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 September 2009

The Sad, Hilarious Tale Of Elvis Grbac, 1998's "Sexiest Athlete Alive"

This is just too funny (Courtesy of Deadspin):

This is an epically comical story courtesy of SI's Jeff Pearlman, that includes the following absurd characters: Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac, the Kansas City Chiefs, and a dim-witted People magazine photographer. Prepare to feel life-long sympathy for Grbac.

Pearlman's yarn:

One of my favorite all-time stories is about Elvis Grbac (left), Rich Gannon (right) and People Magazine's Sexiest Men issue from 1998. It is both outlandish and 100-percent true.

Back in the day I knew many People staffers, and they were all cool, fun, intelligent-and woefully ignorant about sports. Every year, in planning the Sexiest Men issue, People's editors would ask a bunch of us at Sports Illustrated for suggestions and insight. In 1998, for a reason I'll never understand, they decided not to seek out help.

The magazine chose Rich Gannon as its Sexiest Athlete. At the time, Gannon was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Still a couple of seasons removed from his golden tenure with the Raiders, Gannon was 33, handsome and likable. In other words, a solid choice. Yet People, being People, simply informed the photographer assigned to the piece that the Sexiest Athlete was the Chiefs' quarterback. Hence, he took pictures of the Chiefs' quarterback. Well, one of the Chiefs' quarterbacks: Elvis Grbac.

Yup.

The pictures made their way back to the New York offices, and editors were dumbfounded. This was their Sexiest Athlete? Yet upon learning the truth, no one with the magazine had the heart (guts?) to tell Grbac that an unfathomable mistake had been made. As a result, Elvis Grbac reigns as People's 1998 Sexiest Athlete.

The article's final line says it all: "His personality makes him sexy."

Amen.

Oof. Maybe this should be added to the "Elvis Grbac" definition on Urban Dictionary.

28 September 2009

Innovation

From Mark Beeson's (Granger Community Church) session at the "Innovate Conference" last week (via Tim Steven's LeadingSmart.com) about innovation.

There are five stages of innovation:

  1. People deny innovation is required.
  2. People deny innovation is effective.
  3. People deny innovation is important.
  4. People who deny innovation will justify the effort required to adopt it.
  5. People accept and adopt the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to people other than the innovator, and deny the existence of stages 1-4.

This makes me laugh and ticks me off... but it also reminds me that leaders lead.
It's what leaders do.

27 September 2009

Freedom House TV Coming October 7th

Share this video around and become a fan on Facebook here to stay up to date!



When I went to Broadcast College, I wrote my thesis on "The State of Christian Broadcasting around the world". When it came to really analyzing the effectiveness of it in North America... the short comings kept coming back to it being a one-way conversation, where people were spoken at, instead of engaged. Christianity is more than a theology, it's fullness is only ever experienced when people function together to "work out our salvation".

I've done Christian TV and radio... and both mediums, while effective at "sharing the gospel" their own way, rarely translate into people developing the type of "as iron sharpens iron" relationships that truly help us all learn and are necessary to "get" a big picture view of this world.

When Billy Graham began preaching on television, the choices of what people had on TV to watch that night were VERY limited. But times have changed DRASTICALLY. The social media movement has revolutionized day to day communication and shaken the relative status quo of media institutions for the first time in 50 years. The church as generally been slow to act... falling behind the communication trends, leaving it's message (that is the same one that started in Israel and viraly spread throughout the entire earth) feeling obsolete instead of vibrant.

Freedom House TV will have a number of components.

1) In our culture (often even to the most devoted) Sunday morning church attendance is not always possible. To those who aren't Christians, the idea of "giving up" their Sunday morning is not really even a question. The cultural habitual norm of getting up a Sunday morning to attend church (either willingly or unwillingly) is a minimum of one generation removed from our generation. Starting with the earliest apostles, The Message of Jesus... was always meant to be mobile and taken TO people. So the teaching done at Freedom House will be recorded as a video podcast and available online. If they can't make it on Sunday (or if they live ANYWHERE else in the world) we're going to encourage people to watch the teaching Monday or Tuesday when they have time because...

2) Wednesday evenings from 7-8 we're going to delve into topics like Cities, Sex, Politics, Culture, Art, Crime, along with the very latest of what's effecting the real lives of real people. Then we'll discuss together what role God plays in them, hopefully done in a way where we can also have some fun (I plan on doing Rick Mercer type rants along the way). It will be a live Internet broadcast with a moderated chat room (www.freedomhousetv.com ... NOTE: what's up right now is just a splash page, the real site will be released before we go live Oct 7th) where we will use the teaching from Sunday as the basis for what we hope is a spirited discussion where many different people with many different opinions and questions get the chance to work it out together... live as it happens.

3) When analyzing Christian broadcasting... I always used to say, "If only there was real way for a local church to actually make a real connection with real people. So when something legitimately touches someones heart, they can come to a real place and meet that real person to develop a real relationship." This model opens the door for just that. During the show, we are encouraging people to get together with other real people in their homes, at wifi coffee shops, at the church or watching the show live in the heart of the University Campus in Downtown Brantford with their laptops in hand... and discuss while they share where their dialogue is taking them with us on the main broadcast which serves as a hub for what's going on around town/the world. At the same time... we hope conversations, thoughts, truths are being posted to Facebook... on Twitter... on Blogs... so that even more can be welcomed into the dialogue. The cool thing about conversation going on on social media platforms... is that it's friends sharing with other friends sharing with other friends about what's going on in their mind/soul/spirit at that moment.

4) After the show... we're going to host an "after party" where we can all get together and turn the "virtual world" into real world relationships over coffee.

5) While our church (Freedom House) is located in Brantford... we won't be talking specifically about Brantford. The idea being that ANYONE ANYWHERE gets dive into the chat that is relevant for their context too. Someone in Toronto can gather their own friends who want to learn more about God... or even try to figure out what "those Christians" are really talking about. We hope that FHTV even becomes a tool to plant new Churches out of the relationships that will form from people who have common ground, collectively desiring the "what's REALLY true" of life.

Good Messages have always be viral. We hope that FHTV communicates the life that Jesus bring... both by the magnificence size of this world that God created... and that it facilitates it being effectively communicated through the flawed people (that's all of us) who He created in His image to spread it.

Become our a fan on Facebook here to stay up to date as the launch date gets closer

25 September 2009

You Googled WHAT and found me?

Haven't done this in a while... but my fascination only grows at what people Google and wind up on my blog.

1. "youtube goat meat.com"

I like that not only did this hungry bushman want to find an entire website dedicated to goat meat... he wanted video of it too. In a related story...

2. "looking for white people eating fufu in ghana"

If there were a "white guy Fufu appreciation club" I'd join. Now... I did EAT goat meat in Fufu. In fact I met the goat I ate in Fufu once. In fact I ate THIS goat in fufu once. That was just before we threw him in the truck and butchered him. Mmm...

3. "what is in maple leaf gardens now"

All of my memories of Wendel Clark. Sniffle.

4. "why does my nipple move when im working out?"

My guess is that it's attached to your moobies... which is likely WHY you're working out big guy. Happy to help.

5. "toast template jesus"

What IS the etiquette when toasting the savior anyway? Do you use wine or water? Can you roast Jesus? If you did use a template, would you fall into vain repetition? This is more complex than it appears.

6. "the big ear helps you hear under three hundred hurts"

Is this a proverb about big ears? Gotta get me that book. I home its got drawings.

7. "my bedroom smells in the morning"

I wonder if this a confused/disgusted newlywed wife trying to piece together the actual consequences of what she's just chosen to wake up beside everyday.

8. "im love with bank teller"

Is that a roll of quarters in your pocket or...

9. "how do you sleep when our house is burning"

My advice is NOT to find new innovative ways to sleep in a burning house. Possibly adjust your Googling to "how to use a hose" ... or maybe ... "why not to fall asleep with a stogie in your mouth".

10. "hurley naked"

Previously on LOST

11. "what does fee fi fo fum mean?"

As googled by a puzzled Grandson while his "hip" 95 year old Grandfather clomps around the living room talking about smelling the blood of an Englishman.

12. "terrier identification picture"

Fortunately, Myrtle had Speckles terrier identification picture in her wallet. Unfortunately... Speckles was a poodle.

13. "my friends call me bubbles" & "mature man kissing dog"

Yep... these are my readers.

24 September 2009

The acts of Acts

The Tease:

"What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."

The Wedding:

'Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them."

The Honeymoon:

"That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. "

The Living out of the Marriage:

"During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines"

"Yelling and hissing, the mob drowned him (Stephen) out. Now in full stampede, they dragged him out of town and pelted him with rocks."

"Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail. Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries."

"But then he (Now Paul) ran afoul of a group called Hellenists—he had been engaged in a running argument with them—who plotted his murder. When his friends learned of the plot, they got him out of town, took him to Caesarea, and then shipped him off to Tarsus. Things calmed down after that and the church had smooth sailing for a while."

"When Peter got back to Jerusalem, some of his old associates, concerned about circumcision, called him on the carpet: "What do you think you're doing rubbing shoulders with that crowd, eating what is prohibited and ruining our good name?"

"But the unbelieving Jews worked up a whispering campaign against Paul and Barnabas, sowing mistrust and suspicion in the minds of the people in the street. there was a split in public opinion, some siding with the Jews, some with the apostles. One day, learning that both the Jews and non-Jews had been organized by their leaders to beat them up, they escaped as best they could to the next towns"

"Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times."

"It wasn't long before some Jews showed up from Judea insisting that everyone be circumcised: "If you're not circumcised in the Mosaic fashion, you can't be saved." Paul and Barnabas were up on their feet at once in fierce protest. The apostles and leaders called a special meeting to consider the matter. The arguments went on and on, back and forth, getting more and more heated."

"Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn't have him; he wasn't about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations."

The End of the story:

The Church fought... but they solved the problems... then fought again. They tried and failed and tried and succeeded and then tried and failed again to "do it right".

But in the middle of the same things that our churches deal with today... The Bride did exactly what He told them they'd do. They were His "witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world". And onward we go...

... why? It's our creed.

22 September 2009

The sky rarely falls

Chicken Little learned it.
We can too.
Kurt Vonnegut's "Dramatic Arc of our daily lives"




"Because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none."
Vonnegut


I think a lot of pain could be alleviated if we took more deep breaths.

21 September 2009

"Nothing comes from Nothing"


As a child, in what must have seemed like a futile attempt to motivate me, my mother used to remind me at nauseum that "Nothing comes from Nothing". I thought she was quoting Jiminy Cricket. And really... who trusts a cricket? Turns out it's actually a philosophical expression often stated in Latin as "ex nihilo nihil fit" meaning that anything that exists in physical reality has its origins in and is the manifestation of something else.

Translation = "Work Dummy". It used to bother me to no end to hear my Mom tell me that "nothing comes from nothing". Partially because I was conveniently and intentionally Laissez Faire about far too many things.

Laissez Faire is a French phrase literally meaning "let do" or "leave it to be". In economics, it says that the state should never intervene in the marketplace. As an arrogant kid who didn't like his Mom telling him he should get down to work... I thought I had thought through "the system" ... and my job was to stick it to "The Man" by withholding my efforts and taking my business elsewhere. I wasn't lazy... but my idea of Takin' Care of Business was more Randy Bachman than Tony Robbins.

"I love to work at nothin' all day"


The truth is that nothing DOES come from nothing. Mom was right. The other truth is that even nothing... is something in it's own right. If you choose retreat and surrender instead of standing up and playing your part with passion... you can become critical, withdrawn, angry and you'll find yourself irrelevant and gnarled very quickly. I've been down this road and back again. The scary part is that you begin to convince yourself that "I don't want to play that stupid game anyway... and those kids who are playing are just jerks anyway. So there." You find yourself standing, arms crossed, throwing a pouty tantrum... even if you started your snit with the "best intentions".

Bad SOMETHINGS come from that kinda NOTHING. Because not only does that kind of self-indulgence have a Gollum-like effect on us... but any time people see someone walking down a road (good or bad)... some are going to follow you down it. And WE'RE accountable for that since we're accountable for our actions.

Human beings have too many good things in them to be laissez faire about life. German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said,


"Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be."


There is MUCH to be done in the world and we, together, should WORK at doing it! I don't know about you, but every time I open my eyes... I can't stop thinking about what CAN or SHOULD be. The only way to make it happen is for me and you to do it!

If nothing comes from nothing... then something comes from something. And 100 somethings come from 100 somethings. And 100 people doing 100 somethings is 10,000 somethings! And if those somethings are GOOD things? Imagine what could be.

Mom's are smart. We should listen to them. It would save us some misery sometimes.

"Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life"
Prov 4:34



20 September 2009

Jazz

Standing yesterday in the heart of my growing, changing, maturing city...
Listening to Joey DeFrancesco wail on his 1966 organ...
surrounded by other people like me...
enjoying the fruits of the moment...
because of the labor of others ...
was just lovely.



"Jazz is about the moment you're in. Being modern is not about the future, it's about the present."
Sinatra to Bono about Miles.

19 September 2009

Wedding days

Wedding days are beautiful days. It's ritual laced pageantry driven by habitual motions. But anxiously peeking out from behind the frills and fancies of "wedding"... is marriage.

When the bride and groom are confronted with vocalizing the realities of "covenant" to the great crowd of outside-gawkers, often-ne'er-do-well's and sometimes-talk-to's... it's a poignant thing.

"If I get sick... will you stick with me?"
"What if I loose my temper and say something awful to you... will you still be there when I wake up?"
"If we disagree... are we committed to working it out come hell or high water?"

They always say "I do" ... because they had already chosen it.
Covenant.

It's not that those who are about to eat the chicken and potatoes that you've carefully hired help in white costumes to cook en-masse aren't lovely. In fact most are. Well... some are. Some are just there out of responsibility. But covenant differs from responsibility and friendship. Covenant is sacred. Covenant is rich and poor. Good times and bad. Covenant is choosing to be "stay and fight" AND "slayed and layed down"... for the benefit of another.

It's... "always and forever before the Lord Thy God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob because I have chosen to continually choose raw, tough, passionate Godly love"

It's a pretty picture of Holy significance, stark realities and the celebration of it's glorious revelation on earth as it is in heaven. Wedding days are beautiful days. And the pictures say far more than a thousand words.

18 September 2009

Dare Greatly

Dare Greatly:

It is not the critic who counts; nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

~ Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)

16 September 2009

In the year that King Uzziah died...


Your personal opinion doesn't necessarily matter to God... but he does love us enough give us His mind if we want it. God is no respecter of person's and not that concerned that YOU be the one that is used... but He's got things he wants to use you for.

I love the story of King Uzziah. Quick... Biblical ink blot test here. When I say, "King Uzziah" what's the first thing you think about? He died. Nice.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1


Here's the backstory...
“Uzziah became king at 16 when his father, King Amaziah, was assassinated following a military disaster. Uzziah was faithful to the LORD for a long time, and during that time he and his nation prospered. Rising to power after a long period of decline, he restored to Judah much of the strength and influence that had been Israel's in the days of David and Solomon. He had a series of military successes against the Philistines, the Gurbaal, the Mehunims, and the Ammonites. He fortified Jerusalem, whose walls had been broken down just before he took office, and he built military outposts throughout the land as well. Being an inventor, he constructed turreted crossbows and catapults, mounting these in towers at his outposts. He was also active in agriculture, digging wells and planting vineyards throughout the land.”

Pretty productive dude really. Prosperous even. Like Creflo Dollar prosperity. The story continues...


“Unfortunately, later in his 52-year reign Uzziah presumed to alter the worship of the LORD, placing himself in the spotlight by entering the temple and burning incense, a duty reserved by the LORD for the priests only. A group of 81 priests confronted the king, informing him of his violation — a courageous act, given the unquestioned power of the king in those days. Uzziah became furious. While he raged at the priests, the LORD showed his support for the priests by afflicting Uzziah with leprosy, which became immediately visible on his forehead. As no leprous person was permitted in the temple, the priests began urging the now-unclean king to leave. Uzziah, himself in a panic, rushed away.”

Yuck. Bit of an unceremonious exit for a man who clearly WAS a great man who was greatly used by God. But then got too big for his britches. God desires every soul... but He also seems quite willing to step over anyone in order to obtain the full affection of His Bride (His Church).

The Bible doesn't talk much about it... but I've often wondered how God might have personally continually reached out to King Uzziah. But because of King Uzziah's sin, God big B blessing was pulled to a certain degree... along with the ability of others to reach the Holy of Holies.

Pride is not a good thing to fall into. Sure doesn’t seem to be a personality trait that God likes too much. Even though God saves and redeems and restores and releases, when you step in the way of what God is doing and attempt to usurp power and redirect glory, there’s a good chance that God is going to pull his favor from your life and move on to someone else... because of his intense love for His Bride. Not because he doesn't love you anymore... but because he DOES love you as just one of many parts of His bride. You see, He's not a respecter of persons.

In the year that King Uzziah died... Isaiah was commissioned. Noting the coinciding of the King's Death and the release of Isaiah's prophetic journey of repentance and restoration must hold importance. There were other wicked Kings to come but something was significant about Uzziah. I think some of this was about the fact that Uzziah strengthened himself. Contrast that with the picture of Isaiah who saw the glory of the lord and his first reaction was to say:

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."


God's desire for His Bride to be with Him is intense and He'll do what He needs to to protect her.

When my wife and I were engaged during our college years, she was at church in Brantford while I was away at school in Welland one night. Some creepy old man at the church did something to her that was (in the long-run and grander scheme of things) minor... but at the time it truly made Krissy feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable, borderlining on violated. She called me and told me and I was FURIOUS. How dare someone even THINK of messing with MY bride.

I felt a crazy kind of man. I had to get to her but had a lot of obstacles in my way. First off... I had no car and was an hour and a half away. I had classes in the morning and I knew I'd theoretically be able to do nothing more than I could over the phone. Thankfully, I was renting a room in the house of a local pastor and his wife who were also councilors. She told me, "Go... she just needs to know you're there".

So in the middle of the night, I found a way home. First thing in the morning... my male mind was racing about what I wanted to do to this @#$%%^& who dared even look at my future bride inappropriately. Then I saw her... and we hugged ... for a long teary time. Turns out that was all either of us needed.

God needs His Bride and The Bride needs it's Groom. Out of love, God can and will do what is needed to be done to make this relationship work. In the love story... I certainly wouldn't want to be the one known by my death though. As Bono put it,


"There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is."




14 September 2009

Autumn: A visible tapestry of time

I love the melancholy ways of Fall
It's more than just the annual rusted quilt that beds my weary, summer-scorched yard.


It's the smell of the damp.


The thrill of the dawn and the creeping of dusk.


Enough of this boisterous summer, with it's flashy cars, muscle shirts and teenagers possessing the landscape.


Let them be set aside for a moment of unspoken soliloquy... for the earthly hush, and mature introspection of Autumn.


It’s the texture of fall that gets in my nose.



It’s a visible tapestry of time.



You remember when life was conceived; you had your moment in the sun, and you can taste the cold coming.



It's what happens between "the yesterday" and "the tomorrow".
Summer is for amateurs and screamers.


Fall is for those confident enough to know that the sun is shining somewhere.


It's the unseen and under-touched.



Poem and Photos by Dave Carrol

12 September 2009

Paul vs Apollos... Wineskins... Giftings... The Church... really a cornucopia of fun


"You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. You're all picking sides, going around saying, "I'm on Paul's side," or "I'm for Apollos," or "Peter is my man," or "I'm in the Messiah group." I ask you, "Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you?

Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages.

God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him."

Apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 1&3


It's vital for the life of a functioning body of ministry for us all to understand our gifts... our ministries... and be confident how we fit into "the body". Because it's only when we're OK with ourselves that we can fully release others to be who THEY are too.

What has been happening since Paul was roaming the countryside putting out fires in church's... is that people of like-gifting tend to clump together. And if that gets out of whack, it leads to...

Prophet 1: "those pastoral people drive me nuts... hearts bleeding all over the floor. What a mess. Not a backbone in the bunch"
Prophet 2: "Justice baby. Let's just call down the fire and be done with it. Dang"
Prophet 3: "here here... this church is a mess. Let's see what the minor prophets would have done... hmm... burn it to the ground eh? Done"


Ever heard that conversation? It goes the other way too.

Pastor 1: "That Apostle just doesn't care!
Pastor 2: "Does he EVEN realize how often I've visited Mrs Buzzbubble? I made her a casserole... A CASSEROLE!!! Has he EVER made a casserole??"
Pastor 3: "(Weeping) This church doesn't care... the spirit has left the house. I'm taking my people somewhere where they can't be hurt by those monsters"


The truth is, that our gifts are designed to give us different motivations. And they are designed to leave us in need of each other. They only work if they are functioning together and under willing submission to each other. Check out Harold Eberle's church design from his fantastic book, "The Complete Wineskin".



It's such a Biblical model for a healthy structured church. But for it to work well... it's dependent on each person, not only playing their role... but actively supporting the others to play theirs. The apostles and prophets lead to be able release a ton of pastors and evangelists in their ministry. And the groundswell of pastors and evangelists (to be able to function with freedom and anointing) need to trust and bless the apostles and prophets and teachers. And that only happens with intention.

It happens by really getting to know each other, being in committed relationships as a team together, AND even submitting ourselves to each other to make sure that the health of the whole is kept as a priority.

God loves the church. It's his bride. The fact that we get a chance to be a part of it is an honor. Of course it's tough. And Augustine was right when when he said,

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


But is it possible that it was all part of the design so that we can learn to contend for God's Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven?




"I have long pursued her as a harlot and a whore. There is none that can replace her though there are many who will try and though some may be her bridesmaids they can never be my bride. You cannot care for me with no regard for her if you love me you will love the church."
Derek Webb

10 September 2009

"I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles"

From the movie Knocked Up. Just two guys trying to figure life out while watching Pete's kids at a playground:


BEN
They seem to love bubbles.

PETE
That’s an incredible thing about a child. What’s so great about bubbles?

BEN
They float. You can pop them. I mean, I get it. I get it.

PETE
I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.

BEN
That’s sad.

PETE
It’s totally sad. Their smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything.


Sometimes when I watch my kids worship... cackle... eat birthday cake... blow bubbles... I wish I had the ability to enjoy anything in the moment that much too. I wish I didn't lay awake at night trying to figure out a way to conquer the world, since there clearly must be something more FUN to do somewhere.

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus said, "I
tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." He didn't say to be childish. But He did say that we had to be humble like a child. Humble enough to dance and revel in moments of freedom, admitting that you can't fix everything all the time. Adults (which we ARE called to be) have responsibility, work, the charge to lead other men. Good things that don't always feel... "light". In fact often these burdens can be so darn heavy that we look at kids and say "I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles" with a not-too-hidden sound of bitterness in our voices.

But our real charge is to lead... and unload our burdens. It's what the cross was for. So we could take on Christ's easy yoke and light burden. It's folly to wish we could laze around blowing bubbles and giggling like a child for the rest of our lives. But we can't enter the Kingdom of God with BECOMING like one enough to live lightly... otherwise the weight is enough to crush a man.

9 September 2009

A Leaf by Niggle

In 1938... JRR Tolkien was writing the Lord of the Rings. A massive undertaking that took a great deal of time, effort and intention to undertake... but he felt it well worth it. The masterful handcrafting of "Middle Earth" was a seemed a God-task given to him. It was then that his beautiful little short story "A Leaf by Niggle" was born.

"it arose from my own pre-occupation with the Lord of the Rings, the knowledge that it would be finished in great detail or not at all, and the fear (near certainty) that it would be 'not at all'. The war had arisen to darken all horizons... that story was the only thing I have ever done which cost me absolutely no pains at all. Usually I compose only with great difficulty and endless rewriting. I woke up one day with that odd thing virtually complete in my head. It took only a few hours to get down, and then copy out."


"A Leaf by Niggle" is a simple, pretty, and provokingly deep allegory of both, Tolkien's creative process and spiritual journey. God actually pointed me in "A leaf by Niggle's" direction this week while I was praying about what to speak about on Sunday at Freedom House. No matter how many times one does it... it's still a daunting feeling to think about the fact that the Almighty wants to use your mouth to teach a group something about His Kingdom and His character. As I was praying about it... God said the words, "
tell them a story."

"
What story Lord?" I asked. As He usually does, He responded. I heard him say, "JRR Tolkien wrote a short story about heaven. Find it and tell it." Seemed like a bit of a faith step just to begin my search, but I did just that. It DID exist. I found it. And I took about 40 minutes to read it out loud Sunday morning. It's just a gem of a story that paints a beautiful picture of how God's story... IS using the imperfect, niggly little us's to reflect His hope of a future worth living.

""Well," said the Second Voice, "there are these. He was a painter by nature. In a minor way, of course; still, a Leaf by Niggle has a charm of its own. He took a great deal of pains with leaves, just for their own sake... "I think it is a case for a little gentle treatment now," said the Second Voice.

Niggle thought that he had never heard anything so generous as that Voice. It made Gentle Treatment sound like a load of rich gifts, and the summons to a King's feast. Then suddenly Niggle felt ashamed. To hear that he was considered a case for Gentle Treatment overwhelmed him, and made him blush in the dark. It was like being publicly praised, when you and all the audience knew that the praise was not deserved. Niggle hid his blushes in the rough blanket."

Such a lovely piece of writing by a man who used his gifts for his King's glory that would have remained buried in time... had God not dug it out for me. You can read the whole thing here


7 September 2009

Jared doing Brian Regan

My boy loves Brian Regan... as so he should



How can any Brian Regan fan walk past show horses without laughing?

6 September 2009

I just wanted to be sure of you.


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."

~A.A. Milne

4 September 2009

Joe Purdy

This guy's got some excellent music very much worth spending a few minutes listening to. He sang the song "Wash Away" from the 3rd ever episode of LOST... and it's stuck with me. I spent the morning at work listening to more of his music. Simple, cool, real music with very little plastic packaging.




"I love the rain most when it stops"
Joe Purdy

3 September 2009

My Prime Minister about his God

“The important thing, for me, is to preserve family ties. I can win elections, but if I lose my family, it's a disaster.”

He said he is not troubled by thoughts of what judgment history will render.

“To be honest with you, I am a lot more concerned by God's verdict regarding my life than the one of historians,”

Stephen Harper in Quebec's "Magazine Prestige"

Reconciled

Reconcile:
~to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent.


I had dinner tonight with a great friend who I've known nearly as long as I've known my wife. We had some good laughs tonight looking back at what it was like growing up in Christian homes (both of which we look back at and know we were blessed to have them) in the 80's. I told the story of the day I came home from school to find that my Mom (whom I love like a mother) had discovered my Beastie Boy tape... and read the lyrics. Gulp. She had hand-written every line that included an expletive or a sexual reference. So pretty much all of them. She then proceeded to read those lines out loud to me in what was the surely the longest 15 minutes of my life. We "agreed" that this tape was surely not "as unto the Lord" and we smashed it with a hammer. (And PS... good for her... I'd likely do something similar)

My friend laughed at my story and told me that he began our college radio courses without really ever listening to the radio. Just a church kid with a Degarmo and Key album in hand and a live Carmen concert or two under his belt.

Some nights are meant for reconciliation. Not between each other. But between our laughing at some of the misplaced and misunderstood dogma of the past ... sharing our daily struggles of the living out of an effective Christian life as Dad's, Husbands and the Men we want to be ... and finding company in each others uncertainty of the future... we found some harmony and consistency in our stories.

I think that sometimes alone, it's hard to see how the past, present and future pieces of our own life fit together. Talking it out together however... makes more sense. Reconciliation... not strife, depression, confusion... both IN US and THROUGH US is our calling...


2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We should all be actively enjoying and exploring this "ministry of reconciliation". All the dumb things we did, we do, and we're going to do are quite literally laughable. Our big picture is so much more beautiful. It's just a pointless thing to hold screw-ups and silly things against ourselves or others. It would not only be an incredible waste of time... not only an incredible waste of good comedy... but it would be an incredible slap in the crucified face of Jesus. "Be reconciled to God".

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