Congolese Pastor Habimana Athanase .
Back home from Africa.
Thoughts from my heart.
Two things to bring home from any international trip: jet lag and a full heart.
Lord, my prayer is this: Help me get over the former and never lose the latter. Amen.
There are six life words that drive my life.* I am nearly ashamed to even mention them because I personally fall so short of each of them.
However, these six qualities are perfectly pictured in the life of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God and so much more.
While in the African countries of Democratic Congo, Rwanda, and Kenya, I saw these qualities exhibited in the lives of so many Jesus-Followers.
Throughout the day, I’ll be adding their uniquely African stories to this blog.
The joy of the Lord is my strength.
1. Passion. I’ve always loved this word. It means to live life to the fullest and have “The joy of the Lord as my strength.”
It’s a word that describes how Jesus lived. He lived fully and with passion. Every act of his life from driving out the moneychangers to praying at the garden, he did it with passion. He lived life, not just existed.
This joyful passion is evident in the worship of African Christians. From my travels, I’ve noticed that the less these Jesus-Followers have, the more joy of the Lord they seem to exude.
I saw this Godly passion in an old deacon at a Congolese church. As the drums began beating and praise singing began, this gray-headed man couldn’t help himself. He left his bench and began dancing on one leg with utter joy on his face. As we say in the South, he was “cutting a rug.”
I’ll always remember the joyous passion of his feet, face, and heart.
I told Bill and Reggie that’s just exactly the type of old deacon I want to be: full of passion for life and God.
A dancing deacon who epitomized “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The dancing deacon (third from left) and other pastor/leaders at Hoseanna Baptist Church in Goma, Congo Africa.
2. Compassion What a wonderful word. An action word. It love in motion. Compassion cannot sit back and wait or watch. It has to act. All through the gospels it is a word associated with Jesus. “He had compassion on them…”
In Jesus’ signal story of the Good Samaritan, he uses the term, “He looked… and had compassion.”
It’s a word for everyone of us as Jesus-followers to live by.
Compassion. It’s one of my favorite words.
* My six life words as of 4 23 2009:
My life words change from time to time as God works on me and in me.
Do you have a life verse? List of life words? A written group of beliefs and statements that drive and focus your life? If not, this is a good day to start yours.
The link below is to a fascinating article entitled: “As an Atheist, I Believe Africa Needs God” by Matthew Parris. I encourage you to read this insightful article.