Thursday, July 17, 2014

Change...




We all have a special jar in our house or compartment in our car where we put our loose change.  You know that change that comes after you go through the drive thru and bought your hamburger and fries. People don't seem to know what to do with there loose change or for that matter people don't want to have to deal with it.  I find nickels, dimes, and pennies all the time in parking lots or in the couches downstairs in the youth room.  I even have youth give me their change on trips because they don't want the hassle of having to deal with it.

It is frustrating sometimes to deal with loose change but if you put a lot of it together it quickly because more than a few cents, it becomes dollars.  That is when collecting change pays off.  One hundred pennies, 20 nickels, 10 dimes, or 4 quarters all make 1 dollar.  It is amazing how fast you can get to a dollar when you have loose change around.  Still people don't like to deal with it or want to have to count it in order to make a dollar.

 People don't like changes in their lives either.  They seem to freak out or get upset when something changes.  we all become use to the way something is done and so we expect it to be done that way.  When someone changes the way it is done, we get mad and angry and we don't understand.

Usually there is a really good reason behind why something changes.  Maybe there is a better way to do it or get more people to participate.  Maybe there is a more cost effective way of doing something, or maybe the old way that something is being done just isn't working any more. 

In youth ministry we are constantly in flux because we have to change the program to meet the needs of the youth. I have to change trips, times, curriculum, and locations to meet the needs of the youth.  It works well most of the time but sometimes it back fires because the youth want to do it the way it has always been done.

I think the major problem with change is the way it is presented.  People who want to make changes don't often do a good job of explaining the situation to those that are going to be affected by the change.  People do not think about the best way to make a change or open up a dialogue with people about the change. 

I think we lose track sometimes about how change affects people.  The change might be needed and might be a good idea, but we don't think about those it affects.  Some people may have given hundreds of hours and blood, sweat, and tears to something only to have it yanked out from underneath them without little explanation as to why the change was made. 

We never know how a change is going to affect someone so it is up to us to be smart, sensitive, and timely when we decide to make changes.  When I make a change to the youth program I discuss the change with my youth mentors, I talk to some of the youth, and then I decide what to do.  I then make sure everyone understands why the change was made and what their new role might be in the change.  Lots of discussion takes place before I make a change in anything that I do. 

Be smart about the changes you make.  Make sure people are well informed and that they aren't surprised by a change.  Most of all, make sure you thank them for all the work they have done on something you never know how a change might change a person's outlook or make them feel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It is Easier to Gain than it is to Lose



I have a love hate relationship with food.

Okay actually its more of a love love relationship.

Food has always been a stress reliever for me.  I definitely eat when I am stressed and for someone that keeps their emotions inside that can be a "huge" issue.  When I am not stressed I am actually really good about eating and making smart choices that is until you put it in front of me.  For example if you put a package of Oreos in front of me I can't only eat one.  I have to have an entire row.  I also can't eat them without milk so then I find myself in the kitchen pouring myself a giant glass of milk. The thing is that I don't go looking for Oreos, I don't buy them because I know the mistakes I will make.

I have been up and down the dieting circuit.  I have tried many different things from Weight watchers to Atkins.  Some of them have worked and some of them haven't but through all of my eating and dieting I have noticed one thing, it is easier to gain weight than it is to lose it.  I know this doesn't come as a shocker to you but it is the truth.

To gain weight all you have to do is eat, eat, and eat some more.  To lose weight you have to diet, exercise, count calories, weigh yourself weekly, change exercises so that you don't plateau, and you have to say NO to so many different food options and opportunities and people do not make it easy. 

It is easier to gain than it is to lose weight.
When I started to think about it, "It is easier to gain than it is to lose" goes for a lot of things in life besides just weight loss.

When we fall it love it is amazing.  We are so excited and everything is right with the world.  We gain someone special and new in our lives and it is a feeling that is so joyous that it is hard to explain how wonderful it is.  But, when a relationship ends, it is so hard.  One if not both people are devastated and hurt beyond belief. There is a lot of crying, yelling, and even EATING.  It is so hard on us when we lose someone that we loved.

It is easier to gain than it is to lose.

When we or someone we know has a baby we are so excited.  This precious new life that has entered the world brings hope, love, and joy. We gain happiness through new life. But, when we lose a family member or friend we are distraught.  Sometimes it is expected and sometimes we are taken by surprise by death but all the time we are hurt by the loss.

It is easier to gain than it is to lose.

Many of us are sports fans and we cheer for certain teams.  We were winning we are excited and happy and ready for the next game, but when we are losing we are mad and upset and probably say things we shouldn't say to the TV.

It is easier to gain than it is to lose.

There is however one situation I can think of that is just as easier to gain than it is to lose.  That is your relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is so easy to gain because all you have to is except him as your Lord and Savior.  Once you have done that you have a relationship with him, but here is the kicker, no matter what you say or do you will never lose that relationship.  There is nothing that you can do to lose the unconditional love of Jesus. No matter how hard we try, he will always be there for you, he will always love you, and he will always be watching over you. 

No matter what, your relationship with Jesus is harder to gain than it is to lose and in order to gain it all you have to do is ask!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Faith like Ronnie...






We are almost a week removed from our mission trip.  As always we attended ASP (Appalachia Service Project) and we went to Watauga County, North Carolina.  Two teams from our church ended up working on the same site.  Our project was to build the foundation for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom addition to a house. 


On Sunday night myself another adult and two of the youth went to the site to meet the family and take a look at the project.  Along the way we were told the story of the family.  Due to a meth issue with a family member Ronnie (our homeowner) got a call in the middle of the night from the police saying that if they did not take in the four children of the family member that they would be separated and put into the system.  Without hesitation Ronnie and his wife took in the kids. 


On top of the 4 new children that entered the household, Ronnie and his wife have 2 children of their own.  Now there are 8 people living under this one roof with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. 


That would seem like enough to have to deal with but Ronnie also has stage 4 cancer. 


My biggest problem right now is getting up in the morning and making myself go to the gym.  I can't imagine what it must be like to have to get up every morning and deal with not feeling well as well as taking care of 6 kids.


I thought for sure that Ronnie was going to be a bitter man when we met him.  I was proven wrong the first moment I met him.  He was in such high spirits and so thankful that we were there to work on his home.


One day while I had a very bad headache and was sitting under the tent (yes Lindsay under the tent!)  Ronnie came down and sat down beside me and told me some of his story.  He told me about his strong beliefs.  He told me that Jesus would come for him when it was time but until then he was going to live life.  He was going to take care of his kids, watch them play basketball and grow up to be fine young men and a 1 beautiful young woman. 


He told me a story about how he went in for his chemo and there was an elderly man and his wife there.  The elderly man turned to Ronnie at one point and said "Son don't let cancer beat you, you beat cancer!" Ronnie said that those words resonated with him and that he has lived his life since that day believing that he will beat cancer.


He talked about how much he loved God and that God had given him so much in life.  He wore a cross everyday to symbolize his faith.   He talked about being a truck driver with over 2 million miles on the roads of the United States without ever having an accident.


Ronnie was amazing to listen too.  Here is a man with a home that is not top of the line, 6 kids to take care of ranging from 2 and 1/2 to 12, and battling cancer.  If anyone would have a right to have their faith wavier it would be him.  But his faith is strong.  Stronger than most who attend church regularly on Sunday mornings. 


So I wish for you faith like Ronnie.  I wish for you a love of Jesus Christ that tragedy, sorrow, pain, nor sickness can take it way.  I hope that the everyday problems of life seem minuet today and that you up yourself up to a love that is unfaltering, unconditional, and always there.   May you know the love of Jesus Christ today and may your faith be just like Ronnie's. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day is May 13th right?!?!?




Sooooo... I made a bit of mistake. Shhhhh... Don't tell my mom.  I ordered flowers to be delivered yesterday, May 9th for Mother's Day.  It was cheaper to get them delivered on Friday before the weekend and I thought it might be more of a surprise that way!  Unfortunately last night when I went to look up my order to make sure they were delivered it had my delivery date set as Friday May 30th.  I have no clue how that happened.  I was able to get it changed but the earliest day they could be delivered is Tuesday, so Happy Mother's Day tomorrow Mom and Happy Tuesday as well.


I will call my Mom tomorrow to wish here a Happy Mother's Day and she will find out then about my mistake.  Actually she will read this before then so she will have a heads up when we talk!  Either way my Mom will forgive me I am sure of that. 


My Mom is one of the biggest influences in my life.  I would not have the skills and interests I have if it wasn't for her.  I am computer savvy and that is because she had me take classes at the community college while I was in high school.  My love of writing also comes from her.  She helped me to develop my writing skills while I was in high school by critiquing my papers because her Master's Degree is in English.  In fact I am sure she is critiquing this post as she reads it and I wouldn't have it any other way.


She has always supported me in every decision I have made and allowed me to follow my own path.  When life has thrown me curve balls she has been there to help me through the hard times. I can always count on her for advice when I call and a warm hug when I see her!


My favorite memory of my Mom is a Christmas a long time ago.  I have never been able to sleep on Christmas Eve.  To this day I still have a tough time falling asleep.  One Christmas when I was very young I couldn't sleep.  I kept wanting to get up and go look to see if Santa had come.  My mom stayed up with me in my room and read as I tried to sleep.  I couldn't sleep I was so excited and worried that Santa wouldn't come.  She even took me in and showed me that Santa had come and brought lots of presents.  I still didn't sleep.  Mom stayed up with me all night that Christmas.  She read in my room with me as I laid in my bed with wide eyes waiting for 5:00 am to come or something close to that.  It was the longest Christmas Eve of my life I think but looking back on it now as an adult, I don't remember at all what I got that Christmas, all I remember is my Mom staying with me all night long and honesty that was the best Christmas present I could of ever gotten! 


I love you Mom, Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Merge Right



The other day I was driving along the highway and I was praying because it had been a hard day.  I was talking to God about everything from my job to my personal life.  It was a pretty in depth conversation.  I was asking for advise and help in making some decisions.  These weren't difficult or for that matter really hard decisions but I wanted God to play an important role in the decisions that I made.


I got to a point where I just flat out asked God what I should do.  The minute after I said that there was a sign to my right in front of me that was blinking: Merge Right... It just kept blinking the same message over and over.  I was taken aback because that sign usually blinks Traffic Pattern Change and then blinks Merge Right but that night as I drove up on it, it just said Merge Right. 


It could of meant nothing at all. It could of been just a malfunctioning sign, but I took it that I was supposed to Merge Right, meaning that I was supposed to have faith in Jesus and that everything would turn out alright.  

How did I get to that assumption based on a sign that said Merge Right?


Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father. 

 "It is right, and a good and joyful thing,  always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth." 

 God is always right. 

The statements above are what made me think that Merging Right is what God wanted me to do.  He wanted me to understand that he is with me no matter what I decide and will help me through it.  I hope that when you make decisions whether or big or small you will always Merge Right. 

If you come to a fork in road of your life and need to make a decision on which road to travel down, I suggest that you Merge Right and see what happens!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Running on Empty


Have you ever been driving along and all of a sudden that little red light appears and tells you that you are running low on gas?

Has that ever happened to you when you were driving in an area you weren't familiar with?

It has happened to me a couple of times. Not only was I stressed out about the fact that I didn't have enough gas in the car but I was extra stressed because now I have to find a gas station in an area that I don't even know where a gas station is. It is actually quite funny how when you don't need a gas station there is one on every corner but when you do, you can't find one. I have driven down road after road looking for a gas station while that little red light seemed to get brighter and brighter. I have even had to pull into a full service gas station before because it was the only one around and I didn't want to run out of gas. It is not a fun situation to be in but more often than not I find myself letting that little red light come on before I fill my tank.

Gas is what makes are cars go, we can't drive without it. Without gas we would be stuck on the side of the road or never even able to leave the driveway. We need a full tank of gas so that we can go where ever we want to go whenever we want to go there.

The same can be said for our spiritual tanks. Too often we go through life running on empty and we don't take the time to fill ourselves spiritually. This is easily overlooked with everything that we have going on in our lives. We go to church on Sunday morning and we think that is enough to get us through the week. We don't realize that we are actually running on empty and by the time the next Sunday rolls around we are coasting in on fumes. We need to take time during our week to pray, to read the bible, be a part of a covenant group, or a bible study. We need to participate in mission work or volunteer work. We need to take time during the week to fill our tanks, if we don't then we become empty and that is a hard place to be especially when we don't realize that we are running on empty.

Make sure that you take time to fill your tank. God is here for you and he wants to be in relationship with you. The thing is, we NEED to be in relationship with him. We need to fill our tanks so that we can go out into the world and fill the tanks of others.

We must be full in order to be the hands of feet of Christ for the world. Don't wait for the red light to come on. Go out there and fill your tank!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10,000 Strong

I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone that has ever read my blog.  Over the past three years I have written my thoughts, loves, and opinions on the pages of this blog and you all have taken the time to read the entries and for that I am humbled and very thankful! 


Last night, I had my 10,000th viewing of a blog entry.  That means that 10,000 times people have taken the time to open my blog and read one of my entries. 


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for giving me a small place on the web where I have a voice! 


I am excited to continue and thankful for your support.  God is good, All the time.  All the time, God is good!