Advice in the Moment

Ever been asked to give some advice to someone who is in the middle of what most likely is a complex multilayered dilemma?

I was recently. It had to do with a marriage relationship that had become adversarial. There was a lot of pain and frustration in their eyes and voices and I so wanted to help but I only had a few minutes to spend with them.

My response: “I see and feel your pain and I applaud your willingness to open up to me. I’m a much better sign post pointing people in a direction than I am a destination that unpacks these things. So I’ll point you to a counselor, but in the meantime at the risk of sounding simplistic, here’s my advice: In your every interaction with each other, ask yourself…what is the loving thing to think, say or do right now and then think it, say it and do it”.

Will this advice solve all their issues…probably not. Will it improve their relationship and put them in a better place to actually address their issues? I think so.

And it might be a good way to conduct all your relationships.

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She wanted to experience the beauty of snorkeling the reef, but she didn’t want to get into the water.

He wanted to start a business, but he didn’t want to put up his life savings to fund it.

It is one thing to talk about a life of faith and another to live it…right? Are not faith and risk inseparable?

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So this week I returned from a beautiful stay with our partners at Springs of Hope Kenya and a layover in France. Not to sound overly querulous but here is what awaited me:

After 22 hours of my 6′ 2″ frame sitting in a near upright fetal position on planes, trains and automobiles my back was screaming at me while the rest of my body was fighting an unwelcomed discomforting infection. After landing at TIA I learned my phone had been hacked along the way and my phone number now was in the possession of an unknown thief who was attempting to gain access to my finances. When I arrived home I was met with a “Dali-ish” water stain on the ceiling left by our backed up AC. We had paid all our bills in advance…or so we thought. One slipped by us, the water bill, so yep we were dry.
There are way worse problems people deal with in this world but in that moment of exhaustion I succumbed to a brief identification with Job.

A three hour conversation with five different customer service agents and with the help of my carrier I got my phone number back. My doctor has me on antibiotics for the next month. And the ceilings needed repainting anyway.

Sometimes, maybe most times, you can’t change life…but you can change yourself, with a little help from above.

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Predict or Create

When we look to the future most people attempt to make predictions. Some of us are just crazy enough to think we can have a hand in creating it.

So this past week I spent a day mentoring three bright and talented young Kenyan pastors who love God and want to make a difference in this messed up world. Then I had the privilege of facilitating a retreat for the leadership of Springs of Hope Kenya who are changing the whole trajectory of hundreds of lives.

They get it. Why sit back and attempt to predict the future when you can have a hand in creating it.

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Last Saturday Springs of Hope Kenya had two new arrivals. One was a little boy of unknown name and age who had been abandoned. The other arrival was a Cypress dental team.

The little boy has been given the name of Baraka, which means “blessing”. He now lives in a home with children who have also been abandoned, or orphaned, or abused in unthinkable ways. We don’t know his past story, we do know he is among children who now have a hope and a future as they receive worth, dignity and the kind of care that changes the whole trajectory of their lives.

The Cypress dental team has seen over 100 children, students and adults. Fillings, bondings and extractions…that change both their health and self esteem. They made a visit to a landfill that is home to internally displaced people and brought provisions, clothes and shoes. They have done the Cypress tribe proud.

Every time I step into this space it “right-sizes” life for me. The challenges these kids have to face…right-sizes my problems. The way these challenges are overcome with God and His people…right-sizes my faith in a God who arranges such escapades that I have been a part of this last week. Next I turn my attention to pouring into the leadership of SOHK as I join them in a retreat. Continued prayers appreciated.


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