Jason and Shanti

So, I worked in retail for the better part of fifteen years before being called to ministry. Ten years ago I hired two kids right out of high school. Yesterday they married each other. They asked me to speak on their love and our history at the store.

Jason and Shanti

I was the manager of CD & Tape Outlet for twelve years. I managed two generations of kids at CD & Tape Outlet. Shanti and Jason were in the second generation of those kids. If you are unfamiliar with the store it was like family. Both the employees and the customers were family. Fred, Mitch, Kushon, Ben, Jason, Gina, and Shanti were the most consistent crew I ever had. And customers were so close to us that is why you see Ira here today. When I finally left the store I had six employees who had been there four years or longer. And for a minimum wage paying retail job that says a lot. It says family. We razzed each other, we loved each other, we prayed for each other, we gave up every Christmas Eve with family to work with this CD & Tape Outlet family. On Christmas Eve we’d all dress up and work the madness of those who wait until the last minute to do their shopping. It was exhausting. One year Kushon had a conflict with a customer and she later returned with her husband. At that moment we heard the loudest boom you could ever imagine. We honestly thought Kushon had been shot and believe me Jason hit the deck face first faster than anything you could ever imagine. It turns out a lady had lost control of her car and ran her car through a wall of the store. A store packed full of people and no one hurt. Except Jason’s pride as he lay on the floor.

Honestly many of our days were defined by where we would we eat. Bexley Pizza Plus, Waffle House, Roosters, Chipotle, Tumbleweed. None of us really enjoyed fast food and sometimes it would take us hours to decide. Some days we would send Ira down to Johnson’s to get us food and it would take hours to get it.

If you weren’t aware Jason is pretty funny. So, working with Jason never failed to be entertaining. It is a shame how many stories have left me. I can remember Jason always faced conflict with humor. One time we had a guy who was unhappy with the CD he bought and since it was already open it was un-returnable and he was furious. He proceeded to tell Jason that the policy was stupid and with steam coming out of his ears Jason said “you are right the rule is stupid” and just gave the guy that Jason grin. And then the guy said I could just steal the CD and Jason said “you are right you could” Then the guy proceeded to go outside drop the CD on the ground and stomp on it like a little kid.

Shanti was the smart one of us all. She could debate any subject. And we debated sports, politics, music, etc. I don’t think I ever won a debate with Shanti, she was very persuasive. I do have to confess that Shanti is the only woman who fainted in my arms. Having given blood one day she came to work without eating. As her eyes swirled to the back of her head she fell into my arms. And I tell you Shanti don’t weigh much but dead weight is heavy!

Shanti and Jason were always great to work with. And we were all interested in similar things. Music, food, and sports. We suffered the John Cooper era working on Saturdays and taking the taunting from Michigan customers and Mitch. Funny, those customers never came in when the Buckeyes won. The blessing of Shanti and Jason was their work ethic and dependability. I really can’t tell you a day they called off in five years of working with them. They, as did most of our crew, understood their role and went above and beyond to accomplish it. Selling vinyl, promoting jazz artists and shows, pushing music. There is nothing more comforting that having faithful and trustworthy workers.

I am not certain when the sparks started to fly. But, I can say I was not convinced it was anything more than a passing whim. Believe me, in twelve years at the store I saw the love affairs begin and end several times so this was one of those things. Or so, I thought. And years later we stand here celebrating their everlasting love for each other. So, let us make sure we celebrate that tonight. Love. Commitment.

Shanti. Jason. I pray you love each other for all your living days as you do today. I pray you put your work ethic into your marriage. If you do that, it will soar. And all those around you will be blessed by it. And I would be amiss if I did not petition you to put God Almighty at the center of your union. As long as you are dependent on Him it will sustain any hard times you will face.

 

 

Legendary Purchases – The Blessed Phone

Well, on days of nothing to report I will start a catalog of purchases that I am glad I have made. It might be because of price or how long it lasted or an affinity I had for said item or the long term value. Etc.

Kyocera 6035 phone. This is more of a story of being blessed than the high quality of the product. Earlier this century I purchased this phone on a deal with a business partner for $149. It was one of the first palm and internet integrated phones. I loved it. Being a DJ on the weekend and a sports buff, I could DJ the party and keep up with sports scores. It had all the other luxuries like a syncable calendar and contacts with my computer. It was built like a brick. Kind of weighed enough to feel like a brick. You could drop that sucker twenty times and she kept on ticking. But then, at a baseball game it rained and the phone got wet and would not work correctly. I took it to Sprint and they gave me a brand new one. Within a few months this happened again and again I was given a free replacement. A few months later it too went bad and we had our first upgrade. They no longer were manufacturing the 6035 and the replacement was a Palm Treo 300 . This was an upgrade of a couple hundred dollars at no cost to me. It was fancier and had a color screen. I was spoiled. Too make a long story shorter within a year it went bad twice the second time the flip lid would not open. Needless to say it was useless.

So. we again were in the same dilemma. No longer being manufactured I was upgraded to a Palm Treo 600 . Now, we were in possession of a $500 phone at no extra cost to me. It would be a good phone for awhile. It had some syncing issues, and one phone got bumped on the screen and had a sun spot on it. That was weird for I suffer from migraines and the severe ones are truggered by light. When they begin I see a sun spot and it won’t go away. So every time I looked at the screen of the 600 I thought I was headed for a migraine.

Over a two year period I had two replacements. And, yep, you guessed it soon enough I was the proud owner of a Palm Treo 650. The story is much the same. And don’t get me wrong these phones were good phones, but they had just enough issues that when I went to have them serviced I was always suffering problems that were on the list of common problems with the phone. The 650 had issues with syncing. It’s Versamail compatility was a thorn in my side, but eventually Palm came out with some push software that made this a very functional phone.

And then, a couple of months ago I caved in and changed carriers. And when I went to have my 650 converted to Verizon I couldn’t. It had Sprint software and I was stuck. Now, I faced the dilemma of staying with Sprint and that had to end. Although they had served me well, they could not keep a signal on the road I traveled home on daily. I was stuck. Through a series of blessings I ended up with a hand me down from my Senior Pastor. It is a Windows based Treo 700. And now I own a $650 phone.

So, think of this, over the last ten years I have owned over ten phones, I currently own one valued at $650 and it all started with a Kyocera 6035 I bought for $149. I have never invested one single penny on a phone itself since. That 6035 was a beast.

Uneventful

Back home. Taking the week off. Kids off to school. Took dad to get his scooter lift put on. Raked. Picked up Miles and we went and bought a new heating coil for the dryer. Picked up Ethan. Installed the coil. Went to church for Don Davidson’s showing. Barbara (his wife) gave me the highest compliment ever. It would be prideful to post it. Be sure of this. I am not worthy. Picked dad up again to pick up his car. Then home; laundry and some book organizing in the kid’s portion of the basement. Actually, other than the washer and dryer they own the basement. Then a night of chilling with the family watching The Biggest Loser and Beauty and the Geek. And a little bit of The Bachelor. Believe me, I am a sap. I cry at all the victories those people have on the Biggest Loser. They do inspire me.

The one thing that continued my NYWC experience was a purchase I made in Atlanta. I bought the ESV Bible on CD. I had always hesitated doing this for I heard that when it loaded it did not divide up the chapters of the books. But, that is not the case. And if you read my post when I did buy it, I have been able to load it up. Windows Media Player recognized it and after ripping it I imported it into Itunes. Anyway, I had the opportunity to listen to the first seven chapters of Acts today while driving around. It was amazing. I have an incredibly difficult retaining what I read and sometimes what I hear. But, Marquis compelling reading of Scripture is vibrant and captivating. Buy it now and thank me later.

NYWC Day 5 – Experience

Today was anti-climatic. I think I was in conference overload. I did meet with a Spiritual Director today. That was cool. I felt like I talked too much. His two major inputs were to find spiritual accountability with someone outside the church and focus on being present where I am at. When I am at church, minister. When I am home be a dad and husband. I bring too much home to get ahead.

I attended a evangelism seminar this morning. I hate that I am terrible at sharing my faith, so this one I needed bad. But, it was average at best. Nothing practical Just informational.

General Session 7. We enjoyed the Skit Guys and Lost and Found. And had to leave before marko. But, we have the whole set coming on mp3.

Slept on the plane. I plan to write a top ten of all that I experienced at  NYWC this year. I just need some time and rest to process.

NYWC Day 4- Experience

Started the day in conversation with Allen Jackson of New Orleans and Student Life Bible Study. Wise man. i see the potential of a long distance mentoring relationship.

General Session 5. Taylor Mason and his dummy. The teenage author, Zach Hunter, shared his heart. Doug Fields spoke on ministry envy. Solid Doug talk. Some great points. “When we envy we dehumanize people”, “Don’t disguise envy with criticism”, “At the heart of envy is the lie that God owes you”. I don’t find myself wrestling with ministry envy. Two reasons; one, I feel so inadequate to be in the place of leadership God has called me into anyway. Two, I was blessed to walk into a thriving ministry, my call was to sustain that, deepen it, and take ownership of it…… David Crowder was tremendous. Sang til I was hoarse. What blessed my socks off was a plus sixty year old raising his hands to ‘Oh Praise Him’.

Seminar Series #?. I was completely intrigued by the title, “The power of limitations, stopping the flow of chaos in your life”. Gets your attention, doesn’t it? With 4 kids and two ministries, it did me. Well, I just couldn’t connect with speaker. After half an hour I went to Jeanne Stevens seminar on confronting conflict. I got there too late to get into the listening groove there either. So, I finally gave up and got a Double Shot. The next seminar went better. Knowing I am going to need to teach on relationships and purtiy soon I chose “Players, Prudes, and Purity Rings: The Truth about Teenage Sexuality” with Crystal Kirgiss. I was pleasantly suprised when I saw her geting ready and realized I had heard her before. She spoke in Columbus at this year’s Core conference. She is good. She is future General Session speaker good. In fact if you are reading this late Sunday or early Monday then hit her morning session. You will thank me later.

The Teenage Sexuality seminar was packed with good stuff and Crystal was fired up. I appreciate that. There is way too much to cover here and I may make it a long post in the future. Her core points were Be Pure, Be Aware, Be Engaged, Be Strong. One area she addressed was the prevalence of sex in the media. Not in a general sense, but the between the sheets stuff you see in movies on all kinds of TV shows. We have been trained to watch people engaging in sex. It is no longer private. In fact the number one rated TV show for 11-13 year olds is Desperate Housewives. We are a society who is desensitized to these things and people find dissatisfaction in marriage intimacy because they have a warped definition going in. She was on her soap box and I loved every second of it. I hope it made people uncomfortable, convicted, and ready to stand for God’s standard of sexual intimacy and nothing less.

Did dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s. The meal took so long they comped us. That was cool.

General Session 6 – Leeland was awesome. The Skit Guys were awesome. And Marquie Laughlin performed from memory Genesis chapter 12 through chapter 24.  Just tremendous. Then Steve Fee led in worship. The man is a true worship leader.

We ended up buying the whole mp3 set. So, if you need a resource let me know. It wasn’t cheap, but it will pay itself off in the training of my leaders and to further me and Brad’s knowledge.

NYWC Day 3 – Personal Part 2

I am learning that I don’t really get much out of anything after 9. Louie was awesome tonight, but I was too tired to get truly connected in worship and the Vespers session.

The highlight of the day was spending time with a homeless man again. Brad met Wade and sat with him for dinner and I joined them. Nothing profound to tell you. Just that we talked and shared. And I pray we showed him we were genuinely intersted in him. Because we were.

So, pray for Wade however you see fit. He would appreciate it.

NYWC Day 3 – Experience

Slept in today and hit General Session 3. Shane and Shane kicked it off. Beautiful stuff. Phyllis Tickle was the speaker. She has a long history in the publishing world and is credited for bringing Christian books into the mainstream market. I was captivated by her. Having spent so many years in AA I do enjoy a great older speaker. Man or woman. And she was a fiery 74-year old. She ended by tagging herself as an Anglo-Emergent. But, again the beauty was in her delivery. It was a history lesson of the church and warnings as to the period of time we find ourself in. As the church goes through a major transformation every 500 years we are headed for one now. She phrased it like so, “every 500 years the church has a rummage sale and we are in the midst of it”. My notes here are extensive and I will need to process this all further when I watch it again.

The afternoon was spent watching the Bucks hold Michigan to 91 total yards. O-H!

General Session 4 was more awesomeness. Great comedians. And then as many of you might have read elsewhere a young lady who was sponsored through Compassion International shared her story of being blessed by it, graduating college through it, running her own business. loving Jesus, and to come full circle she is now sponsoring a boy herself. I knew the story was coming and still bawled.

Next up, Louie Giglio.  He was good, I didn’t take any notes, just listened in awe. Not of Louie, but of our gospel. Boy, was he good. He blessed us by focusing us on the cross in the midst of the bottom falling out of our own life. He conveyed the magnitude of gospel and the depth of its suffering as compared to our own. Could it be Louie is slowly becoming the best Christian speaker in the land? God has anointed him. He peppered his message with a story of a young lady’s journey (she communicated with Louie by email and he read her words) to Christ five months before she died in a car accident. Then he read correspondence with her mom (saved) and her dad (lost). Just priceless. Glory be to God. Chris Tomlin brought closure to a beautiful session of worship.

Finished the day in Vespers. Quiet, pretty, reflective. and peaceful.