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This week we are joined by Pastor Richard Wels from Texas. Richard Wells is the pastor of Simpsonville Baptist Church between Gilmer and Pittsburg Texas. Visit his website to read some of his thoughts, or follow him on Twitter. Focal Passage: (Mark 10:46-52) King James Version (KJV) 46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Luke 9:51 King James Version (KJV) 51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, John 15:13King James Version (KJV) 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Exodus 8:9-10 King James Version (KJV) 9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? 10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God. Matthew 7:7-8 King James Version (KJV) 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 28:18-20 King James Version (KJV) 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

March 27, 2013 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | Blindness | Bartimaeus | Teaching | Mark

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Welcome to the first Blind Jesus Freak Podcast! We’re glad you decided to check us out!

In this podcast we discuss if blindness is an affliction from God or are we blind by design?

You may follow along in your Bibles or read from the show notes.

Please tell all your friends about us and feel free to follow us on Twitter or send us an email with any questions. Also feel free to leave a comment here and be sure to check us out weekly or better yet, add us to your favorite podcast software!
God’s Plan
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Isaiah 25:1
O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. ...
Psalm 40:5
You have done many miraculous things, O LORD my God. You
have made many wonderful plans for us. No one compares to you!
Jeremiah 1:12
Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am
watching over my word to perform it.” God Made Us Blind]
Isaiah 42:19
Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I
send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant
of the LORD?
Exodus 4:11
The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes
him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I,
the LORD?
Read various translations of this verse.
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
John 9:1-3
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

February 16, 2013 by Mike Calvo | Comments (1) | Blindness | Affliction | Podcast | Jesus | Freak | discussion

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The Mid Atlantic Regional ACB Convention 2010 was held in Baltimore November 5-7, 2010. I was honored to be chosen as this year's keynote speaker for the banquet. I hope you like it. Please feel free to post comments and hey, if you want the rantings of a blind man at your event, drop me a line. Enjoy!

November 09, 2010 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | ACB | keynote | blindness

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Be sure to check out the recording that is a part of this post. Feel free to share it with those you believe will be blessed by it!

“And Jesus answered and said, What would you have me do for you? The blind man said, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said to him, Go your way; your faith has made you whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus.”

Have you ever wondered what happened to the people after Jesus cured them? Let me share my story. It is the story of a blind man who had his eyes opened—not the eyes that look out on the world, but the eyes that look inward at my soul.

I will remember that moment forever. It was a Thanksgiving day. I was sharing Thanksgiving with the woman and children who had once been my family. My wife and I were divorcing. I had hurt her and my children in so many different ways. We were at the home of our minister. He had invited the entire flock to join him in Thanksgiving and, though we came in separate cars, from separate houses, I was sharing Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in quite a while. It was during that celebration that I was touched. The Lord reached out and touched me and in a flash I saw my entire life up until that moment – all the hurt I had caused. The people I had led astray. The anger I had let control my life. The many times Jesus had reached out to me and I had turned my back. I saw it all and I felt the Lord’s message that this was the last time. I could open my eyes and see or forever be blind to God’s love.

Like the blind man in the gospel, I received my inner-sight and followed Jesus. I stopped living the life I had been living – a life in the fast lane, with drugs, money and power (mostly it was about power). I made peace with my family. My wife and I struggled to make it work and finally divorced, but not in anger and I built a bond with my children. I found a new purpose. A vision of how I could put the talents God gave me to use so that perhaps, just perhaps, I could help some kid like me, faced with the same choices I was faced with as a blind teenager, banging hard against an establishment that said, “Brother, if you want to be equal, you have to be three times as good.” I could do something so that teenager might be more inclined to make better choices than I made because he didn’t have to be three times as good. He just had to be as good as he or she could be.

When I called my vision, “SAMNet (formerly Freedombox),” I had that moment in mind. Because that was the moment I was suddenly free. God had set me free from a prison of my own making and He had given me the opportunity to set others free.

The vision has two parts. One part, System Access Mobile or SAToGo for short, is a barrier buster in the form of a screenreader that can be delivered to any Windows computer anywhere in the World via the World Wide Web absolutely free. When I was in high school I was at the mercy of other people: counselors, special education people, teachers and administrators to get me the things everyone else had. I mean simple things like books. Books in Braille had to be ordered a full year in advance. When those people failed (and they often failed), I failed. And their message was, “That’s just the way it is. You blind people have to work three times as hard because the world isn’t made for you. It’s made for people with eyes.” Serotek’s products remove those kind of barriers using the power of what I believe is the most important communication medium man has yet devised – the Worldwide Web. SAToGo makes it possible for any person, blind or low vision, , computer genius or new users, to access the PC on an equal basis. Where once there was a barrier of isolation – a high curb, now there is a “curb cut” with a gentle slope. SAToGo says, “We got you there just as easily as the next guy. Now you make good use of this freedom.”

The technology is not complex. Yet it took God’s touch to let me see the path and the Lord’s guidance to find the people; people like Matt Campbell our “beast in the basement” who set aside any need for immediate financial rewards and dedicated himself to making this vision a reality. That was a lesson too. Where before I carried the ball myself on every play, the Lord gave me the patience and the trust to hand off the ball to a great team of people that make up Serotek today who could do many things better than I could do them. It was humbling yet richly rewarding because SAMNet is not just mine, it is “ours.” And that was a new word for me. But it’s a word I’ve come to love.

The second part of the vision was to look at the why’s of discrimination. Oddly enough, some of my inspiration came from the dark side I lived all those years. There are just a few “cultures” where a blind man is treated as an equal. One is the music culture. Another is the drug culture. In both cultures you are just another supplier or another consumer. You either got it or you don’t. I could function as an equal in the drug culture because I could deliver as good or better than the next punk. I could function as an equal in the music culture because I could deliver an audio product that people wanted. Nobody had to make special allowances for me. And they weren’t likely to. If you were a drag on the party they’d just terminate the relationship, one way or another.

But what I saw there was the simple economic facts of life. If you represent a viable market, people will go out of their way to do business with you. You can see it in my home town of Miami with the Cuban culture. It was not so long ago Cubans were just immigrants, consigned to slums, given only the most menial jobs and largely ignored by politicians, merchants, and government bureaucrats. Today we people of Cuban descent are one of the most powerful political forces in the state. We shape elections. Businesses go out of their way to court our patronage. The barrio is a market.

The second part of my vision was to do for blind people and others with disabilities what the Americans with Disabilities Act can never do. Our award winning online community System Access mobile Network or SAMNet for short (formerly the Freedombox Network) is about helping this community to become a powerful economic force by making them “accessible.” Today, if you want to sell something to blind people you are hard pressed to find a way to reach enough of them to support a business. But SAMNet brings people together as a community where merchants can reach them and sell them goods and services. And interestingly enough, as we Cubans found out here in Miami, when businesses see you as a viable market they start to treat you with respect. Suddenly you don’t have to work three times as hard to be equal. You start out equal. Then, when you work three times as hard, well perhaps you reap the extra rewards of that extra work.

For me the rewards are already far greater than I could have hoped. They aren’t huge financial rewards. Those may come someday or they may not. It doesn’t matter that much. But because the Lord saw fit to lift away the scales from my inner eyes and let me see the true depths of my soul, I have the reward of inner peace. I have come to understand forgiveness – a forgiveness so large that Jesus could forgive not just me and my puny arrogance, but those who killed Him. How could I hold anger in my heart against the people who had acted against me, many out of ignorance rather than malice, when Jesus could forgive his assassins? And when you let go of anger and forgive, you discover peace.

I have the reward of a new wife and loving family. I have the sure knowledge that the work I am doing is good work. It is work in service of the Lord that will hopefully lead others to the lord.

We blind folks appear any number of times in the Gospels and in the Old Testament as well. One of my favorites is Matthew 15, verse 14.

“And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

My father, bless him, used to always believe that others led me into evil. But the truth is, I was the leader. As it says in Matthew, I was the “physically” blind leading the “morally” blind and I was truly leading those who followed me not just into a ditch but into the abyss. I like to think that now, with the vision God has given me, I am still leading. But now I am leading people to a place in the light. A place where they can be free to make their own choices. Where they won’t have to work three times as hard to hear the Lord’s message and hopefully find the same gift of inner sight he given me.

And there is this message from the Gospel of John.
“And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
John|9:1 -3
I sometimes think blindness, itself is a mission – a gift from God, not a curse. Isn’t that a strange thought? But in my entire life I have never cursed my blindness. Blindness has never made me feel less than equal. Other people have tried hard to make me feel less than equal and there was a time in my life when I raged against them for their ignorance. But the blindness is simply there. It is what I am. And it could be that it frees me from visual distractions and allows me to better focus on the work God has for me. I hope that people will not pray for me to see as they do, but rather pray for me to see as God wants me to see, in the spirit. Pray that the works of God might be revealed in me not by suddenly giving me eyes that work, but by helping me understand, live, and share the vision. The Serotek vision that both gives people access and makes them accessible.

Serotek Corporation
My company that provides adaptive technologies for the blind and visually impaired
SA To Go
Powerful Fre online screenreader! Get full access to Microsoft Windows 7, Vista and XP operating systems, and use all your favorite Windows applications for productivity, entertainment, and much more.
System Access Mobile Network
includes audio tracks of described movies, thousands of Internet radio stations, personalized news, podcasts, books, music, voice chat, blogging, your own web site, forums, email,Use with System Access or any other screen reader you prefer.
The SeroTalk Blog and Podcast
A podcast and interactive blog on the accessible digital lifestyle, produced by Serotek, the Accessibility Anywhere people
My Twitter Page
Follow me on Twitter!

November 26, 2009 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | testimony | holiday | thansgiving | serotek | satogo | freedombox | blindness