Travel Day

Justin Locklear and his brother-in-law, Kurt Hahne picked me up at 5:00am and we headed towards the airport.  For those of you who don’t know Justin.  Justin has been attending Independence Hill for a few years.  He has a big heart and I was so thankful he decided to join me.

 The man at the curbside luggage counter loaded up our four trunks on a cart and led us to the Delta counter.  The line was longer than expected, but he walked right past everyone and put us in the much shorter “Special Services” line.  So don’t tell me I’m not special!

As we moved closer to the front of the line, a Delta employee asked us why we were in this line.  I informed her that this is where the skycap brought us.  I was nervous she was going to ask us to move ourselves and our four trunks back to the long winding line.  But she didn’t and we checked our four trunks and proceeded to the gate.

The four trunks were not carrying our clothes.  All those were in our carry-on luggage.  Three of the trunks contained sewing machines and fabric.  The last trunk was filled with baseball equipment Justin had collected (more details on how these would be used in the days to come).

We boarded the plane and pushed away from the gate, but had to wait for a while before we were given clearance to take off.  After almost an hour, we returned to the gate and had to deplane.  One of the terminals in Atlanta had lost power and created a domino effect of issues for us.

Back in the terminal, I knew we were already behind schedule and I called Delta to check about our connecting flight to Managua, Nicaragua.  The agent agreed we would miss our next flight and put us on a 2:45pm flight from Atlanta to Miami and then we would take the 7:00pm American Airline’s flight from Miami to Managua.

So instead of arriving in Managua at 1:00pm we arrived 8 hours later.  Keep in mind that Nicaragua is an hour behind us so we spent 16 hours in three different airports that day.  Other than me almost walking into the ladies restroom in Atlanta, not a lot to report.  Lots of walking, sitting and talking.  Which was great for us to catch up and talk through our expectations for the week.

We exited the plane in Managua, cleared customs and waited for our trunks.  Two of the four trunks arrived.  The one with baseball equipment did not.  Bummer!  We filled out the paperwork and they said if they show up they will deliver them to us.

The baggage claim area is my least favorite place in Nicaragua.  The airport employs men who once they see you have trunks or multiple pieces of luggage start loading the cart you are holding and will not take no for an answer.  Then they just start walking off with your stuff towards the door!  Happens every time and this day was no different.

After they scanned the trunks, the man took them over to be hand searched.  Once again, my least favorite place.  My Spanish is minimal and I never completely understand what they are asking me.  So I am really careful and try to make sure I don’t answer a question wrong.  There is nothing that sounds fun about being detained in a foreign country.

The search ended only finding two sowing machines and a lot of fabric and we headed out the door.  Once you are outside the door, you are free game.  There are new men with official looking uniforms who want to help with your luggage in addition to the one who grabbed them in the first place – all for a fee of course!

And on top of that you have kids who are working the crowd asking for money.  Have I mentioned this is my least favorite part of the trip?  So we waited for Julio, our interpreter, to arrive.  After about 15 minutes, Julio shows up and takes us to our van.

Julio and I catch up on schedules for the week as we leave Managua.  Managua is crowded, dirty and sad.  You can feel the poverty.  There is no mistaking that you are not in Kansas anymore.  After a while, Justin and I both stretch out and nap the rest of the two hours to La Bloquera

La Bloquera is a facility operated by another ministry.  It looks a lot like something you find at a youth camp.  In the main building there is an open air large group area with a guy’s and a girl’s side.  Both containing bunk beds to sleep around 30 each with two sinks, two showers (cold) and a few toilets.  Its basic, but it’s clean and we were tired.

We say goodnight or “buenas noches” to Julio and our driver.  It didn’t take long to fall asleep.  As I am lying in my bunk, I remembered the stories of spiders and specifically tarantulas.  I wanted to see one, but on my own terms.  But after being awake for 19 hours on about 3 hours of sleep, I was done.

We made there.  God was faithful and had answered prayer.  And even though we had prayed throughout the day about our luggage, there were still some prayers to pray before we would see those other two trunks.  God had only begun to show His faithfulness to Justin and I.

more to come…

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We all have setbacks along the journey.  Sometimes we don’t arrive on time.  Sometimes we end up at a place we never intended to go.  You are not alone when it comes to setbacks.  So it begs the question, how do you deal with setbacks?:

  1. Acknowledge the problem (Romans 7:15-16) - We all have to realize that even though we know the right thing, we will fall short and do the very thing we didn’t want to do.
  2. Determine the source of the problem (Romans 7:17-18) - We have a nature of sin that makes us realize we need a Savior.
  3. Find a solution to the problem (Romans 7:24-25a) - Jesus Christ is the only one who can deliver us.
  4. Enlist a consultant to prevent future setbacks  (Romans 7:24-25a) - The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us that allows us to not only claim a new life in Christ, but actually walk that life out as He guides us each day.

For more study on the Holy Spirit, I would like to recommend a website that I have found helpful over the years.  I believe you will find some great insight that will help you understand the role of the Holy Spirit in your life.





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Here are some important words from Romans 3:23-26 or "Key Words For My Journey":

Sinned – to have missed the mark, we are not where we are supposed to be. Whether it was intentional or not, it doesn’t matter.

Justified – God declared the sinner righteous not because of the sinners actions, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Jesus’ righteousness is applied to us.
Grace – a favor done without expectation of return. It is the opposite of earning something. It is charity at it’s purest form. A gift with no strings attached.
Redemption – the recalling of captives (sinners) from captivity (sin) through a ransom payment of Jesus’ death.
Propitiation – an appeasement or satisfaction of wrath or punishment. God’s wrath was satisfied through the death of Jesus on the cross. It is a covering and Jesus has the believers covered.
Faith – believe, trust, rely on. It is a knowledge of, assent to and confidence in certain divine truths. To believe in God and what God says. This is an ongoing condition and the foundation of a relationship with God.
Righteousness – God’s standard or the state or condition of perfectly conforming to God’s perfect law and holy character. Jesus is the only one with authentic righteousness.
Those who have sinned must be justified by the grace of God with redemption by accepting the propitiation of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through faith, acknowledging the righteousness of God is a standard only achieved by Jesus.


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Here are the action items from the sermon out of 2 Timothy 1:1-7

  1. Families need to practice “grace, mercy and peace”
  2. Families need to share “quality time”
  3. Families need to help each other “grow spiritually”
  4. Families need to “test the spirits”

Our families should be the place where we recharge, regroup and heal.  Whether it is the family that shares our name or the family that shares our faith.  Family is worth the struggle.  May God bless your family!

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To be a hero we must have the vision needed to anticipate what is coming. One important aspect of vision is to understand what is needed financially. The Bible speaks a lot about finances, but here is a great resource that applies God’s Word to our money. Enjoy!


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Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life, it will destroy your soul and keep you from living well. Stress will squeeze the life out of your soul.
That is why Jesus said in Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Some of your souls are under stress and you can see that you have let hurry dominate your life. You need to practice solitude. Keeping a day of rest that will heal.
But there are some others here who are feeling a great stress on your soul and you think hurrying or pressing is the answer. You may be experiencing what some call the “dark night of the soul”.
The dark night of the soul may be characterized by when you feel there is a deadening of our senses. There is a sense where you feel like you are trying to follow God, there is no destructive or bad behavior going on, but it just doesn’t seem like much light or direction is coming your way.
The natural temptation is to work harder and try to hurry your life up so God will give you an answer. But you may very well be in a dark night of the soul where God wants you to slow down even more so you can hear what He wants to tell you.
It is during these times we must remember that this is not for our punishment and it won’t be fixed by doing more. It is kind of like someone who needs an operation. But in order to do the operation you have to go under the anesthesia.
Dark nights of the souls don’t happen often in life. But they are when God is wanting to do major surgery on your heart and you will not get better by increasing your activity. You will only learn what God is trying to tell you by slowing down even more.
Hurry hurts, but slowing heals.
(I would like to give credit to Richard Foster for his insight on the Dark Night of the Soul in this book, Celebration of Discipline)


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Warm Up – Pray
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting – Psalm 139:23-24
Training For Your Heart – See God
Allow God’s Word to give you insight into who God is each day this week. Pick a Psalm and read one each day.
Training For Your Hands – Confess
If there was anything you read that reminded you of something in your life that not right. Or if God has brought something you’ve done to your memory. Confess it right now.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Get In The Game – Team up and find healing
Find someone who loves God and you to share your struggles with that person this week.
An Extra Workout If You Desire To Go Deeper:
Below are the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are very Biblical and the word “alcohol” has been changed to “sin”. You are challenged to read this everyday this week and work “the steps” of confession and reconciliation.
1. We admitted we were powerless over sin - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sinners and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


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 Warm Up – Pray

“God, please speak to me as I read you Word, show me great things that I don’t know. Help me to understand how I can find ways to live out your teachings from scripture.
Training For Your Heart – Seek God wholeheartedly
As you prepare your heart to read the Bible determine to do the following two things:
  1. Be willing to confess. There may be some things you read that conflict with attitudes or actions you have, be willing to confess as you go. Don’t wait until Sunday.
  2. Decide quality is better than quantity. Our goal shouldn’t be how many verses we read a day. Our goal should be how many verse we live a day. Pick a small section or a few verses and read less, but live more.
Training For Your Hands – Hang on to God’s Word
While you are reading try some of the following exercises to connect with scripture:
  1. Read deliberately – You can read aloud, you can slow your pace down or stop and think on each word. The point is really try to understand what you are reading.
  2. Picture it – Imagine you being in the middle of the situation. Maybe you are just a bystander or maybe you are being spoken to, but put yourself in the story.
  3. Mediate – This doesn’t involve strange humming. But pick one sentence or phrase and think on them. To meditate is to marinate. Let the scripture be in your thoughts so that your thoughts take on the flavor of scripture.
Get In The Game – Hide God’s Word in your heart
Pick a verse or phrase of scripture and commit it to memory. The following techniques:
  1. Read the scripture aloud ten times every day.
  2. Write it on a card or sheet of paper that you can carry with you and look at often during the day.
  3. Each day take the verse and build it aloud, word by word. Example – For, For God, For God so, For God so loved …
If you do all three you will hide God’s Word in your heart quickly!
Daily Reading God’s Word
Here are some suggested passages if you are looking for a place to start this week.
Sunday – Exodus 20:1-17
Monday – Galatians 5:1-6
Tuesday – Galatians 5:7-15
Wednesday - Galatians 5:16-26
Thursday - Galatians 6:1-5
Friday – Galatians 6:6-10
Saturday – Psalm 1:1-6

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 Warm Up

Pray a 1600 year old prayer

O Father, light up the small duties of this day’s life, May they shine with the beauty of your countenance. May we believe that glory can dwell in the commonest task of every day – St. Augustine

Training For Your Heart – Priorities

It is easy to get off track, but when God is our priority our lives will take on a new simplicity. Remember Jesus’ words: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you – Matthew 6:33

Training For Your Hands – Serving

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many – Matthew 20:26-28

Do something to make someone’s life easier today. Look for opportunities where you can use your hands to bless someone. Pray for God to show you how you can help another.

Get In The Game – Be like Jesus

The Mission Impossible television series always had the phrase, “Your mission, should you decide to accept it”. This week accept the mission of being a secret servant. Yes, you are being challenged to be sneaky in the name of Jesus. Find something you can do in secret that meets the needs of someone else. Jesus was never concerned about being recognized. So take this challenge and train yourself to find joy in serving even when no one tells you, “Thank you.”

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Warm Up - Determine where and when you will take at least 5 minutes every day this week for this spiritual discipline.

Training For Your Heart – Trust God

Read this passage over as you start your time: Matthew 11:28-29 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls

Training For Your Hands – Clap

Psalm 47:1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! Find a favorite song and while you listen, clap. And while you’re at it sing along in a loud voice (shout). Have fun!

Get In The Game – Be a shield

Start with you first. Plan an evening (or a whole day) doing things that bring you joy. Think about the foods you love, activities you enjoy and people you like to be around. Bring all those together this week and rejoice. Rejoice means return to the source of your joy. Give the gift of joy to someone else and be their shield of joy. Help someone celebrate this week. It doesn’t have to be a major event, but purposefully bring joy to someone else.

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