Monthly Archives: November 2011

Where did the time go?

As I sit in my in-laws living room watching Baylor play Texas Tech at Dallas Stadium, it dawned on me, time is moving fast.  It was two years ago today that I was sitting in Dallas stadium watching this exact game with my girlfriends family.  We had been dating for about 6 months and I flew back to Texas to spend the weekend watching Baylor play Tech with her family.  Big deal.  Here I am two years later and man has life shifted.  

At that time I didn’t know much.  Let me walk you through my train of thought and what was for sure at that time in my life:

1. I was a junior in college & was obsessed with my 5 best friends.

2. I had no idea what I wanted to do as a job, but I knew I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day. 

3. I was enamored with my new beautiful girlfriend but was crazy insecure with my ability to just “do things right” this time around.  

4. Was just rocked by my selfishness and need for self glorification, thanks to a month spent in the Dominican Republic doing mission work.

5. I was in love with the ministry that I was involved with at K-Life and my role in my small group dudes lives.

Two years later, here I am: Married to someone who loves me despite my continual arrogance and mis-haps.  Working for a youth ministry full time and being a part of the Lord work in a city that my heart breaks for.  Been put in a place of mentorship-like relationships with two mighty men in college that I have seen grow in their heart for the Word of God.  And I have a confidence in my faith and how to explain to others the reasons WHY.  

It’s humbling that my God has given me such gifts.  It’s encouraging as to how the Lord is writing my story.  And it’s challenging to know that I am called to hold up my end of the deal and be obedient in all of the above things.  

Holidays are sappy, so I would love to crack it up to simply that.  But I think it’s important to look back on where we once were…where God has brought us…and where he is taking us.  My hope is this– that we all look back on these things and can see tangible sanctification happening.  But above that, we see Grace.  Because no matter what our stories tell; we don’t deserve it.  

Was this sappy and Hallmark-like…?  Absolutely.  

Is it all true though?…No doubt.

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

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Investing

Stocks. Bonds. Mutual Funds.  Roth IRA’s.  Real Estate.  Commodities…. the list could go on, and on, and on.

The concept of making investments is crucial and pivotal for individuals to grow their income.  Big boy stuff.  It is arguably one of the most important life choices that young people should be taught to grasp.  Luckily, I was honing my skills at a young age.  Thanks Mom.  Thanks Dad.

Growing up my parents were firm believers and advocates of this “saving” thing.  Why not teach them at a young age?  I remember vividly the first time my parents explained to me this mindset.  Granted they were teaching a 15-year-old boy; so they had to sell me on it because, frankly, I really liked buying Oakley sunglasses.

I had a job refereeing a youth football league every Saturday.  I got paid $15 a game and refereed 3 or 4 games a weekend.  After I got my first paycheck my mom asked me this question, “Garrett do you want to start saving money?”

I stopped.. Was this a trick?  Why would I save my money?  I want those new half-jacket Oakleys.  Okay Garrett, test her…

“Why?” I responded.  Smooth Garrett, act like you are interested while all you are thinking about is how good those orange lenses will look on you. 

“Because if you put your money away now, the bank will pay you to have them keep it in their bank.”  Cue mind blown.

Shoot, I put all this money away and the bank pays me?  Yes please!  This investing thing is quite awesome.  So where to invest?

Isn’t that such a loaded question?  This concept isn’t just for financial gain, but it absolutely parallel’s our lives as well.  I know for a fact someone agrees with me, in Matthew it says this:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

when we invest in something that says we believe that it is worth our attention.  Here is the funny thing.  If I looked at everything that in my life I “invest” in, a lot of the times I’m just doing it to do it.  It might look good on a resume.  Or it might be what I’m “suppose”  to do.  But what it comes down to is I should invest full heartedly.  Because if I’m not, then why invest in the first place?  Where are we investing our time? Our energy.  Our life….do we actually believe those things are worth our attention?

I have a hard time thinking anyone who first invested money in their own start-up companies just did it and didn’t fully throw themselves into it.  So why do I think the things I invest in should be any different?

My hope is this, that the people, the ministries, the lifestyle that I am investing myself in are central to my life.  That they are always being looked at, paid attention to, cared for, and a lot of time is spent there.  Jesus chose 12 guys.  He saw infinite return on these 12 investments.  And He put his life into them.

Crazy thing about Jesus’ investments was this; only 120 people believed in Jesus when He was crucified.  And  most of those people were nobody’s.  Talk about a tough group to invest in?  BUT,  He believed in his investments.  Even in times of crisis and depression.  He rode out the dips and valleys.  Because He knew His investments took time.  Isn’t that what they tell you?  “Good things take time.”

We seem to think that it’s important to invest our time and lives  in a LOT because the return will be high.  But I want my investments to go deep. I hope to not stretch myself thin, but that my life will be invested in things full-heartedly.  That one day I can look back and see return on my investments and where I put my time.  I’m thinking I will be pretty blown away.  Because reality is this, “the harvest is plentiful,” and  I hope to be one of the few that will invest in Christ.

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It’s a simple message

“Garrett, you are just another part of the ME generation!”

I looked up, face scrunched in perplexity, and didn’t know HOW to respond to that statement.  My professor must have felt like that wasn’t enough, so he kept going on this topic that I guess we all needed to hear.  I should’ve asked if this would be on the final exam.  But that’s selfish of me.

After class, I did what all brilliant 18 year olds did, mentally processed how he was wrong and I was right…naturally.  So on my walk back from class I ran through all the reasons why I was NOT a part of this “ME generation”

I serve the less fortunate, I lead a small group of high school students, I give money to the poor(sometimes), I am thoughtful of others…. and the list went on.  There, I was above the curve on this quiz, moving on next subject.

Looking back, there were a lot of I’s in that defense…..Hmmmm. Touche professor.  You win, you always do.  So I started listening to my professors, and low and behold I learned something quite valuable.

As I went through college, my professors in my Journalism and Public Relations classes continued to harp on this question, “Who is your audience? and what is your voice?”  They all continually addressed this issue.  In whatever occupation or job field that you enter you will always have a voice that people will listen to.  Who are those people, and how will you portray you message?  It is important to craft this skill.  So they buried it in our heads.  I ended up doing an internship for a corporate PR firm in Waco and had the opportunity to listen to a bunch of voices.  We talked about the company’s audience and how we will portray the message of our products well to them.  I heard things like: It has to be attractive, but not in your face.  You need to be focused, but can’t hammer it home too much.  The product needs style, but can’t look like it’s trying to hard.

Then my boss stood up and led with these questions:

Think about what they need, and build the product around that.

What about what they want? How can our product enhance their experience?

….and the conversation went on.

I guess having a voice and understanding you have an audience is a little important.

This is my first blog post.  I want to apologize in advance if you have certain expectations coming from my words because I can promise that you will not find that here.  What I can offer you is this, my voice.  I have learned that my voice holds weight.  Whether heavy or light, my voice has weight.  And my audience hears it.  My hope is that I portray my message adequately.  That’s all I want.  With that said, my voice is my life: the victories, the failures, and all the in betweens.

So I hope that this gives me an opportunity to open a door to my voice, my message.  So stop by from time to time, I can’t promise it will be valuable to you, but I can promise it will be insightful to my message.  A very wise man put it like this:

“All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the word to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore, Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”- 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Well, it’s safe to say Paul’s voice is quite clear here.  A little bit of a paradox though, I hope we get this.  Paul’s got a message and voice and he is quick to tell it.  But this message isn’t his.  The story isn’t about him, but it is his to tell.  His message was clear, and his voice portrayed it well.  I would consider myself part of Paul’s audience?   I go back to the schemes and strategies of my internship company and I think Paul would have gotten a bonus:

Think about what they need and build the product around that? Check.  I daily need to be reminded that I have been reconciled to Christ, no matter what I have done or continue to do.  I have been seen as righteous in the eyes of God now.  I need that confidence.

How can the product enhance their experience?  Check, and check.  What better way to enhance our relationship with Christ then to bring this message to others.  Hello….that’s my audience.  Shouldn’t it be all believers?

So do we portray that message with our voice? Or do we just read about people doing it, hear people doing it and call that “enough”?

Does my voice tell another story?  Or am I still part of the “Me generation”.

I’m ready to find out, that’s for sure.

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