first things first

A blog about whatever crosses my mind, ordered by importance.

Remaining Humble

This week we had our first young-professionals meeting! We had 17 people come to hear Dennis Beck speak on worldview. He did a great job telling stories which got the participants to think. He has a talent for conveying these high concepts in story form. The discussion went well also. I sat at a table with a few young professionals. Two of them are believers from Fabi’s church. The other was Dejvis, with whom I’ve been building a relationship. He’s the manager of the Cinnabon franchise next to the American embassy. He really enjoys coming to our seminars when he’s not working, and often brings friends.

This seminar was the culmination of a lot of work. Our team has subdivided into committees to handle the planning for our individual events. I’m on the young professionals committee with Bela, Genti Tupa and his wife Erjona. Unfortunately, due to health & family problems all 3 of them have been unable to meet regularly. So, Lida Stavro and Genti Shani joined our committe. And now I’m kind of the de-facto leader of the committee.

The seminar had me pumped. I have coffees already scheduled with several of the young professionals. I had a chance to talk with Dennis about our strategy going forward to develop leaders out of this group. I was ready to hit the ground running, moving towards the model that I’ve seen work with The Porch. Then I hit a wall. At our follow up meeting we had a discussion on our strategy going forward. I learned that the model my co-workers had in mind was different from what I had in mind. I can’t just apply wholesale the model I’ve seen work in Dallas, because the cultures are different. Not just the Albanian culture, but the CRU culture as well.

It was absolutely necessary to have this discussion, and I’m glad that it happened. The discouragement I felt afterwards was because I had finally thought I knew what I was going to do. I had a plan in mind and was ready to move with it, and now I know I still have a lot of learning to do. It’s hard, because it makes me feel less effective. I have to be patient, and trust that God is working in ways I don’t understand.

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8

Lord give me patience.

Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:30-31

Lord renew my strength and encourage me when I stumble.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Lord, I will boast about my discouragement and my weakness, because it gives You more glory.

Finally, our team memory verse from last week:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Lord I will obey your commandment, and I will not be discouraged anymore!

God’s working here in ways I don’t understand. I don’t need to do anything to prepare His way. I don’t need to have all the systems in place day 1. I just need to trust Him, and honor Him with the opportunities He provides me. He’s the real leader of this committee.