Some New Music I’ve Been Enjoying

I heard a song on the radio last night.  I recognized the guy’s voice from another song I heard previously and remember enjoying, but I didn’t know who it was.

I sensed anointing as he sung and thought, these guys have to be Christians.  Jess told me to turn it up so that we could hear the bands name at the end… Judah and the Lion.  Yup Christians.  :)

Really loving these two tunes.  I think I like the grit in his voice, and then the bright instruments, along with the syncopated vocals.  Refreshing.

Suits and Jacket

 

Take it all back 2.0 (live) cause live is usually always better.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.

Great Free Bible Resource

 

I’m reading and listening to the book of Joshua right now.  Some people love this book, but to me it’s a little boring.  A lot of names of places, and kings, and people groups… oh history books.

I am sensing the consistency of God’s character though, the feeling of being up against impossible odds in different areas of our lives and having to simply trust that God is going before us, and He’s much larger than what we face.

I think sometimes we can get stuck by always approaching the Bible with a magnifiying glass.  It’s good to get in there and really study, but right now I’m trying to get even more familiar with the big picture.

I put my bible app on 2x speed and listen.  And I follow along at biblegateway.com

After getting pretty bored with Joshua I deicded to see if I could find a good overview of the book on youtube.  And it brought me to the bible project, which I had heard of before, Jess uses these sometimes when she teaches.

The Bible Project does a great job of helping you understand the BIG picture and I love how they addressed the big question of Joshua and the question about violence and genocide that seems to be a common objection.

I can’t find a podcast that talked about some of the absolite horrific things that Canaanites did in their culture, but when I do I will link it.  These people were not innoncent.

Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to the Bible Project if you haven’t heard of it yet and I hope it’s a good resource for you as you’re reading the Bible:)

What have you been reading in the Bible lately?  Comment and let us know.

 

 

5 Tips For Fire Safey

5 Tips For Fire Safety

Last week I was taking a nap, and awoke to a police siren leaving the nearby park.  For the next 20 minutes I heard constant sirens.  I checked broadcastify to see if I could tune into the police radio but they’ve since taken off Honolulu.  I sent out a tweet asking if anyone knew what was going on and someone responding saying they saw an apartment fire from the high way.  When we left to go out soon after that we saw a ton of black smoke billowing out of a high rise not to far away.

3 dead in 5-alarm fire in Marco Polo Building.

Here’s 5 tips for fire safety.

  1.  Have and mantain your smoke alarms

    You have smoke alarms right?  And you test or replace the batteries when needed?  Red Cross recommends to check them EVERY month.  Go check them right now, and if you can’t remember the last time you replaced the batteries, take the time to do that now.

    If your smoke alarms are tied into your electric, you should also place a few battery operated ones throughout your house too.  What happens if a fire starts while the electricity is out?  Carbon monoxide detectors are a good idea too. Here’s a dual smoke /caron monoxide  like we have.

  2.  Have a plan

    Do you have a plan in place?  Having a plan saves time and reduces the chaos during the emergency.  If you have kids, do they know what to do?  Who is going to go get the kids?  Who is gonna grab the dog?  Have I figured what my plan of esacpe is?  Does our family have a set meeting point?

  3.  Have fire extinguishers in strategic places and know how to use them

    I often see peoples fire extinguishers hung in kitchens.  The problem is a lot of times they are in a corner, where if there was a fire on the stove, you’d have to walk through the fire to get to it.

    I have 3 fire extinguishers in our home.  One at the top of our basement stairs which leads into our kitchen.  I would not have to walk near the stove to grab it.  I put one at the bottom of the basement stairs incase there is a fire that starts at our dryer.  And I put one in our bedroom near my bedside table in case I have to supress the fire to exit the house to get out safely.

    I remember in elementary school we had to work with our parents on a fire safety plan.  And when I took CERT training we had to create a map of our home and the rooms where fire extinguishers were and plans of exit and meet up points.

    Also in CERT training we all got the oppourtunity to extinsih a controlled fire with a fire extinguisher.  A few good peices of advice came from that training.

    1.  Do not grip the trigger so tight that you cannot pull the pin.  There’s a safety pin that does not allow you to pull the trigger while the pin is engaged, you have to remove this pin to be able to use the fire extinguisher.  In the heat of the moment people can have such a tight grip on the handle that they are squeezing the pin in the trigger and basically working against themselves.

    2.  Aim for the base of the fire, sweep left and right and USE THE WHOLE extingushier up.  Meaning keep spraying even if the fire looks out, until there is no more liquid left.

    I put out a camp fire with a aresol extinguisher once, got the fire out and kept spraying.  I got the fire out but as soon as the extinguisher was done, the coals were still so hot that it flared right back up.  So keep spraying!   Those cute little extinguishers are nice, but I’d buy as large of one as you can carry.

    3.  Fire extingusihers have experation dates as well.  Check those and replace as neccesary.

    4.  If the fire has already spread and has been burning for more than a few minutes you are not going to be able to extinguish it.  Do not risk your life to try and extinguish it, get out of the building.

  4.  Know where your electrical panel and gas shut off is.

    If you can SAFELY turn off the source of the fire do so, if not don’t risk it.  If the fire is already raging, then get out, smoke can overwhelm you so fast.

     

  5.  Stay on the 5th floor and lower

    A friend of ours mentioned this this past week at church.  She travels a lot for work and her company has told her that she needs to stay at the 5th floor or lower because ladder trucks only go up 5 stories.  That’s something that I hadn’t thought of.  Also take a few seconds to look at the exit plan if you’re staying at a hotel or anywhere new for that matter.

  6.   Bonus tip, clean out your lint traps and vents and be careful with frying.

    If you can’t remember the last time you shop vacced out your dryer vent then go do it now.  Be careful with frying things, I had a friend start a small fire on accident on her stove because of the built up bacon grease.  And I’ve heard of other fires starting because people were leaving things unattended on the stove.

The idea is to do your best to prevent fires and have a plan in place that you’ve thought through and practiced in case of a worst case scenario.

Can you think of any other tips?  Comment and let us know.

Here’s some other blog posts I’ve written on practical safety tips.

How To Help The Police At The Scene Of A Crime

Are We In The End Times? How Can We Prepare

CERT Training

What a 911 Operator Wants You To Know

5 Driving Tips

Lessons Learned From Calling 911 | An Elderly Lady Falls Down The Stairs

History

I’m not sure when i started getting interested in History, because I wasn’t always.

When we lived in Honolulu from 2012-2015 near the end of that trip I went to the Bishop Museum, and learned so much about the history of the place I had been living.  And I regretted not learning more while I lived there.

I also regret not taking more time to visit all of the Smithsonian Museums when I grew up living so close to DC.

When we moved to Tennessee in 2015, I knew I wanted to know more about the place I was going to be living.  So we met up with a friend and went to the Tennessee museum.  I don’t think we even got half way through so I need to get back there and finish it.  But something I really questioned was:

How was it possible that Europens were so much further advanced in their technology, that they could travel oceans in boats, and had firearms while the Native Americans had none of these things.

I think I asked this question on facebook and someone suggested I read Guns, Germs and Steel.  I think someone else mentioned that there was a movie made out of it too, so I opted for the movie and found it in 3 parts on youtube.

My big take aways were that if getting your neccesities takes up a lot of your time, you don’t have time to advance.  So people who were able to farm could develop faster than people who were hunting and gathering.

The author mentioned 3 things for development.

  • Advanced technology
  • A large population
  • A well organized work force.

Pretty fascinating stuff.

That led me to World History Crash Course, which are around 15 minute videos on youtube about history.  That’s what I was looking for was a big overview of history.  I was skeptical that these videos would trash Christianity, but they were pretty fair about it.

I drew my own timeline and put BIG events on there so I could see where things overlapped.  I realized that history is a lot smaller than I thought it was in my mind.  And I also realize that either I was NOT paying attention in our history classes or, our history classes didn’t teach us much.

History is fun because it’s almost like a conversation, with lots of different layers.  You ask a question and find it in history, and while learning more about history you get more questions.  Each layer peeled back you find new things to explore.

It’s also fun to think about the different ways you can look through history.  Through which lens you want to view it from.

I remember watching the History Of Us when it was on netflix and really enjoying that as well.  I was amazed at how technology was such a big part of history and how those technological advances really helped propel the US forward.

My friend Mike has read a biography on every president, I think he’s on George H Bush right now.  That’s quite the endevour and a fun way to go through US history.  Bigoraphys are such the opposite of a broad overview, you get to see history through the lens of one person.

I’ve been listening to Bonhoffers biography on audible.  I might pick up the abridged version because the full version is just to long.

I keep getting drawn back to WW2.  I went and visited Punchbowl Cemetary last week with some friends.  And I realized I had so little knowledge of the pacific theater, my friend suggested I watch World War 2 In Color.  So I’ve been watching that too and learning a lot more about what was going on during the war.

It’s interesting how museums spark the questions that lead me to want to learn more.   What’s your favorite museum?

Coins are another fun way to look at history too.  :)

Do you enjoy history?  What time period fascinates you?  Let us know in the comments.

 

 

BOOM! Season 3 of Doing Ministry Well

Man oh man, I finally got season 3 of Doing Ministry Well episode 44 posted!

BLAKE WILLIAMS

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to publish and for some reason or another just couldn’t get it done.

Even this morning I ran into all kinds of technical problems.  The last few times I tried to export from garage band it just would not export.

A huge thank you to Bryan Entzminger from The Engaging Mission show he has been a constant podcasting encouragement to me.  Honestly, without his encouragement Doing Ministry Well would have died a while ago.

I got reinspired recently by the how productive Andrew Huang is.

He also has a video that he posted recently about batch processing, which helped me a lot.

I’ve realized that I need “systems” in my life.  Things need to be orderly and make sense and be effecient.  I remember learning the word erganomics and enterpenuership in elementary school, 2nd grade I think and just loving both of those words.  That and propaganda… which is marketing.  Interesting how I can remember learning those concepts and liking them even at a young age.  So things like batch processing help me make more sense and reduce the chaos in my work flow.

I’ve also realized I need encouragement to keep going.  That sounds lame and immature, but it’s true.  I function best if I feel what I’m doing is appreciated and it matters.  I almost feel guilty for saying that, guilty because the voice in my mind says things like “I need to be working as unto the Lord.”  And “I shouldn’t have to thank you for doing your job.”

These kind of statements make me think I’m less than, because I’ve acknowledged that optimal Jim works best when what I’m doing is appreciated.  Which leads me to wonder if others feel that way.  And if that’s the case, imagine if there was a culture of encouragement and appreciation, how much more productive everyone would be.  Oh gosh, am I a milenial?

I think the difference here is the self esteem generation wants affirmation for showing up, I’m saying it’s nice to be affirmed when we produce something.  Eh… who knows, maybe I do have some milenial tendencies.

If you’re one of those work horses who can keep your head down, and do what needs to be done, and don’t ever need a word of encouragement, well done.  I hope I get there someday, but for now, I’m just being honest about where I’m at.

The hardest thing about vulnerability is… the fear that when I’m most vulnerable, that thing will be used against me.

Anyway, I think the one thing that I will regret most on my deathbed is that I’d didn’t “produce” more.  I’m so inspired by Andrew Huang and the videos that he puts out.  For people that can consistenly put out creative content.  I want to be pumping out more good content on a regular basis.

Here’s to hoping the inspiriation continues, and the motivation keeps flowing and that when those two fail the discipline pushes me through with a little sprinkle of encouragement from you guys.

What helps keep you going?  Lemme know in the comments.

Percussion, Metal Detecting, Photography, and Moving Towards The Homeless In Love

I drove a different way to get down to outreach last night.  I took Mccully down to Kalakua.  It reminded me of the first year we were in Honolulu.  This is how I would drive our first school of School of Biblical Studies students down in a 15 passanger van.  I would drop them off at one end of the strip, and they would invite all of the homeless people they saw on their way to come get pizza at the first pavillion.

I have fond memories of those students.  There were only 2 native English speakers, one from Canada and the other from New Zealand.  But of all the other languages represented, God did an amazing miracle that each student had someone else in the school that spoke their language.  Three students were from Switzerland, two of them spoke Swiss German, and one spoke French.  Our student from Africa also spoke French.  There was a student from Finland, and a staff from Finland.  We had two Korean students, one who was Canadian.  We had two Chinese students.  And we had one Japanese student and the school leader was fluent in Japanese.  Pretty crazy how that worked.

I was late getting down to the pavillion, no bike accidents this time.  There was a guy getting a metal detector out of his car as I parked and a guy playing the congas.  I wanted to talk to metal detecting guy and hear about his recent finds but he was out of sight by the time I parked and got out, and I wanted to jam with conga guy but he seemed like he really knew what he was doing and I’m no conga player.

The pizza was already being handed out when I arrived at the pavillion.  I found out I was standing in Pastor RK’s pet peeve zone as he shooed me away from behind the table.

RK’s wife and I chatted a bit, Kelike again impressed and challenged me.   As we were chatting a man was eating pizza on the otherside of the stroller where Roger was napping.  Kelike said hello to him and he told her how he was waiting for her to come over and hold his hand while he was eating pizza.  I stood in between them as a way to try and absorb the innappropriate comments.  Kelike rolled her eyes at his multiple attempts.  I wondered if I should interupt him, try and take over the conversation, but Kelike didn’t seem to phased.  She actually stepped behind me and moved towards the guy and put her hand on his shoulder.  “I’m not going to hold your hand but I am going to pray for you.”

Then came a deluge of more innapropriate questions, “I bet you’ve never been with a black guy.”  He said and kept repeating.  He finally went on his way.

I was so impressed that even though this guy was obviously making innapropriate comments, Kelike didn’t respond in fear, or offense, but instead moved towards him in love.  Even placing a hand on his shoulder.  That’s challenging.

I met Will last night, he looked familiar.  I don’t know if I had ever spoke with him before.  He walked over with a cane.  A lady named Gina who had a thick Australian accent came over and sat with us too.  The conversation turned to photography, a topic of conversation I know a little something about.

Will told me that he got stuck here during 9/11.  And is a mechanic by trade.  He doesn’t do it anymore because of his hip.   Gina talked about how she was house sitting and dog sitting.  She pulled out a new canon camera from her bag and said she just bought it.  She also snapped some photos with an ipad mini.  It sounded like Gina had some money, she was talking about going and seeing her Grandkids in Australia, and wanting to go to Mexico to travel.  I’m not sure why she was down there.  I think maybe she was Will’s girlfriend?

It’s interesting how all of my hobbies popped up last night.  I think people tend to think hobbies are a waste of time, or not productive.  But they serve as connection points with people that you would never connect with otherwise.

I’ve always wondered why God gave me these random passions and talents that seem to be full on for a season and then not really ever used again.  I used to play drums, I used to do photography, I used to metal detect.  They are all in roads for connection with people, and something for me to enjoy.

Hawaii is helping me realize it’s okay to enjoy.  If we’re “working” for the Kingdom all the time and not enjoying the process, we’re probably doing something wrong and we don’t have an accurate picture of who our Father really is.

What’s your latest hobby?  What are you enjoying?  Comment and let us know.

Homeless Bike Wreck And Being Too Worried About What Other People Think

I wrote this last week.  I’ve since realized that when I write, I need to publish soon after too, otherwise it just sits.  And the longer it sits, the longer that nasty voice of resistance has to convince me not to hit publish.

I appreciate everyone who has been reading the blog after it’s rebirth from silence.  I also appreciate those of you that have commented and encouraged my writing this week too.  I need that:)

Jess is teaching at YWAM Honolulu this week.  She’s teaching three, 3 hour lectures on the Gospel of John.  I’m so proud of her.  Right before we left to come out here she taught at the YWAM Nashville base in their Bible Core Course and taught 12 hours on Genesis and Deuteronomy.  At the end of last year she did a week long overview of the prophets in the Summit Training Center in Dalton Georgia.  Pretty much my wife is a Bible Rockstar:) And I’m so proud of her.

Jess got home a little before I had to leave last night for the Waikiki homeless outreach.  Interesting how again this week I had to fight through not wanting to go.  Im pretty sure my body even played along this time as I had a tinge of a stomach ache.  As I sat at my desk comtimplating excuses to not go and I reflect on it this morning, these thoughts come to mind: love moves, love sacrifices and love pushes through hard things.

I drove down to Waikiki and found parking near where I did last week and walked to the first pavilioin.  As I approached a crosswalk I watched a man start to wobble on his bike and then fall over.  He looked like his bike was pinned on him but he scrambled out.  There was female jogger that crossed right before me that asked him if he was okay, and a female jogger jogging towards us that stopped too.  The first jogger picked up his bike and asked him if he was okay.  “Man, your bike is heavy.”  And I reached to take it from her thinking it was just a normal bike.  I didn’t position my body well and was trying to take the bike from her and promptly dropped it again, luckily not on the man, it really was heavy.  The jogger continued on her jog after watching me drop the bike.

“Where’s the kickstand?”  The other jogger asked.  “If you stand the bike up I can put the kick stand down.” She said.

I picked the bike back up by it’s handle bars and suddenly the bike shot up in the air.  Luckily I had a good grip as it yanked me and fell to the ground again.  “Woah, this bike has a motor.”  I said.

(I didn’t know ebikes were a thing.)

The jogger unimpressed with my second time dropping the bike snarkily and exapsperatedly said “well, I think you got this” and jogged off.

The man is hobbling on one leg and then sits/falls to the ground.  We end up getting the bike up on a kickstand.

“Are you drunk?”  I asked him.  Not sure why I was being so forward.  He had dark sunglasses on.

No, he said in a tone that seem bewildered why I would ask such a question.

I picked up his open package of crackers and sat them on his bike bag.  I asked him if he was good and went to the pavillion.  I told him we were handing out pizza at the first pavillion if he wanted to come.

Cindy was there and I gave her a hug.  There were some YWAMers there too, one I recongized, but I don’t know if I’ve ever met him officially.  I didn’t know anyone else.  Perry wasn’t there.  Maybe Perry turned himself in.

RK came with the pizzas, carrying them on a stroller as his son Roger tagged behind him.  His wife and two daughters came later.  RK announced who he was and what they were doing down there and said a quick prayer.  Some tourists jumped out of their seats at the bench overlooking the water trying to figure out what was going on.  Kelike and I talked for a bit and I felt the need to go back and check on bike guy.  I told her briefly what happened and she chuckled.

I walked past the volleyball courts and saw 2 bikes standing up now near the crosswalk.  Another man had stopped and was trying to help bike guy get back on his bike.  It wasn’t working.

I got over to them and asked what was going on.  The new helper guy told me what I already knew, that bike guy wrecked.  “I wish I had a car, I would give him a ride.”

I have a car I thought quickly to myself, but I don’t think I’m giving this guy a ride.

Bike guy said he felt like something popped in his leg and was in a lot of pain.  He was balancing on his one foot leaning against the bike.

“Well let me pray for you, what’s your name?”

“Shelton.”  He replied

I said a quick prayer for healing and then asked him if he felt any better.

“No, I mean kinda, maybe.”

No miracle healing story tonight folks sorry.

I asked him what happened, and he said that he rode off the sidewalk and then tried to get back on to fast.

Around that time in the conversation a guy on a skateboard skates past us with a surf board in his left hand and a boogie board in his right hand.  “Man, I should have gotten an e-bike instead of a skateboard man.”  He shouted to bike guy.

I marveled at the fact that this shirtless white guy really was on a skate board, I think in bare feet, with a surfboard in one hand and a boogie board in the other.  Anyway…

Other helper biker guy had taken off by now.  So it’s just me and Shelton.  He told me he called someone to come pick him up, and told me about the pain again.  I asked him if he wanted me to call an ambulance and he reitereated that someone was going to pick him up and take him to the hospital.

“Man this bike is pretty cool”  My awkward attempt at small talk, which I’m amazing it.  “How fast can you get this thing going?

“I think I’ve gotten it up to about 25mph.”  He replied with a smile, obviously proud of his e-bike.

“Do you wanna sit down?”

He didn’t.

A seeming long akward pause of silence.  It probably wasn’t that bad though.

“Well, is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Nope.”  He replied.

“Alright man, have a good night.”  And I walked back to the pavillion.

I feel like I just lived through a modern telling of the good samiritan, only I don’t know who the good samiritan was.

Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure the guy was homeless, he said he was going to Palolo and had over a thousand dollar bike.  Man, don’t assume.

By the time I got back to the pavillion the pizza had all been handed out.  Not many people were mingling.  If I remember correctly a few years ago a lot more people would actually hang out after they were done eating.

RK was talking to Bucko, one of RK’s helpers and another guy who I think is homeless.  Discipleship was happening just through conversation.  RK was sharing what he had been reading in the Bible recently about dillegence.  And then he showed us an app that lets you know all of your neighbors names, and how he was using it to pray for all of his neighbors.

I watched a group of 3 late teens/early twenties kids sit down on a bench.  Bucko has a “I once was blind.” tag hanging around his neck.  (Which in my need of Jesus judgemental mind I found kind of cheesy.)

The group of teens called Bucko over, “Excuse me sir, sir?  Can you tell me what that means?”  Pointing to the tag hanging around his neck.

I observed, thinking they were going to laugh and make fun of him.  They didn’t.  I couldn’t hear the conversation real well, but I’m sure that Bucko took that oppourtunity to share the gospel with them.  I was waiting for them to start laughing, they didn’t, they sat attentivly while he spoke.  “That’s cool”  I heard one of them say.

I headed back to my car, the sun was setting.  What a absolutely beautiful place.  Waikiki.  I took notice of all the different nationalities that were on the sidewalk.  Realizing that Hawaii really is a strategic place.  That people from all over the world come here and then return home.

I walked past a guy who was walking in the same direction.  Shuffling his feet as he walked, towel wrapped around him.  I could sense that he was sad, and I felt like God highlighted him to me.

This is why immediate obedience is best obedience.  I could have easily and not awkwardly said something to him as I passed him, but I didn’t.  What if he rejects what I say and gets mad at me or something.  So I walked past him, realizing I was more concerned about the possibility of rejection than whatever God could do.  I was more concerned about me in that situation and how the possibility of a bad outcome might affect me than the concern for this kid whos body language obviously showed that something was going on.

I kept walking, now realizing it was going to be even more awkward if I turned around and walked back up to him.  All the time knowing that I should have talked to him.  I got in my car and drove away and missed a divine appointment.

“Hey man, you doing good?”  Could have been all I had to say to get the conversation flowing and get a guage for where the guy was at.  But I chickened out.

I get anxious if I’m out in public and feel like I need to talk to everyone.  I’ve seen people that feel like they have to pray for every single person they run into everywhere they go.  And MAYBE that is what God’s doing.  Or maybe that’s striving.

But how do I prepare myself for when I know it’s God saying to say hey to someone.  A quick word of concern for someone to a stranger in public isn’t that weird.

Some people are gifted evangelists.  In my few interactions with Bucko, I think he is.  I am not a gifted evangelist.  But that doesn’t remove our call to evangelise.  To introduce people to Jesus, to pray for them.

I feel like I’m getting freed up a lot in this season.  It’s not my resposibility to have all the answers, just introduce people to Jesus who loves them.  Then Jesus can do the heavy lifting.  :) I don’t need to make anything happen, God will show up, He’s faithful.

Dang this one got long.  Remind me to practice talking to people in public.  It goes against every fiber of my east coast introverted upbringing.

I share these outreach fails with you because I think what stops us from doing “outreach” is thinking we have to feel excited to do it, or be good at it before we do it.

I do ministry for a living, and have over a decade of experience doing this stuff and honestly I’m still not good at it, I still don’t want to go when it’s time to go, and I miss oppourtunities that God is setting up because I’m afraid.

So if you’re as unqualified as I am but are sensing that God wants to get you out of the holy huddle then hit the streets and love somebody and introduce them to Jesus.

Joan newhallJune 19, 2017 - 11:02 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

What To Do If You Overdraw On Your Bank Account

Last week I woke up to a series of e-mails telling me that I overdrew on my bank account.

Not a good way to wake up.  All that red font that they use too just adds to the panic.  Stop that.

I logged in to my banking website to find out that an annual bill had come due that I thought was connected to my credit card, not my checking account.

We had the money to pay the bill, it just wasn’t in the right account.

When we have annual bills, we divide the total bill by 12 months and then put that amount away into our internet savings account each month.  That account is making 1% interest.   While 1% is not a lot, it’s better than zero percent.

The problem is, the tiny bit of interest you make is then wiped out and then some when you get hit with a $35 overdraft fee and a$35 returned check fee.  Dang.

So I’ve heard that even though Hawaii is part of the USA, it’s still considered overseas and so there are no mainland bank chains here.  That means I cannot go and deposit cash into my account to cover the overdraft.

I was pretty mad at myself for overdrafting my account.  Second time this year.  Earlier in the year I had MOVED the money from our savings account into our checking, but the transaction didn’t clear before the check cleared by one day.  I called and they wouldn’t refund the overdraft fee.  Dang again.

I knew I had a check that I had been hanging onto and mobile deposited it.  When you mobile deposit it clears the same day.  Unfortunately that amount didn’t cover the total overdraft.

I was lamenting to a friend online of my overdraft woe and he suggested I get someone to write me a check for cash.  So that’s what I did.  Handed a friend here some cash and she wrote me a check for that amount.  Mobile deposited it and I covered the overdraft.  I wasn’t convinced that I still wouldn’t get hit with fees but a few days later, no extra fees.  Phew.

What stinks is that we HAD the money to pay the bills, it just wasn’t in the right place.  I’ve since moved part of our emergency fund so that it always sits in our main bank.  It won’t be getting interest, but it will keep us from paying $70 in fees if anything like this happens again.

I highly reccomend Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover.  In this book he instructs you on some financial baby steps that we’ve tried to follow.  One of those is having an emergency fund.

My last resort was to ask my parents to find our bank in their area and deposit some cash for us.  I’m glad it didn’t have to come to that.

Also… always travel with your check book.  I RARELY write checks.  And I remember as we were packing holding my check book in my hands wondering if I should bring it.  I decided, “nah, I never write checks.”  And didn’t bring it.  Now I’m kicking myself for not, as I’m scrambling to figure out how to pay another bill that’s due in a few days.

Oh banking woes…

Do you have any finance or banking tips?  Leave a comment and let us know.

 

All My Homeless Friends Are Dead

We’re back in Honolulu for a little bit.  I was going to keep it under wraps, but that decision was based in fear.  And making decisions out of fear is gross.  Perfect love casts out fear.

One of the highlights from when we lived in Hawaii a couple years ago was the Tuesday night homeless outreach in Waikiki.  So last night I decided to head down and see what was going on.

I wrote quite a bit about some of my experiences down there over the years.  Like the time the homeless guy got beat up for an obscenity.  Or my thoughts on touching the poor.   Or the time the drunk guy wanted to fight me.  Or the time I had to call an ambulance for Jim.

It’s crazy we’ve been gone for about 2 years, and a lot of the homeless guys that I really connected with have passed.  Jim’s gone.  Martin’s gone.  Tony’s gone.

Tonight I got down there and they were already handing out pizza.  Faithful Cindy was there helping Pastor RK pass out pizza, she had a big smile when she saw me and I got to give her a hug after she was done passing out pizza.

I’m an introvert, I don’t like initiating conversation in real life, I don’t like large crowds, and I’m 2 years out of practice from doing this.

I stood there and just tried to observe.  Not a single person I recognized from two years ago.

One guy came through the line stuck out to me.  As he was handed his first piece of pizza he commented

“I like to say, thank you Jesus, shakka Father.”

He came through the line again for seconds, and was very vocal about being grateful for the pizza.

He stood off to the side and ate.  I didn’t come down there just to observe, and RK hates the holy huddle.  RK had to leave and jokingly but also seriously said, cast a demon out of someone, I wanna hear a testimony next week, he had to leave early.

So I moved towards the man with his shirt off eating a piece of pizza.  I gave him knuckles, conscious of how bad his skin looked.

“I’m Perry, with a P.”  He said sometime during the conversation.

I asked him if he was from here and he said he’d lived here all his life.

He went on to tell me where he lived, some of the cross streets where bus benches are.

He said he got out of the hospital in October because of a horrible staph infection, he pointed to some of his skin that had permanently bubbled up and looked discolored.

He told me that his boyfriend choose meth and heroin over him.

I thanked him for being grateful for the pizza.  “Oh honey.” He responded.  He told me he hadn’t eaten in 3 days.

He said he was down here just to make people smile.  I said something about how it’s good to have purpose, and he hung on that word.  Purpose.

I asked him if this was his first time here, he said he came once last year, but didn’t know we’d be down here.  I told him that RK has been down there with pizza every Tuesday for like 7 years.

He told me he missed his court date because the police had taken his things and he didn’t know when to appear.  He was told to turn himself in for missing the court date and said he’d do it tomorrow.

He told me that his court date was for a stolen sandwich from the ABC store.

“I hope you won’t judge me for that.”  “I was hungry.”

He was worried about what a complete stranger thought of him.  People are looking for mercy and they know right from wrong.

Meanwhile my brain is in outreach mode… the need to say something spiritual is overwhelming… I should say something about how Jesus is the bread of life and how if You eat of Him you will never go hungry…

I didn’t say anything spiritual, because it would have been so forced, and it wouldn’t have been in love, it would have been said in my strange feeling of needing of saying something spiritual.  Instead I asked him how I could be praying for him this week.  He didn’t really give me a coherent answer.  He asked me how he could be praying for me, and then started to recite and kind of yell a prayer I had never heard.  He said he got chills as he did it.

Father, I pray for Perry right now, I thank you that He knows you by name and I thank you even more that You know Him by name.  I thank you that its your kindness that leads us to repentance.  I pray that Perry would encounter your love for him in such a deep way this week that He would walk in all the good plans you have for him, in Jesus name amen.

What are God’s plans for the homeless in Waikiki?  Is it that they all get jobs and have homes?  Is that what the Kingdom of God is about?  Is it that they all attend a church on Sunday?

I honestly didn’t want to go tonight.  I even told Jess that.  She reminded me that I never want to go but I’m always glad I did.

It’s true.  I’m glad that I can be reminded that homeless people, who look nothing like me, who have withered skin from the elements, who are homosexuals, who sleep on bus benches and are in trouble with the law, were made in God’s image.  And that’s what gives them value.

I’ve been stuck in my suburban cul-de-sac to long.  Being back in Honolulu, I’ve noticed an increase in the homeless population.  On the weekends when the cops sweep the beaches they migrate to the end of the street where we’re staying and set up there tents there.  The other night a guy curled up ten yards from my back window.

Working with the homeless and then getting to go home to the safety or your tidy neighborhood was one thing.  Living where they set up is a complete other thing.  In fact all of today there was a cart covered by a tarp leaning against a tree right in eye sight of my back window.  It’s still there.

But the important thing is I remember that these are people, created in God’s image, which means they have value.

I don’t have all the answers for the obviously large population of homeless.  And I don’t think there is a normal story of how people got homeless.  I’ve talked with people that want to be homeless because they like the “freedom.”  Some people are homeless because of mental illness, or drug addiction.

I don’t want homeless people sleeping in my backyard.  Their trash and waste littering our streets and alleys. And I don’t have a solution.

But I bet that solution starts with them knowing that they have value.  Value because they were created in God’s image.  Value because God sent His son to redeem them.  Value because the Father is calling the prodigals home.

When we don’t think we have value, we don’t think we have purpose.  And purpose is what gives us hope.  And hope is what causes us to take responsibility.