Monday, November 30, 2009

the conspiracy is underway

I kicked off my advent conspiracy this year on my blog HERE. I hope you'll join the conspiracy. Check out what happened last year HERE as some of you gave me a different kind of gift for my birthday and/or xmas. $ to build a well. And together we sent about $1,000 to Living Water International and they rebuilt a well in a poor village in Nicaragua! pretty awesome.

Here's a little reminder from xmas 08:

I don't want to bore you with all the details again because you can just check out my earlier posts I linked above. Just remember, my b-day & xmas are both this month and i don't want any gifts! i just want you to donate to Living Water through Advent Conspiracy.

You can donate HERE or give it straight to me & i'll add it to our water cooler in Student Impact as we're trying to come up with $3K to build an entire well!

(oh yeah - and Advent officially began yesterday!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving - quotes of the week #16

This is the Thanksgiving edition of quotes of the week. They are not all about turkeys or "thanks" but they struck me as appropriate quotes of the week for today.

“What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love.” – Henri Nouwen
"When we see anything as birthright, it ceases to be gift." - Mark Buchanan

Bread exists to help you know what it is like to be satisfied in Jesus." (John 6:35) – John Piper

"Never confuse your value with your valuables, nor your net worth for your self-worth. The greatest things in life aren't things." – Rick Warren

“Better to get up late and be wide awake than to get up early and be asleep all day.” — Anonymous [I definitely thought this was appropriate for today (and maybe especially tomorrow)]

“Worship is bragging about God to God.” – Mark Batterson

“He [God] has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving.” – Francis Chan

* “Consumerism’s great risk is that we might get exactly what we want.” - Chris Seay & Rick McKinley (in Advent Conspiracy)

“God gives power and blessing so that justice and righteousness will be upheld for those who are denied them. This is what God is like. This is what God is about. This is who God is.
To forget this, to fail to hear the cry, to preserve prosperity at the expense of the powerless, is to miss what God has in mind.” – Rob Bell

“Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken…” – Rich Mullins

I hope you enjoyed these... & HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

let me just get this out of the way...

OK, I thought it might be easier to just say this once and get it out of the way.

It is a lot easier and faster for me to write "xmas" than "Christmas". There, I said it and it's out of the way now.
So, when I am typing something quickly = a blog post, an email, a text, etc... I'm probably going to write "xmas" instead of "Christmas". (So don't be offended when you get an email or text from me with xmas in it.)

Lest you think I am some heartless atheist (or a devil worshipper) - it has NOTHING to do with "taking Christ out of Christmas" as lots of people say. It's not some "liberal" agenda to hijack this "Christian nation". It is simply 5 less letters to type. It's easier. That's all. I don't hate Jesus. In fact I love Jesus and am radically following Him as best as I know how.

In case you're curious "X" is actually the abbreviation for "Christ". Therefore xmas instead of Christmas. It's not "taking Christ out of Christmas", it's simply abbreviating.
* "X" is the 1st Greek letter in "Christ" (Xristou). That's why "X" is the abbreviation for Christ.
And that's why I hope you can understand that I'm not a devil worshiper just because I write "xmas".

And actually I think it's interesting in light of this topic that the ancient Hebrew scribes used to write YHWH to abbreviate God's Name because they wanted to revere His holy name and didn't think themselves worthy to even write all the letters - Yahweh... (we think).

So, again, just to clarify = I'm going to write "xmas" instead of "Christmas", but not because I hate God, just because it's faster.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

what's in my iPod? - Switchfoot: Hello Hurricane

This album is playing in my iPod because I think it is brilliant. I love the sound. I's got great beats and hooks that have me singing these songs all day long. This is music you can feel. I'm diggin' it...
I would say that this album is their best ever.

But it doesn't only have an awesome sound. This is the songs from their soul! Jon Foreman said, "I feel like with this record, the motto was, 'What are the songs you want to die singing?'" & he also said these are the songs "we want to sing for the rest of our lives." No wonder this is their best record yet. This is like their "manifesto".

*Even if you don't like their music you have got to love Jon Foreman's heart! In his interview with Relevant (my fav mag) recently he said = "I try to remind myself that I am here to serve people." Not the normal kind of talk you hear from a rock star. Neither is this = "I think the point is ultimately not about me. And if you approach the world with the apron of a servant, then you are allowed to go places that you can't go if you approach it with the crown of a king." You gotta respect a guy with a heart like this.

I wrote about Jon Foreman and Switchfoot being in my iPod way back HERE. Check out that post where I talk about remembering listening to Switchfoot's 1st every CD way back in the day - Legend of the Chin. That was back when it was just 3 of them & they were just a surfer band. I also remember buying their very 1st ever single - New Way To Be Human.

In my opinion the first 4 tracks on the album are awesome! They jump out at you right away and stick with you. My favorite song of all is track #3 - Your Love is a Song
To me it's an emotional worship song. It's a song you feel. The music joins beautifully with the lyrics:
"Your love is a symphony/ All around me/ Running through me
Your love is a melody/ Underneath me/ Running to me
Oh, your love is a song/ your love is a song

Your love is a song/ Yeah, yeah/ Your love is my remedy."
And that's the song I've been singing in my head lately... a lot. I'm overwhelmed with God's love through the truth in that song.

I also really love track #4 = "The Sound [John M. Perkins' Blues]". I've been reading some of John M. Perkins over this past year. Before that I had never even heard of this guy. It's definitely a rockin' song. A lot like U2's rockin' stuff. Beautiful rockin' lyrics too:
"This is the sound Of a heartbeat
This is the sound From the discontented mouths
Of a haunted nation
We are the voice of breaking down
Can you hear me?
This is the sound Of the desperation bound
By our own collision We are the voice of breaking down

The static comes alive Beneath the broken skies
John Perkins said it right Love is the final fight
Let it rise above/ Rise above
There is no song Louder than love"

Right on, Switchfoot - no song louder than love. no doubt.
Mess of Me is a great song about someone simply making a mess of their life. No specifics because we all make messes of our lives in different ways. but their bottom line is:
"There ain't no drug [to fix things...]
The sickness is myself [depravity]
I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I've made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive!"

Needle in a Haystack Life is the 1st song on the album. It's got a great sound. honestly - this song & many others have a big time U2 feel to them. I really really like it.
"In this needle and haystack life/ I found miracles there in your eyes
It's no accident we're here tonight/ We are once in a lifetime
All is not lost/ All is not lost
Become who you are
It happens once in a lifetime

Possibly one of the most awesome sounding and catchiest songs on the album is "Free" = guaranteed to make your head & body move with the groovin' beat.
"Free, come set me free/ Down on my knees
I still believe You can save me from me
Come set me free/ Come set me free
Inside this shell There's a prison cell

The title song is Hello Hurricane & Foreman was inspired to write this song while he was serving victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I love the message of this song, not to mention it is definitely has a popular sound that is already catching on across radio waves.
It's so awesome because Foreman is basically talking smack to the hurricanes of life. The things that come along to throw us off. We can't control them, but we definitely have control of how we respond to them. I love this:
"Every thing I have I count as loss/ Everything I have is stripped away
Before I started building/ I counted up these costs
There's nothing left for you to take away
Hello hurricane You're not enough
Hello hurricane You can't silence my love
I've got doors and windows Boarded up
All your dead end fury is Not enough
You can't silence my love"

And some songs honestly remind me of the sound the band had back in the day. Like on Bullet Soul which has some inspiring/rise up/revolutionary youth lyrics to it too...
I want to sing one for all the dreamers/ I'm singing this one for the sparks
Here's one for the friction makers/ We are the bleeding hearts
Don't care whoever you are/ We rise and fall together
Our hearts still beat below/ You can't stand by forever
You're a kid with a bullet soul
Are you ready to go?
I want to turn up the radiation/ I want to glow in the dark
Love is the one true innovation/ Love is the only art
Don't let 'em blow it apart

Are you ready to go? 

Sing It Out is a beautiful desperation song. A great lyric & sound for when you feel like you're at the end of your rope... and once again you fall into the arms of God.
"I'm on the run/ I'm on the ropes this time
Where is my song?/ I've lost the song of my soul tonight
Sing it out/ Sing it out
Take what is left of me/ And make it a melody
Sing it out/ Sing out loud
I can't the words to sing/ You'd be my remedy
My song/ My song
I'll sing with what's left of me

I'm holding on/ I'm holding on to you
My world is wrong/ My world is a lie that's come true
And I fall in love/ With the ones that run me through
When all along all I need is you

Sing it out

Great stuff from this awesome band with a big heart! If you don't already have Hello Hurricane go get it NOW! You can buy it anywhere & you can download it from Amazon right HERE for only $7.99

What do you think of this latest stuff from Foreman & Switchfoot? 

Friday, November 20, 2009

quotes of the week #15

Here we go with some awesome quotes of the week. You can read my original disclaimer for this segment here. Enjoy!

#1 Quote of the week:

I think we’re wiser to immerse ourselves in Jesus’ worldview rather than drag Him into ours.” - Brian McLaren (author, former pastor & movement leader) [This is a much needed word for the modern Church. myself included.]

"Giving God anything less than all I am proves I haven't really seen him at all." - Louie Giglio [wow. so true isn't it. stuff like that is why this guy is my favorite...]

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.” – Martin Luther [hopefully he needs no intro... what a great definition of what our God is. still speaks to us 500 years later.]

"The purpose of your life at work is to show that God is at work in your life" - Jeff Henderson (campus pastor @ Buckhead Church - a North Point Campus) [from the current series there "@work". brilliant series from a brilliant man!]

"Two simple things show our priorities in life: our bank account and our calendar." – Jud Wilhite (pastor, author, & co-founder of Deadly Viper!) [I've got to be constantly called to look at these 2 parts of my life!]

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

“Let’s be and do what we’re asking people to be and do.” – Chris Brown (my lead pastor @ Ridge Church) [A great challenge to us in staff meeting on Monday]

“Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” – Margaret Thatcher (famous british Queen or Prime Minister or something?) [right on Queen M]

"When the leader blames the follower for not following, the leader has ceased to lead" - Andy Stanley (lead pastor of North Point & author) [dang! this could have easily been the #1 quote of the week if it weren't so convicting to me!]

“I am surrounded by unbelieving activists and inactive believers. Where are the true Christians?” - Shane Claiborne (ordinary radical & author) [I feel ya Shane... but I think things are changing now... I hope]

“Isn’t it awesome to worship a God we can’t exaggerate.” – Francis Chan (pastor & author) [isn't it awesome that this is true!?!? so cool... nothing we can say would be too exaggerated for Him! We couldn't even if we tried!]

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm "reading" Blink in my car currently by Malcolm Gladwell. This is the 1st audiobook I've listened to NOT on my iPod. Actually... it's on cassette tape!
What? did you think my Caddy had a CD player?

I've got a new notebook to write my notes in too... it's just too painful to go back and redo all those notes I already had so soon. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can click HERE.)

I'm a big Malcolm Gladwell fan and am excited about learning from this book. The subtitle of Blink is The Power of Thinking without Thinking. Pretty intriguing, eh?
Here are the 3 admitted tasks of Blink:

1   to help me understand that "Decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately."

2   To figure out when I can trust that instant unconscious and when I can't. Malcolm says it IS possible to learn when to listen to this "internal computer" in our unconscious and when not to.

3   To convince me that my snap judgments and 1st impressions can be educated and controlled. -> Malcolm says this is the most important task of Blink.

"Just as we can teach ourselves to think logically and deliberately, we can also teach ourselves to make better snap judgments." That's why I'm reading the book...
*The power of knowing in that 1st few seconds is not a gift for a lucky few, but it's an ability we can all cultivate for ourselves.

Any thoughts from this opening synopsis of Blink?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

advent conspiracy - year 2

It's time for my favorite thing of the year again! = Advent Conspiracy time! (In order to save some time in this blog you can read what I wrote about Advent Conspiracy HERE, HERE, HERE, & HERE. If you read those I won't have to repeat myself a lot.)

Here's a short video that will give you the scoop too:

So that's what we're about in this conspiracy. It's a conspiracy because it is sooo counter-cultural. It's a rebellion really. We're trying to take Christmas back!

Here's the bottom line if I can summarize it really quickly:
Dirty water is killing more people than anything on earth! People just don't have access to clean water. 5,000 children die every day because they don't have water to drink! That's 1 child dying every 15 seconds because they don't have something we take for granted. That does something in my soul. That makes me outraged and devastated all at the same time.
Jesus SAID that if we see someone thirsty and give them water it's just like we gave the water to Him! And if we don't give them water it's like we refuse to give water to Jesus when He's thirsty. not cool. (Matthew 25:31-46)
It would cost $10 billion to give everyone on earth clean water... & just in America we spend $450 billion on Christmas crap every year!!! Something is jacked up with that & you know Jesus agrees.
So, last year I jumped in on this advent conspiracy. For my birthday (december 3rd) & Christmas all I asked for was for people to take the $ they would have spent on buying me a gift AND GIVE IT TO ADVENT CONSPIRACY, so that Living Water International could use it to build wells so people could have clean water! People did it and almost $1,000 was given to build a well! It went to rebuild a well in Nicaragua and over 450 people in the San Rafael village of Leon now have clean water! - All because of this little Christmas rebellion!

So, this year I'm doing it again. I'm feeling really rebellious. I also invited all of my friends in Student Impact (our student ministry at Ridge Church). Everyone talks about how "rebellious" teenagers are right? well, here's their chance.
Our goal is to bring in $3,000 through our Advent Conspiracy so we can send it to Living Water International and they can build a well for a whole village!!! It would be so awesome for us as a student ministry to say in a couple months - "Because we did Christmas differently this year, we helped a whole village have clean water!"
I know... that's a pretty audacious goal for a handful of broke middle school and high school students. But I think we're up to the challenge!
& that's advent conspiracy in a nutshell.

*So, let me be clear (this is my open letter to all of you) - I do not want anyone to buy me birthday or Christmas presents! The only gift I want is for you to give money for Advent Conspiracy so that Living Water International can build a well with it! SO THAT people can drink clean water and stop dying from dirty water.
You can click here and donate or you can give it to me & I will add it to our water cooler in Student Impact to help us meet our goal of $3K.

In case you missed it at the top, below are 4 articles I wrote last year about advent conspiracy. check them out!
double advent conspiracy
happy advent
best Christmas EVER!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"personal spiritual momentum" (Catalyst One Day)

Yesterday was Catalyst One Day in Baltimore. Actually it was like the 5th Catalyst One Day this year with Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel all around the country. I actually mentioned it before the 1st one here. It's basically 2 awesome talks from Andy, 2 awesome talks from Craig and then a Q&A time with both of them.
I didn't get to go in Baltimore yesterday, but I did listen to the entire conference audio from the one at North Point in ATL. It was awesome!

I just want to share a few things I walked away with from one of Craig Groeschel's talks at Catlayst One Day '09 = Creating and Sustaining Personal Spiritual Momentum

I felt like the talk was directly for me. I'm one of the peeps Craig talked about who = "So often (and with pure motives because we love Jesus) we try to do MORE than we were designed to do!"
*And stemming from that reality check this next "nifty" statement was the biggest thing I needed to hear. It's my main takeaway...
"Do today what I can do today to enable me to do tomorrow what I can't do today."

Man, I so need to hear that on a regular basis. I am a futurist and can see the end goal & just wanna get there all in 1 day. It's like my wife - when she gets in "cleaning/house work mode" she wants to do a whole year's worth of stuff in 1 Saturday... and I'm like, "baby, we can only do 1 thing at a time..." I need to take my own advice sometimes.

So what can I do today (if I can't do it all)? Craig gave us all 4 suggestions:
1.   Do something to defeat my dark side

2.   Create Artificial Ministry Deadlines - this is a biggie for me, bkuz my dark side is working too much... I have to work hard to not let myself work all the time! Craig sharing his practices were so freeing for me... to hear that he makes himself stop working on a talk after a certain day. It's just done... no matter what.

3.   Delegate what someone else can do - ***And "delegate authority not responsibility!"
"Delegating responsibility creates followers, but delegating authority creates leaders."
"You will not create or retain great leaders by telling them what to do/delegating responsibility."

4.   Do something only you can do - like take time off, be a husband to my wife, and remain broken before God.

**This was awesome stuff for me! I hope it was beneficial for some of you leaders out there too!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Friend, do what you have come to do."

wow. I read those words this morning and the floored me. I haven't gotten them out of my mind all day. (I've probably read them many times before, but for some reason today they grabbed me...)

I've been reading through the gospels over and over and over for a while. I was about to finish Matthew again this morning when I got knocked over by that phrase Jesus said.
It was when Judas came with his posse to betray Jesus. He says "W'sup Rabbi" & then kisses Him to greet Him and also point Him out. Then Jesus said it...
"FRIEND... do what you came to do."

Are you kidding me? FRIEND? Obviously Jesus knew what He was doing there. 1) because... well, He's Jesus & 2) because He straight up says "do what you came to do." so He know Judas is selling Him out.

And He still calls him friend. I couldn't help but think HOW DIFFERENT Jesus' response is compared to His followers' response when people wrong them. how different Jesus' response is from my response when peeps betray me, wrong me, sell me out, etc... I'm usually not calling them friend.
I think it's obvious that we don't follow Jesus in this kind of love because I grabbed a commentary on Matthew that happened to be nearby. It's a famous NT commentary from a famous commentator that most peeps would know if I said his name... He wrote for pages on this passage but NEVER ONCE said anything about how awesomely loving and kind and gracious it was for Jesus to call Judas "friend". He only talked about how those were the last words Judas heard Jesus say and how those words will ring in his ears while he's burning for an eternity in hell. hmmm... shows where we are as Christians I guess if that's our reaction.

but I just say -*What radical grace and love! I've been overwhelmed by it all day. What if I lived this way? What if ALL of us followers of Jesus lived this way? the way Jesus lived... what a novel idea.

Not to mention just across the page Jesus washed Judas' feet the night before he betrayed Him. Wrote a research paper on that one time and was also overwhelmed by Jesus' unconditional love for someone we would want to hate.

So, how can we be more like Jesus? how can we show radical grace & love to people who don't deserve it?

Friday, November 13, 2009

quotes of the week #14 - Catalyst 09 edition

These are my top quotes from Catalyst '09 a few weeks ago in ATL. I already put up my top quotes from Catalyst labs & you can read them HERE. I've also posted some thoughts & takeaways from several of the individual Catalyst '09 sessions that you can read here, here, and here. Now, here are my top quotes from the conference!

"If my life is all about Jesus then my life is all about what life's all about." - Louie Giglio

"Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire." - Thomas Merton (via Louie)

"Momentum is created. It does not randomly occur." - Dave Ramsey

"God won’t say to me 'Why weren’t you more like him?' No, He’ll probably say, 'Why weren’t you more like YOU?'” - Rob Bell

“The medium is the message. How you say something matters more or as much as what you say. What you choose to communicate with will determine what is heard & how my message is understood. - Shane Hipps

“Living to make my mark is too small a thing to give my life to. But to be positioned for God to make His mark through me is worth giving my life to." - Andy Stanley
"My main job as a leader is to help everyone else be the best they can be." - Tony Dungy
“be who you is because if you ain’t who you is, then you is who you ain’t." - Chuck Swindoll

“There are diamonds in the rock of Scripture that we have yet to discover.” - Shane Hipps
"Focused Intensity, over Time, multiplied by God, equals Unstoppable Momentum!" - Dave Ramey

“What man is a man that doesn’t want to make his world better?” – (Orlando Bloom’s character in Kingdom of Heaven via Andy Stanley) 

"Jesus wants to make sure that peeps like me who are proclaiming a gospel of peace & life are actually experiencing the peace & life of Jesus." - Rob Bell

This is probably my SHORTEST "quotes of the week" ever... not because of the number of quotes, but because I didn't really write anything about them OR about the people who said them. That's because I've been writing thoughts on the WHOLE talks they gave & have written about almost all of these individuals (except tony & chucky) extensively.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

$8 hot dog

We're getting ready to kick off Advent Conspiracy in Student Impact this Sunday. You'll be hearing A LOT more about it... just like I wrote a lot about it last year.
One of the founders is this guy Chris Seay. He's the man. And this video is awesome. I remember how it affected me the 1st time I saw it... and I met Chris right after that. He really lives what he's talking about...

what did you think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

wow! be a part of this!

It's no secret I'm a HUGE fan of Compassion International! Crystal and I decided long ago that the last thing we would drop from our budget would be supporting children through Compassion! We can do without pretty much everything before we can drop that!

Maybe that made this moment at Catalyst '09 more powerful for us, but I don't think so. I think you'll agree that it is so powerful to watch! I'll let the footage speak for itself...

even watching it again just now I started choking up and fighting back the tears!

It's so powerful because you can SEE the life that was changed by just a few bucks a month. Why don't you click HERE and sponsor your own child today!? Change a life!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

red notebook '09

The title of this blog is a spoof and tribute to one of my favorite songs as a teenager = Blue Comb '78
It was a song from probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite band as a kid, the amazing and incomparable Five Iron Frenzy. Those guys were sick! (back then... now when I hear them I just have to chuckle a little...) They were kind of like a crazy punk rock band with a lot of ska mixed in and a lot of funny too.

Blue Comb '78 was a song that was a tribute as well as a search for something that was lost. That something which was lost was described as "the last great symbol of my youth." and it was a blue comb "bought with some money from my mom and my dad. Light blue in color, I could never have another comb like that, big and fat..."

The plea of the song, in an utter angst from deep in the soul, was "Tell me, have you seen my comb?!?!?" It's called Blue Comb '78 because 1978 is when Reese Roper lost his prized blue comb as a 5 year old boy "Somewhere on I-70" because of "a sibling lacking coothe". It turns out he never got that exact blue comb back (Although now it "might be brown from lying on the ground") but the band did receive tens of thousands of blue combs in the mail through their career!

This blog is a play off of that song. My plea is very similar. "Tell me, have you seen my notebook!?!?!"

Here's the story as short as I can make it. I have... had... a red notebook. I think it said "NUDGE" on the front... along with some other words smaller like "dance. pray. laugh." or something like that?

I started using it around 2 years ago and it was basically FULL. FULL of all my notes, all my thoughts. If you know me you know that I am a conference/podcast/reading JUNKIE! Learning is my drug/addiction. So, I have had this red notebook with everywhere I go (literally) for the past 2 years. And I had filled it up with all my learnings, thoughts, ideas, takeaways, etc... from podcasts, books on cd/iPod, and conferences!

The most "controversial" use of the notebook is that for 2 years it has been in my car. I have gone through MANY books on my iPod over the last 2 years and I take notes the whole time while I am driving. I perfected it so i didn't really have to take my eyes off the road much and can write pretty neat with the little arm rest/desk set up in my caddy. I have listened to literally over 1,000 podcasts in my car and write notes on them while driving.

There is so much of my brain in that notebook. And recently I LOST IT!!! I have looked for it in every place I can find and no luck. I have turned my house, my car, and all my places of work upside down looking for it... still can't find it.
In the last 2 weeks I have been coming to terms with the reality that it may simply be gone forever. and that hurts. it really hurts. it knocks the breath out of me. It feels like I fell on my back off of a semi- tall ledge. I really get short of breath when I think about all that is lost with that notebook. kind of like a computer crashing and nothing is backed up.

***SO, I am asking all of you HAVE YOU SEEN MY NOTEBOOK?!?!? 
I really hope you have. If you have found it or see it somewhere please let me know! I feel like a reward would definitely be in order for you... both from God and me. : )

[btw - just found out Five Iron Frenzy is coming out with a film this winter! 6 years after their retirement! I'm so stoked. take me back to my high school days... i bet I might have made it on the film because I was front row for at least 3 of their shows!]

drop me a comment to cheer me up or to give me the great news that you've seen it or found it!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

thoughts on what I should do with my time

I can vividly remember reading Rick Warren when I was in college and him saying a phrase that stuck with me. He said something like "God gives you enough time to get everything done He wants you to do." Therefore, if there are things you know God wants you to do that you don't have time to do... you must be doing something else that's not necessary.

That impacted me so much that it has stuck in my head all the time ever since I read it.

I struggle with it too. Like this week for example I have so much on my plate that there is no way I can get it all done. I am consistently (for the past few months) empowering others and getting tons of stuff off my plate. BUT I still can't get it all done.

I feel like I am a pretty good time manager. I don't waste very much of it... if any.
So, I am trying to figure out what I'm doing that is not something God wants me to do? because (if Rick's statement is true) I should have enough time to do everything God wants me to do... and I don't think that's the case right now.

anyone else have this problem?
any thoughts on Rick's quote?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

ridge peeps & a few hundred homeless people...

Wow. What an amazing day.
I am honored and ridiculously pumped to be a part of this movement called Ridge Church. My heart was broken and overjoyed all at the same time today. This morning we were doing what I think Jesus would be up to in Charlotte. We were moving the Kingdom of God forward. We were being "The Church."

Today we pooled a lot of resources and used them to bless "the least of these"... the homeless living on the streets in downtown Charlotte. I must have talked to a dozen felons, drug addicts, and hundreds of broken people... the "outcasts" of society... the ones Jesus brought good news for!

And that's what we wanted to do today = bring them the good news that they are not forgotten! God has not forgotten them and neither have His people... the Church.
We gave away hundreds of winter coats, blankets, winter survival kits, bag lunches, pizza, bottled water, gloves, winter hats, socks, etc... etc...

There was a lot of joy flowing freely today. There always is when the Kingdom breaks through on earth here & now. God was pretty happy...
I'll write way more about this later + put up a lot of pics & probably some video. Awesome start to our "NOW Project"!

Friday, November 6, 2009

New York Yankees - World Series Champions

Congratulations to my boys!

pure joy! celebration! excited like a little kid. That's how I've been feeling since right before midnight on Wednesday.

these last 3 days are all celebration because once again the Yankees are World Series Champions! Champions of the world for the 27th time! Which is absolutely unbelievable and will never be matched.

It brought back so many memories last night - memories from '96-2000 when we owned the major leagues. That was all of high school for me. I got spoiled. My team was the best.

The memories are flooding back. I brought back my old ritual of wearing my Yankees hat to school the next day after we won the World Series. Yesterday I wore it to work all day. (Unfortunately I couldn't carry my large broom around all day like I did for the '98 & '99 World Series sweeps.)

It's a great time to be alive! I'm so nostalgic right now. I'm so happy for the "core 4" = Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, & Andy Pettite. I love those guys!  And even Girardi too because he was our catcher too back in the day. only wish my original fav player - Don Mattingly -  could have hung around as hitting coach to be a part of this!

So, today is the parade in NYC. I wish so bad I could be there! But I'll be watching it on TV at 11am. (Coverage starts at 10am.) I can't think of anything better to be doing on my sabbath. Just chillin' with my wife celebrating the Yankees all day!

Congratulations boys! I am so proud!
And I can already feel the repeat next year!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

are you cursed? (financial advice?)

"Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,

but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses."
 - Proverbs 28:27

dang! just read that this morning for probably the millionth time. Can't get away from it so I figured I would write about it in my journal... and now here on my online journal = the renown blog.

that is pretty intense. Pretty hard core. "give... lack nothing... many curses."

I really want to give a lot to the poor. I want to give all I have in fact. There's no sense in me having a lot when some people have nothing.
I can always give more though... and I want to keep trying to give more & more. But I will agree with God's promise in this verse = "give to the poor & lack nothing." I honestly "lack nothing."

On the other hand... "those who close their eyes to them receive many curses." whoa.
So, basically God's financial advice is this: "Give to the poor and have everything you need. Don't give to the poor and you're screwed."

*But I kept reading that sentence over and over and it's even deeper than that! this phrase grabbed me = "those who close their eyes to them"

It's not just those who don't give... it's those who actually close their eyes to the poor. And I'm like "how in the world could anybody close their eyes to the poor?" Then it hit me that this is for us today. It's an indictment of OUR culture! WE close our eyes to the poor! US. American Christians close our eyes to them all the time.
We walk past the homeless guy and look the other way. We see and hear about children dying in Africa because they don't have clean water and we just go about making our car payments! we're closing our eyes to them!

I don't really know what "many curses" looks like for us? but I'm pretty sure it's not good.

I think our ultimate motives for giving to the poor should be an unquenchable love for God and His fame and bringing His Kingdom on earth. And also loving our poor neighbors like we love ourselves. (something like the 2 greatest commands...)

BUT, even though these should be our ultimate motives, I don't think this is a half bad financial plan either!
GIVE to the poor = lack nothing
Follow the rest of our culture and close your eyes to the poor = many curses.

seems like a no brainer to me.