Offer Gifts of Sacrifice

For the past couple of weeks I’ve had some words running through my head. They are from a song by Heart of the City Worship Band, a local group in Minnesota that is very diverse – White, Native American, Black, Hispanic, Asian and others. The only words I can remember, which began running through my head over and over are: “We will not offer you that which cost us nothing… so we bring a gift of sacrifice… we bring a gift of sacrifice… to you O Ancient of Days.”

It reminds me that God wants the best from us and he deserves nothing less. If we think about it, we sacrifice for things all the time. We sacrifice for money and more money, power, authority, position, prestige, etc… However, when we put money in the offering plates, when we go about our ‘Christian service,’ when we share with others, often there is no sacrifice involved. We give our left overs.

Keep these song lyrics in your head and begin to change what you are offering up. Don’t offer up your left overs. Offer up that which has cost you something. It doesn’t always have to be big sacrifices, but there should be some cost involved. Just think about the costs you make when you seek after money, cars, houses, a partner, clothes, power, prestige, etc. This will get you headed in the right direction.

We Will Not Offer You by Heart of the City Worship Band

We will not offer you that which cost us nothing

We will not give to you the least of what we have

For you forgave us and healed us with your suffering

And you are worthy of the best that we can give

So we bring a gift of sacrifice – The way in which we live

We bring a gift of sacrifice – The offering that we give

We bring a gift of sacrifice – Even in the darkest days

We bring a gift of sacrifice – The sacrifice of praise

Peace in Diversity

In San Diego for my first class (DMin in Global Leadership), I found out about the Self-Realization Gardens in Encinitas, CA.  Everywhere along the garden path you can turn your head and see the Pacific Ocean.  It was very peaceful.  I took pictures and put the text of the messages that I received from God as I walked through the gardens.  The very first message I received was peace, rest in God’s peace.  This was just what I needed to hear.  There can be peace in diversity.  There should be peace in diversity.  Click on the link below to see the pictures.

Blessings and Peace!

Self-Realization Garden Experience

Year End Close Out

As we close out 2014, I just want to share the lyrics of a Stevie Wonder Christmas song. I think it says it all. My heart is heavy with the state of our world but these words encourage me. I pray someday comes soon.

“Someday At Christmas”
By Stevie Wonder

Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys
Playing with bombs like kids play with toys
One warm December our hearts will see
A world where men are free

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life’s really worth
There’ll be peace on earth

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas we’ll see a land
With no hungry children, no empty hand
One happy morning people will share
Our world where people care

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no tears
All men are equal and no men have fears
One shining moment, one prayer away
From our world today

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas man will not fail
Hate will be gone and love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime
Someday at Christmastime

Blessings and Merry Christmas.

Beautiful Diversity!

27 Arenal Kioro View 4

While on vacation in Costa Rica (which is BEAUTIFUL!!!!), I was inspired by this view from our hotel room to write this poem.

Allow – Ask – Do

Nature is so beautiful and peaceful, something that cannot be packaged, bought or sold.
It soothes my heart and spirit and does miraculous things in my soul.
The refreshing rain intermittently comes to cleanse the earth and cause more growth as a whole.

The rich and different varieties of every color and hue, size and shape, texture and feel.
Amazing and inspiring as they all are interspersed on numerous hills.
Interacting and not, supporting and not, propping up, colliding yet all are still here.

Allowing for difference
Allowing for observing
Allowing for intrusion
Bending and touching as they will.

Oh, that we humans would take note and learn from nature.
Communities of diverse plants living together each individually yet so beautiful together.
Interacting, supporting, upholding, respecting and embracing one another.

Just like nature, we are different, distinct and yet come from the same source.
Each created by God to a particular time, place, race and purpose.
A people of God and if we are believers, then people of blessing and not curse.

How can I help you today?
How can I ask God to bless you today?
How can I serve you today?
As God helps, blesses and serves me.

To get away is so important to do so we can relax and reflect.
Whether the leaving is mental or physical, it is something we should not neglect.
We will become more focused and purposeful in our talk; then our walk, it will affect.

As I’ve learned from a country of peace I, in turn, share this with you.
How refreshing and rejuvenating embracing peace can be if one embraces it true.
I vow to go home and do more to bring peace in all that I do.

Being peace in the midst of chaos.
Doing peace work at every opportunity.
Modeling and teaching peace to all I encounter…
To help bring peace to our world.

People of Blessing

This past Thursday, I attended a ‘Missional Forum’ put together by BODY | Oak Cliff.  The speaker was Fuller Seminary professor, Reggie McNeal and it turns out he and I have very similar thoughts about the state of the church today.  Two things I took away from the gathering were:

1.  As the people of God, we are to be a people of blessing.

2. We are to partner with God in his redemptive mission in the world and this means our lives are to be a mission trip – the way we live, how we treat people, who we engage, etc.

It was a good reminder for me at a time when I’ve been somewhat frustrated with churches and Christians.  Another reminder was a clip a friend sent me where they were testing to see if people would see the homeless people as they walked by.  In this clip, the ‘homeless’ people were the loved ones of the people walking by.  Yet no one noticed.  How I live my life, how I see and treat people, who I reach out to and seek to know, all say a lot about whether my walk and my talk are in sync, whether I am a person of blessing or not and whether I am partnering with God in His work or seeking to create my own.

Churches have somehow gone astray and don’t focus as much on living as Christ lived and blessing others. McNeal suggests that over the years we have some confused things and see going to church as the end point, not being the church. Being involves giving of ourselves, our time and our resources to help those in need of assistance and to reach out to those in need of a friend. So, at the end of each day, let’s reflect on whether we have been people of blessing and what more can we do the following day. Lord God, please bless us so that we can be a blessing to others and help in building your kingdom.

Mission Leaders Conference 2013

I went to an excellent conference for Missions Leaders here in Dallas, September 19-21, 2013.  The theme was Stand and the four general sessions focused on Stand Up, Stand Together, Stand Firm and Stand Fast because “The Great Commission is too big for anyone to accomplish alone and too important not to try to do together” (Missio Nexus).

As an African American woman, it was great to feel welcomed, included and valued.  It’s not often I get to experience this from my white brothers and sisters and it came at the perfect, God-ordained time.  I didn’t realize how much I needed that.   Also, the conference was a good reminder for me to maintain my relationship with Christ; keeping my soul connected to his.  I will remember to ask myself and others – “Is it well with your soul today?” (Ruth Haley Barton)

A couple of things to share:

  • A ‘discipling culture’ exists when we have high invitation and high challenge (Mike Breen).  It is not enough to just issue the invitation, we have to go a step further and usher new converts (and even old converts) into the challenge of being a child of the kingdom.
  • Challenges for us today
    • Relational disciple making not programmatic discipling
    • Transformational ministry not church activity

 Feel free to use the outline below to develop a missions culture in your church.

African Americans and Hispanics in Missions

Reasons not involved in missions

  1. Lost culture of missions due to oppression and struggles  within own country to focus on
  2. Not educated, informed and know own history of minorities in missions
  3. Not necessarily the resources to fund missions within individual churches
  4. Not credible, respected or viable risk for funds from white churches


  1. Begin or increase missions education and information
    1. Approach 18-30yr olds – in colleges, on Facebook, etc. to be missionaries
    2. Address denominational leaders for partnering and support
    3. Address congregational leaders for partnering with other churches for support
    4. Speak at churches and community organizations for support
    5. Have a missions conference for Blacks and Hispanics
    6. Create partnerships among churches to share missions

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