Month: November 2012

Overwhelmed

I’ve been overwhelmed for a few days.

Not the kind of overwhelmed when you pack your bags and you’re just done…ready to quit…ready to give up.

Not that kind.

But completely and fully overwhelmed by the amount of goodness and blessing that God has poured into my life.

OVERWHELMED. 

I was blessed to have dinner with great friends last week and it filled my heart with incredible joy.

I was asked to teach at a youth convention in Louisiana and I’ve been so blessed by the new relationships I’ve made.

I’m so blessed to have my wife. I am in total awe of her. She loves me with an all encompassing love and her support is unexplainable.

I have the sacred honor of being Bekah, Bob, Zach and Madie’s dad and I can’t even begin to explain how much joy they bring my life.

I have parents who support me and are always there for me.

I have friends who are praying for me, my family and ministry.

Overwhelmed. 

 

A Great Night Ahead for Live Now

Tonight is a very big night. 

The kind that I’ve been dreaming about for a long time.

And, coincidently, having a tough time sleeping because I’m so excited it’s finally here.

Four incredible families approached me many months ago and asked if they could help sponsor a fundraiser for Live Now. Of course I was thrilled.

THRILLED!

When we started Live Now, we took a HUGE step of faith. Honestly, it wasn’t even the timing we were praying and thinking about. We thought we would start it in a few years or start it and grow into it. But, that wasn’t an option, so we took a HUGE step of faith and launched out.

It’s been an exciting and humbling run so far. We are so honored that people have supported us, and Schools have partnered with us.

But, Live Now is only 7 months old and we wouldn’t be here without the sacrificial financial donations of individuals to help us accomplish our mission.

To help students and parents overcome bullying by

teaching them to treat each other with unprecedented amounts of kindness and respect.

We exist for Students of every age, Parents of every stage and Schools of every kind.

Join us tonight. 

It’s not too late. You’ll here what we’re about, why you should care about the bullying epidemic and how you be a partner with us!

We’re asking for a donation of $25 a ticket or $40 per couple and you can get those online or RSVP by emailing info@livenowleadership.com.

7:00pm at Buck’s Run (1559 South Chippewa Road, Mount Pleasant, MI 48858).

See you tonight!

 

 

The CEO of Panera Bread Wrote me Back

I love Panera Bread. From my first visit to just about every once since, I love all things Panera. 

Live Now is only 7 months old and we don’t have an office yet and I  use my a space in my basement and a booth at Panera Bread.

It’s really amazing how much time I have spent at Panera Bread over the years. From meeting with people, to writing, to working and just enjoying the atmosphere and food.

You can imagine my shock when I first moved to Mt Pleasant and there was no Panera Bread! Let’s just say I emailed corporate pretty regularly!

I thanked the CEO

Well, I decided to write the CEO of Panera and thank him for creating a great product and for giving me a space to work and create and write for Live Now.

 

I told him I was so thankful because his stores have given me a place to build Live Now, connect with educators and potential donors, write my book and content for our assemblies and workshops and all this without being bugged or asked to leave.

I never in a million years thought I would get a personal response…

BUT I DID! 

I thought for sure it would be a form letter, even if I got that. But, I got a personal card back from him and here is what it said…

Dear Jason,

Thank you for your very kind words about Panera and for relating your experiences in our cafes. Reading letters such as yours is the best part of my day!

I am thrilled that Panera has been a resource for you, not only for great food and service, but as an everyday oasis for you individually and for your Live Now Leadership organization. 

As the father of two adolescents, please accept my personal thank you for the important you do with respect to the bullying epidemic. 

Warm Regards, 

Ron

Well, it made my day! We live in a mean place and people hardly ever say thanks…hardly ever send hand written cards or even typed letters.

I want my life to be one focused on reminding the people I care about and the people I admire how much I’m thankful for them. 

My Weekend at SpringHill Camp

This past weekend I had the privilege of being the speaker for one of SpringHill’s junior retreats (that’s 4th-6th graders).

It really was a great weekend. GREAT weekend. God was all over that camp and I know He touched many students and adults hearts!

Loved being able to share some stories and the truth of God’s word!

Here are some highlights:

  • Meeting so many great students from around MI and IN.
  • Hanging out with FANTASTIC youth leaders! It was so refreshing and wonderful meeting so many adults who give their time to spend with kids.
  • Being a part of SpringHill’s programming was great! They did such an awesome job of reaching students where they are at.
  • Spending some time with SpringHill’s staff. Wow! Some absolutely great leaders with terrific hearts!
  • Praying with students and adults. I was honored and humbled that both students and adults approached me to pray with them.
  • Telling students about Jesus never gets old! My dream is to make Jesus famous and I love getting the opportunity to share from His word!

BD’s Mongolian BBQ + Youth Pastors + Bullying = Incredible

Ok, just to set the record straight, there was no bullying of or by youth pastors at BD’s! Hah! 

But, yesterday I had lunch with a tremendous group of Metro Detroit Youth Pastors at BD’s. We talked about Bullying, how Churches can support local schools and what we can do to get parents more involved.

I had asked a small group of youth pastors if they would take time out of their busy schedules and join me for lunch. I was so honored they came. I know the schedule of a youth pastor and they are constantly pulled in a hundred directions, so it was really cool they joined me.

Sitting around the table were leaders I’ve been friends with for a long time and some I’ve met in the last few years. And, almost everybody around the table had been in youth ministry longer than 10 years, a few 15 years and one…20 years! AMAZING!

Fantastic Conversation

We talked about bullying. I asked them about their thoughts on bullying. What they’re experiencing with their students and what they’re hearing from their students about bullying. I also asked them if the problem of bullying is as big as we see in the media.

That lead into a discussion on the extremely low self-esteem that we’ve seen in students and just how hard it is for this generation.

We also talked about how we as youth workers, can encourage and motivate our churches to get involved with our local schools. We talked about what our churches are currently doing and what we could do.

*I personally believe that the local church hasn’t even scratched the surface of how we can help schools! And, with more and more cuts made to schools, they’re desperately looking for help and the church can provide it. 

We finished the conversation by talking about parents. How we can encourage them to be more intentional in their parenting and be the ones teaching and modeling Jesus to their kids.

I’m still processing and going over my notes. The wisdom around the table was tremendous and it was an absolute blast for me. Especially since a bunch of us hung around afterwards and just talked ministry and life.

For my soul…it was an amazing time and it helped me greatly as I keep pursuing the calling God has given me to encourage the local church to bring hope to their communities!

 

 

One Gift Every Parent Should Give

I love to give my kids gifts. I really do. It’s so much fun. Gifts are one of my love languages, so I’m big on gifts! 

And, we’re coming up to the season of gifts. Yikes! I can’t even believe Christmas is less than 2 months away! How is that even possible?

But, in this season, it’s so easy to give our kids gifts that they really don’t need.

So, I have a suggestion. I have a very simple thought.

There is one gift that I believe every parent should give their kids.

The gift of Inclusion. 

Here’s what I mean…

I want to Include my kids.

I want to Include them with my time and my life.

I want them to know they are my life.

AND

I want to model Inclusion to them.

I want them to see me authentically and transparently including others.

I want them to know that it’s of utmost importance to me to reach out and accept others.

AND

I want to teach them how to Include others.

I want to teach them how to Include people that are easy and difficult to include.

I want to teach them to always be looking for ways they can be catalysts for Inclusion.