Friday, February 11, 2011

Rebelutionary Action Project: Voices of the Innocent

Hello all!

One would think that an Administrator and Moderator on a Forum that exists to promote and facilitate collaboration in "doing hard things" and "rebelling against low expectations" would be aware of all the projects being hatched on said Forum. Well, that is not necessarily true. As many of you may know, Hannah and I both serve on the leadership for of the Rebelution Forum and for some inexplicable reason or another, we've entirely missed out on a great action project hatched on the Forum.

The project is called "Voices of the Innocent" and its purpose is stated in the "about me" page of the projects blog.

Thanks for stopping by! Your interest is very encouraging! "Voices of the Innocent" was founded by 2 best friends (Emily and Olivia) who both expressed anger over the increasingly accepted practice of abortion. We wanted to speak out against it, but didn't know how. Then, God blessed us with an idea, and we are asking for your help to make our idea into a reality. Our mission is to have people from all around America send letters protesting abortion to their local newspapers. We want everyone involved to to send the letters out on the same day (2/14/2011) so that newspapers around the nation will receive pro-life letters all at once! We're praying that God will lead at least 200 participants to join us in our fight against the murder of the innocent. We hope you are one of those participants. Please feel free to contact us by commenting or emailing us @ God bless!

This is a project we at Rebelutionary Musings definitely want to support. Letter writing is something that virtually all people can do and it can be a very effective avenue through which to advocate for values we hold dear. It's also a great way to learn to be maximally effective in our advocacy.

As a special note to parents...encouraging your children to take part in this project and others of the same nature is an excellent way to encourage them to "do hard things" and step outside their comfort zones. :-)

If you don't feel like you know where to start don't worry! Olivia and Emily have very thoughtfully provided Example Letters and Letter Guidelines for us.

Be sure to check out the Voices of the Innocent blog and their Facebook page. If you would like to hop on board with this project please pop them an email letting them know of your support. It's always an encouragement to know people are standing firmly with you!

I know we are a little late in bringing this project to your attention (understatement) but please don't worry about writing long letters. If time is not abundant something short and to the point will more than suffice. It is the content and spirit of the letters that will impact readers...not their length or eloquence!

God bless!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Addisyn Block: sacrificing for children in Africa

Hello all,

For today's post I would like to share the story of Addisyn Block, a 15 year girl from right here in my home county (Hunt) featured in my home-towns newspaper. I will copy large portions of the article but not all of it, so be sure to check the story out on the Greenville Herald Banner's website.

February 7, 2011
A story of sacrifice
Herald-Banner Staff

CADDO MILLS — Feb. 3 marked the 100th day that 15-year-old Block has given up her school lunch money, approximately $2 a day, to Lifesong for Orphans, which in turn gives it to the Adami Tulu preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia. Instead of using that money to purchase lunch, she brings soup — the same kind of soup that the children attending the African preschool eat every day.

Why Ethiopia? Because Block recently paid a visit to Ziway in March, along with her mother, Amy, to bring home Block’s baby sister, Havyn.

Block has eight siblings. Travis, Keegan and Kal are her siblings, related by blood, and Mya, Aliegha, Kaden, Carson and, of course, Havyn are her adoptive siblings.

Her first adoptive sibling was brought home from Guatemala in 2004, when Block was 9 years old.

Due in part to the family’s adoptions, Block has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, where she worked at Eagles Nest Orphanage, and Ethiopia, where she spent a day with missionaries Gary and Peggy Ifft at the Adami Tulu Preschool.

“I’m pretty sure I left a piece of my heart there,” said Block. “I have a quote hanging on my bedroom wall that reads ‘When you walk with God, you always reach your destination,’ and I had reached mine.”

Being at the preschool that day made Block realize how much she took for granted.

“I couldn’t open my closet door and see 12 pairs of shoes without thinking about those with none,” said Block. “I couldn’t go to the mall with friends and spend $15 on yet another T-shirt knowing that that $15 would have fed five children at the preschool for a month. I couldn’t just be a regular American teenage girl anymore. I was different. And different, I realized, is a good thing.”

Block’s forfeiture alone has yielded $200 to the cause, but it doesn’t stop there. Through her efforts, people have picked up on the idea via her family’s blog and Facebook page. Now, more than 200 people have committed to take part in Block’s sacrifice in some way. Some forfeited their lunch money on Feb. 3, Block’s 100-day anniversary, with all money going to Lifesong for Orphans to help the children Block fell in love with in Ethiopia. Many, however, are donating a good deal more than just their lunch money.

“A mere $3 feeds a child at the preschool for one month,” said Amy Block, Addisyn’s very proud mother. “It may just be one meal, but often times it’s their only meal of the day.

In addition to this $2 a day sacrifice, Addisyn has also raised money to help buy the preschool children’s uniforms and backpacks. She did this by forfeiting birthday and Christmas presents, raffling off a Nintendo Wii and hosting luncheons at Paradise Baptist Church in Caddo Mills, where they served the same African soup Block has been eating for the past 100 days, including bad weather days.

“What to some may seem a small gift, God sees the heart behind her efforts,” said Amy. “He sees a child willing to give up the little she has for others who have nothing. Through a simple bowl of soup God has taught Addisyn so many lessons in sacrifice and integrity.”

Addisyn's story reminds me of the well known passage in Luke 16:10: "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much."

May we all be as faithful in stewarding the opportunities and resources given to us as Addisyn!

If you have been encouraged by Addisyn's story I would encourage you to visit her families blog here and also the 'One Day - One Lunch Project' on Facebook (if you are part of the Facebook world). You can also visit the organization the Block's have worked with, Lifesong for Orphans, here.

God bless!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kevin Bales on fighting modern slavery: the power of small things

Hello all,

For today's post I have grabbed a post from my own blog (Mark here). No...I'm not totally self-absorbed or self-aggrandizing. I just feel really passionately about the issue of slavery and would like to pass on to you valuable information I found on the subject.

If you like it, feel free to leave a comment here or there letting me know. :-P

Hello all!

Ever wondered how to fight slavery? Ever wondered what young people and/or people with limited resources can do to help? If you have asked yourself these questions then I highly recommend the following video to you. It won't answer all your questions probably, but it will help set you on the path to finding your own answers.

Watching this video, I was flabbergasted by the impact that "small things" can have on a global level. I've always known intellectually that small things could make a big difference but the projected impact that small things could have in fighting slavery simply shocked and convicted me. I was convicted because I how much impact I have been wasting. Take for instance my love of Starbucks Caramel Macchiato's...

I am a frequent patron of the local Starbucks, frequent enough that most of the regular employee's know me by name and all of them know my regular order; a Grande Caramel Macchiato. Nothing can beat a Caramel Macchiato for bit of relaxation and awesomeness. But, at what cost do I indulge in this treat?

Well, suppose I have 1.5 Caramel Macchiato's a week (I try to limit my intake). They've raised the price this year from $4.28 to $4.60 for a GCM, so if I have 1.5 a week that = a total of $6.90. Multiply that by 52 and you get $358.80 a year spent on GCM's. If I get 2 GCM's a week, by no means something unheard of, that total number jumps to $478.40 a year spent on Grande Caramel Macchiato's.

How much does it cost to free a slave? In many parts of the world...$400...for sustainable freedom according to Kevin Bales.

Wow. I am both angry with myself by those calculations and joyfully amazed at the impact I can have!

Now tell me. What does it say of a person who refuses to do small things for God's glory?

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pressing On Toward the Goal: How Much Time?

Hello all!

Remember us? No? I don't blame you. :-P

At any rate, we've been on an extended hiatus due to numerous demands on our time and have badly missed blogging. But, this time, we are for real going to be blogging regularly again! No seriously...we've talked about it and have a "plan". ;-)

On a more serious note, let me jump with both feet into this week’s excellent line up of Rebelutionary posts!

The first of the week comes from the blog of Rebelutionary leader, Daniel Osborne, by way of his blog 'Pressing On Towards the Goal'. I would like to take a few lines to commend Daniel for his passionate desire and efforts to everyday live out the admonition of Romans 12:1-2, which says:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I (Mark) am honored to work alongside Daniel on the Rebelution Forum where he serves as an Administrator. He frequently offers sober-minded yet grace-filled insights on His blog and this is not the first time his posts have been featured here on Rebelutionary Musings. Don't let his sober minded posts fool you though. He's a notorious prankster. ;-)

(sorry, Daniel)

His latest post poses challenging questions and reflections on time, a matter the Bible speaks to frequently and with great clarity.

I am copying his post here, but if you are blessed by and/or appreciative his post I would encourage you to leave a comment on his blog by following this link.

Without further ado...How Much Time?

Do you ever wonder how much time you have on earth? Do you dream of things you want to do before that point? Do you actually pursue those things or are they in the distant future?

I was reminded once again today of the need to make the most of my time. I spent a few hours this afternoon at the hospital visiting a friend who was in a coma for over a month... and then unresponsive for another couple months and is just now starting to be responsive. It was a simple skateboarding accident. All at once, his life was changed... his mouth has not uttered a word for 4 months. He was one of the most energetic people I know. Things have changed. Yet, God is still in control.

I sat there on the hospital bed reading Psalm 27 to him and talking to him about Joshua and God's promise to always be with us. It was hard not knowing if he could even understand what I was saying. I think he could understand... but is so hard when there is no response. It was good to be able to pray with his mom over him... but so hard to see him in that state. I'm thankful that we have an all-wise God who has never once failed in doing what is best.

It did cause me to think about the different things I want to accomplish in life... and what I am doing now to prepare myself to accomplish them. I'm talking specifically about the areas in which we can make a difference for the sake of Christ for eternity. How am I living out the reality of the gospel in my normal everyday life? How is Christ and His call to forsake all and follow Him changing me? These are all questions that I ought to ask myself continually.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:16)

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (Col. 4:5)

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. (Ecc. 3:1-8)

So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

God, I ask that You show me my end... remind me of how short my life is, so that I would spend my time wisely. Remind me of the death I must die daily [to sin and my own desires] and of the life that I must live to the fullest in Christ. You have made it clear that there are times for just about everything. Please make Your will clear... show me the things that it is time for. Fix my heart on You and grant courage to make the most of the time that You have given me. Let me not live life without impacting souls for Your glory. Rid me of myself so that I see the opportunities that You are continually placing in my path. Conform my desires to Yours. Make me more like Christ. I want a full life for Your glory. I am Your tool... not one that you need... but one that You have chosen. Please use me as You see fit.

Many thanks to Daniel for his challenging post!

God bless!