Memory Box Monday: My Life in 66 Seconds

To try and squeeze your whole life into 66 seconds is a task. There are so many small pieces that I would have liked to include, but you have to pick the highlights. Actually, you have to pick the highlights of the highlights and hope it’s entertaining.

The challenge to make this video came from Elmify:

…and here is my response:

My wonderful wife was a great help with her suggestions, acting, and camera handling skills. ¬†The bit on either side of the flashback is real. Don’t wrong my wife. She is a gypsy and if wronged, will hunt you down like a rabid animal. Have a nice day!

Memory Box Monday: Momma Sheila

As a teenager I was watched over by a second mother, the mighty Mrs. Sheila. The very mention of the name makes children sing, the youthful weary, and evil flee.  If Bob is the name above all mortal names, then Sheila is a very close second and I dare you to find anyone else that would tell you differently.

Mrs. Sheila was the neighborhood Mom. When everyone went somewhere to hang out, they ultimately ended up at Mrs. Sheila’s house. When someone needed a ride, Mrs. Sheila or her husband Paul (the man of the man, aka Bob Father) would always¬†accommodate. Except for when the church had an activity, you could never, and I mean never, go over to their house and find it empty. It was a party all the time.

Parents never worried. Just saying, “I’ll be at Mrs. Sheila’s,” would immediately put them at ease. She is the ultimate mother hen and I mean that in a good way. If you had been entrusted in her care, she had the uncanny ability of knowing exactly what you where doing, where you were doing it, and who you were doing it with. ¬†On one occasion I was on the road with Bob and the band playing a show in a small town in south Georgia. We were at least 2 to 3 hours from home. We played a show until midnight and at the last second, our¬†accommodations¬†were changed to a hotel in another town. As we fell into bed that night, the hotel room phone rang. I answered. It was Sheila. In disbelief I handed the phone to Bob and immediately started checking his personal effects for tracking devices.

Although she watched after all of us like a hawk, she was also more than accepting of our crazy ideas and actions. She was game as long as we didn’t tear the house apart and even that was ok sometimes. From kicking each other where men should not kick each other, to wrestling each other out of breathe, to rolling down the highway laying on skateboards at 45 mph Mrs. Shelia never so much a nagged (mostly). Well, let’s just say she never stopped us, and that’s alright by any teenager’s standard.

Mrs. Sheila thank you for letting us raid your house, and keep you up till the whee hours of the morning.  Thank you for providing a safe environment were kids could crash, have fun, and feel accepted and safe. You made every one of us feel loved and we always knew we had a second home with your family.  May God bless your generosity and patience. I hope that you always feel surrounded by love and security.

And Bob Father, thanks for keeping Mrs. Sheila from killing us. ūüôā You guys are awesome!

 

ON A¬†SEPARATE¬†NOTE: Memory Box Monday will be winding down for awhile as all of my memory box stuff is going into storage while we attempt to sell the house. ¬†I might have one more week’s worth of material hanging around here somewhere. Thanks!

My Rare Political Commentary: A Christian Responds to the Election

For the past few days I’ve heard a lot of feedback about the election from many different news organizations, colleagues, family, and friends. ¬†They range from, “We lost,” to “We won,” to “HA! It didn’t matter anyway.” ¬†From many perspectives I cannot speak, however I would like to say something about the Christian response.

Overall, it appears that many Christians, at least the ones within my sphere, are disappointed with the outcome of the election. Consequently, many of the responses I have observed call for prayer for the President even if it is for the candidate many did not support.  To that call for action, I give my wholehearted agreement.

Prayer

My neighbor who lives down the road at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave carries the burden of millions everyday. The problems that are brought to his daily attention and the people who act in the background to carry out his decisions all could use some intense daily prayer.

There are things that happen in this nation and towards this nation everyday that the military and US government public¬†servants¬†quell to prevent disaster from¬†occurring. Unfortunately because of the back biting, the toxic political discourse, and an eager media, everyone knows when there is a screw up, but when people do their job right, which is much of the time, nothing ever comes to light. ¬†That’s the way the system works and that’s what the President deals with on a daily basis.¬† ¬†Imagine going to a job everyday where many of your accomplishments are quietly lauded among a few and all your mistakes are advertised on the side of the building. ¬†That any man should willingly take on such a monumental responsibility under such conditions is amazing to me.

So does the President need prayer? You’d better believe it. ¬†Now let’s talk about gratitude.

Gratitude

How would it make you feel if every word from your significant other was a nag. You give them a present and they¬†criticize¬†the gift. ¬†You plan a special event, and they deride your choice of activity. ¬†You don’t like to go to church, but¬†every time¬†you make the effort, you get an ear full about what you’re wearing. ¬†How would it make you feel? ¬†Would it encourage you to get better? ¬†You probably would do just the opposite. ¬†Maybe you’re not good at any of the things listed above, but constant criticism¬†would not help.

Now what if you were thanked each time you did a little better? ¬†What if you were encouraged for each step you took in the right direction? When is the last time you saw a positive post about the President from a “Christian” or from the Christian community? So, with prayer let’s add a healthy dose of encouragement and thankfulness.

Gauging Society

Finally, I would like to address a disturbing trend I’ve seen lately among the Christian community. ¬†The trend involves people posting comments that equate the reelection of President Obama to being a sign that our country is in moral decline. ¬†To me many times I see these as excuses for the Christian community to place blame on the moral decline of the country on someone other than themselves. ¬†Here’s a few issues for consideration.

  1. Abortion – It is no mystery that the current President supports the right for a woman to choose to have an abortion. ¬†However, did you know that 37% of women who have abortions consider themselves to be Protestant while 28% affiliate themselves with the Catholic church. ¬†Twenty-five percent of women obtaining an abortion attend church at least once a month. Ronald Reagan’s adopted son once said to church groups, “Why are you looking to the government to pass a law to stop your daughters from getting abortions,” and then added “our daughters are more fearful of telling us they are pregnant than they are of the abortionists.”
  2. Healthcare – There’s been a lot of opposition towards the President’s national healthcare strategy. ¬†The Bible says that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”¬†I recently talked to a friend of mine who was on the board of directors at his church. He said he hit major opposition when he suggested rerouting church funds and effort towards outreach to help others instead of just trying to pay for an¬†over-sized¬†building and the overly staffed institution. He is no longer on the board. I know it sounds harsh but are we to be about the business of making institutions or followers of Christ?
  3. Prayer РGrowing up in a small a private school, I was not barred from praying in school.  Many are mad at the government and its leaders because prayer was taken out of public schools many years ago.  Many of us support prayer in schools, but, if we have kids, do we pray with them before they go out the door. For that matter do we pray before we go to work every morning?

All of this is to say one thing:

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2¬†Chronicles¬†7:14

As a community of believers I don’t believe we need to change the President, instead we need to change ourselves. ¬†If we, as believers, will focus more on following Jesus, which includes loving God and loving people (Matt 22:37-39), instead of ¬†the “moral decline of America” or anything else for that matter, God will forgive us and heal our land. ¬†It’s a promise and it’s not contingent on those who don’t believe. ¬†Say what you will about the President, but the moral decline of America can be measured by looking at ourselves, the church.

The End

Thanks for progressing through this long article with me. ¬†It’s not often I walk into the political arena, but as this blog is my artistic outlet, I felt the time was right. ¬†These personal realizations were terribly convicting and have shown me areas where I need to change. I am eager to here your responses. ¬†I welcome your comments,¬†complaints¬† and correction. ¬†Thanks again.

Memory BOB Monday

Bob. A simple name for an unassuming, incredible man.  One day Bob showed up in my life.  There was no big event, fanfare, or even an introduction.  One day I was without, and the next, Bob.

Oddly enough, Bob isn’t even his real name. He was given that name completely at random. ¬†One day while sitting in Sunday School an older member of the youth group walked in, turned around, and said, “You look like a Bob. That’s your name now. Bob.” ¬†In the blink of an eye Brian was changed to Bob, and Bob¬†embraced¬†it. ¬†T-shirts,¬†key chains, and name tags immediately and proudly displayed the name that is above all mortal names, Bob. ¬†He has changed schools multiple times, has even moved to multiple states, and still the name remains.

I can’t imagine my life without him nor can a multitude of others. All the memories we have together could fill hundreds of memory boxes. ¬†From streetluging at 1:00am, to making runs to Macon, Ga for Krispy Kreme, to playing guitar and singing in front of hundreds of people this man was always at my side.

Bob was a constant because Bob is a rock. He is the very essence of dependability. If characteristics were clothing, he’d have a knight’s armor of integrity with undergarments of loyalty (I realize that might sound a little gross). ¬†Half the crazy ideas I conceived could not have happened without him. ¬†While I was a floating mess, Bob was an anchor.

So here’s to Bob. Bob, when I lost the lead role of Jesus Christ because I looked like a creepy, bobble-headed monkey hiding a knife behind my back, I’m glad it was to you. ¬†When we opened for bands much better than ourselves and the home crowd yelled louder for us, I’m glad to have laughed beside you. ¬†When I saw the supernatural, inexplicable, life changing power of almighty God do things that left me praising, crying, kneeling, or singing, I am forever thankful that I had a brother to worship, weep, crumble, and shout with me.

May God continue to bless your ministry. ¬†As you now have the family I saw you pray and hope for, may you lead them with your steadfast integrity and enjoy every second of it. ¬†I pray God gives you emotional and physical strength to continue being a fantastic pastor and may you continue to always hear His still, quiet voice. Finally, when the time comes, “Get to heaven half an hour before the devil knows your dead.”

Malta Baptist Church you are amazingly blessed to have this man as your pastor.  Stand with him because I know he stands with God.

 

Memory Box Monday: Elijah’s Note

There are only a couple of five year olds that I have known that surprised me with their ability to maintain an engaging conversation at such a young age.  Elijah was one of them.

I remember the first time I saw Elijah. He prayed for his dad Terry, a traveling evangelist at the time, before the sermon began. ¬†Terry would say, “I preach,” and Elijah would respond, “and I pray.” ¬†Elijah was three. “Cute trick,” my jaded, teenage self thought. ¬†Oh teenage self, so young, so wrong.

The first time I actually met Elijah was on a long van ride to Helen, Ga. ¬†Terry had become our youth leader and Elijah was riding with us on this occasion. ¬†As we started down the road I said something to Elijah who was sitting next to me. I don’t remember the exchange exactly but it went something like…

Jason says something cute to pick on Elijah.
Elijah hits Jason with a verbal zinger from left field.
Jason’s mouth drops open and shoots attention to driver.
Driver, Terry, turns around momentarily with huge grin and says, “Guess you didn’t expect that from a 5 year old!”

The rest of the drive involved me getting to know this incredible kid.

This wonderful family continued to amaze me with their progeny. Emilie, their daughter, at the mature age of two constantly reminded me and my friends of how silly we were, and, in no uncertain terms, that we were to desist from any action that might cause her mental anguish. (“No Bob!”, “No Jason!”, “Jason, you so silly.”) From all I’ve gathered online in the past few days, it appears that Elijah and his sister haven’t lost their cheekiness and¬†wit¬†through the years.

I’m not sure when this note was written, but I suppose it wasn’t too long after I met Elijah. I like this note because it’s the unfiltered opinion of a child. ¬†Also, it’s fun to see the¬†valiant¬†attempt at penmanship and correct grammar (still working on that myself). Most of all I love all the memories this note brings back of this extraordinary family.

Elijah: Thank you for teaching me that amazing inspiration and ideas can come from the most unassuming of places. I hope that you are never at a loss for wisdom and that you continue to be an encouragement to others.

Emilie:  Although so young at the time, thank you for the unending laughter you provided us on many trips.  Your curiosity and unfiltered, two year old dialogue kept us rolling.  May you continue to leave a trail of joy and laughter wherever you go.

Sandy: Thank you for lending all of us in the various youth groups your time, care, and family.  You are a great mother and have raised 3 fantastic individuals (I include Terry in that number).

Terry: You have shown me that God can accomplish what I ask at a level far above what I originally intended. You made a significant mark in my life and showed me how powerful and practical faith and prayer can be. Thank you for investing in me and being a teacher and a mentor.

Memory Box Monday: Fourth Grade Valentines

Today’s memory box Monday reaches all the way back to 4th grade. ¬†I remember the smell of chalk, the hope of recess, and the terror of a paddling (mostly because if ever the day came that I got one at school, there was sure to be one waiting for me at home).

One of the year’s most anticipated days was always Valentines Day. ¬†Everyone constructed their own Valentines Day mailbox from a paper bag and attached it to their desk or pinned it up in the back of the room. ¬†At some time during the day, the teacher would allow everyone to walk around the room and pass out candy and cards.

Recalling those times, I really liked elementary school celebrations.  In the case of Valentines Day, the cards and candy meant very little to nothing romantically, but it was fulfilling to my 4th grade self to give fun trinkets to friends and it was always fun anticipating what I might receive.  Most of those little keepsakes have stayed with me and some, sadly, have been lost here and there.

To my classmates who drudged through some and all of the 13 years of small private school agony by my side, thank you for all the little things you did to make the ride more bearable.  I wish you all the best, pray that you are living a full and fruitful life, and hope that you are loved by someone close each day of the year.

In case you are wondering who gave the above Valentines:

Thanks again guys! (I just found a third grade Valentine envelope, but perhaps later.)