Archives for category: community

The statistics can crush us, if we let them sink in.

Every year, over 3 million people die from water-related disease. 

Every day, water-related disease claims the lives of 5,000 children under the age of 5, or roughly one death for every 15 seconds that pass.

Over 800 million people around the world do not have access to clean water.

I do not want to live in a world where kids die for lack of access to clean water.

As a follower of Christ, I firmly believe that God’s heart aches for the suffering.

It has been a dream of mine for several years to participate in a well-digging trip. This past summer, I was privileged to lead a team from our church community in partnership with Living Water International to dig a well for a community in need in Granada, Nicaragua.

I love the work and ministry of LWI. Through clean water projects, LWI shares the living water of Jesus to bring the true hope that changes everything.

On a personal note, there are very few things as satisfying as collapsing into bed at night, completely exhausted from giving it all for the Kingdom.

This Kingdom of God is near: In the hard work of digging through the mud and hauling pipes, in the laughter of speaking broken Spanish with giggling kids from the neighborhood, in newfound friendship working side-by-side with local community members.

I learned so much from Jorge, the leader of the Rivas LWI team. His patience and humor helped guide our team through a week filled with plenty of challenges. From a ministry perspective, I deeply appreciate LWI’s approach of training, equipping, and consulting with local leaders. Rather than showing up with all the answers from an outside perspective, I believe effective and God-honoring ministry is founded upon a posture of humble listening and genuine partnership.

We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with LWI. We’ll be sending a team to Guatemala this year, and another team to Nicaragua next summer. It’s a privilege and joy to be a part of God’s redemptive work in world, to share the living water of Jesus and a cup of cold water in His name to those in need.

As I’ve shared here before, the Idea Camp tribe has been such an important part of my life & ministry over the last couple of years. This collaborative movement of idea-makers has been a constant source of inspiration.

No, you’re not crazy if you think that it’s more important to work together for the Kingdom of God than to seek individual credit or accolades. This ethos of partnership, collaboration, and getting things done is rooted in the ethos of Charles Lee, the founder and glue behind the Idea Camp.

I’m grateful for Charles, who has been an encouraging friend and wise mentor to me (and many others)  in so many ways. I’m never surprised to see the caliber of people Charles is able to bring together. For example, check out the roster of speakers Charles has lined up for this year’s Ideation Conference in Chicago.


Today, Charles’ first book, Good Idea. Now What? hits the shelves at brick & mortar bookstores (and, of course, at various online retailers). Good Idea is filled with practical insights, both from Charles’ experience and from his vast network of social entrepreneurs — including Soledad O’Brien of CNN, Scott Harrison of charity: water, and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS.

Good Idea is written for two kinds of people. From the introduction:

1. The idea lover who is sick of just sitting on great ideas: These are individuals who recognize that their ideas may never come to pass without a strategic process and a developed skill set.

2. The idea maker who needs to refresh and reaffirm his or her understanding of the elements for implementing ideas well: No matter how experienced you may be, this book will be a good resource for sparking meaningful conversations about your ideas.

The world needs us to dream better dreams, but even more than that, to act on our convictions. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with Charles where I wasn’t encouraged, challenged, and/or inspired to action. I highly recommend Good Idea. Now What? and I’m excited to see the great ideas that get put into action as a result.

You can read a sample chapter here.

I think it’s probably a combination of working two jobs (plus freelance work, whenever I’m able to get it) and reliving past punk favorites on the old Spotify, but I wasn’t able to listen to as much new music as I would have liked last year.

And, as I was reviewing various best-of lists, I realized I left out a couple of albums I really liked. I’m going to blame old age for these oversights. Seriously, looking at these albums, I kept wondering, This came out in 2011?

Devotchka, 100 Lovers 

The Man from San Sebastian is all angular post-punk, Eastern European folk fusion; perfect! As long as we’re hanging out in the baroque, chamber pop neighborhood, let’s throw Beirut’s The Rip Tide into this mix, too.

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Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two 

My rhymes age like wine as I get older. Man, I hope that’s true of me in the future as well. After all these years, their hooks are still undeniable.

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Tune-Yards, Who Kill 

Here’s something dumb: the font-nerd in me wouldn’t let me listen to their album for a long time because seeing the alternating lower/uppercase letters in their band name drove me nuts.

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Office of Future Plans, S/T

Sign me up for anything from J. Robbins. Been listening to his post-Jawbox project Channels via Spotify. OFP is all the discordant (puns!) wonder, plus cello!

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While I wait for new releases from Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, Dirty Projectors, and more in 2012, I still have to catch up with 2011 releases from The Roots, F—– Up, The Dodos, Theophilus London, and Liturgy.

Good thing J. Evans will be picking all my new music for 2012!

This post is the third in a series about our church community’s recent trip to India in partnership with Justice Ventures International.

I’m not sure if was the heat/humidity double-punch combo, the growing realization that injustice permeated so many levels of culture around us or, perhaps, the jetlag playing catch-up with me, but my first thought when arriving in Kolkata was, Can we go back to Chennai?

While Chennai is a massive city in its own right, the humanity stacked upon itself throughout Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) can make it seem like a small town in comparison.


In Business for Freedom

Our team had the privilege of working with Freeset for a couple of days while in Kolkata.

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Live through this, and you won’t look back. – Stars 


All Things New 

Jesus’ resurrection is so much more than some kind of “proof” that He is the Son of God or our highway to heaven. When Jesus rose from the grave, He utterly destroyed the power of sin and death. He demonstrates the reality of God’s purpose to renew all of creation, and He invites us to become new kinds of people through Him and to join in His mission of redemption.

Everything that is broken will be made new.

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