Traveling from Los Angeles to Billings, Montana on Alaska Airlines we had a stop over in Seattle. This had been an amazing week with Dr. Clyde Rivers, Ambassador at Large to Burundi through the United Nations. In the special awards ceremony from the Humanitarian Voice of Hollywood Awards hosted by Tim Sweeney and Debra Denise, I received my first international appointment as Special Advisor to this African nation.
Since this time, I have not stopped thinking about Africa.
Have you ever asked God a question, "Why me Lord? In both good and bad situations when a curve ball is thrown your way, I just have a hard time believing it is a coincidence or a happen-stance. In fact, God has never worked this way with His people. We normally find that even the "curve balls" have purpose. Each one of us have a definite plan and purpose for our lives, but what happens when the purpose contains negativity, pain and loss?
Richard Wormbrand was living in a cell in tortured Romania and in the middle of a tortured environment, he found an ability to turn tragedy into triumph. He had the fortitude and the discipline to see Christ in the most positive way possible. When I was a young man, I had the opportunity to meet him when he came to Council Road Baptist Church, and his testimony literally blew me away.
The gratitude was found even while in misery because Richard's spirit was amazing, with a faith that inspired so many of us. My home pastor Dr. Wendell Estep always pointed us to be people of faith who could see the power in having a positive attitude in our faith. My pastor today in Oklahoma City is Craig Groeschel and he has been sharing a sermon series called STAY POSITIVE because Biblically this is a truism for all people who believe. No matter what situation you are known by God.
Allow me to go back to this new appointment to Africa. The nation of Burundi near Rwanda where our V team created the movie THROUGH THE VALLEY only has 4% of the entire population with electricity. Can you imagine how difficult this is, how third world culture these people are surviving each and every day? One of the poorest nations in the world is Burundi and now, this hurting nation has been placed on our radar.
Dr. Rivers has been traveling around the world with his diplomatic passport so that he can encourage others about the Golden Rule representing Burundi. He has created ICHANGE NATIONS for the purpose of making a difference of a positive and faith filled message while working with a nation in pain. Our organization is going to work with him through the door of sports involving a group we began in 1995 called GOLDEN RULE SPORTS. Please keep us in prayer as we give, as we go and as we move forward with you.
Here is what we need for YOU to do with our entire Veritas 300 and beyond, because since you are reading this post, you are now INVOLVED. Did you ever think you would connect with BURUNDI? I didn't, but we are a team. We are part of trying to impact the world with a new global initiative of peace.
We need you to pray. Pray for Burundi and ask the Lord to impact this nation for good. Let's pray that through the power and engine of capitalism, we can help share the blessings we have in America with this nation. Pray we can share the love of God with a nation who needs Him. Pray we can continue to help not only this developing nation, but the other nations around them.
Here is the bottom line. It's time to start helping others in a new way. Let's not be content with living in plenty, but to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. We must start focus on helping others, people who may not be like us, live near us or have the same world. Until Christ is all that you have you may never know that Christ is all that you need. The golden rule is not some myth, it can change your life and we can change the world through sharing this fundamental teaching. We must think "outside the box" to work and not being satisfied in letting other people remain in pain.
We can do something to help others. We can first pray, with all of our hearts. We can learn about what their needs are. We can go to where they are. We can bring solutions and answers. We have to stop thinking of ourselves and consider what we can do to bring peace to a world in pain. Let's break out of our prisons and move into a new world of freedom serving others.
Have a beautiful week serving others.
I love you
There are times in all of our lives, when the door closes. An opportunity slams shut and we ask ourselves this question, WHY? Why did we work so hard, trying to be so diligent and the door was closing on our hopes, our dreams and more...this is a question which haunts all good people and bad alike.
Years ago when Dr. Wendell Estep preached on KNOWING GODS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE in the early eighties at Council Road in Bethany, Oklahoma, one of the five key elements to consider "God's Will" actually came from "deductive reasoning" and it was simply stated. Do your doors open or close? When a door closes there is a reason, we may not know the reason, but HE does.
Divine tapestry fingers from our Lord are seldom understood and mostly misjudged. We like to use God sometimes like a spiritual bell hop and ask Him to do things for us. The bottom line is that our plans are often not anywhere close to His plans. Does this mean you have something wrong with you? Does it mean you are not worthy? Does it mean God is mad at you? Absolutely not.
He sees from a different worldview. It's like when I sit on the window seat in plane flights. My heart is to always look out the window, at the sun, stars, moon or even thunder clouds. I want to see from a higher perspective because I learn when I don't see through "my own portals". Getting high in the air causes me to look at life and think of my own actions in a different way. It's still not God's view, because he is omnipotent, everywhere and all knowing. He sees everything.
When we were above the Sea of Galilea where Christ fed the five thousand the second time, we saw the Hebrew letters literally being written on the water by a cloud break miles overhead. The message on the water in Hebrew was GOD SEES! Our film crew and our team along with Rabbi Landry and his family said, "This is a sign and a real wonder because the atmosphere is telling us something."
God does see you, He sees your heart and He knows exactly what you need WHEN you need it too!
So don't worry about the door closing and don't get all upset when an opportunity window is shut. There may be something waiting around the corner which is better than we all deserve! I believe God has an awesome vision for you, a perfect plan and Jeremiah said these plans can be counted upon. "I know the plans I have for you, to give you a hope and a future" are not mere words, but God's blessed promises.
Keep those promises close to your heart. Remember, "Delight in the Lord and He will give you the pleasures of your heart". It's no accident these amazing words were shared in Psalms 37:4! We can all know that God has an amazing plan for us and we can count on His promises to be true at every level. It's not because we deserve them, it's how God keeps showing off in the little things in life.
I don't believe the old wives tale, "When God closes a door he opens a window". Instead, I believe "When God closes a door, be ready for something more amazing than your mind can conceive". This is how big my God is and it's not just because of political prejudice. This is based on faith, His word and our belief.
In closing, there was a business relationship with a wonderful man here in Nashville I had which was compromised due to a poor judgement choice I made on partners. In recent days, this business relationship has not only been restored, but is now flourishing because God's timing was better than what my own mind could conceive. I am thankful for people who never give up, who still believe and who understand the power of His love, even when all looks lost.
I love you and remember, God is preparing a wonderful table for you. Serve Him and give to others. Believe in His word and pray more than you might think you need to do. Make sure you don't take credit and give Him all the glory. In the end, you will find our God to be full of blessings you never dreamed imaginable!
Have you ever had a connection with someone that really changed your life? I am talking about the kind of true spiritual relationship between another person who is a kindred spirit, a deeper level than normal, a long lost friend who completes who you are on a highly spiritually level? When those kinds of relationships happen, you need to savor every moment and they come in different shapes, forms and more. Here are some of mine.
Teachers along my educational journey were the first line of people who changed my life. I can't even talk about teachers without bringing up Peggy Leyerle from 5th grade at Western Oaks, Barbara Berard from 7th and 8th grade, followed by my 9th grade speech teacher Kerry Robertson and then 10th grade with Charlotte Moore. Speech and drama teachers who to this very day, inspire every film we make at Veritas. You all made me better and I am humbled to say thank you and it's not enough.
Then there are the friendships from high school, college, fraternity life and in the local church whose impact goes without saying. Its absolutely huge how my friends helped me see God in a way I had not before. Think about the classmates you have shared life with and call them, tell them you appreciate what they have done in your life. I have been meeting with a group of guys I grew up with and what a blessing it has been in recent days.
Godly friendships can make all the difference in the world. They encourage and inspire you to be a better person, to seek truth for a lifestyle and to be a person of integrity. Mentors come into play and people who have an inner witness of the spirit who connect with you at the highest level.
Sometimes these precious friendships are counselors, doctors, advisors, accountants, pastors and people who are genuinely concerned about your overall well being. They often speak truth in to your life, sometimes when you don't even want to hear the truth. I am constantly amazed at how thankful I am today for these kinds of souls who have gently invaded my territory with a loving sense of purpose. I could not be who I am without them.
When you work with veteran filmmakers it's amazing how they bring balance to a world so often filled with chaos and more. I am thankful for my V team of professionals who have surrounded our family with gentleness, hope and love. They make each one of us stronger and even better. Without these colleagues, I would not be able to go to war on the field of production battles.
And at the end of each day, are those who are speaking into your life with spiritual truth in the body of Christ who you know are "called". Stephanie Musser is teaching about the Holy Spirit in our small group and wow, what a difference she is beginning to make. Israel Hanna and Elizabeth Hanna are sharing words of hope and truth and changing our paradigms about prophecy, what the meaning of our "name" really is all about and scripturally basing their actions on God's word. Christi Craddock continues to change our lives with the books from HIS TRUTH TRANSFORMS. I can't even thank enough my Rabbi. Rabbi Curt Landry blows me away with his weekly Friday night, Shabbat Services and each week challenges us to be more like Him every single day.
Craig Groeschel is preaching to us weekly at Lifechurch and making such a huge difference around the world. Then you have the apostle Clint Thomas from Slow Burn who is encouraging us with amazing words of hope near our home in Tennessee. John Dickey in Stillwater continues to make spiritual impact on his community. Jimmy Kinnard amazes me at his integrity with Village in Oklahoma City and the list of pastors goes on and on. These spiritual connections shape our lives in so many ways. What pastor are you being fed by and why?
Allow me to encourage you to find SPIRITUAL CONNECTIVITY through a great church, through a life group, through individual mentorships, through training and just see how different your life can be. The people who will change your life are not afraid to tell you the truth. They are not afraid to hold you in prayer when you need it the most and they are bold in their spiritual journey of purity.
Today, I am surrounded by a multitude of amazing people who are in my faith based community. The Veritas 300 prayer warrior team is growing and they are praying. We are seeing so many people in the hospital getting better, improving, being healed and beyond. This is not an accident! I believe so much in prayer and thank the Lord for the connections we have IN PRAYER each and every week.
We were never intended to live alone. God himself is three in one, a community who encourages us to have koinonia and connect with one another. If you don't have people who are close to you, who love God and want to see you win in life, then do something about it. Yes, it can get messy when you see people who are hurting, having challenges and more. Get your hands dirty helping others. Reach out to that neighbor or friend and take time to listen to their needs.
Jesus traveled with a community and those men...changed the world. Those men, were able to literally tear apart a Roman empire with the truth. Men who were not heavily financed, who had afflictions and who were under attack at every turn, but they did not waiver in their mission and their journey.
Don't travel alone. Find those who will love you for WHO you are and give your life to Christ each and every day as you learn to deny yourself and follow Him. When others fall, still love them and stay by their side, don't abandon them and lose the connection because of a failure. Instead, let it make each of you stronger and you will see how God will be there for you, through it all.
Thank you friends, family members and neighbors for being the spiritual connection I need to help me grow stronger in the Lord. Thank you for loving me past every mistake and not abandoning the post of "friendship". God sees you and know who you are! You are a blessing to me. I love you
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.