Archive | February, 2011

Natural tension, intentional safety

25 Feb

God not only designed our natural skills and tendencies, he also designated the environment and culture that would influence our outlook on life.  Our ReachGlobal Latin America/Caribbean leadership team has a number of natural tensions that become advantages for accomplishing vision when there is an intentional environment of safety where these tensions can be expressed.  In our team we have members along these continuums:
·        Outspoken ——–  Pondering
·        English mother tongue —— Spanish mother tongue
·        North American worldview —– Latin American worldview
·        Theological frame of mind ——- business frame of mind
·        God has spoken —– God still speaks
These and other tensions keep us on our toes.  Team members are likely to be challenged if they make broad statements as if they are universally accepted.  It is incumbent on the leader to ensure the team has a sense of safety in challenging one another.  Toes can be stepped on and tensions can rise.  However, in an environment of grace and mutual respect the team knows that these tensions can lead to amazing breakthroughs in vision, strategy and tactics. 
¡Vivan las diferencias!

Really? I can do all things?

25 Feb

During the Christmas season, I was given a small devotional book entitled A Taste of Believing God, by Beth Moore. Of course, like most of you, I didn’t get around to actually reading it until the company left, the house was cleaned, and the routines of life returned to “normal”. Timing like this was not accidental. I needed to read every word of this particular chapter because my life is going to change drastically in the next few months. Yes, we are returning to the United States to raise additional support and share our stories with individuals and churches and I would rather stay in Tres Rios, Costa Rica. Why? Because what was once “foreign” is now the “familiar” and what was “different” is now my new “normal”.

In Chapter 4, Beth Moore explains that all of us are significant in God’s plan, and that often fear, discouragement, or plain old stubbornness keeps us from walking in faith and doing extraordinary things for God. My weakness, placed willingly in the strong, capable hands of a loving Creator becomes a thing of beauty and grace. All of us have ordinary lives that are capable of doing extraordinary things–equipped by the Master to do what only He envisioned.
The woman that left Matthews, North Carolina forty months ago who wondered how God could call a family of six from comfortable suburbia was just like you. I was not a Bible scholar, nor a church planter, but a chocolate-craving, Target-loving woman.
That same woman is now wondering how returning to a fast-paced life in the U.S. for more than a few weeks could be a good thing. A limited supply of Costa Rican coffee and Lizano sauce? No cafecito or gallo pinto? I know now. Some of you are living ordinary lives and God needs you to accomplish something extraordinary. As my husband says “Hang on- it’s a wild ride,” but worth every minute.
Phillipians 4 :13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Inviting the lions

23 Feb

We recently held four days of meetings here in Costa Rica with the ReachGlobal area leaders in Latin America.  Each of them has extensive experience, knowledge and credibility in their areas.  Each has a driving passion to see God’s work done in Latin America.  And each of them is willing to share their opinions whether they are popular or not.  That doesn’t mean they are not diplomatic, but “speaking the truth in love” is still speaking truth.  And that can lead to hurt feelings if we do not have a humble attitude, open to hearing those things we may not want to hear.  Do I want a team of people who agree with me all the time, build up my ego, tell me I’m doing a great job?  Honestly, that would feel nice.  On the other hand, it could lead to disaster, or worse, complacency.  As our meetings concluded I thanked God once again for the lions I’ve invited into this team.  As C.S. Lewis said in describing Aslan, “Safe? ‘Course he’s not safe.  But he’s good.”  God has blessed the Latin American division of ReachGlobal with leaders who are hungry and passionate.  They don’t follow blindly, but they do value and respect each other.  The only bruises I get are where my pride sticks out.  So in building the team that will take on the leadership for the work God has given us in Latin America, I have to ask myself what kind of people should be on that team.  Should it be a group of people who value agreement over truth? Pleasing over challenging?
Bruises will heal.  I choose to wrestle with lions.