Live With Integrity

hand on open Bible

Integrity is not common.

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:14, NIV

To live with integrity means:

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The Question Game

Warning: This post may be bit uncomfortable…

Before I sponsored my first child back in college, I had a lot of questions:

  • Where is all my money going?
  • Will this child actually know about me?
  • Is she really the one writing these letters?
  • Does she really need my money?

Wow! Those questions are somewhat embarrassing to write out, but I want to be honest with you. And honestly, the answers to those questions were about to dictate my opportunity to glorify God and bring hope to a precious little girl.

Since that time and over the years I have learned that I often ask the wrong questions, which can be a problem when I am looking for an answer.

Ever notice how Jesus would often answer a question with a different question? That is one of the reasons why I am so wondrously captivated with Him … His initiative to give us new understanding. He knows the answer but He also knows the question we need to be asking.

Our questions can be very critical to how we are living our lives and what we are putting our hope in.

I’m curious, what questions do you find yourself asking? Be honest, I won’t judge.

If you need a little nudge, I just so happen to have one.

This is Eric Timm. Listen to what he has to say.

You can also view the Question Game on YouTube.

Did you get that? Instead of continuing to ask, “Why is there poverty?” he is now asking, “Where are God’s people?”

This clip, which I saw awhile back, has challenged me to keep my mind focused on the things above when everything in me starts producing a list of questions.

Here is what I believe I should have been asking when it came to sponsorship (or my spending in general):

  • Am I glorifying God with how I use my finances?
  • Will I be faithful to encourage and support this precious child?
  • Am I obeying God in how He has asked me to use His money?
  • Do I really need all the stuff I think I need and spend my money on? And if I don’t, who does?

How is that for a dose of perspective? I think it is challenging but in a refreshing kind of way!

OK, here’s your cue. Remember those questions I wanted to know you were asking? Well, through this lens, what questions are you asking now?

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So Human Blog Contest

Okay, y’all. The paint is barely dry on our first blog contest (which Juli Jarvis won) which means it must be time for our second contest. This time we’ve asked Tim Glenn to pony up the prize.

so-human-coverYou may know Tim for his thought-provoking posts. But do you know that he is also a member of our independent artist network? He promotes Compassion at his concerts and through his website and CD sales.

Tim’s latest CD, So Human, has just been released; actually, the release party is this Friday, and we asked him if he’d be willing to give away a couple of copies. He said yes.

Before we tell you how you can get your hands on the CD, let’s find out what it’s all about.

“During my life as a Christian, I have seen a lot of people disillusioned about what this religion is all about. And I think, to a great extent, it could be our fault. ‘Everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before’ the old hymn says. I know what that hymn is trying to say, but the message often gets misconstrued. There are no bad days? There are no ‘down’ days? You see, I fear that we may often (although unintentionally) give the impression that once you accept Christ, you’re on an ‘escalator ride to God.’

I don’t know about you, but my spiritual journey has been more of a roller coaster ride than an escalator. That’s why I recorded this new album, So Human. It’s an honest look at my spiritual journey. I’ve never been this transparent in my songwriting before. There are songs for those peak moments, when you feel like you could reach out and touch God and there are songs for those valleys where you feel like He couldn’t hear you if you shouted at the top of your lungs. And I admit, I’ve done some shouting. (Just being honest here.) I want my music to be a real reflection of who I am, who God is in my life and what it’s like to take this journey. I think it’s important that believers know that there are others out there who have very real lives — lives that come with heartache as well as joy; peace as well as turmoil.

One of the songs on the album, Where Are You? was borne out of one of those dark moments. It seems odd to talk about it now, but I was really struggling with not being a dad. I wanted to be a father so much. I prayed. My wife and I prayed. We wanted children. Still, after 12 years of marriage . . . no kids. I became angry at God. Then, completely broken. I felt like it was too late to be repaired. God was too far away to hear my cries. Where Are You? Wouldn’t you know it? God gave us a son! And now, baby #2 is on the way! And yes, being a dad is everything I hoped it would be — and more! Sometimes, I think God waits for you to have those “valley” moments before He can work with you. He needs you to be broken. That’s why the song right after ‘Where Are You ‘is called ‘Here I Am’ — God revealing Himself in a powerful way.”

So, for the contest:

Write a blog post about one of your “peak” or “valley” moments, and in the post, link back here. Then, leave us a comment so we know you’re participating.

On Monday, November 24, we’ll put all of your entries into a hat and draw a winner for an autographed copy of Tim’s new CD.

And for a second chance to win: go to Tim’s Facebook page and leave a comment there!

Yep. Just leave a comment and you’ll have a chance to win the other autographed CD he’s giving us. That’ll be a random drawing too. And it’ll happen on the same day, November 24.

While you’re at Tim’s Facebook page, be sure to “Become a Fan.”

We look forward to reading your stories of your spiritual journey.

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What is Integrity?

Integrity is another one of our core values. But what does that mean? What is integrity?

“Integrity means doing the same thing whether people are with you or whether you are alone.” – Ed Anderson, senior vice president and chief financial officer

Integrity doesn’t just apply to big decisions. It also applies to your small decisions. It pertains to your whole life.

Integrity is doing the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing.

Integrity is being honest, upstanding and having a strong character.

Officially, for Compassion, integrity is:

“… aligning our thoughts, motivations, attitudes and actions with the ethical principles found in God’s Word. In both our personal lives and our ministry, what we believe, what we say and what we do should be consistent, congruent, reliable and transparent.”

  • Do you think that the children at our child development centers ever “get tired” of “pleasing” the sponsors who briefly, but regularly visit many of the same centers on our sponsor tours?
  • If the children do “get tired” and would rather be doing something else but can’t admit that they don’t want to greet another group of sponsors, for whatever reason, is this a matter of integrity?
  • If it is a matter of integrity, of not aligning our thoughts with our actions, who is out of alignment? The child? The sponsor? Compassion?
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Are You Okay With Dung?

In his book The New Friars, Scott A. Bessenecker tells a story of living in and serving a garbage community in Cairo with his family and some college students. After a month, “what at first was repulsive — rotting garbage piled everywhere, animals feeding off the trash, mothers climbing rubbish mountains with their babies playing next to them in the refuse” became normal. Inwardly, he questioned if that was okay. He wondered if they were “bringing Western standards of housing and cleanliness to people who have developed their own culturally defined norms for quality of life and are just fine with how things are.”

The Lord answered him in a dream.

I dreamed about the dung truck. You could always smell the dung truck before seeing it. It was the kind of smell that is more like a taste at the back of your throat; pasty and bitter…. Temperatures of over 100 degrees released the dung’s pungent odor with a vengeance, making this task even more intense than can be appreciated by someone reading this in comfort.

In my dream I was walking past the dung truck. To my horror, I saw my children, Hannah, Philip and Laura, sitting on top of the mountain of dung heaped on the bed of the truck. What struck me most about them was that they appeared perfectly content although every inch of their bodies was covered by animal waste. Then I felt the Lord speaking to me. He seemed to be saying, “As their father, are you satisfied? Even if they are satisfied, are you satisfied?”

I’m still sifting the impact of that dream, but the immediate implication is that a person’s contentment with a situation of poverty does not make it okay. My passion for my kids is a shadowy reflection of God’s heart, which yearns for his children to have more than the dung that surrounds them; not riches, but a life in which their needs are met in a way that doesn’t mask their need for him.

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Who Writes the Compassion Blog? A Bunch of Marketing Cheerleaders?

I don’t think it’s possible to be authentic without being transparent.

By consciously withholding something or avoiding a subject because I fear a reaction – anger, rejection, judgment, etc., I’m not being authentic. I’m being manipulative.

Choosing what to share and what not to share is lying by omission, and it’s not being transparent or authentic.

What does this have to do with children in poverty and Compassion International?

  • You’re reading Compassion’s blog about child poverty.
  • A blog is media — social media.
  • Media is manipulative.
  • We want to get more children sponsored. More! More! More!
  • The blog helps us do that.
  • We’re afraid to say anything that will muck that up.

I’ve had conversations with employees who have said that “the blog is just a big commercial for Compassion.” And “the blog is too rah-rah, like it’s written by a bunch of cheerleaders.” Or GASP! Marketers.

I agree that our first two months have been filled with lots of feel good posts, and I know we can’t be everything to everyone, and I don’t think we have a problem yet; however, if you perceive the blog to be a one-dimensional commercial about how great Compassion is, as opposed to an authentic and sincere communication with you and for you, rather than at you and for us, then I’m wrong and we have a PROBLEM.

Am I wrong?

And what’s your perspective, meaning how involved with Compassion are you? Are you drinking the same Kool-Aid as us employees? Are you Super Volunteer or Super Sponsor … or are you just passing through?

How do we share anything positive with you without sounding like a bunch of cheerleaders?

Am I over-thinking this stuff?

If you’ve never commented before, please consider doing so now. You non-commenters have opinions too. I know you do.

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