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 August 2010

Live Blogging Family Movie Night: High School Musical 3



    • Dave Carrol Wildcats win again... thankfully they've sung and danced in the middle of the game... again
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Is Justin Bieber actually just Zac Effron?
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol High School is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO perfect and dreamy.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol I think the next time there is an awkward, tiny, pause in a discussion or an emotion needs to be communicated... I'll break out in song.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Treehouse opens from above to reveal stars for romantic moment. Jared says, "Wow... that's interesting"
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Jared just recognized and sang lyrics to the bed music. Bad Sign
      about an hour ago
    • Dave Carrol I love how main characters get to customize their lockers in mythaschool.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Cant... we all.... just agree.... and do.... a ....musical together.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol The word "hoops" is always followed by high fives. Always.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Sharpay is not a name.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Wait... yes it is.

      http://www.babynames.com/name/SHARPAY

      Just a bad name.
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Rooftop dancing in the rain = real love
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol ‎"Oh Troy..........." sigh
      about an hour ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Just started watching the Jays on MLB.tv. Family gave me dirty looks.
      57 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol She said yes. They are GOING to prom together. EXCELLENT. A night to remember.
      54 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol I think if prom is the "night of your dreams" ... You're likely a pretty crappy dreamer
      53 minutes ago ·
    • Matt Haley what happened now haha!!
      52 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Impromptu musical number Matt. It's lavish.
      52 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Pft...... me and Pete Cristo could do this dance.
      50 minutes ago ·
    • Matt Haley o sooooo sorry im missing it lol!
      50 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Look out... 2 trendy teens are smack-talkin'. I sense a love connection
      48 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol ANOTHER love connection? Oh this is SO inspiring. God bless teen love.
      45 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Zac Effron is now dressed like a latino gang banger. That makes sense. I buy that.
      41 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol So they all grew up in a junkyard? Like the Cosby kids in Fat Albert?
      40 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol I wonder what the junkyard owner thinks about this dance number that was spawned from and led into deep personal reflection?
      37 minutes ago ·
    • Mike Gilman I think you've been describing just about every Bollywood picture ever made. I think India should sue Zac Effron.
      34 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol I'll second this motion Judge Ito could preside
      33 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol It's the epic struggle between education, love, basketball... and musicals. Tale as old as time.
      33 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Troy's dad must have had him at about 14.
      28 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol ‎"I'm not a little kid anymore Dad!" Dramatic run off screen.
      27 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Krissy: "Is that thunder Dave?"
      Dave: "yes... on the moving picture show"
      26 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Zac Effron does a flashdance, inner turmoil, solo only with basketballs falling instead. Dons the bball jersey and lets out cathartic yells. This is intense.
      23 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Drama teachers are so wise. Now she will go smoke a joint.
      21 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol ‎"I love you Wildcat... but I need to stay where I am"
      18 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol ‎"you are so crazy Wildcat"
      16 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol ‎"My prom is right where you are" Cue song.
      15 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol Zac is lucky that the track started playing right on cue in that park right there. And that Gabriella knew the lyrics.
      14 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol What is the audience laughing at? A pimp jacket?
      5 minutes ago ·
    • Dave Carrol It's not easy to "Improv" a musical to settle personal squabbles and resolve unfinished high school business but the reps from Julliard seem to think they've pulled it off. Bravo East High.

28 August 2010

Margret and John... Street Stories about how IT works

God SO loves the world.

There is a woman named Margret who spends nearly as long at our Friday Night street outreaches as we do. She rolls up in her scooter at 10pm sharp with a cackling laugh and a story to tell. OK... maybe 18 stories. OK maybe 180 stories. Margret would actually never stop talking as long as someone is there to listen.

Tonight I spent about 45 minutes straight just listening to Margret talk about her ex husbands, her priest, her meds, her dogs, someone named John Boy and and and and and...

... and all the while I was just listening to Jesus talk to me about how much He loves her. See in the light of day, I'd hazard a guess that few people give an ear to Margret's stories. She IS quite haggard and wild. But Jesus loves her. He told me so as I nodded, smiled and validated her struggles. He told me it was BECAUSE Margret is so tired and worn from trying to make it through each day while holding on to what she can comprehend of Him... that He loves her so much. Because of that, that she will be restored and given a place of honor in heaven one day.

But as for THIS day... things CAN be done to open the windows of heaven. And it's more than JUST serving a hamburger.

Another gentleman named John who is on the streets, hobbled up to our barbecue tonight. John is in bad place in life. While John was waiting for his burger on the Freedom Gate Apartment steps, a young drunk pedestrian walked up and had a very typical reaction to our offer of free street meat. He said...

"What? Why?"

We told him is was a part of our "Kindness Project" to make Brantford a better place by changing it BY good INTO good. So in his shock, he tried to give us 20$. Random Acts of Kindness only work when you don't accept money, so we suggested he find someone else to give that money to whom could use encouragement. He fought it at first (as is the norm because people are VERY unaccustomed to something for nothing... which is kinda the point) but he soon looked around and saw a need. He gave his money to John.

And in that moment... IT worked. God used the church to function in counter-cultural, life bringing spiritual principles... it's power changed someone else BY good INTO good... and THEY met the needs of someone else.

God SO loved the world that He gave His only son named Jesus to die on the cross for ALL our sins... so we could all live free. That is something that we must receive freely that someone else paid for. It changes us and fuels us to share the life that's found there with others. That's why this Kindness thing has such power behind it. A city can be changed this way.

IT works.

27 August 2010

26 August 2010

The Exhibition


Do you remember when things were really hummin?
Chubby Checker


Krissy and I went away to The Old Mill Inn in Toronto for a 12th anniversary night away last night as a part of my vacation/staycation week.

The plan was to crash in the deluxe room with a bag of Jalapeno Doritos and Peanut M&M's for the night, but we needed a day-in-the city destination. So we did the CNE for the first time since we were kids. It's pretty much as I remembered... just a Fall Fair for a big city. But it's also kinda cool... because it's a Fall Fair for a big city.

As we walked around what is now BMO Field where TFC plays soccer, I had a flashback. An "Inception" type seed that I intentionally planted in my memory came to life. It was about watching the Toronto Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium... right in that place... while the summer dwindled away and the Exhibition roared as George Bell hit Home Runs.

Even at a young age, when I would be in a place I felt was significant and I wanted to last... I'd shut my eyes, clear my mind and then reopen them. I'd take a mental, permanent, picture of a time and place and make note of the sights, sounds, smells, and feeling that came with it. The Jays in the late summer at Exhibition Stadium while the Ex made the Lakeshore buzz was one of those times and places. And as I stood outside of what used to be the first base side gates... my picture came rushing back to life. I remember meeting Tony Fernandez and his family after an afternoon game at Ex once.

Good times. Childhood memories are very powerful things.

19 August 2010

Vin Scully trying to figure out what a "Mullet" is:

Vin Scully's voice is one of my favorite things about baseball. But these crazy new fangled hairdos (like a so-called "mullet") are a bit much for Vin to piece together.



This reminds me of the day in the 80's when I watched my Grandparents peeking out a window at a group of teenagers with their hats on backward... trying to rationalize it.

"Iva... it must be to keep the sun off their necks. There's no other logical reason."
Bob West

18 August 2010

Ascension


Ascension
A poem by Dave Carrol


Long after the clock had struck, a regular collection of scatterlings congregate in the dark room, dropping their travel satchels by their side.
It’s been a long day of ascension and the snack in the pack seems tastier than the dinner date.
Some, wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes with the assumption of invisibility, clump and whisper of the unspeakable.
Others cackle obliviously at gains of the day.


Things ancient are spoken of.
It’s an Ephod wearing a brand new shirt; fancy but you can see the stones on the breastplate shining through if you’re looking for them.

The shofar is sounded.
It’s a dry, jarring pronouncement; quite disparate from the daily grinding pedestrian soundtrack.
Each guest sweats from the humid expectations of man and God.
Some bodes sway like palms in a storm while others remain awkwardly still, exposed ... uncomfortably unmoved by the the rhythms.
Eyes of judgment scan the rows, assigning each a name.

Good
Bad
Right
Wrong
Full
Empty
Peter
Judas

The nice folks say what nice-sayers say.
They sure are nice.
I wonder what it’s like to be nice?

The strong and knowledgeable plunge themselves into the icy, shocking, rejuvenating, waters and howl from the freedom sting.
Their hearty souls begin to be "caught up" into the current of an invisible river.

The view from the shore is far from orderly and the charge of “Charade” is muttered and tisked by envious lips.
It's familiar to the swimmers, and they graciously keep swimming as men such as these do.
Men such as these do not allow themselves to be "caught up" for the approval of gawkers.
These are such men who know what it IS to be "caught up"

Just today one such man walked hours in the midday sun to ascend the hill with his sacrifice in tow.
He now splashes about
"caught up" as his tunic lays discarded and forgotten on a rock.
There was a day where, part way along the journey, this man secomed to the heat and dove into muddy waters... just to cool his flesh.
Nothing else.
The mire was pleasant to the skin. Cool and soothing.
He was "caught up"... and towed under by the snare of mediocrity that lay barely beneath.
If you ask him, he'll happily tell you of the day his liberator rescued him so he could ascend.
Oh and how he ascended that day!
This man knows what it IS to be "caught up."
Today he dips himself in the magic waters that flow from and to life.

He is of great report.
Admired in the land.
He DOES while the docile dose.

His Regal Abandon marks him with a destiny dot.

Veils still scrim the mystical duplicity of ascension; how one can go up... and yet not.
As swallows migrate,
As bears hibernate,
so does the allure of rarefied air draw man upward.
But ascension alone cannot make man breathe it...
... and ASCEND.

"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Jesus

"Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol."

King David who danced naked before the Lord




12 August 2010

Every person has stories to tell... are we listening?


On my way into work today I listened to Lyle Lovett's song called "Family Reserve"



It's a song about a family I don't know. In fact they may not even exist. But in 4 minutes I found warm commonalities with a group of people who felt tangibly familiar.

It's the story of a family, filled with quirky characters, congregated together because of the death of an uncle. They tell their refraining familiar tales to each other and each react to change in their own way. The singer then pulls everyone together and reminds them that they are all still present and accounted for... and they should drink a wee bit and toast the life they have.

It's a pretty, well-told story.
And it moves people... because but that's what stories do.
It's likely why people are compelled to tell them.

When I hear this song, I remember my Grandmother telling us over and over about the time she hacked a snake into pieces with an axe, or the time she caught her nightgown on fire while going to the outhouse in the winter... as she wistfully remembered her parents farm in Northern Ontario and THEM telling their stories of Grandma Emily Baragar who shot a semi-albino deer whose hide was kept at the ROM. Legend has it that she even smoked cigars.

The familiarity of that story and setting washes over me and makes me feel... attached. Not because of what the bits and pieces are, but because of what the sum of its parts says and proves about life and my place in it. A well-told story makes peoples insides move.

I think the fact that we all have stories that we feel compelled to tell says something. Even if you're quite sure your friends have heard about the time you rode that bull, when the flow of conversation is right, you'll tell that story... again. It evokes an emotion and that emotion leads somewhere.

It's why well-told stories are so powerful. I qualify it with "well told" so you don't have someone go all Steve Martin on you...

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

It IS a good idea to have a point. And our stories should be well told. But... let the story make it's own point. Not everything has to be a Tony Robbins object lesson.

If someone is telling a story, there likely IS a point to them. Sometimes they know what it is and are holding back because of the gravity of emotion behind it. Sometimes they can't identify it, but they know it means SOMETHING. Sometimes they know it full well but the story itself and the emotion it evokes is far more powerful than breaking it's meaning into a 3 point presentation.

We have a gentleman who frequents Freedom House who lives in a shack out by the highway. He is a peculiar fellow in the fact that he is book-smarter than 99% of the people who live in brick houses. Some of FH people know this... and some don't. He's EXTREMELY well read and knows the Christian faith inside and out from many different perspectives... including that of a homeless, gambling addicted, slightly schizophrenic struggling saint. Not a perspective that gets told... or at least HEARD very often.

Some people are intimidated by this fella because he DOES like to tell stories with the volume turned up loud, and he can say some off the wall things. When I first met him, I'll admit that I shortsightedly discounted many of his stories as manic ravings. But when you allow him to fully tell his story and make his points... there are some deep deep truths about life and God that he's trying to communicate (and actually often doing so quite eloquently).

But sometimes we don't hear stories and experience their truths because we're hoping for something quicker and easier and packaged. Every person has important and poignant stories.

Are we listening?

9 August 2010

Why do we "climb it because it's there?" Does there have to be an issue to climb for?


"I climbed it because it was there"


It's the answer English mountaineer George Mallory famously gave in the 1920's about why he WANTED to climb Mount Everest. On his third try, they last saw him a few miles from the summit before disappearing... for almost 80 years. They found his frozen body in 1999 and the debate still rages about whether he made it or not.

The first man to OFFICIALLY reach the summit was Sir Edmund Hillary (along with a Sherpa) in 1953. I think the one-upmanship of what Hillary said about Mallory's attempt is kinda morbidly hilarious:

"If you climb a mountain for the first time and die on the descent, is it really a complete first ascent of the mountain? I am rather inclined to think personally that maybe it is quite important, the getting down, and the complete climb of a mountain is reaching the summit and getting safely to the bottom again."


Burn

What compels people to go do things that hasn't been done before? This competitive, ground-taking attitude seems to be burned into the functional DNA of many (but certainly not all) people.

Today I watched an amazing TED talk by Ben Saunders who did a solo ski expedition across the Arctic. He's a funny an self effacing guy who is clearly just COMPELLED to do things because they haven't been done. No real "issue". Just climbing (or skiing) it because it's there to be climbed (or skied).

Today in the Toronto Star, there is a story about Ed Stafford. He just spent 859 days WALKING across the Amazon. He DOES want to raise awareness of the importance of the rain forest... but it's kind of just an extra. It's not what drives him.

"If this wasn't a selfish, boy's-own adventure, I don't think it would have worked. I am simply doing it because no one has done it before."


Again and again, throughout human history, there are people who MUST conquer... something. The thing depends on person, place, time and space. But that urge can be so undeniable and strong that it takes actual work and intention to quash it. And most do. Because being an apostle... is tough.

At Freedom House, we spend a great deal of time studying the Spiritual Gifts. They are so important to man understanding who we were individually created to be. It helps us thrive personally on a daily basis and gives us a legitimate fighting chance of having fulfilling accomplishments over the course of your life. It also helps us understand each other... because not everyone has this compulsion. And that's good!

There is a whole of Apostolic undertones in the "I climbed it because it was there" compulsion. An Apostle is "one sent with a mission". They typically are compelled to go and do something that has never been done before. They are aware that it can be a lonely and costly expedition that might even result failure or personal death... but they know they MUST go this mission. Part of them KNOWS it's so others can go down that after them freely... but it's not necessarily THAT, that drives them.

I would submit that the self-aware and learned "Apostles" better understand the spiritual implications of their actions... and it's a partial motivating factor. But the number of "Apostles" that just conquer because something inside them tells them that they MUST... tells me that quite often the motivation to do what we're CALLED to do is already burning inside us waiting for us to just respond to the heat. It REQUIRES setting out by faith into the unknown and letting God decide the results of obedience.

George Mallory had no idea how history would see his mountain climb. Few Apostles do. They just know that there is a mountain to climb and they MUST do it.

8 August 2010

The "Unmerited Favor" of Grace... is Amazing


Martin Luther said:


If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace it true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness but as Peter says, we look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells... Pray boldly-- you too are a mighty sinner.

Sin Boldly
Believe Boldly
Rejoice Boldly
Pray Boldly

Part ofCathleen Falsani's discussion with Jean Larroux, Pastor of a church called Lagniappe Presbyterian Church in Mississippi in her book "Sin Boldly":

"I think one of the greatest temptations for ministers is to talk about our sin in neatly packaged sermon illustrations so I can clean it up and sterilize it to the place where it's actually a subtle illustration of my victorious application of Jesus rather than a true illustration of the fact that I'm an asshole." This made me laugh out loud, settle in, and urge him to continue. "I mean, I come into work and I've got all this stuff going on and I snap at somebody and I'm just a real, live asshole. And grace in that moment, you can't neatly package. It's somebody throwing their arms around you and saying, 'I love you, but you are an asshole'"

Yes, but you're my asshole, I envision God saying.

"Grace doesn't deny my assholeness," Jean said, "Grace can't be amazing until your sin is amazing. You've got to get in that place where you can be startled by it, because if you do everything right, you don't deserve it."

For the uninitiated, it's crucial to understand how important food is to the culture in The Bay, New Orleans. The savoring of food is a celebration of life itself. That's one of the reasons Jean decided to call his church "Lagniappe". It's an old Creole word that means "something extra". It's an unexpected gift. A little bit of shrimp and they put in an extra handful, that's the lagniappe," Jean said. "It's something you can't pay for. Something for nothing. Something for free."

In other words, a lagniappe is getting what you don't deserve? "Absolutely," Jean said. "In that sense, this area was really primed for grace. It understood the gospel it didn't know. Too often the church is the gruel sippers who have their faces pressed against the window of the world, watching the world celebrate life and they don't get it. When in reality, the father welcomed the prodigal son home in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15, and the world pressed its face against the window to see the celebration of grace"

Amazing.

5 August 2010

One Friday Night 3 years ago


July 27th 2007

It was one of those thick summer nights that was so close that you could feel your own exhales on your face. An average Friday night for Freedom House, meant setting up a barbecue on Market Street in Brantford and giving away hundreds of free hamburgers and hotdogs.

We did it because we knew that the community that existed around our church building needed transformation. It was a community of people with real needs, some of whom only really came out to play at night. Some just needed a meal. Most needed much more. So from 9pm until after the pub's last call bell rang, we stood on the streets asking God to draw people into divine encounters using street meat. It worked.

On this particular Friday night, the summer heat turned into thunderstorms and we moved the main event inside our church (which was a former bar so the setting was ideal). As the inside bustled about, I sat on a bar stool getting wet in the alley minding the grill and hollering "Free Burgers!" at passersby waiting to see who God wanted to draw into His "Holy Ghost Tractor Beam".

Soon after, a pair young men walked past very intently in the dark. I yelled "Hey, want a burger" to them from across the street. The larger one shouted back, "WHAT?" in an angry unsettling way. He led the way, storming across the road, as the smaller one followed close. I had become quite accustomed to encounters of many kinds on the streets and I don't spook easily. Before heading out on the streets, we always prayed, declared and believed in God's "zone" of protection. We believed Freedom House was "taken ground" and functioned as such. But this one felt different and I was by myself.

Junior (the ironic name of the big guy) looked at me with a deep rage in his eyes and asked, "Do you want me to stab you?". The knife he flashed told me that this was a real threat. It was confirmed by Ryan (the smaller guy) who warned me, "He'll do it. He just bit the nipple off a stripper!" This wasn't just a clever retort. Our church was located just up the street from a strip club and Junior had indeed done just that.

Part of me froze, the other part of me however confidently knew that the spiritual world was more real than the physical one, and that these two had a date with God that did not include me getting stabbed over a hamburger. I said pretty much the only thing I could say. "Not really no. Want a burger?" I watched as the seemingly ridiculous question (given the seriousness of the scenario) was processed through Junior's chemically altered mind until it reached a still cognitive pocket. "Uhhhh... yeah actually", he said thankfully putting away the knife.

I took them inside and introduced them to our team and got them both a juicy burger. Almost instantly after the crisis had be averted, God opened up the floodgates on Ryan. I caught Brian Beattie's eye and got him to run interference (as is our street strategy) on Junior. I quickly instigated a discussion with Ryan because it was clear something was going to happen and the two gentlemen needed some distance to avoid distraction.

My friend Eric and I listened to Ryan's life story that began pouring out of him almost without even asking. The most important detail was that he was running from a God he had heard about but didn't think was actually real, alive and interactive. We could hear Junior inside getting ready to burst in on us at any time, so we asked if we could pray that God do... SOMETHING... right there and then. He agreed to the "experiment" in a "I guess it couldn't hurt" way. We took a risk and asked God if He could sober Ryan up right on the spot so he could physically FEEL Him.

We prayed what Pete Greig's masterfuly describes in "The Vision" as a

"feeble, whispered, faithless prayer (that) invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great ‘Amen!’ from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ himself."

Ryan physically jumped backwards saying that he felt something like a shock. He found himself sober and stunned. We knew our time was very short as Junior couldn't be distracted for much longer. So we prayed one more time that Ryan would wake up in the morning KNOWING that God was real in a very personal way. Immediately after that, Junior tore out of Freedom House like the Tasmanian Devil, grabbed Ryan by the arm and blustered away down the street into the night.

I tracked Ryan down on Facebook when I got home and emailed him the question, "So when you woke up, how did you know God was real?" By mid morning he responded,

"I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to talk to me last night. It got pretty bad after we left and I have a weird feeling today. I'll be where ya'll were last night on Sunday at 10:30 if thats where ya go. I'm not a huge believer but atfer the things that happened after myself and that guy left... and waking up safe today with this strange feeling over me, makes me want to find something to put faith it. It just feels like the right time."


As it turns out, Junior stabbed and almost killed a man shortly after our encounter. It was a person that Ryan was planning on going after as well. Ryan did come to church Sunday morning and gave his life to Jesus. That night, and every summer Friday night since, God keeps using a sacrificial group of servant intercessor evangelists to intervene and change a community (and it's people) BY good INTO good.

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