Thursday, July 26, 2012

I have it all wrong (some reflections on my Africa trip)

It's been a while since I have lasted blogged, my bad.  I wanted to get some of my thoughts on paper because they have been bouncing in my head over the past 3-4 days and I don't think I can continue to keep them in.   
I recently returned from a trip that I took to Rwanda, Africa.   I was there for about 10 days and worked with a ministry called Africa New Life.  (  It is a ministry that focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty in Rwanda through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and through compassion works of education, food, clothes, and other basic needs.  It is a solid ministry that is transforming the country of Rwanda one person at a time.   I really respected the ministry for different reasons, I guess that might be another blog post four months down the road.  :)
The trip was great,  I got to love on some kids, made some awesome friends from Portland, and I realized I need more Lime Fanta in my life.  God showed up in big and small ways and I feel our team was blessed in many different ways. 
One thought that couldn't escape me was my observation of the Rwandans faith.  It was so simple yet powerful.  They actually took the Word of God at face value and believe it.   I have read about God's promises and character over and over in the bible, and yet I continue to doubt, worry, and wonder.  I envied their faith.  I envied their desperation for more of God.  I kept thinking to myself I want a faith like that.  What was stopping me from having it...

It wasn't even a full day in America when it hit me... I have it all wrong!!!!  When I was on this trip, I kept feeling sorry for the Rwandan people.   I felt bad that they didn't have any running water,  I felt bad they had to live in dirt floors, I felt bad because the church or the country of Rwanda didn't have all the resources, luxuries, and money we have here in America.   Yet, the whole trip I kept running into believers and locals who were experiencing joy, happiness, and contentment that I have not seen in America.   The resources, luxuries, and money we have here in America do not produce as much spiritual fruit as just the simple all out desperation for God.  I know this to be true because I am experiencing it right now. 

My worldview is changing thanks to this trip.  The way I live in America is totally in the minority with how the rest of the world lives.  The Lord is showing me how to simplify my life.  He is slowly stripping away desires and passions I had in the past for things of this world and helping me see the true beauty in a simple powerful faith.   Just because I have all the resources in the world doesn't mean my faith will grow anymore. 

Bottom line is that I want a passion and hunger for God that comes second to none in my life and I am realizing more and more that it happens in the simpleness of our faith. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop wearing your faith

I was driving down the road this evening, headed to target, when something interesting happened to me that made me laugh and also really pissed me off.   It all started with my bad driving.  :)   I was trying to change lanes and I didn't see the other car.  As I was trying to merge over the car laid on their horn for a few seconds and I jerk my car back into the lane I was in.  No big deal.  Well this is where it gets interesting.  The car I cut off sped up and came up next to my car and both people in the car looked at me and starting talking as if I could hear them. (I am about 99% sure what they were saying was not nice)  I could tell they were not happy and after their rant they both gave me death stares.  After they were done they thought it would be fun to pass me and cut me off.   I was so pissed at them.  If I could, I would have rammed my car right in the back of the theirs... Anyway as they cut me off I noticed a decal they had on the back of the car.   It was a nice little Christian fish you see up top.  I couldn't help but laugh, ARE YOU KIDDING ME... look how childish you are acting and on top of that you are telling everyone in the world you are Christians... great... good work morons.  My laughter turned into disgust and anger because of those exact same reasons.   I am not perfect but for me it was a good reminder that if we are going to put our faith on our shirts, cars, facebook, etc, then we better make sure we are backing up what we are telling the rest of the world.  Especially for me, I need to be watchful and on guard at all times that my speech and actions do not contradict God's commandments or character! 

New food creation

I recently made some black bean burgers and homemade french fries.  The burgers were pretty good.  They were a bit too spicy but, I think Ketchup is spicy.  :)  The fries were super good.  I really kind of winged it and they turned out to be amazing.  I cooked them in olive oil with some herbs mixed in.  REALLY GOOD.  If you want the recipe let me know.  I would love to share it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wisdom from Winnie the Pooh and Piglet

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”   

I have come to see that relationships are so powerful in people's lives.  We have the ability to crush someone and make them bitter and close up or we have the ability to bring life and joy to a person.  No matter if you are in a romantic relationship, friendships, or just a one time interactions, our actions towards others carry a lot of weight.  I guess that weight has been burdening me some lately.

My best friend reminded me every time I saw him that "life was messy" and I have come to find that life isn't all that messy but it's the people that make it messy.  People are messy, hell, I am messy!  What is going to be our responds to the mess people bring into our lives??

The crazy thing is that people aren't looking for much.  All they want is someone next to them.  

People aren't looking for Hollywood type love, people just want someone next to them, believing in them, supporting there every step, loving them when they fall down, picking them back up when they think they can't do it, and  holding there hand as they walk through life, just like Pooh does with Piglet...

I want every interaction I have to be that of Pooh's toward piglet.  Grabbing someones hand when they need it.  This should be our responds toward every person we met, especially as Christians!   People are messy but, that includes yourself and that is how life is.   We can react two ways when someone is holding out their hand... grab it or walk away from it.   I hope you choose to grab someones hand, because that is what people need.  They need to be loved and cherished.  We are all made in God's creation and should be treated as such.  Regardless of color, weight, height, race, etc. 

Don't be afraid to get messy and grab someones hand as you are walking through life!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We are all bowls of Chili

A little known secret of me is that I love to cook and bake.  Cooking and baking is so relaxing to me.  I didn't the opportunity to do it much at my old place.  Since I have moved into my new place I now have a kitchen and more of an opportunity to cook and bake.  My first experiment was to make some Vegetarian/Vegan Chili.   It actually turned out really good and if you want some you can come on over.  I have extra.  :)

Besides being relaxing, cooking really makes me think.  It is like all my brain waves are firing on all cylinders and thoughts flood my mind.   As I was prepping the meal, I kept stressing about everything being perfect.  Whether it was cutting the veggies or trying to master the combination of spices.  I wanted this chili to be the best chili anyone has ever had.  

Well two minutes into prepping it I realized that the veggies were not cut perfectly, the chili was a bit too spicy for my liking, and I forgot to buy a few things for the meal.  It was far from perfect yet, after it was done and I scooped some in my bowl I couldn't believe I made it.  I was so proud regardless how it tastes, and that's when it hit me.  God sees us as bowls of chili.  He created us to be perfect, but we are far from it and even though we are not perfect, God still is proud of us.  We are HIS!  He created us!   Just as I took delight in my chili, God is delighted in us.

It is comforting that we all bowls of Chili.   haha... wow I am weird... gosh I need to get to bed. 

In case you are wondering this is my own recipe.  I was reading some other recipes online and changed some things up to make it my own.  :)

Pictures below... if you want the recipe me, contact me.  I'd love to give it to you. 

All the ingredients for Antho's Vegetarian/Vegan Chili

Smells good eh!

Finished product!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This time every year many cultures celebrate a new year.  All of mankind is at it's best.  Everyone is trying to change their lives around, kick old habits, take over the world, or whatever crazy "new year resolution" people think of.   We all do it because we want to better our lives.  We identify areas of improvement and work on "fixing" them.   I do, you do it, we all do it!  Problem is, most of us, after a few months realize our resolutions were a thing of the past.  

As I was thinking about this, I realize that everyone has stuff we can work on in our lives.  Whether it is January 1st or June 1st  we will always have stuff that we will want to work on and areas of our lives we want to improve.  As a fallen people we carry our baggage with us everywhere we go.  We start collecting stuff in our bags... sin... insecurity...results of our actions...our past... our upbringing...etc.  As life happens we try to either hide our bags or learn how to carry them in a healthy way.  

This is what this blog is going to be about.   Doing life and doing life with others.  Trying to figure out how to grab my bags and carry them along with me and to show others a better way to hold their bags.   I hope this blog makes you laugh, makes you think, and encourages you to become a better person and a better follower of Christ.  This blog is as much for me than anyone else.  I have so many thoughts in my head... all the time... and I thought this would be a great place to dump all them.  Get ready to see into the mind of Antho...(cue scary music here)

I need to give quick shout out to one of my best friends, Kara.  She has been one person who has helped me process a lot of these thoughts you are going to read and she has been able to show me different views that I would have never thought of and challenge me everyday to be a better man.  Thanks for all you do! 

I hope you all have a blessed 2012 and thanks for reading this far.  I pray you can accept you bags, carry your bags in a Christ honoring way, and help others carry theirs when they need it!