Wednesday, December 21, 2005

welcome back!

We returned from our annual vacation to Walt Disney World the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I was looking forward to returning to my ministry responsibilities. Monday morning, the firestorm hit.

Tensions among friends, students, whom I pastor, making poor life choices. One thing after another and it continues relentlessly even as I write this. These are the times that I want to grow back my hair so I can pull it out.

Then, in the midst of all of it I hear the words of Charlie Hall's song from his CD "On the Road to Beautiful:"

I can see that my hands are trembling
I can see that my legs are weak
I can see that my head is spinning
But I will overcome
And I know that my heart is hurting
And I know that my soul it aches
And I know that it seems I'm failing
But I will overcome

Oh, Lord I'm strong in You
Oh, Lord I'm wise in You
Oh, Lord I can see in You
So I will overcome
Oh, Lord I am loved by You
Oh, Lord I am free in You
Oh, Lord I'm complete in You
So I will overcome, I will overcome
I will overcome

I've listened to that song many times before. But I never felt the power of the truth in that song until the last few days.

These things will pass. But, thankfully, His love for me will renew and strengthen me to get through this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

flight of the bumblebee

i'm sitting here counting the days until i go to my very favorite place, walt disney world.

now, for me, it's not just about entertainment. it's much more than that. walt disney is a personal hero of mine. his ability to bring out the best creative talents in the people around him is unmatched.

one time, long after he established himself as a creative icon, a little boy asked disney if he drew mickey mouse. he replied in the negative. then the child asked if he made all the movies. "no," was the reply. the little boy then asked him what exactly he did do.

disney replied that he was like a bee that went around pollinating creativity among the people around him.

i like that.

my hope is that my legacy will be that i inspired the best in the people around me. as a pastor, my greatest accolade that those with whom my life intersects will be moved toward a deeper passion for Christ.

time will tell...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

baby, you can drive my car

i had a dream the other night.

i was in the backseat of a driverless car that was swerving out of control. i was trying desperately to get into the front seat in an effort to get behind the wheel to keep it from hurting people or crashing into anything, not to mention getting killed myself. but, i couldn't get to the front.

an unseen person was holding me back, preventing me from helping get things under control. i was very frustrated and fearful.

finally, i awoke moaning, in a cold sweat.

if anyone out there has any thoughts on this, post a comment.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Church is burning

on the most recent david crowder cd, "collision," there is written inside the following statement:

"this recording and artwork are protected by copyright law. using internet services to distribute copyrighted music, giving away illegal copies of discs or lending discs to others for them to copy is illegal and does not support those involved in making this piece of music, especially the artist. by carrying out any of these actions it has the same effect as stealing music."

on worship leader charlie hall's latest cd "on the road to beautiful" he more directly states, about burning cd's:

"it's hurting the artists who created the music. it has the same effect as stealing a disc from a store without paying for it."

bottom line, guys, burning cd's is wrong, not just because it's against the law, which scripture has a few things to say about, but also because it's unethical.

we can discuss the philosophical aspects of this matter all day long, but at the end of the day, burning cd's is still illegal and something, as louie giglio rightly points out, christians should be the first to refrain from.

to refer to louie giglio again, he believes that this is one of the more visible issues where followers of Christ forfeit their witness to the watching world. i agree. maybe we can be among the first to set an example, rather than give in to rationalization.

let's not forget guys, that this is how these guys make their living. i have seen many Christian artists give their music away. we must remember, however, that, like any other field of work, it's up to the creator of the product to perform their work gratis, not the consumer. would any of you who work or create a service of some sort be willing to allow the consumers of your services to decide whether or not they wanted to pay you?

i'll close with these words from james 4.17:

"Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

a good brisket sandwich

I feel as though I should be writing at this very moment, but about what I'm not really sure.

Sitting at my desk, typing these words and eating a brisket sandwich from Rudy's (where, by the way, you can get the "worst" barbecue), I feel a bit like walking out of my office and just continuing to walk. Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed, upset, disenfranchised or anything else along those lines. I'm just...curious.

Curious about what lies around the bend for me. Curious about the wonders that never seem to cease to come my way. Curious about this God who, as one writer put it, has "a furious love" for me.

As I sit here, all 5'9.5" and 180 pounds of me, and I wonder about the vastness of the space we live in, I'm astounded, flabbergasted, breathless that the God who is even bigger and incomprehensible than that thinks about me; all 5'9.5" and 180 pounds of me. Even cooler than that is that He feels exactly the same about you. Right here, right now.

Suddenly, this sandwich tastes very, very good.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

growing up

i was taking my kids to school yesterday and had a interesting conversation with my 10 year old son. he said that he was bothered because his friends at school saw him as the “best behaved” boy they know. he went on to tell me that they always want to do what he does because they know he’s such a good guy. he told me that he just wanted them to see him as normal.

i sat there listening to him, wondering when he started to be so “self-aware.” of course, this is one of those parenting moments that i’m sure will come more frequently in the years ahead.

i started out telling him that having a good reputation is the most awesome thing someone can have because no one can take it away from you. continuing, i told him that having other kids want to be where he is could be a sign of being a leader and that he should embrace that.

of course, i couldn’t resist telling him that being a well-behaved boy really is the norm and that he should embrace that!

ah, to be a child again. i was talking with my friend john last night and we recalled those days of our lives when innocence permeated our souls. with the realization of his reputation comes the possibility of seeing other options. yikes! what do i do when he starts to realize that having a good or bad reputation is really up to him? i guess i’ll have to see. one thing is for sure…it won’t be boring.

Friday, September 23, 2005

it's still all about Jesus...

i've been reflecting on matthew 26 as of late. Jesus is in a home and a woman breaks open a jar of expensive perfume to anoint and honor Him. the disciples get a bit ticked off about this, claiming that the perfume could have been sold to help the poor. Jesus replies by saying:

"Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be talked about in her memory."
(Matthew 26.10-13, NLT)

isn't that just like Jesus to keep first things first? as followers of Christ we are to first and always be about honoring Him above all things. was Jesus denying the need for us to assist those in need? absolutely not! i can't imagine that the 2000+ references in scripture regarding our responsibility to the poor would be neglected by Jesus. but, i believe that Jesus wanted them (and us) to remember that there must be a heart turned toward Him always, wherever we engage our time and resources.

did you notice that Jesus just had to mention the preaching of the "Good News" in his admonishment to the disciples? a not so subtle reminder that whatever we do, there is an ultimate goal of telling a lost and dying world about the God who loves them and wants to be in a relationship with them through Jesus Christ.

someone asked me what i thought God might be doing in bringing us hurricane rita so closely on the heels of hurricane katrina. perhaps it's God's way of reminding us today what he reminded the disciples about in matthew 26. there will always be physical needs in the world. everyday there are people who hunger, thirst and are without the basic needs for daily living. God directs us to be sure to meet those needs, care for the poor and needy. but, in the midst of it all, don't forget that, in the end, it's still all about Jesus. the story cannot end without Him.