Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writing Class- God Room

This is a great blog question! I love it! I think we could have really deep discussions if we all put some effort into it. This is quite possibly the longest post I've ever made and it'll probably be the longest one any of you ever read. So buckle up for a joy ride!

I love the concept of God Room. I had heard the ideal of it preached before, but I had never heard this type of faith put into such simple terms. God Room is very easily defined: "Set your goal, standard, or promise so high that it would be humanly impossible for it to be fulfilled. Then you step back and let God begin doing his thing." This can be applied to almost anything in life. You could apply it to making free throws in basketball, to raising money for Haiti, or for bringing 5 people to Christ in the next year. I would say that God Room could apply to studying or good grades, but it's usually a bad idea to "step back" in your homework. You just have to use God Room whenever you have committed yourself to something that you know you can't finish.

Now have I ever consciously applied God Room to my life? Not that I can remember. I tried to apply it at the free throw line the other night in practice, but it didn't really work. I guess if I would apply myself to go practice free throws more often, I'd be more consistent in my shooting. There is one specific time that I'll recall that I subconsciously used God Room. Well, I guess I'll start with a story of someone I know who knows the ins and outs of God Room. Then I'll get to my story.

My dad works for a company called ABC (not the real name). ABC processes state medicaid, such as TennCare. They work in various states in the US. Several years ago, ABC had an account in Texas, and my dad was the #2 guy in the account, the second-from-the-top guy. He had worked for ABC around 10 years by now. After a series of unfortunate events, ABC no longer had an account in Texas. Dad didn't have a job. We were all sad to know that we would have to move out-of-state. My parents had lived in Texas for 20 years, and my brother and I spent our first years there. Dad found a good position in ABC’s Indiana account, so we moved to Indianapolis in 2004.

In Indiana, he was the #1 guy, which meant he worked more but also got a higher pay. Two years later however, another series of unfortunate events occurred. That left my dad without a job in the Indiana account. He managed to work from home for a year or two while doing regional work. That was a good year, but after a while, we knew we'd have to move again.

My dad found a great position in ABC's Tennessee account. He would be working with some people he knew from the ABC in Texas. He would be the #2 guy, and the #1 guy in the account was from Texas. Since the account manager and my dad were old friends, the account manager told my dad that he would retire in a year or so. My parents told my brother and me in January of 07 that we would move to Nashville in the summer. My family knew that there was a chance that the ABC contract with Tennessee would go up for bid again in January of 08, but we weren't worried. Because the housing market in Indy was so bad and because we built a house here, we didn't move until December 15. Three weeks later, disaster happened. The state awarded the contract to another company instead of ABC. We were crushed. You guys have all seen our house. It took us a grueling 6 months to build this house and we were frustrated that we had to give it up. We still hadn't unpacked all of the boxes from the move. Anyway, throughout the next year and a half, the other company messed up their move-in procedures so bad that the state stripped them of the contract and awarded it to ABC. Dad signed the 4 year contract last June. Dad has now been working for ABC for 23 years. My dad's career is a very good example of God Room. I haven't even told you most of the details because if I did, you'd fall asleep from the long story. It isn't boring. It's just long.

Now here is where I come in. My youth pastor, Troy Perry, continuously dropped hints that he loved Wiis. He also loves free food, but that is another story. Troy and Sara, his wife, are considered young to be a youth pastor's family. Troy is a 29-year-old Southern Baptist youth pastor with a 24-year-old wife and a 3-year-old son with heart problems. He's the youth pastor a church with a leaking roof and attendance of maybe 120. Last September, I thought of a cool idea. I figured that the youth group could put enough money together to buy Troy and Sara a Wii for Christmas to thank them for the great things they have done for us. I figured it was time we did something for them.

There was a problem, however. The kids in the youth group aren't rich. Most are 8th or 9th graders who don't have jobs or a lot of extra spending money. I knew I would be lucky if each student gave me at least 5 or 10 bucks. I told David my idea, and he sarcastically (no duh, right?) said he wasn't sure about it. So I went to a 16-year-old girl in the youth group named Adrianna. She loved the idea, so we tag-teamed. Operation: Blushy Leprechaun was under way! See, Troy is bald with blushy cheeks, a very long red goatee, and pointy ears, so we joke he looks like a leprechaun. Adrianna and I set a goal of how much money we wanted to reach. We decided that we wanted to give Troy the Wii at the Christmas party on December 6th. After I got back from Thanksgiving vacation, we still only had a third of what we needed. Several people has said that they would help, but things looked dim.

Adrianna and I got into a routine of texting people daily, reminding them that we still needed money and that we needed it by December 6. Mom and I found a great Wii bundle and we jumped at the great deal. However, we still hadn't collected all of the money yet. We still needed at least a third of our goal. I began to really hope we'd reach the goal we had set. I knew that since the whole thing was my idea, I would be paying from my own pocket if that's what it came down to. When I went home after the last Wednesday night before December 6th, I counted the money we had. The final count was 9 dollars more than we spent on the Wii.

It was an eye-opening experience for me because it was the first time in my life where I actually had to rely on God for money. There was always one more elderly neighbor to work for or one more lawn to mow. However, in Operation: Blushy Leprechaun, I had exhausted all of my resources and had to pray that God would help. He didn't let me down. That's just one of dozens of experiences at Madison First where I've grown.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writing Class- Contrasts

In the book Rebel With A Cause, Franklin Graham comes across as a humorous, whimsical, and fun-loving guy. When we read A Place in the Sun, George Eastman came across as a hopeless and empty character. These two prodigals were very different. Franklin always seemed to have a feeling of hope within him and the stories he told made me smile and laugh. George never once seemed to have hope for anything. It appeared as though his goal for himself was to betray those who loved him most and to make his audience cringe while they suffered through his idiocy and overall tendency to be a moron. In Franklin's humorous and inspiring autobiography, he retold the stories of his youth and explained how his seemingly silly habits turned into a rebellion from God. As Franklin wrote these stories, you can tell he was smiling as he wrote them and constantly replaying the humorous scenes in his mind, and yet you can tell he was honestly remorseful that he had made such foolish mistakes. In the incredibly depressing movie A Place in the Sun, the movie ended with foolish George walking to his death with thoughts of one of his girlfriends in his mind. George died because he supposedly murdered his pregnant girlfriend in order to clear his conscience of her and to focus on his other girlfriend. Both of these youthful rebels enjoyed to bend the rules. They both found happiness in the thrill of disobedience instead of in the thrill of success. Even though both young men were prodigals, there is still a clear difference between George and Franklin. While Franklin smoked, drank beer, and lied to cover his tracks for years, he never once committed himself to lust, impurity, greed, or a foul mouth. He still had standards for himself even though he considered himself a rebel. George, however, committed every sin in the book numerous times. He drank, smoked, lusted, envied, hated, lied, and murdered. Franklin came to repentance and became one of the world's most successful spiritual leaders and revivalists in the upcoming years. George... Well, George never repented and died for his mistakes.

Both rebels have one more thing in common: they were both sons of preachers. They were both brought up in religious families and both, for a time, thought they could somehow inherit their parents' faith. Once again however, both rebels interpreted things differently. Franklin realized that he could not live off of his parents' faith and that he needed to build his own. George is a good example of what happens to a person who believes that Jesus' Salvation is just a get-out-of- Hell-free card. Franklin is a good example of a prodigal running home to his Father. George's life undoubtedly ended in a trip to the eternal Lake of Fire. When Franklin Graham dies, he will spend eternity worshipping and praising the One True God. In your opinion, which rebel has it better now, after all their years of rebellion?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing Class- I'm Just Not Convinced

I'm not absolutely convinced about a lot of things. I have no clue what I want to do when I grow up. I may want to go into the radio business, the writing business, ministry, or anything else. I just have so many talents, I don't know what to choose! Ha ha! My perfect, fantasy dream is to own a Christian radio company so I can play the music that I want to hear. Unfortunately, that probably will not happen until I'm old, like in my 50s.

Now, I could go into the things that I am convinced about. I could say that I will certainly sin today, certainly go to church tonight, certainly listen to music right now and for as long as I can, and certainly play basketball this afternoon and Friday. However, I am not a guy to go for the obvious.

There are some things I am convinced of. I know that I will eventually marry. I've convinced myself that marriage will eventually be a reality for me. Those who know me well know that I am a true lover, and that there is no way I'll spend the last 60-70 years of my life as a bachelor. That just isn't even considerable. I will marry someday, unless I die beforehand or something.

I'm also convinced that I love to read. I read books by the shelf load and I love them. It's a way for me to forget about a bad day or to reminisce with my favorite characters from an old favorite. One author particularly is my personal favorite. His name is Ted Dekker. His books are like parables. They say things like "The kingdom of God is like this" or "the love of God is like this" and they really make me think. Two of his books have convinced me that each person has different sides. Everyone has the good portion, the evil portion, and the portion in between. I've learned that there are two chambers in every heart, one for Satan and one for Jesus. One must be pumped out, or the heart will die. I, personally, do have a bad streak. It flows easily with my good streak, so it isn't always as clear as to when it flows and when it doesn't. Sometimes I can somehow manage to do things for Jesus, sometimes I do things only for me, and sometimes I pull off doing something that will benefit Jesus and me.

I can also list other things I'm convinced of. I'm certain I won't live the rest of my life in Tennessee. Texas and Indiana are states of the past, and hopefully states of the future. My church in Indiana still feels like home when I reminisce about my friends there. I'd love to eventually go back to Fall Creek Baptist. I'm also certain I'll go to college. I have good grades, and essentially, I have to go to college in order to have a successful career in this country. I'm certain that I will try to be the best husband and father I can be. In the past nine months, I've slowly built myself into a mature young man. I've watched the way my extended family, my parents, and my friends act enough to decide what qualities I admire in them and what qualities to avoid in myself. I'm certain that I have chosen to be the best that I can be. I'm morphing into who I want to be now, but it's a lifelong process.

And for whom it may concern, yes I have edited this post. David pointed out I didn't say "convinced" once, so I threw a few "convinced" things in and now I'm good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Writing Class- School's Out!

School is out today due to a massive snow blizzard. The local weather man has said to prepare for the heaviest snow today we have seen in one year. So sit back, put a DVD in, and enjoy your day off! Oh wait, we're homeschooled, so we still have to do school! Duh! Oh well, never mind. Actually, I'm already done with homework and I'm killing bad guys on my PS3... I get the best of both worlds. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Writing Class- This Is Me

This is Logan Vaughan, aka LoVizzle to those who care. We weren't given a lot of info on what this first post really should be about, but I'm just gonna list some random things about me. My favorite things to do are listen to music, read, watch movies, pay video games, blog, play basketball, txt, and hang out with friends. I'm a man who enjoys having epiphanies, so I have those a lot. They aren't always genius ideas, but hey, they're entertaining to those concerned. Haha! My favorite TV channels are ESPN, USA, FOX, and Nick. I'll also watch some Discovery Channel when Dirty Jobs or Mythbusters are on. My favorite music artists are Thousand Foot Krutch, Casting Crowns, Skillet, Kayne West, Switchfoot, Family Force 5, and Taylor Swift. My favorite author is Ted Dekker, and I have read every single book by him, even one that hasn't even hit the book shelves yet. My favorite athletes are Peyton Manning, Vince Young, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Colt McCoy, Chad Johnson/Chad OchoCinco, and Shaq. I'm in a small youth group in which I'm an older guy and people look up to me. Somehow, I set a good example, I've been told. My dream career is to write very successful romance novels and to eventually own a Christian radio station so I can play what I want. My favorite foods are almost anything Italian or American. I'm a very picky eater, but my favorite all-time meal is chicken tenders. Anyone who knows me (Mrs P, Emily, and David) can attest to that. My favorite kind of weather is what it is right now: frightfully cold and wonderfully nippy. Well, I think that's enough to fly with the mother bird.