Monday, February 8, 2016

Educational Media

Media. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I personally believe it's a two sided coin. Like most things you could make a list of 100 reasons why it does or does not work in your favor. I do however see a trend of people having a perception that media means technology and all they provide: iPhones, iPads, Facebook, Movies, TV etc. All of these things can get a negative wrap for time wasters. I would partially agree. A lot of forms of media today do simply provide entertainment. The catch, however, is that we all use it and we all devour it.

I want to try to make short argument that media is good and that media should be a stronger mean in our school system. What does that mean? Let me explain. What if we had actual video games for learning? What if you were a character and traveled through time and recreate history to learn history? Or what if you grammar worksheet became a new deciphering code to find a hidden treasure? I believe this something that would be beneficial. I am going to do it. Why?

The first argument I believe one might get is, kids are already sucked into these things. You can hardly pull them away. I would say EXACTLY! You can't pull them away to socialize, eat, exercise, or even do their homework. Why don't you bring that to them. Build on the strength. If that's what they like GREAT! PERFECT! Make school entertaining. It's true, not everything is entertaining, nor should be, but it's the world we live in and school is way behind. I believe there is a way to create a game that can displace the video games we know. They can be less violent, more educational, and be used to get them to do their homework. It's a weak argument on my part, but it's a start.

The second argument might be, why are we replacing texts books with media. That would never work. I learned in my Media and Family Development class media comes from the Latin word, medium. It means in between or middle. It is the source by which we produce a message. Example newspaper, books, art, music, etc. Now if this is the case books and video games are on the same playing field. It's simply a friend to the book. It's not to be substitute for traditional learning but a aid to help get with the times and get kids more engaged in what they are learning.

An example, Big Brainz. It is SWEET! It's a game for math. I have been using it with some of my kids that struggle in math. I had them use it to practice their times tables. One of their first test score was a 51 and they are already up to a 71 in two weeks!

This is my passion to bring kids to education in stead of bringing education to kids. Give them a reason and a desire to learn and they will do it on their own. I have learned in my classes that a kid who doesn't want to eat carrots might be annoying to a parent. You know he needs to eat vegetables if he is to survive. However, the kid loves peas! Why who knows why. Give them the peas. They are a still vegetables. Let him it eat the peas don't force him to eat carrots. Kids don't like lectures or boring white pages with black texts. Give them media, just in a the form of peas!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Be of Good Cheer

The Lord said, “be of good cheer, and I will lead you along

The purpose of my post today is to share somethings I learned from reading in the scriptures this week.  I hope you see that the Lord is constant and his plan is perfect.

True or False: We all experience disappointment
I believe we have all experienced a time when we went to an event or party and were expecting to be fed, only to find fruits and veggies on the table. OR, we have all watched our favorite sports team with high anticipation of a win only to see them plummet to an embarrassing loss. Or maybe we have all experienced when a friend or family member canceled on a fun adventure or having a friend or family member tell you they would do something and they didn’t. All these things are disappointing. They leave us sad, hurt, and losing trust and confidence. 

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in schedules, work, finances, school, raising children, planning, and so many more things. In each of these settings it is easy to become disappointed because things don’t always go the way we want. At certain moments in our lives we may feel like there are no answers or solutions to our problems? It becomes very overwhelming at times and can easily lead us to despair. 

President Uchtdorf said, “The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart.”

I know that these moments come into our lives. I have experienced disappointment and I have sunk into despair before. I know when we reach the point of despair we look to God and say as the prophet Joseph did, “Oh God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth they hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries. O Lord, How long shall they suffer.” (D&C 121-1-3)

It’s hard to go through life when all you see is disappointment and the Lord’s lack of intervention.

How do we have hope in God when little seems to go our way?

The Lord said, “And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.”

There Lord teaches us how we can have hope and how we can sustain it.

The Lord made us a promise that the kingdom would be ours. In Hebrews 6:18 & 19 it says, “It was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation (or comfort)…to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.”

What is the hope that the Lord gave us? He said that the kingdom is ours.  That is a promise that the Lord has made and he cannot break. Robert D Hales said, “Those who wonder if their current circumstance or condition cuts them off from eternal life should remember that “no one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children.”

We know that life after death is a gift for everyone through the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the light of our hope. If we were to lose all we have and all we love we can still have hope knowing that all can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We will live again. Our loved ones will live again and the blessings of eternity, the “riches of eternity” will be much greater than and riches we may hope for in this life.

Let me give you an example of an eternal hope. My little brother has been diagnosed with 22q11 deletion syndrome. It is a syndrome that has autistic like behaviors. He gets hooked on certain things. He gets overwhelmed easily. He has learning disabilities, social disabilities, and even some minor physical disabilities. He has many hopes and dreams. He has always wanted to do what big brother did. In his own way the Lord has blessed him to fulfill some of them. However as a brother it hurts my heart to watch him struggle with some of the most simple of things and watch as sadness over comes him and tears fall down his face. In those moments I wish I could trade my situation for his, even if it was for a moment so that he could experience some of life’s great joys. It’s in those moments all I can do is give him a hug or a pep talk and move on. It’s in those moments that I look to the Savior for help and strength. It’s in those moments I remember what he did for us. He died and rose again so that we might all live as perfect resurrected beings. It gives me hope that one day my brother will be whole and one day he will be perfect.  Because of that I can find peace and I can be of good cheer.

Hope is the desired outcome that is in front of us.  It is something that has not happened or that we cannot see but we can live our lives in a way that we may obtain those desired outcomes.  Things may still seem dark and uncertain but we can always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If we remember the Lord also said, “be of good cheer, I will lead you along.” Because God truly loves us, he does not leave us only hoping for the light and promises at the end of the tunnel. He wants to lead us along on our journey to our eternal promise.

My wife mentioned how faith was something that takes effect in our minds and hope is what takes place in our heart. The Lord said, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; “

 Revelation is communication between the Lord and us. We need communication with the Lord to sustain our hope. We communicate with him through prayer. He communicates with us through the spirit. We invite the spirit into our lives in many ways. Going to church, reading our scriptures, going to the temple, inviting good media into our homes, etc. Often times I find myself thinking the Lord is going to fix my problems or give me the answer simply because I have the faith to do the things that he asks. Thus our righteous actions are what gives the hope. I have found having that mentality can lead to more disappointment than hope. To find hope we must truly understand that the Holy Ghost is what comes with our righteous actions. The Holy Ghost doesn’t not fix the problems in our lives. It is the tool that allows us to know where to go and what to do. It is the peace that answers will come in the Lords time.

Let me give two examples. When I was a kid and I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time and the answer didn’t just come.  I finished the Book of Mormon and did as Moroni asked to pray and to see if the Book of Mormon was true. After my prayer I had no overwhelming feeling nor did I have a vision. I got up from my prayer a little confused. I knew I didn’t have my answer, but I knew if I kept praying I would. I read and prayed all week. Nothing. A week in the mind of a twelve year old is forever. It wasn’t until Sunday when I went to my first fireside. At the fireside my Dad was speaking. He was speaking on his testimony of the Book of Mormon. As he spoke the spirit filled my heart. It gave me the peace and the assurance that the Book of Mormon was true. Not because my Dad knew it, but because it was the spirit making the connection that this was the answer I had been praying for.

The role of the Holy Ghost in our hope is to allow us to have peace today as we work toward our answers and solutions for the next day. Sometimes it takes longer than a week.

When I got home from my mission dating was not my thing. I only found high expectations of liking someone only to realize that they did not feel the same. After a few swing and misses I gave up. I gave up for almost two years. I let my disappointments turn into despair.  I started to wonder if I had done something wrong. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I just decided in all I was not good enough. I just went through for a long time with my head down. I thought in those moments that if I was doing the right thing then I should being having hope. What I didn’t realize that was during those two years the Lord was leading me along. As I read my scriptures, went to church and the temple I was receiving the glimmers of light. I knew that eternal marriage was down the road, but the road seemed like it went  forever. The Lord was kind enough to send his spirit and pick me up along the way. I’m grateful the Lord didn’t just let me settle. I’m glad he made me work. I’m glad he gave me just enough hope to try.  Because from the moment I met Sheena it was different. She filled my heart like no one else had. It was so easy for me to know. The spirit had shown me along the way who I wanted and what I needed. The Lord gave me the hope I need to make it just far enough so that I could receive the greatest blessing I now have in my life.

Brothers and Sisters my invitation to you is have hope. Believe that God has a perfect plan for you. And when the path seems dark don’t give up. Don’t give into disappointment and despair. Trust in God. Know that you “cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, The LORD will lead you along..

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why I Watch What I Whatch

I was asked in my Family Media class "Why do you watch the things you watch?" One theorist said that the reason we choose to watch certain movies or shows are to:

  1. Be informed and educated
  2. Identify with characters
  3. Entertainment
  4. Enhance social interactions
  5. Escape from stress
  6. a lot more....
I agree that I have experienced each of these at one point and time. So the next question is, what do i watch? Right now I find my wife and I are watching The Flash, Arrow, Parks and Rec, and Brooklyn Nine Nine. 

If I did a case study on myself, I would say that first reason I watch these shows are for entertainment. I know that my wife and I get hooked on the stories. We consistently get on Netflix and watch a few episodes a week because the stories are compelling. We want to know what happens in the relationships. We want to know who the super villain is. We want to know how the good guy prevails. 

The second reason I watch these shows are to escape from stress. The times that my wife and I sit down and watch our shows are at night. We work at a school during the day, coach basketball teams in the afternoon, and in the evening we try to get a little school in. Once everything is done it's nice to relax before bed. We usually choose Parks and Rec because it's shorter and light. It allows us to calm down and laugh a little before bed and remember the world isn't so bad. 

The final main reason I choose to watch these shows are to identify with the characters. I like to watch these super hero shows because I want to make a difference in the world. I can't have super powers or become a vigilante, but watching them make the world a better place makes me want to do the same.

Now the next question to ask is Why do you watch what you watch?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Champion For the Cause: Come Hear the Story!

In the church an even like this is called a "fireside". Our objective in this fireside is to strengthen the testimonies, of those who come, in the Savior Jesus Christ. We will do this by asking three main questions:

  1. Why do I believe in Jesus Christ?
  2. What is the purpose of my life?
  3. How can I be a better Christian?
We are not going to answer these questions for you. These are all personal questions that only you can answer. We will give our answer by sharing three stories.
  1. Elder McKay Gregson's Senior Night Basketball Game
  2. Elder McKay Gregson's Mission
  3. What we have learned from our mission
As you come we know you will feel God's love. I feel it every day with my brother. I am not perfect and just like brothers do we have disagreements. However, when I look at him and see how much God loves him, it helps me to want to be better. I know if you come you will start to develop answers to these questions. Those answers will sink deep into your heart. They will be answers that will last and you can always draw back on when times get tough. Bring a pen/pencil and some paper. You'll want to write down the thoughts that come to your mind and heart. 

AUGUST 10 6:30 PM 
1701 N Hickory Ave, Broken Arrow, OK

Come hear the story of my little brother, Elder McKay Gregson. You won't be disappointed. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Champion for the Cause: Finding Faith in a Living Christ

We went to the park with this family in our ward tonight after dinner. Dad was running around with the little one and we sat on the bench by mom watching them have fun while sitting next to the baby. As we were talking she brought up Joanne. I told her how our visit went. When she asked it struck me, especially because she was the third or fourth person at church to come up to us and specifically ask about Joanne. My response has been the same, not as excited. We had a good meeting filled with the spirit, but she just pushed it away. It was sad and disappointing.

I will be honest I was a little down when we left, however I have a tug on my sleeve that feels like someone is pulling me onward.  I can hear the voice, "Don’t give up." I read in the scriptures this evening Alma 7:17-“And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the spirit which is in me.” The words of this inspired mother and this verse have stuck with me and this is what I feel like I need to do.

Dear Joanne,

I am so grateful for the time that you gave us the other day. It was a very special day for us to be able to teach you. I know that you were a little nervous, but you gave us a chance and I know it was a good experience. I’m glad you felt the love we have for you, because we really do.

But I am not settled with our meeting. As soon as we left I was asking questions in my mind. I was repeating scenes from our meeting trying to figure out what had just taken place and why things never progressed. I have taught the gospel as a missionary for over two years now, and I know when the spirit is present in a room. I know what it feels like. I know when opportunities for commitment and change arise and when they come and go in those settings. The spirit came but the window of opportunity never came. Why?

I know it was because you were afraid. Joanne, where does fear come from? I know that good things come from God. I know that faith inspires us to come unto Christ. Jesus appeared unto the apostles. He was walking on the water when he said unto them, “Be not afraid. It is I.”

Joanne, we are literally representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the apostles were called by Christ to go and preach repentance and baptism so it is with us. We have been sent unto all that they may hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

In times before Christ, God spoke to prophets. They prophesied of his coming to save the world from sin. He came. He died. He was resurrected. Now he lives. God still speaks to prophets. He is preparing us for the second coming of his Son just like in times before.

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He kneeled to ask God in prayer which church he was to join. God and Jesus Christ appeared to him. I know that it is true. They told him to establish their church on the earth again. They later sent angels to help him to establish it in the Lords way. God has done that before. They restored power. They restored truth. God was the contractor for this restoration. He made the calls and Joseph did the work he was told to do.

God restored his power and authority to preach repentance and to baptize. God made clear his gospel: faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. He restored his plan of salvation.

We now know that we lived with God before we came to earth and he has prepared a way to live with him after. Joanne Cox, I know that you are a wonderful woman. I know that you have a familiarity of these things. I know you have heard of these things from family and other missionaries. Do you believe these things are true? Yes! I know you do. How do I know? By the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. 

Joanne, we really love you and your kind gentle heart. Remember this story?

We know you believe in Jesus Christ. We know you love him. Will you exercise the faith not in just the Christ that lived in the scriptures, but the one who lives today?

Pray that Joanne can receive this in the spirit it is written, love. Our message is not to put anyone who believes in God down. We believe that men have the right to worship how or what they may. However, I am a disciple of Christ and know what I have felt. I know what I have experienced. I know what I have read. I know what I have seen. I cannot deny the testimony which is in me. We simply invite those to believe in a living God who speaks today. We don’t ask to do so blindly but to take the message we share and to ask God in prayer if it is true. Then watch him speak.  I would also ask before one makes a decision to move on after hearing our message: Has God lead or spoken to you before? What was it like? What helped you to recognize that before? Can you recognize it now? What does the spirit feel like? Are you familiar with how God speaks to you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Champion for the Cause: The Art of the Master

Sorry for not having a post last week. We were working on a video with our members that you can watch right here if you'd like before you read this weeks update. I think you will giggle a little bit. 

We love going to see our members. They have been such a blessing to us. They have been giving Elder Mac good opportunities to share the gospel in an environment where he feels comfortable. It’s been special to watch the spirit come in and touch the members.

One of the biggest parts of a missionary experience, however, is watching someone who is seeking truth and being blessed to give that truth to them. Then watching them grow closer to God because of it. I was feeling a little down, because we haven’t hit that point yet and we are halfway done. I really wanted Elder Mac to have one of those experiences. I got on my knees. I pleaded with the Lord. I asked him for ONE person. That’s it. One person that Elder Mac could teach and watch come to Christ through baptism. I prayed that we would have ONE special soul that really needed the gospel.

Fourth of July a little after one o’clock we get a call from the Assistants. They said Joanne wanted to meet us today. Joanne is a sweet 90-year-old lady that has known missionaries for the past 30 years. She loves her “boys”. She calls the missionaries in the Tulsa area EVERY morning, minus Sunday, to give them a weather report.  She also gives them anything they need! She has even given them her garage door code to come in and get snacks out of her freezer in the garage if they are passing by. For Christmas the mission President gave missionaries permission to go and visit her whenever. She was SOOOO happy for that gift. Now missionaries literally come in and out of her home as they please.

We arrived and she lit up when she found out we were “the brothers”. She has been dying to meet us since we got here. Finally after a month of being here that day came for her. She fed us some homemade apple pie. We sat around the table as she joked with the other missionaries and was just the sweetest. 

She wanted to go into the living room. So she got up and grabbed the leg of her chair to turn her fragile body and waddled over to her chair in the living room. It really was the cutest thing. We talked a little bit more then I asked if we could share a message with her. She said, “Well sure”.  I asked her if I could ask her three question and then share a scripture. She told me I could, but that she might not answer all the questions.

Me: “How old are you?”
Joanne: “90”

Me: “Why has God kept you alive this long?”

She told me about some of her ailments and the blessing it has been to recover from those and still have good health.

Me: “Why haven’t you joined the church yet?”

Joanne then told me that I needed to know that she didn’t talk about religion with her “boys”. She said she was always afraid that there might be an argument. She respected our religion and asked that we would respect hers. I was ok with that answer, however I wasn’t done.

I then opened the scriptures and read Jeremiah 1:5-“Before I formed thee in the belly I knee thee; and before thou camest forth out fo the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained the a prophet unto the nations. ”

Me: “Joanne, before we were all born we lived with God. He was our Father. He loved us and knew us. We also knew him and loved him. There my little brother…(chocked up) was told of the challenges he would face and he gladly accepted. You were also there. You promised God you would do everything to find his gospel and return back to him.”

I saw tears swell in her eyes and followed up by asking her, “Will you let us come and teach you the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I have never looked more directly into someone’s eyes then in that moment. She looked right back at me and responded.

Joanne: “No.”

I was very surprised at her response. I was disappointed, but not taken out. I was ready to be a little persistent. As I was finishing up my remarks I saw in the corner of my eye Elder Holyoak lean forward in his chair and turn his body toward our conversation. I could tell he had something to say. He did. So I sat back and listened.

Elder Holyoak: “Joanne, hold on. Don’t you realize that God is answering their prayers? They asked for someone to teach last night and this morning you called us and told us to invite them for pie. Joanne they aren’t even going to be here very long. They will be leaving pretty soon. I think you should give them a chance. “

There was a little pause then Joanne spoke up.

Joanne: “Alright, I’ll consider. What would I have to do?”

Me: “Will you give us 5 times to come and teach for 20-30 minutes?”

Joanne: “NO! NO! NO! You get 1 chance for 30 minutes. That’s it.”

That was it, 1 chance to share the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ in 30 minutes. Are we up for the challenge? You bet. We know God has come before our face and will lead us as we sound his trumpet of truth. He has been preparing and softening this lady’s heart for this special time. There is something she needs to hear and we will bring the message the Lord would have her hear.

She needs your fasting and prayers. We will be fasting and praying that for her as well, but also that we will know what she needs to hear. We have an appointment set up for Thursday. Please raise your voices with us to the Almighty God that she will be able to hear with her heart the message of the restored gospel.

God knows each of us. He listens to our prayers. That I am sure of.  I have been on my knees however and got up and received no response for months and even years. Does that mean he didn’t care then? Absolutely not. Did it mean I needed to grow more and learn to rely on him on a daily basis. Yes. No matter what we pray for He listens and teaches us through His timing. This time it happened to be quick. There was more answers to my prayer than just Joanne.

Our members have also been doing some great missionary work. There are at least 8 members that have someone by name that they have told us that they have contacted about the gospel. We received our first referral that we taught on Sunday and we have a dinner with a member and their friend this week. It’s truly a miracle. This is the work of the salvation. What a beautiful thing it is to see the art of the Masters hand.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Champion for the Cause: Hope for Change

I really appreciate all the help and support that we have received. The members out here, I thank you with all my heart for being so kind to my little brother. If he is talking in your home you have done a great job. I know that he has opened his mouth in every home we have been in. What does that mean? He likes you and he is comfortable. Thank you for allowing the spirit to be in your homes.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying on our behalf. In the Book of Mormon there is a story about a people that were slaves. They prayed from their hearts that the Lord would help them in their captivity. The Lord said to them, “Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs…and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” The Lord came to those people and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. I promise in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, that has been the answer to your prayers! Elder “Mac” is in bondage mentally and physically, but I am a witness of the miracle of your prayers. The burdens that are upon his shoulders, he carries them with ease and he does so cheerfully! Thank you!

We appreciate everything that you have done for us. The Lord will keep his promise to sustain Elder “Mac”. Don’t you worry about that, however I do know the Lord wants more from each of you.

I have learned that the Lord loves to come and help us. That is why he came and suffered for each and everyone us. His death on the cross was only the symbol that if we would look to him we might also live as he did. That is the hope of our daily lives; that through all of our struggles one day we may be relieved.

He wants us to feel good and to be happy.  Have you ever thought though, "What does the Lord expect from me?" If your heart has been pricked, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. What is it that has been weighing most on your mind? Is it something you need to change? Is it something you need to learn more about? Is there someone you need to talk to? Is there someone you need to share this story too? Is there someone you need to talk to about God?  What are you doing about what you are feeling and experiencing?

  1. Please email me with what you feel that you should do.
  3. Please email about the experience you had.