Thursday, September 29, 2011

what's your outlet?

(This was originally posted on May 17, 2010.)

what is your outlet?
you know, what you do to blow off steam and forget all your cares? 

that thing you do that you just lose yourself in. 

that thing that when you're doing it you can forget everything else - all your frustrations and cares and just get away from it all. almost to another world.

i heard some pastors talking about this over the weekend. their outlet was running marathons and that kind of crap and i was just like "you're crazy." but it was a good reminder to me that we all need our own outlets. something that works for each of us.

usually when i'm so frustrated or bummed or life is so crazy that i just need to "get away"... i can get away with just me and God. maybe just to a quiet room, to my porch swing, to some beautiful spot... and i can just pour my heart out to Him! it's beautiful. it's amazing. i can "cast all my cares on Him."

that's also what a good date night is for sometimes. i have an amazing wife. she lets me dump all my frustrations on her and she listens and comforts me and attempts to cheer me back up.

but neither one of those are really an "outlet". they are people. (which are probably better long term solutions.)
Sometimes nothing is really "wrong", we just need to blow off some steam. just get away from it all - to an outlet.

For me it's definitely soccer. as a kid and even a high schooler (and beyond) soccer was my "god". Not so much after i lost both my knees (cartilage). but i definitely still love the game. can't play it very well anymore but i love to play it so much. i can still lose myself in a soccer game. it's a beautiful thing. i get wrapped up in every facet of the game and lose myself in it.

So, i'm thankful to recognize it as a healthy outlet for me. i'm heading to my soccer game tonight in about 10 minutes. great timing too because i really need to blow off some steam and take out some frustrations. (i'm thankful i can do this instead of beating my dog... jk)

whoever woulda thought soccer can be so spiritual? but so can fishing or hunting or video games or reading or even running... or whatever your outlet is.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

an observation

Crystal and i were in a child birthing class the past 2 weeks. about 30 people in my class and here was my observation that will blow your mind:

There were NO non-pregnant people in the child birth class.
Out of 30 people in this class, every single one of them were pregnant. (of course there were husbands there... but only husbands of pregnant ladies.)

i warned you that this observation would blow your mind, right?

OF COURSE there were no non-pregnant people in the class. that would be kind of weird. why would they take a child birthing class? That's not a class you take just to go ahead and be prepared BEFORE you get pregnant.

2 years ago... or even 1 year ago... or even 7 months ago if someone tried to get me to go to a child birthing class i would have looked at them like they were crazy!
but now... when we're pregnant - SIGN ME UP because i want to know this stuff.

it's all about timing. people don't take a child birthing class before they're pregnant because they don't need to know this stuff until they're about to have a baby.

this is the same observation my pastor has pointed out to me many times. it goes something like this. "People only learn on a need to know basis." they only pay attention and really want to know when the timing necessitates it.

like being pregnant necessitates some new knowledge... but i would have never paid attention to that before.

it's that way in all of life. people don't really feel like they need to know until they NEED to know.

so what could we do about that? how could we capture their attention before they feel like they need to know? 
when it comes to making some of the message of Jesus appear relevant (because it already is relevant) at certain times to people = is it kind of like trying to sell a birthing class to non-pregnant people?

and how can we sync the right people at the right time with what they need to know when they feel like they need to know it?

or maybe we just keep giving them the message and they'll come back to us when they feel like they NEED it. we can't predict the timing so we just set up systems to constantly give the message... so they know where to go looking when they feel like they need it.

i knew where to sign up for a birthing class.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

something that's always true of you

you are loved.

no matter who you are. no matter where you live or what language you speak.

no matter what you've done or haven't done.

you are loved by God no matter what.

just because you're His kid.

just because.

Monday, September 26, 2011

when it was all gravy

"it's all gravy".

you know what i mean by that, right? when it's all "extra". when you got what you expected (potatoes) but then there's something extra on top of that expectation (the gravy).

it happens in life a LOT and i love it. i love the gravy.
for me the phrase is very similar to "Playing with house money."

just have fun & enjoy it because it's all extra anyway. it's above expectations. like when an underdog comes through. you didn't even expect them to be in the game, but they actually did well? wow. that was all gravy. OR the freshman kid who starts on Varsity = everything he does is all gravy.

when there are no expectations with people there are great opportunities for gravy. no expectations for that person to perform, but then they actually do... well, that was all gravy.

*I wish I could go back to 16 or 18 or 21 or even 24 and know what I know now… 

i wish i could go back to stages of my life when it was ALL GRAVY. because those were the days and i don't think i even realized it.
nobody really expected much from me because i was young. so if i did anything halfway decent it was like, "whoa". (spelled "a-l-l  g-r-a-v-y")

i've thought about it a few times. if i could just go back with what i know now... with the awareness of what i've figured out... with the little experience i've gained... that would be awesome. i could really pile on the gravy.

i've been reading a book this year (and a lot over the weekend) called The Pocket Guide to Adulthood: 29 Things to Know Before You Hit 30
reading it has prompted me to think about this a little more. because, in your 20s, in a lot of ways, there's still a lot of gravy to be had. but (from my perspective) not so much once you hit 30.
& this realization hit me - "dude, you're 28. 30 is hunting you down. forget the gravy. where's the actual potatoes? it's not all extra anymore. you just gotta bring it from now on. what have you been waiting on?"
i know it was this kind of thinking that contributed to my 4 month "mid life crisis" at the end of last year. so, i'm not dwelling on it. i'm not bummed by it. i'm just motivating myself with it. because i want to look back at 38 and see something drastically different than looking back at 28.

but still. "if only" i could go back in time... know what i know now... do it over... could be some serious gravy

but I can’t know what I know now without living these years/experiences. 
I guess that’s the whole point.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

an old talk that still affects me

(This is a repost from October 13, 2009.)
One of my favorite leaders and communicators is Rob Bell. I think he's the man. Me and Crystal even went to Mars Hill up in Grand Rapids ("the epicentre of progressive culture" as Rob would say) a few years ago to check out what God was doing there.

You've no doubt seen or at least heard of Rob's Noomas. I think they're brilliant and think more and more people should be exposed to them. He's releasing some revolutionary new "noomaesque" stuff that will be totally free soon. More on that in another post.
I've got all his books and love them. You may have read one - Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, or the most recent Drops Like Stars... which is also the tour Rob is currently on (came through Charlotte just 4 days ago!). (You can buy his books HERE.)
He had a talk prepared that I had actually listened to a couple weeks ago = "The Importance of Beginning in the Beginning." But he scrapped it at the last second feeling a leading to talk about something else. Something from his soul he had never talked about before in public.

Anyway, nuff said for the intro.
He started off his talk with the Q = Is bigger better? Of course we would mentally say “no,” but there’s something deeper that makes us feel differently. (We talked through some of John 6:22-66.)

"That’s not why we do things – because they’re popular. We do them because God’s doing them." Right on!

And I absolutely LOVED this = God won’t say to me “Why weren’t you more like him.” No, He’ll prolly say = “Why weren’t you more like YOU?” We all need to hear that and believe it!
He told us about a take on the 10 commandments that I guess is actually pretty old. It's what the Rabbis used to say... The 1st 9 of the 10 are externally measurable. But the last is different. *The Rabbis say the 1st 9 are commands, but the 10th is a REWARD. If I obey God (the 1st 9) then I won’t want anybody else’s life! (I won't covet.) It’s a reward. My life is just fine. I was fascinated by this thought. I'm not saying I buy into something like that the 1st time I hear it, but that's a pretty good take on it. I think it makes perfect sense.

This was a great and deeply internal searching for me = "Is there ever a deep, residing anxiety in me that I haven’t accomplished enough?" My answer would have to be Absolutely. God wants to set me free from that. Don’t let what I’m building and doing become a burdern/stress on me.
A subset of that question was "Is there any way I’ve been stressed about size?" 

I was struck by this comment Rob made = "There’s a difference in me walking a hard road and carrying a stress-inducing burden. Jesus may give us a hard road, but not a stressful burden…" I thought that was REALLY interesting considering how many pastors and leaders are probably stressed out right now! I think there's a thin line between the 2, but an important one not to cross. What I'm following God to do right now is hard, no doubt, but it shouldn't be constantly stressful for me.
That was the theme throughout the talk.

*Jesus wants to set me free to enjoy the work I’m in right now. And that is very freeing. He kept nailing it with these awesome questions he kept asking me...
"Is there anywhere or any way that I’ve neglected to take care of myself because I think I’m supposed to be going all the time?" [I’m think I’m getting better and better and figuring this out.]
Does my spouse get my very best? Or does she get what’s left over after I’ve given it all to the church. My spouse will be there the whole journey. Better keep my priorities straight.

*"Jesus wants to make sure that peeps like me who are proclaiming a gospel of peace and life are actually experiencing the peace and life of Jesus." profound.
I think it was awesome for many to hear him say "Let them have their more and you just do what God's put in front of you. Be free from the big… that’s good news."

It was an awesome talk! Definitely in my top 2 or 3 of the conference. (And awesome enough for Matt Chandler to say a couple times how good it was. Wonder what his big bro Driscoll would think of that?)
It was all great stuff for me to hear (and I'm guessing for thousands of others too). Thanks for sharing, Rob, and letting this be the first place you talked about it in public. We needed it!

What do YOU think of Rob's stuff?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

for pastors tomorrow

i was struck by a comment my friend Jared left on one of my posts earlier this week. the post was about humility & part of Jared's comment said...

If many pastors were honest the prayer at the end of the sermon would sound more like this:
"Dear God,
That rocked just now.  That must have been one of the best sermons I've taught in a while.  I mean, even I was a little surprised by how well that went. Thanks for making me so awesome and for everyone getting to hear that.
In my name I pray,
The Pastor" 

whoa. i think that's a great comment to read on a Saturday night. may it be very different tomorrow morning all over the world.
we must be desperately humble. we are nothing without God's power. 
i get to speak a couple times tomorrow in a couple different environments. it will suck big time without God.
so, i just hope i can get out the way and let Him do whatever He wants to do.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

no coke for half a life

When i was 14 years old i drank Coke every day. i drank Coke and Pepsi and Sunkist and Sprite and on and on and on...
all day long every day.

at every meal and in between every meal i drank sodas. loved them. never dreamed i would ever stop.

When i was 14 my whole soccer team decided to not drink any soda for 30 days. just during some big tournaments that were coming up.

i did actually feel amazing for 30 days. i felt free... like weights were lifted off.

but i couldn't wait to have a Coke when the 30 days were up. i could almost taste it.

on the 31st day i poured myself a BIG glass of Coke. Watched the fizz bubble up & then go back down. filled it up again to almost overflowing...

and then...

i took a big...





and it was...


it tasted horrible. i hated it. i think i forced myself to drink it and i felt awful the rest of the day. i felt like something was burning my insides. i burped all day long. that was not cool.

i tried for a few more days to like Coke again. or any soda. but i just didn't like it.

i had formed a habit - not drinking soda. i didn't like it anymore. and i felt amazing. i felt like i could run like the wind.

so i just went with it.

and now it's 14 years later. i'm 28. and i haven't had a soda for 14 years.

half my life.

for half my life - 14 years -  i drank sodas every single day. then i took 30 days to form a new habit. and now i haven't had another soda for these past 14 years.

habits are formed in 30 days or less. that's pretty crazy. and they could be STRONG habits that affect the rest of your life.

so what kind of habit could/should you form over the next 30 days?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

you can change the world without cartilage

this is a BRAND new perspective for me & it's changing everything. i hope it will for you too.

All of us have circumstances that suck. things that happen that aren't fun and we WISH they didn't exist. There is a broad spectrum of these things = from things out of our control to the bad decisions we have made that create crappy circumstances in our lives. ALL of them we wish we were rid of.
We all have people in our lives we wish we didn't have to deal with. we cringe when we see them coming. There is a broad spectrum of these people too = from people who have wronged us in the past to people who are straight up jerks to us to people who just simply annoy us.

think about those specific people and circumstances for YOU right now. what are they and who are they? walk away from this blog to the other side of the room for 1 minute to make sure you have this in mind then come back...

(are you a little bit riled up or stressed out now? sorry about that.)

i'm thankful for a lot of stuff and a lot of people. i think of myself as a pretty thankful person. but it seems ludicrous, backwards, and opposite to be thankful for the crappy things and the people who are crappy to me.

but this is the brand new perspective for me. Because humility is THE most IMPORTANT thing... because it's a pretty big deal, & because it's a must for changing the world... then i want it no matter what.

& as i look back on my life - the humility i have learned has mainly come from crappy circumstances and people who were crappy to me. hasn't it been the same for you? isn't that how you learn humility?

so here's my new perspective from the old school writing (all from different chapters) of Andrew Murray:

"But let us not be discouraged [when these crappy things come]. Let us look upon every person who tries or vexes us, as God's means of GRACE, God's instrument for our purification, for our exercise of the humility Jesus our Life breathes within us."

"Accept with GRATITUDE everything that God allows from within or without, from friend or enemy, in nature or in grace, to remind you of your need of humbling, and to help you to it."

"Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-men as a help to abide humble before God."

that's hard to do. it feels very opposite of what i want to do. but, if humility is what i want most then i should be REALLY thankful for the "awesome" ways it is produced in me.
so thank you to all the circumstances and people that teach me humility. I see them as GIFTS... as "means of grace". i am genuinely excited about the man they are helping me become.

i'm confident that the reason there is no cartilage in my knees today is so that i could learn some humility. i can look back and see that losing the meniscus in my right and left knee was a crappy circumstance that would shred some pride out of my life... make me a little more humble.
it's very hard to be prideful about an ability that you no longer have. if you were prideful because you were an amazing singer and you suddenly had no more voice... it would be pretty hard to be prideful about the voice you don't have.
as many times as i've been bummed about having bum knees and all the limitations and pains... i look at that crappy circumstance with Gratitude. i want humility more than "menisci".

we should be thankful because without this humility we can't change the world. You can change the world without cartilage, but not without humility.

“Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted, -- until such a humility be what we seek in Christ, above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.” 
(Andrew Murray, over 100 years ago)

*Mr. Murray, i wish you were here these days... we need a revolution of your words, ideas, and passion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

that's dangerous (but i don't care)

i think the world can change. i think it should & it's supposed to. i think it's gonna. no doubt about that.
i would rather see it happen sooner than later.

i want my life to be about changing the world. i want to spend every day bringing the world-changing revolution. when i'm dead i want to look back on a life spent trying to change the world.

but i fully realize that is going to involve some dangerous stuff. dangerous on many levels.

a lot of things may be dangerous that we don't normally think of as dangerous OR they're not things i would have thought necessary in order to change the world.

like humility, for example. i've been writing about it a lot lately and i probably will be for a while.
humility isn't something that usually makes the top of the list when you are compiling necessities for changing the world.

but it is necessary.

without it there will be no world-changing revolution. not through us anyway. i'm convinced that humility is every bit as necessary (and even more necessary) than audacity to change the world. both have to be there. (i've already written on the uber importance of humility HERE, HERE and HERE.)

so, if that's the case then i want humility more than anything. because i want to see God's love and renown change the world more than anything.
so, i PRAY that whatever the cost God would help me be full of humility. MAKE ME HUMBLE. Shred pride from my life... every hint of it... until there is only humility left. DO whatever it takes to make that happen! because, 
unless it does = i will never be fully satisfied/overjoyed and i'll never be used like i could be to change the world.

but this is a freaking dangerous prayer and desire.

i fully realize that. and yeah, it's kind of the joke in some Christian churches - "don't pray for humility, or God might give it to you..." as in - God may have to BREAK you to humble you. so we think to ourselves - "don't pray for humility because the humbling process is... well, HUMBLING." (spelled P-A-I-N-F-U-L)
so, this is legit. if i want to be fully, 100% humble i know it's going to hurt.

but i don't care. and i don't mean that in a cavalier way at all. i'm a little scared. 
but i don't care as in i care MORE about being a humble man that it is worth the hurt and pain and humbling process that it will take to get there.

so, what if we all pray the "danger prayer"? what if we all went through whatever it took to be humble? what if we were just a whole bunch of broken, humble, audacious people?

i guess we might just change the world.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

happy birthday Ridge!

it's hard to believe... another birthday for Ridge!

i can still remember the very 1st Sunday morning we ever met 3 years ago. it was exciting.
there was a buzz.

This morning was our 3rd birthday of meeting on Sunday mornings. 3 years... it's wild to think that it's been that long!

it's our 4th birthday overall as a church. and i can vividly remember that 1st ever Sunday night we met. there was a crazy buzz that night.
we started loading in at like 10am and got home around midnight. i'm nostalgic, but i don't miss those 14 hour days at all.

and it's crazy to think that very soon we'll be moving to our own permanent facility. it will be our very own. no load in or load out. we do what we want with it.
what a thought.
it hasn't really even sunk in yet.

the big deal... the main point of all this -- is that the last 3 & 4 years have been absolutely amazing. God has done some incredible stuff. He has changed so many lives in big ways. we've been able to bless our city and the world.

it's been an awesome 3 & 4 years, but i know the next 3-4 will be incredible and put the past to shame.
no doubt the best is yet to come.

stay low. go hard. we on a mission.

Friday, September 16, 2011

...on writing

I love to write.

But, let me be clear, I like to write when I like to write.

The trouble is, that if you want to be a writer, you have to write when you don’t feel like writing or else you don’t get to write when you do feel like writing.

(because if you're inconsistent, you don’t have a platform left to stand on for peeps to read when you want to write. *not that i necessarily want to be a writer by any stretch of the imagination.)

so, here's to this practice & discipline of writing when i love to write & writing even when i don't feel like it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

it's a pretty big deal

it's a big deal because...
“Without this there can be no true abiding in God’s presence, or experience of His favor and the power of His Spirit; without this no abiding faith, or love or joy or strength.” 
humility is what i'm talking about, by the way. still on this humility journey and will be for quite a while.

so, Andrew Murray says that without humility there is no - experiencing God's presence or favor or power of His Spirit or faith or love or joy or strength.
well, that's a pretty sucky life without all those things. (i'll write more about this later but that's why i'm saying crazy things to God like - "do whatever it takes to make me humble." i can't see any other way to happiness.)

AND humility is a pretty big deal because: 
“the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.” 

wow. that's a pretty big statement, Mr Murray. and if you're right, then how do we get/have humility? what do we do? what even is it?

“it is simply the sense of entire nothingness, which comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we make way for God to be all.

those are the greatest words on humility i've ever heard. it's this yin & yang. us and God. we need to simply see ourselves like we really, truly are = NOTHING. and see God... even a glimpse... of Who He really, truly is - ALL.

boom. done deal. we'll never be the same. no room for pride then. pride is ludicrous. humility is the only thing for sane people at that point.
“humility is simply acknowledging the truth of my position as creature, and yielding to God His place.”

And just to remind us how big of a deal humility actually is (like we talked about in the previous post - "the most important thing")...
“Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all.”

anybody starting to see how crazy important this is?
i'm desperate to be humble and kick pride out. i wanna do whatever it takes.

but somehow - we, our culture, the Church, etc... talk and think about it so very very little.

maybe we just need to be reminded that it's a pretty big deal.

Monday, September 12, 2011

humility - the most important thing

(i set up these Humility thoughts HERE but just now getting a chance to actually blog about it.)
just trying to think through (by writing) the ideas about humility that are rocking my world right now.

Andrew Murray sets it all up by saying that "nothing is more natural and beautiful and blessed than to be NOTHING, that God may be ALL."
and that's a great summary of this whole idea of humility. nothing and all. that's the essence. me becoming nothing. literally humbling myself, emptying myself, to the point that i am 100% dependent on God... which lets Him be the ALL that He already is.
if there is still something of me in me... God cannot possibly be ALL in me. that's a tough thing to humble myself to the point that i empty me of me. rid myself of every trace of pride. (is it even possible? but i think that's the only way for God to be ALL and truly do His thing.)
the main idea Murray threw at me is that HUMILITY is the MOST IMPORTANT thing. and at 1st i think "no way." no way that's the most important thing in my life.
but i think i'm buying into that idea.

this is all i've been thinking about the last couple weeks. and you don't normally think of something like humility as being revolutionary... but it IS. i promise. it's a radical thing.
to us it feels like a thing of the past... it doesn't seem sexy or like it allows for our swagger so we throw it out.
but i'm with Andrew... it's maybe the most important thing:
"Our chief care, our highest [good], our only happiness, now and through all eternity, is to present ourselves an empty vessel, in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness."

& humility is the place of ENTIRE dependence on God. it' s a great place to be. but i think we have to think of it as our 1st order of business... the most important thing we can be in our day, because it's the ROOT of everything else we can do for God's glory.

Murray says humility is "the ROOT of every virtue... and so pride, or the loss of humility, is the root of every sin and evil." + "evil can have no beginning but from pride, and no end but from humility."
WOW. those are BIG time words! he's not messing around.

i was way wrong when i picked up this dusty old book that used to sit on my grandmother's shelf. it looks so old and boring. i just thought it would be nice to read what some old guy said 100 years ago. i thought it wouldn't be all that relevant. maybe it would be a little pious. certainly not revolutionary.

but tell me that this doesn't rock your world:
"The truth is this: Pride must die in you, or nothing of [the Kingdom] can live in you."

"Could you see what every stirring of pride does to your soul, you would BEG of everything you meet to tear the viper from you, though with loss of a hand or an eye."

whoa. maybe you can get a sense of why this Andrew Murray guy is jacking me up. really wrestling hard with this humility thing. because i can see how revolutionary and ALL-ENCOMPASSING/ ALL-IMPORTANT it is.

is it really the most important thing? i guess if without it, God can truly not be ALL and get His glory... if the lack of it leads to every sin... if it is the root of every good God does through us... then yeah, it must be the most important thing.

even more mind-blowing stuff to come. lots more.
(just trying to process)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

humility (a start)


not something any of us talk about that much.

it's not really a pop culture subject. or even a "pop church" subject. i haven't seen many books written about humility lately (although i did read & write about this one HERE and HERE a couple years ago.)

in fact, God used that above book to mess me up when it comes to pride and humility. God used the words in that book to point out the pride in my life. it produced a passion in me to desperately want to get all pride out of my life. i want nothing to do with it. i just want to be a humble guy.
but that's really easier said than done. we're all more prideful than we think. it's a sneaky thing, pride.

and as i've hopefully made strides over the last few years i constantly find that the more and more humble i hopefully become the more and more pride is uncovered in my life. it's like the more prideful we are the less of our pride we can even see. As we become more and more humble we see our pride more and more.
i hope there can maybe be an end to it.

since about 2006, i've made it a life long goal of mine to chase after humility as passionately as i can.

so, when i came across this book, Humility, that used to sit on my late grandmother's shelf, i picked it up. it made the final cut for my 2011 reading list and i just cracked it open last week at the beginning of our vacation.

and it has been rocking my world since page 1.

it's written by a guy named Andrew Murray (not the tennis player). i knew he was an "old" guy. i knew he was going to be one of my "dead mentors". i think i even quoted him during a sermon i did way back in college.

But that's about all i knew about him. turns out most of his ministry was in the 1800s (& trickled into the early 1900s). he was born in South Africa and lived pretty much his whole life there. and he wrote a ton of books and influenced a ton of people and had a hand in several influential movements. and check his sweet beard.

*One of the coolest parts for me is that is was my grandmother's book. she was an awesome woman who loved Jesus as long as i knew her. that was obvious. she died when i was 12, but i spent several summers at her house, so i knew her pretty well. never as an adult or even a teenager though.

When i opened up her book to read it a really old paper fell out. it was a (typewriter) typed paper she had put together to lead a Bible study at her church on humility. it was dated January 12, 1982.
pretty crazy. pretty awesome. like a window into the past. i wasn't born yet. i wasn't even thought of yet i guess. my grandmother wasn't even a grandmother yet.

and as i read this amazing book that has changed my life... i got to see all the stuff that my grandmother underlined and highlighted. i got to see the stuff that jumped out at her and influenced her life.
it's been like reading this book together with my grandmother.

and the book is pretty radical. it's revolutionary. i didn't know people said this kind of stuff back then.

i want to write more and more about this book in the coming days, but i'll sum it up by saying this: Murray basically says that Humility is the CHIEF thing. The chief mark of a true disciple. It’s foundational to all the other virtues.


Monday, September 5, 2011

dead mentors

about 4-5 years ago i was challenged + challenged myself to read a healthy and steady diet of dead guys.
the thing i reminded myself over and over until it became a part of me was
"i need some dead mentors."

there's just too much great stuff out there written by peeps who have been dead for 50 years or 500 years to only read the stuff that's being published this year. i vowed to keep a steady influx of both the current & the long gone in my reading list.

at one point i had some kind of quota or minimum for reading dead guys, but now i've had a lot of dead mentors. i see the value in good ones and i gladly read them consistently. NEED to read them.

i've had dead mentors over the last few years like -  Augustine, Julian of Norwich, John Wesley, Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas A' Kempis, Brother Lawrence, Jonathan Edwards, Mother Theresa, John Calvin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John of the Cross, Martin Luther, Evelyn Underhill, A.W. Tozer, C.S. Lewis, Lesslie Newbigin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Merton, Karl Barth, David J. Bosch, Norman Vincent Peale, Francis Schaeffer, Dale Carnegie, Randy Pausch, Kyle Lake, etc...

this practice i instituted of having dead mentors has been a great one. it's helping to form me as a man and for that i'm forever grateful to them. (on that note, i have hopes and i pray often that in some forms i could be a dead mentor to someone else in 300 years somehow. but that's a thought to expound on for another day.)

on vacation i've been reading an amazing book. it has full on changed my life. (well, technically the proof is in the pudding as far as life change goes, so we'll see... but i feel as though it has definitely changed my life.)

it's a book i picked up off my late grandmother's shelf at some point. thankful to her that i could "borrow" her book. it has rocked my world. excited to write all about it tomorrow.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

stooping down

when i think about stooping down i think about plugging something into an outlet. those things are always way down there at shin level. kind of annoying.

i feel like most of the time i'm bent over and wedged into some place i only halfway fit into and it's dark and i'm trying to plug something in. i can't quite see or reach the outlet so it takes forever and i get frustrated with it easily.

or generally i hate stooping down to plug something in because my knees are really bad and i just can't handle the stooping down part. i wouldn't mind if all outlets were like eye level or chest level.

but they're not. so i have to stoop down. and i have to stoop down for all kinds of little stuff. i have to stoop down for all kinds of stuff that's way down below me.

ever wonder what kind of stuff God stoops down for?

God is SO HIGH and so HOLY & Unique that He actually stoops down just to look on the heavens and earth!!! just to get low enough to see!

"Who is like the LORD our God? [implied answer = "NOBODY!"]
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?"

nobody is like that! That's the freaking awesome God we know! He's so big, so other, so unlike anything we can compare Him too... that the heavens & the earth are like a tiny little wall outlet that He has to stoop down to even see.

wow. no wonder this same Psalm says "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised."

for a God like this, i would say so.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

be a part of this! (repost)

(This was originally posted to renown on November 11, 2009. Still just as powerful today.)

 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!

Friday, September 2, 2011


sometimes i like to just sit and watch the world... watch life happen... and write about it as i see it. it's just a good thing for me to do sometimes.
i like to simply watch and then process what i'm seeing by writing about it.

i rarely ever put that stuff anywhere else besides my "thoughts" file. but i was cleaning op some "thoughts" recently and one of those random musings caused me to think more about becoming a parent soon. so i thought i would thought i would post it here to renown.

The following is what i wrote the week of this past Christmas (2010). i was in New York with my wife's family and i stole away to a Starbucks inside a Target for a little while. here is what i saw and wrote:

I'm watching a mom walk into Target…

in the snow.

Deep snow.

With 5 kids.

5 kids.

Tugging 4 across the street all holding hands & carrying one in a carrying car seat thing.

Until one of the littlest walking boys dropped his zip lock bag of gold fish & had to run back and get it. Then the chain was broken only for a few moments.

This mom looks really tired

It's really cold outside and I have been being a baby about how cold NY is in December.

i've had a revelation sitting here drinking my coffee and watching this scene. maybe one day i'll find out if this "hunch" of mine is actually true:
When you go to the store with 5 kids – you don’t have a good day.

Another mom is sitting beside me sipping her Starbucks with her 6ish year old. She just said to him in a very admirable tone – “wow. 5 kids. She must be a superhero!” 

haha - her little boy just said “she must have been like this big around (motioning with his hands) when she had all of them!” 
mom said “well, they’re not all the same age. [as if that explained it enough] She must be a superhero though.”

And superhero she is indeed.

that time thought by me also in a very admirable tone.

Then a guy with a hard core mullet and a huge bald eagle on the back of his jacket walked by. 
couldn't get my camera open on my phone fast enough though. the sight sufficiently disrupted my thoughts about the world at this moment.