Saturday, January 31, 2004

Involved in the community?

Some quotes from today's Dallas Morning News Religion Section:

"The goal is to have a Christian presence and participation in a lot of the Super Bowl activities," said the Rev. David Fannin, pastor of Nassau Bay Baptist Church and chairman of the Houston Super Bowl Evangelism Project."

And: "Our goal is not to go in and present some overly evangelistic witness at Super Bowl venues. We just want to establish some Christian presence there, establish relationships with folks in the community and just let people know the church is here and wants to be part of the community."

Can I ask why a formal program (of which a guy is paid full-time to design stuff like this in each "event" city) for this is necessary?

Their heart seems to be in the right place, which is what is encouraging to me. For example: "From a religious standpoint, one thing we have found out is that when our church members start getting involved with the community, the community starts getting involved with the church," said Knopps, whose events ministry is called Timothy Institute.

Mr. Knopps is absolutely correct. He and I simply differ on what "involved in the community" looks like and how to effectively reach that community.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: Instead of a lot of effort being put into handing out leaflets and praying over every seat in the stadium, why not put the effort into just building genuine relationships with non-Christians? Go to their parties without showing a video at halftime (maybe even having a knowlege of pop culture's halftime stars, too) presenting the Gospel. Host a party and invite the neighbors (if you're an adult, you might even have some beer available for them, too). Just be a normal functioning member of a community, loving those whom God has brought into your sphere of influence and living out a genuine walk with Christ.

I think programs like that are being developed and designed by a generation of leaders who something like this would've had great appeal...(stealing a quote I recently heard) It's a fast-food approach to a generation of coffee shop afficianados.

Just live abundantly, folks. Others will be drawn to it.
God Save The Queen

Today is Johnny "Rotten" Lydon's 48th birthday. Celebrate by forming a punk band on the foundation that ideas are more important than talent, believing that image is based on making an expository statement, and thumbing your nose at any and every type and form of establishment. Just don't spit.

Friday, January 30, 2004

An Avoidable Quagmire

It's an old story, really, at the core of it. He said, she said kinda deal. An area high school teacher was accused of sexual misconduct with a student. The details are sketchy, but basically it comes down to a pre-school tutoring session and she's the only girl who showed up and she claims certain inappropriate actions took place. He denies the allegations.

Students have rallied and called the news stations. Overwhelming support for the teacher. "He couldn't have done it. We know him. He'd NEVER do anything like that." Underlying tones of "she's a liar."

She's under the radar. Being a minor and all that.

Maybe it's because I work with high school students myself I see all sorts of wrong across the board.

The students, as well intentioned as they may be supporting a teacher, really don't know what transpired. They're looking at appearances which can be very deceptive. I wonder what they'll do if a jury finds the teacher guilty. What will be the lessons they learn?

The teacher, as glowing as his reputation is among the student body and colleagues, had no business tutoring a student of the opposite sex one-on-one without taking preventative measures. Even us highly unprofessional youth ministers get those lessons at Youth Ministry 101.

The girl should have her priority on telling the truth. If she's crying wolf, the fallout is terrible. A good teacher with a wife and kid gets irreperable damage to his professional and personal reputation. Other aspiring teachers might choose another venue for their talents. The girl's reputation falls. Other girls lose their ability to tell the truth, costing them their power over predators. I could go on.

If she's telling the truth, justice should be served all across the board and the chips rightfully fall where they may on the school, the teacher and his family, etc.

This whole thing is a mess...and from where I'm sitting with the information I've heard, the teacher could've done more to prevent this. Everything from arranging the environment to where he's not tutoring a student alone to ensuring his actions couldn't have been misconstrued and a whole grocery list of stuff. He's the professional. He's the adult. He had more locus of control.

Note to self: Be VERY careful. Careers can fall in seconds when you work with teenagers.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Is it me?

Why am I so hung up on VH-1 shows? Lately, it's been "Reuniting The Band." In the past it's been "I Love the 80's" or "Driven" or "Bands on the Run" or "100 Greatest Videos" or whatever.

I remember when I used to be an MTV kind of guy. I guess I'm in the VH-1 demographic now, so I guess it's okay.
Happy Birthday, Jilly!

Today my higher-order-life-liver sister has a birthday. She shares the day with the generic Tom Selleck, the great Johnny Lang, the stunning Heather Graham, the incomparable W.C. Fields, and another member of the higher order life livers: Oprah Winfrey. I can't determine any of the common threads that bunch has.

Anyway, celebrate my sister's birthday by sleeping in to whenever you damn well want, riding a Vespa to do some errands, taking your plane for a flight around the Bay Area, and then going out to Napa to hang with the delegates from some foreign nation.

If you'd like to celebrate in a more "retro" manner: Change colleges four times, get a job working with dolphins, drive your Camaro Berlinetta around listening to Adam Ant, do some modeling, and spend a lot of money on Anbesol.

Happy Birthday, Jilly! I really do love and admire you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I've Had A Bad Day, Please Don't Take A Picture...

It's a line from an old R.E.M. song. It's a dreary story sung in an upbeat tempo with a catchy when you're having a bad day at least you can whistle while you work.

How did it go astray, you ask?

I got barked at about things that weren't my fault and had no control over.

I felt irrelevant at work...let's say that a minister's "bottom lines" are fuzzier than in the business world but just as real when it's obvious to me (regardless of what they may look like to others) that even those fuzzy bottom lines aren't healthy at the moment. And, manalive did I have some eye-openers yesterday.

I'm still in the middle of days off from exercising and I think that and my relaxing of eating habits has thrown things off kilter.

There are others, but hardly worth whining about. You get the point.

I had a bad day.

I whistled through it. I rocked on. I kept on trucking. Maybe today will be better (with the strains of The Beatles singing, "I've got to admit it's getting better...a little better...all the time [background: it can't get no worse] fading out)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The Nightly "News?"

Last night on the 10PM newscast, the local station led with...get this...the weather.

Don't get me wrong, I could see if there was a tornado or severe weather, or even if there was the possibility of dangerous driving conditions. Anything like that I'm pretty okay with...even if on several occasions the 6 o'clock news warned us to go get bread and milk only to backtrack at 10PM saying the snow was going to stay north of us.

Anyway, the reason the weather was the lead story was because it was actually 25 degrees. With the wind...

Later in the same newscast we were treated to breakdancers in the Vatican. Good to see the Pope getting hip...he's only 20 years behind that trend.

We also got some polls from New Hampshire about who was going to win the primary today, but not even sound bites from candidates. We got some local crimes going on downtown (which was probably the closest thing to real news). Then more weather. Then sports. Then horribly forced attempts at witty banter.

I'm not sure what's going on with local news...maybe they've punted because of the news-on-demand we're already getting from cable, but whoever is making decisions on what stories make the broadcast has really been surprising.

My question: Is the editor giving is what we want or telling us what we should want? Either way, it seems silly to me.

Monday, January 26, 2004

The Opportunity of the Formal Student:

According to a Los Angeles Times report, an annual UCLA study of incoming freshmen all across the USA, less than 40% said it was important to develop a meaningful philosophy of life. In 1967, 86% said this was important.

Being "very well off financially" was at the highest level since 1991.

A side note of the study showed that a record 47% of students earned an "A" average, against 18% in 1968.

In all honesty, when I was a freshman at college, I couldn't have cared less about making a pile of money. For me, it really was about the experience (sometimes you just gotta go to the football game in Tallahassee or take the road trip to ski or to the beach and turn in the paper late, eh?) and figuring out who I was. The straight A's didn't come until I was deep into my major and by that time it was uphill trying to get that overall bad boy up around 3.0.

And the whole idea of nearly half of a university having an A average seems out of kilter, too. It's the same way at the local high schools, of the high schools had over 10% of the senior class with a GPA higher than perfect (there were only 2 kids in my graduating class with perfects in the advanced classes) and over half the class had an "A."

So, open advice to this year's freshmen: No employer will really be all that stoked about your overall GPA...but the grad schools will likely care. So, take care of classroom business accordingly...but take the time to enjoy the life experiences and relationships a university experience affords.

If you're at a university, give some serious thought to the condition of the universe and your place within it. Some of this will come inside the classroom, but most will come outside those venues. And a lot of the outside thought processes are built on what ideas you're getting inside the classroom. In other words, get an education. Don't manipulate a system to get a good grade in ALL your that for your P.E. credit or a couple of electives when the rest of your schedule is demanding.

Don't worry about being well off financially. Most of those factors are outside your ability to control. Work on being happy with what you're going to be doing for the next 50 or so years of your life. This may or may not have bank account rewards...but there are unseen payments to being well off and loathing what you actually do.

I remaind convinced that most people grow more in the "university" age range than they do in the 18 years or so previous to I'm hoping that is the case in the view expressed by the incoming freshmen class in our country.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Brennan Manning

A while back our church staff was invited to attend a "pastor's only" meeting with noted author Brennan Manning. He's written several books, and best known for one called The Ragamuffin Gospel. So, I was expecting the normal author lecture regarding his current work and why he thinks it's important. I've done these deals before and since I like his writing I was looking forward to this.

This one was different, though. He actually decided to effect, preach a sermon.

Since we come from different theological pedigrees, I was prepared for the natural differences that flared up, but I had an enjoyable time listening to him. He's very passionate.

Anyway, his talk was on developing a meaningful prayer life and focused on the key to doing that was to view God as "Father." The most striking note I got from his lesson was the list of people in the Old Testament, from national leaders to prophets who never got to call God their "Father." Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekial, Moses, etc. No one. They viewed Him as an "unrelenting dependability" or "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Never as "daddy."

And then, when Jesus was asked how to pray by a primarily Jewish 1st century audience, he began by saying, "Our Father..."

What a contrast! That must've rocked that early audience's ears. It rocked mine 2000 years later in the sense of reading that same passage often and never making the connection between a thriving life of prayer and the childlike candor, unbridled trust and youthful abandon that a child would have when interacting with a loving, caring father.

Manning punctuated this reality with the statement about the reality that Jesus referred to God as "Abba" 148 times in the Gospels...a comparative translation from the Hebrew would be "daddy."

I'm thinking Brennan Manning might be on to something there...even if there was some generic-church-from-a-seminar (just follow the formula and you'll have a big church) and some incredibly loud music (which could hardly be called "worship") sandwiched around the main point.

It was a fantastic way to start the day.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Home Movies

Our family needed a break last night. A normal week of school/activities behind us and a Saturday night sleep over in front of the Tracy had been painting the new art & dance studio we're creating for the girls (well, Tracy is creating, I'm more the executive producer) and was exhausted.

So, we busted out the home movies...and I loved it.

To me, there's a certain "big picture" element that never gets old. You know, the recorded history of the girls being born and their first steps and other precious moments and how young our parents looked and how young we looked and all that (not to mention a 12-year-old fashion conscious daughter feeling the need to give commentary on stuff like, "Oh, Dad, nice glasses." or "What was Mom thinking with THAT hairstyle?")

It's the "background" stuff that struck me last night. That scene in the nursery that showed where we goofed on measuring the wallpaper border which made one corned looked like a teddy bear was smooshed into it. The cassette tape of Offspring (a 90's punk band for those of you out of that loop) playing in the background and me flippantly asking Tracy, "How great are these guys?" The television shows that were on while we were goofing with the girls (the Braves playoff run of 91, anyone?). Looking at our "fixer-upper" first home and recalling the discussion of why we chose "that checkerboard floor." The stuff we forgot like the time I was asked by the local PTA to be the dunkee in the fund-raising dunking booth. The old couch I loved and she loathed. The time I did a poor imitation of Dana Carvey doing an great portrayal of Bush, Sr. for a church skit. The golf tournament when I was on a team with my old pastor and us hamming it up because video cameras were new. How great our first yard looked. The backyard swingset the girls were playing on recalling the story of how it almost killed me. I could go on but you get the idea.

I think I've decided that it isn't the big picture events that make life so enjoyable but rather the appreciation of the smaller moments...and that normalcy is pretty great in the big scheme of things.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Cheap Dates

There's a recurring article in the Dallas Morning News Friday "guide" that lists "cheap dates"--which defines cheap as "under $30."

I was thinking about some of the best cheap dates that were really good ones:

Here in Dallas, you can get into the Arboretum on Friday afternoons for a reduced fee (on some "off-season" dates it's actually free) and look around, and follow that up with a dinner at a restaurant called Ozona's West Texas Grille on upper Greenville. Sit outside and by a fireplace in the winter...even with tip you're outta there for under $25 and it's pretty good food.

In college, on weekends, the university I attended had free movies (which was really what had just been released on video or about a month after it came out on HBO). You could get a date, go see a movie and stroll over to an ice cream shop and then stroll around the campus. Very cool date. In fact, my wife and I had our first date at the free movie (a horrible movie called About Last Night).

Also, any sporting event or play or something like that in which someone gives you free tickets and you have to scramble to get child care arranged in like a three hour window. Those are usually great dates.

One last one that was my "default date idea" because it worked better than anything else I tried to schmooze the ladies with, was the "big box of questions." I'd call the girl's friend, find out what her favorite picnic-type food was, get a bottle of wine, head off to a park somewhere and break out the blanket and big box of questions which had about 100 slips of paper with various questions like "What's your favorite childhood memory?" or "What are traits of people you truly admire?" or "When did you laugh the hardest?" Things like that.

So...what else ya got for great cheap dates?
Candlelight Vigil Update

Simply letting you know...

In response to the news that J-Lo and Ben have split for good, I shall be having a candlelight vigil until the Darth Vader cause of this techtonic plate shift in the balance of the universe (the evil P. Diddy, apparently) vanishes from the scene so those two lovebirds can reunite.

I'd imagine People and Us magazines could NOT be more thrilled.

I can't believe that story was a major player on the nightly news last night.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Stuff we should do and don't

A study in Germany (from the University of Leubeck, wherever that is) shows that creativity and problem-solving appear to be directly linked to adequate sleep...and defined as adequate "eight hours of rest." Words like "huge difference in mental performance" and "good reason to respect our periods of sleep" showed up.

I started to write about studies that spend their grant money to determine what is pretty much common sense...but then I got to thinking about why we don't apply these areas of common sense.

You know, over the last year or so I've seen studies on things like...

*eating healthy with the occasional splurge instead of the other way around.
*excercising regularly.
*reading more.
*watching less television.
*have sit-down meals instead of wolfing it down in the van on the way to somewhere.
*cutting out or back on soft drinks/coffee.
*avoiding anger.

Things like that. Sure, we can giggle at the fact that some doctor at some university put a bunch of people in a study and then "proved" to us that "weight loss can be attributed to more excercise and strict diet" but why don't we generally apply these common sense things?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


The number of times the president's hour long speech was interrupted by applause.

Once a minute? Was it really that insightful or brilliant? Or was it simply the kick-off of his campaign? Methinks it was the latter.

However, I did like his line that it's actually the free-market economy that allows our health care to be the best in the world. And, if he follows through on the ability to overhaul the insurance payment system to make it affordable, he might be right in saying that government run health care isn't the right prescpription. That's a pretty big "if," though. Let's hope he follows through on his idea.
Shelby's Birthday

It was 10 years ago today that Shelby came into my life. It started in the afternoon. It was a comparatively short labor against the one her sister created. And I had a flight for a job interview in North Carolina at 6AM the next morning. I stayed at the hospital until about 10PM the night before, just holding her.

The next morning I listened to her breathe on a phone in the Charlotte airport. I still sit at her bedside some nights and listen to her breathe.

She's brought flair into my life. She dances. She's witty. She's smart. She snuggles. She has a great laugh. She views life as a grand experience and is my early morning buddy. What else could you want in a daughter?

Happy birthday, Shelby. I can't believe it's been 10 years already...a full "two-hander" now. They're really going too fast...and I suspect they won't slow down. I'm so proud of the young lady you are today.
Marathon Update

I think I discovered my limit: 30 miles per week. Today, I had a series of little nagging injuries on a recovery run. Shin splints. Strained big toe (which really makes you nuts on a run). Knee stress. All the mileage finally took it's toll. So...I'm taking 10 days off.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

State of the Union

Tonight, our president will focus on the positive. And, sure, some things are going well enough that he should do that. .

I'm really not sure about the whole "man-to-Mars" thing, though. Space stations on the moon. Lots and lots of billions (or is it trillions?) of dollars.

Maybe it's a risk that will be worthwhile because of the "side" benefits of the space race were in the 1960's. You know, velcro and Tang and computer upgrades...the whole deal.

But it just seems like a lot of money right now.

Maybe it's me. Maybe it's because I don't like Star Wars. Maybe I'm getting older. Maybe I'm not old enough. Maybe it's because of the repeated successes of NASA that I can really believe they can and will do it so it hardly seems heroic to do so.

To me, the good old political standards of education, jobs and health care would seem to be higher priorities than spending a bajillion dollars trying to put a flag on the Red Planet.

And, any event in which commentators will have a count on how many times the president will be interrupted by applause makes me suspicious. For that matter, any time a politician talks it makes me suspicious. But this time, even more so.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Pine Cove No Agenda Retreat

A few years back our student ministry had a big event that involved playing laser tag and bowling and arcades and ice skating all intertwined with Bible studies and small group discussion/sleep overs. It was all crammed into a weekend. And it was very well attended and very cool.

The next year, only three kids signed up so we cancelled it.

I asked my older teenagers why it didn't work when the previous year had been so much fun. Their responses had a common thread in that the teens said they were so busy and if they wanted to do that stuff they could do it themselves. They said they came to church for the Bible studies and spiritual growth and not for entertainment.

Which is good. This generation of teens is pretty observant.

But, I also asked them what they wanted to replace the other event. They said they were so busy they wanted to slow down. This generation of teens is pretty exhausted.

So, my staff and I decided to implement the opposite of a high-energy weekend: A true retreat. No Agenda. We supply the bus and the camp location. You bring the Bibles and the questions, or don't. Sleep if you want. Go to lake and canoe. Hike. Play basketball. We'll hang out and get to know you.

At the end, we'll have a campfire and let you talk about what God taught you on the retreat...and even that meeting is optional. There truly is no agenda.

And, from the youth pastor's perspective, it's great. There's time to actually talk to the teens...and more importantly listen to them. To relax with them. And watch them truly relax.

A couple of observations: Us suburbanites are oppressing our teens with "good" involvements. I mean, they aren't hauling off and going to seances, but after 8 hours of school, couple of hours of a job, SAT prep, soccer/piano/art lessons/games/clubs/etc., church stuff...manalive. We've forgotten to rest. I firmly believe rest is important to an abundant life.

Secondly, my job/life/ministry never gets old. After 15 years of this student ministry deal, I am still passionate about what I do. There are few things more rewarding than the relationships developed on weekends like this one. The good, the bad, the ugly. My life is better because these "kids" are in it.
Where will this lead?

When I went to Holland last summer, I heard a lot of talk about the switch to the Euro. Their previous monetary unit was the Guilder...and apparently this change in currency caused a bit of inflation to the consumer. They made jokes about the prices doubling and such but usually shrugged it off with a kind of "What're ya gonna do about it?" mentality.

Well, a guy in Italy did something about it. He sued the coffee bar that sold him a cappuccino. Said it was 23-cent Euro too high (that's about 30 cents American).

He won! Got his 23-cent Euro plus legal costs. Naturally, there will be an appeal.

But think about the possibilities if we did this here in the States! We could go right into the mall and if we feel like we're being charged too much for a pair of sneakers or a board game or a book or a cup of joe...and if we don't like the price, sue them!

I guess it'd be better for us to simply let the supply-and-demand thing play itself out.

Suing over a cup of coffee. You've got to be kidding.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Quote from Spurgeon

"True and genuine piety is necessary as the first and indispensable requisite: whatever "call" a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry."

I wish more people read that before they hopped into professional Christianity.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Keepin' on keepin' on

Yesterday, 16 miles. Running. Well, 11 I ran and then 5 I sorta chugged through, but I went 16 miles at one time. 3 hours, 2 minutes. Sure, some dudes run an entire marathon in that time, but I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Friday, January 16, 2004

The Great Game?

I admit it. I'm hooked on big league baseball. I was sucked in during my youth. Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays and Johnny Bench. The entire Big Red Machine. Reggie Jackson. Fisk's home run. Aaron's 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth. The Pirates "We Are Family" and imitating Willie Stargell's batting stance. Rod Carew. The Dodgers. My Braves (back when they lost 100 games a year...of which I still know their batting lineup from every year)...I know I've lost most of you by now or it sounds like some sort of code, but it's the code of my youth.

It's a habit I can't break. I'm addicted. I don't fight it anymore.

But the "powers-that-be" seem intent on getting rid of me. The management's stupidity over the years has been well documented (everything from failing to have revenue sharing or the disaster of free agency or the silly designated hitter rule or even adding a round to the playoffs...starting playoff games so late that kids can't stay up to watch.) but the appeal of the game keeps me watching.

Now it's personal.

The local professional franchise, the Texas Rangers, has a deal in February called the Winter Carnival. They let you park in the players lot, you can enter the locker room, walk past the lockers, stroll through the tunnel into the dugout and hit the field. You can run the bases. You can catch a fly ball in the outfield. You can hit a pitch in the batting cages underneath the stadium. You might bump into a player or two and get an autograph. And, oh, by the way, you can purchase a ticket at the ticket booth if the mood strikes you. And if not, hey, we're glad you came...and thanks for bringing your kid! We're sure you'll be both be back.

And...the best is FREE!

Or, I should say they HAD a deal called the Winter Carnival. It USED to be free.

I read in the newspaper this morning that they're replacing the Winter Carnival with a day where there are some perks if you purchase a mini-season ticket plan (13 games) where you can do some of that stuff...and at a later date, there'll be the entire team on the concourse signing free autographs, provided that each person perchase a ticket to a game this season.

And this is for a team that finished in LAST PLACE for the last three seasons with no prospects for improvement this season.

So, open statement to the Texas Rangers: I know you don't care. But, just so you know, if somebody puts a few freebies in my pocket I'll come to the Ballpark and watch. I'll bring my own snacks, though. And I'll bring my kid, who will bring her own snacks. But that's the only way I'm coming. I'll need a fix, so I won't say I won't come.

But I won't mind watching the local minor league team in Frisco, which is a closer drive, with free parking, near a mall with more food options. And I'll hope that my daughter's love of the game will tide her over until you get your collective acts together and major league baseball shows it cares about her as much as the corporate bucks.

Just letting you know.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Which Theologian Are You
(found on Jonathan Hays blog)

I couldn't resist...

"We reject the false doctrine that the church could have permission to hand over the form
of its message and of its order to whatever it itself might wish or to the vicissitudes of the
prevailing ideological and political convictions of the day."
You are Karl Barth!
You like your freedom, and are pretty stubborn against authority! You don't
care much for other people's opinions either. You can come up with your own fun, and
often enough you have too much fun. You are pretty popular because you let people have their
way, even when you have things figured out better than them.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Family Values

Britney Spears, again:

"I do believe in the sanctity of marriage. I totally do. I was in Vegas and it took over me."

Insert your own joke here. It's too easy.
The Racket To Be In

Give me a portion of your salary, and I'll agree to take care of the financial portion of your problems just in case something happens. That's the deal. I'll hold your money, probably invest it and make some of my own money, and then, should you need help paying your bill...well...I'll take care of it.

Unless, well...I think the person providing the service is charging too much money for said service. In which case, I'll decide NOT to pay them, but I won't tell you. I'll just send a few letters to them about how they're overcharging. Then, you'll get a letter from the service provider telling you that I'm not paying. Then you'll call me. I'll have three or four people look into it. This will go on for about a month. Maybe two.

The the service provider will get together with a bunch of other providers of the same service who will all stop bothering to see you if you use my business. The only people who will see you are just now starting their own service provision, and we'll repeat the process with them until they get tired of it.

How is this better than the European model of health care again?

P.S. And, oh yeah, we agreed to protect your house, too. Just in case something bad happens like a tornado or hail or a fire. But, if there happens to be an inordinate amount of those happenings in any given time frame, we'll threaten to move out of your state unless the government agrees to raise the lowest possible rate to charge you.

Insurance is the best of all possible money-making rackets.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Celebrating Diversity: A Challenge from Larry Mercer.

Okay, so if you've been reading my blog lately you know by now that Larry Mercer is speaking at my church for a Bible conference this week.

One of the great things about being on staff at a church is that when guest speakers (usually highly pedigreed and/or published) come we get to have lunch with them or they'll come teach a special lesson for staff only or maybe even have some one-on-one time to ask a question about something they said. It's sorta like getting an "all access" backstage pass for Christians.

Anyway, yesterday Dr. Mercer comes to staff meeting yesterday and lead a Bible study on 1 Corinthians 12...which discusses the diverse nature of the Church and the importance of each member who is uniquely gifted and talented. Naturally, we all nodded in agreement. I mean, it's pretty much inarguable from what he was reading.

But then he hauls off and says that people usually nod in agreement but rarely tell those involved in the melting pot that is The Church how much we value their gifts and talents and uniqueness.

Then he hauls off and gives us three days to do so to those we work with. He said we could send a voice mail. Or an e-mail. Or a note. Or a phone call. Or a conversation. Just do it by Friday.

So, I took a bit of license and am going to use my blog (hey, it wasn't on the "can't-do-it-that-way" list) and risk embarrassing my co-workers by letting the general public see what I value in their uniqueness:

First, the receptionists:

Cindy is our most recent staff addition, and in the short time we've worked together I've noticed that she has an enthusiasm and excitement about studying God's Word. It's a nice visual reminder to those of us who study it professionally that the Word is "living and active" and able to change our lives. And, you know, it's evident to me that in her ministry to the "singles" in our church and in her encouragement to me personally (and a keen wit, too) that the Word is at work, doing what it is supposed to be doing, in her life.

Jo Ann is a reminder to me that "joy" is the 2nd fruit of the Spirit. She has an infectious laugh and I hear it a lot when she's on the clock. It doesn't really matter if it's a funny "forward" on an e-mail or telling a story about her family or laughing at one of our stories...she even had fun planning a wedding for crying out loud! Her family went to our annual "family camp" last summer and all of them would come into dinner cutting up about whatever had transpired that day in the great outdoors. I definitely see joy in her life.

Jay is a walking epitome of humility. Sure, he's fun but here's a guy that was working for a major corporation and doing well and took an early retirement. Now this former executive makes our coffee, makes our copies, answers our get the drift. And he does so while using the opportunity to do things like edit a video for a conference, or plan a breakfast for the men's ministry (and then setting up tables for it), or studying for a seminary class.

Secondly, our "support" staff:

Sally is a constant reminder of a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. Sure, she's really creative with layouts and designs of our ministry literature and such, but she does so with such a gentleness and patience when we, as notorious deadline ignorers, manage to pile on more work at her busiest times. If you don't think a gentle and quiet spirit is worthy of recognition, then you don't work with someone that has it. A world-class grandmother, too.

Nancy is oh so very faithful. She has more "behind-the-scenes" tasks that only seem get noticed if they aren't done, or aren't done correctly. She is in charge of our weekly bulletin and making the copies of all the staff sermons/lectures/classes and all that. She'll spend hours alone in a sound booth, or by a paper cutter, or folding machine (of which she has to wear earplugs, doubling the solitude) and is actually doing a direct ministry for people in our church so they can hear God's word in their cars or at home while they're doing some home chore...because of her faithfulness, people are maturing in their faith. Another world-class grandmother.

Sherry has a compassionate side that few rarely get to see. In between printing name tags and updating data bases and scheduling the rooms there are phone calls that take an hour because someone called and needed someone to listen. She has helped crotchety old ladies find rides to church. She has helped hungry people get food coupons and all sorts of ministry needs get met because she can recognize that some phone calls are opportunities to serve someone who really needs someone to listen. Plus, she's a really good sport and a good mom, too. Three kids with a heart for God...she's doing something right.

Bonnie came on board to serve behind the scenes in our worship ministry. It's another task that doesn't get noticed unless it isn't done, but to make copies of sheet music and compile notebooks for the singers or to schdule the worship practices or tell the licensing company which songs we used the words addition to running the entire kitchen (do you know how hard it must be to make sure there are enough spoons or trash bags or to keep the fridge clean or do the dishes for a church family of 1,500?) area. It isn't a flashy job, but her servant's heart sure makes it easy for others to serve joyfully.

Finally, everyone that has an office on our floor:

Mike is sort of the "pastor's pastor." When he came on staff he made sure that his office was one that you could grab a cup of coffee and just talk about life or ministry or marriage or whatever. Mike's a tireless worker (in fact, we doubt seriously if he sleeps) but he's a great listener and winds up with a lot of the ministry work that no one else can define where it belongs. Mike's office is still the place where you can take a cup of coffee and try to make sense of it all. Very patient and kind.

Tim, our senior pastor, is the very definition of a grace-filled walk with Christ. He's terribly aware of God's grace in his own life and is terribly conscious of giving us that same grace, both as staff and as friends. The way he thinks is such that he can carry on a conversation about the Three Stooges or St. Thomas Aquinas with an equal level of appreciation. Tim's walk with God is surprisingly personal for a visible pastor, but he is faithful day in and day out, which is highly comforting for those of us that aren't quite there yet. And get this: He's the most spiritual man I know. It's an honor to work with him and for him...and I'd say that if they fired me tomorrow.

Bob, our worship pastor, is a "leap of faith" kind of guy. He walked away from a career to take on ministry at a time of life when his kids were about to go to college and all that jazz. He's peculiar in the way that musicians and creative types should be peculiar and that's really what I like about him. He wears white sneakers, watches Star Trek, like Rush Limbaugh, and has a penchant for puns. When it comes down to it, he really is original and I can honestly say I don't know anyone like him. That's cool to be able to say, too.

Neil is someone who truly cares for his (and His) sheep. He can spend hours in counseling sessions with some of the ugliest and darkest parts of human nature staring him in the face and he simply shows up for work the next day and does it all again with different people. He visits hospitals and calls the elderly and puts up with people calling him at all hours of the night. Runaway teens have wound up at his home. You name it, he deals with it. He understands that to be a shepherd, most days, at then end of it, you'll smell like the sheep. And he loves it. And it shows. And, in his own way, he's a rabble-rouser...which I always like.

Edna I admire for her passion for ministry. I can't think of anything that, once she's convinced is for the betterment of our ministry, she doesn't do with abandon. She doesn't settle for mediocrity in anything at all...only excellence will suffice. This shows up in her being involved in our greeter ministry, our child-care ministry (of which she developed the current program that truly ministers to about 275 pre-schoolers every Sunday) and even serving as a high school Bible study leader IN ADDITION to her normal day-in, day-out job on staff. And none of those areas are done half-heartedly, but with real live passion. And that's really fun to watch.

Kim, the genuine Southern belle, is our financial officer. She pays strictest attention to the one area of ministry that more ministries get in trouble for: Money. She looks out for us as staff and reminds us how important it is to be financially responsible...even in little things like when she reminds me to write down exactly how much cash is in the envelope I give her or the way she'll take whatever time is needed in order to find the 23 cents that doesn't reconcile on a huge monthly budget. She's sensitive to those areas ministers generally aren't and she cares about each one of our ministries because she knows it's important to us. I mean, realistically, there are teenagers all over the world who have heard about Jesus Christ that wouldn't have if she hadn't ensured the financial ledgers were square. Her ministry to us is more signficant than we all really admit...right down to making sure the cakes are there for whoever has a birthday hat that needs to be worn.

Bill is our administrator...which really means he has a lot of grunt work to do to make sure our ministries run smoothly. If light bulbs are out, or air conditioning needs to be lowered, or the alarm system goes off in the middle of the night, or the grass needs to be mowed, or the fountain in the lake needs to work, or there was a spill in the cafe, or if the building has to be locked still don't even get a fraction of the picture. Bill is a truly gifted servant, which again, I find hard to believe that a former VP of a major corporation would try to track down a strange sewage smell and do so relatively joyfully. It's really fun to see him enjoy the college ministry, too. Plus, if you ever need a good canoe trip story, he's got a new one. You can also check out his fine work by clicking his link under my "bloggers I dig" section.

Melissa is one of the most innovative and creative ministers I know. She works with the elementary school students who eventually come into our ministry. She's always doing things that aren't supposed to be done (according to "everybody") and whenever something interesting is delivered to the church, like a popcorn popping machine, or a puppet theatre, or you hear movie about Noah's ark being made, or there's an actual menorah in our children's worship "temple," you can bet Melissa is behind it somehow. Children view our church as fun, but they're learning enough to ensure that I have to raise my level of teaching when they hit 6th grade. I couldn't be happier that she has a heartbeat for children, because I don't think I could do her job. We joke a lot that she has the utmost job security here at CBC.

D and I have been friends for a long time. The thing I appreciate most about him is what a clear thinker he much to the degree that he can turn over a ministry he pretty much founded to me and then truly give me the freedom to put my own fingerprints on it. He can think through in seconds what others take about a week to do...and he thinks so well in consistently Biblical terms. And that translates into his work (which he does with excellence), his ability to develop and train others, his family life, how he spends his free name it. The beauty of it is that, unlike most deep thinkers, he has an incredible sense of humor that has little time for giggles but rather makes you have to take your glasses off and wipe your eyes and then you go home with a headache from laughing so hard. I really can't think of anybody I'd rather work directly with and for.

So, since I know these people, they're going to be sufficiently embarrassed to have this done publicly, but Dr. Larry didn't say it couldn't be done this you'll all have to get comfy with the reality that I enjoy working with each of you for the reasons listed here (and many too lengthy to get into here) and am not afraid to say so in a public forum that anyone can read.

I really do appreciate the diversity, Dr. Larry...and thanks for the reminder to focus on the beauty of it.
Terror Alerts

The comic strip The Boondocks defines my feelings about the government's current terror alert system:

"The department of homeland security said the public should not be worried during this heightened terror alert, but they should keep a lookout for anything strange...

We can't tell you what to look out for, or where to look out for it, but YOU know what we mean, and WE know that YOU'LL know what you should be looking for if you see it."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Bible Conference Update

Some quotes from Larry Mercer speaking on the topic of servanthood from last night's address:

"If we see God properly, we will see ourselves and other people properly."

"If you can drive it, eat it, live in it, or wear it, you can't take it with you (after your life). 'Success' and the symbols of it are temporary."

"Obsession with self leads blinds us to seeing the needs of other people. (Quoting professor Howard Hendricks) 'A life wrapped up in itself makes a very small package.'"

"Security with who you are in Christ results in sensitivity to others...and the converse is true as well."

"How do you know someone is truly a servant? By the way they act when they're treated like one."

"If you have a 'why' for living, you can deal with almost any 'how.'"
Day Off

Yesterday, I mowed the lawn in a long sleeve t-shirt. January. Dallas. I'm mowing (well, mulching leaves) in a t-shirt. This is a strange place for weather.

I purchased new running shoes as the ones I had been using needed updating as they had about 450 miles on them...about double what the time when you buy new shoes.

I napped for two hours. I wish my days off were more constructive than recovery in nature. I didn't start writing the book like planned.

I ran Shelby to ballet. I went to the supermarket for dinner supplies. I played catch with Kelsey (the strange Dallas weather allows for strange off-season sporting activity).

Then I went to the Bible conference at my church.

A pretty nice day off, all in all.

Monday, January 12, 2004


Check out this site! Mr. Picasso Head lets you create your own Picasso-esque painting. Check out The Simpsons in the gallery!
Larry Mercer

My church is having a Bible conference this week and the keynote speaker is from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Larry Mercer has a manner of speaking that makes a simple truth resonate for hours in your brain. In addition to secretly coveting that ability, I'm looking forward to the next three nights.
Hello? Kettle? This is the pot. You're black.

Bill Clinton said yesterday that Democratic hopeful Howard Dean "needed to learn to majesty of the unspoken thought."

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Hmmmm.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

God in the public discourse

In an imaginary conversation with God, Leonard Pitts makes an interesting point in a column about Howard Dean's decision to bring his religious beliefs to the forefront of his campaign and why he hasn't so far:

''I've noticed that,'' said God. ``Up North, they act like I was a bad secret, something you don't mention in polite company. Down South, you can't shut 'em up. They call me out for every high school football game.''

And, following that up, Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow talked about an incident that happened to him waiting to get his oil changed. A guy tried to "witness" to him despite his trying to read:

"Christians are called to witness, yes. But clumsy, intrusive witnessing hardens hearts and drives people away. Maybe it makes him feel good to say he witnessed to 10 people that day. But what if nine are pushed further from God?"

Topping it all off was a bumper sticker I saw yesterday. It had the word "Marriage" in big letters, followed by the "=" sign. This was followed by the international symbol for a man's restroom holding hands with the international symbol for a woman's restroom. Underneath were words to the effect that this is the way God intended it followed by the name of a Christian organization.

Seems to me that Christians need to take a good, hard look at Matthew 5--7 and realize that being "salt and light" and being the "light of the world" entails so much more than verbage. It's bothersome that being right seems to be more important than winning souls among my tribe.

Since I'm pretty hot about this: Shut up, walk worthy, live abundantly, give glory to God. It ain't that difficult.

Paraphrasing Picaso:

"The comics are a lie that point us to the truth."

A couple of comic strips today (if you click the links after Sunday you may have to go back in the archives) were brilliant:

Luann by Greg Evans. Excellent portrayal of a daily teen reality and funny insight.

Non Sequiter by Wiley. Playing to my GenX media sensibilities, he uses his recurring character "Obviousman" to show how a political candidate becomes a frontrunner and then the irony that follows.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Stuff I didn't think I had to remind you not to do...

Yesterday, I observed/heard about/did an inordinate amount of stupid decisions/actions. So, just as a reminder:

*Don't try to outrun the police.
*Don't get involved with a prostitute, and if you do, don't get into a financial squabble with the pimp while you're naked in a hotel room.
*Don't shoot your family members.
*Don't talk on cell phones while driving or within earshot of others.
*Don't make and/or use counterfeit currency.
*Don't go to a guy's radiator shop for repairs the day before he goes on a week's vacation.
*Don't run a large amount of miles with a thermal shirt as the layer closest to your skin.
*Don't mislead your nation.
*Don't give your mom your blog address and then write about seeing a Playboy magazine when you were 10 (27 years later and 685 miles apart yet I guess I could still get grounded for a week).
*Don't live in Europe and endorse Howard Dean for the reasons you cited (there may be legitimacy to the endorsement, but not for those reasons).

Just a few observations, and I'm hoping my readers can discern which ones were mine and which were news items. Hmmmm.

Friday, January 09, 2004


Does anyone else wonder what they did before there was a science of orthodontia? The reason I ask is that it seems to me that every orthodontist I know zips around in expensive sporty cars and has extraordinarily large houses. It appears to be a low overhead, high profit margin deal.

It also seems to me that if you're going to all the trouble of being a doctor, orthodontist would be the lowest form of pressure. No one calls in the middle of the night with a "loose wire" disaster...and no one dies due to an inexplicable retainer mishap.

Think about it: It's the perfect job. High pay. Low overhead. Assistants do all the remedial stuff. No life or death pressures. A ready-made clientele that's limited only by the number of pre-teens in your community...and easily measured success. I can't think of a drawback.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page turns 60 today! Let's all celebrate by trashing a hotel room, developing an interest in the occult, and playing a guitar using a violin bow and beer bottle.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Thinking About Childhood

On the whole I had a very happy childhood (pre-teen, which was an entirely different animal after the death of my father). I've been thinking about that and what a blessing it is. I have great memories...such as:

My father and his brothers having a few too many beers and driving the boat while my cousins and I fought for dear life hanging on to an inner tube. At the time, we didn't know there were too many beers, and skipping across the water at about 30 mph and the mix of pain/fun that followed was great.

Somehow we'd acquired a sled and I lived in a neighborhood with, no kidding, 45 degree inclines (I've double checked in adulthood too, so there's no embellishment here) on several different streets within walking distance. On the day or two a year we'd get a snow day from school, the sled came out and we'd do some serious speed racing with the other guys in the neighborhood. Once, one of my friends got his dad to get out his rail buggy and he would give us a ride back to the top of the hill.

We played whatever sport was in season in our front yards. Sometimes they didn't have to be in-season because we played hockey in the summer...and I remember the drafts for teams and the arguments due to lack of refs and re-aiming the flood lights to give us the ability for night play.

We had "woods" behind our house. We played real war with real BB guns. We built lean-to clubhouses. We played hide and seek. The high holy day was when Tim found a stash of Playboy magazines in his dad's attic and brought one to the fort after a BB gun war. Think about what a guy day that was: War, clubhouses and porn. We were 10.

One day when we went with family to the Gulf of Mexico, there was some sort of tropical storm brewing that was no threat to us but created the biggest waves I've ever seen, even to this day. In another near-death childhood day, my dad and Uncles Jimmy & Joe took me and my cousins Rob & Duke out into the perfect storm and we body-surfed. There were times the undertow was so bad that it pile-drived us into the ocean floor and we'd pull ourselves to the shore, shake off the near-concussion, and return 5 minutes later as our dads yelled for us to "Get out here, you pansies. You're missing the best waves." If you call an 11 year old boy a pansy he'd jump off a cliff. The next day the storm brought rain and we challenged our dads to skee ball for literally 4 hours. That was the 2nd time I beat him at anything.

The first was when, for some reason, I have this incredible talent for Putt-Putt golf (not goofy golf)...the kind that used to have tournaments on television. Well, one summer my mom would drop me off at the local Putt-Putt and I was actually in a summer league in the P.P.A. (yes, there was actually something called the Professional Putter's Association that charged us $25 a year for membership but we made that back by playing for pay and a third-place finish in a weekly tournament could net you $10). No kidding: We practiced 8 hours a day. Anyway, my dad picked me up after work one day and challenged me to a round. I shot a 26 (my average at the time)...that's 10 holes-in-one and 8 two's. My dad shot about a 40. He joined the P.P.A. and told my mom he couldn't stand it that I actually beat him in anything. He never did...but he gave me a "wink wink" punishment one time when he found out that me and some friends were literally "hustling" grown men at Putt-Putt like people would hustle in pool halls. that I look over it, my dad was a pretty good dad. I had more in 13 years than most get in a lifetime...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Tug of War Over Jesus?

From the op-ed page of today's New York Times:

"...And now as we enter a new campaign year, it's time to brace ourselves for a new round of religious warfare and hypocrisy at home.

America is driven today by a "God gulf" of distrust, dividing churchgoing Republicans from relatively secular Democrats. A new Great Awakening is sweeping the country, with Americans increasingly telling pollsters that they believe in prayer and miracles, while only 28 percent say they believe in evolution. All this is good news for Bush Republicans, who are in tune with heartland religious values, and bad news for Dean Democrats who don't know John from Job.

So expect Republicans to wage religious warfare by trotting out God as the new elephant in the race, and some Democrats to respond with hypocrisy, by affecting deep religious convictions. This campaign could end up as a tug of war over Jesus."

Heaven help us all if the dividing and unifying point of human history has dissolved into a political tug of war.

And people wonder why GenX is so disillusioned with politics...

Letterman Still Has It

Last night David Letterman's Top Ten list was titled "Top Ten Messages Left On Britney Spears' Answering Machine."

#2 was "It's Jessica Simpson. Thanks for making me look like a genius."

Numbers 5, 4 & 1 are good, too.

I think I would like to sit in on the writer's meetings on that show and Saturday Night Live. In my way of thinking, those would be fun meetings.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Seemingly unrelated, but...

Went to see a movie yesterday. A cute one called "Cheaper By The Dozen." It's about this rural family that moves to the city and one of the rural kids gripes about being called in from playing to do her chores she says something like, "None of the kids who live in this neighborhood have chores, so why do we?" The suburban kids are portrayed as spoiled in most every possible way.

The story was on the nightly television news, and the Associated Press headline reads: "U.S. teens lead 14 industrialized nations in obesity, study says." Apparently, we're really good at having money and video games and fast food.

Then, when on to the editorial page there was a discussion about political candidates and how public they should be about their faith. A quote from one of the columnists: "If we do want politicians to talk plainly about God, we better be willing to delve deeply into our own faiths." The implication is that for political religious discussion to have deep meaning, we have to think deeply about those issues.

It's nothing new. Or even that innovative. I mean, Socrates talked about the same stuff before the birth of Christ.

But for some reason it appears that we're in one of those historical cycles where we're lazy physically and lazy spiritually...and it isn't simply the young. Apples tend to fall close to trees. Here's hoping we hear the alarm bells and that pendulum swings back quickly.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Random Thoughts on Formal Education

I wonder what would happen throughout all of our society if we went to the European model of education. You know, where there was a difference between a university education and a "college" education. And that "trade" schools were valued and "apprenticeships" practiced.

I think it would serve our high school student here in America better than the current system of cramming everyone into the "university" mold and defining success by middle-management mediocrity.
Marathon Training Update

I ran 12 miles on Saturday in 2 hours, 13 minutes. That's slower than I'd hoped (I've just gotta beat Oprah and Puff Daddy if I'm going 26.2 miles).

The reason: I haven't "cross trained" very well...I think I need to get even more serious about my diet (but I'm doing pretty well with that) and weightlifting.

The result: I'm pretty sure that I'm changing the timetable to complete the Napa Marathon in March to running a half-marathon here in Dallas in late March and finding another half in August somewhere and making my first full marathon next December.

This getting in shape thing after about a decade off ain't all bad...but it's demanding.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Geritol, anyone?

For some reason, the aging process is at the forefront this morning.

Maybe it's because I watched the movie Wayne's World with my oldest daughter two days ago and had to explain what things like Laverne & Shirley were, or who Alice Cooper is, or even the fact that Bugs Bunny once dressed up in a girl-bunny costume in one episode.

Maybe it's because Michael Stipe turned 44 today. Maybe we should celebrate by being overly pensive and withdrawn, write some ambiguous lyrics for vague historical events, and dance with planned spastic tendencies. If I have to explain who he is and why we should celebrate that way, it only proves my point. The rock stars of my youth are now mid-forties.

Maybe it's because I read that Brittney Spears got married in a Vegas wedding chapel a couple of nights ago and instead of saying, "Man, what a great break for her childhood friend to be marrying such a rich babe," my first reaction was, "Man, what a confused kid. She isn't handling success too well."

I feel like mowing the yard today in black socks.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Here's a softball, hit this one.

Actual quote from Pat Robertson on his television show, The 700 Club: "I think George Bush is going to win in a walk. I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be a blowout election in 2004...The Lord has blessed him. I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer, and God's blessing him."

Actual Response from Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, making his own prediction: "Pat Robertson in 2004 will continue to use his multimillion dollar broadcasting empire to promote George Bush and other Republican candidates. Maybe Pat got a message from Karl Rove (a Republican Party advisor) and thought it was from God."

Great line. Easy target & topic, but a great line.
Deja Vu

I went to see Mona Lisa Smile last night with my wife and oldest daughter. Hey, I like movies about teachers and I like Julia Roberts...why not?

I liked it better when it was called Dead Poet's Society and it starred Robin Williams. That one was funnier, too.

Friday, January 02, 2004

"Work is what's kept us happy..."

Admittedly, I'm taking this out of context. But here's a nice provocation from Al Franken (check out my "books I dig" section...I'm on an Al Franken kick):

"Sometimes I wonder why people do what they do for a living and how they feel about their work. What is it that gives them a sense of a job well done?"

He goes on to discuss his reasons for being a comedian/writer and the rewards and the satisfaction...

Well, I'm a youth pastor. The reason I do it is simply because I have no other choice. I mean, I firmly believe that God had a plan for me that He drew up at the beginning of time. He created me with certain passions and talents that all add up to working with teenagers and teaching them about Him. I cannot get around the reality that I'm joyfully in the center of where God wants me. I still love what I do...even after 15 years. I'd be miserable doing almost anything else.

What gives me a sense of a job well done? The problem is that it's a crock pot job in a microwave culture. I generally don't know if the job is well done as far as "growing teenagers" goes...even until they are about 25 and living on their own doing what they're built to do (and even that hinges on about 1,000 other factors) so it isn't really a results-driven business.

I guess the sense of a job well done comes from "walking humbly with my God" and having loving relationships with the people He has asked me to serve. Sure, there's a bit of satisfaction that comes from a creating an innovative lesson and then teaching it...or maybe from that teen that "gets it" and walks worthy or hits the mission field or becomes a youth minister (which has happened, thankfully, a lot around me). But when you attempt to do your job for an Unseen Audience of One, well, the sense of a job well done tends to come from allowing Him to work out His plan in you and the rest is gravy.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Predictably: Resolutions

I thought about resolutions during my longer training run yesterday...and there really weren't many. I lead a happy, charmed and blessed life. But, here they go.

Resolved: Write the book.
Resolved: Date night with Tracy once a least.
Resolved: Get comfortable with the my job's evolution.
Resolved: Re-commit to breakfast with my daughters on Saturdays.
Resolved: Live out an authentic abundant/messy life in front of the congregation I serve and rock their worlds by demanding the same from them.

I guess as I look for the common threads in those five, it would be that plastic spirituality in my own life or in the lives of those I've been charged with serving is not an option I'd like for any of us to have.

Happy New Year, ever' boddah!
New Year's Eve

We did wind up with a couple of offers to hang out on New Year's Eve with friends, however, we politely declined. After a week of constant socializing (joyful, I might add, but constant) with family and the hustle and bustle of getting back home and de-Christmatizing, we stayed home.

We did nothing. It was peaceful and beautiful.

I celebrated with Dick Clark (does anyone else see how awful that show is?) and the New Yorkers/Orlando tourists in the Eastern time zone and went to bed.

It was peaceful and beautiful.