Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 90- A Driving First

Hannah Grace has asked me if she could drive lately. I've let her and Joel drive home from church while sitting on my lap at times (relax, it's like 150 yards).  Lately she's said she's too big for that (this is where you can silently weep copious tears of grief for me).  Today when I drove in the driveway from visiting some church folks Hannah Grace was riding her scooter in the driveway. I was thinking about a "first." So, for my "first" I gave Hannah Grace her first driving lesson.

She was far more excited about this than I was.  We did not drive on the road.  We drove from our house across a field to the church parking lot.  There she could drive around and even practice parking.  She did very well for her first try. I was surprised that she was as smooth with the gas and brake as she was.  I was very glad she was very cautioius and listened to my instructions carefully. It was a very exciting day for her. She kept saying how fun it was.  I managed a weak smile; happy for her but sad to see her growing up. 

First things first, let's make sure we look good! I did not have to tell her to do that.

Happy driver

Yay!! I'm driving!

Nice park Hannah Grace

For Hannah Grace to learn how to drive, she has to actually put her hands on the steering wheel, put the car in drive, and go.  I gave her some basic instructions before we started.  Put your foot on the brake before you put the car in gear.  Let off the brake very slowly.  Don't touch the accelerator until you feel comfortable with steering the car with just your foot off of the brake and not on the accelerator.  If you get scared, just mash the brake.  Those kinds of instructions seemed to be necessary to me.  You can learn some of this in a book and you can tell someone the basics of driving.  If you want to learn how, you have to get behind the wheel (preferably in a safe place) and drive.

I think this is the place many people miss it in the Christian life. It's not all just about learning from a book or a teaching. There is a place for that.  But to really learn how to follow Jesus, you have to get out there and follow.  If you want to learn how to pray, you need to kneel down and pray.  You can read a book on prayer and some of those are very helpful. You can listen to a sermon on prayer and that can be beneficial.  The best way to learn to pray is by praying. Praying with a mature Christian or two can be very advantageous.  If you want to learn to share your faith, you can learn some basic things from a book.  You can benefit from a sermon. You'll never really learn to share your faith until you talk to someone about Jesus. We learn by doing (as in what Jesus commanded) not simply listening.

Obeying for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. The biography of A.W. Tozer
2. Charlie Jones
3. Ricky Start (2 guys that help me to "do" the basics of following Jesus)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 89- A Cold Water Challenge- Part 2

So, a week or two back I jumped in a pool with cold water to raise awareness for clean drinking water in Africa.  I was happy about doing that and grateful that all my family did it.  Something has been bugging me about that challenge.  I've not been able to shake it for the last several days.  Here's the thing: me jumping into a pool of cold water doesn't help people get clean drinking water.  Since I did that I've had this nagging feeling that I've done something that seems like a good thing but actually is not much of a help.

Today, I donated money to help some friends of mine who are working to provide a clean drinking water well for a village that does not have one for my "first."  I've given money to their well instead of Christmas or birthday presents, but I've never (I write that regretfully) actually donated to their well.  Today I did.

Here's the thing: I know people who are doing this. They are saving money to put a drinking well in a village.  There are ample ways to provide clean drinking water. This has been on my mind since I jumped in the pool.  I need to actually do something about this problem.  Too often I get caught with good intentions without actually doing anything of real value.

How precious is water to those who don't have it

I'm glad Joel has some

God wants all children to have clean drinking water

I'm glad Hannah Grace has some

It is hard for me to imagine that Joel and/or Hannah Grace would be thirsty and not have any clean drinking water available. That's the truth for too many people. God loves them and they are just as precious to Him as my children.  It's hard to know how much we are responsible for providing for those who don't have what we have in terms of food and water.  Certainly, we are to do something. Then there are those who have not experienced the living water of Jesus.  I need to be about sharing Christ with them so they can have the deepest need (and thirst) of their life satisfied.

James 1:22 says, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves."  The NLT translation puts it this way, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."  I know how easy it is for me to listen to the Word and feel good about it and intend to do something with it.  Then, time goes on and I forget or other things come my way and I end up not doing anything. I deceive myself by thinking I've done something good when I've only thought about it.  This year of "firsts" is about helping me to quit having good intentions and actually do what God wants me to do. 

Seeking to live (not just intend to) the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Fingers
2. Sealing of the Holy Spirit
3. Hot showers

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day 88- A Captain Underpants First

I did not do a very good job of being intentional about today's first.  I had some office work to catch up on and I did a wedding this afternoon.  What ended up happening is that I had not done a "first" when the kids' bedtime rolled around.  They were asking me what I had done for my "first." This has been one of the cool things about doing a year of "firsts."  Hannah Grace and Joel are pretty into it.  When I said I needed one, Joel spoke up and said, "Why don't you read one of my Captain Underpants books. They are pretty good."  Not having anything else really good in mind, I said yes.  I read a Captain Underpants book for my "first."

I was thinking this was like a 25 page book. Joel said he would pick out a good one and brings back a book that is about 300 pages long.  Really???  RATS!  Did I mention it was their bedtime when I get this idea.  Not one to give up easily, I pushed ahead and read the entire book.

My idea man

Not a spoiler, but you get the drift


Much of it is what you would expect from a 9 year old's book.  There are plenty of explosions and fights.  The principal of the school is not cast in a very good light. The villain's name is Tippy Tinkletrousers. At one point, some talking toilets were after Captain Underpants, but our friends George and Harold (kindergarten boys) saved the day by killing the talking toilets by throwing cafeteria food in them.  You get the idea.  Pretty funny stuff if you are 9.

The main them of this Captain Underpants book (that's a sentence fragment I really thought I'd never write) is that the bullies of the school (they steal lunch money and give wedgies) are outwitted by some smart kindergartners; i.e. Harold and George.  They use their brains against the bullies brawn. I'll not give away the exciting (and slightly disconcertingly dark) ending because I know many of you will be rushing out to read Captain Underpants.

Can you find a spiritual message in Captain Underpants? Oh yes, you can.  The message is that the poor kindergartners needed a deliverer. The bullies were too strong and too mean to overcome.  They were being bullied and having their lunch money stolen; not to mention the indignity of wedgies.  If not for Harold and George, their school days would have been very miserable.  However, they were rescued.

We all need a rescuer. Sin and Satan love to bully us around.  1 Peter 5:8  says, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  You do not have to be devoured.  A Savior has come.  Your deliverer has arrived.  Cling to Him. Call out to Him.  Don't fight your battles in your own strength.

Happy for the abundant life in Jesus

3 things I thank God for today
1. Jesus is my deliverer
2. Toes
3. Helpful people

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 87- A Local Restaurant First

Several years ago people started telling me there was a local restaurant here in Alabama that served crawfish.  Knowing I was from Louisiana, they thought I'd be excited about this information.  I was but it was a subdued excitement. The times I've eaten crawfish at a restaurant away from Louisiana have usually been fairly disappointing.

Last night, some very sweet friends called and invited us to go eat crawfish at this restaurant tonight.  So, we excitedly agreed. I ate crawfish at a local restaurant for my "first" today.

This was a "first" that I was excited about doing. Even if the crawfish bombed, I knew this place had a reputation for really good steak and seafood.  The whole family was pretty excited about a night out to eat with dear friends.  To make the day a really fun day, we went to the movies before supper.  Laura and the kids watched the movie about the Muppets and I watched "God's Not Dead."  The kids are on spring break this week and this was a family day for us.

Laura and Phyllis enjoying each other

I made a happy plate; also means a happy Barry

Wow, I just thought I made a happy plate; way to Laura! I do confess to having ordered more than she did.

Joel wiped out some shrimp.

The crawfish turned out to be really good.  The spices were just about right (according to me).  Some people don't put enough spices in; it takes a good bit to soak through the shells and get to the crawfish.  Another mistake is to make them hot but not tasty. These were really good.  Joel enjoyed some fried shrimp.  He was delighted and relieved.  He was afraid he would have to eat off a kids menu and he loves fried shrimp and can easily eat a whole order. And he did.  Hannah Grace had some delicious (according to her) cheese sticks and french fries. She is a gal that knows cheese sticks. I should have come here before now!

It was a delightful evening.  Great food with dear friends enjoying uplifting conversation; that's just a good evening.  It is one of those evenings that you hate to see come to an end. You can only eat so many crawfish (for me it's a good bit) and then you do need to go to bed before daylight. I've heard people say that all good things must come to an end.  That's not true.  God promises that many good things last forever.  Family and friends that we have in Jesus last forever.  We never lose them. Even when a loved one dies that knows Jesus, we really haven't lost them. We know exactly where they are; with Jesus.  In heaven, conversations can last for as long as needed. I think even seafood lasts forever.  The Bible says that Jesus ate fish in his resurrected body. To me, that's a least a hint that we'll eat seafood in heaven.  Have  you ever been just sort of lost in worship.  Do you remember a time when you were singing or praying or hearing God's word and God's presence was just so real you did not want that time to end?  We have eternity to worship God is a way that is even more real than that. The best down here is by faith while up there it will be by sight.  Other precious gifts like joy, love, peace, and kindness are things that last forever. The reason is that God lasts forever and all of those things are found in Him.  When you have a day or an evening that is so good that you want it to last longer than it does, let that point you to a day that the good things really will last forever and glorify God for that.  He is source of all truly good times.

Enjoying a taste of the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Great tasting crawfish in Alabama
2. The Walters
3. Joel's sense of humor (he's been on a roll today)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 86- A Disney Character First

It's been a slow day for a "first" for me today.  I took a video and uploaded to FB of Laura and Hannah Grace doing the "cold water" challenge to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water in Africa.  That's probably a "first" but not really.  So, I decided to take one of those stupid quizzes on FB (how do you really feel about them Barry?) for a "first."

The first one I decided to take was "What Hollywood Celebrity is my Twin?"  That sounds kind of fun. It was not. OK, those questions were ridiculous.  I had to quit when I got to the question that asked me which member of some boy band I liked the best. Really??? I did not even know it was some band until Hannah Grace told me.  So, I switched and took one on which Disney character I was most like. Laura and the kids thought that would be fun. So, I took a "What Disney character are you like" quiz for my "first" today.

I take the test.  It is really pretty stupid as well. Now, in the middle of all of this the Internet goes out at our house so this is not being a lot of fun. The questions don't really have any answers that fit me.  Maybe I'm not much of a Disney character.  After moving through the maze of silliness, I finally get my results. I was really kind of hoping for Pluto.  I got Mickey Mouse.

OK, I need to come clean here. I got Mickey Mouse on the second quiz.  When I took the first quiz, I actually got Minnie Mouse.  Really??? Is this quiz thing out to humiliate me or something?  So, I went to a different site and took a different quiz and that is where I got Mickey Mouse.  This "first" was turning out to not be so much fun.

I just don't see the resemblance

I'm glad my identity is not determined by a Disney quiz.  My identity is determined by God and who He says I am in Christ. Several years ago I read a book by Neil Anderson and in the book he took what the Bible said about who we are in Christ. These statements are for the born-again Christian.  Here are few:
I am God’s Child. (John 1:12)
I have been justified. (Romans 5:1)
I am united with the Lord and one spirit with Him. (1 Cor 6:17)
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. (Col 1 13-14)
I have been bought with a price; I belong to God. (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a member of Christ’s body. (1 Cor 12:27)
I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. (Eph 1:3-8)
I am complete in Christ. (Col 2:9-10)
I have direct access to the throne of grace. (Heb 4:14-16)
I know that God is working all things together for my good. (Rom 8:28)
I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Rom 8:31-39)
I am confident that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Phil 1:6)
I am a citizen of Heaven. (Phil 3:20)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.      (2Tim 1:7)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18)
I am the salt of the earth and light of the world. (Mat 5:13-14)
I am a branch of the True Vine, and a channel of His life. (John 15:5)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear much fruit. (John 15:16)
I am God’s temple. (1Cor 3:16)
I am God’s co-worker. (1Cor 5:20)
I am God’s workmanship. (Eph 2:10)
I am a minister of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I am a saint, a holy one. (Eph 2:19)
I am an ambassador for Christ. (2 Cor 5:20)

Now, that is much better. That is not make believe either; that is Bible truth about who God says the true believer in Christ is. Hallelujah!!

Happy for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Every member of my family took the cold water challenge to raise awareness for clean drinking water in Africa
2. Pluto
3. Who God says I am in Christ

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 85- An Energy First

This morning I was in Pensacola to pray with a church member having surgery. Surgery went well I am happy to report.  Afterwards, I went to a bookstore to work on some thoughts for church tonight.  I spent a delightful time studying God's word and even had a few minutes to peruse some books.  I started home in the afternoon and was feeling a bit droopy.  I usually get a latte to drink on the way home, but this being a year of "firsts" I decided to do something different.  But, what to do?  I went to get some gas and decided I would get me one of those energy drinks. I've wondered about those and been hesitant to drink them. They just seem and sound a bit unhealthy. I drank an energy drink for my "first" today.

The weird thing is that most of the people I see drinking these drinks are young people (teens and twenties) and they are sitting around talking.  If they need energy at that age to sit around and talk they are in trouble come middle age. It seems that this would be something my Dad would have needed when he was plowing a mule years ago.  We need energy to sit around a coffee shop???  Give me a break.

Yet, I thought I would try it out.  I went to the drink case and there are a lot of energy drinks.  Wow, how do you choose between bulls, amps, and monsters?  Then you have sugar free and tons of sugar to choose from.  There was even a camouflage one.  I don't need energy to sit in a deer stand.  I need something to relax me so I don't move around.

I decide if I'm going to go, let's go big.  I first thought the green monster energy drink was the one to go with for a "first."  I was reminded of the Incredible Hulk.  The visual was kind of cool.  Then, I saw where the orange can monster energy drink actually had fruit juices and B vitamins.  At least there is a pretense of something healthy here if not something actually healthy.  I bought a can and headed home.  The taste was OK.  It was better than I feared.  It actually has a better aftertaste than the latte would have had.  I was not actually overwhelmed with energy. I did not feel like getting out and pushing the car home.  Honestly, I did perk up a bit.  I started listening to a podcast and was able to listen to it most of the way home before I started getting droopy again. The fear I had was that I would crash when the energy ran out.  I really didn't.  It may have helped that we ate supper and went to church shortly after I came home.

Me before energy drink

Me after energy drink

Here's what I'm left thinking tonight.  There are probably healthier ways to boost my energy.  I did see some bananas at the store and eating one of those with water might have been a better alternative.  Of course, there is no substitute for getting the proper amount of sleep.  Studies are showing more and more that the lack of proper sleep can be a major factor in the loss of cognitive functions.  Exercising is also a good way to boost energy.  At least, that's what I'm told. It makes me tired.

I've also found that doing something faith stretching or loving will wake me up.  Calling someone and offering to pray for them gives me a jolt.  Sending someone a Bible verse in a text can pick me up.  Thinking up something to do to surprise my family can get my motor running again. At the daily level, my motivation for the day needs to come from God's love.  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died."  That should be energizing. When I realize that I'm deeply loved by Almighty God and have the glorious privilege of offering His love to others, I'm energized.  So, I'm not too sure about the energy drinks, especially for those under 15. My kids don't sleep well enough at night to get near one.  I am positive that experiencing God's love and seeing others experiencing God's love is energizing!!

Energized for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. I am not in hell
2. The privilege of offering God's love to others

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 84- A Card First

Joel and I were hanging out at the house together this evening. Laura had gone to exercise class and Hannah Grace was playing with a couple of her sweet friends.  Joel asked me if I wanted to play "Go Fish" with him.  I said sure and he went and got the Go fish cards. I have not seen Go Fish cards like the ones he had. They actually had pictures of fish on them. Instead of asking, "Do you have any 3's?" you ask, "Do you have any sharks?" Now, I know I've played Go Fish before and I've probably played with Joel and Hannah Grace. So, this may be a bit of a stretch for a "first." Today, I played Go Fish with Joel by himself with some unique cards for my "first."

It was fun.  We probably played 20 hands or so.  Joel hit a winning streak and demolished me for several hands in a row and started gloating (in a friendly way; we have a no gloating rule at our house) a bit.  Wouldn't you know I demolished him the next several hands.  The good thing about this is that we also have a no wagering rule at our house so nobody lost money. 
 Joel studying his next move carefully

Pretty cool face cards; sorry, uhh.. body cards, fish cards, animal cards?

Poker face; I mean Go Fish face

After a while, Joel started humming a song so I pulled it up on Youtube and played it.  Joel didn't like it so much on Youtube and asked if he could make a song selection.  I said sure and he typed in a song and played it.  He chose "God's Not Dead."  Now, it's a pretty good evening when you are playing Go Fish and jamming to "God's Not Dead" with your 9 year old son.  There is something pretty cool about that.

While we were playing, Joel said, "I like playing with you, Daddy."  I said, "I like you playing with you, Joel."  That's one of those moment that money or MasterCard can't buy.  Go Fish is honestly not my favorite game.  It's was really fun today.  You take Go Fish and throw in "God's Not Dead" chosen by your son and then mix in a "I like playing with you, Daddy" and that's a recipe for fun.

It's a good reminder that life is not always about what you are doing but who you are with at the moment. If we can remember to be "in the moment" with that person, most activities become much more meaningful. I may not love Go Fish (though it is pretty fun), but I love bonding with Joel. Of course, Jesus is the best person to be aware of in any moment.  As I have reflected on Joel's comment, I wonder if Jesus would say, "I've enjoyed my day with you."  That's the best reflection we can have on any day. Think about enjoying your day with Jesus.  More importantly, make sure He enjoys the day with you. It's more about the relationship than what you are doing.

Enjoying the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Go Fish with Joel
2. An old book titled  "The 3-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit" by James McConkey
3. The communion of the Holy Spirit

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 83- A Birthday First

Happy Birthday to me!  That's right, today is my birthday. My sweet family was really thoughtful to me today.  I received cards in the mail, presents, hugs, kisses, and a birthday cookie with ice cream.  That's a pretty good birthday in my book. 

Birthday loot

Shrimp fettuccine for my birthday meal per request (I was asked to make a request)

Happy me

What a great gift from my thoughtful family

Yum yum (and no, I was not finished; just pausing for a picture for the blog)

Birthdays are fun if you can't forget the fact that you are a year older. Truthfully, I should be excited that I'm a day closer to seeing Jesus face to face, but honestly turning a year older is not a lot of fun to me.  It is a time to thank God for the years He has given me.  It's also a good time to assess whether I'm using my time as God would have me to use it.  I can't save time.  I can either spend it wastefully or invest it wisely.  Birthdays are good occasions to think and pray about that.

Birthdays are also a good time to receive gifts.  I'm hoping to use some of my birthday money to go deep-sea fishing. That's one of the "firsts" I want to do this year.  Laura suggested today that I might want to give a gift to someone on my birthday for a "first."  My first words were, "But I want to get something."  She said I could get something and still give a gift.  So, I gave a gift for my birthday "first" today.

As I thought about it, I decided to give a gift to persecuted Christians. My heart is troubled by the fact that many Christians are martyred every year.  Many pastor's families are without their daddies and husbands because they have been killed for their faith.  So, I made a small donation to "The Voice of the Martyrs" to be used where they need it most.  They do the best job of any organization that I'm familiar with in helping persecuted Christians around the world. If you are interested, you can visit their website at

The cookie cake and chocolate chip ice cream were really good. I think the gift to persecuted Christians will matter a lot more in eternity.

Giving for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Another birthday
2. Family birthday pictures
3. Chocolate chip cookie cakes with icing

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 82- A Sunday School First

Today is Sunday; church day for us. I was going to my Bible Study class when I saw an opportunity for a "first." I teach the young adults (roughly 18-35 years old).  Our class is at the end of the hall. So I stick my head in each class and say hey on my way to my class.  When I stuck my head in the kindergarten class, they were coloring a picture of the world. It's been a long time since I've colored in Sunday School. Today, I colored in Sunday School for my "first."

The kids were very accepting of me coming in to color.  I found out there were some pretty good colorers (sp.?) in there.  So, I had to concentrate and do my best to hang with these guys.  As we were coloring the world, I told the kids I knew a Bible verse about the world.  So, I started sharing John 3:16 with them.  When I did, a young girl named Saranel said, "I know that verse."  So, I stopped and asked her to say it and she did a great job.  Then I asked if anyone else knew it and a young man named Jackson raised his hand. So, I asked him to say it and he said it word perfect. I asked them if they knew what it meant that God loved the world and Cade spoke up and said it meant that God loved all the people of the world.  I was having some fun with my new class!

SS class hard at work

Saranel laying some John 3:16 on us

Fun times with the kiddos

Pretty awesome coloring happening here

I think mine's pretty good

I ran out of blue and so part of my ocean was green.  You can tell we are pretty proud of our work. I asked Jackson if mine drawing was better or someone else's. He said they were the same.  That's a kind boy! Well, it was getting into the lesson time and I had to go teach my class and let Mrs. Rhonda teach hers.  I am very grateful for people who spend their time teaching children about Jesus.  I know that our children teachers love Jesus and love the children.  They are about planting God's word in the hearts of our little ones.  We don't need to get too busy or too important to spend time with the kiddos.  Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. If He does, then we should, too.  Jesus said in Luke 18:17, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”  It sounds like we have some pretty powerful lessons to learn from children. Certainly, we should be teaching them, but we also need to learn from them.  Maybe this week, you can take some time and some colors and have some fun with the little ones.  If you watch, you might just learn something about your relationship with God. 

Looking for some childlike qualities to the abundant life,

3 things I thank God for today
1. People who teach children in Bible Study
2. A holiness plaque I received as a gift from a teenager that related to my sermon this morning
3. God's holiness

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 81- A Shootin' It Down First

Today was one of those days that I had no idea for a "first." I'm walking outside about 6:00 this evening and wondering what I will do for a "first."  I'm looking up at the pine trees and I start wondering if I could shoot one of those pine cones down with my rifle. Aha!! There's a "first." I attempted to shoot pine cones down with my .22 rifle for my "first."

I probably did this as a kid.  I'm sure it's been longer than 20 years.  It's one of those things that sounds like fun but I probably would not have taken the time to actually do it if I was not doing a year of "firsts."  Since I needed a "first" it was a perfect time to have a little fun.  Joel was pretty excited about it as well. Laura and Hannah Grace got home from their retreat just about the time I was getting my rifle out.

So, I had my Duck Dynasty cap on and my warrior spirit.  I'm out for pine cones.  It's been a year or two since I shot my rifle and I was not sure if the scope was still on. It was the last time I shot it. Of course, with Joel, Hannah Grace, and Laura watching I did want to be successful.  In fact, I was already planning on what else I could shoot if I could not get a pine cone down (coke can, paper target, road signs). I shoot and I get a pine cone down on the 2nd or 3rd shot.  Yea! It was pretty funny when Laura, Hannah Grace, and Joel cheered.  I think I even heard a road sign cheer. Of course, I can't leave it alone at that point and keep shooting.  It turned out more successful than I thought.  This was pretty fun!

You can see where the bullet cut the cone from the tree

Anybody know a good pine cone recipe?

My evening turned out more fun that it would have if I had not been doing a "first."  This is one reason why I've decided to do this experiment this year. After I was done shooting, I was thinking about how that if you want to hit something, you have to aim at it.  It reminded me of something that I read that Dallas Willard wrote.  He wrote something along the lines of "people are not growing to be more like Jesus because they simply don’t intend to.  They are not waking up in the morning and saying one of my goals today is to be more like Jesus than I was yesterday or last week."  That has stuck in my mind for several years. Is becoming more like Jesus on the forefront of our minds?  Is this one of the goals of our lives?  How can we hit it if we are not aiming at it?

This is one of God's major goals for my life.  He wants me to be like Jesus.  He's about making me holy. This will require obedience, a willingness to be different, and the belief that becoming like Jesus is worth it. Without those things (at least), I will never grow much in holiness.  Hopefully you'll go to church tomorrow.  When you do, don't forget to ask, "How is this making me more like Jesus?"  Or, "How do I respond to God today so that I can be more like Jesus?" Since God is about making me holy, if I am not moving that direction I will be working against God.  That does not sound like a good idea.  Aim high!

Aiming for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Hannah Grace and Laura had a great time at the Mother/Daughter retreat
2. The Holy Spirit is working to make me holy
3. My rifle

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 80- A Cold Water Challenge First

There are some people in Andalusia trying to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water in Africa.  What a great thing to raise awareness for.  One way they are doing this is to challenge people via Facebook to jump in a swimming pool with cold water in it.  That's virtually all pools this time of year. I was challenged by Kim Turman, a sweet sister in the Lord, to do this.  So, for my "first" today, I jumped into a swimming pool of cold water to help raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water in Africa.

As I was talking about this with Joel, he thought he might want to do it as well.  The deal is you get someone to video you and post it on FB. The video is of you explaining what you are doing and then you challenge someone else. This is how awareness is raised.  So, Joel was all about jumping in but the talking on the video was a bit outside his comfort zone. I challenged Joel and Kelsi Scruggs.  When we got there, Joel overcome his shyness and did it. I was very proud of him.  You can see our videos on my FB page.

I can still back out at this point

Joel getting ready to take the challenge with a wet Daddy in the background

He did it!!

Well, the water was cold. You might call it "very refreshing."  What I said on my video was since Jesus gave me living water, I can sure raise awareness for clean drinking water for those in Africa.  The need for clean drinking water is huge.  Many preventable deaths occurs every year and many of these can be traced to bad drinking water.  A person just can't live long without water.  In today's world, we can provide that for people all over the world. Our church has provided clean water for a church and orphanage in Uganda and a water filtration system for an orphanage and church in Haiti.  I have a friend and he and his family are in the process of providing for a well.  They have been asking people to give money to their well instead of giving them birthday and Christmas presents for the past few years.  They have been doing this for a while and are getting really close to having enough to build the well. I know of some friends who are bonding together to provide a well for a village. What a great investment!  It's a very cool thing to know that your family has provided clean water for a village somewhere.

It is a good reminder that Jesus gives to us so that we can give to others.  There really is great joy in giving.  Jesus is right (He always is) when He said it is more blessed to give than to receive.  Even when you get a shot of cold water in the process. I trust the cold water wakes me up to more possibilities for giving.

Realizing that giving is essential for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for
1. People that give money to provide clean water wells to those who need them
2. Joel being brave to do the cold water challenge
3. Laura and Hannah Grace going to a Mother/Daughter weekend at Camp Victory