Sunday, August 24, 2008

Those Who Give

According to philanthropy is defined as, altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes. Why does this matter? The apostle James writes in his book that we are not only judged by our faith but our works as well. In fact, he asks us to question our faith without our works. Philanthropy is one way we can provide our blessings in order to aide our neighbors who are less blessed.

Often we hear stories of those celebrities such as Oprah, and Angelina Jolie who often provide their time and resources to help those in need. I also like to find others who do the same. You see it is very easy to look into the mainstream media and see evil but we typically have to dig to find good , especially when the top stories are war and school shootings. So in a week when the top news story in Knoxville, TN was an unfortunate shooting in a school cafeteria, it was also announced that Pat Summitt also donated $600,000 to the University of Tennessee to be shared by the Knoxville campus and her alma mater campus UT-Martin.

My mother brought this to my attention the other day and it sparked me to conduct one of my searches to find more. Then I thought I couldn’t pass up posting some of these for those of you who take time to read my blog when Reed, Ada and Anna Kate all have much more interesting things to see. I also would like to hear about the ones you know, (it doesn’t have to be celebrity philanthropist). If for nothing else but to show that even though the economic outlook is bad we can face tomorrow because Jesus’ spirit lives within our works.

Boozer’s Buddies – Okay I have to admit I took a double take on this one but I quickly learned that just as we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover we shouldn’t judge a fund by its name either. This is actually a fund created by Carlos Boozer former Duke University basketball star and current member of the Utah Jazz. It supports families who have been affected by Sickle Cell Disease.

Shawn Marion Foundation – This one especially caught my eye because he is from my home town of Clarksville TN and graduated with my brother in the CHS Class of 96. Shawn currently plays for the Miami Heat. His fund supports single parent families. Something else that hits home with me. Although, I was young when Phillip came along I still remember the days of single parent living.

You can find many more just like these at However one that you may not find very easily is Dr. Jack Lupton, who is believed by some to be responsible for bottling more Coca Cola than anyone else in the world. In 2001, he donated $25 million to educational programs at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. However, this is only one of the many donations that he and his wife have made. The Lyndhurst Foundation founded by his family has made many contributions most recently helping to fund and plan the Chattanooga Riverpark. Read more about this at

Oh and one last story. My brother once felt compelled to purchase a coke for a homeless gentleman in downtown Nashville. However, before giving him the soda it dropped and rolled down the street. Without, any more cash to purchase a new one for him, Chris still gave him the coke. What Chris has never told me though was if he warned the gentleman of the possible surprise when he opened the bottle. Well, I guess it’s the thought that counts.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yep, I did it.

Okay, taking a break from my normal style blog and sharing a little bit of me. I've been contemplating, or maybe procrastinating, competing in a triathlon for a while. There was a short (and I do mean short) distance race this weekend here in Chattanooga so I decided it was time to give it a shot. I've never been a strong swimmer so I was very nervous about my chances at doing well in triathlons. Since this race's swim was only 1/4 mile I decided to test the waters (pun intended). It wasn't all just me though. Jessica and her parents competed as well. We all finished which was our goal. Here are a few pictures from the race.

Also exciting my parents came down from Clarksville to show their support. They've traveled all various places from Miami, Florida to Stillwater, Oklahoma watching me wrestle so I trip to Chattanooga for my first triathlon was a definite. However, I think a chance to spend the day with Reed also had something to do with it. We are currently in the process of purchasing a new home so it was a great chance to show it off to them as well. After that it was up to the lake for an afternoon of watching Reed enjoy the water. Jessica swam with him as Gramma, Grumpy, Granna, Papa T and Auntie K all enjoyed the entertainment. Here are some photos of that too.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

(Sorry for the delay. My family has been relocating, which has taken a large amount of my free time.)

More often than not when engrossed in a conversation about Christianity I hear, "Why does God allow us to suffer?" If he is a loving god than why would he allow evil and anguish to exist? I heard a good analogy once (can’t remember from whom):

Minister – Do you love and protect you children?
Parishioner – Yes, of course. I would never let my children suffer.
Minister – Have they ever fallen off their bike and injured themselves?
Parishioner – Yes, but that is how they learn. By getting back up and trying again.
Minister– Well, just like you were letting them learn by allowing them to suffer, God does the same for his children.

At the day of creation, God did not intend for the Earth to be challenging and for his children to endure pain. However, in Genesis 3: 13 – 19 God explained to Adam and Eve how they must suffer for their sin. At that point the world was opened to evil. Sorrow became an obstacle we must all overcome.

You may now think, “But I’ve repented and accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.” That is a fair thought but you must remember when Paul was speaking to the Romans he told them “We are all sinners and all have fallen short of God.” Each of us sin most everyday. It’s a fact of life that we cannot get past without Jesus. Jesus told us that we should take up our cross and follow him. Hinting that we must suffer as he did to fully understand the need for his loving care.

Paul was worried that his letter to the Corinthians had saddened and angered them to the point that they were shunning him. The Corinthians told him that it was not them that were shunning Paul yet he was shunning them by causing anguish with his written word. Paul responded that he did not regret that his letter caused them pain and sorrow. It is sorrow that brings us to the Lord and if his letter did that (which it did) then his job was successful.

A lot of biblical stories come to mind when I think of people who were brought to God through suffering. The leper, the lame and the blind came to Jesus for freedom from their illnesses. Jesus healed them and said, “Go and leave your life of sin. “ If they were healthy and prosperous would they have pleaded at Jesus’ feet for relief?

Revelation 21:4 says God will wipe every tear from our eyes; there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain. The old order of things will pass away. In other words, we will be freed from sorrow once and for all. If we trust in Jesus we will experience the peace and harmony God intended during the six days of creation.

So for all who are suffering, whether it is from disease, injury or just everyday struggles, rest assure, endless prosperity is coming.