Casual Pursuit

For some reason the words “casual pursuit” hit me today. In reading Luke 5, we find Jesus calling His first disciples. The scene is set with Jesus standing by a lake sharing the word of God with people. While there he sees a few boats and some fishermen cleaning up after a day at work. Jesus then goes down to the water and jumps in the boat and asks one of the fishermen to push to boat out a little and then continued to teach people from the boat.

So was Jesus just looking for a different perspective to continue teaching? I’m not sure why the change in teaching places, but in verse 4 we see that when He was done speaking he asked Simon to head out into the deep water and go catch some fish. The story then goes on to tell the multitude of fish that were caught on a day when the fishermen spent day and night trying but caught nothing, until now!

It was after reading this story that the idea of “casual pursuit” hit me. Putting myself in the context of this story, I often find myself trying to hear from God while He is teaching from the shallow waters. As soon as He says, let’s head out into the deep I find myself much less willing. The result I see from this is a casual pursuit of my faith.

I don’t want to live a life in a casual pursuit, but I want to be willing to head into the deep waters. My two sons love to go swimming and while they are more than capable to play in the shallow end, they love it when dad takes them into the deep end. In the same way, our Father in Heaven sees a multitude in the shallow end where they can touch the bottom and live a safe life. Then there are those who are willing to step into the deep end with confidence that God is there with a tremendous blessing. It might be costly, but it’s worth it! Who wants to jump into the deep end with me!!

One-Way Tickets~

Ethiopian Partnerships

One of the main purposes for my trip to Ethiopia last month was to refine some of the partnerships that have been put in front of us.  We have been praying that as we move out to Ethiopia that we would be connected with great partners who share the same passion and commitment to serving the poor, orphan, and vulnerable.  God has not only answered those prayers but exceeded them!

A great example at the heart of our partnerships is one shared with Paul and the Philippians.  Paul used the word, koinonia,for his partnership with the Philippians. In English, it’s usually translated as “fellowship.” The Philippians loved Paul and believed in his mission, so through their faithful support they partnered—fellowshipped—with him to rescue others.

We are excited to announce in addition to our partnership with No Ordinary Love Ministries for our Orphans care ministry, we will be partnering with FashionABLE in creating sustainable business for woman in Ethiopia.  FashionABLE works with women who have been exploited due to the effects of poverty.  They are creating opportunity for these women and also creating awesome products.  The main product are beautiful scarf’s and with the purchase of a scarf you are providing jobs, and then the net profits are sent back to holistically rehabilitate more women in Ethiopia.


In Ethiopia, prostitution is often linked with deep levels of generational poverty and financial hopelessness. Lacking meaningful resources and a sense of hope, many women resort to prostitution as a means of supporting themselves and their families. These women are often desperate to leave the sex industry but remain trapped by a lack of opportunity and rehabilitative support.

We will be working with FashionAble in Ethiopia to bring our entrepreneurial, business, and design background to further develop the great work that is already underway.

TAKE A STAND:

Sometimes in life you have to take a stand.  There are a number of other examples of people who we revere for their courage in taking a stand, William Wallace, King Leonidas, Dietrich Bonheoffer were a few.  Then we have, Moses and David.

Moses was asking by God to enter the land of his birth, go and face the man he once called brother, and tell him that Pharaoh must let the Israelites go or else God will bring sever judgment upon him.

David, a young man whom while bringing food to his brother, looks at Goliath, and says, “Why is this uncircumcised philistine defying the armies of the living God.”

Another example would be Noah building the Ark.  As a side note, have you ever thought about how we teach our children these stories in Sunday school, but then as we get older they become more mythical as if we have a different god then the one who did these miracles.

You will be faced with taking a stand in life somewhere.  Where, when, and how is in God’s hands, but are you ready & willing to take a stand?

It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

If you know Jesus, the fact that it’s Friday and Sunday is coming should bring you great joy.  If you don’t know Jesus, it’s Friday but Sunday is coming!

Our plans, HIS Plans (part 1)

Ian & Mike heading to Addis
Addis

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.  What is desired in a man is Steadfast Love” Proverbs 19:21-22.

This verse has never been more powerful in my life as I lead my family into an incredible journey of God’s call to Ethiopia.  As some of you know, I just got back from my fourth and final trip to Ethiopia prior to the trip when the whole family moves over.  God gave me a unique opportunity to make this trip with my father-in-law Mike Rider and was really a blessing to share this time together.

In preparation of the trip I was making many plans and scheduling a number of meetings so that we could make every second count.  The meetings ranged from local businessmen, ministry leaders, government officials, and everyone else in between.  The first day we landed I had an overwhelming moment of clarity and peace clashing with the overwhelming reality of bringing my family to Ethiopia.  I was confident that this was the place God has called us to, without a doubt, but at the same time my faith scale felt like it just got thrown into a whole new arena.  Everything that was familiar to me in the context of “home” was now transferred into a new perspective and trusting God looked much different.

Upon landing and fighting off the jet lag from over 20 hours of travel, again God really grabbed me and with back to back meetings lined up for our week I knew that if this week was going to be fruitful I needed to give God control and was reminded that “it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand”.  In looking back over the week in Ethiopia, I’m so thankful and God exceeded all expectations.  I will share more details in the weeks to come, but amazing things were put in motion this past trip and the opportunities God has placed before us are huge.

Please be praying for our family as we take some of the most significant steps of faith we have taken yet.  We are filled with joy as we prepare to move over as a family.  Our hearts are also filled with the beautiful people of Ethiopia and the hope and love that we are excited to share with them.


Donate Your Day

Donate Your Day - Leap Year

Make your days count.

A few weeks back God gave us Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”.  I, Ian, woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks back with over 20,000 children on my heart.  Currently it’s estimated that over 20,000 children die per day around the world from preventable disease, malnourishment, and generally things that could be prevented.  When multiplied out over a month, it’s over 500,000 children…so in the context of Psalm 90:12, we feel a greater burden to make each day count.  How will you make your day today count?

A few quick statistics on Ethiopia: SFL VIDEO*

• Home to 90 million people (2nd most populated nation in Africa)

• 5 million orphans

• 100,000 street kids in Addis Ababa

• 1 in 10 children die before 1st birthday

• 1 in 6 children die before 5th birthday

Powerful Prayer

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. (James 5:17 ESV)

I’m finding this verse very encouraging and challanging to me, to think that here in James we are told that Elijah was a man just like me…what!?  A man who prayed for the beginning and end of a drought, raise the dead, and called down fire and water from heaven, yep a man just like me…  Elijah was a mighty man, but the truth is that he was just a man.  His belief and relationship with God was what took this ordinary man and made his extraordinary.

Elijah wasn’t afraid to speak boldly and in 1 kings 18:21 we see his boldnesss, “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  But the people said nothing. (1 Kings 18:21 NIV).  Elijah challenged the people to act and make a stand.  It’s a challenge that is in front of us today, one that requires much but there is great joy in taking a bold stand for God.

I’m intrigued by this man, I’m inspired to be a man like him and allow God to do what He does.  It’s amazing that God desires to use us to bring His glory on earth, it’s also where our greatest joy will be found.

Are there Heroes Today?

lil HerosI was recently sitting down with my five year old watching Iron Man when he stopped and asked me a great question. “Daddy, are there heros in real life today?” Many of our kids growing up today see guys like Iron Man, Superman, and Batman as cartoon superheroes but what is a real hero made of and where do we find them today? As a father, what a great opportunity to share what a “real” hero is today, and it’s certainly not just some guy dressed up in a costume behind a mask beating up bad guys. I would suggest that there are modern day heroes all around us today, a hero is made because they are moved, not in there head but their heart. They are willing to spend themselves on behalf of others, no matter the cost. God has designed us to become true modern-day heros. Men and woman, boys and girls, who are devoted, courageous, fearless, immovable, and marked with uncompromising integrity in a world that often is defined by the opposite.

So are there heroes in real life today…yes! As a father, I feel compelled to raise up my boys as a modern day hero. Consider “Hero Training” now in session!