back in the US of A

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We are back! Wow, what a journey!! I am sad that it is over, but looking forward to taking the lessons learned and applying them back home. The trip has put a greater fire within my inward parts to head back to the land of great need. Here are some of the lessons I have learned while in the Congo:

People everywhere have needs. The people of the Congo have needs and so do those in the USA, Canada, and uttermost parts of the world. The job is daunting and daring. In reality, it is a job no man can do alone, but only a force of people motivated by compassion for the needy, impoverish, and broken.

I can only do so much alone. We were able to meet over a hundred different people while in the Congo. Mostly pastors, youth leaders and youth. They have many questions and various needs. I can only give so much. I can count on my hands and toes the numbers of individuals who approached us for food, clothing and money. I make more in a day than they do in a year, yet I was unable to fulfill the needs of everyone. Am I required to. No. However, as the old proverb states, “to whom much is given much is required.”

Need is a strong word. A need is something I cannot live without (ie. food, water, and shelter). We think we need lots of things. When truthfully we want a lot and need little. It is hard to be convinced you need little. It is equally as hard to convince other who have little that you (who have much) cannot fulfill their needs.

God is the only one able to fill the void. I cannot throw money or resources at physical or spiritual poverty. If I do I will spoil rotten a growing baby (for more on this click here). Only God change change a life. I can make ones life better for a time, but God can make it better for eternity.

I need more of God. I think of Jesus countless encounters with wealthy and poor, needy and satisfied throughout the Scriptures. His motto to all peoples is, “I must increase and you must decrease,” “follow Me,” “bear your cross,” and “in your weakness I will be made strong.” In other words may there me less of me and more of God. The greatest need I have is not more spiritual books, money for a new roof or garments to keep me warm, but a wholly relationship with my Creator and Sustainer. I need the Great Provider, God.

Check out our travel photos.

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coveteousness

covet this

What company are behind these slogans? (answers are below)
1. “Got milk?”
2. “Diamonds are forever”
3. “Just do it”
4. “Eat Fresh”
5. “You’re in good hands with _____”
6. “have it your way”
7. “the quicker picker upper”
8. “Tastes great, less filling”
9. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”
10. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”

_______________________________

Our society’s song is the selfish opera “me, me, me, me, me, me, me” Marketers spend billions of dollars to get you to spend billions more on the got-to-have-it campaign. The Cliff of Covetousness is a slippery slope from saying “Oh that’s nice.” to “I’ve got to have what you have.” to “It’s mine!” to “I need more!”

Now we know that there is the difference between a WANT and NEED. And it s not bad to have stuff. Even a lot of stuff, but it becomes bad when we want it more than the One who has provided all things to us in the first place.

The Tenth Commandment: “Do not covet.” (Exodus 20:17) In other words, we are not to be obsessed with someone’s possessions. We are not to allow stuff to replace the place the God wants to have in out live. We are not to crave more and be unsatisfied with less. We are not to forsake our Provider by hoarding our own provisions.

Here are 4 creative to eliminating Covetousness:

1. Admire without having to Acquire. You can admire or appreciate something without having to acquire it. I really enjoy playing the Wii, but I don’t have to acquire one to be fully happy. I really desire to have a Harley Davison, but I am not going to die if I don’t acquire one. Am I wasting time, energy, and faith on things that do not matter? As the saying goes He who dies with the most toys wins, but do you ever see a hearse with a trailer of toys behind it?

Coveting is an old sin that has been from the beginning of man. Satan coveted God’s power desired to acquire. Adam and Eve desired to acquire knowledge. Cain desired to acquire a better sacrifice than his brother Able. Do you have control over coveting?

2. Confess what you obsess. You might think to yourself, “How did he get that job?” “I cant believe she got one of those.” “If only I had a few more dollars for…” “Why can’t my parent only have more money like those other parents.”

In reality do we really need anything? Does it really matter that much? Will I really be satisfied if I have it? Will I really arrive with it? What we do deserve: an eternity without God, death, hell. As children of God we have everything, and we might not even realize it (“as children of God we are heir and joint heirs with Christ.”). You have food, clothes and shelter, but you also have forgiveness, love, life and eternity in Christ. You have power over your sinfulness through the Spirit, true joy, treasures in heaven and so much more.

You came into this world with nothing and you will leave with nothing. It is amazing how our something’s becomes everything to us between the nothings. Sad to say, one day you will die, and all the stuff you owe and clout you claimed will die with you.

3. Don’t flatter what doesn’t matter (Mt.6:19-21). You will have a lot of stuff, work most of your life for money to pay for your stuff, but you got to get your priorities straight. The possession, power, prestige will only matter for a while In Ecclesiastes, Solomon the man who had it all said, “It is vanity” and that “life is but a vapor.” The only thing that lasts and the only thing that has eternal value is God. Spend your time on what matters.

4. Don’t resent; be content. The exact opposite of coveting is contentment. Contentment is not lazy or lackadaisical, rather it is learning to be cool with what you got (Phil.4:12). Paul had lots and little. Having a lot means there is a lot to give, having little means there is little to idol the heart.

Coveting can lead to lapse in the other commandments: coveting can lead you into adultery, stealing, lying, even murder. Coveting is closely linked to idolatry in the bible. What are the idols of your heart? What is your attitude towards the things that turn your head and heart? Are you more proud of your possessions that your profession of faith in God?

_______________________________

What company is behind these slogans? (answers are below)
1. “Got milk?” (1993, California Milk Processor Board)
2. “Diamonds are forever” (1948, De Beers)
3. “Just do it” (1988, Nike, NKE)
4. “Eat Fresh” (Subway)
5. “You’re in good hands with _____” (1956, Allstate Insurance)
6. “have it your way” (Burger King)
7. “the quicker picker upper” (Bounty)
8. “Tastes great, less filling” (1974, Miller Light)
9. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” (1954, M&M Candies)
10. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking” (1956, Timex)