Raising Minimum Wage Equals more Computers

So, I have to vent for a minute. As the conversation of raising the minimum wage  continues business men and women have been responding. It has been happening for years. Individuals who own and run this country are smart. They know that if they are going to continue to make a profit things have to change.

So they change has come and continues to come. Instead of hiring more workers at $10.00 business pay thousands of dollars for a few computers and let workers go. Tonight me and four other customers checked ourselves out at Home Depot. No “normal” cashiers were present. One employees stood at her computer and made sure we knew what we were doing.

Fast food and other companies are following behind. Sheetz, Wawa and others have lead the way by getting us to place our order via computer. Smart phones can now order at many restaurants. Some times I order my own drink at Starbucks via my phone.

Are you aware that computer operated Tractor Trailer Trucks are already replacing truck drivers? Truck Drivers make more than minimum wage! Raising minimum wage sounds like a great idea, but the reality is business men and women will push back. They will find a way to make a profit and when they can no longer do that, they will walk away. Potential Employees lose by raising minimum wage.

If we want to increase jobs and wages give Employers a reason to hire new people and pay them well. Employers will pay for good employees.

RANT DONE!

Days are flying by

Four kids, busy job and the days sure do fly by. It is hard to believe that another weekend is upon us. It is hard to believe that it is getting dark before 7:30 PM. Before we know it winter will be upon us and we will be locked inside our homes all night.

The days are flying by. My oldest son will be turing 8 in January. My youngest, a beautiful little girl, will be two in November. It is so hard to believe how fast the days are going.

So my biggest wrestle continues to be how am I to live out my calling as a Pastor. How should I spend the days that are flying by? Most weeks I work 50+ hours.

Last night I had the opportunity to be in a room full of Pastors. It was a blessing. My wife encouraged me to go. The opportunity was before me, it  made sense so I went. I think the same is becoming true of other situations. I am learning to pay attention to my calling and what God lays on my heart. It is not about what I do, but who I am. I am a pastor and I want to live into my calling.

The days are flying by, so I encourage you to discover who you are called to be, and learn to live into it. It’s not easy, but I cant think of a better way to spend my tim

It is what it is, so embrace it, and allow God to use it!

Today I had the privilege to connect with my Spiritual Director at the Kavanna House. As we talked about my faith and life something occurred to me. I’m learning to BE who God has created me to be.  I’m learning to BE ok with life as it happens.

A common phrase I hear in my construction world is “it is what it is.”  At first I wasn’t a fan of this phrase, but I have learned to embrace it. The world of construction is tough. Every day there are challenges to overcome. I used to get so frustrated at mistakes and challenges, but I am slowly learning to accept them-  “it is what it is-” I can’t change my current reality but I can decide where to go from here.

With that said I am learning to embrace what is. Embrace the moment. Embrace the opportunity. Embrace reality. Embrace the feelings present in that reality. More importantly I am learning that God is with us in the midst of what is. As a follower of Jesus I am never alone. I never have to worry or fear. I can trust that my God can give me wisdom and direction no matter what I am facing. He can bring peace in the midst of the storms of life. He can take broken things and make them beautiful. He is a craftsman and He is always working. The crazy, amazing thing is I can join God in midst of each and every circumstance.

As I learn to BE who He has created me to BE I am set free to live. I am free to live life moment by moment, circumstance by circumstance, and in the midst of it all I can embrace what He wants to do. I can trust Him to lead, guide and direct me. I have the opportunity to be like Christ.

So may tomorrow be a day that I face each and every circumstance fully aware of who I am. May tomorrow be a day that I embrace each circumstance  and surrender it to God. May I notice what He is guiding and directing me to do. May tomorrow be a day that I chose to follow Christ. “It is what it is” and I will embrace what it is and allow God to use me in the midst of it!

Prayer … is waking up to the presence of God no matter where I am or what I am doing. When I am fully alert to whatever or whoever is right in front of me; when I am electrically aware of the tremendous gift of being alive; when I am able to give myself wholly to the moment I am in, then I am in prayer. Prayer is happening, and it is not necessarily something that I am doing. God is happening, and I am lucky enough to know that I am in The Midst.

Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World

 

And he said “Contemplating My Existence”

Last week I went from Jury Duty on Monday and Tuesday to restoration of a fire-damaged McDonalds on Wednesday. Pretty much since then it has been non-stop lets get this thing opened. In a week I have met some new people who I look forward to getting know more. In a week I have learned a lot about running a fast paced job for GCM.

But today, I was reminded how God is working. Sitting at a front counter waiting for some material I needed for my project, I apologized to the man next to me for taking so long. He said no worries, I’ve got time, I’m just sitting here contemplating my existence. My response “wow that is deep.” He said, “yeah I am sorry man.” I said “no problem, just got to be careful what you say out loud, I’m a Pastor and love those kind of conversations.”  He responded with “yeah I know where I am spending Eternity.”

After a bit of silence I said, “glad you got eternity figured out, for me the hardest part is walking the unknown day to day journey.” To which he replied, “yeah that seems to be the hardest part.”  This lead me to talking about why “sharing faith and life” with a community of faith believers is so important. I shared my thoughts on church and he was interested. He said, “I don’t like ‘traditional Churches’.”

The guy next to me then said “so you must not like mega/large churches.” I said, “I simply don’t think there is one model for everyone anymore. We need different types of churches for different stages/seasons of life people are in.” He said, “yeah I’m a pastor too, and I’m out here working like you. I’ve been doing bi-vocational ministry for 10 years. The church I’m a part of has around 100 people and everyone ministers to each other.”  We chatted and the “Contemplating my Existence” guy listened in and said “thanks for conversation”.

Seriously, two Pastors, who are living out their faith and life a bit different in the same store with a man who is Contemplating his Existence. God is working wherever our lives are stationed. He is drawing men and women unto Himself.

Lord help my eyes and ears be open to what you are doing. Help me to be like Christ to those I come in contact with. May the way I live, think, and act be used as seeds of hope and faith in the lives of those I come in contact with in the places I live, work, learn, and play!

 

 

 

Facebook Message Reminded Me- UnKnowing Impact

This week I received one of the most impactful FaceBook messages I have ever received.  Someone who I had brief interaction with several years ago sent me a message simply to let me know how his life has changed. I had no IDEA the impact my life had on him.

My desire is to encourage followers of Jesus to declare a different way to live life where ever our lives are stationed. To believe this God has asked me to step out of my comfort-zone. I am in the most challenging season of my life and sometimes I wonder how does one really make a difference for God.

The FaceBook Message I got came at the right time. See, in my heart I believe that no matter where our lives are stationed, we can have an impact for God, but often I hear a different message. Despite having moved away from full-time paid ministry over a year and a half ago, sometimes I still hear voices from my past that basically say, “to really make a difference for God you have to be a pastor or missionary.” There are days when I feel like this. There are days when I wrestle and say is this statement right? Maybe full time ministry is the only way to have an impact.

But this Facebook Message reminded me that often followers of Jesus can unknowingly have impact on the lives of others. I was reminded that 6 years ago I simply went out and spent some time with a young man. I don’t remember much about that day. I remember basketball and then going back to drop him off at his house. His parents where home so I went in to introduce myself. And this is where the impact happened.

The Facebook Message states that as I entered his home the dynamics of his household changed. The brief time we spent together was the start of transformation in his family. …”our faith has been spreading. And the wake up call all began that day when you took me out and came in to meet my family. You personally have been an extreme blessing to my family, with your presence alone you changed the dynamics of it for the better.”

I write this for one purpose. I write this because this helps me to continue to believe that no matter where our lives are stationed we can declare a different way to live life. As we share our faith and lives with others, “our presence alone can bring about change.”

It is the desire of our hearts that is key. My prayer is that we would be able to trust God with the impact our lives make. We don’t need to compare. We don’t need to have a list of people we have brought to church. It doesn’t even matter how many people you have “saved.”  What matters is the desire of your heart. Because maybe, you’re unknowingly having an impact.

Seasons in Life

The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the various seasons in life.

  1. Childhood
  2. Teenage years
  3. College
  4. First Full Time Job
  5. Young Married
  6. Young Kids
  7. …………

In the midst of all these seasons there maybe other changes or seasons within a season that one goes through. Each of these seasons is important and they are shaping who we are.

As I begin to write this I am reminded that Ravi Zacharias stirred this thought in me a few weeks ago at Lancaster Bible College. He titled his message “A Man For All Seasons” and related Biblical content to the life of the honored Charles Fry. Charles Fry was a man of God in each season of His life. Wow, this is what I desire to be said of me. No matter where my life is stationed, no matter what season I am in, I want people to see me pursuing Jesus. I want people to see that “following Jesus changes everything” and that because of Jesus I am declaring a different way to live life.

This idea of seasons surrounds me and my conversations these days. I believe that God is doing something new in our Churches and communities. Everywhere I turn I am running into Followers of Jesus that are looking to “declare a different way to live life.” They are looking to leverage their relationships, businesses, and time for the kingdom of God. They are looking to show their friends, neighbors, and coworkers that “people matter” to God. That God’s love is steady and unchanging. The Church is moving beyond the walls and we are starting to love one another in ways that I have not seen.

Honestly, I am not sure the role that I play in these changes, but to quote the words of one of my coworkers “it seems like maybe God has called you to be doing what your doing right now.” Most days are a challenge for me. I don’t feel like I am in my “sweet spot” but I do believe that God has brought me into this seasons and I do believe that God is using me. So I say to you what others are saying to me. Keep pursuing Jesus. Remain faithful. God will guide you through each and every season.

 

 

 

 

A Balanced Pursuit

I am learning a lot these days. Life outside of full-time paid ministry has not been easy. Over the past year we added a fourth child and entered the world of Construction. Our family has been in a very different season.

In the midst of this season, God has been faithful. God is using me and our family for His glory, but very different ways. Our time commitment to our Church and Community has been very different. After a long days work I get home and my wife needs a break. Because of my experience, I’ve realized that some of the expectations that I place on others, especially in my faith community, is unrealistic. Sharing faith and life is not easy. People go through different seasons where commitment levels vary. Our commitment level to our church and community has not been as high as it has been in the past, but God has still used us in both our church and community.

As I say this, God has been challenging me to think beyond this season. Our kids are getting older and we are starting to adjust to my new job and its commitments. My wife and I are closer than ever. My appreciation for all that she does has increased. My kids are becoming more involved in the community as they develop friendships and participate in activities. Naturally, our community involvement is increasing.

So what specifically is God challenging me with?  Although we have different seasons, I need to have a balanced pursuit of God. Because of my calling and spiritual gifts, there are certain things that I need to be doing to BE healthy. For the past 5 years I have been discovering more and more about myself. The Kavanna House and their Spiritual Practices class heightened my understanding of this. During the Spiritual Practices classes we developed a Rule of Life, which I am still learning to apply today.  This Rule of Life, is the Balanced Pursuit of God that I am desiring. I am still not sure what it looks like, and I believe it will shift a bit with different seasons, but this is the way I desire to live my life.  This Diagram depicts my Rule of Life and a Balanced Pursuit of God.

 

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