Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today is Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day. I’ve heard many different statistics about human trafficking and how prevalent it is. One estimate I saw yesterday is that one in four victims trafficked to the United States travels along I-10 – the main highway that runs right through my beloved city of El Paso. That’s roughly 17,000 victims a year.

That is simply unacceptable. Words cannot describe how unacceptable that is. Just one person being trafficked in our country – or in our world for that matter – is one person way too many.

Injustice is something that really bothers me. It messes with my heart and sometimes overwhelms me to the point of tears. I hate injustice. I hate it! I don’t even know how to describe the anger and pain that I’m filled with when I think of injustice.

Injustice cannot continue. NOT ON MY WATCH.

I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. I will devote the rest of my life and whatever financial resources I can to help bring an end to injustice in our world, whether it’s slavery, forced prostitution, lack of clean water, or any other situation where basic human rights and dignity are stolen away.

In November I went to the Catalyst One Day event in Phoenix, and one of the singers there sang an updated version of the old hymn “It Is Well”. As he sang that song, it hit me: I can rightfully sing this song. All things considered, it really is well with my soul. But how many millions of people in our world today, how many people we see face to face every day in El Paso cannot sing that song because it is NOT well with their soul?

How many beautiful young girls do we see at the store and we don’t even know that they’re forced into prostitution and are screaming “it is NOT well!”? How many men are forced into manual labor with no hope of escape and they can only sing “it is not well”?

This simply cannot continue any longer. Not on my watch.

That’s why I’m a huge supporter of two organizations whose missions are to bring an end to injustice. International Justice Mission specifically addresses injustices like slavery and the sex trade. Charity: water addresses the injustice of people in developing nations not having clean water to drink.

If you’re like me and you say “not on my watch”, then do something to help. Donate to IJM and charity: water, and tell everyone you know about them. Also, you can be at the “Save the Brave” concert tonight from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the BSM (101 E. University, at Mesa & University next to Whataburger).

Join with me today and for the rest of our lives in crying out “NOT ON MY WATCH!”

Sunday, January 2, 2011

No resolutions, just values.

So every New Year, people talk about turning over a new leaf, changing their ways, and making resolutions. New Year's resolutions are big, and it seems like they're impossible to keep.

I don't make New Year's resolutions. If I'm gonna do something or change somehow, I just do it - regardless of the time of year.

However, I've gotten a bit off base in life. I haven't been living in total, unconditional surrender to God, and I've been missing out on living in His best for me - so I need to realign my life. To do that, I'm not making resolutions but I am realigning my values.

This year, these are the things I want to value in life:

- Being in love with God. Too often last year I loved God and was obedient to Him - but I wasn't crazy in love with Him. Far too often I was living more out of duty and commitment to Him than out of love. My prayer is to love God more than I love anyone or anything else, so I am making some big changes in my life. I don't want to just settle for loving God; I want to be passionately, recklessly, totally, hopelessly IN LOVE with God. Nothing less than that will do and nothing else will matter as much as that. That will be my ultimate value this year.

- People. Last year reminded me in so many ways that aside from God, nothing matters more than people. NOTHING. Seriously - nothing. No amount of money, no amount of ministry work, no project, no task, no technology, no TV show, no video game - nothing. Period. And yet, I so often seem to forget that and behave like projects matter more than people, rather than the opposite. But this year, I am choosing to value people above all else, save God. I will prioritize people even at the cost of personal productivity. People matter to God, so they better matter to me.

- Making reading a priority. I really suck at reading. I mean, I know how to read but I hardly ever make time to do it. I tend to see it more as a "if I have some spare time to do it" kind of thing instead of a "this should be a priority because leaders are readers" thing. I have a stack of about 20 books I've bought that I want to read, and about 50 more on my Amazon wish list, so I really gotta get to work on this one!

- Communicating over talking. I talked way too much last year, and didn't communicate enough. I failed epicly when it comes to communication. I assumed that people understood what I meant and even though I said I wanted to over-communicate, I didn't. I definitely under-communicated. This year I will strive to be concise, clear, and to the point. I will also value simply having more conversation just for the sake of conversation. I really enjoy having conversation with people, and I want to do more of that.

- Getting dirty. My life has been too clean, to "American Dream". I haven't gone hungry, I haven't gone thirsty, and I haven't gone without anything I need - or want, for that matter. Yet millions of people throughout the world, and hundreds of people in my El Paso have. I don't think I crossed paths with anyone who was truly in need last year; I don't think I did enough in the Name of Jesus Christ to meet real needs and address injustice around me. That is not cool. I will value addressing injustice around me, and I will be intentional about doing so. The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is demanded. It says I am blessed to be a blessing, so I must get grimy, I must get in the gutter, I must get dirty this year.

What will you choose to value more this year?