Hope.

Lately, in this wacky world we live in, I don’t see a lot of hope. Some blame our president, some blame a skin color, some blame God, some blame the person next to them. Honestly? It’s my fault. It’s your fault. We have all lost hope.

Our previous president was embodied as “Hope” – it was hope for change, it was hope for the future. For many of his followers, that hope he created, quickly went away when he left office, but after all, things said and done he was and is just a man. If you misplaced hope in someone who could fail. Who had a limited time in power, who may of went left instead of sticking right, we’re all human! It happens.

Do you want to see a better world? Want to see things better? Don’t expect the current president to fix it for you. He isn’t your hope, nor is he your destroyer. He’s a man. Flawed, broken, and too is going to make good things, and bad things. Not here to debate what he’s done good or bad – because as with anyone on the left, right or middle can say about ANY president – but Trump isn’t my hope nor was Obama.

Lately, I find myself looking for hope in what intake into my mind, my heart, my life. From stories to music, and I find myself in stories of hope, all of which start with us looking to the light, not towards the dark – that never-ending battle of good over evil. The Machine vs. Samaritan (Person of Interest), Kevin doing for others (Kevin Probably Saves the World), Crowder singing about where his hope is in the song above, to Mercy Me telling us in the dark, we can hold on to hope in him (Even If).

It hasn’t been what I would call an easy few years for me, friends moved on, life changed, health took a plunge and my connection to life has changed drastically. How do you find hope in what you know as your world – which just crumbles in front of you? You’re told you’re bad, you’re told your stupid, and told your health is crumbling – Diabetic, High Cholesterol, Dangerously High Blood Pressure – and let’s not leave out a business which has had its share of dings. Where do you find hope?

Honestly, I’d love to write that I was the good Christian boy, that I said “Yay God!” in all moments, but I’m not. I’m human. I’m flawed. I made choices, which brought me to this day where I am right now. And what can I say today after these hard years and maybe more hard years to come? God is Love, and in His Love, there is hope.

Today I write not hiding behind some magical and happy life that I post daily on Social Media that is fake, today I write as a guy who’s fighting uphill to get where God would have me. Not where I’d like to be always, but taking that step into the fire knowing that he won’t let me get burned, but I may feel a little heat, I may break a sweat, but even through all of this, through 400+ blood sugars, to heart rates that likely if had been higher would of sent me to a hospital, from fights in my marriage, fears in my child not coming into this world, to words spoken to me in “love” stabbing deeply and abandoning me – I’m still standing.

I may be light in a few areas of my life, I may not be driving a sports car, I may not have the supports or same outlook as to where my life was going, I’m standing.  I am watching a 3 yr old grow into an amazing life, I’m watching a marriage with fewer fights,  I’m seeing blood sugars lowering down to 110.  I’m seeing me stronger. Maybe not as quickly as some felt it needed to be, maybe not how quickly as it was supposed to be – but I’m human, I’m flawed.

2017 is quickly coming to an end and like Job the end of this tale where many times I feel like was told to “Curse God and Die” by so many areas of my life, I’m happy to report I did not, and I’m looking forward to restoration. To seeing how God can continue to redeem my life, redeem what I’ve lost even more. Yes I know so many of us can say we feel like Job – I know so many people I’ve talked to over the years have gone through their own Job Season – I think for many of us we do, not everyone does in this life and that’s one of those “Questions for Heaven” an old Pastor I knew used to talk about, but he also reminded us no matter the trial and tribulation we went through in this life, his God. My God. Is there besides us.

I’m thinking this will be my last post for 2017, I’m hoping to continue writing about my journey in 2018, but I’m going to focus my creativity, my energy, my life into building the things God’s laid in my lap these past few weeks, focus on exercise, on eating better, on building – so I wish you all who actually read this a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2018.

PS:7 – He Reads Truth

I have been a long-standing user of the Bible App (Android/iPhone) – it has many great translations (most of which you can download for free) but the devotional content is not always my favorite, they are short and I in some cases just a collection of scriptures. That’s not bad, but I want beef!

So I saw some folks on Instagram and Pinterest posting about “She Reads Truth” (Android/iPhone) which was a devotional collection for Women. I wondered if there was an SHe Reads Truth and there is only for iPhone (sadly not iPad as it does not scale) hopefully it’ll be for Android as I’d love to read it in a tablet format!

screen322x572But so far I’ve enjoyed the content it provides, it’s a beautiful layout, very clean and simple. The devotionals have a lot of substance. Not just a quick set of verses – I mean there are times for verses only, but I like that this has three stages:

  1. Verses
  2. Devotional
  3. Reflect

Awesome to be able to jot down what I’m thinking about the devotional. I feel that I walk away with more all things said and done.

I’m not going to stop using the Bible app, honestly, it’s my go to Digital Bible, but for study, I’d suggest He Reads truth for the guys, and She Reads Truth (if just like He) is a good grab too! Check your app store or use the links above!

Webhosting is a Blessing!

13 years and counting. Hard to believe that its only been 13 years! Feel like the spirit of what FlockHosting does has been around a lot longer! I started helping Christian bands ages ago my old friend Pete Prevost before he was in Sanctus Real was in a band called “Johnny Come Lately”, I remember all those years ago building a page for the payment of … Taco Bell.

Well in some ways not much has changed, FlockHosting is an act of love, hosting over 100+ churches (looking forward to doing more!), I have customers all over the world and others here at home!

I’ve been insanely blessed, sure I’d love to see it produce a bit more income, but when you hear things like this:

Thanks so much for providing this service, we’re seeing new people come to our church just because they could find us on the internet when they move to the area and see what we do. I hope God is blessing you in all the work you do. – Andy C.

Wow. Plain wow. This is what I’ve always wanted to see folks do with FlockHosting, sure I have Thrust Networks which is the real core company, it’s the LLC everything is under, and operates, but honestly I love doing this ministry to churches.

I want to grow FlockHosting even more, I’d love to see it really just spring into action but the world of Shared Hosting slows down, as more and more companies offer the design, hosting, etc. all in one price, and I don’t have 3,000 employees – but who knows maybe I can find a way like I mention in the recent FlockUpdate doing some design at affordable rates (not the $10,000+ you see some places) but keeping it affordable and looking good! So some challenges ahead!

God is Good, and just give Him the entire business to do with as He sees fit!

Your life may have taken a detour, but God is still on the throne. He has brought you this far, and sooner or later, your peace will be restored.
-Joel Osteen (Facebook Post)

Let’s get down to business….

For over 10 years I’ve owned my own business – maybe not the most successful in terms of dollars and cents, but I love it! I’ve had days I’ve not been a fan, and had stress from it, but in the end over the last decade it has changed and evolved into what it is now, something a bit more manageable!

Me and My Big Brother Ron (We are so cool!)
Me and My Big Brother Ron (We are so cool!)

I remember back in 1997-1998 working Modern Networks with my brother (okay so I was the tag-along to what big brother was doing!) it was fun! We had some folks we worked on their websites using a re-seller hosting platform and it was fun, I remember still using it years later as I split off and was doing my own thing for friends, helping host band websites, local ministry’s and such – and then joined a company bringing my customers and a slew of my own websites called Mass Communications – which was fun too as I got to work with friends like Dan, Adam, Tom, and My Brother as well! It was going well but took some snags and too just didn’t work as a long-term fit, but thus Thrust Networks was born.

The Business!Within a year of starting Thrust Networks a lot of changes were on-going – had outages, stress, a PG&E Gas Main rupture behind the building, many many many many many many many *breath* many many many nights without sleep or little sleep – had a break-in (or at least a window shattered by a rock) – but it was quite the first year of business – but then I began moving customers from our little rack shown here to datacenters outside of Bakersfield, as we were pushing the limits of a T1 line, a growing customer base between two companies, and there wasn’t room to keep it all local anymore, we’d out grown our local ability (well affordably).

As things moved forward outside of the local area, I began to see more and more needs out in the Christian Community, sites I was a fan of getting hit with overages/outages – needed to do something and thus FlockHosting was born to offer the Christian Community a safe and affordable option for hosting.

And things have been going since! Now over a decade later I’m still working on things! Thrust Networks is actually getting a site coded right now as I haven’t actually had a active website for Thrust Networks for nearly 8 years – FlockHosting is getting some TLC as we enter the second half of the year, and its all coming together nicely!

I am excited about what God can do with this business, what he can make happen and how he can support me and one day a family, it’s not perfect right now and is in a BIG growing stage, but like anything that grows it must be prepared for the growth to come, so big cleanup of servers, big change up of software/configurations – a lot of work is to come! Can’t wait to see what will happen over the next decade, but too looking around for options too for a side job maybe even part time to balance out the budget, pay down debt faster, and just get things smoother and smoother sailing!

For now though my business is doing its job, and giving me a place to live, but I want to see it flourish and grow and become even more, that one day it will do even more and more for more and more people, I’m blessed to serve – and hope to serve folks for many years to come.

Remaining Joyful!

Not been maybe the easiest month this ol June 2013, but all in all through it all, I am still standing & smiling! It has been a month of transition, change, and trial the latest two added to the pile was Thursday my business debit card getting stolen and over $1000 stolen from my account (One from Toys-R-Us for ~$640!), and then waking up Friday to find my passenger side tire flat beyond flat and that it was likely damage someone did to the tire as the side wall was likely “ice pick’d” as I was told later.

Now these sorts of things after a month of all-over-the-place would likely be a tipping point, however as you could ask folks about the day I found my card was stolen, I was actually smiling! And while finances are tight I realized God had it under control as I spoke with Zach at the Debit Card Fraud Services Department and he worked to shut down the card and tag the transactions as fraud, 0% liability, and he was super helpful on options to possibly get me my funds back on Monday much quicker!

Today I took my tire in and when they alerted me to the additional damage I didn’t see instead of charging me for a tire, Benino and his crew as usual took care of me and applied my tire warranty and helped get me a new tire and even got it all mounted in the ball park of $50! Still need an alignment and oil change, but one thing at a time 🙂

All in all, through the up and down of this month, in the end things are blessed – maybe not how I expected to have a Joyful June but I’m not giving up on the idea it can continue to be Joyful! Things seem to be re-focusing into what I think God is preparing to do in my life, I’m re-working the business a bit, lowering some costs and improving some services at the same time – and while it means some extra work, benefits should be a blessing to customers and myself! But things are changing and I’m excited about where they will go!

So please keep me in your prayers if you could, I know I am asking folks for that more and more, but it’s been one things that I wanted to do this year is really been transparent in my need for help but also accepting help when it comes, and still have some things I need to really work on when it comes to asking for help, but too God’s been amazing in having people offer me help as it’s always amazing to have folks just jump in to help, even Dan as he picked me up for Breakfast came and helped swap out my tire with some teamwork 🙂

Don’t let the devil steal your joy, today may be rough, things may be upside down, backwards and inside out – BUT God still has good things planned even when there’s a bump in the road, it doesn’t mean He’s not there, just means you need to draw closer and hold tighter to Him! He will see you through each and every step even if its bumpy.

Solomon, Dan, Michael, Scott and Me @ CALM Lights 2010!
Solomon, Dan, Michael, Scott and Me @ CALM Lights 2010!