• Pastor J.

Unexpected Lessons

After several news reports in 2016 I finally saw the light, and knew that I had to give up on my complacency and nuance for something new. In truth, it wasn’t until I finally got burned not once, twice, but three times that I had enough. As I’ve said before I too often have to learn the hard way, but once I found out that I couldn’t fly based on my circumstances I decided it was time for a change. So I did my research, figured out the questions I would have, and even sitting in the parking lot I was still… a little apprehensive about my decision that I was going to have to make.

The fact that my choice could have put my home and wife in danger, that I would probably experience a loss in connections, and could possibly have to sacrifice some memories I walked in through the doors that were splattered with materials beckoning to make a ‘better’ choice. When the greeter approached me and asked if they could help I explained my situation and she placed her arm around me and led me to the welcome kiosk so that she could share with me a few things. It was time.

I pulled out my Samsung Note 7 for the final time, and reluctantly gave it to her. You thought I was talking about something else?

In 2016, Samsung experienced one of its most massive recalls in company history. Reports across cable news, the internet, and memes on social media trolling the new Note 7 had become almost a daily jest Samsung users would have to read. Something internally (the battery) was causing them to catch fire randomly, and finally every Note 7 user was sent the notification that they needed to return to the device to their local carrier. It was barred from airplanes, so you would be unable to fly if you decided to bring it with you. And in one case I was asked by a hotel receptionist if my phone was a Note 7 and then informed that she couldn’t allow me to check in if I was planning on bringing my phone into my room. Everything I owned (electronically) at the time was Samsung: TV, Laptop, etc. and this made connecting all of my devices convenient.

The Sprint Agent informed me that if I wanted to stick with Samsung that I would have to downgrade to the Note 4, as that was the only Note they had available in the store… now I was I already having to give up a phone that I enjoyed and was very functional for work, and it’s probably the techy in me, but there was no way I was going to downgrade to a phone I knew wouldn’t serve my purposes. So I asked her if there were any other options… and then the iPhone.

Oh the glorious, simplistic, and elitists phone that it is… after discussing it with her would be the only phone that would serve my purposes. And so my friends the story of how this Galaxy man became an Apple Guy.

Now to the real meat of my blog today.

I’ve since upgraded my iPhone a few times, in fact every new upgrade that comes out within a few weeks ends up being by my side. Got to love the Apple Forever program, even if Annia thinks I’m a bit extra on the upgrades. The last two upgrades had me a bit irritated though… I mean really?!?!? I can’t use my headphones and charge the phone at the same time? But Apple had a solution… AirPods.

I didn’t buy the first generation simply because I didn’t like the fact that Apple had made this move in their device, and for a moment considered choosing a different manufacturer… even the possibility of going back to Samsung. However, I had truly eaten the apple and just couldn’t see myself giving up the quality of life that the iPhone had brought to my life. So I dealt with it until a few months ago.

Nobody really tells you how much time you will end up spending on your phone in conference calls, checking in with family, and the what nots when you enter into ministry and advance you corporate career. But looking at my screen time and phone reports I have spent a total of 29 hours of screen time and over 21 hours of talk time just this past week. So needless to say my dealing with it was coming to a close. So I broke down and with the new Gen2 AirPods out finally made that purchase.

One of my biggest drawbacks to getting them was the fact that I would lose my head despite the fact that it is attached to my neck if given the chance. I just imagined loosing just one of those ear buds over and over, and thought about the stress of having to always remember if I put them down somewhere or not. Though after I got them… I have thoroughly enjoyed them by the way… it seemed a moot point and no issue, thanks to notifications sent from my iPhone if I’m walking away from them.

So this past Sunday I was again on another plane and headed to another city. I was deep in thought writing when the flight attendant approached to take our trash from the seat when I took one of my ear buds out to hear what she was saying. I reached for the guy’s cup beside me to hand to her, smiled talked to him for a moment, and then… WHERE’S MY RIGHT AirPod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And yes… I can make anything into a teaching moment :)


Our Faith, like Apple, is a closed system operation… let me explain.

“No one can come to the Father, except through me.” Jesus dropped this line of truth when surrounded by the most religious people of His time, it didn’t discount the need for a priest or teacher, but simply the statement brought clarity towards the path we each must take to enter into The Kingdom.

And now this is how you make a teaching from an iPhone.

My iPhone, much like the Bible, is a tool that I use daily to make my life make sense. I use it to organize my day, search for answers, respond to the world around me, and even appreciate the moments I get to experience. However, if it is left from a ‘power source’ (aka Jesus) it will basically just become a $1000 paper weight. When we fail to ‘plug into Jesus’ the Scriptures will become bland, clunky, and misunderstood. However, we also need assistance or a guide if you would… which is why He sent us the Spirit. It’s in conjunction that the power source and the guide together fully release the influence of the tool.

Jesus = the power source = the plug for your iPhone
Bible = the tool for life = the iPhone
Spirit = The guide we listen to = AirPods.

So back to my little disaster.

After frantically looking for my missing AirPod: Getting up and looking in my seat, uncomfortably figuring out a way to look under my seat, asking the person behind, and looking in the pocket in front of me… Did I??? There was no way… I couldn’t have…

I made my way to the back of the plane and explained to the flight attendant, “So, this might sound weird, but I think when I handed a cup to the other flight attendant I might have dropped my AirPod in it…” He looked at me and told me that he would have emptied whatever was in the cup in the trash bag, since they recycle the cups but that he would help me look through the trash if I wanted to make sure. I love DELTA, I’m telling you their flight attendants always go above and beyond to make my travel easier! So, he grabbed two pairs of gloves and we proceeded to go through other people’s trash.

This actually is the grossest thing I’ve ever done on a plane, mind you I usually just spend the hours in my seat reading, writing, or watching a show. And in the end, the most interesting time I’ve had on a plane. Hector, the flight attendant helping me, and I laughed a bit about the current situation. I apologized, but he told me this wasn’t the grossest thing he’s ever had to do on a plane. We had almost gone through the whole bag and I was feeling a way that we hadn’t found the AirPod, and I made someone else dig through a bag of trash with me… and yes it was gross.

“Oh my… I found it!”

Sitting perfectly encased in a paper town was my missing AirPod, he told me to wait a second and handed me a couple of alcohol wipes. “We don’t want anything weird growing in your ear later.” I thanked him and went back to my seat and continue on my original agenda.

Often when we are going about our daily life, plugged into our source in Jesus, utilizing the Truths of Scripture, and listening for the Holy Spirits guidance we get side tracked by outside forces or circumstances and sometimes the source, tool, or guide gets misplaced in the moment. However, even in that moment of going through other people’s garbage it’s an opportunity for the Spirit to use to teach us valuable lessons about our community, neighbors, and ourselves.

And always make sure that the blood covers you, because it acts like an alcohol wipe, and washes all the bacteria of sin and misunderstanding away… leaving you ready and available for His next mission in your life.

Pastor J.

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