Tag Archives: change the world

What can I do?


An attack in Brussels, a suicide bomb targeting Chrsitians in Pakistan, continuing war and genocide in Syria and throughout the world, despair even in our own land. It may be the cry of your heart: “Is there anything I can do?!”

Yes, there is. You and I can make a difference, in a world far away and also in the place we are right now. But we have to pay attention. We seldom make a difference by accident.

At the sound of an ambulance you can, as a simple man once taught me, say “Lord, have mercy.” Stuck on the highway because of an accident ahead? Again, “Lord have mercy. Provide for them according to your good purpose.”

Numbed by headlines filled with terror, we begin to make a difference by first acknowledging that these people are part of us. By recognizing that so many of our worries pale in comparison to their present terror.  Remember, our stories and theirs are woven together into the fabric of our own lives and difficulties. Don’t just skim the headlines. Linger for a moment at least, resisting the curiosities of entertaining news and take a moment to pray for those who are suffering. Some are fellow believers. All are fellow sojourners.

Does prayer make a difference? It’s a valid question. After all, we live in a world of instant gratification and response. Press a button and get something in return. Work and get paid so we can afford to rest. Even in church we’re eager to count numbers of hands raised when what matters is lives radically transformd by the power and grace of Jesus. Every leading of the Spirit begins in prayer. If not your own prayer, the prayer of someone else on your behalf, and always the prayer of Jesus himself that draws us ever closer to our Heavenly Father.

Have you noticed how very often Jesus himself “went out to pray?” Prayer releases God’s power on earth. I don’t fully understand why God chooses to work that way. Perhaps it is because prayer is not designed to be a wish list of things for God to do for you, but a faith led and heartfelt request for God to work through you. Our prayers mark our cooperation with God in accomplishing his plan.

Through your actions of kindness, your helping hand, through your generosity to invest in others lives, you also make a difference. Surrending a dollar a day from our exceeding luxuries, we change the world for a child sponsored by Compassion International. Invested in Go Light Our World (GLOW), that same dollar buys a nutritious meal delivered with the truth and love of Jesus. Through GLOW, a dollar a day pays for medicine for a family for months. Twelve dollars buys a pair of shoes for someone who has none. Or have you considered how you could use a few dollars to create a care package that is kept in your car for the next time you see a homeless person in need?

The prayers and deeds of a righteous, God-seeking person are effective and powerful – even when we don’t see the results. You understand the value of planting a tree you will never see grow to its highest heights. You comprehend the benevolence of giving without expecting return, of helping a small child or an elderly stranger. You give directions to one who is lost. Surely, you can see that prayer also has real consequences that remain unseen for now, but will one day be fully revealed. I expect countless people will come up to you in heaven, expressing thanks for some way you spoke value and hope into their lives, for sharing with them even a simple story of how God works in your life. Likewise, I expect there will be people who approach you in heaven because you prayed for them, even when you did not know their name.

Living for God means loving others. “What can I do in the face of such large scale disaster?” Pray and ask God to open your eyes to what you can do.

Being the messenger – Living the message


I liked the inscription above the doors as you turned to leave the sanctuary where Jim and Priscilla Frier worshipped. It read:


“You are now entering the mission field.”


They understood that we don’t change the world by going to church, but by being the church once you leave the building. Actions do speak louder than words. That was Paul’s message to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 6). Don’t accept God’s gift of grace in vain; don’t receive it only to toss it aside as if it had no value. Instead, today is the day to put God’s grace to work.


That’s a helpful message for us today. Wherever we go and under every kind of circumstance we face, we are God’s ambassador. Like it or not, the way we respond to life sends a clear message to those who don’t follow God’s ways (yet). The question is, what kind of an ambassador am I? What message do I communicate? Is it a stepping stone that helps others see the grace of God or a stumbling block that trips them up? Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t make you a super human able to escape the trials of life. But the Spirit of Jesus in us does make it possible to:

Endure instead of give up in times of trouble and hardship.

Remain pure in an Ashley Madison corrupt world.

Be patient in times of stress and sincere in love – even tough love.

Remain truthful when it’s easier to lie and humble in our achievements and victories.

Become peacemakers and uniters instead of dividers.

Invest my life, not waste it.

Remain content whether we have lots or little.

Stay true to the call to be in the world but not of the world; transformed by God, not conformed to worldly ambitions.


We live together in this temporary life, believers and unbelievers. We’re warned to not make binding commitments with nonbelievers if it would compromise our faith or integrity. But we’re invited, actually literally commanded, to go out into the world and be salt and light, positive influences that implore others to turn to God, not out of judgment but out of the love and mercy we ourselves have freely received. First on the list though is making sure that we are living the lives of truth and grace before asking others to follow our steps.


Lord, reveal to me today anything that may be a stumbling block, not only to others, but in my own relationship with you:
– my heart’s desires and ambitions
– the way handle interruptions
– what I consider to be important
– how I listen – and respond – to others
– the words I speak and my actions too…

Draw me close to you. Help me aim higher.



Building community


Community. It’s the sense of connectedness we feel to other people. Sometimes we feel connected by shared values and beliefs, sometimes by common history, familial ties, or fidelity to a common purpose. In community we seek and offer a sense of belonging and acceptance that speak to our deepest needs. We need community. And yet we live in ways that isolate us.


Living in virtual isolation these past two years with a compromised immune system, I value technology that keeps me connected with others. But technology is a poor replacement for human contact. And it seems the more technology advances we have afforded to us, the less face to face contact we actually have with others. In a world where ‘keeping busy’ is valued so highly, there is little time to build community. But don’t you yearn for more? How do you break out of the busyness cycle to make room for community?


Perhaps we might first start by looking beyond ourselves. Think of it. How much of what you do has ‘you’ in the center of it? Your work, your hobbies, your relaxation, your worries and problems, your your pleasure and comfort? We even think God’s call on our life is about us making a big difference in the world. It’s not. It’s about God making a difference, one person at a time, as you encounter them. If you change the heart of one person, surely you change the world. While we tend to look for community in our close circle of friends, it seems God is most interested in us building community among ‘the least of these’. The first step to building community is to look beyond ourselves to others God puts in our path.


Secondly, we need to take risks. It’s safe to remain isolated or in the comfort of a small group you’ve enjoyed for years. But what about those who have no group, who leave church without being acknowledged, who are absent for weeks and not noticed? People need the Lord, but we need each other too. Who have you reached out to recently that is alone and outside your normal circle? Who have you acknowledged and valued when you had no self-serving reason to do so?


Third, it is not just a matter of spending time with people but of living life together. It might be an intensive relationship built through much shared activity. Or it might be in a passing moment. Notice people around you. Whether it be your spouse or child, your employee, or a stranger on the street. Speak value into their life. Notice people who are missing. Look through your contact list to identify people that have missed your presence. Find a way to come along side others. Share a meal. Share your struggles. Share Christ. Listen and show compassion. Speak encouraging words. Seek out practical ways to express God’s grace, His love and hope.


Frankly, I struggle with this. Maybe you do too. It was easy at work. It seemed natural to reach out to others my three months in the hospital. Largely homebound, it’s a challenge. It’s not easy to build community, but it’s worth it. It’s the reason we were put here together. We’re committed to try to build community wherever we can. I hope you do too.


“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25



One dollar – Day Eight


One dollar – Day eight:  (The last day?)
If you have made it this far, you might be thinking, “I see my one dollar – and even see people – differently, but what can I do to help? The need is so great, and I am only one person!”


There is no one answer to this question. We all have heard about food rotting on docks, supplies stolen by corrupt governments, and money squandered. If big organizations cannot end the poverty problem can one individual really change the world for one other person?


You CAN greatly impact another person’s life…for one dollar a day. What is impossible for us is more than possible for God in us.


You see, I’ve watched a $200 loan from Go Light Our World help desperate moms to generate income for their families. I’ve seen a $50 GLOW gift pay for the school tuition and supplies for a twelve-year-old girl who was otherwise destined to the streets. I’ve seen $25 buy medicine so a mom could keep working. I’ve seen $12 buy a child’s first pair of new leather shoes that fit. I’ve seen $50 buy hot nutritious meals for FORTY children.


Don’t worry, this isn’t a pitch for you to donate money to Go Light Our World. I’m not going to ask you for a dime. Maybe it is enough for now for you to keep that one dollar posted where you can think about it each day for another week, or more. I’m keeping mine in place. Talk with God about your one dollar. Likely, you will come up with more questions and ideas to discuss with Him. Write them down. Pray about them!


Maybe God will nudge you to join the GLOW team as a monthly supporter of one dollar a day. Or maybe He will move your heart to sponsor a child through Compassion International, or to buy a water filtration system through Samaritan’s Purse. Maybe He will convince you that it’s worth the effort to become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Who knows how God will move your heart when you ask Him to see other people through His eyes?!


Share your experience with others. Ask them to join you on a one dollar journey. Discuss it with your children and grandchildren. See how many ways you can discover to generate one dollar a day that could change someone’s life.


People living on one dollar a day are not just fighting for a better life. They are fighting for their life. Imagine what happens when we “live more simply so others may simply live” and how that could change the world for one other person.


You CAN impact another life with one dollar. But really, it’s not just about one dollar. It’s about your legacy. It’s about how important it is to you to actually change the world – one person at a time. Ask God for wisdom, courage, and strength of heart to see others as He sees them and to respond in His name.


Today is the last day of this adventure …

– or is it just the beginning?



One dollar – Day Five


One dollar – Day five:
As you look at your one dollar, what food will you buy for you and your family? You have to be careful, because it needs to be both safe and nutritious. Your toilet paper and other essentials also come from that same one dollar. What if one dollar per person per day buys you only flour and grain, maybe rice and beans to cook over an open fire? One dollar might provide enough food to generate maybe 800 calories per person. You soon realize that at 800 calories a day you will lose 20-30 pounds in a month. You grin, thinking that maybe you could stand to lose some weight. But then you wonder, “What happens after that?”


Look at your one dollar and ask, “How will I keep going if I can only afford 800 calories of food?” I must have enough strength to work or my family will not survive!” You realize that you used to think of poor people as being lazy, but on 800 calories a day you find fatigue and lethargy to be constant companions. You learn that if you mash your beans and refry them in lard, you will increase your calories consumed per day. But on some days when there is not even a dollar, your children eat only salt and tortillas. In Bolivia, many children and parents chew on coca leaves to reduce the hunger pains. Usually they have smiles and like to play games. Days like these, they are too tired even to play.


I wonder if your one dollar looks different from how it looked just a few days ago. Mine does. I’m thinking more about the one dollars I spend that really change my life at all.  But I’m getting a better idea about how much one dollar COULD change the world for someone else.



One dollar – Day Four


One dollar – Day four:
Where are you as you look at your one dollar today? I am sitting in my recliner in my comfortable house. As I look at my one dollar, I’m trying to imagine having a ten-year old daughter and looking into her eyes as I send her into the fields to work with me all day so she can help me support our family. To my dismay and shame, she has to earn her own one dollar a day. Gazing beyond this one dollar I know that she wants to be a teacher so she can help people. But I can’t afford the $25 for her school supplies. Like 40% of the other children in the village, she has to leave school before 6th grade, so she can help support our family. I know she sees other girls with shoes that actually fit and dresses that aren’t ragged. I see the tears in her eyes, knowing that her future seems already cast.


In modern countries, young children are warned from lifting weights. The little boy down the path works in the factory, carrying bricks all day. I look at my one dollar and wonder what he is thinking. Does he have dreams for a different life? I wonder if he had my one dollar how his life might change? Could one dollar really change his world?


Tell me, what do your eyes see when they look at your one dollar bill today? God, help us to see people through your eyes of love and compassion.



One dollar


You’re invited to take an adventure with me to a different world! Anyone can take this trip, whether you are young or old, healthy or sick, and whether you consider yourself rich or poor. You don’t need to buy a ticket, sell your house, or quit your job.


The journey you will take is across the paths of your mind and the recesses of your heart. But it’s not merely an intellectual exercise. For some of you, this adventure will catch you off guard. It will knock you off-balance until you find your footing again. If you invite God to go with you, it has the potential to transform the way you see your life and the world around you. It may cause you to question the way things are and compelled by how they could be. Along the way you might feel both humbled and blessed, impoverished and enriched at the same time. In the end, I think you’ll be thankful for having walked the path and find your heart strengthened.


Let’s start right now!


Day one:
Take a one dollar bill. Put it where you will see it throughout the day, every day, like the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, the TV or computer screen, wherever you will see it often.


Whenever you see this one dollar bill today, think about what that one dollar means to you. What could you buy with it? Start noticing how the transactions you make today. Plan to do this each day of this journey. When I first created this exercise for myself, I noticed the yogurt I ate for a snack cost me 50 cents, a tea bag 15 cents. I bought a pack of gum that cost nearly the whole dollar. A bottle of water, almost free at home, cost nearly two whole dollars at the convenience store. So did a can of pop and a candy bar. Don’t make judgments about your purchases. Simply take notice. Awareness is at the beginning of all change in the world, in our minds, and in our hearts.


Take a look at your checkbook and credit card statement for the last month. I’m not asking you to judge them, just take notice. Ponder how easy is it to get what you want when you have one dollar or a handful of dollars? How far do you have to travel to buy what you need or want? Is it readily available?


This may seem strange to you to think about one dollar and perhaps not much of an adventure. But ask yourself, “What if this one dollar was ALL I had to live on for one day, every day?” How would you feel if you lost your very last dollar? What would you do? Where would you turn for help?


At the end of the day, talk with God about what you’ve noticed about the one dollar in your life today. Ask Him to reveal more of Himself to you, even as you sleep.


Change the world



Help another person and you will not change the world. But you will change the world of that person.


Love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  – Jesus (John 13:34-35)


I remember years back having considerable debate with team mates regarding the phrase “Change The World.” One camp thought that it was too lofty and unmeasurable for a mission statement. “We’re too small to actually change the WORLD, ” said some. Others maintained that if you change the world for one person, you change the whole world. It is now different because there is a new creation aboard. What do you think?


Consider the difference these Christians made in the world:

George Mueller, a 19th century evangelist who established orphanages across Europe, caring for more than 10,000 orphaned and abandoned children.

Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer and Christian who proposed the earth actually revolves around the sun. (Novel idea, eh? :-))

Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician and Christian who discovered the law of gravity.

George Washington Carver, son of slave parents, a believer who was awarded the Roosevelt Medal for his research on peanuts and sweet potatoes. The medal read in part, “To a scientist humbly seeking the guidance of God…”

Michelangelo, the Italian Renaissance artist known for his many biblical inspired works of art. He “believed that spiritual value could be found in all natural beauty.” (The bible concurs.)

 One thing we know for sure. GOD is in the world-changing business. He changed a void into a universe full of worlds. He fashioned our own earth by His own word.  He changed the ‘rules of the game’ so we could actually come out alive. He continues to change the world by changing the hearts of those who dare follow Him. (Really, who else are we going to pick to follow?!)  And He chooses to do this by indwelling the hearts and minds of fully devoted believers.  When our character, ambitions, thoughts, words, and actions are motivated by Him, He should be evident for all to see, right? And so while you may feel incapable of changing the world (or even yourself), Christ-in-you is very able…and willing.


Go ahead. Change the world! It starts with a faithful heart, a resolute mind, and a life devoted to loving God and loving others in His name.