Quitting Facebook

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So many of you have left Facebook. You're tired of the political rants, the negativity, the strong opinions, and your friend who checks in no matter where they are (eating at McDonalds, drinking coffee at Starbucks, resting at home). Troy Aikman, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Super Bowl Champion, MVP, etc (I'm clearly a Cowboy fan) said that Social media is "a race to the bottom." It's clearly all about us. I've learned too late in life that the more we focus on ourselves, the less satisfied we feel. And the more we’re consumed with the things of this earth, the more we feel empty on the inside. Some sociologists point to technology and social media as significant factors in our constant unhappiness.

What was once a tool to use to get in touch with friends and family from far away has turned into a tool to actually lessen your influence, a tool to share opinions without a relationship and a tool to sometimes actually depress others. 

As seen in the last year or so, many people have gotten rid of Facebook. They're tired of waking up to mindless banter. They thought the best way to address this is to rid of it. But here's my challenge to you: Don't. Don't delete your Facebook account on account of other's Facebook usage. Change the game

What the world needs now, more than ever, is positivity, hope and love. This is possible on Social Media. I've had mornings where I saw great encouraging quotes, funny family pics or birthday or anniversary wishes that changed my day. As a Christian, I believe we can use this as a tool to share the hope we have in Christ but......we have to be careful here. I will never 'shove my faith down someone's throat.' Jesus, Himself, never pushed Himself on anyone. He loved them as they've never been loved before (He died for them!) and He constantly met them where they were. No sinner was too lost for Christ. Everyone He encountered left different. He never judged anyone to come to Him, He loved them enough for them to want to come to Him. We should follow that example. 

So that's my challenge, post on Social Media through the eyes of Christ.

Would He like what you're posting? Is your post pushing people to Him or away? Is your life outside of Facebook one that would draw someone to read your posts? 

Rick Warren said, "If the whole world needs Jesus, then you must share the Good News. To keep it a secret would be criminal. If you knew the cure for Alzheimer’s or AIDS or cancer and you didn’t share it, that would be criminal. But we have something even better than a cure for disease. We know the cure for the human heart and the deepest needs of mankind. They need a Savior. They need forgiveness. They need their past forgiven, a purpose for living, and a home in Heaven. We cannot hold it back. We have to share it."
 

Getting the Most Out of Marriage

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Is your marriage everything you imagined it would be? Does it scare you or excite you when you see the remainder of your future with this particular person? You don't have to answer that here.

My wife and I spend a lot of time with other couples. We do premarital counseling and run couple's groups. We also have many married couples as close friends.  We've seen the good and the bad. I ask a lot of questions. I'm fascinated by relationships and how they work - or don't. 

The biggest thing I've seen is based on the 'reap what you sow' principle. Most of the time, our outward expectation doesn't match our inward effort. I've learned that when we don't like what we're getting out of our relationship we need to check what we're putting into our relationship. Many of us spend so little time with each other and wonder why it's not working. Our priorities have become work, money, TV, video games, hobbies, other friends or even our children (over our spouse). then we wonder what happened. 

Nothing works without effort. The things we care about the most need the most time put into them. It's been said, "Show me your calendar and I'll tell you what's most important in your life." Most of us need to schedule work, meals, and sleep. Some of us schedule important things like our quiet time with God (reading scripture and praying), time with the kids, or even exercise time (gym or home), Then the schedule becomes fuzzy. What is the next priority? What's most important? If you're married, I would highly recommend putting your spouse here. The kids will understand. In fact, when they get older they'll appreciate it and use it as an example for them when they get married. 

I hate seeing marriages fall apart. Too many of them do. Based on the conversations I've had, many of them stem from a lack of time together or a lack of effort.

I see a future with my wife and I'm excited about it. I see us in rocking chairs in our sun room reading and I can't wait (may not be so appealing to some of you). But I know I have to do my part. Time + effort = benefits. 

When is the last time you and your spouse spent quality time together? Went on a date? Got away? Schedule it today and reap the benefits.

 

 

Don't Preach What They Can't See In Action

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GUEST BLOGGER: Josh Vescovi

Josh had the opportunity to serve News Release Basketball. This organization travels mainly throughout Europe to run basketball camps and to play against professional and club teams all while sharing the GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST. Based out of the USA, their mission is to present the good news of Jesus Christ and develop disciples of our Lord by building Christ-centered relationships using the sport of basketball. 

Ring ring, goes the alarm clock at 6:45am on Friday July, 21 2017. I slowly wake rubbing my eyes. Today's the day I leave to go to Denver for training camp with News Release Basketball before we head to Germany for a few weeks on a missions trip. I feel a little nervous, as I hate flying and having to fly alone only makes things even worse. But there's too much to do to get ready to think about my nerves too much. I get dressed and sprint for the door to make a final deposit at the bank ATM before heading off. We get into the car and I am super excited! As we get to the airport and I say my goodbyes to my wife, boys, and mother. I get to the terminal, snag a picture of the plane, send out a massive text and try to rest a little before boarding. 

I get on the plane and for 4 hours the seat belt sign never comes off. Service was minimal. It was a rocky ride the entire time. But I really felt the Lord with me at all time, I was much calmer then I ever anticipated I would be. I watched a movie called Courageous and I felt as I was trying my best to be just that! (great movie by the way!). 

I land in Denver and am greeted by Steve Sorensen, the director of News Release Basketball in the baggage claim area. He walks up and and says "now there's a guy that looks just like his picture!" I was extremely happy I made it and was united with Steve after so many weeks of calls and emails. I knew it was finally time to do God's work. 

We got to his house where I would be staying for the next six days of training camp and was greeted by his wife Gunilla. She was extremely friendly and welcoming! Had a sandwich and relaxed a little before all the players arrived the next day. 

I must say every one I encountered had so much joy and love, you could see the Lord in them greatly. Training camp was amazing. It was a long six days filled from morning to evening but I wouldn't have it any other way. We learned so much about what NRB is all about and what to expect in Germany and how to conduct camps, and tell our stories about how we came to Christ.

Then Thursday July 27, 2017 finally came, it was time to share Jesus in Europe and our two men's teams and our one women's team were ready to go. Again, that flying thing for me is tough. But once again I felt peace, I knew the Lord was with me. I really never felt like He wasn't. I truly felt closer to Him thoughout this time then I ever have.

We had a slight layover in Atlanta before we headed on a 9 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany where we would take a four hour train ride to Lorrach, Germany where our first camp was. 

When we arrived to Lorrach we were greeted by some of the camp helpers and organizers including a gentleman named Marian. Little did I know that fast forward a week and the tears were gonna be impossible to hold back, and leaving Marian was gonna be one of the toughest things I would have to do. Man I love that guy! He truly is a man of God. 

So we meet who our hosts are going to be and mine, Johannes and his wife Sabina and their three boys, turned out to be some of the greatest people I would ever meet. We spent many hours talking about anything and everything, (yes including Donald Trump) haha. 

So camp starts in Lorrach and we get to meet all the kids and German helpers, and once again the whole experience was just truly amazing. I felt like family the whole time and felt loved by everyone. We met the kids that would be in our small groups. Every day we would have this thing called Power Hour where we tell a story that relates to the Bible and talk about it afterwards. My group of girls were great. They were very much into the conversations. 

Yes, this was a basketball camp and we did a lot of basketball things but we also sang worship songs and did little Bible studies. Jesus was our mission, not basketball. That was just a bonus.

We also played several games against pro teams throughout the week. Sadly, we went 1-2 for the week and 2-3 overall while in Germany but hey.

After one amazing week in Lorrach and seeing many kids come to Christ, it was time to leave and go to Munich, Germany where our second camp would be. I cried so much. It was so hard leaving those people. I remember Steve was with us the last day of camp and our last game. I ran over to tell him that I want to be back next year. I told Steve I am very serious. He put me on the roster for next year. 

After another 4 hour train ride we arrived in Munich on Sunday July 30th, 2017.

We were met at the train station by a gentleman named Andy who brought us right over to a nightclub in Munich, yes a nightclub lol!  But it wasn't being used as a nightclub when we arrived. It was being used for the ICF celebration where we met Patrick, one of the camp orginizers who like Marian, became one of my favorite people. Such an amazing worship experience I could never forget.

We had a team dinner afterwards with some of the German helpers for this weeks camp at the Hard Rock Cafe. We then did a little sightseeing and headed to the CVJM hostel that we were gonna be staying at for the week.

Once again, meeting the people and kids at the camp was amazing, I could honestly type for months explaining and talking about how awesome these few weeks were. So many kids came to Christ. It truly was an amazing camp.

Zach Jones was the lead of this Munich camp. He is a former NBA player. He now holds camps and talks about his faith. It was great getting to know him and see Christ in him. 

I will also mention this, I injured my back a few days before and ended up having to get it checked at the hospital. This amazing lady there named Nina took very good care of me. She also will be missed but lucky for me she won't be missed for long. She is moving to Boston and studying at Harvard in September for almost a year!!

Well like I said, there is so so much more to say that I could go on for weeks but just know this: These few weeks were really great! I met so many amazing people and so many men and women of Christ. I was going on this trip to minister to people and yes that did happen a great deal but my heart was ministered and changed as well. I really felt God like I never did before. And it was awesome. I loved every second of it! 

See you next summer News Release, I love you guys!