No Harm in a Sunrise

Stockton Sunrise

Most of the time I move at a fairly slow pace. It’s okay, I’m just taking everything in. Most people seem to think you have to move quickly lest you miss something. They are very wrong. A slow deliberate pace through life enables you to take more life in, see more, do more, enjoy more, and experience the wonders normally missed because you are moving too fast to see. That doesn’t mean I don’t move quickly when it’s necessary, but as a general rule I like to take my time.

Had I been in a rush I probably would have missed this sunrise. It isn’t the first time I have seen a sunrise on my way to work. It happens almost every day this time of year. But today the Lord wanted me to stop, look, get this shot, and give him praise. A beautiful sunrise is a reminder to me that by God’s marvelous grace I am being granted another day. Each day is a gift. The older I get the more real this becomes to me, but it has always been so. The only time on this earth we are guaranteed is this very second. The next second, and every one after, is a gift.

Perhaps there was another reason I stopped for this shot. How many time have I driven on and passed up a shot like this one, maybe even a better one? Most of the time actually. But I did stop for this one, and I think it may have been a God thing. I was about to learn that there is no harm in a sunrise.

Before I go on let me say that I am skeptical when it comes to coincidences. I believe God is in control and that there are very few things in life that are coincidental.

So, I get back in the car, pull into traffic, and head for the freeway where I drive north at 75 miles-per-hour. Remember, I can move quickly when I need too. Flashing lights behind me forced me to move over as the highway patrol car sped by. I caught up to him about two miles ahead pulled to the right shoulder with a firetruck and another car that was munching on the roadside bushes and fence. Estimating the time it took for all this to happen it wasn’t hard for me to piece together the very real possibility that I could have been in the middle of it all if I had not taken my sweet time and stopped to see a beautiful sunrise. Whether I actually would have been in an accident or not doesn’t really matter though. Just acknowledging the possibility is a reminder of God’s protective hand and my need to pay attention to his Holy Spirit speaking to me. It was also a vivid reminder that every moment of life is a gift from the Creator.

If we want to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us we need to slow down. We need to listen and hear. It’s hard to hear him speaking when we are rushing through life consumed by our selfish desires. Take some time this Christmas season to slow down, take a deep breath, relax, and hear the voice of God speaking through the Holy Spirit. He speaks, not only about His gift to us of his son Jesus who was born to die that we might be saved, but also of his gift to us of each day, each sunrise.

What Next?

Compassion Gift Catalog cover While you are thanking Him for his gifts, think of a time when a delay caused you to miss some harmful situation. Use the comments to tell us about it. Then think about those who face harmful situations, even deadly situations, every day of their lives. They don’t always have a way out. For them it is just a part of living in poverty. But you can be their answer to prayer. You can give them a life changing gift through Compassion.

Earlier I said, “I am skeptical when it comes to coincidences. I believe God is in control and that there are very few things in life that are coincidental.” That you are here reading this is, I believe, no coincidence. During this time of gift giving (and receiving) you can give a gift that will have a real, practical, and lasting impact. All I am asking is that you have a look at this gift catalog from Compassion and pray about what you can give. Call it your gift to Jesus.

Thanks so much. If you give a gift from this catalog would you mind letting me know? You don’t have to, and I thank you anyway, but it would be nice to know.

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Turquoise Wave

Turquoise Wave

A few weeks ago I posted a few iPhone pictures from our Kauai vacation. These were just a teaser until I could get the rest of the DSLR images posted. That day has arrived. It actually arrived about a week ago. I’m just now getting around to doing a blog post.

The Kauai images are spread over a few galleries you can visit at this link or by selecting the button below.

Turquoise Wave is just one of the incredible wave images I was able to capture on this trip to Kauai. We were there as tropical storm Ana was passing the island. The dark, overcast skies created a contrast which which seemed to increase the brilliance of the turquoise coloring in the waves and helped the waves to really pop. A fast shutter speed seemingly froze the water in mid air suspending each drop.

Got some feedback? Leave a comment or send me a note using the contact form.

Posted in Travel

Hope Burning Bright

hope-burning-bright

Sorry. I know this comes a bit late and you may already have plans. Still, if you are in the Stockton, CA area, please join us at First Baptist Church this coming Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. for Hope Burning Bright – A Christmas Musical. The church is located at the intersection of El Dorado Street and Alpine Avenue.

This is what the Christmas season is all about. Yes, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but more than his birth Christmas is about the hope that his birth gives us. He was born to teach us about the blessed hope we have in God, and he died to make that hope a reality. So come and worship the New Born King and Risen Savior, and the joy and hope of our salvation.

You may also want to plan on attending one of our Christmas Eve services on Christmas Eve, December 24 at 3:30 and 5:00 p.m.

Childcare is available for infants up to 5 years old at the musical and both services.

Want more information about First Baptist Church of Stockton? Visit FBCStockton.org.

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Meet Rajesh

This is Rajesh. He lives in India and is looking for someone, perhaps you, to release him from poverty in Jesus’ name through Compassion. Will you be that someone? If you are interested in sponsoring Rajesh contact me directly (until 12/12/14).

Sponsor Rajesh

Rajesh is 8-years old and lives with his father and his mother. He helps his family with buying and selling in the market and running errands. His father is sometimes employed as a laborer and his mother maintains the home.

Art, walking and hide-and-seek are Rajesh’s favorite activities. He attends primary school and also regularly attends church activities and Vacation Bible School.

Your support provides:

  • Food and clean water
  • Medical care
  • Educational opportunities
  • Important life-skills training
  • Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

When you sponsor a child, you’ll receive your child’s photo, personal story and a child sponsorship packet by mail in approximately 10 days. Note: if you would like to sponsor Rajesh and live in the Sacramento/Stockton area I will hand deliver his packet to you. Use the contact form to let me know.

When children find out they’ve been sponsored, the joy they feel is indescribable. Just knowing that someone across the globe cares means more than you can imagine. Sponsoring a child in need will profoundly change the future for your child, and will change your own life as well.

Step out in Faith

I will only have Rajesh for a few more days, until December 12, 2014, so I’m going to ask you to take a step of faith, pray for Rajesh and pray about the decision to sponsor him. I will be praying too. Then, contact me to sponsor him. Remember, you must contact me before December 12.

If the Lord leads you to sponsor a child after the 12th, visit the Compassion Web site to see other children who need sponsors.

Find out more about the work of Compassion and how they release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Thanks.

Posted in Compassion Tagged , , , |

Add Giving Tuesday to Your Holiday Checklist

Giving Tuesday - First Steps Image courtesy of Compassion International.

Made it through Thanksgiving. Check. Fall decorations taken down. Check. Christmas decorations put up. Check. Christmas shopping done. Mostly.

Now that you’ve gone through your holiday checklist in preparation for the day we celebrate the Savior’s birth, pause and take a deep breath. Did you miss anything?

Food for the needy dropped off at church. Check. Turkey cooked and dropped off at church for Thanksgiving outreach. Check. Presents bought for the “Giving Christmas Tree.” Check. Thanksgiving turkey drive. Check. Rebuild “Santa’s Hut.” Check.

Lists like these make me tired. But even with so much good stuff getting done, so many people being helped, there is still much to do. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it alone. Just do your part. That’s plenty. Everyone doing a little adds up to a lot. With enough little things all coming together to make a big thing imagine what we could accomplish. Maybe even creating a place where expectant moms, new moms and newborn babies in a place of extreme poverty could have the opportunity to become healthy moms and healthy children. Some kind of Child Survival Program where babies would be given a chance at their first steps.

“In India, child survival is one of the most fundamental issues when it comes to addressing poverty. Nearly 1 million children there will never reach their first birthday, missing out on their first steps. This program will give expectant moms, new moms and newborn babies the opportunity to become healthy moms and healthy children. By partnering with a local church in Gujarat to build this program, we are committing to invest in these families’ lives when they are at their most vulnerable and give babies a chance at their first steps.”

We can do this. Together we are a powerful force which can do incredible good. Begin this Christmas season when we celebrate the birth of a baby born in poverty, his first bed a filthy animal feeding trough, his mother a frightened young girl, by giving so that other vulnerable babies and mothers can rise up to be healthy and happy and have a future filled with hope and love.

Find out more and give your gift here.

Thank you.

Now, excuse me while I update my list.

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