Monday, July 30, 2012

a way of traveling

“wisdom is more a way of traveling than a particular journey or destination.”
- John F. Kilner

& that's something i've always wanted. Kilner just gave a beautiful way of thinking about this way of life we need so desperately called wisdom.

i know that we should do whatever it takes to live life with wisdom.

Jesus' brother actually had a little something to say about wisdom too:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all..."
(James 1:5)

not a bad something to ask for. because it's a pretty big deal.

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding."

(Proverbs 4:6-7)

but it's not the destination or even a particular journey.

it's a way of traveling through life.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

is this still necessary?

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

really? these still exist in America? are these really necessary?

i think we would all agree phone booths are a thing of a past. they were for another generation, another time, another culture, another context. And ones like this were created to serve a culture that no longer exists!

i'm not against phone booths. they're just irrelevant pieces of history and changing rooms for Superman.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

doesn't the fact that i want to please you... please you?

i read this prayer yesterday - from a dead guy.

i dig it so i thought i would post it.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. 

I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, 
and the fact that I think I am following your will 
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. 

And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. 
And I know that if I do this, 
you will lead me by the right road 
though I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust you always, 
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, 
and you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.”

- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

yeah... i think our desire to please Him does please Him. of course we can try in some pretty messed up ways -- think up our own things that might please Him -- like the Crusades, etc... & no, He doesn't dig that.

but the genuine desire in us does please Him, i think.
Thomas thought so too.

Friday, July 20, 2012

what a stay-at-home Mom is worth

1st of all, a stay-at-home Mom is really priceless. My wife is an AMAZING MOM! wow. she blows me away!
we chose this stay-at-home Mom thing before Keira was born because we valued it. but we had NO IDEA how much we would actually value this.

of course, the stay-at-home Mom thing is not for everybody. some may not want to or simply can't.
but it definitely IS for us. and we're so thankful to be so blessed to make this work!

it has been absolutely amazing. i've heard my wife say on several occasions - "There is no amount of money anyone could pay me not to do this." [to stay home with Keira]
right on. i feel the same way.
and i've heard her say things like "I would rather sell our house and other stuff/downsize before I gave up staying home with her."

so yeah, we're pretty committed to this. i don't think this is something we'll ever regret either.

but just for fun, some people posed the question "what is a stay-at-home mom's WORK worth?"
of course all the intangibles are priceless, but what is the market value of the actual tangible work a stay-at-home mom does?

below is a fun little breakdown of that :)
i apologize i had to shrink it so small to fit on my screen, but if you click it you should be able to zoom and make it as big as you want - full screen even - to read all of it.

basically the average stay-at-home Mom works over 96 hours a week. Then taking into account all the different jobs they perform at home and the overtime they work, etc... their salary should be about $115K!

Feel free to high five a stay-at-home Mom today!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

it shouldn't be this way

(i originally wrote & posted this to renown on July 12, 2010.)

Dan Kimball wrote a great book a while back called They Like Jesus But Not the Church. he probably could have written another one called "They Like Jesus But Not Christians". because that's true of A LOT of people.

here are just a few:
“I’m a big fan of Jesus. I’m not a big fan of those who work for Him.”Bill Maher (the guy from Politically Incorrect)

“If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in His name, He wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up.”Woody Allen, movie director
“Christians are hard to tolerate; I don’t know how Jesus does it.”Bono  

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”Mahatma Ghandi

i have no idea what's in someone's heart, but i'll go ahead and say that probably 1 out of 4 of those guys are/were believers in Jesus. but they all like Jesus! Christians are turning away thousands (maybe millions) of people from Jesus who actually like Jesus to begin with.

it shouldn't be this way. and that bad part is that i tend to agree with these 4 guys.

but what can we do? recognize it 1st of all then...

be more like Jesus. act more like Jesus. live more like Jesus.

that's a pretty good start.

Monday, July 16, 2012

how i want to live after i make a mistake

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown July 7, 2010.)

i make a lot of mistakes. i screw up pretty much all the time. i'll be the 1st to admit that. most of the time i make small mistakes with fairly small consequences that don't really affect many other people.

Sometimes i make bigger mistakes that affect others more visibly.

i won't stop making mistakes. i'm trying... but i'm pretty sure i'll always make mistakes.

i saw a great quote recently from one of the greatest coaches ever - Dean Smith. i stopped and wrote it down because i thought it was so wise!

"What to do with a mistake - recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it."

i feel like God may have put that quote in front of me. i think God spoke to me through this quote. God helping me, this is how i want to live after every mistake i make for the rest of my life!

honestly i think i usually do pretty good with the 1st 2. my mistake is obvious most of the time so i see it & i usually have no problem admitting it. probably like an A- with those 2. i do OK learning from my mistakes sometimes... maybe a B- there. i'd like to do a lot better.

but many times i suck at forgetting it and moving on. i want to live by this better for the rest of my life.

no doubt i'll make a lot of mistakes. if i can learn from them and move on i think my life can be so much more effective.

Friday, July 13, 2012

you can do this

you can do this!

don't let them tell you you can't.

stop telling yourself you can't.

because you CAN do this.

it doesn't matter that you don't know how right now...

or that you've never done it before...

or maybe that NO ONE has ever done this before...

you can still do this.

if it was birthed in your soul then it is there for a reason.

you can do this.

it won't be quick or easy or maybe not even glamorous.

yes, it would be easier to just forget about it.

it is going to be very difficult and take a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears.

but you can do this.

don't ever let anybody tell you different.

now GO. get after it. get started. take it 1 step at a time, but GO!
you can do this.

(no idea who that was for today. maybe no one but me.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the most humble man on the face of the earth (part 2)

"(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)" - Numbers 12:3

that's a pretty hard core statement for a random parenthetical phrase in the middle of the book of Numbers. (you can read "part 1" from yesterday HERE.)
it seems God was just going along telling a story & then BOOM! He sneaks this in there... "oh, btw, this guy Moses is more humble than anybody else. period."

so, i went back and read and studied this passage for a few weeks. why does God put that phrase in there? He obviously wanted us to know this about Moses. i had a few thoughts as i wrote in my journal. (and many of the thoughts were convicting.)

1st of all, if anybody didn't need to be humble it was Moses. This joker made the Red Sea part like a Lawyer's hair by raising a stick. he was the leader of God's chosen people. He flipping talked to God up on a mountain, saw his glory which turned him white like the sun so the other peeps couldn't even look at him! oh yeah, and he brought down a few commandments from the mountain. God went on to say in Numbers 12 that He talked to other peeps in dreams and visions, but He talked to Moses "face to face!"
this guy was a larger than life leader and usually those kind of guys aren't that humble. but not only is Moses humble, he's MORE humble than anyone else on the face of the earth!

(you can read the whole passage here in Numbers 12.) his brother and sister were disrespecting him as the leader. that's not cool. Moses, as the leader probably needs to hop up and defend himself and put these guys in their place.
but it seems like Moses is not going to defend himself, so God has to
and from my study, i think this is one of the main points of the passage!
there is an instinct in me to defend myself when i am misunderstood. Moses was big time misunderstood and disrespected by his own brother and sister, but it seems like he was so humble God had to come down and stick up for Him! Wow!
(btw, Numbers 11 also shows Moses' humility - he didn't want to be the only one getting attention.)

*There seems to be a direct link between Moses' humility and the fact that he didn't stick up for himself!

i have so much to learn in this department. i can't stand it when people think something about me that is so untrue. i hate it when they misjudge me and it damages my reputation... my name. i just want to set the record straight!
but i'm learning more and more that this is just pride.
i think this random phrase might be in this story to say that Moses was humble because his critics didn't bother him. he was so humble that he wasn't concerned about his name. he didn't need to stand up for himself.

So, i am begging God to help me be humble. i want to be humble like Moses. i know humility is a dangerous thing to pray for, but i know the more humble i am the more God's name can be lifted up. the more i worry about my name the more it can squelch His fame. i so bad want to just let it go when i'm misrepresented or disrespected. i just wanna be humble and not stick up for myself like Moses did. and if God wants to stick up for me then that's cool too.

a couple other random thoughts i jotted down from this passage:
we need to honor our leaders and pastors! especially the humble ones. how ridiculous that Miriam and Aaron tried to read Moses' motives. they saw the most humble man on the earth as arrogant! wow. how bout a little respect for the leader?
God didn't like it very much either because He gave Miriam leprosy.

*So, Moses further shows his humility by begging God to heal her. Wow. i've got a lot to learn about humility. good thing Jesus was a pretty good example of that for me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"... than anyone else on the face of the earth."

(i originally posted this on July 5, 2010.)

i've written a few times about the Bible Experience that i like to listen to in the shower. i'm trying to "read" through through the whole Bible in 2010 while in the shower via the Bible Experience. (You can read some thoughts about that HERE.)

i really love it because the Bible was meant to be read out loud. i wonder if it all hits you better hearing it rather than reading it? That's the way it was read for THOUSANDS of years. it's just a recent phenomenon to read the Bible to yourself. i'm thinking it was maybe written in such a way to hit people more powerfully when it is read out loud?

that's what happened to me. I was "reading"/listening through Numbers and it was just in the middle of the story and then there is this crazy RANDOM phrase and it came out of nowhere and hit me like a lightning bolt:

"(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)"

Wow. i want to be like this guy.

this phrase is so random it's even in parentheses! anyway, why don't you just think on that for a day like i did. let it hit you like it hit me.
i'll come back and write some thoughts tomorrow and i'd love to hear yours. you can read it for yourself in Numbers 12.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"But I was afraid to be Roger's friend..."

it's research paper time.

what that essentially means is that i've been extremely busy. but i have a research paper due tomorrow that i haven't done much with yet, other than grab about 25 books from the library on the topic.
i for real started on it this weekend. so i've been reading and researching and writing about 1 topic all weekend = homosexuality.

it's been a good study and frankly i'm thankful for having to write a paper on this. i don't fully have it all worked out where i'm going with the paper just yet, but i am confident of one thing. Christians and churches must focus more on loving individuals. period. we've messed up bad.

of all the tons of reading i've done about science and orientation and hermeneutics of New Testament passages, etc... there's one story that sticks out most to me. 1 story still sticks in my mind beyond all the other stuff. and it's a REAL story from Tony Campolo's life. it's a story he tells from when he was in high school. below are Tony's words...

"Roger was gay, we all knew it, and we all made his life miserable. When we passed him in the hall we called out his name effeminately, we made the crude gestures, we made him the brunt of cheap jokes. He never took showers in P.E. because he knew we'd whip him with our wet towels.

I wasn't there, though, the day they dragged Roger into the shower room, and shoved him into the corner. Curled up there, he cried and begged for mercy as five guys urinaed on him.

The reports said that Roger went to bed that night as usual, and that sometime around two in the morning he got up, went down to the basement of his house, and hanged himself.

On that day I realized that I wasn't a Christian. I was a theologically sound evangelical, believed all points of the Apostles' Creed, declared Jesus to be my Savior. But if the Holy Spirit had actually been in me, I would have stood up for Roger. When the guys came to make fun of him, I would have put one arm around Roger's shoulders, waved the guys off with the other and told them to leave him alone, to not mess with him, because he was my friend.

But I was afraid to be Roger's friend. I knew that if you stood up for a homosexual, people said cruel things about you, too. So I kept my distance. If I hadn't, who knows if Roger might be alive today."

just love Roger. that's all we need to do first and foremost.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

teams that work (repost)

(This was originally written and posted to renown on May 12, 2010.)

the 1st breakout i went to was "Developing Teams that Work". it was probably the best breakout session ever. (And i've been to hundreds!) the content was masterful!
it was with Clay Scroggins (aka - the "Scrog Dog") who's in the student ministry, but i think he said this was developed by Reggie Joiner & Kendra Fleming at North Point. And i'm almost positive i've read it before from one of them...

The subtitle explains it better. These are "5 Critical Responsibilities EVERY Ministry Team Must Monitor to Stay on Track"
(So, we've got 7 Core Values + 7 Practices we live by... but these are 5 things that MUST BE PRESENT on our team! i am working this out currently in my head. trying to figure out how our teams can improve...)

These 5 responsibilities are simply necessary in order to accomplish our mission. they are probably directly related to the success of our mission. When stuff goes wrong or when we want to improve it will usually come back to 1 of these 5 areas.
I am now convinced that every team needs to have an expert in each of these 5 areas! here they are...

1  Refine the Environment - we've got to have an environment person. Somebody who can practice "Vuja De" = always see the environment with fresh eyes. (It's a George Carlan joke... the opposite of "Deja Vu" where you've never been to an environment but feel like you have. "Vuja De" is a unique ability to have been in an environment hundreds of times, but still be able to see it for the 1st time.) We all know that the environment is HUGE! We must have peeps from the outside speaking into our processes and environments! ("Listen to Outsiders.")
If we don't continually do this 1st one with expertise then ultimately a generation will be lost! it's a pretty big deal.

2  Nurture the Leader - we need an expert leader of leaders. "Coached leaders go further faster." - Andy. we just need an expert leader coaching the top leaders... and then everyone leads a few... all the way down. this expert has gotta be a people person.
I'm thankful that if we're a part of any culture in this North Point system, we're a part of a leadership culture!
Speed of the leader = speed of the team. Our quality and growth will be determined by the quality of our leader!

3  Value the Team - We need a relational guru who can motivate with vision and appreciate the heck out of the individuals on the team! (I feel like #s 2 & 3 might have a little overlap.) ***Everybody needs to value everybody else's role! Connect every single person's role to the big vision! (remember we're a body like Paul said in 1 Corinthians...)

4  Inform the Crowd - We need a marketing genius like Seth Godin on our team! (i wonder if he's looking for a job at a small church plant in NC? seems like that'd be right up his alley...) somebody who can communicate & market to the masses.. how else are they gonna know?
i can't tell you how many times i've thought (and i'm not the only one) - "i just wish more people would have experienced that!" (it's the marketing experts job to make sure they do! or at least know about it.)

5  Perfect the System - Oh yeah, we need a systems nerd. An orgizational guru! someone who says "How are all these disorganized people [like me] even Christians??? Disorganization is so ungodly!" i want that person on my team!! Because they are the opposite of me.
if we don't perfect the system we "waste critical resources ($) and time."

I think we need somebody who MAJORS in each of these 5 areas on our teams!
*When these 5 are working it simply removes most of the barriers so that the Holy Spirit can work.

***I have not stopped thinking about this for over a week now. i can't get it out of my mind. i know we've got to step it up in some of these areas because the mission is that important!

*some other great leadership stuff during this breakout:
-  "The longer something is neglected, the greater the damage and the harder it is to fix." [man we need to keep that in mind!]
-  our job in every environment is to "Build a bridge and turn on a light." - Reggie Joiner
-  "Teams need a rallying cry." - Patrick Lencioni

Monday, July 2, 2012

what i learn from reading (almost) all the way to the bottom of a facebook feed

i guess most people do this but i never really have.

i see a lot of people just scroll down their Facebook home page/ status feed screen or whatever you call it. i see people read all the way down to the bottom of it to see what EVERYONE is up to.

i guess i've just never taken the time to do that. i may notice the 1st 1 or 2 in my feed but not usually beyond that. maybe i'm just too ADD to make it beyond that.

just now i randomly decided to scroll all the way through my feed. it's pretty fascinating.
i saw...

-  lots of funny stuff of course

-  someone posted their 1st ultrasound of their teeny tiny baby in the womb!

-  someone else is 20 weeks pregnant with a belly pic... halfway there

-  and another person posted a pic of their beautiful newborn

-  someone is enjoying snuggling with a brand new adopted baby after a long journey to have/adopt a child

-  someone else is just beginning that long journey of the adoption process

-  someone is mourning the loss of a husband after 13 weeks without him and without a father for her children

-  while someone else is celebrating a wedding anniversary today with her husband

-  someone training for a marathon

-  somebody talking about Anderson Cooper being gay

-  someone celebrating 4.5 years of the "hardest" but "best" decision of their life = to quit smoking

-  somebody losing weight

and a whole lot of other stuff.

and no, i actually never made it to the bottom of the feed. that's just way too long. sorry.

but it was a crazy experience to read as far as i did. just look at those few things going on in peoples' lives.

i couldn't help but think that these Facebook status feeds are basically a microcosm of what's going on all around the world right now.

pain. relief.
joy. sorrow.
funny. sad.
life ending. life beginning.
and everything in between.

i'm sure there are some deeper thoughts not quite falling out of my brain just yet.

for now, i'm fascinated by a Facebook status feed being a sampling or microcosm of the emotions and experiences of almost 7 billion peeps on the planet...

never thought of it this way before.
but i might just start.