Love: The 9 + 2

I just learned this at a retreat.  There are 9 One Another quotes in the Bible, if I live them, that’s Love…  Very hard stuff!

Love one another: ”New command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Accept one another: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

Bearing with one another: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

Pray for each other: “…pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

Serve one another: “…serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Devote to one another: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

Live in harmony with one another: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.” Romans 12:16

Encourage one another: “Therefore encourage each other” 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Be kind to one another: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

PLUS

Do not lie to each other: “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.” Colossians 3:9

Do not slander one another: “Do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” James 5:12

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Justice

I watched parts of the live court appearance of Mubarak last week.  It was a surreal experience.  This whole year, has been surreal, for that matter!

I thought a bit about the process of seeking justice.  I know some Egyptians are not in agreement with taking Mubarak to trial.  Many are feeling bad to treating him like that.  That makes me proud of the Egyptian people, there’s a sense of mercy and forgiveness in people’s hearts.

That’s amazing that people, who have been oppressed for many years by a system, can still forgive the person in charge of that system so fast!  Or maybe it is Stockholm Syndrome?  Or could it be the culture?

Justice is complicated.

God is a god of Love, Mercy and Justice.  Altogether in one!  Psalm 33:5 says, “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”  Imagine a perfect being (I don’t know if we can imagine that!), who is sitting watching the world events and what people’s roles are with that.  Yesterday, I was driving behind a car that had crystal clean windshields; I thought there were none on it!  I think it’s like that with God, He can see any tiny dust that could be in the middle of that windshield!  Well, that’s why Jesus is there, so He can actually see through Him and have a relationship with us.

So, if He’s perfect, He can’t stand looking at our messy lives, He would just wipe us all out in the cleaning process, just like we wipe a windshield!  But, because He created us, He loves us, so He has mercy on us and thus Jesus is keeping us in close relationship with Him.

So, I think justice is presented in two dimensions.  One, is for every mess, there has to be cleanup.  The second dimension is that Love gets in the middle and helps make up for the mess!

The trick is that we need to believe that we can’t clean ourselves up.  When we humble ourselves, we start having faith, and with faith comes confession.  When we confess, we discover Justice and Mercy.  It’s amazing to think about all that!  Very humbling.

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Broken

“In America, we give our lives to our jobs, it’s time to take them back.” This is written in the trailer of The Company Men.

I watched the movie on a plane, and it was a good timing for me.  I’ve been doing IT consulting for over 15 years now.  Some as an independent consultant, and some as a full time employee.  I’ve had a vision to grow my consulting business, to be able to serve more clients and also grow WePartner.

Last year, in May 2010, I was convinced it is the time to dedicate my full time efforts to it.  I remember the moment; we were in Kenya working on an IT Infrastructure Project for Rift Valley Academy.  I decided, since we are able to deliver major projects successfully in such a short period of time, we should be able to dedicate our time to do this more often.

After the Kenya trip, I came back and started setting up Living Stones IT Consulting.  It has been a year now and God has been faithful the whole way.  I felt I had the vision from Him to serve communities and people with the talents that we have.  And He has equipped me with many tools to do that.  It has been hard journey, and still is, but I have been very thankful for all the lessons I’m learning.

When I watched the movie, I was reminded that I needed to be broken.  Pride is not an easy thing to get rid of.  It has been a goal for over 10 years now.  I don’t know when it will pass, but I struggle with that all the time.  With technology being a gift, I’m always thinking of solutions, troubleshooting, innovative new ideas to help clients.  It’s essential to be able to come up with new processes everyday.  Yet, the more humble you are, the better the ideas come out.  I discovered that it is because God helps fill that gap.  It’s actually better to have a bigger gap, so He can fill a bigger part of the idea!  It’s more humbling and also much better for the idea to survive!  I see this as a win-win situation.

As with all ideas, we always want it to be ours!  That’s why we have patents and race to file them!  I don’t object to patents, they’re very valuable.  When you’re sitting with clients looking for a solution, and you come up with a new idea for a process, it is best to make it a group effort.  If it becomes a group idea, it will be much more accepted by the group, and it will be much more successful to implement.  Everyone will own the new process, because it came from them, not me.

“I will win, because I have faith, courage and enthusiasm!”

So, with faith, courage and enthusiasm, I will keep going.  With humility, I will focus on God who is inspiring me with all the ideas that have worked well!  The more broken I am, the better life is.  Like the mustard seed that has to die in the ground, in order to give life.

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Love, Peace, Unity and God!

Some comments given to High School students:

Any successful sports team has these characteristics:

Well organized: Disciplined, everyone knows their role, work together in harmony (teamwork). You can learn some organization from home. When I was your age, we had to take our own dishes to the sink after we ate, we participated in cleaning our home and fixed our beds. I discovered that these exercises helped me understand the importance of being organized, even though, at the time, they felt like punishment! I discovered they taught me self respect and self dignity, to keep my home clean and take pride of how nice it looks! As a family, you are a team that works together to have a healthy and strong relationship with each other, and everyone in the family has a role.
Well trained: A well trained team, requires a good leader and a good self leader.
The coach is the leader: Your leader will guide you and mentor you. He/she will lift you up and encourage you when you’re down. They will teach you new ideas, they will challenge you in your thinking, they will show you how to train your mind. Examples of the coaches in your life are: your parents and your teachers here in school.
Self leadership: You will learn so much from your leaders, but you have to make choices all the time throughout your lives: do I do my homework or not, do I make my bed or not, do I make my family relationships a priority or not? Making a good choice, requires the exercise of self leadership. When nobody is looking! You will have the discipline and self-control to make a good decision. The more you train your mind, the better you’ll get at making good decisions. Just like exercise, it’s hard in the beginning, but it gets easier with practice! I know a little bit about exercising, it’s hard! I don’t like it sometimes! But I have to do it, because of that the choice I made.
Accountability: You will not make the good decision every time in your life, so take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Your coach (parents and teachers) can help you. They can hold you accountable. I’ve learned that trusting my coaches is very important, because I learned that they care about me and love me, even if it doesn’t look like that sometimes. Love brings trust.

So talking about exercising! I have some exercises for you to start out with:

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always, protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Matthew 5:44
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Ephesians 4:1-3
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Remember, the more you exercise, the more you’ll learn new things. Just like your muscles, they grow stronger each time. And remember exercising is very hard!!! But it always feels good at the end of each session of exercise. And, in time, you’ll extend your exercise to stretch yourself even more. Just like when you’re able to do 20 sit-ups, you start a new goal of 30 or 40!

The children of God and children of you father in heaven: just like when an elder looks at you and says, you act just like your father or mother! It’s the same way here, if you make peace, love your enemy, and keep the unity, you do just like God, the ultimate leader of your life!

Love your enemy! Make peace! Keep the unity! Become a child of God!

We refuse to be enemies


أي فريق رياضي ناجح عنده هڈه التخصصات

منظم: منضبط، و كل شخص بالفريق يعرف دوره، و بالتالى الفريق يعمل مع بعض فى وئام. يمكنك أن تتعلم عن النظام من خلال بيتك و أسرتك. لما كنت بسنكم، كان لازماً علينا أن نأخذ صحوننا للحوض كل مرة بعد الطعام. كنا نساعد فى تنظيف البيت و نرتب السرير. اكتشفت ان هذه التمارين ساعدتنى على التعرف بأهمية النظام، حتى و أنهم فى ذلك الوقت كانوا فى نظرى كالعقاب، اكتشفت انهم علموننى احترام النفس و كرامة النفس. ليكون بيتى نظيف … كعائلة أنتم فريق يعمل معا لغرض علاقات صحية و قوية مع بعضكم لبعض و كل عضو بالعائلة له ضوره

مدرب جيدا: الفريق المدرب جيدا يحتاج الى مدرب جيد و أيضا كل عضو يحتاج أن يدرب نفسه

الكوتش (المدرب) للفريق هو القائد. القائد يدللك فى الطريق و ايضا يشير الى نقات مهمة فى مسيرتك. القائد سيرفعك و يشجعك عندما تكون محبط. هو أو هى سيعلمك أفكار جديدة. سَيَتَحَداك تستعمل طرق جديدة للتفكير. سيعلمك كيف تدرب زهنك و مخك. أمثال للمدربين فى حياتك هم أبك و أمك و معلمين المدرسة

قيادة النفس: ستتعلم الكثير من قادتك، لكن يجب عليك أنت وحدك أن تختار أولوياتك فى الحياة. (أعمل واجب المدرسة ولا لأ، أوضب السرير ولا لأ، أهتم بعلاقتى مع أسرتى ولا لأ؟ الإختيار الجيد يحتاج للتدريب على قيادة النفس. لما ما يكون أحد ينظرك ! سيكون لديك الإنضباط و ضبط النفس لتختار الطريق الصحيح. كلما دربت زهنك، كلما بقيت أحسن فى إتخاذ القرار الجيد. مثل التدريب الجسدى، التدريب الذهنى صعب فى البداية، لكنه يبقه أسهل مع التديب المستمر ! فى بعض الأيام لا أحب التدريب لكنى يجب على أن أدرب نفسى لأتمم الإختيار الذى قررته

تحمل المسؤلية: فى بعض الأوقات لن تختار الطريق الصحيح، فانتهذ الفرصة لتتعلم من أخطاءك. قائدك (أباك و أمك و معلمينك) يمكنهم أن يساعدوك فى الطريق. يكمنهم أن يساعدوك فى تحمل المسؤلية الذى أخذتها. تعلمت أن الثقة بقادتى مهمة جدا لأنهم يهتموا بى و يحبوننى، حتى و ان كان هذا لا يرى فى بعض الاوقات. المحبة للآخر تنمى ثقتهم فيك.

بما أننا نتكلم عن التدريب ! عندى بعض التدريبات لكى تبدئون بها، تدريبات من الإنجيل

غلاطية ٥: ٢٢

وَأَمَّا ثَمَرُ الرُّوحِ فَهُوَ: الْمَحَبَّةُ وَالْفَرَحُ وَالسَّلامُ، وَطُولُ الْبَالِ وَاللُّطْفُ وَالصَّلاَحُ، وَالأَمَانَةُ وَالْوَدَاعَةُ وَضَبْطُ النَّفْسِ. وَلَيْسَ مِنْ قَانُونٍ يَمْنَعُ مِثْلَ هَذِهِ الْفَضَائِلِ.

١ كورونثوس ١٣: ٤-٨

الْمَحَبَّةُ تَصْبِرُ طَوِيلاً؛ وَهِيَ لَطِيفَةٌ. الْمَحَبَّةُ لاَ تَحْسُدُ. الْمَحَبَّةُ لاَ تَتَفَاخَرُ وَلاَ تَتَكَبَّرُ.  الْمَحَبَّةُ لاَ تَتَصَرَّفُ بِغَيْرِ لِيَاقَةٍ، وَلاَ تَسْعَى إِلَى مَصْلَحَتِهَا الْخَاصَّةِ. الْمَحَبَّةُ لاَ تُسْتَفَزُّ سَرِيعاً، وَلاَ تَنْسُبُ الشَّرَّ لأَحَدٍ.الْمَحَبَّةُ لاَ تَفْرَحُ بِالظُّلْمِ، بَلْ تَفْرَحُ بِالْحَقِّ. إِنَّهَا تَسْتُرُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ، وَتُصَدِّقُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ، وَتَرْجُو كُلَّ شَيْءٍ، وَتَتَحَمَّلُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ. الْمَحَبَّةُ لاَ تسقُط أَبَداً.

متى ٥: ٤٤

أَحِبُّوا أَعْدَاءَكُمْ، وَبَارِكُوا لاَعِنِيكُمْ، وَأَحْسِنُوا مُعَامَلَةَ الَّذِينَ يُبْغِضُونَكُمْ، وَصَلُّوا لأَجْلِ الَّذِينَ يُسِيئُونَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَيَضْطَهِدُونَكُمْ، فَتَكُونُوا أَبْنَاءَ أَبِيكُمُ الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ

متى ٥: ٩

طُوبَى لِصَانِعِي السَّلاَمِ، فَإِنَّهُمْ سَيُدْعَوْنَ أَبْنَاءَ اللهِ

أفسس ٤: ١-٣

أُنَاشِدُكُمْ أَنْ تَسْلُكُوا سُلُوكاً يَلِيقُ بِالدَّعْوَةِ الَّتِي إِلَيْهَا دُعِيتُمْ، بِكُلِّ تَوَاضُعٍ وَوَدَاعَةٍ وَطُولِ بَالٍ، مُحْتَمِلِينَ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضاً فِي الْمَحَبَّةِ، مُجْتَهِدِينَ أَنْ تُحَافِظُوا عَلَى وَحْدَةِ الرُّوحِ بِرَابِطَةِ الْوِفَاقِ.

إفتكر! كلما تدربت كلما تعلمت أشياء جديدة. مثل عضلاتك، يبقون أقوى كل مرة. و إفتكر ! أن التدريب صعب جداً! لكنك دائما فى نهايه كل تدريب ترضى بنفسك ! و بعد عدة مرات ستتعلم أشياء جديدة و سيعوزك أنن تتعلم أكثر و أكثر ! كما فى التدريبات الجسدية ستبدأ بخمسمئة أمتار و بعد ذلك كيلو و اثنين و اربعة !

أَبْنَاءَ أَبِيكُمُ الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ و سَيُدْعَوْنَ أَبْنَاءَ اللهِ: كما يراك الناس و يقولون أنك تشبه أباك أو أمك، ستشبه الله حينما تصنع السلام أو تحب أعدائك. الله عنده هذه الصفات

أحبوا أعدائكم ! إصنعوا السلام ! حافظوا على الوحدة ! تبقى ابنا لله

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Common Life

Ephesians 3:19-21; “…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
It is with great pleasure that I’m able to come and serve here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in Lilongwe, Malawi. I haven’t been to the heart of Africa for over 7 years now, and I miss it! It felt really good to arrive at the airport and come out smelling Africa! The ground is Africa Brown. You could see the color of it everywhere! Malawi is a country in southern Africa, surrounded by Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

On our way from the airport, we passed by a gas (petrol) station, and there was a line on the street about 20-25 cars long! There’s shortage in diesel, and people have to wait in line forever to get a fill-up!

I met some wonderful people here in Lilongwe. People who are passionate about their calling to serve Africa. Stella, who’s on staff at Willow Creek, lives here and she’s the one who brought the Summit to Malawi. I met Ernest, who is on the committee that organized the summit, he was the do it all person, the man who knows how to get things done in Malawi. He and his wife are heroes, when we had no power on Saturday, his wife found 10 litres of diesel for the generator to power the GLS for us. She reminded me of the women who poured all her fragrance on Jesus’ feet; with Malawi’s shortage on fuel these days, it was a wonderful gesture to give diesel for the Summit! Funwayo is a pastor from a city 4 hours away! He came and helped with powerpoint and other technical help. Grace was the glue! She has a wonderful smile, great attitude and a final exam on Monday! She was waking up at 2AM everyday this week to study, then she goes on to work on GLS work during the day.

I saw the love that surpasses knowledge this week in all of them. They obeyed God’s calling for them, and He delivered His message using them. So, while we couldn’t imagine a video and audio signal that is professionally displayed for the conference audience. While we couldn’t imagine power coming out of the generator on Saturday. While we couldn’t imaging even powering the generator itself with diesel that requires drivers to spend the night in front of gas stations, just to get their cars filled up. God did “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

There’s a common life between all of God’s people, bringing Hope to the world. I’m inspired to keep focus!

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Common Goal

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-5

Our common goal was laid out right here; to keep the unity, be humble and gentle, patient, baring with one another in love….  There’s so much in this little passage!  Again, only the Holy Spirit can help us do all this.

Jesus’ prayer in John 17: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus knew we would not be unified all the time.  We have to spend so much energy on this, it’s not easy, but with the Holy Spirit, He’ll make us one if we ask Him.

God bless everyone who wants this and give you strength.

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Common Ground

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32

Leaders who are passionate about their people will work hard to follow this teaching.  I realize that, as people, we cannot do much of that by ourselves, but with the Holy Spirit in us, the passage says that we need to listen to Him.  ”Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” means to me that I should listen to Him and follow His prompting.  Trust me, I don’t do that all the time either!

Reconciliation is a grace gift that God has given us.  It comes from Christ’s redemption to us.  He has reconciled us first, and that’s the grace He’s given us.  I can’t imagine that God, who’s alive and loves us, who created us, reconciled to us.  But then, I think the reason is just that!  He’s alive, He created us, He loves us.

If I make a computer program, or setup a network, I want it to be alive and working!  I don’t want viruses all over it and see it crawling to death.  I will do everything to get it back to the vibrant life it was, when it was born.  I think God has reason to bring us back to life.  Why?  Because He’s alive and wants the relationship.  We always want our loved ones around us, especially when we’re sick or have problems.  We want the relationship, we don’t want to be alone.  God wants us to hang out with Him!

Finding common ground among Christ’s body is an important task we MUST work on.  We can’t go around spreading rumors about each other, or work independently of each other.  Leaders need to wake up and realize that time is not on their side.  Life is short, people die everyday and leaders must hold each others’ hands and work together for the common ground, taking care of people and growing the Church.  The more leaders connect on the common ground, the less rumors will be out there.  People will be together on the same team, which will make community grow and trust will be born out of that.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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Power

Ephesians 1:18-23

18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

When God gives us vision, His power is also available for implementation.  Energy is required to do anything, and He’s got that energy covered for us.  We just have to dream His dreams, and He will provide the vision, plan, people and the power!

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Bureaucracy vs The Internet

Some thoughts that came to me a while ago. Still thinking out loud…

Bureaucracy says: Privileged information, we only share what we think is appropriate
The Internet says: share information, and you get better feedback

Bureaucracy says: We control the Presidential debates. Find influencial high powered people to ask questions.
The Internet says: You can record your own question on YouTube and we’ll answer it.

Bureaucracy says: We make decisions, you follow
The Internet says: You can give your opinion and we listen. We dialogue about solutions and decision making processes.

Bureaucracy says: It’s Mandatory!
The Internet says: I realize the importance of it and will attend…

Bureaucracy says:

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Neither

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

“Neither,” he replied… Joshua 5:13

Neither. When I read that, I realized that God is not the enemy of anyone! Whether we love Him or want to fight Him, we’re still not His enemy. When we commit to a relationship with Him, we get closer and closer to Him. We start dialogging with Him more and hear His voice. It’s amazing to realize that God doesn’t want to fight anyone, but wants us to all focus on Him. He’s the constant that will make us focus on Him and not fight with each other.

Posted in Leadership, Reflections | Leave a comment