Friday, October 3, 2014

Top 10 reasons to be a Young Life Leader

10.  Jesus' Disciples were the original Young Life Leaders.  
9.  It is your chance to prove you were cool in high school.  Seriously cool!
8.  Being a Young Life leader could look great on your blank resume.
7.  You will be asked to participate in games and skits that will test your moral fiber.
6.  You and you alone can shape the future of the World one student at a time.
5.  It is time to take a break from Monday Night Football.

4.  Inappropriate humor is encouraged.
3.  You get to go to Young Life Camp.  Better known as the best week of your life!!!

2.  You will never have to buy another Young Life T-shirt.

1.  Over 100 percent of single Young Life Leaders will meet their spouse through Young Life.

Who is your neighbor?

During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Roy Lee Jenkins was a fanatical member of his local Klu Klux Klan.  Every Friday night, men from his order would gather at the American Legion and devise plans to run all of the Black People out of Forsythe County.  They would burn crosses in front of the black churches, harass them at work, and threaten their children with violence if the families did not move.  Blacks were not welcome in Forsythe County.  Period!
One hot muggy summer night, Jenkins and several members of the Klan entered downtown Atlanta to protest Martin Luther King.  At the offset, the local police did not want to intervene between the opposing groups.  The black community organized a peaceful demonstration and sat quietly on the steps of the State Capital.  The angry whites began yelling and shouting at the peaceful crowd. For several hours, the National Guard was able to control the crowds.  Then everything exploded in an instant.  A member of the Klan tossed a gasoline bomb into the center of the demonstration.  A panicked frenzy broke loose.  Blacks, whites, men, women, and children frantically fled for their lives.  As Jenkins began to run from the scene of the crime a car struck him.  His crumbled body was thrown into the street.  Members of his own clan trampled his body as they ran for their lives.   
His closest friends did not want to be caught by the police so they left him for dead.  Jenkins lay bloody and dying in the street for hours.  Countless members of the Klan passed by, but they ignored their fallen comrade. 
Jenkins lay in the street all night, praying that God would spare his life.  As he lay praying, two young black men found him in the street.  He couldn’t belief this is how he would die.  He would die at the hands of two of the people he hated most.  Two young black men had come to kill him at his weakest moment.  They were such cowards. 
He was too weak to fight back as the young men lifted Jenkins off the ground.  The men stripped him of his bloody white robes and tossed his hood on the ground.  Roy Lee was too weak to complain.  He just hoped they would kill him quickly. 
One of the men cradled Roy Lee in his arms and began to carry him through the back alleys of the city.  Where were they taking him?  Were these cowards going torture him?
The young men were terrified to help this white southerner, but they couldn’t leave him in the street to die. They certainly couldn’t take him to a hospital or police station.  Instead they took him to their mother’s house and called the neighborhood doctor.
Without saying a word, the doctor stitched up Roy Lee’s wounds and set his broken bones.  For the next week a family member faithfully sat by his bedside until Jenkins finally regained consciousness.
After a week of drifting in and out of consciousness, Roy Lee was finally ready to speak.  The two young men entered the room to check on their patient.  Jenkins finally gathered the courage to ask, “Why would you save my life?”  One of the boys stared at Jenkins for a while and then said, “Mister, ain’t nothing going to change if we don’t change.”

To think, his closest friends had left Jenkins for dead and the men he hated the most saved his life.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cars are made to be driven

This is a simple point, but cars are made to be driven.  The worst thing you can to a do car is let it sit.  A car needs to run to keep the engine, chassis, and other components lubricated.  When the first car was built, no one imagined placing it in a museum for the entirety of it's life.

As a child, our neighbor owned a 1986 Ferrari Testarossa.  It was a sweet ride, no doubt.  However, Dr. Gindell refused to pull this thing out of the garage.  In 1987, the car had been driven for 500 miles.  Most people drive over a thousand miles a month. This doesn't seem like the best investment of $250,000.  I remember begging Dr. Gindell to please let us ride in his car, but he would say, "Sorry boys this car isn't meant to be driven."  Really, because it has fours wheels and a motor.

Finally my junior year of high school we finally talk him into taking the Ferrari out for a spin.  You know what happened?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  The car wouldn't even start.  It had been sitting so long that the alternator had drained the battery.  The car had to be towed to the auto shop because it had never been driven.

This story sounds crazy, but we treat our bodies the same way.  We were designed to be used by God, but our bodies must be maintained.  We cannot expect sit around for three straight years, hop off the couch and run a marathon.  Would you drive a car across the country if it had been sitting in your yard for the past five years.  No, that would be crazy.  Would you ever consider bypassing all of the routine maintenance your car needs?  No, but we constantly bypass the maintenance our bodies need. We don't get enough sleep.  We skip breakfast.  We fail to invest in meaningful relationships.  We need to move, we need to rest, and we need to be maintained.

My point:  Start a spiritual and physical maintenance program for your life.

Friday, June 20, 2014

College Rugby

During my junior year of college, my roommate and I decided to join the University of Georgia rugby team.  When we showed up for the first practice we knew nothing about the game but were told rugby players are known for two things: drinking and fighting.  One problem I’ve never been interested in fighting or drinking.  I decided to pick the lesser of two evils…fighting.
 From the outside, rugby can best be described as a mix between football and soccer.  It is supposed to be a gentleman’s game.  You are not trying to hurt your opponent, merely wrap them up and bring them to the ground.  Try to explain this concept to some rednecks from South Georgia.  I can vividly remember practicing for a week before traveling to the University of South Carolina for our first game.  When we arrived in Columbia, my roommate and I had no idea what we were supposed to do.  We didn’t even understand all of the rules. 
At the start of the second half our coach put the two of us into the game.  I received a kick on my very first play and start running like crazy towards my opponent’s end of the field.  Next thing I know I’m peeling myself off the sideline trying to gather my senses.  Apparently, I had been fouled by the other team but I had no idea what that meant. Here is another interesting point: after a penalty your team is given a better opportunity to take possession of the ball; that’s it.
On the next play, a huge individual named Hog came barreling down the field straight towards me.  I must say, I wrapped up this large individual with the intent of bringing him to the ground.  I was determined not to let this man child score. After he passed the ball to his teammate, he politely tapped me on the shoulders and ask me to let him go. 
I can’t remember if we won or lost that first game.  I can’t remember if I even played a good game.  I just remember my roommate and I struggling to get back to our hotel room that night.  We were lying on our beds bleeding from places I didn’t even know existed.  I looked over to my roommate and asked, “What just happened?”  Chris looked at me, “I don’t know, but I loved it.”
I imagine Jesus’ disciples experienced some of these same emotions.  From the beginning of their ministry, Jesus had been captain of the ship.  He made all of the decisions and they had been happy to row the boat.  Then Jesus sent them into the world to share his message. I'm sure they begged Jesus, “Wait we don’t know what we are doing.  We could get killed out there.”  I bet there were some nights during their ministry where the disciples just laid in bed and counted their bruises.  That felt unprepared and ill-equipped, but they believed there was a plan.

My Point:  You have to get in the water before you can learn to swim.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are we going to pay it forward?

In Matthew 8, we encounter Peter's sick mother.  8:14-15 "When Jesus went to Peter’s house, he saw that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever.  Jesus touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she stood up and began to serve Jesus."

Immediately, Peter's mother began to serve Jesus and everyone in the house because she was so thankful to be well.  She understood what it meant to pay it forward.  

This week how can we pay it forward?

10. Ways you can pay it forward this week that won’t cost you a penny.
1.    Donate a pint of blood.  One pint can save up to 3 lives.
2.    Clean out your closet and donate your old clothes or sell them on eBay and donate the money to a charity.  Remember your old are someone else’s new.
3.    Offer to babysit for a couple or a single mother with young children.
4.    Help someone get healthy by offering to go for a walk, a hike, or an adventure.
5.    If you see someone stopped on the side of the road, stop to see if you can help.
6.    Instead of asking for gifts for your birthday, ask people to donate a gift through World Vision.
7.    Hug a friend and tell them something you love/ admire about them.
8.    Pick up pieces of trash as you walk down the street.
9.    Leave encouraging post it notes around the office, home, library, or grocery store.  Maybe even write a sweet note on your waiter’s credit card receipt.
10.  If you see a couple taking a selfie, offer to take the photo for them.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Telluride Comedy Festival

Last night I was asked to perform at the Telluride Comedy Festival.  Thanks to all of the comedians who helped make this show possible. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Princess of Compassion

She was awkward in every way, a tomboy at heart who despised the idea of wearing a dress.  She wanted to climb trees, play rough games, and jump in muddy puddles.  After years of trying to correct her behavior, her father the King lost hope that his oldest daughter would ever become queen. 

At night she would sneak out from the palace using the old underground passage and ask God to guide her to find the homes that were desperate and in need.  She would leave the Kingdom with her pockets filled with gold coins and bag filled with food and water.  Her mission was to find the needy people in her Kingdom and give them hope. 
Her sister knew of her little runaways but didn’t care. She was thankful her sister rejected the title of princess. She had become the family favorite and in a few years her father would leave his mighty Kingdom in her hands. 

One night the older sister was walking down the road outside of the Kingdom when she noticed an unconscious man lying among the weeds.  She guessed he had been attacked and left for dead. She poured water in his mouth and began to clean his wounds.  She made a makeshift stretcher and dragged the man back to the doctor in her Kingdom.  Fearing the doctor would notice her she knocked on his door and left the injured man on the doorstep.  She hid behind a trash heap until the doctor carried the man into his house.

The daughter knew God had delivered her to this man in need and took it as a sign of her good works.  Despite he father’s objections she continued to push aside her duties as a princess so she could focus on the people her in the Kingdom.  

For years, her father’s Kingdom lived in peace until the King’s advisor’s encouraged him to go to war with the Northern Kingdom.  The King asked, “Why would we go to war with our neighbors?  We have been at peace for over one hundred years.”  The advisor’s told the King to think about his legacy.  If he were able to re-unite the two Kingdoms, he would be seen as a hero in the people’s eyes.  The advisor’s assured the King, there would be very little bloodshed and their enemies would be crippled by the surprise attack. 

After thinking long and hard about this decision, the King assembled his troops and faithfully led them into battle.  They valiantly charged the castle in the Northern Kingdom.  The advisors had assured the King victory was in reach.  The men stormed the castle.  They burned the houses. Kicked down dorms.  Raided the palace, but it was empty.  There was not a person in sight.  The King and his men were dumbstruck.  Where were the people?

When the King began to lead his troops home he saw a great fire burning in the Southern Kingdom.  The men charged home, but found the gates locked.  Their neighbors from the Northern Kingdom had overtaken the unprotected Kingdom.  The Northern King sent word, that he would trade the lives of the women and children for the King’s life.  The Northern King was not a cruel man, but he could not allow the Southern King’s actions to go unpunished.

Reluctantly, the Southern King offered to trade his life.  He knew his youngest daughter was well prepared to rule the mighty Kingdom.  The King somberly walked towards the gallows inside of his Kingdom.  The great and mighty King was about to be executed in the gallows he built.  As the Northern King watched, the executioner slipped the noose around the Southern King’s neck.

The moment before the executioner began to lift the King towards his imminent death.  The oldest daughter ran to the gallows and pleaded for her father’s life.  In that moment, the Northern King recognized the young woman who befriended him late one night so many years ago.

The Northern King would sneak out of his Kingdom on occasion to see how the people lived.  He cared about their needs.  On this day, he was attacked on the roadside and left for dead by his attackers.  He laid on that road for days, until the older princess came to his rescue.  He never forgot this woman’s kindness or her face.

The Northern King looked down upon the Southern King and said, “Many years ago your eldest daughter saved my life and today I return the favor.  From this day forward, I want to ensure peace between our two Kingdoms.  We have more than enough.  However, I have one demand.

The Northern King said, “I will meet your demands as long as you do not harm my family.” 

The Southern King demanded the eldest daughter would rule because she had great compassion for the people.