Blessings and Bikes

Blessings and Bikes – 2016

This post was originally from 2016, but tomorrow morning is the 2018 Blessing of the Bikes  – and my son just called to say he and a friend are driving all night from Minnesota to be present for the blessing – so say a prayer for their safety, will ya?


Last Sunday, our church hosted the 20th annual Blessing of the Bikes.  It’s an event that started when 4 bikers from the church approached the pastor with an idea to bring their friends to church. The first year, there were 162 bikes, and the town of Murrysville wondered what in the world was going on as they all rolled through.  Over the years, that event has blossomed, and is very well-known in the area.  The town of Murrysville actually sends the Mayor and emergency workers now, and even shuts down traffic for a while, to allow the event to be held.  It’s a completely free event, because, in the words of Pastor Dan, “so is gift of salvation”.   This year, on the 20th anniversary, we estimated approximately 15,000 bikes piled in – to our parking lot, and the adjacent blessing_bikes.jpgstreets, and the parking lots along Rt 22.  Figuring many bikes had 2 riders, we’d say there were A LOT of people who turned out for the event.  For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the music for the service.   This year, our good friend Dave Smith, sang a song called “Jack Daniels & Jesus”.   I’m pretty sure there wasn’t another church in the country that sang that song on Sunday.

(By the way, I think there’s a message in here somewhere about starting a “movement” – it doesn’t take something BIG to make something BIG – it just requires someone to dream it and make it reality).

“Jack Daniels & Jesus”

Lately I’ve been trading
A good sermon and some praying
For a stranger in my bed
And a night that needs explaining
I’ve opened more bottles than I ever have my bible
This dirt road communion sure won’t lead me to revival

Between the black label and the letters in red
I felt what livin’ is
And what it’s like to live dead

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

It’s my fault that I ain’t called
My momma in a month of Sundays
She’ll smell the whiskey through that phone
I can’t stand to hear her heartbreak
Next week, I see my brother Casey for the first time
Since it all went down
And I blacked his eye the night after our daddy died

I ain’t afraid to admit I’ve hit rock bottom
You wanna see a lifetime full of sins
Just look at me
I’ve got ’em

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

blessing_people.jpgblessing_bikes_2.jpg

This is what 25,000 bikes looks like from the Medic One Helicopter.

Wall to wall people

blessing_people

blessing_shirt.jpg

(can’t see the killer boots from here, but they were awesome.. lol)

I am watching life unfold for several young adults – some of them are making some very good life decisions, and some of them are making some incredibly bad life decisions, some of them very, very public, and some of them very private.   And my heart breaks.   In almost all of the cases, I say to myself, (and I’ve heard their parents say), “but they were raised differently than that”   and then I remember the words, “somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus” and remember that we’re really ALL somewhere on that journey.   I haven’t had Jack Daniels in over 30 years  – one REALLY BAD experience with it all those years ago, and I can’t even smell the stuff to this day…. And I was raised differently than that…. And still, I made some poor life choices along the way – hopefully ones that I have learned from, and that have made me stronger.  By the grace of God alone, He brought me through those poor choices and gave me a second chance, or maybe a third and fourth.   And, by the grace of God, He will bring those folks through their choices as well, allowing U-turns to correct their course.   Pray for them, will ya?

 

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved

Advertisements

Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana Group…

Prayer is powerful. I mean really powerful.

From the time they were small, I prayed with our children every night before bed and every day before school. Our youngest daughter developed a prayer ritual that was so faithful it made my heart leap. Her memory of prayers and prayer requests was incredible for her age.

One by one, she would recite the people on her prayer list, and pray about their needs.

Cheyne is our friends youngest son. When he was five years old, just days before Christmas, he was diagnosed with neuroblatoma… cancer. We were devastated. Tiffany was faithful in her prayers, year after year, with childlike faith that Cheyne would be ok. Cheyne is now 15 years old, plays basketball and football, and is super cute!

This picture was taken long ago, but you can see how adorable he is!

This pic is a more recent one, and shows Central Park in the background. Cheyne and his mother travel to NYC every six months to get scans to make sure the cancer has not returned.

God heard Tif’s prayers, and the prayers of countless others who prayed for Cheyne faithfully. I have stood amazed by God as I’ve seen Cheyne grow, not only for the miracle that he is, but for what God has done in the life of my friend, Cynde, his mother. She always had a loving heart, and has shone unwavering faith in God and strength of character through all of this battle. She is a good and faithful servant.

Prayers have been answered for Cheyne. Stay tuned as I recount the blessings of the others on Tiffany’s prayer list…..

I remember these answers of prayer as I come before the Lord God Almighty, asking for Jericho sized prayers to be answered– either with a door wide open or a door closed tightly. I rest assured know by that God hears my prayers and is faithful.

In Him I pray

Blessings, SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Press Release – Masquerade – the battle within

­­­

Masquerade

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Marketing Services
Tel: 866-928-1240

Fax: 812-961-3133

Email: pressreleases(at)westbowpress(dot)com

(When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.)               ­­

Samantha Elizabeth Barrett releases ‘Masquerade: The Battle Within’

Book tells story of one woman’s trials in life, how she emerged victorious through her faith in God

 MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Samantha Elizabeth Barrett wanted people to understand that, through God’s help, they do not have to be victims of their circumstances and they can claim victory over trials because of “God’s provisions for us.” This objective prompted her to write “Masquerade: The Battle Within” (published by WestBow Press), a personification of a woman’s struggles, and gives hope to readers that they can survive the battle as well as the war.

The book shares the story about a woman who experiences trials in life that cause her to doubt God and even contemplate suicide but, through Christ, emerges through her trials with the knowledge that God is with her, and always will be, regardless of future trials that she knows she will face. It is not a fairy tale, but one that shows there is hope in the trial through Jesus.

“I personally experienced some of the topics covered in the story – I lost my own father to cancer when I was 8 years old and struggled in my young life to find purpose amidst my hurt,” Barrett says. “As a young adult, I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior and have dedicated my life to mentoring others in various capacities, to try to help at-risk youth see that they can have hope through Jesus Christ.”

Barrett’s sincerest hope for readers is that they would see that, with God’s help, they could emerge victorious over difficult circumstances.

“Masquerade: The Battle Within”  By Samantha Elizabeth Barrett

Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 128 pages | ISBN 9781973605591

Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 128 pages | ISBN 9781973605584

E-Book | 128 pages | ISBN 9781973605577

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Samantha Elizabeth Barrett is a musician, engineer and mentor. Her desire is to leave things better than she found them. She is a sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt and a friend.

Teaming through Personality Differences

Let’s face it.  Every one of us has worked with people we don’t like, and, believe it or not, you may not be liked by some people. It’s really hard when the person we don’t like is on our team, and we have to work together on a project.  What can we do, in those situations, to continue to perform at our best?

  1. Learn to value people

All of us have value.  When we look around at a co-worker that we believe is not pulling their weight, we tend to dismiss everything they do as unimportant. Further, our feelings are exacerbated because we feed on our self-justification and dislike of the person to continue to tear down everything they do.   The hard reality is that they, too, have gifts and talents that are every bit as important to the company or projects as yours.  When we can truly find some value that they add, we can begin to look at them differently.

  1. Learn from them

Yes, you heard me.  They have something to offer – some skill that they do well where we lack.  First, learn to recognize it (go back to step 1 if you cannot recognize their strengths).  Once we can recognize and acknowledge their strengths, sit back for a moment or two and think about what you might be able to learn from them.  Often we get so caught up in being angry that they are not all we want them to be for us that we fail to see that we can actually learn from them.  Open your eyes and your mind.  The leader who is always learning from others, even from those who may frustrate them.  I challenge you to find at least one thing you might learn from them.

  1. Embrace Humility

It’s maddening to me that every time I strongly believe someone else needs to change all of the things that they are doing wrong, when I get to the place where I can truly look objectively at the situation, I often find that I’m the one who needed to make an adjustment.  I can honestly say, in hindsight of course, that this was the single largest realization that helped me in situations where I once was confident I couldn’t get along with someone because of the way they are.  It takes years to perfect this, and it certainly isn’t easy, but when we can make incremental improvements toward our goal, we become better people, better teammates, and ultimately better leaders.

  1. Learn to leverage the differences

You may have heard it said that if someone always has the same opinion as you, one of you isn’t needed.  Indeed it is true.  In my career, I have found that the most effective teams are not the ones where everyone agrees with the leader of the group, but the ones who are able to debate in a healthy way to arrive at the best solution for the situation.  When I’ve had the opportunity to build a team, I deliberately looked to fill the team with a blend of personality types across the Myers-Briggs spectrum.   In cases where we work with teams built by others, take the time to discover and consider how the differences in personality type can work together for the greater good of the organization.

Building a high potential team is fun and takes time and work. Don’t give up the dream of having an awesome team.

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Seeing miracles

When you watch for miracles, you see miracles. Friends, God is still in the miracle business! He has a sense of humor, and it is fun to watch miracles unfold before our eyes.

I’ve been praying for someone close to me for a very, very long time. You all know I’ve been praying for some rather large miracles. On Easter weekend, I confided in several friends that I was “letting go” of the dream because it was more important to me that this person meet Jesus. In my heart, I let go of what I was praying for and began praying for this person instead.

In that one weeks’ time, I have seen ridiculous things happening in hay persons life, things that I know are because of God. Last night this persons said to me, “well He’s got my attention”

Thank you, Jesus.

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

Miracles

Training my eyes to see

The beauty in Your World

All that You created

Here for blessings like a pearl

All that You have for me,

Wanting to be

All that I can be for You

With eyes wide open,

I see miracles around

Your love 💕 abouds,

astounds,

In You I place my trust

You are my everything

Hands and Feet

Matthew 25:40-45 New International Version (NIV)

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me,you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Last Saturday, members of our youth group had the pleasure of helping a Veteran and his wife move their belongings from one home into another.  We gathered in front of our church.  In the brisk morning air, we shared a prayer for the privilege that God had given us to help someone, and prayed for the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.  We didn’t know all of the circumstances, but we knew that the man was a US Veteran of the Vietnam War, and he has a terminal illness.  We piled into our cars and rode over to their mobile home.

They were moving from one mobile home in a small mobile home park to one down about 3 doors, which had just been vacated.  When we arrived, part of our group went to the home they were leaving, while I accompanied the other part of the group to the home they were moving into.  As we entered, we noticed a vacuum cleaner in the living room.  It looked as if it hadn’t been used, and I thought it made sense to do a little cleaning of the recently vacated home before the other group began moving things in.

I went to the kitchen and found a bucket, some cleaning solution, and a dirty sponge, so i filled it up and began cleaning what i could of the cupboards.  The other team began to bring kitchen items and food over to the new place, while we worked as quickly as we could to clean as much as we could. The vacant home had been left filthy, and we didn’t want the couple to live in it without cleaning it up.

Eventually, we met the couple who was moving.  In all honestly, it seemed as if they were overwhelmed by their circumstances, and had a difficult time processing all that was going on.  “Kay”, as I’ll call her, was most concerned about papers they kept on their fridge regarding who to call for Hospice care.   My heart was broken, overcome with sadness for their circumstances.

To think about knowing your days on earth are numbered fewer and fewer is humbling. I mean, we all know it will happen some day, but I’d bet the majority of us think it’s a long way off. Although the Bible tells us that life is a vapor, most of us feel as though our 70-80 years on Earth, or more if we’re lucky, if were honest with ourselves, most of us believe it’s a long time away. However, we don’t really know when we will leave this Earth. We prayed for an opportunity to share the gospel with John and Kay so that they can be ready when their time comes.

We continued to clean and move their belongings, trying to set up a home for them in which to live. We wanted to be a blessing to them so that they would we God’s glory through us.

Before we left their home, we had an opportunity to pray with John and Kay. What a blessing. I was proud of the work that our kids did that day, and humbled by the work that God did. It’s awesome to serve a God who loves His children so much.

It was a blessing for me to meet John and Kay that day, and I pray Gods continued blessing on their lives as they live out their days.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright Journey For Life 2018. All rights reserved