Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Debt of Gratitude

We pause on Memorial Day to remember U.S. soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, dying in military service. In December 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance Resolution was passed asking all Americans to pause at 3pm on Memorial Day in a moment of silence or by listening to Taps to reflect and honor those who have given their all to protect and defend the freedom of the citizens of the United States.

One Nation Under God

Friday, May 27, 2011

MeanStreet Riders

As you may have read or heard, there is a new band called MeanStreet Riders on the music scene. They are motorcycle riders who enjoy making music. The band’s “Social Media Publicist”, MeanStreet Mary, asked if I would care to review their pre-release of their debut CD due out in June, and I agreed.

So who are the MeanStreet Riders? Well, according to their biography information, “The MeanStreet Riders rock music group was formed from a group of songwriters that both ride motorcycles and write music about their love of the open road its culture and the freedom it brings.”
Their music is a blend of Southern Rock n’ Roll and modern country. The lyrics are all in the spirit of motorcycle riders true to form. With tunes like “High on the Hawg”, “Kiss it All Goodbye”, “129” (you know – US 129 aka “The Dragons Tale” at Deals Gap, TN), “I’ve had a Good Ride”, “Eye of the Hurricane”, and “Souls of Chrome”, the listener quickly comes away with the impression this is a band that truly lives and breathes V-Twin rumble and the spirit of the open road.

You can get a free download of their music via the following link. Give them a listen.




For more information, visit www.MeanStreetRiders.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

If I Could Change the World

"I could change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world" -
Eric Clapton

(photo source: alabamarockcompany.com)


The evening news parades a host of video footage of the devastation in Alabama after tornadoes ravaged through the area a few weeks ago and the devastation of the Tsunami that struck Japan. We regularly see images of the homeless on the streets of the cities of our nation and the abandoned children around the world who are hungry and without a family to care for them. After a while it all becomes overwhelming and depressing. We cannot change the world and eliminate all the suffering that we continue to see.

We all grew up with teachers telling us things like, "did you bring enough for everyone?", and leaders telling us things like, "If I did that for you, then I would have to do it for everyone." And, we are left with the idea that we have to treat everyone exactly the same. If we invest in one person or group that it is not fair unless we do it for everyone. Leaders are left to feel inadequate because they cannot go the extra mile for one person needing help, because they cannot extend the same level of assistance to everyone they contact. Is it really more important to feel like we are being fair with everyone or it it more important to be working to change something for someone?

How does one change the world? How can we make a difference in the suffering, hurting, loneliness, and devastation?

We can make a difference - one life at a time.

Despite what we have had drilled into our skulls over the years of "it's not fair" and "If I gave this to you, I would have to do it for everyone." We can make a difference one life at a time, one person at a time, one neighborhood at a time.

Invest in one person that you have regular contact with, do for that one what you wish you could do for everyone. Invest in one organization that is making a difference in someone's world. Look around. Find something that is actively making a positive difference and take a part.

What can that look like for you? Volunteering at a soup kitchen? Volunteering at a Nursing Home? Adopting a child? Skipping this year's vacation and going on a short term mission trip? Donating your used car to a single mother instead of trading it in?

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." - Galatians 6:9-10 (New International Version)

For more on this subject, I suggest viewing this message:
One, No Everyone

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Hand UP, not a Hand Out

An organization that I feel strongly about is Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). There are a lot of nonprofit organizations in the world doing a lot of great things, but this is one I am strongly behind. Because 95 million people in the United States and according to the United Nations, 1.6 billion people worldwide live in substandard housing, Habitat has dedicated itself to construct decent and affordable housing.



In clean, stable, decent housing:

  • Families can provide stability for their children.


  • A family’s sense of dignity and pride grow.


  • Health, physical safety, and security improve


  • Educational and job prospects increase.


  • (source:http://www.habitat.org/how/why.aspx)

    Habitat's mission statement is: "Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with God and people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities in which every person can experience God’s love and can live and grow into all that God intends."
    (source: http://www.habitat.org/how/mission_statement.aspx)

    One of the first myths I encounter when I talk to people about Habitat, is that Habitat gives away houses. Not so. Every Habitat family buys their house and makes mortgage payments and property tax payments like any other homeowner.

    So, how does it work? A Habitat homeowner is required to make a $1,000 down payment, attend 10 monthly education classes on subjects related to homeownership (budgeting, home maintenance, gardening, etc). Additionally, homeowners are required to invest 300 "sweat equity" hours in construction of Habitat houses - 50 hours has to be on their own home.

    Habitat provides the homeowner a 30 year mortgage at 0 interest rate and the house is sold to the homeowner at cost - Habitat makes no profit from the construction of the house.

    A family selection committee carefully selects families from applicants based on the need for adequate housing, their ability to pay the mortgage, and their willingness to partner with Habitat through volunteer hours.

    Donors make the whole operation work. Churches, Civic Groups, Banks, Corporations, small businesses choose to sponsor a home. Sponsorships start at $1,000 and 100% of the funds go directly to the cost of the designated home. Sponsors are then invited to take part in the build alongside of the family.

    After participating in several builds over the last 10 years due to employers sponsoring builds, the "sinker" for me has always been the stories the homeowners share at their home dedication. One story that has stuck with me was from a single mother that was in tears relating how excited she was to be a homeowner. She shared that several years before she was in a homeless shelter with her small children wondering what would happen to her family. Now she had a job and a new, clean, stable house for her children. Her children would not have to move schools frequently, and her children had a safe playground where she could allow them to play outside for the first very first time.

    For more information on Habitat for Humanity and how you can get behind this great organization's mission, visit: Habitat.org

    Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    Project Jonas



    As I previously announced, my wife and I are heading to Venezuela this summer as a part of a mission team assisting Project Jonas, a home for troubled boys in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Most of the boys chose to enter the home after living on the street and running into all sorts of street life trouble. They range from age 7 to age 16. The workers in the home give the boys a disciplined life style, provide positive role models, and are actively helping them reshape their lives.

    While there, we will be working on renovations on the home that they all live in and working with the leaders in the home as well as the boys.

    We covet your prayers for the team going down, the leadership of the home, and for the boys themselves.

    We have almost reached the halfway mark of the funding we need for this trip. I invite you to partner with us in this journey by contributing. Any contribution however great or small is greatly appreciated and of course is tax deductible.

    you may contribute by going to the Globalx website:

    GOglobalX.org

    click on GIVE on the top right side of the page

    Enter your contact info

    Under the globalX trip info:
    select Venezuela in the Country drop down
    select Venezuela Partner Development: Construction 1 in the Trip drop down
    Type my name "Allen Madding" in the individual field

    Enter your credit card info (Visa and Mastercard accepted)

    Click Review Donation Information and finalize your transaction

    A confirmation email will be sent to you and will serve as your receipt for tax purposes.

    Thanks for your support.

    -Peace

    Sunday, May 01, 2011

    A Blogger Centerline Day - ABCD


    OK, it is May 1st, and Gary France put down the challenge for us to participate in the ABCD challenge. The rules were had to be taken May 1st, you had to be in the picture and it had to include the center line of a road.

    Well, as it turned out, today was my turn to work on the traffic team at our church, Browns Bridge Community Church. We have two Sunday morning services which draw around 1,200-1,500 per service. Needless to say that is a lot of cars landing on one piece of real estate at one time. So our traffic teams consist of 15-20 volunteers trying to keep things moving. Today just happened to be the rotation on the calendar for our crew, so I persuaded a teammate to snap a picture with my cell phone. It is not the highest quality, but it gets the point across.

    Let the games begin.

    -Peace