Help End Human Trafficking and Poverty

Want to help end human trafficking and poverty? None of us can do it alone, but together we can make it happen! On October 1, 2016 Natalia Mahaffy & I will be riding with Cycling4Change to raise awareness and money to bring justice and healing to people around the world, and we want to invite you to join us! You can register to ride 5, 20 or 60 miles, or, even if you can’t ride, you can donate to this great cause started by our good friends Santhosh and Rajdeep Paulus! Small things done with great love make a BIG difference! Let’s give hope, because hope changes everything!14310482_10209340115912695_5459634129921892659_o

Money Matters for Students

“Kev, money just burns holes in your pockets.” I remember riding in the car with my Grandpa as a little kid when he said that to me. I had just received a few bucks and I desperately wanted to spend them on something that wasn’t very important. Money wasn’t in instant supply when I was a kid, so when I got some, I had a thousand things lined up calling for it when I did get it.

I don’t know about you, but as an adult I wish someone had taken the time to really talk to me about how to manage money when I was a kid. Certainly people like my parents pointed me to the Bible and tried to steer me on the right path, but I don’t recall ever having a detailed, intentional explanation of financial matters until I had been married for several years. One of my uncles was a financial advisor and took some time to sit down and talk with me about how to budget, save, etc.

At Shelter Rock Church, our student ministry vision statement is to see students become fully-devoted, passionate, life-long followers of Jesus. Each of those three parts of the statement are important. We want students to understand that Jesus being Lord of our lives means that He is the center of every relationship and everything that we are involved in. We want students to experience that life with Jesus is not boring, but the greatest adventure you could ever imagine. And we want equip students to honor God all the days of their lives. To that extent this year we are going to be talking with our students about handling money.

I am really excited that this semester in our small groups we are going to be taking all of our students through Generation Change, the student version of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I believe equipping our students so intentionally and strategically in this area of their lives will really give them a great head-start and empower them to live their lives free to be and do everything God has planned for them.

Guest Post by Dr. Santhosh Paulus: Healthy Worship

14051738_10153758098639149_3030001009916390940_nI never had trouble sleeping! Maybe it’s because of all the years of sleep deprivation in Medical School and Residency or because of the training involved in getting ready for Half Marathons, Tough Mudders, the Tour de Cure, and 5 Boro bike tours. I would usually be out in seconds when my head hit the pillow, but now I was heading into unchartered territory for me. I thought God grants sleep to those he loves! God was starting a chapter in the book of my life that I was not ready for.

After training for about a year-and-a-half and logging in 2,800 miles on my bike by December of 2014, I was feeling great. I was about to start a cross-country bike ride to fight the Social Justice cause of our generation – human trafficking. God had put it on my heart to be a voice for the voiceless and those marginalized and neglected by society, for “the least of these.” I was angry and frustrated. I usually exercise at times when I am stressed out and God helps me to get rid of my anxiety in this way. That’s what helped me to get through tough childhood trials, big exams, and life’s usual stresses.

The day I received my diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, I was extremely stressed out and I went into a panic when I realized I could not exercise to deal with the news of uneven thickening of the walls of my heart. I had been through some difficult times in my life before. We lost our house and belongings in Hurricane Andrew, I grew up in an alcoholic home, but this one hit really close to home for me. What we do says more about what we believe than what we say. It’s easy to say we believe in God and that He is our peace, but to live it out is different. This really made me depend on God and who He is and allow Him to be my peace in the midst of this storm I was about to go through.

The human body is God’s most amazing creation. The heart starts to beat by 19 days of gestation (that’s day 19 in your Mama’s belly). Your body is God’s temple — the place where He dwells. God actually lives in us and just like we clean up and take care of our house, we should clean up and take care of our bodies, God’s house, as an act of worship.
Taking care of our bodies includes eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking care of our minds. The mind and the body are connected, and one affects the other.

Our diet is the foundation of who we are. You are what you eat! Why are we surprised when we eat a bunch of junk food and then we don’t feel well? It is not only important what we eat, but also how much we eat. When we go out to restaurants, the portion sizes of our meals are nothing short of ridiculous.

Exercise is crucial to maintaining our health as well. A good goal is to get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 times a week. What you eat is the source of your calories and being active is how you burn those calories. You have to burn 3,500 calories to loose just one pound. If you are frustrated that you are overweight, don’t get discouraged if you can’t get the weight off in one week. If the weight came on over a few years, it may take just as long to get it off. That requires consistency and discipline. You didn’t gain it overnight and you won’t lose it overnight. It’s important to make lifestyle changes and not do a “diet.”

I can’t say enough about sleep. If diet and exercise are the peanut butter and jelly of the sandwich of health, then sleep is the bread. Remember wheat bread is the way to go. Try to avoid those simple carbohydrates!Your day starts the night before when you decide what time you will go to sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial for you to have the energy you will need to have a productive day. If you want to thrive and not just survive you need your sleep. In order for your muscles to repair and heal up from the exercise you have done you need to eat right and get your sleep.

When you go back to school, you have to turn your summer brain off and wake up your academic brain cells, right? More importantly, if you think of your mind as a muscle, there are ways to keep your mind in shape. The best thing to fill your mind with daily is God’s Word, and with so much great Christian music out there, you can do this through music and reading your Bible, or even using a Verse-a-Day App on your smart phone. Secondly, surround yourself with friends who tell you the truth in love and lift you up. Finally, keep junk out — things like online porn, images in R-rated movies, song lyrics with repetitive expletives and curse words, and negativity in general. Remember who God made you to be and how much He loves you. Defeat the lies in your head with God’s truth!

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) Let’s take care of the place where our Creator wants to hang out by watching what we eat, exercising and getting enough sleep. When your world goes upside down and you can’t figure out which way is up, remember Who holds your world in his hands. He doesn’t promise that we will have a life without problems, but that He will be there with us in the midst of them. Let’s not make what we eat, exercise, or getting sleep more important than our Maker, but let’s honor and worship Him in these ways to take care of His house! I’m trying to stay in shape again and am back to a little exercise. How about you?

“Turning The Page” a Poem for Claudia

IMG_1746Today I turned the page
It is the last in the chapter
Tomorrow starts a new one
I wonder what comes after

But today I savor
I enjoy the last few words
Taking snapshots in my mind
Of all that’s seen and heard

Trying to live in the moment
To read this page, not skip to the next
I’m anxiously anticipating
Don’t know what to expect

Focus on this page
But I begin to reminisce
The story that’s been thus far
Laughter, tears, so many moments

Sure we’ll have more
But this chapter is through
We’ll see each other less
Shared moments will be few

It’s been quite a journey
Lots of ups, a few downs
Smiling, fun memories
Only more impactful because of a few frowns

I hope you’ll always treasure
The lessons that you’ve learned
Highest of all follow Jesus
God’s will utmost to be discerned

No we haven’t been perfect
But we hope you know we tried
Many have been our failures
And for these our eyes have cried

But our sorrow is turned to joy
When we feel God’s embrace
This story has been and will always be
Filled with His love and grace

So as I finish this page
A little sadness, but a whole lot of excitement
An adventure awaits
Go live your divine assignment

And Then There Was One

IMG_1743

This is it. Today is the last day before Claudia leaves for Nyack College to begin her freshman year. Over the past few years I have written about the two jars I keep on my dresser – one for each of my girls (Links below). Inside each jar are beads that I have counted out representing the days our daughter have at home before they head off into the next season of their lives after their high school years. Every morning when I am getting ready for my day I remove one bead. When I do so I ask myself what I am going to do that day to connect with them, invest in them, make a memory with them, etc. because time is ticking. These beads keep the reality of passing time in front of me. We won’t ever get this season of life back, and I want to make the most of each day. Some days I do a good job. Other days I don’t. Today Claudia’s jar is down to one. Today I have spent some time reflecting on, writing to, and praying for Claudia, and tonight we are going to celebrate by sharing one more experience together. Parents, maximize the time you have with your children whatever season they are in. What can you do today to share a thought, invest in, or create a memory with your kids?

Related: How Jars of Beads Have Affected My Parenting and Beads and Parenting: Two Years Later