Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Would Still Be Far From Perfect...But At Least We Wouldn't Be Acting A Fool

It breaks my heart to see how dark and hateful Christians can be towards people. It almost makes me not want to be one. The acts of picketing and protesting that I see from Christians on television and YouTube are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught in the New Testament. It’s no surprise that those who are not a part of the Christian community are skeptical about us. I don’t blame them. If I were not brought up in a Christ-centered home and had no clue of what Christianity was really about, then I would be skeptical too. Absolutely! But the truth is I have been brought up in a Christ-centered home. I have been taught what Christianity is all about—unconditional compassion. So it breaks my heart when I see Christians “acting a fool”.
In Matthew 5:43-48 it says, “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish- to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives toward you” (MSG).
Jesus is challenging those who proclaim to be God’s children to start acting like it. He goes to the extreme and hits us where it hurts the most—“…love your enemies.” Okay, well how should people who do not associate themselves with God or Jesus take these words? I’m sure they would feel quite offended by the term “enemy.” And that’s okay, I would be offended too. If I were in their shoes I would ask, “Hey, time out! What did we do to you guys to mark us as enemies?” Well, uh….nothing. The fact that Jesus used the terms “enemy” and “friend” does not necessarily mean that he was alluding to the terms “believer” and “nonbeliever”, he was just simply teaching his followers how to treat people who are either from the friend side of the spectrum or from the enemy side of the spectrum. If anything, these verses should build a new sense of expectancy about Christians. It would give those who aren’t associated with the Christians the knowledge necessary to detect which Christian community is “full of it” and which one that is doing a much better job living out what Christ died for.
To be blatantly honest, if every single church community on the face of this planet were focusing on what truly matters about the gospel of Christ we would be living in a completely different kind of world. It would still be far from perfect but at least we would be getting just a little bit closer to hitting the mark. And that mark is to know Christ and to make Him known in a genuine and loving way all throughout the world.
It breaks my heart to see how dark and hateful Christians can be towards people. The very people who need love the most.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That's Life

On Saturday December 17th 2011 I graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Family & Child Science with a minor in Religion.

As I sat there among the hundreds of graduates I said to my self, “Self, you are ready for anything!” Then I said to Life, “Life, bring it on!!”

The remainder of the day will be shown through a timeline to show you what Life brought my way.

11:30---ceremony ends

12:30---lunch with family and friends

1:30----still having lunch with family and friends

2:30----in the ER with my wife

You might have asked yourself, “What on Earth happened?”

The appropriate answer would be that Life decided to “bring it” that very day.

Apparently, Ashley and all of her coworkers attracted a virus from work last week that hit them hard over the weekend. I don’t know what exactly happened to them but I do know what happened to Ashley. She ended up vomiting just about everything there was to vomit from her system. She became extremely dehydrated, experienced intense abdominal pain and eventually began to hyperventilate. The nurse put it simply, “Her nervous system is going haywire” and that is exactly what was happening. We ended up being in the ER until 10pm that night. It was a terrifying thing not knowing what was wrong with her. The doctor took a blood and urine sample to figure out what was happening. Luckily, it was a virus that already started to die down. After all, she had already cleaned out her system.

Most people will tell you that Life can happen at any moment. I know that to be true because it sure didn’t try giving us a rain check on behalf of our plans for that day. Don't get me wrong, I’m not complaining in any way. I am just relieved that my wife is doing a lot better now. As a matter of fact she has returned to work today and has made a complete recovery.

It’s a sobering thought to realize that sometimes we have no control over what happens to us. It’s during times like these that we are reminded of how frail we are and how much we need one another. In a way, I am glad that Life did not wait until later to do what it did. Yes, it was my graduation day. The day was supposed to be a day full of joy and celebration but it wasn’t—and that’s okay. That’s Life. I’m glad that God allowed the timing of the event to happen when it did because it taught me two valuable lessons.

1.)   Life never takes a holiday.
2.)   Life never considers yours.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Graduation (In Its Full)

Graduation is next weekend and I have no idea what the future holds for me. Of course I have a plan immediately afterwards but it is only temporary. Hopefully it will lead me closer to the career that God has clearly made known to me. The thought of being done with my undergrad seems so unreal that I have to pinch myself from time to time just to remind myself that it's really happening. It has been a long road. A road covered with stress, frustration, disappointment, change.......but all along the way it has been a journey of self discovery. I learned that I have what it takes to better myself intellectually and that with a little bit of planning skills I can accomplish multiple tasks within a demanding time frame.
I have overcome many obstacles throughout the past five and a half years and I am thankful that I am coming out on top. After high school I thought that I wasn't cut out for college....that I would not be able to keep up...but I did. I thank God for never letting up and never allowing me to walk away. I know because of his faithfulness that I was made for a purpose--as we all are--but I know that I have a specific purpose that only I can fulfill.
The one subject that I will never forget from my college experience will I learned exactly what I am. I am a man who was made to love and care for people of all ages, especially teenagers. I thank God for not granting my wish of going to Southeastern University because if he had I wouldn't be where I am today. I have the best wife a man could ever hope for, friends that so happen to be the best people on this Earth, and a church family that truly grasps what it means to be the body of Christ. All of these relationships have played a crucial role in the development of my adult character and I am blessed to have them.
God, thank you for believing in me and giving me all the tools necessary to have gotten this far. I know that your love and faithfulness will never leave me or forsake me. I know without a shout of a doubt that after graduation you will turn my life upside down with something I will have never expected....and I'm okay with that. To live a life under your purpose is to live a life in its full.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's About Time!

I just finished the last paper of my undergraduate career. Before I began typing out my introduction paragraph I knew exactly where I was headed with my points. The amount of freedom that I felt during this writing experience was unbelievable. In the past I always struggled with writing papers. I would reach such high levels of anxiety that my entire body would sweat and shake profusely. I do not know why it has taken me so long to get comfortable writing papers but at least I have a hold of it now before I go any further with my education.

And right now I am typing this during a class. I guess I better stop and tune in on what is being lectured on. Alright, I'm off to be a good student.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Simply Coldplay


I honestly believe that Coldplay has the ability of making an endless catalog of legendary songs. Even if there are some haters out there who do not like Coldplay there is still a huge following throughout the world. In my opinion, Coldplay is the greatest band of all time. Their music is strategically written to capture the attention of the masses. It's easy to learn and sing-a-long to Coldplay. No one can deny that fact. Enjoy the mixer video of a few of their new songs from Mylo Xyloto.

Feel free to click through the videos after the current one is completed. If you never stopped to listen to their stuff then this will give you the best videos to do so.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Put On Some Confidence

On my way home from work yesterday I saw a celebrity. Calm down, it wasn't a big celebrity--just one to the Tallahassee area. As a matter of fact, I haven't met one person in Tallahassee that does not know of this guy. The funny thing is most people don't even know his name. Heck, I don't even know his name. But the only thing that Tallahassee knows is that this man loves to soak up the sunshine, feel the breeze, and ride his bicycle. I am referring to Tallahassee's speedo bicyclist.

I have come to love this guy! The amount of guts it takes to get on a bike and ride around a large city in a speedo is legendary. If you don't know me, my sense of humor is very wide and open to anything things such as this. Of course, if this guy was completely nude I wouldn't be a fan but since that is not the case I'm laughing my butt off!

Here is the scene; I'm sitting at a red light close to where I work, thumbing through the radio, and tired from a long day of work. Then, all of a sudden, I see a glimmer of white waving in the air. It is a white ribbon being used as a headband with two long pieces trailing behind. Within the crown of that ribbon is a head that is attached to a well tanned, fleshy body wearing only one article of clothing called a speedo, otherwise known as a "masculine thong". The sight startles me at first but then it lifts my spirits as I notice one of the hands giving everyone the peace sign. Simultaneously traffic returns that peace and love with honks from their car horns. To be completely honest, it was a really cool moment because it made me; a) laugh really hard, b) honk my car horn too, and c) think about confidence.

What would it look like if I gained that amount of confidence? What would my life be like if I didn't doubt myself? I'm sure I wouldn't go as far as this guy but it would definitely look different from what it is now. What about you? Do you ever doubt yourself? Your abilities? Your qualities? Well, don't...because what you are is awesome and unique. Strengthen your strengths and allow yourself to shine! Just don't go any further than this speedo guy, okay? okay. God bless.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pee Before You Pump

Two weekends ago Ashley and I went to a wedding in the Pensacola area. It was awesome. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was top notch. The food was very pleasant and the BBQ pulled pork was tear-worthy! So needless to say it was hard when we had to leave early. We live in Tallahassee and had church the next day so we needed to get home at a descent hour.

As we made our way to the interstate from downtown we realized that we needed to stop and fill up the car, Ashley's 2003 Mazda Protege. So we stopped and got some fuel. While pumping, the sensation to urinate consumed my mind. I had to pee so badly that I could not think straight. I ended up stopping halfway through in order to go to the bathroom. Immediately afterward I felt that we should be on our way and that I could just stop and get more fuel later down the road.

Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "What's the big deal with this story? I have dealt with this issue before and it sounds like you handled it pretty well, Justin. Great job. This is an entertaining story--totally not a waste of my time." Well, just you wait.

Right when I was about to pull out onto the road the car sputtered and died on the spot. Boom! It was dead. "What the crap!" Then it dawned on me. I just reverted to what I normally did when I filled up my car--I just put diesel fuel in a gasoline engine. So I threw it in neutral, got Ashley behind the wheel, and pushed it out of the way.

Luckily we were only a few yards down the road from a place where I use to work, Academy Sports and Outdoors. From my experience, I knew that the fishing department had siphon hoses for boat motors, so I bought one in hopes to pump out the diesel fuel. I tried to siphon the fuel out for about two hours. I even had to show off my farming skills by dissassembling the siphon hose and putting it back together so that the longer hose could reach the fuel in the tank. Right about that time a homeless man informed me that automobile companies started manufacturing cars with a rubber ball that only allowed fuel to enter the tank in hopes of keeping thieves from stealing fuel. "Great, a clever invention for the common good has just now pooped in our faces" that was my response.

At that point there was nothing else to do within my expertise. So after about three hours of being stranded at a gas station we ended up calling roadside assistance. It was a stressful night that Ashley and I will never forget. I would like to say that nothing like that will ever happen again but that would be a bit ridiculous. No one can ever predict when weird, stupid things happen. The only thing that can be done in times like those are to respond with maturity and a positive mind. For me, I can proudly say that Ashley and I responded very well.

The moral of the story...
be mature...
stay positive...
and pee before you pump.