Think about this as you build your ministry

“Woohoo! Look at me!!!” – ever want to say that? Sometimes, when feeling particularly accomplished, I wish others could see what I see – and tell me how awesome I am. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. (Hey, just being real here!)

“Wow, you are awesome!” would be a great reward… or would it? Truth is, public acclamation is like the chocolate of rewards. Doesn’t last. Gives you a quick high, some strength to keep going, but wouldn’t work as your only food source.

So what kind of reward fuels you for the long haul, and lasts forever? There is something called a prophet’s reward in the Bible. It says that when you actively embrace a messenger of God (a prophet – someone sold out to promoting God’s agenda only), you get the same reward he or she gets. (Matthew chapter 10 toward the end, if you want to check it out).

What does that mean? Well, when you recognize that God is transforming the lives of people (you cannot change the world without changing lives) through a specific person, you are recognizing God.

And recognizing God is a big deal.

It means that often the most significant work we do is unseen. It means if I bless a prophet  (no matter where they are in chain of command) to help them achieve their potential to change the world, I will be blessed every time.

It also means that when others invest in my life, and recognize God’s hand on what I do, they too will be blessed. I’ve seen it again and again.

Is public acclamation bad? Of course not! It gives you a great platform, is sweet and – a lesson I learned long ago – a crowd draws a crowd. I want that platform. Anyone who has anything worth saying should want it. But it cannot be your identity. If you base your ministry identity on being more and more attractive to more and more people, you will lose yourself.

And that is no reward at all.

It’s so opposite to what we humans believe. To us, public acclamation alone is success – turns out it is chocolate, and can melt as quickly.

Recognizing God in the lives of those that are truly devoted to doing his work – and helping them be strong – will keep you strong for a lifetime. Now that is the reward I want!

Father, please help us be peaceful enough today to recognize you at work through others, and to bless you by blessing them.

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15 Fun Wordplays (take a mental break)

This is for people who love to play with words. Sorry I don’t know to whom it should be attributed. Or if they want attribution!

1. A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.

2. A will is a dead giveaway.

3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backward poet writes inverse.

5. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

6. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

7. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

8. You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

9. He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

10. A calendar’s days are numbered.

11. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

12. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

13. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.

14. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

15. When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

Steve Jobs: Creative or Savvy?

Hey Mac peeps – is Jobs really creative on same level as Mozart – or just a savvy businessman?

Here’s what happened: I was listening to classical music on my drive yesterday morning, and heard the story of Paganini. So many of the masters died penniless, often without recognition in their lifetimes. Or having risen and fallen dramatically.

So I was pondering true creativity when I twittered this question: “Paganini died a pauper. what is it w creative geniuses & money or lack thereof?!! lack of apprciation, $management, priorities, risk tkg??”

Got this response from a Twitter follower: “Steve jobs is pretty darn creative an ain’t a pauper…:)”

My reply: “He’s a good manager of other people’s creativity. I think he’s an innovative businessman, but wouldn’t put him in same categ. as Mozart, Paganini or VanGogh.”

Just chewing on it… What do you think?

(I suppose my questions about artists and their ability to maintain healthy long term relationships will wait for another day! LOL – these posts come from someone who is a poet at heart, comes from a creative family and works with creatives).

Insomnia

It’s two am and I can’t sleep.

Thinking of Italy, paperwork, Faithy forbidding us from working on Monday, China, more paperwork, the beauty of people growing, the sorrow of people stagnating, my husband’s love, my family’s potential, people we do life with, people we miss, potential potential potential for so much ahead, not wanting to make bad decisions, and a gazillion blog posts.

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

I think I’ll get some wings. The kind you eat. Though I could certainly use the other kind.

What would you do if you had wings and could fly anywhere you wanted? I’m not sure what I would do…. probably fly and fly, further and further until I was so utterly spent and exhausted I’d have to drop down. And sleep. No more insomnia.

Da Vinci Notebook

I came across this quote from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Da Vinci was a genius. He started life in a simple way, as the illegitimate son of a peasant woman and a notary. He painted the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and many other works of art.

But above all he was an astounding thinker. He is responsible for advances in architecture, botany, engineering, science, mathematics, anatomy… and more. This is what he said:

While I thought I was learning to live,
I have been learning how to die.

Hmm. I am going to be chewing on that one for a while. What do you think he meant?

Are You Starting Over?

It is becoming a tradition that I post this every year!  I have found that there’s always someone out there that needs it right around this time of year… could it be you?

Sometimes things get blown apart...

I am sitting in a Starbucks thinking about growing things.

In 2003, when we moved into our house, there was a huge 60 foot (at least) Tree. It was a hub of zoological life in our back yard. A virtual Grand Central Station of flora and fauna. Squirrels, birds, foot long fluorescent green lizards, children… all were drawn to it.

In 2005 hurricane Wilma visited. For a day we watch it assault our beloved Tree. Through the night it howled, as our Tree and thousands of others fought a losing battle. We watched 20-foot branches weaken and begin to tear, giant invisible hands pulling on them until they fell with a crash, inaudible in the roaring storm.

Morning came; our Tree was devastated. By God’s mercy it didn’t cave in our home. It simply fell apart, becoming a pile of wood and leaves, taller than me, filling our entire yard, destroyed by an event totally outside its control.

I miss that big old shady Tree, so full of life. It made me feel safe. It gave me a sense of roots, of stability when we first moved here and were weary with transition.

The yard has been transformed. Grass grows where it could not grow before, because the Tree’s shadow used to lord it over all. A new tree now grows in its place. Not the same at all, but pretty. Several feet away I planted an avocado tree. Can’t wait to taste the fruit. On the rebuilt fence nearby morninglories grow. Always my favorite flower, because they are new every morning, just like the mercy of God.

And in an opposite corner, I have two papaya trees waiting to be planted. They were given to me as babies, six inches tall each. Now they are a few feet tall, and more than ready to be planted. I very much look forward to their fruit.

I’m planning on having lots of containerized trees also. Oranges, mandarins, lemons… and maybe a mango tree or two in the ground.

New things grow when old things fall apart. It’s the way things work. My big old Tree in an odd way was a special friend. I would look out the window at the kitchen sink, see its huge trunk enveloped with life, and feel safe. But its foliage, so beautiful, was too big.

It was top heavy and in the end that is why it could not stand the storm. Its presence fell over the entire yard, and a lot of other things couldn’t grow in its shadow.

When we hauled all the old branches out, and the stump was ripped out of the ground, I had no inspiration as to what would replace it. I didn’t understand why it had to go.

Now I do.

My thoughts drift to other places in life. More than once I have had cherished relationships torn apart by storms the hit us unannounced. Work situations, life situations, seemingly unnecessary situations…

But new things grow when old things fall apart. Always.