Last Mortgage Payment… on This House

IMG_3535I didn’t pay off our mortgage, but I did just pay what I expect to be the last mortgage payment on our current home. We’ve had the inspection. Assuming everything works out with the appraisal, there’s nothing stopping the sale. We’ve begun acquiring boxes to pack.

We don’t have a permanent place to go. We do have a temporary plan in place. We are hesitant to quickly make a long term decision, maybe buy something else… and not be settled about my day job, or where we are supposed to end up.

So we are still praying, and waiting. Meanwhile, we are moving ahead with what we know we are supposed to do.

Who wants to help us load a truck at the end of May?

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Rolling With The Punches

glovesI’ve never been a huge fan of boxing. But I do respect the physical stamina and strength, and sheer courage it takes to get into a ring knowing the other guy is literally trying to knock your block off. The phrase “rolling with the punches” means that when a blow gets past your defenses, you dodge, twist or roll to one side so you don’t absorb the full force of the blow.

In life, the punch is coming in, you can’t block it. So do you just take it, or do you adjust so it does as little damage as possible?

Sometimes it’s just a mental adjustment. You deal with the new information, and make the best decision you can. You adjust to the new reality. Sometimes you make more tangible adjustments. Like reducing expenses when you lose that client.

We’ve become pretty good at slipping the jab, at rolling with what is thrown at us. But our blows are nothing compared to the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis.

The kid had it made. Loving parents. Big, rich, family. Stylish new coat, and God was speaking directly to him. Then the blows came.

Thrown down a pit. Sold into slavery. He adjusts and rises to a position of respect in his master’s house. Then he is falsely accused of attempted rape, and goes to jail. He interprets some dreams, and then is forgotten.

We don’t know much about what happened to Joseph in prison. But he didn’t despair. In every situation he rose to the top. He adjusted. I’m sure he didn’t wake up the day after he got his coat of many colors and hope that one day he could be a slave, or in jail. But even though those punches would have knocked most people down, he rolled and came up as best he could. Until after over a decade of slavery and prison he is placed in a role that allows him to save a lot of people, including his family (and by extension, Israel).

I don’t want to be a guy who lets a blow knock him out. I want to roll with it, and come back strong.

 

A River of Patience and Perseverance

If you follow this blog, you know we are in the midst of something. God has been providing and God is moving, and we are waiting to see the next step.

imageI can only imagine what it will be like when we take those steps into what God has purposed for our family. I have never been in a similar situation before. It requires a most uncomfortable, absolute trust that God knows what he is doing, and he will tell us what that is. For now, we wait.

In Joshua 3, the Israelites are finally cross the river Jordan. They have been waiting for 40 years.

Can you imagine the anticipation and anxiety? In the text the Ark is carried into the river and the water dries up. The people cross on dry ground. The mighty Jordan, during the flood season, was dried up so they could take possession of the Promise Land.

The story is an example of patience and perseverance in following God.

The water doesn’t pile up right next to them. In verse 16 we see that the water was stopped at Adam, near Zarethan. Resources I found say that this was about 16 miles away from the crossing point.

Imagine a large river, swollen to flood stage. The Ark is carried into the water. 16 miles away the water stops. But think about the next few minutes by the Ark.

When Moses parted the Red Sea, it was immediate. Manna arrived every morning on cue. God sent birds into their nets. Even when Moses struck the rock (losing his own entrance into the Promised Land) the water came forth right then.

But that day, on the rivers edge, for a few minutes, maybe an hour or so… Nothing seemed to be happening. A river of that size just doesn’t drain away in a few minutes. Do you think those on the bank had any doubts?

What if the Israelites had faltered? But they didn’t.

Sometimes God works slower. Sometimes God works faster. This time, patience was required.

The story also shows us perseverance. My father preaches a sermon about this passage, where he reminds the congregation that this wasn’t a small crossing of a few people. Over 600,000 men were numbered. Men, with families and belongings. Those carrying the Ark stood there, as the entire company passed on dry land.

Yes, they were in the midst of an amazing work of God. But what if they decided they had done enough? What of they said they were done for the day? But they didn’t.

It’s important to remember that crossing the Jordan wasn’t the end of the story. They still had to miraculously defeat multiple cities in the Promised Land. There was a lot of work left.

I am still amazed that the creator of the universe still chooses to do his work in, through, and with us. But if we are to be useful in this work, we must expend the effort to be part of it.

I can’t help wondering if some of the thoughts and emotions we are feeling are like the Israelites.

Flawed Cast List

slateFlawed Plot:

Mega-church pastor Tom Ellis had everything. Faith, a great family, and one of the fastest growing churches in the country. Two years after a sudden tragedy takes it all away, he finds himself as the pastor of a small, struggling church in Central Florida, but underneath the surface of the ministry, lurks something sinister. Can Tom bring the truth to light and lead the church through scandal, while raising his pre-teen daughter?

We are not holding auditions yet, but if you are interested in being notified when we do, send an email to scott@scottlinkmedia.com.

Flawed Cast:

Tom Ellis- Adult male lead, mid 40s, pastor of Narrow Road Baptist Church

Makayla Ellis- Youth female lead, daughter of Tom.

Amy- Adult female lead, 30s, TV News reporter.

Deacon Ezekiel Miller-Adult male lead, late 40s-early 50s.

Zed Miller- Adult male supporting, younger brother of Deacon

Claudia Miller- Adult female supporting, wife of Zed, church admin staff

Katie Miller- Youth female supporting, daughter of Zed and Claudia

Charlie- Adult male supporting, church worship leader

Mrs. McGillicutty- Adult female supporting, senior adult, leader of women’s prayer committee

Heather Ellis- Adult female supporting, wife of Tom Miller

William- Adult male, church member

Missy- Adult female. church member

Charlotte- Young adult female, mid 20s, church member.

And a few featured extra roles.

Flawed is in pre production now, with hopes to shoot and release the movie in late 2014. 

In the future we will be casting and fundraising and … everything else that goes into making a movie like this. We have some interesting ideas for distribution as well. Become a fan on Facebook. Sign up for our email newsletter to make sure you always get the late test updates and information.

Why Are AV Techs so Negative?

Let me interrupt my series of personal posts to talk about a question I know people have asked.

Put any group of 3 or more AV techs in a room and within 15 minutes at least one will be crying and moaning. We are, on the whole, a negative group. We rarely focus on the positive. In fact, right now I am fighting the urge to explain just how bad many events are, and why there are so few positive things to talk about. I seem to want to fall into the pattern of complaint even here.

But even in less than ideal situations, not everyone trends toward the negative. Why do AV techs?
I think two factors play into it.
1. In order to be good at what we do, we have to be detail oriented and analytical. So we notice problems. And we figure out why things went wrong. Therefore, we know what is wrong. And we do it for everything, not just technology. We don’t shut off the analytical part of our minds.
Since we analyze everything, and we have to find flaws and issues for a living, we tend to drift toward that in all situations.
2. There are extraordinairily high expectations placed on us. We don’t serve on life or death situations, but some clients act like it is. AV techs are under enormous pressure. Things should function perfectly. But most of the time you don’t have the right gear to pull off perfection. Many times the techs are put into a hard spot, pulling off miracles with substandard gear and minimal prep time. And when something fails, they are often raked over the coals for it.
So we get defensive. And we collect horror stories. And when we get together, we tell those stories. We vent. We bemoan the gear and the expectation and the performance, and generally dump on anything that wasn’t perfect.
Because of those two factors, we often get into a pattern of negativity, many times without realizing it.
Want your AV Tech to be more positive?
Listen when they tell you about broken gear, or better ways to accomplish something. Don’t rip their heads off when something goes wrong. Analyze it with them, and take steps to keep that from happening again. Foster a more positive environment. And when you hear them slip toward the negative, steer the conversation toward something positive.

Next Steps

solfWe sold our house!

OK, we have a contract on it. But barring unforeseen circumstances, end of May we don’t have a home. Er, a house. Home is where the heart is, right? House is where the stuff is. Of course, Our stuff might be in a storage unit. But we have family nearby if there isn’t a more permanent plan in place.

That’s the weird part of this. There isn’t a plan in place. We felt that we should put the house on the market. Then, within 6 days, it gets a contract. OK, great. We should not only get out of the house clean, but even walk away with a small amount of cash. Last year we would have had to bring cash to close.

Now what?

A few days ago, before the house sold and before the car situation was figured out, Mandy and I were talking about the 3 biggest obstacles for us: Car, house, job. Then one after another the dominos fell. Car was taken care of. The house sold. Now we are wondering about the job.

I am like many Americans, underemployed. Unlike many Americans, I had a say in getting to this place. In order to do what God has called me to do, I need to have a day job. I took my current position to supplement my freelance work. Then my freelance work dried up. So now we are looking for something else. Maybe something in Central Florida, maybe something somewhere else. So we have put out feelers. It’s weird because I explored a position a while back and ended up not feeling like we were led to follow it. I’ve written about my dream job before. But my day job doesn’t have to be my dream job. Just needs to have benefits and pay enough to live on. I have no idea where we will end up.

Today I was reading in Joshua.

“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:2-6, 9

What’s the next step? I don’t know for sure, but wherever we go… God is with us.

Time to cross the river… Time to leave the wilderness.

Small Miracles

IMG_3542Sometimes it’s the small miracles in life that keep you going.

God’s been doing some stuff. We are selling our house. Heard we should get an offer today. I’m looking actively for a different “day job” so we can make ends meet and still have time for family and working toward the calling and vision we believe God has given us.

On my birthday, of all days, my car blew a head gasket. I got the report from the repair guy… don’t put any more money into a 16 year old car.

We are debt free, except our home. We don’t want a car payment. I went looking for a car. Small cars are expensive. I was down to throwing a few hundred at some clunker just to get around… driving it into the ground like my last car.

Then my in-laws asked to come over. I had borrowed their van during this time. They said they had been planning to drop down to one car. And they were giving us their van. 2001 Sienna. My father-in-law was meticulous in maintenance of this car. Not brand new, but a lot of life left in it.

Huge answer to prayer. One less issue to distract from the vision and dream. So thankful.

House For Sale!

IMG_3535We are selling our house! Been praying about it for a while. Not planning to leave Central Florida, but open to whatever God has. Just making a change. No crisis, just being obedient.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know the journey we have been on for the past couple of years. God has been faithful, and he will still be faithful. We have been learning to trust God for a while and this is another step. I’m sure I will write more about this, but for now…

If you know anyone looking for a 4Bdr/3Ba home on the west side of Orlando…

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/811-Bainbridge-Loop_Winter-Garden_FL_34787_M68785-73477

Mid Life Calling – Year 2

It’s hard to say the exact date when I realized God’s call on my life had changed. Do you time such things by the moments you actually do something? Or the times you think something? Was it the first time I realized religious TV had to change in order to survive, in order to have an audience with younger generations? Was it when i came up with a show idea or 10? When I decided to create something different? It feels more like it should be from the times I decided to change my career.

I don’t remember the exact day my wife looked at me and said that maybe it was time to have the talk with my boss. Or the exact day I had that meeting. Or the week everything was agreed on. It must have been sometime around April/May. My last day in the office was the 21st of that June. So let’s say it was my birthday, April 4th. That’s as good a day as any.

So, today. 42 years old. 2 years into a mid life calling. It’s not a crisis. Not always. In fact, in the beginning, it never was. I didn’t get a new car. (although I would like a sporty convertible. What is up with that? So cliche, but still true.) I wish I could say that everything had been amazing and wonderful. It has been very interesting.

Sometimes people say that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will. That’s bunk. Lots of times following God takes you through some scary, dangerous, hard pathways. I know. The biggest lesson we have learned is to trust God. Before this I always had a job with a steady paycheck, we always had security. And that was just fine. But during this time, every bill has been paid on time. God has been faithful.

There are days when I wonder when I will give up. When I will say, forget this dream, go back to something you know will pay the bills. What’s it worth?

But, we have accomplished a lot. 10 episodes of an award winning Christian sitcom completed and broadcast around the world for an amazingly low amount of money. Short film scripts and feature scripts done. Ideas of new shows. Contacts and relationships developed.

I recently went to a “meet up” with a group of fellow dreamers. I met them online through an author/speaker named Jon Acuff. He was in town, and one morning we gathered in the lobby of a local hotel. Here most of us are. At one point there was about 15 of us. I’m in the back row, middle, peering over a shoulder.

IMG_3521

In the conversation I asked how to overcome obstacles and not get discouraged. Jon told us that a lot of time we just don’t give our dreams enough time. We often expect things to happen on our own time table. But it takes a lot longer than we think.

So 2 years in… I’m not where I want to be. But I am a lot closer.