God's anticipation


I know, I know. That first statement scares some of you because you know me all too well. Here's the thing though, as Christians we always talk about the ultimate sacrifice right? I truly believe that God sending Christ to die on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice. I mean, God's ONLY Son, that's HUGE! Of course, to go with that Christ gave up His life on Earth, for our sins. Again, it's HUGE. I just can't get over how crazy that is, but at the same time... I have another thought. It's Christmas time right? The birthday of JESUS himself. The Christmas season, and the thought of the sacrifice made me come up with this thought...

I don't know about everyone else, but my favorite part about Christmas (aside from the fact that it has everything and more to do with my salvation) is the excitement of giving gifts to my friends and family. I just love the creativity that I can exert to find the perfect (for them) gift, the sentiment that it carries, the expression of love, the joy it can bring to them. It's easily what I look forward to the most about Christmas day. (I will admit, #2 is breakfast, #3 is my own present.. No seriously, I really love food.) Which made me think, how excited was God to give us His only Son? I mean, yeah it was a huge sacrifice, but He gave us Christ, and Christ ultimately gave His life because of their love for us. I think when God sent Jesus to be born of Mary, He spent the next 3 years just waiting in anticipation. Waiting for people to realize what He was doing for them. I think God felt a lot like I do about giving gifts to my family. I also think, He's that excited and waits with that same anticipation for us to accept Him as our Creator, Savior, King of Kings, the Lover of our Souls. I think He spent 18 years just fidgeting on His throne waiting for me to accept Him into my life. When I did, it was a HUGE moment for both me and Him. Now, I don't mean to sound arrogant, because I think He waits in anticipation for all the lost and broken to find their way home. I just think about the way I love my family, and the excitement that comes from that love when I get to give them gifts, and I think.. "God loves me more than I could ever love another person, He must be wearing his dancing shoes just waiting for one of us to return home".


I don't know if that all made sense, but I know one thing. God is anticipating giving you a gift, your salvation, all you have to do is say yes. Once you do, He'll be dancing with joy, because of the joy you will then find in Him. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice with His life, God gave us the ultimate gift in His Son, and our Salvation.

Grace and Peace


Before They Were Champions (revised)

It's never been so hard for me to sit down and write what is on my heart... probably because the things on my heart aren't usually this vast or hard to deal with. This is easily going to be the most emotional post I've written those far on As Days Go By... if it doesn't flow like usual, I apologize in advance...

I have spent a collective 19 years living in Hope, Indiana. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to leave. I was in high school, it was a small town, everyone knew everyone, and I was ready to be on my own. Until December 19th, 2005. That's the day my world came crashing down around me, and had it not been for this small town, I don't know where I would be today. My family lost our home, our belongings, our pets, everything. It was hard to fathom. I stood there at one point listening to someone scream as we watched the fire engulf our home... then I realized the person screaming was ME. It's been six years since we lost our home, and the 19th this year, was just as hard, if not harder than all the others. This post has been many years coming, but it never quite sounded right. It does tonight though. My angst started right around midnight. I was having trouble sleeping, and looked at my phone right as the date changed. It was all down hill from there. Lucky for me, God has blessed me with some amazing friends, one in particular that stepped up last night when I needed her most. I slept about 4 hours last night, the rest of the night was spent tossing and turning, weeping, lashing out in anger, and reminiscing. That pretty much sums up my entire day, except for the fact that I was at work. Once again, I am very lucky to have the friends that I have at my job, they made today a lot easier. After work though, I went to 431 Union Street. It's been a long time since I have stopped there, and as I turned onto the dimly lit street, for a split second I could see our old house. Like a ghost it stood there, in all it's former glory, only to vanish when I blinked. Someone asked me today why I still go there every year. While I was standing there in the cold and the rain, it hit me. It's so that I can be reminded of what matters in life. You see, now that I am in the "real world", the reality of what today means is even clearer. It's not just the cliche "don't take things for granted" or "we are only promised today", but more than that. It's a reminder that it's not about me, or my plans, or my wants. It's about God's plan. Somehow, this was part of the plan (and a pretty bad part if you ask me, it's like the scene in the movie you would love to face forward through, you just can't find the remote). God has shown me a lot of things about that day in the last 6 years, most importantly, He has shown me the value of friendship and community.

I still can't believe the way people took care of us when we lost everything. People gave us clothing, places to stay, food, money, hugs, and most importantly prayers. There were people who probably had barely enough money for Christmas gifts for their own families, that replaced many of ours. People I didn't know offered money, and condolences. There are so many important people I would love to thank for what they did, but that would take a lifetime. One group of people has always stuck out in my mind when I think about that time in my life...

Before they were husbands, fathers, college graduates, teachers, coaches, adventure-seekers, insurance salesmen, businessmen, and athletic trainers, there were a special group of guys that were all part of a State Championship. Some were players, others fans in the crowd. That day was a special day though, because it was in that moment, that I saw Christ bless some very important people in my life, by helping them to achieve their dream.

A little more than 6 years ago I wrote an article that made the local newspaper. It was entitled "Before they were champions.." Take a look:

Hauser High School's boys' basketball team brought home their first state title this year, bringing a terrific season to a perfect end. Team and fans alike celebrated their happiness together. However, Hauser's team isn't one that is only there for the good times. Before they were champions, they were just a group of great guys, and true friends. On December 19th my family lost our house to a fire. We were able to salvage very little. Four days later, we were there ready to sift through the ruins and rubble and find what could be salvaged. As I got out of my car at the site of my former home, I heard more cars pull in behind me. They were members of Hauser's varsity basketball team. Not only are they state champions, but they are true good-hearted friends. Each one of them left practice, and drove straight to 431 Union Street. Gabe Miller, Blake Roth, Zach Fugate, Bobby Jolliff, Bryce Mize, Justin Baute, Brandon Barker, Nate Long, Seth Baute, Bryan Bailey, and Ben Gearhart approached me with arms wide open and smiles on their faces. At that moment I felt the true meaning of living in a small community. Eleven young men, current and former Hauser basketball players, clad in old clothes and heavy gloves, ready to help me and my sister sift through our childhood. As we sorted through the remains, I was able to laugh and cry with the best friends a kid could ask for. Eleven kids willing to give up a day of Christmas break, to help a family in need. I stopped after about an hour of working and looked around at these 11 guys. Replaying the memories I had with each and every one of them in my house. Late nights playing video games, and all day football games in the yard, it was all very emotional for me. They were my support system, and I saw it as my duty to return the favor. I spent my Saturday supporting Gabe Miller, Blake Roth, Zach Fugate, Bobby Jolliff, Bryce Mize, Justin Baute, and Brandon Barker in their time of need, by sitting in the front row of the cheer block, cheering them on in their quest to be "Living the Dream". The others, Nate Long, Seth Baute, Bryan Bailey, and Ben Gearhart joined me in the sea of black at Conseco Fieldhouse. At the end of the game, with all the excitement buzzing, I stopped and took a moment to thank the Lord. I thanked Him for giving back to the friends that had helped me through a very hard time. The memory I have of watching my best friends win a state championship is enough to fill the void of all the things I lost in the burning of my house. It's an amazing feeling to watch the people who you've spent your entire life with, accomplish something that seemed so impossible, for so long. Congratulations to the 2006 Indiana Class 1A Boy's Basketball State Champs, and thank you for all you have done for me and my family.

I am so thankful to this day for those boys, now men. They are still some of my best friends, I have seen 3 of them get married, two others are married with kids, 9 have graduated college, 1 has trained sled dogs in Alaska. These guys have all gone on to do incredible things with their lives. They have continued to be a huge part of my life, and they will never fully comprehend what they mean to me. The other thing is, I can remember so many other people that weren't mentioned in that article because they weren't there that particular day, that should have been added to the list. My dear friend,Nick Long, wasn't able to be there that day, but I remember he came to me later and apologized for being sick. He wanted to be there but needed to rest. Just the fact that he thought there was a reason to apologize meant the world to me.Bryan Fields spent hours searching for my grandfather's 1950 Purdue class ring (pictured below) one of the few things I have left of my Grandfather, and found it amongst all the rubble. The cheerleaders, our neighbors, our friends, our family, the teachers, my soccer team, the coaches, administrators, and coworkers of my parents went above and beyond what anyone could have asked them to do.

Now 6 years later I still have my memories, along with new ones with those old friends. Today was hard, going back to 431 Union Street was emotional, but at least I was able to be surrounded by the people I love, and the people that love me. Always Remember, and Never Forget... 431 Union Street.

Grace and Peace


Support Adoption #1


Nashville is always a refreshing change of scenery, especially when I get to spend time here with two of my favorite people. This weekend is going to be filled with moments spent dreaming, planning, fundraising and scheming about the love, time and care that will go into Elijah's life. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be this little boy's Uncle B and I haven't even had the chance to meet him, or even see a picture of him. My heart just melts when I think of the first moment I will get to hold him, and the look on Amy and Mike's faces every time he does something new. It's funny how there are some people in your life that you know you were just destined to be family with despite the lack of blood relation. I am ecstatic to be here this weekend and can't even begin to explain how excited I am for Elijah to be here with us, despite not knowing when that will be. The joy that comes over his mother's face whenever she speaks of him is such a reminder of how strong the bond between parent and child is. She will truly be able to tell him that she loved him even before he was born. That she has been praying and planning for his arrival into this world since Christ placed him on her heart. I am so blessed to be a part of this. I am in awe.

Grace and Peace


Give 10 Cents


Okay, before any of you start saying things to yourself such as "he only has one problem?" let me clarify. I have a problem in front of me currently that is weighing heavy on my heart and the hearts of many people whose faith and relationship with Christ I admire. It's a problem of money, materialism, and American culture. I will admit now, this post is probably a little overdue considering tomorrow is a regular Friday, and not the infamous "Black Friday". However, I'm going to speak my mind on it now, so if you feel like you might agree or even disagree for that matter, keep reading.


That's such a sad statement. No, it's not my personal philosophy on life but it is for many people in our country. I spent tonight with a good friend who I haven't seen in a month. During our time together we touched on a multitude of topics from jobs, old friends, new friends, to Holidays. Money was a very present theme, and not in the way you would expect. We talked a lot about how disgusting things like Black Friday are, because of the problems money creates. To make matters worse (and me a little more bitter) this conversation followed a very over-priced meal at a local restaurant. Here's what I don't understand though... There are all these people that fight over merchandise, the pepper-spray fellow shoppers, set fire to cars, punch and bite, and all in the name of what? 30% off a Coach purse that is already so grotesquely overpriced that it should come with a fold-out toilet and minibar? Think about this for a second... Black Friday follows Thanksgiving. So we spend all Thursday afternoon giving Thanks for our friends, family, and many blessings from God etc. and then around 10pm we throw all class out the window and attack people because we want to be sure we get the newest $140 Lego set for our kids who will most likely build half of it one time and set it aside-- intelligent. Now don't get me wrong, I have participated in the madness and I am not putting all you Black Friday shoppers down by any means. I'm just using it as an example of how disgusting the importance of money is in our culture.


I hate this question. I hate asking it and I hate being asked. It's such a terrible question, and unfortunately it's one that you hear more often than not when discussing job opportunities. Since I have been basking in the glories of being unemployed (sarcasm) I have talked to more people than I can count about jobs and money. One guy asked me what it would take, a figure, for me to be in full time ministry. I honestly didn't know how to respond, I wasn't sure how to put a number on living a dream or providing a link between others and Christ. However, because of the way we are conditioned to think, I was able to come up with a very reasonable suggestion (one that was lower than a typical business position but high enough that I could buy my iPad ) It's a re-occurring theme in every day life. Money, Money, Money. Believe me, I get it, I have selfish wants and desires too... but I just can't get over the idiocy it creates in people.


You know those commercials on late night television where if you give $.10 you can change a child's life? Or those really annoying people dressed as Santa Clause asking you for spare change outside of Walmart (this is the last time I'm clarifying my sarcasm, I hope you've caught on by now) Those things really can do some good. I heard about an organization recently that if you donate the price of a cup of coffee they will use it to help underprivileged kids in third world countries. Now, I know there are three groups of people that may read this, they are as follows:

1.) The guy that nods his head and says "Amen brother" and really agrees with you:
This guy or girl, feels the same way about money as you do, they will talk about the need in other places until they are blue in the face and they will donate that cup of coffee, maybe even two! all for the cause, man.

2.) The "What about the children in need in America, God bless America and No one else" guy:
This guy smells what your cooking but thinks that because we are Americans we should focus on ourselves and provide for those in need here, disregarding that most of the poverty in this country is considered middle class in other nations, the ethnocentric guy that sits and the middle and continuously goes "humph"

3.)The grabs cell phone and pretends someone is calling him guy:
This guy uses this to duck the people asking for change for their cause. This isn't just a trick he uses for ex-girlfriends, he actually uses it to duck ministers, police, the homeless, and his mother in law when she drops in for a visit. You would actually think that he is the fix-it man for the entire city with as many times as his phone "vibrates" because someone is calling-- as a side note I would like to add that no one actually takes the time to make their phone audibly ring, it's always on vibrate, and my favorite is when said person's phone actually rings while they are on an "important call"

I will admit I have been all of these people at one time or another which is why I am confident that it is okay that I mock them... I apologize for any hurt feelings. Seriously though, how many of us really ignore the call to help others? Do you really need 6 Starbucks coffees a day (or even one for that matter) Take 5 dollars, 3 dollars, 89 cents (if you buy coffee at your local gas station like myself) and give some change to a charity. Sure you might think it can't impact anyone's life, but you would be wrong. I've been to some of these countries, I've met people that were once sponsor children, I've read and listened to testimonies from recipients of TOMS, Hello Somebody, CURE, or even the Salvation Army that have said that the money we help raise changes lives. Do something about it this year, change the way you look at money, give some away, turn some away, take your dream job that is accompanied by a pay cut, and bless someone else either here or abroad. End rant.

Grace and peace