Our family spent Christmas day serving some less fortunate people in our community. About 2 1/2 years ago we acted on a passion of ours – feeding the hungry in our communities and it has evolved into various activities and opportunities to serve others. When we began commuting to Tallahassee, we had to stop our involvement with feeding the homeless on Mondays but that didn’t stop us from feeding or helping on other days or times. One of the things I was worried about when we left was who would continue the work we had begun. Sad to say, not many. But the good news here was that a good friend had taken on the task of organizing a Christmas day meal for those who face food insecurity.
I had the opportunity to give a brief devotion prior to our meal and I talked about Presence. Reminding people about the Word becoming flesh and living among us and quoting Jesus who said He didn’t come to be served but to serve. Challenging those that heard to not let Christmas day be the only time the less fortunate saw them – to become a presence in the lives of those who need it. As I was talking with some of the homeless, a man shook my hand and said thank you. When I asked him why, he thanked me for the words that were spoken, saying that too often people try to make themselves feel good by showing up once or twice a year but then are nowhere to be seen the rest of the time. That was my fear when we left that small community – that no one would show up on a regular basis.
We shared a present with one of our favorites yesterday. A man named Derick. I’ve talked about Derick before and our love for him. We gave Derick a new pair of shoes. The last time he had a new pair of shoes was the last time we gave him some! Cyndi and I choose to give to Derick this year instead of to each other – and it was the best present ever!
We love the passion God has given us for the hungry and less fortunate. We love having the opportunity to share some love with people who don’t experience it very often.
I challenge you to act on your passion. Whatever it is. Get involved. Give presence. Give money. Give time. Give. The presence you give can change a life, it can change a generation, it can change generations to come. Why would you not?
Yesterday Cyndi and I went shopping – something we rarely do. It was an interesting day watching people spend a lot of money! Part of our trip was to buy some shoes for a friend of ours – Derick. We met Derick over a year ago when we started helping a local group of people who feed the homeless and hungry at least once a week. Derick is a big man! He’s a year or so older than I am and he’s got some health problems. I’m sure some of his health problems are a result of his living conditions – which is another post. Derick has diabetes. So Derick needs good shoes. Have you ever tried to find a pair of size 15 wide shoes? Not every store carries them! We found some shoes for Derick and we’re going to give them to him for Christmas. As much as Derick needs shoes, we need to give them to him. That’s kind of hard to explain but once you realize how much God has blessed you, any other reaction would be an insult to our loving God.
I have not worked for pay since January 9, 2011. It’s been a long year! But in many ways it has been one of our most satisfying years! Tears came to my eyes yesterday as I reflected on 2011. I know that every season in life passes and when we begin to tell others this story, it will be just what someone, maybe only one, person will need to hear because our God is like that! God has allowed us to use almost our entire savings this year to work with a young church plant, to provide some wisdom and knowledge in areas I’ve already experienced, to lead a community group of some of the most amazing people in Tallahassee, to travel to Cartagena, Colombia and tell people about the love of Jesus, to share our testimony of how God has provided for us all the time – even when it seems our world is falling around us.
We’ve got some decisions to make real soon financially – what does God want us to do next? This thing I am positive about – God wants us to buy shoes for Derick because he needs them and because I still have the money to buy them.
Just a fun post about Saturday!
I love football traditions in the South. Most of them involve tailgate parties with lots of good food and lots of various beverages. Lots of music and a time to meet new friends. Yesterday was no exception. It was Parents Weekend at Florida State – and even though we go every weekend – we were excited to participate.
Our son Ethan decided to participate in Fall Rush this year and he is currently a pledge with Kappa Sigma fraternity. It was a fun time Saturday morning meeting his pledge brothers as well as current Kappa Sigs. Live music on the deck accompinied by random introductions to other parents made the morning seem to fly by. Our daughter Meghan was in Phi Mu sorrority at Florida State and we participated in a few parents weekend brunchs with her over the years as well. Fraternities pregame differently than sorrorities!
It’s always a good time before a football game. People are just generally in good moods! And it always is a plus when your team wins as FSU beat North Carolina State 34-0!
Earlier in the week a fraternity brother of mine from Auburn University randomly asked me if I was going to the AU/Ol Miss game over the weekend. I only recently reconnected with this former roommate so I was kinda of suprised at the question. Come to find out, several of our fraternity brothers were gathering in Auburn this weekend, had hired a band for Friday night and were just wanting to reconnect with as many as possible. This is the kind of thing that makes football in the South special. I don’t know if they would have done that for an Auburn baseball game! It was fun to watch Auburn win – although my view was from my living room.
Until you experience a college football weekend in the South, you have never really experienced football! People love their teams and get passionate about them!
I like to see people express their passions! That’s what makes good things better!
Tonight, I skyped (was this even a word 10 years ago?) with our friend Alex who lives in Cartagena, Colombia. We met Alex on our trip to Cartagena this summer. Alex speaks fluent English as well as his native Spanish.
After conversing for a while we both realized the same thing at the same time: People are people, wherever they are. We all have the same dreams, we have the same fears, we have the same passions. People tend to want the same things – recognition, respect, fame and fortune.
Alex and I both have a burning desire to do that what God has called us to do. Sometimes it seems that others don’t really understand what we are trying to do. And in that not understanding, actions and words can get in the way or even become a barrier to our goals. Sometimes it hurts and we take it personal. Often that not understanding is rooted in fear. Fear that your passion or your dream is bigger than theirs.
God is bigger than any of that! We know His plans for us are good and that He has plans for us to prosper and succeed! I believe God allows others to act in ways that cause us to rely on our faith and our trust in Him.
All of us are passionate about something. Whether your passion and vision is big or small, I encourage you to pursue your passion. But along the way, understand that your passion is not the same as the one you’re explaining it to! The other person is not going to care about it as much as you do. And they may even try to disuade you from pursuing it. Don’t let them. Follow your passion. Not only will you be glad you did but you may change the lives of generations by what you do.