Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Go Green

So, it might be time for me to jump on the "Go Green" bandwagon. Why not learn how to be more efficient with your energy and money?

Today Oprah provided a variety of small ways that make a huge difference in the impact on our environment. One of my favorite being making your own cleaning supplies! Click here to see how some basic household items (vinegar, water, baking soda...etc) clean well but are also great for the environment (can save you up to $600 a year). 

There are tons of other ways to make your home more green. For example: 

1.Clean out your dryer lint regularly to help increase the efficiency of your dryer and lessen the amount of power needed to dry your clothes (not hard and keeps your bill lower). 

2. Switch from incandescent lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Although they are just short of $40 to start, they last for ten years and save you $740 over the life of the bulb, as well as being way better for the environment. 

3. Use weather stripping around all the openings in your house to keep out the unwanted heat/cold. 

4. Keep your blinds closed when you aren't home so that your house is not heated unnecessarily.

5. Invest in a water aerator that cuts the amount of water that comes through your faucet by 1-5 gallons daily. They are $2 and don't change the pressure you feel coming out of the faucet. 36 towns will face droughts over the next few years so this is a way to reduce the amount of water you use, as well as cut down on your bill.

6. By buying a water purifying pitcher for $30, you save over $300 a year in bottled water (not to mention how much better it is for the environment to not be using so much plastic.

7. Drive the speed limit, reduce the amount of aggressive driving and lane switching and save money on gas. 

8. Use only reusable containers for lunches, snacks and water. 

9. Choosing to not eat meat one day a week is the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-sized sedans off the road. By pushing meat aside, you bring fruits and vegetables to the center of your plate which means you eat healthier. 

10. Eat foods that are living and will eventually rot. Processed foods cause the most waste while also taking the most fossil fuel to produce. Eat foods around the outer ring of the grocery store, that's where the healthier choices are. 

11. If you can afford it, buy organic and sustainably grown food. Most regular fruit and vegetables only have 50% of their original nutrients (requiring you to eat more in order to get all the benefits), while organic and sustainably grown food still have a majority of their nutrients. 

I've never been a "tree-hugger" but many of these suggestions save you money, protect the environment, and are ten times healthier. Why not choose to go green?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Excerpt from "Always Enough"

     "They were hungry, tired and penniless. This was our first conference in Nampula Province, a major event. Some of our pastors had walked from their villages for two days without food to get here, sleeping on the dirt by the side of the road at night. Others walked four days, and one six days-to learn from us. All came with only the poor, threadbare clothes on their backs. Now they were all waiting to see what we would do. Guy asked them, 'What are you most afraid of?' 'That our children will starve to death while we are here,' they answered simply. They didn't even know how they would survive going home. What did we have to say?

     Heidi and I deliberately came to Mozambique to face situations like this. We came to test the Gospel and strip from our preaching everything that didn't work and wasn't the Truth. We came to give people the living Jesus, not to try out our mission strategy on them. We came to love the poorest of the poor into the Kingdom, not to promise them a cheap road to health and wealth. We came asking Jesus to kill us, destroy us and remake us however He wanted so that we would be useful to Him here. And now we faced the test. 

     These people were suffering. They were sick and weak. They had seen their children die in their arms. Muslims persecuted them. They saw no hope outside the Good News we brought. So we preached the purest, simplest messages we could, straight from Scripture. We had no confidence in any other ideas we might have. They needed words that the Holy Spirit would back up. They needed to know what Jesus will bless and support, what will attract His company and presence. They needed content they could depend on to the death."

These are three of the most significant paragraphs in this book to me, for obvious reasons. I love these paragraphs, they are so challenging and life-speaking to me. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Always Enough

So, I'm reading a book right now that is plucking every heart string that I have. It is called "Always Enough" by Heidi and Rolland Baker. Heidi and Rolland are missionaries in Mozambique and they work among the poorest of the poor. They spent years in Hong Kong and Indonesia living in trash dumps and slums with people. Then they ended up in Mozambique with orphans from the streets. Children that would get dropped off on their doorstep that had been abused and raped and watched their parents be killed...and Heidi and Rolland would just listen to them and hold them and love them. They found ways to get food and shelter and clothing for these children and show them the love of Jesus. And what started out as a handful of children from the dump turned into hundreds, and now there are over 7 thousand of children that Heidi and Rolland are "parents" of. 

They planted several churches over the course of a few years, and then they got radically touched by God's presence in Toronto. Once touched by the Presence of God, they came back to Mozambique and started thousands and thousands of churches in a very short amount of time...full of thriving people who are seeing God show up in so many ridiculous and unexpected ways. 

They live so much on God's faithfulness that they would not be able to live if God didn't show up. They have very little money or possessions and count on God every single day. Their hundreds of children wouldn't eat if food wasn't multiplied daily. They see the blind and deaf healed regularly and have reported over 100 people being raised from the dead. Everything is about the love of Jesus in Mozambique. They feast on the love of Jesus. They spend hours in praise in worship every day. They love to talk about God and the miracles that He is doing among them. 

When Heidi and her teams go to new villages, they call up all the blind and deaf and heal them. Once the town sees these people that they've always known to be blind or deaf, healed, they immediately are open to hearing the Gospel. Heidi's team then shows the Jesus film and spends time ministering to the village. It is so cool that God is so good and powerful and full of love and hope, that people can be brought out of any circumstance and be transformed through one touch by the Father.  This is a video with some clips of Heidi in Mozambique. Just thought you might be interested in seeing "Mama Aida" (Mama Help) and her precious children in Mozambique.   This is the Iris Ministries website. 

I definitely encourage anyone and everyone to read the story "Always Enough" and see how good and faithful God is despite some horrific circumstances. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Psalm 126

When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with joyful shouting. Then we will say among the nations "The Lord has done great things!" 

Ps. 126:1-2