Friday, 30 July 2010

My Wonderful Job

As some of you may know, for the past year and a half or so, I've been working in a local Christian bookstore and I really enjoy my job. This past month though, we've worked hard on making some significant changes. We have repainted, replaced the not-so-pretty hardwood with a nice carpet, got all new shelving and a ton of new products. It looks sharp, to say the least. It has meant a lot of hard work and things looking a lot worse before they looked better, but tomorrow morning we reopen for our first day as a new store and a new name.

I used to love being able to say I worked in a Christian bookstore. But we're not a bookstore anymore. We're now a family store. Our focus is to promote traditional values, faith, family and healthy relationships. So we now carry more products to promote that and bring families together.

It has been so much fun bringing all the things together and digging into boxes upon boxes of wonderful new stuff. We have a ton educational games, toys and other cool children's stuff. And although we're moving back a little on books, we've gotten some neat new lines of children's books as well as classics. We're now proud retailers of Yankee candles, and with their wonderful scents the store will never grow stale. We also carry four awesome line of natural bath and body products. Oh, and did I already mention that we have all kinds of fun, old-fashioned candy?

So, I work in a store that sells books, Bibles, music, greeting cards, giftware, bath and body, toys, games, candy and we also have DVD rentals. I'm probably forgetting about something, but then I could be here forever. Sometimes when I think about it, it seems so random, but I love it.

Our grand opening is tomorrow and I'm definitely looking forward to it. The hard work is so worth it. Also, check us out on Facebook under Returning Home.

Until next time, God bless!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Living Out Our Faith Here

As a young person, my mind has often been full of dreams. Some of them can get a little wild, crazy and unrealistic and we can be thankful they will likely never happen. But then all of a sudden one day, a dream comes along and grows as the desire grows stronger, and for once it actually seems to be within reach. No, it doesn't necessarily make sense but it appears very possible, and now suddenly I'm filled with fears.

As I've been thinking about what I want to do with my life and the places I want to go, I've been struck with an interesting challenge. I mean, if your dream is to go be a missionary in some third world country and you're willing to go, that's great, right? Isn't it wonderful that many young people want to go out and serve the Lord and other people? It would certainly seem so.

But what if that young person fails to live out their faith on the home front? What if that young person fails to put into practice and apply the knowledge he or she already has? Going to a great Bible school or to the mission field is great, but if you're not living things out right where you are, I can't help but wonder what's the point? I'm speaking of myself.

Now, I don't want to be negative here. Please don't get that impression. But as I've been dreaming, I've come to realize one thing. I've read so many great books on Christian living, heard so much great teaching and learned so much, but it seems that it all remains head knowledge. I'm failing to apply the principles and live out what I'm learning where I am. Until I can do that, would I be effective or would it even be beneficial to shoot for something else?

The truth is, we have a mission field all around us. And truth be told, a lot us, myself on top of the list, are being really lazy missionaries. We take in so much head knowledge and can enthusiastically utter all the Amens! and Preach-it-brothers! but our lives display little of what we so heartily agree with or believe in. We can say "Yes, the world is dying and going to hell. Yes, they need to hear the Gospel. Yes, somebody needs to go tell them about Jesus, etc. Oh, now look at the time. I have so much to do yet at home. See you Sunday!"

We don't need to go anywhere else to share the Gospel. There are people all around us who are hurting and have yet to hear and see a true demonstration of God's love. Even just in our own homes, do we demonstrate the love of Christ, or are we just another person who goes to church?

I must admit that I can be very shy and hate approaching new people, especially to share the Gospel. I'm a fan of my security and I like to stay where it's safe. I can't stand not knowing things and want to be sure that everything is going to work out all right in all circumstances. Now, if I'm like this at home, how am I possibly going to react somewhere else? I have to learn here to put my security in God, not my circumstances.

This is what I'm being convicted of lately. Yes, I have dreams that are absolutely wonderful, but can I first live out my faith right where I am? Can I first be faithful where God has placed me right now? Can I demonstrate God's love and share it with those whom I encounter on a daily basis? Can I trust God with all the details of my life, no matter what happens? Until I can do those things, would I really be ready to take my faith anywhere else?

That last question there is certainly open for reader opinions and comments. I'm not sure if there is a definite yes or no answer to my questions. What do you guys think of the matter? Are you living it out here?

Monday, 12 July 2010

Serving Behind the Scenes

Do you ever think about what all goes on "behind the scenes"? It's easy to be unaware of what goes on there, since we can't see it. And the people who are quietly serving there are easily forgotten.

I was reminded of this last week after the passing of the mother of a very influential family. I realized that if it hadn't been for this mother, her sons may not have had the impact on the many lives they do today. It's easy to forget the mothers who cared for and nurtured her children into the men and women they are today. It's easy to forget the tireless hours of serving, listening, praying and offering counsel that aren't recognized and appreciated enough. Do you realize that if it wasn't for those efforts, the men and women who we so admire may never have come to be who they are?

Who else do you know that serves quietly and often lacks notice? There are so many Christians out there who faithfully serve behind the scenes and they never receive any praise or recognition for the work they do. Sometimes, their tasks may seem menial, but they are essential to hold everything else together.

I know that often I fail to appreciate the people who have had a significant effect on my life. Sometimes we have a serious misconception about the work that people do. How often do you sit in your church on a Sunday morning with the mindset that all your pastor ever does is sit in his study and prepare sermons? The truth is, that pastor does so much more to keep things in the church running smoothly. There are events throughout the week, people to counsel, meetings, not to mention a family to be a husband and father to. The demands on the pastor couple can certainly not always be easy.

Now my question is, do you pray for and support those people who serve behind the scenes or spend a significant amount of time pouring into your life? Do you express your gratitude and offer your support? Do you realize that behind the people who have a greatest influence on your life are mothers, fathers, mentors, teachers, pastors, people that listened, prayed and offered encouragement? None of them got to where they are alone. There's always people who served quietly behind the scenes shaping them into the godly men and women they are.

You may be one of those who doesn't like serving behind the scenes. Sometimes it's boring and it doesn't seem all that important. Nobody recognize the efforts you put in and you wonder if it's even worth it. My encouragement to you is to be faithful in those little things. The work you do is important, even if it's as small as washing the dishes for your mom. Take the time to pray for and encourage those who spend time pouring into your life. It's the least you can do.

It's easy to get discouraged, but do not grow weary in well-doing. In due time, you will be rewarded.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

DVD Review

Okay, so for the record, I don't watch too many movies. That's largely due to the difficulty of finding good wholesome Christian films, and just that I don't spend a whole lot of time sitting down to watch something. But there are some that I would quickly recommend and am totally ready to watch again and here's my review of some of those.

A Greater Yes is a great Rebelutionary film. It's the true story of Amy Newhouse, a high school girl who seeks to reach out to those around her, befriends the friendless and even begins a prayer meeting in her school. When she is diagnosed with cancer, she doesn't allow her failing health to stop her from reaching out. This is a must see, and definitely something teenagers can relate to.

Come What May is a movie that makes me smile just thinking about it, even if it is a homeschool production. When Caleb Hogan wants to transfer to Patrick Henry College, his ability to continue his education there rests in whether or not he wins the Moot Court Championship. The case is abortion-related and he has to come to an agreement with his partner Rachel on how to make the argument. Will he choose to do what's right and risk having to leave PHC, or succumb to the pressure of the more popular argument? It's a movie that deals with many things, including guy-girl relationships, and is definitely worth seeing.

Faith Like Potatoes is the biographical film of Angus Buchan, a South African farmer and evangelist. After coming to know Christ, he takes giant leaps of faith and sees God do some incredible miracles. The movie was well done and accurate, but if you prefer reading, the book is fantastic too.

Gifted Hands is another biographical film about Dr. Ben Carson, an American neurosurgeon. It follows Ben's life, starting as a child in school as he struggled to pass his classes and deal with racism in a white community, and how, through the inspiration and encouragement of his mother he moved on to study at Yale University and become an accomplished surgeon. He was the first doctor to successfully separate conjoined twins who were attached at the head. He's a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church and has also authored several books.

Amazing Grace is also a movie I have watched several times. And running with the biographical theme, this one is about William Wilberforce, as well as a little about John Newton. It follows Wilberforce's journey to abolish the British slave trade and the many challenges he faced along the way. It's an inspirational movie that you can't watch without wanting to do something about slavery today, which to many people's shock, is still happening in larger numbers than in Wilberforce's time.

Now, since I'm always short on ideas, what would you like to see me blog about?