$500 Tip for Pizza?

There is a video that is currently going viral that I had to share. A 30 year old man named Aaron died on July 7th, just 3 weeks after his 30th birthday. In his will he asked that if there was enough money left when his bills were paid, that the family go out for pizza and leave a $500 tip.

There wasn’t enough money in his assets to make that happen so his brother, Seth created a website: aaroncollins.org. He asked if people would contribute so that they could make his brother’s wish happen.

They soon had enough donated and they video taped their experience of giving a waitress at a local pizza place $500. The video has now gone viral, they have been interviewed on CNN and have raised over $28,000. That’s enough to give a $500 tip once a week for over a year.

It’s a great example of how we each influence the people around us. There is a story on the website of Aaron leaving a $50 tip after receiving terrible service at a diner. How are we using our lives to influnce and express love to the people around us, regardless of the consequences?


Bus Size Sharks and Free Diving Birds


Birds can hold their breath and swim under water.

At least, some birds can.

This may be old news to you, but apparently I had been asleep on that day of Earth Science class.

This new tidbit of knowledge was passed on to me last week while my family and I were on vacation in Florida. We had boarded a plane and taken the kids down to see Grandma and Grandpa in Cape Coral. The kids were looking forward to seven straight days of being spoiled by Grandma, and mom and dad were looking forward to some extra sleep and maybe some sunshine.

Tropical Storm Debby nixed the hopes for sunshine, and a flu bug kept us close to the bathroom for several days, but neither was strong enough to knock out a grandma intent on her grandkids. The kids had a great time.

Whenever we go to Florida I look for opportunities to go SCUBA diving. It is really the reason why I got certified in the first place: to be able to explore the warm waters of the sunshine state. Diving here in Michigan is OK, but is nothing compared to Florida. The east coast of Florida is the place to go if you are a diver. Ft. Lauderdale and Key Largo are diving meccas.

The tooth in picture at the top is a Megladon tooth I brought back. This picture is a bone from a Dugong.

However the west coast where my wife’s parents live has a diving experience I had been wanting to try for a while: Diving for prehistoric shark teeth.  There is an area a few hundred yards off the coast of Venice, Florida that is called the Boneyard. The bottom is littered with bones: mammoth bones, ancient whale bones, bones of an animal called a dugong which looks kind of like a manatee except it’s tale looks like a dolphin’s tale, and the prize that everyone is looking for — the teeth of prehistoric sharks.These shark teeth can be as large as six inches long, and came from long dead sharks called Megladons that were up to sixty feet long, three times the size of a great white. Definitely wouldn’t want to be in the water with one of those.
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How Big is Your God?

Hot Water Bottle

I have only cried like a baby in front of our church a few times. Yesterday was one of those times. We have been doing a series called The Circle Maker, based off of a book of the same title by Mark Batterson. It focuses on prayer and has been thoroughly challenging to me as we have walked through it.

In preparation for this week’s message I came across the following story. Before I share the story I want to preface it with this: I am pretty careful about the stories that I share with the people of our church. I have heard too many pastors pass on stories they said were true only to bump into them later online and find out that they were elaborate fabrications. I have no problem with fiction, just let me know it is fiction.

I’ve done some digging and to the best of my knowledge, this is true. The narrator is Helen Roseveare, formerly a missionary in Central Africa.
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Twisted Ankles


Have you ever been mad at yourself?

I mean really mad?

Last week, for the second year in a row I went on a four day backpacking trip with a group of guys.

These aren’t your “lets take the camper to the lake for Memorial Day weekend” campouts. These are your “take everything on your back or you don’t have it with you in the woods, no bathrooms, filter your water out of the nearest stream” campouts.  Each year we explore somewhere new and this year we headed for Red River Gorge Kentucky (about an hour Southeast of Lexington).

A lot of personal preparation goes into a trip like this. Because you have to carry everything on your back (your house, your bed, your kitchen, your food, your clothes…) you are very careful about what you take. I spent a lot of time getting ready. I also spent time training, walking area trails with a full pack to get my body used to the idea of carrying an extra 40 pounds.

After all of the preparation and a six hour drive I was excited to get started when we finally set out. We had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to hike and the things we wanted to see when we got there. The first day was great. We arrived in late afternoon, hiked about a mile and a half in and set up our first camp. The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast, struck camp and set out.

Sky Bridge rock formation in the Red River Gorge

We were hoping to cover around ten miles that day. The Red River Gorge area is beautiful, with huge rock formations, large stone arches, and beautiful streams. It is also amazingly hilly. Hilly doesn’t do the terrain justice. These are the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. The valley floors are several hundred feet below the ridge lines. Trails descend down one side of a gorge to the floor, and then ascend brutally up the other side.

The first trail of the day was a descent into one of those valleys. The trail was downhill and steep. After only ten minutes of hiking I made a mistake. I planted my foot in the wrong place and when I shifted my weight the weight of my backpack swung me around, but my foot stayed still. I twisted my ankle badly and skidded ten feet down the hill on my back.
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Happy Mother’s Day!

If there were ever a group of people on this planet who embody Reckless Living it is Moms! They give of themselves inspite of the consequences. They go without sleep, personal space, and snot free shirts for us. We showed this video in church this morning in appretiation of Moms everywhere. It was created by The Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. Enjoy!


Reckless Reads

Leaders are readers, and it is a great time to be both! There are always good deals to be found for the Kindle and from time to time I try to highlight a few of the current ones. These are all available for $2.99 or less, but the prices are always subject to change so get ‘em while the gettin’ is good. A quick check and it looks like the books that I highlighted in my last Reckless Reads post are still on sale too. The first book of that list, Transformation, is AMAZING!

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears – Mark Batterson – $2.99

I am in the middle of this one now, and at Rivertree we will be doing a teaching series based off of it in the near future.

Amazon Description:

According to Pastor Mark Batterson in this Zondervan ebook, The Circle Maker, ‘Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.’ Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for your life, than what you’re experiencing? It’s time you learned from the legend of Honi the Circle Maker—a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not budge from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people. What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around? Sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences as a circle maker, Mark Batterson will help you uncover your heart’s deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer.
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Did You Hear I Sing Backup for Bieber?


A few weeks ago Janelle and I had the opportunity to spend a few days in St. Petersburg, Florida. She was there for work, but I was there for play. I read and wrote and sat by the pool. It was amazing.

The conference went through Sunday, however I had to come back a day earlier than my wife to be at Rivertree for Sunday morning. Because we didn’t need a car while we were in Florida we used a ride service to get to and from the airport. It was cheaper than renting a car and cheaper than taking a taxi, not to mention it was fun to have someone waiting with a car for us when we landed.

On that Saturday, they were supposed to send what they called a “sedan” for me. We had a sedan for the ride to the hotel when we arrived. It had been in a Cadillac. Definitely not bad, and I was expecting something similar for the return trip. When the driver arrived he said nonchalantly, “I’ve got the limo today.”

The what?

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You are an Uppleva


Our family got a new TV last month. Up until then we had a 32” behemoth in the living room that weighed as much as I do.

My friends made fun of me for it.

“What that huge box doing behind your tv?” they would ask.

I know, my friends are hilarious.

Well, we took some of our tax return this year and decided it was time for a new TV.

When you watch TV, you’re not thinking about everything that goes into your experience.  There are armies of people who make the programing, choose the programing, who make the components for the tvs and put those components together. When we sit down after a long day with a bag of chips and a remote to relax we are experiencing the fruits of thousands of hours of labor.

There is a lot more to TV than meets the eye. Furniture maker Ikea, known for selling items with “some assembly required” recently announced that they were releasing a TV of their own. Conan O’Brien had some fun at their expense, creating this infomercial:

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844 People Die, Three Years After Boat Sank


This is the second part of a two part series exploring the sinking of the Titanic. Previously I asked the question: Did Reckless Living sink the Titanic?

Today I want to explore a little known footnote about the Titanic disaster, and some things that we can learn from it. We all know that the Titanic sunk almost exactly 100 years ago. Tragically, 1,517 people lost their lives. That was on April 15, 1912.

But did you know that 844 more people died three years later as a result of the sinking of the Titanic?
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Did Reckless Living Sink the Titanic?


When I was in middle school I was fascinated by shipwrecks. For some reason there tends to be a latent morbid curiosity within most human beings that draws us to stories of the macabre. We run from the idea of death but are also intrigued by it. Shipwrecks are spooky and romantic and tragic all in one package.

I remember going to a book sale one day and coming home with two coffee table size books on the subject. Both were filled with pictures and stories of the doomed ships, and tales of how they met their fate. I still have both books somewhere.

One was a general book on shipwrecks from the 20th century. It told the stories of chips like the Andrea Doria, the Empress of Ireland, and the General Slocum.

The other book focused on what is arguably the most famous shipwreck of all times: RMS Titanic.

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. There were TV specials and commemorative ceremonies. One company offered a memorial cruise that replicated the voyage of the Titanic, stopping over the wreck site for memorials at the exact time of the ships tragic encounter with an iceberg and subsequent plunge to the depths of the North Atlantic two hours later.

As someone who is intrigued by the Titanic I have watched several of the shows and read articles and pondered myself the events that took place 100 years ago. I’ve had several thoughts and so this will the first of two posts here at Reckless Living that focus on the Titanic disaster.

The first is this: Did Reckless Living sink the Titanic?
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