Category Archives: Challenges

Why World Water Day Should Matter to You?

Today is World Water Day. Currently, there are almost 1 BILLION people without access to clean drinking water. To put that in perspective, that is 1 out of every 8 people on the planet.

Some quick facts about water (credit is due charity:water for these facts):

  • Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
  • 90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old.
  • In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children bear the brunt of this labor.

Here’s the deal. We have many problems in America. For the most part, access to clean drinking water is not one of them. I completely agree we should work on problems here, but that need not necessitate us leaving millions without hope. For the price of a night out to eat, a movie, or a couple of Starbucks, you can drastically change someone’s life.

Christians, let us put our money where our mouths are. “For God so loved the world” means more than our tiny part of it. We build up vast nest eggs to live lives of luxury by the time we are 60, but can we spare a few dollars for some who may not see 60 without our help?

Let me be clear: this IS a gospel issue. Why on earth would people care to hear about a loving God if His people will not care for their most immediate needs? Let us not be so cruel as to send missionaries to the farthest corners to share the Good News, but willfully neglect millions (many children) as they suffer the cruel fate of being born into an impoverished area.

Love knows no borders. Love knows no race. Love knows no culture.

If you would like to give, these organizations do fantastic work (there are others, just do your homework before you donate):

charity:water
Samaritan’s Purse
Wine to Water

Even if it’s just a few dollars, would you please consider giving the gift of water to someone today?

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Filed under Challenges, christian, hunger, making a difference, poverty, Serving Others, Uncategorized

Making a Difference is Easier than You Think…

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life today, it does not get anymore complicated than that. Maybe you feel like you don’t have the money or resources to make a large impact in the world.

Be encouraged. You have the ability and opportunity right now to lift someone’s spirit.

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”

Proverbs 10:11

Please do not underestimate the impact your words can have in the lives of the people around you. That old nursery rhyme about “words will never hurt me” sounds nice, but words can wound in ways that sticks and stones never could.

However, our words can be used as a fountain of life and there many dry, weary souls in need of nourishment.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

Today, will you intentionally encourage and uplift those around you?

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Filed under Challenges, Chances to Serve, christian, making a difference, Scripture

Courage in the Face of Cancer

I hope you’ll find this story as inspirational as I did. I ran across it while visiting HelpOthers.org.

I work at a Care Center where most of the people are elderly. About a year and a half ago a 59 year-old lady came to us who had cancer. She had to have her right leg amputated and she didn’t have a family to take care of her after the operation.

This lady was a quiet lady who mostly stayed to herself. But in the afternoons, when she was feeling well, she would go visit the other residents in the home. She would visit a lady who was blind and read to her. She would go into the room of a young girl with severe cerebral palsy and sing to her. In her quiet gentle way, she would go about the Care Center doing good.

She passed away last Wednesday and after her passing, stories are coming forward of her quiet acts of kindness in her own hour of sorrow.

We never know what impact we have upon others. She had every reason to be bitter, to be angry, or to be swallowed up in her own grief.  But she wasn’t. She didn’t have a family and probably felt forgotten, but her small and quiet acts of service made an impact upon the entire Care Center.

Each of us are better people for having known her. We have pledged to be more aware of the service that we can offer to others.

What an amazing outlook on life! She had every reason not to love and serve, yet she did. Small, silent acts of service speak volumes about a person’s character.

Do you share the same attitude? What things tend to paralyze you from serving and loving others?

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Filed under Challenges, making a difference, selflessness, Serving Others, Uncategorized

Time Reveals Our Priorities

This week, time management has been the theme. We all have many ideas about what we want our lives to be like, but sometimes we get swamped. Yesterday, we took a time inventory. Today, we ask ourselves an important question:

Does the way we use our time match what we claim to value?

We’re all familiar with the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Our priorities and values can normally be understood by looking at how we spend our money. I believe the same holds true for how we spend our time.

Think of it this way. I tell my wife I love her. I could text it to her, say it to her, email it to her, and shout it from the rooftops. But what if I went out and spent all my time with other girls? What if I never opened the car door for her, helped clean up the house, or bragged on her to friends? We all show love in different ways, but wouldn’t she begin to question my love if I never showed it. Love is more than words. It means sacrificing your time, priorities and rights on behalf of another.

Take a minute. Brainstorm. What do you value? What are you passionate about? Write it down.

Yesterday, you wrote down how you spent your time. Do the two lists match? If not, why not?

If we say that family is really important to us, but we find we never spend time with our kids, is it true?
If we say God is important and never spend time with Him, is that true?
If we claim to love the poor and needy, but do nothing for them, is it true?

I know work takes up a huge part of our week, but how we spend the rest of our time does say something about us.

What does your time say about you?

Tomorrow, we look at being intentional with our time. Hope to see you back.

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Filed under Challenges, Time

Take a Time Inventory

This week, we’re taking a look at time management. If we’re going to effectively love and serve others, time is a resource we need to make the most of!

In this first post, I want to encourage you to fight the idea of time apathy. DO NOT settle for doing just o.k. or even good. I’m fond of the saying, “Good is often the enemy of the best.” You’re on this planet for a reason (several, really). But so often, we become content just doing things the way they’ve always been done. We get used to living our life a certain way and it becomes comfortable.

I heard a great illustration yesterday. Apparently, there is a sign on an Alaskan highway that reads, “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next two hundred miles.” Yikes! That’s also a pretty accurate description of the way we use our time. Being creatures of habit, it’s important for us to constantly reflect on our time usage and see where it could change.

Maybe Your Day Looks Like This

In order to do that, we need to take a time inventory.

They say the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. This is why it’s so important to count up our time. Seriously, this may seem basic or tedious, but until you figure out where your time is going you’re never going to be able to maximize its effectiveness.

To do this, take a 7 day week and count how you spend your hours. Don’t make a schedule, just divvy out the hours. Here’s an example:

There are 168 hours in a week so we start with that. Now, how do we use them? Your numbers may vary from mine, but you’ll get the point.

8 hours of sleep per night = 56 hours
8 hours a day at work for 5 days = 40 hours (most people work more)
Time spent preparing, eating, and cleaning meals = 11 hours
Time spent driving (commuting, going to friends, church, etc…) = 12 hours
Time spent watching tv or movies (if you don’t watch tv, insert whatever hobby you have) = 20 hours
Church/Religious activity/Volunteering = 7 hours
Recreation with family/friends = 8 hours
Time on Internet (News, Email, Facebook, etc) = 14

Clearly, those are just rough estimates. They vary from person to person. But think about how you spend an average week. Count up those hours and see what you do. Make sure it adds up to 168. Try to be as accurate as possible even if takes you a few minutes to think through each thing you do. You may be amazed at how much time you spend in certain areas!

A few months ago, I realized I spent 15 minutes of my morning on the internet (games, Facebook, sports, news) before work. I did this 3 times a week. That’s 45 minutes. I challenged myself to use that time in some other way. I could pray, write someone an encouraging note, read the Bible, clean up for my wife. The options are limitless. Sad to say, it’s much easier to get on the internet and so most of the time I do! I’m still working to change that, but I never would have realized it had I not done some self-examining.

That’s the point. We must know where our time is going. Challenge yourself to count your time up honestly. Maybe I’m alone. Maybe I’m the only one who feels he wastes our most valuable resource. But, I expect some of you will do a double take as you count up your hours. Regardless, you’ll find this exercise to be useful guide as we discover more practical advice each day.

Besides sleep and work, where did you find most of your time went?

Did you discover anything shocking?

Am I a nutball for counting up my time? (don’t answer that!)

Do you think you could use your time more effectively?

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Filed under Challenges, Time, Uncategorized

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Apologies to Dave Ramsey if I grossly misquote him, but he is known for saying something like, “You need to own your money, before it owns you.” Part of this idea is naming where each bill goes. If you don’t tell it where it’s going, it disappears before you realize it.

I’m finding the same can be said for your time. I’ve never been an extremely scheduled person. It doesn’t come easy and so I normally fly by the seat of my pants. However, I think it’s time for a change. I don’t own my time anymore. It owns me. I often look back on weeks and wonder where in the world they went and what opportunities I missed!  I’m by no means the busiest person I know, but if you add up 2 jobs, grad school, family, and other responsibilities and hobbies you can see why I feel a bit pressed!

Wish you could stop time?

But here’s the thing. No one can serve and love others effectively if they are maxed out. Sacrifice is one thing. It implies an intentional giving up of something. We should sacrifice our time. But foolishly using our time and being burnt out is another thing altogether. I firmly believe I could use my time better and that would benefit my family, my work, my education, people I want to serve, and myself.

We all could use some lessons in time management. If we are to be effective stewards of the time God has given us on this Earth, we shouldn’t want to waste a single moment!

So, drum roll please….

This week is time management week at Becoming Last. We’re going to discover together principles we could all apply to make better use of our time.

Three promises:

  1. You will be challenged. I’m convinced we have a wealth of time and yet we squander it.
  2. You will be better off. Making better use of our time leads to less stress and more freedom.
  3. You will discover something new. Guaranteed. You will learn something new or have one of those “light bulb over the head” moments.

Look forward to seeing you around. I’m determined to make the most of these precious moments we have on this great Earth. Will you join me?

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Filed under Challenges, General Update, Time

Are You Called?

I subscribe to a newsletter from the Daily Good. Each day, they’ll send a quote and an inspirational story. For the most part, it’s pretty good stuff. Today, the quote resonated with me.

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.

Augustine of Hippo

Pay attention to what Augustine is saying here. We can’t help everyone. Most of us know that. We have limitations like money and time. We’d love to help, but it’s just not possible. But here’s where Augustine differs from our normal thinking.

He’s saying, we may not be able to help everyone, but there are people specifically designed for us to help. And they aren’t hidden.

They are right in front of us.

For whatever reason, we like to complicate things. We make loving others more difficult than it should be in a variety different ways. But the one I’ve been thinking about lately has been “the calling”. Normally, this calling is thought to be accompanied by a “sign” or “feeling”. I want to be careful, because I think we can be called to do certain things, but hear me out.

I’ve told this story before, but when I was in college there were many times I didn’t exactly want to go to class. I’d get in my car and brainstorm plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t go. I would go so far as to search for a sign not to go. I’d say to myself, “If I get stopped by a red light, that’s it” or “If I circle the lot twice and there’s not spots, I’m gone.” Of course, the lights would be green and there would always end up being a great spot! I’d know the right thing to do, but I would search for a reason not to do it.

Unknowingly, I think we do this same thing when it comes to laying down our lives for others. We want to have a holy heart attack when we see someone or get that really big gut feeling or have something miraculous happen to confirm that we should indeed help them. Again, I’m not saying there aren’t times people are called, but I think there should be a better way of determining to help someone lest we get our signals mixed up with indigestion.

The awareness of a need and the capacity to meet that need: This constitutes a call.

John R. Mott

There is some wisdom to what Mott says there. Obviously, we can not help everyone. However, there are needs that are placed in our lives on a daily basis that we may overlook or leave for someone else. Sometimes God calls people to be the answer to a prayer.

How intentional are you about listening for needs?

Do you find yourself waiting for that calling when maybe it’s right there in front of you?

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Filed under Challenges, Excuses, making a difference, Realizations, Serving Others, Uncategorized, Websites