Archive for Blog

Staying Safe on the Road This Holiday Season

During this time of the year, we relish in the ability to take some much-needed time off work and reunite with loved ones we haven’t seen since last year. As happy as this time of year can make us, the unfortunate aspect all too many of us to face is the fact that we often have to travel.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that, during the Christmas and New Year season, travel increases by 23 percent as compared to the rest of the year. Whether you’ll be traveling to see family or just on the road to take care of business, keep in mind that there are more vehicles on the road along with an increased risk for encountering dangerous situations.

Proper Vehicle Inspections

Especially if you’ll be putting a lot of miles on your vehicle this holiday season, now’s a good time to have a thorough inspection done by a qualified mechanic. Aside from changing fluids and checking basic mechanics, you should also have your mechanic:

  • Check your tires
  • Check your coolant levels
  • Inspect your vehicle’s heating system

Temperatures can be bitter cold this time of year, and a simple inspection can keep you from finding yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Tips for Motorcycle Riders

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t take your bike out for a ride. In fact, many riders prefer the cooler temperatures. If you’re planning on being out on the road this holiday season, there are a few tips you should be sure to consider employing including:

  • If you require glasses, invest in a quality helmet for glasses that will enhance your visibility while also protecting your head.
  • Always ride equipped with contact information for a motorcycle-specific towing service.
  • Make sure you watch the weather forecast if you’re planning on distance travel. If snow is in the forecast, arrange another form of transportation.

Picking the Right Time of Day

When you plan your trip right, you can avoid peak traffic. The key is to try to arrange for the bulk of your travel to be done either early in the morning or late at night. The reason for this is simple: it’s during these hours when most people are asleep. Once you arrive at your destination, you can catch up on sleep and enjoy the fact that you got your family where you were headed safely.

Along the same lines of thinking, try to avoid traveling on a holiday. This is when the bulk of travelers will be out on the roads, and cases of accidents inevitably rise. Not to mention, if you’ll be traveling via airplane, you can expect to pay quite a bit more for your ticket. Instead, head out a few days ahead of time. Not only do you get to avoid the increase in traffic and travel prices, but you can also enjoy a few more days with your loved ones.

Making the Most of This Holiday Season

This is that special time of year when we get to set aside our responsibilities and enjoy the company of the ones we love. Whether you have to drive across the country or just across town to enjoy this time, it’s important to keep in mind that there is going to be an increase in traffic.
It’s estimated by the American Automobile Association that 98.6 million Americans will be traveling this holiday season, and this is up four percent from last year. As you venture out on the road, it’s important to keep defensive driving in mind. When you follow these helpful tips, you can help yourself and everyone around you make the most of this holiday season.

Making Worship Fun For Kids – Outdoor Night Sermons Lit Up With LED Lights

While we can often feel as though there’s a barrier that prevents us from really getting to know our kids, we have more influence on them than many of us realize. The habits, attitudes and behaviors we exhibit is often directly emulated by children whether or not anyone even realizes it. Studies have been performed that linked depression in mothers to the increased risk of the child developing emotional problems.

Understanding that you have such a strong influence on your kids, consider how you can use this to your advantage when you teach them the importance of sincere worship and the development of a spiritual relationship with God. As a parent, you’re not only responsible for ensuring the provision of the physical needs of your children. You must also ensure they receive the opportunity to understand life as God intended. There are some ways you can make worship fun and help your kids develop the character necessary to represent everything our faith stands for.

Taking the Sermon Outdoors

asia-1782430_640

Let’s face it. Sunday school can sometimes feel like a classroom setting, and not many kids want to be in that environment on the weekend. You can both intrigue children as well as bring them closer to nature and God when you decide to take your discussion and worship outdoors. You could even consider going out at night when you can gaze at the wonders of the night sky. When you purchase LED lights for your tailgate, you better ensure you get to any destination to enjoy the mystique of the endless night sky.

Think in Color

castle-1113971_640

Kids enjoy the ability to put their words and thoughts into colorful pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and you’d be surprised of the compelling messages your kids can send using just a box of crayons. During your next worship session, invite kids to draw their prayers. A great way to introduce the activity is to have the kids grab six small pieces of paper. On them, instruct them to draw:

  • Three things they are thankful for
  • Two people they would like prayed for
  • One thing they would like to ask God for themselves

This is a great activity as it shows kids the proper balance of the variety of consideration that should be made, making sure not to put too much of a focus on self. By spreading the focus, this helps kids understand the importance of leaning on and helping one another. Have the slips turned in at the end of the worship session so kids know their thoughts make a difference.

Institute a Prayer Wall

pray-1359099_640

This is a fun activity anyone can enjoy, and you can do it at home or in the church setting. Designate a wall and cover it with large sheets of paper. If this is not available, simply place several packages of Post-It notes nearby. This will be a special place where prayer and  meditation will take place. Whenever your child feels the need, encourage them to take their problems to God and utilize this designated new spot. There should be no rules regarding the use of colorful crayons, markers, and colored pencils to clearly depict what’s on their mind, and you should be sure to leave all supplies at a level smaller children can reach.

Preparing the Future Generation

The compelling walk mankind has enjoyed with God extends across all generations, and it’s estimated that the Bible itself was written by at least six different authors dating as far back as 600 BC. When you do your part in instilling a love for God and worship in your kids at a young age, you can more easily encourage them to enjoy a close and educated relationship with our Higher Power. Remember that you have much more influence over your young children than you likely realize. By utilizing these helpful tips, you can be on your way to using this influence to make a positive and long-lasting difference in their lives.

Enjoy Life the Way God Intended With Good Health In Sleep, Posture and Excercise

God made each and every one of us in His own image, and we know from His Word that He loves us all. It would only make sense that our Heavenly Father would want us to actively enjoy the many wonderful things this life has to offer. What many of us don’t realize, however, is that there are certain habits we get into that decrease our overall quality of life.

Once you realize you’re doing something that has a negative impact on your life, only you have the ability to change that. You only have one life to live, and there are three ways you can enjoy yours the way God intended.

1. Better Sleep for a Better You

sleep-1209288_640While you are sleeping and enjoying much-needed rest after a long day, there are a number of things going on in your body. From hormone releases necessary for things such as muscle development to the development of energy in both the brain and body, this is a time of much-needed rejuvenation to better allow you to face the next day with success.

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that around one in three adults don’t get the quality sleep they need. A great way to overcome this problem without breaking the bank is to invest in mattress toppers. They simply lay on top of your existing mattress to give it the feel of a whole new bed. Best of all, you can easily find a product that matches your unique comfort settings when you visit http://www.sleepbuffs.com/best-mattress-topper-reviews/. Here, you can find what others have to say regarding their experiences with a product you may be considering before making the final purchasing decision.

2. You’re Never Too Old to Play

playingOnce we enter adulthood, we feel it’s necessary to behave in a more mature manner than we expressed during childhood. While this is necessary for the most part, an aspect of childhood we’d be better off keeping within our nature is play. Whether this is done with your spouse, kids, or friends, playing helps maintain relationships, encourage relaxation, and even provide you with an added level of exercise. God wants us to be happy with our lives, and just a few other ways a playful game of tag or hide-and-go-seek can benefit include:

  • Boosts creativity
  • Improves overall brain functioning
  • Keeps you looking and feeling young and energetic

3. Proper Posture

comfortEspecially in our modern society where a growing number of people spend their days in an office sitting in front of a computer, it can be easy to lose sight of proper posture. While this may seem to be a minor issue, there are numerous long-term consequences of poor posture including:

  • Change in the natural curve of the spine
  • Poor digestion
  • Increased risk of the development of cardiovascular problems
  • Varicose veins
  • Back pain

If you’re posture could use some work, the good news is that you don’t have to have it constantly on your mind to correct. There are a number of posture-correcting products on the market that can be worn under your regular clothes that will cause you to automatically assume proper posture when in use.

Making the Most of Every Moment

It’s estimated that we make 35,000 decisions each and every day. While many of them seem minute, the fact is that, when looking at the bigger picture, they turn out to hold more power over our lives than we realize. It takes acknowledgement to correct a problem, and that’s why God gave us this capability and the knowledge to be able to recognize this.

God loves us all, and He wants you to be able to fully enjoy the only life you have to live. These three tips can help you do just that, and these examples are just a drop in the bucket. There are endless ways you can implement minor changes that will have a large positive impact on your life. All you have to do is acknowledge them.

How Our Church has Embraced Technology

The entire world has already embraced technology so much that it has almost become impossible to live and keep up with the pace of the rest of the world without it.

From stores to restaurants to big businesses and even each and everyone’s home, what once was a day full of manual labor, is now almost completely replaced with a simple push of a button, a click on a computer, a swipe on a phone, and even through a voice activated door lock.

Indeed, technology has swiftly taken over our daily lives and some jobs are even created just to make sure that these gadgets are always working properly and accurately, as a little trouble would lead to a series of unfortunate events.

Sometimes, we are left to wonder the “what ifs” of technology – what if it suddenly fails for good? What will become of the systems that are greatly dependent on it? What if it becomes too powerful and replaces humans in everyday tasks? Will there still be something left for us to do? What if technology turns out to be the worst thing that ever happened to the human race? Can we still keep up and take control over it?

Some of these thoughts may seem to “movie-like” for some of you out there, but those movies were not created out of nothing. Even if they are fictional, they are based on these “what ifs” which hold possibilities of happening.

However, no matter what negativity that we sometimes feel from this world that technology has grown out to be, we also cannot deny the fact that it has largely changed our lives for the better as well.

Difficult tasks are made easier and what took years to develop and create can now be achieved at a quicker pace.

This is the reality we are given and this is the world we live in now, we must embrace it and we must do our part in making sure that these technological advances would only be used for the benefit of the human race, and not to be abused for power or greed or other selfish reasons. This way, we can ensure that the bad things we see in the movie would not have the chance to happen in real life; because we are responsible and we know what the limits of our human prowess should be.

Voip Services in the Church through AT&T

Image Credit: boston.com

As evidence of this acceptance of technology, even our church has slowly transitioned into a more “techie” church. From simple projectors and computers, to the elaborate lights and sound systems, our church has come to reap the benefits of technology just as how other establishments do.

Of course, the very main thing that the church gained access to is the Internet, which is like the web that connects almost all of these technologies together, and sometimes is the only reason that some devices are working properly.

The church has taken a plan from the AT&T network and its VoIP services, and now the communication lines to and from churches, the offices and the people serving in the church community have easier and quicker ways to relay messages to one another.

Dedicating Time For The Church Choir

My fascination with playing guitar started since I was a little kid. As far as I remember, I was just 10 years old when I started playing guitar. I grew up in a musically inclined family. My mother was a singer and my father was a guitarist too. Our family is an active member of our church. In fact, both of my parents were active members of the church music group. I was exposed to that kind of set up at a very young age. I always look up to my parents because through music they were able to serve God and honor their faith.

My dad enrolled me in a formal guitar training class. I was blessed because my parents supported me all the way. They were more than willing to spend money just to support my passion at playing guitar. At a young age, I became an active member of the church choir, particularly as the church choir guitarist.  Playing the guitar is a form of showing my praise and faith to the one up there. I know that without him I am nothing.

Aside from the masses that I get the chance to play the guitar for, we also have worship seminars twice a week. So these days add to the time that I also go to church not just on Sundays, but also during rehearsals. But despite the demand for time, I never once complained and I always look forward to these gatherings. I make it a point to put the choir among my top priorities.

Of course, there are times when I can’t really make it, especially when I am not feeling well and exhausted. Last Friday was our routine practice, but I wasn’t able to make it as I had the flu. I and my friends climbed one of the highest mountains in our country and after that I was not feeling well. I got headache, body weakness, colds, and coughs. I can’t even manage to get up to bed. We had a Sunday worship and if I will not be there, then nobody will play the guitar for them. I somehow feel guilty because I stressed myself too much. I took a rest, drink lots of water, and took my medicine. I was feeling bit better and on Sunday afternoon I was able to attend the Sunday service. The incident only proved to me that there will always be a way to overcome our problems if we work hard enough to achieve it. I did not want to miss the Sunday choir so I made sure to replenish my body in order to cater to my service to my friends, my community, and of course, to my God.

Worship Seminars

Image Credit: sharefaith.com

My Guitar Skills As A Gift From God

They say that a guitar is one of the most expressive musical instruments. Every string represents an emotion and every strum symbolizes the soul of the guitar player. I became interested in playing guitar at a very young age. I was only 10 years old and my parents decided to enroll me in a music school specializing in guitar playing. My guitar playing skill was honed. I was active in school activities and whenever there are school programs, I am always asked to play the guitar. I must admit, it gave me a confidence boost and it made me one of the popular students in the campus.

» Read more

When Churches Experience Water Damage Restoration

Witnessing a community that helped in the Water Damage Restoration of Flooded churches

Water Damage Restoration For Flooded Churches

Image Credit: flickr.com

In a natural disaster like typhoon, structures including churches and temples are not spared from the impact of the plague. The effect of gusty winds and heavy rains may cause tiled floors to be severely damaged not only with the volumes of water but also with the mud flood. I once had the chance to be a volunteer of a non-government organization offering stress-debriefing sessions to calamity victims.

I walked around a devastated town and got a chance to be shown around the affected important structures in the area. I have seen few old churches devastated by super typhoons where the insides were seen as huge mess. There was mud everywhere. Carpeting and furniture were destroyed and pews fell apart.

It was devastating to walk in there and see the interiors of a parish church that look like it was beyond hope and repair. That flood that got the area was a more severe case of deeper flood, so much so that it damaged the important systems like duct, sewage system and the foundation. There was one church where part of the aisle’s tiled floors had broken up and the flood transformed the whole church into a swimming pool with the pews underwater.

Through the resilience and ingenuity of spirits of all the parish staff and community volunteers, the churches were cleaned up and restored. These were the people whose own homes were also wrecked by the typhoon. But they were seen in churches rolling up their sleeves and shoveling the mud instead of being consumed with their own woes. I believe they have survived many storms that enabled them to be skilled enough in putting a church back in shape. I have observed that they seem to really know the right thing to do.

After a flood, water damage restoration and clean up can be a long and hard process. Water pump generators were operated around the clock in order to pump out all the water in the church. Garden sprayers or hoses were used to wash away mud from the tiled floors. Flood waters contain many contaminants. Sanitizing in the right way was properly observed. The floors are cleaned and disinfected in every surface. They scrubbed surfaces with hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner and then disinfected with chlorine solution or disinfectant product.

Of course, they were not able to do it alone. Despite the help of the community and us volunteers, the people still needed professional hands in making sure that the churches were repaired from the damages.

It is worth noting that the service team they hired came in as volunteers, donating their services to the churches that were devastated by the flood.

People in the community had taken much pride in rich heritage which is why they really took the effort to restore their hundred old churches.

Life of a Theology Student

Image Credit: vuu.edu

Image Credit: vuu.edu

You probably Know that I sing and play the guitar for our church choir. Then, I’m pretty sure it won’t be that shocking to reveal that I am also CONSIDERING becoming a Theology student someday, when the right time comes.

People think that when you study Theology or end up in a seminary, everything is always quiet, solemn and serious. While most of the time this is the case, especially because we are always taught to find peace and balance in ourselves, there are still moments when a Theology class will burst in laughter.

I have a few friends that are already taking on this challenge. Students of Theology are trained to always look for the message of God and understand it wholeheartedly, so that come a time when the student become the teacher, the message of God will be clearly relayed to the people. Given such tasks, Theologians are always perceived to be serious and quiet.

However, my friends tell me that they also have their funny moments.

One time, they were eating their lunch at the dining area in one of their many apartments in Anniston AL (they all live near each other in apartments, and most of the time, they eat together at whichever’s apartment they wanted to eat next), when suddenly, someone slipped near the washing area. Everyone heard the loud thud of the body and the clashing of plates and utensils as it also went diving on the floor. Even as they are taught and trained to never laugh at the misfortune of others, they all still cracked a good laugh, of course, after helping their friend up from all the mess and broken plates.

Some might think that laughing at someone during an incident as this is a sign that God’s words were not learned. But my friends looked at it differently. They say to look at it this way:

If it was any other home, broken plates will not be a sight for laughter. Someone would likely scold the person who fell, because he was careless. So see, helping him up and laughing off the damages he caused in an apartment that was not his own, is a milder approach to the situation, and one that they all believe, is the right reaction, so God permits.

It was a good thing, my friend added, that the apartments they live in are really well-made and that even when shards from the plates scattered all over the floors, it was easily swept out and kept and in a safe place so that other’s can’t be hurt.

The life of a person studying Theology may indeed be almost always solemn and peaceful, but God also wanted us to enjoy our lives because he did not give us the gift of living only to feel burdened and he does not want us to stop from finding happiness, even in the littlest of things.

My friends are really making me want to take up Theology soon. But I am still really thinking hard about it. I’m sure the answer will come to me, soon enough.

Musical Creativity Using the Little Things

Image Credit: songstuff.com

Image Credit: songstuff.com

While the music industry is full of songs about love and broken hearts and of those sorts, there are also songs that sing about the little things. Like a favorite car, house, guitar, and all other sort of things that you would not have thought to become sensible as part of a lyrics of a song.

One song that I really found amusing when I heard it was Jennifer Lopez’ song Love Don’t Cost A Thing when the chorus included “…Think I wanna drive your Benz, I don’t. If I wanna floss I got my own…”

Who would a have thought that a song so sensible and power driven included in its lyrics something as far-fetched as a floss? The singer meant it as a metaphor to say that she doesn’t need her lover’s money because she can have the things she need, like a car or, well, a dental floss.

This type of wittiness in song lyrics should also be injected more often, not just for humor but more for wit. Some other song lyrics with this wittiness are:

“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s this poisonous cobra, doing in my underwear drawer…”

“She’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar…”

These songs may have lyrics that some would call weird, others funny, and others who can’t accept things when they deviate from the norm, call them stupid. Whichever the case, we have to admit that it is a good way to exercise creativity.

This is actually a challenge for music writers. The wittiness and the humor should just be right for it to be considered a meaningful song because if you go overboard, you could end up being ridiculed.

Image Credit: recoverychild.com

Image Credit: recoverychild.com

Key to this challenge, or to any other type of lyric writing endeavor, is research. Yes, inspiration plays a vital role but researching is also just as important.

These are not the types of song I write for our church choir, since these are not the types of songs we sing. However, once in a while, I write these kinds of songs for myself, to exercise my creativity and to remind me that there is more to music than what I do for our church choir.

I am not saying I am not happy with what I play on my guitar for our church. In fact, I am very happy. They are firstly the reason why I continue to love music to this day. All I am saying is that music is a wonderful, vast thing and there are a lot of aspects about it that I still need to explore in order to call myself a true music enthusiast.

You can take on this challenge yourself and see if you can create a masterpiece out of say, a toothbrush, I don’t know. Just try the challenge and see if you could pull it off or you could not do it. The main thing I wish to share is that there is musical creativity in everything, even in the littlest of things.

Here’s a from Youtube video for more tips on how to write a good song. Enjoy!

Video Credit: Tyler Ward Music

Serving God Through Music

Image Credit: stanthonylackawanna.com

Image Credit: stanthonylackawanna.com

I have been in our church’s choir for quite a long time now and I have learned a great deal about life and people, through the words of God. I especially saw the diversity of people, that even when they come from the same race, and even in the same family, differences are always there. May it be differences in  likes, dislikes, ideologies and whatnot, people will always end up choosing different things and believing in different things and degree.

This is one of my many purposed for deciding to join the choir. To try and direct the differences of people into a singular end goal, and that is to serve God. To do this, one can choose from three things.

Firstly, service to God by serving yourself. You are God’s creation and you deserve to give yourself the best care. You also have to do this so that you can fulfill either of the first two services. Taking care of yourself is very important because you should not waste what has been given to you. You have to treat your body like it is the house of God, where all his love and beauty should manifest. To be able to do this, you have to have a healthy lifestyle.

Second is to serve others. When you serve others, you are still, in essence serving God because everyone is God’s children and God means to make everyone learn life and be happy. If you serve others, you are becoming His instrument in carrying out His plans. This does not mean that you have to serve everyone out there. That is just impossible. Serving others in this sense means to be kind, generous and approachable to even just the people around you, the people you get to mingle in your day to day living, may they be people you know or not. People should be able to see that you are a good person and that you should also spread that goodness in whatever way you could. This also means that you do not harm others because harming them, either in physical ways or emotional ways, even when you believe you are right or you had reasons, will only cause conflict between you and the other person therefore defeating the purpose of spreading goodness and love.

Lastly, you can serve God by serving Him directly. That is, to offer life and service to the church. This is what I chose and this is the path I believe to be truly meant for me because it gives me the chance to serve God in all ways possible, through my choir service.