It finally feels like Spring around in New York City, so we decided to take a stroll and see where our creative juices would flow. Without hesitation we went to Shelter Pizza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where we got to enjoy an amazing brunch. We came here a few weeks ago with some friends after church and got hooked. Their Eggs Benedict with avocado (and some bacon) is to die for — especially with a mimosa! The amazing food and rustic atmosphere was exactly what we needed to discuss the future of Anchored Apparel. We are really excited for what's to come ahead!
This past month on the first week of June my wife, Jessie, and I had the privilege of traveling to Oahu, Hawaii to be a part of Hope Chapel's Youth Conference. It was a fast paced week full of adventures, spiritual growth, networking and selling. We had the honor of meeting an amazing group of people who we are now proud to call "ohana" – which means “family” in Hawaiian.
Everyday we would go about on adventures to discover all the amazing things that the island had to offer. No matter what time of day, or where we were, we were recording every step of the way. We are currently working on that footage and should have it ready soon as we talk more about our "Explore More" video series.
Getting back to exploring, there was one particular day where our friends told us about a particular rock in the Waimea Bay Beach Park area where people jump off of into the Pacific Ocean – of course we went to check it out. Looking at it from the sand, it doesn't seem too intimidating, just lots of fun. Tons of people, of all ages and sizes, climbing up the rock and doing crazy jumps into the ocean with their GoPro gear.
I looked at Jessie with a crazy smirk and told her to get me jumping on camera. As soon as I stood up, I noticed I was wearing my glasses and had forgotten to wear my contacts that day. I told her that for the sake of footage, I would do it anyway. So there I go; climbing rocks completely blind as the wind blew sand in my eyes. The climb itself wasn't bad, but not being able to see anything made everything a bit more enticing. Not too long after, I made it to the top, I climbed the rock! I was ready to jump down and try it all again – for footage's sake of course – but I froze. Looking down into the ocean from up there seemed like I was jumping off Mount Doom into the River Styx.
It was the most frightening feeling I have ever had before. I have jumped off rocks and waterfalls plenty of times in the past and never did I feel so frightened about it – I can't explain the feeling. It wasn't because of the height, nor was it a fear of the sea, but as the wind blew and I crouched down to hold on to the rock for my dear life, I panicked. I was on top of a huge rock not being able to see things clearly. It was impossible to get back to shore by climbing, so the only way back to my wife was jumping down into this bottomless blue ocean.
I thought I stayed up there for 30 minutes – my wife says I stayed about an hour. She tried recording me attempt to jump so many times that the memory card on the camera was full. After a few heart to hearts with some 7 year olds who jumped off the rock at least 30 times within the time I was there, I decided to go for it. The kids started counting down, "10! 9! 8!” — my heart started beating faster. “7! 6! 5!” — my heart almost coming out of my chest. ”4! 3! 2!” — praying to baby Jesus to hold my dear life in His hands. “1!” I jolt out into the fresh Hawaiian air and splash into the bright blue Pacific Ocean. Now, I don't know what took longer, the fall into the ocean or the swim back up to get air. All I remember was everyone on top of the rock was cheering for me as I swam up for air.
After the jump, I didn't think much of it other than I had wasted so much time trying to get down. It was scary, it was fun, and I had done it. That's all that mattered and there was nothing to it. Fast forward a few hours into the night and we were at the conference once again. That night I was given the opportunity to speak a little about Anchored Apparel and what God has been doing in our lives through it. As scary as the idea seemed — going up on stage and trying not to say anything wrong to all the youth — it was actually very peaceful. I grabbed the microphone and spoke my heart out. Again, I thought I was up there for about 5 minutes, but the wife says it was almost half an hour – I really have a bad sense of time. But anyway, in that moment I couldn't help but pour out everything I had in me. I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak through me and was blessed by that moment God had planned for us.
As the conference continued the next day, I couldn't stop thinking about the opportunity God had given us and was just in awe to realize that it was just the beginning of what He has planned for our lives. But in all honesty, if there is one thing that stood out to me from this entire trip, it was that exact experience involving peace and fear. It is crazy to see how something I've done so much in the past, like jumping off rocks — something so fun and meaningless — caused so much fear in me. On the other hand, something that I have also done so much before, but always feared in a way, — which is speaking about God in public — was so natural and peaceful. I guess what I am trying to say is that I learned that it’s much easier and peaceful to do things for the Lord — which hold a much bigger purpose — than meaningless acts of any kind – which have no purpose. In no way am I saying you can't jump off a rock or anything, you can and should have fun! This is just what I felt God speaking to me about my time in Hawaii.
Back in August I had written a post titled, Created To Create, stating we were made in God's image and that He is the ultimate creator. So still in the topic of being designed by the Almighty, I want to bring to your attention how important it is that we do everything with excellence.
The Bible informs us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). But I believe our light can shine even further when we do things in excellence.
When you do things with all your heart, you tend to get noticed. When you are excellent in what you do, people see the Lord in you. The way you do your job shows something about you because of the way you serve. People may not know your name, but Jesus knows where to find you.
Romans 12: 6
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.
You have to develop what God has deposited in you. Many have gifts which God has deposited, but don't want to go through the development. Sure, it's hard and it takes time, but that's called experience. For example, when you go buy a bike, it doesn't come assembled, it comes in parts. You have to put piece by piece together to enjoy the end result of riding the bike you took time to build. The same is with God, He expects you to put it together. It's called diligence.
When we don't put in all of our effort as we should, I think we are limiting ourselves from achieving greater things for the work Christ has entrusted us with.
I think we are limiting ourselves when we do work for Christ, or we just don't put all the effort we should. I believe as a follower of Christ, we should do things better than what we see out there in the world. We need to be THE example. Come on guys, we are creating for Christ. It should be our best always — no exceptions. Followers of Christ need to be mirror images of the Holy Father. So if you produce music, do it with excellence. If you make art, design with excellence. If it's for God, it needs to be done by His standards; with excellence! The human brain is much more creative than we give it credit for. The problem isn't the capacity for creativity. The problem is the motivation and desire.
How badly do you want to create something that matters? What's motivating you to do it? Are you sharpening your skills? Have you read anything this year to learn more about your gift? If you don't feel like your life depends on it, you are missing out on some of your potential. There are no limits to the extraordinary things you could accomplish. What you create could have a lasting impact on this and future generations.
I believe Pastor Steven Furtick put it the best way,
"If the excellent God lives in you, what would He produce through you?"
I encourage you to be extra salty if possible. Don't be ok with the average; the mediocre. Go beyond that! People need to do what they are called to do with excellence.
Father, please help us develop what you have deposited in us. Ignite the passion, the creativity and the strength within us. May we give You the best that You deserve every single time. Teach us to serve you with excellence in everything we do.
If Jesus isn't the center of our lives, we are living a life full of excuses.
We need to make Jesus be the center of it all, because it is all about Him.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Our life is hidden in Him. That is why we seek God. We seek His presence, because we discover ourselves in Him. There is a settling nature to the presence of God. As Colossians 3:3 states, our identity is hidden in Christ. Once we allow Him to be the center of our lives, life starts to make more sense.
So let 2014 be a year where we seek Him to find ourselves through Him.
Just want to finish this off with a quote my pastor said this last weekend.
When we make excuses, we excuse ourselves out of God's will.
Happy New Year and may God guide you through this new year that is to come.
2014, we at Anchored Apparel are ready for you! #BringItOn
ANCHORED APPAREL TEAM
As I try to think of what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving morning, many thoughts come racing through my mind. I am thankful for many things in life, but I am especially thankful for everyone who has believed and supported Anchored Apparel through all this time.
With that thought in mind, I am very thankful for God being able to foresee all of this before it actually happened. Think about it, we have visions and never know exactly what needs to happen until it becomes a reality. But, it is during that moment — where we don’t know what may happen, and where we can make different choices — the moment where we are tested and must prove we are up to the task, that some of us fall out; we give up. We are never fully prepared for all the bruises that come along while we are being shaped and molded for that vision. It is so interesting to have a notion of what we are not, and to see where God wants us to be. But the question is, are we willing to be forged into the shape of the vision God has given us?
There will be hardships will that beat you. And those beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through ordinary people.
And then there are moments in life when we do have a sense of what God’s purpose is for us, but the reality of that depends on us, not on God. It’s all about our character. There are two ways we can go about it. We can either keep living the memory of the vision [independent character], or seek out the vision until it becomes real [dependent character]. If we were to live just in the memory of the vision, it becomes a useless vision; one where we won’t be able to live out God’s plan since it wasn’t put into action. We become of no real use to it. If we seek living our lives aligned to the vision, it eventually becomes a realization upon us. Every bit of our training is in that direction. So, let’s learn to thank our Father for making His demands known.
Which commandment is more important?
— L O V E
Keep it simple! God's love can flow through you all the time. Don't just know the love of God, submit to it and it will flow through you.
1 Timothy 6:12 TNIV
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
We need to remember who we're fighting for. We’re not fighting for a wall or our name on a wall, or our image or reputation or success. We’re fighting for our brothers and our sisters, for our family, for those who can’t fight for themselves, for the hurting and the broken, for the empty and the lost and the bound, for the up and the down, for the famous and the faceless. We’re fighting for our city to find its way to Jesus. It’s about people, lives, and eternity. This gives you courage and enables you to rise above what you’re facing.
We also need to remember to build while we fight.
Nehemiah 4:17 NLT
…who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.
The verse above states they weren’t just building or just fighting. Our Christian lives are about both building and fighting. If you’re just about building and no fighting: when opposition comes you’ll crumble under pressure and won’t know how to fight and stand on the Word. If you just love to fight but don’t build; Be willing to build your confidence, your character, your friendships, your marriage, your integrity, etc.
Every day is a fight. Every day there’s challenge, need, opposition, etc.
And we cannot forget that God is fighting for us.
Nehemiah 4:20 NLT
When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!
We don’t serve some distant, austere God who looks down at you in shame and judgment. He knows the name of the stars and certainly knows your name. He holds galaxies and holds your life. He stepped out of heaven in the form of his son Jesus to die for you. He fought for you. As Jesus died, He was fighting for you. He made a way to reconcile you.
He’s not just fighting for you but with you.
To be a disciple is to make mistakes, because to make mistakes is an essential part of the learning process. If we don't embrace our mistakes we won't learn. If we don't learn, we won't discover new things in Christ.
Part of God's glorious plan is that our failings reveal His grace, which reveals His love, which reveals who He is; His character.
Mistakes are frowned upon in society, but God embraces them as opportunity to show us His strength.
Jesus embraced our failing so much He chose failure as His way of salvation. Meaning, He took our failure upon Himself rather than to make us pay the penalty. Every failure has a consequence, but in the Kingdom of Jesus, it becomes an opportunity for grace.