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out of africa

in 1985 a movie debuted that won seven academy awards, including best picture, and widespread acclaim. that picture was “out of africa.”

two decades removed from the movie and almost a century from the story it tells, i had a moment out of africa this week.

twenty-five leaders from the capital city of pretoria crossed the atlantic ocean to investigate new paths and tested ways to improve spiritual leadership and deepen spiritual community. they invited several well-known speakers, authors and leaders….and then they invited me.

i was elated, humbled, awed, nervous, excited, ecstatic and unsure of myself as i took my place before them to share my story, my journey, my path. when it was over i felt the day had gone by in minutes instead of hours. it was better than disney world!

within weeks there were ten invitations to speak in conferences and gatherings in south africa later this spring. i am already packing.

the story that undergirds the movie is one of opportunistic love that eventually succumbs to real love. during the struggle, karen blixen, our heroine, struggles to find her place in a new environment – both literally and figuratively. she succeeds and her life is deepened because of the experiences she has, both positive and negative.

when i travel to africa, i will not go with a story of success, but with a story of learning. it will be a time to share my weak places where God has been strong and to reveal the need of a leader following that same God. to do this in the context of developing leaders who lead well is my ultimate challenge.

in my life, i do not want opportunistic love. i do not want to love God for what it will give me – an entitlement, a name, a place, a position. i want to love God for the sake of love itself. that is my story. now, i get to share it in africa – the wild continent.

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