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Lots to be thankful for

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His name was Matt.

 

Back to him later.

 

November is one of my favorite months. I guess because fall is my favorite season and Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. One of the more popular things on Facebook in November is where people post what they are thankful for. I thought one of these years I will do that. I just need to sit down ahead of time and map out the 30 things I am thankful for.

 

Hold that thought.

 

Had a great day today. We volunteered with Lighthouse Ministries to serve Thanksgiving meals to the poor and homeless in Lexington. It was a busy day but it was good. The boys were really good at helping and serving. Getting drinks, cleaning up and just doing what ever needed to be done. As I was thinking about the day and watching football at the house tonight, I looked down at my phone, probably to check Facebook. The number in the top left corner caught my eye.

 

24.

 

24 degrees.

 

Back to Facebook. Scrolling down the page to see what people are saying. Are they posting what they are thankful for? What are they complaining about? More first world problems?

 

What’s that? Weather map. Talking about the wind chill tonight. Could hit single digits by the morning.

 

His name was Matt. A guy at a table asked me to bless this guy standing beside me. I looked at him and asked him do you need it? He said it couldn’t hurt. So I prayed for him there. Asking God to be with him and to always remind Matt that He is with him no matter what he is going through.

 

But back to serving today. We will come back to Matt again here in a bit.

 

As they were giving us some last minute instructions something caught my attention. They were telling us about if anyone with a wheelchair or walker came in that they would be seated up front. Easier for them to get in and out. Makes sense. It was the next phrase.

 

If anyone comes in with kids, we will sit them at these tables.

 

Kids? There will be kids here? Sure enough, the doors open and as the people come in, you see some children come in with them. We had a 15 month old sitting at our table.

 

24. Still 24 degrees out there.

 

Are these kids out in the 24 degree weather? Are they keeping warm tonight? Yes I have my bed and right before I sat down at my desk to put together the sermon notes for Sunday, I turned my electric blanket on. Is Matt out in this cold? Does he have a place to sleep tonight that he can lay down and not worry about getting frost bite, hypothermia or even worry about not making it through the night?

 

I have a lot to be thankful for. Great family. I have a job that keeps the heat on, a roof over our head and food on the table. I just don’t know if I could handle putting my list together after today.

 

22.

 

Just checked again. It’s now 22 degrees out there. Wind Chill is about 11.

 

His name was Matt.
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Gabe’s Baptism

 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
Matthew 9:17
Nothing pleases me more with my boys than to see them accept Jesus as their Savior. The twins took a class on baptism and what it means last month. The class was leading into our church’s baptism service this past weekend. After the class, Misty and I talked to the boys to see if they were ready. Zach said no, that he was not ready. Gabe on the other hand was ready to go. At least that is what he said. We took his word for it and put him on the list.

 

Fast forward after the class to last Monday, we wanted to check with Zach one more time and still he said no. Well we wanted to talk to Gabe one more time. After asking him a few more questions, we didn’t know if he was ready or not. We asked him if he had asked Jesus into his heart and he said no. He thought that everyone who was being baptized would do it together. We told him no, that he needed to do that before Sunday. I then asked him if he wanted to do it now.
“No, I will do it Wednesday.”

 

What? No. Huh? What’s Wednesday have to do with it? He just didn’t want to do it then. So Misty and I talked about it some more and decided that he wasn’t ready and Misty let the church know on Tuesday to pull his name out.

 

Sunday comes and the church had one big service and had removed most of the chairs and asked that if you could, to sit on the floor and leave the empty chairs for those who couldn’t sit in the floor. It created a great environment as we all come together for the celebration. The service starts opens with “Let’s go down to the River to Pray” and then after a small teaching moment from Dave, our pastor, the baptisms start. The water flows off of the first person baptized and from Gabe’s eyes. He started crying with the first and didn’t stop.

 

As the service continues, it becomes more obvious that Gabe was really ready. The last baptism ends and Dave is ready to start communion. Misty looks at me and asked me what I think. I take Gabe to the bath room and talk to him. He says he is ready. So I get the attention of Dave and ask if we have time for one more. They had built time into the service for anyone who wasn’t on the list to get baptized so he holds communion up so they could have one more baptism.

 

I think took Gabe aside and sit down with him and lead him in the sinner’s prayer in our Green Room off stage and then brought him out.

 

Dave had brought some extra t-shirts since he felt like someone who was prepared to be baptized would be so we needed to get Gabe changed. As we were walking out, Misty told Gabe to take his shoes off. So he kicked them off right in the middle of the door way. Nothing was stopping him. I really think he would have baptized himself if we would have let him. So he walked up on stage, still in his socks. Dave handed us the t-shirt, meaning he could change in to it after, but Misty stood in front of him and changed his shirt right there on stage.

 

Gabe then walks up to our baptistery, which by the way is a horse trough. Hey it’s a church plant that just turned 5-years old. You do what you have to do. As he walks up, he tries to step in, but Dave stops him. He wants to talk to him first and then leads him in the confession. Again, Gabe is ready to jump in. I told you, he would have done it himself if we let him. After I talk for a little bit, Gabe is ready to get in and I get to baptize my son.

 

It was great. It was so awesome to really see the Holy Spirit work. The service was great, but it was so obvious how God was working with Gabe and us. He was so ready. He was a bit upset because my parents were not there to see it. If we had known, then we would have asked them up but again, we were thinking he wasn’t. But we are in a great church family. We have had photos and videos coming to us from several friends. Everyone was jumping up and getting photos and videos.

 

Afterwards, I could see it in Zach’s eyes that maybe he wished he had gone through with baptism. I talked to him some and so did Misty. He said he felt left out. This is the first big event in their lives where they both didn’t go though it together. I told Zach that there will be more and his time will come. Until then, we just have to pray and continue to lead them the way God wants us to lead them.

Has it been 25 years?

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Over the last couple of months I’ve been working with some friends from high school in planning our 25th reunion. Hard to believe it’s been that long. It was a lot of work in planning but in the end it was worth it. I got to see a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in years, some even since graduation. Yea I get to see what they’ve been up to through Facebook. But there is still as lot that you don’t get to see and know until you get to sit down with them and really talk to them.

One thing I got to experience was getting to know friends that I barely knew while in high school. You always see different cliques when in school. You see this group and that group and they don’t really mix. It was good to get to know people that I didn’t really know in school. I realized that I missed out on getting to know good friends before now.

It wasn’t easy planning the reunion. Well I ever do it again? I doubt it but I never going to rule it out. I’ll for sure help someone that wants to plan the next one.

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Prayers and Merry Christmas

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RAMBLE ALERT – Just a warning. My rambling is ahead.

First of all I just wanted to say thanks for everyone that has been praying for my mom the last couple of days. She is feeling much better but still needs to get more of her strength back before she can head home. Being in the hospital over Christmas is no fun. I know, I did it back in college after having an appendicitis attack. That was not fun at all. In the hospital about 3 days before Christmas and out a couple of days after New Years.

With mom in the hospital, Christmas sure has been different this year. Lots of changes. New job. New church. Just lots of changes. But the biggest has been Christmas Eve. We usually have my family over for appetizers and gift exchange. Nothing major, but its something we all love. In fact, Zach mentioned in a journal that Christmas Eve is usually his favorite part of Christmas. This year? It was lunch with my dad and my brother and his family at a restaurant near the hospital and then over to the hospital to see mom. Then on to church and back home where we had a small dinner with some snacks.

It’s just hard to get into the Christmas mood when the days leading up to it is spent running back and forth to the hospital. It’s hard to get into the Christmas mood just weeks after 20 kids are shot down in their school. Now I hear that 5 are dead in an accident near my hometown.

But I know the reason for season and I know that we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I ran across this poem and the picture at the top of the post on a website and thought I would share it.

On Christmas Eve the other night
I saw the most amazing sight,
for there beneath the Christmas tree
was Santa kneeling on his knee.
His countenance was different than
that all-familiar, jolly grin;
his head was bowed, and hand to breast,
and slightly tucked into his vest.
For there in a Nativity
was Jesus and His family,
and as I heard him start to pray,
I listened close to what he’d say.
“Lord, You know that You’re the reason
I take pleasure in this season.
I don’t want to take Your place,
but just reflect Your wondrous grace.
I hope You’ll help them understand
I’m just an ordinary man,
who found a way to do Your will
by finding kids with needs to fill.
But all those centuries ago,
There was no way for me to know,
that they would make so much of me,
and all the gifts beneath the tree.
They think I have some hidden power
granted at the midnight hour.
But it is my love for You
Inspiring all the things I do.
And they give You all the Glory,
For, ‘You’re the One True Christmas Story.”

Original author

Alda Monteschio

The end of my rambling.

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!! 🙂

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Its About Giving

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“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25:31-40 (NLT)

Christmas Eve. Growing up that always meant an evening at my grandparents’ house where we would open up gifts from aunts, uncles and grandparents. I always looked forward to that evening. As a kid of course that meant gifts for me.

Two things I always will remember from those nights. 1. That my grandfather would always open his gifts with a pocket knife and was always careful to not rip the paper. All of the grandkids would be yelling to just rip it open. But that was how he was, always keeping stuff he thought he could use again. I guess growing up in the depression will do that to you. 2. He would always get something to do with nuts, either a bag of them or a way to open them. He loved walnuts and peanuts. He always had some in the house somewhere. I can still in my mind remember him yelling for me to come into his room and he would give me some. I guess that is where my love of peanuts comes from.

Now what is one thing you notice I didn’t mention? Think about it, I will wait. If you can’t figure it out just read on.

I don’t remember what I got. I don’t think I could tell you one thing I got during all of those Christmas Eves. Of course I was pretty young but you would think I would remember something. What did I remember? Family. I remember how fun it was to be there with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I’m sure if I thought hard and long enough, I could remember the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received. We just take it for granted that we are going to get something and it just becomes second nature. I’m sure you are that way too.

But there are people in the world who are not.

There are children all over the world that just wants clean water to drink. They want good clothes and shoes they can wear. They just want people that will take care of them in their lives. They want to be in a family. Sadly, this is the world we live in. So, what does giving mean to you. To us now it means sponsoring a child through Compassion. It means sponsoring a child in an orphanage in India through our church. This is 2 kids that we hope we can help impact their lives in a positive way from half way across the world.

The Bible teaches us that when we see “The least of these”, what we do for them is really doing the same for Jesus. If we ignore them, then we are ignoring Jesus. If we take care of them, then we are taking care of Him. Now of course we can’t really take care of Jesus but He is saying that those that are in need are loved by him and that we need to take care of them for him. Just think about it in terms if it was your child in need. If your child was in need and someone passed by and didn’t take care of that need, wouldn’t you feel like that person ignored you? Same thing.

Compassion International is in the middle of 20 days of Giving leading up to Christmas. Yes I am a bit behind in my blog post. Would you consider helping send a small gift to a child this Christmas? Doesn’t have to be much. Just a small gift to help buy some clothes for the new year so they won’t have to go to school in torn and worn clothes. For only $20 you can protect five children from parasites. For $10 you can provide garden seeds for a family in Africa. For $40 you can replace household items such as clothes and school supplies. It doesn’t have to be a lot. If several people would do this then children all over the world will fill the impact and have better Christmas. You can go here to donate. Please pray about it.

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I wasn’t prepared

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Did you know that if you are eligible to vote in a general election but not for the primary you can still vote in the primary? At least that was the law back in 1988. That was the year I was first able to vote in an election and that was also a Presidential election year. I was able to vote in the primary in that year and I remember doing my research on the candidates.  Who I liked and who I didn’t. I made my choices and when it came time to vote, I voted. Over the years I have always knows who was running and what they stood for. I knew what was on the ballot and how I wanted to vote. I have every year.

At least up to this year. I was caught off guard when I got to vote and seen a constitutional amendment and had no clue it was on the ballot much less what it was for. Turns out it was pretty simple. Just gives the citizens of Kentucky the right to hunt. I had no idea it was even on the ballot. The measure past easily. I couldn’t believe it. I heard something about it on the radio as I was walking into the polling place. I was like, what did he say. I got inside and seen the ballot and thought, oh that was what he said.

After voting I went to work and went straight to the internet and start looking it up. What did it mean and why was it on there? I was taught that if something was on the ballot and you don’t know what it was then vote no. That’s what I did. And I didn’t like how I voted after I realized what it was. I wished I had been ready for it, but I wasn’t. Even when we moved to Nicholasville and the first city elections were coming up, I dug through online stories of the local paper trying to find out about the people running wanting to know more about them. I dropped the ball this year but not anymore. I will do my research.

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Actions speak louder than words

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If you know Zach any at all then you know how much of a momma’s boy he is. He says always makes comments about how much he loves Misty more than me. But you know, it’s all talk. He makes this comment and that comment but if you pay attention then you know he loves us both. The boys’ school after each 9 weeks has an assembly called a HOPE Assembly. They present awards to the students that have earned them during the previous 9 week grading period. Well this year the school is being renovated and Zach and Gabe are in a different building Colby. The school had said at the beginning of the year that all HOPE Assemblies would be at the main building. Well I had it listed that it would be at the primary center, the building where Zach and Gabe go but they thought it was also at the main building.

Well I called the school and found out that it will be at the primary center. Right before I left to go to the assembly I get a call from the administrative assistant at the primary center saying that Zach wanted her to call me and let me know that it was in fact at the primary center and he was concerned that I would be going to the wrong building. When I got there she told me that he was worried that I was going to go to the wrong building.

Just goes to show how important it is to stay involved in your children’s lives. Even though he acts like he doesn’t care his actions show otherwise. I try to stay involved as much as I can. For Colby I have been one of his scout leaders and for the twins I helped coach one year of t-ball and then moved down to be their scout leader when they started last year. That’s been one of my main priorities is to be involved as much as I can. I know as they get older it will be more of a challenge but the more I get involved now the easier it will be later. At least I hope so.

Prayer of Thanks.

God I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to help Mikaela. I hope that not only can we help him but at the same time I can teach my boys something about giving and the needs of others. It has given us chances to talk to them about what life is like outside not only our home but our country. It has given us a chance to talk to them about giving and helping others.
I just can’t believe how things are in other parts of this world. I just can’t understand how I can complain about what I have to eat when Mikaela probably just feel lucky to eat. I complain about when something goes wrong here at the house when Mikaela probably just wants a warm place to sleep at night. I complain when my car starts having problems when children like Mikaela has to walk miles just for a clean drink of water.

You have blessed this country greatly and have protected us. Yet other parts of the world have almost nothing. Thank you for allowing me to live in this country. Yet I know with this honor comes responsibility.  I know that you give to me in hopes that I will give to others that don’t have.

I only hope my help makes a difference. I can only hope that my boys learn from this. I want them to learn that what they have is not a right but a responsibility. A responsibility to help others when they can. I want to help Mikaela grow up into the man you want him to be. The man that his country needs him to be.

Thanks God for this opportunity. Amen .

ps. would you consider praying for a child today? Please go here and just pick a child out and pray for them today.

Please consider sponsoring a child

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By now you probably know that we sponsor a child through Compassion International. We started this as a way for our boys to give back with their allowance and be able to help someone at the same time. Why Compassion? I felt like they were really trying to change the world, one child at a time. And it’s just not when they are a child. It changes their life forever. When we decided on this, we went to their sponsorship page where we were able to select the child we wanted to sponsor. Since giving to Compassion was I think Zach’s pick, we let him pick the child and we were able to pick someone close to his age.

Our child writes letters and draws pictures and sends to us every so often. This lets the boys know how he is doing and what the living conditions they are living in. We can see the differences we are making in his life. We sent an extra donation for his birthday and he sent us a letter back letting us know what he was able to get, extra clothes for school and play. The boys are also allowed to send him letters. Letting him know that they are praying for him by name and letting him know what they are doing.

What does the money go towards you ask? Glad you did. Here is a small list from the Compassion website:

  • nutritious snacks or meals
  • educational opportunities
  • health and hygiene training
  • medical checkups
  • the caring embrace of a local church
  • the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ.

Please consider sponsoring a child today. I know not everyone can. Even if you can’t, please go find a child and pray for them. Just go here and look through the children that need to be sponsored and pick one and pray for them.

Oh and want to see the impact you can have on a child? Watch the video below.

Blogging for Compassion

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A while back we made some changes in how we give the boys their allowance. The change gave them more over the course of the month but in turn for that they had to do a couple of things. One they had to pick up more chores around the house. Two, they had to put some back for savings. And three they had to give some of it away. One of the things we chose was to sponsor a child through Compassion International. I got an email from them the other day asking for bloggers to write about different aspects of Compassion and what they do. They want to bring more attention to the environments they kids live in.

So I thought I can do this. So I signed up and started looking over some of the things others have wrote about. Compassion will send me a topic each month to write about to help me get started for that month. I went back and looked at last month’s assignment,Can You Survive on $1.25? Well can you? Most families in third world countries have to live on about $1.25 a day. They have to make decision on like do I send my daughter to work at a factory that pays good? Sounds like an easy answer doesn’t it. Good money, sure sign her up. But then you hear a rumor that the factory is linked to the sex trafficking. How easy is the answer now? Do I drink dirty water or do I take my son out of school every three days to get the family clean drinking water?

An organization called  58:, a global initiative to end extreme poverty by living out Isaiah 58. They have created an online game to see how far you can make it through a month before you run out of money. I made it to day 19. You can try your luck here.

September is also blog month at Compassion. So this month instead of once a month, there will be one a week. They are trying to get more kids sponsored this September than any other September. That number by the way is 3,108. So look for a post next week on this and please think about sponsoring a child.

 

ps try the Survive 125 game and post how far you make it in the comments below. See if you can beat 19. 🙂