Happy start of the Labor Day weekend! As this is one of the most traveled times of the year many of you will be taking flight. But what’s it like to actually be the one literally taking the airplane into flight? Well here to talk about their journey to aviation, the perception of pilots and how others can pursue their interest in becoming a pilot is Robert Barkers. Listen in to hear his story!
To contact or learn more about our guest:
Oh how we are creatures of comfort! We will gravitate towards anything in life that creates the most comfort for us. We often call this the path of least resistance….. but what if resistance is good for us? What if the pain of the pushback is actually for our good? Now I personally don’t know many people who willingly choose paths that are knowingly painful. Most of us would think those people are flat out stupid. Not only would we think they are stupid we would tell them: “you are stupid!” Don’t get me wrong there are some willful choices that are stupid and should be avoided, but what if the willful choice is advantageous? Where the course leads to progress in many necessary areas, but the pain that it requires looks ridiculously un-comprehensible.
I often reflect on the many refugee stories of people fleeing on foot to cross into new territory that is hopefully an escape from their present dire situation. The pain that they must currently be going through, along with the pain of the journey to the new land and the pain of adjusting to this new place that is foreign to them seems like an endless life of pain. This past, present, future reality of pain is not relegated to just someone like a refugee but it is relevant to all of us. Every single human being. Pain is unavoidable. In fact, the longer I live the more I believe that pain should be an expected part of the process. The life process that is. Whatever beliefs you have in life – pain is no respecter of persons. Pain is universally recognized and acknowledged. Pain has been around since the beginning of time. So why do we think that we won’t experience pain? Why are we so shocked when we go through a painful situation? Why does the pain of life cause us to believe we are on the wrong path or making the wrong choices?
While I do believe pain is a trigger that alerts us of when there is something we need to pay attention to or to something that is in duress. I also believe pain is an external and internal agent that forces us to accept or reject transformational change in our lives. Meaning when the pain comes we have a choice of whether we will use that pain towards our personal growth or against it. We can either have the perspective of using it to benefit our maturation or we can play the victim and blame shift the externals. As long as you are breathing- pain is a guarantee. Whether that be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Expect the pain. We have to stop going through life blissfully ignorant and un-expectant to upcoming pains. Not that we should live a life of cynicism or pessimism, but we should have a healthy view of the current reality of pain and it’s future promise (here on this side of life).
This is where I transition to the promise of the faith that I ascribe to. I thank God for the promise that through this pain of life that I have been given (through faith) a Helper. A Helper who empowers me and guides me to journey through the painful life situations with wisdom and discernment for what the situation is and joy to not allow the painful circumstance to cause me to stay stagnant in bitterness, anger or resentment. I can still make decisions in life knowing that as long as it involves humans there will be a level of pain that I will have to navigate. But that I can not dread those interactions and question my decisions to the degree of whether or not I need to be there. To understand what I am referring to, I will take the practical example of working a job.
First, I don’t know many people who like working a job or “working for someone else.” It is painful. The many things you have to endure with personalities, job requirements, and policies are just oftentimes flat out painful! So knowing this we can have a realistic view that finding a pain-free job is just not possible. Are there some jobs that are more enjoyable than others – absolutely. But what I’m referring to is the thought process behind questioning why your new job is painful or why every job or position you take still isn’t “it.” This is the guaranteed pain that I’m referring to. Having an understanding that no matter where you go or what you do there will always be a level of painful and unpleasant experiences that you will have to endure/navigate. So by changing your perspective it can quite possibly help you to endure those difficulties more victoriously.
Quit looking for the escape. Instead look for the ways to empower yourself through the treacherous path. I remember hearing a famous Christian speaker say “Paul rarely prayed for God to change his circumstances, instead Paul prayed for God to change him in his circumstances.” Oh what a shift in mindset! To understand that there is no such thing as a pain-free happy life and to ask for God to help us through the pain instead of trying to escape the pain. What a inner transformation this can be for us!
Finally, having a “this to shall pass” mentality will help you to not feel downtrodden/entangled and push through your current painful situation. Knowing that the pain of the present will not endure forever. Even if it lasts your entire lifetime. That still isn’t forever, because guess what beloved – we still have eternity on the other side that awaits us! And for believers in the truth of Christ we have a promise that tells us our tears will be no more and our pain will be no more.
Inspirational music takes form in many different ways. Our guest today has the gift of hearing piano melodies from biblical scripture. Coined a “pianist of peace,” Stanton Lanier has recorded 11 albums which touch over 5 million listeners worldwide. His albums offer personal moments of God’s peace and presence. Listen in to today’s podcast episode to hear a sample of his work and to learn more about the inner workings of his gifting as a “pianist of peace.”
Is it more effective to run or walk? What about lifting weights….should you use fixed machines or utilize free weights like dumbells? What about cross fit or boot camps? How intense and to what frequency should you engage in this level of activity? Well of course the short answer is – it all depends. Depends on what you say? Well, the obvious answer is your previous and current health condition. What works for one, does not always work for another. For those that want to bypass a personalized assessment and trainer having an understanding of functional exercise is key. It’s not only key to your immediate results but long term sustainability. While doing something is better than doing nothing- one should still seek to maximize that “something” to aid in every day functionality; which is what functional exercise is. That is doing exercises that edify, promote and build up muscles that correspond with your everyday movements. This primarily stems from your core; which consist of your back, chest and abdomen.
Secondary body parts that support everyday functionality are hips, arms and legs. So when you think about how to support the primary core parts of your body re-enact those everyday movements within your exercise routines. If that exercise does very little to replicate a day-to-day functional movement, I would question the purpose of why you are engaging in that exercise activity. If you are rehabing an isolated body part then maybe…or if you are building a specific pyramid in your workout plan then maybe…but to blindly sit on a fixed machine and try to max out weight lifting on that machine to me doesn’t see as effective. Additionally, fixed machines tend to support compensation. Meaning, it is easier to allow one stronger arm to compensate for the other weaker arm. If you were to duplicate that machine movement, you’d be much better off using free weights such as a dumbbell or kettle ball.
I’m no exercise science major, however, i did spend four years working alongside them during my undergraduate studies. I worked at the gym on campus and learned about proper form, routine structures and anatomical groupings of exercises. Having been active for the majority of my life, I’ve seen the differences between fixed movements that limit range of motion and exercises that increase and support functionality. I’ve been encouraged to focus on the latter; especially as it relates to supporting my core. When my core is struggling, it’s almost always because I have lapsed in provided targeted strengthening movements during my exercising. I’ve seen how by doing this, I have better sleep, support while sitting at my desk at work for hours, and when bending down or making sudden movements. It’s not easy to keep it up by any means, but I know if I at least continue to do “something” – it surely is better than nothing.
Lastly I’ll say finding functional exercises that have low impact to your knees, joints and hips will also supercharge your way to a more well-rounded support system. Exercises such as rowing, swimming, water aerobics, and bicycling are all low-impact functional activities. Doing the latest cross-fit fad or boot camp isn’t always the safest or lowest impact to your body. In fact, many of these are not sustainable long term and if not careful one could truly do damage to the body permanently. Focus on function and become a true winner both inside and out!
The wilderness….the desert….the dry and weary land….but is it? So many of us look at the desert places in our lives and desire to be elsewhere. Having lived in the actual desert for one year, I can certainly testify that the physical desert is NOT the business. It’s unyielding heat, it’s lack of moisture, it’s dusty wind patterns are unpleasant by all means; and I quickly desired to get outta there – asap. But as I think about the spiritual, mental and emotional deserts that I’ve found myself in a time or two -I have begun to have a different outlook on the desire for immediate escape.
You see I have begun to see the wilderness moments in life not as places we should immediately cast down as being out of the will or purpose of God. While the wilderness isn’t our ultimate destination we should look at the wilderness as being apart of the journey to it. The wilderness is often used to do a number of things for our transformation. Thus the wilderness in and of itself is not a bad or negative place to be. Growing up I’ve heard many of sermons that painted a negative picture of the wilderness. Many have said this is not where God wants you to be and if you are in it you are obviously doing something wrong. So you must find what it is you are doing to prevent you from stepping into the promised land. The place where God wants you to be.
This theology has become problematic for me as I’ve come to understand the use of the wilderness in a different light. Now speaking of light, the wilderness is often referred to as the place of darkness. The place of wandering aimlessly in a wasteland without an end in sight. While this can be one reality of the wilderness, what if there is another? What if the wilderness is a place of preparation with intentionality instead of a meaningless wandering? What if the wilderness is the bulk of where we are supposed to live and spend our time in instead of rushing out of it to get “there.” And “there” meaning the fruitful land of the living. You see when I look over scripture I see where God uses the wilderness to shape, prepare and transform people into maturity and into the fullness of purpose.
You see what we fail to realize when we are in the wilderness is that God is still providing and is still present in many ways. Even though we feel God isn’t and we feel we are grasping in the darkness, we can only be at rest in the wilderness when we come to this understanding. Knowing that the wilderness has it’s life transforming purpose for our good. We can still remain active in our faith and trust that God is still speaking to us. Numbers 9: 1-5 show us this very reality where the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness and the people kept the Passover during their time in the wilderness as well. God was still active and so were the people. This is a great example of how we can view the wilderness as an active reality. Not a passive one. Where we are just stuck, dry and wandering aimlessly waiting to get out of it.
When we flip to New Testament scripture we see this truth play out again in the life of John the Baptist; also known as “the voice of the one crying out in the wilderness.” You see John spent 30 years in the wilderness (both literally and spiritually). But John was not inactive during those years. No, in fact, his life and faith was quite the opposite of passive as he spent much time engaged in deep prayer and devotion with God. He also spent much time engaged in community with a few disciples who journeyed with him. The wilderness was not punishment for John. The wilderness was necessary preparation for John. Those 30 years were necessary for the 6 months of public ministry that he executed. Oh what a crazy ratio that is. 30 to 6. 30 years to produce 6 months. Wow! So many of us are so gung-ho to jump to the end in our gusto to do things for God. Thus we insert ourselves by jumping into a ministry capacity without allowing the process of the wilderness preparation. Can the wilderness experience happen while we are in a ministry role? – absolutely. This is not what I am rebutting. What I am saying is that I have encountered many believers in Christ who have giftings and a desire to do a certain thing in a positional capacity and wonder when they will reach that place to do it. They fight themselves and God as they remain in what appears to be a wilderness journey for them. They have this view that the wilderness is a negative holding pattern for which they wonder if they will ever escape – neglecting the very life-transforming purpose of why they are there in the first place.
Samuel Whitefield writes in his online devotional: Though John’s life was in the desert and, no doubt, lonely at times, it was not the life of a hermit. He was faithful to minister to others in the desert. John actively taught and invested in a group of young men known as his disciples (Matthew 9:14, 11:2, Mark 2:18, Luke 5:33, 7:18–19, 11:1, John 1:35, 3:25, 4:1). While God cuts us off from many distracting things when He sends us to desert places, that is not the same as isolating ourselves from the body and refusing to engage with others. John was faithful in small things by leading a small group while God constrained the rest of his life.
We are obsessed with efficiency, but God is not. He is both urgent and patient all at the same time. John was a blaze of urgency for 6 months, but God nurtured and maintained that urgency for 30 years. In the same way, when God responded to Israel’s cries for deliverance from Egypt, He began by spending 80 years forming Moses to lead the people. The last 40 of those years He put Moses aside out in a desert.
God does not consider that kind of investment extravagant. Why? Because He didn’t form John only for 6 months of ministry. He formed John to minister to Him for a billion years. John will be proclaiming the glory of his cousin for billions of years. God is not forming us only for a ministry function. He is forming us to dwell with Him forever. God values natural process and time more than we do. He makes men, individually and uniquely over time. He presses and forms them through the processes of life. He does not wring His hands in despair over the time that it takes to form a vessel. This is the biblical view of urgency.
Our view of urgency is that it must be done “now.” God’s view is very different because it is the magnitude of what is coming that demands urgency. God’s will address the magnitude of the challenge with equal magnitude. Therefore the proper response to urgency is to build things that will withstand the strength of what is coming. God does not do that overnight. He does it over decades. He usually moves more slowly than we like to prepare something that will endure the conflict.
Whitefield goes on to say: There is more than one kind of desert and it is critical to understand the difference in your own life in order to respond rightly because the goal is not always to leave the desert.
The desert of testing is a place of battle and it is temporary. Faith is tested here and refined and Jesus’ own life is one of the best examples. Jesus battled the devil in the wilderness when He was tempted he then emerged in power. The desert of testing is temporary and it is for the sake of war.
God who is jealous for a relationship sees where it is not possible in the midst of distraction and competing affections. This is part of the desert. Just as the stars seems more brilliant away from the lights of the city, so too the person of God burns most vividly in the place of the desert. Here, there is an entirely different kind of desert. It is the desert of communion. It is the place where God lovingly calls you to come away with Him to a place of communion. His voice calls, “come away with Me.” It is the place where God calls you away and detoxes you simply because He made you for Himself.
Robert Foster writes in Celebration of Discipline: Those who go into the deserts of silence and solitude do so for others they are to bring back any word they receive from God and share it with others. This is a gracious service to be rendered, for no individual can hear all that God wants to say. We are dependent upon one another to received the full counsel of God.
Thus you can see that the desert or “the wilderness” has a myriad of purposes. It is not in and of itself a negative place to be. Once we recognize the desert place we are in, we can then use that place for our transformative benefit which will produce the outcome of fruitfulness in the fullness of time.
I cannot tell you how much this movie prophetically calls out the near future reality of our society. If you’ve never seen the movie, which btw is a struggle to watch, you’re in for a number. A friend of mine introduced me to this movie several years ago and having no clue what it was about, I sat there involuntarily losing about 15,789 brain cells through 84 minutes of befuddlement. Not knowing what in the world was going on or what was happening to me, as I stared at this screen trying to figure it all out, it finally dawned on me towards the end. Wow …this is where we are headed.
This fictional depiction of a society full of idiots is nothing short of sagacity.
How could these writers satirically portray and predict such an accurate account of our tomorrow? Well I guess it isn’t too difficult to predict, due to the many prevalent news articles of people blunders and whimsical leadership in our public and private sector. And let’s not EVEN talk about the political shenanigans that goes on and the “leaders” that are in place. Just an utterly ridiculous idiocracy.
Now some of you readers out there maybe saying well we aren’t headed there….we ARE there. And you know what? I pretty much will agree with you there. A huge chunk of this is due to the ever growing effects of technology that we have allowed dumb us down.
I remember reading an insurance article that spoke about the popular trend of wearable technology (watches, glasses, etc). The article detailed accounts of people who relayed they supported the use of technology in many ways including having this technology track every vital organ and make recordings of it so that they wouldn’t have to use or rely on their memory. They championed the use of technology taking over and doing everything for them instead of using their brains and hoped for life to soon become fully automated.
So you are willingly agreeing to let technology think for you??
Welp I guess so…
“hey google, alexa, siri, cortana and friends…what should I do next?”
I also recently stumbled across a technology podcast that centered a conversation around this app called webot. It was therapy app that was never released due to the controversial nature of its platform. Essentially, this app would be your therapist and would give you automated feedback based on your text message. These replies would of course be based on a “well thought out” algorithim and would be available 24/7 so that you wouldn’t dare call a friend or family member in the middle of the night when you’re in crisis. Let alone pray about it. Oh no…this app would come to the rescue and help “tell you what you should do or how you should feel.” It would take the place of talking with a human who “doesn’t listen” because I guess now we don’t even have the memory capacity to do it (since we’ve given that over too).
All this has played a huge part in the momentous snowball of society becoming dumber and dumber. Where we’ve shifted from calling people “smart” to giving this title to phones, tv’s and other electronic devices. Yeah we’re making “advancements” in technology and science but are we really “progressing” as people?
Everybody has an opinion about what wealth truly looks like – both in theory and in practice. Take a listen to today’s podcast episode with special guest Chloé A. Moore who will discuss this topic with us from her experience as a certified financial planner.
If I could live anywhere in the world my #1 choice would be New Zealand. Coming in a close second would be Victoria, Canada. What a beautiful and serene place!
Now I’m sure every city has it’s “not so pretty” streets and places to wander near…but I tell you what…I didn’t find many up in the pristine location of Victoria, British Columbia.
Between the Fisherman’s Wharf and the drives in and around town, the experience for me as a visitor won me over for sure! Certainly more of a nature feign than consumeristic, I enjoyed the mountainous vibes, ocean breeze and fresh air. The fresh seafood at the Wharf (although pricey) was tasty and it was cool to meet quite of few friendly locals while on the boardwalk.
When I visited Victoria a few years back, my main goal was to check out Royal Roads University. A family member of mine, told me about their tourism program and I flew up to check out the school grounds, community and program. The Hatley Castle and grounds are certainly beautiful and looks just at it appears in the Johnny Depp movie Richard Says Goodbye. I ran into the most color-filled peacocks I had ever seen! The richness of these peacocks wings and body where nothing short of stunning. Of course, I’m not a peacock geek but it was a welcomed surprise as I was touring the campus.
While, I believe Canada just got Lyft, for the most part it’s still not widespread. So traveling to Canada largely means being forced to rent a car. Which is not cheap by any means…in fact I spent more on a two day car rental than I did on my Airbnb and food combined. This was the only downside to traveling to Victoria. Other than that, I cannot think of anything else that wouldn’t cause me to return to the beautiful land of Victoria, BC.
P.S. I”m told Vancouver or any where in the BC area carries a similar sensation as Victoria. So if you’re looking to visit the Pacific Northwest, take a quick shuttle flight from Seattle to visit either of the two cities.
Throughout the years I heard so many stories about people backpacking in Asia. After my time was up in living in Thailand, I decided to investigate the matter and see just how much it would cost me to visit a few countries. I checked a few third party travel apps along with the direct airline sites and found that traveling around SE Asia from a central point in Asia is indeed incredibly less expensive than traveling RT from the States to each place.
So I decided to book my flights in advance all the way to the end so that I could take advantage of the cheapest flight options. Unfortunately some of these options came with less than desirable flight times; and in hindsight I would have opted for the day/morning flight instead.
The reason being is unlike a lot of the people I see on the plane- I am unable to get ANY plane sleep. Its just not comfortable enough for me to fall asleep. So I end up staying awake on an overnight flight which negatively affects my 1st day in that country. I’m literally a zombie dragging myself to not “waste” the day by not opting to catch up on the sleep I missed. So I go through the day not fully enjoying myself in this new country because all my body wants to do is lay down and sleep.
Also, what I’ve found is that there is a reason you hear people say “backpacking” through Asia. I hate carrying things let alone anything such as a heavy backpack for long periods of time. So I opted for the “check baggage through Asia.” Once again in hindsight I should have prepared myself to endure the heavy backpack instead of a rolling luggage. I could have saved so much money by opting for the former. These “budget” airlines are for people who don’t have checked bags, don’t buy food on the plane, and don’t want a special seat. I found that the most of these airlines don’t even give you anything to drink or eat for free. Unlike most of the carriers in the States who at least offer you free water/soda/juice and a snack.
Lastly, I found out the hard way that not pre-paying for the checked bag online during booking cost me 3X as much at the airport check-in terminal. So if you are going to opt for the checked bag route, at least take my advice, pre-pay for your bag online and save your money.
So my advice to you is to learn from my unfortunate experiences and book the best flight option that allows your body to get the best rest, even if that means you fly during the day and “lose a day.” Also, if you are going to use a budget airline try to pack only enough for a carry-on bag and eat/drink just before you get on the plane.
Charity. We all love to lend a helping hand. When we help others we feel an internal sense of gratification that we came to someone else’s rescue. The hero inside of us takes center stage and we get to fly our superhero capes with pride. But can we help too much? Can we help in the wrong ways that become detrimental? Is all help good and profitable? Does all help produce long-term sustainable progress? What does it even mean to be a helper or giver of resources? These are the very questions we should be asking ourselves when we choose to help others.
Now help can be done in varies ways, through various channels and in various amounts. At a very micro level we can help others with everyday things such as holding a door for someone with their hands full or assisting that same person with carrying their items to a particular destination. At the macro level, help can be performed in a global context through missional organizations, aid resulting from natural disasters, and financial support for the poor for basic life needs. One thing’s for sure is that there is no shortage of need for help in various capacities. So the question becomes, when we help, how can we help with a holistic mindset and how can our help be executed in ways that cultivate the greatest opportunity for long-term self-sustainable aid for the recipient.
I think one of the primary key things to address when we talk about charity or humanitarianism is having a balanced and holistic view of what it even means to help. Oftentimes when we place ourselves as helper we attach a certain value to it that is self-elevating. We think we are better because we can and we do help. Thus we feel a greater sense of self-worth because of it. We unconsciously then ascribe the reverse notion to the recipient of the one we give help to. We place them in a bottom up position and attach a lower value of worth to their situation. When we do this we create a continuous cycle of associating help with the negative. We think whoever needs help is not worthy enough or has a lower value than those who claim to not need or ask for it. Thus, we often refuse to ask for help ourselves thinking we will willingly place our self-worth in this position of condemnation. So when you condemn yourself for needing help you most often extend that same notion of condemnation to those you are helping. When you attach any kind of value to giving help, you attach the same level of value to needing help. So the danger of tying your self-worth to being a helper is feeling shame when you ask for help. It is interesting to note that at all points in our lives we have be in the position of needing help. No one has gotten anywhere in life without the help of others. When we were all born, whether your biological parents helped you or not, you were still forced to accept your dependence as a baby and need for help. So why is it that when we grow older, we mistakenly fall prey to the myth that successful people are those who help rather than need, and broken people need rather than help. Thus, changing the lens to which we view help is key to when we exercise our opportunity to help others.
In addition to this change in mindset, I believe that it would behoove us to understand the difference between relief versus development (as it relates to charitable assistance). Often times we neglect delineating between the two which consequently leads to the creation of what is called toxic charity. Toxic charity (which is an actual book title btw) is doing for rather than doing with. We send aid to people in the ways we think is helpful instead of partnering with them to develop strategic plans that work towards their self-sustainability. The quick fix is not the always the sustainable fix. The outsiders view is not always the way to go about it. I’ve seen this happen time and time again, particularly from missional or charitable organizations from North America.
In the book Going Global, it talks about how well-intentioned people from North America often waste resources and even do harm in situations that they do not understand. And that perhaps it is related to a fundamental character trait of North Americans which sometimes gets them in trouble. They like to believe that there is a fix for every problem and that they have the solution. Accordingly, that they want to achieve as much as possible within a short period of time. But the author encourages us by saying: “If you want to go fast then go alone, if you want to go far go together.”
So we need to temper any desire to position ourselves as overnight benefactors. Local people who are being engaged with charity still need to take charge of their own development process. They most often will not own a project that belongs to outsiders. Additionally, they have knowledge and capabilities that are central to the success of any project or development so the community needs to be a part of the charitable process. Outside assistance not leveraged with the mentality of partnership will create a dependency on outsiders rather than foster local initiative and long term development. When you have the community participate in the process the long-term results are sustainable because the community owns the process and work.
When we engage others through our charitable acts, we need to anticipate that people will think and act differently than ourselves. So understanding your audience by asking what they need versus telling them what they need is a start. Whether you agree with their view of what they say they need you can still ask. Then you can determine if you have the capacity and the willingness to partner with them using your resources and their set of resources and self-dignity to achieve the sustainable goal. We are at our best when we think of charitable actions that create justice, self-dignity and produce long-term sustainability rather than merely represent hand-outs that show that we “gave.”
Lastly, when we help we should remove the tendency to have patronizing pity or unintended superiority by expecting gratitude in exchange for the gifts given. When we give we should do just that. Give. Without the noose of owing or lifelong indebtedness. Our giving should be free of outlandish stipulations that can never be met or repaid. Thus our giving at it’s very core should be as close to free from reciprocity. It should contain the grace and freedom to allow the recipient to show gratitude at whatever level is possible for them.
Giving is wonderful. Giving is life-producing. Giving is a blessing. But giving done irresponsibly can by all means be counter productive and easily become an impending slippery slope. My hope is that the things you’ve heard in this podcast will challenge you to think about the ways and thought patterns you’ve operated as it pertains to giving. And that you begin a new conversation about ways in which you can either discard patterns that you recognize have been negatively enabling and keep those things that have been beneficial.