Browse Month: February 2017

Salad on the side…

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of having lunch with three leaders from Uganda and Zambia. These are men that I have rubbed shoulders with, had multiple conversations with, and spoke on the same stage with over my eight years on African soil.

I cannot express the privilege that is mine to know these men and count them as friends. Our conversations have sharpened my leadership skills on this Continent. Sharing the stage at conferences has motivated all of us to sharpen the giftings of leaders across Africa. Watching the youngest man pictured in the middle rising to his leadership potential is one of my life’s fulfilling privileges. Leaders like these and scores of others are what motivates me to continue the pursuit of equipping, encouraging, and empowering men and women to make a difference in their sphere of influence.

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A bowl of salad please…

There was a day when you ordered a bowl of salad, that the salad actually came in a bowl. Last Saturday morning, I sat with a gentleman to talk about our CLI (Commissioning a Lifestyle of Integrity) initiative. We met at a South African coffee shop chain called Mugg & Bean. Knowing that our meeting would stretch over a couple of hours, we started with a coffee and muffin and ended with a “bowl” of salad.

When the “bowls” arrived, they came in rather large mason jars. Consumed in our conversation, both of us began to eat from the jars. Although the eating experience seemed a little strange, we continued to eat the lettuce in hopes of uncovering the bits of chicken that we presumed lay somewhere beneath it.

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La corde à trois fils ne se coupe pas facilement…

« Si quelqu’un peut l’emporter contre un seul homme, à deux on peut lui résister ; la corde à trois fils ne se coupe pas facilement. » (Ecclésiaste 4:12)

Les Amalécites ont longtemps été les ennemis d’Israël. Quand Israël errait dans le désert, les Amalécites les intimidaient, exploitaient leurs aînés et s’en prenaient à ceux qui étaient fatigués d’errer. La Bible d’étude Quest compare les Amalécites à un gang de rue contemporain qui utilise l’intimidation et le terrorisme pour effrayer ses victimes.

Dans Exode 17, les Amalécites sont venus combattre Israël dans la grande vallée de Rephidim. C’est quand il a envoyé Josué combattre les Amalécites que Moïse a appris le pouvoir de la corde à trois fils.

Durant la bataille, Moïse se tenait au sommet de la colline, le bâton de Dieu dans la main. Il avait emmené avec lui Aaron et Hur. Tant que Moïse avait les mains levées, les Israélites gagnaient, mais quand ses bras devenaient lourds et commençaient à baisser, les Amalécites prenaient le dessus. Aaron et Hur, les héros méconnus de l’histoire, ont trouvé une pierre sur laquelle Moïse a pu s’asseoir, et ils ont soutenu ses mains qui sont restées fermes jusqu’au coucher du soleil, heure à laquelle Josué a eu la victoire sur l’armée Amalécite.

Voici quelques points pour alimenter votre réflexion.

1) Les gens intègres prennent le temps d’aller voir la vue du sommet de la colline.
Quand vous êtes dans la vallée, la corruption peut vous sembler gigantesque. Prenez le temps de monter au sommet de la montagne d’influence pour avoir une vue d’ensemble. Ceci remettra les choses en perspective, le géant de la vallée sera remis à sa place et vous verrez les choses sous un nouvel angle quand vous redescendrez de la montagne.

2) Les gens intègres ne marchent pas seuls.
Ne vous leurrez pas, un mode de vie intègre peut être fatigant, solitaire et accablant. C’est pourquoi vous avez besoin de héros méconnus à vos côtés qui vous aideront à trouver une pierre pour vous asseoir quand votre énergie diminue. Quand vos bras sont fatigués, vous avez besoin de gens d’un côté comme de l’autre pour soutenir vos bras jusqu’à ce que l’intégrité l’emporte sur la corruption.

3) Les gens intègres s’engagent à long terme.
Exode 17:16 dit : « Il y aura guerre de l’Éternel contre eux (les Amalécites) de génération en génération. »
Le combat contre la corruption n’est pas une bataille d’une seule fois ; c’est un processus de toute une vie alors pourquoi se donner la peine de mener une vie d’intégrité ? Cette semaine, j’ai rencontré cinq personnes influentes qui envisagent de se joindre à une cohorte du CLI. Je leur ai demandé : « Qu’est-ce qui vous pousse à vous engager sur ce chemin de l’intégrité ? Un leader influent du gouvernement a répondu : “Cela me donne la possibilité d’ajouter de la valeur à mon entourage.” C’est pour cette raison que nous choisissons un mode de vie d’intégrité !

4) Les gens intègres comprennent la puissance de la prière.
Jésus a dit : “Je vous dis encore que si deux d’entre vous s’accordent sur la terre pour demander quoi que ce soit, cela leur sera accordé par mon Père céleste. En effet, là où deux ou trois sont rassemblés en mon nom, je suis au milieu d’eux.” (Matthieu 18:19-20)

Une corde de prière de deux ou trois a le potentiel d’asséner un rude coup à la corruption !

À la prochaine…
Don

 

What’s All the Buzz About?

Sitting on our patio here in South Africa is a daily dose of God’s incredibly compelling handiwork. From the birds to the bee’s (no pun intended), creation is a constant reminder of how we are intricately woven together by the very hands of God.

The first Bible verse I memorized as a young boy was Psalm 19:1.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

Yesterday, the surround sound buzz of a not so small bumble bee, caught my attention as it moved from flower pot to flower pot on our patio (see if you can find it in the attached picture). For some reason, the buzzing bee captivated my attention and got me thinking of the purpose it serves. So today, a quick search on the internet, has helped me to learn some things I did not know.

Did you know that according to buzzaboutbees.net around one-third of the food we eat is dependent upon bee pollination? As of 2010, United Nations placed a monetary value of One Hundred and Thirty-Four Billion Pounds ($167 billion USD) on insect pollination.

Did you know that according to www.reference.com without bees, the produce section at the market would be reduced by up to fifty percent and could pose a major threat to global agriculture?

Did you know that bees play a critical role in the lifecycle of plants?

“Flowers are made specifically to attract pollinators with bright colors, sweet aromas, and petals that create a landing platform. Flowers even give bees nectar, which they use to make honey, as motivation to visit…Michigan State University explains that pollination occurs when pollen from the male part of the plant fertilizes the female part of the plant. Bees pollinate plants by landing on the flowers, picking up pollen and then transferring it to other plants of the same species while they collect nectar…Once bees land on flowers, they pick up pollen with the hairs on their bodies. They also use electrostatic forces to keep the pollen grains sticking to their bodies. They then brush the pollen from their bodies into specialized sacks…Because bees gather nectar and pollen from one species of plant at a time, pollen gets transferred from flower to flower.”

Somehow I am not sure that the bee knows what it is doing, but when God created it, He had us in mind so that we could enjoy things like apples, lemons, carrots, broccoli, and onions!!!

Now I know that some are thinking that yesterday’s bumblebee buzz has messed with my head, but I have a feeling the next time you encounter the buzz yourself, you will take just a moment longer to reflect on God’s handiwork.

If God was so concerned about the intricacy of a bumblebee, think of how much He cares for you, the one He so fearfully and wonderfully created!

Until next Monday…

Don

The Power of Two or Three

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

The Amalekites were long time enemies of Israel. Since the days of Israel’s desert wanderings, the Amalekites had intimidated them, taken advantage of their elderly and preyed upon those who were weary from wandering. The Quest Study Bible compares the Amalekites to a present day street gang who use intimidation and terrorism to instill fear in their victims.

In Exodus 17, the Amalekites were attacking Israel in the broad valley of Rephidim. It is here that Moses learned the power of a three strand cord when he sent Joshua to defeat the Amalekites.

During the battle, Moses stood at the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands. He brought with him, Aaron and Hur. As long as Moses had his hands up the Israelites were winning, but whenever his arms grew tired and began to lower, the Amalekites would gain the upper hand. Aaron and Hur, the unsung hero’s of the story, found a stone for Moses to sit on and they held up his hands keeping them steady until sunset, at which time Joshua overcame the Amalekite army.

Here are a few things to consider.

1) People of integrity take the time to get a view from the top of the hill.

When you are in the valley, corruption can seem gigantic. Take the time to climb to the top of your mountain of influence to see the larger picture. It will put things into perspective, and the giant in the valley will be cut down to size making your outlook much different when you come down off the mountain.

2) People of integrity do not walk alone.

Don’t fool yourself, a lifestyle of integrity can be tiring, lonely, and overwhelming. That is why you need unsung hero’s to come alongside you, helping you to find a stone to sit on when your energy has depleted. When your arms get tired, you need people on either side of you who will hold up your arms until integrity gains the upper hand over corruption.

3) People of integrity are in it for the long haul.

Exodus 17:16 says: “The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

The fight against corruption is not a one time battle; it is a life-long process so why bother pursuing a lifestyle of integrity? This week, I met with five mountain influencers who are considering joining a CLI cohort. I posed the question “what would motivate you to take this journey of integrity?” A leader of influence in government responded, “it gives me an opportunity to add value to my world.” That is why we choose a lifestyle of integrity!

4) People of integrity understand the power of prayer.

Jesus said: “Suppose two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for. My Father in heaven will do it for you. Where two or three people gather in my name, I am there with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

A prayer cord of two or three has the potential to deal a severe blow to corruption!

Until next time…
Don


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