Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 31, 2016

December 31st 
The last day of 2016
Tomorrow, everyone starts anew
A time for reflection
What has passed
What is to come 
Second chances
364 nights.

     It is difficult to digest the last 525,600 minutes. My favorite time of year is now, reflecting on what has happened these past 364 days and considering how to improve the next 365. As I look back on all of the opportunities I have been given, I can't help but ponder some of the chances that I have let slip through my fingers; chances to be a better husband, father, son, brother in Christ to my fellow believers. We shouldn't dwell on things passed, simply use them for fuel as we welcome in a new year. Many are saying, "I hope this year is better than the last," but my question is, "Why did you not make the most of the time you were given?"  What holds us back from doing our utmost since we all have indeed been given the same amount of time? I can only blame myself for not making the most of every second available to me. The same second that is available to everyone else...

     As I peer out the front window of our home, this home we have been in for the last 364 days (x3 years prior) I feel a sense of accomplishment. Accomplishment for keeping this house standing and the heat on and the electricity running for another year. I look at our vehicles parked outside and I reminisce about the green Jeep Cherokee that is no longer dripping small spots of fluid onto the pavement; replaced by a white F150 with United Rentals logos on the sides and rear. I think back to my adolescence and try to understand how I have been so fortunate to wind up in the position I currently hold. A good paying job, a vehicle to drive, and even gas that is paid for by my company. How can I be so fortunate when others are not?  Why have I been chosen to be among the top 1% in the world? I think of all the people I have met over this past year and consider their circumstances - many less fortunate, many more fortunate; some trying to get by and others striving ahead to greatness. Here are a few people that I have had the good fortune to rub shoulders with over this past year, most of these have been "chance" meet ups during the some 10,000 miles I put on the Honda Odyssey, others are just connections I have made through my wife, or friends of friends.  I have bolded some of my favorite stories for easy reading. 

  January 23 - Uber passenger whose Dad passed away 7-8 years ago and I was fortunate enough to pray with him.

  Feb 2 - a perfectly timed Uber drop off gave me the opportunity to drive the kicker of the IU football team. An upstanding young man and I wish him the best of luck with his future career, in football, or otherwise. 

  Feb 7 - another divinely inspired Uber pick up, this time at Zoobilation, the annual gathering of the "who's who" in Indianapolis. I got the privilege of driving an Indy Car driver. Had a wonderful conversation about racing and church. Wishing you the best of luck this upcoming season!

  April 17 - drove former Purdue star, current Minnesota Timberwolves player.  

  April 21-24 a life changing experience meeting new brothers in Christ at Red River Gorge, KY.                    

  May 7 - driving former students that I taught at Park Tudor 5 years ago! JP! Crazy how great God's timing is! 
  June 4 - My ever wondering friend "J" who is still out there somewhere. After a perfectly timed drop off at Eagle Creek Golf Course, I was able to drive "J" out to the highway to continue his journey. He was walking through Zionsville, hitch hiking from Florida to Canada because of a calling he felt from God. I gave him my number and some supplies for the road. I hope I get to hear all of the amazing work that God did on this journey. I pray for you often my friend and brother. Until we meet again...

  July 24 - pickup at Klipsch after a concert; turns out the passengers are good friends with my buddy M.B. and is a teacher in my former school district of Beech Grove. I scratch my head at how out of 24,000+ people, I can get a ride so pre-ordained and people say "it's a coincidence."

   August 12 - some of my favorite regulars telling me they are contemplating divorce; praying feverishly for them for a month and despite my attempts, them still splitting. My heart still breaks for them and their family, but I know it's in God's hands. 

  September 28 - "the incident" on our street....5 hours away from home and feeling helpless for my family...firmly planting the roots that God either causes or allows all things to happen and that he is there with us each step of the way. I may not ever know why He allowed our family to experience this, but I hope some day we can use this to help someone in need. 

  October 23 - meeting and praying with a new brother in Christ "V" after a somewhat sticky situation in Broad Ripple. I was happy to be where I was, when I was, so I could minister to him and share with him some "not so smart" marriage decisions I had made. Sometimes our worst decisions make the best advice for others!  This was another divinely inspired trip as I was not even supposed to be out driving at that time, but because of an airport pickup that didn't quite work out, I was in the right place at the right time! 

   October 24 - praying to God, "I don't really want to drive anyone else tonight, but I will if you need me to."  ...go online 3 blocks from home, and get a request from Lebanon (18 minutes away!)  Turns out the passenger crashed their car on the highway and needed a ride home to BLOOMINGTON! Did I mention this was a 4:15am pickup?  That was a long night, finally arrived back home around 6:30? Was happy I was online and available to give a much needed ride back despite a lack of Zzz's. 

   November - Picking up "strangers," although I don't believe in such things! And hearing their amazing life friend "K" who I picked up downtown. I got a request but the passenger canceled, which put me on that particular street where I wasn't planning on going. "K" needed a ride across town and on the way I found out she was using heroin and prostituting to support her habit. I have been able to stay in contact with her, but unfortunately no progress on kicking the habit yet. I am confident that God will redeem her from her situation and use her to rescue others

   November 25 - having some "real talk" with "M" in Broad Ripple about marriage and pregnancy. Still praying for you and your wife. Remember, God sees the whole picture, we see a small piece of the puzzle while we live in the day-to-day. 

  December 30 - driving and wanting to be home...ask God for someone to share his love with, getting to drive "S" back to her soon to be in-laws place from a party in Zionsville. She's getting married in 2017 and is active in her church and faith. Praying for everything to run smoothly and that pre-marriage classes go well and bring you closer together. Best of luck! Remember, "there is no plan B!"

Other happenings with no specific date or they happened so often that it's impossible to pin down just 1 occurrence:
  • Extra tips from customers when the gas light is on and the bank account is running close to "E"
  • Countless conversations with people about God, and his son Jesus. Many questions that non-believers have asked that have made me look deeper into my own faith and build a greater love and understanding of what Jesus means in my life. 
  • Having the opportunity to minister to young men on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 
  • Meeting future "regulars," and doing God's work in their life, unbeknownst to me - "N" one of my Zionsville bartender regulars. Always a pleasure to see you my friend.
  • Getting an opportunity to pray with people on marriage, family, moving, life, boyfriends/girlfriends, money, anything and everything else...
  • I must give a big shout out and "thank you" to my good friend M.B. for keeping me out on the road to make the "big money" when I wanted to go home, for praying with me when needed, and most of all just keeping me company while out and about in the city. I am praying for you, your family, and that 2017 would bring us more prosperity and opportunities to serve God than we could ever imagine. 

    This year has not been without heartache and struggle. We have had ups and downs as a family, had friends move away, and people come in and out of our lives. I'm sure the cycle of life will continue until God decides it is time for us to leave this planet. Until then, my hope rests in Jesus and the promises that he not only makes, but keeps. My aim for 2017 is Joshua's promise in chapter 24, verse 15. 

    Dear Abba, Father. You have allowed me to experience so much this past year. Thank you. Thank you for the people, circumstances, and situations that you have brought into my life. I know all good and perfect things are from you (James 1:17).  Thank you for being by my side and going before me. Thank you for carrying me through situations where I had no authority or power. You are amazing. You are unbelievable. I pray that in this new year, you would allow me to draw nearer to you, so I can love my friends and family better, share your love with more people, and ultimately live a life that is inviting to others. Not for my benefit, but for your glory.  Always and forever. Amen. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

As Christians we need to be obedient to God in sharing our faith. We should do this with of a sense of duty to those around us who do not know Jesus instead of doing it because it is something we "want" to do.
If we are IN Christ He will give us the words to speak and put us in the situation that He wants us in; all we have to do is pray that we can show up for what God wants to do in our lives.
Too often i act on a "wants" basis instead of a "duty" basis.  Too often i don't do what needs to be done because,  "i don't feel like it." Well,  this is changing.  Moving forward i am acting out of duty and responsibility rather than just how i feel. This should be interesting.
God, i wait expectantly for you to show up in my life and show me how to live this out for you.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

That isn't just a right turn you're making, that turn will change someone's life...

To you, reader, 
You are reading this story today not because of chance, but because you should be and you are meant to be. Remember, whether you are a believer or not, every decision you make leaves a lasting impression on someone, somewhere, whether you see it or not. Your choices have consequences, both good and bad.
Do what you can to make sure that the ripples of your actions will be positive. 

I wanted to share an experience I had this afternoon (October 4, 2015)

One of the things that stood out most to me from the sermon at church this morning is the fact that we need to be available for God to use us in whatever way He sees fit. 
In my spare time I am an Uber driver and most of my Friday and Saturday evenings are spent in the car, on the road, shuttling people from point A to point B. This has been an excellent opportunity for me to share my faith with people, have some awesome conversations, and invite people to TPCC. 

On Sunday afternoon I signed on to do some Uber trips while running some errands. On my way south on Michigan road I noticed a lady walking carrying a bunch of stuff just north of the Cost-Co parking lot. I decided to diverge from my intended destination to see if she could use an extra hand getting where she was going. When I finally made it over to that side of the parking lot she was nowhere to be found. On the way however, I did see two gentlemen walking, both carrying some bags in their hands. I pulled up to offer both of them my card for Uber and ask if they needed a ride anywhere. One of them promptly shrugged me off (the one carrying more bags, about 4-5) and may have even picked up the pace a little bit. A white dude in a mini-van wearing sunglasses and a camo hat was probably somewhat intimidating (not really.) The guy who was carrying only one bag in his hand asked what I charge for trips, how Uber works, so on and so forth. 
I asked him to tell me a little bit more about what he was looking for and he explained that he and his wife are having some trouble getting to work (broken vehicle) and they have kids that they need to take care of as well. 

As I drove the man over to where he and his family are living, temporarily in Motel 6 (as I would find out later on, see Update**) I talked to him a bit more about his situation and what's going on in his life. I knew at a very minimum the Lord had provided me with an opportunity to pray for someone in need and I asked my new passenger to do so (as I occasionally do with my Uber passengers.)   He graciously accepted and then I learn that this man, D, gave his life to Christ about three years ago and has never looked back. 
He said that he and his wife were just trying to put together a game plan on how they could figure out this whole transportation debacle and I was a blessing in disguise. He is a man of faith and a lover of Jesus. He proclaims God's promises every chance he gets and knows that our meeting was not a coincidence, but a divinely inspired crossing of paths.  Writing out this part of the story doesn't really seem like anything over the top, but I guess the big picture here is that I saw someone who needed help and took a small step out of my way to try to be of some assistance. When I could not find that original person I wanted to help, I reached out to ask someone else if I could do anything for them. Simply because I made myself available I was able to help someone on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, just like we talked about that morning at church. 

//I am truly amazed at how God can orchestrate the perfect timing of everyone's lives and interconnect us in this way that is incomprehensible by any stretch of a human imagination//

**UPDATE as of Sunday evening at 11:00pm**
I gave D my number and told him to call me if there was anything I could do for him, and he said he would probably call me later that afternoon to talk more. 
I ended up hearing from D around 9:00 pm the same night. I didn't especially want to answer my phone when I saw a random number show up on my screen, but I am grateful that I took that call because D had decided to take me up on my offer and ask for help.  He told me that his wife is working nights and asked if I could help with transportation for her. As I continued to talk with him, I learned that they were kicked out of their house by a landlord who had no interest in anything but personal profit, and that the Motel 6 was a temporary living situation provided by HIP (Homeless initiative program.)  D also shared with me that he and his fiance have 6 kids between the ages of 3-15 and that not only is one of their vehicles broken, that is their ONLY vehicle. 
They are looking for a more permanent home to house their large family and are meeting with their case worker over the next few days to find out how much longer they are able to stay at Motel 6. 

What does this all mean for you?
I am praying that you will make the choice today to leave a positive ripple in someone else's life.  I also hope you will forward this on to whomever helps in these kinds of situations and provide some assistance for D and his family. (Secretly I'm hoping one of you has Ty Pennington on speed dial and we can just do an extreme home makeover for them!)

Their main needs:
-transportation for Mom/Dad to get to/from work 
-living arrangements that can be a long-ish term solution

Thank you for your assistance and for reading my extremely long email. Please feel free to find me on Facebook or email me directly, . 

Here's to being available for God and all the amazing things He can do in our lives when we make time for Him. To Him be the glory both now and forever, 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I love it when a plan comes together...especially when it's not my plan

Yes, this is another blog about God. Jesus. Lord. Father -  the one that created all of this and the one that sets in motion each and every cog and gear in this unbelievably complex and gigantic puzzle. This post is about His amazing timing in this place we call home.

Tonight I am writing on the topic of timing and how, if left to our own devices, we will generally tend to screw up the timing of one thing or another throughout the course of our day.   Even you punctual people have to admit that if someone were telling you exactly where to be and precisely when to be there, you could have had better timing, for at least one instance in your life.

Tonight was like many other nights driving Uber in Indianapolis.  I went online a bit later than normal after a wonderful movie date with my beautiful bride, and wound up mostly being around downtown for a majority of the evening. Around 1:15 or so I start to think about shutting it down and heading back home; mind you I am still downtown so I begin to do what any good Christian would do at this point, and pray, that the Lord will provide me a trip somewhere north.  I tend not to be greedy so I usually pray something like this:

"Dear Lord, thank you for a profitable evening. I would like to head back home, so if you'd like to give me a trip north, that would be great, if not, that's great too. Your will Lord, not mine, Amen."

[Please reference my earlier blog about praying this prayer, being the last car in Broad Ripple on one evening, then having to drive some dudes to Greenwood.  Bummer!  I put this note here so you can see that even though I am a Christian, I understand that God's timing is not always my timing, and it just did not work out in my favor (that I know of) for that particular evening.]

Back to the topic at hand - I say "Amen" and sixty seconds later I get a trip heading north. "Hooray, I love it when a plan comes together."  After dropping off a few dudes and their dates in Broad Ripple I'm like, okay that was convenient, I'll go towards the strip and see what's happening. Maybe head home, maybe hang out. Who knows.
I park in front of the giant comb at Monkey's Tail for a minute and another request rolls in.   This couple is going a few blocks off the strip; or are they?  The guy lets himself out a few blocks away and tells me I'm taking his girlfriend back downtown to her apartment. Back downtown?!  What?! This wasn't my plan.  Now I'll have to drive back home with an empty car! (it is 2:15 by this time, and I'm not in the mood to wait around another 45 minutes for closing time)

I drop off this girl at her place and before I can finish my thought and get a game plan of what to do next, I turn onto Mass Ave to find it...,,,.deserted. Completely and utterly deserted.  I drove 3 blocks without having to touch my brakes, and if you've ever driven on Mass Ave, Uber or not, you know that is no easy accomplishment.

Another minute or two goes by and DING!  Oh hooray. A request:
"Hi Cole, this is David with Uber, I just want to confirm you're at 608 Massachusetts Avenue..."
  -"hi David, yes we're at Pizzaology" 

"Great, thanks for confirming, I'll be there in just a minute."

I park in front of Pizzology, stopping in the middle of Mass Ave to open the door for my passengers, because this is what I do and because I can get out of my car on Mass Ave without being honked at!
I hit the [Begin Trip] button, and to my wonderful astonishment, their address is Zionsville,

All I can say at this point is, "I love it when a plan comes together, especially when it's not my plan."
The Bible talks about "enduring" and "endurance" and I think sometimes this is read too much into; like we should have some big struggle that we have to fight through so that we can share our testimony with others and they will want to know God more, because we are enduring this great battle.  Sometimes, friends, enduring is simply not hitting that "off'" button the moment you feel like it. Sometimes enduring is waiting on the Lord's perfect timing, even when you don't feel like it.  I could have easily gone offline in Broad Ripple and made the drive home by myself, but I didn't. I decided to let the Lord work in me and through me, and because of this I feel that he blessed me with a small glimpse into his perfect plan.

We are all cogs in this great machine, sometimes letting someone else be in charge is the most difficult part, however; it is what we need most - to let go of our control and allow God to use us as pieces in his amazingly timed, perfectly crafted plan.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Timing is everything.

Correction. God's timing is everything.  God is in control and he has everything timed perfectly, like the most accurate and precise clock ever created.
Sometimes that timing works out for us to enjoy and be excited over it; sometimes it works out for us to be sad and disillusioned by it.
Either way. I never cease to be impressed by God's perfect timing.

Tonight God's timing worked in my favor to see a friend and get them a safe ride home.
I just finished up an Uber trip on the north side when I was heading back south on Michigan Road.  Just as I was driving by the complex where my friend and her husband were wrapping up their party, they texted me to ask for a ride.  Sometimes it is the little details that baffle me, and sometimes it's the bigger picture (see '2015' post)

Whether it is working in your favor or not, revel in God's perfect timing and know that he knows what is best, every second of every day and he will not fail.


Tonight while driving, I accepted a request that turned out to be from a friend I haven't seen since 2005. I am ecstatic about 2015 because I feel like this happening, with this person, exactly how it did is God showing me that he is in control, always has been, and always will be.
I hope that I can be more dedicated, more humble, and more willing to let Jesus work in me and through me in ALL areas of my life this coming here.
Here's to 2015 and everything that will happen.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The ride of a lifetime (from June road trip to Canada)

Yesterday's ride with some folks from Fresh Air Experience was exactly the kind of riding you would imagine in British Columbia. Rolling hills into the country, a strong wind from the north, an unfortunate storm blowing in with gray clouds and rain in the distance. With about 1650 ft of climbing and a top speed of 57 miles per hour, it was truly the ride of a lifetime. 

I think my favorite part was after quite a few wonderfully amazing tire squealing down hill sections someone says "we haven't even gotten to the best one yet!"
The final downhill was 3 kilometers of blindingly fast, brakeless curves back into town, and this Indiana guy ended up getting 10th overall out of 90 people that have ridden that segment!

Unfortunately the rain today kept me from a second, faster attempt. Will I have my chance to try again? I can only hope.    I was having too much fun to take any pictures, so I'll try to get some next time.  Until then, you'll just have to imagine.