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 July 2009

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle

Hurray! It's Carrol Vacation time again. We're blessed people to have the chance to go away with friends and partners in ministry to their cottage... on their very own island... on a lake outside of Temagami Ontario. Where you ask?

View Larger Map

Way up there.

So next week you'll be treated to "The Best of Big Ear". I hope you enjoy some of the things I enjoyed writing in the last little while.

I have a problem figuring out a way to stop thinking, moving, doing and just relax and BE. So I'm looking forward to that "challenge" this week. I'm also hoping to do some more writing on my VERY slowly coming along book about the creepy, funny, intimate and poignant parallels between our marriages and God's bridegroom eyes he makes at His church.

29 July 2009

You Googled what and found me?

This month's finest... funniest... faultiest... foolish... fashionable... things that people Googled and found my blog. It never ceases to amaze me.

1. "after shave good for piles?"

THE BURNING THE BURNING! The last act of a desperate man.

2. "where to find hookers in brantford"

The words hookers and Brantford are actually a commonly searched items that find blog. For the life of me I don't know what type website the Googler is hoping to find. Now... I know the answer to the question. But still. Sheesh.

3. "what fetus do inside womb"

I've often wondered the same. In my mind it's always jump rope and gurgling.

4. "someone needs a kiss for a happy heart"

Who told you about my best pickup line? Guaranteed winner once the strange looks stop.

5. "ugly people kissing"

Hey now...

6. "has susan boyle had her first kiss yet"

Guaranteed. And it was likely in the most stable environment possible. I'm sure she was able to just be herself and found true love after been mocked, shocked, made-over and breaking down. That's the recipe for true love. Maybe they should have turned it into a reality show where bachelors trying to get camera time to promote their new records, vie for her affections with roses.

7. suburban at heart but in ghetto

As a young boy Ice Cube dreamed of sedans, Timbits soccer and Passive aggressive neighbors.

8. united stock since dave carroll

NOT good. Dave's busted guitar has cost them 180 million dollars. THAT is one pricey banjo.

9. "is dave carrol a christian?" "is dave carrol gay"

I see you have many questions Mr Sparkle. I send you premium. Answer questions. 100%

10. Some good Jesus searching this month... "jesus christ wax" "jesus gold eyes" "i found jesus in my toast"

I can hardly wait until "Jesus Christ wax" hits the shelves. I see some great celebrity endorsements in it's future. "Hi. I'm Stephen Baldwin..."

11. "i want to be the fattest man ever"

Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars
Casey Kasem

12. "inverted pancake turner"

On today's show... kitchen utensils that make you ruin food.

27 July 2009

Wandering aimlessly opening cupboards

My wife and the kids have gone away for a few days camping with my parents so I'm flying solo. There was a time where I'd relish days by myself. And now...

  • I wander around the house aimlessly opening cupboards and fridges hoping that some new amazing snack will suddenly appear.
  • I lay awake in bed making shadow puppets on the wall since there is no one to tell me that sleep would benefit me more than puppetry
  • I wake up at the exact same time as if I had a small girl hollering... "I peeeeeed!" In fact I can still hear them shouting.
  • I consider having a "party" but quickly realize that I'm 32... it's Monday...my friends are at home with kids... and I'm forbidden by Levitical Law to partake of the implements that used to make house parties even remotely fun.
  • I have inexplicable drastic reversals of tendency. I shut off all the lights, close the doors and blinds, and pants are optional. OK that last one is pretty normal.

I never notice just how much two become one more than when I'm apart from my wife. It's more than habitual social acclimatization. It's a spiritual union of body, soul and spirit. This is why marriage is so sacred.

Truth is... I'll be physically busy enough with life, church, friends and the like that I won't be bored without my wife. Don't cry for me Argentina. But nothing quite fits right or feels like "home" without her.

26 July 2009

Nuggets from Freedom House today

Few excellent points/quotes from Freedom House this morning and Brian's talk about growing up in our attitude toward "The Church".

"We're not what we ought to be but then again, we're not what we used to be"

"The church is a whore... but she's my mother"
St Augustine

"If you find a perfect church, you'd better not join it or you'll ruin it"
"If you find a church full of hypocrites... join. You'll fit right in."

Brian read quite a bit out of Tony Campolo's "Letters to a Young Evangelical". Tony stirs people up from their slumber. I don't agree with everything he says or writes... but who cares. He always makes me stop and take notice of the points he makes and causes me to think, and that's a very very good thing.

This book is written to the young adult aged Christians across North America who are leaving the church in droves It's about why we don't really have a choice whether we're going to love the church or not and why they should (and are responsible to) be a part of it. Flaws, faults, whoring ways and all.

I know a guy who's Facebook "religion" is listed as... "I like Jesus but I hate His wife". It's funny and true of MANY. But frankly... it doesn't work like that. The Church is the bride. If you like me but treat my wife like crap... you're not likely to get a Christmas card from me.

Brian also pointed out just how much of the instruction to Christians about how to live are "Let US" things. It's the design. When we attempt usurp it because of our own pride, opinions and fleshy feelings... we're in the wrong and castrate our own ability to really understand what Jesus, Paul, Peter, Timothy et all really meant and intended for us.

I'm glad that St Augustine had the cohones to say, "The Church is a whore... but she's my mother". I'm thrilled to have a Freedom House to worship in. A place where I can eagerly engage God, our culture and our city with a house of hungry, passionate hypocrites and screw ups... since I know I fit right in. It's an ancient model that has powerful modern ramifications for the outplaying of GOOD!

24 July 2009

A heaping spoonful of YouTube awesome sauce

There is something surprisingly moving and genuine about about these cool cats dancing their way down the aisle. Krissy teared up. She said, "You know what... it's awesome that they're doing this in a church"

I was once in a wedding party that came down the aisle to a laser show and the James Bond theme. I wish wacky weddings had been around when I was a kid... ... I don't know what that means.

I talk a lot, think a lot, pray a lot about city transformation. I really wish I hadn't wasted all that time, since this girl has some very... ummm... "comprehensive" solutions to share with her local city council.

Now... In other news, apparently Nutrigrain makes you feel great.

On behalf of neutered father's of 3 everywhere, the "babies everywhere" girl really FREAKS me out. Dave Letterman is as funny as he's ever been. Did you see him and Kevin Spacey talking about twitter this week?

Waste of time???

23 July 2009

"Sex is like a square dance" (Sneak Preview of Sex Week)

The week of August 10th, at Christian author Matthew Paul Turner's blog "Jesus Needs New PR", he is presenting "Sex Week". A week for you to send in your questions about sex to be answered by Christian experts, voice your opinions about "touchy" issues (no pun intended) and enjoy the writing of various Christian writers, pastors, councilors and bloggers.

And guess what? I get to be a guest writer! I finished my article yesterday... and I wanted to share it with the Big Ear Readers first. It's an re-cut of a piece I wrote a couple of years ago called "Sex is like a Square Dance". If you have any questions you'd like me to send to Matthew for sex week, just comment on this post (Anonymously if it's too embarrassing) and I'll be sure to forward them on!

It's such an important topic to explore even further from a Christian perspective... I'm looking forward to some great dialogue!


Sex is like a square dance

My great aunt and uncle are the peppiest 80 year olds I know. It's partially because they've spent most of their adult-aged recreational time square dancing. When I was a kid, our family would often crash their potluck dance parties armed with an unholy solid light-green jello salad as an our ticket in. Mom and Dad would admire their moves from afar, while my brother and I (far too cool for square dancing) snickered at a safe distance while planted firmly on the hard wooden chairs in the corner. But every now and again... we'd all get pulled into the massive mob of plaid partners aswingin' by the token "everybody now" guy. It was a flurry of arms, legs, and Bolo ties. We had precious little idea what was going on or what we were doing... but it was kinda fun. Then after there was Jello Salad and Vernors.

You know... kinda like sex.

Good sex is NOT an achievable discipline that you will be able to stand on a mountain one day and say "Look ma... no hands! I have arrived! It's more often like awkwardly learning to square dance.

"What did that guy say he wants me to do? Wait a second... if she puts her hands up, where are mine supposed to go? What in the world is a dosado? I look like a spaz over here. Does this guy really think this looks good? Wait a minute. Dang... this kinda feels good actually. Go figure. Do it again."

We've put so much pressure on ourselves to have "good sex" that we forget about the fun of it all! I think what constitutes a good sex life is a big smile on two faces and a solid night's sleep. We all hear the same "caller" but when you get out on that floor, no two "sweep the quarter's" are the quite same. There is nothing worse than cautiously suggesting,

"I have an idea. I'd kinda like to swing my partner to and fro... bow to the beau and bow to the belle... then promenade a little bit. You in?"

Only to hear,

"you're clearly not right in the head. We should be squaring to our sets... tipping to the left and tipping to the right BEFORE any promenading is done. Sicko"

Don't you think there is room for swinging, bowing, squaring AND tipping before the big promenade? Sometimes (especially if you've been dancing for many years) we can forget that sex is fun. It can also be funny. Have you ever flutterwheeled when your partner expected a reverse-flutterwheel? Oh Lord what hijinx! Or that time where you had both practiced the "Alamo Swing Through" and it turned out to be an "Alamo throw down?"

Mary Murphy is not putting you on the hot tamale train over your performance. Sex is a dance. Dances are fun. It's inexact and messy. It's a party. Laugh a little. There is jello salad and Vernors waiting for you when you're done.

by Dave Carrol

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I wonder why...

... nobody talks about the best part of marriage. It's being contractually obligated to serve the one person who you get the privilege of seeing how big an ass they can be then CHOOSING love. It's exploring the deep depths of SELF in the quest for real relationship. Your flaws, your unshakable, inherent sin nature, layed out on the table... and CHOOSING love cus you're on this dirty, messy adventure together.

22 July 2009

Indiscriminate act of Kindness

:Not making or based on careful distinctions; unselective; unrestrained or wanton

What a harshly beautiful song from Irish folk-rocker Foy Vance. It's a story that plays out in our cities and even suburbs every day. People loosing hope, in need of someone to intervene and remind them about the "something more" of life that can seem to be shifting shadows. This is spiritual condition issue that spans all economic levels, races, classes, and contexts.

There are real physical people who are the "someone defiled" like in this song. There are teachers who live next door who can't stop the credit card debt and societal expectations from bleeding them dry. There are working Mom's who doesn't know a friendly face to babysit their precious little angels. There are "felt needs" EVERYWHERE. Our kindness needs to be a bit more indiscriminate.

: of a good or benevolent (
intent of the benefit of others rather than personal profit) nature or disposition

The lyrics I love most in this song are:

I was always taught
If you see someone defiled,
You should look them in the eyes and smile,
And take their heart, no better yet
Take them home, home, home."

She awoke early in the morning
Made the bed, gathered up her clothes to leave
Saw the concierge curled on the settee
Said, "What you did for me was hard for me to believe."

"I was just doing what was right.
No one that knows love could leave you out there on such a night.

This is not just someone who was "moved with compassion" because of one person on one night that struck a teary nerve. This was a pre-choosen, indiscriminate act of kindness. Someone who had learned and chosen a response to someone in need... to fill it. It's the default setting.

Meeting the felt needs of people with acts of kindness... opens the door to meet people's most important need. The way the "someone defiled" in this song had her felt needs met the night before was in a way that stole from her "something more". And the following night... she might go back to it again. But on this night, kindness intervened and hope was dispensed. Without God's love... people everywhere are filling their empty spots with in unfulfilling ways. They're searching for "something more". And we have have the chance to point them in that direction.

This is where we, as Christians, can bring the eternal game of Show and Tell into the neighborhoods, the streets, the businesses and the homes in our cities.

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21 July 2009

How can anyone not like you?

Jerry Seinfeld and his parents from "The Wallet" episode:

HELEN: Doesn't like you? How can anyone not like you?

JERRY: You know, it seems impossible.

HELEN: Doesn't like you? How can that be?

JERRY: Ma, I know this may be hard for you to understand but I am sure there are many people who do not like me.

HELEN: Huh, Jerry, don't say that.

JERRY: It's true.

HELEN: No, it's not true. You're a wonderful, wonderful boy. Everybody likes you. It's impossible not to like you. Impossible. Morty?

MORTY: Maybe some people don't like him. I could see that.

There are times that I wish that being someone who talks publicly about Jesus... didn't sometimes lead to others not liking me. It's funny that almost every time I post something blatantly about Jesus on Facebook, I loose a couple of friends. It's kinda funny... but kinda not too. Because those are real people who I like.

Everyone says (but rarely actually means) "I don't care what other people think about me". Nobody really wants to be disliked. It's tough when family or friends actually doesn't want to be around you because of your belief system. I've never felt comfortable with the policy of reveling in the rejection that does inevitably come. It's always seemed arrogant and disingenuous to me. It's not our goal to be disliked! In Acts 2... when the early church was really hoppin', it says that the church found FAVOR with people.

But Christians are who we are. We know what we know. We're dealing with the spiritual world so being disliked, mocked, rejected... does happen because of it. We should be ready for it. We shouldn't take it personally. We should keep talking about Jesus. And choose to fill our hearts with love for those who can't do it back to us.

I want to make friends with as many as I can in life! I wouldn't lose a friend over my love for peanut butter. I could stop talking about... and give up baseball any day of the week. If I lost my laughter... I'd find a way to make it. But stop talking about Jesus? There's nothing to be found that means more. He IS the reason for all that I do. I know the GOOD that comes with knowing him and I'm compelled to live it out loud for as long as I'm given the chance to, from as tall of a mountain as I can find.

20 July 2009

The Next Generation of Carrols

Carroll: Patronymic surname derives from the Gaelic cearbhaill, meaning "warlike champion" derived from cearbh, meaning "hacking."

Jared (Name meaning: To descend, descendant):

My son is a worshiper. We all are... but it's just what he's done quite without prompting for 5 plus years and counting. He'll come up to me and say, "Daddy, God is giving me a song. Can you help me write it out?" It's pretty beautiful what happens after that. I made him a worship blog yesterday to encourage him to write, play, sing and give what he's got in him to Jesus... and to encourage others so that he can live the, "Get Free, Live Free, Free Others" credo.

Whatever Jared chooses to do... it will be precise and excellent and extravagant worship.

Aislin (Name Meaning: Vision, Dream) :

Round these parts, she's known as "Princess Aislin". Family, friends, acquaintances... casual eavesdroppers have even picked up on it. She has the gooiest eyes around and can melt your heart with an Aislin-glance. But "Princess Aislin" is more than the what modern derogatory vernacular has deemed to the word "Princess" to be.

Princess -
a. A woman who is a ruler of a principality.
b. A woman who is a hereditary ruler; a queen.
c. A noblewoman of varying status or rank.

My Princess will steward God's unlimited kindness, compassion and love to those all those who need it. At first she'll bring home stray people to love on them... then one day, she'll distribute the wealth of nations with wisdom, discernment and freedom. She'll be the peacemaker because of her love of God and man. You just watch.

Brianna (Name meaning: Noble, strong, virtuous) :

She is a powerhouse with a sometimes mischievous grin. She's a gorgeous enigma who you can't take your eyes off of. I have no idea what this little wild and free chick is gonna do. But she's gonna do it like a confident hurricane with no fear.

My Mom laid a tough-road spiritual foundation for me. Because of it, Krissy and I were blessed to be able to lay some even STRONGER foundation for our children to grow on. They are gonna be Behemoth's in the Kingdom of God.

I see it everyday... and can't wait to see more. The redemption of my name for the glory of His Name is a beautiful thing to watch.

19 July 2009

Sunday Morning

Jared sitting at the kitchen table 8:30am Sunday morning writing a worship song for church today.

"I love Jesus in my heart through the Christ of God. Jesus was the one that loved God. And I love God"
Jared Carrol

15 July 2009

The Global Glory of God

Rick Warren is on Twitter and has some terrific stuff goin' on today.

Everything in me jumps up and yells "Come on and preach it Mr Hawaiian shirt!" to this. I've also come to realize that Macro considerations like having the "Global Glory of God" as the asterisk in every-day decision making can be a burdensome size to people who are Micro-type folks. We DO need both.


....really. The story that God is writing, started by the whole earth being filled with his Glory. The ending is ALSO the whole earth being filled with his glory. The middle part is kinda Shakespearean in the fact that:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,"

I used to be a Drama guy in High School. Being an egotistical teenager, I always wanted a big part (
or at least a really unique funny character who could steal the show). If I had to create one to have one... I would. When I became a Christian and realized the size, girth and excitement of the Great Commission... I wanted a big part too! I (like Shakespeare) soon learned that what we get is OUR PART. But "Our Part" BECOMES a "Big Part" when it's done on purpose, with intention and as an acknowledged, participating part of releasing the "Global Glory of God" together.


"The key to a life of impact is FOCUS! Many things aren't necessarily wrong-they just aren't necessary. So many talented people give 1st class allegiance to 2nd class causes that diffuse their energy, weaken impact & waste their lives It's distractions, not doing evil, that sideline most pastors.They lose focus. It's all about the Global Glory of God. Period"
Rick Warren

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13 July 2009

David Crowder Band "Rockumentaries"

So... The David Crowder Band is awesome. Looking forward to their new album in the fall. Until then, I think I'll just laugh genuine laughs at their 4 Rockumentaries. Here's #1

Fantastic! Here is #2 and #3. But I must show you #4... "Twitter will kill you"

Really truly funny. I love it when funny ideas that someone likely thought of on a lark (a "hey it would be funny if we" idea)... turn into a well produced gag.

Looking forward to their new album "Church Music" coming out in the fall. I totally dig the creativity, passion, and musical ingenuity of DCB.

Stuff I'm digging these days

1. My favorite blog right now is "slice of life" blog called... "Confessions of a Street Meat Vendor". Written anonymously... by a street meat vendor. It is what it says it is.

2. I don't twitter on my cell phone. I don't even have a cell phone. And I'm not really sure why I like twitter. There are friend-spam twitter things everywhere. It's tough to find your actual friend's twitter thing. There is very little actual dialogue on it... and I can't figure out a single way it's better than Facebook (and I still like FB better), but I find myself Twittering more. I'm a twit. Add me... DO IT!!! http://twitter.com/davecarrol

3. AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com is a great way to snicker your way through a boring afternoon. It features... Awkward Family Photos. Like this gem.

Truly unpleasant. Yes. It's a Hall of Famer.
OK one more...

"Mellon... check. Handgun... check. It's time to head to Sears"

4. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from the Office) runs a creative and cool spiritual discussion website called "SoulPancake". He's personally from the baha'i faith and here's how he explains Soul Pancake

Real discussion about God? OK. Sold.

5. Grooveshark. It's an awesome social media interactive music site. I start my mornings off in the kitchen with my coffee, peanut butter and toast, and laptop listening to something on Grooveshark to set the tone for the day.

10 July 2009

How do we sleep when our beds are burning?

How do we sleep when our beds are burning?
Midnight Oil

Dear North American Church:

Our delusional fantasy of a "Somewhere else" utopia is the wasted daydream of the discontent. Everywhere is valuable. Everywhere is the same. Pick. Then pick up a shovel.

Our lack of willingness to work at, sacrifice for, and serve strategic revolutionary efforts in our own neighborhoods... should be disconcerting to us.

Our lack of understanding that the health of the soul supersedes the health of the body... should be unsettling to us.

The way that we, armed with salt spreaders, gaze mindless into the sky; divorcing ourselves irresponsibly from those slipping on the ice in front of our eyes... should feel unpleasant to us.

The way we allow judgment to triumph over mercy to those with big pools, big homes, big TV's, big SUV's, big salaries, big responsibility, big influence... and big burdens, doubts, insecurities, and needs too... should seem unbecoming to us.

The way we dismiss spiritual warfare in our land, then are lulled by the very spirits we're ignoring into missing the Mammoth mission field outside our doors is a viscous, horrifically-scary fact that others see and we don't. It needs to stop.

'It can be tempting to try and do something significant - but we are not called to significance, we are called to obedience'
~ Matt Redman

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'It can be tempting to try and do something significant - but we are not called to significance, we are called to obedience' ~ Matt Redman

9 July 2009

Speaking as a Dave Carrol, this Dave Carroll is my favorite Dave Carroll with 2 L's I know

The way the world communicates and thinks has changed. Business, Cities, Industry, Church, Media... you need to stop and hear this. Listen to this story about Dave Carroll. No... another Dave Carroll. He's been all over the news with this story today.

From his blog...

"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise."

And here it is... "United Breaks Guitars"

So let me get this straight. Dave... do you LIKE or not like United Airlines? I'm laughing at loud at this. So great. Right down to naming the names of the people who were unreasonable to him. Poor Ms. Irlweg... kinda... but not really.

SO many things to take from this.

  • Companies simply cannot get away with poor customer service any longer.
  • Individuals now have a legitimate voice with the potential to influence many.
  • Creativity and innovation gets heard.
  • As an artist... being involved matters.
  • Injustice CAN be fought inexpensively.
  • Public perception MEANS something.
  • Everything can be viral... passion now has a vehicle for instant exponential contagiousness.
  • People will spend on someone/something they believe to be GOOD.

A couple of years ago... I had an experience with a certain telephone/Internet company in Canada that has blue things in their ads that (while it only cost this Dave Carrol 200 dollars instead of other Dave Carroll's 3500$) caused me to fight a corporate mistake tooth and nail. I fought and fought and all I received was the ignorant corporate runaround and eventually collection agency phone calls. I even threatened a similar online PR onslaught. Actually at one point I muttered something about doing unpleasant things to their spokesbeavers. It's maddening! So Dave Carroll's song would have me shouting "You go girl"... if Dave was a girl.

We've all been treated unfairly by corporations... and we've all seen people abuse the power of complaint as well. Once I did an "experiment" on a rainy day in a shop during my college summer job days. I found 20 products with customer access phone numbers on them. 10 companies I called and shredded up and down, telling motor oil companies that their product ruined my day and made my kids cry. 10 other companies I called and gushed about them. "This Diet Pepsi has brought light into my otherwise gloomy underworld existence".

I'm sure you can guess what happened. I received TONS of free product from the complaints and barely a thank-you letter from the products I liked! And I get why... and it's just going to increase. But surely... customer retention and genuine corporate ethics in the first place should be as important as putting out fires. United Airlines COULD sue Dave. Maybe.... but what would that say? United Airlines could give Dave free flights. Yep. OR... they could say I'm sorry and commit to improving customer relationships and righting a wrong.

Churches... what's the lesson to us? To me... it's another proof that there is power in a strongly believed message being communicated effectively. "To the ends of the earth" is a doable thing... The Message has always been "viral". Your community/customer relations have NEVER been more important... Kindness such a key! Ears and eyes are open... waiting to hear something true... and also quite willing to call BS on people who put themselves "out there" and are full it!

Hmmm... what do you think about this story?

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7 July 2009

Head Fake

Is that like the eulogy version of a Magic Johnson head fake? Who would have ever guessed that it was MICHAEL all this time who made the difference. I only hope he told him in the living years.

Somebody make a mental note... Magic Johnson is not invited to my celebrity, ticketed, stadium, entertainment extravaganza death party.

What's on my ipod and why. What's on yours?

Last night I reloaded up my tiny 1GB ipod with a new music mix. In our era of unlimited music and memory, it's actually kinda a fun challenge to get JUST the perfect mix of music with the 8 albums or so that will fit on my ipod light.

Here's what I've gone with this time

1. Matt Kearney's "City of Black and White"
* I really dig Matt's music. His last record, "Nothing Left to Loose" was my favorite album of 2006. The scaled back and consumabley hip sound he's found is really unique. Listening to it make me feel cooler than I am.

2. Steve Miller Band's "Greatest Hits"
* Years ago I saw Steve Miller play at Canada's Wonderland. He'd play a song and I'd say, "Wow... that's his song too?"... and then another. And then another. When I scan around the radio dial while driving, I'm secretly always hoping to hear "The Joker".

3. U2's "No Line on the Horizon"
* When the first single was "Get on your Boots"... I was worried. What a mistake. I love the rest of the album. I think "I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight" will be the lasting song from this album for me. "The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear". Me too.

4. Israel Houghton's "The Power of One"
* I like pretty much everything Israel comes out with. Dig the Lakewood worship stuff, loved the live in South Africa album... but this album is honestly not my favorite. 4 good tracks. But my wife loves it all. And I love her.

5. John Mayer's "Where the light is"
*I got on the John Mayer train late... but really... what a performer he is. This is one KILLER live album. Tom Petty's "Free Fallin", "Neon", "Why Georgia" are all just amazing live. I'm looking forward to my next long drive alone to just put this record on and enjoy the whole double disk

6. Paul Baloche's "The Writter's Collection"
* We sing quite a lot of Paul Baloche music at Freedom House... and he was actually recently in Brantford. He was saying that before the show, he and his team drove around the city and asked God about the spiritual climate and what they were called to do that night to help change it with their worship! Amazing. My son bought this album of his at the show.

Here comes the Free Music!

7. Phil Wickham's "Singalong"
* I love, love, love, this live acoustic worship album that Phil decided to give away to everyone. It's just a stripped down, honest night of worship in Portland last year. I had never heard of Phil before this but his music is just wonderful. On our Dominican holiday last summer... this is what the soundtrack was for me. This is a picture of me on the balcony waking up the first morning (earlier than a vacationer should) and just thanking God while listening to the song "Cannons". Download it here.

8. Coldplay's "Leftrightleftrightleft"
* It's free live album that Coldplay is giving away through their website as a "thank you to our fans". You're welcome. I always enjoy it when I hear other people listen to Coldplay and I think I really want to be a fan myself. I love "Fix You".

More free music I hope I can squeeze on the ipod...

I hadn't scanned through Noisetrade.com in a while to see what new free music I could discover. After a little digging, I found what seem to be some pretty cool worship albums... check 'em out.

So... what's on your ipod these days?
And why?

6 July 2009

Again... "Both And... not Either Or"

"I am free. I don't belong to anyone. But I make myself a slave to everyone. I do it to win as many as I can to Christ. To the Jews I became like a Jew. That was to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one who was under the law, even though I myself am not under the law. That was to win those under the law. To those who don't have the law I became like one who doesn't have the law. I am not free from God's law. I am under Christ's law. Now I can win those who don't have the law. To those who are weak I became weak. That was to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some. I do all of that because of the good news. And I want to share in its blessings."
Paul... from 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 (NIRV)

I love some of the stuff that Rick Warren does. Rick was recently a speaker at the annual Islamic Society of North America... and he's taking a great deal of flack for it from Christians.

Again... The Kingdom of God is built with a "Both And... not Either Or" attitude. Here are some of the highlights from a Christian Post article:

"But to his congregation at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, the “Purpose Driven” preacher made it clear that his goal behind every speaking engagement is always the same – for the “global glory of God.”

“I invest my time speaking to groups of unbelievers that most pastors never get the opportunity to share with,” Warren wrote in a recent update to the Saddleback family.

“Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,’" Warren added, citing Luke 5:31. “If you want to have a Christ-like ministry, you have to associate with the people Jesus did - unbelievers!”

“Every time I speak to any non-Christian group, I get criticized by well-meaning believers who don't really understand how much Jesus loves lost people. They are more concerned with their own perceived purity than the salvation of those Jesus died for,”

“For many unbelievers, the barrier to salvation is not the credibility of Jesus but our own lack of credibility and love for them,” Warren stated.

“Of course, this is the foundation text of our purpose-driven evangelism,” Warren stated, referring to 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “and as a result, we have baptized over 20,000 adult believers in the past ten years.”

Warren concluded by emphasizing the need to build bridges to influencers in secular culture including those in academics, business, military, sports, health care, media, prisoners, entertainment, other faiths, and government.

“If we are to experience a spiritual revival in our culture and if we want to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission in the world, we must build bridges to all of these, and more,” Warren stated.

“We build bridges of love - from our hearts to hearts of even those who hate us - so that Jesus can walk across,” he concluded. “You cannot win your enemies to Christ. You can only win your friends.”

I love this! I think it's very astute of him to say that most pastors don't have the opportunity to speak about Christianity to a national Islamic group... but he does... so he does! And so would I if given the opportunity! Why? Because we're all people... and we're called to show God's love to every single one. All God's eggs are in one basket. The Church. Christ in me is the hope of glory.

Rick actually gets the chance to do it partially because of Saddleback (and Rick's personal) humanitarian endeavors. It's actually earned Rick the ear of the nation. And good on him! It's also partially because it's part of HIS calling. And most don't get the chance, because it's not THEIR calling! So God bless Rick in his calling! It's not either or... it's both AND!

Blogger, "The Naked Pastor" AKA David Hayward (A Vineyard Pastor from Eastern Canada)... was recently at Frank Viola's “Re-Imagining the Church” conference in Toronto. To drastically over-simplify it... Frank and George Barna have be talking about the coming "Revolution" of the modern church from it's current structure into a more free form situation culminating in a quasi house-church setting. I love what David's analysis was:

"The truth is, I’ve been a part of house churches or house fellowships or whatever you want to call them, as well as the institutional church. In my opinion, you just need to pick which pan you want to fry in. The house-churches have their own peculiar problems just like institutional churches do. But, more importantly, I think both struggle with much of the same issues: power struggles, the prevalence of the principalities and powers, locale, time, relational conflict, authenticity, realness, commitment, money, etc., etc.. In fact, one gentleman gave a presentation of his desire to start a network of house-churches because there is strength, security and safety in numbers, which is just another word for movement or denomination or fellowship. He’s right but, whether he likes it or not, he’s talking denominationalism in its earliest stages."

Interesting to find out The Church... will end up wanting to be The Church... in whatever form it takes. We're ALL called work out our salvation together! I was uncomfortable with the conclusion that Barna and Viola arrived at as well with some of their research and projection. Because it's an "Either or" conclusion. Not "Both And".

Is Rick... Barna... Hayward... Carrol... RIGHT? Heck no! But there are pieces of the house of living stones that we all hold. THE picture is much bigger than an individual's calling or philosophy.

I have a friend whose weekend "assignment" was to go inside Montreal's most prominent strip club to show Jesus to those hurting in the sex industry! This weekend... I went out with a group in a bar-type setting ... to show Jesus to them! There are enough "assignments" to bring "His Kingdom Come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven" to go around!

The answer is... Hear God and Obey. Grow up in our faith, take responsibility for our walk, and GO HARD... remembering to BLESS and SERVE what others are doing too. You need them... and they need you!

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5 July 2009

Do you realize?

Do you realize:

How easy it would be to volunteer your guitar to play songs on the Boston Pizza patio?
How easy it would be to cut your neighbor's grass?
How easy it would be to attend city council meetings and participate in public forums?
How easy it would be to sit on city committee's in relation to your area of expertise?
How easy it would be to be on a community based drama troupe?
How easy it would be to hold a neighborhood barbecue?
How easy it would be to involved in your local elementary school?
How easy it would be to coach a sports team?
How easy it would be to write a blog?
How easy it would be to be a big brother?
How easy it would be to choose your local University or College intentionally?
How easy it would be to feed a hungry person in your own city?
How easy it would be to start a new business that would improve life in your own city?
How easy it would be to buy locally and actually SERVE and BLESS an honorable business?
How easy it would be to speak positively about your church to someone jaded about it?
How easy it would be to become a freelance writer?
How easy it would be to play road hockey with the kids on your street?

Do you realize that it would only take 17 people in ONE church to do ALL of those things. If your church is 150 people... it's a tithe of the people INVESTING in own community.

Do you realize the difference these 17 things would make... when they are done in Jesus name?

Do you realize that if MORE people discovered their own area of influence, SERVED and INVESTED into it... cities would be transformed?

Do you realize that if there were 50 churches or ministries in Brantford/Brant County working together with a "One Church" mindset... who had 17 people each choosing to invest with kindness and intention... that would loose 850 city, community, neighborhood, revolutionary minded people in "city transformation ministry"?

Do you realize that the ebb and flow of our economy (and thus our community) is guided by the "Greed and Fear Cycle"?

Do you realize how necessary it is that this be broken?
Do you realize that we TOGETHER can do it?
Do you realize that fulfilling God's dream for our cities will cost us money, time, control and comfort?
Do you realize that fulfilling God's dream for our cities will only happen if we intentionally CHOOSE to partner with it?

Do you even realize how important a role YOU play in city transformation?
It's time friends...

It's the era of everyone.

"Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts."
Isaiah 26:8

4 July 2009

At the old rugged Austrian Crystal Prayer Cross?

For fun, try to count the number of times and ways this ad makes you gag. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

3 July 2009

Considering Satanism?

Sounds great folks... see you at the Moose Lodge next Tuesday? I'll bring jello salad. Then again... as Jim Gaffigan Twittered the other day:

2 July 2009

As an over-thinker I think that busyness is one of the things that people over-think.

I really don't like it when people rail against busyness. It always seems like those are the people who don't do much, leaving the work for others.

Of course... I also don't like it when people's default answer to "How are you?" is "Busy". That's just dumb. It's sorta the worst kind of bragging... since it comes across as boasting and just because you're busy doesn't mean that what you're doing means much.

The other morning I went upstairs to wake up my son, and the first thing he told me was, "Daddy you have a busy day today". He proceeded to list off all the things that my day held in store. It kinda unsettled me wondering...

  • why did my son know my schedule so well and label it "busy". Had I become a whiny "I'm busy" guy?
  • maybe I really was just too busy

As an over-thinker I think that busyness is one of the things that people over-think.

This morning, after a busy day walking around our Canada Day Celebration in a giant, red, smokin' hot Captain Kindness costume for 9 hours and putting on 2 shows... I woke up thinking about my honeymoon almost 11 years ago at Patterson Kaye Lodge on a Lake in Muskoka.

We had both worked hard for 2 years nearly non-stop between school and summer jobs to get ready for the wedding, so when our honeymoon finally arrived, we were tired. Pooped. Cooked. So we did... nothing.

The weather was dull and rainy... glorious.

This morning I was remembering sitting on the screened porch staring at the rain hitting the water for hours. We talked some... ate a little... but mostly just sat. It was therapeutic. Totally hit the spot that week... and would today too.

But that wouldn't always be the case. More often than not however... doing nothing bores me. And we would never have felt the rest we did without WORK... and that can mean being BUSY too. God reminded me of this a few years ago when I was having a "burnt out" at the end of the day feeling. I had done my day job... had family time... preached at night. I asked him for rest.

He told me...


... and He gave me some good rest lying face down on the old cold floor of the Big Blue House that night.

Q: Is busyness bad?
A: Can be... but it's also good.

Q: Hmmm... so busyness is good?
A: Can be... but it can also be bad.

Q: Hmmm... So is balance the answer?
A: Sort of. But I think balance can imply our own control and management skills. You don't find freedom unless you let go first. I think it's more than that. I think that it's about understanding the season we're in and being restful and content in the middle of each one!

My feelings told me, "You're tired... go stare at a lake today". But that's not what God had in store for my day. He needed me to get up... thrive in my daily tasks... work... wrestle with Jared... and put on the Captain Kindness suit tonight at Harmony Square again! That's where rest will be found for this day. In obedience and submission.

I think it's about being able to breath and sleep in busyness. I think it's being able to be engaged and ready even in rest. More and more I think I'm learning that life is "Both And" ... not "Either Or".

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