased our dreams, pursued our careers, followed our first minds, raised our children, tracked our accomplishments, and leaned in to be all that we could be.  We hit the ground running and have not ever slowed down.  We pride ourselves on shining the brightest because we have done so much while under tremendous pressure.  We are the diamonds of our day.

He knows our value is driven by our rarity. As we gain seasoning, we come to realize the significance and the worth of our uniqueness.  Other factors that affect our value are easily remembered as the four Cs:

  • Color – We are known to keep a cool head even in the face of adversity because the spirit is with us.
  • Clarity – We know well the shallow nature of knowledge and information.  Through our experiences, we strive to learn to see things through the Father’s viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. We started out believing in this: 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As it says in the book of Job, God uses man’s own brilliance to trap him; he stumbles over his own “wisdom” and falls. 20 And again, in the book of Psalms, we are told that the Lord knows full well how the human mind reasons and how foolish and futile it is. (1 Cor. 3:19-20 – TLB) And have since learned this: 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure. That’s the most important thing about it. And that’s not all. It also loves peace. It thinks about others. It obeys. It is full of mercy and good fruit. It is fair. It doesn’t pretend to be what it is not. (James 3:17 – NIRV)
  • Cut – Although we are as flawed or fractured as the next persons, it is our cracks that allow light to shine through; the thing that gives us our greatest value to His people.
  • Carat weight – Bigger is not always better, but we seek to be worth our weight in Godly wisdom.

He built some of our sisters to bear different talents. They go about life, seemingly in a shell, living in the moment and embracing the production of one thing at a time.  They don’t spend energy multi-tasking or doing the things that create the pressures that made us.  They understand the beauty that can be made from a single grain of sand when it is surrounded by suppleness and gentility.  They have learned that size doesn’t matter.  They know that when there are lots of small heavenly treasures, each aligned perfectly so that light passing along the axis of one is reflected and refracted by the other to produce a tapestry of light and color, they have love.  Their nacre is not just a soothing substance, it is what surrounds them.  It is their community and they enjoy its people.  They are the pearls of their day.

A gem is a naturally occurring material desirable for its beauty, valuable in its rarity, and sufficiently durable to give lasting pleasure.  In all of our wanting, He has brought us together to help each other walk this path to eternity, while uniquely shimmering and shining light for others to see.  By living out our lives with each other, the magnetism of our opposing poles brings us closer together in Him.  The pressure of one and shell of the other illustrates and illuminates that so frequently the waters we wade in swell from the storms in our lives.  When the tide rises, we question God’s faithfulness as we wonder if He will let us drown.  Rather than standing up on the bedrock of faith with the confidence that He is with us and will save us when we call on His holy name, we give up as we set ourselves adrift in the murkiness and darkness of the heavy wake.  And then along comes His servants beside us to be His countenance in the face of difficulty.  They reach out their scarred hands and bring us in.  They tell us their harrowing stories of near death experiences and how they too were rescued by His ambassadors.  They feed us and warm us, then teach us and lead us to the foot of the cross.  In the right season, they meet us on this journey of life as they pray for us until we choose to believe in Him on our own.  They baptize us in His name and fast for us just the same.  They cheer for us as we gallop through the Garden of Eden and they weep for us as we are dragged through the Garden of Gethsemane.  They love us and show us we are not alone.  They meet with us and talk through issues with us, yet never breach a single bit of trust we placed in them.  Through them we learn: When private is not secret; When hugging is not holding back; When frankness delivers forgiving words; When His light shines through their cracks; When holding hands helps someone to hold on; When quiet knows the voice of reason; When we step outside our comfort zone, until He brings stillness to this season.

Caleb Colton once said, “Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm.”  Each gem is impacted by its environment.  We were each naturally formed by Him and given a path that leads back to Him, if we choose to follow it.  Once committed to it, we have a duty to bring all that we are because (as New Hope has taught): “Found People Find People; Saved People Serve People; Connected People Grow; Growing People Change; and Devoted People Give.” By working together, these values show.

God uses the mundane and the incredible that occurs in our everyday lives to teach us lessons and to hone our gifts to be used as blessings in the lives of others. Tell me what good God has done for you today?  Are you lost or looking for others?  Are you serving, connecting, or growing?  What have you given of yourself in His name lately?  When was the last time you reached out for someone or gave thanks for the same having been done for you?  Whether you are a diamond or a pearl or a gem of another sort, we are not our own when we serve Him.  My prayer for us today is: Lord, may we always want what You want for us and see what You see in others.  May we always be willing to give to Your children to help bring them home while keeping us close to You.  Please continue to provide us opportunities to share our gifts, embrace our differences, be blessings, and love Your people.  In our lifetime, may we discover as many gems as possible and bring them to You for Your glory, teaching each other not to want of the world but to hunger and thirst for You.  It is in Your Son’s name I pray this- Amen

I know I need You. I need to love You.  I’d love to see You but it’s been so long.  I long to feel You.  I feel this need for You.  I need to hear You.  Is that so wrong?  Tenth Avenue North – Times