All of our social media feeds are crawling with person after person pouring buckets of ice cold water on their heads. Celebrities, normal folks, and even kids are getting in on the gag. It’s the Ice Bucket Challenge deemed to help raised money and awareness for the ALS Foundation. Like you I don’t know a ton about the disease, but one thing has become clear… it’s a life taker. Not just a life killer (that eventually happens) but it’s a stealer of the very life the people who are diagnosed with this disease once knew. Slowly but surely their lives are deteriorating. Limbs eventually become useless and soon the body stops being able to do ANYTHING for itself. Therefore, the life of the person diagnosed is not the only one lost… often family members are forced to take care of their loved ones full time, and this changes everything for many families faced with this disease. Worst than that… it’s heredity!
I’ve seen people complaining about their news feeds being full of this ice bucket madness… why are they upset exactly? If your life is so wrapped up in your own little world and the 3 hours you spend on social media a day is ruined because everyone and their brother is doing this silly little publicity stunt… I say so what and it’s about time you get a little wake up call…
Others are pointing out that ALS foundation uses embryonic stem cells for its research and therefore they become supporters of abortion and we should stop sending them money. I respect that view, but I disagree with their premise. Abortions originally started and continues to this day to be a Eugenic toward minorities and those deemed by the powers that be to be less than worthy… not as a way to collect stem cells. I would even argue as long as abortions are going to remain legal in this country (which I completely disagree with) at least use this tragedy for something good like research that HAS saved people’s lives. In other words, if the last thing we were waiting on in this country to make abortions illegal were the strong pharmaceutical companies wanting stem cell research to continue from the cells of aborted babies, I would then suggest donating to ALS is not such a great idea… but we are light years away from stem cells becoming the reason abortions are still legal in this country. Late term abortions are still legal for crying out loud and that has nothing to do with stem cells. It’s about Eugenics!
If you are sick of the ice bucket challenge, pour some cold water on your own head and take a social media break and get over yourself. The ALS organization has raised 42 Million dollars since the challenge has been given which is only 40 Million MORE than they raised in the same time period last year. WOW, 40 Million will not cure this disease, but the awareness has been raised (for now) and money is going to a good cause that has been seriously under resourced since the disease has been on the medical communities radar.
Thank you for doing the challenge, donating, or not whining about those who are doing it and killing your news feed with self serving videos of their family having a little fun in the name of raising funds for a good cause.
One last note… I wasn’t sure about doing the challenge myself because I wondered what the ALS community especially those who have it thought about the whole publicity stunt on social media and people doing it just to get their face on Social media sites and not donating the $100… then I read a few blogs and saw this video which helped me understand that raising awareness of something so destructive can NEVER be a bad thing.
Check out this story to see what a family with ALS thinks and struggles with on a day to day basis
The situation in Iraq and Syria led by the militant group ISIS is terrible, tragic, unthinkable, unfathomable, inhuman even… you get the point. Militants killing people because of their faith in Christ, families being tortured, and children losing their heads as parents refuse to deny Jesus as their Messiah and the One true God! Still hard to believe that it’s really happening!
If you’re like me you want Justice.
If you’re like me you realize, you can do NOTHING to bring justice so you do the only thing you can do… PRAY!
Please pray, ask God to intervene… ask Him to bring this evil situation to an end, comfort those who mourn, ask Him to carry the burden of all that are involved in this ongoing situation, and pray that people all around the world are drawn to Jesus Christ because of the sacrifice these Christians are making for His name sake Jesus.
But then do something!
Do something in your community to bring justice to a broken world. Don’t let the feeling you have for justice fade because you can’t physically do something… you can! People may not become martyrs in your community today, but there are plenty of people who are in the middle of their own injustice and those nightmares are their reality and that reality is more than they can bare alone!
I went to visit someone in jail yesterday… and I realized I can do more to help those who are broken.
Join a church or a non-profit in your community in their endeavors to bring love and justice to a broken world… even if you don’t believe the same as they do… certainly you can believe in their desire for justice!
Don’t just say that it’s awful and thank God you live in America… please don’t just enjoy America’s freedom.
I’m motivated now more thane ever that my role as a pastor is meant for more than preaching on Sunday’s and raising up leaders in our church… our world needs love, and they need justice, and many in our communities are not walking in the doors of our churches anytime soon, so we must be the hands and feet of Jesus and bring them this love and justice instead of hoping our bait gets them “in the doors”.
Do Something this week, next week… find something that God is already doing and join the party.
Micah 6:8 (AMP)
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God”
The Sound of Silence… Everyone needs it, but few find it.
In a culture that increasingly finds ways to scream at us… most of us struggle to balance the screams with the necessary silence. In my college days I was privileged to go on a 3 day and a 7 day silent retreat. I know that sounds a little weird… who would choose to be silent for that long!
Actually, it’s not a put some tape over your mouth kind of retreat, so it’s not 100% silent. The idea is to spend as much time as you can in silence, listening, and praying for the sake of hearing God. There are brief moments of talking at meals, and at scheduled times of discussion for the faint at heart.
Last week I went on my first personal silent retreat… two days at the Huntsville, Utah Trappist Monastery. It was good to be quiet and alone, but I must confess…
I suck at being silent and alone!
I was bored at times, too tired at times, and scrambled for things to do because after all who can pray and listen all day!
But, it was in those moments of struggle that I was reminded how much I need to set aside more time to be quite, listen, and pray. The silent moments did my mind, body, and soul some serious good!
So I’ve decided (at the prompting of some good friends) to have a silent retreat August 29-31, and open it up to men who want to join me in a little silence. The monastery is limited in it’s capacity, but I figure if we have a great response we can figure out an alternative.
What a great problem this would be!
So, it’s simple… as many men that want to head up to Huntsville on Friday the 29th will go and get silent for a few days and we will head back on Sunday morning August 31st for our OCC Serve Our City Sunday.
Hit me up if you are interested so I can reserve your spot. We will have a lot of down time, quiet time, and a few times of discussion and dialogue to foster the ultimate dialogue between you and God.
In the meantime, may we all get better at sitting in the sound of silence.
Most of us live life on the run. Jumping from one job to another, one meeting to another, one practice to another, school, activities, etc… and many of us have all of these things going on in ONE life!
Have you ever said you will get to something (working out, eating right, spending more time with a loved one, etc) when life finally slows down?
How’s that going for you?
Life rarely slows down on it’s own, in fact most of life and all organisms drift toward complexity. I don’t know about you, but simplicity does not come easy for me… I have to be intentional about it.
Intentionally slowing down to make room for what matters!
Take some time this week to bring simplicity into your life. Slow down, take a breadth and enjoy the people around you. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers… whoever you find yourself around this week take in the God moments and see if maybe just maybe God wants to join you in the workings of your daily life.
I’m willing to bet if you intentionally take the time to SEE whats going on around you, HEAR what others are REALLY saying, FEEL what others are feeling you will find some moments to join in what God is already actively doing around you.
As spring approaches you hear a lot of people talking about the need to do some serious spring cleaning. Closets are full, lives are getting busier, and making room seems to be essential to the American way of life. You never know when you are going to need more room, right?
Spring is upon us, and even though in parts of the country it’s still snowing occasionally, the sun is out and life outside is becoming more and more of a reality.
I was speaking to some friends the other night and realized maybe we all need another form of spring cleaning… life tends to get more complex the more time we spend on this planet. All of life seems to drift toward complexity if we let it… Technology is supposed to make things easier, and it really hasn’t. More convenient yes, but life supported by technology is more complex really… not easier. So while we are cleaning out the closets to make room (seriously, how much more crap can we all cram into our houses!) maybe we need to consider cleaning out our schedules! Does life seem endlessly busy and more complex than you expected it? Are there things that can easily be moved around in your life to create more room in the schedule?
More room for the things that really matter? More room for the people that really matter, and need you in their lives?
I know for me the answer is YES! There is always more to be done… but there will not always be more time to be available to the people that God says need it most.
So join me in a little spring cleaning the next few weeks and let us put our focus on the people God is asking us to focus on instead of trying to cram it all into a week that has no room for more and not enough room for what is already in our time closet!
May we become people of focus and intentionality… even with our time!