Skating + Chicken = Helping Needy Folks

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Hello friends and cool people! Thanks for taking a look at my blog.  I want to tell you about something cool that I’m partaking in this Friday night. Yes. This will go down in just 4 days!

See those legit orange and tan skates?  I will be skating around in circles throughout the entire night on Friday and Saturday to raise awareness for this free health clinic in Colorado Springs called the Dream Center.  It provides primary and gynecological care to women 18 to 64 who are uninsured.   Check this out– in the first 3 months of operation, the volunteers and director of this clinic have already saved lives, diagnosed cancer, treated all kinds of chronic and acute issues.  Most importantly, the Dream Center has provided health and hope to people who have often been marginalized.
Of course, we couldn’t do it without our neighborhood Chick-Fil-A!  This tasty chicken joint has partnered with the Dream Center to donate nearly $20,000 by sponsoring crazy events such as…the Skate-A-Thon.  This 2nd annual skate marathon promises to be equally epic as the first and will start at 10pm and last until 6am.  We will skate around the drive-thru in circles.  Yes. The drive-thru.  And every dollar bill that you contribute to my stellar-skating-in-circle-skills will go directly to the Dream Center.  That’s legit!

 

Knowing full well that you probably have some questions for me, I have compiled a short Q & A session.

Q: Matt, do you feel like an elementary schooler when you ask grown adults to sponsor you to roller skate around in circles? 

A: Yes

Q: Matt, how thankful are you for the work of the Dream Center directors and volunteers? 

A: Very thankful.  It’s great that our community has a place to bring woman that are down-and-out.  Those who need encouragement and tangible resources, not false promises.  Besides, this is a great stride towards placing responsibility of health care in the hands of the church where the individual can be valued and loved, in addition to medically treated.

Q: How can I sponsor this kind of insanity that involves skating around in circles during frigid, November nights for those in need?!  (Will you kindly sponsor me? Encouraged donations are $25, $50, or $100) 

A: https://dreamcenterscos.journeytools.com/general-donations/opportunities.aspx

The answer is yes.

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Good things do come to those who wait!  I know it’s a good idea in principle, but sometimes it can be the most difficult thing to exhibit.  For real.  Oh patience, you are so contradictory to this worldly way!  But somehow, you seem right.

When I came home from Australia, I assumed that I would continue on and find a career job within the first 2 weeks back.  How naive of me!  God seemed to highlight to me though, that this season of looking for my belonging might in fact take 6 months.  Thank you Joanne Blaik!  Joanne is the training coordinator at my YWAM base in Townsville, Australia.  You should go to Reef to Outback and meet Joanne and have breakfast with her.

Well, funny how the Lord works, I did in fact wait 6  months and 2 days.  I returned home to Colorado on March 20th, and then received the “welcome aboard” phone call to my first career engineering job on September 22nd.  It’s a celebration story now, but the season was dry.

Speaking of seasons, I thought this was good.  I’m not really a farmer, but here are the six principles that every farmer uses to harvest a delightful crop.  And see how they apply to our life…

  1. The soil is prepared.
  2. The seeds are sown.
  3. The seeds are watered.
  4. The weeds are pulled.
  5. WAIT.
  6. Harvest.

I think it’s interesting that steps 1-4, and 6, all take just a few days.  But the all-elusive step 5 can take a whole season!  Patience precedes the harvest.

Do good things come to those who are patient?

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I guess I will wait and see.

Why We Give.

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I can’t wrap my mind around giving.  It seems contrary to what I learned in school.  Shouldn’t I be saving my money?  Shouldn’t I be putting it away in a 401(k)?  Certainly these are good ideas, but I know there is a secret to giving.  Whether I give of my time, resources, or even my hard earned cash, somehow I know it’s the right thing to do.  People all around the world have learned this secret too!  Even Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, says that you have to learn the importance of giving otherwise you will never receive.  It seems even he has tapped into some truth.  So the real question is… Why should we give?  I think I know why.

The truth is that the church doesn’t actually need your money, and I know for certain that God doesn’t need it either.  He already owns the cattle on a thousand hills (and he owns the hills too!).  So what gives?  The truth is that God himself is actually a “giver” by his own nature. After all, He “gave” his only Son thus implying is giving attitude.  I believe that the actual, mechanical process of giving makes us more Christ-like.  That is why we give.

Unfortunately, it’s just not our nature to give!  Can I prove it to you?  If you believe in the stories of the Old Testament of Scripture, then check out Genesis 3.  I think this is the most bizarre chapter in the whole book, but that’s just me!  Think about it… Mankind is “walking in the cool of the garden” with God and there is no mention of suffering or death.  This is truly organic community.  But Eve was tempted to eat the fruit, and when she noticed “it was desirable for gaining wisdom, she TOOK some and ate it!”  See? There it is!  I think that’s the true nature of humanity, and it’s first revealed at our original sin.  Humans are TAKERS by nature.  Not GIVERS!

I know a handful of people in my life who are truly givers.  And I feel eternally grateful for these people who have believed in me and given to me.  And these people will be the first ones to tell you that they feel equally honored to give as I was to receive. So why not try it out?   Make a sandwich for someone, write someone a check for much-needed groceries, or maybe just give someone a hug!  If you need some other creative ideas, maybe ask Jason Phillips.  Once he just turned around to a random customer in line at Starbucks and said, “Hey can I buy your drink, too?”

Just in case your not convinced, consider his.  There is ONE mention in all of the Scripture in which God encourages us to challenge Him… and it’s about giving.  Think about that for a second!  Holy Father, the essence of which we cannot understand, Creator of earth and mankind, tells us to TEST him?!  Read it for yourself.  From Malachi 3:10 (The Message)  “Bring your full tithe…so there will be provision in my Temple.  TEST me in this and see if I will not open heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.”

With all that said, I am raising support for a missions trip and I was wondering if… okay just kidding!  Hopefully I provoked your mind.

Boundaries are good.

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Freedom is a good thing.  Anything that restricts freedom is a bad thing, at least from my perspective.  You agree?

I believe that much of the Scripture is designed to show us how to live in freedom in many aspects of our lives (spiritual freedom, financial freedom, etc.).  For example, Jesus tells his disciples to “come to me if you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I suppose Jesus really understood how we often entangle ourselves, and knew that we needed guidance to get free of our burdens.

The problem is that we often confuse burdens with boundaries!  In our quest for freedom, I think sometimes we throw away both of them and assume that a life without restrictions is a life of freedom.  I encourage you to think about this for a minute.

Imagine that you are a baby cow!  You are completely dependent your momma for water (not milk) and food.  Now suppose that you lived on a farm without a fence.  You get curious one day.  You drift away into the valley all alone.  You travel throughout the great expanse of prairie.  You continue on and on.  You feel as a free as a bird.  Nothing can stop you now, or so you think. Suddenly, the weather changes.  The storms clouds roll in and the farm is no where in sight.  At this moment you realize that you are LOST!

I believe that contrary to popular belief, boundaries actually promote freedom!  A fence would have helped baby cow from wandering off into the distance.  Therefore I suggest that we work to get free from burdens which only promote discouragement and weariness, and then install healthy boundaries, which promote…FREEDOM.  For example, I have stumbled upon a really good practical example: I made myself a budget.

My budget has allowed me to truly manage my money instead of my money managing me.  In theory, I will never make a guilty purchase again.  Now, whenever I consider buying something, I simply ask myself, “Is it in the budget?”  It is so simple, yet so freeing!  The personal budget is the perfect example of a healthy boundary.

Don’t be a wandering baby cow.  Get some good boundaries in place.  Live in freedom!

Tomorrow’s Top Six

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I just learned about a really interesting article from my good friend Stefan.  Want to hear about it?  Okay, fine.  I will tell you.

About 100 years ago, Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, wanted to increase the efficiency and time management of his company.  He approached a man named Ivy Lee, who is referred to in the article as a ‘well-known efficiency expert of the time.”  I don’t even know what that means.

Anyways, Lee promised to increase  the company’s efficiency – and sales – if he could spend just fifteen minutes with each of the executives.  The cost for the consultant work?  Nothing.  Lee told Schwab that he could pay him (if it worked) whatever he felt was fair.

Charles Schwab eventually paid Ivy Lee $25,000 (which nowadays is worth about $200,000!).  So what did Lee tell the executives?

“…At the end of each work day, write down the six most important goals you have for the next day, and rank them in order of value.  Then work on each goal until it is finished and don’t move on to the next one until it is accomplished.  If you don’t finish a task, then move it onto the next day’s list…”

That’s it. And apparently Schwab, after studying the results, felt the advice was worth twenty five grand…

So right now I’m writing this blog because it was on last night’s “Tomorrow’s Top Six”.  And if your wondering, also on the list today is go to River’s kindergarten graduation (my friend Jimmy’s adopted son from Africa), and also to have coffee with someone before the Mill.  Anyone got some free time?

Stand on your conviction.

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I used to like scary movies, but I’m changing these days.  I don’t like to waste two hours of my valuable time feeding my mind with some of the garbage on TV, or the lousy movies that promote fear.  I already despise video games, and so I almost gave up on the “tube” altogether (except ESPN which is the last good thing on TV).  But then I watched the movie Amazing Grace.

I have watched Amazing Grace twice in the last week, each time I felt inspired.  I’m realizing that it’s fun to watch movies when you walk away encouraged to make a difference.  And that’s exactly what this movie is about… A man named William Wilberforce who made a very big difference.

Wilberforce was a British politician and began his career as an independent member in Parliament in 1780.  But what really impresses me is that Wilberforce was strongly passionate about abolishing the slave trade.  He was a man of passion, and man of dedication, and a man of conviction.

As Wilberforce learned more about cruel world of slavery, he fought harder and harder!  For thirty years he battled stiff members of Parliament, the doubters, the popular majority, and even his failing health.  Oh how easy it is to side with popular opinion.  You see, slavery upheld the economy.  So to advocate against slavery is to advocate against the entire British Empire! “The popular majority” questioned Wilberforce’s devotion to the king.  They often called him a rebel.  But nothing could stop him, because he continued to stand on his conviction.

If you have seen the movie, or know a piece of history, you know that a major breakthrough happened later into his life.  With the Slave Trade Act of 1807, Wilberforce was able to strategically combat 80% of the slave trade, a major victory! I encourage you to watch the movie to learn about the loophole he found in the law books.  It’s incredible!  But then the final nail in the coffin happened another thirty six years later.  Wilberforce single-handedly abolished slavery in the British Empire altogether with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.

I absolutely love this scene in the movie.  He sits in the Parliament surround by hundreds of people who eventually rise for a standing ovation.  Clearly some of his strongest enemies were agitated at the result, but even they managed to stand in support of a man who relentlessly gave his whole for this cause.  It reminds me of Proverbs 16:7 – When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. Wilberforce, clearly exhausted with his health, just sits in his seat, tears begin to roll down his cheek.  HE SPENT HIS ENTIRE LIFE FOR THAT MOMENT.

Nice story right?  Well I did some research and found one last interesting fact that is not mentioned in the movie. Get this… William Wilberforce died exactly three days after the slave trade was finally abolished.  Are you kidding me!!?  Talk about a man who truly spent his life for others.  I am inspired.

Speaking of inspiration.  I would like to dedicate this first blog to Steph Anderson who has encouraged me to share my thoughts!