Charity ADHD — #1word5voices #40days

day 13 - poorDid you ever get a Happy Fun Ball?  It was a toy ball that swept the nation back in the 90’s.  Everyone had one!  It was produced by Wacky Products Incorporated (and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited) and sold for just $14.95.  I bought one, before I knew that it could suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.  I missed the commercial describing this possibility and wound up in the hospital with seven broken bones.  If only I had known….

imageThe (Saturday Night Live) commercial gave all these warnings about Happy Fun Ball, just like pharmaceutical companies do for the medications they advertise on TV.  Have you ever listened to all of the possible side-effects these various drugs might produce?  You’d be crazy to try any of those drugs when they cause even more health problems!  If death is ever a side-effect, why does the FDA approve those drugs??!?!?

Speaking of drugs and diseases, there’s an ailment that is spreading all over our nation: Charity ADHD.  Do you suffer from this?  Does anyone you know suffer from this?

Charity ADHD* is a condition where you want to fix all of the world’s problems but you can’t focus long enough on one issue before the next shiny, trendy one pops into view.  You pour all your energy into helping the poor, then move on to raising awareness about human trafficking, get sidetracked by the homeless problem in your city, find passion for providing clean water and sanitation to underdeveloped countries overtaking you, and then this…and then that…and then the next thing….

Here’s the condition that leads to Charity ADHD.  We want to make a difference in the name of Jesus.  We talk about building the Kingdom of God and bringing justice to the world.  To act justly, love mercy, etc., etc.  All very good, important things–things that God wants us to pursue!

But when we don’t stick around for the long haul…when we don’t find out what addressing any justice/charity issue really needs, we end up either doing more harm than good or we don’t even end up making much of a difference.  So many of the world’s problems need a consistent presence from us and require systemic change.  Individually, we must stick to what God puts on our heart and work with long range goals in mind.

So many times, we buy into the idea that our haphazard way of trying to help will truly help.  We throw money at a situation, move on to the next charity of the moment, and completely forget about how we were trying to make a difference in the other situation.  We think that giving someone who is “poor” something that they don’t have is what they really need.  That’s not always the case, though we Americans fall for that trick all of the time.

I don’t have great answers for solving any of the problems I referred to earlier.  I do know that God’s Church needs to figure out how to stop from having charity ADHD because

imageHOMELESS SQUIRREL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


*By the way, I’m trademarking that phrase, so get ready to shell out some serious coin to me!


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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I like turtles. — #1word5voices #40days

day 17 (i think) - sabbathDid you know that the average turtle swims at a pace of 10-12 mph, but walks at 3-4 mph?  That’s a pretty big discrepancy!  I wonder if turtles would rather find water to travel through instead of by land, if they had the choice.  Do you think they would reroute Google Maps to find out if they can incorporate water into a road trip?  [I think they would.]

We can learn a lot from turtles and their speed, depending on where they are traveling.  If you’re willing to read about how I think God can teach us through turtles, carry on.

One if by sea*: Swim and don’t look back.  Put all your energy into it.  Let the mission of God propel you.

Two if by land: When it’s time to take care of yourself, slow down.  Walk like a turtle.  Be purposeful in slowing down.  Don’t be in a hurry, for the sake of your soul.  We live in an immediate, faster-than-the-speed-of-sound kind of culture.  Your soul needs breathing room.  Make time for that!

Dan White, Jr., one of my favorite authors, reminds us about how Jesus celebrated taking a day to rest, a.k.a. the Sabbath.  “God embraced limits in the incarnation and so should you.

Jesus took time to rest.  He reconnected with The Creator when He needed.  He feasted and spent time with people purposefully, without looking at the sundial every few minutes.

Jesus provides a great model for us, in taking a Sabbath.  He reminds us that our work is not so important that we cannot pause for a day.  It is an act of faith for us to pause and rest, trusting that God will provide and we can continue our work afterward.

Taking a Sabbath is annoying and gets in the way, sure!  But it’s always worth it.  The Sabbath was created for us, after all.  God knows what He is doing.

Check out this song by All Sons and Daughters, “Oh How I Need You.”  Reconnect with our God, even if it’s not technically the Sabbath.


*I am aware that it was “one if by land, two if by sea.”  I wanted to talk about water first!


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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Near the fire, with friends — #1word5voices #40days

day 12 - nearReading a children’s story to kids is an art.  In college for one of my scholarship requirements, I had this kick-butt job at a preschool.  I got to play with kids, act silly, and draw pictures with them.  One semester, I had the lunch and nap shift.  After lunch, we would read stories to the kids.  As I read the stories, I would end up yawning before the kids would–and they would ask ME why I was getting sleepy before they were!  Now that I’m a dad, I’m better at stifling those yawns–but not by much.

One of our favorite stories that Rachael and I read to our girls is Bear Snores On.  It’s this story about a cold, wintery night in a bear’s den.  His friends Mouse, Hare, Badger, Gopher, Mole, Raven, and Wren all find themselves looking for warm shelter at Bear’s cave.  They end up making food and hanging out–while Bear sleeps through it all.  When Bears finally wakes up, he’s sad that they didn’t wake him up while he was sleeping.  They work it out and proceed to party together.

Reading stories to my kids has created a desire to pay attention to the message those books are teaching and help my girls process the lessons.  With Bear Snores On, it’s a cute story but there’s also something deeper.  In a time of need, these furry friends come together to be near the fire.  They all find themselves in hardship (it’s a crazy winter storm they’re all escaping) and being together is how they get through it.

How often do you find yourself in some hardship but feel like you are going through it alone?  God created us to tackle problems together.  We have a created need to be with others.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Draw near to others, regardless of if you are in the middle of a trial.  Once the turbulence in life hits, you will be thankful to have those relationships in place.

You never know when you’ll need to huddle up near a fire!


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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Sticks and stones, brother — #1word5voices #40days

day 11 - bless 2“Sticks and stones, brother.”  Someone once said that to me when I asked what was bumming him out.  After asking a few questions, I found out that someone had said some things to him off-handedly.  They didn’t necessarily intend to hurt him, but nonetheless, he walked away with some wounds.

The power of words to hurt us.  I don’t care how tough you are.  When someone tears into you, whether you deserve it or not, that can inflict more pain that a smack upside the head, even if you’re sitting next to Moe from The Three Stooges.sticks & stones - 1 - 2-4-14

How closely do you watch what you say to people?  This question is for all of us, not just people who are sensitive to others’ feelings.  Just because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be said.  For disciples who follow Jesus, how we say what we say is just as important as what we say.

In James 3, the author talks about how our tongues are the most dangerous part of our body because of the damage it can inflict.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

It’s like our tongues could be diagnosed with multiple personality disorder!  I am not someone who shocks easily, especially when it comes to language.  I crack up when people let a four letter word slip (love, good, poop, icy, etc.) and look at me in apology.  Like I’ve never said those words, thought those words, or knew that those words existed!

I don’t think that James and other pieces of Scripture are concerned with what English vowels and consonants we string together to form concepts we want to verbally communicate.  To God, language reflects your heart.  That’s what the big deal is to God, not how specific words organize the letters.  So when James talks about how we use our mouths to give a shout out to Jesus but then turn around and stab a friend in the back, he’s highlighting the harm we are causing.  I think God could care less what letters you put together to convey how you curse someone.  God is concerned about your heart and what is producing the vile you want to express.  God is concerned for the person you are dehumanizing.

day 11 - blessThis is why spreading gossip and rumors are just as big of a deal to God as cursing.  We can sugarcoat our words so that they don’t start with the letter f and have three letters following it AND STILL rip someone else to shreds.  Words can hurt worse than rocks.

Today, I’m listening to Passion’s song “Let It Be Jesus” and it sparked these thoughts.  This song is all about helping us glorifying Jesus because of how incredimazing He is.  One lyric stuck out to me, in particular:

God, I breath your name / above everything / Let it be / Let it be Jesus

When we speak, our breath is inextricable.  And so if we truly want to breath God’s presence in and out, we cannot turn around and tear down His image with our words.  If you look to be a Kingdom builder and want to bless the people in this world, because of what Jesus has done for you, watch how you talk to and about others.  If Jesus deserves our praise, and He does, then the people created in God’s image deserve to be treated like God is talking about them.


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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Super powers need not apply — #1word5voices #40days #powers

Make a super hero movie, make millions of dollars.  Truckloads.

day 10 - powersSuper hero movies are popular because DUH we love thinking about what it would be like to kick evil butt up and down.  Who hasn’t thought about what super powers would you love to have?  [I know you’ve thought about it!]

The Kingdom of God doesn’t need super powers like invisibility, teleportation, or shooting spikes out of your arms.  The power of the Resurrected Christ is enough.  Jesus has conquered death, sin, selfishness, evil, and running out of guacamole at Chipotle.  It’s just a matter of time until all of those things are but a distant memory.

No Other Name” by Hillsong is a beautiful ode to Jesus and all the power He has.  He has the power to hold the universe together, to redeem us from ourselves, and to love us to the end of time.

One name /  Holds weight above them all
His fame / Outlasts the earth He formed
His praise / Resounds beyond the stars
And echoes in our hearts
The greatest One of all His face
Shines brighter than the sun
His grace / As boundless as His love
He reigns / With healing in His wings
The King above all kings
The greatest One of all
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ our God
Find hope
When all the world seems lost
The triumph of the cross
His power
Has trampled death and grave
Our life found in His name
The greatest name of all
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ our God
The earth will shake
And tremble before Him
Chains will break
As heaven and earth sing
Holy is the name
Holy is the name of
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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I can’t wait anymore. Can you? — #1word5voices #40days #ENDITmovement #humantrafficking @enditmovement

day 9 - waitThis morning, I put a red X on my hand right before I woke up my 6 year old for school.  Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 victims of slavery is a child?  Did you know that the average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12-14 years old?  There are an estimated 60,100 people trapped in slavery in the United States right now.  And in the rest of the world, especially developing countries?  The statistics are insane.  Unbelievable.

I can’t wait for this human trafficking crisis to end.  Why the hell is this still happening?!?  There is no reason.  I know that the world didn’t halt the practice when Abraham Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation.  I know that much of the world could care less about MLK’s dream.  But I believe that God raised those two men up, and countless more, to spur us in 2015 to take a stand against modern-day slavery.

I can’t wait for this to end, not only because it is unjust and not only because it is defiling the image of God, but because I cannot fathom someone’s child being the victim of trafficking.  To think of my daughters as victims….

day 9 - wait 2The End It Movement has put together a social media awareness day for February 27th, representing the 27 million people who are trapped in modern-day slavery.  They are looking for you to create a team of 27 people to donate $7 each, and all of the money goes to organizations with their boots on the ground to fight this global problem.  Join my 27×7 team today!  Stop waiting and start making a difference!

Love is what’s going to change this world.  It conquers nations; it dulls the sharpest sword.  Love turns the murderous, religious elite into tender-hearted poets.  It transforms hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.  The origin of all Love, Christ Jesus, will win out in the end some day.  This is our hope!

Today, worship to “All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons & Daughters​ and reflect on the 27 millions trapped in bonded labor.  I can’t wait to sing this song with them as we worship The Almighty One some day.  I cannot wait for Jesus to return and make the crooked paths straight, to right every wrong.

Until then, He calls us to make a difference.  The Kingdom of God will prevail over this.  But it needs us.

Stop waiting.  Start doing.


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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My new favorite place — #1word5voices #40days

I have a lot of favorite places.  The Rockies.  My mom’s house.  My pillow (which is technically a thing but is usually on my bed).  Wrigley Field.  One of my newest favorite places is a coffee shop in Lee’s Summit, called Post.  I’ve only been there twice and it probably won’t become something close to my heart like the other places I listed, but I really like this joint.

day 8 - placeThis is odd for me, since they mostly serve coffee and I’m adamantly not a coffee drinker.

Until now.


Recently, a friend introduced me to African blends and pour overs.  [I don’t know what I’m talking about.]  They were…a little bit more than tolerable!  In fact, I’ve been looking forward to making up excuses to go grab a coffee there.

Why do I like coffee all of a sudden?  It beats me!  I have no rational explanation.  It’s not to look cool, that’s for sure.  No drink could help with that lost cause.  I think it’s because I’m in a different place now.  I distinctly remember as a kid when my family made a big deal over a second or third cousin who was in his 30s and still didn’t drink coffee.  I thought at the time, and up until two months ago, that this sounds like the most reasonable man I’ll ever meet.

And now I like coffee.


I’m reading through Exodus and today I came across when God appeared to Moses in a burning bush that did not burn.  Moses had been long-removed from Egypt where he grew up as royalty, ended up killing an Egyptian slave driver, and fled to a remote part of the region to lead a nomadic life with another people group.  And so when God finally does appear to Moses, Egypt was a lifetime ago.  Not only is Moses in a different place physically, he is in a different place spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

When God appears, Moses is finally in a place where he is able to hear God’s call and respond to it.  Granted, he throws excuses left and right out at God.  In the end, however, Moses is transformed and goes off to lead Israel to freedom.

One of the things that is amazing about our God, is that God will meet us in whatever place we need to be met.  Moses wasn’t ready to meet God for a long time after fleeing Egypt.  Maybe you have been leery of hearing God’s call, too.  Take heart, though.  God always waits for when we are ready, no matter what place we happen to be.

There’s a whispering voice that the humble ear hears / That says, ‘I am still waiting
for you to ask just to be made whole’

Listen to one of my favorite Waterdeep songs.  It ties together finding God in unexpected, holy places, right when you long for it.


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Heather Kostelnick, Shawn Franssens, Stephanie Mutert, and Lindsay Evans.

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Remember — #1word5voices #40days

day 7 - rememberToday I went to the library to pick up some holds (I have never read The Giver!), and I saw this sign taped to the chair.   Now, I know that this is for the education of some little tykes running around the library, but it made me laugh.  “I know that’s a chair!”  I can envision my 6 year old exclaiming this right now.

There is so much to education and helping people learn what you’re trying to teach them.  Education theory teaches that there are visual learners, auditory learners, tactile learners, and experiential learners.  We all learn in a fashion that mixes and matches those different ways to learn.   Memorization is obviously a big foundation to learning.  If you don’t remember things, you will never learn many things in life, right?

Did you know that, in Hebrew, the word for “male” sounds a lot like “remember?”  (Zakar in Hebrew.  It also sounds like “female.”)  That’s a thing in Hebrew: words take on deeper, additional meanings when they sound like other words.  I’ve been racking my tiny brain all day to try and come up with an example in English, but I can’t.  (I’m sure that after I post this, one will jump right out at me.)

I think that it’s pretty significant that God named Adam and Eve words (“male” and “female”) that sounds like “remember.”  God wants us to remember where we came from.  God wants us to remember that we are indued with His breathe in us.

I think it would affect our mentality quite a bit if we remembered that being human means that we are a creatures who are supposed to remember.  We are literally created to remember what our very nature is: made in the image of God, both male and female.

Don’t you think that sexism would start to disappear, a least a little, if we remembered to remember?

There would be less human trafficking if people remembered that we are torturing a human soul.

There would be more less war if we remembered to remember we are killing the image of God.

When it comes to our relationship with God, so much of growing in your faith isn’t what you do (or don’t do).  Much of it boils down to remembering who we are.  You and I are created in God’s image, and we are destined to look more and more like Christ’s image–the ultimate example of what a human being connected to God can be.

Take some time and listen to this worship tune, “I Will Not Forget You,” by Waterdeep and 100 Portraits.  [Disregard the semi-weirdo parts about “getting a little wild inside.”  Whuuut??]  This song helps remind us what a good posture is when we remember who we are created to be.


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Shawn, Lindsay Evans, Heather Kostelnick, and Stephanie Mutert.

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A brief, lopsided, musical tour of wandering — #1word5voices #rethinkchurch #40days #path

If you could pick a favorite road trip album, excluding a playlist, what would it be?  It’s a controversial toss up for me, but a strong front runner would have to be U2’s Joshua Tree.  There are so many great songs on there and they even fit the road trip theme well.

Ever been lost in a random neighborhood in Tallahassee, looking for your uncle’s house AND THEY DON’T HAVE STREET SIGNS??  “Where The Streets Have No Name” is for you.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is perfect for when you still can’t find Uncle Kenny’s house–and when you’re looking for meaning (and you happen to wear large sunglasses).

Then there’s “Running to Stand Still,” a great song depicting someone’s lover going down a dark path.

While you’re driving, try not to get goose bumps while listening to “In God’s Country” if you are in the Rockies, New Mexico, or anywhere else other than a Tallahassee neighborhood!

Often, music is what keeps me sane while I’m driving.  Right now, I’m ready to punch Google Maps in the face because of the backwards directions it’s given me lately.  It’s literally sent me in a circle recently.  When you’re lost, nothing is more frustrating.  Having a good album or 10 in my car is essential.

Finding the path we’re supposed to be on is something we all existentially struggle with at different times in life.  Teenagers start asking the question, “What am I going to do with my life?”  When a mid-life crisis hits a middle-aged dad?  Look out for that inevitable sports car.  There are many times in life when we are wandering, not knowing where we should go, or even want to go (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”).  Some times, we know exactly where we’re headed, à la No Sleep Til Brooklyn.  There is an excitement, along with relief, for when we have a clear direction.

When we experience confusion or lack of faith, we need to seek out The Great Shepherd.  The LORD offers us the best path to take.  God leads us for His name’s sake, as Psalm 23 says.  It’s true that Scripture doesn’t give us specific directions to our specific destination.  There are Joshua Tree times when we pray and seek and feel like we don’t get a response.  Those are frustrating times, especially if we are in a place where we want to follow Christ’s calling on our life.

God’s Word gives us guidelines to for how to live and how to cultivate attitudes that draw us to God’s intended path.  Keeping this in mind, we need to remember that when the psalm says God’s Word is a light or lamp unto our path, the kind of lamp they had would have only given enough light to see a few steps ahead.  It implies that we need to trust God that He is taking us down a path safely.  When we are earnestly seeking out God, God will lead.

Gungor’s “Wandering,” from their I Am Mountain, depicts everyone’s need to have a path with firm footing.  The song is a plea for guidance, a hand reaching out to God.  If you’re sick of wandering, the love Christ has for us is enough for whatever path you’re on.  He is our shepherd and shepherds always want what’s best for their flock.  Even when you don’t see where He’s leading, have faith that He is.


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Shawn, Lindsay Evans, Heather Kostelnick, and Stephanie Mutert.

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The pinky promise of Jesus — #1word5voices #rethinkchurch #40days

I recently taught my six year old about what a pinky promise is. I’m sure you’ve made a pinky promise or two in your life. They’re pretty scary when you get down to it. Stronger than blood oaths, pinky promises have actually gone back for thousands of years. The code of Hammurabi, an ancient law document that many parts of the Old Testament laws in the Torah has similarities to, had severe penalties for breaking a pinky promise. Death by stoning was one of the worst.

day 5 - covenantIn the Bible, pinky promises pop up quite a bit. God made a pinky promise to Abraham when foretelling Isaac’s birth. (Of course, God sent an angel for the pinky part.) Once they reconciled, Esau made a pinky promise to Jacob that he would shave his back.  And then there’s the famous pinky promise Jesus made with Peter about not giving him a wet willy during the disciples’ daily siesta.

A pinky promise is synonymous with the idea of a covenant.  This is one of those churchy words that no one uses outside of a churchy setting, unless you’re referring to the best Indiana Jones movie out of the trilogy. [What fourth movie?] A covenant is basically a pinky promise on steroids. The word is simply drenched with meaning in Scripture. It is a pretty heavy concept and is not taken lightly–no pun intended. Most people who are familiar with the word know that it means a promise two parties make. There’s so much more to it, however.

Like I said earlier, the First Testament’s laws are fashioned after the code of Hammurabi, an ancient Babylonian set of laws that had Old Testament-y sounding things.  When God presents Moses with the law, or covenant, it’s basically a law document–even similar to a treaty between two parties.  “You hold your end of the bargain up and I’ll keep my pinky promise to love and protect you.”  This is God’s promise to Israel to be Israel’s God and use Israel as an instrument to bring salvation to the world, ultimately fulfilled in Jesus.

Other covenants, not in chronological order, include the covenant to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.  There’s the covenant to never flood the Earth and destroy life.  God makes a promise to David that the King, a.k.a. the Messiah, will always come from his bloodline.

Best of all, there’s that small, teeny tiny pinky promise that Jesus will always love us, always forgive us, one day come back for us, and finalize the redemption of the entire universe because of His death and resurrection.

Over the years, I’ve experienced lots of broken pinky promises–added to them, myself.  They always hurt.  I’m sure you’ve had your share of promises broken to you, too.  There’s one pinky promise that I’ll hold onto tighter than any others, and I hope you are up for believing in this pinky promise, too.

Jesus of Nazareth, King of Kings, pinky promises to save us, clean us up, wipe us off, and cherish us for all of eternity.  He forgives us, loves us, and offers us grace.

That’s a pinky promise worth believing.


Want to sit and revel in that thought?  Check out John Mark McMillan’s song “Future/Past” from his Boderland album.  It’s a beautiful song; it will fill your soul.  My uneducated guess is that he tried to work the phrase “pinky promise” into the song, but it didn’t pan out.  Oh well.


The other #1word5voices crew reflecting during Lent are: Shawn, Lindsay Evans, Heather Kostelnick, and Stephanie Mutert.

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