Tag Archives: Indianapolis

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

It’s not about us!

It was a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago. The youth group had spent the night at the church and was up early to cook breakfast for the whole church. That’s when I first noticed Kyrsten – one of my 16-year-old twin girls – wearing goggles on her forehead.

It struck me as a bit odd since she was the only one with goggles on but I was busy getting stuff ready so didn’t get a chance to ask her about them until after church services were over. That’s when I got the whole story.

The day before about 20 people from our church – teenagers along with a few adult sponsors – participated in a one-day mission trip to Indianapolis, Indiana. They worked with about 500 other youth to clear land on property owned by a church to make room for more garden space.

Last year the church donated 5000 pounds of vegetables to senior centers and food banks. Their goal this year is 10,000 pounds; and their long-range goal is 25,000 pounds! That’s the love of God in action!

Due to the nature of the work the kids were doing they were required to wear goggles. Kyrsten didn’t want to because “they made me feel like I looked stupid.” But as she thought about it she realized that she wasn’t there for herself, she was there for God… so she put them on.

That’s why she was wearing them on Sunday morning… as a reminder that life is about God and not us.

What might God accomplish through us today if we set aside any concern for ourselves and simply made ourselves available to Him?

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Filed under influence with the world, Life in General, Serving

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

Her new favorite phrase!

Spring Point Township, Cumberland County, Illinois

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday Mykaela and I headed off to Indy (Indianapolis) for a doctor’s appointment to get her knee checked out. Since she’s got her permit it was also a chance to get in some driving practice. But not just any driving, this would be a first.

Our destination was about 90 minutes away and the fastest way to Indy is I-70 so I decided to let Mykaela get her first taste of fast, highway driving. In contrast to Kyrsten, who got her first taste of I-70 a few weeks ago and did fine but didn’t much care for it, Mykaela LOVED it!

Later that same day when we were sitting around the dinner table she was telling everyone else about it and exclaimed, “It was the first time dad ever said to me ‘you can go faster!‘” LOL It’s her new favorite phrase!

The irony in all of this is how their driving mimics their overall personalities. Kyrsten tends to drive (and do most other things) slowly while Mykaela tends to drive (and do most other things) fast! But that’s OK! That’s the way God wired them. They don’t have to be alike or prefer the same pace of life.

The key is for each of them to become comfortable in their own skin and learn how to drive appropriately for the stretch of road they are on. Going either too fast or too slow can be dangerous in the wrong situations. And the same is true for how we do life in general.

Some of us are wired to move fast in everything we do while others of us tend to prefer a slower pace. The key is learning how to best utilize our preferences and how to adapt to the changing situations of life. I think that’s part of what Jesus was offering to teach us when in Matthew 11:28-30 he extends this invitation:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)

Eugene Peterson translates this same section and refers to “find your rest” as “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” It’s not a rhythm that is the same for everyone. It is a rhythm that is the one God gave you. It is the rhythm that God sets by telling us “you can go faster” or “you need to slow down.”

 The challenge is learning to follow God’s lead! So…

How’s your pace of life?

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Filed under Discipleship, Life in General