So as I was driving home yesterday from a long day at church I saw 4 teenagers standing on a corner holding up a sign for a fundraiser they were doing for ____________. You can fill in the blank cause the kids are there for everything, youth groups, cheer camps, choirs & bands, school fundraiser. I see this a lot. It is not an unusual thing at all, and in fact our student ministry has done it as well.
What got me thinking this about this more was that this particular corner last week my wife and I pulled over to help a young pregnant teenager. She had wording written on a piece of paper in a spiral notebook. We stopped to hear her story and see how we could help. As we pulled in a cop pulled in a few minutes after us asking us to leave and the girl to move along. At the time we didn’t think anything about it but seeing these ‘more well off’ kids standing on the same street corner asking for money caused me to ask…
What is the difference here?
I know we have a panhandler and then you have a fundraiser… but why is one who is in need forced to move on, while others who are desiring something more (new skirts, new trumpets, new shoes, bus to go on a mission trip) they can wave their signs and get hand outs.
I’m not sure how I feel, but the big Justice filled Gospel question comes into my mind and makes me wonder, why is one ok and the other is not.
What are you thoughts?
What would you do with $398,000,000? It’s a simple question. It is crazy thinking just how much money that is, and even crazier thinking that out of the millions of people buying tickets for the MegaMillion price of $500,000,000+ the ‘odds’ of someone winning is like 1 in 180million. Those aren’t great odds, but still exciting.
So, what would you all that money? You say it wouldn’t change you, but it would. In what ways do you think?
My good buddy Phil Bell, posted something similar this past summer, which you can read here, but from returning from my little vacation I wanted to give five things necessary for a great vacation. This was possibly one of the best get a-ways I have had in a long time (minus our honeymoon on a cruise where we had no connection). Some of the following reasons are why it was such a great vacation.
- Turn off your smart phone. This is a no brainer, but far to often we forget that being connected back to where we left causes us to never really leave. I love that with my iPhone I can just put it on airplane mode and go about my vacation. I can still use twitter, still take pictures, play games with my nieces, but I don’t have to worry about that phone call or that email that could draw me back in to the place I left. This simple tip helps you fully engage where you are. ADDITIONAL TIP: If you are so consumed by your phone a follow up tip is to set a time each day where you check your email and voice mail. You allow for that one or two hours then off it goes again. I’m against this because depending on what it is, you can be pulled back and never be able to ‘return’ to your vacation
- Work ahead the week before. I found this to be super helpful this time around. As a pastor things don’t stop when you are away. That is why so many feel the need to keep their phone on to check in. I took a few hours the day or two before we left to think through the week ahead. Gmail has a great new tool called Boomerang which allows you to do a whole lot more with your email. It allows you to schedule when things go out, how and when they come back to you if people don’t respond and a whole slew of other things I haven’t played with yet. I was able to set up emails to go to people for the week ahead as if I was still working. But in working ahead it allows you to breath easier while you are a way.
- Plan for doing the unplanned. Every vacation I go on I take two or three books with me with the desire to crank through them. I seldom do. I end up, most times, enjoy the unstructured so much I say to heck with my plan and just enjoy what ever comes. Planning is great and necessary to really ‘disconnect’ and have fun, but I have learned to leave room for the unplanned because it makes things so much more enjoyable.
- Be around joy. This is something I learned this last visit home. It is so imperative that when you go away on vacations to be leaving with joy and excitement and to if at all possible be in a place that fosters that same joy and excitement. Other wise you are in a place that is draining you.
- Understand the purpose of your vacation. I have had to learn this hard lesson of establishing a real rule of understanding the purpose of our vacations. If I am going home to either Wisconsin or Oklahoma, it will not be restful! I end up staying up late talking with people, reliving old memories, running around and just having tons of fun. If I take a few days of vacation to go up to the a cabin or up the mountains I know I am going for peace and quite to think or ‘detox’ myself. Understanding the purpose of your get away will save lots of frustration upon your return when you realize you didn’t get out of your vacation what you wanted out of it.
Super simple, but super practical for having a great vacation. What would you add to this list?
Here is an awesome video that two girls shot… again God is so Stinking awesome!!!
Yep its that simple!… Kinda
In reflecting on books that have changed and transformed my life, I wanted to share just five that I think have forever rocked me and shaped me, and in some ways continue to shape the way I live my life. The Bible is a given so I have left that off… these are in no particular order
- the Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard: This book, which is a must read for anyone in ministry has given me freedom to question. It has challenged the way I traditionally was raised in scripture has been the launching point for me to begin spiritual formation and reading other books. This book really resurrected my soul in ministry and in Christ when I was at my lowest low
- Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence: Simple and easy book about experiencing God in the everything everyday. A heart felt journey of a monk seeking God in every single moment.
- Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne: Shane is an incredible young man who simply believed and followed and rocks the lives of the status quo christian. This book made me rethink my necessities and God’s call to me in my following Christ
- A Many Colored Kingdom by Conde-Fraizer, Kang & Parret: This book is a little more brainy but changed the way I think about community, and purpose of recognizing the differences in our own lives in a community. Great practical approaches to creating a community in Christ
- The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan: By far the most brilliantly written books in all time. John writes from a vision stand point of a man starting a journey in Christ from death to life and the war in between. This book gives illustration and analogy to the war with our souls better than any authored book I have read to date. So I would rank this one as my all time.
So what about you. What are five books that have changed and transformed your life? Post them here (even if you don’t have five thats ok)