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Thursday, August 23, 2007


Well, I have been discovering a lot of my faithful blog readers and I am very grateful to you all. I understand now that I must continue on my weekly blog or my readers will become disgruntled. So I am here to satisfy the public.

I have a lot that I could write about today. School started and I think it is the greatest thing to see all of the students that are here. NCA is an incredible school. My wife is teaching kindergarten, and I could write an entire blog on why I could never be a Kindergarten teacher and the amazing patience that it takes to do that job. We have a big event coming up called Fusion Fest and I could write on all of the details and the opening doors of the event. However, I have something else entirely to blog about today.

Last Saturday I went to Kissimmee, Florida and volunteered at a place called Give Kids the World. This is a huge theme park like resort for terminally ill children and their families and it is usually one of the last stops on the journey of life for most of these kids.

I was real nervous going, and to be quite honest when Cindy Beasley asked us to go I wanted to find any reason not to go. After all, there was a Bucs game on during that time frame. But how could you possibly say no to that. Knowing that there are children who are dying and we have a chance to fill their last days with just a little bit of happiness; I kept on telling Heather that we just can't say no.

So we met last Saturday with a group of about 15 church goers and a handful of incredible youth and we went. My job was pretty easy I was to team with my awesome wife and two of our youth and we were to bus tables for half of the dining room. We were to clean off the tables, put away the dishes, and we were to help people with their trays to the tables.

I worked in restaurants while I was in college and so this job seemed great to me. I really loved the work and I really loved the satisfaction of helping out and I really loved partnering with my wife. I had a great time.

Having a great time at a place like that made me feel guilty though. How can I have a great time knowing that so many people in this place were struggling so badly. But the thing is that Give Kids the World was a happy place. The people that work and volunteer there go out of there way to make the families week the best of their lives, to give them some happy memories to cling onto when the times get rough.

As we watched people coming into the Gingerbread House we were told that the kids wearing the buttons were the ones that were terminally ill. Some kids had no hair or were in wheelchairs, but a lot of them you would never know by looking at them that anything was wrong with them. We sang happy birthday to this boy that was turning 12. We joked around with a lot of the people. We offered to take trays for the ones who looked like they might need help, but most of them politely refused my help. I was amazed at all of the people that came in for dinner that night.

I became the primary dish scraper of my group and I was okay with that. My team would bring a tray full of dirty dishes to me and I would scrape off the food and organize the dishes and send them back to the dish room where their were people to wash the dishes.

On a couple of occasions a lady had a few words to say about a few of the things that I was doing wrong and a few things that our church was doing wrong. I very politely accepted the criticism and informed my team if we had something we needed to change. This lady apparently felt bad about chastising me so harshly and she came to apologize to me. I said it was okay and by the end of the night I found out a lot about this lady.

I am very bad with names so I don't remember what her name was but she was 70 years old. She looked 50. She said that she works taking care of an old man (this is a 70 year old talking remember) and then she cleans houses as her main source of income. And three nights a week she goes to Give Kids the World and she leads the kitchen crew, which is made up of paid employees from Perkins who almost all have some sort of affliction, whether it is that they are bipolar or autistic or something like that. Here is the kicker... she has been volunteering in that kitchen three nights a week for 19 years. Yes I said it... 19 years! Which, to make my readers feel old, was when I was 6. I couldn't believe the work ethic of this lady.

At the end of the night, just like at any restaurant we all were standing around waiting for the final people in the place to stop talking and leave. There was a big round table with a bunch of Spanish people and one of the kitchen workers was over there chatting it up with them. I have not watched Telemundo enough yet to know exactly what was being said, but I was a little bit frustrated because I was ready to go home.

I would soon feel bad about that. The man came over to me after the people left and told me that he was sharing Jesus with them. He told me that every night he shares Jesus with at least one or two families and that is the only reason he helps out in the kitchen. When I asked him how this particular family responded he looked me in the eye with an air of confidence that we all should have and said, "Who could say no?" The man's name was Israel and I look forward to meeting him again one day soon.

My fellow readers there are many people who need us. Please don't put God in a box, express your faith freely and openly and with great pride because the God of the Universe is at work all around us... we just have to open our eyes and see.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Under the Overpass

For all of you faithful blog readers out there... welcome back. I am encouraged because I made a mistake on my post the other day and someone called me to correct it. That means that someone actually read it. So what I am going to do is I am going to put a mistake in this post and see if anyone can find it and that will let me know who is reading this post.

I just finished reading a book called Under the Overpass ( and it was about a college student named Mike and his friend Sam who felt convicted to live as homeless people for five months. They wanted to view things from a different, less-privileged perspective.

I learned a lot of valuable lessons from this book and I will remember a lot of the anecdotes as long as I live. There are a few things that I wanted to touch on for my blogger nation out there.

These two guys lived on the streets and played worship songs on their guitars for money to get food and they did everything that normal homeless people would do. But on Sundays, being the good Christian boys that they are, they went to church.

The book has a lot of interesting stories to tell of how people treated them when they walked in on Sunday morning. They went to a mega church in Phoenix, Arizona where security followed one of them into the bathroom and asked him in a very rude and threatening way if he was disrupting the service. They were forced off of a grassy knoll they were sleeping on on a church campus because the man was afraid of what people would think when they showed up for their "Outreach Breakfast." Come to find out the man who kicked them off the grass was head of community outreach at his church. They asked a Pastor at a small church whether the church could provide them a meal, to which the Pastor answered, "We don't do that here, we worship God here."

But then Sam and Mike went to an afternoon service on the beaches of San Fransisco, California. People were handing out bag lunches to the homeless while a young guy led worship. After that a 17 year old got up to bring a message to the crowd that gathered.

When the service was over the worship leader and the preacher boy came over to Mike and Sam and they talked like they had been friends forever. The ministers offered the two homeless guys more lunches and asked about their lives (now understand Mike and Joe never let people know that they were Christians with an address and money and a good family) and the two told them that they were trying to get bus fare to go to San Diego.

These two preacher boys then felt led by the spirit to invite Mike and Sam to their church for night service and offered to let them come back to their apartment to shower and eat and hang out. When these two showed up at the church they were treated like royalty and the worship leader took them to his car and opened the trunk... it was full of food. Then the 17 year old man of God gave Mike and Sam an envelope filled with the exact amount of bus fare needed to get to San Diego.

It was amazing to me that in all the stories Sam and Mike told about Christians it took two young guys on a beach to live out the gospel in their lives. What would you have done?

I am convinced that if Jesus were alive in this day and age that he wouldn't be as we picture Him. We picture Him as a white guy with luxurious brown hair and blue eyes. He drives an SUV, lives in the suburbs and is a member of the PTA.

From what we know of Jesus' background, He would look like a Middle Eastern man and would be talking radical talk. This means that Jesus would be targeted by Homeland Security and He would make people nervous if He got on an airplane, and quite frankly... most people would think of Him as a possible terrorist.

From what we know of who Jesus was He wouldn't live in a 4 bedroom overlooking the lake with a pool and a big backyard. From what we know of who Jesus was, my bet is that He would come to Earth as a homeless man. How would He be treated?

I am not saying that the answer to the Christian life is to give money to the poor because that is not the case. In fact, you should never give money to the poor because 9 times out of ten you are feeding a heroine addiction or providing an alcoholic with the very thing that put him on the streets. You should only give homeless people love, support, work, food, and gift cards.

My whole point is this: do we really want to reach the world with the gospel or just the people that are like us? If Mike and Sam walked into NorthRidge Church how would they be treated?

When I was in high school I witnessed to this homeless man, took him to McDonalds and brought him to night church. He felt led to come forward and profess his salvation, which in most Southern Baptist churches means to join the church. I didn't hear the conversation at the alter, but this man came back to the pew dejected because he was told he couldn't join the church without an address. That's all well and good, but his salvation was never rejoiced over within the congregation. Why was that? If that man made $50,000 and thus would supply the church with $5,000 a year you better believe we would have rejoiced. But the Bible says that the angels rejoice when any sinner comes to Christ.

My question then is... why are we so stubborn?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My new book

Note: This post originally said that Dr. Maiden was speaking on the 12th, but he is speaking on the 19th. Pastor Harold Butler will be blessing us with God's word on the 12th.

I looked at my statistics and saw that 9 people have viewed my blog... Awesome! To those 9 of you who are now regular readers of my blog I have a special treat for you.

If I am correct (which I usually am) the former Pastor of NorthRidge Dr. Maiden will be in pulpit on August 19th to speak to our congregation. After this he will have a book signing for his new book.

This led me to reach back into my memory bank and withdraw January 1, 2006. On this day I made a resolution that I would write the book that has been inside of my head for a while now. The good thing about this resolution is that even though I have not made a lot of progress in the past year and a half I have not yet broken my resolution.

So what I wanted to do for my faithful 9 blog viewers is give you a never before sneak peak into my new book which will be realeased on August 12, 2014. So here it is and please leave me some comments on what you think and where changes can be made. I love you 9!


I am sure that all of you are familiar with a timeline. We learned to use them in the third grade and have neglected them ever since. The basic point of a timeline is to chronologically arrange the order of events that have some significance to each other.
Such an example would be that I was born on May 20, 1982. I was saved on March 26, 1996. I graduated high school on May 22, 2000. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl on January 22, 2002. I got married April 24, 2004. Those are all of the significant events that have happened in my life up until this point and so the timeline of my life would look like this.

Now what I would like for you to do is to make a timeline of all of the significant events that have taken place in your life. They could be things like your birth, your salvation, your marriage, the birth of your children, the Bucs’ Super Bowl victory; whatever is important to you. If you like you can write it out in the space provided below.

Take a minute to look over your timeline and to reflect on these events. Think about how important all of these events were and where you would be if they had never occurred.

Now what I need to you to do is to use your imagination. I need you to imagine that this next picture is one straight line. In order to do that, imagine that you can physically pick up the beginning of this picture with your left hand and the end of it with your right hand. Pick it up straight off of this page and stretch the two ends out like Christmas lights. (like its that easy to stretch out Christmas lights) Then take your right hand and toss out the end of the line until it is straight

In your imagination this line should be perfectly straight just like a timeline. This line would be very, very long. It could probably stretch through your house and down the block for a little ways.
Now what I need to you to do is to use your imagination to take the timeline that you made for yourself and crumble it up into a little ball until it makes a tiny little dot. Place this little dot toward the very beginning of the long line that you stretched out in your head that went through your neighbor’s window. It would look something like this.

What you now have is a clear and understandable representation of eternity. The beginning of the line in your hand represents the beginning of time. I will leave it to people a lot smarter than I to argue whether there ever was a real beginning of time. For our illustrations purposes your left hand will represent Genesis 1 when God created Heaven and the Earth and everything on Earth.
The end of this line represents eternity. Now understand this: the line that you have in your imagination is very long. It is probably the longest timeline that you have ever seen, but if this truly represents eternity it is only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of how long the line should really be. We can not truly make a timeline that represents eternity because eternity transcends time. But for the practical purposes that this book will serve we must try to wrap our finite brains around infinity and the only way to do that is use our imagination to make this line.
So if your left hand is creation and the line is eternity then what does the dot represent? It represents your life. I bet for some of you when you were making your timeline you were thinking, “I sure have lived a full life.” Or maybe, “Boy, I am old.” But when you crumbled up your timeline and turned it into a dot I bet it made your life seem insignificant.
What I need for you to understand is that this is as close to an accurate timeline as we will ever be able to make here on Earth. And every time you make your timeline and put it in relation with eternity, it will always be a dot.
What if I live to be 75? A dot. What if I live to be 100? A dot. What if I am like Bethusela and live to be ? Always a dot. When we put our lives on the same scale as eternity it will always be a dot. Regardless.
Do you remember the last time that you went to a cemetery? There were a lot of tombstones surrounding you as far as the eye can see. The tombstones said something like this:
Here Lies John Doe
A Great Man, A Great Father, A Great American
What do we really know about this man? We know his name. We know that there were people that loved him and thought highly of him. We know when he was born and when he died. That’s it. That’s all we know. The reality is that his entire existence on this Earth was summed up with a dash. All of the successes, all of the stories, all of the experiences, all of the hard work; everything is summed up in one little dash.
It seems pretty depressing doesn’t it, but it is a true statement that one day after you die, everyone will eventually forget about you or the people that remember you will die themselves. When that happens all that you were and all that you stood for will be encompassed in that one little dash on your tombstone that separates the year you were born from the year that you died. In other words it will be nothing more than a dot on the timeline of eternity.
The Bible makes this point very clearly a few times on just how short and frail our life is. James 4:14 says, “…you are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Job 7:6 says, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…” And Job 9:25 says, “Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good.”


In order for you to understand what the line and the dot means to me let me paint you a picture of my childhood. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Tampa, FL. I was an eighties child. Nothing beat the Dukes of Hazzard and the Ninja Turtles as far as I was concerned
I had blonde hair and blue eyes. I took my blonde hair and I parted it down the left side of my head and did a little bit of a comb over. So the left side of my head looked clean-cut and business-like and the right side of my head looked like tumbleweed rolling through the desert. It was almost like a sideways mullet.
I had a very keen eye for fashion. I wore nothing but t-shirts that usually contained some sort of cartoon character, such as Roger Rabbit or Bugs Bunny. I also owned one of those shirts that changed from one ugly color to the next if you touched it. And the prize of my t-shirt collection was a purple shirt with a surfer on it, but if you rolled up the sleeves the underneath color was orange.
Being from Florida, I only owned one or two pair of long pants and the rest of my wardrobe was comprised of jean shorts. The very same pair of jean shorts. You see, my mom found these particular shorts on sale at an outlet mall and felt it necessary to buy every pair, because it is hard to pass up such a good deal. So nearly every day for two or three years I was dressed in the exact same pair of shorts.
Coming form a family that wasn’t particularly affluent, we only got one pair of shoes a year. Shoes were a huge deal when I was in school, who you were was based on what shoes you wore. If you had the “Ken Griffeys” with the number 24 on the side then you could be part of the elite of the school. We bought our shoes at Wal-Mart and I can only remember one pair from one particular year and they had two velcro straps on them and had a picture of my favorite cat-eating alien ALF the side of them. During the summertime I absolutely loved my shoes, when school started and the jokes rolled in I would rather have went barefoot.
There is one thing though that I have failed to mention that topped off my wardrobe… my socks. I had socks that came up to my knees and had different colored stripes on them. It didn’t matter if the stripes matched my outfit, it only mattered that they matched each other. If you add all of this with the worst posture that anyone has ever seen and a set of teeth that makes Austin Powers look like Brad Pitt then you have a pretty accurate picture of what I was like as a child.
My name is James Blewett, (pronounced bloo-ette) not so hard. However when the first day of school rolled around and it came time to call roll all of the teachers pronounced my name as though they have never read English before. “James Blew It” would naturally be what poured out of their mouth. Being the first day of school and the first alphabetically called, this pronunciation would get the class rolling on the floor with laughter to start the year off. And then the statement that every teacher made with confidence as though they were the originators of the centuries old joke “James, you really Blew It this time.” And my year would get off to a great start. Just imagine my joy when I found out that in middle school we would have six classes with six different teachers and six different times calling roll. I am excited about going to Heaven, but I hope that the roll really won’t be called up yonder like the hymn says.
I painted you that picture in order for you to grasp the lack of self-confidence that I had. People that meet me today have a hard time believing that I ever lacked self-confidence because these dies I try not to cross over the cockiness line that separates self-confident people from pro athletes. It didn’t take long for me to create a defense mechanism known in the eighties as a “cut-down.” Now it is something that I struggle not to use.
My family life was not the best that it could be. My mom had an accident when I was really young and hurt her back, the injury handicapped her and she had to quit her job and stay home. My dad then became a workaholic, he didn’t have much choice with all of the doctor bills that were rolling in. My parents tried very hard, and I do believe they wanted the best for us however when I think back to my childhood I cannot think of one positive memory.
My mom was a frustrated, angry lady and needed an outlet for her anger and that usually came in the form of physically punishing me for any small hiccup that I made. I was truly scared of my mother for most of my life.
My dad had to unwind with a few beers when he got home from work and my brother and I would keep tabs on how many because once it got to three or four we made ourselves scarce.
I had often heard people telling me growing up that I was lucky to have two parents that have remained together for my whole life. The thing is that people didn’t know what went on behind closed doors. My parents fought like they literally hated each other on a nightly basis and the only reason they didn’t get divorced was because the state wouldn’t allow my mom to raise us alone and my dad worked too much to raise us, so they were stuck together.
I hated going to school. I really just hated that there were people at the school. I liked to learn and I liked to be distracted from life, but I hated going to school. However, until my freshman year in high school I only missed two days out of my entire schooling career because I just hated being at home more than I hated being anywhere else.
Of all of the things in my life that I hated, there was one thing that I hated more than anything else… nighttime. I hated being around people, but I hated being alone even more. It absolutely terrified me to be alone with my thoughts. When the lights when out and it was just me, I did nothing but question my existence...

More to come, check a bookstore near you.... in 8 years!

Friday, August 3, 2007

My first blog

Well, I am not sure how many people are going to read this but I am going to enter the world of blogging.

I am sure that if anybody is reading this (which I highly doubt) then they are most likely members of NorthRidge Church. The reason is because I mentioned it in the bulletin and so that is the only way that anybody would even know about this blog.

I am anticipating blogging on the inner workings of a youth ministry and letting everyone knows what really goes on behind the cubicles at NC. (that's my blog lingo for NorthRidge (why is the R capatilized?) Church) And I would like to tell funny stories and interesting antecdotes and maybe next week I will, but not this week.

This week the cubicles are less energetic than usual, because we are all working with a heavy heart. On Wednesday August 1st our good friend Jim Shemwell went on to be with his Father. It is still very shocking and very sad.

Now if you are a member at NC you would know that I have only been at this church for 2 months. But in those 2 months I have grown a close bond with Mr. Jim. He was such a nice man, such a Godly man, such an encouaraging man and I am going to miss him greatly.

I remember our interview process. My wife and I came to Haines City for the second time in a month. The first time went very well and now me and the Heath were coming to get voted on. Our fearless leader Pastor David decided that Heather and I needed some R and R. So Pastor got on the horn with Mr. Jim and asked him to take us to Disney World.

Mr. Jim and Carol and Larissa met us at the church and we followed them to the mouse world. We walked from the car to the train, from the train to the monorail, from the monorail to the front gate, from the front gate to the bathroom (it was a long walk) and the entire time me and Mr. Jim were chatting it up like we had known each other for 20 years. Heather and I knew that if everyone was even half as nice as him then we were definitely in the right place.

Ever since that day whenever Mr. Jim saw me he had an encouraging word for me. And I saw him a lot, and you would think that he would run out of nice things to say... but he never did.

A man that lived to serve the Lord. A man that made everyone feel special. A man that will be greatly missed.

I will see you again some day Mr. Jim.