Tag Archives: imagine goods

If God guaranteed one thing on your bucket list would happen before you die, what would you choose?

26 Dec

Did you cross anything off your bucket list in 2014?

bucketListGet married? Travel somewhere? Perform physical feat?

This year my family drove from Lancaster, PA, to Austin, TX, to visit my wife’s cousin and his family.  Though it was not coast-to-coast, it was the longest we had ever driven, and the first time for most of us through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas.

Last week I got to experience my first NFL regular season game, as my son and I went with friends to see the Redskins host the Eagles.  The tailgating atmosphere, the raucous cheering fans, and the three people we saw escorted off the premises by police, I will never forget, but I don’t know that I’ll go again.

My oldest son got his driver’s license, and his first car.

My second son got his first job, as well as played on the varsity soccer team.

My wife and I turned 40, and good friends surprised the heck out of us with an amazing party.  I ran my second half-marathon with some of those same friends on my birthday, a brutally hot and humid day.  Times were slow, but we made it.

As I look back on 2014, these are all things I would have definitely wanted to do before I die.  That is what a bucket list is all about: things you would like to do before you die.  Though I don’t have a physical paper Bucket List, I’ve had one on my mind for a long time.  And the first item on the list is writing a book.  I would also love to travel more, though I’ve been abundantly blessed to travel frequently in my 40 years. Before I die, I hope to visit Wales, where my grandmother was born.  I would love to visit the Holy Land, to see the Bible come alive.  I would love to travel with my wife to Cambodia to see firsthand what Imagine Goods is up to!

Next year, if things come together, a group from Faith Church will travel to Kenya, to visit our Faith Church family members, the Stoltzfuses, that serve at Rift Valley Academy.  I’m super excited about that trip!

Looking further to the future, I hope to see my kids graduate high school, maybe college, start families and have kids.  My grandkids.  I look forward to meeting them!

I’ve thought about going back to school to get a doctorate.  I think I would still like to do that some day.

In recent years, and especially as my third son and I have read the Hatchet series, I’d like to do some kind of extended stay in the wilderness.  Or maybe do an long hike on the Appalachian Trail.

What’s on your bucket list?  Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish before you do? No one has to have a bucket list, but planning for the future is a wise idea.

What should be on a bucket list?  I found a site that boasts 10,000 ideas.  But what if you put items on your list that aren’t worth your time, and you only find that out after you complete them?  How do we know what we should put on a bucket list?

On Sunday we meet a guy in the Bible who had a bucket list.  I don’t know how long the list was, but it had one item God guaranteed would happen.  It was a very important item.  And God promised that before this guy died, he would be able to cross it off the list.  Imagine that!  As you think about your bucket lists, what if you could choose one thing on it that God guarantees will happen.  Which item would you choose for the God “lock”?  If God guaranteed this guy’s bucket list item, that’s a pretty strong indicator that it should be worth our consideration too.

Join us Sunday at Faith Church as we look at Luke 2:21-40, where one person has a Bucket List “God Lock” item, and it happens!

When spending less means spending more

9 Dec

Christmas and spending less are two concepts that don’t mix in our culture. Spending more?  Now that’s the idea!

From the pulpits and the prophets we hear a lot each year about spending less.  But what if spending less means spending more?

Phil Bartelt preached the second Advent Conspiracy theme yesterday: Spend Less.  He mentioned the following video:

While SNL was being very funny, they were also pointing out a grim reality.  When we think about all the great deals on Black Friday that drive people like herders driving cattle into stores, creating a stampede-like chaos, have you ever considered how a store can sell a TV so inexpensively?  We thrive on the idea of paying less.  We’re getting a deal!  But how are we able to get that deal?  Is the store willing to make less money so we don’t have to spend as much?  You know the answer to that is a big fat “No!”.  We call these deals “steals”, but is it possible that we are stealing from someone?

The sad answer is “Yes.”  All too often it is the unseen worker, usually in another country, that is making it possible for us to get our cheap TVs.  Remember the factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1000 workers? 

Apparently there are still problems.  Perhaps a large part of the ongoing problem is that we, the consumers of the clothing, just keep buying them, no matter that the workers are paid a pittance they cannot live on, and their working considers are literally deadly.

James, the brother of Jesus, and leader of the early church in Jerusalem, said that the Lord is very concerned when we don’t pay workers their due.  Read James 5:1-5.  His strong words should give us pause before going to the mall at Christmas.

Lest this start to turn negative, there is hope!  Spend MORE!  That’s right.  More.  More wisely.  More justly.  And, yes, that might mean more money too.  If we know that a dress could be had for $15, we like that price.  But when the $15 dress was made in a falling down factory in Bangladesh with workers paid a wage that keeps them in poverty (sounds like slavery, doesn’t it?), perhaps that $15 isn’t enough?  Instead, we need to find clothes and other products that are actually fairly made, even if it costs us more.  And once we start looking, once we make the commitment to honor the Lord and pay workers fairly, what we find is amazing!  There are companies dedicated to fair trade, direct trade, fair wage employment.  One such company is Imagine Goods, which sells many kinds of clothing and home goods.  You can even meet the people who make their products!  There are other similar companies as well.

This Christmas perhaps you’ll experience the joy of spending less by spending more!