December 31, 2011

New Year = New Me

Why do I like the new year so much?  What is it about this holiday that trumps all others in my mind?  Well, there isn't great competition for starters.  (With the exception of Christ incarnate to save all of humanity from depravity on Christmas, the rest of the holidays are kinda dumb.)

We have Halloween - let's celebrate death and evil spirits...
There is Valentines Day - a day dedicated to love and chocolate (or was it a saint with the name valentine)?
Don't forget about St. Patrick's day - a close second because of the green beer.
Do I even need to bring up Labor Day or Memorial Day?  When is the last time you were inspired on either day?

I guess what I'm trying to say, but doing a poor job of it, is that New Year's is my favorite day. I find myself highly introspective and visionary on this day.  I want to make big changes, dream larger than life, and be a part of something eternal.  I get a glimpse of my life like a blank canvas, and I LOVE IT.

I don't have time tonight (suffering from jet-lag) to get into my resolutions, but they will happen this year, and they will be epic.  I challenge you to take on a resolution in 2012.  I know that you've probably tried one in the past and failed by January 1st, but that should never stop you from making this year better than the last.

December 29, 2011

And we're off!

Please be in prayer as our team leaves for Kalavai, India!  We pull out of Granger, IN in 10 minutes, and then fly out of Chicago O'hare at 5:00pm.  If you are a person who prays for things daily, please keep our team in your prayers the next 12 days.  If you want to follow our travels, we will be updating a trip-blog.  When I get back, I will post pictures and stories for all.  In the mean time, Happy New Year, friends!  I hope it's a good one!  (Here is the team-blog: )

December 19, 2011


Defined as dividing something into two mutually exclusive halves.

How can a Sweet-Tart be both sweet and sour?
How does a loving God let awful things happen? (Did I get serious too quickly?)

I was sitting in church yesterday and the pastor asked the question, "Isn't God good?!"

To give you some context to this story, twenty minutes of open-mic had just wrapped up, in which person after person talked about their troubles, their trials, their pains, and their heartaches.  Do you sense a dichotomy yet?

How does a person talk about the goodness of God directly after that?

The theologian Lee Strobel talks about building a case against God.  He talks about opening a magazine and finding a picture of a mother, holding her malnourished, dead child in her arms with anguish in her eyes.  The child died for lack of water.  Strobel asked of God, "Was it so difficult to make it rain?  Was it too much to ask?  How dare you!?"

This reminds me of a verse in the scriptures: Matthew 5:45 - "... He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

Here-in lies the problem.  Do you need a God that only allows good?  Or let me ask it a different way. Do you need a God that only allows good things to happen to good people?

What would that say about God?  Would that make Him a better God, more "just" and more "loving"?  Or would it cause a mass-flood of people to worship Him simply for financial and personal gain?  Is that love, or is that bribery?

I wish to return to the original story.  There were people who recounted stories of hardship in church, and the pastor asked, "Isn't God good?!"  What I didn't tell you was that each of the stories told was ended the same way.  Before the pastor ever took the pulpit, each person ended their story with praise to God.


God is NOT good because He blesses you. God is not good because He gives you things.  God is GOOD because He sustains you.  He is GOOD because He is your portion.  Only a God greater than our circumstances and greater than our pain is worth worshiping.

Only a person who has tasted and seen the faithfulness of God through hardship can say "God is GOOD".  It appears as foolishness to those that do not know, but is an indelible mark on those that do.

December 9, 2011

la vida loca

Quiero explicar algo que probablemente no sabes.

Hablo Español, y durante mi juventud, vivía en Chihuahua, Mexico.

Por eso, pienso como Mexicano.

También, no entiendo la "cultura pop" de este país. (no se dice así en Mexico)

Casi todos los días, quiero volver a Mexico para vivir.

Solo pensaba que quisieras saber.

(Mi hermano y yo)

November 22, 2011

India Trip Update

Can you believe that our trip is only five weeks away!?  These final weeks are filled with preparations.  We are putting the final touches on the programming, taking the second round of immunizations, and translating the lessons into Tamil so the kids will understand the stories.  (We even did a luggage simulation to prepare for our trips through airports and bond as a team!)

There is an even closer deadline, though, and that is our support deadline!

Today is the final day of our India Hopes & Dreams Trip fundraising.  We have definitely felt the Lord stretch us as we decided to go on this trip, and mostly because it has been a rushed timeline.  We had the challenge of raising $3000 each, and thanks to many generous friends and family members, we have raised well over half of that in a very short time.

However, the final push is here, and the only time left is today.  If you have not had the opportunity to give yet, today is the best day to do so.  Two separate gifts have been pledged that will match any donation today.  The first one is designated toward any SpringHill staff member (up to $500), and the second is for anybody else (up to $500).  If you want in on this, please leave a comment below saying how much you can give, or go online right away: Online Donations.  (You will have to create an account (super easy), and make sure you designate who receives the gift!)  

Don't miss out on this opportunity to double your money for the Kingdom of God. 

October 24, 2011

Lincoln, NE

After those acid trip sunsets, that’s the thing about Lincoln that rocked my world. That you can’t really mess up too badly. You can marry too young, get a terrible tattoo or earn $12,000 a year, and the sky will not necessarily fall. The housing is too cheap and the folks are too kind for it to be otherwise. Moreover, when you live underneath a sky that big, it’s hard to take yourself too seriously. Its storms have a way of sweeping into town and jolting your life into perspective. That jolt was Lincoln’s gift to me. It comes in handy every day.

Read more:
This article was in the and if you have a few minutes, I recommend reading it.  It made me proud; it made me sad.  I think you’ll like it.

October 7, 2011


The act of hitchhiking has nearly disappeared in America.  You can drive from Los Angeles to New York without seeing a single person "thumbing a ride" on the side of the road.  I ask the question, why is that?

Let's be honest, we all wish that we lived in a world where anybody was trustworthy enough to give you a ride somewhere.  It was not long ago that America was a country where hitchhikers were commonly seen.  What is the cultural shift that makes the "art" of hitchhiking nearly extinct?

Before I ask any questions, I'd like to share my personal experiences.  

In 2006 I started a social experiment.  I wanted to see if hitchhiking was a lost art, or if it was still alive in the world.  To start, I decided to hitchhike to class every morning.  I lived 1.5 miles from campus and it saved me money if I didn't pay for parking.  Biking was an option, but my bike was impounded by the city after parking illegally in front of a fraternity, so every morning I would start the walk to school, and usually within 5 minutes, I would be picked up by someone heading the same way (I always had my thumb in the air).  On various occasions, nobody would pick me up, and I would find myself on campus after walking the whole distance (only 20 minutes).

I decided to take this experiment outside of Nebraska, so in 2009 I hitch-hiked in Mexico, in 2010 I picked up a ride in Washington DC, and in 2011 in Michigan.  The story across North America is consistent: in 5-20 minutes someone will always pick you up.

The question is this: is it safe?

There must be horror stories.  I invite anyone to share a personal experience of either themselves or someone they know that was personally injured or wronged in this practice, but I would venture to guess that most of the prejudice against hitchhiking stems from fear and speculation.  In my experience (and reason would tend to agree), the people driving by you are a subset of the population.  They are just going from A to B, and they are just as likely to be looking for a fight as you are.  This always gives me a sense of security.  The "bad-guys" who would be looking for a chance to harm me are probably not driving down the road thinking, "Gee, I wish a hitchhiker would present himself so that I could steal all his money."

That being said, the question can be turned around.  Is it safe to pick up hitch-hikers? 

Again, my experiences tell me that it is safe, but in this arena, i would understand a slight hesitancy.  The person thumbing the ride is doing the act pre-meditated.  This means that if they had the motive for evil, they would be able to set the stage appropriately and disguise it in innocence.  For that reason, I understand a person who passes by me (as I'm hitch-hiking) without stopping.  

I could elaborate on this subject for hours as I find it both fascinating and highly revealing of today's culture and society.  However, I am very interested to hear what others think.  If you have a different experience, or if you want to challenge any of my comments, I fully encourage it.  Leave a comment if you want to join in on the discussion.

Until next time, happy trails.

October 6, 2011


Think Different Campaign (Apple - 1997)
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal.They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people.While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. 
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Think Different. Apple.

October 4, 2011

Financial freedom

Here is a thought for the night.  Freedom can be thought of as "unfettered by constraints".  This is a useful definition when you think of what Matthew says: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  So if your treasures are tied up in assets (house, car, hobby, etc...) you will find your heart is tied up in those things too.

Now consider the command that Christ claimed was the FIRST and FOREMOST: "Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind."

Can you claim that you love the Lord with ALL of your HEART?

Where are your treasures?

When you have extra money, do you store up eternal wealth, or earthly wealth?

When you have free time, do you spend it pursuing God, or on Facebook/TV/books/etc?

To bring this full circle, if your wealth is tied up in assets, or if your heart is attached to temporary treasures, then you will never be free.  Your heart will be inextricably tied to this world.

September 29, 2011


What is needed in your life to wake you up?  Like a stack of books thrown to the floor wakes a sleeping student, I have been thrown from the status quo.  What will it take to move you?

We are called to step into the impossible, knowing that until we attempt to live in a way that requires God to come through for us, we are likely to stay on this side of normal.  I don't know about you, but I am not content with normal.

If you were aware that your neighbor across the street was suffering from starvation, because he could not afford a meal, would you not rush to his house with a loaf of bread and peanut-butter?

If it came to your attention that the child across your street was walking to school through the cold winter without a coat (while your children had three each), would you not rush to deliver a warm coat to that home?

It has been brought to my attention that in India millions of children are suffering under living conditions absolutely too horrendous to comprehend.  The woman in the picture below is a Dalit.  She lives at the bottom of society in India, which means her only means of income to ward of starvation and homelessness is to clean human feces from a non-existant sewer system.  (Don't look too closely, unless you want to have your heart broken for this woman.)  This is the future that Dalit children have to look forward to:

If you were given the opportunity to help children out of this oppression, would you accept?

I have been given that opportunity, and you had better believe I said "YES!"

We work for SpringHill Camps, and our mission is to create EXPERIENCES which enable children to KNOW and GROW in their relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is with that set of skills, and with that passion for kids to know their worth, that Liz and I partner with Granger Community Church to take the message of the cross to Kalavai, India.  We aim to partner with the local body of believers and train the leaders in how to create those same experiences for their children all year long.  Our goal, which is too big to accomplish on our own, is to help this village and its children, see their worth.

But I don't want to go it alone!  I want to take as many people through this journey with me as I can.  If you long to be a part of changing the HOPES & DREAMS of these Dalit children, the Scriptures promise that where your treasures lie, your heart will be also.  As I'm building this team of supporters, I ask you to consider joining me through prayer and support.

We leave in December, but before that, I need to buy a plane ticket, and get shots, and all of this costs money.  Thanks to Al Gore, it is easier than ever to give. You can go to GCC's Support Page, create an account (very easy), and you're set.  If you'd rather a simpler method, you can use Paypal through THIS LINK.  In either case, you MUST indicate Jay Taylor or Liz Taylor for the funds to be allocated properly.

My prayer is that you research more into the work the Lord is doing in India.  To aid you in your quest, I've included a few links for you to look at, if you have the time.  Thank you for your contributions, your time to read all of this, and your love for the Lord.  Happy reading...

Dalit Freedom Network - an organization building schools for Dalit children.

Kalavai video - a village transformed by GCC through planting a church and starting small businesses.

Life Mission International - the church planting organization working in partnership with GCC.

National Geographic - a gripping article on the oppression still present in the defunct caste system.

September 28, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

There is a quote in a DC Talk song that goes something like this: "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is CHRISTIANS who acknowledge God with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle."

I've been on a kick lately trying to figure out what discipline looks like.

I've been talking about living simply, seizing every moment to experience God, and on occasion to stop caring so deeply about the world.
Let me delve slightly deeper into the thoughts going through my head lately, and then share a very exciting new development in my life.

  1. God is ALWAYS at work around you!  I mention this in an earlier post (CLICK HERE).
  2. To experience God you must daily place yourself in the middle of the impossible, knowing that you are completely in need of His intervention. (Step out in faith into areas that ONLY God can pull it off.)
  3. Be prepared to make MAJOR ADJUSTMENTS to your life in order to follow God's will. 
  4. If you believe that nothing significant can happen through you, you have said more about your belief in God than about yourself.
  5. God is not our servent.  He does not make adjustments to our plans.  We are HIS servants, and we must adjust our lives to what HE is about to do.
If you've ever taken part in the study "Experiencing God" you might recognize these points.  If not, I recommend it.  As I work my way through each of the exercises and pray through each of the questions, I am challenged at my own disbelief.  God, help my unbelief.

So what is the exciting new development?  Maybe I'll save it for next time...

September 26, 2011

The Things We Leave Behind

I was in Canada for my grandfather's memorial service.  He passed away on September 13th, and the whole family made the drive from Nebraska to Ontario to celebrate his life.  It was evident throughout the whole weekend that he was a loved and esteemed man.  One person spoke of his faithful prayer life, while another spoke of his heart for the lost.  One mentioned his courage as a tribal missionary, while another mentioned his faithful care for his wife through Alzheimer's  and cancer.

I was impacted by a different fact.

When he passed away, the only items that he left behind were able to be packed into a single car.

This man lived simply.

I don't, but I want to.

September 21, 2011


I recently asked the question about discipline, and I've been thinking about it ever since. In the thinking and  praying, this new train of thought has emerged.  It comes in the form of analogy, and I want you to know that I speak candidly and from a deeply personal perspective as I share this with you.

The thought is centered around this truth: God is always at work around you.  If you do not STOP and think about that, it can easily pass right by without any deeper impact.

 -- God is ALWAYS at work around you. --

If that is true, then where was God at work around you TODAY?

When there is a day that you DON'T see God at work, the only way to interpret that day is, "I must have not seen what God was doing today."  - Never, "God must not have worked today."  And this brings me to the analogy...

All my life my dad has worked on one project after another.  He is always working on something.  One day it is the motorcycle in the garage; the next day it is the gutters.  One week he tackles a project of refinishing the floor in his kitchen, and the next week he is replacing the CV-joint in his 278,000 mile van.  He might be woodworking, or he might be landscaping, but he is always doing something.  On certain occasions, I have joined him on his projects, and EVERY TIME I have walked away with a deeper knowledge base and a new skill-set.

Other times, I have chosen not to work alongside my father.  On those occasions, I look back and realize that I missed out on valuable lessons.  I am not a proficient motorcycle mechanic, I cannot disassemble a clutch assembly, I have never installed gutters, and the list goes on.  My choice to NOT join my dad on his projects did not mean the work didn't get done, but simply that I was not a part of it.

I have missed out on so many valuable lessons and experiences because I never joined in on the work.  I transition back to God's work, and I realize that He is at work around me EVERY DAY, whether I choose to join him or not.

September 19, 2011


I'm interested in knowing what perfect discipline looks like.  When considering the word "discipline" several thoughts and images come to mind...  but what is a perfect balance, and how different can that look from person to person?

Are there categories of discipline, and are they all importnat?

(example: spiritual discipline, athletic discipline, mental discipline, financial discipline, etc.)

If a man woke up and put his body through a regimen of workouts that sculpted and defined his body to a point of physical perfection, but he didn't read, I'm sure we would all agree that he was skewed to one extreme.  Likewise, if a woman devoted her entire life to prayer, but she never studied the Word of God or attempted to master her appetite, she would not be balanced.

I'm interested to know if you would add anything to this list:

A person of balanced discipline would need to be well-learned, physically active, socially prominent, scripturally grounded, and living within his/her means.

Is there a portion I'm missing? (Like the amount of time spent in silence/solitude?  Work/Play balance? etc.)  I'd like to know your thoughts...

April 14, 2011

Lives changed...

If you do one thing today, make sure you read all of this poster and then check out the website:

March 18, 2011

In florida and thinking

This is the view I woke up with today...

This is the thought process that has been going on in my mind (warning - I might have used a few CAPS LOCK words):
Why is everyone so upset about Rob Bell's book?  Why is everyone so upset about Rob Bell?  Why is everyone so quick to argue their point and get their voices heard?  
For all the good that CS Lewis' books have done in the world, there are people who disagree.  For all the good that John Piper's teachings have done, there are people who find fault.  After the hundreds of thousands of people who have learned and grown and encountered the Creator through Rob Bell's works, there are those who still call him a heretic. 
Does he claim to have the final word on theology?  Does he claim to interpret the WORD without error?  Yet all the critics attack and malign with little-to-no apology.  There are too many people right now claiming that they know the God of Grace, the God of Love, the God of Judgement, the God of (insert character trait here)... but Rob Bell does not.  Is it possible that Pastor Bell is right?  Is it possible that he is wrong? (The answer to both is YES!) 
Let's start adding our voices to the cause, showing the world a God who LOVES, who SAVES, and who GIVES of Himself freely to ALL.  And let's stop sinking our claws and judgment into a fellow brother in Christ who is already doing it.  Do you have to agree with everything he says?  (The answer is NO!)  I don't, but I would be foolish to try to oppose his ministry and his message just so that I can argue the finer points of theology with him.  Instead, let us join our voices and make the message that much louder.
Finally, I've been taking pictures each day in front of the mirror to show-case the burns, tans, and six-packs that have been forming during this week in Florida, and those will be uploaded at the end to give you a true appreciation for the hard work I'm doing now.

February 2, 2011

Thoughts from a friend...

... there is a reason February is only 28 days long - it doesn't deserve to be a full month!  

I'm not sure if you're anything like me, but 28 days is a long time to look at cold, snowy weather and remember that life is good.  One way that I maintain morale is through music.  If you could pick ONE song that restores your view on the world, that refreshes your soul and reminds you of better times, what would that song be?

Leave a comment with the artist and song, and I'll make a playlist. (If you use a reader or RSS feed, please click through to my site and participate.)  Thank you all.

P.S. In other news, we are in the middle of the home-buying process... maybe this time it'll stick.

January 21, 2011


Either an acronym associated with the Great Lakes, or the places we all long for.  In the case of Liz and I: the unattainable.  We've tried to buy a home for more months than I care to think about, but we are continually bumped back to square one.  It reminds me of that game, "Chutes & Ladders".  Did you play it as a kid?  It doesn't matter who is winning or who thinks they're only moments away from victory, there is always a slide that takes you from the top - all the way to bottom.  We've been within 3 hours of closing when the floor dropped out.  We've also been within hours of offering on homes, when alternate offers have been submitted and accepted... this game sucks!

At any rate, we have looked at EVERY imaginable style of home, and we've put offers on several.  Of course, I came into the process with dreams of owning a beautiful English Tudor, or maybe a Greek Revival... but all of those dreams are crumbling, as I realize those homes are rare, and not for sale.

No, no... we are now putting offers on ranches, colonials, and split-levels that would make even the most unoriginal subdivision proud.  At this point, the homes we are likely to purchase make me wonder if it's worth it.