Category Archives: Chances to Serve

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

What Gives?

My mom is getting ready to sell her house. Honestly, that comes with mixed emotions. It’s my home. It’s where I grew up. I tore holes in the front yard playing baseball. It’ll be tough to see it go. But, I’ve slowly come to grips with the idea. After all, it will save my mom money, time, and stress. Plus, she’ll be able to move closer to us (I hope!).

As she prepares to sell the house, the kids (that’s me) are having to sort through all their junk they’ve piled up through the years. I’ve admitted this before, but I tend to be a pack rat. I can find just about any reason to keep something and before you know it, the Mt. Everest of Miscellaneous Things has been created in my room.

Well, today, I went through a few boxes. Among the wreckage were a few trillion pencils, game pieces to who knows what, baseball cards, old magazines, and two random Santa Clause candle holders that I can’t figure out why I would have ever had them.

While I’m doing this, my son is finding all my “junk” rather entertaining. Within seconds, he lasers in on one item in particular: a 1955 Chevy 3100 Cameo or at least the model of it. It’s a pretty sweet looking truck and somewhere along the way this model truck came into my possession. It’s never been open. It’s still in a box – inside of another box – at the bottom of another box.

It was unused, un-thought-of, uncared for, and abandoned. Yet today, it was the treasure in my son’s eyes. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on it. In the last 24 hours, he has loved that truck to pieces…literally. It’s just a model so it’s not made to be played with and he’s a two year old (bad combination!). But it’s value has never been greater. Sure, inside a box, untouched, it probably cost a few dollars, but the excitement it brought to a little boy is worth far more.

All of this got me thinking:

I wonder what other treasures we’ve left buried?

  • Maybe it’s the coat you always swear you are going to wear and it lays neglected in your closet.
  • Maybe it’s the tools you have three or four and your drawers are getting crowded.
  • Maybe it’s margin in your life for relationships. We often get so busy, our friends and family get buried in the chaos of our lives.

Whatever it may be, we all have something buried. It may seem insignificant, small, or cheap to us, but it could lighten up someone’s eyes like a small Chevy truck did for my little guy.

So what is it? What lies unused, unwanted in your life? What can you give away?

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Filed under Chances to Serve, Realizations, Uncategorized

Pack Rat Rehab

I admit it. I am a pack rat. I don’t know how to let things go. I keep almost everything. You just never when you might need it, right?

A couple of years back, my wife made me go through like 50 shirts I hardly ever wear and I begrudgingly gave up about five. I can really find any excuse to keep something. “I might need it one day. I could still wear that. That has too many memories to throw away.” The list could go on. I’ve just never been good at getting rid of anything.

But I think I’m starting to come around…

I’m beginning to realize how MUCH I have. So last week I began my rehab as a pack rat. I’ve begun cleaning out the closet and I’m going to work my way through the house until we’re a lean, clean, efficient machine. Here’s a few good reasons you may want to go to pack rat rehab like me…

  1. Organization is Next to Godliness. O.k. Not quite. But you get the point. I agree with much of what this article says about efficiency. Basically, the more organized you are the better you will function. I’m not the most organized and I don’t think you have to be a neat freak, but, at a minimum, being able to identify where things are is helpful.
  2. Hidden Treasures! I love working through a pile of junk and running across a hidden treasure. Just that simple pleasure makes the time spent cleaning/organizing worth it. A few of the fun trinkets I’ve found…$5 in the pocket of a fleece I hadn’t worn, a book I had been looking for, cd’s, and pictures of the year I met my wife.
  3. Giving it Away! You know this had to eventually get to Becoming Last right? Well, my perspective is completely changing on all my stuff. Before, I kept everything because I’m frugile and hate to get rid of something. However, my heart has really been broken for all the clothes, toys, etc. we have around our house. Especially stuff we don’t use or even remember exists anymore! I really want to begin to be a giver. A lot of times I don’t think I have much to give (and I don’t to a lot of my friends who are better off than I am), but there are plenty of people in this area and around the world whose day would be made by receiving some of the things I neglect.
  4. Recycle, Reuse. This is not a blog on politics so no worries about getting into whether or not global warming is taking place. I’ve just realized two things recently. One, I should recycle. If the stuff can be broken down and made into another product, why not recycle it? It’s way easier to throw it away, but I want to begin to make a better effort at making the most of what I’m given, even as I dispose of it. Second, I love the people who are really thrifty at reusing things in a different way than it was intended. It’s creative, it’s being a good steward, and it saves it from the trash. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Maybe you can join pack rat rehab with me. Take a look around your house this weekend, think about what you use, think of the benefits of cleaning house, and think of the people/kids you could help by donating your stuff or selling it to give the money away. Good luck!

How can you Become Last this weekend?

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Filed under Chances to Serve, Uncategorized

Help Others.org

I wanted to pass along a website that may interest some of you. It’s called Help Others.org. From what I understand, a group of volunteers maintain the site and it exists to simply encourage people in their everyday endeavors to help others.

The website won’t blow you away with its style, but here are three reasons why you should at least give it a glance.

  1. Encouraging Stories – People share inspiring stories of kindness, compassion, generosity, and sacrifice. They are fun to read and perhaps they may give you an idea.
  2. Accountability – The website offers you a chance to join a group. They “are a fun way to do some good, connect with others in the spirit of kindness, and to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Even if you don’t join a group, I appreciate their effort in prompting people to serve as communities. We can make a much larger impact together than we ever could alone.
  3. Ideas – Stuck in a rut? Not sure how to serve? Don’t sweat it. They’ve got you covered. There is an easy to access list of ways you can begin loving others.

I hope you’ll take the time to at least check them out. I just found them today so I’m not sure how great they are at updating it daily, but I thought it was worth a few minutes to pass on. Have a great Wednesday, click the “Help Now” widget on the right, and let me know what you thought of Help Others.org.

How can you Become Last to your co-workers?

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Filed under Chances to Serve, Examples of Sacrifice, General Update, Uncategorized, Websites

Hitting the Right Note

I know most of us are social media nerds. We love blogs, twitter, facebook, and the like. But let’s face it…

Who doesn’t love a handwritten note? Even guys appreciate the fact someone took the time to write to them.

So take the time today…it could be for a birthday, anniversary, or a just because…just write someone a note. Long, short, deep, funny, serious…do what you do best.

Even you business folks. Put away the emails for a minute and write a customer. I guarantee you if I would be faithful to a company who took the time to write a note themselves, instead of sending me the generic form letter.

Maybe you know someone who lost a job or is going through something tough. Write them. You have no idea the impact it could make on someone.

Who can you write?

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Filed under Chances to Serve

Character in Power

President Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

So what is your character like?

You may not think you have power. You may not be in a powerful position. You think you don’t have much influence. You may not feel powerful.

But we are powerful in a different sense and I think our character is tested by how we use our power. Consider this:

  • I have the power to choose to eat out as often as I do. I could use the money on better things or other people, but I have to be honest about the fact I love eating out. It’s part of my character.
  • You have the power to work less. I know many Americans work 50-60 hours a week. Each situation is different, but do the things we desire hold us enslaved to our jobs?
  • I have 24 hours of power. Each day, I have the choice of doing a lot of things. It’s quite simple. I value the things I spend a lot of time doing. What does your time say about your character?
  • I have the power to sacrifice. Sometimes I need a reality check to realize how blessed I am. What does your sacrifice demonstrate about your character?

Lincoln was right. Power does test our character. We have SO much power. How are we using that power? How should we use it?

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Filed under Chances to Serve, General Update, quotes, Realizations, Time

Becoming Last as a Parent

Today has reminded me how easy it is for me to treat people based on my mood or how they treat me. Case in point: my two and a half year old. The poor kid is having a tough time coming back from a fun week of camp. We left this morning, he didn’t get a nap, and he’s so out of his  normal routine that he’s almost irrational. You know how kids get when they just cry to cry? That’s him.

He’s been AWESOME this week. He loved camp. But today, not so much. Which got me thinking about how I tend to treat him worse when he’s acting up and that I really shouldn’t. Here’s some examples…

  • My patience is shorter – When he’s upset so much, my patience thins, and I end up punishing him for stuff I wouldn’t normally punish him for. This only adds to the stress. My parenting (and my love) should be consistent whether he’s in rebellion or hitting a home run in the World Series.
  • I detach – I’m tired too. So it’s easy to just detach, do something yourself, and not engage him. Sometimes it is best to let them cry. I know that. But I also know I could try harder to love him through the tantrum.
  • I forget Jesus’ example – In John 13, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. It was an act of service that went beyond the call of duty, especially considering whose feet he washed, Judas’. Judas would later betray him, yet Jesus washed his feet. Cranky two-year old or not, I can serve and love him better than I did today.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like I lost it. I’m just beginning to recognize how often I think of myself instead of trying to serve and love people as Christ would. My little boy is going to have tough days every now and then. I shouldn’t just let him get away with anything, but I can surely provide an excellent example of Becoming Last.

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Filed under Chances to Serve, Examples of Sacrifice, General Update, Realizations, Scripture