Here’s an excellent post from my wonderful wife Vicki.

This morning my little girl pumped her fist together asking for a cookie, her third one. I reached in the bag and gave her another. She happily took it then proceeded to shove it in her mouth and run to her toys. I have a happy child. One that is clothed, fed, loved on with all the desires a 1-year-old could need. Never once have I not had some kind of snack to offer her. Sure we’ve come close to running out of the essentials while waiting for Friday’s pay check, but never have we missed a meal due to no food in the cupboards.

As I am thinking on these things an infomercial pops up on my T.V. You know the kinds for fighting world hunger. They show all those starving babies with their hair changing color, ribs sticking out, stick arms, and bulging bellies. They make your heart stop a beat. Usually I click over to another channel convincing myself that our family does our share. That I’ve seen it all before and we just can’t sacrifice another penny, someone else will do it. “We already give tons to our church, other charity organizations, an orphan inIndia” I continue telling myself.

Well, this time I didn’t click over to Who wants to be a millionaire. I sat for the entire infomercial holding back the tears. When it was finished I turned off the T.V. and looked around at the house cluttered with toys and worldly possessions. I could remember last Christmas when I had thought my child with only her yellow bucket filled with toys wasn’t enough for her. Last week I had some anxiety wondering where we would get the money for summer clothes, not to mention winter clothes. Now I have a pile of summer clothes for her sitting on our couch. One too many more than most children have. Oh, and those toys. We don’t even have enough corners in the house for all her toys anymore.

I picked up my little one and squeezed her tight, weeping as I couldn’t imagine all the mothers that were doing the same thing, wishing they had one ounce of breast milk to soothe their child’s hunger pains. My tears wouldn’t stop as I cried to God to have mercy on these children and their mothers. Of course the question of why came up through my pleas. Then God whispered Vicki, are you really doing your share. Have you really sacrificed everything for me?

I have complained to God before about my small house that I don’t have enough room to store all of our junk in. I’ve complained about my responsibility to yet again do another load of laundry, clean another toilet, and make another meal. I’ve complained about our 20 minute trip to the church every other day. I’ve complained about my weight, not eating properly or exercising enough. I’ve complained about the heat or air conditioning not working, yet again. I’ve complained about gas prices and car expenses. I’ve complained because my child has cried one minute too long. I’ve complained because there is nothing to watch on T.V., that we can’t afford to go out to eat or have a nice date night. That it’s too hot, too cold, too spicy, too far, too lonely, too crowded, too loud, too soft, and not enough time in the day.

Am I really doing my part for the Kingdom of God? I don’t think so. There is no way that my selfish little heart is doing enough for the kingdom of heaven. While my child throws a tantrum for not getting what she wants I can only imagine where she gets it from. Americans and I’m sure a good percentage of the world, live in little bubbles too concerned about buildings, budgets, and programs. Who can look the best and be the most comfortable? We are the seeds that have been thrown amongst the thorns or trampled upon. What about all those that have never even tasted the bread of life, they don’t even know it exists? Am I really doing my part? Are you really doing yours? What can we do today, tomorrow, this week, and the rest of our lives to change this?

A New Era

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well…  times sure are changing.

The Lakers/Celtics dynasty appears to be over…

Tiger Woods is quickly turning into the Ken Griffey Jr. of golf…

And Matt Riggins is a now a worldwide known blogger!

Wait… what?

Well… why the last part is not entirely true and most likely won’t ever be, but I did accomplish something that I never really expected.

Tomorrow, Friday May 13, 2011, an article that I wrote will be featured in the super popular blog “Stuff Christians Like“.

Jon Acuff started that blog a few years ago and it blew up and became so popular that Dave Ramsey snatched him up and hired him.   He has authored 3 books, one of which I have read and one of which was just released this week.  I had the opportunity to meet Jon when I attended the Catalyst conference last fall in Atlanta, Ga and he is a super great guy who has not allowed his success to go to his head.

The article actually was originally posted here at my blog, but I won’t give away the secret.  You will have to check Jon’s blog tomorrow to read it (perhaps again) and hopefully the comments will be an enjoyable experience for me and there won’t be too many “who’s this idiot?” comments on there.  :)

Who Do You Trust?

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Trust…

It’s one of those things that takes years to build, and a few seconds to tear it down.

We need trust in every relationship.  Whether it’s friends, relatives, family members, and relationships - trust is what holds those together. Even services like auto mechanics, plumbers, heating/air conditioning, basic construction needs – they all require trust. In general, the person you vote for each and every election is the person that you trust the most.  The place you get your news from – it’s the place you trust.  Our currency says “In God We Trust“.  Even your doctor and your dentist – you definitely need to trust them.  You most likely attend the church you attend, because you trust the leadership.  You don’t necessarily need to trust your co-workers, but it sure makes your job a lot nicer when you can.

Every single relationship we have, they ALL require some form of trust.

This day in age, it can be a difficult task at times finding someone you can trust.  Nothing leaves a bitter taste in my mouth more than the feeling of thinking or knowing I got ripped off.  And most of the time, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

That’s why I am so thankful that I’ve got so many people in my life that I can trust.  In some cases, it is people that really could take advantage of me if they wanted to.  People like auto mechanics, hvac, computer technicians, fencers, and exterminators – I’ve got friends in many of these industries and I am so thankful for them because in every one of these areas – they are skilled and I am not.

God has surrounded me with good, honest people, and I am extremely grateful for that!  I want to make sure that given an opportunity to return the favor – I will be ready and prepared.  I do not want to jeopardize the trust that I have built up with them, and I want them to know that they can trust me as well.

Can the people in your life trust you?  Do they want to?  Need to?

The golden rule is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you“.  In other words – treat people the same way you would like to be treated.  Treat them with respect, honor, and dignity.  Even when you feel like they don’t deserve it.

Do you practice that in your relationships?  With friends?  Family?  Bosses?  Clients? Co-Workers?

We all should be trying this a little harder than maybe we already are.

Expect the Unexpected…

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Expecting the unexpected.  If you’re a faithful reader of this blog, I apologize.  Lately I’ve been disregarding posting.  Call it laziness, slothfullness, busyness – whatever.  By quickly scrolling down, you can see that my last post was on Feb 7, 2011.  Like the way the New York Mets have started this baseball season, that is completely unacceptable.  By reading this post – you may be thinking to yourself – wow… a post on Matt Riggins’ blog – this is unexpected.

If that’s what you’re thinking – well then you know how I felt today when I got an email, or should I say a kick in the butt!  A good kick!  An amazing kick!

Last night I was telling my wife how lately I have felt really “uneasy” and “tense” about certain things.  It’s hard to explain – but right now there are a combination of things in my life that are basically “up in the air” and I am struggling with making decisions.  Some are big, some are small, some are probably meaningless.  Ultimately though – it is beginning to weigh on me.

This morning I was determined to start off on the right foot.  I was up early – I read my devotions … which I’m sad to say is not a daily habit.  It should be though because I believe it has changed my outlook for this day.  I arrived to work and unlike any other morning recently, I had this amazing peace inside.  It was incredible.  It was almost as if someone was praying for me at that very moment.  That’s what it felt like.

Then around lunch time I received the email I mentioned above.  It’s not huge, or life-changing, but it’s something I never expected.  Something I honestly gave up on about 3 or 4 months ago.  It brought a huge smile to my face and a jump to my step.

What was it?  Well… I cannot tell you right now.  But you will find out very soon.  I promise! :)

Expect the unexpected!

New Thru 30 – Success!

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

January was an exciting month for me.  On January 10,  I started on a 30 day journey of reading through the entire New Testament.  I completed this journey – on day 30 (technically 31) 4 minutes past midnight last night.

Normally, after watching the Super Bowl with a handful of teenagers I am worn out and ready for bed as soon as I get home.  This year was no different, but I had made a commitment to myself and 29 others to complete the New Testament in 30 days.  I was determined to cross the finish line.

Yesterday was the 30th day of the journey so as I read and completed the final chapter of Revelations – I was left with a sense of accomplishment and pride.  But it also left me filled with excitement because of what is to come.

I am proud of myself for sticking with it.  There were plenty of tough times and days when I wanted to give up.  But because of the 29 others who had joined me – I knew I had to keep going.  I am very thankful I did.

To God be the Glory!

Using simple math, find out who your role model truly is.  Mine was a BIG surprise.  It certainly wasn’t who I would have picked.

DON’T SCROLL DOWN YET!!

FIRST, do the simple math below.
THEN, scroll down to find your hero.

Do not scroll down until you do the math!!

It is truly remarkable just how accurate this is!
1)  Pick your favorite number between 1 and 8
2)  Multiply your choice by 3
3)  Add 3
4)  Multiply again by 3
5) You’ll get a 2 digit number…..maybe 42, for example
6) Add the digits together.  Example 4 and 2 = 6

Now Scroll down.

With that number, see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list  below:

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Oprah Winfrey
  3. Mother Theresa
  4. Ronald Reagan
  5. Bill Gates
  6. Gandhi
  7. Eleanor Roosevelt
  8. Babe Ruth
  9. Matt Riggins
  10. Winston Churchill
  11. Barbara Walters
  12. Dalai Lama

I know, I know…I just have that effect on people…One day you, too, can be like me….Believe it!

P.S. Stop picking different numbers!!  I AM YOUR IDOL, JUST DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!

Happy Friday!

My “Just for Fun” predictions for the weekend are:

  • Steelers 23; Jets 13
  • Packers 27; Bears 24

Go ahead and put your predictions in the comments section.

 

Yes… my kids.  Plural.  You’ll see…

Over the last week, I have started a new adventure – it’s call New Thru 30.  I randomly found it on a website and the idea is to read through the New Testament in 30 days.   Giving me much encouragement, 29 other people also signed up to read through the New Testament in 30 days.  God knew what he was doing when he put this team together – 30 people, 30 days, 30 lives forever changed became our motto once we realized there were 30 of us.  30/30 club!

So lately, I’ve been spending more time reading and emailing my fellow readers rather than updating the blog.

But good news for you today!  I have 2 brand new videos of me hanging out with my kids.  Yes – I do consider my dog Max one of my kids.  I hope you enjoy them both.

Oh… and I’ll pick the following winners for this weekend: Steelers, Packers, Bears, Patriots

Have a great weekend!

In my family, one of our all-time favorite movies is “What about Bob”.  In fact, I cannot spend at least 5 minutes around my cousin Eben without him quoting a scene from the movie.  The last time we visited Atlanta, Eben made a special trip to Blockbuster to rent What About Bob.  Then we watched it and laughed over and over again like it was the first time we had ever seen it.

If you remember the movie, when Bob met Dr Marvin for the first time, Leo gave him the following advice:

When you leave this office, don’t think about everything you have to do in order to get out of the building, just think to what you must do to get out of this room, and when you get to the hall, deal with that hall,and so …You see ? Baby steps !

Baby Steps!

Too many times when making a New Year resolution – I always think too BIG!  I always have good intentions, but what ultimately happens is that by the end of January (or sometimes by the end of the 1ST WEEK of January), I’ve already lost focus and my resolution has been forgotten.  This year I’m taking a different approach. Baby Steps!  Instead of thinking what I must to do make it to next December with my resolution, I’m going to try and make it to February.

You may ask: But the headline of this blog post has the word “ENTIRE” in it.  Did I read that right?  HOW IS THIS BABY STEPS!?!  Good question.  And I agree.  But… for me the baby part of it is the 30 days.  If I can get through the 30 days, then I will make a commitment to continue a reading plan for the next 30 days, etc.

Upon reading some “year-end reviews” from some of my favorite writers/bloggers/pastors – I came across this idea.  An intense New Testament reading plan that a church in North Carolina did at the beginning of last year.  The concept was simple: Read through the ENTIRE New Testament in 30 days. To help us not get too overwhelmed, the 30 days actually includes “Grace Days” which allow you to catch up if you missed anything or fell behind.  My plan is to begin on Monday, January 10.

I’m curious if any of you would like to join me on this journey.  Yes, it will be intense and aggressive and will mean making a serious short-term commitment.  It will require probably at least 30-45 mins of reading a day.  But if you’re serious about it – you will find was to use the time you are probably currently wasting to read your Bible.  For example, I have an hour to eat lunch every day – does it really take me an hour to eat lunch?  Doubtful – therefore I will be able to use some time there to read the Bible.

If you are interested in seeing the schedule, visit this website, and click on “reading plan”.  Remember, this plan was created for 2010 so the dates don’t line up exactly with 2011 dates.

If you decide to join me – please let me know in the comments or via email at matt.riggins80@gmail.com and I can include you on encouraging texts/emails throughout the 30 days.

After all – what’s a better way to start out your New Year by deciding to read the Bible more.  It’s almost like a vacation!

Have a great vacation everyone! (Me too!) <— sorry a little What about Bob inside joke there.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how my blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 53 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 114 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 21mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 16th with 168 views. The most popular post that day was Marine Biologist – Behind the Scenes.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, My Comments, mail.yahoo.com, and bryanallain.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for matthew riggins blog, youth group halloween party ideas, christmas song, extreme home makeover, and old hymns – jesus saves.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Marine Biologist – Behind the Scenes September 2010
2 comments

2

Embarrassing Moments September 2010
6 comments

3

Our Trip to Outback October 2010

4

Random Wednesday October 2010
3 comments

5

Creating Good Memories October 2010
5 comments

 

Thanks to everyone for reading.  I’m looking forward to 2011!

My 2010 Year in Review

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

My 2010 started out probably a little more interesting than yours – not on purpose.  On New Years Eve 2009, I was looking forward to spending the evening with just my wife and her parents.  Our plan to play games and ring in the New Year quietly in our home in Mechanicsburg.  No ball drops, no gunshots, no pickles, no all-nighters with the teens.  It was supposed to be a seemingly uneventful night.

Then Max stepped in.

Our dog Max is a mix of Jack-Russell and Beagle.  He’s a pretty chill dog but he has his moments where his Jack-Russell energy takes over and he becomes a dog that rivals the dog from the movie Marley and me.  When we first got him on our honeymoon we fell in love with him right away.  We could practically fit him in the palm of our hands he was so small.  But as he grew – he learned to chew.  He chewed up computer cords, pieces of our couch, and every stuffed animal that came in his sight.

When we found out Vicki was pregnant late in 2009, we knew we’d have to train him to calm down his aggression.  We began scolding him for his energetic outbreaks, and we even began using mops, brooms, and our greatest tool: the beater.  The beater is basically a rolled up newspaper wrapped in duct tape that is used to remind Max who’s in charge. We felt like we had done a pretty good job as Max had begun showing signs of maturing and growing out of his chewing on everything phase.  Then on New Years Eve… we had a slight setback.

While Vicki’s parents were gone dropping off Vicki’s brother and sister off at a New Years party – Vicki and I were patiently sitting at home watching a food network marathon.  As Vicki was laying on the couch, Max was laying beside her – almost protecting the baby in the womb – with his eyes closed.  I have no idea to this day if he knew his soon to be sister was in there or not, but as the show we were watching went to commercial, I leaned in (rather quickly) to surprise him.  Surprise him I did, and surprise me he did.

After Max bit me in the nose – I could see the remorse in his eyes.  Meanwhile, I was in the bathroom taking a look at the damage.  He got me pretty good, almost completely removing the bridge of my nose.  We called our friend Betsey who knows a thing or two about these types of emergencies.  Within minutes we were on our way to her house.  After stopping there, she gave us the news we were not hoping to hear.  We were going to have to go to the emergency room.

We arrived in the emergency room around 9 o’clock, and we would eventually watch the ball drop while still waiting.  It wasn’t until about 12:30 when we were finally given a room.

So 2010 rolled in with a bang, and although it didn’t start out so well, it turned out to be an amazing year.  Max would ultimately calm down – never having another moment that like again.  Thankfully :)

Here are some of my other favorite highlights from an amazing year:

Snow – In Feb/March 2010 – We recv’d between 20-30 inches of snow

Mike Cox speaks in Youth Group – We had our largest group ever (to date) the night we had professional football player Mike Cox of the Kansas City Chiefs come and speak at youth group.  His then fiance (current wife) would also share her testimony that night which made for an awesome evening.  Mike and Dana also gave me the privilege of singing in their wedding which was an amazing honor.

Meeting Casting Crowns – We were able to go to see the Casting Crowns and Kutless when they came to Hershey.  There were about 20 others from our church that went along, but through the power of twitter, I was able to win backstage meet-n-greet passes to meet the band.  It was a really cool experience as I consider the Casting Crowns to be my favorite band.  We were able to get the whole bands autographs and also snapped this very cool picture with lead singer Mark Hall and the drummer Brian Scoggin.

Winning 2nd place in our church softball league – One of my favorite things to look forward to each spring is playing softball.  As a kid, my favorite sport was always (and still is) baseball.  Softball is the closest thing to baseball and playing on our church team with a bunch of awesome guys was one of the highlights of my year.  Having Joey Johnson show up the night of our championship game (which we unfortunately lost), was a great moment for all of us.  Joey was one of our best players who left after 3 or 4 games to serve our country in the US Navy.  So proud of you Joey!

Seeing Teens accept Christ and Baptizing them – This has been an amazing experience for me the last 2 years.  Each summer the past 2 years, we have baptized teenagers.  This year we baptized 8 of them.  All total we had 13 teens accept Christ in 2010.  Praise God for all he continues to do through our church and the youth ministry that Vicki and I are so privileged to serve in.

NAOMI! – By FAR the biggest highlight of my year was on June 21, 2010 when Naomi Joy Riggins was born.  She has been such a blessing to Vicki and I and we are so blessed to have her in our family.  I cannot even comprehend life without her at this point.  For Christmas this year, 4 days after her 6 month birthday, she gave us a pretty awesome gift – she crawled for the first time.  It’s tough to pick just a few, but here are my favorite pictures of my precious little bundle of JOY.

First Ever Picture

Still in Hospital

Not a football fan… yet :)

Naomi and Max… already friends :)

Naomi and her Nanny… before saying good bye

Mommy… please let me out of here :)

Is it Christmas yet?

Saying Goodbye to two Grandparents – This year my grandfather from my mom’s side and my grandmother from my dad’s side both went home to be with Jesus.  At my grandfathers funeral, I was given the opportunity to honor my papa by singing “Give Me Jesus” in Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va.  At my grandmothers funeral, I was given the opportunity to honor my nanny by singing 4 songs with my cousins Lindsey and Anna and my older brother Jason.  We also sang “Give Me Jesus”.  Every time I hear that song now – I think of my two grandparents up with Jesus and can’t wait for the day to join them in glory.

Growing Closer to my Wife – I wouldn’t be the man I am, the dad I am, the Youth Leader I am, the husband I am, without the love, support, encouragement from my amazing wife Vicki.  She is everything I could have ever imagined her to be.  She never ceases to amaze me and I am so thankful and blessed to call her my wife and best friend.

2010 had it’s up and downs, it was filled with triumph and tragedy.  There are things we wish to remember and things we hope to never think about again.  Through it all, God has shows us that He remains faithful through everything.  He is still here, right where He was this time last year.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  Never let us go and walk with us every step of the way.  At the beginning of this year – I told the teens to “Go all in in 2010″.  I am thankful for giving it all to Jesus this year and telling Him to take my life and use it for His glory.  I made mistakes along the way, but in the end I can look back and say – Thank you Jesus for making 2010 the best year of my life!

And I am looking forward to an even better 2011!