Saturday, July 30, 2011


I will.
Give up.

no matter how many times I “fail”. I can be bummed for a minute, but then I’ll just keep going. Again and again.

when it comes to this vision God has given me - He's the only one who gets to tell me to stop. nobody else and no other circumstances. even if it looks like it's not working for 20 years...

i'll be pushing this thing forward for the rest of my life.

i'm never giving it up.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


i've been thinking about people who are on the "front lines" of leadership. the people who have their face on their organization and everyone knows who they are. but then there are all the people who SUPPORT those people.
both are vital.

recently i read this story about Charlie Plumb + the guy whose name we don't even know.
Charlie Plumb was shot down in Vietnam and bailed from the plane just in time and parachuted into enemy territory.

Plumb was released as a prisoner of war in 1973.
One day he and his wife, Cathy, were eating in a restaurant where a man came to the table and said, "You're Plumb. You flew jet fighters in Vietnam."

"That's right. I did."

"It was fighter squadron 114 on the Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands. You spent 6 years as a prisoner of war."

The former pilot was taken aback. He looked at the man, trying to identify him, but couldn't. "How in the world did you know that?"

"I packed your parachute."

Plumb was staggered. All he could do was struggle to his feet and shake the man's hand. "I must tell you, I've said a lot of prayers of thanks for your nimble fingers, but i didn't realize I'd have the opportunity of saying thanks in person."

those of you who are support peeps. pack the parachutes. and pack them well. it's crazy important.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

it's over: no more Borders

Borders is done. it's over.

Borders was my favorite store. it was the best bookstore in my opinion because... well, let's see, it was the coolest, most posh, 5 minutes from my house, brilliant & visually pleasing set up that was way better than all the rest, + always had the best selection in store. need more reasons?

pretty much every time i went to the mall the past 5 years i parked at and walked through Borders. the time duration of that walk through directly depended on whether or not my wife was with me.

it's like my 1 thing.
i'm a reading junky.
and Borders was my Mecca. in fact i referred to it as just that.

even driving by the mall and seeing the huge towering Borders made my heart beat faster.

i was thinking just the other day why i like walking through so much? i know i'm not going to buy anything.
why do i love to walk through and look at all the books in all the different sections. i'm sure i could look through them faster on the internet.
i think it's because i love the thrill of actually picking them up and looking at them. holding them in my hands. it's refreshing.

i am so thankful that when i saw on Twitter that Borders was closing we went last Thursday - when Borders was still Borders. i enjoyed it one last time.

because now Borders is already gone. it's dead and no more. That's not Borders that's still open at the corner of Northlake Mall. it has already ceased to be what it once was.
as my wife put it - "it's a hot mess in here."

it sucks. it went from the best, coolest, "poshest" bookstore ever to... a nasty garage sale.
from the UGLY "going out of business" signs all over the windows to the books scattered randomly all about, etc...
people rushing about like scavengers/vultures.

as soon as we pulled up and i saw the ridiculously nasty "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE. EVERYTHING MUST GO!"  signs i commented to my wife about how they had "lost" it. but then she pointed out that there's nothing left to preserve.

wow. i'm sure there are a lot more profound thoughts & illustrations just about that above thought. when an organization loses any fight to preserve what it is. you can see it happen long before they go out of business.
but i guess whether or not they're still truly "in business" at that point is debatable.

so long Borders. or "Farewell" as your president put it in the email. you will be missed. i hope someone else moves in - Walden, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, anybody...
but they won't be as cool as you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rachel and water

watch THIS.

now check THIS.

This beautiful little girl, Rachel had a dream to raise $300 to help 15 people have clean water! and that's awesome. that's a world changing dream for a 9 year old girl. scratch that. that is world changing period. world changing for 15 awesome people that God created.

But Rachel was just short of that goal.
then Rachel was killed tragically in a car accident.

now as i write this, her dream has turned into over $239,000 helping almost 12,000 people have clean water!

Rachel, you're a hero. you're my hero. You're heaping glory and renown on God. you lived a life worth telling stories about.

makes me think of THIS.

Monday, July 25, 2011

people are afraid of change

i plan on changing things.

lots of things actually but let's just start with the world.

i know that may sound crazy and audacious and stupid and naive and idealistic. i say it with humility and dependence though. i'd love to start a movement that changes the world. to change the way people live... on both sides of the spectrum. to change the way the world actually works. to spark a revolution. the kind of revolutionary change that can't be stopped.

i believe it's the reason God has me on this earth. it's the reason i'm taking a breath right now.

and maybe you're with me? maybe you don't think it's so crazy... or maybe it is crazy, but you're as crazy as i am.
either way - we're in the same boat.

here's something for both of us to remember then:
when there is such cataclysmic break from the NORM there will inevitably be backlash.

just count on it. i think Jesus pretty much promised it. look back in history at every world-changing revolution. it's just the way it rolls for change agents. PEOPLE DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

“Dramatic change is perceived as a threat to the status quo, primarily because it is.”  
- Phyllis Tickle

right on to that Phyllis. right on. People don't like change because it feels like such a THREAT  to everyone's status quo way of life! and it feels like that because IT IS!

this world-changing revolutionary vision in my soul is a STRAIGHT UP THREAT to the entire status quo way of living. your vision probably is too.

but our tendency will be to dislike those people, get angry with those people, feel attacked by those people, QUIT because of their attacks, etc... BUT DON'T.

i know i'll struggle with this, but somehow we have to remember = their reaction in and of itself is not a destructive or even a malignant thing. it's just natural. it's just the way it is when change comes and status quo is overturned. it's maybe almost as if they can't even help it? they don't hate you and me, they just can't imagine a world without their current status quo.

you and i can imagine that world though. 

and it's beautiful.

it's worth everything we do to make it happen.
because somebody has to ignite the change.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

red notebook '09

(This is a repost form the depressing day of November 10, 2009. The infamous red notebook has still never been recovered.)

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!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

we want YOUR advice on parenting!

i've been writing lately about the fact that Crystal and i are having a baby soon! we are stoked!

So, that's where YOU come in. i know a lot of you out there are WISE and EXPERIENCED parents & we want YOUR advice!

please just send me 1 piece of advice that you feel is MOST important. (& i'm open to more than 1 piece of advice of course!) i want to hear from you because we (or at least i) don't even know where to begin!
you can leave a comment on this blog or shoot me an email if you would rather. a couple ideas to get you started:

what's the BEST thing you have learned about parenting?

what should we be doing NOW? like what do we do NOW to prepare in the next 16 weeks before the baby comes?

what should we NEVER do?

stuff like that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Andy Stanley coming to Ridge Church

yep, Andy Stanley is coming to Charlotte to hang out with us at Ridge Church. and we are stoked.

But, i'll let Andy tell you about it himself. You can click HERE or watch below to see Andy telling us about his visit.

Ridge Church Night of Worship from Ridge Church on Vimeo.

Andy is the Lead Pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta & we (Ridge Church) are a strategic partner church of North Point.

If you live in the Charlotte area this is a special invitation to you to be there on that Thursday evening - September 15th!

God is doing some crazy stuff at Ridge. i'm constantly thankful for how He is using us for His kingdom. glad to have Andy come chill with us.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Starbucks remodeled my office for me

Starbucks remodeled my office for me. They paid ALL the money. they did all the work. i just showed up and it's beautifully & comfortably remodeled!

i used to come in to my Starbucks "office" a block from my neighborhood and there would only be 1 table to sit at. plus the big "comfy" chairs were just an illusion. they looked really comfy and inviting but they were really the most uncomfortable chairs you've ever sat in. they were worse than a mirage in the desert. after a morning's work in one you felt as though you needed a trip to the chiropractor.

But now they have completely remodeled my office for me. it's really nice of them. Check it out.
There's a posh new tile floor, a giant sweet new pic on the wall, REAL comfy chairs, comfy foot rests even that double as desks, and PLENTY of chairs and tables, etc…

thanks Starbucks, i LOVE my new office. it's so much nicer to work in and my productivity has definitely increased.

i would invite you in for a drink but i'm kind of busy working right now :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

kids are mean

i'm not sure who Joel is, but i saw this pic and thought out loud "sucks to be Joel."

and that sucks that it sucks to be Joel.
i don't know what Joel did or if we might all here the story and even not like Joel ourselves?

but this was written on the chalkboard in the child play area at a Caribou coffee here in Charlotte.
and seeing this really bummed me out.

because kids are REALLY mean.

i remember.

kids were really mean to me. and i was a really mean kid a lot of times too.

but I dream of a world that’s different… where “love wins”. EVEN with children!

i dream of a world where my child doesn't walk into a Caribou and see his/her name written in place of Joel's.
better yet i dream helping our child be a person who shows love and kindness instead of the opposite.

maybe it's possible. children can change.

can adults?
been mean lately?
shown love lately?

written anyone's name on a chalkboard?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

we're having a baby!!! (part 2 and pics)

i was definitely SHOCKED when Crystal showed me the pregnancy test. just straight shock. no other thoughts in my head at that moment even though i'm usually extremely ADD. this announcement had my undivided attention.
and for a few minutes i just felt paralyzing shock.

as the shock wore off i mentioned yesterday that "crazy exited" and "freaked out" sum up the main 2 emotions we're feeling.
But what has truly overwhelmed my heart over the past 23 weeks or so are LOVE and THANKFULNESS.

i can't even believe how much my heart is filled up with love for this baby!

it really does not seem possible.

it's our son or daughter and it's amazing!
wow. i am floored.
i am overwhelmed with love for this child!

i didn't know i possessed the capacity for this kind of love.

when i see ultrasounds of our baby moving around... i can't figure out words to describe what i feel. here's a few pics that have had me in tears:
(whole body)

i'm overwhelmed with love for this amazing person and i haven't even met them yet.
it's funny, because some days it still doesn't seem real.

& nope, we're not finding out the sex :)  it was what Crystal wanted to do, but i think it's pretty fun now. i'm guessing it's a boy, but i'm also wrong a lot.

i have no idea what's going on and what i'm supposed to do so i've read several books already. Crystal and i are reading The Baby Bump together month by month. she's almost 6 months now! that's insane...

The best other books i've read so far have been:
Pregnancy Sucks - For Men
both meant as a sequel to the famous Pregnancy Sucks + a statement... that pregnancy sucks for men.

The Guy's Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the First Year.

30 Things Every Future Dad Should Know about Pregnancy

all were helpful, but HONESTLY (and i pray i'm not jinxing myself...) nothing has been bad at all (for me) so far. Crystal has been amazing. not even a single mood swing i don't think. i hope they don't save it all up for like the last month or something.

gonna be a wild ride.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

we're having a baby!!!

it still seems like some people don't know yet. they're gradually still finding out, so here's 1 more way to go public...

there. in all caps :)

it's wild, i know. i'm still dumbfounded a little bit.  
CRAZY EXCITED and FREAKED OUT still sum up our 2 main emotions... just as they did on that day we found out.

in fact here are a few pics from that day we learned the news ourselves. Crystal made darn sure with the pregnancy tests... 3rd time is a charm i guess.
i was actually on the phone up in my office when she came to talk to me with an extremely serious look on her face. she said "i need you to come downstairs right now." i figured either i was in big trouble or the dog, jack bauer was.

i guess i was kind of in big trouble! but in a good way. here is the 1st couple pics of us after we learned this news that will radically change our lives.
i remember we stopped right there immediately in the middle of the kitchen that night and PRAYED. couldn't think of anything else to do. i remember praying... declaring that we desperately needed God's help. and THANKS for this amazing blessing!

we're trying to pray together for this baby every single night. and we also try to pray for him/her constantly too. we pray that God use this baby for His renown to change the world! we pray that God would keep Crystal and the baby SAFE and healthy.
and we pray for wisdom because we have no idea what we're doing!

thankfully we each had awesome parents who modeled a lot of great things to do in parenting.

let the journey begin.

Monday, July 11, 2011

the beauty of the next morning

i work hard to discover all sorts of things about myself. and i get excited when i figure something out about me that will help me be better.

recently i've discovered that when i'm doing anything creative or anything that requires a lot of thinking... whether it's creating a talk, writing something, getting a project off the ground, etc... there's only so much i can do at 1 time.

i run out of creative juice at some point during a go at 1 particular thing. the amounts of time change but i eventually run out of steam and hit a creative block. every time.

but when i wake up the next morning... it's on again. i can burst forward with a new perspective. i begin seeing things i didn't/couldn't see the day before! it's beautiful.

but then it happens again.

but the beauty of the next morning comes again too.

1 big takeaway from this finding about myself is that i need to allow my self TIME when i'm creating something or working on a project. TIME is the key. and not just a 12 hour day because it (my left brain or right brain or whatever) doesn't work that way. it just doesn't.

i need multiple days. because i need those multiple "next mornings".

depending on the size of the project i may even need multiple weeks to give it my best effort.

i know everyone works differently, but this is what i have discovered about myself. and it's helping me be better.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

it's easy to forget

it's pretty easy to forget things you once knew.

my brother-in-law was home from college one weekend where he had just recently joined a fraternity. as part of being a new frat pledge he had to know the whole Greek alphabet. He recited it for us as fast as he could... probably less than 10 seconds.

He wondered if i could say it faster.

i actually used to be a Greek "expert". in college i had several semesters of Greek. maybe 6 Greek classes or more and 20 something credits in Greek. i think i only needed to take 1 more Greek class and i would have had a minor in it.

all that to say - i knew Greek really really well. i could read it with ease. i even invented some modern Greek slang.

Each semester i had to write a Greek exegesis. About a 50 page Greek paper.

and the Greek alphabet? that was day 1. that was the 1st class and you never looked back. for all the rest of my semesters i never gave the alphabet another thought. Just like when you're writing English research papers in high school... you're not thinking about the alphabet anymore. you know it like the back of your hand.

but just a few weeks ago standing in my kitchen? about 6 years removed from college?
i couldn't even remember the alphabet. 

i had completely forgotten it. go figure. i guess if you don't use it you lose it.
a big fat shame. almost a minor in Greek and my bro-in-low knows more Greek than me after being in a fraternity for a couple weeks.

maybe i should pull one of my old Greek books off the shelf and dust it off a little.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

rather than

“The degree to which you are concerned for the common good, rather than for your own good, is the criterion by which you can judge how much progress you have made."
– Augustine

concerned for the common good RATHER THAN my own good.

that feels so not intuitive or natural or what we want to do.

it feels that way because... that's just the way it is.

and i guess "progress" is going against the grain. moving away from human nature and cultural norms that we are held down in and expected to operate with.

actually, i can't even remember where i read this quote. i can't remember where or when i wrote it down. i don't know the context Augustine wrote it in or specifically what he was even talking about.

i hate when people rip quotes out of context and bend them to say whatever, so i will say no more about it.

but go back and read it again.
feel the weight of that.
those words should stir something in your soul.
i hope it changes you.

those words are changing me.

maybe they can change the world too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I hate all your show

Below is just a chunk of Isaiah 1... God talking to His people saying:

“The multitude of your sacrifices—
   what are they to me?” says the LORD.
I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
   of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
   in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
   Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
   I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
   I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
   I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands in prayer,
   I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
   I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;
 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
   out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,
 learn to do right!
Seek justice,
   encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
   plead the case of the widow."

wow, that's pretty hard core.
is it possible that God could feel this way about us?

here's Jon Foreman's updated take on that passage from his song "Instead of a Show":

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 stomp on 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

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, all
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
I hate all your show

sometimes i think it's possible that we're kidding ourselves. singing our songs but closing our eyes to the more important things God cares about.

just a reality check.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fiction has to make sense. Truth does not.

The International is actually a really good movie that came out a few years ago. and even if you don't like that kind of movie, Clive Owen happens to be the epitome of "cool" with that accent and chill composure and all. he's like a british Jack Bauer on Valium.

but that's not the point of today's post. there's a great moment in the movie when one of the OLD communist Generals with the IBBC says: 
“Fiction has to make sense. Truth does not.”

He was pointing out the problem with lying and how hard it is to make fiction work... but truth... well that's easy. it's not hard to tell the truth. BUT it doesn't have to make sense.

that is true BIG TIME.

the Truth feels NO PRESSURE WHATSOEVER to make sense.

but we feel that pressure. we want the truth to make sense!

but i am becoming more and more comfortable with the fact that the truth often isn't made to make sense.
leave that to J.K. Rowling and Stephen King and all the awesome fiction writers of the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

success! (part 2)

ever read a book and been overwhelmed with the feeling that the author is talking directly to you? i've mentioned before that this is how it is for me with Visioneering by Andy Stanley. i don't know how to explain it other than that it's like he's having a 1 on 1 conversation with me. i don't think he would say anything differently to me if he were a very close personal friend and sitting down at a coffee shop with me giving me advice.

A couple weeks ago the words spoken to me from this book were so powerful and dead on for me that i was totally overwhelmed.

i talked about it a little bit yesterday in my preamble to success & i'm continuing it below.

i'm in this "waiting" stage - but i feel very unsuccessful in this "waiting" stage. yes, i'm praying and planning like crazy... but it feels like i've been rolling that ball up the hill for too long now.

this praying and planning stage is so difficult for me (and everyone probably) because i get confused about what success actually is!
Andy reminds me:
“There is a tendency to confuse success with the rewards of success. If I am where God wants me, fulfilling the responsibilities He has given me, I am successful.”  
*this is HUGE for me right now!

Andy's Definition of Success = “Success is remaining faithful to the process God has laid out for me.” (“Success is not the raise, the promotion, recognition, Christian home, or wonderful children. Those are simply enjoyable mile markers along the way.) Success is staying faithful to the process that contributed to those things becoming a reality.”

*So, most successful peeps are successful long before they see the fruits of their success. make sense?

success isn't about "the moment" when the vision hits it big. it's about all the tiny little moments along the way that build to "the moment". it's about all these moments where i just keep plodding along. continuing to pray and plan. rolling the ball forward.

Andy puts it another way = You are as successful now as you will be the day you see your vision materialize.” 
WOW*** That’s freakin’ sweet! and the timing of me working through this stuff again is impeccable. as if God was behind me being able to hear this somehow...

“Confusing success with the rewards of success is one of the primary reasons people abandon their dreams.” – whoa! This is big to remember! i cannot imagine me abandoning this vision. i wouldn't know what else to do. BUT i'm not naive. i'll work hard from now on to NOT confuse success with the rewards of success.

“Waiting time is not wasted time for anyone in whom God has placed a vision… He is the master strategist.”

this sentence brought me to tears. because that is the name i need to give to God in faith right now. He is the Master Strategist. even though i can't see it He's up to something.

my praying/planning/waiting time is not wasted... He's prepping me and everything else that needs to happen to make this vision go off. He's gonna make it happen.

it's His vision anyway. what am i so worried about?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

preamble to success

i've been working hard these past couple months trying to practically map out the vision God has for my life and put flesh on it. harder work than it sounds like.

when you have a RIDONCULOUS sized vision (to spark a Jesus-revolution in Africa) it's easy to feel OVERWHELMED by it. i'm finding out that this is normal. normal for me anyway. it often feels like it's taking forever and that there's not a whole lot i can do right now.
Or that things aren't quite progressing as quickly as i dreamed they would... or hoped they would... or expected they would.

And i guess the biggest tension is that i often start to think that God isn't doing things quite right. i say out loud to Him - "You put this vision in my soul... now what are You doing about it?" [and He likes to say back - "what are you doing about it?"]

so i am doing what i can do right now in this "waiting" stage. being faithful. praying. praying for favor and opportunity. every day.
and planning. planning as if i had all the resources i needed.
Still... many days it feels like "time's a wastin". OR it all just feels too overwhelmingly big... like it's never going to happen. Really, God? are You still gonna do this?

but i constantly have to remind myself that these next words are very true, so DON'T GIVE UP PATRICK, no matter how much it feels like i'm just sitting around waiting:
“I don’t know what God is up to behind the scenes of my life. I don’t know how close I am to a breakthrough. It is no accident I am where I am.”             (Andy Stanley)

in my waiting and praying and planning...behind the scenes...

& that is encouraging to me beyond what anyone else can realize. i don't know what He's up to. it's definitely no accident i am where i am. i embrace that. i believe it.

i'm COUNTING on that.

Monday, July 4, 2011


my guess is that today (happy 4th of July, btw) many people will be raising a glass and declaring "Cheers" to a friend or 2.

have you ever wondered WHY we do that? where did that custom come from?
if so, then read on... or if you've never wondered, but now i've got you curious... just keep reading.

i heard the explanation from my friend Andrew. Andrew is pictured below on the far right of the pic below and his sweet wife Catherine is on my right in the pic. (Andrew Guuru is the Kenya Director for 410 Bridge and i'm privileged to call him my friend.)

Crystal and i got to know Andrew in Kenya working with Karima which is a community he works directly with. This pic was actually in his home near Karima.

Then a couple weeks later Crystal and i were living in the Havilla Children's Home a couple hours away and Andrew came to visit us twice! it was definitely awesome to see a familiar face. even though we had just met Andrew a few weeks earlier, it felt like we had known him a lot longer.

Andrew came over and we played soccer with a lot of the boys at the children's home... but of course we had tea together 1st... as Kenyans always do during a visit.

i think i must have said "cheers" or something like that or we maybe bumped glasses? Andrew asked if i knew where that custom came from... so here's the story.

when someone came over for a visit and their friend served them something to drink there was always a suspicion that their drink could be poisoned in order to kill their "friend". \
not cool.

Apparently this happened a lot, so to keep the host honest the guest would always clang his glass to the glass of his host so that some of his beverage sloshed out into the glass of his host. if the host drank then the guest figured his drink was not poisoned and he could trust his friend.

but then the custom began among GOOD friends who wanted to display trust. if i came to your house and TRUSTED you 100% then i would gently bump my glass to yours NOT letting any slosh into your glass and simply say "CHEERS" showing my absolute trust for you, my friend. trusting that you didn't poison my drink and i'll drink up without any worries.

so, Andrew and i bumped our glasses that day--careful not to let any slosh out into each other's glass--and said "Cheers".

i hope we get to do that again one day. i'm sure we probably will.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

5 pieces of great advice

i respect Rick Warren like crazy. i've learned a lot from him and he has an awesome heart. he loves and believes in guys like me, so he's always trying to give "us" great advice. he's very public that he's pouring the rest of his life into the leaders of the next generation. we are thankful.

When a guy like Rick gives specific advice to a guy like me... i try to listen and take it very seriously.

before we get to the 5 pieces of advice i wrote down, i'll start with a somewhat funny honorable mention anecdote he gave that could be some good advice for me and everyone else.
Rick said that he had a “worry can” at the front door and dropped all his crap in there so he wouldn’t take it home to his family. like anything he was worried about he just left it out there and then enjoyed life with his fam. kind of corny, but probably a great idea.

*now, to the 5 pieces of advice:

1            Forget “Time management” & go with “energy management”. We all have the same amount of time but our energy works and comes and goes differently…
[i'm working on this by reading the seminal book on energy management this year.]

2            never stop learning -> learn from everybody! “The person who can’t learn from somebody has an ego problem.” “This may save me years of sideways energy. There’s no point in not learning everything I can from people.”

3            never compare myself -> I can get down OR full of pride. Dangerous. I was never called to compare myself to anybody else. 
I always find peeps who are better to discourage me & always find peeps worse to fill me with pride.

4            Divert daily (know what reenergizes me), withdraw weekly (Sabbath), abandon annually (go away and don’t take my laptop/cell phone with me).

5            never give up

Thanks so much for the great advice, Rick. i'm trying my best to take it to heart.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

quotes of the week #43

best quotes of the week:
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

“For me, it became hard to read the Bible and walk away as if I had just watched a nice movie. Jesus never seemed to do anything normal.” – Shane Claiborne

“If I diminish you, I diminish myself.” – Desmond Tutu

“He who thinks he leads but has no followers, is only taking a walk.” – John Maxwell

[unfortunately,] “the system works for those with the power and influence to change the system.” [so] “they can’t hear the cry.” – Rob Bell

“It is not easy to challenge the reigning plausibility structure. It is much easier to conform.” – Lesslie Newbigin

“It was the most religious who seemed to get the secret message of Jesus the least, and the least religious who seemed to get it the most.” – Brian McLaren

“Everybody should see kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in your warm greeting.” – Mother Teresa

“The hope offered to believers is not that we will be a peculiar elite group of people who will escape out of the world, leaving others behind to experience the wrath of God. The hope is rather that by our sacrificial participation in the ever-expanding kingdom, the whole creation will be redeemed.” – Greg Boyd

“If there’s a legitimate indictment of the Church today, it’s that we’re subcultural rather than countercultural.” – Jay Howard

“‘Theology’ and ‘science’ never exist in such a generalized, abstract sense, but always only in quite specific social, historical, and intellectual contexts.” – J. Wentzel van Huyssteen