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.

31 May 2009

"Have fun storming the castle...



... think they'll live? It would take a miracle."

I often think about this clip Sunday mornings as we launch into a Freedom House session. There are high odds against a city being revolutionized to the point of being called "The City God". I get that. We all do. There is a way to go before "The City of God" is spoken out of a body of evidence instead of as a statement of faith.

And often... you can hear the Billy Crystal's sending you off to your death with a smile and patronizing support. But I know my enemy. People who don't believe in missions of faith... aren't really casting their dispersions on you. It's really the mission-maker they've got a bit of an issue with. And they're welcome to take it up with Him.

As for me and my house... we're headed somewhere. My handguide tells me that my enemy is not flesh and blood. The enemy of "Thy Kingdom Come" can be defeated with singing, speaking, dancing, believing, listening... and then doing what you're told. It's so crazy that it just... might... work. Do you know your enemy?




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29 May 2009

My girls



Does every Dad feel like I do when they look at their daughters?



When I look at my girls... I see them in a white dress at the altar.
I can feel how happy and sad I'll be when they aren't my little girls anyone.




Lord let my affections for my girls stay tender. Let me feel WITH them. On their wedding day let them look at me with the same "Daddy I love you eyes" I see today.

28 May 2009

If there is one thing that I know...


... is that teens LOVE teaching about Old Testament ceremonial priest clothing.

I'm speaking at a youth rally in Wingham Ontario tomorrow night. Typically what I'll do is ask God for a direction... a word... a thing... something to begin praying into, researching, mulling over.

This time, I heard the word "Ephod". So I've being delving into the significance of this priestly garb for weeks now. It's actually very interesting...



“As long as the priest bore the names of Israel (which were written on the Ephod) before the Lord, He would not forget to be gracious to Israel. Thus, in effect, there was a kind of wordless intercessory prayer.


When you look at the fact that Jesus is now our High Priest, presenting us to His Father... it paints a very beautiful picture. I love the richness of wisdom and levels of revelation that can be found in the word of God. Just sitting there... waiting to be discovered by whoever wants to get closer to a fuller understanding of the man with the BIG plan.


Cartoon from David Hayward (Naked Pastor)

27 May 2009

The old apartment

"Each of us is a temple in whom God lives. God puts it this way. 'I'll live in them, move into them'"

Couple things God's been teaching me these days...

Grow up... act your age: In mature Christianity (as my friend Sam puts it) "we don't have rights, we have responsibilities".

The River of God is everywhere: One building... another building... couldn't matter less.

If you're thirsty... YOU have to COME and drink: "The hungry" only win if they satisfy that hunger. Context doesn't matter. If you need Him... go get Him. He's right there.

Move forward or die: Everything changes. No tangible thing, time, place, SPACE, is sacred. Objects , seasons, eras, appearances, are interchangeable... even disposable. God walks us forward to teach us more about Him. WE are sacred. Our callings. God's hope and power are communicated through US.

Without grace... we're screwed: Chances are the things we talk passionately about today... we'll look at differently in ten years because of where we've spent the last decade walking. Pride, arrogance and judgment will suffocate us. Our righteousness is equivalent to a menstrual cloth anyway. Grace is like a oxygen and without it... our words are shallow and empty.

Where we are right now... is just an apartment. Just a roof. Just a speck of time.
God MOVED into ME.

25 May 2009

Hip 2 be Holy

Just finished watching it... and it was excellent. A few quick thoughts:

  • Good on Kevin Newman for admitting that a largely secular media has ignored or misrepresented Canadian Evangelicals... and acting on it. Kevin if you're a Big Ear reader, my wife says "that's my Kevin".
  • Carey Nieuwhof from Connexus Church in Barrie did a wonderful job. And the great part of it is... that there are churches telling the same story, and people who think and speak similarly, all across our country.
  • I think that this was a wonderful piece of clip art showing a snippet of the life of MANY who rarely see themselves portrayed as sensible. I think it will nearly be an affirmation to some that there are others... and we're OK.
  • I'm happy that Faytene Kryskow's ministry was a part of the doc. She's a passionate girl doing great things in Canada.
  • I was at the night in downtown TO that opened up the doc... and Nate rocked the jungle drums that night :)
  • I look forward to seeing a Canadian documentary called "The Cities of God". The script is being written right now... in a city near you.

That Christian I know

Tonight at 10pm, Global TV is airing a documentary called "Hip 2 be Holy". This is how they're promoting the show...




It all started when Global TV anchor Kevin Newman started noticing signs for Alpha (or as I call them... the smiley, happy, multiracial people holding hands) and wanting to find out what the modern Evangelical church looks like in Canada, because truthfully, many don't even know people like us exist.

So Karen Pinker (a very cool lady from 90th parallel productions) and one of her researchers set out to find out about Christians... and realized that they didn't know many. At least not the kind they were looking for. I got a phone call one night from a really good high school friend (the researcher) who I had recently reconnected with through Facebook. She told me about this project... and said that she wanted to hear about what Christianity looked like in my world. She had noticed, via Facebook and Blogs etc, that I was a Christian who actively lived a life that tried to show Jesus... so we talked. For hours. I got to tell her about why I accepted Jesus into my life... and why I care to make it public to the point of sharing it with others.

I became... "That Christian I know"
And it was really cool.

On and off for months, the producers of the film picked our brains about the who, what, where, when and how's of Christianity and the Evangelical Church in Canada. "
Fascinating", we heard numerous times. Cameras came to The Big Blue House for our Hawaiian Christmas Party Outreach as we filled our bar-church with sand and ham. They interviewed Brian, Sharlyss and me (dressed as Caribana Santa) about sharing Jesus with the families in our neighborhood.

Why us?
We were "Those Christians they knew"

I don't think we're actually seen in the doc. Much of our roll was in the research stage. They went on to focus the documentary on some very cool people like Nate Gerber (she tells me that they thank us in the credits :) but I, personally, have had a very important point reinforced to me through this process.


When people in your life go looking for God...
are you "that Christian they know?"


Do you live your life with Jesus out loud? Do you show Jesus with your actions? Your time? Your mouth? Can people see the fingerprints of God on your blog? If someone stalked your Facebook page, would they be able to tell that you were a follower of Christ? Not because you put on a false evangelic Christian facade or a goofy bumper sticker on your
Lada... but because you GENUINELY love God and others to the point where being with a Generous, Living, Speaking, Interactive God is good enough to share in every area of life?

You know, we don't really get a choice here. Well... that's not entirely true... you can choose a life of subtle, stifled, suffocating, dormant religion. Won't that be fun? You'll be sitting alone in a church building, organizing strawberry socials for one very soon. It was for freedom that Christ set us free... not just so WE can enjoy it ... but so EVERYONE can too.

I'm not totally sure it's "hip" to be Holy. It's not exactly a disposable trend. But life in Christ IS vibrant... and the growing number of Canadians who are being legit and loud about it IS inspiring.






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23 May 2009

22 May 2009

I didn't watch WKRP but I do remember when broadcasting was fun


Every old radio nut in my industry tells stories about WKRP like they worked there. "Remember when Johnny Fever locked me in the bathroom stall?". I may be the only radio guy (over 30) around who didn't watch the blessed show... but I did have a "Remember good ole days?" moment this morning.

I always say that I fell ass-backwards into broadcasting. It all started one drunken high school evening (as many stories do). I was watching one of my favorite unintentionally funny shows on Rogers Cable Brantford called "Barbershop Talk". It was an actual barber... on a barbershop set... with people in barber chairs... shooting the breeze about day to day jibber jabber. "Fantastic", Al would finish every thought with. Genius. I decided to call the show one night and do some of my voice impressions on the air. Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, George Bush Sr... my standard routine. He liked it and I became a regular on the show as a "High School Comedian". Why did they call me that? Cus that's what I told them I was. And so it was.

It was a blast. I was on the Christmas Parade Float!

From that, they gave me my own half hour comedy talk-show called "The Dave Carrol Show". I broke copywrite laws (
which, as it turns out, is a frustrating thing for a high school punk to do for a producer), walked around half naked in the mall, convinced my friend to wear boxer shorts (nearly exposing himself) while doing a craft... it was gold. One day I was at the Brantford Smoke hockey game, and a man came up to me with a bleeding EYE! He had shut a car door on his eye and came looking for Kleenex. But ended up saying... "Hey! You're Dave Carrol! Awesome!"

Awesome indeed. That was a blast.

I went to Niagara College (
which I highly recommend) and learned the trade... or whatever this thing I do is. I disciplined myself to make it through newscasts while having a pressed ham on the glass in front of me. I covered an event where I got to hang with, and interview, Johnny Bower, Gump Worsley, Glen Hall... peed at a urinal beside Polka King Walt Ostenack, and had my camera guy catch an extremely intoxicated Eddie Shack in mid-fall down a winding staircase. This morning I also remembered the day in 1998 where I was on-air in "The Fishbowl" when a buddy rushed into my booth with a fresh off the presses new Van Halen single from the Ill-fated Gary Charone album... to play... right then and there. He wrote me this morning saying, " I still play the tape on the radio in my garage some days... ahh college."

Those were good times... having fun doing radio.

I got to host a coast-to-coast, all-night TV call in show on CTS. It was fantastic fun to sit with my brother and field questions like,
"How do I make myrrh so I can bathe in it like Queen Esther?". My friend Sam was our call-screener (or "The Screenenator" as our luminous flaming graphic showed) and routinely put the most colorful calls to the top of our list. On my brother's final show... I rammed a Boston Cream Donut into his face. Our fantastic director Ed, gave Rick a close-up just in time to capture a chunk of dough being propelled from his nostril.

Those were good days...
even better when the VP of Crossroads saw it at my brother's pastoral farewell
:)

I got to help start a Christian radio station in Brantford from the ground up. That meant doing 8 jobs for the salary of one high school Blockbuster employee. But it was a blast. I sang my own intro to my morning show (
which was followed by my newscast... and the ads written and read by me). I would routinely have character conversations with myself on the air. Often as Mr Gus Mcgillicutty who was a janitor from the deep south who just loved to go "sweepin de gym".

Wild cat... freestyle... multi task... fun radio.

Truthfully... Broadcasting is not what I "Love". It's just been my vocation for some number of years. I could give or take it honestly. But for many years, broadcasting was fun. Things have changed in this industry. I'll risk sounding like a grumpy old fart here... but it's not the same as it used to be. Economics and Short-sighted thinkers have turned something that has long had the "COOL" factor into... not.

I don't think it has to stay that way. And I do think there is a way to make money... and still give room for legit personality and fun. Mediums will change, as will cultures of communication. Neither of these are the things we should fight to maintain control of... change or die. But I do think that broadcasters should think past the surface levels when remembering WHY they listened to the radio in their bedroom as a kid. It's about more than music.



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21 May 2009

"Sure... I'll help"


Think about what could happen if more people said, "Sure... I'll help". It's a seemingly easy concept... but it doesn't take much digging into what Godly helping is... to discover it's importance and cost. Sacrifice is intricately woven into helping. By definition, "Help" is "Contribute strength or means to".

There is also a task COMPLETION aspect to helping that can be missed/forgotten or ignored on the account of it's difficulty. "To give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need". Helping is a very Acts 2 concept of bringing what you have into the collective and investing what you have into other to accomplish a common goal. Not necessarily your own goal.

Maybe they should be one in the same?

"Helps" as a spiritual gift, doesn't get much pub. But I LOVE people who cheerfully and honestly say "
Sure! I'll Help!" without ulterior motives, angles for accolades, or subversive undercurrents. Indulge me a Message and New Living mashup of 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31

You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. You're familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his "body":

apostles
prophets
teachers
miracle workers
healers
helpers
organizers
those who pray in tongues.


But it's obvious by now, isn't it, that Christ's church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It's not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called "important" parts. You should earnestly desire the
most helpful gifts.


Isn't that amazing? It's about more than putting value rankings on the outplaying of specific ministry gifts. God seems to care more about the big picture being accomplished than us getting our limelight. Odd eh? It's a bit of a, "
Oh get OVER yourself dude... just smile and help!". Romans 12:3 backs this up where it says

"...I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment..."


To a great extent, we all have the "gift of helps". It encompasses grace (unmerited favor) because it requires us to put what someone else is doing above us (
even if you don't totally agree or understand) . That's what CHRISTIANS are called to do. It encompasses servanthood, which is another thing that all CHRISTIANS are called to do. In that vein, "Helps" applies DIRECTLY to leadership aswell... because leadership IS servanthood. To those with Apostolic gifting, theirs is a life of friendship to OTHERS destinies.

When there is something that needs doing... saying, "
SURE I'll help". Meaning it. Doing it. And seeing it through... is a total breath of fresh air. It's life.

Ecc 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


In most scenarios... ministry doesn't even happen without "Helps". Period. And it's not just because there would be no one to make coffee and sweep up (
although that is a part of it... because people complain if that's not done... but never want to do it :)

In Acts 6, the Big C Church was thriving... the big wheels were in motion but there were practical things that were being neglected... like the poor. An important thing. The leaders (The 12 Apostles) did NOT stop what they were doing to take care of the needs of the poor. NOPE. They valued the preaching of the Word of God more and had no problem saying it out loud. (
Grumbling under your breath... "those cold, heartless, ...grrrr grumble... they just don't get it... grrrr"). Ever thought/felt/heard/grumbled that? You gotta a beef with the Apostles?? Many do.

The 12's response was,
"Choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we'll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we'll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God's Word." Hmmm. People who will say, "Sure... I'll help" The result? "The Word of God prospered. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith."

Neat

A fully functioning body in action (both practically and spiritually) releases the stuff we desperately long to see happen in our city. It's also a principle that is EASILY stifled without people who will see a need and say "
Sure... I'll help". Helping releases Freedom. Freedom in you... your church... and your friends. It's a bridge-builder. It's challenging and humbling yes... but it's also liberating and powerful!


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19 May 2009

Alcoholism

I ran out to the grocery store tonight to grab a 24 of Diet Pepsi and Nacho Flavored Buggles to snack on while watching the Jays game. I was, once again, confronted with a scene I've seen so many times before; in many degrees of familiarity. Alcoholism. I do not like this thing.

I was walking past the potted plants listening to a single father drop his son off at his part time grocery store gig. Even from a distance, I could smell the familiar smell of too much vodka for 6:30pm. I could also empathetically feel the embarrassment, shame, and hurt on the face of the son. Dad was talking far too loudly about how his son was getting chunky soup for lunch for the whole of next week, and that he HAD to choose what type before his shift started. He, in a defeated voice with eyes fixed on the sidewalk , selected the steak.

I happened to be in the express aisle in front of this Dad and watched him say somewhat inappropriate things to the young cashier, who awkward tried to find something to laugh along with. Anything to avoid the icky spirit that was hanging in the atmosphere. Dad smiled his way out the grocery store... oblivious to the social dynamics around him... to the rhythm of his own song.



I don't like it. I don't like what it does to it's victim. I don't like what it does to those who love the victim. It has a cyclical grip on generations of Canadians... and I don't like it. But I have learned to LOVE the people who are stuck in it's clutches. I have many personal stories... and have numerous (and continually developing) opinions on the place of alcohol in our culture/church... but that's not today's point. Today my heart just breaks for the rampant alcoholism that plagues families in my city and country.

"God... you're good and your love endures forever. I pray tonight that you brake the spirit of alcoholism in my city and land. You desire us ALL to be free. Thank you for rescuing me from slipping ignorantly into alcoholism. Help me be compassionate and show your love to those trapped in cycle of shame of hopelessness. Tonight Lord... I declare what's written on my shirt...





... in Jesus name"


Pray with me?

Norm

"Telling bad jokes isn't funny. But telling bad jokes for an awkward 20 minutes? That's funny"
Norm McDonald

18 May 2009

Wow... and Wow

Yesterday's ESPN Power Rankings...


And they won one more today. Wow. I'm smiling. Can you see me smiling?
And now for something completely different...



Wow

16 May 2009

Amal


Krissy went out with a friend of ours tonight and (likely as an act of Pity :) she left me a movie that her and her husband watched and liked last night. It's a Genie award winning film called "Amal"



It's a movie with a concept that's not new. It's wealth and greed contrasted with poverty and generosity. It's an eccentric multi-millionaire attempting to give a simple rickshaw driver a fortune. Sort of.

Moreso, Amal is lovely picture of simple, humble, kindness in city life. It's unheralded. It's a life that most of us lead. It's tears and dirt and broken. And it's also contented, gentle and peaceful. I like the character Amal. Unless you are the Prince of Persia himself, you can't not like him... because he's just a nice average dude who does the right thing simply because it's right. I think we need to like guys like Amal. It's good for our souls to see them in action sometimes. Proof not only that there are good people "out there"... but evidence that we too can be "that guy".

The film is also a tangible slice of life in a Delhi India day. The sights and sounds are very pretty. Nasseeruddin Shah's character sings a rich, soulful song in a nightclub that caught me by surprise how much I enjoyed it.

Don't let, "Candian Film" scare you off... it's a picture worth watching and it made my Saturday Night.


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Fireproof Tonight

If you're in Brantford...



Have you seen Mike Seaver's new movie yet? What did you think?

15 May 2009

Friday Afternoon Mind Dump

  • Almost every good needs bridge financing. Honestly... how many of you have a sustainable Ministry idea that would work if you had a year salary and a partner to brainstorm with to make it happen? My hand is up.
  • Too much of my life is like "The Office" ... except my Pam is not here with me

Quotes

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge;
That is curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others;
That is vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve;
That is love.
Bernard of Clairvaux (Monk)

”Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
Dorothy Bernard (Actor)


14 May 2009

On 21 degree May days at 3:30pm...

... like today, the bell would ring, and I would bust home to catch the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings of the afternoon Cubs game. From Brantford Ontario, afternoons at Wrigley Field seemed just this side of heaven. Harry Caray was an unintentionally comedic yet undeniably charming, character delivering daily unforgettable moments like this.



I remember the game where Harry swore that San Fransisco Giant Kevin Mitchell caught a ball with his bare hand, when clearly... it was not the case. The highlight of May afternoons were always the 7th inning stretch when Harry would "sing" Take me out to the Ballgame... mostly consisting of a half-in-the-bag Carry waving a mic in the general direction of the topless Bud-Gulpers below.



It was a thing of obscure beauty. My wife and I NEARLY went to Wrigley for our honeymoon to see Harry sing. Sadly he passed in February '98 before we had the chance.

I'll say it again... baseball means little in the grand scheme of things. Tonight, I'm headed to a meeting about fighting human trafficking. But we can't ignore what makes us happy. We fight for other's freedom... so that they can be free to live, laugh and love too. I'm sitting in my fluorescent office this afternoon, listening to Ron Santo call an afternoon Cubs game... and it's peaceful. Puts me in a happy-place. And it's GOOD.

13 May 2009

Incomplete



Originally uploaded by thelongbrake.
I've been thinking lately about the feeling of discontentment, longing, hoping, that we all feel a great majority of the time. I can personally think of only a handful of situations in life where the feeling fades.

Lost in the throes of passion...
Lost in Worship...
Lost in Aislin's smile...
Lost in late night theoretical discussions with friends...

...but it's quick. Satisfaction fleets like a whisper. Maybe it's better identified as the feeling of being incomplete. I DO know this, we all to try to unsuccessfully fill the feeling with something. Some things carnal. Some things spiritual. No matter how much tangible or spiritual wealth we have... we're rarely satisfied.

We Christians often jump on this and opportunistically use the "God shaped hole" argument to peddle Jesus as the cure-all remedy for longing.

Admission #1

Without Jesus... I can't even approach the ladder of understanding. I don't even begin the assent without Jesus as the building block of revelation.

Admission #2

Jesus is only the ticket on to the ladder. The climb is long and hard. It's filled with busted rungs. Missing planks. And it's so high you can't see the top.

Admission #3

Everyday practical life doesn't get easier with Jesus. People still die. Poverty still aches. Society still feels thin and cold.

Maybe that's why photographs with a feeling of loneliness and insignificance like Josh Longbrake's above resonate. I looked at it this morning and it intrigued me. Empty but Full. Broken but Hopeful.

Hmmm...

Maybe we're not SUPPOSED to ever feel like we've "arrived". The Bible says we should be content in all seasons... yes. But maybe God knows we need only tastes of Holiness to beckon us closer to where He is.

"I guess we're all one phone call from our knees"
Matt Kearney'


12 May 2009

You Googled WHAT and found me?

I haven't done one of these in a while... so I poured over the last couple months of bizarre things that people Googled... and found their way to Big Ear Creations. Here are the best of the best:


"you've killed us all kid kissing pig"

This could possibly be the greatest thing you could ever shout on your death bed. Picture it... shaking your fist in the air wildly. Of course...

"his name's not warren... i thought his name was warren"

... is a very close 2nd.

"underoos fire hazard"

Oh Lord... something terrible has happened. Call the nurse. Bring gauze.


"hey do you want to grab a coffee tonight?"

I don't know who you are or what you and that windowless cube van want with me... but yes. I'd love coffee. I never say no to coffee.

"inverted nipples"

This is a service that one of my actual clients offers.



Yes... you should expect a bandaid on your nipples.

"curious gollum"

Enjoy the wacky misadventures of Curious Gollum and the man in the yellow hat. Join us next week when crazy curious gollum strangles a poodle for sniffing his "precious". (
Cheesy Announcer Laugh Voice) Ha ha ha ha ha...

"why can't you chew fufu"

cus the wads of doughy cassava and yam will get stuck in your teeth... silly.

"what is a frame i dare not trust the sweetest frame"
"hide it under a bushel what does that mean"


How DARE you question the lyrics of a hymn???!!!! Blasphemer. Just read em, sing 'em, and mean it dern ya.

"saddam good dorito"

It's my idea for a new brand of Dorito. They can be all Middle-Eastern and exotic... and in the branding campaign you can "dictate" that others eat them.



"smoker barbie"

FINALLY a doll that we can all relate to. Would there be cigarettes AND cigars as accessories? Maybe a pipe for the evening after work?

"dave carroll baseball career"

Pretty much went like this

  1. Could hit the ball well
  2. Watched Garth Iorg's swing and copied it
  3. Couldn't ever hit again
  4. Concentrated more on awkwardly singing Steve Miller songs from the outfield to the opposing base runners and seed spitting contests.
Don't ask me why Adlai Stevenson is speaking behind this clip of Garth Iorg failing at the plate. It's just as confusing as Garth Iorg's actual swing




"god sex zoo 365"

In the words of Bill Simmons... "yep... these are my readers"

Today is the Day

The day that Doc finally strangles AJ Burnett. Metaphorically (of course). I love big baseball games. I miss them. Can I have some more please?
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11 May 2009

Why was a Christian album-cover shot at my house in the 70's?

Honestly... if you knew me in the 70's and 80's tell me if I'm crazy here. This was EXACTLY what my Family Room looked like!


I'm not sure how or why the Sherwood Singers used my basement as a location for a photo-shoot... but they must have. The only difference was that we had a swirly multicolored moon-unit carpet. And green curtains. And a lava lamp on that shelf.

10 May 2009

Walkers with the Dawn

Being walkers with the dawn and morning,

Walkers with the sun and morning,

We are not afraid of night,

Nor days of gloom,

Nor darkness--

Being walkers with the sun and morning.

- Langston Hughes


The rhythm of humanity leaves us in lack.
It's not enough not to have a redeemer... a second-chance giver.
We need quiet mornings on the porch sometimes to see what Grace looks like.

My Mom taught me this.
Necessity forced itself upon her... and she answered the call to Grace.
The charge to me is to pick up the gauntlet of grace.
This morning I worship... because it's the path to all good things.


9 May 2009

A picture of the church

Tonight I watched a young guy, dressed in full hip hop garb... singing the old hymn "Be thou my vision". Actually he was givin' 'er on Be Thou My Vision. And during those five minutes of worship... you could totally feel the Spirit of God in the house. Such a cool contrasting picture and a reminder that it's not about styles or cultural relevance even in the least.

God is God... period. I went over and prayed with him later and found out that he had just found God and accepted Jesus into his heart last week. The joy and excitement in his eyes hearing that God had plans designed just for him, was inspiring.

After, I went out in the parking lot and watched a group of wild prayer folk crammed in the back of a UHaul praying "fervently" for their cities. They are still going right now... 24/7... into the warm, damp night. Such a beautiful sound.

In all it's flaws and imperfections... I really do love the church. It's quite a picture to behold.

8 May 2009

City doctors operate on fetus inside womb

From today's Toronto Star:

THE CANADIAN PRESS

In what's being called a Canadian first, Toronto doctors have successfully performed a heart procedure on a fetus inside the womb.

A team of doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital expanded one of the baby's heart valves using a balloon catheter.

The device was inserted through the mother's abdomen and then into the fetus to reverse heart failure before delivery.

Sick Kids Hospital says the procedure allowed the baby to remain safely in utero for a crucial extra month before her birth on April 15.

Within an hour of Oceane McKenzie's birth, she had another procedure, and a third followed a few weeks later.

Doctors say Oceane is well on the road to recovery and will soon be going home


What a life affirming story.
What a moment it must have been to know what you've just done.

7 May 2009

6 May 2009

Habits


“Men are not concealed under habits, but are revealed by them; they are their true clothes. I care not how curious a reason they may give for their abiding by them. Circumstances are not rigid and unyielding, but our habits are rigid.”

- Henry David Thoreau (from a letter to H.G.O Blake)

5 May 2009

Smart things Rick Warren said tonight


From Rick's "40 Days of Love" study...


"Choose conviction over convenience"
&
"Success comes through service"


There is so much about the way our Christianity needs to be played out that must be intentionally chosen. It's so very counter-culture and anti-flesh. And it's so good. Those nagging thoughts that sit in the back of our head, wondering if there is a better way to live... are right. There is a better way.

"You took the fall... and thought of me above all"
Michael W Smith

4 May 2009

Causes: How to be FOR things... not AGAINST things

Brian said something very profound yesterday at church when talking about the causes for which we each choose to fight. Christians have long made the mistake of being AGAINST things instead of FOR things. It can seem like semantics but it makes an enormous difference. It's easy to understand how we fell into this trap... because it's easy to be oppose something. Being FOR something, requires gulping... swallowing pride... and giving Grace. Habakkuk 3 v2:


LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day, in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.


It's because THE (Macro) Vision is bigger than what today's assignment is (micro). It must be the context of what we do and filter by which we act/interact. We're ALL a part of the (Macro) Vision, but each of our (Micro) visions play out differently. What one sees through the Macro-goggles is a variable... and we can't forget this. If we do, we can inadvertently negate giving others the grace to live their own (micro) visions in freedom. We can judgmentally suffocate our brothers and co-laborers in a pool of, "I don't know how you can call yourself a Christian and think... (insert Micro variable here)"




Grace doesn't get much pub. But you won't rally an audience worth their weight without it... or have a mature understanding of the (
Macro) Vision in the daily comings and goings of your (Micro) vision without it. THE (Macro) Vision is not about being against things... it's about giving unwarranted favor to others who are as undeserving of it as you are... are being for things that are good (God IS good).

See what I mean about this being the tougher road? And it could very well be why many causes lay as causalities and lose steam. They suffocate themselves in a crime-scene-like pool of passion, paperwork, and pride. The sheep bleat off to another grassier cause-of-the-month field and the leaders are laid-to-waste wondering why they were not heard.

We must think BIGGER.

Grace. It's knowing that we only see a picture of the whole horizon. It's interesting... because in some ways, we have more access to understanding The (
Macro) Vision than the whys, what's, and hows of our our (micro) visions. We get to have a relationship with a Deity who cares more about being personally intimate with us than what we "do" for Him. One way or another... God's justice will prevail. The poor will have their redemption. That battle has already been fought... and won. We only really get to revel in that victory... when we worship FIRST... because we're all of, including me in writing what I'm writing, totally fallible and tainted by a mix of bias and sin.

Matthew 11: 6-10

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper,
a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

He didn't say not to take care of the poor... but the Kingdom of God and it's currency works different than our logic says it should. Often, God seems to dig the foolish things and seemingly cacamamy schemes... like wasting money on worship. Like wasting time on the presence of God. Like loving your enemies instead of fighting them.

It's all good... I mean it. But this is why Grace is vital to success. Because we aren't the ones with THE answer. He is THE answer.



"I'm making plans to waste my life on you"
John Mark McMillan



3 May 2009

How to Make a Baby

It's so darn easy if you're not careful



This is why it's always SO important to have at least a human length between you and the lass you're courting. And make sure it's a STRAW you're blowing bubbles through at the restaurant.

Be careful.

Careful.

1 May 2009

The Iowa Baseball Confederacy

This afternoon I was reading what's posted on the Google Book page of WP Kinsella's fabulous novel "Iowa Baseball Confederacy". It's both a very tangible, and very fantastical story Gideon Clarke who slips through a crack in time to experience a 2000 inning baseball game in 1908, between the Tinker to Evers to Chance Cubs and a group of locals forgotten by time.

The feeling, tone and imagery of the writing have stuck with me for 15 years... since the first time I read it. Here's a taste.








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