Passport

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Passport

Hey Friends, This weekend I’m speaking at an event for Hillsong United in Miami.  It has me reminiscing about a trip I took to Australia a few years ago to attend a similar event in Sydney.  Here’s some journaling/blogging I did from that visit.  Wish I could have taken some friends from the States along to enjoy this incredible time.

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I’m on a 747 on my way to the Land of Oz… tralia. They’re about a half a day ahead of us so I’ll be losing time as I travel.  It’s a LONG flight from Atlanta but it’s going to be a great trip!

A couple of years ago I met the guys from Hillsong United at a music festival.   Aside from being really cool guys, they are also passionate about following Jesus and loving the poor. Joel Houston, one of the leaders of the worship band has become a bit of a friend (or “mate” as they call them in Australia) and worked it out for me to come and speak at their annual youth event, Encounterfest.   I’ve only been out of the country a couple of times and this is definitely the farthest from home I’ve ever been (I mean- you can’t really get much farther… unless you wanted chill with Adele penguins in Antarctica)

I don’t know how many of you have a passport.  Mine just has a couple of stamps in it.   People joke about your passport picture  — how the customs agents have to squint when they look at your picture to see the resemblance because the pictures are typically so bad and distorted (think of what you look like before a sneeze… yeah).   Your passport is a record of where you’ve been, shows where you’re from, and where you want to go.  When you go through customs you have to state the purpose for your journey.    It’s an interesting allegory for real life and our reputations.  We’re the traveler, the Holy Spirit our companion and our friends and acquaintances the customs agents.   We need to be prepared to ask ourselves if we’re really who we say we are.  If someone were to “stamp” where we’ve been, either in our heads or literally, would it be consistent with where we say we want to go and the purpose for our journey? Would the places we’ve gone be considered honorable?  Would our “passport” match up with who we say we want to be? 

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Looking forward to seeing what God does this weekend in Miami.  Until then, I’ll catch you mates later!

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Influence– Throwing Your Weight Around for Others

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One of my favorite places in the world is Nashville, Tennessee. If you ever get a chance to go there, you’ll have a blast. What I love about it is the artistic culture, the coffee shops, the quirkiness, and the great friends I have made there. I’m also a bit of a music freak and Nashville is nick-named “Music City USA”  — need I say more?   It’s also where the

Some guys I know who are making a difference

Some guys I know who are making a difference

Dove Awards (like the Grammys for Christian music) are held each year – pretty awesome. I was a presenter at the 2007 awards show where I introduced Chris Tomlin and I had a great time.  Oh, yea, and they have lots of great food backstage (mmmm… Chocolate…)!
 I was just in Nashville again a little while ago.  I had the opportunity to meet with the former editor of CCM (http://www.ccmmagazine.com/)  just to pick his brain a little and see what he had to say about music and faith and how the two intersect. I also got to meet with an awesome photographer named David Bean (thevisualreserve.com) who uses his gift of photography to glorify God. Both of these men are Christians and both are outstanding in their field of work. Both use their influence to impact the world and the culture for the better.  You see, God has given each of us a circle of influence we can use for Him and for others who have less than we do.  We all see the bad in the world. Our parents and our newscasters talk about it, gripe about, rant about how it should be changed. We also hear about how entertainment and culture are full of negative influences.  Daniel, one of my friends, says we shouldn’t just take the bad stuff out, but we should fill the space with the good, the true and the beautiful.  This is what using our influence to change things for the better looks like when lived out.  
During my Nashville trip, I also spoke at a retreat for students.  There I met some high school guys who are using their influence in their church to help build a house for a girl and her mom who are really struggling to make ends meet.  The young woman’s house was falling down around her and the guys decided Jesus would want to provide her shelter.  So, they approached their church and also approached the students at the retreat and together they’re raising the money to build her a home.  They could have called Extreme Home Makeover and asked them to do it, but then they’d miss out on the fun of meeting a need themselves.  I’m really impressed by these guys and how they are investing their time. 
That’s it for now.  This next week I’ll be talking about our buying power and then my exciting trip to Australia!
Peace. Love. Justice!

Slaves Don’t Get a Summer Vacation

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A Former Child Slave (courtesy of Free the Slaves)Summer holiday is just finishing up for those of us who live in North America.  And while that means longer days, sleeping in and enjoying more time with our friends, there are millions and millions of people for whom it’s just another season of slavery.  Slaves don’t get a break during the summer, and their oppressors don’t take one. Children have been oppressed this summer.  Boys, girls, men and women will slave away long hours under someone else’s control.  Sex traffickers will buy and sell people to be abused day and night.

So, what can you do about it?  Start making plans now to launch Loose Change to Loosen Chains at your school or church this summer or in the fall.  Also, check back in next week at this time when I write about an idea for students and adults to use their purchasing power to help make a difference. 

Seek justice!

[photo by Kay Chernish – TIP Office]