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http://www.OneDayWithoutShoes.com

Today was an interesting day. I participated in TOMS shoes, OneDayWithoutShoes campagne. The objective behind this was to raise awareness to how different life is when you don’t have access to footwear. I went the entire day without shoes. I did not want to just stay around the house, I wanted to get out and see how things would be different.

I started my day with a trip to a clothing store. They know me in this store, so I was not a stranger. But after entering without shoes, I was looked at strangely. I offered to explain it to the two employees in an attempt to meet the goal of raising awareness. They found it interesting and supported letting me continue to shop barefoot. They did not however, join me in the fun. After spending some time walking around the store, the carpet was clean and soft, not a big issue. Trying on clothes was easier, no footwear to deal with. As I paid for my items, the lady at the register applauded my efforts and wished me well. As I was walking across the parking lot, the cool air of the day chilled my feet, I thought of how cold your feet would be in the winter, snow and ice. Continuing my walk to the truck, I felt stones and other debris on the soles of my feet.

My next stop was McDonalds. My initial thought was, Drive-thru. But, what would I learn from that. So I opted to go in. I was a bit hesitate at first, thinking that I would be asked to leave. But much to my surprise, nothing was said. The tile was cold, kinda sticky from spilled soda and whatever. I thought about how spending everyday barefoot would result in some very strange sensations as you walk thru the muck. Surfaces become slippery and the risk of falling increases. I received my order, and took it to go. At this point, my feet are getting a little sore. The pebbles and rocks on the sidewalks and parking lots really take a toll.

The next stop was at church. Nothing too out of the ordinary there. I was greeted by other barefoot’d people. We shared some stories about how the day was going and the experiences that they have had. Spending most of the afternoon there in the carpeted church was not so bad, we were productive, had band practice as scheduled. Was given the chance to share the cause with some people who were unaware of why I was barefoot.

After a busy evening at church, I headed home. One last stop to make. I needed fuel in the truck. I once again, opted to pay inside rather than pay-at-the-pump. Much like McDonalds, the tile was cold, kinda wet or sticky in various places. The clerk was unconcerned with my shoe status.

So, in conclusion. I am glad I participated. My feet are a bit sore and very dirty but it gave me a new perspective on just another blessing that we often take for granted. I am grateful for the things that God provides in my life.

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It’s that time of year again, Easter. A time of sorrow, a time of remembrance, a time of rejoice. As this “holiday” draws near we begin to study and tell the story of Christ death and resurrection. But the story of Christ death is more than just a story, it’s a promise.  This promise starts with Gods son, sent from heaven to be born of a virgin. (Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”). From this very beginning God had a plan.

Christ death was not special in the manner that he died, or the manner that he was buried, but what made Christ death special was that he died for us, a sinless man, paying our debt out of his unconditional love for us (Romans 5:8 ” but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”)

After Christ death, he was placed in a tomb. But in Matthew 12 we are given a promise that he would rise again, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

In Mark 16, the promise continues, when 3 days had passed, Mary Magdalene and others had gone to the tomb to anoint him, “And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here…”

Jesus had risen again as promised, and returned to the right hand of the father, where he prepares a place for us, and will return again to take us to be with him in the heavens. Mark 13:32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”

So, Easter to me is more than a story, its a wonderful promise. I love reading the Easter story. And being reminded of Gods unconditional love for us and how he paid a debt that he did not owe, for a debt I could never pay. I hope that you can take the time to really think about Easter and not get wrapped up in the “hallmark-ness” of it.

I helped move a disabled elderly lady today into the county retirement center. We did not know her. We’ll probably never see her again. But the representative from the county had called 5 other churches. All giving the answer of no. No? Unwilling to help?! God says to help the poor and those in need. How could 5 churches be so inwardly focused that they could not give a few hours of their day to help this lady.

She lived right here in my town of Franklin. After walking thru the door, you would think we were in the slums of New York or something. It’s not often we think about the poor and sick. When you think of missions and helping the less fortunate, you often think distance, places like  mexico or 3rd world countries.  But, when right under our noses, people are hurting, people are in need. If one person helps one person, then we could make a difference.

It really bothers me that this poor woman was living in pure filth, with bugs and insects all over the place, so close to my home. Unable to care for herself, she had to live in the conditions that she did. Forgotten by many.

It was very humbling to put things into perspective. I thank God for the things that he has blessed me with. I was glad that I was available to help this lady move some things. Most of her stuff was so dirty and bug filled that its being left for the landlord to throw out.

So my question is, How can we change someones life today?  How can we reach the world in our own community?

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:37-39

This was her bedroom. This is the condition that she lived in. The picture really does not do it justice. This picture does not show all the bugs, the rotten food, the smell.

Her Bedroom

Her Bedroom

Lord, Thank you for the blessings that you have provided in my life, help me to keep an open heart for those less fortunate. Help me to keep a passion for your work and serving those in need. Bless this lady in her new home. I pray that she can live a better life today than she was yesterday. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to show her your love. Amen

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Well….. We knew this day would come. Our final day in this paradise. We have had a great time and don’t want to leave but at the same time it will be nice to be home. So, being the last day we did not make a whole lot of plans. We slept in just a little bit. Spent most of the morning getting packed up. As we were packing we both came to the realization that we needed more baggage to get everything home. LOL So we packed what we could then headed out to buy some small duffel bags to pack the last few things in. Found some great small bags that said Hawaii on them. Perfect. After getting the rest of the stuff packed up we went to check out. Check out was suppose to to be at 1pm and they were going to lock our bags up with the bell hops till we were ready to go. Our flight did not leave till 10:50pm. When the lady at the desk found out that we still had the whole day in town she gave us our room till 8pm. The shuttle was coming to get us for the airport at 8:10pm. So everyone was really nice there and took care of us pretty well. After getting the hotel thing straightened out we hopped on the trolley. Showing our room key allowed us to ride the trolley for free. We went to the Ala mona Shopping center. This is one BIG mall. They had every big name store you could think of. Nordstroms,Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Coach, Prada, the list goes on and on. Here we visited our second Apple store on the island :0). As we were in the Apple store, we met up with Roz Savage. A great woman doing amazing things to draw attention to the pollution that we dump in the oceans each day. She is about to leave on her second leg of rowing across the Pacific Ocean. Visit her site for more details. It was really great to meet her at last and buy her a cup of coffee. She did not have a whole lot of time so I did not get a lot of her time but I understand.

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After a bit more shopping we headed back towards Waikiki. There we spent a couple hours on the beach. The water and sand felt great. The beach was crowded but no one seemed to care. It was Waikiki after all! Was hard to say good bye. Our flight was drawing near. Time for one last vacation style meal. We had spent the entire week being sure to only eat at places that we could not eat at home. So this last meal was no different. We ate at the Rock Island Cafe.

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It was like a Johnny Rockets sort of place. An old ’50’s diner kinda place. Had the walls covered in old records and things of the past. The food here was great. After checking out of the room, the shuttle bus showed up. We were the only scheduled pick ups. So they sent this huge bus just to pick up the two of us. Goodbye Hawaii, Maholo for the memories. They will not be forgotten!

Aloha A hui huo!

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Today we took a circle island tour. It started early with shuttle pickup at 8:30am. The shuttle took us ALL the way around the island of Oahu. From top to bottom and side to side. We got to stop and see and photograph a lot of great things. Had a great lunch at a shrimp place that raises the shrimp and cooks them live. They were as fresh as fresh could be. It was great to have a tour guide to take us to all the sites that we wanted to see. Saved us from having to find these things on our own. After we made it back we ordered pizza to our room and have been editing pictures from the week. Here are a few from today. Above is from the north shore. Below is some surfers on north shore.

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Below is Hanauma Bay. One the islands most visited spots. The snorkeling here is famous.

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Aloha!

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Today was a relaxed day. We slept in a bit. Had some lunch. Did a little shopping. Then we headed out for our luau. We went to Germaine’s Luau. It was really nice. The show starts from the min you get on the bus that picks you up. There was a tour guide (Holly) who keeps you entertained the entire drive to help you not notice how long your on the shuttle. It was a very large, very nice tour bus. Was a comfy ride. After arriving at the site of the Luau we watched the torch lighting ceremony followed by the emu uncovering. A emu is the underground oven that they cook the pig in. As soon as they took the cover off and began removing the large leaves that were covering the pig you could smell this wonderful meaty smell.

After the meat was pulled from the emu it was time to hit the buffet. They had all kinds of great foods to choose from. It was all very good.

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Then it was time for the show. It was a great show that was well rehearsed. They really made you have a good time and made sure you were comfortable the entire night. After the show we loaded back on the buses where the show continued with Holly again. She gave a few prizes away and did a few dances for us. We had a great time over all.

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After getting off the shuttle we stood for about 20 Min’s and watched a street performer do some neat spray painting. Then it was off to bed. A great day.

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Aloha!

Today’s conference schedule did not start till 2:30pm. So that allowed us to sleep in a little and enjoy the morning. We then headed out for lunch and a little shopping. We had lunch at Smorgy’s buffet again. Was good! After lunch and a little shopping we came back to the room for a little rest before the conference.

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The conference schedule today revolved around tonight’s church service. We were taken there early enough to see the practice and take a back stage tour of production and equipment setups. It was pretty cool to see how a mobile church uses so much tech and stays mobile.

After the tour we went in and enjoyed the service. The message was brought to us by Craig Groeschel from Lifechurch.tv and he rocked it out! He is a great preacher and a comedian to boot :0). After service they had a final meal prepared for us. We had Hula Hula Chicken with rice, a roll, corn on the cob and a small Hawaiian cookie called Lili’u which is made out of passion fruit.

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Then it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and head back to the hotel. We have made some great new friends here at New Hope. Hope to maybe get to come back here and see them again someday.

Aloha!