Sunday, January 21, 2007

BOOK REPORT - Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life

TITLE: Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life
AUTHOR: Craig Groeschel, Pastor of Life Church, AZ
CATEGORIES: Spiritual, Vision, Life Application

Hey all, I have been reading this book and it rocks! At least if you like getting your life in order, creating vision, and setting goals to accomplish your vision. It is a little more than a self help book and actually helps you take steps to improve areas in your life. Check it out when you are at a books store or here at Amazon.

One constant quote in this book is, "Everyone ends up somewhere, few end up somewhere on purpose." the First few chapters about finding your personal "Chazown" - God unique and specific vision for your life. The author takes you through applicable steps in finding that by help you examine your Passions, Core Values, an God given Spiritual Gifts. Next, the Author takes you through 5 areas of your life that can influence your Chazown positively or negatively - Work, God, Finances, Health and People (Relationships). It is a pact book and every time I read it, I am motivated and excited to get to work on what God has created me to do and do some hard work on these five areas of my life. This book WILL impact you.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

I Can't Sleep but I'm Tired

Don't you hate that! It's after twelve a.m. and my mind isn't stopping - so, I thought I would post a quick blog. Here's is a favorite proverb of mine:

A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest -
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.
Prov. 6:10
This has been a favorite proverb of mine for a long time. It applies so much. I used it when I was running to help me get out of bed and run, I used it when I was working for FCA and had to take the long drive out to Coalinga to build relationships, and I still use it when I have to get up early to cut back the jungle that never sleeps or slumbers. It is easy to apply this to our sleeping or working habits but I really unlocked the door to conviction when I started applying this passage to...well, every area of life. I look at poverty not just financial but spiritual, relational... more of a lacking of necessity, I guess. Like spiritual disciplines, for example. I have never made up my mind that I would stop reading my bible. But, I have gone through months at a time with out cracking the thing open. That doesn't happen overnight. It was a little less bible here, a little less there, skip one day, then skip two and three. Soon, I don't even sense the spiritual hunger anymore, I am in spiritual poverty in a way. We need to be on our guard! Poverty sneaks up on us!
On a more positive note - I am learning that the reverse is true as well. It's the, "Set a large goal and then divide it up into smaller goals" approach that I learned while running. We say we want to read the bible in a year - that is so do-able! Go for it. But you should divide that big goal into a smaller daily reading plan ( like this one, it's my favorite). Maybe we can write a converse to proverb 6:10 as something like this:
A little discipline, and little sweat
A little less cutting the corners -
and richness will come on you before you know it
and blessings you never expected
I have been applying Proverbs 6:10 to other parts of my life as well such as my relationships, marriage, exercise, spiritual disciplines and others tuff I cant think of.
Keep watching for the armed men,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What I've Learned - Part 3: I Need to Marinate

This is part three of 3 parts of a message that I gave in Clarksburg. This is a "semi-Transcript" so if you were there you may remember a lot of it - or maybe not :)

3) What I Have Learned About Myself:
I think I have all the answers. I don’t. I need to Marinate.

When Shannon and I got to Costa Rica and found Alternative Missions and saw all the great ministry they were doing we wanted to get to work right away. The Director said, “don’t make any commitments.” We saw the Skate park and 40 kids taking turns skating, We attended the youth night and I wanted to share my vast amount of experience in American, upper middle class youth ministry, our Director told us to hold on and wait. We attend our first house church and got so excited afterwards I thought, why aren’t we starting a new one? – The director told me to wait, watch and learn.”

I came in trying to give answers and solutions. My natural tendency is to look at any situation or product and ask the question, “How do we make this better?” After a few weeks of that the director actually had to sit me down and help me understand that there is a lot more at work than what I see.

After an embarrassing first month of pushing and pushing, I finally understood that I had to learn a lot more than what I saw in front of me. I learned of the need for more staff and if we start something with out prepared staff we can loose integrity in the community, exactly what other mission organizations have done in that area. I learned that there is a lot more happening than what I notice at first and I need to wait it out.

I need to wait and listen a little more, I don't know it all.

Here are some proverbs:
- 18:13, “He who answers before listening, that is his folly and his shame”
- 19:19, “Listen to advise and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise”

Sharing The Experience,

Sunday, January 07, 2007

For Our Supporters

I have received a few questions on how to support us financially. There are two ways.

1) Write a check made out to Alternative Missions and a note saying Phil and Shannon Ogilvie and send it to:

Alternative Missions
PO Box 5835
Goodyear, AZ. 85338

2) Or, an easier, safer, and more reliable way is to donate online through "Egiving." Through Egiving, you can set up an automatic withdrawal so that you don't have to worry about sending on time, missing or sending twice. For Egiving Follow these steps:

a) Click the "Egiving" Link on the bottom of this post or the bottom of the blog.
b) Next fill out the required information.
c) IMPORTANT- In the drop down box asking "Which Program?" select, "Missionary Support"
d) In the next text box indicating where the donation is to go, type, "Phil & Shannon Ogilvie"
e) Finish filling out your info and click "Send Your Gift" it's that easy!

Thank you to all who are supporting us financially, with out you we could not live here or minister here.

Sharing the experience,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What I've Learned - Part 2: Land Of Plenty

This is part two of 3 parts of a message that I gave in Clarksburg. This is a "semi-Transcript" so if you were there you may remember a lot of it - or maybe not :)


This next lesson that I learned was a little tougher to swallow. It should convict all of us a little. We, as Citizens of he United States are blessed in a way unimaginable by most people around the World. We live in the Land of Plenty. We have so much and we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to realize that. We don’t just have a lot of money but we have a lot of places and things to spend it on.

Shannon and I both came home after just 3 months away and we felt the culture shock. It first hit me in San Francisco when after arriving late the night before; I went to Starbucks for a 3 month delay hit of caffeine. As I stood in line to potentially place my order I froze. In Costa Rica I learned that coffee was made two ways, with or with out milk. At Starbucks there were so many choices I couldn’t process them. Shannon went to Walmart to buy toothpaste, in Costa Rica, you have 2 or three choices, here you have a whole isle to choose from, again stunned by available choices.

Now I am not one of the people that stand in commercials making an emotional plea to send money and make you feel guilty for earning what you have. I fully disagree with people that use guilt as a motivating tool. What I am learning about God and how he works is that he gives people resources to go and bless others. He uses people to do his work. I know some wealthy people have a God given vision to increase funds to bless others. To make money so that they can support what God is doing. My fear is that we as a nation have grown into such consumers of good things that the resources God intended for us to use to bless others, have gone to blessing ourselves.

A book to read: The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorne

WHAT I AM LEARNING THROUGH MY EXPERIENCE: God has blessed me so that I can bless others.

Verse: Prov. 11:24, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty.”

Sharing the Experience,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We Have PICS!

Hey everyone, check out the pics from our New Years party Here

Sharing the Experience,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sunday Night

I am blown away by the events of Sunday night. For New Years Eve we had our first annual Youth Skate Competition as well as a carnival for the younger kids and the families that are attending our house churches. We also have a short term missions team of 14 people in from Arizona who were ready to put on the games and face painting for the evening. Everyone on the team and our staff were so excited for this event to take place, at the same time none of us knew quite what to expect. Puerto Viejo is such a mystery to me in the fact that you can get people so excited about something, remind them everyday that it is coming up, and even have them verbally tell you they will be there and then when the day comes no one shows. People come if it works that day, and no amount of planning can change that. Our event started at 6:30pm with games for the younger kids and at 6 we had families starting to walk in. We had enough people in the beginning that food got pushed up from 8pm to 6:15 and it was an exciting predicament to be in. TJ, Phil and I decided to go crazy with the amount of cookies and cake we would offer that night since usually our policy is not to hand out anything. I was blown away with the amount of Thank You’s I got not just in the beginning but throughout the evening. Some of the regulars of our youth knew that this was an evening for them and they showed their appreciation more than I have ever seen before. The amount of people that showed up and the overall feel of the evening has been something that I have been thinking about since it happened. There are certain people that come to skate that I have watched over the months and have seen them interact and improve in their skating, and as much as some of them have grown important to me, I am still very much so being tested. They want to see how long I am going to stick around and what I am about. I can learn their names, pay attention to what skate board and helmet they use when I am working at the ramps, but being accepted is something that is on their timing and I cannot rush that. Sunday night I saw it for the second time since Phil and I got back from our trip home in December, that they are learning me as much as I have been learning them and they are just as undecided as to how to be friends with me as I am with them. Running the food and coffee table I was in a cool position of being able to interact with a large mix of people, and had so many great conversations with kids and adults as I was able to pour them coffee and give them cake. What impressed me the most though was that some of our regulars, the cool local kids who can intimidate me to no end, were coming up to the table and talking to me and not wanting coffee or cake. As much as I was trying to shove food down their throats it was a new feeling to have them just want to be around for a second. They were talking to me about how they were feeling about skating in front of all the people there, and who they thought would win the first and second prizes of new skate boards, and I couldn’t help but think that no amount of trying to “learn” them could compete with how I felt in that moment. It was amazing for me to realize how much I am cheerleading for them in all that they do, not just skating. Downer, one of our older boys corrected a younger kid, Jason, when he tried to take 6 pieces of cake instead of just one, and I just watched in silence as Jason respected him and walked off. Two Sundays ago at our Christmas Eve party, it was Downer being corrected by Topo, a local dad who he respects. I saw the cycle continue through Downer and I was excited that it was never once me who had to initiate it. That is a big part of what we are doing here, to get locals involved but also to put behavioral changes in affect simply by showing that they is valued.
Our team recognizes that God was the only one that could have caused that evening to be a success, and while we planned it out, so much was left out of our control simply because of the nature of this place and this culture. Honestly and not to sound spiritual, the evening in a large way was left up to God and He came through in a way that I still have not been able to shake. So many moments left me so thankful that I was allowed to be there. To be a part of the moment and really just see what it feels like to be in God's favor leaves you with such a strong feeling of unworthiness and gratitude. I hope that I do not forget how that feels; to know that all that I am seeing is because God chose to show His grace and His mercy on all our plans and that in my own way I knew He was proud of Alternative Mission’s heart for this community. Every person on our staff has bought in to this place, the people, and I believe that God continues to give us wisdom and insight into how to reach and serve them. The same reasons that this place confuses and frustrates me are the reasons that I recognize are needed for us to be continually seeking God to help us make a dent in things. God brought people there that night. I watched it. God allowed us to have an amazing evening without having to worry about people causing trouble or bringing things to the property they shouldn't have. On New Years Eve when everyone in the community is getting high and drinking we had no one bring beer or have to be asked to leave. At one point there were 100 people from the community there.
God allowed me to be a part of certain conversations with the youth that up to this point have not happened. I got to see what it looked like for some of our coolest kids to be nervous and excited to skate in front of everyone in what was for some of them their first experience with competition. I heard Raul and Davis tell me how their knees were skating and how all they could think about was just wanting their minute and a half to be over without falling in front of everyone. They were telling me how they felt about it all and I saw them be 16 year olds instead of the adults they try so often to be. Those kind of moments you cannot make happen. There were so many times that in my head I could do nothing more than be aware of the fact that I was priviledged to be there and that it was by the grace of God that I am allowed to be a part of what is happening in this place. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what God did on Sunday. I have never felt so appreciative, and so aware of the fact that God is going to move in His own way in this place and all I can hope for is to be around in those moments to see it, to witness to what He is causing happen, and to turn around and give thanks for all that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. I have never felt more aware of the fact that I have done nothing to deserve it. To Him alone be the glory.