My Thoughts On The Baltimore Riots

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[a photo i took in Baltimore in 2007]

20 minutes north from where I grew up, on streets I used to drive on to go to the inner harbor, or walk to work for a summer job, there is utter chaos.  I saw a video this morning of the national guard lining the streets with rifles.

The first thing I think of about this whole situation is this:

I don’t trust the main stream news media.  They always have an alternative agenda when they are telling their story.

The LA Times had a whole section about what the potential 2016 candidates think.  Really?  Let’s use this tragedy to push presidential candidates and politicians into the spotlight?  That wasn’t very subtle.

I do NOT condone rioting and looting.  However I do believe that a peaceful protest is a right of the American people under the first amendment.

I would love to know what percentage of people who are out on the streets are actually rioting and looting versus those who are peacefully gathering.  Because the news that I’ve seen is making it look like the majority is out there being violent.

We play a role in what media is made popular too.  Are we seeking for truth or are we simply reposting whatever is most sensational?

I’m glad for social media because I’ve got some facebook friends that are on the streets now and are keeping us updated.  To which I just got updated that their peaceful protest just turned violent:(

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I see people posting videos of people getting arrested after rioting and saying things like “he got what he deserved” and other name calling.

What bothers me more than looting and rioting is the lack of empathy from people sitting behind a computer screen observing this all as if it were entertainment.  Again, I don’t condone rioting and looting.  I saw someone post on facebook that they were mad that the Orioles game was canceled.  I also saw someone post “Baltimore. Really?”  I am not sure if that was a condescending “are you seriously rioting”  or if it was a, “is this really happening in my backyard?” Or a combination of both.

Is it this lack of empathy, the fact that we would rather be entertained than think about those less fortunate than us, the reason why people in Baltimore are resorting to rioting?  Could it be they don’t feel like their voices have been heard?

This news story seems to think so.  When chanting black lives matter, drunk baseball fans chanted back we don’t care.  And just like we cannot judge the protests in Baltimore on those that are rioting, we cannot judge those that are not protesting by the drunk fans.

Is it wrong and destructive to riot.  YES.  Is it a correct way to go about having your voice heard?  NO.  But are we listening?  Are we investing?  Are we loving the poor?  Are we coming up with solutions and strategies to end systemic poverty?  Is the church leading the charge?  It seems like this pastor is doing his part.

And this video of 500 pastors gathering to peacefully protest made me tear up.

My heart for the poor has increased since I moved to Hawaii.  Where in high end Waikiki you’ve got millionaire tourists and shops that cater to them that I’ve never heard of, and then homeless people living on the streets.  It was easy for me, to subconsciously think of the homeless as less than human.  But that all ended once I got to know their names, and hear their stories.

As I read through the prophets, God’s judgement against Israel is because of their lack of concern for the poor, and their acceptance of violence.  Is that still on God’s heart for us to not allow those things?  If poverty is all these people know, how are they ever going to break out of that cycle?  Missions is best done cross culturally when you have an understanding of the other persons world view.  We want everyone to think like us, but that is not just the case.

I can imagine that someone reading this is saying that I’ve turned into a bleeding heart liberal.  I’m not taking a political stance.  I’m asking what OUR role as individuals is with the poor?  Not the governments role.  We all know that throwing money at a situation and walking away does not always help.  And thats why human relationship is important.  Relationships take time, investment, sacrifice, conversation, understanding, even frustration.

If you are white, you will never know what it’s like to grow up black.  If you grew up privileged, you will never know what it was like to grow up poor.  The only way you can start to gain understanding is through conversations.

I appreciate that an art teacher I used to work with in Maryland is facilitating conversation about what is going on in Baltimore.

I appreciate that my friends who used to live in Baltimore even though they were busy professionals made time for an after school tutoring program.

==

My friend Rachel posted this on facebook last night:

Tonight, I can’t just pray for peace in Baltimore. That’s not enough.

I pray for peace, yes, but I pray just as hard for a society in which people aren’t subjected to systemic oppression, racism, discrimination, dehumanization, state-sponsored violence…

If you find yourself tonight condemning the violence of the riots in Baltimore but you haven’t taken the time to learn why such anger and violence is being poured out over that city right now, then I invite you to pause. Take a deep breath. And have a conversation soon with someone in your life who sees these things differently than you.

Peace without justice is not peace. Peace without the difficult work of reconciliation is not peace. Peace without making the effort to listen to your brothers & sisters who see things differently than you is NOT peace. The peace that Jesus preached was never a cheap or easy peace.

==

Lest we forget what these riots are about.  It’s about Freddie Gray.

And we can’t isolate this just to Freddie’s case.  People in Baltimore are not out on the streets just because of Freddie, but because of all of the injustice at the hands of government officials all over the nation recently.  Can we empathize with that?

A friend of mine that is a police officer in the county I grew up in is most likely getting sent to Baltimore tomorrow.  I don’t want anyone getting hurt.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer either to have to make split second life and death decisions, to be judged by the minority of bad cops out there.

So when the dust settles, and I pray it settles soon.  Will we, who have been blessed by God, be initiators, will we seek to understand the plight of those who are less fortunate than us?  Will we move to help them make change?

==

Here’s some of the good stuff out of all of this.

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Photo Credit: Nikki Bass Instagram @furryfoofaraw

“It would be a great story to say that through a successful social media campaign we all came together and cleaned the streets of Baltimore. Admittedly, we followed the updates and wanted to be a part of this effort but when we got there (hours before the clean up start time) we saw something unexpected. The community residents had cleaned up almost everything. I saw a mother telling her children why it was important to take care of the neighborhood. I feel compelled to share this story because this is a testament to the power of walking out of your front door and doing something. People online were still busy talking about logistics and the job was already done.”

Here’s a twitter video of some guys trying to calm the situation down. (I would link directly to his twitter but it’s had so much traffic that the server couldn’t handle it)

And you’ve probably seen this mother disciplining her son.

What do you think about what’s going on in Baltimore?  How will this event bring change in your own life?  Let us know in the comments.

Faye Engelen MooreApril 29, 2015 - 9:48 am

It is hard to see what is going on there or anywhere there is conflict. I agree that we do have the right to protest but I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE RIOTING AND LOOTING. What does it sovle or say? Many I know, that don’t live there, are praying for the situation and answeres. We aren’t all in the situation of poor or well to do, but as people on the whole, we need to have empathy and compassion for another human being. Please don’t let our country turn to Marshall Law solutions. THAT WOULD DO OUR COUNTRY IN !!!! Good job, Jim. I will pass it along.

Faye Engelen MooreApril 29, 2015 - 9:54 am

It is hard to see what is going on there or anywhere there is conflict. I agree that we do have the right to protest but I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE RIOTING AND LOOTING. What does it sovle or say? Many I know, that don’t live there, are praying for the situation and answeres. We aren’t all in the situation of poor or well to do, but as people on the whole, we need to have empathy and compassion for another human being. Please don’t let our country turn to Marshall Law solutions. THAT WOULD DO OUR COUNTRY IN !!!! Good job, Jim. I will pass it along.

Faye MooreApril 29, 2015 - 9:59 am

Like other places that I have heard about that there is rioting etc. More than likey it isn’t even people that live there, but instigators that come in for (from other places)the purpose of causing panic and crowds.

Faye Engelen MooreApril 29, 2015 - 7:48 pm

It is hard to see what is going on there or anywhere there is conflict. I agree that we do have the right to protest but I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE RIOTING AND LOOTING. What does it sovle or say? Many I know, that don’t live there, are praying for the situation and answeres. We aren’t all in the situation of poor or well to do, but as people on the whole, we need to have empathy and compassion for another human being. Please don’t let our country turn to Marshall Law solutions. THAT WOULD DO OUR COUNTRY IN !!!! Good job, Jim. I will pass it along.

Worship

No matter how you feel No matter your circumstanceKeep worshipping.He is worthy.

There have been two significant times when I’ve been moved by watching others worship.

One happened last month.  But I’ll share with you first a story from 2004 during my School of Worship in Denver.

I was in a Sunday service at a mega church sanctuary which sat around 4000 people.  I think the offering was happening because everyone was seated.  The worship band started playing “I could only imagine.”  I secretly rolled my eyes, because I had heard this song so many times.  And then… God humbled me.

I was seated near the back in the theater style seats, where all good church critics sit, my body language reeking of 20 year old arrogance.  I see some motion in front of me and I watch as an older gentleman struggles to stand and raises his hands in worship as the song was sung.

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for your Jesus
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine, yeah
I can only imagine

It was such a pure and authentic moment of worship.  To my barely 2 decade old self at the time I realized  this man would most likely see Jesus before I would,  and in that moment he was connecting with His creator excitedly awaiting the hope of glory where there is no more pain or suffering.

==

The second happened recently.  Ann Ford, the captain of YWAM Ships in Kona visted us in Honolulu to thank us for a recent offering we took up for her.

During worship we sang the song Oceans.  This song had a completely different meaning for her than the rest of us.  At the start of the new year Ann was on a ship during a storm where her boat was flipped twice and she lost a crew member to sea.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

As we sang this song she stood in the back row singing, the only one with her hands raised.  I couldn’t help but tear up at her sacrifice of worship.

No matter how you feel, no matter your circumstance, keep worshipping He’s worthy.

Have you ever been moved by watching someone else worship?  Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted April 2015, reedited it and and shared again. (7/3/16)

Are You Homeless? Being Homeless Is Hard. And Prayers For Merecedes Benz

I arrived Tuesday night to the first pavilion, before the pizza, and before the YWAMers.  Cindy saw me and gave me a hug.  I’m not sure if Cindy is homeless or not.  I know for a while she was collecting cans.  She has self appointed herself as an administrator of sorts on pizza nights.  When I arrived she made sure to let me know that she texted RK that I had arrived.

A line had formed and made its way through the pavilion and out to the sidewalk.  There was a bunch of banter between people.  It’s always funny to see tourists trying to figure out whats going on.

I didn’t see Keith there, but I saw Martin.  I’ve written about Martin before briefly, and I wondered if I’d see him when I came down last week.  I couldn’t recall his name right away since I haven’t been down there in a while.  But luckily when I saw him it came back to me.

Martin was drunk.  So drunk he was having to lean up against someone else who introduced himself as his father.  I couldn’t figure out if really was his father or not.  I had seen this guy before, and didn’t think it was.  I figured it out later that it wasn’t.  As I approached Martin and said hello he looked at me and said, “I didn’t do it.”

“Didn’t do what?” I asked
“I just got out of jail.”  Martin responded
“For what?”  I asked
His “father” leaned over and said, “I just got out too, we were in at the same time.”

He pulled some papers out of his pocket, almost falling over, and he showed them to me.  Inmate personal items inventory was written across the top of one of the papers.  The other papers had case numbers on them.  I asked him what he got locked up for.  “I had warrants.”  He said

Somewhere along the line Martin asked me if I was a cop.  For some reason homeless people always think I’m a cop.  I’m not sure what that is about, but I’ve gotten that question more than once and not just in Hawaii.    I think I missed my calling.

Martin told me his birthday for some reason.  Oh his “father” said that his birthday was next week.  Then Martin told me his birthday, and told me he was born in 86.  Which means he’s 2 years younger than me, which seems crazy to me.

He wanted to sit down and be left alone.  Martin is always apologizing to me.  Apologizing for cussing, or talking about alcohol or cigarettes, or asking to be left alone.  I went to leave to respect what he asked, but then he wanted me to sit next to him.

Anyway, the conversation went as well as a conversation with a drunk person goes.

I saw Barbara at the front of the line getting her pizza.  I followed her to the back of the line so she could get a second piece.  I walked up behind her in line and hello to her.  She looked surprised to see me and asked me where I’d been.

She told me how the culture down in Waikiki was changing.  She told me how grants are being written to help homeless people and all it’s doing is hiring more people to take their stuff.  She told me that her stuff had been taken by HPD and that to get it back its like $300.

We chit chatted a bit in line.  Her friend Adrianne came up.  She was the first person that I spoke to on my very first outreach down there.  Everyone could see that she hadn’t gotten her first piece of pizza and told her to go to the front of the line.

One of the new YWAMers tried to talk to me and Barbara as we were in line.  I could tell he didn’t know who I was.  He later came up to me and asked I was homeless.  I called him by name and said I lived at the YWAM base too.

I saw Barbara eating her pizza on a bench behind the pavilion so I went and sat down next to her.  I noticed she had a small baby stroller next to her and I asked her if she had been hiding something from me.  She laughed and said “at my age I need the wheels.”

We went on to talk about how she missed eating healthy and how she loved vegetables.  But out here she didn’t get very many vegetables, raising her pizza as she said it.  She told me she liked cooked vegetables because of her teeth, but not too cooked.

“I don’t know much about organized religion.”  She said
“Well how were you raised?”  I asked
“Cathloic.”  She responded
“Oh so you know the basics then, we’re all sinners…”
She interrupted.  “I’m not a sinner, I’m just human.”
I started to explain myself, but decided against it.
“I’m going to make 63 next month.”  She said proudly.
While we were sitting on the bench it started raining.

“Did I ever tell you that being homeless is hard?”  She said as she hit me on the shoulder.

That statement coming from her as it started raining hit me in the heart.
“Is there anything I can bring you next week, that will make it easier for you?”  I asked
“No, but thank you”  She responded politely
“Not even some vegetables?”  I asked
“No way to cook them.”  She said

She stood up and began packing up her things.

“I know how to pray, do you want to hear my prayer?”  She asked
“Sure!”  I responded
She began to sing, not in a beautiful way, but in an authentic way, true to its original that I had to look up.

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”

 

I Could Not Believe These Responses [VIDEO]

I watched this video right before going down to Waikiki to do homeless outreach last night.  It made me sick.

Part of me wants to believe it’s not real and it’s just actors.  But I’m not sure that’s the case.

Take 5 minutes and watch this and comment and let me know what you think.

Faye Engelen MooreApril 24, 2015 - 5:18 am

I was shocked at the rudness and disgusting language some of these people used. I do know though it is sometimes hard to recieve and easier to give. I am afraid that I am not a very gracious reciever. Is that pride? I don’t think so. I guess it rather hard to recieve for me. I don’t need anything and it is more fun to give. I don’t know——I would have stopped and talked to him though to see what he was doing and why.

Touching The Poor

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Directly behind where I was standing taking this photo is where the homeless of Waikiki gather on Tuesday nights to be served a hot meal.

I’ve been reading through the prophets lately.  And I saw a pattern.  God’s judgement on Israel and Judah are mainly for three things: worshipping idols, mistreating their poor, and allowing violence.

I wrote a draft of our upcoming ministry update (which you can sign up for here, I’m going to e-mail it out next week) where I talk about a run in I had over vacation with poverty.  And while writing that I had to ask myself where am I involved with the poor?

Not as a person in full time ministry, but as a Christian.  If God’s main judgements against His people in the Old Testament were because they were not caring for the poor, than that must be a pretty big deal to him.

So the other night after I cooked and ate dinner, I drove down to Waikiki.  Tuesday nights my friend RK feeds the homeless down there.  A YWAM team was there too.  I spoke to a new guy on staff for a bit, and then my friend Jason came over and talked to me.
The feeding was over when I got there, about 20 minutes after it had started.  But there were still a few people mingling.  A guy shuffled over to me while I was talking with Jason.  A piece of limp pizza in his hands.  His eyes were glazed over, not from a substance, but I think cataracts.

“Hey sir how are you doing?  I’m Jim and this is my friend Jason, whats your name?”

“Keith.”  He replied.  “Can you help me put my foot up there?”  He pointed to the back of the bench as he was trying to lift his foot up.

Jason disappeared.

“What?” I asked for clarification.

“Help me put my foot up there it helps with the circulation.”

I looked at his leg half raised, swollen and scabbed.  Something wet on the top of his foot.  Wishing I had gloves, but not wanting to rob this guys humanity, I put my left hand under his calf and my right hand under his heel and helped him put it on the back of the bench.

“A little higher please.”  He asked

I again cupped my hand under his calf and ankle, lifting his leg higher.

“No, it needs to be off.”

I thought he was talking about his slipper, so I removed his slipper from his right foot, who knows how long he had been wearing those, his toenails were long and discolored.

“No, I need you to help me take my foot off of that part of the bench and put it on that part.”  He said starting to sound annoyed

I lifted up his leg again.

He looked at me and thanked me.  A wet substance kept falling from his beard.  I think he was drooling and it was running down his beard.

I wasn’t planning on touching the poor tonight, I thought to myself.

“Yeah, having your foot up here helps the circulation, like if you get a headache you can touch the vein in the back of your neck.  Come here I’ll show you.”

I surely wasn’t planning on being touched by the poor tonight.  He touched his finger to the back of my neck.

“Where’d you go to High School?”  He asked me

A typical first question in Hawaii.

“Oh I didn’t grow up here, I grew up mainland.”

(I skipped a “on the” for some pidgin street cred)

“Oh, where at?”

“Maryland.”

“Oh, Baltimore, Chesapeake bay.”

“Yeah close to there.”

We talked a little about Maryland blue crabs, and crabbing and Samoan crabs.

“Hold my pizza, I need to put my foot down, my left leg is hurting a lot now.”  I held his pizza and helped steady him as he brought his foot down.

I suggested he sit down, so we moved our way to the front of the bench.  I sat on the wall in front of him.

“You’re not Jason are you?  You’re Jim?”

“Yes sir, I’m Jim.”  I responded, wondering why Jason peaced out.

RK was debriefing the YWAM team about how he started doing homeless feeding and has been doing it every week for almost 4 years.

“Want to hear some jokes?”  Keith asked me

Keith proceeded to tell me some racist jokes Hawaiian style.

“How does da por-tu-gee spell farm?”

“How?”  I asked

“e-i-e-i-o.”

I laughed.  He told me a few more, making fun of the Japanese, and then the Samoans.

“Are you Japanese?”  He asked me

“No I’m Korean…”

“Ahn Nyeong Ha Shim Ni Kka.”   He interrupted

“But I don’t speak any Korean…”

“But you know that one don’t you, the way to show respect.  Ahn Nyeong Ha Shim Ni Kka.”  He said again.

It reminded me of Pastor Bill from Pennsylvania the 80 year old Pastor Emertius at the church I worked at a few years ago.  Every time he saw me he would greet me the same way.

“What’s your ethnicity?”  I asked

“I’m Japanese, 4th generation.”  He said proudly “I need to eat this pizza.”

He nibbled on his pizza and the jokes all went down hill from there.  I won’t repeat any of them.

I was rubbing my hands on the sand from the wall, hoping that the friction would get off anything that I might have picked up from touching the guys legs.

“Help me take my backpack off.”  He said “It’s hurting me.”

I stood up to help him.  His body was frozen up with inflammation.

“I had a stroke.”  He said, “I might have just had one this week too.”

That explained the drool.  I was having the hardest time getting the backpack off.  I kept catching the back pack strap on his watch.

“Watch my watch, you’re tearing my wrist off.”  He said

I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or not.  I maneuvered the backpack strap over the watch and got one side off.

“Hold my pizza.”  He said

I held the last of his pizza.

“Your hands are clean right?  No open sores or anything?”

I laughed at his question, since I had been wondering the same thing about the back of his leg.

“Yes my hands are clean.”  I said.

I helped him get off the other side of the backpack too.  When it came off he sighed a sigh of relief.  As we talked he kept leaning over to his right side, not intentionally, but he just kept falling that way.  Every few minutes I’d have to sit him back upright.

The YWAMers took off, Jason flashed me the shakka and a smile on their exit.  I really like that guy, he’s got such a pure heart.

RK came over to me and asked Keith if he liked me.  Keith responded he did.  We said goodbye to Keith, I told him I’d see him next week. He asked me to put his backpack back on him.  I did.  As I stood directly in front of him making sure the straps were not twisted a whiff of body odor and urine hit me.

God loves the poor.  And He calls me to do the same.  Not from a distance, but up close.

I came home rattled.

And saw a tweet from Max Lucado.

“Jesus showed us the power of a godly touch. You do the same when you pray for the sick; teach a child; make a call; or prepare a meal.–Max”

I washed my hands a lot before going to bed.  And wondered how much physical touch Keith had had recently.

I wonder today what my role in ending systemic poverty is and how most likely I can’t do it from afar.  I’m going to have to get my hands dirty, literally.

How are you interacting with the poor?  Or what is your biggest hindrance from interacting with them?  Comment and let us know.

Slaves Or Sons?

I was blessed to spend some time with friends over the spring break.  People who have amazing testimonies of hearing from God and stepping out in faith and then share the glory of God’s miracles because of that.

Somewhere in this past 5 years I’ve gotten gun shy about hearing God’s voice and obeying.  Fear and anxiety crept into my relationship with Him.  So I didn’t want to hear anymore, because I was afraid that He was going to ask me to do something I didn’t want to do.

My view was skewed.  What kind of father would only speak to me when he wanted me to do something.  And where did I lose trust in God’s good character that everything He asks me to do or not to do is in my best interest.  I stopped listening because I didn’t want to count the cost of following what He asked me to do.

I remember when I first got saved, I was working at a grocery store and on my break I told God, God I just want to be used by you right now!  And I felt like He led me to a path behind the grocery store, so I went.  And lo and behold, there was a lady leaning against a railing weeping.

I don’t know why I did it, but I did, I simply went up to her and put a hand on her shoulder.  She didn’t stop crying and didn’t look up.  I began to pray for her quietly.  She finally looked up and wiped away the tears.  I offered her a drink from my water bottle.  She had recently lost everything and was sleeping on a friends couch, and was there that day crying out to God that He would send her a sign that her prayers were heard.  And there I was… asking God for an exciting adventure and He sent me to tangibly show a stranger to me that He heard her prayers too.

I’ve got a lot of stories of hearing the voice of God and obeying and crazy testimonies like that.  I’ve also got some stories where I either heard wrong, or someone didn’t respond the way I thought they would.  I think those stories are fewer, but unfortunately left a bigger stain on my psyche than the others.

We had gotten up early to catch the ferry to Molokai at the Lahina harbor in Maui.  Jess and Hannah had gone into a coffee shop to get some morning coffee.  I was sitting there thinking of the testimonies I had heard recently of my friends hearing God’s voice and obeying and trying to reconcile the fact that I was now afraid to hear God’s voice.

And in that moment I heard God speak.  “Romans 8:14”

I got out my ipod and looked it up and read verse 14 and 15 and began to tear up.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.”

When my view of God gets skewed, and I turn him into a task master who only speaks to me when He wants something done, I turn into a slave and live in fear.

When I remember that God is my daddy and I was adopted as His son, then love casts out that fear and I can live in absolute peace.  Doing what He says flows from a place of knowing that I am loved by God, and knowing God’s character.  It becomes an adventure again instead of obligation.

“Everything you ever want to do for God should be the natural overflow of intimacy with God.”

God let me not lose sight that you are my Father first.  I’m sorry that I’ve put such a heavy emphasis on doing, subconsciously trying to earn what was freely given.  I’m sorry that when I operate in that line of thinking that I enslave myself and become afraid.  Help me to abide in your love.  amen.

Another Only In Hawaii Story…

mauna kea

[jess me and hannah on top of mauna kea]

Yup that’s snow in Hawaii:)

I get anxious when I fly.  Funny isn’t it?  I think I’ve probably flown more than the average joe, but for some reason I still get nervous.  It’s not a I think I’m going to fall out of the sky nervous, but I still get anxious about it.  Maybe it’s all the hoops you have to jump through to finally get to your gate.

Jess and I just got back from our Spring Break.  We met up with a friend from Maryland on the Big Island and then went to Molokai and Maui too.  Molokai was the last island we had to see before saying we had been on all of the six islands of Hawaii that we can get to.

Since we were camping on Molokai I had my camping backpack with me, I checked and double checked that any sharp object was checked in my checked luggage.  Somehow on this flight Jess and I got to go in the TSA precheck lane, which is something we should sign up for since we travel pretty often.

I put my bag up on the belt, and walk through the metal detector.  I’ve gotten into a pretty good routine at the security check points, I empty my pockets into my an easily accessible portion of my carryon bag. I’m not going to lie it’s frustrating to be behind people that have no such routine.

I clear the metal detector and wait for my bag to come through.  Two TSA agents are staring at the screen pointing at something.  At this point I’m thinking oh no, I must have left something sharp in my bag.  The guy sitting at the screen smiles and says that’s gotta be vienna sausage.  The lady looking over his shoulder  turns to me and says “eh, lemme get one vienna sausage.”  My bag comes out and I grab it, and say “nope, thats a can of spam.”  To which she smiles and replies replies, “ho, why only one?”

I think what they say that they thought was vienna sausage was my camping cup.  But I do carry a can of spam in my camping bag.  In fact we fried up some spam and ate it with rice for dinner the night we camped.

I appreciate that while most every other airport in the world, security is marked by grumpy people, that in Hawaii they show some Aloha and make a usually unpleasant experience fun.

Hawaii I’m going to miss you.

I Like Mat Kearney’s Music

I like Mat Kearney’s music.  He’s the first artist that I heard that combined acoustic music with rap.  I first heard of Mat Kearney from my friend Mark Krebs when we were on a trip to Latvia in 2006, it was the soundtrack of our trip.  When I hear that album it totally reminds me of Latvia.

I ran across this music video of his today and loved the concept of one take all shot from a drone.  It’s a fun song with fun dancing.  We need more fun in life.  Watching the video made me smile and I hope it brightens up your day.

The first line of the song is “Nashville is burning tonight” and while the video was not shot in Nashville it got me excited about our upcoming move to Tennessee.  I always said I wanted to live in Nashville and God is faithful.  If you don’t get our e-mail updates you can sign up on the right, but we announced that in July we will be leaving Hawaii to move to either Franklin Tennessee or Clarksville to help a good friend of ours with their ministry.

What song has been making you happy lately?  Let us know in the comments.

Happy Birthday Jess!

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“A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

Yesterday Jess celebrated her 30th Birthday!

I get out of the way and let Jess plan her whole birthday, because she does a far better job than I would.

So yesterday started out with an early morning surf lesson with our friend Erica.  And then coffee with friends.

Then she organized a kickball game that was staff versus students.  Which was a blast.  She got all of her students out of work duties so that they could play.  Staff won, which was what Jess wanted.  :)

Sushi for dinner.  And dominos mexican train, with friends after.

Her friend Ana had collected videos from people on the YWAM base saying encouraging things about her.  At 8pm we went to the SBS classroom and people gathered to watch the video of encouraging words and ate cheesecake.

Since Ana had talked to me about collecting videos I thought I’d do the same to our larger group of friends and family.  35 people sent in videos of encouragement to Jess and we watched the compiled 22 minute video before bed.  It was awesome to hear the common themes, that Jess loves people well and makes them feel valuable.  That’s truth.

Something we do when we lead retreats is a value based life plan.  And the first thing we do is have people write what they’d like people to say about them at a retirement party.  We laid in bed last night after watching the video, and realized that at only 30 years old, people are saying what we’d want them to say about us, and now we have another 50+ years to build upon that.  Jess kept saying we are surrounded by such good people, and it’s true.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to send in a video.  It was awesome to see people from all over the world, and our different seasons of life.

Happy birthday Jess, I’m truly blessed to have you as my wife.  You do an excellent job at loving people well.  :)

Want to wish Jess a belated birthday?  Or share something that you love about her?  Comment below!

 

 

 

 

Ignoring The Troll Inside My Head

Something I realized about myself last year was that I feel best when I’m producing.  I think I’ve written that more than a few times on here.  Maybe this blog is just a way for me to externally process, which is what I think that when I look at the blog stats, which discourage me.  But its beneficial for me to write, and get these things out.   And from time to time, I get people that write me e-mails that read the blog and are really blessed by it, and that’s a huge bonus.

The dragon that breathes down my throat every morning morning when I wake up tells me that I have no purpose and that my day is going to be a waste.  Something even as small as starting my day by POSTING a blog post sets me up for a better day than if I start my day without doing anything.

I battle with productivity, and perfectionism.  I want to set up a system that keeps me consistently productive.  I’ve been learning lessons along the way and have been tweeking and readjusting.  I’m not going to beat myself up, because there’s another lie that I believe.  That lie manifests itself in shame.  Sometimes I feel ashamed that I’m not more productive or efficient, or consistent than I am.

Waiting to “publish” things until they are 100% perfect (which never will happen) stops the creative momentum.  One of the personal growth recommendations based on my “type 4” enneagram profile was to

  • “Avoid putting off things until you are “in the right mood.” Commit yourself to productive, meaningful work that will contribute to your good and that of others, no matter how small the contribution may be. Working consistently in the real world will create a context in which you can discover yourself and your talents. (Actually, you are happiest when you are working—that is, activating your potentials and realizing yourself. You will not “find yourself” in a vacuum or while waiting for inspiration to strike, so connect—and stay connected—with the real world.”

Have you done the enneagram test yet?  Out of all of these types of personality profile tests that I’ve done this one has been the most beneficial, because instead of just pointing at your strengths it calls out some of your weaknesses and then tells you how to work on them.  Ignore all of the eastern religion stuff and take this free test.

I’ve recently deactivated my facebook account again.  Since I usually share these blog posts on facebook, and am no longer doing that, my readership is way down.  I still push them to twitter but don’t have nearly as many followers on twitter as I have friends on facebook.  Being off of facebook is beneficial for me for a myriad of reasons, maybe I’ll dedicate another blog post to that at another time.

When I’m about to post something, I reread it a few times, and I think to myself “what you’re posting doesn’t matter, no one is going to read it, these aren’t even good posts.”  I just click publish anyway to end the battle.  Perfectionism and fear stops me from being productive, and as I said earlier, I feel best when I’m producing.  Seth Godin just wrote a solid blog post on the trolls inside of our heads that’s worth reading.  It’s short.

I’m writing these things out, because I don’t think I’m alone in this battle.  If you’re reading this, you most likely have ideas, and want to produce things that are going to bless the world, but all to often listen to a voice that tries to minimize it’s worth or value.  Tell that dragon troll to shut up, and go public with your idea.

Do you battle with an inner troll that keeps you from producing? Share with us how it usually manifests.