Thursday, September 27, 2012

Africa and Time Filters


It's something that plagues me. So often I find myself completely engaged in the here and now that I forget the past. 

But there is something about remembering…something powerful. 

I realize the importance when I take time to sit down and think. 

Time has a way of putting a filter on the past. Somehow it helps to soften the rough, hard edges in my mind. 

You've noticed it too, haven't you? 
Maybe it's with a family vacation, a year at school, the family reunion, a wedding, etc? 
Yes - there are times when the bad is so bad that it predominately remains fixed in memory, but for most cases we tend to see the positive, right? 

Here's why I say this. As an aspiring film maker, I spend days…months pouring my life into a production. Sometimes I work with less-than inspiring content - other times, I couldn't ask for a better story. But wonders of wonders…when I look back at a project later down the road, it tends to become more beautiful in my mind, regardless of the sweat and tears put into it. 

One project in particular is the Zimbabwe PAC video I worked with while at Weimar Institute. I clearly recall sitting on the plane on the way back from Africa completely baffled at how I was to create a compelling story from the experience we had just gone through. 
For months afterwards, I struggled with the storyline and how to make it appeal to viewers without sacrificing the truth.
The ultimate result was something of beauty and emotion - a far cry from the actual mission trip experience. 

Or was it? 

What the video doesn't show is what our accommodations were really like. It doesn't show the dirty houses, the lack of water (much less running water). The fact that we were malnourished and frequently hungry. The trial of always being late to everything (think hour or more). That one of our team members was super sick for the first few days. That four of the crew had their luggage stolen. How funds disappeared into thin air. The confusion in  leadership. Shady characters…It shows none of that. And yet, those were real hurdles we faced. Flying back from Africa, those were the only things I could think of because they seemingly overwhelmed the trip. 

But when I got back and looked through the eye of what my camera captured, I began seeing a different Africa than what we had encountered. An Africa with beautiful people, the blessing of how our Weimar team bonded so strongly, the power of music evangelism and medical work, the timeless faces of orphans…something lovely. 

Through post-production, I began seeing the beauty in the ugly and God was able to use that new perspective to ultimately bring together the Zimbabwe video.

What a lesson learned. 
But here is where I pose the question: do we have to wait until we look back before we see the beauty in the ugly? 

I think not. 
It takes transformation though. 
A paradigm shift. 

Something called….eucharisteo. 

Hmmm…maybe that discussion shall be left for the next post.

Until then, check out the Zimbabwe video, if you haven't seen it and think about finding beauty in the ugly. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tune My Heart

Oh, the times I wonder if seeking is a solo. 

But no…in His own time, God always adds the harmony. 
And I'm always amazed how.

The listening ear of a friend.
A heart beating to the same drum. 
Someone else who hears the music…

A rally cry. 


Allow God to tune your heart to His, and He can use you to add harmony to someone else's song today. 

Photos taken at Weimar Institute

Monday, September 10, 2012

You Shoulda Catched Me!

A Sabbath afternoon hike. 

I stand upon a granite slab taking in the barrenly beautiful terrain waiting for the rest of the company to make their way back up the trail. 

My little five-year old friend tests his balancing skills walking on the uneven rock. His father offers his hand, but like most five-year olds (I'm sure I did this when I was five), he doesn't take it. 

"I can do it by myself" 

You know how that goes, right?

It's not more than a few steps before…down he goes. The fall isn't terribly hard, but he sure isn't standing on two feet anymore. 

There is that pause that frequently occurs in moments like this when a youngster is debating whether or not his predicament is worth making a fuss over. 

Apparently, it is. 
But his response surprises me. 

"Daddy! You shoulda catched me!" he wails. 

Wait? What? Is he really saying that? 
As I watch this whole scenario taking place, the words ring in my ears. Why do they sound so familiar? Ridiculous, but familiar. 

"Daddy! You shoulda catched me!" 

How many times have I said something similar to my heavenly Father? 

I'm sure His response parallels this response I witness.

"Reuben, I couldn't catch you. You were walking in front of me…but if you hold my hand, it won't happen." 

Aubrey, I couldn't catch you. You were walking ahead of Me…but if you hold My hand…

Again a typical reaction. 

Reuben isn't happy with his daddy and doesn't want to hold his hand. 

"No! You shoulda catched me."

Now, I can't trust you anymore 


And so Daddy complies. 
After all, forcing a child to hold your hand never works very well. 

But it's not too long before the youngster realizes that holding Daddy's hand is a much better option. Within minutes all distrust has vanished. I look behind me to see Reuben happily bouncing along hand-in-hand with his daddy. 
As we reach a more treacherous part of the trail, he even submits to being picked up and carried over. 

It strikes me…

"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Hmm….something to think about, eh?