Category Archives: Serving Others

Don’t Let Fear Kill Your Dream

“Fear prohibits great ideas from happening.” – @JeffGoins

I wonder…

how many great ideas never took flight…

how many dreams never became reality…

how many inspiring acts of heroism have been quenched…

NOT from lack of money, encouragement, resources, time, or talent,

but, BECAUSE OF FEAR.

We fear failure. We fear other people’s opinions. We fear leaving a more controlled life. We fear not being skilled or extraordinary enough.  We fear the unknown of launching into something that is larger than ourselves.

For whatever reason, we take our dreams, the ideas we are most passionate about, and we push them aside in order to fit into a more “normal” version of reality. Fear binds us from taking great leaps of faith.

I’ll be honest. Fear binds me now. I have a dream, but I’m just not sure it will take off.  We’ll see if it ever transforms from a “great idea” to reality.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. —  2 Timothy 1:7

What dreams are you letting be pushed aside by fear?

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Filed under Excuses, making a difference, quotes, Scripture, Serving Others

Give Up Everything?

In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all. In this way we choose to send off other people to carry out the global purpose of Christianity while the rest of us sit back because we’re “just not called to that.”  —  David Platt, Radical

In the midst of writing a much larger post about Christianity and wealth, I ran across this quote. I’ve written about our idea of “calling” before, but I think Platt provides an excellent reminder for us. Many of the functions, attitudes, and sacrifices that God calls us to as Christians, we tend to give to a select few.

The heart of the Christian life is sacrifice. Romans 12:1 speaks of being a “living sacrifice”.

What comes to mind when you hear those words?

The challenge for me lies in not taking those words too lightly. It’s easy for me to write some things that I do off as a “sacrifice”, but I wonder if we really want to know what God means when he says “living sacrifice”.

In Luke 18, Jesus challenges a rich young man to sell everything. Luke 9, we find Jesus calling those who follow him to deny themselves and take up their cross. These are not easy words. They aren’t words we should take lightly.

Our tendency is to take Jesus’ commandments and make them into philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

Jesus just wants me to have a giving heart.
We shouldn’t love things.
I should care about people.

While statements like these are true, they are sufficiently vague as to encompass almost any way of living.

The reality is if we have a loving heart it will burst forth in action. If we don’t care about things, we will find ourselves compelled to live with and love less and less of our things as we become more satisfied in Him. If we truly care about people, our lives will begin to revolve around His work on this earth, rather than building our own kingdom.

Christianity is going all-in.

What does being a “living sacrifice” mean to you?

How do you tangibly “take up your cross”?

 

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Filed under christian, Examples of Sacrifice, quotes, Scripture, selflessness, Serving Others

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

Frisbees Speak Louder Than Words

In many ways, language inhibits our ability to truly communicate. We so quickly use words to express our feelings that our words have been sucked dry of meaning. Listen to what James says about this:

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

James 2:15-17

Imagine reaching a point in your life where you lacked the food to feed your children. Suppose you went to a friend and shared your plight and they essentially said sorry and wished you good luck. You would rightfully be discouraged and hurt. Although they communicated with words that they care, their actions spoke otherwise.

We too easily use words to wrap up a conversation or an encounter with someone because words make the break more clean. It is infinitely more convenient to say, “I’ll pray for you” to someone who is suffering than to invest the time and energy necessary to understand their suffering and discover a way to love them in action.

All of this crystallized in my heart when I spent a week in Brazil this past October. I knew not a lick of Portuguese, but one of our primary goals involved loving the children in a poorer part of the city.

I remember the first few minutes as we began to meet the children, I felt terribly out of place. I graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies. I am trained to talk! Yet, I could not use words to introduce myself or begin to get to know the kids.

Samela, one of my favorite kids from the trip.

Thankfully, love knows no bounds. Language does not hold love captive and over the next week, I got to know some of the most wonderful children in the world through a variety of ways:

  • Playing Frisbee – Seriously, greatest invention ever. The kids had more fun with that than anything else.
  • Having the kids make fun of me while I tried to repeat Portuguese words.
  • Getting schooled in soccer.
  • Building them a safer place to play.
  • Trying to sing songs in Portuguese.
  • Teaching them how to juggle.
  • Simply spending time with them.

Honestly, I felt like I knew the kids my whole life by the time I left. Although language made conversation possible, real friendships were formed. I may never have been able to have a long conversation, but I still tear up when I look at their pictures because they mean so much to me.

All this to say, let’s stop going the easy route. Yes, we can tell people how we feel, but let’s not stop there. Show them.

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Filed under christian, General Update, Realizations, Scripture, selflessness, Serving Others

Becoming Last to a Sickie

My kid is sick. Check that. My kid is the whiny, snotty, fussy, irrational, needy, but can never be fulfilled sick.

I’m not complaining. Just giving some perspective.

Today was going to be my morning “off”. I had plans to write, to pray, and to read. More than anything, I wanted to work on the blog. But my child was sick and that meant he got to stay home with dad.

Enter my selfish, it’s all about me attitude.

I laid him down to sleep, but it was as if the crib was his personal kryptonite. He constantly stood up and just screamed. My patience quickly exhausted, I started letting it get to me. I went from laying him down by singing to him, talking calmly to him to just laying him down and leaving and then finally to lecturing him about how he should know better (not that he could understand a word I said).

Nevermind the fact that he is sick, he should know I’m working on my blog about Becoming Last! He’s ruining my morning!

Wait…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”   – Apostle Paul

Doh.

My baby was sick. He felt miserable. And all I could think about was how my expectations were not being met. I realized I had a choice. I could love him unconditionally or I could assert my own interests above his.

I quickly went into get him. He smiled at me over the edge of his crib (at least he’s a forgiving baby). I turned off his fan and brought him out to play. For about an hour, we played, I held him, we played some more, and he was a genuinely happy baby. Soon, I fed him, changed him, and laid him back down.

I could hear him start to move around and his cough was coming back. All I could think to do was pray so I grabbed my other son (he’s 3) and we said a quick prayer for his baby brother. His prayer was, “God, please help him feel better. Your turn dad.” I smiled and  prayed (longer, but no more effective).

No kidding. Within a minute, the little guy was asleep. God answered the prayers of a 3 year old and a selfish dad who runs a blog called Becoming Last (oh, the irony).

Thankful he was asleep, I whipped out my computer ready to pound out some writing.

“Dad, now that he’s asleep, will you play Go Fish with me?”

“Yes, buddy. I’d love to play Go Fish with you.” I’d learned my lesson.

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Filed under christian, Realizations, selflessness, Serving Others, Uncategorized

Quoteable

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.” – Sydney Smith

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Filed under making a difference, quotes, selflessness, Serving Others

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