Modern Recycling: Cell Phones

Posted: 02 Feb 2013 in Thoughts

One of my new ventures has been to learn how to improve lives by making better use of material things.  This idea was one of the driving forces behind getting this blog going.  So since I have this idea as one of the top missions of our blog, I figured I might should jump into it pretty simple to just give an effortless example that could get us all kick started in modern recycling.

Modern recycling isn’t technically what this idea is called I sure, but this is what I call it because I haven’t actually heard anyone ever talk about this topic to inform me of another name or more ideas.  However, it’s not the old plastic, paper, save the planet kinda stuff that began the craze many years ago, so I call it modern.

So I said I would start off w/something simple that requires little to no effort, and that’s where cell phones come in handy.

Being a veteran myself I absolutely love this idea and know the extreme importance for such an idea.  I will be the first to admit that I am not even the person to dream up this idea, as a matter of fact it was a couple of kids 12 & 13 year olds that became the driving force behind this amazing recycling idea.

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For years millions of cell phones kept ending up in landfills across the country.  No one knew what to do w/them or even if there was something that you could do.  Then came this idea that your old cell phones could be shipped to our men and women stuck in the middle of a war zone w/o much if any access to contacting their loved ones back home.  Since this mission began back around 2004, it has kept 15+ million phones from ending up in our landfills, all the while allowing soldiers to reach out to those they love and miss the most.  These cell phones land in the hands of soldiers, then they are sent calling cards containing certain amounts of minutes of which they use to contact loved ones here in the good ol’ US of A.

I remember my days roaming the streets of Baghdad wondering when or if I would get to contact anyone back at home.  We fought through many rough days and nights hoping to survive. The minute a mission was over we only wished that we could hop on a phone and call home to maintain some semblance of the life we left back at home.  A week would go by in which we would lose several battle buddies that we loved and wanted to reach out to our families to let them know we were still okay and to let them know we loved them.  But many times it just wasn’t possible.  Then a satellite phone company came around that gave us the capabilities to contact home on a more regular basis, but the cost was outrageous and many of us just couldn’t afford a call very often.  My last tour there was in 2005 and things hadn’t changed much, but then the effects of this modern recycling idea took off and it connected soldiers to home in a whole new way!

So, I’m going to leave you all the links to different organizations that you can connect up w/to learn more about this effort and participate w/if you can.  If you have an old cell phone or two lying around that you’ve always wondered what it could be used for, well here it is!

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Recycle Cell Phones to Benefit our Military

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There are also Facebook pages for these organizations.

If you aren’t sure of where you can donate, simply stop by your local AT&T or Verizon Wireless store and they either have a drop off point or can tell you exactly where you can find one.

The idea of modern recycling isn’t a rocket science idea or of course it wouldn’t have been thought up by me.  I am simply wanting to show the world a better way to help others through simple things that require maybe a few minutes of your time to accomplish.

ATTENTION:

If you have any ideas for modern recycling please don’t hesitate to contact me! I am always looking for more ideas even if I can’t be of much help.  I can always post all of the information right here and inform others who are fully capable of using the idea.

Restoration

Posted: 17 Jan 2013 in Thoughts

I have been working on a post w/some helpful tips on modern recycling, but haven’t quite completed it just yet.  We are actually leaving town today for a little white to attend a conference, so I wanted to just shoot a quick post out there to share an amazing video a friend of mine recently made for a sermon series he is doing.  Enjoy!

This is a video from a good friend of mine and young man who I respect in so many ways because of what God is doing through him in and around the city of Memphis, TN.

Restoration brings hope to the poor, the lost, the hurting, the lonely, the sick, the weak, the forgotten, and those burned by God’s people in the past. It brings all of us closer to where God desires for us to be.

I love the very idea of restoration! Shoot, that’s why I started this blog! I want to bring hope, teach people better ways to make use of old things, and to connect w/people who are hurting.

Take a couple of minutes to watch this video and just begin to dream about what your city could become! As a matter of fact…talk to God about those dreams.  I believe that he will understand and maybe agree, but I also know that he wants to love on your city just as much as he does anywhere else in the world.  He want to bring restoration into the lives of people right there in your very own house, neighborhood, community, churches, city, county, etc…  Talk to him about those dreams will ya.

New Life Cycle

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 in Thoughts

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Woke up this morning and had this idea on my mind that has been racking my brain since New Years. So, I hoped out of bed, let the dog out, walked over to the computer and said to myself, “I’m gonna make this happen today.”

So here it is! My idea was to start up a blog that could revolutionize the way that we do things in our everyday lives.  Notice I said could. I am not thinking that anyone would actually spend 5 seconds reading my ideas, but if they do…I am just bold enough to believe they could make the world around them different.

So w/this new blog I plan on doing a number of things:

1) Teach you about something I have labeled Modern Recycling. I don’t know if anyone ever talks about this or even cares, but I love it and believe it is truly 1 thing that can impact the world around us in HUGE ways! Believe me it’s so much better than just turning plastic bottles in so they can make more.  It’s taking old things and making them impact the world in a way you never thought possible. (ex. a bag of high heal shoes used for modern recycling can help build an industrial size kitchen that homeless & poor can fix meals for themselves in.)

2) Share food w/you! I love food! I love amazing restaurants whether a hole in the wall or fine dining, it can bring your tongue to amazing feelings and sensations! So we will share w/you recipes, restaurants, great dishes from around the US, and pictures of restaurant tours we take when traveling.  If you love food as much as I do, tune in cause the recipes ain’t no joke!

3) Travel the country w/us through our love for adventure!  We will share pics and stories of our latest journeys through our great country, from our baseball stadium tour to the local scene, we love to take in some of lifes most beautiful things. Sorry you can’t pack a bag and go w/us, but we would still love for you to share it w/us.

4) Bring you hope! I don’t believe this is possible w/o knowing Jesus Christ, but I think through our lives we find hope and we want to share it w/you so that you might come to know hope as well. Life w/o hope is scary.

5) Talk about our journey to begin a family. In this 2013th year of the Lord, we have declared to him that we want him to send us a child that needs a home. We believe that we have been called to this, and for us to wait to see if we can or can’t have our own would be ignoring God.  Its intense, but its so exciting as we wait patiently for God to reveal this child to us!  Journey w/us, give us advice, give us warning, but most of all give us blessing from above in prayer.

My old home is on lock down

Posted: 05 Nov 2009 in Thoughts

Sitting around reading Max Lucado’s new book “Fearless” this afternoon, I received a phone call from my wife to see if I was tuned in to the news about the shooting on base at Fort Hood, TX.  Then I began getting phone calls and text from an old Army buddy who is now a Drill Sergent.  He was asking me if I had heard about the crap going on at Fort Hood, TX where he & I were stationed together for 4 & a half years.  I quickly turned to the station I hate the most, CNN, because I don’t know my news stations on satellite yet so I couldn’t find Fox News which is by far the best news station if you were ever in Iraq because they didn’t make up crap about us when they would come over and interview us during combat.  So I turned to CNN to find this breaking news story about a shooting just a block away from my home for 3 of the 4 & a half years that I lived there. 5_61_fort_hood_map

As I am writing this post the reports are that there are 12 dead to include the shooter himself, and 31 wounded.  Major Nidal Malik Hasan is the gunman who was killed by Military Police.  Not only is it insanely shocking that this shooting happened, or that it happened just around the corner from where I lived while stationed at Ft. Hood, but that this guy was a MAJOR in the U.S. Army!  This is really a tough rank to get.  On top of all that he was a Mental Health Doctor who opened fire in his own clinic.  Maybe the sane were the ones being treated by the insane, or maybe this guy is a religious extremist.  Nothing about him has been released other than who he was, and what he did.

If you are trying to stay updated on the event, I would ask that you take the time to find Fox News!  CNN is extremely terrible!  In the first 5 minutes of this occurence they had shown the world the map of how to get to Ft. Hood, through the front gate, and all the way to the location on Ft. Hood where the shooting took place.  Then they proceeded to tell exactly how many people live on Ft. Hood, families, where the head quarters are for the 1st Cavalry Div, what the inside set up is of the building where it all went down.  The funny part about it is that their stats were so far from being correct it made them look completely stupid!  They tell you that it’s the biggest military base in the world(which it is) and that it has 40,000 on it.  Are you serious?  40,000 is like a miniature field exercise.  We are talking largest on the planet!  It just amazes me that what the world sees as a major crisis causes them to go slap retarded and start flapping their jaw telling everything they know.  The info they gave out will create all the access needed by any terrorist minded person to be able to plot out anything they wanted to do to Ft. Hood.  They have made this place extremely vulnerable when in fact it was only an inside job that happened and the world could have all been spared of the details of where this place is, how to get there, what building is next door to it, and how many people these buildings will hold.  Fort Hood and it’s soldiers are trained to handle these type of situations whether in Iraq or at home.  Yes, people died, but it doesn’t mean that Ft. Hood doesn’t have control of all this.  Instead CNN takes a place that has control and makes them vulnerable by giving out operational security information that can lead to other events such as the one that took place this afternoon.

I have been on the phone texting, answering calls, and emailing friends who are locked down there all afternoon.  None of them are scared, they just want to get home and get out of Ft. Hood for a night, which is what we all wished for every single day that we lived there :)

What a terrible time to decide to go nuts!  We are looking at Veterans Day and this guy wants to go and slaughter veterans.  I am really having to hold my tongue from the very unChristian like things that are rolling around in my head.  So all I will say about this guy is that he is in a tough place in the hearts of former and current Soldiers around the country.  There is some good in him being alive and in stable condition because his family has done nothing to deserve losing a son.  I certainly am very interested in Fox News getting an interview with Major Hasan to hear the thoughts that made him think this was all necessary.

Speaking of Veterans Day…just a day?  All Veterans get is a day?  I don’t have anything against Black History, Breast Cancer, or the Holidays, but what in the world did they ever do to get a month?  Don’t take it away from these things, but give a month to these Veterans!  Just about every single person you see in any kind of military uniform these days has been overseas at least once to be apart of a war.  Most have been over there 2 or 3 times.

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Please keep these 43 families who have either lost their soldier or have wounded soldiers.  Let’s hope that any of the 31 who need blood can get help from all those around Temple, TX to go in and donate blood so that no more soldiers lose their life as a part of this incident.

For a while now I have long to understand this health, wealth, and prosperity gospel.  I think maybe if I were a bit more materialistic that I could, but Jenny and I did away with all our “golden calves” when we got married.  It was a way of cleansing our hearts and home in starting this new era of our journey.  I wholeheartedly believe in the restoration that Christ mentioned over and over in his life.  It was His purpose to help restore what humans had messed up and help pave the way for His Fathers creation to be reconciled to Him.  We see in Gen 1 that God stood back and saw that everything was perfect, and then again in Rev 22 where it is all perfect again because there is no curse.  So in order for us to get back to being exactly the way God created us to be there is a restoration needed.  Every bit of cleansing that can happen in our lives can lead us all the more closer to that great day of perfection.

So I spoke last night in Calhoun, LA at a Campus Ministry Retreat where the theme was Crave.  The Lord had placed it on my heart that the things that we crave the most we think we have done it all to accomplish and well deserve all the wealth and status that we have, or that we are being extremely punished by God if we have nothing and are poor.

Take a look at Matt 6:19-24.  One of the things that I take away from this passage is how do we handle luxury.  Some people, and I won’t mention names because I do not know them personally, take the talents they have been given and their extreme wealth and think that they have done something favorable in the eyes of God.  They will charge you $9000 just to have them come and speak at your church.  Then there is another person who has an extremely powerful testimony, but you have to pay well into the $2000 range just to have them come so your church can hear it in person.  Talents that come from God being marketed for no other reason then to pad the pocket book.

Then in Matt 6:25-34 we see a challenge to just how we handle the necessary things in life.  If we have very little and sometimes the pavement seems to run out from under us on this road through life, we begin to think that God doesn’t love us or that we have done something extremely wrong and are shunned from the presence of God.  We begin to force things to get what we think we deserve because obviously God isn’t going to help us out any at all.

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It doesn’t take much searching in scripture to find that the rich can be condemned, as well as the poor can be condemned.  So the biggest thing for us no matter what the situation we find ourselves in, we come to understand that it all belongs to God.  Since when did we become powerful enough to create a tree, bird, flower, wind, rain, water, ourselves, the materials that are used to build our house, the things that come together to give us a seat to sit on much less the car that the seat is bolted into.  These things have always been God’s.  I believe that the materials that we use to create things today were around in the time of Adam probably, but people were more wrapped up in God, their faith, and their family back then and weren’t as wrapped up in designing so much technology that helps us think all about ourselves.

Here is what I would like for you to think about from all of this.  What if you started realizing that everything you have is because God is saying to you “What will you do with it?”

If I give you money, how will you spend it?  Will you become materialistic?  Will you think only of yourself?  Or will you give it back to Me and My children who need it?

If I give you a job, how will you work?  Will you work at it with all of your might as though working for Me?  Will you think only of yourself and just how high you can get to make yourself known among men?  Or will you see that secretary who is hurting and lonely and tell her about Me?

If I give you a car, how will you handle it?  Will you spend enough money on your vehicle to have fed My children in an entire 3rd world country?  Will you pass by every single homeless person and think of the terrible things that they would do to you if you stopped to give them a ride, or even worse that they might smell up that nice Mercedes of yours?  Or will you hand the keys over to a family that can’t pay their bills because they don’t have a car to get to a job.

Better yet…if I give you a life, what will you do with it?  Will you make it all about you?  Will you abuse it and then take it because things don’t go the way you want them to?  Or will you give it back to Me?

So what are we doing with what God has given us?  He didn’t give it to us because we are more special than someone else, but because He is trusting that we will do something great with what He has placed in our possession.

Proverbs 30:8 & 9 says, “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, `Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God”

It’s time for us to take hold of the restoration that Christ set it motion and begin to evaluate ourselves and be tested by God.  How do we handle what was never ours to begin with?

Conservative vs. Progressive

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 in Thoughts

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After doing a search for my blog and finding my blog listed in a top however many of Church of Christ bloggers, I just went with the search and started opening every link that has something to do with this ranking. Although I could care less if my blog is ranked because I didn’t start this blog to be apart of any certain crowd, I did however want to see how this all came about. On one of the links I clicked I found an article written about a certain number of blog users who were all said to be apart of a group that is pushing progressiveness through our movement(Church of Christ) and that this ranking system must have come from someone of this group since that was who was filling the top 25 slots. Since I am apart of that top 25, it really got me to thinking. Since when did I become progressive?

I took a look around a little bit more to just see what made these other bloggers progressive.  What I found were writers who talked more about the scriptures and exactly what was going on in the time of the scripture.  Some of them made it their goal to take on challenging topics that most people shy away from.  They attacked the topics with scripture base only and very little opinion.  Of course some of you will say that I am only saying these things because I myself am “progressive.”  Well if that means all about what scripture is saying and less about opinion then I guess slap my name in the mix.  However, I am not about labels other than Christian and would much rather be called that if you don’t mind.

As far as a “movement” goes…I own Bibles that have nothing on the cover.  Not even Holy Bible.  Does that mean it is less or more of a Bible because of what is or is not written on the cover?  Does it really really matter what you put on the cover of a building other than Christ?  So I don’t believe that the name on the building/sign makes our church any more or less of Christ followers because of what is or is not on the outside.  And please don’t be extreme and say that means that we could put 666 or something on the front cause it doesn’t matter.  You completely understand what this means.

As far as conservative…I am on the other extreme from being progressive.  I believe in baptism as a MUST in order for us to fulfill our journey in becoming committed to Christ and in our surrender to self.  I believe that scripture is the inspired Word of God and that we should not add to or take away from this.  I believe that Christ was born of a virgin, died on a cross, and was raised again on the 3rd day before leaving this earth to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  I believe that we should take Communion each week as a body of believers.  I believe that the Old Law speaks to us today and prophesies about the New Law which we live by today.  I believe in Heaven and Hell and that Satan is real.  I believe that we should meet when the Shepherds of the Church say meet, and be willing to follow the Shepherding of these men.  I believe that we, like the disciples, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which dwells in us to be Christ among the people living from Acts 1 through the end of the earth.  If you have ever heard me preach, you know I preach Christ only and Him crucified.  This is a pattern that I feel I have been called to follow, as well as the only thing I know.  Most of all I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  This is all very conservative things of which I can back up scripturally.

As far as being progressive…if I were to see myself as one it would be because I see my faith moving forward; a faith that is progressive toward what God desires from and for humanity.  My life is about spiritual transformation of which we reach that perfect state that only can happen along the journey with Christ.

I don’t guess I really know the term progressive.  I once heard Don McLaughlin say something to the effect when asked why he was so progressive…If we sat down today and went over all the things I believe, I would bet that I am much more conservative than you because I don’t follow any man made traditions, only the Word of God.

This is what I have come to realize about being labeled is that the ones whose comforts zones are challenged by scripture seem to be the ones who want to give labels.  I can not stand traditions!  I believe they have led us down paths of destruction for many moons!  However, I do believe whole heartedly in scripture!  If it were literally water I would take the longest baths every day and my water bill would be sky high!

As far as traditions…the way we do communion on Sunday nights when only 1 or 2 are doing it and not the whole body?  how we preach on things that from the greek are never mentioned or spoke about such as hand clapping, musical instruments, women’s role being nothing, church buildings, doing mission work everywhere except in our own city/town, not supporting orphan and childrens homes or widows, having to wear suits, ties, and dresses to church, etc…another words preaching where the Bible is silent.

I believe that the reason that the so called progressives are the highest ranked bloggers is because 1)this is the generation of people who are technological 2)many like me started a blog as a spiritual discipline known as journaling and  did not ever intend it for controversy 3)people want to read the Truth without all the man made traditions being forced onto them 4)the people who I know personally in that list mentioned are some of the most Christ centered and Christ loving individuals anyone could ever meet and it comes out in their writings.

Please, don’t label me or anyone else for not standing up and writing or preaching on a subject matter that is nothing more than a man made tradition that dates back no further than the mid to late 1800′s.  I, as well as many others labeled, seek Truth that is much older than the 1800′s, as a matter of fact it’s things that date all the way back to when Christ was still roaming this earth making physical appearances.

If this sounds like I am frustrated…I am not at all.  It is not written with any one particular person in mind and I am just writing this out of concern for people who’s names are being roughed up a bit without ever having met/spoken with.  I love the Church of Christ and will always seek to find one where the Lord leads Jenny and me, wherever I live.  The last 2 churches that I have been apart of are truly amazing places of worship, so I do believe that great churches exist where the truth is uncovered and people are challenged to become more like Christ.

Please, don’t take my word for what the Word means, anyone else on that list, or the preacher where you are right now.  Study it for yourself, but get ready for some eye opening things to appear.  And don’t fight the change that comes with that new found Truth, don’t gripe or complain, just make the change so that the generations that follow will grow up hearing the Truth.

One Year UP!

Posted: 15 Oct 2009 in Thoughts

In a world where the divorce rate has gone up 500% since 1990, most people might count down the years in their marriage.

However, NOT IN OUR WORLD!  Jenny and I have had what I consider the best year of my life! We have been blessed beyond measure in the Word of the Lord, grown together spiritually, and connected on many occasions with spiritual mentoring couples, all over the past year. So in our relationship we are counting up as I can not wait to see how high we are able to get in years together in this our great journey to be with God! WE HAVE REACHED THE BIG #1!!!
We have had some awesome moments! This blog post would be far to long if I just get started listing even one of those.
We have also had some tougher moments, in which we have grown to love each other far more once we walk though these than anything else we’ve done.
Jenny is everything I would be willing to lay down my life for, but this blog post isn’t about our past year.
It’s about how we celebrated our 1st year up!
We pulled into the “ponderosa” today after a 5 day trip to Ft. Knox, KY! You see Ft. Knox, if you don’t know history very well, is the place where all of our countries gold is locked, sealed, and heavily guarded deep underground. There is a lot of symbolism in this idea if you haven’t quite caught on yet…she means more than all the gold in the world to me and I would guard her will all my life for history…catch on yet?
There was also another reason we went, which was to get away from the norm and spend time with each other just reflecting back on how wonderful the Lord has been to us over the past year.
Then reason #3 is that a dear friend that was in Iraq with me was recently transferred from Germany to Ft. Knox.

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Captain Watson and his wife, Jenny(yes very ironic) recently moved there and had their first child, Caedmon, all at the same time. My wife Jenny had never met these people who mean the world to me, and since Captain Watson was suppose to be my best man but was unable to make it back from Iraq in time to be there, we loaded the car and hit the road!

We arrived on post at Ft. Knox late Sat. night to the sad reality that they are in the Eastern time zone so we lost an hour of sleep and we wanted to be energized for church service Sunday morning.  Jason & Jenny are members of the Muldraugh Baptist Church and it was a very blessed time being able to worship with Jason again.  This was a great body of believers to visit!  I especially enjoyed the message that was delivered by the pastor David Sullivan!  It was one that you don’t get to hear much of from pulpits anymore, about our role in the kingdom work, the pastors role, and how we are called to be encouraging and not complainers.  They were some great people to worship with…enjoyed it thoroughly!  Jason, Jenny, and Caedmon really enjoy it there!

Then after service was over and we went back to Jason & Jenny’s house to have lunch we loaded up Caedmon and headed to Louisville, which is only about 30 miles north of Ft. Knox.  Our 1st stop was the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum!!!  This was a baseball fans dream place with memorabilia from sluggers all the way back to Babe Ruth to current greats!  I got to swing Rod Carew’s bat and even have one made for Jenny & me!  It was so much fun! IMG_7883

I always said that if I was ever up close to Louisville that I would stop in and visit the church that God built.  What I mean by this is that the man who was Sr. Pastor for many years and watch the membership grown from 125 when he started there, to 21,000 before he retired, wrote a book entitled “When God Builds A Church“.  The name of this place is Southeast Christian Church. We attended their Tuesday night college ministry worship called “the Post”.  It was pretty special and don’t know if I can really put words to how blessed we were by getting to attend this time of worship.

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Wednesday morning we got up and toured the Patton Museum there at Ft. Knox, which is obviously named after the famous warrior and military leader, General Patton.

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Then we hit the road for our journey home to Beebe, AR.  While on our journey home we stopped off to see another friend, Josh Ross, and worship with him at Sycamore View church of Christ in Memphis, TN.   While there we attended a class called “Aroma” which was a little coffee house type class center around an open discussion of spiritual issues facing churches today.  This particular night they were beginning a discussion on how Art and Culture have an impact on churches from their building designs to how they worship.  It was a wonderful discussion and the teacher did an amazing job of giving us the history of the church all the way back to the 1800′s and showing us how these things impacted our movement even back then.  Afterward we met several people to include John French, a Shepherd there at Sycamore View, and his wife, and had some great conversations.  This was such a wonderful and welcoming place to stop off and worship!

As you can tell, Jenny and I always try to take in more of the spiritual things along our travels than of the many attractions.  We always seem to have so much more fun doing that and those things are always what we return home talking about for a long time!  And we are always anxious to return to worship at places we visit, and maybe someday the Lord will bless us with another journey to do just that.

This is how we spent our 1 year UP celebrating a year under our belts of spiritual growth and loving Christian friends!  Minus mentioning the amazing restaurants we find along the way.

WE ARE SO BLESSED!