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Forgive And Forget

By life, spirituality

Pastor Rick gave a profoundly impacting message at church this morning. It was all about forgiving those who have wronged you in the past and appologizing to those you’ve wronged yourself. I think everyone has both of these situations in their lives with at least one person, and I’m no exception. I generally don’t hold grudges against anyone, but there are one or two people who I need to apologize to for certain things. They’re actually mutual situations so I hope that by being the bigger person and reaching out to them to apologize, they might, too. But even if not, it will still make me feel better to right the wrong.

God forgives us for our sins by coming into a relationship with His son, Jesus Christ, and He commands us to do the same to others. He proclaims that there is nothing more essential in life than loving other people, and that’s essentially the basis of Christianity. That being said, I have a bit of work to do to make things right again in my life with a few people.

Time Management

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Pastor Rick gave what I thought to be one of his most inspiring messages ever today. It was all about time management. He’s done some great messages in the past and is probably the most impacting and inspirational speaker I’ve ever heard, but today his message really hit home.

In the service today, Pastor Rick gave a lot of great advice and wisdom about how to manage your time:

Evaluate your time priorities. This can be done (as I’m going to do) by keeping track of how you spend your time over the course of two weeks.

Busyness does not equal productivity. I am always busy with something or another. The whole week it seems I’m never free. But I’m finding that a lot of the time I’m not doing much of anything of any real worth or significance.

Establish time systems. This could mean many things. One example Pastor Rick gave was his own schedule. Every day, he gets up early in the morning and spends time in solitude praying and having study/research time to plan his messages. He’s also at home every night at 6:00 PM for dinner with his family. These two recurring events are set in stone in his weekly schedule, and are obviously very important to him. I need to figure out which things are the most important for me to do, and plan everything else around them on a recurring basis like he has done. Having set things to do at set times and days also makes it easier to say no to people when they ask you to do something, and that’s a big thing for me. I find it hard to tell people no when they ask me to help with or commit to doing something.

Eliminate time wasters. As you’ll read below, I’ve already gotten rid of a lot of my time wasters, but this is something I really need to work on more. Pastor Rick spoke about how you should delegate what’s important and find new ways to use wasted time, such as reading or catching up on something that needs completing when you’re waiting (for example at a doctor’s office).

I have some of the worst skills when it comes to time management out of anyone I know. I always have really good intentions of getting lots done, being productive, and accomplishing everything I need to do. In fact, despite my lack of priority-based planning, I have one of the most immaculately-organized iCal calendars ever (that picture is a screenshot of how my iCal looks on a weekly basis). It’s broken up into sub-calendars, the main ones being home, school, and church. I have everything from my classes at VCU to my weekly breakfast with Tori and dinner with Jen. From the looks of it, you’d think I was one of the most organized people ever, right? Not so much.

So why doesn’t it all work out in the nice, structured way it seems to by looking at my iCal? There are a couple of reasons. First off, I don’t seem to be able to stick to what should be my top priorities. It’s sometimes out of stress, lack of will power, tiredness, or sheer laziness. Other times it’s because something fun comes up and I end up going out with friends. All I know is I need to increase the amount of time I spend doing some things, reduce others, and maybe even completely eliminate a few. Most things are fine in moderation, I just need to find the right balance.

Sometimes the time I allot to certain tasks ends up getting wasted because I’m multitasking while I should be focused on a singular goal. I also get distracted (and spend too much time on) my Mac and iPhone. The biggest distraction involving both devices? Facebook. Up until today, I had a ridiculous connection to Facebook. On my computer, there’s a desktop program that flashes a little box in the upper right hand corner of my screen notifying me when someone writes on my wall or does some other action on my profile, I get an email with the same information, and then a text on my phone. Sometimes the Facebook email also goes to my phone. Now before you send out the “whitecoats” to haul me off to the nut farm, please understand that some of these notifications were in place from the time I first registered my Facebook account (almost two years ago), for example the emails. I just added one thing at a time and now I’m at this ludicrous level. I’m happy to say that as of today, I’ve completely eliminated all of my Facebook notifications on both my Mac and iPhone, turned off incoming email to my phone, and turned off the new mail notification sound on my computer so I don’t automatically open my email client and read it as it comes in.

In summary, here’s what I plan on changing with my schedule starting this week:

  • Allot more time to studying, working productively at church, and exercising
  • Spend less time on the computer, doing less-than-productive things, eating out, and not necessarily hang out with friends every night
  • Come up with the best balance of school, work, volunteering, and fun

I’m excited about finally getting a handle on my life and make time for the things I need to do and be able to accomplish so much more.

The Value Of Time

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Pastor Rick started a new message series entitled Time a few weeks ago, and I’ve got to say it’s probably the most impacting series he’s done to date (and he’s done a lot). The first week he talked about just how quickly life goes by. He made several analogies comparing your age with the time of day. I don’t remember exactly the ages and times he referenced, but if you take the waking hours (8:00 AM – 11:00 PM), if you’re 15 years old it’s about 10:30 AM. If you’re 30 it’s 12:00 noon. If you’re 50 it’s around 7:00 PM. Scary, huh? Time passes by more quickly than most of us realize. Today, Pastor Rick talked about how you should invest your time in things that have an eternal value and in things that will have a long-lasting impact.

All this got me thinking about just how funny time is. Sometimes I’ll do something and a few days later think that it feels like it’s been a week or two since I did it. Then, some event that comes around only once a year, take Christmas for example, and I feel like it just happened and the year flew by. It’s funny how different people perceive time in different ways.

One of the most interesting things Pastor Rick said is that people get along (or don’t) and associate with one another based on their time style. Some people prioritize their schedule. Others schedule their priorities. I’m definitely the first style (and sometimes I don’t have them in the right order at that) and I’m trying to become the second. It’s difficult, but I know I can do it if I keep at it.

To find out more about the Time series, visit www.highimpactliving.com.

One Semester Down, Changes For The Next

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So my first semester as a college student was officially over last night after I took my history final. I think I did pretty well on my exams, but I know I still could have done better in terms of grades. Not horrible, but I had a lot on my plate between adjusting to college, working at church, and having a part-time job. I’m going to seriously consider the effect working has on school before I decide where I’m going to work next semester. I need to pick a place with flexible hours and good pay (so I can work fewer hours but make the same amount of money as I would in an average-paying job- does that sentence even make sense?).

Anyway, I’ve come to realize several things this semester. Not having much time to do anything besides what I mentioned above, I realized just how much I value free time. I got so burnt out that once I took a week off, such as I did from the church, I not only saw all of the stuff I had neglected to do for months and decided to get it done, but I also decided to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and just chill out. Moreover, what I really realized was that I just want to live a little and be a college student. I have the rest of my life to slave away at work (well hopefully I’ll be doing something I like), so I want to live it up while I can. I’m going to seriously consider changing a lot of things next semester.

First off, not seeing many of my friends nearly as often as I did before has caused that area of my life to suffer, and I’m not willing to let that happen. Friendships are an integral part of life and with schedule conflicts caused by all that I did last semester, I lost touch with some people that I’ve been friends with for years.Secondly, I don’t even do anything with several hobbies I had before. I have run a local history website (that I haven’t updated in a year) since 2001. This is the first time I’ve let that slip in seven years. I also have a history exhibition out at Field Day of the Past that I’ve done since 2002. This was the first year I didn’t set up my display because it’s a huge undertaking (the displays take up the whole tailgate area of my Xterra from floor to ceiling) and I just didn’t have the energy after the week I had.

There are plenty more things I haven’t had the time or extra energy to do, like writing, doing some graphic design and video projects I’ve wanted to, and on top of everything else I’m not going to let my school work suffer anymore either. To quote the lyrics of a song by Bruce Hornsby, next semester “there’s gonna be some changes made.” I’ve got to balance things out more. I’m amazed I’ve even kept my blog updated on an (almost) daily basis.

Christmas At RCC

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This past week, Pastor Rick started his first message about the Christmas Season. The first message was all about giving. He talked about how much giving to God blesses you. One of his points was that you can’t outgive God. He’s talked about this in the past in other messages, and told numerous stories about how people who thought they didn’t have the money to give still gave, and how their lives were transformed and how God provided for them. I am without a job as of last Friday, but after hearing this message, I’ve decided I’m still going to tithe and give to the annual Christmas Offering next week because I’m faithful that God will help me to find another job soon.

I’m Back, Here’s What You Missed

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I know, I haven’t written since Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten at least half a dozen emails asking where I was, if I was still alive, etc. Thanks for the concern. I’ve been extremely busy with not only Christmas decorating (if you’ve ever been to my house at Christmas you know how long the outdoor light display takes me to put together), but I also painted my room and bought all new furniture at IKEA. I’m still putting some of it together, and will post pictures when it’s all finished. It basically looks like Starbucks (walls painted gold at the top, and chocolate brown at the bottom to chair rail level), combined with the European design that’s typical of IKEA furnishings. I think it’s pretty cool. School and work has kept me pretty busy, too. Basically, this is the first chance I’ve had to update.

Speaking of church, I originally intended to take off the week of Thanksgiving just to catch up on some stuff I had neglected for a while and take a breather, but once I started on my room, I realized it was a much bigger task than I originally thought, and I ended up taking this past week off, as well.

Well, I’ll have a lot more free time this week since I no longer have a job. Friday was my last day at the Attorney General’s Office. I had a lot of great experiences and learned a lot of things I otherwise wouldn’t have. There are a lot of great people that work there. Where to now, though? Hopefully the Apple Store at Short Pump Town Center. We’ll see.

I promise I’m going to start updating on a daily basis again, because I have a whole lot to write on. But for now, you should be pretty much up to date.

Richmond Community Church

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As you may have already read on Pastor Alan’s or Anthony Burns’ blogs, Glen Allen Community Church is now officially Richmond Community Church! Pastor Rick McDaniel announced it publicly this past Sunday. This is so exciting because of the way it positions us as a more regional church. With the vision of eventually opening five campuses, the name is much more suited for a multi-campus church. I am thrilled to be a part of the staff as we continue to grow, reach more and more people, and raise the bar on excellence.

The West End Campus will now be known as Richmond Community Church – Glen Allen, and the South Side Campus will now be known as Richmond Community Church – Midlothian. The new website is www.RCC-Impact.com. A new website is now being designed and is on target to launch in January, 2008.

Award-Winning Video Production

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I’ve been so excited about this and I’m so glad that I can finally share this information with everyone. Pastor Joey submitted a video drama we produced this summer, “Daily Inventory,” to the Church Production Magazine Video Production Awards Competition. Turns out we won Best Drama in the country in the category of churches with 600-2,000 attendees! Tori and myself worked many hours editing this production. Congratulations to everyone else on our team that put so much hard work into this video! Click here to see all the credits. The other winners can be found on the magazine’s Awards page. The video will be shown at the Worship Facilities Expo this week in Atlanta, Georgia.

It brings me so much joy to be a part of such a wonderful group of people and it’s even more awesome to be able to see just how many individual lives are changed as a result of the church’s Impact Arts multimedia ministry. Best of all, I’m working for Jesus and growing the Kingdom of God. What could be more satisfying than that? Great job everyone! Click below to play the video:

“Daily Inventory”

Two Weeks Of Random Blurbs

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Wow… I haven’t updated in almost two weeks. A lot’s gone on in that time. Let me get everyone up to speed on what’s happening in my life, with a few quick blurbs.First off, last weekend I went to Field Day of the Past out in Goochland. I’m usually an exhibitor out there, taking my history exhibition out there, displaying old pictures of Short Pump and the three-dimensional model and whatnot. I decided to take this year off, however. But I still went out to see everything, and one of the highlights of my visit was getting to see the choir of Springfield Baptist Church perform at their relocated church building on the show grounds. In a joint effort initiated by myself and others in the Henrico Historical Society and officials with the County, Springfield Baptist Church was moved from its original home on Brookriver Drive behind Best Buy in Short Pump, to the Field Day grounds in Goochland. It was really moving to see how incredibly happy the congregation was that their circa 1880 church was saved from the bulldozer and preserved for everyone to see and enjoy. I filmed the entire move from a pickup truck directly in front of the church as it made its way westward on Broad Street. I’ll edit and post it up here someday soon. Here’s a video of the choir’s performance that I filmed last weekend:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCfeY3coHig]Speaking of music, I also went to the Jon McLaughlin concert at the Canal Club with Megan and Tori. It was amazing. Jon was awesome, but I’ve gotta say, Sara Bareilles stole the show… well at least in my mind. She is absolutely incredible. Her vocal style, unique music composition, and overall aura were just mind-boggling. She is so extremely talented. Here’s a video I took of her song “Long Song” (for the rest of the videos, visit my YouTube site… just click on the link in the video):[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqKwxqNxNX4]This past weekend has been a mixed bag, I guess you could say. It started out great. Friday night, Tori and I worked on video production stuff at church, then went to dinner at Max & Erma’s. It was great to just chill out for once and talk about life. Yesterday, I went to Casa Grande with two of my friends from high school, Sarah and Becca. It was awesome getting to catch up with them because we never really see each other anymore. They’re always a lot of fun to hang with and definitely keep me laughing. The fun kind of got cut short, though, because somehow, while at lunch, I was rewetting the contact lens in my left eye when all of a sudden it felt like I had an eyelash in my eye, or something of that nature. I got up and went to the bathroom to see if I could get my contact out and see what was in my eye. I couldn’t see anything. I even got Becca to look and still nothing. So after lunch, we went cruising in my mom’s new convertible (She just got a new Toyota Solara… it’s pretty fun to drive!). It was a lot of fun, but my eye got increasingly worse.By the time I got back home after dropping them off, I could barely keep it open anymore. So as I laid on the sofa with a cold compress, my best friend Jen called me and asked what time we were going to dinner (we had planned to a couple of days ago).  I explained the situation, and said I should probably go to Patient First (the only medical place open on a Saturday afternoon) and get it checked out. At this point it was hurting whether or not I had it open or closed. So she offered to drive me up there, and we had to have been in there an hour or more. It turns out I scratched my cornea. I know that sounds really bad, and I thought it was, but it actually heals within 24 hours in most situations, and now, about 36 hours afterwards, I’m feeling a lot better. But last night, I was in a lot of pain and kept the eye shut for the most part. Jen took really good care of me, though. Not only did she wait patiently with me at Patient First, but (after we grabbed dinner at Tara Thai) she drove me to get my prescription, back home to get the South Side campus hard drive to take to church, and to Blockbuster to get a movie, which we took back and Jen pretty much just watched, seeing that I really felt more like closing my eyes. But I just wanted to post this to let her know just how much taking care of me like that means to me and how much I love her.So it’s been an eventful couple of weeks. I’m chilling out for a little while in preparation for another busy week ahead. I’ve got a lot more to post on, coming in the next couple of days!