Sunday, June 27, 2004

Honesty on the side please.

There are times in your life when you just feel like you are floating through. A month can go by and you really don't know what you accomplished or learned. This past month has not been like that. I'm learning.

Honesty. What is the first word or thought that pops in your head when you hear that? A few different images and thoughts enter my head. For most of us, you probably fall into 1 of two catgories, comfronter or avoider. The latter will do everything at all costs to avoid conflict and problems. The confronter is usually very confrontational and wants to handle the problem right away and get it all out on the table, that's me. Sometimes I wonder how honest I should be. There are gray areas. When do you REALLY have the DTR? Is it 1 date? two dates? 3 dates? Haha. And we all know this one: "How does this dress look?" Well in all honesty, I don't like it at all. That would be my first thought if I didn't like the dress. But should I say it? Probably not. Do I say it, yes.

Honesty can be a very positive thing. There are so many people that go around life with grudges in their hearts about people that have no idea they even have a grudge against them. Truth and honesty can set you free from that, just confront them, say how you feel, settle things before the sun goes down. Well it all sounds simple in theory, follow-through is ROUGH. Sure, being honest and truthful will probably hurt someone's feelings, and possibly hurt your own, but it's what is right. The times in my life when I have been very honest in truthful have been some of the most rewarding experiences. I cannot honestly and truthfully say they have been the easiest, but the more rewarding and helpful. There is something about saying how you feel that liberates you and sets you "free" as the Bible says. I want to be free.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Pick me, I'm free

It's late Friday night, well I guess it's actually early Saturday morning at this point. What an interesting Friday it was. It went something like this...

So I must admit that I am a cellphone enthusiast. I'm not admitting that I talk on my cell phone all the time, only admitting that I like to have a nice phone. So Cingular informed me that I have been with them almost 5 years and have never been given a free phone. Thanks Cingular for telling me now. I order the Nokia 3300, we are talking about MP3 player, recorder, games, phone, and more. Yes! FEDEX attempted delivery and I was not home, aww man. So I tracked them down and found out that I could pick my phone up in Greenville, so off I went.

On the way to Greenville, I find a man on the side of the road, "Jump in, where ya goin?" He says..."I need to go to Spartanburg.". Cool, so off we went, his name is Danny. Danny works near the same place I work and had been hitch-hiking to get back home. So we're driving along and I realize that I still need to pick up my cell phone. Danny says he doesn't mind if I stop by FEDEX, so we go to FEDEX. Well the driver is not back with my phone, so we head out to Spartanburg to take Danny home. We had interesting conversation, talked about work, what he does, where he is from, fishing, nuclear reactors, cars, and bass fish. We finally make it to his house and it's pouring rain, has been all day. He gets out, grabs his stuff, and tells me thank- you. Here is the hard part. I want to witness to him, but fear creeps over my body and I sorta go numb. Ahhh shrug off fear, hell is real, so is heaven. :) So I explain to Danny that I cannot just give him a ride, I have to tell him something else way more important.

Me: Danny, what do you think happens when you die?
Danny: (stares intently at me, almost waiting for me to answer my own question)
Me: What would you like to happen?
Danny: I Guess I want to go to heaven.
Me: Me too, how do you think you get there?
Danny: I don't know how.
Me: Let me ask you three questions...We then went on to talk about the 10 Commandments and sin, Have you ever lied before? He says yes, What does that make you, he says liar, and so on so on. Then we get to Jesus, I get to explain to him that because of our sin, Jesus was sent by God to be our sacrifice, to pay a price for all the bad things we do and think. He understood. He smiled. I showed him a tract that says..."GODISNOWHERE" He says....God is nowhere. I say, read again, He says, GOD IS NOW HERE. He asks if he can keep it, I say of course. I could see care in his eyes and he knew I loved him because I wasn't afraid to tell him about Jesus. He then went on to tell me about his family and how he wanted them to come to church and find Jesus too. I dropped him off, we smiled, he said thanks again and I left. Wow, what a feeling, but oh wait, the day is not over.

So my flesh kicks in after this and all I can think about is this cell phone. I have 30 minutes to get to FEDEX before they close. So I try to make it when all of the sudden BOOM, my tire explodes after hitting something on the interstate, a brand new set of tires too. It knocks me to the side of the road and yes, I have a huge flat. So I run back down the road in the rain and try to find the object that flattened my tire. Nothing there. I look further, nothing! It's vanished! Well I run back to my Jeep and get out my jack. Now of course, the jack is too small for my car because it has over-sized tires. I watch cars pass, and pass, and some beep, some people say mean things. Lexus rolls, probably some preachers roll by, maybe some deacons, nobody stops. Finally a man named Ezeal stops to help me. A black man around the age of 40 I would say. He is so nice, he runs over with a hydro jack and has my car off the ground in no time. I change the tire and bam, it's done. I asked him if he was a believer (inside, I knew he was). He says, YES! He told me the that he passed me but the Lord told him to go back and help, so he listened. A really great guy, put the jack back in his car, told him I would see him in heaven and away he went.

Well as I'm finishing up with my tire, (hole the size of a football in it with a completely shattered rim). Something else happens. A truck comes screeching into the emergency lane about 25 feet behind me. I'm like, wow, what in the world. I walk back to check on this man and he jumps out his brand new truck screaming. (I am carrying a tire iron at this point) He curses me out pretty much and continues to scream profanity. He has a flat and has hit the same piece of "something" I hit. I explain to him that I hit the same thing and he then screams back at me that his truck his brand new with a 1100 miles. Now I must stop and be honest, I really felt like jacking him upside the head with my tire iron for cursing at me, but I know that is not Christ-like and well I didn't :). So I walk back to my Jeep and finish up. As I'm finishing, he comes back and apologizes to me and I accept his apology. No big deal, it's raining and we both have flat tires. So I go back and look again for this "something" in the road, I find nothing. I return to his truck and help him change his tire. I notice a funny looking sticker on the back of his brand new truck, looks like a flag with a heart in the middle of it. I discerned something funny about him. I asked about the sticker, he says, "you don't want to know what it means." Well it turns out the sticker stands for..."I'm a man who likes men who wear levis and leather." Thank the Lord I didn't have on my levis and leather, whew, thanks God. He then precedes to think I'm 32 years old. Humbled. As I'm putting his old tire back under his car, I notice blood dripping from his hands, and then realize the blood is probably all over the tool I am using. He looks at me and says..."Oh don't worry, I'm HIV negative" Well ya know, that's good news to know. He then goes to tell me that he does not have sex with men. Why this information was volunteered to me, I'm not sure. I call personal foul and TMI! Well of course I try to swing the conversation to the Lord. He then tells me that he is a christian but doesn't believer that homosexuality is wrong. He even grabs his Bible out the front of his truck and shows me his cross on his rear view mirror. This man was quite interesting. His father was a pastor and died when he was 10. His father never knew about his preferences. We talked a lil more about the Lord and I felt the Lord lead me away from him and I told him bye and to be careful on his ride to ATL.

As soon as I get on the road, there is another car in front of me smoking. I get out, see this guy that happens to be an aquaintence of mine's cousin, funny. I hit the road and head home.

So I learned that no matter what plans I have in my heart, the Lord is going to place me and any other believer where He wants you. I think about all the conversations today and all the people I met, it all started by picking up one hitch-hiker. I challenge whoever reads this to make yourself available to the Lord and don't just pray for opportunities, TAKE THEM. They are all over the place and there is not enough time in the day to get to them all, but try. I'm so glad we can be labeled and identified with Christ, we were all once a bunch of hitch-hikers that the Lord, in His grace, picked us up. To Him we owe ALL.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Road Rage..or something like it

I luv when you have a weekend that is so interesting it makes the next Monday feel like a Friday. So maybe I should explain. So I went down to Columbia to help a friend with her A/C, did that, then hung out at the pool all day long, yep, burned again. I will be moving soon so a brotha should try and find a place to live, so I went around Columbia looking for houses and townhomes, grown-up life as they call it. It was a beautiful Saturday and very hot. Many people call Columbia,SC the "armpit" of the South. I can see why. You walk outside and instantly these little beads of sweat appear on your forehead. Found some cool houses then hung out at Barnes & Noble for a bit. Let me ask you a question. I saw a book there called "hacking for dummies." Hacking is a crime and now we have books teaching us how to commit crimes. Great. I was rather amused. Left Barnes $ Noble and went to meet someone for dinner. Of course I didn't have a top on my Jeep and surely it begins to rain, we get soaked. Pull into a hospital parking garage (haha) for about an hour or so, then head out, drop her off, then head home. (2 hours away.) Here is where the story gets weird.

If anything weird is going to happen on the road, it's going to happen to me. I believe in my heart that God has ordained me for roadside ministry. It is so fun and very amusing. So I'm travelling down Interstate 20 around 12:30 AM. As I am leaving out of Richland County, I see brake lights flashing ahead. And yes there is a traffic jam. STOP THE TAPE. This is not your everyday traffic jam. Let me define...TRAFFIC JAM - two cars in both lanes of I-20 completely stopped and parked sideways with one truck trying to go between them in a frantic maneuver. So as I pull up on this scene, all I can hear is..."get her out, she's drunk, get her out!!!" This is all coming from a woman who is standing in front of this truck. A few people are yelling at me and commanding me to park my car in the road, similar to theirs, so this woman cannot leave the scene. I oblige. So now there is no real way to get through I-20. (during all this, I got the feeling that this woman in the frantic truck has probably hit someone and is now trying to flee from the scene.)

As the frantic woman in the truck realizes there is nowhere for her to go, I see terror in her eyes. On her driver's side, there is a man screaming at her, "GET OUT!" In front of her, there is a woman screaming at her, "GET OUT of the car." So I figured, well they are all screaming at her, I'll approach in nice guy fashion. "Mam, please step out the car, we are trying to help you." Ummm. Nice guy fashion does not help either and she is gearing up to run over the woman in front of her. We then scream at the woman in front of the truck, "Move, she is going to run over you!" The woman does not move. The frantic woman in the truck gears into reverse and stomps the gas to reverse into oncoming traffic, almost taking out an SUV in her path. I try and chase her on foot, not a great idea. I could hear cars screeching off the road and into the grass. I returned to my Jeep and waited on her to come back by. Sure enough, she comes zooming by.

So I become a policeman for the night and chase her. I followed her for around 10 miles or so. She takes an exit in Camden and I call the hwy. patrol to ask them if I should continue to follow her or let her go. They ask for her tag number. Eventually she pulls into a police station and about 5 police cars meet her there. I pull in shortly after.

So you're probably wondering what in the world. As was I. Troopers arrive and ask us questions for about 45 minutes. The woman comes over to my Jeep to see me. I introduce myself and we begin to talk about what happen. Her name is Linda. Linda was not drunk at all and was in a very normal state of mind at this point. Apparently she dosed off on the road and swerved. She may have swerved near someone and they then assumed she was drunk. Road rage probably kicked in and they get help from another driver on the road. So they corner her and slow her down. Linda probably didn't realize what she had done, (the swerve.) Well all she knew was there were about 4 white people trying to get into her truck. She said there was no way she was going to let them in. She told the police that I was really nice, but she didn't know whether I was "with" the other "people" or not. Haha. She told me she was going to protect herself at all costs, even it meant running over the lady standing in front of her.

So to sum up the story, I stayed in Camden for a few hours and ended up having an awesome conversation with Linda and her fiance, who came in later. We had a great talk about the Lord, sin, and about the end of the world. The Lord may not cause traffic jams, but He does know how to use them.

I finally made it home around 4AM, extremely tired. I luv interesting weekends.

What I learned this weekend: I like interesting people, challenging conversations, and interstates.

Anybody up for a road trip? :)

Monday, June 14, 2004


Today was a good day, I really don't have bad days. Well rarely. There was that time when I got towed twice in the same day, two different states, two different cars. How could I get mad? That's just funny and could only happen to a man obsessed with gnomes. Speaking of gnomes, well I didn't see one today, but I did see this nice lil turtle at the shooting range. I would like your comments to try and explain how this nice lil box turtle found his way on top of this shot up Yoo Hoo can located at our local shooting range. Don't worry, we saved his life. My heroic friend Nick loves to save box turtles from the road. Congrats Nick! 4 saved today!

Also, it has been brought to my attention that there is a "man-eater" in Columbia, SC. Watch out boyz, she will chew you up. If you see her, make way, and God forbid, do not be one of those guys that calls her. Oh my my. Her name is _ A _ _ _ N.

On a serious note, well how could there be a serious note when this blog has a picture of a turtle on a yoo hoo can? Well let's try. Why is there such a huge division between calvinists and armenianists? Don't we all have a common goal of reaching the lost? Don't we all have the same command, to go out and make disciples? It baffles me that so many Christians waste their time arguing these points...does anyone out there really know it all? I'm sure some would answer yes and I would say...goodnight, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Gracefully Falling

An interesting day in my heart. Have you ever had those points in your faith where you feel numb? The problem with the numbness was that it has been numb for many months and you have only now come to realize it. That's me.

It is so easy to get comfortable with the way you are living and it gets even easier to get comfortable with the sin in your life. One thing leads to another, gradually your faith weakens and weakens. Your influence on people for the positive gets worse and worse.

I think for many years, I have been spiritually spoiled. Spoiled in the way that little kids are spoiled by rich parents. I've never had a really really terrible time in my faith, although I have had some slow spots. Tonight was one of those nights that I saw myself for who I truly am, sinful and weak. One of those nights that you can feel people praying for you. It's a strange, but refreshing feeling. To know that God has not left me on the side of the road and no matter how nasty the sin in my life has gotten me, He still wants to pick me up. We are so blessed that God does not give up on us and we are even more blessed that He doesn't treat us how we often treat Him. Oh I would really be messed up.

God continues to chase and no matter how many times we run, He will find us. I'm so glad He found me.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Just Passing Through

What a beautiful night it has been. The sky is perfect and when your car has no top on it, you really appreciate a nice night. Tonight was not just about good weather.

I met a good friend in Greenville to catch a movie. We had fun, drove around for a while with the top down and listened to music. Not much was open after the movie, so I dropped her off and headed home. As soon as I turned onto the interstate, there is a man stopped on the side of the road. I pull up on the side with him. An older man walks around the car with a disappointed look on his face, he's got a flat. Flat, no problem, let's put on the spare, well, the spare is flat too. Let's go buy another tire, he doesn't have a key to get his tire off the rim, trouble. We came to the conclusion that we could do nothing for his Ford Escort and we decided that I would just take him home. Mr. Bill is his name. Normal looking man, mid 60's I would say.

He jumped in my Jeep was amazed that it had no top; he was surprised that he could just stick his hands up in the air. "Where does this go?", he asks of the seatbelt. Good question to ask in a vehicle with no restraints. I enjoy picking up people on the side of the road, to hear and listen to their story. This night was no different. I asked about his story and he gladly told me.

He explained to me that he lived in Florida for most of his life and he was a tile mason. He and his wife divorced when his daughter was 2 years old and he never saw her again. He eventually left the tile business and drove freight trucks, only to get in a wreck in New Mexico and have the truck taken from him, forcing him to hitch hike all the way back to Florida. He returned, had no money, and his landlord kicked him out of his apartment. He then lived on the streets for 6 months, and slept under a bridge. He had a terrible relationship with his ex-wife and had not spoken to her in years. His ex-wife eventually told his daughter that her father was not the man she was married to, but another man (Mr. Bill) that lived somewhere in the US. She would not tell her where. His daughter set out to find him. Eventually, through the internet, she tracked him from state to state, finally finding him. They were reunited in Myrtle Beach during the 4th of July. He said it was a beautiful time. She and her husband convinced him to leave Florida and move to SC. So he did. He moved in with his daughter until he could get on his feet. His ex-wife found out and kicked him out. (She owned the house.) So he was back on the streets and living in his car, but had a job. Mr. Bill found an apt after living 3 months in his car, only to find himself on the side of the road, with noone to call and no money in his pocket.

As I dropped him off, he wanted to get my number so he could pay me back. I explained to him that it was my calling to pick up people on the side of the road. He smiled. I gave him my number in case he needed anything else. (Fear enters here) How could I hear this man's life, love him enough to stop and help him, love him enough to bring him home, but then stop in that love and not share with him the most important person in my life? As he was about to step out my Jeep, I looked at him and told him that I was not being fair to him if I just let him leave. I got out a tract that says "GODISNOWHERE". I asked him what it said. He said, "God is nowhere." It's a trick, it should read, "God is now Here." We went on to talk about the end of life and what happens next. He told me that he was born again and knows the Lord. He also told me that he studied to be a pastor for two years. Wow. I asked him, "are you following the Lord?" Good conversation. He told me that he had been praying right before I drove up. He said that many people passed by him, nobody would help. I mentioned to him before that I had spent my fair share of times on the side of the road, sometimes in the rain and in the cold, while people just passed by and glanced over, only to continue on their path. I explained to him that the Lord will never leave him stranded on the side of the road, never.

I've had my heart broken a few times in this life, maybe a girl, maybe a friend that lets you down. I've never told any of those people, "hey, thanks for breaking my heart." As much as it hurts, I love when the Lord breaks my heart, and tares down as I tear down, all the nasty stuff that's in there. The Lord is the only one I will thank when He breaks my heart. (Psalm 51:17) There is nothing wrong with fear, but there is something wrong with shame. I fear people sometimes, I fear witnessing to them, I fear what they will think of me, I fear they will look down on me, but I really pray that I will never be ashamed of talking about the Lord. He's never left me on the side of the road and He never will.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Time flies

Most people might say, "Time Flies and then you die." What a morbid thought. There is a lot of truth in that statement, but life is so much more. I just finished up a long weekend with Memorial Day off and a day off from work. It's so nice when you can take a few days to relax, spend time with friends, and just chill out. You think about all the days that pass that you wasted. The days that could have been a great memory, but instead I slept in or wasted time doing something stupid. Like yesterday, on my day off. I spent most of the day doing nothing. Then my friend Lee says he will teach me to wakeboard. Sure enough, in no time at all, he taught me. Time that I would have spent doing nothing, I now spent accomplishing something really fun and cool and also spending time with a friend.

I've realized in my 24 years one main thing. Life is about forming relationships. I'm not talking about "dating" but solid friendships and friends. It takes effort to put yourself out there and share your heart with people, but that's how we grow, that's how we learn. One great thing about living in a sub-division is that random people stop by all the time. Salesmen, pest control, fund raising people, candy people, and can't forget the ice cream man who has the nice lil jingle he plays that you can hear approximately 1 mile away. Today was the day of the pest control guy. I hear a knock on the door and I get up to answer it. A very young guy is standing at the door and explains to me our options on fighting off the rodents and other crawling things that lurk around Easley, SC. We had a good conversation. I got to know where he was from, what he does for fun, and where he lives. Something inside me told me he was mormon. Weird I know, but I felt it. I asked him if he went to church anywhere and sure enough, he is mormon. So we talked about that for a short time and then went on to talk about mountain biking and kayaking. I invited him to go mountain biking with me sometime and told him that I would like the chance to talk about mormonism. He politely agreed and hopefully he will call. I realized during this time that I had a root beer in my hand that probably looked like a long neck beer. Some people look down on beer and it is a hindrance to sharing the gospel, so I made it clear to him that it was root beer :). It was good conversation because he's a big fan of the root beer, haha. As am I.

So my goal in this life is to make solid relationships with people and to genuinely care about their feelings and cares in this world. In reality, this is a hard world to live in and deal with, but the Lord did not leave us alone. He gave us the Holy Spirit and He also gave us great they great they are.

On a side note, one of my friends bought a car on Ebay! Not only have I got him to blog, he now has followed my direction and BUYS CARS ON EBAY! Congrats to
Billy Rogers!