STEP IN, LEAN IN AND RISE!
Something very interesting happened after we concluded Day 1 of the conference. Each night after the crusade or conference, Godfrey would debrief with his team of leaders. They would discuss how it went and what they could improve on for the next day. Then we would all meet and debrief together before our time of nightly devotions.
Have you ever taught a lesson, preached a message or led a devotion and when a listener is asked, “What did you learn today?” there is a blank stare, shrug of a shoulder or deafening silence? That is a speaker’s worse nightmare right?! When we began our debrief, Godfrey asked that question to the children & for a moment I was in that scary place! I didn’t realize that he was going to put them on the spot like that. By the look of surprise in their eyes, neither did they!
During the conference, they were all attentive and very responsive. In my moment of wondering if I was a capable teacher…I looked around the room. I saw droopy eyes and tired bodies. The children had just had three full days of a crusade that involved setting up and moving equipment back and forth. We successfully had begun the conference but these long days were beginning to take its toll. It was like a car with a battery that just need a jump start!
So I did something that ended up setting the tone for the rest of the conference. Godfrey got up and started asking the children what the three points were that we learned today. Try to imagine, this but it is one of those things that you just had to be there! As Godfrey moved forward towards the kids, his back was turned to me. I started signing to them. He couldn’t see what I was doing. As he asked, “What was the first point?” I did an imaginary BIG STEP forward. They all looked at me as I was giving them a sign language hint. I took another BIG STEP. This time as Godfrey asked them, “What was the first point?” ALL HANDS SHOT UP IN THE AIR! He looked at me and I acted very innocent! In unison they said…”STEP IN!”
I was onto something. So when he asked for the second point, I used sign language and LEANED forward. ALL HANDS shot up again! In unison they all answered, “LEAN IN!” You know what happened as he asked for the third point. I used my hands to sign “RISE” and they all proudly raised their hands and yelled out, “RISE!!!” Through all the giggling there was new life in the room. They continued to expand on all their answers as to what God taught them on that first day. They just needed a little push start to wake them up. It was almost like a shot of caffeine infused the room.
But this gave me the idea to use the sign language to emphasize the three points for the next two days! So as I prepared each day, the points grew out of what signs would help them remember best & apply the truths to their lives. They loved this!
Day Two I started asking what were the three points we learned yesterday. Because of our debrief last night, ALL our children proudly yelled out all three points! It set the stage to continue our journey. I talked about our assignment, our responsibility and getting ready. The three points were:
HE POINTS THE WAY/HE LIGHTS THE WAY/GO AND SHINE - This time I used the sign language to emphasize each point.
I started with the song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” by Danny Gokey https://youtu.be/eUHRDCYnFfg . I encourage you to watch this particular clip of the song. It begins with Danny giving testimony of the inspiration behind the song. As we are on our journey, the words to the song become a part of our larger map:
“Beginning - Just let that word wash over you. It’s alright now - Love’s healing hands have pulled you through. So get back up, take step one, leave the darkness, feel the sun. ‘Cause your story’s far from over and your journey’s just begun.”
Yesterday I left them standing ready to go. As I signed the song, “Rise,” I had our children pass out stickers I printed with the word, “RISE!” What was fun was seeing some of them still wearing that sticker on the second day! Yes, we were up & ready to GO. God now would POINT THE WAY.
When I was called to Uganda, God said GO. God POINTED the way. I stepped in. Through the years I gained more training through my work with CBU with International Service Project teams. Two important truths I teach when training are these points:
1. In order to go you have to leave. Sounds simple but it can be a challenge. To experience all that God has waiting for you in its fullness you have to leave the comforts and culture of America behind to have no distractions moving forward. The same is true when we STEP into our journey. We need to leave our past and its troubles behind so we can experience all that God has waiting for us. HE POINTS THE WAY.
2. In order to be filled you have to empty yourself. You can’t pour more into a cup that is already filled. How can you receive all that He has waiting for you if you bring all of America with you. God has so much for you on this journey, but if you don’t empty yourself how will you receive? GOD POINTS THE WAY.
This led to the second point. God doesn’t leave us in the dark. GOD LIGHTS THE WAY for us so we know where to go.
Our new Beacon of Hope sponsorship program has a new logo. It is a beautiful lighthouse with the Raining Hope logo in the place where the light begins radiating from the top of the tower. I had to explain what a lighthouse was as most people there had never seen or heard of one. “A tower or other structure containing a beacon of light to warn or guide ships to sea,” was the definition. But they got a laugh out of me trying to be a human lighthouse to make my point! They did understand the comparison that we a light in a dark world.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before me, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’” Matthew 5:14-16.
God lights the way. He wants us to follow His direction and give light to those around us. God wants us to step in and SHINE before men. Each person is given a unique assignment. My friend, Pastor Charles in Virginia encouraged me with this important message, “When you are using the gifts that you have uniquely been given for His Kingdom, people will catch your obedience and the love of God. Then they in turn will express their gifts fully. “
I used an example of how one of my gifts is encouragement. I write “notes under the door” to all the team members each day. I also write thank you cards and bring gifts to my friends at the hotel and in town. I normally bring a devotional book to specific friends at the hotel. Apophia in the business center gave me this testimony…
“I have a dream of opening up a library. I want to take all the books you have given me over the years and put them in a library so others can also enjoy them. I am getting closer to that dream. I also have been sharing with my children about the cards you write to me and the sweets that you leave for them. I began writing Scripture notes to them everyday too. They now have been going out, telling others about Jesus. They write scripture notes and sweets and give them to others.” The expressing of my gifts inspired them to express their gifts. You never know what the expression of your gifts will do to encourage someone else. You are uniquely qualified for the assignment that God has created you for. No one else can STEP INTO IT.
If you thought explaining a lighthouse to someone who has never seen one was interesting, try sharing the story of Cinderella to someone who has never hear of her! Oh yes. I did! But think about that familiar story. Fast forward to the glass slipper which by the way, in this story it was a Ugandan sandal that I threw onto the steps! It was a perfect illustration for the third point. No one else could STEP into her glass slipper. The same is true for your assignment. Only you can step in and fill it. No one else can do it They actually clapped at the end of the Cinderella story but it made the point!
2 Corinthians 4:7 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not ourselves.”
Remember that BRIGHT little light that lit up the stage when the power went out at the crusade? I hid that light inside a little basket. Covered up, no one knew that the light was in there. When I opened it up, they were shocked to see it was on. They made the correlation that they should not be hiding their gifts and their dreams. They are to SHINE brightly for Jesus to a very dark world.
At this point, I asked everyone to yell out what they believe their dreams or assignments from God are. They spoke in unison very boldly proclaiming those dreams. Then we passed out pieces of paper for everyone to write them down. At the same time we gave stickers that said, “SHINE.” One of the updates I will dedicate to sharing just those pieces of paper so you can join me in praying for them.
As I signed a song, “Hope in Front of Me,” by Danny Gokey https://youtu.be/O5GFiDdGGGM I had each person come and place those “dreams” and “assignments” in a basket at the altar. To take a break, if you can watch this video before finishing this update it will encourage your heart.
Think of those in attendance listening to this message. So many of them are like those shown in this video. They have faced abusive situations, they have been told they are failures, they have been victims. But watching them dedicate their dreams and assignments to God was inspiring. “There’s a place at the end of the storm you finally find. Where the hurt and the tears and the pain all fall behind. You open up your eyes and up ahead there’s a big sun shining. Right then and there you realize you’ll be alright. There’s hope in front of me. There’s a light, I still see it.”
A beacon of light. A beacon of hope. God points the way. He lights the way. In a little spot in Jinja, Uganda, there are people who are proudly SHINING for Jesus.
You are a part of this movement by joining us in prayer.
SHINE ! mama eydie kisakye