Walk In Their Shoes

Outrage and despair – the reaction I get from my kids during a 10 minute car ride when they ask for a drink and we tell them that we forgot to bring their water bottles… A 10 minute car drive without a drink… How ever will they survive? If you are a parent, this may sound familiar.

Last weekend, my family and I joined about 40 other people from the Open Doors team, plus about 70 other teams from around the country, to ‘Walk To Water’.

opendoors-walktowater

On our way to the event, we were explaining to our kids why we were doing this… the concept of not having instant access to clean drinking water to a kid living in Sydney is almost unfathomable (note above!). Of course, kids are not the only ones ignorant or oblivious to this – we all take access to clean water for granted, it’s hard not to. Continue reading “Walk In Their Shoes”

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Thinking about the problems and issues in the world can sometimes be overwhelming. The number of organisations, causes, and campaigns seeking our help in order to solve these problems, is almost as overwhelming.

Being overwhelmed can often cause us to stop, to do nothing, to ignore whatever is causing us to feel overwhelmed, pretend it’s not actually there, and move our thoughts and energy to something that doesn’t overwhelm us…

That’s been me for a while now, clearly evidenced by the lack of fresh content right here on LLG. Of course there’s plenty of other excuses I can make about being super busy with family, or running a business, etc, etc… But we make time for what we choose, and to be honest, giving any time or energy to this blog and what it represents, has been frankly overwhelming – and that’s resulted in… Well very little, as you can see.

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Over the years I’ve joined, subscribed to, donated to, supported… so many things. You may relate – you come across an epic & moving video for a new cause, read a compelling story of hope sown amongst despair, or hear from an advocate about why their cause is changing the world… and of course you immediately feel compelled to support or give. So you do… Great choice! But in that honeymoon phase with your newly joined cause, you’ve kinda forgotten about the 7 other causes you’ve ‘committed to’ at some stage… And so it goes. Before long you’re receiving a constant stream of emails, letters and information about plenty of great things going on to address the plethora of issues in our world, and all wanting something from you. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s time to unsubscribe.

I simply can’t read, digest or support all these organisations, nor could anyone realistically be expected to. So I’m choosing only the organisations that I am really passionate about, maybe 5, and unsubscribing from the rest. I hope to focus on these well – read, pray, give and advocate. 

Inaction

I hope to steer clear from the inaction caused by being overwhelmed. I’m starting by unsubscribing and investing well with those few causes I choose, then I aim to get back into writing more here, and who knows what’s beyond that… I have so many ideas and passions about all this, some of which may or may not happen.

Perhaps you need to do some unsubscribing too, even from this blog (hopefully not!) – be realistic about your current capacity to support a cause. Or maybe you need to subscribe – start learning, supporting, advocating and donating to a cause.

Whatever it is, I encourage you to do something. Be proactive, be planned, be strategic in your support and giving. Choose who or what your support wisely, and choose only a few and support them well. Give generously, time and money, until you feel the pinch.

In some ways it’s a very right response to be overwhelmed – there is a shocking abundance of issues and problems in this world that call for our response. But the wrong response is to do nothing…

The Pinch of Giving

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

#OhWhatLove // OhWhatJoy

It would almost be impossible to watch the amazing Watoto kids singing live without experiencing joy. It completely exudes from their smiling faces, passionate singing, and funky dance moves. I recently got a taste of this uplifting joy when we saw the Watoto kids at our church.

If you haven’t yet experienced the Watoto kids choir, then you are missing out on receiving some joy in your life.

       

Apart from spreading some much needed joy throughout the world through their kids choir, Watoto does some amazing work in Uganda by rescuing orphans and abandoned kids and helping abused women. Through health, education and most importantly, a faith in God, Watoto helps to set them up for life… as their tag line reads – rescue, raise, rebuild.

Watoto is positioned to rescue an individual, raise each one as a leader in their chosen sphere of life so that they in turn will rebuild their nation. 

Get Involved

And I’d totally recommend getting along to see one of their concerts if they come to a place near you! You’ll love it and if you have kids, they will love it too! Here’s a taste…

Look up [Perspective]

Things are pretty hectic with kids, a business to run and just the general run of life. It’s very easy to be completely caught up in my own life – head down, focusing on all my own issues and worries. But every now and then I get stirred, I get moved, or even a little shaken by something.  I’m sure it’s God’s way of giving me perspective – keeping my view up and out, rather than my default which is deeply entrenched in my own life.

Last week I got a text message from my wife Beck right in the middle of a super busy day at work:

…check out the blog post “a holy experience” – into Iraq #2. Life Less Greedy post. In tears after reading it. It needs to be told. X.

At that point I really had no time to read the article, but a part of me couldn’t ignore this prompting, nor the response that Beck had to the article. It came at a bad time in terms of my busy little world, but after reading just a few lines, my world suddenly seemed somewhat insignificant… that ‘important’ job I needed to get out to the client really didn’t seem that matter that much.

It was nice gain some healthy perspective. Continue reading “Look up [Perspective]”

The best use of God’s stuff

I’ve been reading the latest Compassion mag, and there was one story that I had to share – “The man with 50 kids”. Yep, this guy, David Chalmers, supports 50 children with Compassion! I don’t think this is God’s call on everyone, but his way of thinking is definitely a challenge to us all…

“Since embracing the reality that all I have belongs to God… I have chosen to live simply and am content…”

If you’re already a sponsor then it’s a challenge to take it seriously and be the best sponsor you can; and if you’re not sponsoring a kid… then it’s a challenge to look into child sponsroship, because as Compassion would say, and I totally agree with – ‘it works’.

“I think that as long as people have that mindset – we live for ourselves, we have to have this, we have to have that… then poverty will still exist.”

Continue reading “The best use of God’s stuff”

The Joy of Simplicity

A friend sent me a great story a while back that I thought was worth sharing. As with these things, I discovered it has been going around the web for a while, but I still I think it has a very interesting message that’s worthwhile considering as we go about our super busy lives.

We are so easily deceived into thinking that money will bring us contentment and satisfaction, but I challenge you to read it and see if you don’t find yourself in envy of the Mexican in the story. He has a simple yet it seems contented life, enjoying some work, his family and friends. I’m sure in envy… here I am working hard in my busy and pretty complex life, earning money to give my family a certain lifestyle that is considered the norm in the western world… It’s almost too hard to imagine that anyone could live so simply like the Mexican and be satisfied…. But its also oh so appealing!

The original article that was sent was titled “The Joy of Idleness”, but I’m not sure idleness is the best thing to rejoice in, so thought I’d make the title of this post about simplicity instead. Plus I really couldn’t bring myself to post it in the form that it was… So I decided to spruce it up a little and also added the source.

Enjoy. Continue reading “The Joy of Simplicity”

The Joy of Giving

How often have you given money to some cause or organisation and wondered if the funds will ever make it to the project or person it was intended? I am generally fairly trusting, and assume it goes where it’s supposed to… though on one recent occasion, we chose to use some of our credit card points to donate funds to the Fred Hollows Foundation – we never even saw any sort of receipt or even acknowledgement that the money went there… in this case I was a little skeptical I must admit! It kinda robs you of any satisfaction in giving, wondering if the funds met their purpose… but the opposite is also true when you see the outcome of your generosity…

Recently I got an email from my mate, Dan, who some time ago collected some funds in our small group for a project in Cambodia. I had forgotten about it completely, making receiving the email below even more encouraging to see the impact that our small notion of generosity made…

// DAN:

Hi Guys!

Hope you’re all doing well. Remember when we collected money for the Mother and her daughter in Cambodia last year, so that they could buy some land and have somewhere to live and make a living? Well, I didn’t just pocket the cash… that money went to Cambodia and has transformed the prospects of this family, so thanks guys! Emma was very excited to send us the following info and photos: Continue reading “The Joy of Giving”

What’s the big deal about volunteering?

A while back I was approached by Tess at Open Colleges, who asked if I could post the infographic below about volunteering. I like to keep the blog fairly relevant to what it’s all about (living a life less greedy, and a little more generous), so initially I was a little stumped as to how this infographic fitted into the mission – what was the big deal about volunteering? I almost feel ashamed that it took me this long… but I finally figured it out today, after watching a video on a great story of a Project HOPE volunteer in the Hati earthquake disaster.

So here it is – volunteering essentially comes from a heart of generosity… it’s generosity in action, and it’s generally about serving others, not yourself. Many of the best aid projects and charity organisations around the globe are run by volunteers. So I have to apologise for my ignorance or stupidity or whatever it was… but volunteering is awesome… and as requested by Tess, check out the infographic below, showing some interesting stats about the impact of education on volunteering. Not sure where the stats for Australia are, but relative to the rest of the world, we here in Oz are a pretty well-educated bunch… and based on these stats, we should also be getting right into the volunteering! Continue reading “What’s the big deal about volunteering?”

Generosity in Action

How cool is this story from CBS in the US:

Tony Tolbert, a 51-year-old lawyer from Los Angeles, proves you don’t have to be a millionaire to make a huge difference. Last week, Tolbert began lending his house to a formerly homeless family for a year while he moves back in with his parents.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57561565/man-offers-his-house-to-homeless-family-for-a-year/