Our Present Future

It was 1988, and I was a freshman in college.  I was in a course called “Intro to computers”.  We sat down to a computer that took up a whole desktop; the monitor sat on top and it was black with green text.  We turned on the computer (from the rear), put our 5 inch floppy disk into the slot, and waited about 5 minutes for our computer to “boot up”.  We thought we were the most privileged students on campus. In 1988, this was some of the best technology available to any college. 

I remember my college professor holding up his hand and saying: “One day, you will hold your computer in the palm of your hand, and you will carry it with you where ever you go”.  I thought this could be possible but I never thought it would be possible in my lifetime.  Now I own one just as you probably do, and it never leaves my side. 

This world is changing an an ever increasing rate.  Technology is rapidly changing and its hard to keep up.  Just when I learn how to use my phone, camera, camcorder, TV, or anything electronic, it gets outdated, discontinued, or improved.  Are you feeling my pain?

Here’s the thing: as a church community we must not get stressed out or allow ourselves to become outdated or uninformed about today’s technological environment.  Instead, we must embrace the changes and leverage technology to help us to fulfill Kingdom purpose.  Now more than ever, our message must be heard, and there has never been more effective means by which to connect with the people we are trying to reach. 

In the next few posts, I’m going to talk about how technological advancement is helping us to connect with people as well as spread the message of the gospel.

Also, I will insert a few links of some things that I believe will change how people will do certain things in the future.  If you find something you think I would be interested in, tell me and I may publish it if I think it is note worthy.

In the meantime, check out how education is changing:  http://www.vlcglobal.com

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This is not a Conference!

“This is not a Conference!”

That was the first thing that was said from the stage of a room in the Cox convention center in Bricktown Friday morning at 9:00am at the first ever Friends for Life women’s retreat.  “Its not a conference…..its a retreat”   Turns out, there is a difference.  When Deana came to me with the idea of a women’s retreat a few months ago I immediately jumped on board.  It was a great idea.

Church women are bombarded with conferences just for women.  While Deana and I were kicking around some ideas for a women’s event,  we kept coming back to the same questions:  “Why do what so many other churches are already doing so well?  Why not do something different for women?” 

Here’s how we decided this event would be different….Actually, the Elect women’s ministry decided this, I just agreed.

First, (you might recall) it is important to understand that this was a  retreat and not a conference, which means these were the characteristics:

1.  It was small and intimate.  We limited the number of attendees to about 50.  We didn’t want to turn women away so the final number ended up closer to 80.  However, we wanted this event to be as intimate as it was special.  

2.  Everyone would stay in the same hotel.  At most church conferences, people usually stay at separate hotels and meet at the church for sessions.  We wanted ladies to stay in the same hotel to give the feel of a lock-in experience.   They walked through the sky bridge into the Cox Convention Center….but not the arena, a smaller room. 

3.  We would wrap activities around this part of OKC.  Instead of people driving miles away for dining, walking, or any other outdoor activity, we decided to do something in Bricktown.  These ladies had no reason to drive anywhere.  Most of them never left Bricktown once they checked in.

There’s much more to say about this event.  If you want to know more, I suggest you talk to one of the women who attended.  I attended as a musician/cleanup guy and I still can say it was an amazing retreat that these woman will never forget.

More Thoughts on Cambodia

I suppose I would have to say the thing that stood out to me the most while in Cambodia is how so much could be done with so little resources. 

Cambodia is a developing country; therefore, poverty is everywhere.  Try to imagine everything you buy (except for fuel and electronics) being 60-75% off every day.  My money went so far.  I could get a ride all the way across town for about $2 tip included.  Our girl eating at hope houseministry was able to outfit 22 orphans with 2 sets of clothes and shoes for less that $400.  Church of the Harvest has built two hope houses/community centers for a fraction of what it would cost in the states -so much for so little.

In the United States, we are so blessed with all we have.  Before you think: “Okay, here it comes…the guilt trip” let me say that’s not what this blog is about.  There is a reason why God has blessed our nation.  I believe God has blessed us because we have been “one nation under God”. 

The other reason I believe we are blessed is so we can be a blessing and make a difference in the lives of others.  I want to challenge you today.  Don’t feel guilty for the blessings God has given you.  Also, don’t take them for granted.  Instead, live a generous life and know that we are blessed to be a blessing and to make a difference to others here, and to other parts of the world.

How has your life been a blessing to others?  How has your life made a difference?

Things I Missed About Home

mission pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After two weeks in Cambodia, it’s good to be home.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time in Cambodia.  I enjoyed the people, the place, and the mission.  However, when I got home I noticed a few things that I really missed while I was gone.  Here is a small list.  Some of you may identify if you’ve ever spent some time in a foreign of third world country.

1.  My wife (okay, you know I’ve got to mention her; sorry to get mushy).  We’ve never been apart for two weeks.  I didn’t enjoy sleeping without her.  In fact, I hardly slept each night.  Ask the team -they’ve got stories but don’t believe all of them.

2.  Driving.  I didn’t drive once while I was there.  In our culture, it seems we cover a lot of territory every day in our vehicles.  Most people in Cambodia don’t drive vehicles; they drive mopeds and those little bikes are everywhere.  I actually got hit by one one day in a market.

3.  American food.  Imagine eating at a local Asian restaurant every day, three meals a day for two weeks.  That’s pretty much what we did.  We ate rice every day with some kind of dish.  I like Asian food but I was never so glad to eat a burger….and pizza…..and hot wings as I was when we got to the airport. 

4.  My rocking chair.  If you know me well, you will understand the gravity of what I’m writing next:  I didn’t sit in a rocking chair for the entire time in Cambodia!  I have two rocking recliners in my home just in case one breaks.  Every chair in my office rocks.  I’m not home unless I am rocking.  I know its weird, but I was born rocking and I always have.

5.  My guitar.  I can’t remember going that long without an electric guitar in my hands. 

6.  My church community.  Nobody does it like Faithco.  You guys rock! (not like I rock in a chair, but like “rock” …..never mind.)

7.  Variety and options.  In our American culture we have so many choices about everything we do every day.  Many times, all these options become nothing but noise to us that we try to drown out.  In Cambodia, it seemed that life was much simpler and choices for just about everything were much fewer.

There are a few other things I missed but they are probably more interesting to me than to you so I’ll stop there.

Even as I am now enjoying all the comforts and familiarity of home, I am still excited when I think about next year’s trip. Why? It took only moments into each day of the mission to realize just how important it was for me to be where I was.  Modern comforts and pleasures pale in view of such a cause of which I was involved. 

You see, when we grab hold of a Godly purpose that is greater than us, it grabs hold of us and will not let go.  Few things keep us from fulfilling it. 

I leave you with this question:  What Godly purpose is He trying to fulfill in your life that He cannot because of pleasures or comforts?

Now, I’m off to eat some Mexican food.

Thoughts of Cambodia

Its Saturday afternoon here in Phnom Penh.  I’ve been here almost 5 days.  This trip will be a pivital point in my life.  There is so much to be done here as far as ministry need.  It is apparent that this is a critical time for the church to get involved in Cambodia.  When David (www.davidgadberry.wordpress.com) and I spoke to Pastor Jesse of New Life Church here in Phnom Penh, we asked him where we would be the most help.  He looked at us and said  “Anywhere, there are needs on every street corner”. 

The next day, we went into an area called “the slums”, where the poorest of poor live.  Honestly, I had never seen anything like it, I stood in amazement while our team went to work washing children, administering medication, clippping fingernails, and anything else to help these kids.  As I stood there taking all this in, one of the local ministers tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Are you free?”  I shook my head to released my eyes from the blank stare of shock on my face.  “Follow me” he said.  He and I walked all the way to the end of the slums to the hut of an old woman.  He then looked at me and handed me a knife and said “Can you peal potato?” Now that I can do so I quickly responded “Yes, yes I can”.  For the next half hour, I pealed potatoes.  When we were done he walked over to me and said “Are you done?”  When I told him I was, he said to me again “Follow me.”  So I followed him to another part of the slums where we found an older lady pealing something that looked like a root.  So I sat down, and for the next 45 minutes, I helped another woman peal something.  I guess what I’m trying to say is someone had to walk over to me and wake me up from the shock of what I was seeing and put something in my hands to help someone in need. 

The need here is overwhelming.  It’s seems too big; however, I’ve learned not to focus on all that needs to be done. Instead, I have learned to simply help someone who is right in front of me.  I can’t focus on feeding or saving the world, this would be impossible for me to do, and I would feel hopeless.  Instead, I will do what is right in front of me…one person, one need at a time.