Monday, November 9, 2009

November Update

Happy November everyone! I know that November comes an anticipation for the Holiday season. We have Thanksgiving coming up, a holiday that gets forgotten in the midst of Christmas. I mean most retailers already have Christmas stuff out and its still 6 weeks away. November also brings cold weather for most people, unless you live in Florida where temperatures still reach the 90s! But it seems to be cooling off, so I am definitely looking forward to that.

November also brings the annual National Missionary Convention, this year being held in Peoria, IL. The NMC is a convention of different mission organizations from all over the world. It is from November 19th through the 22nd. I will be up there for part of that recruiting with NMSI and YouthHOPE. I’ll be meeting with some of you while I am there, but if you are going to be in the area I would love to catch up and get some coffee or lunch with you while I am there.

I also wanted to take this time to highlight some of the internships that YouthHOPE will be offering for the summer of 2010. We will be having 5 separate internships from all different parts of the world. The first will be in Myanmar, where will be following after their first national youth conference and some holistic youth development. The second will be in England where we will be doing relational youth ministry and helping to launch an alternative worship service. The third will be in Chile working on missions retreats and sharing in public schools. The fourth will be in Malawi working with agricultural community development and youth conferences. Finally, there will be one in Ft. Myers at the CGO where you can learn about short-term missions and global youth awareness projects. If any of those interest you or you know someone that would be interested, feel free to contact YouthHOPE at or call 239-337-4336 and ask for YouthHOPE.

Don’t forget about the Isaiah 61 youth conference that will be in Orlando on Jan. 22-23 at Journey Christian Church and in Boca Raton Feb. 12-13 at First Christian Church. More information can be found at If you guys are able to, I would strongly recommend you get some youth together to learn about clean water and what they can do to help people who have no clean water.

The last thing I wanted to bring up in this update is that I am hoping and praying to move down to Ft. Myers at the end of January after the conferences. I am excited to begin my ministry but also trusting in God’s timing and provision. In order to do that, I am looking for 100 friends, family or churches to support me at 25 dollars a month. I would ask you to pray and see if God has laid it on your heart to support me. I also ask for you prayers that God would raise people up to partner with me in ministry this way. Thank you and I look forward talking with you all about this. God Bless.


For everyone who is partnering with me prayerfully and financially.

For YouthHOPE being able to have all these internships all over the world

For the Isaiah 61 conference expanding to Boca Raton and Orlando

Prayer Requests:

For God to raise up more prayer and provisions partner with me so I can start my ministry at the end of January

For God to be in the planning of the Isaiah 61 conferences and that the eyes of youth would be open to the issues of unclean water

For myself and YouthHOPE to continually be seeking after the wisdom of God

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The NBA playoffs

So for those of you who don't know. . . I am a huge NBA fan! The season can be kind of long, but there are still plenty of great games and moments (like Devin Harris' half-court shot to beat Philly). But nothing compares to the playoffs, it's where anything can happen and where some of the best basketball is played. It's where stars are born and you find out who the best of the best is. It also brings you great series like Bos-Chi and Phi-Orl. The Phi-Orl series saw 3 buzzer-beaters in six games. There were some great games, but they were overshadowed by the better series: Bos-Chi. 
Seven overtimes (OT) in Seven games. One game went into double overtime and another into triple overtime. That's 35 extra minutes of play, almost making it an 8 game series, I just wanted them to keep playing, make it like a best of 20 series. That's how great each game was. Game 1 saw Derrick Rose, a rookie who wasn't supposed to have a good series, rip the Celtics for 36 points and 11 assists on route to a game 1 victory for Chicago in OT. The next game saw Ray Allen come alive and drain a 3 with 2 seconds left for a Boston win. Game 4 saw 2 OTs with Allen making a shot to force OT and Gordon making one to force double-OT. The bulls prevailed and the series was tied 2-2. Game 5 had just one OT where Paul Pierce took over as Boston took a 3-2 series lead. Oh and by the way, a guy I haven't mentioned, Rajon Rondo, is averaging a triple-double for this series, something only four other players have done (Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Oscar Robertson). Then we come to Game 6, which gave us 3-OTs and possibly the greatest first round game ever. There are too many big shots to name, so I'll just go over some stats: Allen had 51 points, Rondo had 19 assists and ZERO turnovers. Rose had an 28 points-8 rebounds- 7 assist night. John Salmons had 35 points and Joakim Noah (who I have never been a fan of) stole the ball from Paul Pierce for a breakaway  dunk and foul that essentially won the game for Chicago. Game 7 saw Boston prevail, all in all this turned into one of the best series ever. I loved watching every minute of it. 

And that is why I love the NBA playoffs, because of series like those. Hopefully it will be exciting the rest of the way through.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

So I know I haven't blogged in awhile so I thought I would update with some random thoughts I have had the past few days. . .

I am listening to Jeremy Camp's "There will be a day" . . . It gives me hope and encouragement to get through tough days when I know what the finish line will look like . . . check out this story on CNN: . . . it makes me sad, grateful and humbled that I am blessed to live in a place where I won't die because of my beliefs . . . I pray for those who lost loved ones and I pray for the extremists that killed them . . . I pray for a Saul moment for them, that God would show them The Way . . . I pray that good would come out of this tragedy . . . I am up way later than I should be . . . Support raising has been discouraging of late, which has made me want to give up (if I am honest with myself) but I won't . . . that would be the easy way out and I am tired of taking the easy way out . . . the more I am in Orlando, the more I know my heart and call is in Ft. Myers . . . which doesn't make leaving Orlando any easier . . . I love the NBA playoffs, it's the best part of the year . . . when Isiah (my oldest nephew) is old enough to drive, I'll be 30 . . . that's scary . . . He'll be playing football and baseball in high school by then, which will be cool . . . he's a good kid (along with his younger brother) and I wish my sister would see that more often . . . I love lamp . . . I don't have a high value of myself . . . I'm working on changing that . . . one of my favorite shows is Real World/Road Rules challenges . . . it's like watching a train wreck . . . you can't stop watching it to see what happens next . . . I miss dad . . . I am excited for what the rest of the year holds for me . . . I think it will be great . . . I hope Kris Allen wins American Idol and Melissa and Tony win DWTS . . . I think I should go to bed now . . . have a wonderful night!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Greetings from Bulgaria

So I have been traveling a lot these past two months. When I return from Bulgaria at the end of the week, I will have been gone 29 days out of the 59 days in February and March! That is crazy to me! If you told me I would be in Bulgaria this time last year, I would have said that you are crazy! But here I am. . . and I love it. It has been really hard and really encouraging to be here. I have struggled trying to figure out my job and how it looks like on the field, but it has been filled with things that have been very encouraging and good about how my job looks. Oh it is also cool that we got to stay a day in London on the way here and back. So all in all this have been a great trip and I look forward to telling  you all about it soon. I am right where God wants me to be. That is awesome!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

So it is time once again for the best festivities of the year. . . the NBA All-star weekend! This is my favorite weekend of the year, and as I get ready to watch the second half of the all-star game (72-67 West) and thought I would recap the weekend. First of all, I will say that while this was a good all-star weekend, it was a step down fro the past two. Two years ago it was in Vegas, which was a place it had never been before, and it was fun. The dunk contest became relevant again, and the other contests were good as well. Dwayne Wade lit up the skills competition.

Last year it was in New Orleans, the first time since Katrina hit, so everyone stepped up their game some. The skills contest featured amazing guards like Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Dwayne Wade and champion Deron Williams. Jason Kapono, last year's champ, put on a clinic shooting 3s, he just destroyed the competition and has one of the best shots in the league. The all-star game was great too, but the highlight was the Slam dunk competition. Dwight Howard was absolutely amazing! Look up his superman dunk, among others. The best dunk contest of this decade, even better than the 2000 competition with Vince Cater.

So now onto the highlights of this year's competition. Kevin Durant dominated the Rookie Sophomore game this year. He also was great in the HORSE tournament. Everything else was down this year. The Slam dunk contest was good, but not great. Howard had some good dunks, but the dunk of the night belonged to Nate Robinson.

And as I finish the score in the 4th quarter is 124-108 West, so all in all it was a good All-star weekend, but not great. Still love it though.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CNN Report

So I recently watched a video on CNN tonight and it really upset me. Watch it and let me know how you feel. I mean seriously?? How can this happen?? I suspect that Saudi Arabia is not the only country doing this, just the one that got covered. I would love your opinions on this. Thanks.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Greetings from DC!

Hello my friends. I hope you are all having a good day and have a wonderful weekend planned, whether that be relaxing or full of fun activities. I am currently residing in one of my favorite cities, Washington DC. Maybe its because I love history, but you can not beat DC or Boston, there is just too much history to ignore. I am visiting the city tomorrow with my good friend Andy, so I am excited about that. I have been here 5 times now, and each time I have found something new to enjoy. Plus I love seeing Andy and Janet, so it's a win-win for me. 

However, this is not the only reason I am here. I also am visiting with two churches and a few friends for support while I am here. I'll be honest and say that support raising is stressing me out, and I am wondering about what the future holds. I decided tonight, after freaking out for the last couple of days, that this is all in God's plan and that I need to prepare the field, aka continue on the support trail, and trust that God is going to do what he has planned to do. I'm going to stop complaining to God and start trusting him more. I'm going to trust in the plan he has for me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What a game

Some observations from the most amazing Super Bowl ever. I would probably actually say this was 1a and last year's Super Bowl as 1b. Both were phenomenal. 

I feel bad for Kurt Warner. He has been in three Amazing Super Bowls (2000 against the Titans, 2002 against the Patriots and this one) and come out on the losing end despite three amazing performances by him. The guy is a stud and Hall of Famer. 

The Cardinals did not lose this game. The Steelers won it. I was actually hoping for OT, but that catch by Santonio Holmes was amazing. Once again 1a while David Tyree's catch is 1b.

If the Steelers would have lost this game, it would be because they choked AND lost their composure in the 4th quarter. They had I believe two personal fouls (one by harrison that didn't amount to much because the ball was downed at the one) and a holding in the end zone. Plus their #1 defense suddenly forgot how to play and allowed the Cardinals to light them up. But none of that matters now because they won.

The Cardinals defense is for real. I think this was their coming out party. They bended but did not break (with the exception of the Holmes catch) and allowed the Cardinals to stay in the game. 

Harrison's 100-yd INT return was amazing, yet it was only the third best play of the game. That's how awesome this game was. Oh and the Cardinal Offense needs to learn how to tackle. There is no way Harrison should have gotten a TD, but it was still amazing.

While I hate the fact that the Steelers won, I am happy that another black coach won a Super Bowl. Kudos to Mike Tomlin. I hope this does two things: 
1. It aspires more black players to become coaches and gets rid of the Rooney rule because GMs realize that by passing on talented black coaches they might be missing out on the next Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, or Lovie Smith. 
2. That the myth that black people can't coach is finally squashed. I still think it is a travesty that College Football has such a low number of black coaches. Seriously?? Get out of the stone age. At least the NFL has dispelled that myth somewhat.

The Office tonight was amazing! The opening scene was probably one of the funniest scenes ever!

My Super Bowl pick for next season: Browns vs. Cardinals. You heard it hear first :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hello my name is Josh and I am a monster (or at least I have the tendency to be) pt. 2

So I realized that my original post was way too long, so I broke it up into two parts.

The last point I will bring up (there are so many more, enough to do a thesis on it) is that the ones that we hate, our "enemies" who have done atrocious and despicable acts against other human beings, are HUMAN and even HUMANE, in their own sort of way. You see we want our villains to be crazy pschyopaths so we can box them into a category and make ourselves feel better, knowing there is no way we can be like that. But the truth is that most villains are actually of a sound mind. They have completely plausible explanations for doing what they do that make just as much sense as the explanations we have for opposing them. In fact, if we listened to their reasons, we might even be swayed to their side.

They are also humane and have feelings, they are not cold-blooded killers with no conscience or morals. Some of the soldiers at Auschwitz, even though they killed countless numbers of Jews, saved some out of some sense of morals, otherwise Jews would be completely exterminated now. Those soldiers are not so different from the soldiers of the Indian war, or from the policemen who murdered and beat up blacks because of their color. I quote for Merton: "Given the right situation and another Hitler, places like Auschwitz can be set up, put into action, kept running smoothly, with thousands of people systematically starved, beaten, gassed and whole crematories going full blast. . . They will be glad because they instinctively welcome and submit to an ideology which enables them to be violent and destructive without guilt."

I say all this to say that I think the main point of Merton's book is to hate the atrocities, hate injustice, hate greed, hate the monsters of this world, but hate them in yourself, not in one another. That is why I am coming to grips with the fact that I am a monster. That, while I don't think I could systematically kill thousands of people (but who knows?), I can sit by and do nothing which would make me no better than their executioners. That until I confront the monsters in my soul, it will be impossible for me to begin to bring peace to this world. That without Christ, my life could have been just like the ones whom I have come to call "my enemy." 

Thanks for reading.

Hello my name is Josh and I am a monster (or at least I have the tendency to be)

So I just got done reading Thomas Merton's "Passion for Peace" which was an inspiring book to read. It was one of those books, that when you get done reading, you ask "What do I do now?" You can't just go on living like you never read it, and you can't not do anything, because that would be a great injustice. So I decided to read off some of the points that I got out of it. Here it goes.

The Root of all war is Fear. We fight and destroy each other because we fear one another and ourselves. We can not trust ourselves, so how can we trust one another? For if we don't strike first, we just give the other person the opening they need to destroy us. The reality is that neither one wants to destroy the other, but fear makes us think we have no other choice.

As Christians, we should be on the front line calling for the abolition of war. This is not some crazy unattainable ideal, but if we take Christ's words literally about "loving our enemy" and "praying for those who persecute you" then we realize that war is never an option.

Nonviolence does not mean passivity. Just because we are out killing or destroying other people does not mean we sit idly by while everyone else does it. That would in no way be Christ-like. In fact, I think we encourage violence by our own inactivity. Look at the Danish resistance to Hitler during World War II. They chose to hide Jews and refused to trade with Germany and resisted any attempt by Germans to remove Jews from Denmark. They did not wage war with Hitler or cry out that all Germans must be killed. Rather they stood up for what they knew was right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whacky Computer

So my computer has been on the fritz for the last week or two, so my ability to be online has been minimal at best. This has not been a entirely bad thing. I have read more (hoping that continues even though my comp. is better), I have been able to access all my docs and calendar, so I have been able to set up meetings for support raising. So maybe not having constant internet access is a good thing after all, even though I am glad to have my computer back up and running. In light of that, I thought I would put some of the random thoughts that have gone through my head this past week.

-God has blessed me so much since I started support raising. I have had some great conversations that have been encouraging and have allowed me to expand my network. I really don't know what I did to deserve God's favor, but I hope and pray that it continues. Even if it doesn't. . .God is good. :)

-I am starting to understand that the abolition of war is not some crazy idea that nice to think about but can never happen. I believe it can and will happen. It has to begin with me though, and I constantly have to choose peace over war and nonviolence over violence everyday or else it will not work. Call me crazy, but I think it can happen.

-Willis McGahee has the worst luck when it comes to championship games. Seriously, the guy breaks his legs during the BCS championship game in 2002. He tore his ACL, PCL and MCL in his left knee. It was so bad that people thought he would never play football again, but he did. Then this past Sunday, during the AFC championship game, he gets hit so hard that he is knocked unconscious and has to be carted off the field. It turns out that it looks like he is going to be fine. This guy must have nine lives or something.

-The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. Wow. Here's hoping they win.

Until next time. . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tony Dungy

So I have never been one to get too emotional when coaches leave or retire because their legacy was on the field and they probably did some good things, but nothing to get choked up about. But Tony Dungy was different. He left his mark on the field, turning around a dreadful Tampa Bay franchise and leading Indy to a Super Bowl. Oh and he is the only black coach to ever win a super bowl. That should speak volumes to everyone: it doesn't matter what color your skin is, but who you are inside of you. He also earned the respect of his player by his quiet yet firm demeanor and his genuine care for his player.

But that is not what defines Tony Dungy. What defines him is what he did off the field, and that is what makes him different. He has never been bashful about his faith, but he never tried to impose it on people. I honestly think he lives out the Gospel everyday, because he loves people genuinely and without a hint of condemnation. When his son committed suicide in 2005. He spoke about how, even though he was still grieving, all the good that had come from it. All the people whose lives had been changed because of this horrific event. He said: “Why does God allow pain in our life?” Dungy asked in his emotionally charged speech. “Because we’re loved by God and the pain allows us to head back to our Father.”

Tony Dungy retired from football, at the age of 53, so he could spend more time with his family and work with troubled and at-risk youth. He's going to work with youth in prison. He's going to try to be a father figure to them, because most of them have none. He's doing what Jesus wants him to do, and that is what makes him different. His legacy will go far beyond the football field, even if its not covered in the papers. Because Tony Dungy will be helping the least of these, and that is what makes him different from other people in this world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Reading List

So, in light of my friend Ryan's post about some of the music he is currently listening to, I decided to make a monthly reading list to let you in on the books that I am currently reading. Since I am not a fast reader, I wanted to do it monthly so that its not the same books every week and also to keep me accountable on reading because I don't want to be writing six months later and still be reading the same books. So without further ado here are the books I am currently reading:

The Bible - This one will be a constant on my list, but since I'm not reading the whole bible every month, the books I am currently reading through are Galatians, John, and Amos.

Passion for Peace, Thomas Merton - This is a very profound book about how to live out a non-violent and peaceful life in a violent world. Merton also calls for all Christians to call for abolition of war. I'm sure I'll talk about this issue in another post, but I am loving the book so far.

Check all that Apply, Sundee Tucker Frazier - This is a book about finding wholeness as a multiracial person. Mrs. Frazier is a multiracial person, and she talks about her struggles of feeling like she has to choose a side when in fact she is both and should not have to choose. I have two multiracial nephews, so I thought it was a good book to read.

The Inner Voice of Love, Herni J.M. Nouwen - This book will also be a regular for a while. It's a book compiled of Nouwen's journal entries during a time in his life when he doubted everything: his belief in others, himself and God. But even during that time, he wrote in his journal every day. This is not a book to read through, but to read a journal entry a day, so that is what I am doing with it.

As I read through these books, I will most likely write my thoughts on these books. Also, if you have any books you would like to recommend, please tell me about it. Also I love Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, so those books will be on here a lot.

Until next time. . . 

Friday, January 2, 2009

Memories of COAT

So as some of you know, I recently got done running a fireworks stand over the New Years. I have been doing this for the last few years, but mostly just being a night watchman. However this year I ran the tent in the day AND night. It was like I was camping for six days, except it was in an Albertsons parking lot not the woods. Why would I do this? So I can make 750 dollars and have money for bills next month. I did this so I could focus on support raising and not have to worry about a job for the time being. 

So I said in my last post that I would blog about some of my experiences with them. So here it goes.

Ryan aka Roomie: I roomed with Ryan during COAT and I could not have asked for a better roommate. We had shared some of our struggles during the first part of COAT, and formed a bond from that. Ryan was someone that was easy to talk to and someone I felt very comfortable around. I look forward to working with him in the CGO and strengthening our friendship.

Kristy and Lena: These girls were like sisters to me. They were great people to be around and both of them always brought a smile to my face every time I saw them. It was a blessing to get to know them over the past few months and I am excited to be working with Kristy in the CGO.

The Inchausteguis: This family was such a blessing to have in my life, I love their kids Isaac, Kaleb and Isabel and they are wonderful people who will do great work in Mexico.

Katie: I really enjoyed getting to know Katie and realizing her passion for babies and Neonatal care. Katie was the only girl who consistently showed up to Applebee's every Monday night and who wasn't afraid of random trips, such as to Miami to see Coldplay, which I heard was awesome; or to Tampa to see the ACC championship game, which was not so awesome. I am really excited for the ministry she will be doing in Kenya and excited for how God will use her.

Amy: Amy was the only person that I had heard of before coming to COAT. We have multiple friends in common and I had been told how great Amy was. She didn't disappoint and it was a blessing to get to know the person I had heard so much about. She is truly an amazing woman of God.

There are so many more that I could talk about, like the Millers, the Johnsons, Jessica, Angie, Elaine (who is tons of fun to be around), Sarah, Jenni, Paul and of course our fearless leaders Matt and Dan and of course all the people who work with NMSI that I could fill up a book with talking about, but I will leave you with that. COAT was such a blessing because of the people I have met and known. 

Until next time. . .