Living the crazy life that God has given me!


Why a Free Market?

need food

We see people with cardboard signs all the time that say, HUNGRY or NEED FOOD. But what can you do about it? What if you could help a family that is in need get food in a dignified way?  This is the question that we have been working to answer over the last couple of months.  So at Elevation Christian Church we have an amazing group of volunteers that take our building and set it up for a free market that helps people that live in our community that are in need get food in a dignified way.

So to do this  we work with an organization that helps us provide quality food through the free market to the people in our community. We choose to work with this organization because most of the time when you ask people to donate food they give you the food products that they don’t like (sauerkraut) or have had for years. (Expiration not noticed)  Or when you ask people to donate money they think they are already helping someone by giving them money as the pass by them holding their cardboard sign. I watched a TED TALK where the Mayor of Albuquerque talked about how by donating financially to a food bank or free market can make a greater impact when it comes to helping people get food.  Unfortunately when we give someone money on the street is less likely to go to feeding them but to feeding their addiction.  So at the Free Market at Elevation we are able to purchase large amounts of quality food where we can then give it to the people that are in need for FREE.  That is why it is called, “The Free Market at Elevation.”

Through the amazing volunteers at Elevation we create a mini grocery store with grocery carts and all where people can get the food they need for themselves and for their families.  We also have people called, “Shoppers Helpers” that walk through the Free Market with the people from the community to build a relationship with them.  It is not someone that probes about their issues or their needs but someone that can become a friendly face.  Then once the person is done going through the market the shoppers helper asks how they can pray for that person and gives them a card or some encouragement.  We recently had over 100 second graders from a local school come and help set-up and while they helped they also created cards to give to the shoppers of the Free Market.  I was told that one man went through the market for the first time where he recieved his food, had someone pray with him, and then he recieved one of the second graders cards.  What I was told was the man thanked his shoppers helper for their prayers, then began to walk out of the building, while he was on the front walk way he read the card from one of the second graders. He was so overcome with with the care and the card that he came back into the building with tears streaming down his face to let the volunteers know how thankful he was for the food, the care, and the card.  He said that it was all just what he needed that day.

I tell you this because you can be a part of the Free Market at Elevation.  You can help people that are in need of food by your donations and when you donate you know that they are getting quality food and dignified care at the same time.  Just click here.  Because when you do you will be doing what is best for the person that is most likely going to be holding a sign some day saying, “In need of food”.  Be a part of the movement to make sure that someone is being fed and fed well physically, emotionally, and spiritually.


Prepare for the END

Prepare for the end

Over the last several years I have been actively involved in a funeral home here in the community of Aurora.  I know that might sound strange but years ago I had an amazing group of men challenge me to prepare for the end of life.  I had only been to one funeral growing up so I was intimidated to say the least when it came to this season of life.  But through their support and encouragement I came to understand the necessity of knowing what to do when it comes to the end of someone’s life.  So now as a pastor in the community where I grew up it has enabled me to help friends and family when it comes to a loved ones last wishes.

But one of the things that I have realized is that man men and women don’t prepare with the end in mind.  I know, I know you are probably thinking but that is morbid.  I don’t want to think about my own death.  Ok I get that but here is what I have learned over the last 20 years.  You are not the one that has to deal with your DEATH.  Why? Because you are DEAD!  What happens is either your spouse or your children are left with the emotional and sometime very painful task of paying and planning for your final resting place.  I have experienced this time and time again where I am speaking with a room full of family members and they all stare at each other saying, “I don’t know what we are supposed to do.”  Well here are a few things that I am going to challenge you to do for the sake of your family:

  • Type up exactly what you would like to have happen to you after you have passed away. (I.E. funeral, cremation, burial, thrown in the ocean, whatever)
  • Go to a funeral home and talk with their pre-needs area.  This is where you can find out exactly what the cost will be for what you desire.
  • Start paying now for what you desire for your final resting place. (The costs will change year after year but at least you have payed the way for this.)
  • Place everything in a folder. Mark it and let your spouse or your kids know exactly what it is and how it will help them.  (Yes most likely they won’t want to talk about it but you are taking care of them in the long run.)

You might be asking yourself, “When should I put this together?” or “How old should I be to start this?” Here is my encouragement to you.  NOW!  We are not guaranteed to be around tomorrow, so do the best that you can now for your family.  This might even be a good thing to discuss with your spouse as you start planning so it doesn’t come as a shock when you hand them a folder of your preparation for the end.

What are some things that you are not sure about when it comes to preparing for the end?

Dare U 2 Dad


So starting in the month of February I am going to be recording once a month a podcast for dads.  Single dads, married dads, divorced dads, future dads, empty nest dads, and mentor dads of kids in your community.  So once that I have the podcast location and have the logo I will be posting the information for you start tuning in.  But what I want to do is invite you to share with me here in the comments section any questions that you might have about being a dad.  It is my hope that we can together discover and recover some of the amazing things that are to be done as a dad with and for our kids.

List below any questions or thought that you think would be good to cover on a podcast for dads.  Because we are going to Dare U 2 Dad!

Where is Common Courtesy?

Opening the door

One of the ways that I think that we can start by changing the attitudes of the people around us is putting them first.  Which means that we have to not think about ourselves as much. That is just a mini quote of C.S. Lewis:

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

So I want to be able to challenge each of us to start thinking of ourselves less when it comes to walking through life.  I recently was at the gym working out and while I was stretching out I was able to people watch and I was amazed at the interaction that I saw play out before me.  There was woman that was working out on a mat in the area in front of me. She was to my approximation in her late 60’s early 70’s and obviously was struggling with something physically.  But she was doing her best to get done what she was working at to get better.  Then as I watched a younger much healthier woman walked into the same area grabbed the battle ropes, stretched them out over the elderly woman’s mat and got ready to work out. She didn’t even bat an eye when it came to the other woman working out in that area.  I just sat back and I watched as the younger woman began to work out over the other woman’s mat while the other woman stood there waiting to get her mat.  The younger woman looked up at the older woman shook her head in annoyance and then kicked the older woman’s mat to her like she had always been there before the older woman.

That is where I had enough! I stood up walked over the to the older woman and asked her if she needed to continue to do her work out. She looked like she was tearing up and so I invited her to come over to where I was stretching out to finish up.  The younger woman then decided to address me, not a smart idea.  I won’t tell you what she said to me in front of the other woman but let’s say it embarrassed the other woman.  To which I responded, “Well at least this lady was willing to wait for you to get done with what you were doing before you were so rude in kicking over her mat. I am so glad that this lady is here because she is working on be a better person not a bitter person.”  Ok not one of my best moments but I hurt for the older woman at that moment.  Needless to say the younger woman quickly got out of the area and the older woman looked at me and said, “Thank you for helping me. It just seems like no one looks out for anyone else but themselves.”

So that has been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of days.  Here is what I hope that this can challenge each of us to do, THINK OF YOURSELF LESS.  In the next couple of days, open the door for someone else, let’s someone in on the highway, share the area that you are working out in, shovel your neighbors sidewalk, let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store.  Maybe even take the time to talk with your kids or the kids around you so that they understand what Common Courtesy is and why it is important if we are going to lead the next generation to be better then us.

What are three things that you can do this week for someone else? What are three things that you can do with your kid for someone else?  Make sure that you are doing it without planning to get a thank you, why you might ask? Because common courtesy should be done without the hope of anyone noticing.

Change the Voice


Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time with a group of amazing people that are working towards not going back to where they had come from.  You see each of the individuals that were sitting in the room had all in the recent days, weeks, and months had been released from prison.  These were men, women, young, old, and of ever different ethnic origin.  As I sat there among them and heard the organizations leader speak to them about next steps and what they needed to do to stay out of prison and experience a changed life I was deeply moved.  It was when I heard many of them share about the voices in their lives that they needed to stop listening too if they were going to stay out of prison that I became emotional.  I heard them talk about their own voices, they talked about family voices, and they even talked about voices from being in prison.  But each one had a voice that they needed to leave behind so that they could move forward in a life that was to be changed and headed towards healing.

I was then reading the book of the Acts and reading the story of the healing of the beggar at Solomon’s Colonnade in chapter 3 and 4. The story of the beggar took my mind back to the room of people that I was with this weekend. Here is why, the story of the man who spent most of his life lying in front of the colonnade must have heard the voices of the people walking by call him all sorts of names like beggar, cripple, worthless, and many others.  But then came two men that would turn things upside down by asking him if he would want to be healed? The hurting and disabled men responded by saying yes. Then the lame beggar that could not walk began to run, dance, and leap because of the healing power of the name of Jesus Christ.  His life was changed in a moment.

But what about those voices, what about the names that were still possibly ringing in his head?  They were all replaced with one name, Jesus. You see that man had his life changed by Jesus, the names that he be called most of his life were replaced with Jesus, the voices that had called him lame and beggar were replaced with the name Jesus. Even the religious leaders that were trying to stop the name of Jesus couldn’t stop that;

14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. Acts 4:14 (NLT) 

Because of what Jesus had done in the life of this man there was really nothing they could say.  That is why I was so moved this weekend. I know that for those that were sitting in that room there is a voice that will and can change the lives of those people there, and it is Jesus.  So on that day I was able to stand in front of those people and tell them about Jesus and that there is a family of people that love them and care for them even if they don’t know them yet and it is Jesus bride, the church. I pray that the voice of the people that are following Jesus called His church will be so loud that those that are coming out of prison can’t only here the voice of Jesus.

What are the voices in your life that are challenging you from hearing Jesus? How are you being the voice of Jesus to the people around you that are struggling?

Seek the one to Reflect the One

TheVow_ArtworkI am excited to be able to start the new year with a goal of writing on this blog at least twice a week and making it a part of what we are doing at Elevation.  I am also going to be writing to help husbands, fathers, and men to be all that God wants them to be in each of their lives.

So today is kind of a two for one! We have started a series called, “The Vow”.  We are talking about the vows that we need to take serious if we are going to be prepared for marriage or to have strength in our current marriages. Because if you are reading this you probably have like me seen the stats or studies that show that half of marriages are not making it for the long haul.  And most men are like me where we did not have the best or if any examples of what it means to be a Godly and loving husband.  So it is my hope that we can start the conversation where we can give men a place to start when it comes to preparing to be great husbands or help those husbands to grow and get better.

I have been reading through the book of Psalms and there is one that is specific about what it looks like for a husband to spiritually lead his family.  We talked about what it looks like to, “Seek the One, to Reflect the One” to our spouses or women that we want to marry in the first message of our series.  So read with me Psalm 128:

Psalm 128 (NLT) A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!

The writer is talking about how it starts first with the fear of the Lord and of the one who is following in the Lords ways.  Then it says that we will enjoy the fruit of our work because of who we are following the Lord.  But then it show how as we “SEEK THE ONE” it will enable us to “REFLECT THE ONE” to the people in our homes.  It is says that the wife will be like a fruitful grapevine flourishing within your home.  This shows that as you make Jesus the one in your life and that he grows and shows through you that your wife will flourish, that your home will be better because of the both of you being affected by Jesus and that your HOME will be different because of you both being changed by following the Lord.

It then goes on and talks about the kids! Your kids will be affected by the way that you and your spouse are being changed as you “Seek the One to Reflect the One” as a couple. The future of your family the future of your kids are being lead by the way that you are being lead by Jesus.  If we want to be a part of changing the directions of our families legacy’s we do that be following Jesus.  It also points out sitting around the table, maybe this week as you, “Seek The One to Reflect the One” you have a conversation around the table with your kids about what you are learning or doing as a follower of Jesus?

But then it talks about seeing Jerusalem prosper and that you may live to enjoy your grandchildren and see Israel have peace.  As I studied and read more this is showing that as we “See The One to Reflect the One” that it will lead to change in our community, that we will be a part of the change to generations of people because of the way that we are following Jesus.  What you do as a follower of Jesus and as a husband and as a father can be used by God to change the communities that we are in and the generations that are to come after us.

What do you need to do this week to “Seek The One to Reflect the One”?  How can you make sure that your wife is flourishing? How are you getting your kids around the table to talk about following Jesus?  Take some time to pray and think about this and please feel free to leave a comment and share what you are planning to do.

Dad to Daughters

kidsI was never prepared to be a dad let alone a dad of two daughters.  I mean I was a boy so when we had our son I kind of had that one figured out.  But daughters really, two of them, I was really deep in the weeds.  So I wanted to be able to share with you some of the things that I have learned being the dad of two daughters that have grown up to be amazing women. So here you go:

  • Listen to your wife!  I had to listen to my wife a lot because I am the oldest of four and my sister was ten years younger then me.  So I was clueless to a lot of areas when it came to what girls didn’t need or did need from a dad.
  • Hug them always.  One of the things that I always have done is hug my girls.  I hugged my girls even when they didn’t want me too.  Yep I went against the first one but that was only because I wanted my girls to know that I was going to love them and care for them whether they wanted me to or not.
  • Be Honest with them.  Now if you are a dad to a girl then you know the dreaded questions that start like this, “Dad what do you think about . . . ” insert hair, dress, make up, and a long list of others.  Unfortunately when we first started with these questions I was to honest and I did not set up my answer.  So I had a lot of looks from my wife and coaching with, “You don’t say that to a girl”.  To which I would answer, “Well then why did she ask me?”  So I would preface my answer by saying, “Do you want me to be honest?”  Now I said that when I didn’t like what I saw and I have said that when I did like what I saw. (Be consistent)
  • Set the Tone.  If you want your daughter to have a man that is going to love and care for her, then you need to set the tone.  So that is where you as the dad need to model exactly the kind of man that you want your daughters to look for in their life.  In fact I think that you should set the bar so high that your girls will go out on dates with the young men in their life and expect them to act like you.  And when the young men don’t act like you make sure you teach those same girls to not except it. So if you haven’t got what I am saying, then here you go.  Love your wife the way that you want your daughters to be loved.
  •  Prepare them for Life.  I know that you are probably thinking, well that is a big statement and you are right it is.  But I believe that it is something that is very important. So prepare them to handle their finances, prepare them to take care of their car, prepare them to defend themselves if needed, prepare them to speak up, prepare them to trust, and prepare them to leave home well.  I don’t expect my daughters to have to have a man to take care of them, I know that they can do it.  But I also want to prepare them for a life with another, so prepare them to talk with a man, prepare them to love someone, prepare them to sacrifice for someone, you see prepare them for life.

There are just a few of the things that I would say are important when it comes to being a dad to daughters.  But here is the last one and the most important prepare them to say, “I am sorry.”  How do you do this? Learn to say it yourself.  If there are some others that you can think of then feel free to comment and share them.