How to Change the World Today!

So many of us what to go out and change the world.

We find the perfect job, make plenty of money, move up in status and say…now we can go make a difference in the world by doing big things. Maybe we start a foundation or setup a movement to help some disadvantaged people. Or maybe we purely use our wealth and donate much to groups already in existence. All in all not a bad thing, but my question is Why Wait? What I’ve heard people say, myself included, well when I get financially stable, I can do this or that to make a difference. Or when I reach a certain status or level in my company, I’ll then have time to devote to this cause or that group. But will it ever be enough? Will we ever reach that point where we can say, “finally, I’m there…I can finally change the world!”

Or how about another scenario. We are on the other spectrum. We’ve spent our lives just trying to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck. We think, if only we had some stuff or didn’t have to work so many hours, then maybe we could finally make a difference. We feel we spend so much time just trying to change our own world, that we don’t or can’t make a difference anywhere else. Do we say, “If only I had a little more, then it would be enough…then I could finally change the world!”

Or how about a third scenario. We have good jobs, we’re not wealthy but we live comfortably in our small town. We provide for our families and while we don’t have much, we have enough. So we come home from work, eat dinner, and sit down to watch the news and we see the troubles around the world or even just in our own community and say, “If only there was something I could do…but I’m really no one important, so there’s not much for me to do.”

Well, if you haven’t watched the video above, watch it now. I’ve had all the excuses I listed above. Those have all been me at some point in my life. The last few weeks, I’ve been reevaluating how I’m trying to make a difference for God, but trying to find out what Jesus really means to me and what his plan for me really is. I’ve been slowly realizing that while I’ve felt that the only way to make a difference was to do something BIG, the way God tells me I can change the world now is by Going Small.

The other day when I was listening to some music on the way home from work, these lyrics from the Newsboys song “That’s How You Change the World” jumped out at me and really smacked me across the face.

It’s the prayer in an empty room
Little things we do when nobody’s around
A hand reaching out to a heart in doubt
It’s the smallest spark that can light the dark

That’s how you change the world!

You don’t know when God will use the small gesture, the smile, the simple “How you doing?” to change someone’s world. To make a difference in someone’s day, perhaps in their life.

Somewhat coincidentally (well God driven to be sure) I’m reading through the book “Go Small: Because God Doesn’t Care About Your Status, Size, or Success” and starting off in Chapter 1 is this little snippet, that I read just a day before God sent the Newsboys song my way.

There was a suicide note collected a few years ago that was written by an anonymous person as they made their way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The writer remarked that they were walking to the bridge with the intent of ending their life; but one sentence of the note immediately leapt out at me.

“If one person smiles at me on the way,” this person wrote, “I will not jump.”

They jumped.

It’s the small things that God can use in big ways to change the world. Go out and change the world today, I am.

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Roaring like a lion

10407257_897267393625805_2613389422715980229_nThis past week has been a lesson in the meaning of this Christmas season and a show of the love of Christ.  Near a small town 30 minutes from my home, there is a small village instead another.  One made of tents and inhabited by those that are living on the margins of society.  God led my brother-in-law to visit them a week ago and opened his heart and many others of us, his family and friends, to open their hearts to the needs of these people.  Within a week, they went from wondering how to survive a winter, to having firewood, propane, clothes, blankets and fresh water….enough to last the winter and beyond.  My wife and I were able to give something of ourselves, some of the blessings that God bestowed on us, we were able to share with these kind people.

This week culminated in a Christmas party thrown in honor of the people of tent-city and in celebration of the birth of our savior.  While not everyone from tent-city attended a few did and were a blessing to all of us in attendance.

Let me quote one of the tent-city residents who expressed thanks to my brother-in-law and his family:

that day before you appeared into my life i contemplated and kept asking myself what am i good for. i do not have my babies and i am slowly dying. but dam i am in tears when i type this . dean you made me feel like a person and not some worthless piece of trash that will neve be anything.     ……   i just hope one day i can be back with my children and happy but dam i do not know how you done it but you saved my life the day you came down and for that thank you. so again . . i am happy and confident once again like i was prior to this situation.

The lives of my sister, my brother-in-law and all of us involved have been changed for all time with a prompting from God answered by a single person.

While thinking about the lives changed, I was listening to the song God’s Not Dead by the Newsboys and these lyrics jumped out at me.

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to see a revolution somehow.

God let his love explode and miracles happened.  His love flowed out and the blind could see, the crippled could walk again, and the dead rose from the grave.  With a simple act of love Jesus did all these things.   And by using us sinners, Jesus let his love flow and help these kind people living in tents in the cold.  None of these things would be possible without the love of Christ.

I feel emboldened now by the meaning of this time of year.  These events have helped me understand where God was leading me when I decided to live my life with abandon.

Now I’m lost in your freedom
In this world I’ll overcome.

Now the love of Christ has freed me to become who he has wanted me to be.  Based on the events of this past week, it’s been proven we can all loudly proclaim the chorus to that song.

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

lion-roar-roaring-teeth-mad-angry-

The days of old

I saw this article this morning about a major grocer chain that was removing all of their self-checkout lanes.  My first thought was, why would they do that.  I personally don’t use them, but I understand the convenience of them when you have just a handful of items.  But then I read this quote from the article;

We just want the opportunity to talk to customers more.  That’s the driving motivation.

That hit it on the head for me.  What business wouldn’t want to talk to their customers, to engage them more.  I believe that one of the biggest social issues in this country these days is the fact that everyone is in a hurry, no one talks to their neighbors anymore, and there is no sense of community.  Everyone is in a “me, me. me” and “hurry, hurry, hurry” type of attitude.

Today we get the gestures and dirty looks when we pass someone by. People don’t hold the door for each other anymore. Neighbors aren’t neighborly anymore. Fast food restaurants on every corner where I feel like I’m putting the workers out by ordering. Yes I’m generalizing, but everyone’s seen it.

What happened to the days when people said hello to each other as they passed?  What about the days when you you’re neighbors would look out for each other instead of trying to hide away?  How about the times when a town would shut down for a Friday night football game regardless of the record?  Why can’t we go into a restaurant and be greeted by name and asked if we want our usual?

This world would be just a bit nicer, the days just a bit brighter if everyone would make an effort to get back to those days.  My goal for today:

  • Say hello to a random stranger.
  • Hold the door for someone (other than those that are with me)
  • Talk to a clerk or waiter today and ask them how they are doing…..and actually listen!

What better time than now to start fixing the social ills that plague this nation with one kind act or word at a time!

Build something small

By day I’m a software developer, website builder, and general computer consultant.  Just the other day I read an article on a software blog I follow called Stop Giving Lousy Excuses And Start Working On A Small But Genuine Story.  This article, while it talks from a perspective of software development, leaves us with a message I think we all can relate to in life.

If we look at the world around us and see the struggles and troubles that we or our neighbors and friends are going through, we may think it’s just too large for us individuals to fix or even make a difference.  In fact the prevailing thought of many around the country is that “only the government can fix it.” 

We sit around in our homes, happily (or not so happily) paying our taxes and say “What can I do, I’m only one person?”,  “I’m just too busy to work on it.” or “I’m really not smart enough to do anything about it.”  

Well I say, drop the excuses, do something small.  None of those excuses work when you do something small.  They don’t take a lot of time, nor a lot of money.  They don’t take a lot of brain power and you can keep your day job.  You just have to take a little initiative, do something to make a difference and then do it consistently.

What type of things am I talking about?  Nothing real complicated.

  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee in a coffee shop.
  • Give a young mother a coupon for free milk if you see her in line in front of you at the grocery store.
  • Tell a soldier “Thank you!”
  • Hold the door for the person coming out of the store behind you.
  • Send $20 to a family in need anonymously.
  • Invite an elderly person over for dinner if they’re alone for the holidays.

Little things that we all can do (and things I need to improve on myself), that would make such a huge difference in people’s lives.  Each taking as individual act of kindness really is nothing big, takes so little time, effort or money, but can pay such dividends to the everyone involved.  And if everyone would do something small each day, think what a difference it would make on a large scale when you consider them all together.

It doesn’t take the government to spread kindness and charity.  In fact, forced charity is not charity at all.  We all, no matter how rich or poor we may be, can spare some small piece of ourselves to give to another.  That small seed of kindness will take root and grow if nourished.  I’m going to strive in this new year to make small sacrifices each day to help make someone else’s life just a tad bit brighter.

Go do something small and celebrate!  I dare you!