Friday, January 30, 2009

fairness

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” - Proverbs 31:9

Welcome to every AMAZING Upstreet volunteer who landed here (and welcome to the rest of you too). I'm SO STOKED about what we're doing in Upstreet this month. It's going to be awesome! Here is a little preview for you...



"What would happen if every child grew up believing this?" Man, when Reggie asked that question it GRABBED MY HEART!!! I ask myself this question AT LEAST once a week!!! It drives me. It keeps me awake at night. I try to pose this to all the amazing Upstreet leaders on a regular basis too. I try to get them to IMAGINE what our world might be like in 20 years if this generation "gets" these revolutionary ideas we are working so hard to present to them.

This world would be a different place because there really would be a revolutionary movement like we've never seen before.

That's why I like to say that in Upstreet we're changing the world... 1 kid at a time!

Thanks to all of you who are a part of this world changing movement!!! This month is gonna ROCK!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

what do you care about?

I sat down to read Proverbs 29 today after stuffing myself at the Penguin with a Big Block burger & some fried pickles. (You can read my thoughts about reading Proverbs HERE.)

1 sentence STILL will not let me go & hopefully it will do the same to you:

"The righteous care about justice for the poor, BUT the wicked have no such concern." - Proverbs 29:7

Whoa. This theme runs throughout Scripture. You can pretty much separate righteous people from wicked people based on their relationship to the poor (sounds like a story Jesus told in Matthew 25). Pretty crystal clear. plain and simple.

So, what do you care about? Justice for the poor? Or do you have "NO SUCH CONCERN"???


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

crappy day?

So, let me tell you how my day was supposed to go...

up @ 7am.
Drop Crystal's car @ the mechanic on the way to the office & pick up a car there to drive for the rest of the day (5 minutes max).
@ the office by 9am & a TON of work to knock out today! 3 days worth of work needs to be done TODAY.

my actual day so far...

alarm did NOT go off @ 7.
my wife woke me up well after 8 -> she was SICK!
since she was sick she needed me to take our little yippy dog to the vet for an appointment @ 9. I ran out the door with no shower & was still late.
I was supposed to drop the dog off & head straight to work & my wife would pick him up later when they were done with him.
Apparently, this was not a drop off event! nope I got to be in the room & help hold Jack Bauer the dog on the table while various thermometers & objects were put into his rectum (so, maybe my day wasn't as crappy as his!?)
Back to the house after 10am & showered quickly & left.
Got to the mechanic's place which of course is a bad thing in itself. My junky car club car hasn't started in over a week! now, our nice car (Crystal's) is doing all kinds of crazy crap & I am just praying it won't break us! The mechanic tells me that those cars (make & model of my wife's car) are CRAP. great news.
The car he had for me to drive for the next 2 days (while he fixed Crystal's) WOULD NOT START. hung out with him for like an hour while he "fixed" it & got it running.
*Oh, and did I mention my wife is SICK. that's the worst of all. I can't stand it when she's sick because my heart hurts for her & there's nothing I can do about it.
So, after all that I arrived here @ the office around 12:30... & the car I'm driving is still running! the mechanic told me to just leave it running because it may not start if I turn it off! seriously?? r u kidding me?

Pulling out of the mechanic's place heading to the office I was frustrated & stressed for about half a second. Jesus pretty much chills in the car with me wherever I go. I try to carry on a constant conversation with Him. I told Him I was ticked. haha... He didn't talk out loud to me, but after that half second it was obvious to me that I have no reason to be ticked, frustrated, or stressed!

*First of all, any time my problems start with "my car..." that should be a great reminder that God has blessed me beyond what I can even comprehend. How spoiled am I to be complaining about 1 car not running & 1 about to break? That's ridiculous. I praise God for my junky 89 Caddy that has been kickin' for me since I was in high school. about to hit 200K miles, baby! & my wife's car is paid off too. We're pretty blessed.

And yes I'm unhappy that I won't get everything done today that I need to do at work, BUT - I HAVE a job! Lots of people don't right now. And not only do I have a job... I LOVE MY JOB! I wanted to get here so early because I love what I do & I know it's making a difference for the kingdom & I just want to do it the best I can.

And yes, my wife is sick & that sucks & it makes me really sad. But we've got a doctor we can go to anytime and access to medicine. She'll probably be better in a couple days. Millions of people are dying constantly because they don't have a doctor or meds or clean water to drink or a simple net to keep mosquitoes from biting them & giving them malaria that they don't have meds to cure... so they die.

I'm thankful today. I'm praising God today. Crappy day? no way, I am blessed... BIG TIME. Thanks Jesus, for reminding me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

AWAKENING - new book from Louie (+ passion update)

It's no secret that I'm a HUGE fan of the Passion Movement and it's leader/founder, Louie Giglio. God used Passion to change my life. It completely revolutionized my life, my direction, and honestly... my passion. (I've written more about it HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE & HERE.)

And it's not just me... Passion is CHANGING THE WORLD!!! No doubt you heard all about the amazing World Tour in 08 (for which they canceled the regular national event here in the States). Over 3 months the Passion World Tour traveled to 6 continents, 16 countries, 17 cities across the world spreading the fame of God and igniting a passion for His glory in over 100 THOUSAND college students!!!
WOW! I really can't think of many things more awesome than that!

Now, Louie has hooked up with the amazing photographer Jeremy Cowart. (I've followed Jeremy's work for years and even have a few of his books! And I've actually followed him on twitter for several months... which is really fun to see all the stuff he's doing each day from photo contests with Donald Miller to shoots at this year's inauguration...)
Anyway, together Louie & Jeremy have put together a BOOK called Awakening. It is an amazing photo journey through the Passion World Tour. Honestly, I will seriously screw it up even trying to put words to it. Just Click HERE!!!

wow!! This book is going to be amazing. I can't wait to get my hands on it (but we're all going to have to wait until this Spring). Seriously, did you watch that video??? Louie says you probably can't just watch it just once... I've watched it maybe 5 times now. You no doubt saw some familiar faces flashing by, but also hundreds of unfamiliar ones that represent the 100K lives that were no doubt changed across the world during this tour.

And of course that's not all Louie's been up to lately. He's launching PASSION CITY CHURCH next month in Atlanta, GA. I've already shared my thoughts about this church HERE and how I hope it will spark one of the greatest movements for God's glory this world has ever seen! The first gathering is February 15th at 7pm in Atlanta. Who knows, I might roll in to be there @ their 1st ever gathering.

If that wasn't enough, Passion is launching World Tour Part 2 coming up this May & June. It won't be as big as the 1st one, just a mini 3-4 city tour. Pretty awesome though.

AND they are BACK with another national event next January (just like the old days) = Passion 2010! I'm pretty stoked. It's back in Atlanta again January 2-5th. Registration opens in less than a month = February 16th.

So, I bet the Passion house is alive with a frenzy of stuff going on. I'm praying for Louie & the team... that God would keep using what they're doing to REVOLUTIONIZE lives like mine for God's RENOWN!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

i'm back

We've been gone since Thursday. That's why this site has been "blogless" for the last couple days. before I went out of town (and had no internet service) I had posted 17 blogs in the first 21 days of this brand new year. Almost every day.

But we were out of town with no internet from Thursday - Sunday. You didn't think I was dead did you? I did notice over these past three days people gradually stopped reading the blog (which makes sense since there was nothing new). But, NOW I'M BACK... and will be posting almost every day again. Count on it.

So, where have you been, Patrick? Well, I'm glad you asked. The staff fromRidge Church and our wives all went on a retreat together. It was pretty awesome. I'll probably write more about it later, but for now I'll just show you this pic of the view we had from the cabin we all stayed in!
Amazing, huh? This is what I looked at during all our meetings, discussions, meals, when I woke up, etc... Unbelievable.

*And I have to say that I REALLY jacked up Chris and Rusty in Call of Duty 4.
**Also, keep your eyes open for some pics of our Rock Band in action (on Guitar Hero World Tour of course).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

let it snow baby!

it snowed yesterday. not as much as we thought it would, but it was our 1st snow here in Charlotte, nonetheless. I was leaving for a meeting yesterday morning when I realized everything was shut down... so I grabbed the macbook & recorded this for all of you. (Sorry the quality's not that great, I had to shrink it to fit it here on the blog.)

video
anyone think it will snow in Charlotte again this year?

So, it was cool I got to watch the whole inauguration yesterday... very cool, very historic. I also got to watch Andy pray at the inaugural prayer service this morning. Pretty cool.

no more time today... crazy busy... I'm out.

Monday, January 19, 2009

historic inauguration day

Today is a very historic day! Here in America we are all going to be watching the inauguration (a word that ironically enough caused me to win the 3rd grade spelling bee... i was the only one who could spell it in the whole class... it's called PHONICS people) of our first ever African American president. 

THAT's pretty awesome. I'm pretty excited. Coverage starts at 10AM and goes til like 5PM & it's probably gonna be on every channel. & then there's the big party tonight at 8 I think. Somewhere in there THE Andy Stanley is praying for the new president. I hope that's on TV.

Anyway, some guys I like have written some good advice lately for all of you out there who don't agree with line up exactly with Obama's political affiliation and find it hard to be excited today. Thankfully I have no political affiliation so I need no help getting excited. But some of you do, so please read the words of these 2 wise men and enjoy today... it will go down in history!

This first paragraph is from a guy I love to read and listen to named Greg Boyd. You've probably never heard of him. If you have heard of him it's likely you've heard his name in the same sentence with the word "heretic". People like to throw that word around. I on the other hand don't like to use it much. I try to reserve it for people who say they love Jesus, but are racists or are in favor of killing innocent humans or don't even LOVE.
Anyway, I enjoy reading what he has to say. He's definitely smarter and knows the Scriptures better than most who call him the "h" word. But whatever you think of him you'll be able to appreciate this:

"The heart of King’s dream wasn’t about racial equality. It was about racial equality only because it was first and foremost about a society in which love prevails and that recognizes the insanity of hatred, oppression and violence. And while America has certainly made important strides toward racial equality – as evidenced by Obama’s
 presidency – it seems to me that we have not progressed one iota toward the ideal of non-violence. If anything, it seems we’ve gone backwards in recent years on this ideal...
All politics aside, I think everyone should be elated for what Obama’s election means for non-whites and for race relations in America
. And we definitely have King to thank for this...
Be that as it may, I encourage followers of Jesus not to forget about the heart of King’s dream. For, before the call to loving non-violence was givin by King, it was given and modeled by the King of all Kings. The heart of King’s dream is the heart of the King’s dream and thus must be the heart of our
 commitment to live in the way of the King."
You can read his whole article written for MLK day HERE.

And this next one is more to the point and for you die hard Republican peeps who just can't be happy today as you watch history in the making. It's written by a man I have great respect for - Dan Burrell
He used to be my pastor, boss, and mentor... and is still a good friend. He's probably the most politically conservative dude I've ever met & not a supporter of Obama's beliefs (to say the least & evidenced by his latest post)... All that to say that if he can find a way to be happy this day, then so can you. (he wrote this the day after the election):

"I am not looking for my Prozac this morning.  I am not booking flights to some other country.  I am not pouting like the pigs just ate my toy poodle.  I’m quite happy this morning.  And I’ve got plenty of reasons to be happy in spite of the way the election turned out yesterday.  Let me share a few…

1. I’m happy for my African-American friends.  Seriously.  Thrilled for them.  I don’t know of a single black friend of mine who didn’t vote for Obama (though there may be a few, but you don’t have to justify your vote to me or anyone else.)  I don’t understand how they could vote for someone who, in many cases, represents values that I know they don’t believe or practice.  But I do understand that I don’t understand and can’t understand what the election of an African-American means to them on a deeply personal level.  And because I understand that I don’t understand, I’m quite content to be happy that it means something very special to them.  I am excited that every person of color now has a legitimate reason to believe that when they grow up, they can aspire to any job in this country and know that it is within their grasp.  That is a colossal shift and one that’s long over-due.  That makes me happy."

And I agree. This is a big day for our country. I keep thinking that there are a whole bunch of people today who were in their 20s in 1960 and COULD NEVER HAVE EVEN IMAGINED THIS DAY. and now it's reality.

happy b-day MLK

(his b-day was actually on the 15th, but today is the holiday.
.. hence the day for the post.)

I HATE racism... with a passion. There are few other things I hate as passionately - things like injustice (like the fact that some don't have access to clean water... or the GOSPEL), abortion, ignorance/complacency toward the poor & dying, people who would treat my wife or family bad...

I didn't really know what racism or prejudice was until I was probably 12. I grew up in a big neighborhood where I was 1 of 2 white kids. My BEST FRIEND in the whole world from the time I was born until around 13 or 14 was Colin Lomax. He was my next door neighbor for those 13 years. We did EVERYTHING together. Every day! Colin is an African American... but I didn't really know it. That's the great thing about kids... they're colorblind.
Colin and I have since drifted as we grew up, but still keep in touch. He was at my wedding and that was pretty awesome. My oldest friend in the whole world (since I was "zero") celebrating my wedding day with me.

So, in my mind, to think differently of people with a different color skin is the most ridiculous, ignorant, and craziest thing I've ever heard. Crazier than martians and flying pigs.
I celebrate anything that destroys racism and prejudice. God celebrates that too.
I never really knew that much about Martin Luther King, Jr. growing up. (My school didn't even take the day off.) But about 2 years ago I started paying attention and reading some stuff about him here and there. Last year on MLK day I posted about it too = HERE.

I guess I just don't think any white person has the right to think anything about a black person voting for Obama no matter their political beliefs. And I have a million examples why. But I would love to let MLK speak for himself on this one. This is something he said when they were about to take action to bring about civil rights for African Americans & politicians were telling him to "wait... just wait and let us take care of it in due time..."

We have waited three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights. Perhaps it’s easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say ‘Wait,’ but when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters… when you have to concoct an answer for your five-year-old son’s question, ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’; when your first name becomes ‘nigger’ and your middle name becomes ‘boy’… when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness,’ THEN you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” - MLK

WHOA. I hope that gives everyone a taste of the emotional background of a people with a different skin color than you. I don't think white folk can truly even imagine it.

*I was actually visiting my grandmother a few months ago in my dad's old hometown. We were driving down the main road through downtown (nothing luxurious, it's a TINY town) when I saw an old brick building (my dad later said it used to be the pool hall he used to hang out in & where he learned to be a pool shark). I was riding with my dad & yelled "STOP"... he pulled over wondering what was going on. I got out & took a picture of the building...
Yeah, no joke. Faded obviously because it hadn't been used in years, but nonetheless evidence of a HORRIBLE and INEXCUSABLE EVIL where people who simply have a darker pigment in their skin were degraded and forced to use a different entrance to buildings! Are you kidding me???

Think this kind of racism and EVIL is only a thing of the past? Think again. I just had a conversation with my mom the other day about a white girl I grew up with marrying black man. The girl's parents can't talk about it without crying - they're so disappointed. They were going to refuse to go to the wedding... OF THEIR OWN DAUGHTER (but apparently changed their mind). I'm sorry, but that's freaking ridiculous!

This is as insane as hating people with blonde hair! so ridiculous... such an arbitrary thing. It's just color!

I mean even the "christian" (and yes, I use the term very loosely) Bob Jones University - peeps who claimed to love Jesus were full on racists. They didn't even admit black students until 1976! what in the world!? But they would expel anyone who even thought interracial dating/marriage was ok. In 1983 they LOST in the Supreme Court case Bob Jones University vs. The United States!!! for real!!!? They lost their tax exempt status (& still don't have it back) but stood firm that their "racial discrimination was what God intended and founded in Scripture." That is SICK. I'm sure God is saying "LEAVE MY NAME OUT OF YOUR EVIL!" (To their meager credit the college lifted the interracial dating policy in 2000 because of intense media pressure and actually issued a public apology about 2 months ago. God can change anyone.)

From what I've read, I think MLK was a great man. I admire him greatly. I can't believe what he went through just so everyone could enjoy life without sanctioned hatred.
He had a vision and believed in it. Years later, I am behind his vision still:
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." - MLK

Me too, Martin. Love Wins.

Friday, January 16, 2009

andy & obama

pretty cool thing. Today it's official. Andy got asked to pray for Obama's inauguration prayer service on January 21st... the day after the inauguration.

On Thursday, Andy did an "all staff meeting" and webcasted all of us partners in for it to tell us about this going down. He said he went and bought a suit when he got the call : )

HERE you can read the official press release. I just hope it's on TV : )

Thursday, January 15, 2009

funny (to me) church sign

So, I'm driving home about 5 minutes ago from a LONG day of work. Just left a great student ministry meeting with some great leaders.
Good stuff happening today & I LOVE my job, but I am TIRED physically. Really tired.

But then I saw something that made me laugh as I pulled into my neighborhood & I'm hoping it will make you laugh too. It kind of made my night. (Well, it at least made this portion of my night between my drive home and the time my wife gets home any second now...)

here you go...
This church is at the corner of my neighborhood, so I pass it every single day leaving and coming home from work. I have seen a lot of funny church signs in the past... in books and in emails and on Jay Leno's segment where people mail stuff in... but not usually in real life.

I PROMISE you I just snapped this pic today in my neighborhood on my way home. It's one block from my house so I just stopped in the street and took the pic. Today is January 15th. I'm pretty sure this coming Sunday (which is what most churches usually advertise for on their signs) will be 4 Sundays since Christmas Eve! So, that's laugh out loud funny to me that they're still advertising for their Christmas Eve service at 4pm.

I thought of a few reasons why...
- Their Christmas Eve service a few weeks ago was such a hit that they have to start advertising now to sell tix for next year.
- The church was robbed and those are the only letters they have left for the sign and they just haven't figured out anything else to make them spell.
- They are REALLY behind or REALLY confused.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

way cool (world clock)

OK, if this thing is for real, then it's pretty flippin sweet! AMAZING. 
check it out HERE

Pretty crazy, eh? REALLY makes me think. look at the death toll... and think... 
& check the # of kids under 15. pretty awesome - almost 2 billion.

I look at the Death category and Illness category... look how many of those we can stop! we can put an end to many of those deaths. WE CAN SLOW DOWN THIS TICKER!

not sure how accurate this thing is, but it's def. causing me to think.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

inspired

If there is EVER anything you want to know, just ask THIS GUY. I work with Rusty and he knows pretty much everything. seriously...

he finds the coolest stuff too. I wish he would blog more because he could probably post a few times a day just with cool stuff he finds on the internet or stuff he thinks up or pulling from his endless knowledge of all things in the universe. Although he is sometimes wrong like with his fallacy that Jason Bourne is better than Jack Bauer. that's just insane.

Anyway, he recently had this video on his blog & i thought you all would enjoy it. pretty cool.


Monday, January 12, 2009

jack freaking bauer.

Jack Bauer is the epitome of a PIMP! That's right. now you don't have to ask.

If you haven't seen every single episode of every 24 season, then... what are you thinking?!? Season 7 started last night & the next 2 hours is on tonight! CANNOT wait. It's straight kickin'. I'm actually working late tonight & won't be home until after 10:30... but my amazing wife is going to WAIT for me so we can watch 24 together! pretty awesome woman right there. that's true love.

The Panthers lost a horrible game Saturday & my Heels lost 2 ACC games in 1 week!!! but (as my friend Todd said) - Jack Bauer 2 days in a row makes up for it all! seriously.

If you missed the premiere last night just check this trailer...

just a few predictions:
Tony Almeida (Jack's best friend who DIED in season 5... i SAW him die LIVE, btw, & even went back & watched it on DVD last week... i did notice he got no silent beep count at the end of the episode... that should have tipped us all off!) will NOT ULTIMATELY BE DIRTY. i just have a hunch. we may not find out until halfway through the season, but he's still a good guy... don't worry.
We already know Buchanan & Chloe will be back, but I say Audrey will be back too! we'll see.
I'm gonna say Wayne Palmer will be back too... who knows if he even died after season 6 though?
& hopefully, Jack will end up back in Africa. That would be sweet.

I am SO STOKED... just a few more hours til Jack rocks the house.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

what's in my iPod? - jon foreman

You probably know Jon Foreman best as the front man for the wildly popular & successful band, Switchfoot. In fact, at Ridge today we pulled off a Switchfoot song quite rockingly.

I actually got Switchfoot's 1st CD when I was in high school. It was called The Legend of Chin and you should listen to it on iTunes if you want a quick chuckle. In fact, if you're a Switchfoot fan from this modern era you should click HERE and see the music video from the 1st "hit song" on their 2nd CD. (I think I actually still have the video somewhere... I'll show it to you if you ask.) to say the least, they've come a long way. NOTHING even remotely close to their current sound! They were a straight up surfer band. I was diggin' it back then.

But this solo project from Jon Foreman - Limbs and Branches - is straight PIMP! I love it. I can't quit listening to it! Foreman is an amazing songwriter... and not too bad of a vocalist either (sense the sarcasm). 

2 songs on the album especially blow me away. They are amazing. They play in my iPod constantly.
Jon was actually cool enough to stop by Catalyst '08 and do a couple mini concerts. That's where the pics on here are from. it was money.
+ He really rocks the "is he homeless?-or-is he a rockstar?" look quite well.

The 2 songs occupying the most airtime on my iPod lately are Your Love is Strong and Instead of a Show
Please read the lyrics to this song & just let them soak into you. Download the song & close your eyes and just listen to it. It's powerful. It's a very spiritual experience.

"Heavenly Father You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune Or out of place
I look at the meadow And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl On her wedding day
So why do I worry? Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need You know what I need
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong


The kingdom of the heavens Is now advancing
Invade my heart Invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens Is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself To buy the one you've found?
Two things you told me - That you are strong
And you love me Yes, you love me
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong"


I love this song so much. It's straight from Scripture. It's beautiful. It's one of my favorite worship songs now. Just what I want to say to God.

*The other song that Jon says he "stole from the Bible" that I have been wearing out on this CD is Instead of a Show. Maybe you can read Isaiah 1:11-17 while you listen to the song. Or read it right after you read these lyrics. This is what God says to many of us:

I hate all your show and pretense/ The hypocrisy of your praise
The hypocrisy of your festivals/ I hate all your show
Away with your noisy worship/ Away with your noisy hymns
I stop upq my ears when you’re singing ‘em
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice/ Instead of a show

Your eyes are closed when you’re praying
You sing right along with the band
You shine up your shoes for services
There’s blood on your hands
You turned your back on the homeless
And the ones that don’t fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games/ There’s blood on your hands

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice/ Instead of a show
I hate all your show

Let’s argue this out/ If your sins are blood red
Let’s argue this out/ You’ll be white as the clouds
Let’s argue this out/ Quit fooling around
Give love to the ones who can’t love at all
Give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
Stand up for the ones who can’t stand at all
I hate all your show/ 
I hate all your show
I hate all your show/ I hate all your show"


*This is powerful stuff. I wonder how many times God says stuff like this to us? Like I wonder how many times He's saying it on a Sunday... like today...

Thanks Jon, for ripping off lyrics from Scripture and putting tunes with them. You've got to hear these. Or, if you see me... I'll play them for you in my iPod. You can buy the CD HERE.

Friday, January 9, 2009

unwritten @ ridge

Your life this year is UNWRITTEN. don't let what's written in your past hold you back! you can make 09 what you want it to be. what are you going to do?

This Sunday - January 11th... 11AM. Be @ Ridge!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

RENOWN - the 200th post!

WOW! I can't believe its already my 200th post! It seems like just a few weeks ago I was writing my 100th post. you can read my 100th HERE. That post seemed like MUCH MORE of a milestone than this one. Maybe it's kind of like your 1st wedding anniversary vs. your 2nd one? or maybe not? 100 just seemed like a big deal, but 200... not so much. It does come right after renown's 1 year anniversary.
I did get to 200 WAY faster than it took for the 100th post on renown to roll off the press. The 100th post hit on July 25th. This 200th post is January 8th. It took me almost 7 months to get to the 100th post, but just over 5 months to get to this 200th post. So, obviously it looks like I'm writing more frequently now.
*That's a trend I hope to continue. I don't know if I'm supposed to let this kind of secret out or not (I never took a class in blog etiquette), but I've already got roughly 40 posts in the works for the next few weeks on renown. I'd really like to be more disciplined at putting my thoughts on here -> to be helpful to me + hopefully helpful to someone else. I was going to give you a sneak peek at what's coming, but I just changed my mind 3 seconds ago. You'll have to check back and read for yourself.

But, it is fun for me to look back over the past year... the 1st year of renown... to see what jumps out at me from the past year of my life. I'll link my favs below, so in case you missed them you can check them out now. I guess this is kind of like "08 in Review":

the american dream = 1 of my personal favs & you even get to sing along!!!
my wife and life = of course. my 2nd ever. "happy wife, happy life."
feeding Jesus and orphans = they are 1 and the same...
Ridge went Kinetic = pimp story of how the Church acted like the Church
quotes of the week = the 1st ever in my ongoing "quotes of the week" series
all about the kingdom (+ shot glasses) = the 1st in the series that continued the whole year highlighting what God is up to through different churches & ministries here in Charlotte
piper is my homeboy = tribute to a man who shaped my faith
WOW! - family birthday celebration = you should have been there
"are you guys in a rock band?" = apparently a very popular question for our church staff!
ADVENT CONSPIRACY = an AWESOME xmas tradition we should all get into
best Christmas EVER! = because of advent conspiracy
... & last but not least -> the sun & wind made a bet. maybe we should too = by far the most commented on (33) and controversial of any post I've written thus far! Discussion of styles of how church gatherings can reach unbelievers.

let me know which of those you were diggin' especially.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

happy 7th

Wow. I can't believe it's January 7th, 2009!

It's an anniversary for my wife Crystal and I. Not like our wedding anniversary that I wrote about here. But the anniversary of when we started dating.

I really can still vividly remember January 7th, 2000... right after Y2K & the new milennium had just begun - my wife and I started dating. That was a LONG time ago (to us it feels like). We were both Juniors in High School! Our 1st date was at Applebee's (how romantic). The one on Independence near the corner of Sam Newell Road (in case you are familiar with Charlotte). [in fact, I remember not wanting to go the whole route of "asking her out" like in middle school... so I just kissed her. I know, BOLD right? that's how i roll... (jk/ haha)]

So today is our 9 year anniversary! 9 years we've been together! WOW!

But, God started hooking Crystal and I up long before January 7th, 2000. It's a story my mom really enjoys telling, but I'm going to tell it for you today. Crystal and her family moved to Charlotte, NC from New York at the end of 1995. We were both in 7th grade. She started coming to my school after the year was already underway.

It was the time of year to buy Christmas trees so my mom and I went to get one for our house. We were checking out at the counter at the Hillbilly Produce Market (that's actually still there on Independence. I guess there's some connection with Independence and us?...)

As I started walking to the car with our Christmas tree it somehow got tangled with the tree of the shoppers in line behind us. It stopped me from going any further. And who were those people behind us?
*You guessed it - Crystal Pagels and her dad... out buying their Christmas tree. Same day, same place, same time. What are the chances?

And, of course it was love at 1st sight... haha, far from it. but that's still a great story of how we met!

Since we started "officially" dating on January 7th... you know how the whole anniversary thing works, right? Every month on the 7th that 1st year we would celebrate our anniversary! haha, remember those days? So, we had a 1 month anniversary, 2 months, 3 months, etc... Each one was big. That 1 year anniversary was REALLY big! I put on a suit, took her out to a fancy restaurant (fancy to me), and even made her a CD with love songs and stuff.

Of course after you have that first year anniversary - the little month anniversaries aren't as big, you know? It's kind of hard to celebrate your 27 month anniversary. yaknowwhati'msayin'? BUT, the 7th was always a special date to us.

We dated for the rest of high school and through college for over 5 1/2 years! & then we got hitched August 5th, 2005.

Of course ever since that day... the 7th hasn't been quite as special. 8/5/05 is the special date now.

But today is special to us. 9 years ago today I started a great love adventure with the most amazing woman in the world. I'm so thankful our Christmas trees got tied together that day and we later fell in love. I am SO HAPPY that God has unbelievably blessed me with spending the rest of my life with Crystal Mitchell.
I'm so thankful for you Crystal. You're so amazing to me. January 7th, 2009 we would have never guessed we'd be spending the rest of our lives together. But now I love you with all my heart and will spend the rest of my life making you happy. Happy 7th, Babygirl.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

do something about it

(Click HERE to read yesterday's post and catch up.)
Here's the clip & quote again:
video

Solomon: "You are writing about what is happening here?"
Mandy : "Yes."
Solomon: "So when people in your country read it they will come help us, yes?"
Mandy: "Probably not."

When i watched that the 1st time it was like someone stuck a knife of reality through me. I almost fell off the couch. I KNEW it was true. (There is a similar scene in Tears of the Sun that had the same affect.)

The things that are "happening here" are atrocities like slavery, children being kidnapped as child soldiers, inadequate medical care & health supplies, no access to necessities like food & clean water, people being torn from their families, more orphans than buildings, and refugees as far as the eye can see.

seriously, imagine yourself in another country. Put yourself in Solomon's shoes (who represents MILLIONS of REAL PEOPLE) - children being taken to fight in a war, no clean water, etc... you know Americans can help EASILY if they just knew what was happening. You would be SURE that if they just knew they would COME AND HELP YOU!!! What else would a human being do for another human in these situations??? "They will come help us, yes?"

Yeah, Solomon. I'm going to come help you & the millions you represent. I'm going to get there as fast as I can... as soon as I'm able & I'm bringing a lot of help with me.
But, right now I'm here... and when I think about things like this... and I hear things like this it's all I can do to force myself to stay here. It's a feeling like guards are holding me back.

Because I know like Andy says - "Waiting does not reflect a lack of faith. Usually it is evidence of wisdom." AND 
"There seems to be a correlation between the preparation time and the magnitude of the task to which we are called"... BUT it's HARD to wait... to prepare.

Plus... there's got to be a way I can do something about it NOW! And of course there is. There are ways for all of us to do something about it!

1st of all (something we don't think about often enough) KNOW about the people/companies you're buying things from!!! Like when you buy a diamond for your girl... did it come at the expense of hundreds, maybe thousands of lives? Think about that and do your research... not just where to find the cheapest price.
& not just with diamonds, but with everything you buy... don't just assume that just because a store is in the mall that they're not involved in crazy injustice to sell you those products (like Nike and Gap).

There is SO much you can do NOW to help people in Africa and all over the world who are dying and suffering from injustices that WE CAN PUT AN END TO. WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

here's a few websites/orgs to get you started doing something:

Monday, January 5, 2009

let it rock your soul

This is kind of like my quote of the week. (Read the "rules" for my Quotes of the Week and you'll know that I did not hear this quote this week.) It's powerful stuff. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since I heard it!

Crystal and I watched Blood Diamond around 6 months ago. We bought it like over a year ago but didn't watch it until a few of my friends told me it was the best movie ever made! (We have a habit of buying movies & then watching them a year later...) It is a great movie overall (nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor *but not the best ever for sure) - very similar to a couple other movies we own: Hotel Rwanda and Tears of the Sun (both better than Blood Diamond). "Double Trouble" sort of = Entertaining but also teaching something and opening eyes to injustice in Africa.

The title refers to "blood diamonds", which are diamonds mined in African war zones and the profits actually finance the war and profit the warlords and the diamond companies across the world. It takes place during the Sierra Leone Civil War in the 90s when the country was torn apart by the war between government soldiers and rebel forces.

So let's just get to this quote. I actually pulled the clip off our DVD so you all could see it. The man (Solomon) is from Sierra Leone and his family is in a refugee camp... he cannot be with them. His elementary age son has been kidnapped by the rebel army and forced to become a child soldier. The woman (Mandy) is an American journalist.
It's only like 10 seconds long. just click play:
video

Solomon: "You are writing about what is happening here?"
Mandy : "Yes."
Solomon: "So when people in your country read it they will come help us, yes?"
Mandy: "Probably not."


Whoa.

(I'll leave you to think on that like & let it rock your soul like it did me... then I'll post the rest tomorrow.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ridge Under the Tent

OK, I'm telling all of you that you NEED to be at Ridge "Under the Tent" TOMORROW! It's gonna be AWESOME!!! 
*We already have our noise permit from the city, so no one will get arrested for disturbing the peace as we're rocking out bringing in the New Year in style... outside under a tent!
It's at 11AM at the Levine Center in Matthews - right behind Sycamore Commons (Old Navy, Dicks, etc...) & Yeah, it's really under a TENT... but don't worry, for one it's supposed to be like 60 degrees tomorrow (go figure - January 4th)... AND the tent has sides with HEATERS & of course we'll have hot coffee!

***I don't wanna let the cat out the bag too much, but MAKE SURE YOU'RE THERE AT 11AM because... well, Chris' talk is "Unwritten" and we're kicking off with some Natasha Bedingfield... that should give you a good idea to which song is our opener under the tent...
The band will also be rocking some Switchfoot that you won't wanna miss!

Seriously, Chris' talk is gonna hook you up to start your '09 off right... we're done at Noon, so it's only 1 hour out of your day! What else could possibly be better?

RIDGE UNDER THE TENT - BE THERE!!!