Friday, May 31, 2013

We Are Watching


Do you remember being thirteen? What your life was like then? What you were worried about?

I was in 8th grade. My biggest concern was if my parents would allow me to go to Roller Kingdom with everyone else on Saturday night...well, that and if a certain boy would ask me to skate during the couples skate. Thirteen was when I started going to youth group, and roughly the same time I first learned to "Kiss Dating Goodbye". I have a bunch of silly memories from that time, a few bad, but overall thirteen was a pretty good, albeit awkward, time in life.

But not everyone is so lucky. There are some parts of the world where thirteen means servicing grown men several times a day. Where thirteen means pain, humiliation, and slavery. And there are places where the unthinkable act of pedophilia isn't afraid to show it's face in public, because they think no one is watching. But we are
We Are Watching from The Exodus Road on Vimeo.

We are watching. Rescue is coming. The Exodus Road team is in place and ready to bring these pedophiles to justice and these girls to restoration. As I type this, there is a raid being planned for the next few hours to bust some pedophiles. And we all get to play a role in this rescue!

First, keep updated by following The Exodus Road on Facebook and Twitter, or by texting "ER" to 51555 for live updates from the field.

Then, donate. It costs $35 for one night of investigation in Southeast Asia. This week The Exodus Road and the blogging team I am part of are aiming to support one complete month of operations. That's a total of $1,050 by Sunday June 2nd. Will you help bring freedom to young girls held in brothels?

Giving is easy. From your smartphone you can text "4thekids" to 41444. Or to donate online, click here and put "bust a pedophile" in the comments section. Donate whatever amount you can. This blog has 15 followers, and gets an average 25 views per FF post. If each of you donate just $10 (one movie ticket), that's 6 nights of investigations and operations that we fund. Six nights of bringing justice and restoration to girls trapped in sex trafficking. Six nights that weren't possible before. All for the price of one movie.

So join me. Let's let these men and their victims know that someone is watching. Someone is acting. Rescue is coming.

If you could leave a note of encouragement for the ER staff and operatives, what would you say? Leave it in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Living for the Lore

[photo source, text added] 

I read Jon Acuff's e-book "The 3 Stages of Every Awesome Idea" this week, which was awesome, as all his stuff is. But one thing in particular stood out to me, as it's something I've been doing with my own life lately.

Acuff talks about how he and his wife have started to make decisions based on the lore of their children's childhood. As in, how will this decision (to buy a house, etc) be told later in their life? What will they remember? He blogged about it in the past here.

I love this because now I have a name for what I've been doing. Living for the Lore. Living in such a way that the story left behind is epic. It's almost like leaving a legacy, but I think of lore as something else, something alive in it's own right. I think of grand journeys and epic battles, unbelievable feats and silly mistakes.

The dictionary says this about Lore:
LORE [lawr, lohr] 1. the body of knowledge, especially of a traditional, anecdotal, or popular nature, on a particular subject. 3. Archaic: the process or act of teaching; instruction. 
I love that second one. The process of teaching. When you're Living for the Lore, you're stepping outside of the daily grind. You're doing something a little scary, a little new, and a lot exciting. And it's impossible to do any of that without learning something which is the basis for Lore.

In times gone by stories were the primary way of teaching life lessons. Why do you think Jesus told so many parables? Why did the father in The Croods tell the story of the little bear? Because people learn from stories. We learn from the experiences of others. Hearing about others' adventures is a way of safely exploring the world while inspiring us to our own greatness.

All of this combined is why I've been doing the One New Thing a Month for 2013. It's why I'm contemplating a Scare-a-Day June (just need more ideas! Only have a handful.) I want to be able to look back on my life and have plenty of Lore and Lessons to pass on. I want the grand journeys and epic battles. Do you?

What do you think about "Living for the Lore"? Share below!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's Bust Some Pedophiles

If you know me, or have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that human trafficking is an issue that makes my blood boil. Modern-day slavery runs rampant in our world today. Men are forced to work dangerous jobs for pennies a day towards a loan they stand no hope of ever repaying. Young girls are kidnapped and tricked into locked brothels where they are forced to "service" multiple men per day. It can all seem too much sometimes, too hopeless. Like there's nothing we can actually do to stop it. But that's all changing.
girlflowers
This week, there is something we can do!

I've been asked by the folks at The Exodus Road, a non-profit empowering literal rescue, to help fuel investigations for active cases of pedophilia in Malaysia*. Because of the work they've been doing, and the respect they've garnered from local law enforcement, they have been given dozens of open cases to investigate.

The undercover team there needs about $35 per night to conduct local investigations, and the blogging team I serve with at the Exodus Road wants to send these men out for an entire month, 30 nights. That's $1,050 to raise, if you're curious. The funds will go to the travel, lodging, and investigative expenses. We will literally be "hiring" an investigator, on our behalf, to go look for children and gather the evidence needed to put pedophiles behind bars.

We have one week to raise the funds needed to send out to this trained team of operatives. This campaign will end on June 2nd, so I'm asking each of us to donate just $10 to this cause. And giving is super simple.

If you've got a smartphone, pull it out and text "4thekids" to 41444. You'll immediately recieve a link to follow and make a tax-free donation with your credit card.

Or if you'd rather give online, you can donate here to give on The Exodus Road site. Write "bust pedophiles" in the comment section.

Let's join together to bust some pedophiles and bring hope and healing to kids stuck in slavery. Will you join me?

*Location has been changed for security

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Scare A Day

So you know that quote:

Well when I was wondering what to write today, I stumbled upon it again and started thinking. What does that really mean? If you really took this quote to heart, what would your life be like?

I mean, it's easy to do a scary-thing-a-day when you're traveling or have some adventurous job or if you're the Doctor's Companion, but what about when you have a normal job and a somewhat-normal, TARDIS-less life? How can you daily do something that scares you?

The answer is both simple and complex: I don't know. I tried to get more of a backstory to this quote, to find what Eleanor was talking about when she made the quote, but Google wouldn't tell me anything beyond the quote itself.

I do know that this thought has piqued my interested and got me thinking. What kind of scary things could I do in one normal month? It's certainly a fitting challenge for my year of Try New Things. I'm thinking June may be my month of Do Scary Things Daily. But I need to think about it a bit...should I go for it?

What kind of daily-scary things come to mind when you think of this quote? If you were to live this way, what would be on your list? Help me with some ideas!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"I'm No Angel"


Kylie wanted to model for most of her life. Growing up in Nevada, she paid her dues in shopping malls before getting the chance to work in  New York City. Despite the chaos and filth that takes place behind the scenes of the modeling industry, Kylie worked hard and stayed focused on her faith and goals. After facing some seedy characters and finding the love of her life, Kylie gets the chance of a lifetime: a shot at being a Victoria's Secret Angel. But when life at the top isn't what she expected, how will Kylie be able to serve the Lord and do her job? Will she be able to balance the two?

Kylie's story is inspirational for the decisions she was able to make, despite all worldly riches, and the way she managed to avoid so many of pitfalls of the industry. While she admits to some under-eating/over-exercising, she seems to have avoided major eating disorders, as well as drug or alcohol problems.

Despite all this, I felt there could have been more written about the drastic life change she made. From the book it seems she left life as an Angel, The End. But what did she change to? Besides eating more and spending more time home, what made the change worth it? How is she using what God showed her during her modeling career? The only inspirational message I see is to do what you know is right, even if the world says it's crazy. But there's nothing to back up that message. She leaves life as a top model to live in Montana and write a book (at least as far as the reader knows).

Overall, it was an easy and interesting read. It was an enjoyable and gently inspirational (would make a good beach read), but it was missing something. The 30-Day True Beauty Makeover is nice, but nothing deep. For someone struggling with eating disorders and beauty issues, this book and "makeover" may be a good place to start.

3/5 Stars

*I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review*

Friday, May 10, 2013

Live58

(Look! It's a button for my Freedom Friday series! It still needs a little tweaking, but I'm digging it. Thanks Leah!)

Someone shared an amazing video with me this week and you guys HAVE to watch it. It's called 58: The Film. It's about an hour long, but seriously, go check it out right now. You can see it on Netflix, or on their website. Go watch. I'll wait...

Wasn't that a great film?! I was stunned by how amazing the visuals were, the stories, the hope. I believe this film did a great job of not only painting a picture of what poverty really looks like in the world today, but of giving hope of a better tomorrow.

Some of my favorite parts was anytime Wes Stafford was talking. You can see this man's passion for the poor and orphaned leaking out of him when he speaks. And the whole retelling Bible stories while in the locations they happened was phenomenal. I got chills a few times. Actually, I think I experienced the entire range of human emotion during this film.

I've always loved Isaiah 58, so this film was right up my alley, and I loved every second of it. I hate that people live as shown in the film. I hate that this kind of injustice exists. That my life in the US practically depends on the forced labor of these beautiful people.

But I love the hope Isaiah 58 and this film provide. Because God says it doesn't have to be this way. God says chains can be broken and burdens eased. The oppressed can be set free. The hungry can be fed and the naked clothed. And He says that I can be a part of it! And so can you!

Not only can we be a part of it, but He expects us to. Compassion (i.e. love) should be a part of our DNA. The possible actions to show compassion are even more numerous than the people in need of love. Some ideas:

Sponsor a child with Compassion International. It's only $38 a month to save a child from poverty, illiteracy, trafficking, and more. That's less than ten bucks a week. Let's be honest, most of you spend more than that on coffee.

Fund an Exodus Road operation or investigator to find and rescue girls trapped in brothels. This month Exodus Road and their partners provided the intel for a massive rescue in Mumbai. Eighty-Nine girls are now free from sexual slavery because of the work they're doing. EIGHTY-NINE. Look! How amazing is this?!?! Read the story here.
Love someone! This is the easiest and hardest step of all. Who in your neighborhood or city is in danger of going under? Find someone around you who needs love and bring it to them.

For more ideas, check out Live58.org. Then just start looking. Once you decide to open your eyes to the issues in this world, you can't miss them. Poverty and injustice are everywhere. Decide to be a part of the solution and find your place! Together we can see poverty destroyed in our lifetime.

What did you think of the film? What jumped out to you the most? How do you fight injustice?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Grieving the Spirit

I have a wall next to my bed that I refer to as my "Inspiration Wall". It's full of magazine clippings and post-its with inspiring quotes (and a few pictures). When I need a boost, I look at the wall and find the one that speaks to me that day. As I passed by yesterday, I noticed this one from Francis Chan's Forgotten God:
It's a powerful thought from a powerful book. Then this morning I was reading Ephesians chapter 4 when I came to verse thirty: "Do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live."

How often do we really think about if our actions are causing sorrow or joy to the Spirit of God? If you are saved, His Spirit is in you. Are your actions making that clear? Or do your actions cause the Holy Spirit of God, living inside you, to grieve?

It's a question that can stop you in your tracks. And it's a question that leads to others.
What actions in my life bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit?
Does a lack of action cause the Spirit to grieve?
How can I live in a way that brings the Spirit of God joy?
This is a thought I am hoping to carry into the rest of the week with me, to ask myself at various times, "Am I causing sorrow to the Holy Spirit? Am I behaving like His chosen dwelling?" I pray that the answer will be yes.
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