Called To Help – Red Nose Day

As we near the start of summer and think about vacations and time off with families there are others who are not nearly as fortunate to enjoy those luxuries. On May 25th NBC television will air Red Nose Day, a live telecast aimed at ending child poverty.

Red Nose Day is unique in that multiple charitable organizations will benefit from the three hour live program that night. The event is all about coming together, to have fun, and make a difference for kids in need.  The goal is to end child poverty, here in the U.S. and around the world — one nose at a time.

The fundraiser began in 1988 by U.K. director, Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and recently started in the U.S. Red Nose Day raised over $36 million in 2016, and over $23 million the previous year, totaling over $60 million in its first two years in the US.

The two charities among many others that will benefit from Red Nose Day are Covenant House and charity: water.  These are just one of many organizations that everyday work tirelessly to make a difference here at home in the U.S. and around the world. What’s staggering with the statistics is that this is happening right here in the U.S.

We’ve learned from Red Nose Day charities that:

  • 1 out of 5 young people live in poverty.
  • Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness.
  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.

It’s heartbreaking with regards to the homeless kids and youth as it puts them in such danger of human traffickers – something I know so many of our churches and organizations fight against.  We have an opportunity to make a difference and keep some of these kids away from the streets.

We hope you will consider taking the time to help those in need and checking out both ministries and finding a way however big or small to support them. We’re called to help those in need and we often forget that although we are fortunate to live in a country that provides us with a lot – there are many children right in front of us who struggle to even get a meal a day. We hope you’ll think about ways you can help our youth and even join in on the fun and put on a Red Nose and post to your social channels with the hashtag: #rednoseday

Red Noses are available at all Walgreen locations.  For those wanting to do something fun and get involved, stop by Walgreens and buy a red nose.

We do believe that if we can all raise awareness about this issue – we can all end child poverty one nose at a time!

Check out the videos below highlighting this movement:

 

Stages of Life

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They (insert your own definition of they) say becoming a parent changes you. I suppose that is true, for most folks. The problem that I have is that I also turned thirty shortly after becoming a parent. I suppose both of those things connected have influenced my thoughts. To be frank, I cannot determine which one has changed me more.

There is no doubt in my mind that when a person enters into this thing called parenthood that they really did not know what to expect. You can prepare for it as best you can. You can read all the books, listen to the podcasts, and hear from your coworkers, but you cannot know the actual feeling until it happens. When it happens it seems like you look at the brevity of life more. You see decisions that you make through a new lens. You are more aware of the impact your life is having on the world.

Turning thirty is one of those weird milestones for society. Prior to that it seems like society still treats you as a child. You can serve in the military, risk your life enforcing the law, and wire millions of dollars around the nation to keep the economy flowing, but you have not reached the age that makes you an adult. Having made it half way to thirty-one I have seen a shift in my perspective. For me, I do not think the shift happened last October, but rather it occurred a couple of years before. I do believe it was more of a gradual thing. It is not something that you wake up one morning and feel different. Things gradually slide in the direction of having a different perspective to where when it happens you cannot pinpoint an exact time of change.

I am confident that there are other stages that change a person. I know I will continue to change each and every day I am alive. This is only the beginning of my thoughts on the subject.

Have you noticed a change of perspective of your life? When did it happen? Do you agree that the changes listed above influence your outlook on life? If you haven’t experienced either of these, can you think of another time when your outlook on life has changed?

Review: When God Made You

As time has progressed, I have tried to expand the books I read and review. As I entered fatherhood last July, I found myself reading books written for children almost every evening. As bedtime routine often includes reading a short book, I figured this was just as good of time as any to jump into requesting this genre. My first endeavor is When God Made You from Matthew Paul Turner. It does not disappoint.

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I have read many of Turner’s books before, but this is his first children’s book and I hope it is not his last. I see a little similarity in his older writings, but this one is something special. I loved how the storyline was not difficult as much as it was repetitive. The fact that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us is repeated page after page. I believe it will help engrain this truth into the lives of young children.

The artwork is also of note. It is astonishing the amount of detail that is placed into each page. To me, I found the artwork what actually told the story more than the actual words. Regardless, it is very, very well done.

This is going to be my go to book to give to newly expecting parents from now on for their child’s collection. From end to end the entire thing is a work of art. I suppose you could say that about all books, but this one takes it to the next level.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words written here are my own and have not been influenced in any manner.

To Seek Justice Is Admirable

I have been involved with my town government for a few years now. It is something that is rewarding, but also has its share of challenges. There are times where you feel your efforts are not worth the effort or even where you know someone is being taken advantage of in order to benefit someone else. It may happen all the time, but it does not mean it is right.

Throughout my time I have been introduced to many people and one that stands out to me is an older, retired lady who has lived in the town for about fifty years. Despite this fact, many people still consider her an outsider. That has not stopped her for standing up in the face of opposition for the good of every citizen of the town. I have learned a lot by observing her and understanding what it means to persist even in the face of all odds.

She is one member of the town that I admire because she has been given a multitude of reasons to quit and simply pass her remaining days in peace; however, she has made it a point to keep seeking justice. While I would have likely said when I retire that I would not want to be bothered with such issues, she has shown me that my thoughts were not appropriate. I should seek the justice of others at all times in my life, even when I may not feel like pursuing it. In the end I have to ask myself if I would be willing to die for this person since I admire her? I would like to take the Christian way out and say yes since that is what the love of Christ compels us to do, but I cannot make that statement because in the heat of the moment anything is possible.

The Promise is a new movie releasing next Friday (April 21) starring Christian Bale. It is a story of sacrifice and love. It centers on two characters who model sacrifice and justice in their own way. I for one cannot wait to see it when it comes out and I hope that you will go see it as well. The movie trailer and poster are below.

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Review: ESV Pastor’s Bible

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The ESV Pastor’s Bible is a new release from Crossway that takes the trusted ESV translation and packages it with new notes geared directly toward those in leadership in the local church. Whether you are a worship leader, pastor, or evangelist, there is something in there for you.

It has a nice cloth over board cover and two ribbons to mark different locations. I really like how the blue is offset against the little bit of brown down the spine of the Bible. The colors make it look simple and yet professional. It would be great to display on a pulpit or table as you teach. The pages have a nice feel and seem to be thicker than other Bibles I have experienced. The font is easy to read and sits nicely on the pages.

The one downside is the amount of notes in the back that is the selling point of the entire thing. There are some notes, but not a lot. While it is great to have them here, if it is the selling point of the Bible, I would have expected more. The notes that it does contain are great. There are bulleted lists and such to help guide the leader in their purpose.

Overall, it would be a nice gift for your pastor. The physical aspects of it are great and are highly attractive. If your a pastor or other church leader, I would skip it unless you really like the physical aspects. You can find other Bibles which have more notes that will help you lead.

I received the product for free in exchange for my unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the publisher.

An Unwanted Child

I do not have to look far for a courageous woman in my life. I wake up to her decision every morning. You see, my wife was a child conceived out of wedlock. While this may be more socially acceptable now, during the late 1980s in the rural Appalachian region, this was something to be shunned. This truth is not one that we promote, but it is one that we do not consider a secret.

It would have been easier for my mother-in-law to have cast her child off and left her forever, but instead she chose to overcome the obstacles in front of her. She wound up marrying the father of my wife and the two remain married to this day. In the early years of my wife’s life this meant her mom was the sole provider of the home as her dad had some vices he had to work through.

Through getting to know her through the past decade, she has encouraged me to take risks that I didn’t know would actually materialize. Instead of sitting back and wondering what might have been, she has instilled in me a desire to make the best of my situations. If things do not always work out exactly the way I had planned, then call an audible and do the work to make it happen.

Is there a woman in your life that has taught you to overcome obstacles? If so, I would love to hear about her in the comments.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is a new film coming out that will inspire you to stand tall in the face of your opposition, whatever that may be. You can find the synopsis and a trailer below:

Synopsis:

In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh, a European Film Award nominee for the Academy Award-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Golden Globe Award nominee Daniel Brühl of Captain America: Civil War). To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.

Trailer:

Zookeeper’s Wife Trailer

Review: Seven-Mile Miracle

I admit I have a problem. It seems like I have to read everything that Steven Furtick puts out to the world. It could be because I tend to digest his sermons in mass quantities. It could be that I feel a relative connection to him due to having heard about him many years ago. It could be that we are in the same generation and live relatively close to each other (three hours counts, right?). However, this book is not up to his usual quality. Maybe I am harsh, but I am only speaking my opinion and that is what a review is supposed to do.

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Seven-Mile Miracle is the newest release from Furtick. His other books spoke life into my life and this one did as well, but having followed him for many years, this seems like a cash grab. There is a sermon series that goes along with it (I suppose that’s the appropriate thing to do in a mega-church); however, there was a sermon many years ago for Easter by the same title. It was a visual experience that had footage of the Holy Land and even had Furtick preaching the sermon from Israel.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not setting out to bash him or the church, but this book is not his usual qualities. Sure, the seven topics he covers that pulls from the last sayings of Jesus are highly applicable in 2017. We need to adhere to the words that he writes and the topics he covers.

The one that spoke to me the most was the word of uniting. It may have been the last word, but ultimately that is the final stop on the journey for a Christian. It is the end destination on our trip. We will be reunited with our creator and will spend eternity with him.

This book is alright. If you want to read seven things that can influence your life and give you pointers on living a more complete life then this book will help. If I did not know that Furtick had already used this title before or have read his book then it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much. It simply seems rushed to me.

I was given this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words here are my own and have not been influenced by the publisher in any way.