Thursday, April 30, 2009

Maggiano’s and Chima Raffle to Support Habitat

Yesterday I informed people that I currently have in my possession a $25 gift certificate to Maggiano’s which was thoughtfully given to me by one of my friends. She gave me the gift certificate in order to hold a raffle to raise money for my mission trip this summer. @CLTdining on Twitter learned of my contest and very graciously decided to chip in and up the ante. @CLTdining has donated a $50 gift certificate to the new Brazilian restaurant Chima! So now there will be two winners!

I tell you this because one of these gift certificate can be yours for the low price of $2. You read that right, $2.00! Think of what you can do with a $50 or $25 gift certificate to a great restaurant. Impress your friends, your boss, your spouse, that girl you like…wait, I wouldn’t try to impress the girl you like with a gift certificate. Save that for when your Facebook status is changed to “In a Relationship.”

So here is how you can win this $50 Brazilian culinary explosion or the $25 payment for a little slice of Italian heaven:

1. Visit my support letter here by May 10, 2009. (

2. At the bottom of the letter there is a “Donate” button for Pay Pal.

3. Donate as much as you would like in increments of $2. Each $2 increment is considered one raffle ticket. (ex. $10 gets you 5 raffle tickets).

4. Important: Email me at to personally let me know you have entered and how many raffle tickets you bought (I will receive a confirmation email from Pay Pal too). Because other people are donating through this site as well, I want to make sure I know who is entering the contest. It also gives me a sure fire way to contact you if you are the winner.

5. The winner will be announced on this site on May 11, 2009 and they will be contacted by email (provided they gave it to me).

If you are on Twitter, help me get the word out with: “Win a $50 gift card to Chima or a $25 gift card to @Maggianos and help @UTKevDawg repair homes and restore lives. “

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who Cares if We are Christian Nation?

A few days ago Newsweek seemingly shocked a lot of Christians with this article declaring we were getting closer to the end of a Christian America. They have since backed off that statement a little with subsequent articles here and here. Now, albeit to the author Jon Meacham, who penned the original and one of the follow-up stories clarifying the first, he does a very good job of clarifying a distinction of Christianity in America and a Christian America and worked off of verifiable data to make his point. This is not a post to attack or argue against him. In fact I could I say I have long already held this decline in assumption.

However, I want to speak to those who became up in arms or worried about the content of the article. As you can read in other posts and my profile, I am a faith believing Christian and agree with many things the "Christian Right" holds of value with the addition of a lot of social justice issues. So I will start my conversation with a question. Who gives a rip in the world if America is seen as a Christian Nation? Add to that: Who cares if Christianity is the most popular mind set or faith?

I for one did not get into Christianity because it was the most popular things to do. I got into because when I began asking questions at the age of 17, it was the only faith that had answers for evil in the world, restoration for my wicked acts and atonement for sin, an explanation for death, and the concept of Grace (which upon initial exposure made my heart respond in full). From the very beginning I was never told it would be easy, popular, or the rule of the land. My own parents made my first year as a Christian tough by asking me to live a suddenly magical higher standard and then calling me a hypocrite when I failed (the no longer do this and respect my choice of faith).

In 1966, Time Magazine asked "Is God Dead?" and went on to assume faith was on the decline and there was no need for God. Since that time millions around the world including myself have become Christians. What I am trying to get at is, don't rely on a writer or another human being to project your own personal faith or God's rule. Jesus told His followers the path would be narrow and would not be easy due to persecution. Jesus' intent was never to use faith to legislate either. He never told the Romans how to conduct their business. Who did he get mad at? Those who used the name of God to conduct shady practices. Who did Paul warn and lash out at? It was not the government. It was not even Hebrews who chose not to follow Jesus. It was those who followed Christ. Everything you see Paul and others write about was directed at Christian believers and how to conduct their lives as individuals and as a community under oppressive rule. Paul knew that you could not tell someone who did not follow God how God was going to make them live their lives.

But here, there can be found the crux and the challenge. Paul told us to witness to non-believers so that they may know God and do His will so they may be spared from eternal separation, worldly desperation, and sinful exhibition. So, if the level of Christianity is declining in America, it is your fault and it is my fault. Why? How? Because I believe that any person that exposed to the Truth, Love, and Grace of Christ cannot ignore it and that is where lives and opinions are changed. So if that is not evident, it is because we are not doing enough to present it as such. Not through legislation or forced religion. Does that mean we give up on issues like abortion? No. Of course not. Lives are at stake there. But do not ignore the mother and their living life. Do not ignore the gay man who desires to be with their partner. Sure they have bought into what we know to be a deception. But my oh my, if we do not love them as Christ loved us, then they will NEVER see Christ and never turn away from the lies of the world. My friends, concern yourselves not with the numbers in mass that claim to be Christians, concern yourselves with your neighbor, co-worker and family members. Show them Christ as He displayed himself in love and compassion and concern for the lost. Leave the judgment for Him.
As for being a Christian Nation. One day God will come back to claim ALL nations. It may or may not be in our life time but there is blessed assurance that He is still in control.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Will This Become a Habit(at)?

I have been presented with an opportunity to complete number 29 on my list and work with Habitat for Humanity in rebuilding homes. Shortly after completing and publishing my list, one of the guys in my Bible study informed me that every summer he travels down to the Bahamas to repair hurricane damaged homes on the island of Eleuthera. This year he decided to invite a larger group to join him to help out Bahamas Methodist Habitat Center.

After a little consideration but a lot of praying, I have decided step out in faith and join my friend on this trip. I will be down there from July 19 to July 25, 2009. However, I cannot do this alone. I have to raise $1000 in order to pay for my flight, lodging, food and the construction supplies necessary to assist. One of the reasons I had to pray a lot about this trip is that I have never done a missions trip before. The largest reason I have not, is because I hate asking other people for money. I have never even liked asking my own parents for financial help. They had to impose their grace on me in order to pay off my credit card.

But as I said, I am stepping out in faith, knowing that God will bring about people who will provide for this trip. If you have a few moments, please check out my posted my support letter (with a few internet modifications). You will be able to read more details about the trip. At the end of the post, if you feel inclined, I have provided a few ways for to help support my trip. You can take it as a tax deduction and I will provide you with updates leading up to the trip and post trip (I am not sure the internet situation down there to provide updates on the trip as they just got air conditioning last year).

Thank you for reading and your support prayerfully and/or financially.