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 October 2009

The genius of "Every Sperm is Sacred"

Every year or so... I get the hankering for a little "Every sperm is sacred". And thanks to the miracle of YouTube:



The fact this troupe of brilliant comics so astutely portrayed and created a scenario that masterfully painted the picture of the ridiculousness of religious dogmas... becomes more and more genius to me as the years go by.

When you're a kid, you think you're being edgy and bad by sneaking your first Monty Python movie... you just giggle at the increasingly creative penis slang and condom names. Then over time... when you realize that the issue they're taking the piss out of is a REAL one, you start thinking.

Then when, as an adult, and you've made one of the central parts of your life working to see Christians of all flavors come together to make actual impact... "every sperm is sacred" is exponentially more funny AND exasperating.

I mean on an entirely visceral level. I'm Graham Chapman. I'm a protestant. We've used birth control. I've rolled my eyes at little girls who sing...

"Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground.
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can't be found."

... well maybe not little girls but you get the point. But on the other hand, I'm Eric Idle (only a dude). Well... he was a dude too but... well you get the point. Because I think sex for pleasure AND procreation is good. On the other hand Graham Chapman makes me mad looking out the window tisking the the "Bloody Catholics". Maybe I'm like Michael Palin. He's devout... sold out. Heck sometimes the birthrate in our house feels like Terry Gilliam is breeding in it!

What's the result of this bizarre, purposefully exaggerated satirical scenario, aside from laughter? It's a classic painting of what happens when we let the "minors" of theology come between us and our brothers. It also depicts just how ludicrous making the gray areas of life the pillars of our faith can make our lives!

Excellent satire is not an easy thing to do. But "every sperm is sacred" is EXCELLENT satire.

29 October 2009

The innate need to cause a scene

This is the amazing new video from "Improv Everywhere" ... the group that brought you 200 people freezing simultaneously in Grand Central Station.



The troupe's slogan is "We cause scenes". Yeah... I can relate. Lord knows why, but causing a scene is just something I do whether I try to or not... so what are ya gonna do? It seems to be innate in me.

  • I once walked through Zehrs eating food as I went. Sat down on the floor by the milk, cracked open a box of Fruit Loops, poured 2% in it and ate it with my face as puzzled people stood and watched.
  • I once used my radio morning show to spring a covert game of ball hockey on our local mall. People showed up with goalie gear and nets and balls. We set up in the middle and played until we got kicked out.
  • I once walked around pantsless in another mall (the one our church is now in incidentally) while having a Mall Santa flirt with me, challenging merchants to "danceoffs" and frolicking in the fountain.
  • I once set up a stationary bike on a bike path and waved to on-coming bikers. Then I would challenge them to a race.

Aaannd many more. I can't help it. Ask my wife. I feel for her sometimes (not much but a little bit of courtesy feeling). Heck it's embarrassing for her to go through a Wendy's drive through with me because without thinking I try to turn asking for salt into a routine. I mean... I'm 33 and all these kind of videos do is give me new ideas on how to make even bigger, better and more creative and productive spectacles!

I could over-spiritualize this (and have) but for today... my brain is now elsewhere plotting. Mu ha ha...

28 October 2009

Tonight's Freedom House TV



Tonight's show on freedomhousetv.com was all about whether the church SHOULD be an influence in a community... and how do they do it?

Looking forward to next week because as we're running a 24/7 Prayer room (in the studio) we'll be going live every week night from 7-8 to pray for our city and you! How can we pray for you? Tune in and pray along

Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady

Faith and Hope require far more exercise to work properly than we give them. They aren't dainty birthday candle wishes. They are quite rough and tumble actually. A pair heavy duty walking shoes.

In their song "Stand up Comedy" U2 wrote:
"I can stand up for hope, faith, love But while I’m getting over certainty Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady"


Last night was our church's weekly prayer and worship meeting. We've been doing it pretty much every week since we planted Freedom House 5 years ago. There are other times in the week where we do community work, teach, party, and the rest. But one night a week... we simply practice walking and talking with the invisible man in the sky.

Before we started last night, Brian posed a question about why more Christian's lives aren't based around actually hearing the voice of God and responding. Why has man's reasoning abilities crept subtly into (and often over-taken) our paid-with-a-price admission to have council with The King?

I'm sure there are many answers. But I think one is that we think it's too hard... too far off and exclusive. Hearing God is for "Bibley People". We wonder how a rational person could make decisions based on faith and hope. The closest we ever hear, is when someone says that they are "following their gut".

But I wonder if this perception prevails because of a false understanding of God. An imagined character of God whom we have to help across the road like a little old lady. Legitimate Faith and Hope, the kind that stirs inside a man so strongly that it MUST be the driving force in life, only happens when we walk and talk with the originator and dispenser of these so desired attributes. It's stunning to most (
when it happens for the first time) how actually engaging God in conversation... turns Him from the invisible man in the sky into the "closer than a brother" that the Bible talks about.

Last night... I took to God some real life situations that my family is going through. I talked to God, not guarded and politely like a little old lady... but as a friend who knows me and actually wants to talk (or even scrap) it out. And He responded back to me, without using patronizing kiddie language... but exactly what the truth was... in the way that I needed to hear it whether I liked it or not! It was truth that set me free... releasing the active Faith and Hope that I needed for today to be able to live confidently and correctly.

Faith and Hope aren't wishes. They require activity... dialogue... sometimes shouting... contending... and proceeding.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see


26 October 2009

I may have "The Piggy"

I know pork farmers don't like it... but to me H1N1 will always be "The Piggy".


Create your own FACEinHOLE

I was home sick today... but I hear that hospital's have quit testing for and diagnosing The Piggy since it's a pandemic (whatever that means). So I'm not sure I'd know if I had it even if I tried to find out... which I won't.

Although I have been oinking in my sleep and nosing around in the trash all day. I'm hungry... I think I'll have some bacon covered ribs for dinner.

As always... people have made too big a deal about a FLU. Just relax Wilbur... go read Charlotte's web. Watch Babe. Get married to a frog.

Today has not been the greatest day but...

... people all over the world simultaneously just sang "Still haven't found what I'm looking for". That's pretty cool.

http://www.youtube.com/u2

24 October 2009

Simplicity is NOT the goal


Simplicity is not the goal. Neither is complexity. Neither is calm or ease. Neither is wealth and influence. Neither is organic and grassroots. Neither is giant and structural.

Transformation is the goal.

The transformation of lives and cities is the goal.

Brian Heasley is very cool cat, from the 24/7 movement, living in and serving the party island of Ibiza. It's worth taking 6 minutes to check out his story here.



Over the last couple of years... he and his community decided that they were going to give communal living a go. They bought a farm in the hills outside of the chaos and tried living simply. Growing their own food... little in the way of modern amenities... as they say on Gilligan's Island "like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be". The had a number of reasons, not the least of which was to provide a place that they could come together like Acts 2 and give an escape place to help weary party people. They did it for right reasons.

Well it didn't work out liked they hoped it would and they are moving back into town... back into their own homes. Brian blogged an awesome blog yesterday about many of the struggles of living communally (check out the whole thing here). This is my favorite point...

"Communal living mixed with simple living can add pressure. Actually living simply is very difficult, we need to remember that the industrial revolution happened for a reason! The reason some people, Shane Clairborne included, can live simply is because some people don't live simply, they work real hard and help provide for other people and ministries to exist. Rich people invest in kingdom initiatives all around the world and without them people couldn't try to plant communities in tough places. Give the rich a break."


Point being... simplicity in itself is NOT the goal. The goal is transformation. It requires a "Both AND" attitude... not an "either or" attitude. As a visionary/leadery type... I get personally exhausted with being told the church needs to be "grassroots and organic" and that planning and structure is wrong. And vice versa I'm sure. Who's right? BOTH! Unless you think that your way is the only right way. Then YOU'RE wrong. Or if you're not actively finding a way to use your method to further facilitate the ministry of the other way... then YOU'RE in the wrong again.

It's the nature of "the body" of Christ.

By the way... if you're in the Brantford area... we're launching into another 24/7 Prayer week the first week of November. Sign up for your hours here (please note... you need to physically be IN the prayer room)

22 October 2009

When a bloody sock is more than a bloody sock


One of the most vivid memories for baseball fans in the last decade was the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series win after nearly a hundred years of futility. Curt Schilling's bloody sock game was the only baseball storyline I've ever seen my wife get legitimately "into". As we were watching the game she, (as she likes to retell the story) actually noticed it before I did. Curt is now retired and a very active blogger. Check out what he wrote yesterday about how he remembers that day:


I made it through seven innings, and when I was done, I sat on the bench. I’ve often talked about the spiritual experience that entire two-week period was, and after I came out of this game it really hit me hard.

I had prayed hard, never once to “win” but just to be able to compete. I couldn’t do that in Game 1 because in a spiritual and physical sense I had tried to “go it alone.” Before Game 2 I had prayed with Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield, and I prayed ONLY for the ability to compete. I prayed for that with the belief that with the eight guys playing behind me, and my ability to pitch, I could beat them on one foot if I could just compete.

Looking back on it five years later, it was a much more meaningful event from a faith and spiritual standpoint than from a performance standpoint. I am proud of what we did that night, but I am far more excited about what I was able to experience in my relationship with Christ that night. I knew, postgame, when I started the press conference off by thanking the Lord and the entire media contingent rolled its eyes, how they were going to report it. Whatever they did, I knew they couldn’t come close to conveying what I had experienced.

I love the stories behind stories... especially when it comes to Christians who are attempting to do "the will of God" because it's the things that aren't always visible that mean the most. On that day, a bloody sock that everyone saw... just pointed to a God who wants to reveal Himself in us through our obedience.

21 October 2009

Quite an interesting week so far!

It's been quite an interesting week so far! Here's the article on the front page of today's Brantford Expositor to tell (part of) the story.

Break-in won't stop church's webcast

CRIME: About $2,500 in electronic equipment stolen

By SUSAN GAMBLE

Weeks after outfitting a little studio for a live streaming Internet talk show, Freedom House church was scrambling for equipment after a break and enter.

The thief or thieves stole the church's video camera, studio microphones, a still camera and a tripod, leaving behind a flat screen TV and a set of new lights. The break-in was discovered Sunday morning when church members went to pick up the camera to use during the worship service.

"We don't know how they broke in," said Dave Carrol, part of the leadership team at Freedom House, which meets in the downtown Market Square mall.

The studio area is separate from the church's other quarters on the lowest level. It's in a glass-fronted office right across from the Williams restaurant and the equipment that was taken was hidden away from prying eyes.

"The doors were locked when we arrived. So, whoever got in had a key or came in through the bowels of the mall," said Carrol.

He estimates the equipment is valued at about $2,500.

The church won't let the break-in hold it back. The group has borrowed equipment for tonight's one-hour webcast, which goes live at 7 o'clock.

"We basically take the teaching stuff from Sundays and make a discussion of it with phone ins and such. Our promo says that God has opinions on sex, politics and religion. It's really been a blast."

He said there have been about 500 hits on the website at www.freedomhousetv.com though the group only did two of the live streaming shows before being robbed.

Carrol... who has studied broadcasting, said he pondered the changes in how people communicate, bringing him and the church to the point they wanted to try using integrated social media to reach people.

"Everything is changing in how people are communicating and, for many, the first place they get information is from their computer. We've set up tables so we have a live studio audience with laptops who can blog as we're talking."

It's not the first time the church has been robbed.

A couple of years ago, while still in the "big blue house," as they called the building on Market Street that's now being renovated into affordable housing, Carrol said thieves broke in an took electronics and musical instruments and then trashed the building, spraying white powder from the fire extinguishers everywhere.


I go back and forth with how much the theft part bugs me. When we were robbed and had our church trashed last time on New Years eve, we had been delving into the idea of God being the "Lord of the Breakthrough" as we experienced more like a "break in". But out of the temporal inconveniences... God did good things and a few months after, we could see how He used something bad and turned it into good.

Tonight we're going on the air talking about "The Goodbye Generation". We're going to be tackling the reality that young people are leaving A) The Church and B) Their faith altogether in record numbers. We're going to discuss it six ways from Sunday from as many angles as we can... with the purpose of discovering what's really truth. What's real raw God... and what's just a silly surface layer of wrapping paper. And from 7-8pm... we want you to jump into the chat too.

But because of the thievery... we're going to be doing this thing with borrowed, inferior equipment (at least this week). The broadcaster in me will be squirming in my seat at the color temperature, the mic patterns, and what could be a choppy "show". But what Freedom House TV is... is not a show. God has reminded me repeatedly that what we're doing is about
A) Obedience (God said and we do) and B) Simply being real, honest, Christians and sharing the Jesus we know... where people are.

In worship services when the guitars are out of tune and the monitors just aren't right... worship leaders can either whine and ruin things for most people who don't notice a thing... or trust God to be God and worship. And in adversity... it's usually amazing. When you preach and your powerpoint malfunctions, you can either gripe at the tech guy, lament the quality of your laptop... or speak the words that God put on your heart FROM your heart. When you press through adversity... God gets to show Himself strong.

So tonight at 7pm ET... pray, participate and get your friends into the chat as well. What happened this week stinks for MANY including my friend who OWNS the equipment. Don't pray that the show to LOOK good. Pray that the spirit of God uses our feeble offerings to draw people to Him. This is why we're even bothering to run an internet TV wing ding in the first place! Because God DOES want to interact with our real everyday worlds... and we should have the courage to be public and real about it! Find where people are... share Jesus. So if we press through in obedience tonight... God MUST be ready to do something cool with it.


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20 October 2009

Fall Ball

As much as I love summer baseball... I love fall ball more. Storylines in fall ball seem to ebb and flow just a little more drastically. In a game where man cannot succeed on brawn alone, fall ball can expose the weak-minded or under-prepared... and can make heroes of those who overcome.

I remember what having MY team playing fall ball felt like. In an admittedly somewhat Uncle Rico fashion, every couple days in the fall my friends and I will shoot "I miss 92 and 93" messages to each other. Do you remember what it felt like? Barbers and Burger flippers. Basketball teams and Bus drivers... they all knew who was pitching that night. Electricity.

Saturday October 24th 1992; Game 6. I set the VHS player at home knowing I could see history that night and I wanted to capture it for all eternity (because "tape" is forever right?). We went for a family dinner at my Grandmother's house... but nobody ate around the table. 25 of us were crammed in den... huddled like a Normal Rockwell painting around a glowing TV. In the 7th inning, we decided to hurriedly get in the car and drive home to see the end... only to arrive to a dead VCR! I called my friend who was in a tizzy. The north end of town had missed a great portion of the game while on the south side we were sitting pretty! About a half hour of intensity... Otis Nixon chose to bunt a Mike Timlin ball weakly back to the mound. Cue Joe Carter's (who was playing 1st in the National League park) jumping exhibition.

Southern Ontario went nuts. It was beautiful.



October 23rd 1993; Game 6. I was in a friend's basement pacing as Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams peered down to Dutch Daulton through the greasy strands of his long icky mullet. Curt Schilling sat in the dugout with a towel over his head (as he'd been doing for months now in late inning scenarios) nearly knowing what was about to happen. All of a sudden... Joe was jumping again. And so was I. And so was Brantford. We got in my friend's mom's little sports car, took the roof off and I stood on my feet as we drove up and down Colborne and Dalhousie street honking our horns and waving towels along with thousand of others. It was a collective euphoria. Like a massive endorphin release that a nation experienced together... two falls in a row.



Baseball is calming to me. It would be a part of any ideal day I could sketch out. What I love about fall ball... is that as the stakes get higher... the game slows even more. Pitchers consider what pitch they are about to throw just a little bit longer. You can see the wheels spinning in the psyche of a batsman as he decides on whether the long season and cold eastern seaboard evening will still allow him to take a mighty wallop... or if all he has left is enough for a slap hit to right.

Great is baseball.

"Enjoy life a little. Let us go forth a while and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms. The game of ball is glorious."
Walt Whitman

18 October 2009

Time is on your side


There was a time when I couldn't just BE. Tonight I spend an hour, in pretty darn close to silence, on my front porch, in the crisp fall night... and it was lovely. Silent prayer and reflection IS one of the finer things in life. When you persist in silence and give the time and space to push through the thoughts of the day... when what you think about is God... it's worship that slips out of you. Because it's what is in us.

After about 45 minutes... when I was just about ready to come inside to see the Dodgers get pummeled by the Phillies... a few whispers of "40" started to fall from my lips. And it was like honey.

"I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit. Out of the miry clay. I will sing... sing a new song. How long to sing this song?"

Being a part of 24/7 Prayer weeks has helped me discipline myself to wait. To press though visceral things... into the deeper waters. When you're alone in a prayer and you know that you've committed to being there for an hour (or more) ... there is time to get real and raw with yourself. The reality is that there is ALWAYS time.

Saturday night, I got together with some of the other national leaders of the Canadian 24/7 Prayer team... and we prayed. God's given us some exciting vision for our home and native land and we're all anxious to "make it happen". The moment we started listening, I heard God say... "Time is on your side". Another in the room was led to the word "Shalom" meaning "Nothing missing. Nothing broken". We were put in a place of peace, being reminded that we don't make things happen... we LET things happen.

There IS time to be still and know that He is God. There is a place of honestly and reality. Genuine worship DOES spill out of even the most scurried of lives. And it's never as far off as it feels sometimes.

15 October 2009

"When you eat my food,... I don't want you to think of the cost"

I want to share with a snippet from the blog of my friend Greg Hemmings. Greg is an award winning documentary film producer with his company "Hemmings House Pictures" based out of his treasured New Brunswick... and is one truly engaging human being. He blogged yesterday on a plane over Iceland flying back from the Cannes Film Festival in France. Check this story out... it's beautiful.


"Magic hour was upon us an
d to be honest we were getting a wee bit peckish! We were winding up this mountain that would eventually lead us to Nice, the hopes of finding our last year’s castle were on our minds, we were determined to open a bottle of wine when we found it and live if only for 10 minutes the life of Santiago from the Alchemist, or of Paulo Coehelo’s other brilliant book “The Pilgram”.

About 15 minutes up the winding road from the town of Roquebilliere-Vieux heading South towards La Tour, I pulled the car over to the side of the road… remember these are French Alp roads that have no guard rails and are so thin that 2 cars can barely share the same paved real estate without one falling hundreds of meters off the Cliffside to a fiery demise (oh so dramatic!).

I stopped the car because there was a small sign that said Aubergerie Du Campo. We were hungry so we pulled over, there was a VERY small area where we could park the car, but there was no restaurant in sight. We went over to the sign and realized that there was a long and steep path that led down the cliff face down through lush vegetation to a small building with no other access. So old world. We went down and ate and incredible French meal with great French wine and French cheese that was so old and strong that I can still smell it on my fingers…uggg, yeah.

The view off the terrace where we ate was ridiculous looking over the valley with the raging Riviere St. Jean flowing past mountain cliffs with multiple waterfalls lining its river sides up hundreds of meters. Yes it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever eaten. The topper? When we asked to pay with credit card he said no, then handed us a pre-stamped envelope with 8 Euros change…change for a bill I hadn’t paid for yet! He said he has been feeding people for 17 years and has billed them with an envelope since the beginning with 100% success. Basically if you don’t have cash you go home and when you can afford to pay the meal, a week later, a year later, whatever, you pop in cash in the envelop and mail it to him! CRAZY!!! And he tried to give us change! Ha, I said “no keep the change for a tip for goodness sakes”. I can’t believe how trusting this guys is, he will be getting more than the bill when I send him payment I know that for sure…hey maybe that’s his experiment, I bet he makes more money that way because I do believe that deep down the majority of people on this earth are honest people. What a trip!

As Tidby said as his Facebook status:


Greg and I just had dinner in the French Alps. When it came time to pay, the chef (as he cooks and serves the food), gave us an envelope with the bill, and a mailing address and told us to mail him the money! The reason: "When you eat my food,... I don't want you to think of the cost". AMAZING!


I read that this morning and found it just beautiful. It put me in mind of Isaiah 55 v1:

1
"Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost

Both the fine French chef and God have set out a banquet table and have invited us to sit down and eat, drink, be filled... and enjoy it. It makes the soul alive.

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live
v 2-3

We're invited to taste and see that the Lord is good. But both the fine French meal in the Alps and God's banqueting table DO have a cost. Wine and Cheese are only fine because it's taken great time and cost to produce. We're only invited to the feast of heaven because of "The Lamb of God who was slain". And like Greg, who was moved by the beauty of the moment and the gesture of trust and kinship and will GLADLY go over and above to fill the restaurateur's envelope... it's much like that with God.

When you choose to accept the invitation to sit, eat, taste... pray, worship, serve, learn, talk, read with the heart's desire to know who HE is... it's beautiful and tangible what happens. Giving my life over to God who is THAT extravagant comes easy.




"I pour my vile of worship over you"

13 October 2009

"Return"


One thing that we have learned doing street ministry over the last number of years... is that a lot of people are working hard to run from God. They KNOW they have a Mother/Grandmother/Pastor/Friend somewhere praying for them. And it nags at them. Many people KNOW that there IS a God and that there is something deep inside them pulling them to Him. And it nags at them.

In high school when would go out drinking... often I'd run home at 1am after getting "nagged" by what I now acknowledge was the Holy Spirit to see if my Mom was still at home. I knew if anyone was going to be taken up... it was her. Most often I'd arrive home to find her in the living room rocking chair with her big ole study Bible open, pouring through it... praying for me. At the time it simply helped me breathe again knowing I could keep pissing life away... and still have time to make it all right when I was ready. But the internal nagging got worse.

When the supernatural "nagging" got really loud... and my heart raced because I could feel the tractor beam getting stronger... I told my now wife Krissy (who had volunteered to be my "listener" for a season) that I had once "done the God thing" but bailed because of hypocrites. She told me that once you tell God you want to know Him... He's not going to stop trying to draw you into a friendship with Him. Hebrews 6:4-6 agrees.

"Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they've personally experienced the sheer goodness of God's Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can't start over as if nothing happened. That's impossible. Why, they've re-crucified Jesus! They've repudiated him in public!"


This morning I felt led to pray the word "Return". Coming home is a strong theme in the Bible. And there is great love, forgiveness and celebration that comes with a home coming. Saying... "I've tried it my way and I'm ready to let God be God" results in "no condemnation". It's such a beautiful thing when someone
RETURNS.

I've been someone who has let the actions of dumb people, hypocrites, faulty church and more get between me and a free relationship with God. And ALL of those things are still there! And now I get the opportunity to be that dumb person, the chief of sinners, and a leader in an imperfect church! But there is a reason for it all... because it all leaves us in NEED of salvation. We need saving! We need to
LET God to be God and LET Him show us a sliver of the divinity our soul is longing for. And then... we get to touch it.

In the National Post yesterday... I read AGAIN how the church in China is thriving and in Canada is struggling for relevance and gasping for life. Same church. Same God. Same dealio. And I'm not OK with that. Do we need to "return" to a religion that has gotten stale? No sir. We need to let ourselves return to the creator of life itself... and spend time getting to really know Him.

One of the many reasons we're doing Freedom House TV is to give "returners" who are being "nagged" a jumping in point. A place to ask questions. To let it be an encouragement to begin to pray again. It's also going to be a smiling face on screen... that you can actually meet. Anyone who you'll see on FHTV (including me) are real people who would love to help you find the way to "return". It's so easy... it's so liberating... and it kicks off a party in Heaven AND on Earth.

PS... you won't believe how hard your praying Grandmother/Mother/Pastor/Friend can hug.

12 October 2009

Missed Sunday?

What a great Thanksgiving I had up North camping (I'll likely write more about it tomorrow). And one of the best things... is that now that Freedomhousetv.com is in full swing... I now get to catch up on the teaching at my church on Sunday.



Love to hear your comments/thoughts and we'll discuss it online at FHTV Wednesday Night.

8 October 2009

Confrontation

"I don't like confrontation"

It triggers a gag reflex in me when I hear people say this. Because it's usually spoken when someone is trying to...

a) avoid confronting someone/something
b) having something/someone confront them.

... and it's a weeny excuse. Confrontation in life is healthy, necessary and Biblical. The prophets confronted nations with sin, Paul confronted ANYONE who dared mess with God's church, God confronts us... well... all time. Like we talked about last night on Freedom House TV, someones God even kinda mocks us while confronting us!

Without it... we become selfish, weak and dull. Yup.

"Can't we all just get along?"

Yes that would be lovely wouldn't it. But no... we'll never all just ALL "get along" by osmosis. It takes work. Have you ever "just gotten along" with everyone in your life at all times? If you think you do, you're likely either lying to yourself or may have very shallow relationships... since people are different and that inevitably creates conflict. We think differently and speak differently. Communicate different. The tower of babel made sure that we'd be subjected to miscommunication, misunderstandings... and often not getting along. And you know what? That may be part of the plan! Any depth of relationship whatsoever involves confrontation, problem solving and work to achieve resolution.

It's quite a bit like how we have to work to allow our relationship with God to make sense and flow freely.

"Come on people now shine on your brother. Everybody get together try to love one another right now"

Why yes my flower child friend... this is the goal. First loving someone IS how confrontation works. Ephesians 4: 14-16 says

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

A "robust" love includes speaking the truth in love AND being prepared to RECEIVE (not just hear) the truth in love from someone else. If without it we're selfish, weak and dull... I think properly deepening our relationships make us humble, strong and sharp.

6 October 2009

Work

"Work together... work hard... work right"
Caitlin Haley (part of our youth group)


Love this.

5 October 2009

Setting up the Studio



FreedomHouseTV.com is coming soon!

Selah: "Stop and think about it"

I wrote this this morning...

"There is great comfort in the depth of history of who HAS sung, the mass of the moment that IS singing, and the pomp of eternity that WILL sing the same song of the same King"
DC


I've thought a lot about my connection to the fuller story of Christianity over the last little while. About how not only did Christ experience what man feels... but subsequently, millions of "us" have had to wrestle God through the very similar situations over the last couple thousand AD years. We're really not has as unique as we think we are. The Acts church was only utopia for a very brief period and after that Christendom has wrestled with each other and God trying to figure out how to live out verses like Philippians 4:8:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

The issue is that true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable... all means so many things to different people! What an interesting thing to stop and think about. We're supposed to stop and think it. Often when you're reading the Bible, you'll see the word "Selah" at the end of a chapter. I'm sure you could write a paper about the nuances of this word... but the Readers Digest version of it means "Stop and think about it".

On Wednesday night at 7pm at freedomhousetv.com, Brian and I are going to launch into our very first live, interactive online chat asking the question... "What do you think about when you think about God?" In the promo video for Freedom House TV, I made the statement that "
The most important thing about you is what you think about when you think about God"... because it effects everything else about you. It's how you judge what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable... AND topics like sex, culture, religion, politics, cities (which we're going to be dealing with on FHTV too)

I also know that I only see a smart part of the God picture. I'm just one guy with a Big goofy ear. It's likely that you see a part that I don't yet. I'm looking forward to having you be a part of the dialogue Wednesday Night from 7-8.


3 October 2009

Birthday Day

Today has worked out really well to be an excellent birthday day. We're meeting my brother (who is the assistant chaplain for the Toronto Argos) and his amazing wife in Toronto to watch another Argo massacre this afternoon. Then we're headed just up the road to go see Chris Tomlin tonight. Looking forward to singing "God of this City" with thousands of other people who believe it's true and possible.



Birthday day's don't always "work out" to be great action-packed days... but this year it turns out mine did.

1 October 2009

My Jesus Year

On Saturday I turn 33 years old. Typically when someones states their age, others seem compelled to make comments on how they feel about that number depending on their proximity to that age... but all starting with the word "Pft"

For example, I'm expecting a few of these:

Dave: "I'm 33 years old today"
Younger Person: "Pft... 33? I never want to get that old... you old fart"

or

Dave: "I'm 33 years old today"
Older Person: "Pft... 33? I remember back when I was 33... rookie"

It's funny that people never want to be the age they are... yet seemingly don't want to be other people's age either.

Lately in pop culture world, people have been calling someones 33rd year their "Jesus Year" because it was in Jesus 33rd year that He accomplished the most. It was a pretty busy year for the Savior actually... including saving mankind from eternal damnation. Pretty productive really.

The Urban Dictionary defines it this way... "The 33rd year of your life. Time to get moving and get things done (maybe). Ex: 'Next year is my Jesus year, I better stop drinking.'"

Since my wife jokingly said a couple weeks ago, "It's your Jesus year Dave", I've actually felt this way a bit. The people younger than me will roll their eyes, as will the people older than me... but I have been feeling the 'getting older' feeling for maybe the first time of late. My knees snap crackle and pop as a walk up and down stairs... yesterday I bought a sweater at SEARS because I felt like a goof browsing through racks of shirts with skulls on them and having to ask a 19 year old sales girl, "Am I too old to wear this?" I'll pass on grass thank you.

I was reading a bit about what Jesus did in his 33rd year and a few things stuck out.


  1. Jesus knew what His purpose was. He knew what was coming and told people about it. He had full knowledge of His purpose and made sure His disciples were ready and in place to carry out theirs once He had gone BECAUSE that was part of His purpose. It was brilliant.
  2. Jesus knew where, when, and why He was supposed to walk where He did. His steps were truly ordered of God and He got to Jerusalem at just the right time. The "by faith" part that we often interpret as "walking blindly" was actually, proceeding boldly on His mission having faith that His Father would do His part.
  3. Jesus repeatedly showed restraint (control over His emotions and words) so that they didn't distract Him or rob Him (or others) of His purpose and goal.
  4. He fulfilled His purpose exactly as God had planned... and how He Himself had spoken of.

There was nothing random, grassroots or organic about Jesus. Everything was a plan. It was all orchestrated by His Father. He knew the game plan. He knew what His JOB was. When Jesus let out a "It is finished" on the cross, there was such a Holy fulfillment of the plan and a rest from the work that He did in that isn't there?

I'm happy that I'm 33. It's a good age. I want MY plan and purpose to be even clearer this year... and I want to take some ground in that plan in my 33rd year. Aging doesn't bother me in the least. Age doesn't inherently equal wisdom... but when I'm around people older than me who have earnestly asked for wisdom, pressed on by faith and been real men who work at it for longer than me... I can see that they get stuff that I don't yet. But I want to. And I will.

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