2011 — Recap of My Life

This past year will def­i­nitely go down in the record books as a crazy roller coaster! It all started with a carry over from 2010. I was wrestling with a lot of things spir­i­tu­ally that were induced by my trip to Kenya in Novem­ber 2010. Dur­ing that time of search­ing and con­fu­sion, I got involved in my first dat­ing rela­tion­ship. God taught me a lot through that. It didn’t work out for the obvi­ous rea­son that we were in 2 dif­fer­ent worlds spir­i­tu­ally. In the end (June), God used that rela­tion­ship to reaf­firm my spir­i­tual con­vic­tions and set me on a path that pur­sued Christ more pas­sion­ately than I ever had in my entire time as a Chris­t­ian. More on that later…

Along with a rela­tion­ship, 2011 started a 12-​​month pro­gram in Para­medic school. This proved to be the great­est chal­lenge I’d ever encoun­tered in my life. Over the course of the year, I encoun­tered doc­tors, nurses, and mil­i­tary spe­cial forces who had at one point been through Para­medic school. They all agreed that it was the hard­est thing they’d ever done as well. Because of jug­gling work, school, and clin­i­cals, I lived out of my car a week at a time. Sleep was min­i­mal and so was my social life. Unfor­tu­nately, there’s not a whole lot of sto­ries to tell about my life in 2011 other than the count­less emer­gency scenes I went on at work and clinicals.

Come the Fall, my school load had slightly light­ened (that or I was use to the abuse by then), and I decided to go through fire­fighter school on top of Para­medic school which I regret­ted every minute of; but I made it through and have that under my belt. God was also teach­ing me lessons about what it means to live sold out for him. I’ve always had the men­tal­ity that my respon­si­bil­ity is no dif­fer­ent than that of a pastor’s, but I reached a point of enlight­en­ment in the Fall that I am a grown man and I can no longer fear con­fronting those older than me and chal­leng­ing oth­ers to pur­sue Christ more.

An image came to mind that encour­aged me. It’s that of a 16yr-​​old boy who fal­si­fied his age and now is on a shut­tle boat about to land at Nor­mandy on D-​​day. As the door drops, bul­lets are whizzing by, and friends are drop­ping dead all around him. He now real­izes that he’s no longer a boy, but a man, and though there’s an over­whelm­ing sense of fear in his inner­most being, it’s time for him to man up and charge for­ward onto the beach. I feel that rep­re­sents so well the feel­ings and think­ing process that I went through this past year.

Since then, I’ve spent a great major­ity of my time dur­ing the week at a local cof­fee shop down­town called Rem­edy. Over time I’ve come to know all the work­ers and most of the cus­tomers. It’s proven to be a fan­tas­tic loca­tion for min­istry. Mul­ti­ple times a week I have oppor­tu­ni­ties for dis­ci­ple­ship. Part of man­ning up is just cut­ting to the chase with peo­ple and ask­ing them where they’re at spir­i­tu­ally. The con­ver­sa­tions that have ensued have been incred­i­ble! On a num­ber of occa­sions I’ll have other peo­ple who are lis­ten­ing jump into the con­ver­sa­tion and in no time there’s an impromptu Bible study of 4–6 people.

Another bless­ing that Rem­edy has brought are the num­ber of close rela­tion­ships I’ve built with solid believ­ers who are actively serv­ing in their churches through­out Knoxville. Speak­ing of serv­ing, I was con­victed about the lack of ser­vice I had in my church. I felt that despite my insane sched­ule, there was no excuse or exemp­tion for peo­ple not to serve in some way. So, I talked to my wor­ship leader who’d been want­ing me to play bass gui­tar and he lent me his to learn and start play­ing in wor­ship. From there, I’ve now taken it upon myself to serve the church by encour­ag­ing other mem­bers to find areas to serve in by ana­lyz­ing their gifts and if need be, cre­at­ing min­istry oppor­tu­ni­ties if some­thing doesn’t exist already.

One other thing that God has chal­lenged me to do this year is find some­one that I can reg­u­larly dis­ci­ple. It didn’t take long for me to find that per­son. I’ve been meet­ing with him weekly and doing an overview of the Bible as well as teach­ing sys­tem­atic the­ol­ogy. I also work with him rela­tion­ally by hang­ing out for recre­ational pur­poses at var­i­ous times dur­ing the week.

The last thing that I can say is that in Octo­ber I lost my job, and was with­out work for 2 weeks. God was good and pro­vided me a posi­tion with the largest ambu­lance ser­vice in the world, but they were just start­ing up an oper­a­tion in Knoxville. I was 1 of 8 peo­ple that was hired to be on the ground floor of this oper­a­tion. It’s been the best job in EMS I’ve ever had or seen. My work part­ner has proved to be a very good friend that has gone out­side of work and great men­tor as I enter into the role as a Paramedic.

And that’s it in a nut shell. Now I’m a Para­medic. I’m very excited about the prospects for this com­ing year. I have a list of New Year Res­o­lu­tions you can check out. Also, there’s some pic­tures of events from this past year.

God bless!

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prac­tic­ing on a dummy

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my para­medic class

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get­ting ready to do a clin­i­cal in surgery

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after a day of fire school

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UT foot­ball game

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one of my many crazy scenes

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play­ing pool with friends

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first con­cert — Lady Antebellum

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sib­lings

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church lead­er­ship team play­ing ball before church

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impromptu Bible study

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2012 New Year Resolutions

I’m espe­cially excited about what 2012 holds for my life. It begins a new phase with the end of school and the start of a career, and I feel it’s going to be a year that defines what a sub­stan­tial part of my life will be like. That being said, here’s some res­o­lu­tions that I hope will become part of that defin­ing process.

  • Take 2 mis­sion trips
  • Lead a small group
  • Dis­ci­ple 2 guys
  • Make a weekly habit of rock climbing
  • Eat bet­ter and exer­cise regularly
  • Start nurs­ing school
  • Write 1 song per month
  • Take time to reflect each day (going for a walk, before bed, etc)
  • Spend 1hr in prayer and read­ing the Word each morning
  • Read the Bible chrono­log­i­cally in 1 year

The Simple Guide to Finding God’s Will

So the end of the mat­ter is this: Live for God. Obey the Scrip­tures. Think of oth­ers before your­self. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do what­ever else you like, with whomever you like, wher­ever you like, and you’ll be walk­ing in the will of God.

Occa­sion­ally I like to read through the whole book of Eccle­si­astes in one sit­ting. At first it’s pretty depress­ing as you read about how every­thing we do is all in vain, but at the very end of the book, the author brings it all around and leaves the reader with a very sim­ple and some­what inspir­ing (depend­ing how you look at it) mes­sage. In Eccle­si­astes I believe I have found an answer to the age old ques­tion of find­ing God’s will for our lives.

Life is pointless.

Van­ity of van­i­ties, says the Preacher,
van­ity of van­i­ties! All is van­ity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A gen­er­a­tion goes, and a gen­er­a­tion comes,
but the earth remains for­ever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and has­tens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its cir­cuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weari­ness;
a man can­not utter it;
the eye is not sat­is­fied with see­ing,
nor the ear filled with hear­ing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is noth­ing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remem­brance of for­mer things,
nor will there be any remem­brance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
(Eccle­si­astes 1:2–11 ESV)

Your life sit­u­a­tion is not unique.

Did you see that part in the pre­vi­ous pas­sage where it says “there’s noth­ing new under the sun?” So often we like to think we’ve got a prob­lem that no one else can relate to. The truth is, all prob­lems can be cat­e­go­rized and boil down to a few things. Stop think­ing your prob­lem is this huge thing that can’t be solved. When you think your prob­lem is unique, we tend to down­play the advice we receive, even of those who are much older and wiser.

The first step in find­ing God’s will is rec­og­niz­ing that His will is sim­ple and so is your prob­lem (in one sense). Don’t over think.

Do what­ever you love.

So every­thing is point­less and noth­ing we do is new. We just keep rein­vent­ing the wheel and think we’re doing some­thing novel when in real­ity we’re not. So, the author boils his con­clu­sion of life down to this.

I per­ceived that there is noth­ing bet­ter for them than to be joy­ful and to do good as long as they live; also that every­one should eat and drink and take plea­sure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Ecc 3:12–13)

The author con­tin­ues to say this:

There is a van­ity that takes place on earth, that there are right­eous peo­ple to whom it hap­pens accord­ing to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked peo­ple to whom it hap­pens accord­ing to the deeds of the right­eous. I said that this also is van­ity. (Ecc 8:14)

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. (Ecc 11:9)

Basi­cally it’s knock­ing the idea of karma. Good peo­ple some­times suf­fer what we think bad peo­ple deserve and some­times bad peo­ple enjoy the ben­e­fits that we think are befit­ting of good peo­ple. There­fore, the sec­ond quotes con­cludes that the whole mat­ter is van­ity and there­fore we should just do what­ever we enjoy doing. Whether it’s morally good or bad, it doesn’t humanly matter.

You will be held accountable.

Chris­tians might freak a lit­tle bit at the thought the Bible would tell us we can do what­ever we want. Don’t get too hung up on that. The point is that it’s all van­ity. In real­ity, the author says in the very last sen­tence of the book, “For God will bring every deed into judg­ment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Here on earth, what you do doesn’t hold much weight, but that’s not to say it doesn’t count for some­thing in eternity.

The bot­tom line is to fear God and keep His commandments.

The end of the mat­ter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his com­mand­ments, for this is the whole duty of man.” That’s it, that’s all there is to say. You can share your story with me and make out your life sit­u­a­tion to be as com­plex as you think it is, but my response will always con­clude the same way. Are you fear­ing God and keep­ing his commandments?

What are the commandments?

Let me gen­er­ally list off the com­mand­ments for our life.

  1. Live/​pursue a life that mir­rors God’s holi­ness (Look at Exo­dus 20 and Gala­tians 5)
  2. Be involved and actively serv­ing in a local body of believ­ers. (Hebrews 10:25)
  3. Evan­ge­lize and dis­ci­ple peo­ple around you. (Matt 28:19)

Bring­ing it all together.

As an exam­ple, you may ques­tion if cos­me­tol­ogy is some­thing you can jus­tify doing as a Chris­t­ian for a liv­ing and how that fits into God’s plan. Well, my first ques­tion is if you ‘re actively being faith­ful in keep­ing the 3 com­mand­ments above? If you are and your desire to do what­ever it may be isn’t sin­ful, then that’s all I want to know. In fact, I encour­age peo­ple to be inte­rior design­ers or cos­me­tol­o­gist (often thought of as vain occu­pa­tions when in real­ity every­thing is vain) because you have an oppor­tu­nity to relate and there­fore min­is­ter to other peo­ple in those occu­pa­tions whereas it may not be as easy for me.

Fear God, keep his com­mand­ments, and do what­ever you desire. This is the chief end of man. You don’t need a writ­ing on the wall. God has given us the lib­erty to do what we love and it doesn’t have to be directly spir­i­tual, we just have to be inten­tion­ally spir­i­tual wher­ever we are, doing what­ever we’re doing.

The Reformation Polka

Here’s a lit­tle Ref­or­ma­tion Day humor.

by Robert Gebel

[Sung to the tune of “Supercalifragilistic-​​expialidocious”]

When I was just ein junger Mann I stud­ied canon law;
While Erfurt was a chal­lenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the light­ning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augus­tin­ian! Oh…

Cho­rus:
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion
Speak your mind against them and face excom­mu­ni­ca­tion!
Nail your the­ses to the door, let’s start a Ref­or­ma­tion!
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and transubstantiation!

When Tet­zel came near Wit­ten­berg, St. Peter’s prof­its soared,
I wrote a lit­tle notice for the All Saints’ Bull’tin board:
“You can­not pur­chase mer­its, for we’re jus­ti­fied by grace!
Here’s 95 more rea­sons, Brother Tet­zel, in your face!” Oh…

Cho­rus:
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion
Speak your mind against them and face excom­mu­ni­ca­tion!
Nail your the­ses to the door, let’s start a Ref­or­ma­tion!
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and transubstantiation!

They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exem­pleror;
The Pope, how­ever, hauled me up before the Emperor.
“Are these your books? Do you recant?” King Charles did demand,
“I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!” Oh…

Cho­rus:
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion –
Speak your mind against them and face excom­mu­ni­ca­tion!
Nail your the­ses to the door, let’s start a Ref­or­ma­tion!
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and transubstantiation!

Duke Fred­er­ick took the Wise approach, respond­ing to my words,
By knight­ing “George” as hostage in the King­dom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin’s model if the lan­guages you seek,
Stay locked inside a cas­tle with your Hebrew and your Greek! Oh…

Cho­rus:
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion –
Speak your mind against them and face excom­mu­ni­ca­tion!
Nail your the­ses to the door, let’s start a Ref­or­ma­tion!
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and transubstantiation!

Let’s raise our steins and Con­cord Books while gath­ered in this place,
And spread the word that ‘catholic’ is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfet­tered when the Spirit gets his chance,
So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance! Oh…

Cho­rus:
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion –
Speak your mind against them and face excom­mu­ni­ca­tion!
Nail your the­ses to the door, let’s start a Ref­or­ma­tion!
Papal bulls, indul­gences, and transubstantiation!

kingdom currency

I first heard the phrase “king­dom cur­rency” used by a friend while I was in Kenya. He was refer­ring to the body of Christ shar­ing out of the same pocket. That’s exactly how our mis­sion team func­tioned the whole month in Kenya. Some­times I paid for everyone’s bus tick­ets, and then other days dif­fer­ent peo­ple paid for all my meals. No one kept track of money, we just paid for things as it came along. I have no idea how much I spent on oth­ers or how much was spent on me. It was a unique way of liv­ing, but what I con­sider a bib­li­cal way.

Like I said, that was unique. There were dif­fer­ent vari­ables on that trip that made that type of liv­ing con­ducive. Here in the States it can’t work exactly that way. How­ever, that same con­cept of one purse is healthy. I love being gen­er­ous. I’m always buy­ing peo­ple cof­fee or help­ing out where I can. I never look at the total or take a receipt. I don’t expect peo­ple to pay me back or return the favor. I just want other believ­ers to have the same will­ing­ness to give from their pocket.

It’s such a touchy sub­ject. I know bud­gets are a good thing, and you can’t spend with­out keep­ing track of your expenses to some extent. I gen­er­ally know my lim­its, and I know I’m not going to go broke by doing sim­ple things like buy­ing peo­ple cof­fee or a meal. Chris­tians need to real­ize that what we have is ulti­mately God’s, and there­fore if we see a need, we need to be more lib­eral than we prob­a­bly are with our money. It’s king­dom cur­rency and I choose to live it out.

John Flavel on Finding God’s Will

John Flavel:

If there­fore in doubt­ful cases you would dis­cover God’s will, gov­ern your­selves in your search after it by the fol­low­ing rules:

  1. Get the true fear of God upon your hearts. Be really afraid of offend­ing him. God will not hide his mind from such a soul. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant” (Psalm 25:14).
  2. Study the Word more, and the con­cerns and inter­ests of the world less. The Word is light to your feet (Psalm 119:105), that is, it has a dis­cov­er­ing and direct­ing use­ful­ness as to all duties to be done and dan­gers to be avoided…
  3. Reduce what you know into prac­tice, and you shall know what is your duty to prac­tice. “If any man do his will he shall know of the doc­trine” (John 7:17). “A good under­stand­ing have all they that do his com­mand­ments” (Psalm 111:10).
  4. Pray for illu­mi­na­tion and direc­tion in the way that you should go.Beg the Lord to guide you in straits and that he would not per­mit you to fall into sin…
  5. And this being done, fol­low Prov­i­dence so far as it agrees with the Word and no fur­ther. There is no use to be made of Prov­i­dence against the Word, but in sub­servience to it.

The Mys­tery of Prov­i­dence, 1678, (Carlisle, PA: Ban­ner of Truth Trust, 2006), 188–9, empha­sis mine.

HTJonathan Par­nell

live simply, live radically: making friends

All of you are prob­a­bly famil­iar with the hit work­out pro­gram P90X. Well they’ve come out with a new pro­gram called P90X+ for those who are ready to go beyond the orig­i­nal pro­gram for a greater chal­lenge. Liv­ing sim­ply is a stretch for some peo­ple but if liv­ing sim­ply isn’t rad­i­cal enough, I have some more chal­lenges for the “élite”.

Remem­ber, every­thing on this site is to help you live more ful­fill­ing lives that are extra­or­di­nary, break­ing the sta­tus quo. Do I have life fig­ured out? No, but do what you read, and it is guar­an­teed to work.

Meet strangers

I hear it all the time from friends that they strug­gle with mak­ing friends, find­ing peo­ple to do things with. Plain and sim­ple, they’re lonely. These are cool peo­ple, they’re not socially inept, but social­iz­ing just isn’t work­ing for them. It’s almost as if they expect rela­tion­ships to just hap­pen. Here’s the truth, 9 out of 10 times it’s up to you to make rela­tion­ships happen.

The major­ity of our rela­tion­ships are formed through com­mon activ­i­ties such as church, school and sports teams. The prob­lem with those rela­tion­ships is they’re usu­ally formed around one par­tic­u­lar inter­est, and those peo­ple you meet in those venues don’t usu­ally have much more in com­mon than that one interest.

So, get out there and start meet­ing peo­ple out­side your nor­mal venues. Wher­ever you go (ie gas sta­tions, cof­fee houses, restau­rants, etc) seek to engage peo­ple on a deeper level than the typ­i­cal transaction.

Peo­ple are wired to be self-​​centered (if you don’t believe me, than you’ve obvi­ously never spent much time around a 2yr old). To make friends you need to view oth­ers as more impor­tant than your­self and look at oth­ers inter­ests as more impor­tant than your own. I know you want a friend but you first need to be a friend before you can have a friend. When I meet some­one and engage with them, I treat them like we’ve been best friends. It’s not the cul­tural norm how fast and aggres­sively I pur­sue rela­tion­ships, but it works.

Take risks with strangers

When I meet some­one that I think has poten­tial, I make sure to get a num­ber, send them a quick text so I’m in their phone, and within a cou­ple days try to set up a lunch date or activ­ity. I love being gen­er­ous, so I always pay at our first meet up. It may or may not go any­where from there, but that’s ok. Some friend­ships last a week and oth­ers for years. It’s impor­tant to take life one day at a time and squeeze the most out of it. Don’t try to live a ful­fill­ing life for 10yr, strive just for today.

Remem­ber, treat strangers like they’re your best friend. To me that seems like how Jesus would’ve treated peo­ple. So share what you have freely with every­one, it’s not yours any­way. God gave it to you and he can take it away just as fast.

Don’t be afraid to invite strangers over to your house. Lis­ten, if you really want to be used by God and you say that you’re will­ing to be sent any­where, then this shouldn’t be an issue. How do you expect to be will­ing to be sent to the Mid­dle East with your fam­ily to preach the Gospel if you’re afraid of hav­ing strangers around your home and fam­ily here in the US?

Be con­sis­tent

Meet­ing strangers is a good prac­tice, but some­times hav­ing famil­iar­ity is good also. After all, one way to meet strangers is for friends to intro­duce you to their friends. So, become a reg­u­lar. Even if it’s 2mi out of the way, go to the same gas sta­tion. Even if you don’t feel like cof­fee one week, hit up a local cof­fee shop regularly.

Be con­sis­tent with ini­ti­at­ing activ­i­ties. Don’t invite some­one you just met out to lunch once and then expect them to ini­ti­ate the next activ­ity. With social media on the rise, it’s an undis­puted fact that peo­ple are get­ting worse at know­ing how to social­ize. Some­times we need to give peo­ple a lit­tle help.

Here’s the for­mula for mak­ing a best friend. Treat the per­son like they are your best friend, inter­act reg­u­larly and serve them.

Don’t be picky

I’m the worst at this. I want friends but I’m super picky about who I want to be friends with. You have to have the right looks, be on my “level”, be well con­nected, etc. I know, sounds pretty super­fi­cial, right? I’m just being hon­est and work­ing on it.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my brother, Jonathan. He is the man. Peo­ple flock around my brother, and it’s almost like he doesn’t even try. Here’s my the­ory about him. He shows no par­tial­ity to peo­ple. He’s kind to every­one (which I am too) but he goes beyond that and includes/​hangs out with the “unpop­u­lar” kids even though my bro ranks high on the cool kids meter. That says a lot about his char­ac­ter and I think other peo­ple notice and it makes him a very attrac­tive person.

This is an off the cuff blog post. It’s not meant to rank high on Google, but I hope it at least gives you some things to chew on. Set goals. Meet 1 new per­son a week, fig­ure out where you’re going to hang, etc. Now get out there and make some friends.

6 people who taught me how to be happy

I had a friend recently com­ment that I seem sat­is­fied and happy with every­thing in my life. I responded by say­ing it wasn’t always that way, but through life expe­ri­ences I came to a place a cou­ple years ago where I am truly happy. It made me start reflect­ing on some of the most influ­en­tial peo­ple that have brought me to that point. Here’s my list.

Ricky Hill — “Don’t worry”

This was my col­lege room­mate who hailed from St. Vin­cent. He embod­ies the laid back cul­ture of the Caribbean. We’d have long dis­cus­sions in our room about life and per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. He walked around cam­pus seem­ingly with­out a care in the world. I use to despise that atti­tude until one day it hit me that life is what it is and there’s lit­tle you can do about it, so don’t worry.

Jacques Paganel — “Enjoy it!”

Jacques Paganel is a char­ac­ter in the old Dis­ney film “In Search of the Cast­aways.” Don’t know why but there’s a scene that’s stuck in my mind. They were in this huge tree and trapped by flood waters. Jacques begins singing a song enti­tled “Enjoy It” which talks about see­ing the sil­ver lin­ing. Here’s a few of the lines, “A hur­ri­cane comes your way, enjoy the breeze. You’re stranded in the jun­gle, enjoy the trees. Voila, that’s life, enjoy it!”.

William Bor­den — “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets”

I read this guy’s biog­ra­phy in mid­dle school. It has had a pro­found affect on my life as I learned about a man who had incred­i­ble ambi­tions in life and died at the age of 29 before accom­plish­ing what he set out to do. In his Bible he penned, “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” Was he per­fect? No. I resolved a long time ago never to have regrets but to real­ize that expe­ri­ences, good or bad, are all good ulti­mately, depend­ing on what you do with them. I have no regrets. To me, what doesn’t kill me, only makes me stronger. One of my tag lines is, “Life is what you make it to be, and I choose to live extraordinarily.”

Mary Pop­pins — “Make life a game”

Another Dis­ney char­ac­ter we all know well. If you know me per­son­ally, you might have heard me say that life is a game or one big joke. It’s not to say I don’t take life seri­ously but I try to be light hearted as I make my way through life. Mary Pop­pins taught the chil­dren a les­son one day while they were clean­ing their rooms how to make it a game. I’ve tried to employ that prin­ci­ple by mak­ing the most out of what I do and make it fun.

Reepicheep — “This is an adventure!”

Another char­ac­ter who’s atti­tude has affected me is Reepicheep from the Nar­nia movies. His high spir­its and knack for adven­ture have become some­thing I try imper­son­ate. I try to look at life as one big adven­ture, never know­ing what the next turn will bring. I’ve come to appre­ci­ate the lit­tle things and get excited about them whether it be meet­ing a new friend or hav­ing a new expe­ri­ence. Every­day is an adven­ture because every­day is a blank canvas.

Paul (the apos­tle) – “I have learned in what­ever sit­u­a­tion I am to be content.”

Paul is an awe­some exam­ple to me. My favorite book in the Bible is Phillip­i­ans and it’s writ­ten by Paul who is in jail. He says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every cir­cum­stance, I have learned the secret of fac­ing plenty and hunger, abun­dance and need. I can do all things through him [Christ] who strength­ens me.” That’s ulti­mately the “secret” to my hap­pi­ness. I have Christ and he is all I need.

how to change the world using social networking

YES WE CAN”…an inspi­ra­tional slo­gan from the 2008 Obama cam­paign that inspired mil­lions and put Obama into the pres­i­den­tial office. The Mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion (those born 1980–2000) is defined by a few key ele­ments, one of which is the indi­vid­ual drive to make a dif­fer­ence in this world. The Mil­len­ni­als don’t care about being pres­i­dent or becom­ing a mil­lion­aire and single-​​handedly chang­ing the world, they just want to do some­thing that makes a dif­fer­ence in this world (and it’s happening). So, this is my appeal to the Mil­len­ni­als and any­one else out there who wants to make a difference.

The rise of the inter­net in our gen­er­a­tion has become one of the most pow­er­ful influ­enc­ing tools in his­tory. There are so many exam­ples of peo­ple who have unin­ten­tion­ally impacted the world through things they’ve put up on web­sites, blogs and videos. Just think what we can do if we inten­tion­ally use the free media out­let at our fin­ger­tips. There’s so many ways to make your voice heard, but I want to focus on social networking.

Face­book is some­what restric­tive as far as how many peo­ple are exposed to what you post. How­ever, Twit­ter and Google+ are, by default, view­able by the entire world. We hear about those who post their every move from when they’re tak­ing a shower to what condi­ment they decided to use on their sand­wich for lunch. I think that kind of use of social net­work­ing is friv­o­lous and a poor use of one’s time. Most of us aren’t that bad, but I think it’s fair to say that we can all admit to some extent of friv­o­lous posting.

This is a call to become more inten­tional with the way we use social net­work­ing. More inten­tional to make a dif­fer­ence in this world. Here’s the stan­dards I’ve set for myself and some ideas that you can implement.

  1. Make peo­ple pause. I want to post things that will cause peo­ple to stop, ques­tion, reeval­u­ate, reflect, learn, etc. Chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo and, if relevent, try­ing to inspire action. This includes quotes, videos and links to arti­cles and organizations.
  2. Shar­ing your life. One of the great­est things about social net­work­ing is that it has added an ele­ment to rela­tion­ships that no other gen­er­a­tion has had. There’s a bal­ance between post­ing about tak­ing a shower and let­ting peo­ple know I got the job I’ve wanted. I try to post things about myself that define my life story. A good indi­ca­tor is ask­ing your­self what your mom would want to hear about your week if you called her?
  3. Inten­tional inter­ac­tion. Social net­work­ing is an aspect of mod­ern rela­tion­ships and like any rela­tion­ship it requires inter­ac­tions on both sides. I want to inter­act, though, in an inten­tional way that encour­ages, chal­lenges and sup­ports. The ideal inten­tional rela­tion­ship doesn’t just stop online, it should be fol­lowed up with a phone call or get­ting together.
If you want more thoughts on inten­tional social net­work­ing and how to make a dif­fer­ence, read “why you’re not my ‘friend’ on face­book any­more”.

Do Right

There’s a song I grew up lis­ten­ing to as a kid. It’s stuck with me and now more than ever I love the sim­plic­ity of the message.

Here’s some prin­ci­pals I want to point out from these lyrics. First of all, doing right starts with a deep pur­pose and con­vic­tion about what you believe. Sec­ond, don’t con­tem­plate or jus­tify, go head strong and do what you believe. Third, real­ize there’s often a price for doing right. Make sure you count the cost so you’re not taken off guard. Fourth, per­se­vere to the end. One right deci­sion doesn’t jus­tify your bad decisions.

And now, the lyrics to “Do Right” by Ron Hamil­ton (from Patch the Pirate).

Verse 1:
From the very start, have pur­pose in your heart
To do what’s right and never ques­tion why.
Never count the cost, though every­thing seems lost;
The price for doing right is some­times high.

Verse 2:
Right is always right, and wrong is always wrong,
And we must learn to sep­a­rate the two!
If you love the right, the Lord will give you light;
So seek the right in every­thing you do!

Cho­rus:
Do right till the stars fall, do right till the last call
Do right when there’s no one else to stand by you!
Do right when you’re all alone, do right though it’s never known.
Do right since you love the Lord — do right, do right!