Thursday, May 31, 2012

think about it

think about it:

if God has a vision for your life...

if there is a purpose for you being on this earth...

a vision that God has designed for your future and what He designed for you to accomplish...

you had better get on it.


you're taking a breath right now for a reason. it's pretty silly to go through a whole day and not engage with that vision.

do you know what God's vision for your life is? the reason He put you here?
is so... what are you waiting for?

if you don't know what it is yet...
what are you waiting for?

if God has a vision for your life what could possibly be more fulfilling than that?
You may think you can, but you will never be able to wring enough meaning and joy out of your own petty accomplishments to really satisfy yourself.

Andy Stanley spells out the realization we all need to come to = "without me, what could be--what should be--won't be."

*There is something specific in the world that is NOT as it should be and YOU, yes you, are here to change that. you had better get on it.

"Your uniqueness and individuality will reach its pinnacle in the context of your pursuit of God's [vision] for your life." - Andy

what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

thankfulness is a rebellion

when is the last time you saw someone being genuinely thankful?

can you even remember?

we live in a culture that is completely run by consumerism and a spirit of entitlement.
and thankfulness is an all out rebellion against both of those.
it's SUBVERSIVE to our culture.

a whole lot of experts spend a WHOLE lot of money every single day to keep you from being thankful!

when you are thankful it's like a slap in the face to our culture.

most people are entitled. they have amazing privileges and blessings but take them for granted... never once stopping to be thankful for them.

thankfulness is like immunization against that.

i heard one author put it this way:
"Gratitude is the spiritual practice that raises its fist in the face of this insanity [consumerism & entitlement]; but that raised fist is actually a raised hand--reaching up in gratitude to God."

maybe we can just get in the habit of being thankful.

for everything.


maybe every time you hear a good song, drink a good cup of coffee, have a good conversation with a good old friend or a new one, watch a good game, hear a good comedian, watch a good movie, etc... etc... etc...
you can simply breathe out a simple "Thanks, God."

let the rebellion begin.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

just curious... what were you thinking?

i always wonder what the people who put these signs up are thinking when they do it?

seriously curious. i'd like to ask one of them some time.

lots of things i'd like to say.

but i won't.

maybe when i get old & don't care anymore.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

awesome article about my Mom in today's Charlotte Observer!

There is a really awesome article about my Mom in today's Charlotte Observer. Talking about her Double Lung Transplant at Duke. Really cool.
You can check out the article HERE.

It talks some too about how people can give toward my Mom's lung transplant fund & the $250,000 she needs. If you're interested in donating you can do that through the National Foundation for Transplants HERE.

definitely a miracle. so thankful for this transplant that has saved my Mom's life.

4.5 years of renown

it just dawned on me in January that i've been writing here on renown for over 4 years. now, almost 4.5 years. i guess that's a relatively long time. it's added up to a lot of writing. a lot of thoughts that i've fleshed out on paper.

i started over 4 years ago wanting to try to write almost every day... even the days i didn't feel like it or didn't have time to really articulate something well - because i was convinced that the process would benefit me most. it's been a very disciplined process, but that discipline over the last 4 years has produced almost 1,000 articles here on renown.

while thinking about these 4 years of writing on renown and ALL that has happened in life during those 4 years... it got me thinking about other 4 year segments of life...

like the 1st 4 years (0-3) and how i don't really remember anything from then.

and then when i was 4-7. lots of fun. carefree. school wasn't even really work back then. you just had fun all day.

8-11 years old, arguably the best years of life :)   those were the days. the "glory years". all the friends i had. all the fun we had. school wasn't really hard. not really a lot of work to do. just fun all the time. playing basketball all day long every day in the neighborhood. sometimes i think that'd be a cool 4 year segment to return to.

and then middle school. i know it's not quite 4 whole years, but almost. it's a pretty weird 4 year segment coming on the heels of the "glory years". but, most of us experience a lot of 1sts and enter a new era of life. we usually fall in love with music. i still look back on my fav bands of that era and smile. something nostalgic about it. i had my 1st kiss (1st "real" kiss anyway) in Middle school. also got dumped for the 1st time. and really in this life segment for the 1st time you start to let your identity rest in what your peers think of you.

high school really is 4 years and it was awesome for me. i loved it most of the time... or at least what i remember of it. it's a great 4 years to look back on.

college of course is 4 years too and seems to really be the time where you become YOU. your adult self anyway. 4 years of college was probably the longest segment of time up to that point. the most happened in those 4 years and it's a pretty drastic change from the beginning of the 4 years to the end.

1st 4 years of "life" - then there's my 1st 4 years of real life. Crystal and i got married right after college and those 1st 4ish years together include a lot of firsts - 1st jobs, 1st places to live, buying our 1st house, 1st consumer debt... etc... these 1st 4 years were awesome. i think this is where you grow up... or at least this is where i grew up. my wife and i call these years "simpler times"

the past 4 years have probably been the most amazing yet. these are also the 4 years of renown and i'm thankful to be able to look back on those 4 years through the lens of this blog and remember all the stuff that was happening in life and going through my head all those years. those 4 years included launching Ridge Church. This Fall will be the anniversary of when Ridge launched and began meeting every Sunday morning. these same 4 years mark the 4 year break i took from seminary. glorious. i also feel like this is the segment of life where i worked hard to discover WHO God made me to be and WHAT He specifically put me on earth to do. hopefully these past 4 years have set us up for the next 40 years... or however many we have left.

the next 4 years - i have really really high goals, expectations, and a vision for what the next 4 segment will be like. hopefully i can look back on this very post 4 years from now and smile...

Every day we are all writing a STORY. our story. and whether we choose to look back on it in 4 year segments or 40 year segments our story will be told.
i just hope i can live a life worth telling stories about.

Monday, May 21, 2012

"yes He does" (repost)

(This was originally written & posted to renown on June 1, 2010.)

I was driving home from my soccer game last night and near my neighborhood i got behind a car with a bumper sticker on the back that said = "God doesn't believe in atheists."

it looked something like this:
it's supposed to be a "cute" phrase that makes Christians chuckle, but i just said to myself "yes He does."

God absolutely believes in atheists. He made them. HE LOVES THEM. HE DIED FOR THEM. no different than people who aren't atheists. He loves everyone the same. He doesn't have favs.
Maybe we should remember that next time we put a bumper sticker on our car.

*i had an urge to ask the person in the car what their purpose was in having that bumper sticker? Like, when an atheist rolls up behind you are you thinking that it helps them feel loved and like you are their friend?
Honestly, in my opinion, it would probably be best if "Christians" didn't even put bumper stickers on their cars. seriously. Most of them are ridiculous like this one i saw tonight.

Or maybe if we all just remembered the spirit behind the bumper sticker on my caddy:
seems like a much better bumper sticker to me. i'm just sayin'.

Friday, May 18, 2012

why real books are so hard to read

i just received my grades & comments back for 2 big research papers i wrote last semester. i am really really thankful for busy profs taking the time to write extensive feedback about specifics in my work.

SO, on these 2 big papers specifically the feedback was pretty similar.
the prof basically said the whole thing was awesome. i got a really good grade on both... not perfect but really good.
He wrote tons of specific comments and overall said that it was a "very engaging paper." That's cool, i thought... probably hard to engage a prof when he's reading 50 of these.
i think i actually affected my prof because of other specific comments he wrote.

Then he also wrote the only thing i got points docked for... and i quote:
"The writing style is great for blogging or inspirational writing, but not for graduate papers. Still, the content is excellent."
and again later:
"Good conversational writing, but not suited to seminary essays."

so, my writing style is effective & engaging BUT, not acceptable for grad school.

fair enough.
so, i gotta change the way i write to be more stuffy and hard to read. i need to not let the language naturally flow, but weigh it down in a more academic style.
i get it. that's what you want me to do. it's your school. your system, you make the rules.

but do you see why "real" books (and by "real" i mean books with a point) are so difficult to read?

because those authors probly went to graduate school somewhere & their professors made them change their writing style.

they had to write in a style that regular, average joe people don't readily and easily understand. they had to write in a style that only peeps within academia appreciate.

so, when you pick up a real book to read, the author probly writes fancy... smart... techinical... but not in a way that most humans would prefer to read.

so we either labor through those books...
we figure it's not worth it & just don't read it.

not that any of my profs or anyone running grad schools cares or that any of this is going to change.

unless someone wants me to be a president of a graduate school. :)

*but see, i want this stuff i'm working on to finish my master's degree & pouring mammoth amounts of hours into to be usable, profitable, beneficial to me.
to actually count for something.
and i don't mean a grade.

i don't want to have to fake fancy up a paper, just to have to go back later and translate it for myself!
maybe i'll just keep taking the deduction in points for my writing style.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

reflections after a semester back in school

(btw, *i posted about my decision to go back to graduate school HERE.)

well, the original title of this post was "reflections after a WEEK back in school"... if that tells you something about how this semester in school has been...

hence no time to write many blogs - which is the reason this post went from being about my reflections after 1 week back in school (when i started writing the post way back in mid-January) to reflections on a whole semester.
it's way more time consuming & that was a surprise. "they" (government or someone?) passed new laws about graduate schools having to require 3 hours of extra work outside of class for every 1 hour in class. that's a bummer & = about 100 extra hours outside of class for each of my 3 classes each semester. that's 300 extra hours (not to mention 90 hours in class) which if spread over about 10 weeks is 40 hours a week... basically like another full time job.
no wonder i didn't blog as much as i wanted or planned to.

but i spent as little time as possible on school work while still gleaning as much as i could + still managed to pull off all As this semester. somehow.

it was a really beneficial semester overall. i took 9 credit hours/ 3 classes & i survived it just fine. (most days). learned a ton. i feel like i'm "better" in many ways than i was before the semester kicked off.

for one thing, i have this powerful love for God and His Word freshly sparked in me. i'm passionate/motivated to know it better & let it change my life and change the world through me.

i feel like (in theory) i must be a better leader than i was back at the start of the semester. i at least "understand" leadership better and have a way stronger foundation + a working knowledge of so much more within the study of leadership.

we'll see how that translates pragmatically.

not trying to be mean, but i do feel a little better about myself. let's just say = obviously, the best and the brightest aren't doing graduate school these days... or at least i hope not.
you probably catch the subtle statement i'm making.
(but don't worry, if any of the majority of my classmates who i'm referring to there read this they won't pick up on it. just sayin.)

maybe the best thing about school is that it FORCES you to do things that are good for you. things that help make you better. and it puts deadlines on those things.
now I HAVE to read that book i've been meaning to read, write that paper, do that thinking, etc…

for example, i just wrote my theology of leadership for a class last semester. something i have always needed to develop... sit down and study, think, write, craft, nail it down so i can operate by it. but who has time to do that?
well, i made time because i had to.

this summer semester i'm taking a class called "Managing the Non-Profit". i have to write a "performa" or business plan for a non-profit i'm starting (for real starting. more on that later). it will force me to do it.
speaking of next semester - it's already starting. i'm actually way behind already on the course work. i go to class 1st thing Monday morning and the Summer semester will drag on into August.

but before that 1st day of a whole new semester i did want to take these few moments and reflect on the semester that just ended.

so just a little more looking back on last semester:
fav class = "The Leader as Communicator"... all about developing organizational culture

most helpful project = writing my theology of leadership. priceless.

best required book i readOrganizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein. the godfather of the technical study of organizational culture and how it develops. most difficult book i've read in a while, but awesome. not a big fan of the writing style of MIT profs. 
most pointless/time wasting/frustraiting thing this semester = (not trying to sound mean or arrogant but) listening to other fellow students give their incredibly dull and not helpful at all presentations.

never wanna do it again = taking 2 week long intensives back to back.
best feeling = turning in the final research paper of the semester with 2 minutes to spare & realizing i have only 6 more classes to go now.
hopefully this coming semester i can reflect a little more than just once at the end!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

your words are more powerful than you think

a couple weeks ago i was working at a table outside Starbucks. it was a beautiful day and i was "in the zone" writing or ideating about something when the conversation of 2 college girls sitting behind me caught my attention.

it was obvious that they were both college students, probably at UNCC. 1 of them was really upset and the other friend was just trying to "be there" for her.

1 of her close friends had just committed suicide the day before.

let that sink in.

pretty heavy.

Her friend was obviously in mourning and i was putting my head phones in to try and give them some more privacy... but as i was cranking up some music i heard the friend of the girl who killed herself saying something like...

"She had posted on Facebook a couple days ago - 'my life is a mess. i don't have anything to live for.' i sent her a text and told her it's OK and that we could talk any time..."

the other girl at the table said - "Yeah i noticed her status saying that. then today i saw hundreds of people writing on her Facebook wall about how much they were going to miss her, what a wonderful person she was, how great they thought she was, etc..."

then the girl whose friend had just died got really passionate and said - "See, if all of those people would have just told her how they feel BEFORE, she would have never killed herself! Why did they wait til now?"


let me say that again...


sitting at that table that day brought new and powerful meaning to the quip from Proverbs that = "The tongue has the power of life and death."
or, as another translation puts it = "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose."

no wonder Proverbs says that. it's because your words are more powerful than you think!

so use them wisely. use them LIBERALLY. GIVE THEM AWAY!

speak those kind words you want to say.

let those encouraging words fly off your tongue.

when you think something awesome about someone TELL THEM! don't just sit on it.

SAY IT! because who knows...
you may not get another chance.

don't be too busy or too wrapped up in yourself to speak powerful words to someone else!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

crystal quotes of the day #4 (another pregnancy edition)

You can read about my idea for these "Crystal Quotes of the Day" HERE.
enjoy installment #4 below... all quotes from when Crystal was pregnant:

*We just weren't able to fit comfortably on the couch anymore like we used to and Crystal said:
Crystal:   “there’s just a lot more of me to fit”

*We were just chillin out on the beach...
me:          “I’m gonna roll over on my stomach” 
Crystal:    “yeah, I’m gonna lay on my stomach next year.”

*we were taking a walk & i had just casually mentioned someone being my hero...
Crystal:    (indignant!) "WHAT!!?? I’m not your hero!?? I BETTER be your hero after I push a kid out my hoo ha for you!"

Friday, May 11, 2012

my Mom's lung transplant story on Fox Charlotte

i am pumped about this Mother's Day with my Mom because she has a new pair of lungs and is on the road to recovery!

Fox Charlotte stopped by our Fundraiser this week and interviewed us about my Mom's double lung transplant and below is the story that aired on Wednesday night. check it out for yourself.

That "tent store" you see in the video is near the corner of Providence Road and McKee Road here in Charlotte and is open for 2 more days! if you don't have your Mother's Day gifts yet you should definitely buy them there and ALL the money now goes to my Mom's double lung transplant fund!

You can read more about that HERE - "Give your Mom a Happy Mother's Day by helping my Mom!"

If you already have your Mother's Day gifts but want to help my Mom in some way just contact me or leave a comment on this post HERE.

You can donate directly to my Mom's Double Lung Transplant Fund through the National Foundation for Transplants by clicking HERE

Thursday, May 10, 2012

why we should study culture - part 2 (repost)

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown on April 15, 2010.)

Read part 1 with the 1st 5 reasons = HERE. I gave a lot of preface thoughts too. The list is from Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger.

Basically, these posts are all about why we should act like missionaries (because we are) here in the West and study our culture in order to contextualize the gospel in it!

6            ***Because the Majority of Current Church Practices are Cultural Accommodations to a Society That No Longer Exists ***
“Much of what we understand as historical church practices are simply cultural adaptations that occurred at other times and places in church history. The church must ‘de-absolutize’ many of its sacred cows in order to communicate afresh the good news to a new world.”
*Example = the Protestant Reformation was all about a Linear progression of thought, highly reasoned exegesis, and expository preaching. These things illustrated the new culture’s focus on the written word! (print culture)
and we also at times removed the symbolic, mystical, and experiential to make a space for logical and linear ways of thinking and living!
"We MUST be aware of the ways we’ve worshipped written culture at the expense of oral, aural, and visual worlds.” **
[and that's just 1 example]
7            Because the Primary Mode and Style of Communication in Western Culture Have Changed
All faithful missionaries must understanding the language of culture! The Church has been really slow to adopt new communication technologies.
These new technologies aren’t faddish, but are “the very essence of how people today construct their worlds.”
This is maybe the spot where church is most out of step with culture! The Reformation contextualized the gospel for the print era, but we haven’t had another reformation as we moved out of the print era! = to bring the gospel to our image-based era.
We “continue to communicate a verbal, linear, and abstract message to a culture whose primary language consists of sound, visual images, and experience, in addition to words.”
[we simply need to wake up and get with it. start being missionaries and contextualize our message to reach our culture!]

*current styles of preaching are having diminishing impact. Communicators must understand the comprehensive nature of language in order to be heard by culture! 
[I'm just trying to wrap my head around it. but i know it's more holistic. the message and the medium are more intertwined than I have always thought.]
8            Because a New Culture Means that New Organizational Structures are Required
Basically, seeing ourselves as missionaries we must rethink inherited ways of administering church in our times. What of our current structures are dictated by modernity not the Bible? I don't know... we just need to rethink as objectively as we can.
9            Because Boomers Are the Last Generation That is Happy with Modern Churches
It's very interesting to me that the huge wave of Boomer returnees to church had no parallel in Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand! (more fully postmodern cultures)
*the postmodern generation is “disillusioned with institutionalism and sees the church itself as an obstacle to faith.” That’s why postmodern generations simply “ignore the organized church as irrelevant to their spiritual quest.”
wow! that's pretty hard to swallow.

***of course this postmodern shift is NOT a generational thing! That’s way oversimplifying complex issues. Those of you who keep saying that it's just generational need to WAKE UP AND PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND! It's not only here to stay, but becoming more and more our way of life. get used to it.

*Again, Gibbs & Bolger back me up that it’s NOT a generational thing! = “Generational issues are imbedded in the much deeper cultural and philosophical shift from modernity to postmodernity.”
Interesting -> Boomers are the last gen to be satisfied with a modern church service that is linear, word based, and abstract. Postmoderns need rituals, visuals, and touch. [not even sure what this new style will look like?]
10            Because of the Increasing Appeal of Spirituality Derived from Other Religions
“The church is sending spiritually minded people to strive after other religions because it has become secularized.”
Wow. that is a hard core indictment. I need to rethink it. in what ways has the church ceased to be spiritual? Have we done it intentionally?
11            Because Many Christians No Longer Follow the Religion of Their Parents
 “no longer does one adopt the traditions of one’s parents. Individuals make their own religious choices.”
**For the 1st time (at least in American history) religion is chosen rather than received.
The individual is figuring it out for themselves. And that's the way it should be! I think that is awesome. We have the chance to raise up a generation of crazy passionate Jesus followers! But we gotta study our culture to figure out how to best do that! 

These authors sum it up best = “Ultimately, Christians who want to serve within Western culture must be trained as missionaries.”

OK, reasons #6-11... what do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

why we should study culture (repost)

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown on April 14, 2010.)

I will shout it from the rooft... well, from my deck and front porch (because my roof is really steep and I'm a little afraid to shout anything from up there) that = we (the Western Church) MUST study our culture like (cross-cultural) missionaries ferociously study the culture that they are sent to! 

We are missionaries to Western culture and we've gotta start acting like it. When I move to sub-Saharan Africa one day, I am going to study the heck out of that culture. I should do the same as a missionary here in Charlotte!

So, of course I'm excited when I read Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger (both profs @ Fuller - my 2nd choice according to THIS) writing awesome missional lists like this one in their book I've been reading, Emerging Churches. Below is their awesome list with my thoughts and commentary following.

*11 Key reasons why the church must seriously study culture:
1            Because of the Incarnation
Jesus took on our culture and practices = “As Jesus did, we must immerse ourselves in the local cultures of our time.” “As Jesus did, we must provide a critique, but that evaluation must come from within rather than be imposed from outside the cultural context.”
*Jesus critiqued as fully a part of the culture and immersed in it! right on - this should be obvious. We can’t be missionaries to China and not be fully immersed in their culture, but still condemning and critiquing their culture! we don't get it when we do that!
2            Because Cultural Understanding has Always been Essential to Good Mission Practice
“Questions regarding the relationship between church and culture are critical to the mission of the church. Faithful mission practice requires understanding of the culture in which one is serving.” of course it's the same in Western culture - just like in any other culture.
Missionaries historically engage the culture, “seeking to communicate the gospel in indigenous forms while remaining faithful to Scripture.”
*duh. BUT, in the West we sell culture way short! We're convinced we understand the various cultures in the West, but this is a big mistake… because we obviously don't. we need to study it.

This is great advice = “The church must recognize that we are in the midst of a cultural revolution and that nineteenth-century (or older) forms of church do not communicate clearly to 21st century cultures.” A major transformation MUST occur in the way the church understands culture!
*And I think this is a fair and important warning on this point =  
“The church must embody the gospel within the culture of postmodernity for the Western church to survive the 21st century.”
3            Because Christendom and Modernity are in Rapid Decline
The Church does NOT maintain the central place in society anymore. The Church is pretty much non-influential.
More often than not the church has found itself taking the side of modernity, defending its project against all viewpoints.” = ouch. [& for what purpose?]
**So, this shift from Christendom and modernity has profound implications for the Church, the nature of ministry, mission in postmodernity, and the ways next gen leaders are equipped for these new challenges!
We can hunker down/run away or move forward in this new mission!
4            Because the West is in the Midst of Huge Cultural Shifts
It used to be that a certain culture hung around for an entire lifetime. Now, the church can’t even relate to its surrounding culture which is why we’re perceived as irrelevant.
*A few cultural changes Gibbs & Bolger say have contributed to marginalization of the church:
1) shift to postmodernity
2) shift from Westernization to globalization
3) communication revolution = shift from print to electronic-based
4) shift in our economic mode of production = transition from national and industrial-based economies to international, info based, and consumer driven.
5) we're on the verge of breakthroughs in human biology
           6) a convergence of science and religion that hasn’t been seen in centuries
“Any one of these shifts requires significant theological reflection. Pastoral leaders must listen carefully to culture and be prepared to abandon cherished forms if necessary.”
5            Because the Church is in Decline
A big reason (imho) is that culture has drastically changed and we haven't kept up. Somehow we can be missionaries when we cross oceans, but we don't apply those same principles in our cities here in the West!
I'm stoked to be a part of a generation that has a completely different philosophy on this. I'm stoked to see how God might use us to be a part of changing the way the Western Church looks at culture and therefore the scope of our influence for His Name's sake!

There are thoughts on the 1st 5 reasons. Check in tomorrow for thoughts on the 2nd 5!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Give YOUR MOM a Happy Mother's Day by helping MY MOM!

if you're like me it's possible that you still haven't purchased a Mother's Day gift for your Mom, your grandmother, or your wife... or maybe you've yet to buy a gift for all of the above!

i'm asking you to help your Mom have a HAPPY Mother's Day AND help my Mom at the same time!

you may know that my Mom recently had a DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT. i have written about that a TON on this blog. it was a miracle and she is currently still at Duke doing rehab and recovering well. she has a new life ahead of her.

BUT the transplant alone will cost my parents (their part after insurance) over $100,000!

we have been working to help raise that money and still have a long way to go.

YOU can buy a beautiful MOTHER'S DAY GIFT BASKET for any or all of the Mom's in your life! they are beautiful and they are awesome and they range in price from $15 - $100.
you can buy some of the pre-made baskets or request a custom basket designed specifically for the Mom you have in mind!

and all the money goes to my Mom's Lung Transplant Fund!

if you are in the Charlotte area you can stop by 4501 McKee Road (Charlotte, NC 28270) and pick out your basket and purchase it on the spot. (it's just 1 block off Providence Road near 485 - look for the big tent outside!)

it would be a HUGE blessing to MY MOM AND YOUR MOM!

*Contact me if you can't make it out there but would like to buy one & i will see what i can do!

below are some pics of some of the styles of gift baskets:

The Gourmet Cook Basket
The luxury spa basket

Friday, May 4, 2012

someone is happy with less than you have

it's Friday & all across the world kids are going to get out of school today for the weekend. there will be excitement in the air.

in a tiny forgotten corner of Kenya there are a handful of orphans who will get out of school today and run "home"... a couple of miles from school back to their orphanage.

6 or 8 of them will quickly assemble on the tiny "field" (dust, dirt, and big rocks) in front of their orphanage and start a soccer game with bigger rocks for goal posts and a ball that hasn't had air for a very long time.

they will run and laugh and play. life is good. they will be happier than you can imagine.

and they have nothing.

in a posh suburb of Charlotte, NC today a spoiled 10 year old will come home to the nicest amenities imaginable... with more luxuries in his own room than the kids in Kenya will ever be able to fathom.
He will sit and play his Playstation 3 all day and complain to his Mom about what they are having for dinner and that his friend at school has something newer and cooler than he does.

he will spend a large portion of his Friday afternoon pouting and being unhappy.

and he has everything.

why is this?
why does this scenario of ironic polar opposites exist?

because it's not how much you have that brings you happiness; it's how much you appreciate how much or little you have.

and adults are way worse. worse than children. some adults i know are the most ungrateful and unappreciative and therefore most UNHAPPY people on the planet.

Gratitude may be the greatest secret to happiness.
but if that's true then being rich comes with a very serious hidden danger... more money & more "Stuff" is a THREAT to happiness.

be grateful today. be thankful.
you have SO MUCH... no matter how much or little you may think you have.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

hunger for what (fasting repost)

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown on September 1, 2009. Last night we kicked off 30 days of fasting at Ridge Church. Begging God to do in and through us what only He can do. i thought this would be a good time to revisit this post...)

Our lead pastor, Chris, invited some peeps @ Ridge Church to "fast" with him for 10 days.
I'm in & excited about what God will do in me during these 10 days. Chris directed us to pray/fast about 2 things over these 10 days:
1) That we would be spiritually hungry - driven to God for satisfaction like I'm driven to food.
2) For God's Glory. Specifically for God to get glory through Ridge Church. Chris has said from the beginning that he only wants Ridge to be a platform that God would stand on to spread His renown.

I want to use these 10 days to develop my "Theology of Fasting" - I didn't have much of one before starting this. And I think it will help me immensely to pour out my heart from this journey here on renown. I started A Hunger for God by my homeboy Piper & will be posting some stuff I learn from that book here @ renown.
(Now, I just read in Matthew 6 that Jesus said not to be a hypocrite & jack up your face when you fast so that everyone will know. I just want to learn what God thinks about fasting. And part of this whole experience for me is having an outlet to process my thoughts. + I am far from trying to make myself look good here... I'm not even gonna do the real thing for much more than 1 day. I haven't eaten since lunch yesterday, but later today I'm gonna have to eat something (because currently my head is exploding & I may pass out any second), so for most of the 10 days I will be doing a "no meat & only water" fast. haha, which because of the carnivore that I am, I haven't really been able to think of many things to eat that aren't meat. seriously. I'm sure I'll get really creative these 10 days!) Anyway, there is no better way for me to try to figure this thing out than to talk about it.

Because of this "fast" my mind has not been able to break from thoughts about God's absolute renown in my life. that's an amazing thing.
Every freaking second this extreme hunger in my stomach is forcing my passion to rise up in me and a hunger for God to be glorified! I want it to remind me that as bad as I want food right now, I want God MORE... I want Him to use me to make His name famous in this world!
I keep shouting to myself "I've gotta have some food!" & it's an instant reminder that I want my constant shout to be "I've gotta have YOU, God." He is better than food. He is better than anything.

Later today when I down some nasty non-meat food it will be so satisfying to me! It will quench my hunger. My belly will be fully satisfied. It will be amazing.
BUT, it will be a reminder to me that God is the only One who can satisfy me fully. No thing, no food, no person, no lifestyle, no comfort, no accomplishment, no amount of money, no ANYTHING will ever fill me up & satisfy me except for God!

And when I satisfy my hunger fully in Him - He is most glorified in me!

(& now I'm off to find something vegetarians eat, haha...)