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Together for the Journey

You have purpose. God has a plan for your life. He isn’t finished writing your story!

World’s Finest

My earliest memory of fundraising was during my grade school years at St. Philip Neri in Alameda.

Truth be told, I am not even sure what we were fundraising for. I played baseball and one season of basketball for the school, but I do not recall that being the reason for mandatory participation of the annual task at hand.

What I do remember is being issued a cardboard carrying case (30 ct.) of World’s Finest Chocolate Bars. These candy bars were huge. In comparison, they made the ones at the local 7-Eleven look like ones that you would fill up you pumpkin with going door-to-door while trick-or-treating.

World’s Finest Chocolate Bars seemed like they were a foot-long, an inch wide and another inch thick. Surely these would be easy to sell, right? The operative word being “sell.” Fundraising did not seem fun to me. It wasn’t. In fact, I don’t remember selling them at all.

I do not recollect the constant rejection of doors closing after an unsuccessful pitch or hours standing in front of the local grocery store pleading with customers who just spent a jillion dollars on food. I’m sure that was a pre-requisite, to at least try. What I do remember is the joy of having sold all my cache of chocolate. I also carry the memory of the ominous mountain set before me…”the ask”.

My parents came up with a fool-proof idea to unload my bevy of bars. Why don’t you ask you grandparents? My initial response, in thought only, was “Why don’t you ask my grandparents?” After all, they were their parents first, right? I mean when it came to birthday gift ideas and my grandparents wanted to know what to get me, I always told my parents, I never had to ask them.

I struggled with placing that call. I wrestled with the way to wording “the ask”. I’m sure I must have had some pitch already. “Would you like to buy a candy bar? Nope? Thank you anyway.” On to the next. Except this time there was no next. Just me, the telephone, and two sets of phone calls to make.

It never dawned on me that this was a slam-dunk of a successful solution. No awkward moment of having to introduce myself or having to convince someone that they should not go another day without the decadent delight of a World’s Finest Chocolate bar. How could they say “No”? Even if they don’t eat chocolate, I’m their grandson and their first grandchild, at that!

So I mustered up the courage to dial the digits (a long distance call at that) and pleaded in desperation for a sale. It took me thirty minutes for a thirty second conversation. If hearing a “yes” wasn’t surprise enough, the exchange that occurred afterwards caught me off-guard. “Umm, how many do you want?” “All of them.”

I didn’t even have to place the second call. I had just brokered a deal to sell my entire inventory and didn’t even hit up all my relatives. Somehow I believe my siblings were able to peddle their cases as well. Sidebar, I don’t ever remember what happened to the purchased product. The whole point of this trip down childhood memory lane is that I had to ASK.

One of my favorite podcasters has shared that when telling your story, you have to invite your audience in to the story and make them the hero. Plot twist.

As I fade off into the background and the lights dim, the spotlight illuminates as you enter stage right. Yep, there you are. Front and center, complete with your red cape (and maybe your checkbook) Greetings, hero! I am so glad you’re here!

Best news? I do not have a single candy bar to sell you. Truth be told, we could use your help.

His Hands, His Feet, His Hugs solicits your prayerful support for the many families dealing with loved ones suffering with heart disease or cancer. Sherry hosts 5AM Prayer every Monday and Wednesday morning and Intercessory Prayer every Tuesday Night at 6:30pm. These sessions are broadcast LIVE on our Facebook page.

Sherry also does Devotional moments on Saturdays on Facebook and Instagram. While donations have been steady and increased in frequency in 2022, so have the requests for those in need. So here’s the shameless plug, or invitation to be a part of the story (and hero at that). Clearing my throat as my fingers tap the keyboard (not unlike dialing those digits decades ago).

His Hands, His Feet, His Hugs is hosting its Inaugural Fundraising Banquet on November 12th. While that may be sufficient notice for you to attend in-person, I know that is not a realistic request.

So here is my “ask”. We are selling advanced tickets for $15 and $20 at the door. I would like you to consider the following options:

1) Please offer up prayers of a successful fundraising event

2) Consider sponsoring the purchase of a ticket, in abstentia. (kinda like the chocolate bars that were never delivered)

3) Consider making a tax-free donation to his Hands, His Feet, His Hugs. We are a registered 501©(3) not-for-profit organization. Tax receipts will be issued for financial gifts that are received without goods or services exchanged.

A King-Sized Dream

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” –MLK, Jr.

I aspire to see the day where the King-Sized Dream is realized! I want to see my children (young adults that they are) be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader. He was also an ordained minister before he ever set out as an agent of change. I believe his Christian upbringing and foundation of faith helped pave the way for the trailblazing endeavor of fighting for voting rights and equality in the face of prejudice, ignorance, and hatred. What better words echoed the concept of beginning the task without the end result in sight:

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

I have watched his speeches, read his books and studied his life. He is one historical figure I would have loved the opportunity to have met. Perhaps a future conversation or two under the Tree of Life? However, I did experience the chance of a lifetime to meet Mrs. Coretta Scott King. I was awestruck and felt like I was among royalty. Truth be told, I was. I wish I could remember what I asked her. It was deep. Well, for a 21year-old from Oakland on a one-semester college student exchange program on loan to Boston College from the University of San Francisco in the Fall of 1987. I do recall her response. She graciously chuckled and replied, “Oh how I wish I had more time to answer that for you.” I snapped a quick photo with my Kodak Instamatic camera and had her sign something as a keepsake.

How did I meet her? Patience and persistence. She had a speaking engagement in Boston. I remember the desire of meeting her and pressing my way across town via the “T” and traversing Boston University’s campus in search of a prized theater seat. After her speech, I slid into a hallway outside the auditorium with hundreds of other attendees until I could get my 30 second audience with her. I do not recall how long I had to wait, but I was determined, and it was worth it.

This reminds me of another famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which is one of my favorites of all-time…

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

I have attempted to apply this philosophy to many areas of my life. I have been more successful in some areas than others. So has this country. We still have a long way to go. I pray that this generation sees remarkable progress is moving forward to that dream. I want to see it; I want my children to experience it and hope that their children grow up in it.

A little more than a decade ago Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. And this past inauguration, Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice-President. I have seen beautiful young girls wearing shirts that say: “Our VP looks like me!” I have heard others declare “Now, we can tell our children that they can be anything they want to be!”

I do not dismiss the monumental magnitude of these accomplishments. Breakthrough, for sure! I am so thankful to have witnessed these events occur during my lifetime. I am not so sure I thought I ever would. It makes me hopeful of other barriers to fall, whether they are circumvented, climbed over or kicked down. I realize that these two milestone achievements were voted in. The voice of the people heard. But what about systematic racism, institutionalized racism and the dreaded covert, complicit biases that still exist? We have work to do. I do firmly believe that this generation can lead the charge!

While the mantra of diversity, equity and inclusion is a hot button topic, why is this nation filled with so much divisiveness, segregation, and hatred? Don’t believe me? Been on social media, lately? This is not new, and it does not matter what the platform. The pontification and shaming that goes on is flat-out depressing. No finger pointing either. I have friends on both sides of the aisle.

Christians and non-Christians; Conservatives and Liberals; Republicans and Democrats; Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers; Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics; heck, as a devoted member of RaiderNation, I even associate with those who roll with the ChiefsKingdom.

This is not about right or wrong, superiority or inferiority; majority versus minority, rich or poor; the haves and the have nots. It is very much about love, respect, and equality.

Will the dream ever be realized?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not get to see it. We haven’t either..yet. However, make no mistake, prior to his tragic assassination, he did leave us the recipe.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –MLK, Jr.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, VENGEANCE IS MINE; I WILL REPAY, saith the Lord.


Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21

How can we accomplish the King-Sized Dream? Faith. Hope. Love.

What Would You Do?

What would you do

If He walked into the room?

What would you do

If He walked into the room?

What would you say

If He walked into the room?

How would you praise

If He walked into the room?

When I first heard the song by Elevation Worship it rocked me to the core. I mean I should have the answer on the tip of my tongue. My sole purpose in this life assignment is to see His Face.

After all the Word instructs: “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” I Peter 3:15

So, I should have my response at the ready, right?

Would I hug Him? Thank Him? Or just get lost gazing into His eyes? (Cueing up Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” in the background)

Surrounded by your glory

What will my heart feel

Will I dance for you Jesus

Or in awe of You be still

Will I stand in your presence

To my knees will I fall

Will I sing hallelujah

Will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine

I can only imagine

In my last post “Bring Your Best”, I posed the question: What gift would you bring to Jesus? But it did not occur to me of what to say while presenting my present to Him. So fast forward from the manger scene to an encounter with the Lord of Lord and King of Kings as HE enters the room.

Would I be an honorable, hospitable host and quick to serve? Or would I be paralyzed by His Presence? Would I provide Him with a cool refreshing drink or be prepared to wash His feet?

Would I ask Him a burning question or stutter in utter amazement? Would I have the courage to ask for a blessing or standby shamefully in my sinful state?

Ever ponder what raced through the mind of Zaccheus when Jesus addressed him by name and instructed “make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.” Luke 19:5

Would I be Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet or would I be Martha and be cumbered about much serving? I pray I would be like Mary and choose the good part.

Truth be told, since I know that Jesus is still in the miracle-working business, this would be my prayerful, faith-filled dream scenario:

Jesus enters the room and as all eyes are on Him, His gaze and His every movement, I slide behind a keyboard in the corner of the room. (Keep in mind, I don’t know how to play.) As I gently begin to touch the keys which bring forth soothing sounds and rhythmic chord progressions. (Keep in mind, I don’t know how to carry a tune, either.) My vocal cords are miraculously touched and an anointed, angelic voice proceeds from my mouth. I close my eyes as a liquid praise flows from my tear ducts. As I sing from the very depths of my heart, I deliver my best worship offering to my Savior from the lyrics of “The More I Seek You”:

The more I seek you

The more I find you

The more I find you, the more I love you

I wanna sit at your feet

Drink from the cup in your hand

Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat

This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand

I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming

Gateway Worship, Kari Jobe

What happens next? Great question!

My response…I can only imagine.

My final question:

What would YOU do… if HE walked into the room?

Bring Your Best

‘Tis the season, right? Let us just for a moment try to focus on what is really important right now. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it had probably helped us reevaluate our priorities. Have you ever considered toilet paper the rarest of commodities before this year?

First world problems, I know. Was supply really an issue? Sure, replenishment was. But was there ever really a shortage or was it created out of fear, hoarding or fear? You couldn’t squeeze the Charmin if you wanted to, the shelves were bare.

A few months ago, during a company Zoom Meeting, with most staffers working from home, it was time for a little break from business. We were given a brief amount of time to think and act on the following:

If you were to have to evacuate your home in an emergency and were absolutely assured that everyone else (pets included) were safe and accounted for, what would you grab before vacating the premises? As you can imagine there were an assortment of personal items, heirlooms, photo albums, scrap books, handwritten letters, etc.

Each had their own sentimental value, and each had a story. In the eyes of each beholder, they were irreplaceable. Yep, someone chose toilet paper.

This exercise reminded me of a very different memory while growing up.

After setting up a Nativity Scene in my childhood home, the Magi statuettes were placed just a short distance away from the barnyard manger setting. Each of course bearing the depiction of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

After asking my Mom about what those gifts were and why Baby Jesus would need them, she asked me a most challenging question…what would you bring to Jesus? I certainly didn’t have any gold and still didn’t know what frankincense and myrrh were and I was pretty sure we didn’t have any in the pantry.

When the question was reframed in terms that might illicit a childlike response, I began to assess what was my most treasured item. It had to be my baseball card collection. Even I figured, what would Baby Jesus do with baseball cards?

After all, He is the Messiah! He would not have a use for them at my age either. I was troubled, actually conflicted. I really didn’t have anything to bring to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I think my Mom sensed my concern. Back then, I did not have a poker-face. Truth be told, I still do not today. Frankly, it was all over my face. I am not sure if my Mom deflected the attention to the Little Drummer Boy song or if my mind just went there. I played my best for Him, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.

Mmmmmm! What could I do? I cannot sing, can’t read music or play a musical instrument. I am having a Charlie Brown moment, but there is no Dolly Madison commercial to save the day. If you don’t get that reference, ask your parents.

I honestly do not recall how I resolved the troubling thought of not having anything to give to Baby Jesus.

I do know this. It certainly changed the way I thought about what I was hoping for a few weeks later.

Fast forward to let’s say, 2020. What would you bring as a welcoming gift to the Young Messiah?

There He lies in a borrowed barn and a short time later would occupy a borrowed tomb. A life sacrificed for you and me. A gift of Eternal Life, Paid in Full. No down payment, no credit checks, no monthly invoices. Yours for the taking. A free gift. Available to whosever will.

It was never designed as a gift-exchange, but in a sense, you are guaranteed to get the better of the deal. Exchange your will for His.

Unlike my limited thinking that I had nothing to offer to Baby Jesus. You and I both have the only thing He ever wanted…our hearts. In His Words, freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

It took me almost twenty years before I finally figured out exactly what a relationship with Christ was and that is what He really wanted, not my best stuff.

In the Book of Acts, Chapter 20, verse 35, we read: “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

What will you bring unto Him? Give Him your best, your very best for Him.

2020, A Year to Be THANKFUL For!

I suppose it could be argued that the title could be posed as a question: "2020, a year to be thankful for?" But I do not think so. It needs to be a declaration!

Yes, there has been much divisiveness, debate, deceitfulness, and debauchery this year. It has been filled with trials, tribulations, tension, turmoil, and tragedy. We lost Kobe and Chadwick unexpectedly, as well as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, tragically and unnecessarily.

Many of us have lost loved ones and family members whose names and memories are forever etched in our hearts. Yet, so many lost employment, benefits, investments, or businesses. Normal has been all but eliminated from our vocabulary. Interruption and inconvenience have been replaced by disruption and dysfunction.

2020, whether we like it or not, has defined our character. It has brought out the worst in some individuals and the very best in others. Many celebrities have made the following declarations: "This pandemic has leveled the playing field; we are stuck at home just like you, and, we're all in this together."

I am not so sure that was the case, but at least, there seemed to be some genuine empathy extended. Yes, the rich and famous were impacted on their ability to do their jobs with in-person events being abruptly suspended, postponed, or canceled, and production schedules came to a screeching halt.

The term "pivot" became the buzzword across culture. Zoom calls quickly became the entrepreneurial FaceTime mode of communication. Business owners were faced with the questions of viability based on whether or not their industry was deemed "essential".

Forward thinkers recognized COVID-19 and shelter-in-place for what it was and chose

to adapt and shift, while the perplexed remained paralyzed by the pandemic. Everyone seemed to lose something, and some lost everything.

Enough of setting the table for what 2020 was. Let us sit down and be thankful! Let's not just say grace, let's thank God for it! "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness."

Lamentations 3:22-23

If you are reading this or even if you are having it read to you, then you are still with us. Whether breath is freely flowing through your lungs or oxygen is assisting your respiratory organs through artificial means, you are alive!

"Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord."

Psalm 150:6

One of my mentors recently posted the following quote on social media, "God is still writing chapters in your story. Don't let go of your faith because of what you haven't seen yet."

Did that resonate with you as it did me? God is still writing your story and 2021 is right around the corner! There are 36 chapters left in 2020. What are you going to do with them?

"To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to remain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Now is the time to purpose in our hearts and identify the assignment which we are called to and be intentional in our efforts and bring that sacrifice to God with thanksgiving and praise on our lips!

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."

Psalm 100:4

Let us take the opportunity afforded to us to pause and be thankful for that which we have been blessed with and uplift those who are struggling. Lend a hand up, not a handout.

Pay It Forward

Smile first. Like a post. Write a note. Place a phone call. Send a text. Forgive freely. Listen intently. Speak kindly. Engage a stranger. Entertain an associate. Embrace a new friend.

Let us be the extension of the Body of Christ to the lost and found, compassionate to the conflicted, and outreach to the outcast. Be His Hands, His Feet, His Hugs.

Join Us

Help us help more people. To learn more about what we do for communities in and around the Greater Joplin area in Missouri, contact us.

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