Serving Christ…..

Today I was extraordinarily blessed with a spectacular day. However, I wavered back and forth about whether to blog about my day. The reason being is that, while I enjoy identifying opportunities to serve Christ with my whole heart, I am hesistant about writing or talking about them.

On one side of the coin, I want to blog about them to share with others ideas on how they can identify opportunities and serve Christ. It also might be an opportunity to inspire others. At the least, it probably makes for a good story.

On the other side of the coin, I do not want to bring attention to myself. When I act on these tugs at my heart by the Holy Spirit, I am merely being obedient and doing what God calls me to do. It is nothing special and I continue to be amazed at how God can use a broken vessel like me to fulfill His plan. I write about this solely for #1) the glory of Christ and #2) to hopefully inspire others to get out there and make a difference. Additionally, scripture gives us some good guidance on this as well. In Matthew 6:1-4 (New International Version)

1″Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2″So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Just to show the entire picture, I have also blogged about my failure to serve Christ in the past, as highlighted in these posts — I failed….. , Turtles and failure….., and I’m ashamed….. .

So with that all being said, here is a summary of my day as I was able to serve Christ. I blog about this to bring glory to Christ and inspire others to do the same.

As most of you regular readers know, I spot all sorts of cool things in the morning and on my drives to work. From gorgeous sunrises, to patriotic signs, to wildlife, to a combination of almost everything. I have learned that the morning and my commute to work is when I am freshest and when I am most open to God speaking to me.

So this morning it was no different as I cruised to work in the drizzling rain. I was about 1 or 2 miles away when I noticed a TARC bus stopped in the middle of nowhere in the industrial park dropping off a nicely dressed lady in heels. Now, this was peculiar because it was a part of the industrial area where there is no intersection, no bus stop, no strip mall, no stores……nothing but warehouses and industrial buildings. She didn’t have an umbrella and was holding a Walmart bag and newspaper above her head. I sped by the other direction at 55mph and didn’t think twice when I heard my heart say that I had to make a U-turn to go back and offer her a ride to where she was going. It took me a 1/4 mile to find a break in the median (again, this was an industrial area with not much around). I spun around and pointed the car back to where I saw the bus drop her off. She had made her way not far down a side street. I pulled up, rolled the window down and asked if I could give her a dry ride to where she was going.

It turned out she was just going to the next large warehouse building where she works but she was thankful for the sheltered escort to the front doors. I didn’t even get a chance to ask her name but said goodbye and “have a nice day”.

As I turned around in the parking lot, I turned back up the radio to my normal dial — 88.5 WJIE. At that time one of my favorite bands — Tenth Avenue North — was on playing their latest hit single from their new album – Healing Begins (which I am listening to as I blog write this). Uncharacteristically of me, I lifted up my hand in praise as an obedient servant. It was just coming off a small task of service and now was acknowledging my Savior. I was overcome all the way back to my work.

So, as you can imagine, my day was off to an awesome start. Unfortunately, one of my really good friends who I was having lunch with had to cancel. This is one of my “anchor” people — someone who is a brother in Christ and where we can build each other up. (Editorial: make sure you have “anchor” people in your life that can build you up and who you can build up. It is important to have the encouragement, accountability, wisdom and perspective of other close believers.)

Being the resourceful person I am, I inquired with another anchor friend of mine who agreed to head out to lunch with me. We decided on a local BBQ place and headed a bit before noon so we could beat the lunch crowd.

We enjoyed nice conversation on the way there and I exited the freeway eagerly anticipating a nice meal with a friend and the large sweet tea I have come to love. As we went under the freeway I noticed someone standing at the bottom of the offramp from the other direction. That area is quite a bit away from the city and not known for panhandlers. He looked down on his luck but wasn’t filthy or ragged. He was holding a cardboard sign that I couldn’t see from our angle.

I looked over to my friend and informed him that I was going to take a detour. Now this is a bit of a sidebar here — I am very lucky to have a friend in Christ in this anchor person. He and I have had all sorts of interesting conversation in our trials and tribulations and have been able to share and build our faith together throughout our growing relationship. And while making this kind of detour is not in my everyday activities, especially with someone else along for the ride, it was something I felt comfortable enough within our relationship to be able to do. I thank him for being someone I can share that with.

We crossed through the intersection and pulled to the side shoulder. My friend hung out in the car while I jogged back to inquire as to what the offramp fellow needed. He couldn’t hear me across the traffic and was initially hesitant to leave his vantage point. He finally “Froggered” his way through the offramp traffic over to my side. He was an older guy with graying shoulder length hair. I asked him if he wanted to join us for lunch. He said he was stranded here and was trying to get back to Bowling Green (just a short 2 hour jaunt south down I-65). He said he didn’t want lunch but needed a bus ticket to go home.

Now, normally I don’t give cash to panhandlers, homeless or cardboard sign folks. It is too easy for them to use it for nefarious purposes (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other things they don’t need — which is quite often why they are in the situation to begin with). But for some reason, my heart spoke to me and I gave him the needed money for the bus ticket. At that time, I was able to convince him to join us for lunch. That test he passed — I was thinking that if his “real” need for a bus ticket was met, he would then spend time with us over a meal. If he just wanted money, he’d take it and get back to his prime spot on the offramp.

I introduced him to my friend who was patiently waiting in the car and he said his name was Jesse. We headed down to our lunch destination and worked through the initial uncomfortable moments such situations come with.

Stay tuned…..part 2 and the lunch conversation will come tomorrow. It is late and I need to get my beauty sleep. (Ha!)

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Desire to Inspire – follow up…..

I continue to be impressed by the Chick-Fil-A Desire to Inspire program I attended with some of the guys this last Thursday. It was an enjoyable time with friends at a nice large local church with some very good words spoken by some charitable folks.

Leigh Anne Tuohy told one of my favorite stories during her talk. I first heard it during the Hurricane Katrina clean up mission trip to Mississippi in 2006. While the version was a bit different, the point is just as impactful.


After one of the gulf shore storms, a young boy and his grandfather were down walking along the beach looking for shells. As they walked along, they noticed starfish upon starfish that had washed up on the shore. Without being in the water they would all soon die.

The little boy put down his shells and started picking up starfish and throwing them back into the ocean. He would pick one up, look at it, and then throw it as far as he could into the ocean. One by one he did this, repeatedly.

His grandfather looked at him bewildered. He finally said something to his grandson.

“Why are you throwing those starfish into the ocean? Can’t you see that there are THOUSANDS of starfish stranded on the beach. You can’t save them all. Save your energy and look for shells. You can’t make a difference.”

“The little boy looked at his grandfather, picked up a starfish, threw it into the water, and said “I just made a difference to THAT one”.

Leigh Anne went on to encourage everyone to get involved in their local communities to find starfish that are falling between society’s crack and “throw them back into the water”.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Chick-Fil-A Desire to Inspire…..

Last night I was lucky enough to attend a very nice dinner event hosted at a local large church (Northside Christian) in New Albany, Indiana. It was a continuing of a Desire to Inspire series put on by a local Chick-Fil-A franchise who is taking to heart the Chick-Fil-A mission “To glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that has been entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.

How cool is that for a company to have that kind of a mission…..and for a franchisee to take it to heart for action?

Their most recent dinner program was last year and included a motivational speech by Tony Dungee. Too bad I didn’t know about the series or I would have taken my wife to that one.

Last night’s program had Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy who you probably know better as the real life couple from the movie The Blind Side and who I highlighted back in this post. They were very good public speakers and played off each other very well. One funny part was the fact that Chick-Fil-A was hosting the event. There was a Chick-Fil-A basket with all sorts of prizes in it that was on the front of the stage wrapped up to be used as a door prize. Sean Tuohy, who is a Taco Bell franchise owner, grabbed the basket, hid it behind an object on the stage while saying “This thing makes me kinda nervous”.

The rest of the night was littered with funny comments by both Sean and Leigh Anne. You can feel the passion they have towards community outreach and helping others. Leah Anne repeated multiple times that what youth need is “a little love, a little hope, and a little opportunity”. She also encouraged folks to get out there and do something. They didn’t necessarily have to go out and adopt a 6 foot 6 inch, 350 pound, black kid. They can find needs right in their community and right in front of them. And it doesn’t necessarily need to mean adoption. And it doesn’t necessarily need to mean writing a check…..although we need those too. The bottom line is that we need to get out in the streets, in the community, and in the world to have a positive impact.

Another quote from Leigh Anne resonated with several of us who attended — “You want my advice on how to make a difference in someone’s life? Just do something. And do it well.”

It was also an interesting evening because it was a year ago on a Thursday night that the Tuohy family was with Michael Oher while he was awaiting news of his placement in the NFL draft. And as we all know he was a #1 draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens.

The night was a great time for me to spend with friends listening to some great role models. Hopefully, the program will spur lots of discussion, ideas and action, not only from me and my little group, but from all of those who attended.

Additionally, coming up is another Chick-Fil-A sponsored event — Leadercast – Be The One — on May 7. Take a look at the link — I think it is something that would be worth your time.

I have added links above but I think it is valuable to call them out individually below.

http://desiretoinpsire.blogspot.com/

http://www.chick-fil-aleadercast.com/

earlier Blind Side post

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Welcome Home!…..

Frequently, I blog about events or scenes from my drive in to work. These scenes or topics can be as varied as beautiful sunrises to turkeys strutting for females in an open field.

This morning was different. As I traveled along the Gene Snyder after crossing the 65 I noticed sign after sign along the side of the freeway. These signs were spaced 100-300 yards apart and went for 5-6 miles. Needless to say, there were a lot of signs. It was very cool and an impressive sight.

The signs had an American flag or ribbon on them and said:


Welcome Home to

The 19th Engineers!!!

We missed you!

To the 19th Engineers returning to Ft Knox…..welcome home and THANK YOU for your service to our country.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Thunder Over Louisville!…..

As I highlighted in yesterday’s post, Kentucky Derby season is now officially upon us. One thing I found out for those of you that might want to watch all the festivities live is that a local TV station, Wave 3, is streaming the airshow and fireworks live at www.wave3.com.

Go check out how cool Thunder Over Louisville is for yourself.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Happy Friday…..

This morning on my drive to work I looked over at a wide open field. In the middle were several brown objects milling about in the green grass as the sun rose. They turned out to be turkeys. And similar to Sunday’s observation, one of them was a tom turkey all puffed up with a full fan spread of feathers. He was wooing 3-4 females. It amazes me how much bigger and spectacular the males get when they are courting.

I find it interesting that I had never in my life seen this type of display and then I witness it twice in one week.

Pretty cool!

Happy Friday, y’all! If you are in the Louisville area, there is lots going on this weekend. The weather is supposed to be beautiful after tonight’s expected storm blows through. And good thing too, because we don’t want it messing up the airshow tomorrow or the evening’s Thunder Over Louisville. Let the Derby festivities begin!


…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Gorgeous weekend…..

The weekend that God has laid out before us shaped up to be even more glorious than I could have planned or expected. It started off with wonderful worship on Friday evening. That was followed by my normal Saturday morning Men’s Breakfast and Bible study.

On my way home, I took a nice country drive detour through a local town so I could swing by the local country store for garden starter plants. Unfortunately, they were not put out yet but I did pick up a couple of things. My conversation with the clerk was very pleasant and somehow turned to prayer. His mother-in-law Tina isn’t doing too well. He also shared with me that this last week his 93 year old dad gave him a scare with an emergency room visit. I said I would keep them both in my prayers and he was very thankful.

Our Saturday late morning and afternoon were spent preparing for our first “party on the patio” or “POP” as my wife refers to them. We invited quite a few families from church over to have good food, games, fellowship, and an impromptu bonfire. We all had a great time. The adults could eat and chat while all the kids were able to run around playing with each other. It all moved from inside and the patio to the back lawn as we set fire to a brush pile and then added more fuel to the fire. Chairs and quilts were brought out as everyone spent the remainder of the evening hanging around the bonfire and enjoying one another’s company.

Sunday morning I arose early to put water on the still smouldering fire. As I was doing so, I heard across on another farm the gobbling of wild turkeys. They were gobbling up a storm and it was so neat to hear them cut the quiet of the morning with their banter.

As we made our way down the street on the way to church in my wife’s truck, we passed by the gravel drive to one of the farms across the way. Something in the middle of the drive literally made me halt the truck and back up — against the wishes of my wife who was reminding me that we were late. What caused me to veer from our drive to church was the sight of two turkeys about 20 yards away. And it wasn’t just two turkeys which we tend to see with some regularity here in the Kentucky countryside. It was a male tom wooing a female hen. He was astrut in full fan and all puffed up. I had never seen such a thing. Usually they are just normal looking turkeys and I had a hard time identifying the males from the females. But when the males puff up, fan out and strut they are truly amazing. This tom was trying hard to woo the female as I described it to the kids. We watched only for a minute so as to not impede on his, hopefully, successful mating ritual. All in all, a very cool sight of nature. The picture below is not what I saw, but a good idea of the difference of the male vs the female when strutting.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net