I started typing sermon notes today into OD using an iPad, instead of my phone which is how I usually take notes. Anywho, somehow I forgot to save the page or did something which caused my notes to that point to disappear. Bummer. It was a continuation of the Space Invaders: take you to my leader theme, this time looking at the first part of Acts 1 and the last part of Acts 2, into chapter 3.

Here, the disciples, as the early church, we’re taking care of each other, giving to each other as they had need. The analogy is to the human body, and how given time it heals itself.

Over the last year, I’ve decided to own my “idea guy” nature. I have all these seemingly great ideas rolling around in my head, but previously that’s all they were, ideas. I’d tell people about them — and I might even ruminate on them at length — but at some point I’d let them go. No one else agreed with me, or at least I couldn’t get any excitement. Or maybe I just grew tired of it and was distracted by the next great idea.

So last year, I decided to own the fact that God made me the idea guy. I accepted that it wasn’t just an overactive imagination, and that I wasn’t being vain thinking that I had good ideas on how to do things, how to solve things. So I began taking my own ideas seriously. And it wasn’t just acceptance that I’m the idea guy, but that I’m not the doer. God is giving me these ideas to share, to put before others.

The relevant set of ideas here is business opportunities. I feel as though I was brought here with a fresh, outside perspective. I can, and do, see things in ways that the locals cannot or do not. So far, I’ve had ideas about restaurants and entertainment which are both very specific and very expensive and the local resistance to implementing these ideas have been tremendous. Even so, last year I decided to take these ideas seriously, and have created and continue to amend complete business plans for those ideas.

A root drive for these ideas, beyond the simple expediency of getting them out of my head, is creating a retirement income, some kind of residual income. I’m turning 50, with no great retirement, no spouse to lean on and no children to depend on, and it’s possible my productive years are limited. I need to do what I can while I’m able, and the ideas themselves may end — I might develop dementia or suffer a debilitating brain injury. Not that I live in fear, but I recognize the value of living and doing in the moment.

Or, at least I’m trying to.

The second root drive is to bring commerce and jobs to this sleepy small town. Since the local oil market dried up, the rest of the town followed suit. A series of unfortunate county and city government decision have cost jobs and opportunities, and the resultant tax increases are threatening to kill the elderly and drive away the marginal.

Some of the local shopkeepers lament the Internet, “the Internet is killing us! Shop local and stay off the Net”. Shopping local is a good idea for everyone everywhere, but staying away from online shopping is insane. Instead we need to embrace the Internet and find things we can manufacture locally and sell online.

Along that line, I believe a backlash — against all the shops on Amazon fighting each other over pennies to sell us the identical Chinese-made goods — is coming. Americans will not only embrace “buy American” once again, but also “buy local”. I believe a place is already forming among the minds of consumers that quality made local products exceed products from further afield, and they are willing if able to pay a somewhat higher price for local products.

Think farm-to-table. You expect those to be local farms.

I may be on the verge of a digression; my point is that I have legitimate community aspirations beyond my own benefit with these ideas. So with some of my best ideas out of financial reach, I began to think more affordably.

I have a vision for fireworks manufacture, making consumer fireworks and selling them regionally, as well as display fireworks and selling to other pros. A not-altogether cheap startup, but a scalable one, with the initial steps being all about training and registration/licensing. The vision has always included at least one other because it’s about jobs and because one person simply can’t do it all.

So last year I wrote it up, and there it has sat.

I’ve noticed children riding around town on bicycles that are the wrong size or are poorly fit. There’s a need for a bicycle repair and fitting service, maybe with a youth bicycle pool where parents can affordably trade-up throughout their kids’ growing years. Yeah, there’s another great idea which maybe someday will grow into making this town an outdoor recreation Mecca — regionally at least.

I’ve had a vision of making and selling, online, peasant shirts as everyday working wear along with other Renaissance costumery and other regalia and costumes. There are people around here who can sew, and could be receiving stipends for piecemeal work. Another great idea, but I can’t sew so it sits.

Or at least it has for the past year.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve really felt the Holy Spirit nudging me: you have been faithful with the ideas I have given you, and while you may not see the ideas to fruition, you may be the instigator. I’m being led to simply start the ideas, in whatever limited way I can.

Last week, I bought the Humble Bundle books on Cosplay and sewing and prop making. I invested $500 on bike repair tools that are on the way, and secured permission to use a storage locker as a work space. And, taking the fireworks idea seriously, I contacted a display pyrotechnic company in the state, and inquired about their event schedule (part of initial licensing is being signed off for participating in 3 licensed events).

Then a funny thing happened.

At church last Sunday, a very respectful young man (I’m talking 19-20) who recently moved to the community and took the time to chat with my folks at their garage sale while walking by a month ago — shared with us while helping my mom to the car that he had lost his job. I asked if he was interested in the tedious and repetitive mixture of chemicals, and he said yes. I asked if he was interested in blowing stuff up for money: again, yes.

At CR last night, a middle-aged father shared that he was out of work, and how this often compounded his hurts/habits/hang ups. The Holy Spirit nudged me: he could probably fix bicycles.

One of the other attendees share a video by the Drama Guys about God chiseling away at a man (good video, check it out). At one point in the drama, the man begins asking/telling God where and how to chisel. “Now what you are doing is called control, and you need to let it go”.

These aren’t my ideas, they never were. They were a gift, and I might be the beneficiary of the executed idea, or maybe someone else. I’m learning to yield control.

I now have my first bike shop worker, and I have a pyro partner. I can’t wait to see what God does with textiles! Praise the Lord!

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