Category Archives: Giving

8 Ways To Help a Friend Suffering with Depression

A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20 percent of young people with diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment. That means that many of your friends in class and on campus who struggle with depression and other mental disorders are not getting help.

Combine that with another survey that suggests that 1 in 5 students has considered the possibility of suicide and we have a lot of hurting people around us. You may know some of these who are hurting. You may have experienced a friend that wanted to commit suicide.

What did you do?

How did you handle the situation?   

Were you able to help?

I hope you were able to provide help to this friend that was hurting. But some of you may not know what to do. I wanted to provide for you some ways to help a friend or friends who are suffering under the weight of depression.

Here is a list of some ideas. Feel free to leave a comment and add some other ideas if you have them.

  1. Be there to listen. Make conversations about what they’re going through easy and open. Ask them what you can do – find out what they find helpful during tough times. Make sure you acknowledge they are feeling down but try and remain positive and encouraging. Send them notes of encouragement. Send them texts to help them get through the day.
  2. Choose when to talk. If you want to bring up a sensitive issue with someone, try and choose a time when you are both relaxed.
  3. Accept their condition. If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them to just snap out of it, cheer up, or forget about it. Asking them to do this can come across like you’re not taking their feelings seriously and could upset them. It is difficult for someone who has never been through depression to understand what it is like. If there was an instantaneous solution the person would have already done that to be well. It just does not work that way. Add an extra measure of compassion when you are helping a person suffering from depression.
  4. Get informed. Finding out more info about depression might help you better understand what someone is going through. There are various website, books, and blogs that can help you become informed about the situation your friend is in.
  5. Encourage them to get help. If you have a friend with depression, it’s really important that they seek help. It is a good first step to have them speak with their counselor if you are on a school campus. It is also a good idea to have them visit their medical doctor. Sometimes there are some real physical problems that can cause depression. If no solution is found down that avenue then their medical doctor can help them take the next step. If they are uncomfortable you might offer to go with them as an encouragement and support system.
  6. Back down if they aren’t ready. If you think a friend needs to visit an expert but they didn’t respond well to the suggestion, don’t force the issue or put too much pressure on them – it could put them off getting help. Remain supportive by offering help and suggestions when asked.
  7. The exception to #6 is if you think someone may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. In this case it’s important that you seek help immediately.
  8. Finally, remember that depression is hard to explain and often a very lonely experience. When you are there to support a friend just by being available it can have a tremendous impact in their lives. Never underestimate the importance of just being there.

What other ideas do you have? How can you better help a friend who is going through a dark period in life?
Feel free to comment.

This Weeks Message:

13 Reasons Why (5 Reasons to Live)

As many of you know the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why launched on March 31. Since then it has gained a lot of attention from teens and parents to educators and politicians. There are some very important conversations taking place because of this series.

We could argue all day long about the content of the series and the level of appropriateness of the material provided in the series. I do not want to do that. What I would like to do is point out a main concern of mine. My concern is that this series will normalize this behavior among your generation. Well, maybe not so much normalize that act of suicide, but normalize the possibility of suicide. When something becomes a possibility in the mind the action is easier to take. I do not want that to happen for you.  I do not want suicide to become a valid option for escape. There are other solutions.

A secondary concern that I have for those viewing this series is the series dismisses personal responsibility. How? It is in the premise of the show. Hannah sends cassette tapes to the 13 people who caused her suicide. Each of the 13 people receives a tape that says “Welcome to your tape {Name Inserted Here}” Hannah blames these 13 people for her suicide. Clearly, this dismisses her own personal responsibility in her suicide. Society does not teach it and many try to ignore it but you are responsible for your actions. Even when people are being cruel, evil, hateful and ugly, you are responsible for the actions that you take. We cannot allow this series to suggest otherwise.

Certainly, I do not want to make light of all that happened to Hannah in her young life. This young lady had to endure so much in her life. More than anyone should have to. But that still does not make suicide the best option. Suicide should never be an option at all.

Because of that I want to provide 5 Reasons to Live.

Here is the truth. Suicide is the number 3 killer of teens and college students in our country today. A recent survey found that 1 in 5 high schoolers has thought about committing suicide. ONE IN FIVE!

This is certainly an issue that we must talk about. And if nothing else 13 Reasons Why has opened up that conversation.

Maybe you have found this blog and you are having a tough time right now. Maybe you have considered suicide. Maybe someone has hurt you deeply and you just want out. Please don’t do that. Please get help. Talk to an adult or a friend.  If you want you can email me anonymously and we can talk. Email:

Here are 5 reasons to live:

  1. You are an image bearer. Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him male and female He created them.” Being created in the image of God does not mean that you look like God in body (because God is not confined to a body) but that you show His image in His moral attributes. What does that mean? We, as humans, display God’s attributes like love, joy, peace, holiness, truth, etc. in this world. I realize that I am speaking in ideal terms. But you must know that you bear the image of God in the attributes that you display to others.
  2. You are loved. 1 John 4:9 “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.” Two things here. 1. The love of God. The word used here for love is the word used to express unconditional love. It is a love based NOT on family affections, romantic passions, or fondness. God loves you with NO conditions. 2. God sent His son so that you might live. God’s unconditional love, expressed through the giving of His Son, is the only avenue for life. No matter what you have done or what has been done to you, you can have life.   
  3. You are a masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them.” The word here workmanship makes reference to an artist creating a masterful work of art. You have been created by the great artist as a masterpiece. A portrait that takes time and focus and care to create. As a masterpiece you are cared for during and after the creation process. God, your creator, longs for you to understand just how important you are to Him.
  4. You have something to offer. So many times when you are struggling through the clouds of mental darkness you become very self focused. But when you realize there are others out there that need help and you begin to provide for them in simple ways then you realize “Life is not quite as bad as I thought.” You have time, talent, and resources to offer. Go and make a difference for someone else.  
  5. Future Relationships. At this point in your life you may feel like no one cares. You may feel like nobody wants to know you. But here is the truth. You will make new relationships as you move to different stages of life. Things will change. You will find people that love you and that you can love. There are what? 8 billion or 9 billion people in the world. I’m sure you can find someone. Change your circumstances. Change your outlook. Change your circle of relationships and you will see some new possibilities.

The purpose of this post is simple. You have options. There are so many options other than suicide.

Here I came up with five reasons to live. You should sit down and write down as many more reasons to live that you can think of. Nothing is too small. It could be that your dog or cat will miss you. Or that your parents will have no one to take the trash out for them. Write them all down so that you can begin to see all the reasons, big and small, that you have to live.

And once again I say. Do not keep it a secret. Get help. Talk to an adult. Or talk to 10 adults if you have to. Just find someone who will listen. You can email me and we can talk:

God Bless and Never Give Up!

This Weeks Message:

Usually, You Find What You Are Looking For


It started like any normal Thursday. My wife was up and drinking coffee. We were preparing for a trip to Oklahoma City to spend some time with some friends. That morning we were talking about the latest updates to social media. My wife happened to mention a post about a lady who had lost her wedding dress on a trip from Oklahoma City to California. The dress had been preserved in a box that would help it last and she was transporting it home with her. As I understand the packaging for the dress had been a gift for Christmas. But somewhere along the way the box, with the dress in it blew out of the back of the truck.

The couple knew they had the dress when they left OKC and realized it was lost when they stopped in Groom, TX. Not sure what to do they called several OKC television stations and asked that they keep an eye, and ear out to see if anyone knew where the dress was.

The lady’s mother-in-law also took to social media to ask that people look for the dress and return it if possible.

That is the post that my wife was reading to me that morning. I knew that in just a few hours we would be traveling that approximate route from Groom, TX to OKC. I had a simple thought, “I am going to look out for the dress on the trip.”




As we left our house we traveled south on Hwy 70 for about 30 miles. When we made the left hand turn to head east on I-40 I started looking for the dress. I cannot tell you how I knew it but I just knew deep down inside that we would find that dress. I know it sounds crazy and I cannot verify it because I didn’t speak those words to anyone. But I knew we would find that dress. I set in my mind, “When I see the dress I will pull over and run back and retrieve it.”

As we traveled my wife and I would look at every piece of paper and debris on the side of the road. Asking, “Is that it?” To no avail. Mile after mile and minute after minute we looked and looked. I even had the thought, “What if we find it had been run over and destroyed?” There was no telling in what condition it would be in, a full day after it had been lost.

As we drove and talked we looked. About 2 hours into the trip I glanced over to say something to my wife. She was looking back towards the median. Out of nowhere she screamed, “There it is, but don’t pull over.” There was too much traffic and she didn’t want my abrupt stop to cause an accident. I was like, “Are you serious?” And when I looked at her I knew she was for real.

I quickly found the mile marker that was closest to us. It was mile marker 120. The dress lay in the median between mile marker 119 and 120. We talked briefly about sending a message letting the lady know where the dress was. But realized we could not guarantee that it would still be there. Also, we would hope someone would stop and pick it up for us. So we drove about three miles ahead to the next overpass and turned around and picked up the dress.

As I went to get it I had to play a game of real life frogger to get across the traffic. When I got to the median there it was, “the dress”  laying face up in the middle of the median. I was amazed that it was all in one piece. Only the corners were damaged. It was slight damage at that.

I took it back to the car and we proceeded to figure out how to return it to the lady who lost it. Eventually we were put in touch with her and then with her grandparents who I returned the dress to.

I don’t know why all of this happened. I don’t know why the dress flew out in the first place. I don’t know why my wife read that post to me that morning. I don’t know why I “knew” that we would find it when we turned on to I-40. I don’t know why we did find it. But I did learn a lesson in all of this. Maybe that is the why. So that I could learn a lesson and then pass it on to you.

The lesson is this:

Usually, you find what you are looking for.

Had we not been looking for a dress in a box along I-40 we would have never seen it. In fact, who knows how many people passed by the white box in the median that day. Hundreds? Thousands? Who knows. But none of them saw it. Or none of them saw it and knew what it was. Why? Because they were not looking for it.

Usually, you find what you are looking for.

That is the way it is in life. If you are always looking for the worst in yourself, and others, and in the world then you are going to find it. Just check out social media sometime. Or watch the news. Those outlets seem to thrive on finding the worst in the world. But the opposite is also true. Look for the best in yourself, and others and in the world and you will find that too. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. Stop right now and identify 10 things in your life that are positive. You can do it. I know you can. If you can’t then take the rest of the day and be on the lookout for the best things in yourself, in others and in the world around you. You will be amazed. Why?

Usually, you find what you are looking for.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart. Jeremiah 29:13



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Persecution Causes the Necessary To Become Important

Last night a student asked if we should put ourselves in places of persecution so that our faith grows. It is a good question.

This answer is inspired by 2 Thessalonians 1

Of course the answer is hard. The answer that I want to give is NO! Your faith can grow without struggle. But the true answer is YES! Yes I think we should strive to do hard things that push us to the boundaries.

What I really mean to say is that we should push beyond our boundaries. That is where our faith grows. Here is the scenario. God calls you to take a stance. That specific stance scares you. “People will make fun. People will unfriend me. People will think less of me. People will…” Fear is a boundary.

It is a boundary that consumes too many of us. Go do the thing that God has called you to that really scares you. That is where you grow. Persecution may come. No, persecution will come as you stand on the principles of scripture. SO WHAT?

In the midst of persecution the necessary becomes important and the unnecessary falls away.

Can you imagine being in a secret house church in a middle eastern country when suddenly you fall under attack by men who want to kill you? Immediately you decide what is important and all else is left behind.

The necessary becomes important and the unnecessary falls away.

I have too much junk. I worry too much about that junk. Think of all the physical, financial, and mental effort that has gone into that junk. When persecution comes that stuff will be unnecessary.

So why is that junk necessary now?

I have to be honest, I don’t yet pray for persecution to come. Maybe I should. Maybe I will one day.

I know it is coming. There is a day that there will no longer be in middle moral ground. You will have to take sides. You will have to join the battle for the kingdom or you will fall victim to the enemy.

I guess what I am getting at is prepare now. Get in the battle now. Decide what is important now. Fight the good fight now.

Do something that the Lord has called you to now.



Where Can You Have The Greatest Impact?

Well the New Year is upon us. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I used to take the time to make them but I don’t do it anymore. Instead, I take the time to set some goals for the year. I believe it is important to at least set some goals to aim at. Time is a limited resource and we need to make sure we use it in the best way we are capable of.

I recently came across a website called 80,000 hours. 80,000 hours is the approximate amount of time a person will spend working in their lifetime. The writer encourages his readers to take the time to consider what they will commit those hours to. The author argues that too often we commit our hours to what we are passionate about at a certain point in time but that is not the best way to decide where to give those hours. He says we should not use what we are passionate about when choosing where to commit our hours because our passions change over time. He argues instead that we should commit our hours to the areas that we can have the greatest impact. As we commit to having an impact our passions will grow to those areas where we are having an impact.

The word impact could probably be defined in several different ways but I take it to mean impact on other people. I ask it in this way, “How can I use my hours to have the most impact on other people for the sake of the Gospel?”

More precisely, this is the question I am asking myself this year. What should I commit to so that the time I give has the greatest impact for the sake of the Gospel? Finding the answer to this question involves prayer and discernment. Here is one of the answers I have arrived at.

My first goal this year to use my time for the greatest impact is to take action. That may sound silly to you but to me it is a fault I have. I tend to be very analytical and will take a lot of time thinking about each and every situation. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad to think before acting but too often I over think and under act. I tend to get into the Moses mindset. “Lord, who am I that I should go…?” So to overcome that my goal is to take action immediately in obedience.

There are other answers but they are a little more personal.

Now I will turn it over to you. What activities should you commit to this year to have the most impact for the Gospel? The answer will be different for each one of you. For some it will mean growing your business to provide jobs. For some it will mean being more generous. For others it will mean taking the step of faithfully sharing the Gospel more.

There are many answers to this question but just think of the impact we can have as a whole as we consider how to commit our time for the greatest Gospel impact. It could truly be amazing!

What is one goal you have for the New Year?

3 Reasons WestJet Stands Out to Me! [VIDEO]

I always look forward to the Christmas video that Westjet puts together. In 2013 they surprised a plane full of passengers with Christmas presents when they arrived at their destination. And in 2014 they gave gifts in the Dominican Republic. Both of those are amazing.

But this year I think they topped themselves. Their goal was to perform 12000 mini miracles for people around the globe. You will have to watch what actually happens.

There are several things that stand out to me.

  1. The generosity that is a part of this company’s DNA is impressive. It is apparent that these videos are planned months in advance. That, and the fact that they have done this 3 years running, suggests this company does more than make ploy videos.
  2. The language that they use. They are not scared of words like “Miracle” or “Christmas” I applaud them for being bold in that sense. So many companies try to be correct in every way so as not offend anyone. Westjet calls it as it is and I think that is great.
  3. What if we all lived like this every day? I mean what if we tried to perform one act of kindness each day? That small adjustment would have a significant impact on the communities we live in.

I hope you enjoy this video. I would love to hear your comments in the section below.

The Spirit of Giving Can Be Surprising


There is no doubt that this is a marketing ploy designed to make West Jet look really good. But it is an amazing ploy and I think it really reflects the spirit of giving that we should all have. The amount of planning and preparation that went into this is mind blowing. Take a look and see what you think.

The video is from last year but it still has a great message.

What are some ways to be surprisingly generous this Christmas?