planes at airport during daytime

Human Hope

Over the past month while preaching, I have mentioned that I have been listening to a podcast called “Human Hope”.  I stumbled across this podcast as I was driving across Oregon to see family this summer, and as I listened to Carlos Whitaker talk to people and share stories that released hope, I was hooked!  

The first episode I listened to was titled “I Tipped The Piano Player $55000”.  Of course this caught my attention, so I had to listen.  

The story goes like this…..Carlos is a speaker and travels all over the nation speaking at churches and conferences and this one day he happened to be in the Atlanta airport with a nudge that he should get Chick-fil-A in between flights.  Little did he know that the nudge he was feeling would lead him to changing a mans life in an hour.  As he was in line to get some food, he heard a piano and thought it was just the music playing in the airport, but then looked over and saw a gentleman playing a grand piano, not too far off.  Instead of taking his food to the gate which he would be boarding his plane, he sits a little ways away from the piano and listens.  

The truth is, Carlos is a man that is led by Holy Spirit and he knew that Holy Spirit was doing something and he wanted to be part of it.  He sat and he waited for instructions from the Lord, and then he moved out in obedience.  He went and started talking to the man playing the piano.  He asked questions and got to know a little bit about him.  Then Carlos went back and sat down, again listening to what the Holy Spirit was telling him.  A few minutes later, he started taking video of this man playing the piano and decided to post it on his Instagram page, giving people the opportunity to give a tip to this guy.  Tonee, the man playing the piano, only had $13 in his tip jar when Carlos went over, and he had been playing for a few hours by then.  

Carlos has a huge following on IG and as he invited those following him to give, he had no idea the amount of money that would come in very quickly.  Within an hour, $10k had come in.  Carlos had to go catch his plane, so he let Tonee know before he flew out of Atlanta – and of course Tonee was in shock and blown away by the generosity.  By the time Carlos arrived home that evening, the amount donated was at $55k.  By the time that Carlos closed this all down, he and his “Insta-Familia” (IG followers) had raised over $70k to give to Tonee.  

You can listen to the whole episode here.

The reason why I felt like I should tell this story again is because I want it to release HOPE to all those who hear about it.  Tonee went to work that morning with no one really knowing him.  He was a normal guy with bills to pay and a family to provide for and he was doing what he could with the gift he had to play piano.  God saw Tonee and he used Carlos, who was listening, to provide for Tonee in ways he could not have ever expected.  

We are in some wild times these days.  Often, we are so distracted by the life we are living that we don’t know what others may be walking through or what needs are out there.  Here is what I know – we serve a God that knows all of our needs and all that each one of us is walking through.  As we listen to Him and as we pay attention to His little nudges on our heart – He will ask us to do things that may not make any sense, but He knows it will bless someone in ways you will never even know.  

We may not be like Carlos, having a lot of IG followers and able to raise a ton of money for a stranger in a matter of a day, but that is Carlos’ lane.  What is your lane?  What is God saying to you with the means that you have?  The other day a group of ladies gathered together to clean their friend’s home because she was injured.  Do you know how much that blessed her? 

Living Waters Family, we get the opportunity to live a life of generosity and say yes to the direction that the Lord is leading our hearts!  He wants to partner with us in meeting the needs of others.  Let’s do it! 

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Within our stories lies the power we need to overcome. Some of us struggle to recognize the overcoming power in our own story, as so many of them still hold loose ends, moments of intense loss, or perhaps unanswered questions. Paul so beautifully reminds us that it is “in our weakness” that Jesus is seen and made strong- and so therefore we can boast in our weakness! It is often our own stories of brokenness and pain that Jesus rides in with overcoming power.

New Year. New Ground.

You could see that upfront people were getting slammed into the gates and security was doing their best to stop the situation.  At that point a couple of ambulances showed up and started taking people to the hospital – I think I heard that 6 people ended up with internal bleeding and some with broken arms.  It was nuts!  


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