Leaderology By Jeff Rawlins Launching soon.

Tag: good samaritan

The Best Tasting Pretzels Ever!

The Best Tasting Pretzels Ever!

It was April in 1996 and I was standing in an airplane bathroom on a NWA flight from Minneapolis, MN to New
York City on my way to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, when we hit some crazy turbulence that literally created a mini panic on board and forced me to rush back to my seat.

While rushing back to my seat and trying to squeeze myself in I caught the back of the armbar of the seat in front of me and it caused a deep, lacerating gash about 2 inches long in my side, ripping right through my shirt.

I love to fly but I also hate to fly. Here is why… I very much enjoy people watching and traveling to different places and being on the go, but the thing I dread most is the tiny little coach seat. The good lord did not seem fit to give me the fastest metabolism in the world- a slight understatement.

I have a 22 inch neck and wear a 56R Suit Jacket! I like to think of myself as big boned or husky- but never fat. Actually I am just a big guy- I played Football and wrestled in College- so there!

Needless to say, in a coach seat, I get very uncomfortable, break out into a sweat and it is just a miserable experience for me and not to mention the poor soul unlucky enough to be seated next to me. Now I fit in the seat and can put the arm rest down and buckle up- but that leaves me zero room to breathe and if the person in the row in front of my puts down their seat I’m really screwed. This particular trip I was with a group of folks from our church in North Dakota going on a mission trip. Keep in mind this was the DR before the DR became a world class tourist destination.

When you live in North Dakota, you have one flight option, fly out of Fargo to Minneapolis and to your destination, this trip was about 5 hours each way- a complete nightmare when your crammed in your seat, bleeding with a gash in the your side trying to find a happy place in your mind to prevent yourself from flipping out. I mean after all, this was a mission trip, I was here for the Glory of God to be a support and blessing to impoverished people in a remote jungle village, how christian would it be to flip out on a plane? LOL. That flight was brutal!

Well, we had finally made it to the DR and I feel sick with a 102 fever the second I got off the plane, the flight and two hour bus ride through jungle literally made me sick for the first two days I was there. On day three I was feeling much better and we got to the business at hand which was scouting the area to a place to show the “Jesus Movie”. We were very blessed and led by theLlord to find a small tiny village in the middle of the jungle that had a place where we could show the film.

Shortly after we watched the film, we met a very very young man, his wife and infant child. The man’s name was Pastor Mao and he came from a nearby village when word traveled that “Gringos” were showing a movie. After spending some time with Mao, he invited us to his home a short 3 mile walk in the jungle away :).

Upon arriving at Mao’s home, I soon discovered it was an old, vacant building with only half of a roof and a door that did not close all of the way. We asked how he got here and he told us the story on how he believed that God sent him to this remote village and wanted him to start a church in this jungle community, We asked if he had any money and what were his plans, his response was that God was going to send “gringos” to him from a far away place to help build his church. Interesting, huh?

We were the first and only “Gringos” that were coming. After a time of prayer and deliberation, our pastor decided that we would help Mao build his church, so we made plans to return on a future date.

Shortly before we left, Mao asked if he could pray for us, while we were praying I felt an incredibly strong urge to give him some money out of my own pocket, I decided to give him $50 which in DR pesos was big coin, but I kept having this sense that I should give more “everything you have in your pocket” was what kept coming to me. That would be crazy give all the money I had left for the trip??? We still had two days left, plus $250 was a lot of money. What would I do with no money? It would be in poor taste to borrow, right? The sense that I should give him everything I had came again and I recognized it as a leading from God-so I did it, I gave him every last cent I had, all $250.

At this time in my life I was fairly new in my walk in the lord and was just learning how to hear his still, small voice, so it took him getting my attention a few times.

Fast forward 24 hours later and we had one day left on the island before we flew home and all I could think about was the dreaded flight home and how miserable I was going to be sitting in that small, narrow seat. Literally I was up all night worrying about it. So I prayed and asked the lord to intervene for me.

The day of fight home arrived and I was walking up the steps to the plane, as I was headed back to the coach section, I handed my ticket to the flight attendant (back them you gave them your ticket when you boarded the plane) she grabbed me by the arm and asked me where I was going? I told her to my seat and she said your ticket has been upgraded you are in row 10-D. This is a first class ticket, sir! I couldn’t believe it, all of the uneasiness that I was sure that I was destined for over the next 5 hours had me so rattled I never even bothered to look at the ticket until that exact moment!!! I looked down at my ticket and it said 10-D, I was the only person in our group to be upgraded to first class, I had no status, no frequent flyer miles, nothing.

As I sat down in my seat, I suddenly had that same feeling and urge that came over me only a few days before when praying with Mao that asked me to give him all of the money I had left and this time, A simple sentence came up from the inside of my inner being and here is what I heard…

“You can’t out-give the lord, I know how to take care of my own!” WOW! God set me up He wanted to bless Mao and used me to do it! The first class upgrade was his way of saying that he loved me, he heard the cry of my heart and despair that I felt about flying in the coach seat on the way home and like any good father, he wanted to bless me. He heard and answered my prayer.

One of my favorite versus in all of the Bible says…”The eyes of the lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward him”.

God desires to show himself strong on your behalf, he wants to be invited into your marriage, your business deals, your sales meetings. He stands at the door and waits patiently, looking for that invitation that can only come from you. What are you waiting for? Invite God into every area of your life-I promise you will never regret it! I don’t!

Five minutes after I sat down in my first class seat, the stewardess came by and handed me a bag of pretzels, they were the best tasting Pretzels that I ever had. As a matter of fact, I kept that pretzel bag and that day placed it in my Bible where it has been sitting for the last 22 years, as a reminder of the faithfulness of  God. I have pulled that bag out often over the years as a fresh reminder that Jesus Rocks! You can see the picture of it on this blog. My wife has instructions that one day when its my time I will be wearing a black suit, underneath my Ohio State #75 Jersey and this empty bag of Pretzels taken from my Bible and placed in the inner pocket of my suit.

We serve a living, breathing God who loves to take care of his people. 22 years ago the THE GOD OF ALL OF THE UNIVERSE, heard the prayer of a Husky kid about an insignificant airplane seat and moved Heaven and Earth to bless him. Talk about Love!

God is just looking to bless you too, he stands at the door of your heart and waits patiently to be invited in. What are you waiting for???
“That Bum Just needs a Damn Job is all”

“That Bum Just needs a Damn Job is all”

December 2003, I had been invited to speak at a Sales conference that my company was having in Nashville, TN. I had arrived in the early evening and was hungry so my boss and I and a few other colleagues decided we were going to head downtown to get some dinner.

This particular year, it was freezing, I remember being so cold walking those two blocks to the restaurant. As we were about a block away, I noticed a man who was laying on top of an air vent in the alley between the buildings. He was all bundled up and obviously laying on the air/heating vent to stay warm.

As we walked inside the restaurant and sat down, I could not stop thinking about that man and how cold it was outside. The story in the Bible of the Good Samaritan kept playing over and over again in my mind and I felt an extreme burden to help that man.

As soon as we placed our order, I looked over at my boss and said “hey, we are buying that guy outside dinner, it’s cold out and it’s the least we can do” before he could utter a word the waitress stops and interrupted me and said “I can’t believe you are going to give that bum money! He is just lazy and doesn’t deserve it, he could get a job, he would rather take handouts than work, I will not put in that order, I am sick and tired of those people always with their hands out”.

Now before I could respond, my boss who didn’t know the Book of Genesis from the Book of Revelation told her if she wanted a tip to hush and place the order. I ordered him a cheeseburger, fries, bowl of chili and piece of cake for dessert.

As we walked out I walked over to the man, turns out he wasn’t sleeping just curled up to stay warm, I looked at him, told him that Jesus loves him and handed him the bag and we walked back to our car.

As we got into the car we were parked on a one way street and had to drive right past the man to get to our hotel, as we drove by, we saw 3 other men standing with him, one had the fries, one had the bowl of chili, the other with the dessert and I looked at that man, who was now standing, he had the big cheeseburger in his hands and had a smile from ear to ear as he ate his burger.

Many things that we do as Christians, the world cannot understand or comprehend. That waitress displayed incredible anger and judgment as she thought that man was just lazy, unwilling to work, a bum.

Any time we step out in faith to represent the Lord you can be guaranteed that someone or somebody will have something to say about it and will not like it. These interactions should only serve to strengthen our faith and resolve. Living a life as a Christian is not easy and not for the faint of heart. The Bible is very clear that in latter days, many Christians will walk away from their faith choosing instead to serve the god of this world… Mammon and self instead of our one true God! When people serve the God of Mammon or self, they become incapable of blessing others instead morphing into becoming Narcissistic in thought, word, and deed. Totally shutting down the voice of the Holy Spirit in their lives, no longer displaying the transformation of a Christ-centered live as evidenced of the Fruit of the Spirit.

Our job is not to judge, that is God’s job. Our job is to be difference makers in the lives of people God puts into our lives, whether they are here a mere moment, a few years or many years. As we mature in our relationship with God the Holy Spirit begins to open our eyes the needs of others around us.

The reason that we have more than we need is to be a blessing to other people. That is what the Christian faith is about, loving others because God loved us and putting feet to our faith and actually doing something to bless other people in the name of Jesus. Friends, it is one thing to see the needs of others but an entirely different thing to actually do something about it! That’s the difference maker, DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

On the way back to the hotel my boss couldn’t stop talking about how that guy had given his food away to those three other guys and how he felt really good because he was a part of blessing hose people. It opened an opportunity for me to share with him the story of the Good Samaritan and how God went out of his way to bless us with his son Jesus Christ on the Cross. I was able to plant a seed for the lord that day with my Boss.

Our giving and generosity can open doors of opportunity to impact people’s lives and spread the good news of the gospel. We came with nothing into the world, we will leave this world with nothing but our relationship with Jesus and a future date with God to review how we lived our lives for him.

The battle we fight daily is the battle to be self-absorbed with our lives, issues and needs and skate past or overlook the needs of other people. When was the last time you blessed someone else? I know that God himself views the blessing of others as ministry unto him! He has a heart for the people the world looks down upon as not measuring up or being good enough. Too goofy looking, too short, too fat, too uneducated, too broken. While the world sits back and judges, the true followers of Christ step into action and become God’s outstretched arm in this world.

Every day we draw a breath is precious, we are living on borrowed time which we do not have any control over. Live every day like today is your last. Hug your kids, tell your spouse you love them and be a blessing to others!