Have I been here before?
Discipline that drives passion that drives discipline.
“I have a dream” Martin Luther King Jr. said, drawing the attention of all of the United States, and the rest of the Western world. A dream that at the time seemed impossible to fulfill, today we look back at with a sense of accomplishment for humanity. Dr. King’s passion to change the circumstances in from which his people were suffering, today still inspires the minds of many. The passion to change circumstances, to alter that which everyone believed to be unstoppable: the growing issue of racism and unjust human rights, has positively affected thousands of souls. You might wonder why I use this historical event in a manual on leadership. It’s quite simple, the passion Dr. King put in his work, and the discipline he had in doing the work even though he and his family were threatened to be killed on several occasions, led this African American pastor to change the trajectory of the on-going racial inequality.
1. The Importance of Passion
When looking back at the lives of people such as Dr King, the heroes of the past, it is easy to spot their passion for what they do. Often times we do however fail to realize the amount of discipline it must have required to keep pushing towards the goal and dream. In King’s case, a 13 year battle that ended with his tragic death.
Passion is a fuel that motivates us, and drives us to action. With passion we focus our time in such a way that we have an impact on those around us. It is like a beach ball. Very visible when you are at a pool, but when you try to submerge and hide it, you realize this is incredibly hard to do. Why? With the physics of floatation kicking in, you will soon enough find out it is designed to come to the surface. Passion is something everyone will notice in you, no matter how hard you are trying to hide it.
2. The Value of Discipline
Unfortunately, passion is like human emotion. It changes over time. There are peaks, and there are valleys. This is where the discipline aspect kicks in. Leave a beach ball
untouched in the water for a few weeks and you will see what happens. The air that was blown in will slowly find its way out, and the beach ball starts to look pathetic. If you do not put the effort into keeping the air in the beach ball, the beach ball will be of no use. This is the same for your passion. If you don’t do the important daily requirements you need to do to keep yourself fervent for your passion, the passion will burn out, and often times you will too.
3. Discipline drives passion
Developing your God-given passion is like blowing in spiritual air that allows it to increase.
Prayer, meditation, and being in God’s presence are all key factors in staying zealous.
When your passion increases, so will your drive to keep on going. When your passion increases, so will the passion in the people around you. Passion is infectious.
Do not let your passion become something that drains the life out of you. The 39 year old Dr. King had a heart which condition was equal to that of a 60 year old, all because of the amount of stress he was dealing with daily. The fact that you might feel like the only one that is passionate about, for example Kids Ministry, does not mean you are to blame when something in that department goes wrong.
Stay zealous. Stay passionate. Stay positive.
Keep praying. Keep fasting. Keep loving.
Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:10
A letter I wrote to my past self, struggling with faith.
I performed this piece in my last week of being in a 3 year discipleship program.
______________________Dear me, 4 months ago.
I see your current situation, but this is what I would like you to know
The doubt that arises every time you pray, the intensity of your crisis
Making you unsure if you should stay, is eating you away.
Slowly killing you, devouring parts of your soul and heart
So fight hard to the stay focussed on the promises you’ve received from God.
They say faith and doubt go hand in hand,
Because faith is believing in the infinite, and following the invisible
Which for you I guess is kind of hard to understand,
So you’re brought to a place beyond your own comprehension, you’re shaken
And you turn to God for help when your foundations are shaking
Only to find out that it is God who is shaking them, days of doubt.
These are the days of doubt, the season of drought
Be on the lookout for lies, that will inevitably cause a burnout
Throughout this journey, this route, to completely wipeout
any symptoms of self-guidance and unbelief
Be devout to follow your Savior even tho he’s won’t be answering
your shouts, your cries, your anthems of heartache
Being terrified that your lover went without even saying goodbye
A season of drought
So you’re stuck wondering why, and from Heaven there’s no reply
not even options intensified, or made easier to identify
Typical poet, surfing a flow, creating a lullaby
Simplifying the beauty of being stuck in an emotion
And through this earthly commotion hoping Christ still will be amplified
So I jump in the deep, hoping His spirit catches me
So I can cling onto Him and soar high, reminded by the marks on His thigh
“King of Kings, Lord of Lords”
Knowing that within my cry I find the answer
He is beauty personified, who will provide, for you’re His bride,
For you He also cried, when you turned your back to Him at the moment he died.
So we have no other option then to pursue,
One hand as a fist to knock, the other holding a tissue box
A man full of emotion, I guess we could call you Paradox
Experiencing aftershocks of an earthquake of change.
Stuck in a romantic exchange of heartache
Sudden outbreak of awakened realization of being responsible
Feeling schizophrenic for planning my wedding, yet wanting to meet Christ more
Don’t get me wrong, Love your future wife with all that you got,
But all that you have is given by Christ, so He is all that you got
So with all that you got, love her, and so love her with Christ, for He’s all that you got
So keep knocking on Heavens door,
Knowing that when He opens up, there’s more for us in store
So I keep knocking and though my hands are sore,
I know that my divine reward will open up the door
And he will refill your tank of motivation, reempower the immunity system
Of your spiritually, redefining the person he intended you to be,
and He will speak these words of life
“Without my crucifixion there wouldn’t have been a ressurection,
So pick up your cross, I’ll lead you through imperfection
The next time you fall, just kneel in the right direction
So my worries are crucified, and trust in Him has resurrected
A spoken word I performed during a youth event, with the theme being Life in Full Color.
About the importance of transparent accountability.
This corner of color is only registered in your brain because of the light that shines on the platform.
If you were to remove the sources of light, you’d remove quite an important human sense,
with this room being completely dark, It’d be like removing your sight.
You see the physical difference between light and dark,
Is simply the absence of a superior.
And with the topic being “living life in full color”
It is important to know that doing so requires us to live in the light.
You see darkness was ‘created’ when he who once was an angel started changing within,
And the light that God placed in him started to dim.
When self-righteousness whispered, and pride started to yell
The spectrum of color faded, and blue skies turned to grey
It was like 40 days of rain, but hold on – a promise was made
So this is for those that want to change
For those that are so sick of the mundane
So tired of all kinds of memories made
The faces of hopeless women engraved onto their membranes
Constantly deleting their browser history, without their history being changed.
Tired of a lifestyle of routine and addiction
Leaving them spiritually torn
Innocent enough to safe it for marriage, but guilty for looking at porn
So sick of trying it on their own, simply not having the strength to stop
This was my personal battle until I went through God’s photoshop.
A place where my faults were removed,
A place where my mind was retuned
Colors renewed, my life was made new
You see, I tricked you – This is not a poem, it is a spotlight
I am handing you an opportunity, giving you the gift of artistry
The creative skill and ability to live according to your full color scheme.
This is the spectrum of light simplified, narrowed down into a bold saying:
I showed obedience in words, but in my heart I disobeyed.
And I wondered why God didn’t accept the sacrifices I gave,
this is my story of Abel and Cain.
And it’s heartbreaking to see friends not changing
Patterns, and desires, emphasized in the dark
Because in the light it would require accountability and change.
The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear that pierced Jesus’ side *1
At that moment on the cross when the light of life gave his life
And darkness came across the land, the Author of Salvation’s plan
To restore the colors he created, and mankind back to where it began
In the midst of the day, He died for our sinful desire and craving
Christ slapped YOLO in the face, this is the original daylight saving.
Hope is here, let’s embrace Him.
God of grace.
A term often mentioned in Christianity. The concept of grace in Christianity cannot be compared with any other religions on earth; the free and unmerited favor of God. We can’t earn it, it is given out of love, and we receive it only on one condition: that we believe Christ Jesus to be our Lord and savior, and that His death had to take place as a sacrifice to sanctify us. By grace we are set apart for a greater purpose. In today’s world, especially the western world, the concept of grace has completely overthrown the law. People are more fond of the idea of being saved by grace, than the idea of being able to please God by striving live a holy lifestyle.
To metaphorically describe the concept of the law and grace, we should look at one of the human senses: vision. When the human eye looks at something, only a small area of what we look at is clear. The rest however, the peripheral, is hazy and vague. Without one of these, it would be hard to figure out what we were actually looking at. Our peripheral vision helps us estimate depth. The law does the same, it shows us how far we are actually removed from God if it wasn’t for grace. Without the law, grace would not be needed, because we wouldn’t be able to even roughly estimate how perfect and Holy God actually is. Without grace however, God would not be able to use us because of the fact that His Holy eyes would then only see our imperfection, and filth. Grace is the lens God is looking through when He looks at us. It is truly awe-inspiring to see that God gives us a way to realize how incredibly unworthy we are, yet provided a sacrifice that sanctified us; the imprisoned set free by the omnipotent. When Christ cried out “It is finished,” He did not mean his life was over; He simply meant the law was finally fulfilled, and the gift of grace had been made available to all of humanity: A relationship with Him for both Jew and Gentile.
Grace allows us to not only get back up after we fall, but to stand with holy confidence and a clean conscience. God doesn’t want us to stay the way we are when we first come to Him. In both the Old and the New Testament it says, “Be Holy, for I am Holy.” God would not say this if it weren’t actually possible to live a holy lifestyle. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Our sins of yesterday, today, and tomorrow have all been wiped away. This should not make us indifferent about the choices we make, instead it should encourage us to live a holy lifestyle. Grace is our life-vest. It should instill in us a sense of eternal security, and it should motivate and equip us to change the world, and to continue to follow the Master.
All knowing, ever faithful. All powerful, ever compassionate.
Last week during a prayer meeting I shared about Psalms 23 in the light of my recent trip to an orphanage in Thailand. It’s crazy how God can totally revolutionize the way you read a well known chapter like this after experiencing His love in a different country, on a different continent, in a different culture. My hope is through this to also revolutionize your way of reading this chapter, and through that revolutionize the way you know God thinks about you. Probably the most popular verse in this chapter is “ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me “. For a long time this verse was one of my favorite verses in the bible. Why? Because at the time and season, when I walked through a valley of the shadow of death, this verse gave me strength. Looking back now, I see that during that time of suffering, God was still with me, and He had me right where He wanted me.
However, at this current season, my favorite verse in this chapter is the last one. “Surely love and goodness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”
When David wrote this, for the word we translated into “Follow” he actually used a hunting term.
If you see where i’m getting at, you could say this verse could also be read as “Surely love and goodness will hunt me all the days of my life..” God is hunting us down, in the most positive way you could ever imagine. He is chasing us down with His love and goodness. Every second of the day, every moment of the night, He’s watching us. Never with His eyes shut; lovesick with insomnia. Every single movement we make He knows in advance, and he responds to it with His love and goodness. We’re being hunted by love, and chased down with Goodness. Sure, often it doesn’t feel like it. We still live in a broken and fallen world, and Satan does still have power.. for now. But God is in control. And He will always be.
Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Let’s be confident in this promise, and not only live by grace, but also be fueled by grace.
Once we realize that the sins of the future have been forgiven, at the moment where we fall Satan can’t slow us down even more with shame and guilt, because right at the moment we fall, we don’t fall unto a pit of shame and guilt anymore, but we fall towards the Father, who had already forgiven us.
Saved by grace, empowered by love, inspired by compassion.
First of all, watch this video about Baan Zion
In summer 2012 I got an opportunity to go to Thailand. God opened a door for me to be involved in a ministry led by the Zion Child Care Trust Foundation, in a project called “Baan Zion” Children Prison Ministries.
This foundation aims to enhance the life, the education, the health and thus the future of deprived children. Soon after I arrived I had a God given realization that I was in this country in the far east so that I could raise awareness in the countries in the west.
Everyday I am amazed to see the genuine smiles on the children’s faces. This amazes me because of the background these kids have. In Thailand when the mother goes to prison and the father is not in the picture, which is usually the case, the children have to live in prison with their mothers or are left without care in the village of origin when their mother is detained. Baan Zion, with the approval of the mother, either picks up the children from prison, or from the villages in the mountains. Both sexual and physical abuse are very common in these places, not to mention the satanic influences in the villages. Shamans, animism, and buddhism have a very powerful influence on these hill-tribes. When they are left in their village with no one taking care of them, the things mentioned above take place. When they are left in prison however, they still have no future due to the fact that there is almost no education in prison. The Thai government however it trying everything they can.
In both cases the child experiences terrible things which no one should ever go through.
This is crazy, and this must change. This can change, but only if we, the universal church, works together. It is incredible to see how God provides for this foundation, but it is sad to know that God is providing in incredible ways because the churches in the west are simply not supportive. So many kids could be moved from these dark villages, to the loving and caring surroundings of these orphanages, where the Spirit of God is present. When there are more funds, they can also start to reach out to the detained mothers, and even the family in the mountains.
They need an abundant breakthrough in their overall finances so they can sustain the present work, can start to reach out and help those children on the waiting lists, and can restructure the help towards the detained mothers.
Give and you will be given.
Let’s do this.
So in the summer of 2012 I started working in an institute with people that suffer from psychogeriatric diseases.
Now something interesting about these diseases is that it’s not just one person that suffers, but an entire family. In the short 6 week period that I worked there I have seen more crying family members, then I have seen crying patients. I have gotten more emotional because of family members that broke down after seeing their loved ones getting worse day by day, then of patients that kept telling me they wanted to die.
So I just briefly wanted to share something that stuck out to me over these past 6 weeks.
Last week a patient approached me telling me she couldn’t find her room, she also seemed very restless and nervous. Now the unit that I work at is an isolated area. In order to get in or out you need to know a password for safety reasons. It’s quite a maze – So I wasn’t too surprised she couldn’t find her room, since everything kinda looks like each other. After leading her to her room I asked her if anything was wrong with her, causing her to break down in tears. After about 3 minutes of sobbing she started to tell me what was bothering her. She told me that she still couldn’t forgive her father for not letting her go to school when she was younger. All of her brothers and sister were allowed to go to school, but she wasn’t for some reason. The lady was about 85 years old, and this all happened when she was 15. Interesting fact: She grew up in the church. Was a devout churchgoer. Had a bible on her pillow, and every now and then she’d ask me to read from it.
70 years of unforgiveness.
Let’s say she became a christian when she was 15 years old.
A year has 52 weeks, and so 52 sunday morning services.
In 70 years she heard 3640 sermons.
Now forgiveness obviously plays a massive part in the gospel, and since the gospel should be part of every sermon, she was probably very familiar with the term forgiveness. So how on earth does it happen that a 85 year old cries because she never forgave her father for something he did 70 years ago? Here’s my thought:
Unforgiveness is a poison that if not treated right, it won’t be treated for very long time.
What i’m trying to say is that when we fail to forgive today, we will tend to forget about it tomorrow, but it will inevitably come back to us later in time. In her case, 70 years later. When we fail to realize we have unforgiveness in our life, at the time we realize we suffer from it, it already is rooted so deeply in us, that it will only get more difficult to get rid of.
So how do we know we don’t suffer from this right now?
“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” Psalm 26:2.
Someone who has heart problems regularly visits a doctor. How does one find out she/he has heart problems? Well I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think you know you have heart problems until you get chest pains, a tingly feeling in your left arm, and a mouth that suddenly tastes like iron..
Let’s not wait till something like that. Let’s check in right now, at this very moment.
Let’s get on our knees and let God reveal ourselves to us.
In my short stay on this earth so far I have been surprised a lot. I’m not too big on surprises, because they’re always surprising, but it surprises me to see how I ended up living the way I live. I’m surprised to see how God has lead me through circumstances I thought were impossible to conquer, to then give me a new realization. A realization of life importance. A realization that brought along a memorable milestone: a memory that marked the end of a season, and the beginning of a new life with Christ. The sudden realization where I realized that when I live a life of obedience, and live a life of complete surrender to Him and His plan for me, and I will walk a road with only one certainty.
He is in control.
It’s a road filled with interesting turns, unexpected valleys, and hard to climb mountain tops. Turns that might trigger confusion “Why there?”, valleys that might trigger depression “Why this?”, and mountain tops that might trigger pride “Why me?”. All of these with uncertainty, explaining the question why.
Luckily there is one certainty. A certain certainty that certainly changed the way I live, breathe and write. A certainty that is so life changing. Once we finally get a grasp on who He really is to us, and who we really are to Him. Once we realize what He really thinks of us, and how he sees us even when we’re at our lowest, there is no doubt this will revolutionize our way of thinking, living, and worshipping. Revolutionizing in a way that our way of thinking, living, and worshipping will all be fused together into something simple and bold, which certainly has to be told..
A life of worship