Thursday, December 28, 2006

I can do anything for 1 year...

This is my wife's motto when it comes to doing things that are a little inconvienient. This phrase mainly refers to the paper route that we do. It seemed like a daunting task at first but now it is not as bad as it first seemed it was going to be.

I have adopted this same motto but in a different way. There was a girl at Harding, her name escapes me at the moment, who was friends with Stacy. Every year she would 'give up' something (i.e. pizza, pop, ice cream, etc...)

This has been my habit for the past 2 years. 2 years ago I decided that I would go one year without drinking any pop. It was hard at first. Cause lets be serious for a moment here, who can eat pizza with out washing it down with a cold pop(or coke, or soda, or whatever you call it but this is my blog and it shall be refered to as pop! End of discussion :).

After a year of no pop I decided to take a big leap and go for water only. Yikes!!! I mean I live in the South and what is the one drink that everyone here has. Yep, that sweet exlir of the Southern Lifestyle ..... Sweet Tea!!! (Just a funny side note here: Jamey had to look the directions for making sweet tea up on the internet when we first moved here) Oops!! :)

Anyways, this decision has been one in which I can definetly tell a difference in how I feel. My energy level is more constant and I don't feel the sudden surge of energy and then sudden drop after the sugar high wears off. Sure there were the occasional slip ups. One time at a 'Shower' after church I had a couple sips of the punch(old habit, and it was only a few weeks into this), then for Super Bowl Sunday I had ginger ale because I had the stomach flu and everyone knows that Ginger Ale/7 up is the only drink that calms the stomach. And then at the Bybee's I had some "Christmas Punch". Hey it was the Holidays and I didn't want to be rude. Well all of this rehash has led me to the point of this blog.

This year I have decided to double up on my things to go without. I need some help in setting the definitions of what this entails so here are the main categories:

No sweets.
No fried foods.

So this eliminates:
Brownies, Sunny's chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bars, restaurant mints, suckers, Starburst, Skittles, Snickers, M&M's, Reese's Peanutbutter Cups, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, cake in general, pies in general, Chili's Molten Lava cake.

Can you think of anything else?

As far as fried foods:

French Fries, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, KFC Chicken, Fried chicken, fried pork chops.

Anything else for this group?

And I might, might, might stick with water only. I think I will mainly drink water but allow myself to have something else if I desire but stick with water as my main source of drink.

Any other suggestions?

Maybe no pizza either?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Moments & Memories

Sometime today take a moment of silence to honor those who are/have serving/served this country. Today Micah Gifford will be laid to rest in California at a military cemetery.
May God place His hand of comfort on his family this day and the days to come.


One of my all-time favorite Christmas memories was circa '91. All my sister wanted for Christams was a bike. That was it; simply a bike.

We awoke at the usual o'dark 30 and had to wait for the parents to get up so that we could go get the presents from under the tree. Well in my parents house when you walk out of the hallway and into the living room the foyer is off of the living room. Well parked in the foyer was Jennifer's bike. The funny part was that my parents had her so convinced that she wasn't getting one for Christmas that when she walked past the foyer she stopped, turned, looked at the bike, turned forward again, and walked to the Christmas tree. We unwrapped all the presents and she still hasn't said a word about the bike. My dad finally said "Jenny, isn't there something in the foyer for you?". "No", she replied. "Better make sure and check again", he said.

She got up from the mound of wrapping paper and presents and walked back to the foyer where she then stood in a stupor, let out a shriek, and ran to the bike. She had gotten so convinced that she wasn't getting one that she thought she just imagined what a bike would look like parked there.

We all had a good laugh...

Merry Christmas to all,

Jon, Stacy, Lawson, and Jordan

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More thoughts on helping the poor...

Last night at church, Art Leslie, the minister at the Inner City Church of Christ, spoke to us about the work going on in the inner city of Huntsville. Much of the thoughts to follow are from his talk and mixed in are some on my comments as well.

The jumping off point for his talk was a verse from Galatians 2:10:

Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.

In this section of Galatians, Paul has just gone to Jerusalem to be confirmed by Peter, James, and John to be fit for spreading the gospel. As Barnabas and he leave to minster to the Gentiles this is the charge that is given to them from the other apostles.

In all that you do in your ministry don't forget to help the poor.

How can we really help the poor?

You have to be involved personally. You have to get involved in someone else's life and let go of your own hangups and really help that person.

Can you just give money? Sure but I just can't see that that is all we are called to do. Is just giving money really helping? Is that really working? If we don't get involved physically are we just, as Paul says, a clanging gong or a resounding cymbal. Is our faith dead? Do we lack the works in our faith to make it alive?

You see the rich young ruler didn't quite get it. You remember the story...The man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to enter into eternal life and Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. The man says that he has done all of this. Then Jesus gets down to where the "rubber meets the road" and tells the man ...

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

What was the man's response...I can't do that. I am too rich. That would mean me getting involved in someones life. Nope can't do it, can't help the poor.

Maybe we are too concerned about our possessions. I like my stuff, I like stuff in general. I am very particular about who touches my stuff. Most of my stuff the I like I keep locked up for only me to play with. You know what is going to happen to my stuff when I leave the world and go to be with my Father. Nothing! It will sit right where it is when I die and stay here.

The Rich Fool didn't get it either. He had an abundance of crops and decided to keep it all to himself, so he built bigger barns to store it all in so the he would have all that he wanted.

Listen to what God told him...

"'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Let's go back to the apostles charge to Paul and Barnabas.

In all that you do in your ministry. When you get together to worship. When you get together to fellowship. When you get together to pray. When you go out in the world and walk with the Lord. Don't Forget To Help The Poor.

You see you can't be complete or as Jesus told the rich young ruler. "You can't be perfect" without helping the poor. Without getting involved with someone and helping them.

I am a big fan of Proverbs. Why? Because they are true facts of life. Everything in there will guide you to be a better person, father/mother, wife/husband, business man, and disciple of God. Read this Proverbs and tell me it doesn't sum up the previous two stories that I referred to.

Proverbs 28:27

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."

So here is my challenge to you. Get involved in the ministry that helps the poor. If you live in Huntsville, I challenge you to go down to the inner city and worship with the brothers and sisters there and not feel changed when you leave. Go with you eyes and heart open to the needs of the people who meet there. I challenge you to get involved with the poor there. If you live elsewhere, I challenge you to do the same. If your church doesn't have a ministry, start one.

Here is an even bigger challenge...
Get your kids involved now so that they grow up with this being an integral part of their life.

At the Inner City Church of Christ they have these little cardboard church buses to put change in. We have Lawson put change in there every time he finds a coin. When he does find it he comes to Stacy or I and says "Bus, Bus!"

Some of my fondest memories are of my dad carrying me down to church with him on Saturdays to get a mower to go mow and elderly woman's yard or to take a piece of furniture to someones house who had none. I am trying to create the same memories for my children.

What memories are you going to create? Will you create one like that of the rich young ruler who kept all the commands but couldn't help the poor or one of the Rich Fool who hoarded his goods for himself? Or will you create one like Paul and Barnabas and when you pass on you will be remembered as one who, as he/she went about their ministry, never forgot to help the poor?

You only get one legacy to leave behind? Seems like a pretty easy choice.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Teach the children...

Lawson's birthday party was this past Saturday. After an hour or so of playing and eating lunch we had him open his presents. Watching him open the first gift and then want to play with it only and show no interest in the other gifts it got me to thinking.

Do we teach our children to be greedy?

Seriously think about it. Lawson opened one gift and was completely content to play with that one toy and had no interest in the other presents. I had to take away that toy and make him open another.

Do we teach our children to want more and more? Is this something we should be doing?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Help yourself!

Why do we, American's as a whole, want to give money, time, effort to help the down trodden, less fortunate, homeless, and sick of countries outside of our borders?

Take Bono's red campaign. Great, noble, worthy cause, but why can the situation in Africa spur so much response while we have problems on the same scale here in America?

Yes there are people in Africa who have the AIDS virus because some man raped a woman and gave her and her baby AIDS. Unfortunate? Yes. Horrible? AB solutley!!! Should we extend a helping hand to people there? I think there are some serious consequences if we don't. Look at Jesus' words about helping those less fortunate.

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
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.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 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.'

What about the family that lives in Butler Terrace or (insert the name of a housing project that you drive by everyday but fail to take notice of )?

There is a man that I met last night at the Inner City building. His name is Chester. Chester is in his 40's, he is black, he is homeless, and he is a slave to drugs. What is your gut reaction that you would have if you encounter this person on a street corner? He is like the guy that it is standing on a corner of a busy intersection with a cardboard sign that is asking for food, money, clothing, etc... I know what my reaction was a few years ago. "You lazy, no good bum. What is wrong with you. Go down to the downtown mission get some food, some job training, and stop loitering on this street corner." Is this reaction that far off from most people's? Maybe. Maybe not. Only you can answer that question.

How about this scenario. Chester...same characteristics but with one important one that trumps all of our misgivings about him. He is created in the image of God. Let that sink in for one minute.

Those people sitting on street corners or walking down the street with ratty clothes on are made in the image of God. The same image in which you are made. And one more characteristic. God loves them. Now I am not just saying that to be like the person who walks by and says that so that they can feel better, but God really does love him. He is included amongst all of us when Peter pens these words ...

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Yes, those in Africa, Baja, Honduras, etc are all included in these words. They are included in Jesus' words in Matthew 25. But why do we run to help those and not our own countrymen.

Personally I think it is because of the benefits, lifestyles, etc. that America affords. Look at the movie coming out "Pursuit of Happiness". It is about a man who had $21 to his name yet took an internship for nothing and slept in bathroom stalls with his toddler son and made himself into a millionaire. Do we overlook the 'Chester's' of America and look to the AIDS victim, poverty victim in other countries because 'Chester' should get off his butt and go "Help himself" because America has this opportunity for him.

Do we feel that our money is better spent overseas rather than on those in our own societies that have fallen victim to their own vices? Are we actually discriminating against our own countrymen because we feel that they have gotten themselves into this position and should get themselves out of it? Ever heard of a 'hand-out'? Was there ever a time in your life when you were down on your luck and someone helped you out? Helped you get back on your feet?

Can we give our money overseas and over look those in our own society and still feel like Jesus can say to us...

"'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me"

Is this a 'Picadilly' request? Can we just pick a chose who is worthy of our help?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Questions/Suggestions

Just let me throw this out there:

1 - To whomever perforates the baby wipes,

Here is an idea. Really it is quite ingenious. Either perforate the wipes all the way so that they tear like you would expect something to tear when it is perforated, or don't do it at all and let me tear it myself. Seriously, this is really annoying when you have one wipe laid out and once you examine the situation you realize it is a 2 wiper and you go to 'yank' the second wipe out and it either rips or drags out three others with it.

P.S. Pass this along to the the person who is supposed to perforate the paper towels also...don't forget the TP person either.

2 - What exactly is a football move?

Last night in the Chiefs debacle against the Chargers, Lorenzo Neal caught a pass in the flat, turned his body and was hit and fumbled. But evidently since no one in the NFL is man enough to take a hit and hold on to the ball they have implemented a rule that you have to make a "football move" before it can be ruled a catch and a fumble. What, prae tell, is a football move? Can someone please explain this to me?

3 - Wal-Mart

Another novel idea! Wait, listen closely you don't want to miss this little jewel. In fact I'll spell it out for you.


C-a-n Y-o-u U-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d t-h-a-t!!!

4 - Post Office

A new word to introduce to your employees vernacular.

PACE: as in pick it up

Thursday, December 14, 2006



Son, tonight at 8:51 pm you were brought into this world and my life changed forever. I remember the moment as if it happened 5 minutes ago. I can remember where all the nurses where standing, the smells, the sounds, the lights, and the melting pot of emotions that were welling up inside of me.

The second that Dr. Lopez pulled you out I lost it. For the first time in my life I actually felt what it was like to weep. Weep for joy. Weep for fear that I would be inadequate to show you how to be a man of God. Weep for the unknown of what the future held. Weep for complete relief that God had been with you from the time you were conceived and is still with you this very moment. I would not weep like that again until your sister was born 20 months later.

You are the joy of my life. Every morning you awake to a world full of wonder and amazement and I try my hardest to keep your world one of safety and comfort. The day will come when you will leave and Lord willing be united with your Christian wife. That day is little more than 20 years away most likely yet it will seem like a split second when it happens. My prayer is that I can always beseech the Father for wisdom and guidance as I try to be an example to you of what a man of God looks like. I know that I will fail somewhere along the way and I pray that I am man enough to pick myself up and try again. I am more thankful than you will ever know that we are surrounded with such close Godly examples of what a man should be like. There is your Papa who became a Christian when he was my age and has never ceased seeking to be like his maker every day. There are my friends Kenny, Uncle Kenny to you, and Jason who are each walking their own path with the Father and will continue to be influences on my life and yours for years to come.

I love you with all my heart, mind, body, and soul.

Happy Birthday Buddy!!!

Your Dad,


Some things to think about...

Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.
He stays up for days on end.
You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.
He gets shot at, as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.
You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.
You talk trash on your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
You don't feel like helping out your dad today, so you don't.
He does what he is told.
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He does not get to eat today.
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for months, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
You are angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He is told he will be held an extra 2 months.
He does as he is told.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for that night.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his Love's perfume.
You ditch class to go to a movie.
He goes where he is told.
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own government and remembers why he is fighting.
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of the men like him.
He hears the gun fire and bombs.
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the bodies lying around him.
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does what he is told.
You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call and write home, sleep, and eat.
You crawl into your bed, with down pillows, and try to get comfortable.
He crawls under a tank for shade and a 5 minute nap, only to be woken by gun fire.
You sit there and judge him, saying the world is a worse place because of men like him.
If only there were more men like him.

"The only way for evil to triumph, is if good men do nothing."-Edmund Burke

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Micah's Last Blog Entry

Thought this was interesting with all the talk about nonviolence to see how a Christian in the military in Iraq felt about those they were fighting.

Hello Friends and visitors of my awesome webpage. You may be wondering, "How did this guy get so sexy?". There is no answer for that. But if you weren't wondering that and you WERE wondering why doesn't this jerkfaced jerk ever write me back? Well, for starters, I suck. Then add in the fact that I am overseas about to be a part of this fight we're in and you can hopefully understand that responses will be few and far between. In case you are worried about my well being...don't. I am proud to be a part of this fight. I signed up to do this for a reason and I hope that everyone understands why this fight continues to be important to every one of us...not just the Iraqi people. Don't pray that I come home soon. Pray that the people that are causing us to stay out there can see the light and change their ways without harm coming to them first. Which, I don't know if you ever got tickets to the "gun show" or not, but if anybody steps to this all I gotta do is flex and their brains will explode out of sheer amazement, so again...don't worry bout me! However, feel free to write if you want cuz obviously I still get to use the internet (somewhat) and letters are always coo. Peace in the Middle East (heh-heh). Micah G.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Good Bye

I didn't know him personally but I had several business classes with him while at Harding. I remember my dad talking about knowing kids in school who's brother had been killed in Vietnam or knowing guys who had gotten drafted and were killed. I kind of always wondered what that was like.

Well it is weird. Sad.

Here is a poem from a fellow soldier.

A Poem for Micah from SSG Brian Embry
Man I hate I have to write this, but I know it must be done
If only I was feeling something more than being stunned
Your days were a blessing as you always shined a light
And even though I can’t see that now, I feel it deep inside
Even as I write, I can sense you all around me
The unit lost a soldier but we soldiers lost some family
And sadly, as it is, I never got to say goodbye
But how can you be gone when you were so full of life
How can you be gone, I wish it wasn’t like this
I hear you saying "Because god wanted me to rock with!!"
You always made us laugh and I never heard you curse
And in the modern army now, that’s pretty much a first
It’s absurd in a way, and we use to always laugh
When you replaced those words with verbs that didn’t match
Looking back, we use to say how giff was a goof
But you stood up for what you believed in regardless if it was cool
You never cared to be the same, you were just Giff
And just one of the best soldiers I’ve came in contact with
I never saw you drink, but you always came around
And made sure that us drinkers didn’t drive up through the town
Your parents should be proud, and they should hear this a lot......
I have so many memories, every one makes me smile
And it’s funny how it hurts even when I’m in denial
But in a while, someday... I really don’t know when
I want you to be there, at the gates, on the day they let me in
As a friend, as a brother, as a soldier of the lord
My condolences for your family of whom you mean a lot more
And even though we miss you, we know your still around
Please ask god to guide us remaining soldiers on the ground
We miss you.

Micah's MySpace

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mission Minded?

A couple of months ago in LifeGroup the following question was posed...

What if Paul was writing a letter to the Church of Christ at Mayfair? What would he say? Would he praise us for our commitment to furthering the gospel in third world countries?
Would he praise us for our commitment to placing a huge emphasis on the education of our children?

Most likely he would. Mayfair is one the best churches that I have been blessed to be apart of. Stacy and I love Mayfair because of the commitment that she does have to the education of our children. We love the service in the auditorium but have come to consider our class home. Neither of our families live close by. In fact both sets live over 12 hours away. Thus, we have come to consider those in our class our close friends as well as family. But let me get on with the intent of this post.

What would Paul say about our commitment to the needs of Huntsville? How well would we be "graded" for our commitment to furthering the gospel in the "Butler Terrace's" of Huntsville? I don't know why and maybe never will but I feel led by God to help and call attention to the needs of the Inner City Church as well as the Inner City Learning Center. I have worshipped with the brothers and sisters there only once but I felt the genuineness of the worship there. These people aren't caught up in the "politics" that seem to plague the church today. These people maybe wearing the same clothes that they wore the Sunday before or even the day before. Do they care? I'm sure they do but it doesn't weigh on their mind when they come to worship. If you want a brief glimpse of the another's perspective on what it is like to worship here see what Jason had to say about his experience this past Sunday.

Art Leslie has said the the President of Alabama A&M University has placed membership here and is going to start worshiping here as well. Tom Gates from Mayfair leaves Mayfair after communion to go the Inner City to worship with them and teach the adults how to flourish in their new found faith.

2 just 2 out of 1,600+ make the sacrifice to go the Inner City to be a light and encouragement to the brothers there.

How much could that church flourish and grow if we had people from Mayfair, maybe even the Homebuilder's Class commit to just one year of membership there to help the church grow. The church was started several years ago with the efforts of Lee Milam and some teenagers wanting to reach out to those in the Inner City. This has been and will continue to be a blessing to those served by the church there, but how much more of blessing could it be if it was aided by those who were more "advanced" (if there is such a thing) in their spiritual walk?

Has the church been neglected since it was started? No, not really, maybe a little. Perhaps it was started and people did help for awhile so that they could feel good. They could check off their good deed for those unfortunate souls in the inner city. Possibly they are scared it is some "Holy Roller" - "Thank You Jesus" - "People passing out on the stage" church but it is far far far from it.

Maybe people are scared to come down there. Scared of what, getting shot. You think someone is just waiting to shoot the first 'cracker' that shows his/her face down there. Please. Don't think your so important. I wouldn't be stupid and walk around there at night by myself but during the day and early evening there is nothing to be quite so apprehensive about.

Maybe people think that they are too good for the Inner City. I have heard this many times..."Don't worry it's just the Inner City." "You want to give that! Oh, that's just too nice for the Inner City." If you have this attitude you need to read James chapter 2.

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Just stop and think for one second. Seriously consider the question.

What is one year?
How much would you really have to sacrifice to help the Lord's church grow?
How much more would you end up being blessed by being apart of this congregation for just 1 year?

Friday, December 08, 2006

What did you get for Christmas last year?

Truth is I really can't recall exactly. I got the staples of a pack of underwear, socks, t-shirts. I got several dress shirts and ties. We also got some money. I also got to go to sleep in my own home in my own bed with the heater running so that my family and I could sleep comfortably.

What about you what did you get for Christmas last year?

This year our class, the Homebuilders, will adopt a family from the Inner City, specifically from Butler Terrace off of Govenors Drive, and give them a Christmas. A Christmas that they didn't have last year. Not one present was given to these boys.

Last year Christmas was just another day for these boys. Can you imagine that. Christmas just like the other 360 some odd days of the year. Nothing to lie in bed awake with anticipation for in the morning. Remember when you were a kid on Christmas Eve? I do. Most of the time I could hardly sleep. That night seemed like the longest night in the world. I just layed in bed till I passed out from exhaustion only to wake up and have to wait the in bedroom for mom and dad to decide to get out of bed. Can you imagine not doing that? Imagine just going to bed not with anticipation of the next day but with discouragment that there is nothing to look forward to the next day.

That is what the Sherrod's did last year. Our class is trying to make that not happen this year. I went and spoke with the mother, Lisa, last night. That was a surreal experience. I have seen projects from the outside and seen them in the movies but I guess I just never really realized what these people eek out a living in. I just couldn't imagine trying to raise my family in those conditions. If I try to describe it you just wouldn't believe me so this afternoon I am going by their apartment and will video tape and take pictures of the inside of their home and show this footage in class on Sunday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What's the difference?

Oh my gosh!
Dad Gomn It!
Ga Dang It!
Son of a!

Why not just say the real thing. Is it really not that bad if we just flip flop the syllables in words or if we slur some of the words so that it doesn't seem like we said the 'real deal'?