Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

30 April 2009

How are you praying about the Swine Flu?

It's the question that Carla Harding asked yesterday over at the 24/7 International site.

I've been in the poking fun at the Swine Flu quite a bit up to this point... but it's telling of where I'm being God-pulled on this issue.

I'm praying against fear.

I'm praying that people don't stop moving about the globe, their country, their city, their schools, or their mission field because of fear... OF FLU. On the surface, it's easy to look at our Western reaction to (
I repeat) FLU... and conclude that we're the biggest bunch of sucks around. In case you hadn't noticed, an illness 8999x deadlier than the Swine Flu has been ravaging Africa for decades. And in case you hadn't noticed... Africa sees God move in living color. Healing... Mass Salvation... They do "the STUFF." Sickness not only doesn't make people immobile... it often invigorates them into action. In my flesh, our panic over FLU is maddening and grossly disproportionate on so many levels.

But that's fear for you. Fear stops you in your tracks and tells you the immobility is safer. Our mandate from the lips of Christ Himself couldn't be more contrary.

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Mark 16: 15-18


We're supposed to laugh in the face of sickness... not hide from it. In the name of Jesus, for the sake of spreading His fame, we can be bold, prophetic, crazy-go-nuts, snake-handlers. Fear squashes this. And fear is a spirit. Therefore flesh-mad at it is pointless. Spirits are changed IN THE SPIRIT.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

As of this moment... the W.H.O says that 236 on the planet have the FLU. And as a result, Mexico City's economy has ground to a halt. It will likely put many out of work, bankrupt businesses, ruin family vacations, and halt the movement of those endowed with the Spirit of the living God to claim health in themselves and others... all around the world; because of fear.

How am I praying about the Swine Flu? I think it's exposed what is ACTUALLY and epidemic in our land. Fear. I'm praying against fear.

How much is that Aislin in the window?

Ah... mornings at the homestead
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29 April 2009

Pretty Darn Good Radio Ad

I actually like doing advertising and marketing.



I like it best when I can strategically develop the concept with the client... then write it, voice it and produce it right... so it all works TOGETHER. I've got some ideas rolling around in my head these days about how to re appropriate corporate advertising dollars to effectively market in today's world. Hmmm...

The Swine Flu is here... cease lip-kissing immediately or Dotty will kill you in cold blood

You know... I'm fearful of the swine flu, but I COULD fear more. This helpful 1976 instructional video on how to best fear the swine flu should help.



What I learned from the 30 second ad:

  • Don't think... just inject yourself with the closest medication... whatever it is, just use drugs now.
  • Just because you shoot jumpshots and talk fluently in "jive" doesn't mean the piggy can't get you
  • Even healthy old men with Bert-like unibrow with be taken down. The guy even GOLFS. Seriously.
  • The results seem to be mild discomfort, distant wistful periods of thought, and half drunken glasses of water

Well that's good information for everyday application for sure. What about the 60 second ad?


  • Joe kissed a pig at the office... then his wife. That's a bad marital choice. Not even a happy mustache can cover that up... sicko
  • Joe's a child lip-kisser. And a MOTHER IN LAW lip-kisser??? JOE!! Yuck. I blame Joe's indiscreet kissing for the swine flu.
  • Joe's mother-in-law is no better. She kissed Mean Joe Greene... then a charming stewardess moments later. Don't you know there's an EPIDEMIC lady???
  • Then this silver fox got home to see her "friend (if ya know what I mean)" and she killed her via lip-kissing
  • Dotty took out quite... a number... of people on her way to the grim grave. Dotty was one... cold... chick. Even a dog?

Quite a disturbing flu indeed. I think I have enough information now to, with a level head, run and hide for a decade or. I think maybe I'll get a bubble to live in. That way I can still lip kiss strangers and the elderly... just through a safe layer of plastic.

OR

I could calm down and not live in fear of flu.
Maybe that's a better idea after all.

28 April 2009

Life

The majority of our lives are spent doing little of what we've deemed consequential.
Mostly we...
Gaze...




Watch...




Laugh...




Goof...




Admire...




Observe...




Could it be that finding out what matters most...
... can be best found while we're impatiently waiting for "something to happen"
I hope we don't miss out on the secrets of life because of busy work...
... work destined to be chaff.



I hope
I don't miss it.

27 April 2009

26 April 2009

The World could use a Cowboy?


Want proof that I think too much? I've been thinking about the lyrics of this country song by Adam Gregory called "The World could use a Cowboy". Right now when it comes on the radio, I typically say, "this is ridiculous... the world is done with cowboy's... the world needs diplomats and level headed..."

But is that true? Have I been subtly conned?

I've never been a big fan of Old Western Movies. The Duke was not my guy. But I've really enjoyed them lately. Half on an ironic level, but there are some super characters in the old west/ Hollywood sound-stages.

Last night I watched Yul Brynner as Chris in "The Magnificent Seven". My only reference for the movie was that the Cheers barflies used to sing the theme song when they would go off on a mission against Gary's Oldtime Tavern... but Yul was one cool cat. Lighting his cigar with a match struck on his boot... hiring guns for 20 bucks to fight for justice... bald cowboy.

If you haven't seen it... it's the 3 Amigos... only real. Famously at the end of the victorious battle for the poor farmer's freedom, Yul says about the victory, ""Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose." Fightin' for justice. Good will win out at all cost gall dern it.

You know what? It's possible that the world does need more cowboys. There IS a right and wrong in the world. And we ARE suppose to fight (even to our own death) for what's right and the benefit of others. I think the problem has been when it's mercenaries who have selfishness as the motive... and narrow-thinking cowboys who deem anything different to be wrong. We need DISCERNING cowboys.

There are fences that need to be mended
There's a stray cut off from the herd
That needs to be defended By a lonely campfire
Underneath the stars He sings his sad songs
And strums his guitar I tell you what the world could use
Is a little John Wayne kind of attitude

The world could use a cowboy right about now
Run those bad guys right out of town
Round 'em up and hunt 'em down
The world could use a cowboy right about now




The world really could use people who, given their druthers, would sit and revel in the simple things... but are compelled to fight for others freedom because it's RIGHT. Gall dern it. Hmm... Dun dun datta dun...

25 April 2009

Even prayer to "An Unknown God" works

I was hanging out with a friend last night who told me one of the most wonderful stories of how he and his wife became Christians. The details are their own story to tell. But basically he prayed what "The Vision" refers where it says...

"My feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great Amen from countless angels from hero's of the faith, from Christ Himself"


... and God responded. Like a "God I don't know what the deal with you is... but if you're there... I need you to do something RIGHT NOW." And He did it. No human meddling. Just God. The story made me think of the story of one of Paul's Missionary Journeys where he said this...


Acts 17: 23
For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.


My friend told me that after... great people played Paul's role of "proclaiming" the unknown God and pastoring them to a place of depth and understanding. It reminded me...

  1. Prayer works... all kinds.
  2. There are people hurting all around who need to be encouraged to pray
  3. We need to expect to steward the results of answered prayer in people's lives
I love the stories of God's power to transform lives, marriages, families, souls, attitudes, addictions, mindsets... He's got it all. Good Fella.

24 April 2009

The top ten things that I'm not blogging about today

Here are the top ten things that I'm not blogging about today:

10. My childhood baseball hero being a wiener.
9. Getting edited out of a National TV documentary.
8. This age of Glasnost.
7. Smoking, chewing and going with girls who do.
6. What in the world is going on in that Night Garden?
5. Now I'm thinking that the Lenny Dykstra story should be higher on this list... darn you Nails.
4. Head wear in the house of God.
3. Drapery.
2. How in the world to write a book.
1. Yeah... Lenny Dykstra again. But remember when he'd run through a brick wall to run down a ball?? Shoot.

Nope. Instead I'm going to transcribe some of the best lines from last night's "The Office". Why? Because they are all waaay funnier than that list.

"Time to make the donuts"

"Your donuts make me go nuts"

"We got the van at an old car lot. We think it says alleluia church of Christ in Korean on it. It was either this or an old school bus with an owl living in it.
(To a Korean woman) Excuse me... it's a paper company now.... it's not for the church"

"You know what you'd like... if we built a loft"

"I would like you to crunch those numbers again.
It's a program... there is no crunching
Just crunch them."

"When a child gets behind the wheel of a car and runs into a tree, you don't blame the child. You blame the 30 year old woman who got in the passenger seat and said, 'drive kid, I trust you'"

"Did I ever tell you about the day that Steve Martin died?"

"Well well well... how the turntables...

"Our company is worth nothing... business is not about money to me. Our balls are in your court"

23 April 2009

TENNESSEE

Can't get this Arrested Development song out of my head.



Lord I've really been real stressed
Down and out, losin ground
Although I am black and proud
Problems got me pessimistic
Brothers and sisters keep messin up
Why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don't know where I can go
To let these ghosts out of my skull
My grandmas past, my brothers gone
I never at once felt so alone
I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel
Not just my spare tire
But lord I ask you
To be my guiding force and truth
For some strange reason it had to be
He guided me to Tennessee

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan

Lord it's obvious we got a relationship
Talkin to each other every night and day
Although you're superior over me
We talk to each other in a friendship way
Then outta nowhere you tell me to break
Outta the country and into more country
Past Dyesburg into Ripley
Where the ghost of childhood haunts me
Walk the roads my forefathers walked
Climbed the trees my forefathers hung from
Ask those trees for all their wisdom
They tell me my ears are so young
Go back to from whence you came
My family tree my family name
For some strange reason it and to be
He guided me to Tennessee

Now I see the importance of history
Why people be in the mess that they be
Many journeys to freedom made in vain
By brothers on the corner playin ghetto games
I ask you lord why you enlightened me
Without the enlightenment of all my folks
He said cuz I set myself on a quest for truth
And he was there to quench my thirst
But I am still thirsty...
The lord allowed me to drink some more
He said what I am searchin for are
The answers to all which are in front of me
The ultimate truth started to get blurry
For some strange reason it had to be
It was all a dream about Tennessee


What a powerful question. "I ask you lord why you enlightened me without the enlightenment of all my folks?"

God's answer is, "He said cuz I set myself on a quest for truth and he was there to quench my thirst"

It's an interesting mind game that we get teased with when we realize the whispered voice of the invisible God on whom we base our entire life... has led us into uneasy places. I was reading about Arrested Development and their role in the rap/hip hop world. Their 1992 album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... is an absolute masterpiece with song like Mr Wendal and People Everyday... each of which I could/should blog about individually.

They sang about social justice, ignorance, poverty, racism (in a constructive way)... and became the butt of the gangsta rap revolution's jokes. They got a bit swallowed by the beast they were trying to slay.

"Arrested Development is really trying to make social change and economic change, and gangstas don't play a part in change because they don't control their own lives. They're being pimped by oppression, like most people are being pimped, but the gangstas are allowing it to happen"
Speech (Arrested Development)


Oh to pimp or not to pimp... that is the... oh never mind. But like a good prophetic word... it bore fruit in some of today's Erykah Badu/Lauren Hill types. If they had released "3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the life of..." (incidentally that's how long it took them to get a their music heard) now, I'd hazard a guess that they'd have been huge. But God led them into Tennessee for a time and reason.

Check out Mr. Wendal... it's a powerful song talking about an alternate line of thinking about the value of the homeless as actual human beings. It's fantastic.

21 April 2009

Swing low sweet chariot

You wouldn't believe the number of people who've sung this over the years. Krissy's out at prayer tonight so I've been home watching the ballgame, trying to find the best version of this song since it got stuck in my head.

It's a wonderful old song to sing. So open to interpretation too. There were a couple of folksy old-county coolies from Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash that were pretty good. One that I really liked was this Southern Smooth Styled version from Sam Cooke.



Believe it or not... the one that stuck out in my head was a version from UB40 (yes you heard me) that was the theme to the 2003 World Cup of Rugby.



I'm a sucker for Euro-Sport theme music. Don't ask me why. But I found that to have a ton of soul.

Someone needs to kiss Susan Boyle

I'm a bit perturbed by this Susan Boyle extravaganza. In case you're not one of the 100 million people who have seen her performance on the UK's "Britain's Got Talent", you can check it out here. She's a quirky Scottish lady who comes on Simon Cowell's stage to the very open snickers and smirks of the gussied-up, cloned, drones in the house. "How dare this homely woman think she has anything of value to offer? Let us make sport of her"

Then she BELTS out a song from Les Miserable. Shock and Awe fill the room. An Internet phenomenon in born. Amazing that something this beautiful can come out of something that... ... ... WAIT A MINUTE. Why exactly are we reacting this way? Are we really that far gone down the superficial road that we've been lulled into a place where we're literally surprised that something of value can come from someone who doesn't fit into our pretty mythical box that we're all scrambling for position inside?

The next argument is, "Well sure she can sing... but she'll never be A STAR. How do we market THAT"? Can she be a star? Who cares!! I hope Susan Boyle goes home full of self-worth, finds a great job doing something she loves (whether it's singing or not) and gets her first kiss. I hope she lives her own life... in her way. I learned something years ago about "talent". A good friend of mine prophesied something very important over me that I took to heart. He said,

"Embrace Obscurity"

I bemoan the lack of personality in the church. For quite a number of years, I somewhat resigned myself to the fact that Christendom just didn't come with the quirky, quick-witted, loose-lipped, free-spirited dimwits that I'd come to love in the world (since I was one of them). And it kept me from wanting to join the club. But God is Bigger and more important than any church or personal shortcoming so I signed up... and smiled politely.

My suspicions were confirmed that The Church looked a certain way. Christian TV and Radio sounded a certain way. Preaching followed a certain method. The successful Christians spoke and dressed a certain way. Tried and True. Snickers... get thee behind me.

When you're learning to "Embrace Obscurity" you're learning to worship WHOLLY with what you have been given... YOU. You're learning to be comfortable in your own skin. You're learning to use your talents to fully live the life YOU'VE been given in humility instead of trying to cram another body onto a perilous ledge over a selfish abyss. In embracing obscurity, I'm learning how to use to my "nitwittedness" gifting to make the people I care about happy. To spur others on to love and good deeds. And it feels good to be ME doing it. It's more than GOOD. It feels RIGHT because I'm using WHAT God gave HOW he wants it used.

If we can do this... The Church will can be something beautiful. Creative. FULL of many different flavors of worship. And maybe if we'd all have the courage to be who we really are... Susan Boyle would have had people stop and take notice of this thing God put inside her years ago. We wouldn't have to be shocked. She'd just be Susan... the valuable person right from the start.

I hope that someone sees Susun's beauty... and kisses her good and hard. That's worth more than a recording deal. Now... if you'll excuse me... I'm going to eat a plate of food with my face and shriek like a taradactil in public.

18 April 2009

We've come a long way baby


I think this saying was originally a woman's lib slogan or a cigarette ad or something... but for me it was something that my parents generation used to cheesily say to each other. I remember my Dad saying it to my Mom with his gooey eyes while us kids rolled our eyes.

But I said it (in my mind :) last night to Krissy as we dressed up as Moe from the three stooges and Grace Kelley (or some Hollywood Starlet) for a fundraiser night

We have really come a long way.

We're better adults than we were 5 years ago... but we have more fun. It's cool to actually see growth in your life and marriage over time. What a pretty girl in this picture. Wow.

17 April 2009

What if Grace Kelly went out with Moe


I know you've always wondered this... since you're clearly exactly like me. Tonight... I finally get my answer.

It will be a little bit pearls... A little bit getting smacked in the skull by a 2x4.

A little bit nibbling on pastries and sipping tea. A little bit mashing pastries in your face.

A little bit kitten... a little bit pork-ee-pine.
Ah date night with Dave... pray for my wife... I beg of you.


If you're in Brantford... you should put on some fancy pants and check out Yes Church's "A Night in Old Hollywood" Fundraiser.

I'll be the MC and some of Brantford's finest vocalists will be singing some classic Hollywood music.

PLUS

I'll be making my vocal debut. Yes it's true. After years and years of being painfully shy about my vocal gift (anyone laughing yet?) the spotlight FINALLY gets turns on my windpipe.

Yes... I'll be performing a song that I once sang in a Filipino karaoke bar to the blanks stares of many a 18 year old girl who just wanted the dorky man to sit down and for Ricky Martin's greatest hits to return.

Well I've been squirled away working. And tonight... oh tonight I shine.

Thankfully there are pros singing too.

Kim Clement: On Calling and Destiny

Good teaching from Kim Clement on how what we are doing today interacts with our future

What is your call? What is your purpose? What are you called to do right now? David was called to be an armor bearer and psalmist-musician for King Saul; that was his temporary purpose. Your purpose is always temporary, always changing, but always promoting your destiny. Your present purpose is never permanent. It\'s important for you to understand that. What you are doing right now may only be for a specific time because God is leading you to your destiny. But if you don\'t fulfill your call, you may never get to your destiny.

16 April 2009

Let us hurl stones at Mel in Jesus name shall we?


How is it that we so often miss the real beauty of Jesus?

Mel Gibson CLAIMS that he's a CHRISTIAN!
Mel Gibson has the GAUL to be husband to a wife for nearly 30 years!
Mel Gibson makes the most powerful film about Christ EVER and actually believes it!

BUT

Mel Gibson DRINKS often to excess
Mel Gibson may have cheated on his wife
Mel Gibson spouted off racist nonsense.

COMMENCE hurling "HYPOCRISY!"
If he really believed it... he'd be a better person. He's a liar and a Charlatan!!
And it was done in the name of GOD! The nerve.
Stone HIM!!!!
By what right does Mel Gibson get off sharing and proclaiming Jesus as a blatant sinner?

Note: Words in Red are sarcasm


Because of... and IN... Jesus name.
Mel's not much different than me or you... he just gets more pub.
We're all shams in our own ways...
but in saying that... it means we're ALL just people in need of Jesus to get by.
I hope Mel has the courage keep on loving and sharing Jesus despite it all... hope I can too!

It was Because this is the condition we live in, Jesus died and rose again... so we can stand to fight another day! In Luke 18, Jesus said to the rich young ruler, ""No one is good—except God alone". And the amazing thing is that we get to participate in this miracle... while still living in our previously-fatally- flawed vehicles. It's almost obscene how powerful this seeming incongruity is.

Honestly... Peter cut a man's ear off RIGHT IN FRONT OF JESUS! Imagine the tabloids! Stone Him! How DARE he call himself a Christian!

Again... I'm very moved by what Paul writes AS he's in ministry of all things! Not BEFORE, but DURING as a realization of how to make sense of our human state of being; trying somewhat successfully to communicate divine grace.

"I'm Public Sinner Number One. Someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off! Evidence of his endless patience. I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. I'm full of myself. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.

I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it's predictable. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge."

2 Corinthians 11: 30
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

I've had it with veiled lies of perfection and self-righteousness that we walk around snootily looking down on others shortcomings through. Mel's just unlucky enough (or maybe lucky enough) to have his humanity tattled on publicly. Maybe it's good. At least there is no facade to hide behind. Last night I was scolded by a well-meaning brother about how it's wrong for Christians to even laugh. God bless'im but my own righteousness is like filthy rags. And my Jesus laughed.

Yes ... let me change
Yes... let me grow
Yes... mature

But without a humble ground-floor... we just don't get anything.
The cross is so much more beautiful and inclusive than we give it credit for.



14 April 2009

We do NOT have what it takes... tonight on "Dave's Demotivational Devotions"

We do NOT have what it takes to be good people. I DON'T believe in our abilities. TRYING to be good is worth zippo on it's own. Demotivated yet? Here's Paul ranting about how much of a dirt-bag he still was (Message remix of 1 Timothy 1 and Romans 7:15)

"I'm Public Sinner Number One. Someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off! Evidence of his endless patience. I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. I'm full of myself. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.

I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it's predictable. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge."

Bono gives an intriguing analysis of this reality that we'd rather pretend doesn't exist:

"I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep sh--. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."
Bono


Isaiah calls our righteousness "filthy rags" which actually implies that it's equal to a used menstrual cloth. Pretty image of this tainted mind, body, soul, spirit conglomerate that we're stuck struggling through life day after day. Demotivated yet?

Well don't be. Just take note of where we're to put our hope. It's actually a wonderful place to be in to GET why we need Jesus. Here's Romans 8: 1-11... the solution to Paul's constant flesh-fight.

1-2With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

3-4God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

5-8Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.

9-11But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!


I write all this tonight because I'm reminded again of my inert sin nature. My own "I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight". I was again reminded tonight that grace is the only way that my offering can be seen as worthy. It's liberating and freeing knowing that we're all in this boat together... and that Jesus loves me.

The Greatest Day I've never had


The window to my left was cracked just enough to let the lukewarm late spring breeze make my bedroom smell like the city. I wake up on my own, lying on my back... in my bed, fully rested. No alarms. No baby monitors. My wife's beside me still sleeping. She looks pretty, and since both of our morning breath smells like cinnamon, I kiss her. She smiles and keeps sleeping.

I turn on the TV to watch a half hour of The 3 Stooges. I then summon my Robot maid to bring me a cup of coffee. She asks me what I'd like for breakfast. I tell her that I have no idea but she should read my mind and make exactly what would be perfect. She's such a dear. My wife wakes up, quotes a Song of Solomon and we ...

.
..
...
....
.....half an hour later



We devour our bacon, eggs and hashbrowns cooked over a campfire... only to discover that I've lost 20lb in doing so! The children all awaken simultaneously, fully dressed and fed. We spend an hour together frolicking in perfect harmony. Overnight, my laboratory discovered and perfected teleportation so they are instantly sent to school. We go and sit out on our porch (which now miraculously overlooks a lake) on lazy-boy chairs for a couple of hours... reading emails... talking about life... the news... God... kids... before our Robot Maid arrives with our Bullseye BBQ Burgers with jalapenos.

There is a full slate of baseball in the Major Leagues so we spend the afternoon ballpark hopping (thanks to the teleportation device) while blogging about which park has the finest sausage and nachos in America. We arrive home an hour and a half before the kids get home from school... just long enough for a nap on the couch to the sound of a golf tournament on TV.

Another hour is spent frolicking with the kids before they head to bed like the Von Trapps. Krissy and I are that night's speakers at Freedom House's on-going revival meetings (everyone takes turns since the City of God has been on fire for years now). We spend hours in the presence of God with our closest friends (and thousands of others).

After it's done, a small group of us get on a private jet and fly to Chicago for wings and late night live blues. Late night Krissy comes out in full force as we cackle our way home. Once Krissy crashes in bed... I sit silently on my porch, staring at the stars thanking God for being Him... and for my Robot maid who intuitively made me one more coffee. She's such a dear.


13 April 2009

Painting the Cross by numbers


I read 3 very interesting stories about Christianity on our continent today. Each of the articles are worth a full read... but here's a taste.


Canada is Christian, most believe: Poll
By Misty Harris, Canwest News Service

The survey, conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National, found roughly six in 10 Canadians (58 per cent) identified the country as Christian. Among those who believe in God, 61 per cent think Canada is a Christian nation, while fully 48 per cent of non-believers feel that way.

Although the poll found just 58 per cent of Canadians ``definitely believe in God'' - down from 64 per cent in 2003 - Hexham believes we're nonetheless a country with ``very strong Christian ties.''


The researchers they talked to in the article were shocked because it seemed that Canadians were relating Christianity to tolerance... and it sounds like they found THAT offensive. Ha. It's fascinating how desperate segments of society are to paint the church as angry and obsolete.

The End of Christian America By Jon Meacham| NEWSWEEK


In the new Newsweek poll, fewer people now think of the United States as a "Christian nation" than did so when George W. Bush was president (62 percent in 2009 versus 69 percent in 2008). Two thirds of the public (68 percent) now say religion is "losing influence" in American society, while just 19 percent say religion's influence is on the rise. The proportion of Americans who think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at a historic low of 48 percent. During the Bush 43 and Clinton years, that figure never dropped below 58 percent.


The term, "Post-Christian America" is bandied-about in this article. People have been trying to put the final nail in the "God coffin" for century's. Nietzsche, in the 19th-century pronounced "God is dead".

Actually it struck me on the weekend while watching the Ten Commandments that God gets His way... using whatever method necessary. When Yul Brynner sent Heston into the desert (to die basically) he said something like, "I won't kill you to become a martyr (like they did eventually with Jesus), so your people can rally around your death. I'll let the desert kill you and it will on your God's hands"

Aaaaand God seemed to make it through just fine thank you. My hunch is, He's still interested in hanging around.


Most American Christians Do not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist
The Barna Group

Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.

Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.


These stats fascinate me. Really... they do. There certainly are a lot of religious idiosyncrasies that the church is (thankfully) in the process of overcoming, but these things are VITAL to understanding the very basis of why we identify ourselves as Christians.

It makes very little sense to accept a faith, and then ignore what it believes. Apathy, lukewarmness and ignorance of spiritual warfare are some of the great cons of our time that are running rough-shot through "the church" these days.

It's never too early to watch "In the Nightgarden"


I totally mean it. It's a program that I love so dearly that it's a joy to wake up at 5:15AM to see it. The adventures of the "Ninky Nonks". Those wacky Mormon Pontipines.

Playing, "what will Iggle Piggle do next?" brings joy to my spirit and and gives a spring to my step. The script writing for Macka Packa is divine... such a deep, well-rounded character.

I love it so... and 5:15AM is the IDEAL time to start the day in the Nightgarden. I couldn't think of a single thing I'd rather be doing to kickoff another riveting work-week.

Am I laying it on thick enough?


11 April 2009

Life
































Driving home from St Thomas last night, I said to Krissy "Do you remember doing this trip without kids?"

Barely.

Thank goodness life is about more than ME.

10 April 2009

Jared rocks this motha out



This is the worship song that Jared helped write with the kids at LAFF Academy @ Freedom House. Yeah my boy rocks the Kazbah.

9 April 2009

Learning to be Content

In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday I got a call from a woman in Germany. She said, "Cut it out" -- Steven Wright

We're fidgety, uneasy, restless people a lot of the time. More often than not, "Content" is a fleeting, momentary feeling that we'll swear was dream after the third blink. It's an illusive beast to say the least, meaning:

"Satisfied with what one is or has. Rest or quietness of the mind in one's present condition"


It's clearly a Biblical attribute that God desires for us. While warning us not be corrupted by the trappings of the world in 1 Timothy 6:6, we're exhorted that "
Godliness with contentment is great gain". Then in Philippians 4:12 Paul, who was likely in prison at the time, wrote "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation".

I find it interesting that Paul says that he's
LEARNED to be content. I come back to what I wrote about youth the other day, because I've been feeling God prodding me in the area of my lack of contentedness in life saying, "it's time to learn how to be content AND be someone who presses for change". I'll be honest, right now I don't know how to get there.

"(To youth) The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged"
GK Chesterton


I think there is great wisdom and trickle down value in the phrase "The Soul Survives". I'm a pusher-man.
I want to make sure that I'm a history maker. I want my life to make a difference. My life's verse is Isaiah 26:8 "Your Name and Renown are the desire of our hearts". Well... that's the end of the verse. It's the part I like. The first part says. "Yes Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you"

Waiting eh?

Where things get muddy for me is in being able to go to sleep at night knowing that the fate of the world around me... is bigger than me. That playing MY role is enough for me. That I (personally) am not responsible for making change. I'm not the change-maker. That waiting and being content is OK. Even in thinking this... I want to start stammering "but but but..." in my head.

I think I'm learning that discontentment can come from
over-estimation of our own importance. We want change so badly that we're afraid to just let go and stop fiddling with Steven Wright's mystery light switch, in a desperate attempt to make something happen... afraid to trust enough to worship... pray... laugh... love. We're afraid we're "wasting valuable time" when, ironically, that very act can rob us of the very things that need to be our change-making motive.

Contentment trickles down into love, blessing other people's ministry instead of coveting it, kindness, peace, gentleness, worship... so many good things we're freed up to be when we'll just trust enough to be content.








8 April 2009

Why I keep singing

Psalm 40 (King James Version)

1I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.


I love the King James of this scripture. You know what inclined means?

"Having a preference, disposition, or tendency"

He has a preference, disposition and tendency to hear my songs.

Mmmm... That's so good.



7 April 2009

"There is a heartbeat to this game"

'Cash, listen,' Torre said. 'I don't know how long we're going to be together. But do yourself a favor: never forget there is a heartbeat to this game.'
Joe Torre to Brian Cashman on letting Bernie Williams go
-- as quoted from "The Yankee Years"


I almost didn't go to my traditional opening day baseball game last night. It was the end of a long day and I truthfully wanted to go home and be attacked by kid-sized hugs and fall asleep in the 6th inning using my wife as a pillow. But I love opening day with my friends... so out into the stereotypically Canadian spring blizzard I went.

Thankfully, Baseball rarely disappoints me. I see so much good in it. Even Blue Jays DH Adam Lind (who had 6 RBI last night) said that he was numb with excitement until the 4th inning.

Opening Day in Toronto is a seasonal oddity. The stadium is full of people... lots of them young, rowdy and vocal with dual beers in hand. Outfielder heckling is constant (that included me. Hey if Fernando Rodney didn't want to be heckled he shouldn't have been playing with a piece of string all night!) ... There are fights... random moonings... projectiles thrown on the field... rousing orchestrated cheers for successful paper airplanes landings... it's a bit of a zoo. Opening Day is not a "beautiful ebb and flow of the grand ole game" day. But I saw something in the zoo last night. Something good.

Sitting a section to my right was a group of Laurier Brantford University Students. They were a wild bunch led by a guy with a bright blue Mohawk and another guy with the body of George Costanza and the personally of John Belushi. They were loud, pointy, wave-starters... and they were likely even in the group of people being called idiots in the media today for stopping the game in the 8th inning from player-fears of paper airplane attack.

Quite honestly, my Dave reflex is to roll my eyes and say... "watch the game you blowholes!" (as I'm busy being a blowhole myself). My learned Christian reflex is to eye their steady flow of beer, mutter something about debauchery and automatically assume that they would be better off to be with our group of Pastors and Christians. Why do we still have this judgement in us?

I looked at Belushi Boy in his natural habitat and he was doing his thing man. He was embracing things I love about baseball and life in his own way. He was clearly flirting and doing the mating dance. He was givin' er man... he was full out embracing the moment. And he was enjoying the baseball game too. He's a character with a real live heartbeat... and he is a vital part of what went into building a wonderful night at the ballpark. It made me wonder if I was being as free and living as fully committed to the moment as I could be.

When Joe Torre made that quote... he was lamenting the ugly era of professional baseball where steroids, egos and selfishness reigned over the character and humanity that have long marked baseball. Fortunately... Baseball is not cure-all tonic. It's not THE answer. But it's personable. I never leave a baseball game not feeling GOOD. There is a heartbeat to this game.

6 April 2009

The Good Wine

“It is currently said that hope goes with youth, and lends to youth the wings of a butterfly; but I fancy that hope is the last gift given to man, and the only gift not given to youth. Youth is pre-eminently the period in which a man can be lyric, fanatical, poetic; but youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged: God has kept that good wine until now.”

—G. K. Chesterton


I remember chatting with an engaged friend of mine (who has a very similar personality to me) about sex a few months before his wedding. Not the "birds and the bees" but a realistic... what should I expect and NOT expect. In that chat, he realized that one day in the future he'd be in many scenario's that were currently very foreign to his mind. He knew that he still had his own wild honeymoon roller coaster ride ahead, but hearing that everything wasn't always "lyric, fanatical, poetic" was helpful in avoiding the crash of hopelessness that popping the bubble of the Hollywood sex myth can be.

It's was the chat that I truly wish I'd had someone, who I felt comfortable with, to have with me. Words of encouragement from someone who knows that life still goes on.

George Bernard Shaw said, "youth is wasted on the young". And I get what he's saying. But it doesn't work like that. I always wanted to be 30. I figured people wouldn't really listen to me until I was 30. I wanted what I was saying in my teens and 20's to be seasoned and wise... but all too often what I heard was Christian-Pubescent voice cracks. It turned out to be an annoying but necessary season.

Turns out that we have roles to play. Youth isn't wasted on the young unless it's about YOU having it all. Because THE BODY of Christ needs youthful exuberance... AND it needs people who have come out of it (and are still passionate) to come alongside youth and mentor them. Chat with them. Bless them. It's tricky not wanting what each other has... be it cars, TV's, spouses, gifts, wisdom, or even season's of life.

To covet:
"To desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others"


For me... I like getting older. I like the idea that I actually have seen some stuff and feel like God's shaping my concepts of Him into a more well rounded picture. But the reality is, I need people in their 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's who have been through their 30's to talk to me about the Kingdom of God. I need them to help me go deeper into understanding. It's no good to covet youth. What a waste of time. The trick really is to embrace our season and press onward.

5 April 2009

When you feel like quitting... go harder

"...the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people..."
Galatians 6

It's interesting that we're warned against the weariness in doing good. As someone struggles with this... I'm reminded that my weariness is to be expected and refuted. We're not told to "make sure you get enough ME time". We're not told... "make sure you take holidays from doing good". We're not told "take care of yourself and your practical needs first and all the opportunities for doing good things will be added onto you".

Nope. It says, "Hear the spirit. Respond. Go hard. Keep going. And when you feel like quitting... go harder".

The funny thing about weeks of prayer... they leave you tired AND invigorated. And which one I live in... is up to my choice to press further or retreat into weariness.

When I think and feel in my flesh... it feels weary. When I step into the places of the divine... all I feel is glory. Pressing on through weariness leaves us at a place of broken obedience in reverent, persistent motion. And that's a useful lump of clay right there for the potter.


2 April 2009

Stop it! Bob Newhart says so.

I'll readily admit that compassion is not my default setting. If you know me, this information is not much of a surprise. I'm not cold (although some feel like I am) ... I just think that we, societally, are chronic whiners. And when you goo and gush over ever little ailment... it cheapens the actual act of compassion to those who really need it.

com·pas·sion (kəm-pāsh'ən)
"Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it"

Really.

I think we've been coddled and stroked as a response to the slightest degree of discomfort so frequently... many people (who should simply know better) believe themselves to be damaged goods. This, to me, is an injustice to society brought on by misused compassion. It can blur our own discernment between what is legitimately unjust... and what is just the wacky stuff that happens in life... that we're SUPPOSED to find uncomfortable and just get over without whining!

"My Dad didn't hug me... so I eat 18 buckets of chicken a day"

"I don't like the smell of hospitals. Death creeps me out. Grandma will be fine without me"

"The church didn't bake me a pie for the 5th anniversary of my parrot's death... so they're hypocrites. I'll just watch Huntley Street and have fellowship with Polly II. He SO loves the Lord"


I'm sure he does.
I'm sure that's what Paul had in mind.
Honestly.
Suck it up Princess.
This is a fantastic Mad TV sketch with one of my comic heroes Bob Newhart.



Understand me... this does NOT apply to everything and everybody. But sweet Jesus it applies to a barrow-load of beetabega more situations than it's used in right now.

1 April 2009

Why the prayer room is so cool

Tonight in the prayer room... I had my youth group spend an hour in God's presence. One of the youth had this to say about our time in the prayer room.

"When we were praying in there tonight... I felt like nothing could bother me anymore everything just lifted off me. It brings tears to my eyes... just by praying and doing all this stuff."

We try to jump through so many hoops sometimes. We try to think, preach, teach, talk our way to Jesus... when He's just... right... there... waiting for us to stop and just BE with him.

Punk Monks at your service


Here's what happens when you Google News "Brantford"

From Today's Brantford Expositor:

"This week at the Freedom House City Center in the Market Square Mall, there are people praying for Brantford and it's residents, around the clock. 24/7. Why in the world would we do that? Because we believe our city is a great city with a prosperous future... and sometimes we don't have all the answers about how to get where we want to go. Sometimes a little help from above sure can't hurt. In fact, often it can make all the difference.

24/7 Prayer is an ancient, and recently revived International movement of people passionate to see communities changed from it's core out. It's impact comes on a number of levels. First, anyone from Brantford who would like the chance to pray with the freedom to express themselves in whatever style they communicate (loud music, art, dancing, meditation, writing, quiet reflection by the fire) is welcome to come and experience a non-stop room of dialog at the Freedom House City Center... any time this week. It's a personally transforming experience that, in turn, changes our city because hope comes alive again. Hope of "what could be". Hope that Brantford can be everything it was meant to be.

When the Colborne Street is filled with hopeful, passionate dreamers... it will never be the same.

Secondly, we are offering the services of a group of Punk Monk's to the city of Brantford. If there is something that you'd sleep better knowing people who care are praying about... 24/7... please email me (dave@freedomhouse.ca). We believe Brantford has a destiny of greatness that includes us all. Seeing Brantford starting to be prepared to work, serve, give, pray and do our individual part until this happens, encourages me. It tells me that the dream is not as far as it once seemed"

I've already been getting email from people who are desperate for God to intervene. Thing is that we're quite inept at being God. He's good at it. We have to believe that God hears when we cry out to him... AND we have to be ready to go there for other too.

Matthew 9: A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman
18While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." 19Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."

22Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.

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