Monthly Archives: September 2012

AON vs. CON: What is AON? Part I

The other day, I was listening to a Christian rock song and the words ‘all or nothing’ were constantly used.  Specificially in the chorus of the song as follows: “And I won’t give up on a dream, It’s all or nothing, The sound of doubt I’ll never need, It’s all or nothing.”

So this phrase, ‘all or nothing’ (AON) was starting to grow inside me.  What does it mean?  In my life, how far can this take me?  Do I go all out with everything I do in my life?  So I began to apply the phrase and examine my life in the context of AON.  I study as much as possible.  I exercise beyond my capacity.  I gain as much knowledge as I can.  I play sports with all effort and hustle.  Anything and everything I do, I strive to do it as best as I can.  I’ve done this my entire life.

But is this the way we should be living?  Should we always be doing everything ‘all or nothing?’  Do it or don’t do it at all.  Hum.  This is an interesting concept.  Think about it again, do it or don’t do it at all.

Basically, if you don’t think you have the capacity to complete the task, don’t do it at all.  Is this a test of character?  Would you settle for none simply because you don’t think of yourself as capable?  Let me ask you this, why don’t we achieve certain goals or aspirations?

First and foremost, obstacles or barriers in our way.  Either internal or external deterrents cause personal feelings of incapacity.  In other words, because of previous past failures, we question, we doubt ourselves the next time around.  As a result, we don’t even try the task at hand.  Where would our country be if we simply gave up after the first try?

The focal point is about the process, about the effort, about the reason why we’re giving an ‘all or nothing’ effort.  If we succeed, what do we gain?  We gain credibility, success, pride, accomplishment, etc, etc.  After we’ve accomplished a task, then what?  Ater that success wears off, then what?  We simply find something else to fill the void.  Just like any habit, a habit cannot be broken, it simply is replaced with another habit.  When we have an effort of ‘all or nothing,’ we’re driven by accomplishments, we’re driven by success, we’re driven by external recognition.  Where is this going to get us in life?

Think about this.  How valuable are the successes and accomplishments when we’re at the end of our lives?  Not to be negative or anything, but if we’re about to see the Lord face to face, how insignificant is this ‘all or nothing’ effort that’s defined by our Earthly ‘expensive pieces of paper’ degrees, scholarships, money, houses, jobs, etc?  Wouldn’t we want something more Spiritually valuable and something that’s truly everlasting?!

Come back soon for AON vs. CON: What Is CON?  Part II.

Please comment below on what you think CON is or any other thoughts.

Thanks for reading!


Weekend Post Preview: ‘AON vs. CON’

A preview of tomorrow’s post titled ‘AON vs. CON.’

‘Questions to be questioned’ why or what we’re living our lives for.

x+your effort=???

What kind of effort are you displaying?

Have you ever thought about why you’re doing what you’re doing?

For what purpose?

Extrinsic rewards?  A sense of self?  A sense of accomplishment?

Find out tomorrow what AON is, as well as CON and which one our effort is most important in the ‘equation of life!’

Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part VI

Of the two weeks I had off the entire summer, I went into the city for the day to sightsee, to go on a beautiful architecture boat tour down the Chicago River.  On my way back from the city, I wanted to stop by the market near the house to get some fresh produce, since they had the cheapest blueberries I have ever found!  Anyway, after getting my items and was ready to check out, I got into a short line, with an old lady checking out.  Noticing her fumbling around for change, she unexpectedly comes up short and admits she doesn’t have enough, frantically taking items out of the grocery bags to compensate the price deduction.

At this moment in the story, I have to note a particular important facet of my position.  Since I went into the city for the day, this was the only time during the summer I physically took money out of the bank, so that I had cash for the boat tour and a little spending money afterwards.  As a result, I ended up breaking some bills and had change in my wallet as well.  Remember, this was the only time I literally had cash on me; I’m more of a “nothing but plastic carrier.”  A little foreshadowing.

So the old lady in front of me at the grocery was short 27 cents.  And I didn’t even think twice about it at the time.  I quickly pulled out my wallet and gave the cashier the 27 cents.  The old lady tried to obstruct my kindness and luckily, she ended up giving in to the simplistic generosity.  The first words out of her kind, soft voice was “what’s your name, I’m going to say a prayer for you!”  This hit me like a ton of bricks; it floored me.  I don’t know why these words made such an impact, but the simple gesture of giving 27 cents elicited such joy and thankfulness in this Christian woman.

We ended up introducing each other after I checked out.  And even before I went to shake her hand, her unbelievable humbleness, blessing, and gratefulness commented, “there aren’t that many gentlemen out there, you’re mom will be proud, God Bless you!”  It wasn’t about the money.  It’s not about bragging.  It was about her response.  “What’s your name, I’m going to say a prayer for you…”  These simple words of “I’m going to pray for you…” had unimaginative Spiritual power, especially coming from a believer; an old lady who probably spends the majority of her days in prayer for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I cannot fully put into words as to the impact this old woman had on my summer, even as simplistic the scene.  Stepping out of our comfort zones just for a temporary period to give to a complete stranger is more rewarding than any recently purchased item you think you needed.  The superficial contentment felt after purchasing something that’ll collect dust is fruitless, but the bountiful joy I felt after her reaction to my subtle gesture was prolific.  Just like that, my life was changed because of 27 cents.  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”-2 Corinthians 9:7.  Next time you find yourself in a similar circumstance, step out; nay reach out to help someone because you never know how your life will be impacted.

My prolonged summer was eventually coming to a close, with three major events taking place back to back to back, all in a successive manner, I was beyond tired and running on my last legs of an eventful, inspired summer.  As the summer was closing, my last interaction was with a Jewish girl.  As subtle as it was, her family stories and history of being persecuted because of their Faith was another random, yet wonderful insight of His wonder.  I cannot reiterate the breathtaking moments I had throughout the summer that just shattered my expectations and how many times He showed me He was there.  In all the times it was hard, in every step of unfamiliarity, every prayer, every hurt, in the moments my world seemed to be falling down, He never forsake me.  He never left me.

Remember, when you’re traveling through uncharted territories, turbulent waters, stick to His word.  Because as far as you think you are from Him, He’s always right by your side.  Even if you may find yourself busy and nearly incapable for providing time for Him, give Him your fears, stresses, and doubts.  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”-Romans 12:2.  He will provide.  He will open the doors.  And most importantly, He will incredibly exceed your expectations if you put Him first.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”-Matthew 6:33.

So my question to you is, “Are You 27 Cents Worth?”

Can you do one “Random Act of Kindness (acronym known as a RAK) for a fellow human today?  When you do, please let me know how it goes because we’re going to celebrate Jesus Christ through serving and helping others, one gesture, one RAK, one 27-cent moment at a time!

Thanks for reading!

Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part V

Now I’m located in the Southwest neighborhoods of Chicago, the family provided groceries, home-cooked meals, comfort, and simply friendships.  Basically, adopting me as a son, with the mom continually calling me her “foreign exchange student.”  I basically exchanged a sort of uncomfortable living situation with close proximity to the city for a comfortable living situation with far proximity; the opposite of everything.  As stated above, God began setting me up in situations to share His Word, which you will see soon.

The first involved Danny and I on the train back to the house.  It was a casual conversation about the recent news bulletin about Chik-fil-a comments on supporting same sex marriage; where the mayor of Chicago stated he wasn’t going to accept the chain into the city because of their anti-gay stance.  As this conversation began, I began to ponder and question about his opinion on the matter, leading to asking about his faith and what he believed.  Looking back, I felt as if I butchered the conversation, probably mistakenly citing wrong sources or scriptures while using the Bible as the ultimate source of information and truth.  At the time of our discussion, I was reading a book called ‘I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.’  If you haven’t read this book or are questioning your Faith and why you’re here on this Earth, you must read it as soon as possible!  It’s a must read!

It answers the infinite questions people may have on the credibility of the Bible and how people need to have science or literal credible facts to back the claims the Bible makes.  Not spilling all the beans here, you must read it for yourself to guard against the refuting arguments people may have against the Word of Christ.  Anyway, jumping forward to the day before I left Chicago for the summer, I felt obligated, confident God wanted me to give Danny this book and so I did; hopefully he has read the enlightening pages and is beginning to see the evidence of our born again Savior in his life.

The previous was one of the instances God began to lift the veil of uncomfortability between someone and myself.  Even as uncomfortable as we may seem or feel, as to our level of expertise with the Bible and citing His Word, God still knows our heart.  He expects us to share His Gospel even if we may feel ‘spiritually unequipped.’  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”-Matthew 28:19  “I will also speak of our testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame.”-Psalm 119:46.  Basically, as much as we think we don’t know enough or think we’re ‘spiritually unequipped,’ we still shouldn’t be shy or ashamed to witness His great Love.  And this is where scripture memorization is important to witnessing, so that we may witness at a moments notice to the whole world or through random train ride conversations.

Towards the end of the summer, the hospital partnered with my department to host another Sports Day with the patients of the hospital, but instead of having it at our location, the event took place at a nearby park, alongside the beautiful lakefront of Lake Michigan.  Throughout the morning, we had several groups filtering in and out, introducing new patients to such sports like: boccia, track & field, cycling, and volleyball.  As we were helping and encouraging participants through teaching techniques and retrieving implements, one gentleman stood out.  He was highly encouraging, highly involved, not only in the sport itself, but very positive and praiseful to the other patients.  Basically, he was being a coach, a positive role model for them.  Once I got the chance, I ended up introducing myself to this gentleman and once again, God began to reveal the enormous sign above his head, “ask him, ask him, ask him if he is a believer.”  And after a ten-minute discussion, it was quickly evident he was and after my question, “are you a believer,” he was quickly unyielding in his response.  God was telling me, “be here for this man, serve him while he is here in Chicago.”  And that’s what I told him.  I’ll visit him as much as I could until he gets released, to share and speak about the Word of God.  As you are reading this, you may seem like this is an insignificant moment in the summer, but it was far from it!

This man seemed to have a direct connection with God.  He was so insightful, amazingly acute and his words are penetrating to this day.  From his daily departing prayers to his astonishing role model behavior for the other patients, the Lord directed him to come across my path and vice versa for him.  He/you may be reading this and he/you would agree!  It was purely a God-awakening moment of triumph, in the face of adversity and hardship; Christ is always good, even if we cannot see why He has let certain things happen to us in our lives.  He was not confined or defined by his situation.  But instead, defined by Jesus Christ and how he is the always providing, at our best and our worst.  He is constant.  He is only good.  He is sovereign.  He will never forsake us.  Even in the dark, even when it’s hard; this man, this unexpected relationship, conjured up by the One and Only showed me this side of our Faith.  I will never forget and will always be grateful for the days we worshipped our Lord and Savior in his/your room during the summer of 2012.

Final Intermission: Hey, how about that, you made it through three periods of tedious reading, on top of a thrilling OT, only to be continued into one more stanza. Once again, thank you for making it this far.  You have been great and it’s been simply amazing to reflect on some of the things I experienced.  And while we’re discussing this, the aforementioned details and stories are only a fraction of the memorable moments of the summer.  Unless you want me to continue writing an entire book, I won’t exhaust your time and trouble AND especially won’t subject you to anymore terrifying witticism, beyond this last manuscript, for tomorrow’s post.

See you tomorrow, thanks again!

FFe out

Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part IV

So now that I had an “accountability partner” in Christ Jesus before Chicago, establishments of an interactive Bible study, exchanging scriptural text messages, Christian books, and so on kept me in line with Him.  Honestly, if I didn’t have this established Christ-centered friendship or FFe in the back of my mind, I would have strayed, I would have fallen into the same traps as I did a few years ago.  Accountability is crucial in your walk of Faith.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Similarly, James 5:16 states, “therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Traveling, working, experiencing new environments ALONE isn’t how He designed us to navigate His beautiful Earth.

Reflecting upon my job, my boss and I were in charge of the summer junior programs, which included working with kids from age 6 to 18 years old, in sports such as: softball, track & field, and basketball.  Even though that was our main focus, we were still highly involved with our adult programs, ranging from basketball, softball, and cycling to archery, powerlifting, and sled hockey, to name a few.  What became quickly obvious was the importance placed on our commitment and involvement with the kids.  Remember, this is Chicago.  Crime and poverty runs rampant.  I sadly saw this first hand.  These kids are basically not cared for.  We’re the only thing in their live that’s consistent and helpful.  We’re the only light in the extensive darkness they endure each day.

With one of our kids, we can no longer give him free stuff and merchandise because his family takes it and uses it themselves.  In other cases, kids are simply on their own, parents aren’t involved, parents are either drunk or high most of the time; basically, no parental involvement whatsoever.  This should be a significant statement and should elicit some emotional response.  Rethink all of this; inner city kids, in wheelchairs, in mainly non-supportive families, in poverty, no transportation, violent neighborhoods, etc, etc; basically the most difficult situation to be in.  And I’m not exaggerating with these living situations.  Another story, one of our boys lives with his grandparents.  When his grandparents were out of country for a week and a half, he simply didn’t shower, he didn’t take care of himself, no deodorant, nothing.  As much as these kids barely having anything, they’re still heavily reliant on caregivers.  Part of our job is to remove them from dependency because as one gets older, especially if you’re in a chair, the more you must rely on yourself to arrange transportation, schooling, and independent travel.  As these kids are getting spoon-fed and consistently reminded go to the restroom, our job was increasingly difficult and stressful because of the counterproductive difficult domestic circumstances.

Every week, we had softball practice in the West neighborhood of Chicago, near Wrigleyville.  For every practice, every week, we have to arrange transportation through a third party company, to pick the kids up for practice.  Because the kids are in chairs, specialty buses, equipped with wheelchair lifts must be used.  In that, time is projected to about two hours before and after practice, dedicated for pick up and drop off for our kids.  For my part, we have the responsibility to contact not only the bus company for scheduled pickup times for each kid, but also to contact each kid to notify them of their individual pickup times.  If this sounds confusing and frustrating, it was!  Remember, these kids, these families live in nearly inhospitable and government subsidized apartments, with economic resources very limited, so it wasn’t uncommon for telephone numbers to be disconnected, changed, or impossible to reach.  So for contacting 90% of our kids, we had no idea who or what would be at the end of the telephone line.  This was one of the many enduring weekly frustrations we had to deal with, not including weekend trips, tournaments, and outings.  Willingness to endure, the definition of patience was one of the many lessons I learned throughout the summer.

As the midway point of the summer approached seemingly instantaneous, I found myself letting go of my living circumstance.  Strictly speaking, letting God supervene, letting Him set the scene for where I’ll be living for the second half of the summer.  Remembering back to how worried, how concerned I was at the beginning of the summer, where I’d live, how much money I’d need to spend.  All these superficial needs, all these trivial concerns were completely absent at the midpoint in the summer because I knew all things, issues, emotional feelings were irrelevant and unimportant because God doesn’t want us to have a heart of concerns for ourselves, He doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow.  “Therefore do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough to of its own.”-Matthew 6:34.  So I gave it to Him.  I gave all my worries, all my concerns associated with where I’ll be living to Him.

Literally a few days before my friend and his girlfriend was moving out of their place; meaning, I had to be gone by then too, a co-intern at RIC offered me to stay with his family near Midway airport.  Whoa!  Just mentioning it to him once, back early in the summer, I wasn’t expecting the offer.  As much as the offer was enticing, I examined the commute comparison of Lake View to where I could be potentially living near Midway.  In Lake View, I literally had a two-minute walk to the bus stop, then a 15-minute bus ride downtown and that’s it.  Midway, I had to find someone to drive me 10 minutes to Midway airport, take the Orange Line (CTA subway) for 25 minutes, hop on another subway (Red Line) for another 20 minutes, and then walk 10 minutes to work; an hour long commute, on good days.  Hum.  This situation may be much different.  It doesn’t matter.  I have no other choice.  Plus, there’s a reason why God has opened this door, so I accepted.  I literally moved in the day after Danny, the offering intern, said I could stay with him for the rest of the summer.

After arriving at his house, I was quickly met by his mom and brother, offering to carry all my stuff into their house.  Being stubborn, I denied multiple times, saying I could do it all, but immediately realizing their Chicagoan temperament, it’s difficult to tell them no.  Expecting the “not so greatest living arrangement” or random corner bedroom, I was bewildered, they were basically giving me their entire basement; with a bathroom, television, comfortable couches, chairs; above and beyond my expectations of hospitality.  “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:19.  “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”-Matthew 6:31-33.  How true is this right now?  What you just heard, can we not say He provided for me?  How amazing His Almighty, for providing answers, for providing a loving, respectful, accommodating family, beyond my finite expectations and restricted possibilities of where I’d end up.

Overtime Intermission: Let’s do a quick reflection again.  Going into the city of Chicago, I had no idea where I’d end up and putting trust in God, He provided me a comfortable, “home away from home,” beyond my expectations of what was in store.  And we are not done!  You still there?  Hanging on, right?!  I hope you are enjoying my story because for the second half of the summer, God begins to position circumstances and people in my path for “Jesus Christ divergent opportunities.”  In other words, people and conversations began to spawn out of nowhere, designating these seemingly inconspicuous humanized construction signs that illuminated, “talk to them about me.”  Expressly, I began to see, I began to recognize opportunistic times to share the Gospel, share His name with people, which I’ve never experienced or seen before now, especially as consistently as they appeared.   Opps, forgot it was break time.  This time, go get some food or a healthy snack, like almonds, carrots, or celery to tide you over, plus some water; drink plenty of water throughout the day, 64 ounces or more!

Thanks for reading, we will see you tomorrow, have a wonderfully blessed day!

Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part III

So as I’m getting settled and use to the hustle and bustle of Chicago life, finally figuring out the public transit system knowingly called the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), life was good.  As good as it was, there were endless hitches, bumps, and frustrating moments.  Remember, this was working with the physically disabled population.  I’ve never had any experience with people in wheelchairs and physical disabilities.  Yes, I’ve heard of many of the physical disabilities like cerebral palsy and spina bifida, but other than that, they were just words in an anatomy textbook, with no meaning, with no personification.  In the first two weeks of the internship, my boss didn’t hold back.

Knowing fully well I had no experience, making it clear multiple times before accepting the position, he threw me into the turbulent waters to see if I could swim.  Immediately, the first test was on the third day of the internship; our department hosted what we call a Sports Day.  This is where the RIC hospital’s occupational and physical therapists would bring their patients over and the sports and fitness staff would introduce them to sporting activities and exercise.  At this point in their recovery, some patients were less than a week after being admitted.  In one case, a girl I would eventually coach the rest of the summer, had recently been caught in the middle of a gunfight, with rogue bullets severing her spinal cord; the epitome of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At a young age of 17, she had no idea how to handle such a situation, a life altering accident that has permanently disrupted her life.  Getting her to open up, asking about her interests and hobbies was beyond burdensome.  She was simply shut down.  She was closed off to the world.  And something special happened; she found a basketball.  To our knowledge, she was a very good high school basketball player and finally, finally we found something to trigger an emotional response, luckily it was the most relieving, helpful tool we had.  Once my boss and I found her “hot button” of basketball, we were able to bring her into our junior program for the rest of the summer, success story right?!

Girl, age 17, gun shot victim, life altered, life changed; it is our job to change it for the better; to positively influence where she ends up; to not be another obstacle, but an outlet, an opportunity to get back up.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”-Psalm 34:18.   God places people in our lives, to live through, to pour out His glory, His worthy, courageous, uplifting behavior and words of encouragement.  We were meant to be scaffolding for other people in need.  Holding them up, helping them rebuild themselves in the time of desperation and difficulty.

Is this why I was in Chicago this summer, for that purpose, to be completely vulnerable to the unknown, to peel back the layers of selfishness and narcissism; to truly indulge in altruistic actions towards others in need?  Was this a test of my Faith; being alone, sleeping on an air mattress every night, having no family, living uncomfortably, scheduled events on Sundays, away from church, having little money; a complete disunion.  Now that I was completely enthralled into the lure and gravity of my position, there wasn’t a moment I felt alone.  Yes, detachment from harmony was tough and unfamiliar, but as time went on, I was peaceful, I was comforted.  Knowing this was His challenge for me to stay ‘steadfast,’ I didn’t stray away, even though my time was completely consumed.  From the typical 10-14 hour days, plus a few hours of online classes at nights, my vision was clear; my purpose was known.  In lieu of my jungle of frenzied obligations, Spiritual transpirations began to materialize in my life.

Back story real quick…bear with me.  Before I headed off to Chicago, FFe (faithandfitnessembrace) was the initial source of Worship and Community among you and I, among believers to responsively visit and share your comments in an environment where we can serve the Lord through fitness, exercise, and nutrition.  Beyond my recollection and awareness, I had no idea what FFe was going to supply me with.  I wasn’t expecting such a strong association, not only with my own responsibility to share my story, but also the accountability and pledge to you that as believers, we’re in obligation not only to share the Word with non-believers, but keep each other accountable to help, to advocate, to profess the accordance of the Holy Spirit in one another.  Specifically, with one FFe endorser, I was not expecting such a God-centered, powerful friendship to occur.  To denounce such friendships as not from God would be unreasonable. The path the friendship has lead us down has been astoundingly eye-opening; giving new insight on His Glory and His Word; a friendship destined to happen in His Name, no other way to put it (you know who you are, I hope).

The projected FFe mission is no longer the principle destination and for the future, it’s in God’s unchanging plans (and I have plenty of hopefully fruitful business ideas/ventures that has come via FFe!).  Whether I’ll strike up similar friendships with Christ-lovers or not, I am so grateful and blessed for where He has taken this project and thank you for making it this far in FFe’s short history.

Third Intermission: That’s about time for another break, right?  You’re probably thinking, “man, stop getting off track, why don’t you stick with the Chicago story already or at least write one ginormous post.”  Yes, you’re right.  But I must continue this way.  I must show you the amazing path God has taken me down because as much as I expected things to happen, I had no idea what He had in store for me.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make you straight your paths.”-Proverbs 3:5-6.  Beverage in hand, right?!  Ready to continue then.

Summer 2012: Are You 27 Cents Worth? Part II

After I got the interview, ecstasy overcame me.  As quickly as the emotional suddenness resonated, a pragmatic thought interrupted the happiness; the thought of the unknown, doubt, and affliction was rendering me helpless.  Where am I going to stay?  Do I have the money to rent a Chicago apartment for three months, on top of my apartment now?  Will I have to commute?  HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?!  Using scrap paper, sticky notes, and dry erase boards for scratch notes to project operational and capital budgets for the summer, it didn’t take long to realize how expensive this unpaid internship would cost.  Having the reputation and presence the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has in the Midwest, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, right?!  All the while up until the interview, I prayed about the ‘tug of war’ I was having with myself.  And I’ll convict myself.  I didn’t wait long enough for Him to respond, to say, “it’s ok to take this; this is my plan for you.”  I didn’t let His beautiful voice overcome the restlessness I was experiencing. 

To my astonishment, the interview went well and after the interviewer walked with me to my car, he gave a proposition, “it’s yours if you can figure out your residence.”  So it was mine to lose.  No pressure at all.  Now what?  More worrying?  More trying to figure things out.  Telling him I needed more time to think about it and figure things out, I continued to pray and ask for His guidance and direction.   Once again, in my infinite, unmistakably, flawless demeanor, I accepted the position two days later.  And at this moment in the story, I had no place, no residence to stay.  As time went on, a buddy from grad school was living in Chicago, Lake View, to be precise.  Luckily, he accepted me to stay with him and his girlfriend for the summer.  But there was a catch.  Because their lease was up at the end of June, I HAD to find a place for the rest of the summer.  (Note: the internship was from the end of May to the end of August)

Finally, I had almost everything figured out.  Don’t you love how God opens and closes doors?  Well, if you don’t know what I mean, recollect on your life.  Think back on the times you could have traveled one way, and something came up to deter you.  “I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have no denied My name.”-Revelation 3:8 (NLT) These random detour moments are God’s work, they’re Him trying to tell you, “I have something better.”  Remember God’s three answers to your prayers: 1) yes 2) not yet 3) I have something better in mind.  Be patient.  Pray.  He will guide you in the right direction, even if you don’t have a plan or have any clue what’s in store.

Second Intermission: What are you thinking so far?  Take a break.  Reflect on the message.  Through my journey up until this point, do you see any parallels in your life?  Have you recognized the “fork in the road” moments, where you have two different paths to take and realize, you have taken the right or even wrong one?  What did you heart tell you in that circumstance?  What is your heart telling you right now?  If you didn’t get a coffee, iced tea, or water at the first intermission, please go get something now, we’re going to be here for a while!