Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Self-Reliance Issue

My brother-in-law Andy subscribes to Popular Mechanics, also known as perhaps the most interesting magazine ever. The lastest issue is titled "The Self-Reliance Issue." It's full of articles about disaster proofing your house, living off the grid, building a chicken coop, etc.

One of the articles is titled "The Soul of an Old Machine." It profiles several people who have restored old things such as a gas stove, circular saw, guitar amp, and lawn mower rather than replacing them with new.

I consider myself mildly handy. I can change my oil, build a loft, shingle a roof, change a tire, paint a house. Additionally, I am quite thrifty. I love to not spend money. Reading this issue and particularly that article inspired me to work even harder to be self-reliant. I would like to be more intentional about fixing things myself rather than throwing them away or paying someone else to do it.

Fixing something myself can have at least two important effects. One, I get to feel more manly. Two, I get to save cash. That's what I'm talking about.

The first step? I'm flushing my radiator. As soon as I figure out what to do with the used coolant...

Friday, September 11, 2009


I spoke at camp a little over a month ago (jeez, in some ways it feels like it just happened, in others it feels like ages ago). Laura asked over a week ago how it went. It's long past time for me to answer.

It went really well.

I loved it. Being a camp speaker is really fun. I've wanted to do it for a long time and feel blessed that the Lord saw fit to allow me to fulfill that desire. Speaking to Super Kids, I was convicted going in that I needed to be very basic and share the Gospel in a clear and compelling way. So that's what I did. I never spoke for more than fifteen minutes, I repeated myself often, and I tried to let the Gospel speak for itself. I know that I wasn't perfect, but for my first time speaking in that setting, I felt really good about how it went.

I was very blessed in that this was the most attentive and well-behaved group of Super Kids I have ever seen. I almost never had to tell them to pay attention or be quiet. I've spent enough time at Camp to know that it can be almost impossible to get some groups of Super Kids to focus. Glory be that this was emphatically not the case for the group I was given.

I went to the counselor meeting on Thursday morning (the last day), and the counselors were talking about how the kids had received my messages. One of the female counselors said that one of her campers told her "I understood what Josh said, I've been thinking about it, and I know what I need to do," and then she asked Jesus to be her Savior. I can't think of any possible reaction that could be better for a speaker. That was the best part of the week for me. God is good, and deserves TOTAL credit for that.

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

In sum, I got paid to hang out at one of my favorite places in the world with some of my favorite people and to tell kids about Jesus. Words can't describe how much I would love to do that a lot more.