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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

do you have an agenda?

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agenda-1
The other day I was writing and was thinking about a book that changed my life.
One of the first books that came to mind was FEEL by Matthew Elliott. It’s an incredible read that challenges a lot of the beliefs pushed by church’s that have mentored and helped develop my faith.
However, looking deeper I remember a book that not only challenged me and pushed me, but I remember in that book there was one page that completely transformed me as a person, a christian, a sinner, etc.

If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody.

And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the “un” and “non”, they work against Jesus’ teachings and how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, “God shows no favortism.” So we don’t either.

Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationship in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it? It’s something else. We have to rediscover love, period. Love that loves because it is what Jesus teaches us to do. We have to surrender our agendas. Because some people aren’t going to become Christians like us no mater how hard we push. They just aren’t. And at some point we have to commit them to God, trusting that God loves them more than we ever could. I obviously love to talk to people about Jesus and my faith. I’ll take every opportunity I can get. But I have learned that when I toss out my agenda and simply love as Jesus teaches me to, I often end up learning more about God then I could have imagined.

Wow.
Powerful stuff.
That is page 167 in the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell.
It completely changed the way I lived as a missionary in my every day life.
The line that really did it for me was this one:

when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love

So simple, yet every-time I read it, it’s just as gut-wrenching as the first time.
This line still finds ways to run through my head at least a hand full times daily.
In 2009 I hope to not suck so bad.
To put away my agenda even more-so than I did in 2008, and push to be more like Jesus.
To quit being superficial and arrogant to what I want for everyone, and just love them with the core definition of love defined in 1John; “God is Love”.
Just a little bit of that in 2009 and everyone will benefit.

It’s just too bad I’ll still suck.

Written by vagabondrunn

January 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Interpression Ministries

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sticker

In late November God blessed me with the vision for Interpression Ministries.
While nothing too much publicly has taken place since the initial launch, lots has been going on behind the scenes.
I am looking forward to unveiling the mission for 2009 in the upcoming weeks on the Interpression Blog.
If this is your initial opportunity to hear about Interpression Ministries, I encourage you to take the time to check out the Interpression Blog to learn more:

interpression

If you have any questions, concerns, or idea’s please feel free to contact me via email. You can find all contact information in the contact section of the Interpression Blog.

Any thoughts?

Written by vagabondrunn

December 31, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Hope

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I found this article on ESPN.com.
Please, take the time to read it, you’ll be happy you did.

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team’s fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, “Go Tornadoes!” Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

“I WOULDN’T EXPECT ANOTHER PARENT TO TELL SOMEBODY TO HIT THEIR KIDS. BUT THEY WANTED US TO!”
It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

“I never in my life thought I’d hear people cheering for us to hit their kids,” recalls Gainesville’s QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. “I wouldn’t expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!”

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he’d just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That’s because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith’s head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. “Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan’s office and asked, “Coach, why are we doing this?”

And Hogan said, “Imagine if you didn’t have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you.”

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

“I thought maybe they were confused,” said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). “They started yelling ‘DEE-fense!’ when their team had the ball. I said, ‘What? Why they cheerin’ for us?'”

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. “We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games,” says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!”

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game’s last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that’s when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. “We had no idea what the kid was going to say,” remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: “Lord, I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to say thank You, but I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.”

And it was a good thing everybody’s heads were bowed because they might’ve seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they’d never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it’s nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.

Hope.

Thoughts/Expressions??

Written by vagabondrunn

December 25, 2008 at 1:07 am

Posted in Beauty, Hope, Life, Love

2008 Review in Photos

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Wow.
I really have no clue where to begin.
2008 brought so many ups and downs that just the thought of going through and rehashing all of it freaks me out.
Regardless, 2008 was amazing for many reasons, and one in particular.

Thankful fors in 2008 in no particular order:
(clicking each photo will enable you to leave a comment and to enlarge a specific photo)

There are many more photo’s I could place up there; blog party, etc. However I have limited space and time.
Perhaps if I feel it, I’ll do a 2008 in Review part II.
I will say this, Twitpic made this a whole lot easier.

Anyhow….
I truly never will forget 2008.
Each memory will be tattooed on mind and heart forever.
From the moment of 01/01/08, to the moment of all the tears I cried, to the moment I first laid my lips on Allison’s, to the moments soon awaiting me in the next few days.
2008 will be a defining moment of my life to come.

I could truly never be more blessed.

Here’s to 2009!

One Reason…

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…(out of many)I look forward to being a father.

Allison and I made a trip to Georgia just over a month ago.
While we were there we were blessed to have the Nahrstadt family open up their home to us.
We could have politely said no, with my aunt living so close.
However, we looked at the opportunity to meet new people and to sleep on beds that we were not kicking anyone out of, and took them up on it.
Jenn was an incredible host who fed us homemade brownies.(for that reason alone i’d go back)
Jenn’s husband Bob shared many of the same nerd qualities that I do, which was refreshing.
Then there was this boy, Jenn’s son Michael, who was hilarious.
At first he was quiet and shy.
I’m sure he was wondering who we were and why the heck we were stayig at his house…I know I would have been.
However, him and I ended playing some Guitar Hero(see the results HERE), and sort of bonded a little bit.
Before we left, I wanted to get a picture of Michael and I together, and so did Jenn.
Well…this is what happened:
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It ended up turning into a wrestling brawl…in which he was pretty confident that I could not take him down or make him take this picture.
While Michael put up a good fight…it just wasn’t enough to back up his certainty

Anyhow, during that moment I had flashforward of being a father.
I’m scared to death of being a father to be honest.
I see the things kids are doing, how they’re acting, and just the danger in the world, and it scares the heck out of me.
Honestly though, there is absolutely nothing more that I look forward to in my life, then being able to hold my son/daughter and call them mine.

What do you look forward to the most?

Written by vagabondrunn

December 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Posted in About Me, Community, Humor, Life

Hidden Photo’s & Snow

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Today I decided to take some pictures of the snow to post on here for my southern friends.
My Digital Elph’s screen is cracked on the back, so any photo I, or anyone else, take cannot be seen until uploaded.
While I was uploading, I was surprised with some random photo’s.
First, here are the photo’s of the snow for you southern’s that I miss:
snow-007
snow-008
snow-009
The snow is coming slowly, but steadily.
Who knows what the ground/road’s in the morning will be like.

Okay, now for the random photos:
snow-001
snow-002
snow-006
I’m not quite sure when Evan got a hold of my camera.
I also don’t know whether my house is so boring that he takes random photo’s of himself that he will never see, or if it means that his attention span is extremely limited.
Regardless…I love this kid.

What do you do on a cold snowy day??

Written by vagabondrunn

December 6, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Beauty, God, Life

A, “we truly suck”, CHALLENGE…

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“You are not here merely to make a living…You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.”

-Woodrow Wilson

Too often we get so caught up in doing things for ourselves.
We get a job with good pay. We pay our bills. We purchase tickets for a game. We take family vacations. We go through the local fast food joint daily. We throw old books out just to buy new ones.
We do these things because we enjoy them. Because we have learned that an “American” family does these things. The average American family throws out their old shoes when they buy new ones. I mean, who really wants old shoes, right?
Don’t get me wrong, we have to pay our bills, and feed ourselves and our kids. Sure, sometimes the latest electronics will help us accomplish more of “our” goals.
But really, why are we truly doing these thing? For the status? Is it really for the need and for the good of God’s Kingdom? Or is it more for our own selves?
How much more are we truly capable of doing, yet sit on our hands and not do?
How much more are we expected to be doing?
While we are spending our money on new computers, iPhones, HD tv’s, cars, books, our 10th pair of shoes, another shirt from another high end store, there are many people who are struggling to feed themselves and their children. There are people who have no car, no house, can’t read because they can’t afford the cost of schooling. There are people who need treatment, whether it’s medical, emotional, or spiritual, and cannot afford it.
What are our responsibilities to them?
Don’t take this as one of those blogs postings where I’m calling everyone out, minus me.
No, take this as me calling EVERYONE out, including, and especially, me.
I’m tired of wanting more, when I have more.
I’m tired of always just praying for my needs, when God has more than blessed my needs.
I desire so much more.
He desire’s so much more.
It can start with simply praying on behalf for those who are hurting or less off. However it cannot stop there. If we intercede for those who hurt, for those who are struggling, yet do nothing in our actions to help those, then we are simply doing nothing at all, but recognizing the issue.
The issue has already been recognized for years by many christians who have the ability to solve these issues, yet the issues continue to be present.
The true change will start when we REACT in a physical manner towards these happenings
It’s time we start to take a stand for the true injustice’s happening by ourselves.
We are the CAUSE, and it’s time we finally stop saying, and start doing.
It’s time for us to not be the cause, but to finally stary being part of the cure.

How can/will you start being part of the cure?

Below is a list of organizations that you can either donate to, or get involved with, that have dedicated themselves to making a difference. By partnering with them financially, or just actively engaging in what they have going on, you can make a difference.

50,000 Shoes in 50 Days
Toms Shoes
Compassion International
Interpression Ministries
(Red) Campaign
TWLOHA
Mercy Ministries
Soles4Souls

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Written by vagabondrunn

December 1, 2008 at 7:21 pm