5.17.2014

PURPOSE


"How was your trip?"  That is the question asked about my travels to Uganda.  I could take the easy route and say, "Awesome...amazing....life-changing."  But I've been thinking a lot about my experience and I did ask God to reveal something to me about what was happening.  So stick with me, this may take a minute to try and explain...

John the Baptist was a unique guy.  He lived out in the wild, wore an outfit made from camel hair, and loved eating locusts and honey.  But John knew what he was supposed to be doing. He preached in the wilderness, and "prepared the way for the Lord." (Matthew 3:3).

So Jesus comes along and starts his ministry, the blind start seeing, the lame can walk again, the lepers are cured, the dead come back to life, (Matt. 11:4).  John is sitting in prison, (his beheading is in the near future), and he has his gang go ask Jesus is he is indeed the One? Jesus responds to John's disciples by describing all the ministry that has been happening, but then he says something really interesting...

Jesus says, (Matt 11:6), "Tell John that God blesses those who do not turn away because of me."  That line really had nothing to do with the previous statement from Jesus.  But if you continue to read the story, it doesn't turn out so great for John.  He was beheaded and paraded out on a tray to a messed up family.  When Jesus heard about it, he was truly upset.

Here's the thing...why didn't Jesus get John out of prison when he first knew about it?  Because John was fulfilling his purpose, and Jesus knew that all of that had to happen for the story to keep moving forward.  When Jesus said that God blesses those who don't turn away because of me", I think he was saying, "Hey look John, this is not going to turn out good for you.  I could snap a finger and the prison doors could open, I could come get you, but that's not how this is going to go."  

John did prepare the way, John did baptize and preach, and that was John's purpose.  It wasn't the flashiest of purposes, but it was important.  Jesus was saying to John, please don't turn away from me because I'm not coming to rescue you.

We hear pastors talk about our 'purpose', and God having a 'purpose' for all of us.  Well, much like John, maybe we need to be prepared for a purpose that isn't so flashy in the grand scheme of things.  Even Jesus had a human moment of his purpose calling out to God saying, "Father, if there is any way to take this cup from me - please!  But your will not mine." (Matthew 26:39)  

So, fast forward to these children in Uganda.  They are malnourished, they have been running for their lives, they've seen family murdered in front of them, its truly tragic.  I heard these little kids recite the Lord's prayer before their lunch was served.  The first 1000 days of their lives is so important in physical development.  But when you don't eat, or you are malnourished, you are not going to get a chance to live out your life to its full potential. 

So I've been thinking, what if?  What if the purpose of the little boy in the picture above was exactly what he did?  He sat on a stump of wood, saw me, connected with my eyes, and smiled really big.  Then I took the picture.  What if that was it?  What if that was this little boy's purpose?  To be at that school, at that camp, at that exact time, because an American is going to come along with a camera, take a picture, then take it back to America where he will show it to everyone via social media, and then he'll talk into a microphone about what he saw and hopefully get others to give money so that that little boy, his siblings, and other children will have food each day.

No room full of cool action figures, no baseball team, no college, no wife and kids, no great house on a great lawn with a great job...just sit there and smile.  What if God's purpose for that boy's life was get his photo taken?  What if God's purpose for my life led up to me taking that one picture?  

So, when you ask about my trip...I am thinking about purpose.  I'm thinking about God's purposes.  I'm thinking that I need to let go of the idea that my purpose might not be what I think it's going to be.  John the Baptist could have went on to much bigger and better ministry, but he fulfilled his purpose, it wasn't a spectacular ending, but it played a role in the bigger story.  May those children or myself not turn away from God because whatever purpose is planned for us doesn't have a flashy ending we think it should have.  

5.10.2014

MY TRIP TO UGANDA






I was invited by FEED THE HUNGRY to go to Uganda to visit a refugee camp in Kiryandongo. Thousands of misplaced people from an ongoing civil war trying to survive.  When I visited, there were 25,000+ people with 9,000+ kids and growing daily.  FEED THE HUNGRY provides food for the kids that attended on the 8 schools in the camp.

4.27.2014

C2E2 CHICAGO COMIC BOOK CONVENTION

This was my 2nd year attending C2E2 (Chicago Comicon) and this was a big 1st  year for Caleb (7 yrs old).  He saw my pictures from the previous year, and asked to go.  We met many artists and writers who graciously signed our comics, and we got some new original posters from artists for Caleb's room, (and my office.)

Its just a real fun day for us, Caleb was a 'good boy', (in great spirits all day long.)  It wears you out with all the comics, toys, artists, costumes, etc., but its a great memory for the boys.

4.13.2014

2.01.2014

CASTING CROWNS


Had a great visit / event with Casting Crowns this week.  They are out doing a radio tour for the release of "Thrive".  My radio station, (Pulse FM) had the opportunity to have them for our morning show, then a couple of TV appearances.  That evening, we had a concert benefiting St. Vincent De Paul Society and their food pantry.  

This group of people is the real deal.  I'm glad I got to hang out with them and get to know them a bit.  We made a short visit to the Hall of Heroes comics museum in Elkhart before the show.

1.26.2014

MATT MAHER


CROWDER


Got to hear David Crowder's new music recently.  "Neon Steeple" is his first solo project out in May 2014.  These photos are from Passion City Church in Atlanta the Sunday morning following the Passion event.

SNOW MANN

Lots of snow these days in South Bend, Indiana!