stream of consciousness involving podcasts, frozen pizza, and running

i listened to a podcast friday while i was grocery shopping that made me stop between the shallots and garlic. i made an ugly face. “UGH.”

can’t remember what the guy’s name was but he was saying that if you want to meet a goal, you shouldn’t go public with it. as soon as you publicize it, subconsciously you’ve already met the goal. and you stop trying. or something to that effect.

i scowled between produce bins at the podcast dude because i recently went public with my exercise goals. last month i plastered my face on Facebook — like you do when you’re working out on a wednesday evening and looking for a high five, a hug, a word of affirmation so you feel less shweaty gross and more shweaty awesome — thinking, “yes. this is it. i’m turning over a new leaf RIGHT NOW. THE TIME IS HERE. CARPE DIEM SELF.” i declared to my Facebook friend world that i was sticking my stake in the ground and completing an Olympic triathlon by the day i’m 30. (may 22, 2017.) and there in the HEB aisle i thought about how during this past week of 100+degree weather in houston i ran ONCE in preparation for a 5K on saturday–the next day. the morning after grocery shopping. i thought about how i had been wishing i never signed up for some stupid race during AUGUST in Houston.

who am i? really. what person makes this impulsive decision? 

i picked up a couple shallots. some were squishy. imma guess from this unreal humidity. i tossed the squishy ones to the side, grabbed some decent ones,  and turned back to my cart. i wondered…

so have i self sabotaged? will i follow through with my public goals? or am i pretty much categorized already and boxed in by some statistic? who is this TED talk guy anyway? on what authority does he tell me these things through my earbuds? 

y’all: i went home and ate a frozen pizza. I WENT HOME AND ATE HALF A FROZEN PIZZA THE NIGHT BEFORE A 5K. seriously. i bought food to cook in bulk and freeze. food on the paleo side of things. whole food. food that would meet the Whole 30 day challenge. and i also put a frozen pizza in my cart and went home AND ATE IT. before needing to wake at 5AM for a 5K.

who are you? seriously. you’re eating a pizza and watching netflix. do you even care about this race? do you care about your body? what are you doing? 

so yeah. that was my friday night. i went to bed later than probably what i could have.

the next morning my friend, brother, and community member Russell and i headed to the race. i was feeling grumpy and nervous. i didn’t feel like i ate bad pizza the night before but i was embarrassed that i had had PIZZA. i didn’t tell him. [hi, Russell. now you know.]

i could go on and on about the morning. how we warmed up. how lovely it was to watch the sun wake up and greet downtown Houston. how we stood in line to use port-a-potties. i’ll spare you.

but the moments when all this came together: when my feet hit the pavement with other bodies, other human beings like me who may or may not have had frozen pizza the night before (probably not. but maybe.). when my mind was unstuck by traveling with others in all their quirkiness seen in their coordinated team t-shirts, their particular gaits, their facial expressions, their laughter, their silence. my body remembered how to do this when i was in the pack, when i was part of something greater than me and my time on the treadmill and my Facebook updates.

going together for the sake of the process, not the sake of my achievement and time. that was the gift i received yesterday morning. i told some friends this past week that i hate running. it’s kinda true. i find it rather boring. they encouraged me to find something else: swimming, kickboxing, Crossfit, anything. haven’t made any decisions yet on this dilemma. but i have decided this: i believe there Is something powerful about sharing one’s goals with others. about sharing conversation. about sharing laughter and tears about them. i’m not sure i agree with our podcast friend. see, seeking to meet goals in community–like by running yesterday in downtown Houston with 400+ other folks–transcended my pizza blues. no shame felt. more love and grace and kindness and acceptance and encouragement.

10K Saturday September 12 in Bastrop TX with my friend Hillary. prayers, kind thoughts, and encouragement welcome. [i’d love to hear your goals too.]

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bilingual sermon: ‘you will have everything you need’

April 19 II  April 19 I


I’m incredibly grateful and honored to be in ministry with a church family that tries experiments and longs to be in sync with God’s dream for us and the world. On Sunday April 19, I had a blast preaching in English with my brother, friend, and partner in ministry Thony Ngumbu preaching in Swahili. This was the first time some of our community members have heard the preached Word in their language at Westbury. For some, this was the first time they have truly Heard a sermon in over 3 years. What truly beautiful teamwork happened with this bilingual service. I’m having so much fun serving as pastor of FAM with Westbury United Methodist Church.


the text: Matthew 6:25-34


Have you ever known the feeling of being overpowered by worry?

Je, umewahi kujisikia unavamiwa na wasiwasi? 

Perhaps it began as a consistent question in your life, in the life of someone you love, of an unknown possibility in the world.

Pengine ilianza kama swali katika maisha yako, katika maisha ya mtu unampenda, juu ya uwezekano haijulikani katika dunia. 

Of nervousness about what could happen tomorrow or someday down the road.

Ya woga juu ya nini inaweza kutokea kesho au siku zinayekuja mbele. 

And gradually consistent, persistent questioning turned from nervousness to overwhelming pressure mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even physically.

Na hayo maswali unayejiuliza kila wakati, zinayekuletea woga, kidogo kidogo zinageuka kuleta shinikizo kubwa kiakili, kihisia, na pengine hata “shinikizo” kimwili.

And have you known the feeling of being empowered by desire?

Na umesha jisikiaga ya kuwa uwezo na hamu? 

Maybe it began as a quiet force, a questioning, wondering, and longing for something more in life.

Labda ilianza kama nguvu utulivu, maswali, kujiuliza, na hamu ya kitu zaidi katika maisha. 

Not something to add to your life, but a shift in your quality of life.

Si kitu ya kuongeza maisha yako, lakini mabadiliko katika ubora wa maisha yako. 

Of how your job and your learning, your family and your loved ones, your friends and your passions, your relationships are connected.

Ya jinsi ya kazi yako na masomo yako, familia yako na wapendwa wako, rafiki yako na tamaa yako, mahusiano wako zote zinashikamana. 

How your life flows. And perhaps the desire began to build and propel you forward.

Jinsi maisha yako mtiririko. Na pengine hamu alianza kujenga na kukupeleka mbele.

 The power of worry and the power of desire.

Nguvu ya wasiwasi na nguvu ya tamaa. 

Jesus knew these are powerful internal forces within us.

Yesu alijua haya ni nguvu vya ndani, ndani yetu. 

And he addressed these powers in our text today from the gospel of Matthew.

Naye alizungumuzia nguvu hizi katika maandishi yetu leo ndani ya Injili ya Mathayo.

See, earlier in the story Jesus had called his disciples by name to follow him.

Angalia, mapema katika hadissi Yesu aliwaita wanafunzi wake kwa jinaili wamufuate. 

He called James and John who were literally sitting in their fishing boat with their dad.

Aliwaita Yakobo na Yohana ambao walikuwa wanaikala katika boti wao ya uvuvi na baba yao. 

They left the family business so that they could learn a new trade—one of following Jesus.

Waliondoka biashara ya familia ili waweze kujifunza biashara mpya – iliyekuwa ya kumfuata Yesu.

As the disciples traveled with Jesus—watching him heal sick, hurting, worried people—he would pull them aside on retreat.

Wakati wanafunzi walisafiri na Yesu- wakimuangalia akiponya wagonjwa, waliyeumia, watu waliyekuwa na wasi wasi- alikuwa akiwavuta pembeni mafungo. 

Here they are together on a mountain, away from the crowds, so that he could teach them.

Hapa wako pamoja juu ya mlima, mbali ya vikundi ya watu, ili aweze kuwafundisha. 

He teaches them, what we as Christians call, the Beatitudes.

Anawafundisha, ile ambayo kama Wakristo tunaita, Heri au Baraka. 

He teaches them how to pray.

Anawafundisha jinsi ya kuomba. 

And then Jesus says: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat, what you will drink, about your body, about what you will wear.

Na kisha Yesu anasema: musiwe ne wasiwasi kuhusu maisha yenu, nini mtakula, nini mtakunywa, kuhusu mwili wako, nini mutavaa. 

But instead: desire God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you too.

Lakini badala: muwe na hamu ufalme wa Mungu na haki ya Mungu, na haya yote mtapewa pia. 

All these things will be given to you, too. You will have everything that you need.

Haya yote mtapewa pia. Utakuwa na kila kitu unahitaji.

James and John are there with Jesus—the James and John who had set aside the family business because the call of Jesus upon their life was so compelling.

Yakobo na Yohana wako pale na Yesu- Wale Yakobo na Yohana ambaye waliacha biashara ya familia kwa sababu mwito wa Yesu juu ya maisha yao ilikuwa inawavutia. 

They’re no longer making money working as fishermen.

Awatengenezi tena fedha kwa kufanya kazi kama wavuvi. 

And we all know that making money is how we get the things that we need, right?

Na sisi wote tunajua kwamba kufanya fedha ni jinsi sisi kupata mambo ambayo tunahitaji, si ndio? 

Getting a good stable well-paid job is how we abate the worry of what we’ll eat and drink, and what we’ll wear and how our bodies are.

Kupate kazi mzuri inayetulipa mzuri ndiyou namna tunapunguza wasi-wasi ya nini tutakula na kunywa, ya nini tutavaa na jinsi miili yetu zinavyokuwa. 

But Jesus says—no, no. First, desire God’s kingdom—and dear disciples, true trust me: you’ll have everything that you need.

Lakini Yesu anasema- hapana, hapana. Kwanza, kuwa na hamu ya ufalme ya Mungu-na mniamini wapenzi wenzangu: utapata kila kitu unahitaji.

But Jesus, it’s important that we know how we will pay the bills, how we will give our children the best they could have, how we will have enough to give to the Church, how we will have enough to support the communities that we belong to.

Lakini Yesu, ni muhimu tujuwe jinsi tutalipa ma bili, jinsi tutawapa watoto wetu vitu bora zaidi, jinsi tutakuwa na kutosha kutoa kwa Kanisa, jinsi tutatoa kusaidia jamii zetu. 

These things are important…right Jesus?

Mambo hayo ni muhimu … si ndiyo Yesu?

[Jesus] Oh friends. Look at the birds in the sky.

[Yesu] Oh rafiki zangu. Angalia ndege wa angani. 

They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns.

Hawa pandi mbegu au kuvuna nafaka au kukusanya mazao ghalani. 

Yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Hata hivyo, Baba yenu wa mbinguni anawalisha. 

Aren’t you worth much more than they are?

Je, ninyi si mna thamani zaidi kuliko wao? 

Friends, my heavenly Father knows that you need these things.

Marafiki, Baba yangu wa mbinguni anajua kwamba mnahitaji vitu hivyo. 

God knows. So, first desire God’s kingdom.

Mungu anajua. Hivyo, kwanza kuwa na hamu ya ufalme wa Mungu. 

First and foremost, intensely desire God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Kwanza kabisa, kuwa na hamu mapenzi ya Mungu yafanyike hapa duniani kama huko mbinguni. 

Be empowered by the desire propelling you forward in becoming a living active participant with God, with what God is doing with others, with what God is doing in the world.

Pata huwezo na ile hamu inaye kusogeza mbele katika kuwa mshiriki pamoja na Mungu, na kile ambacho Mungu anafanya na wengine, na kile ambacho Mungu anafanya katika dunia. 

First and foremost desire God’s righteousness, rather than relative self-righteousness.

Kwanza kabisa kuwa na hamu ya haki ya Mungu, badala ya haki yako binafsi. 

And then?

Na kisha? 

Oh, I promise you that there will be enough. Always. All these things of today and tomorrow will be provided for you.

Oh, nima kuahadi kwamba kutakuwa na kutosha. Wakati wote. Mambo haya yote ya leo na kesho zitatolewa kwa ajili yenu.

Can we trust this?

Je, tunaweza kuamini hii? 

How is this possible?

Jinsi gani hii inawezekana? 

Can we believe this promise?

Je, tunaweza kuaamini ahadi hii?

Friends, what Jesus is doing is this—he’s seeking to stretch the imagination of his disciples so that they may get a glimpse of how to God envisions the life on earth.

Rafiki zangu, ile Yesu anafanya ni hii-anatafuta kunyoosha mawazo ya wanafunzi wake ili waweze kuona jinsi Mungu anavyo ona maisha duniani.

How God expects people who are shaped by the teaching, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to be related.

Jinsi Mungu anatarajia watu ambao wanaongozwa na mafundisho, maisha, kifo na ufufuo wa Yesu Kristo waweze kuhusiana. 

When the kingdom of God is our first desire, the definition of need changes.

Ufalme wa Mungu ikikuwa tamaa yetu ya kwanza, ufafanuzi ya mahitaji zetu zitabadilika. 

When God’s righteousness is our first desire, our attention shifts—it is no longer prioritized upon daily food, drink, and clothes.

Wakati haki ya Mungu ni tamaa yetu ya kwanza, tahadhari yetu zinabadilika- umuhimu ya kwanza si tena juu ya chakula ya kila siku, kunywa, na nguo. 

 Our greatest need becomes Christian community. 

Itaji yetu kubwa inakuwa jumuiya ya kikristo. 

When we are connected to sisters and brothers in Christian community, there is always more than enough—there is abundance.

Wakati tunashikamana na dada na kaka katika jumuiya ya kikristo, kuna zaidi ya kutosha-kuna mingi.

Parker Palmer puts it well in his book “Let Your Life Speak.”

Mwandishi Parker Palmer anaiweka vizuri katika kitabu chake inaitwa”Acha maisha yako Izungumuze.” 

He writes, “Abundance does not happen automatically.

Anaandika, “Wingi haitokee moja kwa moja. 

It is created when we have the sense to choose community.”

Inatokea wakati tuna amua kuchagua jamii. “

It is created when we lean into the gift of each other here in the Church.

Wingi inatokea wakati tuna anza kutegemeana hapa katika Kanisa. 

When you freely and generously share what you own—your possessions, money, gifts and resources—so that I have my daily bread.

Wakati unajisikia uhuru kugawa kwa wingi vitu vyako vyote—mali yako, pesa, zawadi na rasilimali—ili niweze kupata mkate wangu wa kila siku. 

When you vulnerably and graciously receive from me—gifts of food, hospitality, gifts, presence, and resources—when you are in need.

Wakati unapokea kutoka kwangu kwa hali ya mazingira magumu na neema—zawadi za chakula, ukarimu, zawadi, na rasilimali—wakati uko katika maitaji. 

Abundance of daily resources is not stockpiles of food or cash.

Wingi wa rasilimali kila siku siyo mkusanyo ya chakula au pesa. 

Abundance of daily resources happens when everyone gives and everyone receives.

Wingi wa rasilimali kila siku inatokea wakati kila mtu anatoa na kila mtu anapokea.

Remember, this community of abundance is shaped by One who modeled giving and receiving.

Kumbuka, jamii hii ya wingi ni umbo na Yule iliye onyesha nanuma ya kutoa na kupokea. 

One who emptied himself entirely and took the form of a servant.

Yule alijitolea kabisa na aliamua kufanana na mtumishi. 

One who gave love day by day over and over till it poured out of his hands, his feet, and his side.

Yule ambaye alitoa upendo siku kwa siku, zaidi na zaidi, mpaka ikamwagika mikononi yake, miguu yake, na ubavu wake.

One who in the future will receive love and awe and glory and honor from all creation—with every knee bowing in heaven and on earth and every tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Yule ambayo katika siku zijazo atapokea upendo, na hofu, na utukufu, na heshima kutoka kwa viumbe vyote—na kila goti ikamwabudu mbinguni na duniani, na kila ulimi inayekiri kwamba Yesu Kristo ni Bwana. 

This is and will be the full Kingdom of God.

Hii ndiye na itakuwa ufalme kamili ya Mungu.

You will have everything you need.

Utakuwa na kila kitu unahitaji. 

To turn from daily worry toward daily Kingdom desire.

Kugeuka kutoka wasiwasi kila siku kuelekea hamu ya ufalme kila siku. 

And our invitation is this: trust Jesus’ words by leaning backwards, eyes wide open, and falling into the arms of the church.

Na mwaliko wetu ni hii: amini maneno ya Yesu ukijilegeza, macho yakiwa wazi, na anguka katika mikono ya kanisa.

In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Kwa jina la Baba na Mwana na Roho Mtakatifu. Amina.