Birthdays and Kids

I was at a youth meet the other day and a kid came up to me and said “Hey! You don’t remember me do you?” Shocked and embarrassed that I really couldn’t place him at the moment, I ┬ásaid “yeah”…Well he did look familiar! I just needed to give my brain a few moments to catch up.

You see in my line of work I meet tons and tons of kids. Some of those kids I get to see quite often because I go back to their school a few times a year. However, there is the time when they graduate and move on to middle school or high school and then I don’t see them for several years. Then I just so happen to run into them at the mall or a youth group meeting or some random place and they recognize me…because I haven’t changed in like 10 years lol! But they have!

What they fail to realize is that I have not had the chance to see them grow up or older. My brain is still stuck with them in 3rd or 5th grade. And when we have that awkward reintroduction, ┬ámy brain has to have about 2 minutes to morph through the years and re-image their faces, height, weight, etc. so that I can truly say: “YES”, honestly.

There are many that I have had the privilege of seeing grow up and grow old and today I celebrate one of them: Will Wainwright. The Wainwright family has been part of my life for close to 11 years now and I have been able to share many wonderful life experiences with them! Today is Will’s BD and he’s 20 years old! I can’t for the life of me believe it though! It seems just like yesterday I was meeting him and staying in their Miami home for the first time. I remember him graciously yielding his bedroom for me to stay there the second year I came and then for many years after that he has traveled, performed, lead teams, made me laugh and been a huge bright spot in my heart and life!

Even though I have had the pleasure of watching him grow up and older, it’s still hard to imagine him other than that kid on the stage at PBCA doing sign language or running around calling everybody “fruit”, or him throwing $5.00 out the window “accidentally”. I haven’t had to re-image him or take time to morph to remember him because I’ve had the distinct privilege to walk with him through many things in life and to be a special part of his family. I love him dearly and just wanted to let him know.

Yeah, kids and birthdays come and people do change. Their appearances and faces change quite-a-bit through the years. But I’m so grateful for the more than handful of kids I have gotten watch grow up and older and not have to worry about not being able to place them because I know right where they are: in my heart. Love you Will! Have a great birthday!


Rag Tag Team: Reflections on Mark 2



We don’t know a whole about the four friends in this story…well nothing specifically about their personal lives. However, there’s a lot we know about the kind of people they were as individuals. We can clearly see what values were important to them by how they treated this paralyzed man. We can see their work ethic. We can see their ability to work as a team.

What does it take to make a good team, even if it is a rag, tag team?

Role Play. One of the first things I notice from the story is that each one had a role to play. Each one had to get a corner. There were four of them, a place for each one. And that’s the way we need to operate within the body of Christ. Isn’t there room enough for all of us? Don’t we all have a corner of the world we can reach? What happens though is that some get caught up in trying to cover two or three corners. Some get jealous of other corner-carriers and feel like they should walk this or that way, or carry the mat with this or that hand. Yes, there is a way to work together…but we have to work at it! Our attitude toward our teammates affects the ministry of the team! We mustn’t forget that the goal is to get our “paralyzed friends” to Jesus. Bickering and fighting over techniques, proper ways to do it etc. do nothing more than extend the period of time that souls continue in anguish.

What to do? Find your role and play it well. Focus on doing you’re very best for God and God alone. Don’t get caught up with anything other than working together with those around you to get as many people to Jesus, as soon as possible! A good rag-tag team uses each person on their team to their fullest possible potential to reach others for Christ.

Carry Your Weight. Secondly, I see that each person had to carry their end well. We cannot bail or blame others for our weaknesses. We must be strong and step up and carry the burdens of others. We have to lift up our friends and quit dropping them! It’s one thing to be paralyzed but these four men were able to walk! How can those of us who have good healthy limbs and lives not contribute to ensuring others get to Jesus? How can we shift the weight of burden to someone else? We simply can’t!

What to do? Pick up your end of the mat! God has placed you strategically in people’s lives who need to be lifted up. There are people around you that you can partner with to get others to Christ. Quit waiting for someone else to do what God has called you to do! In a good rag-tag team, each person focuses on what God has called them to do as individuals and brings their best to the mat each time.

Care more about your friend. Thirdly I see that these men cared more about their friend than they card about anything else. Sometimes we can enter into a project trying to simply feel good about ourselves or make a splash. It’s easy to simply want to see people get “saved” so that we feel good about what we are doing and have a sense that God is “using” us. What is so cool about this story is that no names are listed here. These four men didn’t have a “savior” mentality. They didn’t see themselves as the ones who were doing the great work…they were simply the ones who helped get the man to the one who could! We have to remember that when God uses us it’s not because we are so “special” but because he is so good!

What to do? Serve God humbly. Don’t make a name for yourself. Give all praise to God. In this story, the men were praised for their faith…but not by men. The words of praise came from Jesus and really He is the only one whose praise matters. A good rag-tag team is not competitive or focused on success but on care and compassion and making a difference in other’s lives.

Believe in the work. Lastly, the team has to unified in belief and faith. Each man carrying the mat really believed that Jesus could do. They were willing to move the man, the mat, and the roof. Doing each of those things only validated their full faith in Jesus’ ability and willingness to heal. How much do we really believe in Jesus? How much do we really believe in our mission? Are we really willing to lay aside petty issues and take up our side of the mat and carry our friends? Are we willing to bend over backwards together to see people come to Christ? When we do the results are phenomenal! There is much to be said by a team who works together and really believes that more can be accomplished together than apart! There is no way one man would have been able to get this paralyzed man to Jesus. And certainly not from the roof! It would take all four. It’s gonna take all of us, folks! We have to believe in Jesus. We have to believe in each other. We have to believe in the mission!

What to do? Start looking for ways Jesus wants to stretch your faith. These men were faced with a stretcher first: the man on the mat. Make friends with people who need Jesus. Reaffirm your faith by taking steps toward Jesus first. Don’t try to carry someone on your own. Build a network of like-minded, faith-followers of Jesus who are willing to believe Jesus for anything and everything! A good rag-tag team believes Jesus wants to heal and can heal if we will simply come and bring as many as we can to him!