Friday, December 3, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Get your Life In Shape
"I haven't been able to start this yet..." "I haven't felt powerful enough for that..." "I don't feel really focused..." "I've been lazy..." "I haven't had time to..." Ever said any of those before? In our church we recognized ourselves saying these same things over and over again this last summer, and felt like God was trying to tell us something! So we responded, and this month our church has been focusing on a series about discipline!
What is discipline, you ask? Great question. Maybe it's like what Louis Armstrong said about jazz - "If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know." But I think we can take a look at a couple of definitions. Off the top of my head, I can't remember who said these, but they've stuck:
Being able to do what needs to get done, when it needs to get done.
Applying pain or restraint for redemptive purposes.
The Bible, of course, also has a lot to say about discipline. If I were (and I'm going to) take a stab at defining discipline according to the Bible, I would say that discipline is...
To be corrected, shaped, trained, punished, or restrained from errant behavior, usually in the context of obeying God, living righteously, or accomplishing a calling/purpose.
I'm crafting this definition mostly from the two places that the topic of discipline explicitly occurs the most: in the book of Proverbs and in Hebrews 12. Proverbs is a book about choosing a life of wisdom. Hebrews is a book about heroes who lived an adventurous faith. So if you take the occurrences of discipline from both these books, you can draw two very powerful conclusions about embracing a disciplined life:
1. It is wise to be disciplined (Proverbs)
2. Discipline is the key to becoming great (Hebrews)
So if you'd like to live a wise life that actually accomplishes the great purposes for which God has called you (albeit in your marriage, your career, your ministry, etc.), then this is for you. But it takes a little shaping up for us to move in that direction. So I'd like to share some practical keys that we discussed on how to do that. But first, I need to share a couple of rules of thumb to make sense out of those keys.
You reap what you sow
You will only be as capable as the effort you put in, and what you are is what comes out. So the more you work and maintain an aspect of your life (health, a skill, hobby, career, relationship, walking in the Spirit, etc.), the more effective you will be at it. Transformation and success don't just come to you. You have to work at it intentionally.
No discipline = death
Sorry to be so harsh, but Proverbs 5:21-23 is pretty clear about what happens if you fail to work at the things that are important - they die. A lack of discipline will result in death to your dreams, opportunities, career, relationships, etc. But the ones who are the most disciplined in life will experience fuller lives. Unfortunately, while many people don't "finish" well, especially leaders, it's just as true that many more people don't start well. Or start at all!
Ok, so here are 5 keys of discipline to shape up your life:
1. Have a vision for your life, and write it out.
What is it that you want to do? What do you need to do? What does God want you to do? What is your calling? Where is your life going? What are your opportunities? What are your obstacles? What are your dreams and goals? The point is, be aware about what your life is about and should be about. And put that into writing.
2. Have a "Game Day" for your life
Most people don't like discipline because they feel like they're working hard for nothing. We all know that athletes or musicians practice because they have to perform. What is it that you're working for? When do you need to "perform". If you aren't already an athlete or performing artist, then maybe your performance is your job, your relationships, your family, your ministry, etc.
3. Have a plan for your vision, and write it out
How will you accomplish your goals? What will it take for you to do that? What are your steps to get there? When you will work on it? The idea here is to be intentional about prioritizing what needs to get done, when it needs to get done. If you don't have a specific action plan and schedule, then you'll constantly find yourself on dates with Mr. TV or Miss Couch Potato.
4. Have some accountability
Who knows about your goals? Who is going to help you and challenge you? If you communicate these things to other people, then it greatly increases your chances of being successful at those those important things in your life.
5. No more excuses, just do it.
Actually, most people are good at steps 1-4. It's 5 that is the killer. But if you want to be a person of integrity, who does what you say want to do, then you'll just do it.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Small Prayers Answered..........
Along this adoption journey over the past two years I have prayed many prayers. Some of these prayers have been simple, some in times of desperation, some selfish, some without words because they just wouldn't come, but none went unnoticed by my Father. He heard every one and answered-
I want to share with you an amazing thing that God did while we were in Ethiopia a few weeks ago. As most of you know this process was full of pain for us and full of questions. One of the biggest questions that I had personally was how did our kids get to the orphanage and why was the process so long once they got there. I had pieced together some information and I knew that our children were taken to an orphanage in Zway by Case Abraham for a period of time prior to going to the transition house in Addis but beyond that I knew very little. One of my little selfish prayers was that God would let me fill in some of the time between when they left from the island and when they arrived at the transition house in Addis.
For anyone who has adopted you know that information is very hard to come by and the information that you are given is not always correct. I had asked on several occasions about the orphanage where our children spent some time and all that I was told was that the orphanage was closed and no longer in operation. I assumed from that information that we would never know much about our twins lives while in the orphanage but God is so much bigger than my thinking!
Hang with me as I share with you how God answered my prayer- Last January, David and I volunteered at passion 2010. While we were at Passion we walked over to the "Do Something Now" center to look around at ways that the college students could get involved in mission projects around the world. As we neared the bottom of the escalator we saw a large coffee shop area to our right and we walked over to see what the proceeds of the coffee sold were going to. We both were caught off guard to see that the sale of coffee at Passion 2010 was being used to help orphans in none other than Zway, Ethiopia.
We quickly found the owners of Gobena Coffee and shared with them that our children were from Zway and that we were waiting to bring them home yet we were having many issues with actually getting them here. They shared with us that they work with a couple named Gary and Peggy Ift and they suggested we contact them to see if they could be of any help during the process. We did contact Gary and started having brief conversations with him about orphan care in that area. We quickly realized that our paperwork issues couldn't be resolved by the Ift's but what they were doing in Zway was very interesting to us.
While we were in Zway visiting the island for a couple of days we decided to contact Peggy and Gary to see how God was using their ministry in Zway. David was heading out to one of the islands on Lake Zway for the day and so I made plans to spend the morning with Gary and Peggy. I called to see if we could meet them out in the community somewhere and Peggy explained that Gary was waiting at their home for us and that someone was there who wanted to meet us. I had no idea who would be in the middle of Zway, Ethiopia waiting to meet us and so I quickly got the kids ready to go.
My sister and I pile the kids into the van and we took a short drive to the Ift's home. When we arrived Eskel our driver pulled up to their large gate and blew the horn. Mr. Ift came out to greet us and ask us to come inside their compound. As we went into the gated area Tia and Garrett went running over to a lady who was coming off of the Ift's front porch.
As they went running Gary started explaining to me that the lady they were running towards was their caretaker at the orphanage in Zway. Again I started to cry as I realized that God hears my every single, selfish cry. Now what are the odds that Gary and Peggy's hired house help use to care for my children two years ago? Not only did she care for them but she cared for them during the period of their life that I knew nothing about.
I was so thankful that this caring lady was able to share with me about their time in the Zway orphanage. She shed so much light on all of the paperwork struggles and time line problems that had taken place with our adoption. She was so willing to share about her time with the twins while they were at the orphanage.
She has no idea but she was a part of a small answered prayer- An answer that reminds me that He cares about the small things more than even I do. As I hugged this precious lady goodbye I felt her arms around me and thought back to the first day that she held Tia and Garrett in her arms. I am sure that they were scared and confused yet God had her there to wrap her arms around them with His love.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
"People in Eastern cultures are not so worried about schedules and quotas and sales figures and returning emails and phone calls quickly. They are interested in personal contact. They are interested in firm handshakes and good food and strong coffee and sweet tea and looking in a man’s eyes to see if he is a good man or a bad man and whether he can be trusted or not."Joel Rosenberg; Inside the Revolution
I Love, LOVE, Love this quote!!!! Its interesting that last night I was talking to a friend that I just meet from Ethiopia and she was saying that she misses the community from home...for example when you make coffee you never drink it alone....there is usually 10 to 15 people that show up to just talk about the day....she then said that when she first moved her she made coffee and was getting ready to knock on all the neighbors door in her apartment building to come have some until her husband informed her that is not what they do hear....but why not...why are we all so busy that the most important things in life like relationships are not as important to us as watching our favorite tv shows on DVR.
I think my friends idea is genius and I think that I am going to make some coffee and invite the neighbors over.....
Sunday, June 27, 2010
So very thankful for all of them!!!
What did you do this weekend?
Friday, June 25, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Found This blog post recently about Gobena Coffee and thought that I would post it here as well......It is GREAT to here from people who drink and love Gobena Coffee. Thanks to all who do and keep drinking and spreading the word!!! Coffee Can Change!!!
Today was the day - the day our Gobena Coffee arrived! We've been meaning to order from this amazing coffee company for months, and we finally followed through a couple of weeks ago, putting our order in for one bag of Ethiopian (for Sean) and one bag of decaf (for me, since I can no longer have the "leaded" or "good stuff" :).
First off, if you're wondering about Gobena Coffee Co., you should follow the link on the right-hand side of my blog here to read their story in their own words. It's truly an amazing and inspirational story, and I hope it will inspire many others to order their product as well.
Second, this is some delicious coffee! No joke! The decaf (which is decaffeinated using the Swiss water method) is full-bodied and extremely flavorful! I can't wait to have a sip of the Ethiopian; which is supposedly the best! Here's a pic of me enjoying my first sip of Gobena deliciousness!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This is a post from Tammy a volunteer for Passion that worked with Steve and I at the Gobena station at Passion.....its great to see others perspectives
Reflections on Passion 2010 … a month later
Passion was different this year.
I have volunteered before at Passion 2006, Passion 2007, and Passion Atlanta. All three times were busy, exhausting and fulfilling. The perk of serving as I did in those events was that I never missed a general session, had the chance to browse the Go Center, eat lunch with (or at least near) the students, hang out at late nights and actually go somewhere to grab some dinner. Granted, it was often a quick run, but at least there was time to do it. You can read more about the experiences by clicking on the Passion tag at the bottom of the post. I wrote a lot. Links would be cumbersome.
In short, I was able to serve and experience quite a bit of Passion.
What I am about to say next isn’t a slam on volunteers who served on other teams. They worked incredibly hard. One of my roommates, for example, was on the intercessory prayer team. She was coming and going all hours of the day and night to be part of the group that was praying over Passion 24/7. The other was in the worship art center every time it was open and often was the last one out at night.
What I am about to say isn’t an attempt to bring attention to my own service. It’s more about me and my expectations.
This year I learned about serving sacrificially.
If you bought a cup of coffee at the Gobena stand, there was a good chance I was at least working there if I wasn’t actually the one who handed you the cup of coffee. The volunteers who worked the stand were often there at 8 a.m. to catch students and volunteers heading out to community groups or to their posts in the arena. They left at or near midnight when the coffee ran out for the night or the Go Center closed, whichever came first. We were open at lunch and straight through dinner. We had huge crowds in the afternoon and as people passed through the Go Center to head into the general sessions in the GWCC. Dinner was whatever was left in the Lenny’s box from the lunch you didn’t finish.
And that was just us volunteers. Steve and Danae, the couple behind Gobena, were there even earlier most days getting coffee ready for the volunteer headquarters and the hospitality rooms.
I never saw an entire general session. Missed Hillsong United altogether. Fell asleep during Francis Chan’s talk. Took a nap on one of the couches in the Go Center using a pillow that who knows who might have touched it or sat on it or … I’d rather not let my mind go too far on that count.
I’m sure there are other volunteers who could say the exact same thing.
Passion, for me, was different this year. I couldn’t tell you what anyone sang in the general sessions, but I can tell you that a student from Alabama (Roll Tide!) was a regular at Gobena and was crazy surprised when I told him so. I guess he didn’t think I’d remember in that crowd.
I don’t know what Beth Moore told the young women who saw her breakout session, but I can tell you about the two students who walked up to Gobena discussing the differences between Calvinism and Arminism and rewarded me with a fist bump when I first giggled a bit then told them it was ironic to be discussing such a topic immediately following John Piper’s message.
I haven’t the slightest clue what the Hillsong or Crowder set lists were for the late nights, but I can tell you about a group leader who bought two coffees then handed one back to me when she found out I didn’t even have time to get one for myself that morning.
Passion was different this year.
And, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Some ways that your family can pray for Haiti together........
What has happened in Haiti is catastrophic to say the least. Your child may or may not hear about this, but either way we wanted to provide you with some ways that you as a family could talk about these things at home and be praying together for Haiti. Of course, you as the parent know what your child is able to handle and comprehend so the details that you share about Haiti are left to your discretion. I do hope that we can involve these little ones, so full of faith and trust, in pleading before their mighty King and Father for those in Haiti.
Take some time to remind your child that God is in control of all things. In fact, He is the only one in charge of everything! Take time to pray together, praising God that He is God and there is no other!
" I am the Lord. There is no other Lord.
I am the one and only God.
You do not know anything about me.
But I will make you strong.
Then people will know there is no God but me.
Everyone from where the sun rises in the east
to where it sets in the west will know it.
I am the Lord.
There is no other Lord.
I cause light to shine. I also create darkness.
I bring good times. I also create hard times.
I do all of those things. I am the Lord."
"Look! I am the One!
There is no other God except me.
I put some people to death. I bring others to life.
I have wounded, and I will heal.
No one can save you from my powerful hand.
Take time to say that we do not know why this has happened, but we know that God is in control and that He is always working for His Glory which is our best. God always works in a way where people are going to know him, and knowing him is the best thing that could happen to anyone.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28
Take some time to discuss with your kids about how powerful God is. Read through some scriptures that talk about how strong and big God is. Maybe have them make a list of ways they know God is powerful. This will point them to trust the Lord as tragedy may stir up fear in them. This will also help lay a foundation for your child to trust the Lord more. Then have them pray that the people in Haiti will know that God is this powerful too.
Once you have established that God is in control, take some time to pray specifically for Haiti:
(It is very effective to have your kids pray specifically for kids. They are very familiar with fears that children have and it is a little easier for them to imagine and relate.)
- Pray that whose who are hurt would get to see doctors and nurses and get the medicine and help they need.
- Pray that they would have enough food and water.
- Pray that they would not be scared but would somehow know how powerful God is.
- Pray that they would hear about Jesus!!
- Pray for those that are helping. Pray that they will be able to find all of the hurting people. That God will make them strong as they help so many people and get tired. That God will show them how to help people best.
- Pray for those who do not know where all of their friends or family are. Pray that they would feel Jesus close. Pray that those that are lost would be found.
You may also want to consider not only praying together as a family, but also taking time to collect some money as a family to send to help Haiti. Go here if you would like to donate money for relief to Real Hope for Haiti through PayPal or checks can be mailed to Real Hope for Haiti, PO Box 23, Elwood, IN 46036.
Also, please continue to follow the Make Disciples blog for more updates on Haiti relief.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Mr. and Mrs. Lehman--
I imagine you receive hundreds of e-mails daily, but I wanted to add one more! My name is Kyle and I am a senior at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. I just got back from Passion 2010 a few days ago and was intrigued by what you guys are doing through Gobena Coffee. Really, I just wanted to say how much it has encouraged myself, and probably thousands of others--seeing what the Father is using you to do in Ehtiopia. I came home wanting to know more about Gobena and how I can be more involved in the cause. I read through your projects and watched the videos, and was moved to tears. Honestly, this e-mail has no main point except to let you guys know that you will definitely be lifted up in prayer from Conway, Arkansas and that the Lord will continue to use you in Ethiopia and other countries around the world so that we, as believers, may work together to flesh out James 1:27. I look forward to joining the cause by my own purchases in the future and spreading the word around my city and campus about Gobena.. I am not sure if you do any type of newsletter or anything; but if you do, I would absolutely love to be updated on the projects that are underway and how I can specifically pray for the needs of those projects and the families involved to be met. May your family be blessed by grace and peace through the Godhead!
P.S: Little Eva is precious!! The video of her adoption story was awesome!