Friday, April 20, 2012

Walk For Water

Tucker, Cade, and I are Team Daily Boys as we participate in Walk for Water on April 29. Our goal as a church is to raise $5,000 to build a water well at the Hosetta School in Sierra Leone, Africa where our friends, the Brockelmans, serve.

Please watch this short video as Tucker explains it to you - (and for those of you getting this through the email, you may to click on the blog site to watch - http://www.thelifeoftitus.blogspot.com/)

video

This is a topic that is really close to my heart. We've been talking about Africa a lot lately. Some of you know that Aidan is working to earn money for his mission trip to South Africa this summer (and he's still available for work). After reading "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, I have continually been convicted by the amount of resources that we have that we take for granted.

I have water at my fingertips. I have a pantry full of food, I have 2 refrigerators AND a freezer that are full. I have a cars for transportation. I have a job that more than supplies our needs. I have a home that is safe to live in and each of my children sleep in their own room. I am blessed beyond what I deserve - we all are. And yet, there are tremendous needs all around us. We just need to open our eyes to the need, open our heart to be used, find an opportunity that we can put our gifts to use on, and yes, open our wallets.

I cannot imagine a world where children have to walk miles to fetch water and to bring back home. And not just one trip, but multiple trips a day. But this is a reality for 10,000+ children every day.

And because they are busy carrying water, they cannot attend school.

And if they are not able to attend school, they cannot break out of the cycle of poverty.

Clean water for a village not only improves health, but can change a generational cycle of poverty.

So, this is a just a drop in the bucket. But I as I told Tucker and Cade, some day, I want to take them to Africa to see this well - and let them see what they helped build by walking 2 miles on Spring day in McKinney, TX.


If you want to help Team Daily Boys - contact me and I'll send you the address. And pray for us as we Walk for Water.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday!

Cade is our 7 and a half year old son. He tends to be very methodical in his ways and we can tell when he is analyzing a situation. At times, he may struggle with the logic of a situation. Or shall I say, the logic of a 7 year old.

Last year at Easter, he asked us "Does Jesus have to die every year?" His brain was trying to wrap itself around the discussion of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. And we explained to him that Jesus only had to die once . . .  for all. But to a 7yr old, it was awfully confusing.

And last night, he asked a new question . . . "If Jesus died, then why do we call it GOOD Friday?"

And before Becky could answer him, Tucker explained it all (sometimes it helps to have another 7 yr old talk to a 7 yr old). And sometimes it helps to keep it simple.

What the authorities did to Jesus was definitely not good. However, the results of Christ's death are very good. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." and 1 Peter 3:18 tells us, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit."

So today, let's remember. It is a good day.

In Conclusion

I blogged a lot this week. And I never expect people to agree with everything I post. I would challenge people to read 'The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. It has changed how I see a "need" in our world and how we can respond.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Baskets for Tornado Victims?

I blogged yesterday about the horrific tornadoes and storms we had in the Dallas area yesterday. And today, I see that one of our local, large churches is having children collect Easter baskets and candy for those affected by the tornado.

Seriously? I really mean SERIOUSLY?

People have lost their homes and belongings and you want to show up with candy and say Happy Easter?

So excuse me while I drag out my soap box, but this is really going over the top. And I'm sure I'm going to step on some toes and be rebutted, but if I can just get one person to think about this, then I'm going to say it. As a very wise friend once told us "if it's not helpful, it's not helping". And this my friends, is not really helpful.

I John 3:16-18 tells us "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Acts 4:32-35 tells us the early church shared "everything they had" and that "there were no needy persons among them".

The damage done by these storms is devasting - right now, people need shelter, they need clothes, they need food, they need comfort, they need prayers. But do they need candy? I applaud all efforts to help out people who have lost their homes or suffered damage to their possessions. And I believe that as a church - the body of Christ - we should be leading the way in providing for people's needs at this time - just like it says in I John. But let's meet people needs with more than with an Easter Basket of candy.

Instead, let's clean out our closets and garages, let's give gift cards to Walmart or Target, let's open up our homes, let's provide meals, let's help clean up. Even give an Easter basket full of bread, peanut butter and bottled water . . . but candy? I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

Let me put it this way - if you had just lost most of your possessions or your home was seriously damaged by a tornado, and your local church showed up with a basket of candy for your kids, what would you think?

And here's my other major concern - what does this teach our children? Proverbs 22:6 states "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Here is a great opportunity to train our children on how to be the New Testament church, to meet needs, to help out. But let's not train our children that when people are in need, let's give them something they don't really need. As I said before, let's teach our children "if it's not helpful, it's not helping" and then let's look for ways to be helpful in a manner that meets their needs (and not just makes us feel good). Let's train them that the Easter is about the Jesus laying down his life for us and then coming back to life to show us that LIFE is for ALL. Can't we just be a church that shows our children that Easter is about Jesus and not just about Easter Baskets filled with candy.

Ok - I'll put my soapbox back in the closet.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sirens

I believe I can count today as one of those crazy days you don't want to happen too often in your life. Dallas was hit with incredible thunderstorms, hail, and between 6-12 tornadoes. And when all of this happens in the middle of the day with a full office of people, it makes for quick decisions and executing plans that you have documented (but really never want to execute).

This afternoon, our Business Continuity Manager came to my desk to inform me bad storms were brewing and we needed to meet with the team to determine our course of action. These are the types of meeting where you drop everything and quickly have to make a decision on what is best for the office. As we operate a call center, there were 100's of agents on the phone during that time - and stopping an agent from taking calls can cost money for us and our clients - but keeping our employees safe is also vitally important.

As we the weather forecasts and news reports became more and more clear that we were in the potential path of a tornado, I quickly and calmly walked around the building and asked everyone to move to the interior rooms of the buildings, hallways, and bathrooms. I was impressed on how calm everyone was and how quickly they moved. Within minutes of getting in the room, the tornado sirens started to go off signaling imminent danger. After 10 minutes, reports came back that our area was safe and people returned to work, only to have to repeat the entire exercise 45 minutes later when a second storm cell came through the area.

But as I walked through the building asking people to move to a safe area, I did have several doubters. I had people ask me if "they" really had to obey. I had people challenge me and tell me it wasn't even raining outside so it really couldn't be that bad. I had people who didn't want to leave their office surrounded by windows because they were on a call and it was incovenient. I had people go outside to see for themselves. And I even had a few people get in the car and leave work - and drive right into the storm.

And as I drove back home tonight, all I could think was how this exercise was a reflection of the spiritual world we live in. The signs of the times are all around us, the sirens are going off in every area, sin is rampant and yet, people still choose to not believe. People choose to ignore. People choose to listen to self instead of the authority of God. People choose (and frankly, sometimes, they make stupid choices).

I know I can't cure stupid - and that's not what God calls me to do. He calls me to tell the truth. He tells me to point the way. He tells me to be a light. He tells me to obey. He tells me to tell others. He tells me that even with the sirens going off all around, He has a plan. And I know this, God does call me to choose - I can choose to obey or disobey.

I pray as the sirens of this crazy world are going off around me, I choose to obey.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dancing With The Amateurs

I can't stand 'Dancing With The Stars'. I know that may hinder my credibility and popularity with a certain demographic, but I just never got the gist of this show. To me, it surpasses cheesy - the "celebrities", the music, the dancing, and the judges - it's just all a bit too much for me.

And, I'm not sure why tonight my thoughts are so wrapped up about a show that I really can't sit through.

But after some contemplation, I realized what it is that captivates me. It's the work and determination that people put into it. It's not just that they are vying for a mirrored, disco-ball trophy, but it's the work effort they put into doing something that they may not be comfortable doing. And you combine that with a television audience, blunt judges, and outrageous costumes, and I have to realize, it takes a lot of chutzpah to get out there and do what they are doing.

And some of them realize they can actually dance (Urkel . . . who knew?). And some realize they you may be an animal and champion on the tennis court, but that doesn't translate to grace and rhythm on the dance floor (sorry Martina). But either way, everyone is teamed up with an expert and they are honestly working hard to dance, entertain, and hopefully, not have a wardrobe malfunction. And when the season is over, all of them can say one thing - they have improved their confidence and ability to dance.

And here's the crazy thought - evangelism is a lot like Dancing with the Stars. If you really want to learn how to witness, you need to team up with an expert who knows what they are doing and then get out there and do it. It may feel uncomfortable, it may not feel natural, it may feel like you are stumbling all over yourself but when teamed up with a partner who can assist you, pray for you, give you the words to say, you can learn to do it.

I saw this in Honduras a couple weeks back. I have written that many in my group had stated they were fearful of being bold in their witness. And, as God would have it, we were in a church that planned on us witnessing everyday. We had the chance to witness while going door-to-door, in the park, in the school, even while picking up trash on the side of the road, playing soccer. Everywhere we went, we had the opportunity to share the gospel.

We were blessed with an incredible translator, Jose, who not only translated, but encouraged, re-phrased, coached, and led the way in teaching each of them what to say, how to say it, and how to answer their questions. And one of the high school seniors, Dillon, (who ended up being our second translator) also led the way by coaching and encouraging each of the other students in sharing their faith. By the end of the week, each of the teenagers were sharing their gospel with an ease and fervor that came from practice and repetition. But they each learned how to share their story in their own comfortable way and style and they did so with a confidence that exceeded their years. And more importantly, they learned that the only part they were responsible for in evangelism was being obedient to share their witness - and then let God do the rest - even if the end result may not be seen for years to come.

Isaiah 50:4-9 (in the Message version) states "The Master, God, has given me a well-taught tongue, So I know how to encourage tired people. He wakes me up in the morning, Wakes me up, opens my ears to listen as one ready to take orders. The Master, God, opened my ears, and I didn't go back to sleep, didn't pull the covers back over my head. I followed orders, stood there and took it while they beat me, held steady while they pulled out my beard, Didn't dodge their insults, faced them as they spit in my face. And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me, so I'm not disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I'll never regret this. My champion is right here. Let's take our stand together!"

So tonight, my prayer is that I will dance with the Master, encourage tired people, follow orders, and speak the words that God has given me to speak and tell a world about Jesus. I still have a lot to learn about sharing my faith but I do know this - as awkward or uncomfortable as I feel today, I won't feel that way the next time or the time after that. I know if I practice and give my two left feet over to the Master, he will lead me through a delicate and beautiful dance. And regardless of what anyone has to say when the dance is over, I will have danced.

P.S Happy Birthday Mom! (and I know you love Dancing with the Stars) Your 75 years on this earth have been a blessing. You are a wonderful mom, wife, grandmother, and friend - and your life and story has been an encouragement to many. And with your new pacemaker, you can dance all night long.