Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lipstick on a Pig


Didn't a political figure once talk about putting "lipstick on a pig"?  Actually, doing a google search just now, I find that many have used this phrase.

So, I've got a question for you...

In your life... in all that you do, all that you say, all that you think... are you unknowingly putting lipstick on a pig?

Here's what I'm getting at:  How can you be sure, in your everyday life, that you are investing in "matters of consequence"- investing in things that won't ultimately fail and amount to nothing?

Many live by the Boy Scout credo:  leave this world a little better than when you found it.  For sure, people do quite a variety of really amazing things with the goal of leaving the planet better than when they arrived. Not a bad credo at allI think we'd find many amazing people doing amazing things out there!  However, what really has lasting significance?  Can what we do, in the here-and-now, really "echo in the halls of eternity"? (Note: Gladiator reference!)

I don't know what is your driving force and how you might make your goals, but I have a sneaky suspicion that, if we're not careful, we're engaging in activities that really amount to putting lipstick on a pig.  (Apologies to those pig-lovers out there!)

Just doing some reflection today (as if you hadn't noticed) and I'm finding a great template that will, hopefully, assit me in moving a bit further away from "swine makeup application" (making "bad things good") to something supernatural ("making dead things live").

Part of the prayer that Jesus helped us to pray is the phrase "Your Kingdom Come".  So this is my submission to you (drum roll please)...

In the Morning:  perhaps one element to your morning time of prayer would be this request- "Lord- may YOUR Kindgom come through me"... through the way that I speak and behave with my family, my neighbors, those serving me at the grocery store, restaurant, my colleagues, etc.  May HIS Kingdom be expressed through my words, actions, and thoughts- not for my glory, but for the glory of the name of Jesus.  That all would see and experience the love of their Creator God in the kind words that I speak and the actions that I execute.

In the Evening:  As part of a time of reflection of the day, ask yourself, "Was God's Kingdom expressed in me today for a world that is dying for evidence of true life?"

In this way, I think that we may be helped from the error of taking the focus off of our loving, Heavenly Father.  It could help us to remove the focus of what makes me feel good or how I can be validated or successful or fulfilled or "self-realized". 

Perhaps it can assist us to put the focus on what we've all been designed for by a creative God- to express Himself in a panoply of ways so that the world directs their attention and worship toward Him and is blessed.  Blessed to be a blessing.

 (NOTE:  I used to say that I was all about "Expanding" Christ's Kingdom.  However, the deal is that His Kingdom is actually already established- whether you acknowledge it or not (Psalm 93).  So, a better way to say it is that we are to "Express" the reality of Christ's Kingdom.  Are you sniffin' what I'm scratchin'?  I thought you were.  Thanks)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Have you ever been really inspired after a good movie, book, or seminar only to get back in “the grind” of life and have that inspiration squashed?  I think we’ve all been there, done that, bought the t-shirt; right?
Sometimes we’ll even get to the point of making a “to do” list that includes the action steps toward fulfilling a new initiative.  For many of us, that just happened a month and a half ago as we outlined some goals for the new year.  So… I have to ask… how are you doing with that?

I’ll be the first to admit that this phenomena has been all too real in my life.  Initiatives to read a book, change my diet, invest in a particular relationship, equip myself with new education, etc.  It’s a bit of a bummer to have had lofty goals unfulfilled- perhaps it would have been better not to even have had them in the first place.  No doubt, these feelings of regret have the potential to light a fuse ending in an explosion of cynicism, self-doubt, sarcasm, pessimism, and more.

Me- typing away
Alace- sleeping away
As I write this (thanks to Windows Live Writer- a new discovery for me!), Alace and I are on a Kenya Airways flight at 37,000 feet returning home to Gabon from a conference (Alace found an empty row & is conked out!).

The gathering that we attended included reports from over 2 dozen programs, most in Africa, the middle East, or Asia- all doing amazing, redemptive things to express to people the Love of their creator God.  What are they up doing?  Community development, health care and education, marriage counseling, cross-cultural consulting, information technology education, micro finance, veterinary education, business skills training, college professors, orphan care, tree care education, arts education,IMG_2356 anthropology, care and education for autistic children, scripture translation, bee-keeping, and more!

The passion was oozing from each participant as they shared how, through the God-given skills and talents, they were able to engage with those around them and display God’s love for them.  Idea sharing and networking ensued.  Visions were born, dreams of new initiatives were hatched, action steps were written down!

Alace and I were no exception- we have come away from the conference with our own set of ideas and plans.  Some are in the form of things we want to do right when we get home.  Others are a bit more long term.

I read recently thIdea balloonat, when we set out to accomplish a goal, we are much more likely to attain it if we share it with someone around us.  So, I encourage you to do the same with your goals.  Share them in your community.  Ask for guidance and prayer from your circle of support.  Find one person to coach you a bit and meet with them regularly to discuss the progress of your action steps.fuse

If you don’t, you’re liable to curb your enthusiasm, and light the fuse.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Aircraft Update- Annual Inspection


Our inspection begins with getting to the shop- in our case, we fly the airplane 2 hours to Yaoundé, Cameroon. First we stop at the international airport for the immigration formalities.  From there it’s a 5 minute flight to the SIL hangar at the military base.



The team is always super accommodating there- they shuffled around their 3 aircraft and made room in the hangar for me.



Beyond the tail of our aircraft are the SIL aircraft- a Cessna 207 (SOLOY), Helio-Courier, and Cessna 206.  Many parts of the C207 and C206 are common.  Since our aircraft is a C207, we are blessed that the SIL parts inventory is there as a resource- one of the reasons we chose this particular aircraft!



As part of the inspection, as you might imagine, we’re looking for anomalies, such as cracks.  Those, like the one pictured above (engine baffling), we can “stop-drill” to prevent further cracking.  Other cracks, however….



Cracks in some critical areas of the aircraft cannot be tolerated.  If you look really closely, you’ll see a hairline crack coming from the radius of the corner of this bracket.  This bracket must be removed which meant, unfortunately, that we would need to remove both the horizontal and vertical stabilizers and associated control surfaces (elevator/rudder).  UGH!



Off they came!



The old bracket came off and the new one was riveted in place.



Then, everything got put back together again… yes… like Humpty Dumpty.  Instead of the King’s horses and me, I had the great teammates at SIL- Daryl and Dennis.



Other items all over the aircraft were given attention and, after a couple more weeks than expected… the aircraft blasted off, back to Gabon, and into service once more!



New Year’s Baptism!


As the waves from the Atlantic crashed ashore along the estuary in Libreville on the 30th of December 2012, five believers from a new church in the Libreville area obediently followed the example and instruction of Jesus (Gospel of Matthew 3:13-17; 28:16-20).  A beautiful start to 2013!



7:30AM!  The shore side was pretty quiet… however, a recent rainstorm had washed some trash out to sea and then back ashore- a typical occurrence in Libreville.




The Kids were on break from school- Great to have them with us!



Our friend and local church pastor, JeanMarc, asked me to assist him with the baptism.  It was a great honor.



Some young (and very cute) church attenders!



Each candidate for baptism had been through a class and interview regarding this sacrament.  One young man still had an interview to complete, so JeanMarc and I took care of that prior to the service.



As the church sang and danced on the beach, each candidate was baptized.



In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!



Dead to sin…








Later, with more singing and dancing back at the church, each baptized believer was given a certificate and welcomed to embrace their roles in the local faith community.  Blessed by their Creator God, through Christ, to be a blessing to others!


What a great start to 2013!