Browse Author: Dustin

The Fine Details

....and this was only mid-day on Day 1.

Today our team spent the morning at the Compassion project site where we had an orientation (complete with kids dancing, singing and welcoming us with hugs!) and began our renovation work. The morning was full of moments like above, while the second half of the day was spent painting the majority of the future-computer lab. We were told that this lab would not only be for the specific project we were at but also for surrounding Compassion projects who wanted students to do computer-type learning.

We debriefed at night as a team, had a time of sharing highs/lows, talked about some of our “highs and lows” throughout the day. The team shared about many of the things God has shown them in just one day here in Haiti. Very neat!

As I was flying from Miami to Port-Au-Prince yesterday afternoon, typing out some thoughts, this song came into the rotation:

So I’ll stand
with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is Yours

I was convicted that I was making this trip about the particulars. Through all the logistics, counting team-members, making sure everyone was in line and accounted for, I was putting  my identity as the “leader” and ensuring things were running smoothly. Instead of echoing that simple chorus at the onset of this trip, I was standing… but I was standing on my own strength and self-worth.

Instead, I want a prayer of mine (and our team) this week to be “surrender”.

One of the great things about going on a trip with Compassion is the ability to “experience” without the burdens of worrying about logistics and fine-details. They take care of nearly everything and give the teams they host space to hear from God.

So, I resolve to just that: give space and invite — invite God to have His way and raise up His name while we’re here in Haiti.

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Any song on-repeat in your rotation right now?

You Have Done Great Things!

We are in Haiti!

Our day started quite early yesterday, actually: a 4:30 AM alarm comes early when you don’t go to sleep until 1:30 AM (not the wisest move, but I’ll be on adrenaline and coffee for the week, right?!). It didn’t matter because I was expecting great things. With an interesting group of students (varying grade-levels, different personalities and backgrounds) I was quite-confident from the get-go that our team would mesh well and grow close very quickly. Boy was I right: immediately in the shuttle inside jokes and laughter abounded among team members. It was neat to see each student (and adult!) comes with a smile full of hope and expectation that God was going to move in our hearts.

We met our Compassion rep, Marty, before our connecting flight in Miami — such an encouraging and fun guy. What a blessing it will be to have him on our team for the week. I had only spoken with him via telephone over the last couple months, so it was fantastic to finally connect in person. Only minutes after meeting us, he was already a part of our group!

Finally… about to touch down in Haiti!

The rest of the day was a blur: landed in Haiti, claiming our luggage and navigating through the Port-Au-Prince airport (a bit chaotic), the bumpy ride to dinner and then a nighttime drive through the city on the way to our guest house. Everyone adjusted well and is ready for a jam-packed day tomorrow morning!

As I reflect back on my day and pray for tomorrow, I can’t help but be drawn toward this verse:

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joe; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them'”. (Psalm 126:1-2)

That is our prayer. We expect and want to see God to great things in the lives of Haitians we come in contact with and serve this week. On top of that, it is our prayer that each person our the team leaves with a renewed hope and perspective that God can and will do a mighty work in their own lives back home. Our work in Haiti will not end after this week — there will be people to serve back home in Atlanta, at school, at work, etc. Personally, I am expecting God to great things in the lives of my children. Specifically that He would use Jen and I as conduits to speak hope and truth into their lives.

Tomorrow begins an adventure that each one of us will never forget. We’ll begin Day:One of Compassion project. It will not only be the start of ‘mission work’, but also a spark that will ignite a movement of compassion and hope in each one of our students’ lives. I unquestionably believe that.

Please pray specifically and individually for: Jordan, Emily, Maddie, Emily, Caitlin, Emily, Roukaya, Ansley, Jordan, Ethan, Jamie, Jen, Marty, and Dustin.

(And yes, you read that correctly – we have a couple Jordans and three Emilys!)

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In what area of your life do you expect/want God to ‘do great things’?

Haiti in 5 Days!

We will be leaving for Haiti in five days. Crazy!

It is wild to think that a couple months ago we were in the planning stages of this this. And now here we are… on the brink of something exciting and unforgettable. Let me tell you a little about it.

The goods!

Myself, Jen and another adult will be leading ten high school students to Port-Au-Prince for a short 6-day trip with Compassion International. There we will be serving the people of Haiti by helping renovate a computer lab (laying tile, painting, light construction) and having plenty of relational time with the children of Compassion. If you aren’t familiar with Compassion, check them out here. They are a highly-respected, four-star charity (through Charity Navigator) with impeccable financial integrity. Basically, for $38/month you can sponsor a child from somewhere around the world and provide him or her with the essentials to impact their future. The monthly donation provides a loving, church-based Sponsorship Program that includes: food, clean water, medical care, education, life-skills, and the opportunity to hear about Jesus and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

I started sponsoring Meylin (from Guatemala) when I was a Sophomore in college. That was in 2001. Now, 11 years later, she has gone from a precious 4-year-old to a mature, confident 15 year old young lady! It’s been very neat to see her grow up and write letters back and forth.

What I am asking for right now is prayer. Please pray for safety, health, team morale, the people/children we’ll encounter, and the experiences that each team member will bring back to them as they return home a week later.

As I personally prepare for the trip I want to think about ways to not only commit to these children in Haiti, but also to the ten students we will be leading. They will each bring home a different experience, a different perspective. Their lives will be changed and their hope renewed.

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Are you involved with Compassion or a similar charity?
Will you commit to pray for our team next week (Apr 1-6)?

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Thinking about ways to cohesively align with Orange’s vision, I will occasionally be blogging (and tweeting #thinkorange) with ‘The Next Generation’ in mind. I encourage you to do the same. Additionally, I will be blogging during the Orange Conference 2012. If you plan on being there, please let me know!

Living It Out

I read a story the other day about an an atheist in Texas who was ‘flabbergasted’ by an outpouring of generosity from local-area Christians. Check out the story here. It was encouraging thing to hear about: Christians living out the gospel.

So often we get caught up in the back-and-forths and play the acceptance game.

I’ve done it before – plenty of times. You know the drill… Withholding an ‘action’ because of what others will say about you. Holding a grudge because someone has a different view. Refrained generosity because we’re scared of what the future may hold.

Whatever our reasoning may look like, we are still called to “act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God“.

True?

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How can you ‘live out’ your faith today?

How To Actively Wait

Today I have the pleasure of having my friend Michael Perkins guest post on Abraham Chronicles. He is a husband, dad, Nazarene pastor, blogger, artist, & map maker. He also wrote a killer manifesto, and you can get it for free here: http://bit.ly/startovr. Oh yeah, and his blog is pretty sweet also! Enjoy!

Waiting is tough.

I cannot think of a single person that enjoys waiting.

If a person is waiting for a dream job, they want the opportunity to come now.  If a person is waiting for a promise from God, they want it now.  If a person is waiting, well for anything, they want it now.

Waiting is an opportunity, but unfortunately many don’t see it that way.  Many view waiting as an inconvenience and a hindrance. (I know I have in the past)

But the truth is, waiting prepares us for what’s to come next

We say things like, “I’m just waiting on the Lord.” or “When God wants it to happen, it will happen.”

Those things are most certainly true, but those statements can also be used as a cop-out or an excuse.  In other words, they can really mean, “I’m going to sit here and do nothing and wait for something amazing to happen.”

Listen, it doesn’t really work that way.

We should actively wait.  We should do the things that will make us better, so that when our time of waiting is done, we are prepared and equipped.

Here are three key things that I have found to be crucial to actively wait:

1. Pray.  Ask God what you need to work on.  Ask God to give you the wisdom, knowledge, courage to be able to handle whatever it is that you are waiting for when the waiting stops.

You’d be surprised how much you actually hear if you would just stop and ask.

2. Practice.  If your dream is to be a professional writer, you don’t just wake up and say, “Today, I’m going to be a professional writer.”  Instead, you write…a lot.

Professional baseball players spend hours hitting off a tee.  Why?  Because they know that if they are going to be able to perform at a high level when their time comes, then they had better do the work and put in the practice.

3. Hope.  Hope is a powerful thing.  It gives us the strength and power to fight through when things get tough.  When we have waited for an extended amount of time.

Races are won in the middle?  Why?  Because everyone sprints when they leave the starting line and everyone sprints when they can see the finish line, but hope gets them through the middle.

Hope propels us to go forward when we cannot see when and where the dream started and hope reminds us of the reward that we cannot see yet, but is waiting for us.

4. Repeat.  Actively waiting is an ongoing process.  In other words, if you are in a period of waiting:  keep praying, keep practicing, and keep hoping.

Don’t waste the opportunity given to you.

Don’t use waiting as an excuse to do nothing.  Instead, actively wait and do the things that are necessary to be the best that you can possibly be.

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What do you do when you are in a time of waiting?

Kony 2012

“KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

This video went viral yesterday and let me say something: it is worth setting aside 30 minutes to watch it in it’s entirety.

You can’t help but be moved by the message and mission of this organization. As a father of three small children, I wholeheartedly echo what they believe: Every. Life. Matters.

For more information, visit: www.kony2012.com

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If you watched, what are your thoughts?

Comebacks Are Awesome

Comebacks are awesome. Period.

I remember watching Monday Night Football back in 2003, seeing Peyton Manning rally the Colts from a 35-14 deficit with four minutes left in regulation, eventually winning on a FG in overtime.

It was incredible. I sat there amazed.

In fact, that was the most amazing sports comeback that I’ve ever witnessed.

Comebacks are often associated with sports, but isn’t even cooler to see comebacks in life?

Relational comebacks? Financial comebacks? Spiritual comebacks?

When all seems lost… BAM!… God comes through and reminds us yet again that He is faithful

It can be described that the book of Esther is about a comeback as well.

A decree is issued: all Jews are to be eliminated, by order of the King!

The outcome seems hopeless, but then God saves the day.

God positions Esther so that He is glorified through this seemingly tragic situation.

Love it.

So when we’re downtrodden, distressed, or destitute, let’s remember that our hope is Him. Period.

Even if we don’t necessarily experience the “comeback” the way we expect to experience it, God is enough.

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What is the most amazing comeback you have witnessed?

ddiamond

Look Who I Know!

While I wasn’t buddy-buddy with Samuel Powers, I did go to elementary school with him for a couple years. So, okay… I don’t know him.

But yes… he my one claim-to-fame in living in SoCal for 13 years growing up. Oh that, and meeting MacGyver at an LA Kings game. Or Ryan Seacreast in Hollywood.

Who am I kidding? I’m practically a D-list celebrity with this Who’s Who list of  ‘friends’ I have!

::transition::

Confession: no real spiritual insight coming out of this post.

The end.

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What ‘celebrities’ have you met?
Who would you like to meet?

Empire of Dirt

Johnny Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” was in my head all week. It’s a powerful, thought-provoking song that has searing words. It’s sad and uplifting at the same time.

He, most notably, covered this song seven months before his death in 2003. Check it out below.

While the NIN song does have a couple choice words, Cash (IMO) covered it only as Cash could cover it. Personally, I love it.

More than anything a single phrase sticks with me in that song: “empire of dirt”.

Truth is: we go throughout our lives collecting stuff – awards, wins, creations, accolades. We achieve. We score. We create. We succeed.

All for what?

Paul writes in Romans that, ““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

In short, all mankind is under the guilt and weight of sin.

But… that is not the end.

Enter, grace.

I want my life-intentions to serve God, first and foremost. But no doubt there will be times when I put ‘me first’: I want to close the sale for my glory. I want to serve that couple in need at church for my glory. I want to donate money to your mission trip for my glory.

In those moments, I need grace.

And in those moments, I want to be able to tell God “Here, have this empire of dirt that I’ve collected. It’s nothing compared to your glory.”

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What collects in your ’empire of dirt’?
What is your favorite “cover song”?