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Fit for the Kingdom

Cross belong on shoulders, not steeples.

 

Assume the position for contraversy. The title alone does it. This blog by no means is meant to disrespect the church or the idea that steeples are in any way or reason wrong. This is based on a thought I had this week.

In and around 300 A.D. when Constantine established locations set aside for the church to exercise corporate worship, he took the church out of its intimate, organic, communal setting of homes and public places. Church was the people, bound together in a committed love relationship with one another and the Lord Jesus. Merriment with food and fellowship, preaching and worship, and serving the world around them was just life lived out of this love community. Natural. Eventually the church coagulated inside of brick and morter, scheduled to meet, and isolated from the community they once served as neighbors. No longer are they walking in their midst (on mission), “going about doing good” as said of Jesus Christ Himself. Now we have become weekly isolationists awaiting the hour long gathering. How can we conitinue to feed, heal, and visit the downtrodden? We need to invite them to us! We need a sign, a beacon, a recognizable symbol. Aha, a cross! And we shall hoist it high enough, over atop all other buildings. Then the lame and halt can hobble themselves to us!

Ladies and Gentlemen, how many friends are tearing the roofs off our churches to hoist their lame friends down inside for a miraculous healing?

Jesus “went about doing good”. He positioned himself in community, often times traveling out of His way to do an act of good. He sent His disciples out to travel to the town in order to be blessings, commanding them to pray blessing of peace upon the houses they entered. He sent them to the highways and hedges- to the lame, the halt, the blind, the demonic- the lost. Each one baring their own cross to die upon as they loved their neighbor as themselves. Ok, here’s the thing…we need more martyrs and less celebrities. As a pastor, I can tell you, we are pressured to preach for numbers, not neighbors. We’ve confused missiology for methodology. Programs. Money. Most young pastors today have a seminary education…yet don’t have any training in a “tent making” trade. They know, without their church salary, they can’t survive. Believe me, that pressure. Pressures to perform,perhaps even emulate the “hot shot preachers” with the mega churches, skinny jeans, and book deals.

It’s time we pull the crosses down from the steeples and place them on our shoulders. We cannot be the center of attraction, we must be the catalysts for missions. Deny yourself, your comforts. They will know you not for the size of the cross upon your steeple but the love you have one for another. By that, they will know you are His. And by THAT, He will be exalted and there will be no need to exalt a steeple. The crosses upon our shoulders are the crosses that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and unshackle the bonds of the oppressed. They do it without church votes and church funds. They do it whithout others knowing or seeing. They do it in the spirit of the early missionaries to Asia and India, who carried all their earthly belongings inside their own caskets.  They do it because the cross is love for their neighbor.

My diet vs your diet

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I’m so sick of hearing about food. So let’s talk about it. It’s all the rage to talk about it. On that note, it’s also all the rage to fight about it. Food wars can become nastier than political wars. “My diet” has become a dogmatic ideology that seems to contradict the very statement itself. As if to say that the way one person eats is the only and true way that everyone should eat. Then, it wouldn’t be “My” diet. It would be the epitome of “our” diet. The way, the truth, the life diet…the only exclusive way of eating.

This is absurd. Let’s talk about why we eat. Food is meant for only a few things. Fueling, building, healing, and enjoying. Macronutrients such as Carbs and Fats are used for fueling. Proteins are used for building. Micronutrients, vitamins and minerals are used for healing and sustainability. And, thank God, taste is used for enjoyment! I admit, I’ve oversimplified this, but for the sake of the subject, let’s roll with it. Where it gets sketchy is  when we decide the sources, amounts, and arrangements of these isolates that stem from our personal ethos, or way of thinking. Vegetarians vs meat eaters, Paleo vs SADD, Keto vs carbs, vegans vs everybody. We begin to pit ourselves against others in an attempt to project our ethos, not our science..not our clinical studies and n=1 of the eperson we’re trying to convince. My point, I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE RIGHT DIET IS FOR YOU! I’m still trying to figure that out for me.

Here’s what I know…

You can get lean and build muscle, and perform optimally by eating

as a carb burner (I’ve done it)

as a fat burner (I’ve done it)

as a carnivore (I’ve done it)

as a vegan (I’ve seen others do it, bless their heart)

as paleo (i’ve done it)

etc, etc…

Get the point?

“But you always talk about keto.” True homie, I do. I am keto. Right now. For the above reasons as mentionded for why to eat, keto has solved these for me. Restricting carb, increasing fats, and moderating proteins..using clean sources, has benefited my life in a ton of ways. Epigenetically speaking, it has warded off my auto-immune better than any other WOE (way of eating). Mentally speaking, my brain thrives on ketones for fuel and has optimized my focus and cognition. Metabolically speaking, it has healed and repaired by body and supplies me with more energy than I’ve received from any other WOE. I am able to compete in long distance races while fatsed and no G.I. Distress. It keeps me lean, And it tastes great. But, those are MY reasons. That is MY n=1.  Even as a Keto eater, I play around with the numbers. I’ve been paleo-keto with a more balanced approach. I have been 100% carnivore keto (check out Amber O’hearn) and found that that is quite lovely and sustainable. I’m now diving into plant based keto. I’m discovering myself.

I can tell you right now what the best diet is for you. I’m sure others have told you what you SHOULD eat. They’ve probably spouted some pseudo-scientific jargon from a source they found on Pinterest to help further encapsulate and protect their personal dogma. They sounded smart and knowledable, anyway. But, alas, at the end of the day it boils doen to this. Are you ready?

Eat in a way that works for you, and is sustainable. BOOM. Mic Drop.

*picks the mic back up*

That’s your grand truth. What food works best for your body to fuel, build, repair, sustain, and is enjoyable?

As a foodie community we can actually get along with one another if we peer through these lenses and stop projecting what we like or what works for us as the way for someone else. It makes no difference to compare a foods nutrient density that “fits our macros” as why another person should be conviced to eat them. Not when every person has a different genetic mapping that contributes to how those nutrients get absorbed, if at all. For instance, my wife does well with plant based protein. By body rejects it. My wife can eat more carbs than I can and not get the same insuligenic response. I have higher insulin resistance.

Aside from genetic mapping, we all have different gut biota schematics..different bacteria levels, colonies, and symbiotics. Your gut bacteria plays a major part in food absortion and utilization. I struggle with leaky gut and have to manage my diet around that in order to feed my gut biome properly. I have to be very careful with plant based diets due to SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth). It’s not pleasant for me or those around me.

I believe the journey of finding your WOE is a wondeful one. You get to self-discover and play. Instead of ripping pages from the gospel of Dr. Oz or the latest diet guru, you can listen to your own body and read the pages of how you feel and perform…and not feel guilty!

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. -Seneca

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It’s occurred to me how easy it is to pick and choose who we will actively show love to. Like an NBA draft, who has the magic? Who can do what? Who is most worthy of my time and investment? I have been guilty of this. Perhaps I’m in a hurry…theyre not worth MY time. Perhaps they are different…they’re not worth MY values. Perhaps they’re combative…they’re not worth MY humility. Its a shamefule thing. Should we show love to only some? Only the ones who we think we stand a chace of changing? Guess what? I’ve never changed anyone. Ever. And I never will.

On two seperate occassions I’ve got to meet a man known as “Scarecrow”. That’s the name other street travelers have given him. That’s what he goes by. Scarecrow is homeless. He and his dog, Jade, spend their time on the street, living as vagabonds. I’m not entirely sure what the whole story is. I get quips and phrases, mostly incoherent. What I have picked up on is that Scarecrow is ex-military, has suffered a majoy ankle injury, and despises the government that has “forsaken him”.  He has lost his wife and is unsure where his children are. He searches for a lighter for his cigarette, asking other lingering travelers, forgetting that he just had his owned and tucked it back into his pocket. He smells, and screams curse words for no reason. He loves me. I know because he tells me following every other sentence.

As I sit beside Scarecrow and Jade on the street, I catch the gimpses of passer-bys, looking down in disgust and redicule. They’re not just looking at Scarecrow. I’ve become despised by association. They think we’re one in the same. I’ve never been on this end before. It’s strange and unnerving. I don’t like it. I want to defend my new friend. I want to stand up for him. He has no idea, nor does he care.

Scarecrow has nothing to give me. He can do nothing for me. He will never change. The next time I venture downtown, he will be there, on the same corner.

Mine is not to pick and choose who to love. Mine is but to love, and show it. Jesus loved a hated half breed Samaratin outcast, living in sin. He went out of His way to meet her and show her love. Jesus loved a short, yet despised tax collector, even going as far as inviting Himself to eat at the man’s house. Jesus loved me. An undeserving sinner, helpless and dirty. Jesus loved, (loves) the Scarecrows of the streets. There’s no garuantee they will love Him back. When He healed several men with leprosy, only one returned to offer thanks. Nevertheless, and even foreknowing that, He healed them anyway.

Love should be blind and ferociously active. It should be on the hunt. It should be the magnetic force that draws us to the next person that we run into. I want to love regardless of return. I want to be patient and try to undertsand the people I meet. I want to let them know that they are precious and valued by God, regardless how society treats them, or how they treat society. When I return to the corner on Pack Square, I will find Scarecrow and Jade. He will not know or recognize me, again. Nothing will have changed. I will take my seat beside him, again, and just love him with my words and actions.

Having the faith to walk upon the water.

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Peter was the only disciple willing to step out of the boat and do something no other human had ever done before. He walked on water. As the Lord Jesus bid him to come, in Peter’s mind, it must’ve seemed safer with Jesus on the waves than without Jesus in the boat. The other eleven disciples, huddled in fear and dismay, must’ve thought Peter was crazy to attemp such a thing. Isn’t it, however, what Jesus is bidding us all to do? The boat of “safety” is no place for a follower of Christ. He is calling each of us to live in such a way, that what seems safe, casual, or predictable is essentially more dangerous and degradating than the seemingly foolish actions of following him! I’m going to speak as one who has walked upon the water. I’m also going to speak as one who is currently standing on the water.

What do I mean by that? Nearly a decade ago, I followed God in a vision to plant a church. I’d never done it. Heck, I’d never seen it done! With a wife and two babies at home, I resigned from a healthy, lucrative church position to step out of my boat of familiarity and comfort to follow Jesus into waves deeper than I had imagined. I resigned on a Sunday. I was jobless and homeless on Monday. That following morning I drove around looking for work and a home. I can tell you that in the days and years to come, as I found myself hanging out ouside of my boat, walking upon the waves of shear faith and dependance, I saw God move in ways I could never have imagined. The remarkable stories of Moses, Daniel, Elijah, even the disciples all became more real because for the first time, miracles in my life had become normal and regular. I identified with the feats and acts of biblical proportions that, up until tha point, I had only read in Sunday School lessons. It was that season of walking upon the water that gave me taste for that type of living, causing anything less in my life to become dissatisfying, to say the least.

Fast foward to today. My family has again sensed a very real calling into a vision of God’s plan for our lives. Only this time, He is calling us out further, and deeper than we’ve ever gone before. As our family prepares for a new season of church planting, we realize that we are headed for deeper, shark infested waters. No longer we will have the familiarity of being indigenous to our surroundings, with family and friends to help us. We are moving miles away into a location where we know no one. Not a soul. We’re going to a place that is entirely different than what we are ust to, into an area of incongruent values and lifestyles. And, to do this, we have had to shed every piece of possible flotation devise. Behold, how God has called us to walk upon the water this time.

We, in the recent months, have essentially paired down to the bare essentials. We started by selling our home, giving away the majority of our belongings, and moving into a 250 sq. ft. camper. Yes, this caused a circus type attention, whereby we became an oddity to our community. It got worse. We began to pair down more, and more, and more. Selling this…giving away that. And, so now, here we stand. Virtually nothing more than the clothes on our backs. We have commited to our church to go, having transitioned our leadership to function in a way as to send us as missionaries. It’s done. And also, having committed to our new location to come. I’ve broken my parents heart. The die has been cast. Our farm is sold. In a couple of days I will travel down and spend a week looking for a new home and a new job. As I am away, my wife and children will be packing our belongings, cleaning out the camper, and moving into a borrowed apartment owned by our church. By the time I return, we will be homeless. The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests…we will have no place to call our own where we may lay our heads. If the Lord doesn’t show up, we sink. 

THAT is the point. THAT is walking on water. THAT is what He has called us in to. We will either walk by faith or by sight. Faith saves. Sight sinks. Even as I write this, our decision has caused many friends to turn into distant skeptics. We are in a position of isolated abandonment. No longer do we have the friends, the family, the denominational support that we thrived in for so long. Many, or if not most, of them are still in the boat- looking at us with fear and dismay. Yet, we still hear our Savior bidding us to come.

So how does it feel to be walking on the water? You want to know the truth? A little stressful. To think it would be otherwise is sensational and idealistic. This was Jesus’ warning about following Him. It is NOT easy. It’s timultuous. At times, persecuting. All the while, challenging to stay focused and faithful. There are times I feel myself sinking. Everytime though, that sinking is met with a pulling up from my Savior’s hand. It’s definitely a feeling of adventure and it most certainly has a faith building component. You may ask, “you’re walking on water, how much more faith can you have?” Well, I believe there is a exorbant jump in faith even after the time spent walking on water as we are returned back to the boat. You see, after Jesus settles us into a new life, with our needs met and lives blessed, we will then take a deep breath and cry out with the same excitatory relief as the disciples to say “Surely You ARE the Son of God!” We will look in hindsight and say, “Did we really just do that!?” “Did you see what He did!” God, You REALLY are amazing!” That hypertrophic effect on our faith will initiate a spiritual growth as we’ve never seen before!

I am glad to be walking on water at the moment. It is the greatest sense of adventure I’ve ever lived. Total uncertain certainty! He’s got this! He’s going to protect, provide, and press us on to greater things. I know this, because my eyes are not on the waves. They remain fixed upon Him, the author and finisher of my faith. So, I’m asking you, to where…to what is He bidding you to, that you might be forced to step in to – that will require you to leave all that is safe, comfortable, or familiar? What safety nets are you holding on to? How can you know faith unless you step out of your boat, and tread water under your feet?

The SHEPHERD

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How many pastors do you know? If you know me, at least one. When we think of the term pastor, we usually draw mental images of middle aged men in suites, with slick combed over hair, pounding their fist on a pulpit, and spitting out “thee” and “thou” in biblical references. That had been my experience growing up. When we consider the role of a pastor is seems we define that as a man that has charge over a local assembly of believers called a church, where his main responsibilites lie in preaching and leading. This is an accurate portrayal. I’ve been doing it for 15 years. But, there’s something interesting taking place that is only starting to happen right now, and it has technology to blame. Pastoring is going instant global. Let me explain.

Although my beforehand description of the role of a pastor stands true for local churches, the broader role of a pastor is shaped into the image of a shepherd; exemplified by the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Shepherding has a broader role in caring for people. In the sense of shepherding, I’ve been a pastor nearly all of my life. Even as a child, I was the spiritual leader of my family. I came to follow Christ at an early age, and the Spirit of the Lord was strong within me, even as a child. I would lead and teach my family, including my parents. My friends were recipients of my spiritual caretaking as well, and many were saved and baptized through my direct guidance in expression of the Gospel. Why? Because to shepherd is to do 3 things.

  1. Lead

I lead with spiritual authority. This isn’t assumed authority, but received authority. I have no authority of any person to lead until they give it to me and entrust me with it. Once that relationship is established, I have the responsibility to speak truth into their lives in accordance with Scripture to guide them into God’s will.

2.Teach

With 15 years of experience pastoring, more than 30 years studying, and a seminary degree, I find great joy in expounding upon the teachings that are formed by 66 canonical books called the Bible.

3.Tend

A shepherd also looks after the welfare of his sheep. He leads to safe pastures, feeds the Word of God, but also, tends to the needs…the hurts, the injuries, the doubts and fears, the spiritual AND physical needs.

But here’s what’s so cool, as I mentioned. Becuase of technology, I am finding myself becoming a shepherd to people all over the world. Through email, text, Skype, and phone, I’m fulfilling the role of a spiritual guide to people who are seeking it. It starts with my blog, or webpage, or podcast. Somehow people find me. They learn me. They eventually trust me, and seek me out. It becomes a providential relationship that God uses in order to provide the 3 main facets of being a shepherd to His people. I’m now leading people from as far as the Pacific Northwest, all the way down to southern Florida. Literally the span of the continental U.S. I believe this is going to continue to trend, and we will see the connectivity of shepherd and sheep grow even stronger. I pray for each and every one of my clients and sincerley care about their lives and hearts. My services are not merely information or product based, but service oriented.

If you feel like you need a pastor, and not sure where to turn, or feel ready to venture into a community of strangers, don’t let that stop you. Fit For the Kingdom is like nothing you’ve ever encountered before. You have a pastor. You have a persoanl trainer. You have a nutritionist. You have a friend. You have a shepherd.

How to become a minimalist in a maximous society.

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My family recently joined the ranks of an ever increasing fringe of simple living crusaders. We became minimalists. In the fall of last year, we put our house up for sale and began to sort through our belongings to decide what we could keep and what we could live without. The importantance behind this inventoring was the fact that we were scaling down our living quarters…quite a bit. While at the time, we lived in a modest 3 bedroom/2 bath brick ranchstyle home with a full finished basement, we were pairing down to a 250 sq.ft camper. Now, consider that all the cool tiny house shows you see on HGTV and DIY Network show tiny homes of around 500 sq ft. Our family of 4 plus 2 dogs and a cat were venturing to live in half the space of a tiny home. So, with that destination came the tremendous task of minimalizing our tastes, our needs, and our desires.

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Phil 4:12

We are not minimalists. Minimalism for the sake of having very little or reaching the goal of having very little is both arduous and depressing. We weren’t going toward monasticism. It wasn’t about just getting rid of things. We believe in a philosophy called “minimal effective dose”. This means, what is the least amount of anything it takes to be effective at reaching its desired goal. Let me give you an example. In the 70’s the famous body building trainer Arthur Jones coached Arnold Swartzenneger and Franco Columbo using a method of obtaining muscle hypertrophy and growth using ‘MEDs’ minimal effective dose, his approach worked, amazingly. Later, books like Body By Science and The 4 Hour Body would be written about it. It doesn’t take days and hours in a gym to get the same effects with what you can do just one day a week for a few miniutes. Believe me, I’ve tried the MED method and it works. So if it works in fitness, can it work in life? Yes. Don’t be a minamilist…just figure out, what is the minimal effective dose for life, happiness, sustanance, etc.

How did we do it? We followed these simple observances.

  1. What do we actually NEED?

There are 4 of us. Do we really need 20 plates, piles of bathroom towels, cabinets full of things we forgot about? We began to scale down starting with what we didn’t need at all.

2. What are we not sure about needing?

Some things are seasonal. Some things are occasional. Some things are “I may use that again” type assets. For these items, we put in storage. This way, we don’t have it cluttering up our space. We kinda dont have it anymore, but just in case- its there. Let’s see how much we miss it. After 4 months, we didn’t miss it and forgot what all we had stored away. So, we got rid of even more stuff!

3. What brings us joy?

We sound like horrible parents asking our boys to go through their toys and get rid of the majority. Hold on now, we’re talkng about boxes, chests, closets, piles on the floor toys! Toys they didn’t even know they had! I asked my youngest, what toy(s) ACTUALLY bring him joy. “My army men”, he said. Yes, those little green plastic molded army men found at the Dollar Store, not the expensive electronic doohickies. “Then those are the toys you need to keep”, I assured him. My children found new joy and appreciation for what actually entertained them. For me, my musical instruments and books. Isn’t this the point? Getting the the minimal effective dose of things that sustain us and bring us joy?We found out that a refrigerator the size of a suitcase is plenty of room to store the foods we love. We no longer have that mysterious moldy thing hiding in the back, glowing and festering. 

So, now we have the things we actually need. We have the things that actually bring us joy. We have the ability to roam, play, and live more freely without anchors. We don’t even lock our camper when we leave! Theres nothing to steal! We laugh now, and look around at how free and happy we are. We’re not a minimalist family. We are a minimal effective dose family. I think that is a win/win.

Ep. 22 Jason Price. Overcoming weight issues and finding spiritual victories

Becoming a better leader by trail running

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What trail runnning has taught me about leadership? Yeah that’s an odd sentiment, let alone a prfound starting point for a bolg. Sometimes my greatest profoundenty comes to me during the engagment of what otherwise may seem to be thoughtles endeavors. So i was trail running when this idea came to me.

As an entreprenueral leader, a church planter, and a creative self-starter, I’ve learned some practices that help keep my head afloat. The other day I was on a trainng run, prepapring for a 13 mile trail rce through Kentucky’s stunning Red River Gorge. I’ve been road running most of the year, but now it’s time to venture off the beaten path into some rugged terrain to prove my internal prowess still matches my exteanal fortitude. Trail running has tested both. But, even more importantly it has taught me life lessons. ergo…

  1. be adaptable

I bought my new pair of shoes. I threw on my running gear. I set my course. And it started raining. I hate running in the rain. So, I went to the Kentucky Coffee Tree instead…for a little while. After the rain stopped I ventured out and started my run. Only now, the trail was saturated with mud and slick spots.

Trail running, as with life comes with unexpected circumstances. It may be circumstances that cause you to re-think timing and/or course. It doesn’t mean you have to quit or relegate yourself to anything less. If you keep yourself adaptible you can switch it up and keep moving. The thing about adaptability is that it means you may need to change with the changes. I drive a 4×4, sport a pretty grizzly beard, and raise chickens. That wasn’t always me. But, I planted a church in a community that this fits in. I had to adapt to the culture in which I was sent to serve. Apatability has saved me more than once.

  1. be amiable

You don’t always have to change and adapt, yet you may have to be amiable. The difference? Adaptaion is a change, amiability is the ability to bend without changing. In trail running it’s important to know the course and the destination. If not you will soon find yourself lost and GPS’ing your way home. Know the destination, yet ALWAYS be ready with 3 steps to change your immediate course. I have bit the dust on occasions, albeit a rock or stump that went unseen in too little of time. This happens, But, in order to keep your pace, to keep your step and footing, be able to bend to the trail and terrain in order to dart and pivot as needed when these unexpected delimas show themselves. I have had my personality assessed on several occassions for certaon missions egncies that I’ve served with. The finding is alway the same. 50/50 intravert/extravert. What this means is, that given the occassion and the need, I am just as comfortable being the center of attention and life of the party as I am being the quiet loner, isolated from the crowd. I can lead in front or in back. I am able to do this becuase I am amiable. I can bend without changing.

  1. be applicable

I’ll be homnest, I’ll drop a few dimes in good shoes. If I’m train running, I want a very specific brand, heel strike, sole thickness, toe guard, etc. Very different than my road runing shoes. The way that I train is very different as well. How I train and how a dress is in accordance with what I’m training for. My shoes are relevant to the terrain. I see a lot of people skipping relevancy for “practicality”. Example. I visited a church plant over the weekend. The new church established themselves in the deep urban, spray painted jungle of inner-Cincinnati. During the week they do a great job of engaging the community and byilding relationships. And then, on Sunday monring they attempt to stir awake the community with a cookie cut, traditional service. No one attends to their surprise. They’re not being relevant. They’re wearing slip ons and trying to trail run. Finf what fits for what you’re doing. Find what fit’s for what or who you’re trying to reach. Be applicable to the area.

 

I could go on and on with parallels and metaphors to intersect my two great passions. That’s not the point. In the end, it’s about being a better leader, and being better at doing what you love to do. Sport and life, neither are unilateral. Take these few tips to help you circumvent your next venture and come out on top as a success instead of bitng the dust and dropping out.

Why my family is givng away nearly everything we own; lunacy or liberty?

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I’m writing this blog in response to a spirit of bewilderment among my community and people who know me. I’ve been asked if I’ve lost my mind. Why? Because I’m giving away most of what I own. On the surface, that seems like lunacy. Even the thought of it makes me chuckle. Yet, with the proper backstory there may be some explanation, though, I can’t insure any more understanding.

My wife and I have been married for 15 years. For 15 years we’ve lived under the remorseful and shameful position of debt. Some of it was not our fault, most of it was. We pay our bills and survive and call that living. We have come to the conclusion that that is not living. We’re missing out on freedom. Freedom is living. We’re missing out on life experiences. Experiencing life is living. We’re missing out on the opportunity to bless others. Blessing others is living. And so, we took a huge leap of faith and decided to sell our home of about 1900 sq ft and down size into a 250 sq ft space. Even with this adjustment, we will still have running water, electricity, heat, air, fridge, stove, and satellite television! We’ll still be living better that 2/3 of the rest of the world. With this move we CANNOT take all our stuff. Stuff…that’s the point of this blog.

Our stuff has never brought us happiness. We’ve accumulated it, piled it up, shoved it in storage, tripped over it, and regretted it. Our treasure is just not in our stuff. Now, I’m not against having stuff. That’s just not where our sense of happiness is derived. So we made the decision to give it away. And this decision has caused so many to question us and even criticize us.

Our reasons

1. We don’t need it. What need do we have for 3 bedroom suites in a camper? Why would we hang on to things that we would only have to pay someone to store for us? THAT, to us, is lunacy.

2. Others have a need for it. Aaron is a young man. He’s a recovering heroin addict with a wife and a baby on the way. He is working hard at his recovery and finding his little family a house. The baby is due any day now. Aaron and his family had a need for our stuff. As he drove off with a pickup truck and tailer full of our stuff, he was teary eyed at the way God had generously provided for him.

3. I am raising world changers. My sons are 12 and 10. What they see in their mother and I are considered Gospel truth in their eyes. At this moment in their lives, we are making indelible marks that will shape their character and life choices forever. It’s important to us that they learn charity, love, grace, mercy and hospitality now, and to see that in us (the way that I saw it in my parents). We want them to see that we live by faith not by sight.

4. We our now investors- not spenders. Jesus warned against laying up treasure on earth where rust and moth corrupt or thieves steal, but to ‘store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven.’ We wake up every day considering how we might make eternal investments. As Emperor Titus would exclaim at the end of the day, “I have wasted today!”, if he felt he’d not blessed someone that day…we count our days, and lives a loss if we’ve ended it still full of out “stuff” and have not blessed someone else. Our treasure is on Heaven.

5. We are followers of Jesus. We read the red letters in our Bible and take Him at His Word. We follow Him, not American consumerism and aquire-ism.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

… freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

Where is the confusion and how can that be misinterpreted to mean only things of little value? So, it’s ok to give little, but things of value? Lots of things of value? Big things? Well, yes, all of it.

I’m not monastic. I don’t believe any holiness or righteousness is accredited to me for living modestly or giving things away.

Why not sell you stuff? (I’m asked this a lot.)

For what? To buy more stuff? 

Well you’re going to have needs of your own.

My God has met every need I’ve ever had, He continues to do so daily. Why would He stop? My debt is from the moments that I failed to trust Him and got ahead of Him.

I think what people don’t understand is that THIS makes my family happy and fulfilled. Hard to believe for some, but actually we find immense joy in being able to meet needs of others, knowing that God has blessed with the ability to do so. Do we WANT to live in a camper while we slay the debt dragon? Well, no. But we’ve prayed long and hard for God to relieve our sin and debt and we don’t expect Him to send black birds with $10 bills paper clipped to their beaks (though He could) to pay off our debt…we believe we have a responsibility to the Lord in putting forth some effort. ‘If we pray for rain, we need to plow the field.’

Don’t worry, if it was up to me we’d live in a yurt, tucked away in the Cascades where we’d hunt and fish, smoke my pipe by a fire, play my banjo, and count the stars every night. What we’re doing isn’t THAT hard for homesteading hippies who love Jesus and others. 🙂

Our devotion to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings has created in us very personal convictions. These convictions lead us to do very odd things as far as Western Civilization is concerned, which sort of out of congruency with what Scripture actually teaches.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:14-18

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. Proverbs 3:27

9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Perhaps I’ve lost my mind. I feel like I’ve gained my heart…and freedom. 

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