The Hardest People To Say Goodbye To [Part 1]


It was my last night in Waikiki for Pastor RK’s homeless outreach pizza night.  There had been a few people that I had really connected with over the 3 + years I had been going down there off and on and I wanted to make sure I said goodbye.

I got to see Jersey Joe, he always had such a positive outlook on things.  And I got to see Cindy who always greeted me with a hug.

I really wanted to see this guy Martin.  And Barbara.  I didn’t see either of them.

I asked around.  A guy I hadn’t met before heard me and described Barbara to me and asked me if that was her.  Based on his description I figured it was, and he said she was sitting over by the zoo.  I walked with this new guy through the food line and then followed him over to the zoo.

There was Barbara sitting on a bench.

It’s been over a month since this happened, but the conversation went something like this:

“Barbara!”  I exclaimed.
She looked at me with squinted eyes, taking a few seconds to register who I was.
“Eh-ta!”  She always said that when she saw me, I don’t know what it means.
“It’s my last week, I’m moving to Tennessee but I wanted to make sure I said goodbye.”
She cocked her head to the side and asked me why I’d move to Tennessee.
“Great question.”  I responded.
“Sit down, do you want some of my pizza?  I’ve got some granola bars here.”
“No thanks Barbara, I just wanted to say goodbye, can I get a photo with you?”
“Sure” she said smiling.
I noticed that she had a black eye, I didn’t ask about it, but it wasn’t the first time I had seen her with a black eye.
The guy that led me over to her said he’d take the photo.
Barbara smiled and joked and then on the last photo kissed me on the cheek as she said goodbye her eyes started to well with tears.  “I love you.”  She shouted as I walked away.

I said goodbye and walked away and began to tear up as I returned to the pavilion.

Homeless people in Waikiki are valuable to the King of Kings.

And that’s what RK wanted us to do.  His objective in handing out pizza every single week for more than 3 years has been to show those people that they are valuable to God.  When teams come down, he asks them to find someone, remember their name, ask them how you can pray for them and then come back next week and call them by name and let them know you prayed for them.

Click here to read a recent blog post from RK about the generosity of God.

I read James 2 this morning.  And it convicted me that I need to be involved with the poor here in Tennessee too.

Maybe when we work with the poor, it’s not so much about us helping them.  Maybe it’s more about me realizing how much mercy has been extended to me.  And through working with them I’m given an opportunity to extend that same mercy and grace.

Do you work among the poor?  Where can you extend mercy and grace today?  Let us know in the comments.

5 Lessons Learned From A 90’s Movie


Jess and I went to Pisgah Alabama this past weekend for our team retreat.  We were blessed to stay in Camp To Know Him’s nicest cabin.  I now have a new life goal to have a home with an indoor swing.

There was a VCR in the room and Jess found an old VHS tape of October Sky.  Sunday was our anniversary and there was nothing scheduled for Sunday so we relaxed in the beautiful setting and took our time before leaving.

Here’s 5 things I learned from watching October Sky.

 1.  Deep down we know there is more to life than the expected norm.

The story took place in Coalwood, a coal mining town.  All of the boys were expected to graduate from high school and go work in the mine.  The rare way out was a college football scholarship.  People love a story about breaking free from normal expectations and pursuing what you are passionate about.

The main character (Hickam) had been inspired by Russia’s sputnik and believed that he too could make a rocket that would go to space.  There was a constant tension and battle between the expectations from the norm and what he felt he was called to do.

2.  We love reconciliation between fathers and children.

Hickam’s dad was the foreman of the coal mine.  He thought that his son was wasting his time with rockets and should start working in the mine.  The father never went to any of the rocket tests and was quite antagonistic towards it.  The final rocket test his dad showed up to show support.  It was a beautiful scene.

There’s something in the heart of man that connects with a father’s love.

3.  We all want to stand up against injustice.

Hickam and his buddies get arrested falsely for starting a forest fire.  One of his friends is getting beat by his step dad outside of the police station.  Hickam’s dad intervenes, gets the step dad to stop, calls the step dad a drunk and tells the friend to get in the car.  As they go to pull away the father tells the friend that his real dad was a great man.

 4.  There are inventions that we take for granted that aren’t that old.

I’ve grown up with us exploring space and being able to buy model rockets.  I forget and take for granted the advances we’ve made and the countless experiments it took.  I just assumed that we’ve always had rocket technology, but the technology has been developed in the past century.

5.  Persistent small beginnings and failures can lead to amazing huge successes.

Learning to launch a small rocket into the air, led us to be able to put man on the moon.
Which of these things do we need to focus on to be living a better story?  Do you need to take a leap of faith out of the norm to pursue what you feel called to?  As a father do you need to reconcile with your child?  Do you need to be bold and stand up for an injustice you see?  Do you need to be more aware and thankful for the things around you?  Or do you need to keep plugging away at a project you’re working on so that you can bless the rest of the world?  Let us know in the comments.

Linky Wednesday 08.19.15


Sorry for missing the past two weeks of linky wednesday.   We’re back though!


This weeks interview on Doing Ministry Well is Dan Baumann a friend of mine who spent 9 weeks imprisoned in Iran.  He mentioned the above song and it’s pretty amazing.


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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Dan Baumann.   Join us as Dan talks about his experiences in prison, intimacy with the Lord and shares the 3 practical steps on how to do ministry well listed below.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!


Some New (And Better) Rules For Your Next Vacation – Carey Nieuwhof


One simple way to figure out which criticism to listen to. – Jon Acuff


Are you liking Wednesday links?  Did you find any of these links useful?  Share with us some of the links you’ve been finding interesting this week!  Let us know in the comments!

The 9 Books Jess Will Read Over The Next 3 Months

Just a little light reading…


 OR    We bought both… maybe she’ll read both of these.

 This is the only one we don’t have yet, do any of you have it?

My wife is a rockstar.

Have you read any of these books?  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.

Jeanne Bull JohnsonAugust 14, 2015 - 4:19 pm

I have read lots of books but not any of these. Enjoy!

AbigailAugust 14, 2015 - 7:37 am

YES!!! Is this the reading program that Ron Smith started? I’m into “The Book That Made Your World” right now.

Jeanne Bull JohnsonAugust 15, 2015 - 11:47 am

I have read lots of books but not any of these. Enjoy!

Jeanne Bull JohnsonAugust 15, 2015 - 2:19 am

I have read lots of books but not any of these. Enjoy!

Pat HatchAugust 16, 2015 - 3:17 am

Good to hear from you both and know how the Lord is leading you.

For some reason, none of the nine books is showing up on my screen!

Jim BakerAugust 26, 2015 - 5:41 am

Pat, that’s strange, I’m not sure why :( Did you try from a different device?

Jim BakerAugust 26, 2015 - 5:47 am

@ abigal – it is indeed Ron’s course. Are you enjoying reading other books besides the Bible right now?

Our Transition to Tennessee

So we’ve lived on the mainland now for over a month.

We spent almost half of that on the road but we’re back now.

There’s a supernatural grace.  I expected to be heartsick, missing Hawaii.  Neither Jess and I feel that way.

Maybe when it gets cold.

Franklin is a nice town and we have no business living here.

As I sat down to write this there was a segway tour stopped across the street looking at all of the historical houses.  Probably the ones selling for 3.5 million.  5.5 million.  I always joked and half prayed that God would send me to the rich and not the poor.  haha.

There’s an area called cool springs that’s about a 10 minute drive.  It has every restaurant you could ever want and I’ve wanted chipotle.  No chipotle’s in Hawaii.

Jess and I laughed as we looked around.  Well manicured, fit looking people.  Sharply dressed, tailored fitting clothes and fresh hair cuts.  Fresh off the road I hadn’t cut my hair in a few weeks or shaved and was wearing my usual gym shorts and v neck solid colored t.

Our first day in Tennessee we told some store clerks that we had just moved here from Hawaii.  Their first response was WHY?!  And then they very politely welcomed us to Tennessee.

We like the volunteer state so far.  Have you ever visited Tennessee?  Let us know what we should check out in the comments below.

CorrieAugust 14, 2015 - 11:32 am

Rose Peppers Mexican restaurant in east Nashville. I mean… Unreal. Also there’s a pub called tin roof which has some pretty epic queso dip if you’re into that thing… Which, who isn’t into queso dip?

Jim BakerAugust 26, 2015 - 5:47 am

QUESO DIP!!!! Thanks for the suggestions, we’ll have to check it out.

Happy Sunday

Hey friends.

We got back Friday from our whirlwind road trip.  Had a great time and are taking the weekend to recover.

Thank you to everyone who made time for us, met with us, fed us, housed us and gave us gas money!

Sorry to everyone who we were unable to see, hopefully next time.

I was going to take a hiatus from blogging and social media but I think that I was just overwhelmed from being on the road.  So we’ll see what happens.

If you enjoy reading the blog please let me know, your encouragement keeps me going:)

I missed LINKY Wednesday last week, so check out last weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well below.

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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Derek Schoenhoff.  Derek pastors The Little Red Church on the Big Island and speaks internationally about reconciliation.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!


Love you guys, thanks for reading.

Inspired Mondays! :: Brian from Mighty Mo Coffee


Happy Monday everyone!  I NEED inspiration in my life.  I feel at my best when I’m inspired.  I’m blessed to know a lot of inspiring people.  So from time to time on Monday’s I’m going to highlight someone I know that inspires me and interview them!



I met Brian in Gig Harbor Washington in 2013.  I was doing photography for a friends wedding and he was one of the groomsmen.  We got to talking throughout the course of the weekend and I found out he was starting up a coffee company.  We’ve kept in touch and I’ve been inspired by Brian’s entrepreneur drive.

Check out Mighty Missouri Coffee Company online!

Brian, tell me what do you do?

I am a big dreamer and the President/CEO of Mighty Missouri Coffee Co., a startup coffee roasting company in Bismarck, North Dakota. I am also active in communications.

How’d you get started in that?

I had a desire to build a brand, and I was addicted to coffee. At some point, the two things collided in my head and Mighty Missouri Coffee was born. I grew up on the south shore of Lake Sakakawea, a beautiful lake and part of the Missouri River system, and the whole brand is built around those experiences. Coffee is a big world and I took classes and job shadowed some great folks, but otherwise, sort of paved my own way.

What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen?

Starting a business has been an exercise in faith. I think it sort of took some people for a loop because it is an uncommon career choice, and it’s come with enormous challenges, especially having started from scratch. But at every impassable obstacle, something happens that helps the business move forward.

What is the most heart warming thing you’ve seen?

I recently had the pleasure of starting a line of coffee with friends at Blood:Water, an organization working to end the HIV/AIDS and clean water crises in Sub-Saharan Africa. They were really kind in helping see it through, and it’s been an amazing experience so far, reaching outside of our little land-locked community in the middle of the continent to people around the world, and it’s been humbling and exciting. (

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?

Bacon lattes.

Sounds delicious…:) 

What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said/done to you?

I have been fortunate to find a great group of folks to surround myself… and I’ve found encouragement in each, but it is especially encouraging when someone who has found their success reaches out to help me get where I am going. You have to be careful what voices you let in the room, because the loudest one usually wins. I think it’s really important to fill your head with positive noise because it doesn’t take long to get dragged down. It’s also encouraging to encourage others, strange as it may seem.


What’s your biggest mistake?

I allow myself only one gigantic mistake per day, because it was getting out of hand! Mistakes are the quickest way to learn, and the bigger the mistake the bigger the lesson. I think my biggest mistake in recent memory was an epic miscommunication where each party expected something different out of the other. It caused a lot of stress and I’m still working it out… but through that process I think the vision has become even more refined with even greater possibilities. That’s looking at it positively! But, lesson learned – clarity is important.

What’s your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?

Building a company is a struggle every day because it’s you against yourself, to some extent. There’s a lot of self-doubt and “what am I doing?!” going on. I think it’s important to make things to look forward to and to create stair-step goals to achieve the big ones… otherwise you get lost in this sea of possibility and that is paralyzing.

What keeps you inspired to keep going/creating/working?

I look up to some really great artists who are good at what they do, and that is inspirational. I actually am pretty in tune with the professional surf scene, which is weird having lived in North Dakota my whole life (and never touched a surf board). But there are some pro surfers who have built a big brand and done some incredible things. And there’s something about me and water… I don’t know what it is, but to watch Noah Snyder or Matt Beacham or the Hobgood Brothers doing their thing… that’s inspiring. Strange but true.

 It’s also been important for me to make space for pure fun – something to totally disengage my mind from work. Usually, that’s been swimming, biking, or running, but lately I’ve thrown spikeball and water sports into the mix.

Who or what resource has been inspiring you lately?

My family is a big inspiration – my mom and dad are great examples of living selflessly, always helping and volunteering their time. They teach me a lot. My brother is a big inspiration as well. He’s overcome more than I think I could and does it with a big grin and great sense of humor.

Michael Jordan is still a big deal… so I would definitely add Space Jam. At least the Space Jam soundtrack. That mix has inspired me for 20 years.

Space Jam!  Haha.  What gear have you been using that you are loving?

Sanuks keep me comfortable through it all.

What disciplines in life do you depend on to be consistent?

My spirituality. Work is spiritual, play is spiritual. If I’m inconsistent in that, then I don’t even have a direction in the morning (which has happened).

 What does your average day look like?

I roast a lot of coffee in a week and have an office there, too. Every day is different, but it’s been good. Recently, we added a new distribution channel that helps keep me off the road doing deliveries, which has been an enormous time saver.

Any encouragement for people wanting to get into a career like you are in?

Anybody can be an entrepreneur, but the people I’ve found to be most successful are good communicators. Have fun with what you do because fun is contagious, and more people become more excited about your brand.

If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?

I would try to find its rightful owner.

 What’s your most recent go to favorite food/restaurant?

For Bismarck – a place called Oahu. It’s a Hawaiian grill and sushi bar. Super good. There’s also a café in town I like called the Little Cottage. I get a lot of good thinking done there.

Whats music have you been listening to lately?

Inland by Jars of Clay

Medicine Bow by Jonathan Stark

New Constellation by Toad the Wet Sprocket

George Strait music because it’s summer

What tv show have you been watching?

Seinfeld… still

What’s the latest movie that inspired you?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Share with us something most people don’t know about you?

I’m a big fan of Jimmy Stewart. Big fan.

What have you been doing for fun? A current hobby?

Spearfishing, with snorkel or SCUBA. Crazy fun!

Brian thanks so much for being interviewed and we wish you the best with your endeavors!  

Support Brian and try out one of his coffees by clicking here.


Neil Strauss’ 3 Step Writing Process

The other day I referenced the Tim Ferris podcast where Neil Strauss talked about his writing process.

Here are my take-aways:

The first step:   Write For Yourself

Neil said that the first step is to write for himself.   He said that he wants to write down a few pages and some hefty paragraphs so that it has some bulk before stopping.  Then he wants to sit down and finish to get it all out on paper.

The second step:  Revise For The Reader

The second step is to revise  for the reader, reading as you would read any book.  He said that this is the step where you end up throwing out almost half of your book because it’s fluff.

This step reminded me of a Michael Hyatt’s blog post on improving your writing.  He has people use CUB as a first edit.  Highlight what is Confusing, Unbelievable, or Boring.

The third step:  Revise For The Critics

Revision for the critics.  He said that he tries to anticipate whatever critique is coming his way and answer their questions so that they don’t have a leg to stand on.  Both Tim and Neil said that if you wrote a book that pleased everyone, no one would like it so expect negative critiques.

Neil also said that between writing your final product and editing you shouldn’t wait to long.  He specifically mentioned 3 weeks.

What do you think of these writing steps?  Let us know in the comments.

Linky Wednesday 07.29.15


Tennessee is HOT.


this is fun:)


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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Dennis Fahringer.  Dennis runs the School of Photography in Kailua Kona.  I did this amazing school in 2008.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!


Ten Things to Know Before Pursuing a New Life Calling – Ron Edmondson



Are you liking Wednesday links?  Did you find any of these links useful?  Share with us some of the links you’ve been finding interesting this week!  Let us know in the comments!

2 Tips For Writing

My friend RK sent me a Tim Ferris podcast on writing.  (there’s some foul language in this podcast just FYI)

RK knew I was working on my book, and he’s working on publishing another book as well.  Upon his recommendation, I gave it a quick listen and decided I wasn’t going to listen to it because it was to long.  I’d just ask RK for the abridged version next time I saw him.  But I had a bit of a drive to dinner recently so  thanks to the aux cable, I listened to it in my car.

Tim Ferris was interviewing Neil Strauss who has written 7 New York Times Best Sellers and writes for Rolling Stone.  I had never heard of him.

My take aways from the interview were:

Don’t get interrupted

It can take anywhere from 20-90 minutes for you to get back in the groove. They mentioned a book on writing that said you’ll distract yourself from doing the hard work of writing with cleaning tennis shoes.  I’m guilty of that, since sitting down to write this blog post I’ve done a million other things from going to the bathroom, to checking facebook, responding to text messages, changing what I’m listening to, and even checking e-mail.  Oops.


Have A Sacred Writing Space

Since they didn’t want to get interrupted they talked about having a sacred space.  Having a place that is not interrupted and distraction free to write. We don’t have internet in our new home, and I think it’s helping with our overall productivity.  Other than that maybe a  coffee shop provides that space, which actually is pretty distraction free as long as you don’t know anyone and can turn facebook off.

The podcast also talked about the interviewing process which was good to hear about as well.


What are disciplines you follow to keep in the groove of creativity and productivity?  Let us know in the comments.