Tag Archives: Indiana

Come Holy Spirit… clear the air

It’s hard to imagine the force of wind that Hurricane Sandy unleashed on the East Coast of the United States. 

From what I read, winds hit nearly 100 mph and affected regions of the country hundreds of miles inland. Even here in Indiana we had winds in the 25-30 mph range with gusts up to 50.

Add flood waters and rain/snow to the mix and the damaging effects to the East Coast are massive! Last I heard some 8 1/2 million people were without electricity.

As I prayed for these folks yesterday a different kind of wind came to mind; the one Paul describes in Romans 8 when he speaks of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in chapter 7 about his struggle, and failure, against sin. He comes to the end of his rope and wonders who can save him.

Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:1-2 (The Message)

As devastating as a storm like Hurricane Sandy can be, the ravages of sin on the soul are eternally worse. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell among us to bring new life.

Anyone else tired of struggling against the flesh with its selfish desires?

Anyone else ready for a fresh wind from God to clear the air?

Anyone  else at the end of their rope and ready to cry out to God for mercy?

Come Holy Spirit and be welcome in my heart and my life. Do for me what I can’t do for myself; help me to be more obsessed with God than anything or anyone else in this life.

***

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brokenness, Christianity, Freedom, Holy Spirit, Mercy, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Surrender

Are we settling for more and missing the best?

Our Indiana taxes came back different from what I had figured because I missed one newly required document. Ugh! A local office helped with the proper form to file an amendment.

When the gal helping me commented on not understanding why this new form was required she also added that just a few years ago we were suppose to be headed towards doing away with paper forms – an attempt to simplify the process.

I’ve heard that before in regard to other areas of life but I have yet to see much evidence that life is getting any more simple. This is perhaps most evident in the field of electronics.

With each new gadget or app we are empowered to walk around with the world at our fingertips. New technologies are great, but they don’t automatically make our life more meaningful.

We can do life differently!

Enjoying simplicity is counter to the message our consumer culture is barking from all angles. Society constantly tries to manipulate us into buying and consuming more than we need.

I see restoration-minded Christians bucking the trend. Instead of buying things they don’t really need, they fast periodically from those habits that suck them in to this alternate reality.

Certainly, this way of life often takes more effort and creativity on the front end, requiring their full imagination and a willingness to part with unnecessary comforts. But in the long run, they seem to be creating a more sustainable and less contrived existence.
~ Excerpted from The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

Jesus came to bring us the opportunity to experience real life through a relationship with the Father. But is that the core of our existence?

Take some time to pause and reflect on what it is that gets the best of or the bulk of your attention and energy.

In the scheme of our rhythm of life how much attention are we giving to pursuing greater intimacy with the Lord?

Are we enjoying His presence throughout the day or are we preoccupied with the stuff of life?

Are we settling for more and missing the best?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Consumerism, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Life in General, Margin, Priorities, Relationship with God, Stewardship

The seedier side of the Super Bowl*

Worldwide it generates an estimated $32 billion a year! In the U.S. alone it produces an estimated $9.5 billion annually!

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It robs people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels organized crime.

The U.S. State Department estimates that about 12.3 million adults and children are forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Domestic sex traffickers particularly target vulnerable young girls, such as runaway, homeless, and foster care children.

In the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is 13.

So, what does this have to do with the Super Bowl?

Large sporting events like the Super Bowl are prime targets for sex traffickers because of the high demand generated by thousands of men pouring into an area for a weekend of fun. The 2010 Super Bowl saw an estimated 10,000 sex workers brought into Miami. Despite efforts to crack down on sex trafficking at the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, there was still a tremendous number of women and children sexually exploited.

In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have missed the mark by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued, but new efforts are gaining traction: a new bill just got passed here in Indiana to toughen the state’s sex-trafficking law before the Super Bowl.

What can we do?

1. Learn more about it and get involved.
2. Join a local anti-trafficking group
3. Support organizations fighting trafficking

4. Share this information with everyone you know!
5. Pray!

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
~ William Wilberforce

***

* Adapted from a blog article by Justin Holcomb

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Filed under Human Trafficking, influence with the world, Justice, Loving others

New Homemade Ice Cream Flavor Creates Quite a Buzz

Summer has not yet officially begun but here in Indiana it’s hot enough to already enjoy a variety of cold treats. In case you’re easily bored with the standard cold treat fare, here’s a fresh idea!

Cicada Ice Cream!

Think I’m loopy or joking? I am both at times but never when it comes to homemade ice cream. (Ullery’s is the BEST!) Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop in Columbia, Missouri recently had the novel idea to use real cicadas – collected by employees – in their ice cream.

“The cicadas are fully cooked through boiling, then covered in brown sugar and milk chocolate. The base ice cream is a brown sugar and butter flavor,” according to a  report in the Columbian Missourian.

Word got out that the new flavor would be put out on a Thursday, but so many people came in on Wednesday night to try it that they completely sold out that same evening! Scott Southwick, owner of Sparky’s, was completely shocked!

They did of course clip the wings before preparing them for the ice cream but that’s not all that got clipped. The owners approached the Health Department to ask about using cicadas and while there is not specific law regarding their use in food sold publicly, they were advised not to make or sell another batch.

Oh well! Doesn’t mean you can’t try a batch of your own at home!

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Filed under Just for fun

Kingdom lessons from a Drill Instructor

Yesterday Susan and I picked up Valerie and Aaron early in the morning to go to Indianapolis. Sam (our son and Valerie’s husband for those who don’t know) was participating in a state-wide Marine recruit activity.

Several hundred young men and women from all around Indiana came together to test their physical fitness with running 1-1/2 miles, chin ups, sit ups, lifting 30 pound ammo boxes over their head and tug-of-war as a group competition.

Most of them had done these things before in smaller, regional settings; but this was a whole new arena with higher ranking officers present. One new element for the recruits was their first exposure to actual Drill Instructors!

I’ll spare you the details but I will say that the energy level in the gym was very intense and very focused! The Drill Instructors schooled the recruits on the proper manner in which to address them during boot camp. Very impressive and a bit intimidating!

After about 25 minutes of this the Drill Instructors came over and spoke with the family members to answer questions and explain a bit of what they do. One thing that stuck out to me is that the recruits are not allowed to refer to themselves as “I”. This and other similar training methods are designed specifically to help the recruits lose their sense of individuality and learn to function as a single unit.

I think that’s a lesson that we in the church desperately need to learn. I’m not suggesting that we treat each other as recruits and shout at one another nose to nose; but I think we need to work at creative ways that would help us become more aware of following Jesus as a community of disciples.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:4-5

If you have any ideas on how we could encourage more of a community, group mindset within the church leave me a comment!

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Filed under Christianity, involvement with the church

Thanks for sharing the journey!

Hey gang! April was a month of new records not only for rainfall (arg!) but also in the number of views for my blog! It has grown steadily over the last four months and April was 3 times larger than December, 2010. WOW!

I don’t do a blog for the numbers but it’s a real boost to know that it’s encouraging others in their journey of following after Jesus. To all of you who have passed my blog along to friends or reposted it on Facebook – Thank You!

In case you are new to my blog or have missed some lately here are my top five posts from April:

#1 – Why is it called “Good Friday?”
#2 – One person can make a difference!
#3 – The dethroning of Thor
#4 – A rare tribute for the colorectal surgeon! 😉
#5 – I’m no country boy, but…

Something new! Even though my viewership has been increasing I am always looking for new ways to improve my blog. One suggestion I came across recently was to do an About page as a sort of biography or introduction. You’ll notice I have a new tab above. Let me know what you think!

In the works! I’ve had a couple of people suggest that I create a Facebook page for iLife Journey as this would allow for more dialog between those reading my blog posts and make it easier to pass along. I’m still trying to figure that one out but will let you know when I have it up and running.

If you have any ideas or suggestions as to ways I could improve the blog, topics I could touch on or specific stories I might write about – please leave me a comment. I greatly value and enjoy all your feedback! And as always…

…thanks for sharing the journey!

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Filed under Blogging, Gratitude, involvement with the church

Did you see that!

One of my favorite things about March Madness is that on any given day any basketball team can win! It doesn’t matter what your ranking is. It doesn’t matter what your win-loss record is. It doesn’t matter how many fans you have in the stands. Any team can win!

We’re only into the third round of this year’s tournament but already there have been quite a few close games and a couple of upsets. For residents of Indiana the biggest upset so far came Saturday night when 8th ranked Butler (Indianapolis) beat #1 ranked Pitt by one point!

It was a closely fought contest that came down to the wire before a free throw with 0.8 seconds left put Butler up by one. Wow!

That’s also one of my favorite things about following Jesus! It doesn’t matter how big the task is or how small and insignificant we might feel, with God all things are possible.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

God calls us to accomplish deeds in life much weightier than winning a basketball game. But too often we shortchange what God can accomplish through us because we limit Him; we focus on our ability rather than His.

What is it that God might want to accomplish through you and I this week that might leave others saying…

Did you see that! 

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Filed under influence with the world, Life in General

Just one of many!

Yesterday Josh participated in a special choral program in New Castle, Indiana; but it didn’t happen over-night. First, he had to express an interest to his choir teacher. Then he had to try out and be accepted into the program. And then he had to stay after school on certain days to work on the new music.

On the day of the event he had to be out of bed by 6:30 a.m. – no small feat for a teenage boy on a Saturday! And with a lunch bag in hand he boarded a bus at 7:30. It was an all day event with LOTS of rehearsals before the final performance; and they did a great job! We are very proud of Josh!

This wasn’t our first go at this sort of thing. The girls participated for two years when they were in Jr High and this is Josh’s second year. But as I sat there in the school auditorium listening to the choir sing it suddenly hit me that in 12 other regions all around Indiana – at that very moment – hundreds of other kids were singing the same songs!

I know what some of you are thinking. “Duh Alvey, that’s why they call it Circle the State in Song.” I guess I knew it but it just never hit me like it did yesterday. Then I got to thinking about how the same thing happens when we gather weekly to celebrate and worship God.

The songs may be different. The order of services may be different. Even the cultures and clothes and languages may be different. But when we gather with our church family, millions of Jesus-followers all around the world are also gathering for the same purpose – to honor God and share in His love.

We are individual churches but collectively we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are part of God’s kingdom. We are part of His family. We are…

… just one of many!

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Filed under Christianity, involvement with the church, Kingdom of God, Praise