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: contact@sameshirtyesterday.com

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: contact@sameshiryesterday.com.

God Bless and Never Give Up!

This Weeks Message:

Planting Mars [Ep. 009] – You Find What You Look For

In this episode I lay out the verse that I have been challenged with for this year.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Will you join me in seeking the Lord in 2017. I have a feeling that we will come to know Him like we never have before.

At the end of the episode I offer an opportunity to join me in seeking the Lord together this year through an intense discussion group. I am calling it Preparation For Launch. Together, we will read through the entire Bible this year. We will watch some videos together that give us a better understanding of the Scripture. We will have a closed discussion group on facebook to share what the Lord is doing through this year.

If you would like to be a part of Preparation For Launch you can do one of three things. 1.) Comment below, 2.) comment on the Same Shirt Facebook site or 3.) email me at contact@sameshirtyesterday.com

I will leave it open until next Friday, January 13. Then we will get started.

Here are links to the resources we will be using.

Year of biblical Literacy

The Bible Project

 

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

 

 

KOCO 5 News Story

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

News 9 Story

KAMR 4

 

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day

Here are a few thought on overcoming the lions that you face today.

You should read the book.

 

 

Good morning welcome to thoughts from my office on this cold December Day It is a few days until Christmas but my thought isn’t about Christmas today. It’s about a book I’ve been reading. The book is called In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. If you get a chance to find a copy of this pick it up. It’s challenging, it’s encouraging and I will share the main premise of the book with you today.

I picked it up at Mardels on the dollar discount rack and it laid on my shelf for about 3 weeks before I picked it up and started reading it. It has really helped me see some things in my life that I  have allowed to consume or control me. There are fears that I must overcome. A lot of this kind of fear causes us to stagnate and sit there.

So I want to share with you the premise of the whole book. It is based and second Samuel chapter 23 verse 20 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever read that before. Maybe you read through the Bible and read that verse. I’ve read through the Bible many times in the past and never really thought much about it But this man jumped into a pit with a lion on a snowy day and defeated the lion we are told. And then becomes the commander of King David’s army a significant achievement for him. This man is barely mentioned in a few verses of scripture and this whole book it is based on that verse or that’s the theme or the premise of the book.

It’s a great thought to think about today and specifically we talk about fears that we have. These fears that control us. When I  look in the eyes of a lion my response is to turn and run the opposite direction. But not this man. He looked at the lion and chased it down and defeated it. And sol there are lions in our lives today. There are lions in my life that I’m fearful of. That I’m scared of. That I’ve been actually running the opposite direction of and I’m sure you’re the same way as well. So this book, th is the scripture challenges us to look at lion in the eyes and chase it down. And he goes on to say in the book to say that you may be defeated. You will be defeated at times when you chase lions but those are times that you grow.  Those are times you become faithful and those are times that you begin the conquering of those fears. The overcoming of those fears and ultimately the point is that God has called us to do some tremendous things that were too scared of. And how we we don’t jump in the pit on a snowy day with a lion. Which is just crazy. That is three things stacked against you, a lion, in a pit for you can’t run away, and snow. It’s cold and you can’t walk very well you can get good traction all those things when you’re battling a lion.

So my question for you today what fears are you battling and what is it that you need to look in the eye, trust the Lord in it, and go forward in it.

No so often we talk about fear like you can overcome your fear on your own. But ultimately that’s not the truth the truth is that by God’s power, his grace, his mercy, he helps you walk through and into those fears. He helps you face lions and move forward. So I hope these words are encouraging for you today as the Lord has called us to some tremendous things as we step out and take advantage of that opportunity.

Be faithful to do what he has called us to do even when it’s hard. Even when it looks like a big giant lion. Let’s go do it today. Have a great day. God bless!

Only One Life – Why Waste It Under The Burden of Debt

 

Give me some feedback. How can we help these college students get out from under the burden of debt?

Live on a budget. Buy less stuff. Stop borrowing money. Work an extra job. Be consistent. These are a few ideas.

What else can you think of?

UPDATE:

Here are some statistics I found on studentloanhero.com.

General student loan debt facts

First, let’s start with a general picture of the student loan debt landscape. The most recent reports indicate there is:

  • $1.26 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.1%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $203

Collective Overflow Founder — Lisa Taylor [Ep. 008]

Lisa Taylor is the founder and Executive Director of Collective Overflow, a ministry that ministers to ministers. The focus of Collective Overflow is supporting church planters in the western part of the United States.

In this interview you will hear Lisa share her experience with church planting and how the Lord really gave her a heart of ministering to church planters. In the interview we talk about many different topics from ministry, to church planting, to walking through depression, to family.

This is a great conversation and I am sure you will be able to hear her love for the Lord, her ministry, and her family. I hope you enjoy this episode of Planting Mars.



Selected Links From The Episode:

Connect With Lisa Taylor:

Instagram:     Lisa Taylor            Collective Overflow

Facebook:     Collective Overflow

On the Web:     Collective Overflow

Other Items Mentioned:

beneaththeskin.org

Lisa’s Favorite Books:

To Kill a Mocking Bird  –  Harper Lee

The Chronicles of Narnia  –  C.S.Lewis

Fervent  –  Priscilla Shirer

Best Purchase:

Keurig 2.0

Thank you for listening! Have a great day!

What is a Moonshot?

A moonshot, in a technology context, is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.

Google has adopted the term moonshot for its most innovative projects, many of which come out of the Google X, the company’s semi-secret lab. Google moonshots include Google Glass, Project Loon (a balloon-based Internet service project), the driverless car, augmented reality glasses, a neural network, robots for the manufacturing industry and Project Calico, a life extension project.

Here’s Google’s definition of a moonshot:

A project or proposal that:

Addresses a huge problem
Proposes a radical solution
Uses breakthrough technology

 

The term “moonshot” derives from the Apollo 11 spaceflight project, which landed the first human on the moon in 1969. “Moonshot” may also reference the earlier phrase “shoot for the moon” meaning aim for a lofty target.

 

This Definition comes from whatis.techtarget.com

Is The Church Ready for Robots?

Over the next five years, as we see more automated machines take human jobs are we prepared for that as the church? You may think it’s a silly question at this point in 2016. But I think it’s a very important question that we need to ask now. We need to be asking and answering these tough  questions today so that we can be prepared for the arrival of these new technologies.

If you do not think it is a possibility for new robotics technologies to take more and more human jobs then check out the following video from Boston Dynamics, a robotics company that is now owned by Google. The machines they have created are amazing to say the least. The following video shows just one of their creations.

Now are you thinking, “WOW I didn’t realize there was a machine that was so human like?” A time is coming when people will lose their jobs  to machines that are more efficient, can work 24/7, don’t need to be paid, nor do they require food or breaks. What will we do as the church when this happens? 

An article published in September on theguardian.com titled “Robots will eliminate 6% of all US jobs by 2021, report says” estimates that by the year 2021 6% of the US workforce could be eliminated due to automation. That is 6% of the entire US Workforce. The article says that this “disruptive tidal wave” will affect areas such as customer service, transportation, and logistics. People who have been working in these industries for many years will lose their jobs and will either need to be retrained or look for work in other Industries. It is staggering to think that 6% of the US Workforce will lose their jobs to automation by 2021.  

Are you prepared to minister to 6% of your local community who just lost their jobs?  Are you prepared to lose 6% of those persons who give to your church financially?  Are you prepared to help these people who have lost their jobs and have limited specialized skills to find new avenues of work?

According to experts that is only the beginning.  What do we do 2030  when 15% to 20% of the workforce has been displaced by automated machines? 

Interestingly the article says, “The challenge posed by automation is not being taken seriously enough at a policy level, Stern added. ‘Politicians would rather talk about getting a college degree and technical skill training, things that are probably five to 10 years too late. We don’t really have a plan and we don’t appreciate how quickly the future is arriving.”

“…we don’t appreciate how quickly the future is arriving.” Is the article about politicians or about the church? In my opinion the church is more like 20 to 25 years behind the curve.  We need to be ready. We need to be thinking, planning, and preparing. We need to be taking action.

As further evidence another article in the Washington Post titled The Brave New World of Robots and Lost Jobs says, “Politicians need to begin thinking boldly, now, about a world in which driverless vehicles replace most truck drivers’ jobs, and where factories are populated by robots, not human beings. The best way to cushion this future is to start planning for how Americans will be able to take care of their families — and find meaningful work — in a world where most traditional jobs have vanished.”

That same article suggests that “The “automation bomb” could destroy 45 percent of the work activities currently performed in the United States, representing about $2 trillion in annual wages, according to a study last year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. We’ve seen only the beginning of this change, they warned. Currently, only 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated, but 60 percent of occupations could soon see machines doing 30 percent or more of the work.” I’m not sure if you read that or not but we are going from 6% of the workforce to 45%.  If 6% was not staggering enough this research suggests almost half or the US workforce will be without work.

I don’t want to belabor the point but we must plan for the future.

Is this something you have ever thought about? Is this something you have prepared for?

I’m not offering any solutions at this point, I may do that later. Right now I would like to suggest two possible outcomes. Now these are only two outcomes that come to mind. There are probably many more. I would love to hear your feedback.

Here’s what I’m thinking at this point:

  1. The church sees people losing their jobs to automation and isn’t prepared for it. This in turn has two outcomes of its own.
    1. There is an abundance of ministry opportunities as families are hurting and looking for ways to provide for their basic needs.
    2. There is a significant reduction in financial giving to the church and ministries have to be cut to the bare bones. This may include the loss of current church buildings and meeting places as well as a significant reduction in staff.
    3. Therefore the church falters in its ability to minister.

It will be interesting to see, if this happens, how the church responds.

Or, and I do not want to try to place spin on this but I do not see this outcome as entirely negative. Here is what I mean. If churches have had to reduce their staffing to the bare minimum then the personal ministry will be reverted back to the individual members of the congregations. This will be a good thing as it will help Christ followers take up the task they were called to do.

As churches have gone through the process of reduced income they will have had to identify the absolute necessities for ministry (Unless one of your church members owns all of the robots). That is a really good thing. That means, well I hope it means, that churches will have gotten in their Bibles and prayed to God to identify what it is that they are supposed to be doing and then put all of their limited resources toward that ministry.

I think the church then begins to look a lot like an Acts 2:42 church, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

In no way am I trying to make light of a situation where so many people have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. I am simply saying that one of the possible outcomes is the church gets back to being the church. This would be a good thing in my opinion.

2) The church is prepared for a situation like this and stands out as an embassy of love and hope.

Just think about the opportunity to step in and show love to all of these people who have lost their jobs and were not prepared for it. It will take a lot of planning and preparation but if we start now we can be ready.

Being prepared means we have thought through how to minister to many people who are looking for work. Being prepared means we consider how the church can be a part of reeducating these workers into new areas of work. Being prepared means we have already taken a hard look at our ministries and identified the essential aspects of ministry as opposed to the nonessential.

The list can go on and on. I know that the church in the US has a lot of problems as it is that we are working through. But I see the next 5-10 years of technological advancement potentially as a defining moment for the church. It is a defining moment that we are just not ready for at this point.

Like I said before, I see it potentially as an opportunity to get back to the task of being the church. Winning the lost, making disciples, fellowshipping together, praying, and showing Christ to a lost and dying world.  

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.