I always found this to be a rather amusing disclaimer.  It is listed on many products from hairbrushes and screwdrivers to kitchen appliances.  I guess many are worried that we will use the toaster for a doorstop.  Coca – Cola is the worst about this, as people use it to clean motors and toilets.  Its intended use is for consumption, as in, ingestion, and most of its sales are for this purpose.  It should worry us that it works so well to clean engines and toilets, yet we keep on drinking it.  I digress.

Jeremiah 29 reminds me that God has good intentions and plans for us.  These plans will bless us.  In fact, Jesus says that the reason he came is so that our lives would be full and abundant.  Truly, God intends the best for us.  Yet, I struggle.  I just returned home to the US from 22 years of missions, having planned a wonderful transition back into the business of sport management, inclusive of a highly accredited MBA.  I interviewed with a reputable company to become its new CEO and then BOOM, Covid – 19 showed up and it all came to a screeching halt.

The pause has been, well, a blessing.  Accompanying the pause was my final class of the MBA, organizational leadership.  We considered several books: Breaking Corporate Silence, Bury My Heart in Conference Room B, and The Rise of the Ambidextrous Organization.  They were great reads and had a powerful impact on me to call into question, personally, my chosen paths post missions.  Once again, I had found that I had been running away from my intended purposes.  In that perfect timing, that God often displays in such ways for us to notice, a dear friend reminded me of a job that I had been encouraged to pursue almost a year ago.  So, I began the necessary discussions and things are progressing.  Yet, I muse today about why, so often, I am challenged to embrace God’s purposes for my life, when He has proven over and again that His will is good, pleasing, and perfect (Rom. 12:2).

Proverbs 25:2 states:  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.  True that!  The path to discovery of God’s will for our lives can seem long and difficult.  Yet, when it is discovered and embraced, alongside it comes that fullness that Jesus has promised.  In my recent discussions with the potential organization, I rediscovered the passion for a work that will stand the tests of time, as one that I would have rather done when looking back upon my life.  Why would I settle for anything less?


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10


How are you investing your money?  Are you putting it in stocks, a 401-k, mutual funds, or maybe in Bitcoin, which has increased by more than 100 times in value just in the last three years?

Are you investing other things than money?  Do you invest your time or your gifts or possibly even yourself?

What are you investing yourself in, television, job, or maybe your family?

Jesus had great opinions he expressed about investment.  He said things like not investing in things that would rust or be stolen.  Instead to make “heavenly investments”.  He even praised the shrewd accountant that was about to be fired for cutting everyone’s bill in half so that after being fired he would be welcomed by those people and curiously Jesus said and into eternal life.  He called the farmer building more barns foolish after a good harvest.

After Jesus’ unsuccessful conversion of the rich young ruler and the ensuing confusion from the apostles about the rich finding it difficult to get to heaven, Peter, exclaimed that they had left everything to follow him.  Jesus encouraged him with a bizarre promise, “Those who leave farms, families, and such for me and the Kingdom will receive one hundred times as much in this life and the life to come, along with persecution”.

So, what is the wise investment I am advocating?  Invest in people.  Invest in your neighbor that you are to love as you love yourself.

Eternal treasure that can never be stolen or destroyed.

Growing up I was told over and over that church is people not a building. I was even taught a VBS song that reiterated this truth.
The problem is that the reality of what we lived was that church revolved not around the people, but instead the building and its other structures. It was almost a ‘Field of Dreams’ mentality that seems to have reached an apex in the last few years. Church was defined by nonliving structure.
In our first African mission in the small country of Togo, we struggled mightily against this ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. There were wins and losses. In the end it was more like a tie with us giving in to simplistic structures that provided them with some feeling of permanence and us with contentment that it was a model that could be duplicated naturally.
Now, in Rwanda, our paradigm has been tested. We were pushed into a non-structured role of service to discipleship. What a challenge it has been as we are forced to confront the question: can church exist without walls?
Many of you know that my job with Africa Transformation Network is that of being the national coach and technical director for the Rwanda Taekwondo Federation. I have worked over the last three years to train national teams, certify more than forty masters and start a grass roots sports movement. But, all along I have had to ask myself how that fits into the Kingdom Work that I feel called to and better yet, was sent to do.
The question, asked in a different way is: Can a Taekwondo club be a church?
Why not?
In fact it may in many ways it may become a better version of what Jesus wants a church to be than those that are defined by structure. It has the potential instead to be defined by its people and their love for each other.
So, that’s where we are at; serving through Taekwondo now around eight hundred Rwandans and training masters to be disciple makers that live out the commission of Mathew 28.
What a surprise for us to see God use something likeTaekwondo to serve Rwanda and to show us what we always knew.
Church is people.

We draw the air in without consideration. We exhale automatically. We typically don’t need training on how to breathe.
Then again, maybe we do.
Think about the times that you ‘can’t catch your breath’.
High stress, tragedy, bad news: these and many other events cause us a shortness of breath. The more deeply we are affected, the shallower our breaths become. Ironically, this actually increases our stress and prevents clear processing within our brains due to the lack of oxygen. The level of stress increases and is compounded by the fact that we breath less effectively in these tension-filled moments. Often as stress or anxiety persists, so does this shallow breathing; putting us in a downward spiral of oxygen depravation.
One of the first things we teach in Taekwondo is how to breathe. Funny, isn’t it? One of the great lessons of this dynamic martial art is spent relearning to do something that has been present for our entire existence. Our trainees learn to be still and breathe.
Take a deep breath right now. Use your abdomen to draw your diaphragm down and fill those lungs. Hold it a second and now exhale. Didn’t that feel good?
I heard recently that the Hebrew name for God, YAHWE, and the word for breathing in Hebrew sound really similar. That is something to ponder, that in taking that deep breath you said the name of God.
How often in situations of anger, tension, and stress are we reminded by others to breathe? Breathing is the stress manager. Now consider the numerous invitations by God to cry out to Him in our times of grief, stress, and anxiety and couple that with the action of deep breathing and its relaxing effects. YAHWEH.
Breathe deeply and say the name of God. Accept His invitation to give Him all your anxiety, concerns, fears, mistakes, grief, pain and remember to…


I know it’s an odd title for today’s blog, in the wake of this week’s tragedies in Boston and West, Texas. I have been musing over the emotions after the disappointments, though, that come in the response to God’s comfort. Thankfulness, I guess, is not an emotion but instead a state of being. In the comforting we are mindful of what we have and what we had, of importance. We assess our lives and changes, long needed, often come. The process is longer relative to the depth of loss, I believe. It has been nineteen years since the genocide of Rwanda. The loss of one million or more lives in one hundred days is staggering and unimaginable. All that I work with experienced loss and trauma from those horrific events. There is a memorial week for the Genocide that we just completed, but in reality there isn’t a day that goes by in Rwanda where you don’t remember those events of 1994 in some way. For most of those that I work with, who have gone through the grieving process and have a growing faith in Jesus, they live in a thankful state of today.
Anger and resentment are the natural responses, along with many other emotions, to such events. I am most intrigued, though, by thankfulness as a response to not just disappointments, but also tragedies. Could that even become a perpetual state for our lives? What if we rose to the occasion of the challenge in Philippians 4:4-6? I know that in some circles, Paul isn’t too popular these days, but what an incredible thing he wrote from a jail in Rome! Could we, would we dare to make such a statement for ourselves that we rejoice, always are rejoicing? May God’s inexplicable peace fill you today and cause you to not only be thankful but to also rejoice.

Me too. There are so many things that can go wrong in relationships and in our own actions before we even leave the house each morning that it is hard not to experience some form of disappointment on a daily basis. So, what is the source of your disappointment and how do you process it? For me, the character in my life that is usually the most disappointing is me. It may be the same or different for you. I am not really good at processing it, though. What I’ve noticed, instead, is that in the midst of my disappointment, I am comforted. It usually is a passage or story from the Bible that comes to mind or it is a song of praise. It has caused me to consider more seriously the word Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit in the book of John in calling Him ‘the Comforter’. So, even in the midst of deep disappointment with internal or external origin, there is the Holy Spirit of God speaking the Word of peace over us or even, dare I say it, rejoicing over us with singing. So, the next time you experience disappointment, instead of reacting with anger or trying to process it by physical means, why not try asking God to comfort you?

Some would say that I am an “all or none” kind of man. Some who know me well would even say that I like to push the limits in most of the things I do. I would reluctantly agree. In truth, though, verses like Mark 12:28-30 really speak to my heart. There we are reminded that God isn’t looking for a half in half out kind of love. He is looking for lovers like himself. So, when we consider, and hopefully we do, being a better disciple of Jesus, what comes to mind? More service? More events? More worship? More church? I am exhausted just thinking of all the ‘more’ we could add. Instead of more, what if we just invited Him to invade what already is? What if we just practiced loving Him in what we already do and where we already are? Being completely His in each of our everyday’s? An everyday disciple? Let the musings begin, again.

So much of my life has been spent attempting to escape.  Either through entertaining and non-entertaining films, video games, the internet, or media in general I find myself being drawn away into this surreal neverland.  This desire to not think about work or not think about difficulties or not think about failures, has in common this desire not to think, this desire to disengage or disconnect from the real.  So, life passes quickly by as we slip off into a fantasmical land of pretend.  Our children grow up and opportunities are lost as we are lulled to sleep by the steady drum beat of mediocrity and the hypnotic glow from various forms of media.

Stem the tide.  Stay in the real.  It is uncomfortable, yes.  It is burdensome, yes.  It is unsettling, yes.  It is troublesome, yes.  But, it is life.  And in Jesus, it is peaceful.  It is good.  It is new.  It is full.  It is everlasting.  God made us with his own hands in Christ Jesus, to do good works.  How can we do the good he has called us to unless we engage the real.

Let’s commit to the real and disengage from the fantasy.

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Being that our lives are in Africa, you can imagine that this would be true. We kind of live on the edge. Even at the moment I have a fever of an unknown origin that may be for all I know Swine Flu along with all the other symptoms. Too bad there isn’t anyone to check for it here, or I might make the news and get quarantined like all the Mexicans in Hong Kong. Last November we had all the symptoms of SARS (hysterical I know). The high fever lasted for five days, I lost ten pounds, that I didn’t gain back and our whole family had it within four days. We quarantined ourselves that time. Of course no one was there in Togo that could verify it. Not that I am trying to make the news or anything, but sometimes the edginess of life here kind of seeks you out.

There are other times that you seek it. Call us crazy, nuts, whatever, it is pretty fun to be chased on foot by a bull elephant, and live to tell about it. Holding a crocodile by the tail can be rather low key at the moment until later you realize how quick that moment could have changed. Of course driving here is the real kicker. Every time you sit behind the wheel, it is as if God calls out an extra angel or two.

Then there is life for your kids. One such game park occasion that I have a wonderful picture of is that of three of my sons being charged by an elephant while they just stood there with a pea shooter toting park ranger. He did stop, by the way, but in the picture it looks as though it could go either way. Then there is the risk of sickness for them. Me, I don’t mind malaria so much for myself (my number of cases has been in the double digits now for years) but it is pretty scary when those unexplained fevers, body aches, and chills hit your child broadside on a day or night that you can’t get a test.

There is their future to consider. What will they do one day? Where will they live? What language will they speak? Who will they marry? Will they go to college or tour the world (especially since we have vicariously trained them to travel on a dime, adapt to cultures as they go along and learn languages on the spot).

Then, there are the real tests. There are the attacks from people motivated by spirits of division, greed, deceit, and whatever else is dark and light absorbing. Often it is in the shadows, undermining us and our work. Sometimes it is petty, but when twenty petty things occur in one day, especially after a real good one, you begin to see it as an attack. Then there are the blatant frontal attacks that can even come from those who claim the spirit of Christ. Those are scary and bewildering.

You are beginning to get the picture. Satan hates us being here. He will take any opportunity to hurt us physically, spiritually, or emotionally in order to get us to leave, especially if we are bent on spreading the peace, joy, grace, truth, and love of Jesus. I want to take this a step further, though. It is you, as well, who walk along the edge, at least I hope you are. It is you as well that the enemy hates and wants to destroy. For you have made a series of decisions that have put a very large target on your back and price on your head. The enemy hates everyone he cannot control. So, every day that we grow further from his grasp because of the deepening submission to the Holy Spirit we get a little closer to the edge.

I like the edge. When I am aware of the edge, I walk carefully and I pray a lot. I take advantage of opportunities and live a fulfilling life. I long for His Word. More than anything, though, it makes me want to go home to be with Him. He is King of the edge walkers.

Be at peace. Enjoy the journey. Persevere in the times of trouble. Focus on Jesus!

John 16:3 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”