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Religion and Spirituality

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Serving God

Serving God is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I'm being real here. It requires a wholehearted self-giving that digs deep into your soul and forces you to eliminate personal desires and motives. It is time consuming and oftentimes lacks rewards. However, it is one of the most peaceful and joyful experiences. I have been working at this summer camp at church for the past three weeks and I believe that it has brought a change in my heart. When I look at the faces of these youth and see the impact that the sessions are having on them I feel a sense of peace and happiness. A sense of purpose.

Although there are rarely any substantial monetary rewards, giving my all to service for the spiritual or emotional upliftment of youth has helped me to develop confidence in my limited abilities as well as helped me to truly understand how God wants to use me to help people.  I prefer to have this type of self understanding than great wealth and accolades.

Last night i spent the evening with two of my mom's friends from the United States who have dedicated their lives to serving God through the InterVarsity ministry at the university level. They have so many stories to share about the lives they have touched and the people they have met because of where their ministry has taken them. They emphasised the importance of prayer and how prayer and faith in God have caused wonderful things to happen in their ministry and their personal lives. They insipired me to give more of myself to God and His work.

Serving God is the hardest thing you will ever do but it is the most rewarding experience you will ever have. Lives are transformed by the simple things you say and do as you are led by His Holy Spirit.

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Christian Leadership

Today, the Sunday School lesson focused on "The Christian and Politics". While preparing for this lesson last night, I decided to look at Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech since he is one of the most powerful Christian leaders who has made radical changes for society. While listening to the speech and reading the passages of scripture in Exodus that relate to God calling Moses, I started to think critically about how different a Christian leader should be. My thoughts led me to the following points. A Christian leader should:

Have Vision

All good leaders should have vision. There is no doubt about that. However, the Christian leader's vision should extend beyond looking for ways to heavily increase profits for his or her company for instance. The Christian leader's vision should be one of social change and should focus on how things can be improved for the betterment of all individuals. I think that we oftentimes get caught up in finances and how we can make more money and become sidetracked in working for the greater good.

Strive for Equality

Martin Luther King Jr.'s mantra was equality for blacks. There is a line in his speech where he says "I have a dream that one day my two children will be looked upon not because of the colour of their skin but the content of their character". That is such a profound statement as it symbolises the truth that all humans should be viewed equally. Christian leaders have to be cautious about how they treat others. Regardless of social class, race, education or wealth all people should be treated equally.

Identify God

When God was calling Moses in Exodus 3:1-10 he caught Moses' attention by using a burning bush. Oftentimes God will not do something quite as drastic to get our attention but we should be so in tune with Him as Christians that we are able to identify when He is speaking us and we should be receptive to his directives.

Identify the Needs

Before sending Moses on his mission, God carefully outlined the needs of the Israelites. He highlighted the fact that the Israelites were in misery because of slavery and His concern for their suffering. Christian leaders should fully understand the needs of the people they lead before making plans and decisions.

Not Resist God's Call

Moses resisted God's call by complaining about every weakness he had. Jonah resisted by running away. No matter what you do, God will find you and He will equip you to do what He has set before you.  Christian leaders should not resist but should instead rely on God's wisdom and strength to help them to accomplish the tasks set before them.

Place All Plans Before God

Throughout Moses' leadership of the Israelites he ALWAYS consulted with God and sought God's direction. Proverbs 16:3 says "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans". Christian leaders should place every plan, every thought and every idea in God's hands.

Being a Christian leader is not easy by any means. However, I believe that by following these points we all can become the types of leaders God wants us to be.

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God, Where are You?

Image There was a period in my life where I was so angry with and disappointed in God. For my entire life until my second year of university I believed with very great conviction that God wanted me to be a medical doctor. I worked so hard to ensure that I did my part to make that fall into place and I trusted that God would do the rest. At the end of sixth form, I applied for medical school and was instead accepted into the Pure and Applied Sciences program. After going through an extremely rough and depressing first year, I reapplied for medicine and guess what? I got accepted for a program that was well out of my father's budget. After all of my effort my only question was....God, where are you? How could you have told me this and cause this to happen?

I could have allowed that experience to make me bitter but instead I decided to make the most of my university experience and really get involved. This allowed me to evolve as a person and after all was said and done I believe that God did not allow medicine to work out for me for that very reason...so that I could EVOLVE. You see, if I had been in medical school I would never have had many of the experiences and adventures I have had. I also would not have been able to become actively involved in my church. So, it really is not that God wasn't there...He was always there but He wanted to steer me on another path to accomplish a greater purpose.

No one who I know really knows or understands the struggles my family has gone through. No one knows the times when there was hardly any food in the house and the years my mom went without a job. Many close family friends were probably wondering where God was in our situation. However, He was right there and truly manifested Himself in the strength and courage my mother displayed through it all.

I am learning and embracing the true value and meaning of faith. Faith is believing that even though life is not happening according to your agenda, God has everything under control. Faith is understanding that you will never be able to understand everything that is or is not happening in your life but knowing that in the end everything will be fine.

Also, we have to be able to quickly identify when bitterness is seeping into our lives. Bitterness is a big wall that prevents us from evolving into better people. Some people may become bitter through grief as they wonder why God would chose to take away their family members. Others may become bitter due to envy of others and still others may become bitter for the same reasons I did. However, never lose sight of the fact that God sees the bigger picture and the only way that you can truly become who you're meant to be is if you have faith and trust Him to take control.

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