If you are like me, you know 2 Timothy 1:7 by heart: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV). I use this verse often when I coach people to find purpose or to be creative, and I have felt free to use this truth in many other areas of life and ministry, including my own. Therefore I was surprised this week when I looked at this verse in the context where it is found, and discovered that I should not be as free to use this verse as I have been, for it seems to be specific and focused in one and not all areas of life.
In the verse before seven, Paul wrote these words: "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV). Paul was urging Timothy to recognize the gift he had and instructed him to fan the gift into flames. When our homes had a fireplace, I would often have to employ this tactic. If I could get a small flame going, I would gently blow on it, giving it more oxygen so that it would spread. That is what Paul was telling Timothy to do: Take the smallest spark of his gift and do what he had to do to make it burn hotter and brighter.
So the context for not having a spirit of fear is not applied to all areas of life, but to the expression of our purpose and gifts. Paul would not tell us not to be afraid where our gift is concerned unless it was a common tendency for it to happen. We shrink back in fear when we have a chance to express who we are instead of taking every opportunity to do so and to learn how to do it more effectively.
Where are you afraid to express your gift? In fact, do you know what your gift is? Have others laid hands on you to confirm or release the gift? What can you do to fan it into flames, giving it the oxygen it needs to flourish and prosper. I have been on a search and destroy mission the last few years of my life to find and eradicate fear, and it's been a large task. I suspect this will continue for the rest of my life.
What are you doing to confront and neutralize the fear where your gift is concerned? I encourage you to read these verses and the others in 2 Timothy 1 and do what Paul was advising Timothy to do, which was to stop hiding behind his fears but to step out into the light of self-expression, which is the only way to honor God for making you who He made you to be.
If you remember, last August you helped me raise money to help get orphans off the ground and into some beds. We purchased the bed frames but have been unable to purchase all the mattresses, since money given through Facebook takes 60-75 days to be processed and sent. I was able to send money last week and here is the report from Pastor Francis:
As soon as the rest of the money arrives, we will take care of those other mattresses and blankets. Thank you for helping to make this possible, but keep in mind that the children have ongoing needs. Please contribute today toward their health and welfare by giving through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and God bless you for your compassion toward these children.
My trip to Oklahoma City last week was a good one all the way around. I reconnected with my friends at Victory Church where I spoke to staff and in both Sunday services. I met with my friends Ted and Tami Miller, and I worked on an exciting new book with author Jed Chappell. I also ate at Swadley's, my favorite BBQ restaurant three times. There were three unusual things that happened during the trip that I just had to share with you.
Last Friday, I went for my morning walk covering 2.5 miles. When I got outside my hotel, I realized I had not removed my rings and they were tight on my fingers, so I took them off and put one in each pocket. I put my wedding ring in my left pocket because I my phone was in that pocket, and I never remove my phone--or I had not up to this particular morning.
As I walked, I saw a few things I wanted to show my wife when I got home, so I did what I usually do not do--I took out my phone to take some pictures. My last stop was a historical marker explaining that the site was formerly an orphanage for Native American children. Today, it is the home for a beautiful new bank building, which I thought was indicative of our culture--we used to take care of children, but now we take care of our money.
When I got back to the hotel, I reached into my left pocket and my wedding ring was gone, having fallen out someplace along my walk route. I drove to the places where I knew I had taken pictures but could find nothing. I decided to suspend my search until the next morning when I would walk again, retracing my Friday route. It was hot and I figured no one was going to be out walking, so my ring would probably stay put, if it was even visible.
Around 5:30 that day, I turned onto my hotel road, but pulled over to go look once again at the area around the marker. This time I walked up into the grass where I had taken the picture and, lo and behold, there in the grass was my wedding ring, right where I had dropped it nine hours earlier.
On my way home, I flew through Atlanta, which is a big airport. My plane pulled into Terminal A, but I had to go all the way to Terminal F (1.25 miles away--I know because I have walked it before). I was deciding whether to walk or ride the tram as I walked off the plane when a young lady right outside the plane door was calling my name. My first thought was, My flight home has been cancelled and they are here to tell me personally.
Instead, the Delta Airlines official asked, "Would you like a ride to Terminal F?" When I responded I would, she said, "Follow me," and led me to the stairs where baggage handlers enter and exit the jetway from the tarmac. We walked down the stairs and Nicole (from Venezuela) put my briefcases in the back of the car. When we got in, she said, "You spend so much time in an airport and we thought this would help you out." She then proceeded to drive me through all the planes and baggage carts across the airport to Terminal F. When I inquired what kind of car we were in, Nicole responded, "A brand new Porsche." I asked her if she could drive me home to Pittsburgh, but she said she could not. Oh well, I tried.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST
After I spoke in the first service last Sunday, a man came up and stood before me, not saying anything. Finally, he spoke and asked, "You don't remember me, do you?" I thought he looked familiar but could not place him. He then identified himself as my college fraternity brother, who I had not see in 47 years! Naturally, I was surprised and we talked as much as we could, for I was selling books and people were coming and going at my table.
When I looked Lou up later, I found out that he was a wealth advisor and guess where his office is? His office is close to the historical marker where I lost my ring. I was staying in a hotel across the street from a man who I once knew but had not seen in almost five decades. I would have never known, except that his assistant sent him an invitation to church, he saw my name, and decided to come check me out.
I have always advised writers that if they want to write interesting things, they must do interesting things so they have something to write about. I thought those things were interesting, so I had to share them with you.
It's the beginning of September and school fees are due in Kenya. Here is what we need and here is what I have:
- EOTOO Tuition for six orphans: need $1,775, have $1075
- Little Mary's tuition: need $600, have $300
- Upako Teacher's Salaries: need $625, have $100
- Little Felix school fees: need $200, have $200
- Banana library: need $900, have $0
That makes a total needed of $2,425. It is not unusual for contributions to drop off after we raised so much for the orphan's beds and library needs in August. If you can help with this current need, please give today, either through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. On behalf of our orphans and partners in Kenya, thank you!
I have released the dates and information for my tour to Kenya from February 14-24, 2019. I already got my first two applications and I think there will be a big group going for what will be a wonderful trip. I am attaching all the information you will need below for you to download. Read it over and then consider joining me and my friends for a trip you have always dreamed of making. The time is now; don't let fear rob you of your opportunity.
My first visit to Kenya in more than a year gave me a chance to catch up with our partners and get updates on the various projects with which we have been involved. One of them was the brick-making business we helped establish for Pastor Francis and Upako Centre. I was delighted to find out how well the business is doing and how much it is helping them with their 23 orphans and school operation. Here is Francis' report:
The one brick making machine is now supporting part of the orphans feeding program and this is very helpful. We hire out the machine to local people in the community for a fee but we also produce quality bricks (when the machine is not hired) and sell in small quantities. This is a good project and we will [eventually] expand and add more machines. God bless our donors. Francis.
Last night, I was in the Nairobi airport lounge, talking to my friends and giving advice and counsel up until the time I departed. In the two weeks I was there, the following is a summary of what I did:
- I trained more than 600 leaders in four days of training from 9 to 4.
- Visited with all my ministry partners (6) to encourage them.
- Preached two services at Harvest Fellowship in Kangemi area of Nairobi.
- Consulted for a group of lawyers representing those who are marginalized in Kenyan society.
- Brought over books and supplies for those who requested them.
- Met many new friends, trying to lay the groundwork for my next visit - hopefully in December.
- Helped raise more than $8,000, which I distributed to our partners here - every penny that was donated was given without any personal expenses being deducted, for which I am trusting the Lord.
As I sit in the lounge in Paris awaiting my flight to Pittsburgh, I think of the words of Nehemiah, "Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services" (13:14), and "Remember me with favor, my God" (13:31b). As I return, there is still a matter of my own travel expenses from the trip, which I gladly de-emphasized to raise the money our partners needed. If you feel inclined to help me with those expenses, you can give online or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and I am ready to go home!
It has been a great 10 days for me here in Kenya. I have been able to accomplish so much with the Lord's help and I have another three full days to go. Thank you for your prayers and assistance. Here is a summary of my time so far.
- I trained 435 leaders in the Bomet and Longisa Areas of the Africa Gospel Church. I provided a set of notes, lunch, and a tea break for all those who participated at a cost of $2,000, which included a new video projector that I donated to the Longisa Area for their use. My subject matter was a two-day seminar in each area on the Price of Leadership, in which we covered subjects like goals, purpose, time management, servant leadership, and personal development.
- I visited with my friend Pastor David Koech at Kenduiwo Orphans home to pray for the 54 orphans (18 more were away at school) under his care and to talk to him about some long-range projects that will help relieve the pressure on him, his family, and his churches as they seek to care for those 72 children. I left $200 for the children.
- I preached at Harvest Centre Fellowship and the title of my message was "Clash of Kingdoms." I simply discussed the reality of the war we are in between the kingdom of light and darkness and our need to participate in seeing the fullness of our victory in Christ achieved.
- This coming week, I will visit our library in Banana, our school in Upako, and conduct some training for a group of lawyer and social worker friends here in Nairobi. I delivered money to the leadership in Banana for library furnishings ($1,700) and to Upako for the beds for 26 orphans ($2,700), which are being constructed and should be ready this week. I will post pictures when I have them.
I am now in need of the bedding to go with the beds, so I am asking you to give toward this project to get the kids off the ground and into a bed. You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and God bless you on behalf of the children and our partners here in Kenya for all your help!
This is just a short note to thank you for your help in making my trip to Kenya possible. I delivered the money for the beds to Pastor Francis and Lillian, money to Pastor Peter for library equipment, and the new projector to Pastor David Koech and will begin training leaders today for the next four days. Now we need to work on the bedding to go with the beds for 26 orphans! I know I have asked you for much recently, and if it wasn't urgent, I would not ask. If you haven't given already, please consider doing so, using my website or send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Let's trust the Lord together for another miracle.