Tag: catholic

Diplomatic Inspiration 2.0

Do I have a cool story for you!

But first,

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9)

Yesterday, I was at a Diplomatic Peace Summit.

The speakers consisted of Sikhs, Monks, Hindu Priests, Bishops, the Former President of Ecuador, Heads of various Parishes from The Americas, and one of my friends, Angel Roman, who was representing a fledgling Peace Initiative.

In attendance were thousands of young people, the general public, and honored guests. Thundered applause electrified the room from start to finish as each speaker gave their 3-5 mins speech in native lingo. Angel’s mother shed tears of joy seeing her 20-year-old boy made his entrance on the International Stage. Quite moving.

Then, came the SHOCK wave that pulsated the room and left me breathless!

This is how it happened.

First, religious leaders offered their thoughts for peace. Infused in their opinions were their respective beliefs and values. Then, they revealed what they each read from the Bible, the prophecies for peace, how their religion was linked in. Weird right?

Each leader then turned that to support their views and worldviews. None of them mention The Name but worked their way around it! By now, it was unsettling.

Then, one of the leaders stood up and repeatedly pointed to the Chairman as the answer and the one who had the solution to world peace. “He has the answer to world peace,” the speaker boldly stated. And away went the applause. Again, unsettling. Who did they think they are, I thought.

The NERVE!

Finally, came the chairman’s turn. He stood up to a standing ovation and delivered his speech. Then came the shocking twist.

God is concerned about peace,” he said.

And yes, peace is a person,” he added.

By now, I was like, say what now?

Then, the chairman punched the air with eyes closed and declared, “His name is Jesus and he is the Prince of Peace.”

I about fell out my chair.

He went on to quote and directly from Luke’s gospel and then proceeded to unwind some wisdom from Revelation.

After admonishing his followers, he explained further, “Jesus is not just for me. He is for everyone. He is for you. Everyone should want him. He has the solution. Let’s prefer peace together.”

Then, sharing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, he encouraged the youth to be like Abraham who on behalf of Sodom intervened for Sodom when he asked if God would destroy the city if he found only 10 righteous people.

Wooo! What a man!

Then it occurred to me!

Where were the Christians? Why were they severely under-represented on the panel and in the room? 

Sometimes, we hide in buildings and associate only with our own. We leave the world to find a way to resolve issues and then complain when their endeavors make things worse.

The church is not the building, it is the people who come together in the building. God does not live in a building. He lives and operates among the people who make the building a gathering place.

We often claim to be people of love and truth. But, the only way to find out just how loving and patient we to engage and be tested by different problems and people with contrasting beliefs, behaviors, and emotions.

So I have been thinking –

If you were given the chance today to speak at international meetings or the courts of kings and high rollers, would you know what to do, what to say, how to speak?

Would you know how to act in such a way that folks in these circles felt respected and allowed them to actively listen and request that you return to share more?

Would you know how to act in a way to didn’t make you come across as arrogant?

And I have also been wondering –

Have you thought of finding a problem that plagues your community or nation with the intention to bring light into? Pre-believers see these things and they make efforts to help. If they don’t find us at the panels and tables wouldn’t they assume we are only about ourselves? Better yet,

Why would they respect us if they enter the fire trying to help people in it and find us doing nothing about it when we have and talk about our heroes of faith who were thrown into and ended up walking about and out of a fire, heated 7 times, unburned? If we have that “superpower in Jesus” why aren’t they finding us in the fire? 

Yes! We are citizens of heaven. Yes, when he appears, we will appear with him.

So what?

Until then, we are still here, on earth.

Who do we think is supposed to brighten the world, wipe tears away, heal the brokenhearted, revive broken dreams, and set captives free? Who do we think is primarily empowered with light and life to make the earth a little bit like heaven? Doesn’t it say,

All creation of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children? – (Romans 8:19)

Well, aren’t we HIS, the empowered ones?

If we are Ambassadors of the Light –

Wouldn’t you agree that its time for us to learn how to be diplomatic in our response to community and national problems just as we are concerned about lost souls? Wouldn’t you agree that this will mean entering areas of conflict and darkness to represent and bring light and peace?

People will not often believe what you believe until what you believe produces results that no one else produces

Yes! We set our minds and hearts on things above where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Colossians 3). But that’s precisely it. We fix our minds on things in heaven, not our bodies. Think of what heaven is like and commune with the savior regarding things there as well as things here on earth.

But wouldn’t you agree that the outcome of our ongoing conversations should be heavenly minded resolutions for both for souls and situations in different spheres of influence we have been inspired to engage here on earth?

Wouldn’t you agree that it should involve God being able to entrust us with financial formulas for creating wealth for kingdom purposes, wisdom for helping the broken, creative ideas for transforming culture and demonstrating the King of Kings, frameworks for national transformation, and peacebuilding?

And doesn’t it say,

“Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Mt 6:9-13)

I wonder –

What does heaven look like and what is God’s will in heaven like? Is there sickness in heaven? Is there poverty in heaven? Are they oppressed people heaven? Are they people crying for help in heaven?

Don’t get me wrong. Until he comes back, Earth won’t be like heaven. But, don’t get it twisted either. It’s our responsibility to infuse the “earth” around us a little like heaven. It could be a lot of work and sacrifice. But then again, it’s not a hobby. It’s a job description.

If God’s light and presence makes heaven a paradise, wouldn’t you agree that as diplomats of The Light we ought to demonstrate the power, love, light, hope, wisdom, revelation, creativity…of our kingdom in the Sphere of Influence our King has sent us to?

And what on earth are we waiting for even though we already have The Green Light?

You tell me.

Anywho, just thinking!

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One Love, One Spirit


 

 

 

 

Miracles on Skid Row

If you didn’t know…

Skid Row is a popular block close to Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. It is home to the homeless. Tents pegged everywhere, smells, garbage…and then men, women, and families.

It is home to some good people who made mistakes, good people with unfortunate storiespeople with good stories who made poor choices, and others.

Yesterday, I saw miracles on Skid Row. I saw miracles in the streets. But first,

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… (Mt 25:35-42)

For about two weeks, the Holy Spirit seemed to pull strings inside of me, pointing me toward that end. So, instead of the regular dose of Sunday Service and Sunday Netflix, I decided to follow Him. And the entire day turned out to be one big divine appointment.

Its the miracles on Skid Row I wish to highlight today.

I got together with some folks who visit Skid Row each Sunday. We went out, set up a tent, and just worshiped God with guitars and all. I was told that the homeless don’t show until they start giving care packages. But, as we just sang, they started coming out. Some to worship, sing, talk, and pray with and be prayed for.

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Then, we stared giving out care packages – sandwiches, soda, apples, and water. Then this one homeless woman (in the photo) showed up. She was anything but ordinary. She prayed up a storm and blessed people and us too. Then, I met Mary. And this is where it all started.

See, Mary was standing by her cart on the other side of the street. I went to invite her and she wouldn’t burge. She kept saying, “Next Sunday.” Translation – never. It turns out Mary was broken inside. Lost all hope. Felt worthless. So, I brought stuff to her and just talked. Then Mary said, “I want pants. Do you have pants? Its cold and I ain’t got none.”

I told her I was going to ask but doubted there was any. So, I went back and asked and well, there wasn’t any. Right when I picked up some more stuff for her and walked over to Mary and her cart, a brand new pair of jeans all glittered up was in her cart. I was shocked and asked how that happened. She said, some random person came by and gave it to her and left.

???? Random person ???

As I walked back, a car pulled up and said I got stuff for you guys, pulled out some bread, a guitar, and pointed us to a backseat of Hand Sanitizers. And people, let me tell you. These good people with unfortunate stories love their Hand Sanitizers. They would kill for one.

Not long after that, car after car came by with more food, groceries and drinks. And I was like, is this the feeding of the five thousand again? The big one was roasted chicken. Wooo! It got through in a flash. But here’s the mysterious thing.

All those folks who brought stuff? We didn’t know them! I inquired and I was told they were not friends (but for one or two). Most of these kindhearted folks were just lovers of our Lord Jesus who saw what was happening and decided to unite in the pursuit of applied compassion.

And, I haven’t ever seen a homeless man serve God with gladness like one homeless brother who showed up to serve alongside instead of being served. It was humbling. He was diligent, making sure nothing was wasted. He would tell you point blank if something was good, if chicken bones was still enough chicken for someone and all that good stuff.

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He knew who needed extra and who had a wife or kids to take food to. I really enjoyed how others who came thought of asking for extra for loved ones and neighbors who they felt would never approach the tent for personal reasons.

When I reflect on the privileged service and conversations, I can’t shake the thought that some of these men and women in unfortunate positions who have had to make compromising decisions to protect or provide for loved ones –

may just turn out to be better human beings than me and some of us

This humbles me.

I chose to share this to give glory to God for inviting me to be a part of this and also to share this as a piece of the bigger story we the redeemed have a part to play in.

Lessons Learned or Reinforced:

  • Think baby steps. Take baby steps.
  • If you think its the Spirit. Test it. Go and do it and you’ll find out real quick if its Him or not. Sometimes, that’s the only way.
  • Swift and complete obedience with no reservations.

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~ One Love, One Spirit


 

 

Miraculously Lost in Music

Phew! Last week was rough.

So, I forgot to write something in time today. My bad! I was writing a defense for my Masters and briefly stopped to write about what God is doing.

First off, thank you all for reading my posts. A special thanks to Maurice for sending encouraging words and prayers. God bless you. I just figured if I am ever given a chance to tell my story, I would need to be deeply vulnerable. So, “Why not start here?” Isn’t that what a blog is for anyway?

Anywho!

Last weekend, I found solace keeping it real with big brother J.C (Jesus). As it says in Hebrews 10:22, “Draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings.” I did and this past weekend, I found comfort and peace. But, that’s not the surprise I want to tell you about.

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I feel like Groot right now

See, while I was vacationing on the wild side of Catalina Islands, I discerned the Holy Spirit leading me to write a short book for diplomats, leaders, visionaries…in Africa. Of course, I questioned my ability to do that. But, I wrote down the idea.

Since, I returned, in the midst of the pressures and trials, somehow, I finished it in three weeks. I realized that even though I didn’t know much, the more I wrote down or typed what came to me, the more the words came forth. It was beautiful.

Then, I started drawing and came up with illustrations for theories that just blew my mind. I was in awe of what God can do when you just let go and let God. When you just swiftly and completely obey.

But, this is not the surprise.

During the weekend, I was just thanking God in the midst of the tasty challenges comprising of disappointments, loss, betrayal, and criticism…when I got a phone call. It was from Mike, a former Hollywood actor, entrepreneur, cyber security buff..whom a friend had recommended me to months ago.

Apparently, Mike had been working on a project and while praying discerned the Spirit leading him to call me and discuss ideas, find out what I was doing etc. When he first reached out, I was at a loss. I didn’t know who in the world he was. He had to remind me.

Anyway – we talked and he told me about things he was doing in Africa and how he was working with this CEO from Africa and how they agreed they need ideas, a framework etc. to help diplomats engage communities, entrepreneurs etc.

Well! How about that?

I just cracked up and explained that all the questions he just asked was what I just wrote about. I told him of the sense of urgency from the Holy Spirit to do it. I’m glad I obeyed. Then I told him of some other stuff and it just blew his mind.

He’d just been reading the scripture which I used to create these frameworks for gold medal peak performance for business and leadership. Halo! And what did I have to do with it? Absolutely, “rien du tout” (nothing at all). God is good, ain’t he?

Wait! There is more. 

People of stature – Marine Captain, Innovation Strategist, Ambassador, City Inspector… – are accepting my request to review it. How is this happening? Man, God is good. Oh…and there is this Pastor whom I met who is reading it to. He was so kind to me. Our meeting was a kind of divine appointment. Unplanned people, unplanned!

Wow! This is bigger than I expected. God is good. Consider keeping me in your prayers.

I write to encourage you and me to keep being faithful, pressing on, and never –

“Become weary of doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9

That said, you need to hear this Old school jam remixed by Dmitri from Paris. Listen! Its got your boy #Motown here sliding to the goodness of God and looking up, trusting His process, and looking ahead with faith.

God throwing this surprise at me as well as me finding this jam is no coincidence. I  think its God inspiring me to become miraculously lost in the music of His unconventional ways and in the music that is life.

Enjoy folks! Y’all have a marvelous week.

 

The Best Compliment EVER!

Let me keep it real with you all.

Following Jesus is hard. Saying yes to an adventure he calls you to: saying yes to leadership can be painful. Leadership is hard! It involves a commitment of your emotions, feelings, as well as your mental prowess..

On Monday, I wrote about a crisis I am going through, titled – God is good, my confessions. It was nerve raking. Matter of fact, I am still trembling. I think it is the after effect of being so vulnerable with strangers. After I shared the post, I removed it. Then, I posted it again and then hours later, I removed it. I did this about 5 times.

I was conflicted. Below was and perhaps still is the battle in my soul –

I kept asking myself – Have I shared too much? This is too personal to be sharing with people I don’t know. What the “hell” am I doing?

But then I thought – Ish, you need to preserve yourself and the dignities of those included or connected to these struggles. But, is this a cop out? But it will help someone. But who reads this anyway…? Does it matter…?

Too many thoughts.

I am still shaken because I know its too late. It is said that, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It is true for the internet. What happens on the internet stays on the internet. Difference is not everyone goes to Vegas but everyone is on the internet. And since what I shared stays on the internet stays, even if I delete it., people will find it anyway.

Saying yes to a call from heaven is hard. Leadership is hard.

When you lead or are called to lead, you deal with so many secret pressures and pains. Your hands and body often tremble under stress, fear, and anxiety, while you struggle to keep your composure and think clearly. You don’t have answers or know which way to go. You hold onto faith, but wonder just how much you can take and how much more you can give. There is lonely decision making.

Even though people are all round you, you could be suffering, dying, sweating and silently as well as secretly crying for help and those around you wouldn’t even hear it. Sometimes, you wander what to say. What do you tell people, your people? How do you say it? How do you even explain it when it is so spiritual? Where do you begin? Will “they” understand it?

It is hard to be a leader. Harder still, is fighting the good fight of faith on this ultimate adventure with the Almighty. You’ll do things for its own sake and people will never know. You pray and hope for others even when you yourself are barely holding on and people will never know. You’ll fully engage in celebrating the victories of others and wander – but, what about me? Did I do something wrong? Or is it something right? You pay such a hefty price and then wonder, is this all that I get or is this just life?

While driving this morning, my body was vibrating under all the trials. I was struggling to focus on the words of his promise. But, it was hard. I wondered if I could keep going. I thought to myself – this is hard and when I finish this part of my adventure with the Almighty, I am tempted to say to him – I don’t know if going on with this is still worth the price…! (Its – the pain speaking).

The problem with life is not that it is rationale or irrational. It is that it is almost rationale – J.K Chesterton

Meaning, just when everything seems to fall into place and you seem to be getting a hang of things, and moving along in life, suddenly something happens that throws everything off balance, setting you like a chess piece in a box called – paradox and contradiction.

Suffering brings courage ~ President SirLeaf of Liberia

That said –

It is during our lives lowest and most challenging periods that a patient and listening ear as well as mere words spoken out of love and understanding echo divine messages and become our greatest gifts. Such a message came from my mother.

She is a true African Queen. She is wild at heart and her passion keeps her youthful. She is my biggest supporter, sides with God on everything concerning Ish even when she knows it will be long and painful, and never allows me to say the word depressed. She can feel it when I am losing strength and courage. She just knows. She knows things man.

Anyone have a mom, friend, or a person in their life like that?

Recently, Ms. Mom was talking with a friend. Knowing my trials, her friend expressed concern because she was worried about her own children and couldn’t imagine her children standing under a similar cross if they carried it. Without skipping a beat, Ms. Mom said of me,

I know my boy. I am not worried about him. If any of my other children were in his shoes, I would be worried, crying, and shrieking. But, its him – I’m not worried about him.”

Then, she added this gem –

If you take him and throw him into a sea, he will come out dry. He will come out with a smile. No matter how long it takes. He’ll be fine.”

This gave me much courage. The fact that she believed in me gave me courage. Not many people may understand your life and your life’s call from heaven. You may be lonely on your journey to meet God on page 898 in your book of destiny from page 123. But, the words of that one person – family, friend or stranger – may be all you need to keep going.

Ms. Mom’s words empowered me to keep looking at the Master amidst these divinely engineered storms. Thanks Mom! This is by far the best compliment I have ever received.

Enough with my musing.

What about you? How are you doing and how are you holding up, friends?

What is the best compliment you have ever received in your life?

Why did it matter to you so much?

 

I would love to read your thoughts too. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite.

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One love, One Spirit.


 

 

GOD IS GOOD: my confessions

I don’t know how this is going to go down but I guess I will find out.

I’m not sure how many people read this blog or will ever read it so I will take vulnerability for a test drive. Today I want to be vulnerable. To share my trials, struggles, pains…! This is going to be hard, but l promise to try.

For a while, I have been on a journey with God. To discover something. To prove something. It began when I was 17 and its been a good ride, no lie. I knew it would be a challenge rolling with an unconventional Father, a God of mystery. I knew and I said yes anyway. And lately, the difficulties have been long and hard.

For days, I have just lied down on the carpet looking at the ceiling after midnight, asking myself – what’s the point? What’s the point of everything? What’s the point of my life? Where is God in all this? What is he saying? Does he even hear me? Does his word still stand? Are we still working with it?

If you wandered why I didn’t write something last week, its because Continue reading “GOD IS GOOD: my confessions”

Pack it! On Your Mission

Yeah! Just add some specific set of skills to it and viola!!!
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So, obviously, I am talking about the conversation I had with Jesse about tracing your calling. In discovering the vehicle for your calling (which you can follow the link to re-read the conversation) a major, job, title, invention is just a tool, a vehicle, with which to carry your calling.

Once you discover your calling and turn it into a mission, you can easily decide what vehicle you wish to use. You can decide what vehicle is capable supporting, empowering, inspiring, and wholly transporting your calling. In my conversation with Jesse, after sharing this thought about a vehicle, these followed.

Me to Jesse

Now that you know and are living your mission, a good question to ask is –

What specific set of skills would you like to add to that mission to help you build on, develop, and accomplish your mission? What type of courses and perhaps college major can help you build on that mission? Can you take a few courses here and there or go into the industry and learn hands on as an apprentice? 

Lastly, ask yourself –

Who are you hoping to help? What type/category of people – college students? Diplomats? families? Communities? Artists? Citizens? What type of people?

If you could start now, what age group would you like to give your first talk, speech, seminar, or meet up with first? With this, can you determine what sought of training and skills you need to add for developing your mission?

Tracing our calling, turning it into a mission, deciding what skills to pack for the journey to destiny, and deciding what people/age group to begin serving with this, is not as hard as we may think. Introspective questions really help.

On the other hand, those with big dreams often have wild imaginations and often dream of doing many things. And it is good. So, here is the tip, if you are confused because you have many things you want to do and don’t know how and where to start, that’s okay.

Pick one and start with it. Your other dreams will fall into place as you grow, make connections, and establish the first one you picked.

Yes!

Dream big, but have a FOCUSED dream


Discovering the Vehicle for your Calling

Let’s go back to – Catalina Islands…for a sec

One of the most fascinating creatures on God’s green earth that I met was Jesse.

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Meet Jesse – (So cool)

 

Jesse is an epiphany. She redefines coolness. She had that cool, colorful, Malibu groove going on. She is graceful, calm, charming, lovely, wise, intuitive, respectful and one fine sister who really loves Jesus. Don’t judge. Just bragging about Jesse is all.

While facing the beach we engaged in a conversation to inquire why we were each glowing. And no…it wasn’t love at first sight or last sight (though if Jesus made it possible…okay…I should stop now). Just kidding.

We swapped stories and compliments. Then, Jesse shared her dilemma. She didn’t know what her calling was. She wanted to know what it is God was inspiring her to do and how to do it. She was a sophomore in college but wasn’t sure what to chose for a major. I listened and we just talked and swapped experiences. Then, our talk went something like this  – Continue reading “Discovering the Vehicle for your Calling”

Miracles and Humor at the Beach

Ladies and gentlemen,

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I’M BACKKKKKK….!!!

Hahaha. Oh my goodness. I missed you guys.

Thank you for all the likes, follows, and comments in my absence. They blessed me and encouraged me. It tells me that what I share is of some benefit to you. Merci…thank you.

But – Listen people – I have been stressed!

Mi familia has been experiencing a sudden stream of trials. We lost our grandma, our cousin is out of work because of a stroke, another in Canada jumped out of her car before it crashed,….phew…#lawdjesus. [Please pray for us]

Its been hardships and heartbreaks. I was so stressed from work, school, project, and life that I started to reach my physical limits. I began having cold breakouts and shiver under anxiety and stress, loosing vision, and having small brain shut downs – literally.

When this happened, its as if our Lord was telling me to stop – everything – and retreat with him. The moment I said yes, I received a message from an organization with a scholarship to visit the wild side Catalina Islands. My first question was – “Is Catalina Islands in the United States?”

“Duh” – its in California just 30 minutes away from by seas. And people, let me tell you something – wild and beautiful. I enjoyed the –  No cellular service – part.

While I was there, I experienced cool things. On my beach walk, I walked into an eagle eating fish. When I said – “hey bro, how are you doing?” it flew away. I’m not sure if it was being racist or was just scared of a brother.

Then, I sat down and just worshiped and came up with a new song. Then I saw something swimming and shouted, “Dolphin…hey dolphin. Come say hello.”

Yep, you guessed right – it wasn’t a dolphin. Turns out, it was a flippin’ baby sea lion.

Cute right?

That’s what I thought too.

Not until Continue reading “Miracles and Humor at the Beach”

What You Do vs. What You are Called to Do – the difference

In my previous post, Clues to Your Calling, I referred to an article, The Call, written by Rabbi Sacks in which he shared the four characteristics to discovering your calling.

Click here to read the full (short) post.

I often had questions. How do I differentiate between what I am good at, what I do, and what I am called to do?

That was a hard question for me to answer. I love stories and in his talk, Rabbi Sacks told shared a personal revelation which resonated with me. He said –

I have known great judges who were also brilliant pianists.

Wittgenstein trained as an aeronautical engineer but eventually dedicated his life to philosophy.

Ronald Heifetz qualified as a doctor and a musician but instead became the founder of the School of Public Leadership at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

We can be good at many things, but what gives a life direction and meaning is a sense of mission, of something we are called on to do.”

And what is the real test for a calling?

“The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves” ~ Logan Pearsall

Finally,

All real achievement requires back-breaking preparation. The most common estimate is 10,000 hours of deep practice.

Are you willing to pay this price?

~ Rabbi Sacks

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Keep it 100

One love, One Spirit


  1. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Call (Vayikra 5778), Rabbisacks.org 

Your Calling vs. Your Mission

A calling is a vocation, something other, from your day job or what you do everyday. A calling is God’s call to you from the future. He is already there, sees you as He knows you are capable of becoming if you say – yes – to his ultimate adventure.

It means in your “book of destiny”, God is on Page 898 and seeing you at page 127 is saying to at Page 127,

Hey there! I know you don’t know me or know what will happen in your life. But, if you focus on this mighty task which I would like for you to consider pursuing in additional to all your other responsibilities and life in general, and if you calibrate your compass to follow this divine map, you’ll meet me on page 898 in the future. Along the way, you will experience me, meet or get to know my Son, and receive help from my Spirit. Are you in?”

When God calls you, it means you are not there yet. You are not that person yet. You are not “it” yet. It means you have a ways to go. But, here’s the sad thing – Continue reading “Your Calling vs. Your Mission”