Sunday, September 27, 2015


Yesterday I had the honor of attending the dedication for a new building and ministry center in Back2Back's Cancun site.  A woman named Judy, who over my years living in Mexico, I came to know, love and admire died of leukemia about a year ago.  In her honor, her family donated what became the building costs for a beautiful and expansive community center in an impoverished community near the airport in Cancun.

Overwhelming emotions.

To say that I felt overwhelming emotions during this dedication is probably an understatement.

Some incredibly beautiful memories and articulate words were shared of Judy, of her impact, the lives she touched, the children that her and I both have adored over the years.  Her 4 children and husband were in attendance, her sisters, extended family, neighbors, friends, loved ones, some Back2back staff from various sites - all flew in to celebrate her life and her love for the orphans of Mexico.

Judy and I used to talk quite a bit online.  In her last months before she died, she often shared her wishes and prayer requests for her kids... her desires to see them find joy in the Lord, in serving Him, in knowing Him, in trusting Him. It was incredibly moving to see her 4 children serving together in a place that meant so much to their mother - honoring her memory and probably experiencing some of that same joy as they served little brown faces in the hot Cancun sun.

It was pouring rain this weekend in the slums near Cancun.  I stood watching the rain fall on this well which is one of the only sources of water currently on the property.  Seeing it reminded me of the concept of source - of our sources for water, for restoration, to be cleansed, renewed - of my sources of joy.

I just kept thinking about joy and about how God is so invitational to his children.  He gives us opportunity after opportunity to co-labor with him as he moves, heals, restores, refreshes, revives, mends, rescues and pursues those around us.  I don't know if you are aware of this but God is a God who deeply loves, deeply cares, and isn't content to just watch us go through life miserable, deflated, unmotivated, hopeless.
God is active.
He is moving.
Right now.
Right now God is at work in your family, your community, your place of work.  And we can either chose to partner with Him in what He is already doing - where He is already ministering, whispering, prompting, stirring OR I can chose to just do my own thing and pursue my own agenda.  But man... I just have to say that what literally took my breath away this past weekend in that beautiful community center and building dedication was the realization of how EXTRAVAGANT God has been in my own life.  He has been SO GENEROUS to give me such an incredible opportunity to serve orphans everyday for the past 7 years plus as my full time occupation.  He has invited me and continues to invite me every single day to further HIS agenda, HIS storyline as He moves all around me to restore and heal that which the enemy has tried to steal and destroy.  When we co-labor with God, there is no place that Gods love can't reach.

My God is a God of hope.
He is abundant grace and forgiveness.
He is peace.

His is authentic joy.

I have found so much JOY in partnering with whatever I sense God is up to around me - the child who needs a hug, the boys who needed a foster mom for a few years, the kids who needed a tutor, the person sitting next to me who needs to hear the gospel message in a raw and honest conversation, the mom who needs to know she's seen, the boy who needed to know his preciousness, and on and on and on.

I just can't believe that serving the least of these is somehow my year round job.

I can't believe that I still live in Mexico after all these years. (and Lord and everyone else knows that I've tried to quit about 100 times)

To whoever is still reading this - bonus points for you - but just hear this one thing: Joy comes from surrendering your desires and your ambitions long enough to listen and watch for what God is up to and then joining Him as he furthers his kingdom.  Who around you at your place of work or in your home of amongst your friends needs encouragement or a tangible reminder of how valuable they are to their creator?  What might God be prompting you to join him in this week?  Who might he be calling you to serve, forgive, be patient with or love?  When God whispers, "Go. Come on.  Let's do this." let us say, "YES!" and follow him into joy.

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