FREE Market

free market

Imagine a garage sale with so much stuff it fills a 53 foot semi trailer full. It’s featuring tables, chairs, couches, appliances, toys, clothes, dishes and more. Imagine it takes 30 people a couple hours just to get everything pulled out and set up. It’s something we can all imagine in someway or another right?

Now imagine everything is free. That’s what I experienced last Saturday. It’s something that still to me makes little sense but it’s pretty awesome those who needed took.

It brought so many thoughts to my mind as I was observing. For example to see the greed of some of peoples. The people who needed were taking anything that caught their eye. But honestly who would not. Who would not be grabbing everything they could because they could. I saw stereo types that justify what we see on TV shows.

I also saw lots of compassion and love. Every person who volunteered from the church was awesome and epic. Smiles and laughter while helping unconditionally. “Can I get this?” “YES” “Is this Free?” “YES” was heard quite often.

This made an impact on me more than I thought. I was over come with emotions as I saw a little girl get a doll and her telling me it’s her first doll that had all it’s arms. I saw a little boy get clothes for winter and a family of 6 get clothes that fit.

I also thought about what it’s purpose was… to fill a need. The Community around our church isn’t rich. It has lots of needs. It’s not poor but definitely not rich. But what’s lacked in funds is made up in gratitude.

I also questioned why other churches are not doing this. It’s become ok for many churches across the nation to do garage sales and many have done great. But it’s approached in a way that it’s a fund raiser. I do not have a problem with this. That’s fine what I have a problem with that. But Why are we not doing a “Free sale” for just the purpose of providing to the less fortunate?

What do you think? Is this something a church should do? Or is it just something our church has “struck gold with?”

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Hit me up on facebook, twitter or in the comments below.

I Have To Announce Social Leavings?

My question in the title is something I’ve done many time. I’ve left facebook came back to facebook, left twitter closed account and came back. But Why is it that we announce on social media that we are leaving or “fasting” from it?

I don’t have the answer but I have to think that it has something to do with wanting to be missed. Our own selfish desires to be left alone.

I’m not trying to harp on anyone I’ve done this many times atleast 10 times on facebook alone and atleast 6 for twitter.

My harping is on the desire behind it. If your fasting from food to you run around and say, “Hey guys I’m fasting, don’t offer me any food.” “I’m fasting like crazy, look how awesome I am.” No we don’t but when we are fasting from social media we seem to announce it like it’s something we are proud to be doing. Announcing that we are fasting from social media on our social media could be like in bible times when people were fasting and let those around themk know by how they dressed and looked.

Look in Matthew 6:16-18 “When you fast, don’t make yourselves look sad. The hypocrites do that. Don’t be like the hypocrites. They make their faces look strange to show people that they are fasting. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you fast, make yourself look nice. Wash your face. Then people will not know that you are fasting. But your Father that you cannot see will see you. Your Father sees the things that are done in secret. And he will reward you.”

Totally something we need to evaluate why we do what we do on social media and in our lives. I’m no expert and hope you understand this is more for me than for anyone but it’s something I’ve thought about recently. It’s something I’ve seen a growing trend on this week. It’s something I feel we could do better at than we are. What we portray on Social Media should be the truth but also should not be there to make us look more spiritual than we are.

What do you think? Do you agree disagree?
Love to hear what you have to say. Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.

Value Is Not What We Think

Our thought process in USA is simple. Money, Possessions, Popularity, Likes, social network “friends” and “Screen Time” is valuable. Now I won’t like having 15 minutes of fame would be epic but that’s how we are brought up.

See our value system in the USA is based on the idea of “I’m higher than this person but I am worse than this person.” We honestly believe that we are better than some people. Honestly sit there and think about 10 different people. Now think about where they are compared to you in your life. Boom you are now ranking people. We either put people above or below us.

God doesn’t rank us. We are either with him or away from him. That’s our ranking system and we can’t control or have input on that. And our problem is we feel that means that we can’t match up and so we continually attempt to do works in order to make up for that. That’s stupid that’s not biblical. We are to do works with our faith but not to the point to earn our way in to heaven. We can never earn our way into heaven.

But thanks to our current culture we think that’s what it takes to be in favor. But to be in favor is to love God, acknowledge God, Serve God and then Pursue God. Somedays it’s good and somedays it’s bad.

I’m not saying once you’ve been saved you are always saved. I’m saying we need to stop attempting to match up to the “expectation of a Christian” from the world. We can never match up, will never match up, and have never matched up. Those expectations are based on the world’s value system. Look in the bible, when has God used someone who’s got it all together. A majority of the story’s in the bible are full of people who don’t quite get it but are able to follow God’s instructions enough.

We need to come to God in our brokenness. Serve God in our Brokenness. And accept we are broken and only God can fix us.

What do you think, am I wrong? Do you agree? Do you disagree?

Aaron Sprinkle, You Should Know Him.

Aaron Sprinkle is not a name many Christians know. For 20 some years Aaron has made music or been involved in making music that’s honest, sometimes to the point of brutal truth.

I first found Aaron Sprinkle in a band call Poor Old Lu.

The sound was something I had never heard before and definitely wasn’t the norm in the “Christian Music” scene. I’m not saying that they broke a mold they definitely did not. But they pushed sound into my head that I love even 20 years later.

Aaron Sprinkle stayed on my radar as he began to release solo albums.

The music wasn’t fast and hard like I was listening too but his epic honesty caused me to think.

I will continue to follow him and own as much of his music as I can.

But It doesn’t end there. See Aaron Sprinkle is a producer too. He’s worked on many albums from Aaron Gillespie to The Almost to Reliant K and Demon Hunter. He’s added just enough personality to each album he’s produced.

If you get a chance check out his music. He’s shaped a lot of music out there today with out being the one out front.

Foster Care Is Important

Foster Care

So you are 10 years old being shuffled from house to house ever year or so of your life. Your odds of being adopted is less than winning the lottery. You’ve reached that age that most people would not consider taking you in. And each foster family doesn’t understand you as you are not there long enough to attach. You act out because you want to be hugged, you want to be loved, but you do not know how to express this.

Your record shows you’ve been arrested for shoplifting, you’ve punched a foster parent once, and you continually don’t know what emotions are and how to express them. You cry yourself to sleep most nights as an emotional release built up over the day. You don’t get when people hug you they are attempting to show you love, you think it’s more of them trying to keep you from running away. You see people interact and think that everything they do is weird.

This is not out of the normal of a foster child. And after a child gets to around 10 years old most likely will not be adopted but shuffled from house to house through out the foster’s life till they age out of the system and dropped on their heads. Some will succeed and move on with lots of emotional scars. Some will fail and add to the homeless population. Some will just fail and kill themselves.

Being a foster parent matters. It’s not about money, it’s not about making ourselves feel better by eliminating our guilt. It’s about Loving. There are Hundreds of thousands of kids out there that don’t know love and will never know love unless we show them. We have to show them not only we are willing to take them into our lives but … show them we are willing to drop everything to love.

Foster care is not for those who want to feel better about themselves. If that what you want to do find a foster family and do respite for them. It’s difficult, it’s hard, and you will swear you are done at least once a week.

But to show the love that God shows us to someone who doesn’t know love and rejects you till one day they finally accept it. Those days are the golden days. Those days you are proud to be a foster parent. Far to many kids in the system will never know this unconditional love because they will age out. We as Christians should feel compelled to help. If not being a foster parent we need to pray for those who are foster families. We need to pray for those who are fosters.

I feel this is something we as Christians fail at. We don’t take care of the needy and innocent we rather just take care of ourselves.

So what will you do? Will you sit idle and continue to not care about foster care? Will you let hundreds of kids who are asking and seeking love not find it? I’m not asking you to be a foster parent. I’m asking you to pray for them, adopt the foster family, and pray for the fosters?

Will you share this? What will you do!

Strongest Man in the World

Let me tell you the who the strongest man in the world.

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His name is Baiden and for a few months we were honored to have him apart of our forever family.

When we first met Baiden, he was in a rehabilitation hospital re-learning everything a newborn would learn. With his contagious smile and loving looks he continually gives, we knew this little boy was awesome.  With in a week of meeting him we were able to take him home from the rehab hospital. With in a few days we knew our life would be dominated by yells, cries and grunts.  It was a tough adjustment as he only scooted around on his knees and his left arm. His right are was pulled tight against his chest and he was unable to control his arm and it’s movement.  That didn’t deter Baiden as he was consistently moving and finding ways he could do things with in his limitations.

Within a month we were taking him to have a procedure to fix his skull from an injury. This is where we met the second strongest person I know.  Andy, Baiden’s dad.

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Andy, Baiden’s biological dad, was working in another town and allowed a family he never met take care of Baiden.  This was something needed for Baiden to recover from an injury.  Andy took no time to quickly become a major part of Baiden’s life in Baiden’s time of need.  We first met Andy in the hospital before Baiden had skull reconstructive surgery.  And to see Baiden recognize and respond to his dad in the hospital was an amazing and wonderful thing to see. Baiden hadn’t seen him for some time and immediately knew him and scooted to him. The smile was one of the biggest smile’s I had ever seen on Baiden’s face.  This was a something that melted my heart as I saw the love Baiden gave was given back by Andy.

We visited Baiden in the hospital in a few times as we wanted to ensure he was never lonely.  He was in Omaha and we lived in Lincoln but this was important to us.  Baiden stole people’s heart, no matter who he met and he always had the nurses wrapped around his fingers.
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After the procedure we got to take him home from hospital again, he did a great amount of improvement.  We quickly saw major improvement in how he responds to sounds and recognition of his name.  He began to recognized words and be able to start to signing in his own way.  Seeing him sign ‘help please’, or ‘more please’, or even ‘up please’ was so stinking cute.  Then as he progressed he would add his broken Baiden speak which was forwards and backwards words or half words.  His “up” was “buuuuu” and his word for “bug” was more “bucchhhhhh.” His ability to learn was amazing.  His own way of communicating was extremely easy to pick up on.  And Baiden did not let anything hold him back from learning.

He worked really hard and continued to progress in his verbal communication.  He was able to link signs with saying his best lingo. But he progressed physically too.

Seeing Him learn to walk was something that we took much joy in.  From him not just pulling himself up and cruising along the furniture.  He’d been doing that since we knew him, but you could see that he wanted to walk but just didn’t have the physical control.  That’s when they really began to work on this with him at the rehabilitation hospital.  They fit him for a brace that helped him.  And with in weeks of him learning he was running all over.  And as soon as he learned to walk, look out he wanted to walk everywhere.  He loved to walk my sons to school.

 

In the rehabilitation hospital where he would visit throughout the week, there were many sessions that Baiden just cried in forever not wanting continue.  And there were days he didn’t want to stop.  But through out the time at the hospital he ran around it like he owned it.

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AND HE DID IT WITH A SMILE and LOVE. That’s what made him strong.  That’s what made him amazing to me.  Baiden is the boy who took tragedy and learned to love through it with unlimited love for all.  This made me so proud to have known him. So proud to have been blessed by him.  I am so thankful for his part in our forever family.

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In December 2013 we were proud to send him home to Andy and grandparents.  This is the purpose of why we took him, to get him the help needed to be home with his family. Our joy is knowing he is gonna know the love he’s continually giving to everyone.  There are days we miss him, who would not, Baiden loves everyone.  The events he’s been through are tragic, but this little man has come out of it with joy and happiness.   I’m blessed to have known Baiden. I’ve been blessed to have known his dad.  Both are the strongest men I know.  They continually make me proud to of been part of their life.

Invest in Leaders

I often voice concern about those coming up as leaders in the church. My main concern is that they are not there yet. I want those wanting to be church leaders to be ready now. But instead they are still learning.

The leaders being built up are not leaders yet. It’s a hard concept to remember for me sometimes. It’s something I have to remember that even at one time I was a leader that was being created.

We have a lot of leaders who are still learning what it’s like to be a leader. Leaders all over are getting kicked, beaten and smacked around in the church as they fail as leaders. My suggestion is rather to build up and mentor them now and help them through their mistakes.

We see them in leadership and expect them to be perfect. But we can not hold them to that. Most Church leaders if going to college graduate around 24-27 years old. These leaders have interned at healthy positions. Have been built up in an artificially built position and are expected when they become leaders to be perfect.

It’s easy for us to sit and judge and burn these people and chase them off. But I’m consistently reminded how we learning to be church leaders are still learning about God. We are full of sin and struggles. And at a Christian College we are learning how to hid our sin better or we are learning to give our sin to God.

I see many leaders suffering from lack of confidence. I see many leaders who are struggling with their sins. I see many leaders lacking the drive to do anything. But I also have confidence in them. I know they will survive. This weekend I got to see alumni who were in the same boat as these leaders currently. They struggle and they had issues. But through God and others working in their life they were able to grow closer to God and be where God is asking them to be.

I know that those who survived from 15 years ago when I originally attended school were invested in by others mentoring and putting time into showing them what leadership was. They failed, fell, and were picked up by people who invested.

The key is to invest in to building them up. There’s no set time. There’s no set gameplan. There’s just them learning through the experienced and been there. The investors don’t do this to be given glory but to help the next generations of leaders of churches.

We need to invest in these leaders. They will fail. They will see themselves as worthless. That’s not the case we are all valuable. Our value is no in money but rather in God’s kingdom. When they fail it’s our job to come along side them and help them to grow in leadership.

I Am A Hat Person

making faces

When I was a little boy I loved to wear my dad’s hats. Didn’t matter the size difference. Didn’t matter what I was doing. The sight above is really what it was like to see me most of my childhood. With my dad’s hat on my head making a face. I found comfort in wearing his hats as I had part of my dad with me always.

I sorta developed an addiction to hats as I grew older and at one point I had more than 50 hats. Hats for bands I’d seen. Hats for products I liked. Hats for hundreds of products that gave them to me free. I got tired of wearing hats with stuff on them. Which then become extremely difficult to find head attire that had nothing on it. Until

IVY HAT

Recently I did some research in to comfy hats and found the “Ivy” hat. I like the way it looks first off. Mostly I love that it’s really easy to get these without a brand all over this style of hat.

Why is all this important? We’ll it’s not really important at all. Hats are just hats to many. Companies found out how lucrative it can be to give them away. Why because it’s free advertising. Hats to me is a comfort thing. I consistently adjust my hat when wearing it when I don’t know what to do with my hands or as a nervous stress reliever. I often am wearing hats to keep the sun out of my eyes as bright lights often blind me. I also really enjoy how a hat feels on my head.

It’s important to understand when wearing a hat that if it’s a branded hat, you better believe in the brand. I know it sounds silly but think about it. Hats are really close to our heads. This is the perfect billboard for everyone who looks at us. No wonder so many companies just give them away. Anyone from Top Name brands to kids name brands put their logo and name all over it knowing that was money well spent. And we need to be conscious of what we support. If we are supporting anything at all.

I try to find hats that have no logo on them. I try not to promote a brand over another. It’s a personal choice I believe is best for me.

The Bowl

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So for anyone who has visited where I live might be perplexed about a bowl that is located near the front door. It’s my saving grace. My wife originally suggested the idea off of a show she watches Big Bang Theory. In the show they put their keys in the bowl next to the door.

I thought on it for a while and my wife and I decided that we would try it. Originally it was just for my keys but over time it started to gather things I always misplaced including wallet, glasses, and phone.

Since using the bowl I’ve never had to ask have you seen my wallet. Hey, Caitlin, have you see my keys? There have been days I don’t use the bowl and get out of that habit but really it’s very simple to do.

When thinking about this it’s pretty easy to see that I have been saved so many times by this bowl. I recommend attempting this. It took me about 30 days to get used to this idea and I am so happy we did. I don’t run all over looking for what I had.

We could apply this to our spiritual lives. The bowl representing our spiritual lives. As long as we are inside the bowl we know God and know where he is. But once we are not in the bowl we are scrambling all over looking for God. But I’m attempting to not make this spiritual so I’m not.

But it’s really nice to not look for keys for 15 minutes after I’m suppose to leave attempting to remember where I put things.

Do you have a gathering location for your stuff? Do you put your keys, wallet, etc all in the same spot?

I’d love to hear what you do with your keys, wallet, and etc.

Comfort levels

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Sometimes I feel more comfortable putting the above pictured network together than I do in certain situations.

I feel super awkward when I’m communicating with people who give me the “you lost me look.”

I often ask questions in youth group and get the blank stare and consistently feel like did I just ramble telling the story for 20 minutes and no one paid attention?

Consistently I’m in a position talking with someone about technology and realize I’m talking way over their heads.

I am a person who’s 35 years old consistently being told by people that people my age are getting out of youth ministry and not into it.

I’m continually put into positions that press my comfort levels and force me to rely on what God has or is teaching me.

I do find comfort in the bible.  Story after story you see people being pulled from comfort into lives of continually pressing their comfort zone.

We really need to accept at some point we will be pressed beyond our comfort levels and will have to continually have to do more that we are comfortable with.

Currently I’ve felt God press upon me to do more than I am currently doing.  Pushing me to start things I tell him I’m not ready for.  I am continually asking God then prove it.

We will see how this goes but my comfort zone is definitely being pressed beyond comfort.