a Video by Philip Bloom (11 minutes)
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Peter Niemczyk passed away from Parkinson’s disease back in September, just two months before they could continue their annual tradition. Each year, Jenna would travel to her father’s home in Las Vegas to ring the red kettle bell with him. “We rang the bell together for the better part of a decade,” Sandell said. “This is something we really bonded over.”
After he retired, Niemczyk volunteered every holiday as a way to repay the organization that helped him in his time of need. “When my dad was young, the Salvation Army was there when his dad was overseas during World War II,” Sandell said. “They provided whatever was needed for him and his family during that time.”
After his death, Sandell never doubted her plan to continue that legacy in Minnesota. “I decided the day he died that I would continue to ring the bell for as long as I could, just to help with the grief and to pay it forward and that kind of thing,” Sandell said. She isn’t alone in her effort. Her cousin and husband have also picked up bells to ring in his absence. “It’s something that was always important to him, and it will always be important to me as well,” Sandell’s cousin Michael Niemczyk said.
Sandell knew this first holiday without her father wouldn’t be easy, but by ringing in the season of giving she’s able to keep her father’s memory alive. “He’s with me every minute,” she said. “He’s here right now, but I just have to carry on.”
Peter Niemczyk would also match the coin donations in his kettles every year. Over his time as a volunteer, he donated more than $1 million of his own money.
Among the most important lessons I have learned is that personal happiness is not possible without a concerned effort to focus on two key factors: gratitude and encouragement.
If one makes a concerted effort to be grateful for one’s blessings it becomes virtually impossible to be overwhelmed by resentment over life’s shortcomings. Resentment and gratitude cannot coexist. You must choose one or the other.
Similarly, if one makes a concerted effort to provide encouragement to other people then it becomes very difficult to be overwhelmed by your own circumstances. The happiest people are always those who provide encouragement to others, rather than seeking it for themselves.
As I approach the half-century mark, I thought it would be good idea to take some time to express gratitude to the people who have most impacted my life to this point. There are many of them but ten people come to mind immediately. They are listed below, alphabetically by first name.
Here’s Part II.
What’s your list look like?
The Faith Behind a Father’s Promise – How the power of a promise to his daughter motivated this father to change his life.
Megan McArdle: Money Won’t Buy Your Kids a Future
Having grown up in New York City and attended an expensive college, I invariably came into contact with quite a few people who had sizable inheritances or trust funds coming to them. Over the years, I’ve grown quite sincerely glad that I wasn’t one of them. I can’t claim to have any scientific data, of course, but in my experience, too many of those people were always about to do something but never got to the point of actually having done it. They got jobs but left them when the job proved to be tiresome, or when they had a major setback such as a terrible performance review. They didn’t need to make a career in order to put food on the table, and that kept them from doing the often painful and unpleasant work of getting really good at their jobs. And ultimately, they weren’t happy about that. Their money protected them from the very real miseries of being broke. But it also protected them from the sweet smell of success.
Broke is fine. That doesn’t mean leaving them unprepared.
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
Go read the whole thing. Then consider where we’re at, and what Good Men should do about it.
C.S. Lewis, on the Trinity:
The First Person is called the Father and the Second the Son. We say that the First begets or produces the second; we call it begetting, not making, because what He produces is of the same kind as Himself. In that way the word Father is the only word to use. But unfortunately it suggests that He is there first-just as a human father exists before his son. But that is not so. There is no before and after about it. And that is why I think it important to make clear how one thing can be the source, or cause, or origin, of another without being there before it. The Son exists because the Father exists: but there never was a time before the Father produced the Son. (More …)
Fatherhood is the original love. It self-existed in the Trinity before everything else existed.
There are a billion galaxies in the universe – maybe even more than that. And yet, He knows every man. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, his dreams and his worst nightmares. He knows his history, his future, and his now.
He knows the number of every hair on his head. Even the ones that have moved from his head to his ears.
For the man whose life is hidden in Christ, his Father is the one who spoke the universe into existence with a word. Even more, his Father is the Sovereign Ruler of this universe. King of kings, and Lord of lords.
The greatest mystery of the universe is not the stars. No, it is why this Father King would send His only Son the Crown Prince to this tiny blue planet in such a vast realm, to die in the place of men like you and me.
And even more, that Christ would do this so the Father could adopt us, to share all the rights and honors and privileges of His royal Kingdom.
Man of God, don’t let anyone or anything steal this truth from you today.
Fatherhood – The Core of the Universe.
Fatherhood is not merely a motif God chose as he revealed himself to us. Nor is it merely an anthropomorphic device to relate to us. Jesus called him Father because he is. As the Trinitarian God is the center of the universe and of all reality, so is Fatherhood and Sonship. Fundamentally, onto-logically, metaphysically, truly, actually, really. As Lewis says, Christianity is that religion in which the relation of a Father and Son is prior to and more central to all other relations. And it has been this way eternally. Jesus tells us as much.
Francis Schaeffer noted that even though Scripture starts with “in the beginning,” something was there before the beginning. John 1:1 speaks of what existed before Genesis 1:1, and John 17:24 clarifies, giving us the opportunity to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation between God the Son and God the Father. Jesus says, “Father . . . you loved me before the creation of the world.” So before “in the beginning,” there was a loving Father. And before “in the beginning,” there was a real Son loving, adoring, praising, and enjoying a very real Father. Jesus, in John 17:5, says they also shared glory.
This is a mind-blowing and universe-shifting truth. It means that the universe is not a dark, empty, impersonal place. Just the opposite. At its core, it is an overwhelmingly warm, relational, personal place. This explains why broken and unhealthy relationships, loneliness, and abandonment are among the most painful of human experiences.
The bar for fatherhood is actually infinitely high. God is the essence and supreme example of fatherhood. It is from Him that every family on earth derives its name (Eph 3:14-15). The identities of “Father” and “Son” are at the core of Christian theology. Indeed, they are at the core of everything!
As a father, you undertake a sacred duty. Do not cheapen it or reduce it to pithy sayings about making your kids happy. That’s not the point. The point is that fatherhood gives you the most golden of all opportunities to make The Father known to others, especially your family. Step 1 is to know the Father. Step 2 is to be like the Father. You are a father. You were made for this!
“I Walk With A Limp – inspired by my Dad”
I walk with a limp
But I walk anyway
For the cause is to great
To sit and just pray (More …)
Kruz Kronicle: Is Evangelical morality still acceptable in America?
… Often, the Christian defense of what they believe is their religious liberty is framed as fundamental hatefulness, homophobia, and misogyny, rather than disagreement grounded in morality.
Or even facts.
I’m a fan of guy’s groups. Carve time out for yours. They need you too.
Why should Christian men marry? I’m glad I did, but it’s a good question, and one that a lot of Christian guys are asking.