I was talking this morning to my friend Todd McGee who is the church planter for the Grove UMC church in West Mobile. Praise God they are running about 150 3 weeks into their launch! I'm grateful for what God is doing there. Todd is a great guy and we talk often and bounce ideas off each other. We get along great. He is a Methodist and I don't know what I am. I serve at a SBC church but don't know if I consider myself a Baptist. O well.
Todd told me something disturbing and funny at the same time. Jason Burns will relate to this! Todd sent out 3 mailers to homes in the area they are trying to reach. They are sharp post cards. There is nothing offensive or funny about them. They just invite people to the Grove. He has been getting nasty phone calls and emails from so called "Christians" asking to be taken off their mailing list. One Baptist deacon's wife said she was distrubed that the Grove had moved into "their" field! Excuse me, if people aren't going to their church they aren't doing a good job reaching them. Jason and I both experienced our share of "CHURCH POLICE!" People who feel it is their God given right to check up on every other church! I have no patience for these people. They remind me of the critics that Jesus had. I don't have enough time to worry with other churches. There are too many lost people in my community and probably in my church. Church Police need to look in the mirror and take the log out of their own eye.
We need more churches. God didn't set up territories! We are not in competition with other churches, we are in competition with Satan! I believe we could have another church move next door to ours and we both would have a huge field to work in. We as followers of Jesus need to quit nit-pickin! We need to pray for other churches and retire the CHURCH POLICE!
God's grace amazes me! I don't deserve it. I feel like the Apostle Paul who said he was the worst of sinners. I use to rank sins based on how society or even worse the church ranks them. I kept score by wondering why some people who had checkered lives were being used so mightily by God. Why wasn't he using me in the same way? I didn't do all of the stuff they were doing? Of course I was on the outside an awesome Christian. I didn't do any of the "BIG SINS!" But my sin was pride and judgmentalism.
I grew up in a Grace filled home. Probably because my dad came from an alcoholic home. He didn't become a follower of Christ until he was a Senior in high school. He could relatate to dysfunctional people because he came from that background. My mom always showed grace to people too. I didn't really understand fully why until last fall when she shared with me that she had been sexually abused as a child by a family member (not my grandfather). I think that is why they showed so much grace to others. Because God had been graceful to them.
For me it has been a jouney. I didn't grow up in a dysfunctional home. I had so many blessings and I probably took them for granted. But then I started working in NON-GRACE environments.
The first was in college when I was in Campus Outreach. It is a great organization but there was not much grace. I was in a discipleship group and if you didn't do your lesson you got a holy blessing out because of "accountability." My senior year in college they had a prayer time at 5:00 AM and if you didn't come you were a heathen. I didn't know God was awake that early. There were other legalistic things that happened.
I had an opportunity to work for my home pastor. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. He gave me my first opportunities to preach. His church was in one of the wealthiest communities in Atlanta and for the world actually. I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, there was no grace! It was a hard 3 years. Becuase of our past relationship, he added job titles and responsiblities on me that were overwhelming. There was no way to win. I was Associate Pastor in Singles, Outreach, Missions, Recreation, etc... The rest of the staff noticed and felt bad for me. It was a very non-grace environment. It was our church and denom against the world. We were right and everyone else was wrong. There was no love and no grace given to the community. I left to start a church that was full of grace. Only to run into more non-grace filled people. Then I moved to Mobile to encounter even more.
I would rather err on the side of Grace than to be right and turn someone to satan. I believe in accountability but not telling them they are going to hell, but hey this is what you did wrong, I believe you can do it right! Praise is better than condemnation! Love is better than anger. Grace is better than being right!
Catalyst: "A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.""One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences"
I love change. Not for change sake, but because I love seeing changed lives. I want to be a Catalyst! I want to be a change agent. I desire to make a difference in the world for Jesus! I want to be a part of something bigger than myself! How does one do this? I think that I have to be changed. I have been and still am changing. I'm a different person today than when I moved to Mobile. I am humbled! I'm broken. That is good. I can't do things on my own. That is good. That is where God wants me to be.
Nothing pumps me up more than to see lives changed because of God. Too often churches try to be something I don't think He wants. We add so many programs that we are too busy to build community. In a community, people care about each other. In a community, people know each other. I'll be honest, I don't know my neighbors well. I don't know half the people in my church very well. This stinks!!!!! It is partly my fault. It is partly the system we have in church. What's the point? What is the goal of our church? Matthew 28:18-20 says the goal is to make disciples. Most SBC churches make "converts." We brag about baptisms and church membership. We have canned sales presentations called "FAITH" or "CWT" or "THE NET." We put notches on our belts bragging about how we are right. We fight over the Bible and whether it is inerrent or infallible. When is the last time we (including me) fought for a person. When is the last time we cried because someone didn't know Jesus? How many of these "converts" are growing in their faith? What is the goal? How do we know when we have won? I'm not saying I have all of the answers. To me we need to streamline our ministries. As I said yesterday we need to quit "DOING CHURCH" and BE THE CHURCH!
As much as we don't want to admit it, we need community. We need to be around people. Not just people, people like me, everyone! Newborn babies who are not touched and have no interaction with people will die, literally! Humans who do not interact with others will die emotionally too! I love going to Starbucks because the people know me by name and have my coffee ready before I approach the register. (I don't pay for half of my coffee because they love me) I know their names and ask about their lives. We complain about the awful Bob Dylan music and wonder when they will have an 80's hair band set, Winger, Whitesnake, Journey, Boston, Foreinger, REO, etc... We talk about families and just hang out. I hang out with Todd and Dave from the Grove UMC. They are awesome guys who are trying to reach West Mobile for Christ. I hang out with a few Charismatic Church Pastors. I hang out with non-believers. It is a community!
Unfortunately in most SBC churches like the one I serve at, we are so busy, we don't have time for people outside our church. How tragic. I barely know my neighbors because I'm hardly home. What kind of difference are our churches making if we are always doing things at the "church building?" I am for streamlining our ministries and allowing time for the "church" to be "a Church" not "DO" church!!!!!! I don't have a lot of control here, but one day I will be a Catalyst for this type of ministry. We don't read a lot about Jesus' messages. A few but mostly we read about Him doing ministry among the people!
I have a vision for the "attik" to be a place where our students can bring their friends to a "GRACE FILLED" place and they can be themselves. If they dress in ways our prudes don't like then who cares. If they let a few choice words slip out who cares. Lost people will act like lost people. I pray that my life and my ministry is one of community and grace.
I'm one who prides himself on doing things for himself. I guess it runs in the family because Jacob is starting to spread his wings that way too (over his hair!). It is hard for me to accept help when I think I can do it on my own. The past 2 years I have had to suck it up and accept help from others. When our church decided to cut our pay, it hurt and still does! But God has not abandoned us and neither have friends and family. God has met our needs in so many ways. It is humbling to accept help esp. $$ from others. But God blesses others with $$ and some of them feel led to help people in need. We have been fortunate in that way.
Today I stood in line over 5 hours to receive $$ from the Red Cross. It was not fun but I got to meet people I never would have met. Thanks so much to Ken Whitten (Dayspring) for thinking about me and bringing me a chicken sandwich, fries and a Coke! That was so kind of him. God has never abandoned us and for that I'm grateful.
I love the song by REO Speedwagon (I know I'm showing my age)"Rollin with the changes."Mainly because it rocks. But as most people know I'm a change agent. I thrive in changing environments. I changed my blog design 2 months ago and it was ok. Then Joe Kennedy made a new design for me. Thanks Joe, I like it a lot.
Sorry I didn't get to come to Angela's birthday party. Angela, you are a fine young lady and I appreciate your hard work. You are very talented and have a great heart for God. You deserve a great day! It would have been fun to see you, Whitnet, Soupie and others.
I'm sorry for all of the destruction that is occuring to people in LA and TX. We've been thru our own share of bad weather in Mobile. I sure hope there are no more storms this year.
I am pumped about going to Catalyst in a week and half. For one, I love Atlanta! 2 the speaker will be inspiring, John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, Louis Giglio, Donald Miller and more. The music is 2nd to none! This is my 3rd one to go to. I missed the last 2 because of $$ in the church. I wouldn't miss this year for anything!
2 + years ago I read one of my favorite books, The Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley. Some of you heard my message that I gleaned from it. His whole premise is the less you do the more you accomplish and the less you do the more you enable others to accomplish. I also read Now Discover your Strenghts by Clinton and Buckingham that says we should concentrate on our strenghts and now our weaknesses. Then I took an online Strengths Finder survey. I found out that my strenghts are the following:
"When can we start?" This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that "there are still some things we don't know," but this doesn't seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can't. You
must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don't. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking theice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are nostrangers, only friends you haven't met yet-lots of them.
Excellence, not average, is your measure. Taking something from below average to slightly above average takes a great deal of effort and in your opinion is not very rewarding. Transforming something strong into something superb takes just as much effort but is much more thrilling. Strengths, whether yours or someone else's, fascinate you. Like a diver after pearls, you search them out, watching for the telltale signs of a strength. A glimpse of untutored excellence, rapid learning, a skill mastered without recourse to steps-all these are clues that a strength may be in play. And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence. You polish the pearl until it shines. This natural sorting
of strengths means that others see you as discriminating. You choose to spend time with people who appreciate your particular strengths. Likewise, you are attracted to others who seem to have found and cultivated their own strengths. You tend to avoid those who want to fix you and make you well rounded. You don't want to spend your life bemoaning what you lack. Rather, you want to capitalize on the gifts with which you are blessed. It's more fun. It's more productive. And, counterintuitively, it is more demanding.
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, "What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?" This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog
of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path-your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: "What if?" Select. Strike.
"Wouldn't it be great if . . ." You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests-a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world-it will always be inspirational to you. You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make thepicture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.
Yesterday, I worked out of my giftedness and it cost me dearly. The point is we need to know what we are good at and concentrate our efforts there. I am a visionary. I am a people person too but not like Cassandra. She will talk to one person for entire evening. I will talk to everyone for a short time. To some Cassandra is deep and to others she is a snob. To some I am outgoing to others I am shallow. The point is I am who I am. I want to grow as a person esp. as a Follower of Jesus. But I can't be who I am not. I am not gifted in mechanical stuff. Jason is a jack of all trades and a master of them all. I am a master of a few things only. I am passionate about life change, changing people's hearts and minds. I am passionate about being part of something biggern than myself. That's ok. I'm comfortable in who I am. Thanks to those of you who love and support me. I am a blessed man eventhough my wallet is shrinking! Ha!
I have been trying to fix stuff around our house from Katrina and just stuff that has fallen apart around the house. I fixed the fence today as well as the yard is finally clean. We had a leak in our shower and several people told me I could fix it. Famous Last Words. I'm an idiot! I took it apart and then broke it off. A plummer came over and said he is going to have to cut out our wall and put in a new fixture. All of this will set us back $500! I am an idiot! I can't believe I am so useless. I tried to fix a dollar washer and it costs us $500! Unbelievable! Romans 8:28 is my claim today.
Go ahead and laugh. I have. I am so upset too. How could I be so useless. It is not like we have the money lying around. With the events of the last year in hurricanes and the pay cut this hurts. I have to laugh to keep from crying!
In their book Culture Shift, Wayne Cordeiro and Robert Lewis tell how totem poles are used to identify the values of Native Indian Tribes. They say when a person wants to know what the tribe is about, all they need to look at the symbols represented in the totem pole. Many churches, and people for that matter, would have grumpy, angry and ugly faces on their totem poles. How often do we come across to people as being "against" everything. Are we ever for something. People talk about being "pro" abortion or "pro" life or anti this or that!
I am "PRO" PEOPLE! My desire in life is to have a Totem Pole that is positive and life changing. I have a dream of a community that is changed by the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. I believe it can happen! I have a dream of a church that is so valuable that if it were not around the community would not be the same. The church, not a building, would have such an impact on the community that it wouldn't be the same. I want to be a world changer! I confess that I haven't been all I need to be! My heart aches to be more than I have been. I don't want to notch, notches on my belt because I have won X # of people to Christ. I want to see lives changed thru the power of the Holy Spirit because I was faithful to God. I am PRO PEOPLE! Some may say I am too tolerant. I really don't care! I truly love people because God does. If it means changing who I am, then so be it! If it means changing my career, then so be it! If it means changing the world, then I'm ready. I'm tired of just living! I'm ready to make a difference in the world for God. I want to be part of something bigger than myself. I am Pro People because I believe Jesus was!
Words matter! The old saying sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me is a crock. Words can do more damage to people than physical abuse. I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of others. There is something about getting praise from people that lifts our attitude. Encouraging people are a joy to be around. People that lift others up are blessings. In the Old Testament, a blessing was something that a father would give to his first born son. It set the tone for the rest of their life. Unfortunately today many people live in verbally abusive environments. They are told how sorry they are and that they are losers.
What is cool about Jesus is because I am a loser, I win. When I lose all of the junk in my life, Jesus takes it and nails it to the cross. Because he lost his life, I win. What a blessing. It is funny to hear comedians like Don Rickles and Milton Berle insulting people. But, I would rather be around people that are blessings to others. Imagine how we could change the world if we were a blessing to our communities instead of pointing out all of the "evils!" Groups that carry signs that say "God hates fags" and blaming the hurricanes on God's vengence on the "evil" in New Orleans and the casinos in Mississippi are missing the point. Jesus changed everything. There are many followers of Christ who live in those regions and are being used by God to make a difference. Jesus would have hung out in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. He would have ministered to those who go to and work at the casinos. Why are we as the church condemning rather than being a blessing?
My prayer is that my life will be a blessing to others. My family, my friends, my church and the community I live in. If churches did this we could change our communities forever!
My name is Kevin and I am a Pharisee. I mentioned in a previous post that I am a recovering Pharisee! I thank God for that! I used to judge people based on their lifestyle, looks, $$, the way they talked and other ways. God has a way of changing you. I used to condemn "sinners" for all of their mistakes and sins while patting myself on the back for what an awesome man of God I was. After all, I didn't drink, smoke, have sex or any other of the "big" sins! My dad pointed out to me that I was a spiritual snob. It took me months of thought on his rebuking to realize how right he was. My best friend in high school who was active in our church with me and we were close. We were discipled together and both had paper routes. We hung out all of the time. He was a great friend. In Febuary of my senior year in high school, he flew into the school parking lot and slammed on the breaks. He told me to get in his car and screamed out of the parking lot. He told me that his girlfriend was pregnant and he wanted me to be the best man in his wedding (2 weeks later). Had this been anyone else I would have looked down on him and pointed fingers at what a sinner he was. But this was Tommy, my best friend. I really cared about him. Sure he had made a mistake, but what he needed was a friend. My parents were very supportive and allowed me to be the best man in his wedding and I stood beside him in more ways than just the wedding.
Unfortunately, I was a member of a church full of Pharisees. Like I said I was the chief of them up until Tommy's crisis. I could not believe how ugly our church treated Tommy. In his time of need, they, we dropped the ball. We could have reached out to Tommy and Jane but the church turned their back on him. This led to Tommy dropping out of church and 2 years later divorcing Jane (after another child was born). To this day I don't believe Tommy is living for God. It is because of Pharisees like me. My name is Kevin and I am a Pharisee.
This whole incident changed me! I didn't change over night. I have a quick tongue and can lash out with the best of them. But, by the power of the Holy Spirit and my wife, I have changed. I look at people as people not numbers. I try to put myself in their shoes and ask, why are they behaving in the manner they are. Why are they sinning? (because I still do!)
Today, I had a great conversation with a young person. They told me they knew they had turned from God. In the past, I might have heaped insults and called them "sinner" and turned my back on them. Believe me, I was told about their exploits by a few people. I had even confronted this person in the past. But, the old saying you can catch more flies with honey applies. I believe the best way to reach people in their sin is not scolding and telling them how bad they are. I believe we are to love them and encourage them. That is what Barnabas did with John Mark. Paul wanted to abandon John Mark and Paul and Barnabas split because of John. But later on because of the encouragement of Barnabas, John Mark became useful to Paul. We need to confront wayward believers, but not pushing them away so far that we can't love them. The prodical son's father didn't yell and scream at him, he loved him and welcomed him back. That is the legacy I want to leave. I want people to say I am/was an encourager!
My name is Kevin and I am a recovering Pharisee
Man, I'm getting tired of this! I hate to wish pain on anyone else, but I hope it continues this path or dies off. Hopefully it will just be a tropical storm at worst. New Orleans certainly doesn't need this. Also, it sure doesn't need to hit Houston or Beaumont because there are more oil refinerys there than anywhere.
Soup is leaving for Louisiana today. I pray for his safety and am glad for his $$ situation. Honestly, I was tempted to do it myself. God has been faithful to us eventhough others have not been. He continues to amaze me how He takes care of a sinner like me.
I visited a gentelman in the hospital this morning that is dying. That was hard. He is a sweet man and often brought the staff cappachinos. All I could do was pray with him and hug him. Thankfully, he will be with Jesus soon. Moments like that put things in perspective. Life is fragile and I'm thankful for the life God has given me. Wayne Cordeiro wrote about a trip he took to China to teach the leaders of the house churches there. He said there are over 2 million people people meeting in house churches in China. They are persecuted and can be killed if the government finds out about their churches. One of the leaders prayed that the Chinese churches could be more like the churches in America because we are free to worship here. Wayne said no, I pray American Churches will be more like China because we take our freedom for granted. How true. I'm very grateful for my life. I have more blessings than any man deserves! Moments like my hospital visit remind me of that!
Just as we start cleaning up and getting things back to normal, I hear on the news that Tropical Storm Phillipe has been declared. But they said T.D. 18 is more of a threat. The experts believe that it will be a threat to the Gulf Coast. It is times like these when you realize you have no control over life. It stinks! But I think that is the way God likes it. I don't, but He does. He doesn't want us relying on our own power but on his. My prayer is that all of the weather systems just die off. But I have no say so on the matter. All I know is that God is in control.
Today our students went out and cleaned up Senior Adults yards. They are a hard working group. I'm proud of those who are very giving to others. Things are starting to get back to normal. Our own house has been repaired. I worked on one side of my fence yesterday. I have one other side to do. Most of the power is back in Mobile county. Mississippi and LA are still in bad shape. Soupie is leaving for a month to make major $$ working in LA for the next month. I'm glad for him but I will miss having him around. Thankfully, Angela, Whitney, Greg and Neil are taking up the slack. Thanks for all you do!
Wednesday, the leaership (ha!) of Element2 watched The School of Rock. I must admit, I haven't laughed that hard in years. Jack Black mentioned that the lead guitarist needed to learn how to do the ancient Power Stance. Unfortunately, lots of leaders use the wrong POWER STANCE. They rule over people and intimidate them.
We need to get back to the basics. Jack Black had the wrong motives at first in the movie to become a famous rock star. By the end, he really cared for the kids and developed a relationship with the students. Forget the power stance. We need to care about people and teach them the way Black does in the movie. He gets to know the kids and what makes them tick. Just think what would happen if we took the same interest in people @ church. What could we accomplish?
Today was my off day and Cassandra gave me a honey-do list of stuff that needed to be done. Now it wasn't a do this or else list, it was just stuff that needed to get done. As I fixed stuff and painted and cleaned up, I checked off my list and put a smile and heart next to them. I'm just soooo cute!
It got me to thinking. How many people go thru life without any kind of direction. Thankfully, I know where I want to go and hopefully God will make it happen someday.
Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.Vision is essential. Without it people fail. How can we make plans without a vision. Sometimes I think that people just stick their finger up in the air and decide what to do based on the way the wind blows. Politicians look to the polls to decide what to do. That is bunk! A true leader has a vision and goes for it. Sometimes they do fail, but at least they are moving. Solomon was the wisest man ever and he asked God for wisdom over wealth and God gave him both.
Look at the Gulf coast for an example of no vision. The mayor of New Orleans had a plan to evacuate but he didn't even go by his own plan. The Governor of LA tried to negotiate with the Federal government about who would be in control if the National Guard and Regular military came in. The Feds just screwed up! What they need is Rudolph Giuliani!
Even as I was writing this another minister called for wisdom from me. Man, we need wisdom, we need vision. Because if we don't find it we will fail. I am so grateful for the Godly wisdom I get from my family and friends. I am who I am because of God and my family and friends.
I love coffee. I didn't always like it. I'm really a fairly new convert to the coffee drinking community. But that is why I do like it, it is a community. Cassandra got me started drinking those cheap gas station cappuccinos. Then when we moved to Atlanta we would go to Starbucks for a Mocca or latte. I started getting coffee at QT (Quick Trips) on my way into the church. Then I started meeting people @ Starbucks as a way of connecting. Jason Burns was a master at this.
People go to Starbucks, Barnes and Noble cafe, Caribou coffee, Tullies, Seattle's Best, and others to be around people. If not why not go to the gas station or make it at home. When people go into these places on a regular basis the employees and regulars get to know each other. It is community. It is fun and refreshing. I love going to Starbucks because people genuinely like me there and I like them. I ask about their families and try to build relationships. I'm not trying to notch another salvation on my belt. I really like the people there. They make me feel good. I'd like to think I make their day brighter also. (I must because they give me a lot of free coffee)
Our church is a Red Cross shelter and Starbucks Corporation sent cases of free coffee to give out to those displaced by Katrina. I'm sure it is a good gesture on their part to do so. But I like going to Starbucks because I like to be around people. People who really like to be around me. It is cool to get in spiritual converstaions with unchurched people. It is cool to pray in pubic with Todd, the new UMC church planter. I realize Starbucks and other coffee shops aren't Christian organizations, but I dare say there is more spiritual stuff going on there then in most churches!
I can't imagine living my life without friends. I think it is awesome that I have true friends all over the country. I'm not talking about acquaintances, I'm talking about good friends. People who check up on me and I check up on them. People who when you call, it is like you haven't been apart in years. I've got real friends in other parts of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, LA, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. I hope that I live up to my part of the friendship. I pray that treat them with the same respect and love that they give me. Some of my old friends don't try to stay in touch as much as I would like but there are many who keep in touch. We pray for each other and bear one another's burdens. To those of you who are my friends, thanks. I just hope I keep my part of the deal!
Have you ever felt invisible? I never really felt like that until recently. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. Everywhere I have ever worked, I was a resource man. People looked to me to help and I gladly did. I helped in areas that weren't in my confort zone or job description because I am a team oriented guy. I have always been respected and liked. I don't feel that way anymore. There are a few exceptions: (My family, Angela, Whitney, Soupie, John, Neil, Melanie, Jason, Rob, Joe, Todd, Carla and the Harbins & the storm!).
Honestly, I feel invisible. Some people don't think I can do anything. They have never allowed me to try. They don't even ask. I have 2 post-graduate degrees and 4 years real business experience and teaching/coaching. Plus over 14 years of ministry experience. But I'm invisible. I have been overlooked and ignored. I'm not one draw attention to my accomplishments so that leads to my invisiblity in the cesspool of dysfunction. I won't go into details but it stinks.
I am a competative person. I want to win in everything. But sports and other stuff don't really matter. What really matters is relationships. A relationship with God being most important and then relationships with others. So when your team loses, so what. If your relationship with God is good then you have it made. When your relationships with your family and friends is right then you can enjoy life. I'm so glad that I have such great relationships with so many people. I wouldn't be the man I am without these friendships.
I spent today helping my friend Ken Nuss who lives in Gulfport, MS. It was one of the worst hit areas along the gulf coast. He and his wife Chris brought 2 woman and 2 babies from New Orleans to their children's apartment in Mobile. Ken and I got one of them sent off to Texas on a bus and the other was upset because the media is calling them a refugee. They are Americans! Refugees are people from other countries that leave. These women are believers also. They are my sisters in Christ. I can't imagine the suffering they have already encountered. They couldn't evacuate because they didn't have the money. Then the Mayor, State or Federal Government did not go around with buses to evacuate them. As the water rose in their house they share together, they climed into the attic and kicked out a hole in their roof. One of the women couldn't swim. Thankfully they had an air mattress and the one who couldn't swim sat on the air mattress with the 2 babies and the other dog paddled them to safety. They told us horrible stories about seeing dead people everywhere. When they arrived at the convention center they were scared.
These two women are not refugees, they are children of God. They have a different skin color than me but they are beautiful people. Why can't we get off the race card and start focusing on helping people. Here were two white, Alabama educated ministers helping 2 African American women and 2 babies. I don't care if they were Asian, Hispanic, Cuban, Russian or Arab. God loves them and we need to help our fellow man and woman! I hope for one day, we made them feel special, not refugees!
Today my son and our students went around and cleaned the yards for some of our older church members. It was a tiring experience but very rewarding. It is great to get people working together for a common cause. Our students worked hard and it was rewarding for them and those we helped.
I just can't believe that Angela and Whitney refused to come help me clean up my yard. O well they are bums! I am distraught and am considering jumping off my toilet!
I hope to go to Gulfport and help Ken Nuss clean up that area tomorrow. The need there is great.
I'm sick! We have a disaster in LA, Miss and AL. Instead of uniting the country around helping the people affected of all races, we have a bunch of boobs like Jesse Jackson and a stupid rapper on NBC saying that President Bush hates black people! Give me a break! This is not a time to point fingers. It is a time to help those who are in trouble. I talked with my friend Ken Nuss in Gulfport, MS. He said they need window unit air conditioners for the elderly. He was leaving Mobile with 150 gallons of gas for generators. This is not about race. This is about hurting people, for that matter people are dying. I'm sick of the politicians pointing fingers on both sides. Months or years from now we can evaluate and see what we can do in the future. But the mayor of New Orleans is a black Democrat, the governor is a Democrat and the President is a Republican. This is not about politics. Race is not an issue. This is a national disater!
Wow! Have we seen suffering first hand. Our church is a shelter for those from South Mobile, Miss and LA. People have nothing left. Now some people are pulling knives on people in our community because they are desperate. Things here are scary. Gas lines are long and tempers are high. Some of our youth and my family went out and passed out ice cold water bottles to people waiting lines at gas stations. It was so cool to see how people changed as they were shown the love of Jesus.
Our true colors show in times of stress. Most people have been caring but it is amazing how many people only think of themselves. We have damage to our house but nothing like those people in South Mobile, Miss and LA. I am grateful for what I have not what I do not have.