Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Friend or resource?

"Who would you like to get "accidentally" stuck on an island with?"

"Would you lie to someone to make them happy?"

The occasionally humorous, extremely random questions flew by on the "Social Interview" application on Facebook.

Then I saw one that made me think:
"Who would you call if you needed to be bailed out of jail?" Immediately a face flashed before my eyes. But then I thought about it, and thought, "When was the last time I spoke to this person?" And I realized, I haven't spoken to this person in MONTHS, but THAT is the person I'd want to pull through for me?! YIKES!

I do it. You do it. We all do it.
We all have people in our mental "corner". That one guy who is really good at fixing cars, the guy who can fix any computer problem, the awkward (but filthy rich) kid, the nerd from school who can help you with your Calc homework, or that crazy aunt that you keep close because of the large checks she sends you every birthday. We tend to subconsciously keep mental notes on people, ICE (In Case of Emergency). The majority of the time, I don't think this is done maliciously, but rather subconsciously.

Yes, we all have been endowed with certain gifts and talents in certain areas, BUT, I do not believe that these gifts and/or talents are something to be exploited.

It's happened to me before...
I'm sitting there, merrily going about my work, when all of the sudden the phone rings.
It's "Mary" who I haven't heard from in over a year.

When these calls come in I'm immediately skeptical, no matter how long the pleasantries go on at the beginning of the conversation, I just KNOW that it's coming.

"Andrew! How are ya hun?! It's been forever!
How's the fam? Everyone doing well?
How's school going? Still gonna be a cop?
Fun Fun...
So uhm listen! I was at my computer today, and all of the sudden it went blank, and blah blah blah blah......"

A part of me is like "REALLY?
I'd rather have you call and cut straight to the point, and not waste my time. You know what you are really calling for....."

I mean, I'm ALL for helping people out, and doing everything I can do be there for people, but sometimes you still feel a twinge of "they only called because they NEED something"

I have a friend who recently came to me with a problem like this.
For privacy reasons, we're gonna say "Jack" is really good at "fixing cars".
He came to me pretty upset one day.
He said:
"I saw a 'friend' of mine at a party the other day, and I tried talking to him, and he blew me off. Acted like I didn't exist. Well sure enough, two days later, my 'friend's' car breaks down. Guess who's on speed dial then? Yea, ME! Guess what? Magically I exist again! AND, because he is my 'friend', he thinks he's entitled to my 'friend discount'!"

Jack's story troubled me, but also made me think, and ask myself "Who do I have in my life that doesn't 'exist' until I need them? Who do I call a "friend" when it's convenient, or 'cool', but blow off when they are not needed?"

I realized that I had some work to do. I have some people in my life that I need to value for WHO THEY ARE, and not just for WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR ME.

I had to reassess a lot of my friendships with people, then pick up the phone and shoot out some texts and make some calls. The last thing I want to do is to be a "leech".

I want to challenge you to look at your life right now. Who are some of those "friends" who are really just "resources" to you?

In every relationship, we have what is called an "emotional bank account". We make "deposits" into this account through time spent with a person, through kind things we do, nice words we say, etc.
But we can make "withdrawals" through rude words, mean actions, and by "using" a person only for what they can give to you.
You never want to "overdraw" on your emotional bank account with a person. The results can be devastating to any relationship.

So, take a step back. Think about those whom you call "friends", and ask yourself "how do I treat this person?".
Maybe it's time to shoot someone a text, or phone some old friends, but for once, don't make contact with the attitude of "What can I get from you?", take on the attitude of "What can I DO FOR YOU? How can I be a blessing?" It may be as simple as just asking how the person is doing. NO ulterior motives, no other reasons.

It shows that person that you care about who THEY are, not only what they can do for you.

This made me think. I hope it does the same for you.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Who is important here?" and other interesting questions.

In the dim light of a fancy restaurant, I sit, enjoying a wonderful meal. I look over, and see a cute couple, early twenties, dressed fairly well, their faces illuminated by the single candle in the middle of the table. All of the sudden, I see a weird glow on her face, followed by one on his face. Upon closer observance, I realized that they were both on their cell phones. While they were engaging in occasional small talk with each other, they both seemed to be a lot more interested in the person with whom they were communicating via mobile device.

I sat and watched them for a while, and it seemed like perhaps 75-90% of the time, they were staring at that little rectangular portal to the outside world. It was starting to really bother me. "Why would you come to this incredible restaurant, pay a ton of money for this meal, have a beautiful person sitting across from you, and then sit there and text the entire night?"

I started getting angry, but then I decided to take a more introspective look into the problem that I was seeing. I had to ask myself: "do I do the same thing sometimes in different situations?" I know for a fact that I am guilty as charged. I've been in plenty of situations where I've been with REAL people, yet I choose to sit there, and contentedly peck away at my iPhone, talking with who KNOWS who, usually about small and mundane things.

I believe that this is something that everyone has experienced. You're in a conversation with someone at a gathering, and you are sharing something, and all of the sudden the hand goes for the pocket. They look at the phone, and start composing a reply. Their head nods, and you hear the occasional "mmhmm" as if they were saying "Oh I'm still listening" But you know where their attention REALLY is. It can be somewhat belittling, because essentially, the person is saying, "what this other person is talking to me about is more important than what you have to say".. OUCH!

We live in and interesting day and time, in which our "worlds" have become more and more digital. But I would challenge each and every one of you to not forget the art of true conversation. I think it is something that has been slowing fading away.

If you ever go out to eat with my Grandpa Norm, you better believe that by the time you leave the restaurant, he is going to know the first name, occupation, and favorite baseball team of just about everyone within a 20 foot radius of your table, just by making "small talk". You'll never see him sitting alone at a table, pecking away at a mobile device.

I believe the art of "small talk" has been largely lost in our generation. But those who know how to truly communicate and network with people will go far in life.

This is why I would like to make a challenge, to each and every person reading this. Next time you are with someone, and you feel that familiar vibration in your pocket, ask yourself, "Who is important here? Is it the people I am physically with? Or is it this person who I am texting?" Even if what you are saying via text is "important" Are you considering the preciousness of the person you are with by spending all of your time on the phone?

Well like it says in 1 Timothy 1:15 "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save inconsiderate texters; of whom I am chief." AT (Andrew's Translation) ;)
I'm probably the worst at doing this. But I think it is something that each and every one of us could look at in our lives. Just ask yourself, "How can I show the people that I am with that I truly care about them?" "What decisions and changes can I make to make them feel more important."

Even though our society has only become more and more self-centered, I believe that we are called to be different. To be a light.

So next time you have the urge to be an "inconsiderate texter" think twice about it. Maybe, just MAYBE, you can put that message off till later. It doesn't matter if they are talking about the most boring and mundane subject in the world. What can YOU do to make them feel important and loved?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life Update 04-28-09

I thought I’d check in and give you all an update on what’s been going on in my life.
I am coming to the end of my first year here at Charis Bible College.
It’s been a wonderful experience, one that has caused me to grow tremendously.
I’ve been leading worship at my church for the past few years, and it has been great, but when I started at Charis, they decided to appoint me as the worship leader for our live worship chapel sessions twice a week.
While I know God has had me here to receive the teaching, I also came to realize that just as importantly (if not more), He had me here to receive the experience of leading worship 3 times a week instead of only 1 time per week.
And through this time, he has also given me many songs which have been awesome to write and teach to the people.
Overall it really has been a wonderful, (although sometimes stretching) process. But hey, you can’t grow without being stretched right?

I am just recently coming out of what was probably the hardest time of my life so far.
Without going into too much detail, I lost someone who was not only a very close friend, but was also the one person who I believed that I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
I believe that I had taken all of the right steps throughout the relationship, and had thrown myself wholly into it.
But in the end, it turned out to be a case where the feelings I had were not mutual when I thought that they were, and it didn’t work out.
So needless to say, the past 2 weeks or so have been terrible. There are days when everything is fine, then there are days when everything seems to remind me of the person, and it’s hard to move on through the day.
One bit of advice that my father gave me through this situation is this:
He said: “Son, you are in a place right now where yea, there may be pieces of you lying all over the floor, but this now gives you an opportunity to pick yourself up off the floor, get direction from God, and piece yourself back together in the way that God wants you.”
So that is what I’ve been focusing on doing. Getting direction from God, and restructuring my life.
Another opportunity that this trial has presented me with is the chance to reassess my relationship with God.
The relationship that just ended was unlike any I had ever been in before, in this way.
Every time I’ve been in a situation where I liked a girl and we would start to talk, other important things in my life would get pushed to the back burner. Relationships with close friends, family, and most importantly, God.
But in this situation, it was entirely different. Every one of those aspects that usually got pushed back, stayed in balance. My relationship with God was actually strengthened throughout the situation.
But now that that relationship has fallen apart, He has spoken a word to me, telling me that I need to focus even more now on my relationship with him, and take the time that I was investing in that relationship, and put it all into my relationship with Him, and into worship.
So I’ve been focusing on investing my time more and more into that.

Now, I’m at a point where I’m approaching the end of this first year at Charis, and so I’ve been seeking Him for direction on what He would have next for me.
When I was visiting my sister Sarah in Nashville last September, we were talking about the future, and she mentioned a worship school in California.
So I looked it up, and after praying about it, I decided to apply.
My best friend Luke also applied, and we were both accepted.
So this summer, Jun 17th – July 10th, Luke and I will be driving out to Redding, CA to attend Bethel School of Supernatural Worship.
I’m very excited about it, because I know that God has so much for me to learn out there. Worship, both at Charis, and at Family Life, has been amazing lately, and only getting better and better. But I know that He has a higher level that He wants to take us as a church to. And I know that I’m going to get the experience and wisdom to take our worship to that next level when I’m out in Redding.

My life has always been interesting in that I don’t usually get the next step on what I’m supposed to do in my life until I am in the step right before that.
So right now, I’m finishing Charis, and I know that the next step is worship school, but I’ve recently been praying about what God would have me to do in the fall.
Now Charis has a 2nd year program, which is called the “School of Practical Ministry”.
And while I know that it is a wonderful course, I don’t feel that that is God’s direction for me for this next year. It may be something that I come back to do in the future, I don’t feel that it is what He has for me for this year.
Now ever since I was young, I have been interested in Law Enforcement. I think it is something that a lot of young boys want to do, but it is an interest for me that hasn’t subsided as time has gone on. I am still very much interested in it, so because of that, I’m researching a career in Law Enforcement, getting details about it, and going on ride-alongs with different Police Departments in the area. I have recently tried a ride along in my hometown. And there was definitely something that “clicked” there for me. There is definite interest, so we’ll see what He has in store.
To become a police officer, you have to be at least 21 years old, so I have at least a year and a half or so before I could actually become an officer.

So I am praying about possibly going to College of Dupage in the Fall to begin criminal justice studies.
We’ll see what He has in store, but for now, I’m just walking it out, in little Baby Steps. =)
That’s what’s been up with me. I’d appreciate your prayers just for clear direction and guidance throughout all of these situations.
I’ll try to post more often just to keep y’all updated with everything that is going on in my life.
Blessings on you all!
Love ya.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

To run 3 miles...

*I know this is a long post, but please take the time to read it, it's worth it!*


10:45 PM: …it had been a somewhat typical Christmas break day for me, until now…

7:30: woke up to get the trash out in time and take Johnny to school. Came back home, crashed back into bed.

12:15: Mom wakes me up asking when I was gonna get up.
She then said “did you see that?” and pointed next to me. On my office chair right next to my bed was a tray of what HAD been a hot breakfast in bed about 30 minutes prior.
She said she didn’t wake me up for it because I was in such a deep sleep. J
Well she warmed up the omelet for me, and I ate my breakfast, then rolled out of bed, threw some gym shorts and a shirt on and left for work. (Work being at my desk that is 4 feet from my bed…)
Worked for about 3 hours at which point I had to leave to pick up Johnny.
Well I went outside, and realized that a full scale blizzard had begun, leaving about 2-3 in of snow on the driveway. So I took about 15 min and cleared that, then fishtailed my way over to get John.
Came home, back to work for a few hours, then the kids came in, begging to watch an episode of MacGyver. We took an hour and watched that, then had a family meeting, then I went back to work.

Back to 10:45…
I knew I needed to go over to X-Sport and get on a treadmill, my normal 2-3 hour a day work-out schedule hasn’t been the same since thanksgiving, and I was really feeling the long hours at a desk, and big meals with no way to burn it off. So I decided to get my butt over to X-Sport and put 3 miles in.

Now I just FINALLY got my own room, (which I’ll post about later) so while my room is clean, I’m still missing a few things. One of those things being my running headphones. (they are really nice because they don’t fall out of your ears from the impact of running). And I REALLY didn’t want to be on the treadmill for 30 min with no headphones. So I took about 20 min looking all over the house for them, to no avail.
The thought ran through my head a few times “just run tomorrow…”Then, very determined, I finally decided, heck with it, I’ll run and just pray while I’m running.

11:15: …I make my way out to the car, and as I approach the door, my heart sinks, the in dash display read “Key in ignition”…
Sure enough, I had left the key in, and totally drained the battery.
My car didn’t even TRY to start! I then realized that to add to the problem, I had parked my car at an angle in the driveway turnaround, making it so that there was a snow bank about 3 feet tall to the right of my car, and 2 pine trees to the left. But I was DETERMINED to get over to X-Sport and run!
So I grabbed a shovel, cleared out the area in front of my car, put it in neutral and tried to push it into a better area so I could get a car next to it to jump it.
Well after 15 min of grunting, pushing, pulling, and slipping the whole way, I gave up on that idea.
Now this whole time, the thought kept attacking me “Is all this really worth 3 miles?” But, I was DETERMINED to get my car going and get over there!
I then decided to attack the snow bank to the right of my car.
So I shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled… and after about 15 min on back breaking shoveling, I managed to make enough room on the grass so that I could get a van within range of my jumper cables.

11:59: Finally on the road for X-sport.
When I looked at the clock, I was amazed. I looked back at the hour that had just gone past, and thought about how much effort I had put into getting over to X-Sport! To tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure what could’ve stopped me from getting over there one way or the other…
I then thought about the level of determination that I had been functioning at. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me!

But then, as I fishtailed my way along on my way to the gym, I had a thought that made my heart sink…

How much effort and determination do I put into having my personal time with the Lord every day for a significant amount of time?
How small does something have to be for it to take precedence over that time?
Is it a text? An important work email? A phone call? Hunger pains? Sleepiness? Video games?
I realized how caught up I can get in my “life”, and how sometimes I let that take precedence over the one who gives me LIFE.

I mean COME ON! If I wouldn’t let ANYTHING get in the way of me and the gym (which is such a trifling thing) what on earth have I been thinking, sometimes letting tiny things get in the way of the absolute most important thing there is?!

Looks like I need to get a better grasp on priorities eh?

This leads me to my question to you…

What is it that prevents YOU from getting alone with God? From having that 1 on 1 personal, intimate time with Him? What are those distractions that pull you away from that?

I challenge you to take an introspective look at your life. Your priorities. Your level of determination.

I know I will be taking that look.

If I can do it to run 3 miles, I KNOW I can do it to spend time with my very best friend…

Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Hillsong United =)

Wow... I'm kinda speechless about the experience that I had last night.
We went to see Hillsong United at their "This Is Our God" Concert.
It was seriously one of the most AMAZING concert experiences that I have ever been to.
The worship was SO amazing, I think I'm still a little hoarse from all the singing =)

Then this morning I bought their new album, "This Is Our God"
I listened through it during work today and it is one of their best albums yet!
I can't wait to get the chord charts and start learning some of these songs!
Go buy the album.
It's WELL worth the money!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Testing 1,2,3....

So yea... my blog has pretty much been dead! haha
But now that school is done and i've GRADUATED! I can start to get some things taken care of that have somewhat fallen aside =)
So be looking for more posts as time goes on...
Peace out,

Friday, January 25, 2008

AMAZING Video =)

My friend Andrew Smith just put together this amazing video from a photoshoot we did a little while ago... Check it out!

Photography in Chicago from Andrew PC Smith on Vimeo.