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 2010

So last night I got to chat with 8 people who might be the mayor about the Church

I almost ran for city council this year. At one point I was at least 60/40. As with everything I do, I pray about it AND I make sure that it's the right strategic move to accomplish the bigger picture goal.

In this case, it wasn't. As a macro-thinker, I walked it through and came to the conclusion that the goal for this election... was to bring the church (The BIG C one city church) to the table in city's decision making process. And last night, we hosted Brantford's first ever online and interactive mayoral discussion where one of the questions we asked the candidates was, "What role does the church have in Brantford's future" and (based on a chat room question) wound up dialoging about how the church can establish it's credibility and be best utilized in our city.

It was an amazing night. You can read a story in the Brantford Expositor called "Election gets a little religion" here and one in the Brant News by Sean Allen called "Freedom House hosts debate" here.

Why is this even an important issue? It's partially because The Church is just coming out of a very dark season of the public's perception of irrelevance due to a lamentably real community ineffectiveness and inactivity. And it's mostly the church's own doing. But because of it, the practical and spiritual role The Church is supposed to play in making a community great, has been taken away by other people & groups or neglected and disregarded altogether. And in some cases... forgotten about. The knee-jerk reaction some have when the church becomes involved in the public forum ranges from apprehension to direct aversion.

But that was then and this is now. I can only speak to Brantford firsthand, but churches are beginning to finally GET that together we can make a difference. A massive difference actually.

The reality is that there are now MANY churches in a city (1 church really as we're all motivated by the same God) who represent organized groups who are being fueled by the idea of changing the city BY good INTO good. These mobilized groups are ready to get calls saying, "We need a team to take on project xyz in the city" and they are anxious to do it. That's not something that you can find everywhere. It's a strong benefit of organized institutions of people committed to serving together.
It's one of the reasons why the trendy, hippie, solo-indie Christian life is hollow shell of a functional faith. It's doable, but so is living on a desert island by yourself. In the end, you don't accomplish much and you end of having a volleyball for a friend.

Why are the
Shriners, Moose Lodgers, or Jaycees so effective? Because they are of like mind, in unity and TOGETHER are motivated by a cause and ready to act sacrificially as a team. Small groups can do big things. Imagine what BIG groups can do?

Just last night, many issues were brought up by the leaders. Like committees being undermanned because of a lack of volunteers. Like civic events being understaffed. Like the marginalized being under-cared for. Like there being a need for emergency response action. The Church CAN fill many of these needs... so it SHOULD. Why?
Because there are A LOT of us and Jesus wants us to show people love in practical ways.

The number of people who are affiliated with a Church or faith is a large large number. Maybe more by percentage than any other specific group in the city. As a church leader, we've been working at reminding and waking up the church to be active and meet needs in our community. And serving, giving, kindness... it's a part of the God-package. As a leader in general, if 25% of the population came and said, "we're organized into groups who are ready to serve the vision of the city and make it a better place," I'll tell you something, I'm taking that deal.

Jesus taught us to be generous, motivated people who care about their neighbor enough to invest in each other.
Churches/people of faith HAVE TO get involved and serve. If they don't, they aren't being true to their full purpose and foundation. It's one of the factors that led to their perceived irrelevancy in the first place!

In this dialogue, it's not about religion being pushed on others. It's about the church being a part of the community. And a significant part of the community. Without the empowerment of the whole community, the state is the boss. Government facilitates the prosperity of the people in the community by empowering and creating opportunities for individuals to flourish.

Check out the recordings of last night... I hope you find it as interesting as I did!

Watch live streaming video from freedomhousetv at livestream.com

Part 2

Watch live streaming video from freedomhousetv at livestream.com

25 September 2010

Canada, it's our time to lead.

It's just an ad for a new Globe and Mail website... but this hippie on an old-school novelty bike makes a darn good point.

"What defines us? Some might offer up a list of other past accomplishments. What if 34 million of us step up pledging new ones of our own. Thing not yet done or dreamed. Ventured not ...because they're within our grasp but exactly because they're not. Be a nation not afraid of success or skeptical of those who seek it. Look back at everything we've been given and turn when we're ready to begin."

I think we should do this.

24 September 2010

Social Media: Communicating a good message with a good story (From Tweetstock 2)

There are so many groups and individuals who are working hard these days to make Brantford a great place to live. Last night I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2nd "Tweetstock" put on by a couple of old friends (who are now new friends) Lucas Duguid who runs an agency called Octopus Red and Trevor Cherewka who runs Tik Tok Media.

Social Media was the focus of the night and it allowed us to connect with other folks have a passion for communication in the city AND talk together about how it can most effectively be used in our culture.

When I mentioned that I was speaking about this, a friend asked me on Facebook if I was going to talk about how the
medium is the message. He was referring to Marshall McLuhan's famous theory from his 1964 book "Understanding Media: The Extension of man".

Actually... I believe quite the opposite

Principally, I think "The Medium is the Message" is an acceptance of the weak mind of man and his inability to discern between the pedestrian medium and authority of “Message”. Communication DOES often play out this way so I get where he was going, but it's cynical, hopeless and gives undue weight to variables. The ultimate purpose of the communication is loftier.

Effective communication of truth does not make the truth any truer... it makes it easier to understand. "The medium is the message" is a carnival game barked by the medium-makers hoping rubes would buy it. But any prizes won at that ring toss were poorly made and had come apart at the seems by the time the carnival came to town again. Truth remains undisturbed by trends, waves and disposable mediums.

The reason I'm "involved" in social media is because there are REAL PEOPLE behind the computer screen. And it's my job as a Christian to communicate a message to them. And as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, we're supposed to GO and do just about anything to communicate this message to people of every kind!

"Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!"

The medium is unimportant... the Message is. When Phil Vischer (Creator of Veggie Tales) made his massive Jonah movie and it bankrupted Big Idea Productions... he learned a lot. And now with his Jellytelly.com website/ministry and a fresh philosophy/vision for communicating an old old story... great things are happening.

As Christians, we need to be platform agnostic: "No, I am not in the tv business or the internet business. I am in the content business." We need to get our content out in as many ways as possible. There are so many ways to transmit storytelling and teaching into a household, you can't say there is one way. They are all how we can reach people. It's an interesting and quite tumultuous time in media.
Phil Vischer

It's such and important thing (both in social media communication and life) to remember that you're telling a story with your life. In Don Miller's life-changing book "A million miles in a thousand years” he comes to the realization that, "A character is what a character does." And if you're not actually living a good story... you're boring.

"I've noticed something. I've never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless. I only thought the movie I walked out of was meaningless. I wonder then, if people say life is meaningless, what they really mean is THEIR lives are meaningless. I wonder if they've chosen to believe their whole existence is unremarkable, and are projecting their dreary life on the rest of us"
Don Miller

To communicate a good message with social media, you have to be living a good story. If you're boring... you won't engage almost anyone. It's not about the medium... it's about the message. And you're communicating SOME message to the world. What is message is your life telling?

21 September 2010

COLLISION: Christopher Hitchens vs Pastor Douglas Wilson

Last night at our Young Adult/Campus Ministry night, we watched and discussed a wonderful documentary called "Collision". The film followed noted "Anti-theist" Christopher Hitchens and Pastor Douglas Wilson around pubs in the American Northeast as they engaged each other in some of the most contested, witty, bright and respectful... but divisive dialogue I've ever watched in a film like this. The topic was, "Is Christianity good for the world?" Both men came across looking good, which as a Christian used to cringing, is a terrific thing. But as Hitchens said, in a discussion like this... one person HAS to be right and one HAS to be wrong.

One thing that struck me as fascinating was Hitchens aggressive crusade to expose religion and Christianity as "a wicked cult that it’s high time we left". He turned his sights on America after 9/11 and said, "Enough is enough. This has to stop. God is not Great (the name of his book) and I must spread this 'truth'". That's the "direct opposition to organized religion or to the belief in any deity" that comes with Antitheism. It's evangelistic. And frankly... I don't understand the mindset of those who DON'T share what they believe is truth with others. On the way to a speaking engagement, both Wilson and Hitchens (who personally seem to very much like and respect each other) agreed that the God issue is NOT a trivial issue. It's a supremely important thing to know what you believe because EVERYTHING else revolves around it.

While no "winner" was declared, as a Christian... I found that Wilson made some excellent points. Most of them coming back to the concept that without a source of truth, ethics are simply borrowed from God. At one point, Wilson said to Hitch, "You have no car of your own to drive". Wilson pointed out that in with an evolutionary worldview, "Everything is up for grabs".

Hitchens claims that "The Bible was mankind's first, and worst, attempt at making sense of things" and that "Right and Wrong is innate in all mortals". Along that vein Hitch also argued that things like coveting what your neighbor has is OK... along with one of the main reasons why Christianity isn't good for the world being, because we're relying on someone else to be OK. He used the example that he gives blood because it makes him "feel" good because it's "right" (based on who knows what). He says if you say, "it's for God" it's just cheaper.

Kinda all reeks of selfishness to me.

The most intriguing scene was the final one where Hitch and Wilson were riding in a car talking and Hitch says that he's been asked if he had successfully converted (or DEconverted) every man in the world but one, would he finish it and get that one too? He answered no. It was an answer that Richard Dawkins didn't understand when Hitchens told him. He said that it wasn't just because he wouldn't have anyone to argue with anymore either. Dawkins pressed him and asked why. Hitchens said, "I don't know why. But I wouldn't". He says that Dawkin's look of confusion still sticks with him.

Fascinating, honest answer. I'm going to pose a possibility of why that I'm sure he would refute with veracity if I made it to him. But maybe it's the same sentiment that lifelong atheist and comedy legend W. C. Fields gave when he was caught reading a Bible on his deathbed:

"I'm looking for a loophole"

I do believe what Blaise Pascal said that:

"There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”

Maybe the idea that it might be a good idea to leave one Christian around... is a deep down "just in case I'm wrong and really do need a savior one day" safety net. Maybe it's the same thing that made me occasionally run home in a drunken, panicked stupor in high school to make sure my Mom was still there and I hadn't missed the rapture. I knew if anyone was going... it was her. It didn't make me change, but it did put my mind at ease for the night, knowing there was still time.

There is a clip on YouTube of Hitchens on a radio show (linked here). I don't vouch for the show or the host or even the line of questioning... but there is an interesting exchange at the end of the clip that answers one of Wilson's repeated queries to Hitch, about WHY exactly he feels the need to denounce Christianity?

Host: Sir is it possible that the reason you rage so much against God is that you just want to live your own autonomous way, living however you want to, and any lifestyle you prefer without having to be accountable to your creator?

Hitchens: I think that's highly probable yes.

I'll say this. I think Christopher Hitchens argument is full of holes and the conclusion he's arrived at, is the wrong one. It's a road to nowhere. But few men can so excellently communicate a position as well as him. I think I'd very much enjoy his company and he's a very intelligent man.

AND I respect him because he speaks what he believes. SOMETHING is true. As CS Lewis put it... Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. It's one of the 3. Everyone is NOT right. And whatever RIGHT is, the rest of the world is based on this. It's cruel, disrespectful and foolish not talk about this and discover real foundational truth.

Hitchens believes that things are not "resolved". Wilson questioned him, "Why don't you write like things are unresolved?" Because everyone is grasping for truth.

Thankfully... it exists.
And it sets men free.

16 September 2010

Question 2: If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would your tell?

Day 2 of my 25 Day Blog Series called, "25 Thought Provoking Life Questions"

Dave: I would tell myself that one day I actually would be "older". That I actually will have meaningful sex one day... and that waiting would have been OK. That I actually will feel OK in my skin one day. That I should be nicer to people. I'd also tell myself that God's greatness is more important than the hypocrisy of fallible men (and that I was, and will be, one of those fallible men).

What about you?
If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would your tell?

New Blog Series: For the next 25 days... it's 25 Thought Provoking Life Questions. Day 1: How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

I'm going to do something I've never done before... a Blog Series. About a month ago a friend of mine emailed me a link with 25 very thought-provoking life questions on it. For the next 25 days, I'm going to be posing these questions.

My deal is this. I'm going to answer them more openly and exposed than I normally do, and I'd like you to too. Whether it's on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter (@davecarrol) ... just think and answer. It doesn't have to be long. Just honest.

"The unexamined life is not worth living"

Dave: I would be 40 anxious to be 50. I've always wanted to be older than I am. I've never been satisfied with my own age because I've seen that the older you get (to a point at least) the more influence, respect and voice you get if you've earned it by your life. I have no interest in being young again. Youth felt like a waste of my time when I WAS young! I'm turning 34 in a few weeks and my birthday always catches me by surprise that I'm not older yet.

“It is currently said that hope goes with youth, and lends to youth the wings of a butterfly; but I fancy that hope is the last gift given to man, and the only gift not given to youth. Youth is pre-eminently the period in which a man can be lyric, fanatical, poetic; but youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged: God has kept that good wine until now.”

—G. K. Chesterton

Your turn.
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

Blog it, Facebook it, Tweet it

14 September 2010

A Man

My eye twitches a lot lately.
Gravity is pulling my belly roll over my belt as the fat has given up the fight.
18 year old barberettes cluck over my gray hair ubiquitously amongst the hens as if I’m breaktime fodder not seen in the room.
Time has a price.

In my youth I despised my own inescapable oppressive ignorance;
fully aware that time was the only remedy.
I knew time had a price and I was willing to pay it,
Because the depth of the treasure I couldn’t touch outshone my plastic replicas.

I revel in age.
Keys appear like gold beacons when the smoke clears from the annual extinguished chocolate cake.
Keys to treasure boxes that house the ornaments and implements of Kings.
But time and treasure have a price.
A price worth paying for your turn in time to hold up the sword.

Men plot the death of dragons.
They draw maps, drink drinks, and write revelations long after the boys have fallen asleep.
Men slay dragons for the safety of women and children then lay the carcass at the foot of their lover after hard-fought battles in far away lands.
Then, exhausted from the battle, men become boys again as they look into the eyes of their lover for her affirmation and affection.

But time has a price.
Men loose limbs and sleep;
and they’d do it again,
And again,

...and again.

There were days when headaches were metaphors.
There were days when we’d fancifully dance in the moonlight without a care of tomorrow.
There were days where it was someone else’s problem.
I didn’t like those days then... and having wielded a sword on this side of age;
I have no interest in entertaining those days again.

Time has a price but it pays for the victory of a man.

Does God have a place in the University?

That's the question we discussed last night at the launch of our new campus and young adult ministry. Brantford now has a growing and thriving campus of Wilfred Laurier University in it's downtown and Freedom House is right in the middle of it all. Just where we like to be!

The history of Laurier is a fascinating (but not necessarily unique) one when it comes to God's place in it. From Wikipedia:

In 1911 Waterloo Lutheran Seminary of Canada opened its doors to students as a non-denominational university. Waterloo was selected as the location of the seminary for two main reasons, the first being that land was offered by the citizens of Waterloo on the edge of town, and the second being that most of the Lutherans in Canada at the time resided in the Waterloo and Berlin (now known as Kitchener) area. It became Waterloo Lutheran University in
1959 and Wilfrid Laurier University in 1973.

Basically... God birthed a vision in a group of Lutherans to share his word. Their vision grew so that it would facilitate a wider scope of people's destinies. In fact it grew so much that they couldn't fund it anymore. Then 10 years ago, the vision grew again... into Brantford.

Interesting process:
  • 1) God gives people vision
  • 2) They do SOMETHING with it
  • 3) Other people get released into THEIR destiny
Or as we say at Freedom House... "Get free, live free, free others"

It's not an uncommon story when it comes to post-secondary education institutions. In the United States, 24/7 Prayer has an initiative called "Campus America" to see a 24/7 Prayer Room established in every school coast to coast.

So many provoking and inspiring things going on in there.... including the story about Harvard University's motto being about how it was created so that ministers of the Gospel would not be illiterate.

Does God have a place in the University?

Yes. Because a university is a THING that man created, as inspired by the creator God, FOR the glory of God... so that a broad scope of diverse people could be equipped to then ALSO bring glory to God.

The knowledge taught at Universities was designed to be addition onto a passionate, mature, spiritual foundation to equip for the work of the ministry. It was NOT supposed to be THE THING that lives are based on and then have a system of belief mish mashed together out of it.

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
Isa 28:16

13 September 2010

The North Wind and the Sun

Over the last couple of weeks, my wife and I have plowed through 4 seasons to catch up to date with AMC's hit show "Mad Men" about Don Draper the Madison Avenue ad man. It's a wonderfully designed and written show, but what I love the most about it, is that it's about a group of minds spinning what makes people tick to get them to do something. In their case, it's buying Lucky Strike cigarettes and Mountain Dew.

Part of me likes it because for the last 6 years, that's been my day job while helping lead a church at night. I write ads by digging to find the elusive intersection of sales rep appeasement, client understanding, demographic analysis, and creativity. I find out why people are up a tree feeling panicked. I tickle them with emotion and entice them down into the arms of their answer.

Some find this a very dirty manipulative process. But to me... it's an exercise in communication and influence and it has honed some of the giftings God's put in me at the same time. A good product actually does solve problems. It's the marketer's job to get the targeted people headed in the direction they need to go through astute observation and strategic application. It's an incredibly important process that successful people, places and things do with the goal of the masses having no idea they've been led there. And given a meaningful destination... it's powerful.

In yesterday's Mad Men episode, Don is having dinner with a new character who has been brought into the agency to run focus-groups to help pull out and identify emotional responses to products. Having watched her in previous weeks create scenarios that led to real, deeply buried emotions being unearthed, Don asked her for her secret. She quoted one of Aesop's Fables called "The North Wind and the Sun"

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin." So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

Kindness effects more than severity.

Don replied, "He did that in ten lines or less". It doesn't take long to say something truthful. But to have it heard, understood, and have it motivate others to act on it... takes thought.

A friend of emailed me a quote from Scott Adams, te creator of Dilbert, that he thought I'd like (and I do) because of our work on the kindness project. He said,

"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."

And I think it's darn close to be right. I take issue with the words "no logical end". Because I think that others practical actions, based on an emotional response, and subsequent effectual ripples... IS the logical result of kindness. It's very predictably replicated and should be expected, measured, and strategically analyzed so that the next kindness rock is thrown in the right direction.

In advertising, clients desperately want to tell everyone about what a good business they are. Writers cringe when they are forced into telling people panicking up trees how many years a store has been in business or that they have great customer service or that they are "Nestled in the heart" of some trendy locale.

Someone is up a tree! GET HIM DOWN with what HE needs, not what makes you feel good! Aesop got this. Persuasion is better than force. And persuasion takes investment.

When it comes to sharing Jesus, you have to meet people's felt needs before you can really meet their real needs. And understanding what people really FEEL like they need (whether they do in reality or not) takes thought, strategy, observation, discussion and prayer. SOME might respond to heavy-handed confrontation... but the masses won't even give you the opportunity to be heard. Even if you feel like you have THE ANSWER that is too good not burst through the front door shouting about at the top of your lungs... even if it's THE TRUTH... kindness effects more than severity.

What do you really want to happen? Think about it. If your goal is to hear yourself shout... by all means... shout away. If you goal is transformation, stop, look, listen, think, pray and create.

10 September 2010

Tell me a story. Why are you a fan of the teams you're a fan of?

The NFL kicked off last night and I spent the evening basking in it's footbally glow of goodness. I love sports. Al Michaels said last night that it's the best Reality TV there ever has been. I can't help but agree.

I find it interesting to hear the stories of WHY people like the teams they do... because most fans know the moment and the reason why they went from being an observer to a FAN. Some are deep. Some are irrational. All are interesting!

Here are mine... what are yours?

Baseball: Toronto Blue Jays - My parents have told me stories that I loved baseball even as a newborn. There were times that the only thing that stopped me from crying as an infant was watching the Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds in the 1976 World Series. But I made baseball MINE in 1985... the year the Blue Jays won the pennant for the first time. I was 9 years old in Grade 3 and I remember George Bell (who became my favorite player) dropping to his knees in left field to clinch the victory as Tony Fernandez gave him a high five. I've watched 80% of the Blue Jays game from then until now.

NFL Football: Washington Redskins - I was in the 6th Grade in 1988. My friends started betting with each other on football. Small stuff mostly. Up until then, I had only watched the CFL as my Dad was a "it's a far better game" guy. But that season, Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to win a Superbowl. Already being fascinated by the Jackie Robinson story, I became captured by this team. When the Broncos (and the hated John Elway) were matched up against Doug Williams the "freedom fighter" ... I decided to bet one of my friends the most anyone had ever bet that year. 20 Bucks. When the Skins won big... he paid me in unrolled pennies and laughed good and hard.

Joke was on him. There was 22 dollars in pennies. And I'm still a Redskins fan today.

Hockey & CFL Football: Toronto Maple Leafs and Saskatchewan Roughriders: I group them together because it was for the same reason. A single player. For the Leafs, it was Wendel Clark. Nobody could command the ice, fire wrist shots, fight and rock a mustache like Wendel. He made me a Leaf fan. I'm still feeling this pain today.

As for the Green Riders... it was QB Kent Austin. The man was an end-of-game surgeon. Around the time that Joe Montana was doing it in the south, Kent Austin was doing it on the prairies. You could just see when the "I'm going to win this now" mechanism clicked in. I used to love wearing my Saskatchewan gear to Ivor Wynne Stadium when they'd play the Ticats just to provoke and anger drunken steel workers. It was great. We'd smoke cheap Century Sam cigars and go nuts for Austin. Once I was chased out of the park by one after YET ANOTHER Kent Austin last minute drive for the win. Good times.

Basketball: Toronto Raptors: This one is pretty much by default. I wanted to be a Bulls fan because of Jordan years ago... but I don't think I was cool enough. I went to inaugural season games when they played at the SkyDome and watched big Oliver Miller trudge around from the 500 level. I got caught up in the Vincanity at first (of course he is now the most deservedly reviled athlete in Toronto) and it stuck.

So tell me a story.
Why are you a fan of the teams you're a fan of?

6 September 2010

Lordy Lordy... come soon Lordy

For many years, people prayed this out of defeat because the big bad world was out to get them. But it's actually a very Biblical, progressive thing to do and pray... if it's done with the right spirit. And I think it comes down to the idea of "Home.

Home is a pretty intangible thing. I asked the question on Facebook and Twitter recently, "What does 'Home' mean to you?" and I got answers from the very ethereal to the awesome, "the sounds of my Mom piddling around the house". The reality is that "home" means different things to different people, but it's rarely actually as peaceful and Utopian as we remember it being (or wish it was).

The Jewish people have a saying and prayer that binds them together. "Next year in Jerusalem". It's an interesting read to hear the reasons why scholars say the post-Yom Kippur prayer exists... but it's basically because Jerusalem WAS home and will be again... even though it's not there yet.

Rabbi David Hartman says something very interesting about it.

“The Exodus introduces the dimension of a radically new tomorrow. That is the idea of Messianism. The belief in a Messiah proclaims a radical futurism; a new separate concept in human consciousness of time. Life is not exhausted by endless cycles. Once our story is told as our beginning through revolution, then history is a wide-open book”

In short... hope that comes from home.

Remembering Jerusalem as what it was and believing that there will be such a home again is very Christian too. In Psalm 137, David remembers and loves on Jerusalem during hard times of mockery because he needs hope.

1-5 Alongside Babylon's rivers we sat on the banks; we cried and cried,
remembering the good old days in Zion.
Alongside the quaking aspens
we stacked our unplayed harps;
That's where our captors demanded songs,
sarcastic and mocking:
"Sing us a happy Zion song!"

4-6 Oh, how could we ever sing God's song
in this wasteland?
If I ever forget you, Jerusalem,
let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves.
Let my tongue swell and turn black
if I fail to remember you,
If I fail, O dear Jerusalem,
to honor you as my greatest.

The fact that there IS a hopeful home coming (but that we only get a taste of today) something that God uses to draw us forward. Apologist Alister McGrath says,

"We're an empty jar that is conscious of our emptiness and knows it should be full. Our aspirations basically fall short as we try to create beautiful worlds so that you fall short so that we MUST look beyond us. It's about the gospel making sense of human longings... opening our mind and heart so that we let him in"


2 Peter 3 masterfully makes a number of key points

1) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise
2) He doesn't want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
3) You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
4) In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness

We're SUPPOSED to look forward to Jesus coming back. The fact that it's talked about it so close to the verse that says that God doesn't want people to perish... says something. Often, those of us who are focused on sharing the Good News with the world actually want to hold off on this whole second-coming thing so that more good can be done. But God's Kingdom coming is important to be prayed for... because HE wants it to be done too.

The last thing John in Revelation wrote was:

"I Am Coming Quickly He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all Amen"

Even so... come soon Lordy.
3 Things I take out of this.

1) God is coming soon and it's a GOOD thing! Look forward to things getting better both HERE and THERE! Keep sowing seeds!

2) When you get tired, there IS just enough of a taste of the hope found from home to be found right now... and even better later!

3) The story has yet to be told... don't grow weary in doing good because HOME is coming

3 September 2010

Press Release: 666 days until a Puerto Rican man becomes Jesus

Well we got a VERY interesting press release at my radio station. As it turns out... it's now exactly 666 days until José Luis de Jesús Miranda (who is both the Anti Christ AND Christ) becomes Christ. So... that's exciting news.


In Only 666 days...The Man Christ Jesus (666) to Become Immortal

* * September 3rd marks the final 666 days before Jose Luis De Jesus – God on Earth – transforms into His Glorious Immortal Body * *

*Simultaneous worldwide celebration being hosted in 455 CEG centers in 30 nations* Tune in to watch the Global Celebration & Exclusive Interview with The Man Christ Jesus thru: www.telegracia.com Sept. 3rd at 6PM COT/ 7PM ET

MIAMI, FLORIDA – The Earth has begun to experience the catastrophic events pointing to the inevitable transformation of the Man Christ Jesus, Jose Luis De Jesus (666), who will soon transform into His Majestic immortal body to govern the world. This Friday Sept. 3, marks the countdown of the final 666 days before the biggest event in history - and as the Great Day nears, the prophecies warn of even greater unprecedented calamities the world will suffer for not recognizing the Lord is here.

The signs of the times are clear.

Before His transformation, just like in His days as Jesus where He was ridiculed, it was foretold the Man Christ Jesus too would be rejected by this generation (Lk. 17:25).

For speaking the truth and exposing the lies of religion, numerous Presidents have prohibited His entrance into their nations. Mistaking Him for a “regular” man, they failed to recognize their actions further fulfill the conditions of the Second Coming, as it is written that “the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD.”
However, “the Lord shall have them in mockery, speak unto them in His wrath” (Ps. 2:2-5).

That day of His wrath has arrived.

The planet is filling with cadavers as He judges the nations (Ps.
110:5-6) and suffering pains of childbirth – ecological chaos – awaiting for the redemption of His body (Rom. 8:22-23). In 666 days, the Man Christ Jesus will manifest with the Supreme power and authority He could not exercise while dwelling in His human body of limitations.

“Then, all the tribes of the earth will mourn” (Mt. 24:30).

This will be the natural reaction of people when they discover their terrible omission of neglecting and taking God, Jose Luis De Jesus, for granted on His day.

For more info, visit: www.cegenglish.com

About Ministerio Internacional Creciendo en Gracia Ministerio Creciendo en Gracia is God’s Government on Earth established by God Himself in His Second Coming, Jose Luis De Jesus. Established in 1986, His government now expands into 30 nations with 455 centers, 250 TV programs, 180 radio programs and a satellite channel transmitted by more than 550 cable companies in 16 countries. It is written that 'All Eyes Shall See' and thus, His signal can be seen globally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through His channel Telegracia. Please visit us at www.cegenglish.com.


Well... make plans. It was the perfect time for a press release don't you think? I'm glad Jose had the courtesy to let the Smooth Jazz radio world know.

1 September 2010

"The Kindness Project" funding ... rejected... for now.

Yesterday our proposal for funding to create a large scale "Kindness Project" in Brantford was rejected. There were a number of understandable practical reasons for the rejection that I entirely get. But the major sticking point remains... that Freedom House is a Christian Ministry Center.

It's an interesting feeling to create something that is already so positive in the community (the funding board acknowledged that they were "very aware" of our work and we should keep it up) but when the request for backing comes... to be rejected primarily because of an active association with Jesus Christ.

Understand me here... I get it. Funding folks and other leaders have to make tough decisions and the fact that so many are proposing projects for funding to make our city a better place is AMAZING! I bless my city and it's leaders. But this project's only mention of "church" was the fact that it should be included with government, business, education, non-profits and individuals... mutually coming together to serve, invest in and prosper each other to create a robust, fully functioning city.

That... AND the fact that we ARE a community fueled by our faith in Jesus. That was enough to make it unsafe to politically touch... in this case at least. I believe others have more courage. I believe that because of this speed bump, others will rise up and help "The Kindness Project" in a larger sense to get off the ground. Communities NEED the participation and empowerment of "Faith based" groups. Why would you NOT want to release people motivated to change their city BY good INTO good?

The issue is Christ. It's not a new issue for Him either. I'm sure somewhere people are thinking, "It would be way easier if they were hard-working, visionary, motivated, civic-minded people... who didn't think that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. THAT makes it SO tricky." It really does. No argument there.

In Psalms 118:22 says:

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;

It's a very important prophetic verse about how Jesus would be seen, treated and function on earth. It's brought up again and again in the gospels and Acts as "the church" (that we're now a part of) dealt with the intensity of the goodness of Jesus. So good that as King of the Earth... He'd die for OUR petty screwups and flaws. He was SO good and His claim of King was SO controversial that he had to be put to death by the powers that be. What was their choice? The good folks in the book of Acts experienced very similar rejection on their mission... due to the Christ factor... while they went about doing good.

God IS good. In the active definitive sense. We do good as motivated by God, and communicate Him via it... because it IS Him. And it's fascinating that a project that simply strives to facilitate and co-ordinate "Kindness" is marked as risky simply because of an association with Jesus. Powerful. Actually... quite invigorating!

As they encouraged us to... we will continue to grow. It will just be slower. But we'll continue to RAK neighborhoods in town. We'll work with CAS to develop kindness-based housing transformation plans. We'll continue to encourage elementary schools. We'll again present a free winter carnival. Captain Kindness will continue to be at any event he's invited to (and many he's not) spurring ideas about how to change Brantford BY good INTO good. It will just be slower.

But what also won't change, is the fact that the God who created the universe... is our motivating factor. His name and renown are the desire of my soul. It's not ALWAYS about proselytizing as many are concerned about. It's about being motivated by a good GOOD God to show His love to the world in a practical way.

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