I have six months to reshape my life. I can do this.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Kick up the feet. Break open an ice cold ginger ale. It is good to be home. Long drives lend themselves to so much thinking. And my brain is now tired.

God is good. Tulsa is nice. Steve is the Bull. And Special Ed was a dancer. I am also so pumped. I am now just TWO degrees of separation away from Ryan Cabrera. I met the drummer from his last tour at the dnow in Tulsa. There. I think I have Cedenough.

The song that describes my mood right now? Gene McDaniels' "A Hundred Pounds of Clay."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Gah...what in the world...

Okay. Seriously, what is wrong with my memory? I can remember names, dates, music and songs that I will never use or sing again.

I have so many lyrics and movie quotes down with word for word precision.

But some of us in our Monday night Bible study are working on memorizing Ephesians 2:1-10 as part of a book study we are doing on grace. I have 2:10 memorized from a previous memory assignment. And I have 1:1 down because it is short and easy. But I have been stumbling through verse 2. I will get it down. It will be memorized. I am using every trick available. Writing it down. Posting notes of it everywhere. I will get it.

Why is it so hard for me? Well, I know why. But instead of admitting I am lazy and not that motivated to really get it down by spending about five minutes on it everyday, I would rather whine about it.

So there you have it. My memory seems to work great except when I really want it to. But no more excuses. I am determined now to get this down. What about you? I challenge you to memorize Ephesians 2:10 if you don't already have it. If you do, well memorize something else!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What Happened to us?

I saw another sermon series based on a TV show. And then a new shirt based on a secular advertising campaign. And then I heard a Christian song that was almost exactly like a popular secular song a few months ago.

Is the church THAT far behind that her leaders are totally lost? Have we forgotten how to lead? Why do we have to latch onto every pop culture or commercial success to try to "attract" people to church? I have been guilty of it too. I am not THAT far removed from doing a Survivor knockoff.

Are we SO desperate for warm bodies in the seats that we will sell our identities and manipulate a teaching series based on whatever pop culture trend was hitting two months ago? Why can't we stay ahead of the curve?

Is it so wrong for church leaders, shepherds, to just take the temperature of their flock and then discern where to lead, how to encourage, what to motivate towards and what to teach? If our church is struggling with fellowship, we should spend some time, resources and energy moving folks into some social gatherings. We should be asking our best and brightest lay leaders to come alongside and help us. We should be purposeful in reaching out to the fringe. Teach about inclusion. Teach about the beauty that we see in unity that comes from such wide diversity. Explain the power of brotherhood. Show how Jesus did so much to include, to reach, to love.

Or just watch CBS for a few weeks and see what show pops on the Neilsons. I am sure that the folks who are writing and creating the next "Dharma and Greg" are the folks you want at the rudder of your floating church. Well, I better go. I have to finish the latest Christian author's attempt to ride the coattails of condemnation by explaining what is wrong with Harry Potter or Frodo or King Kong or The Family Guy or whatever is popular and could help him make a buck.

Christians can be so dim sometimes. Just so painfully and predictably dim.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Cross in the Office

So I came into work today (suffering from what we in the biz call a "holy hangover") and see a cross in my office.

Not a little chain I can wear around my neck. Not a decorative little paper weight. A big wooden cross that we use from time to time as an object lesson. It is propped up against the wall directly across the desk from me. As I read my Bible and work on some stuff for the seventeen lesson preps ahead of me this week, it is there. Present. Just there.

At first I was put off. I thought, "Dang it, Les. Why did you leave it in my office instead of where you found it?"

Then I found myself getting defensive and cynical as people would walk by and ask me about the cross, making some sort of "carrying my cross" reference, jokingly most of the time.

Also today I have had to deal with the minor irritation of someone in the church here trying to set me up with a friend. Then it hit me.

For the a long time I thought my "singleness" was a cross to bear. I thought it was something in the same vein as Paul's "thorn in the flesh." But it isn't. Being single is a totally viable lifestyle. Sure it is quieter and a bit more lonely than married life. But how conceited am I to think that being single is something I must endure? All along I have had this elevated self-importance that basically followed this line of thinking: since I am such a great guy (funny, interesting, witty, well-spoken, such a Godly guy) being single is God working to refine me. What a bunch of crap.

Implying that my singleness was a cross to bear implies that Paul, John, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos, Timothy, Titus and even Jesus himself all bore that cross of singleness. Well, I just don't believe that is so. Being single is a totally Biblical lifestyle. It is not good for man to be alone. Well, I am not alone. I have family. I have friends. I have co-workers. But right now, being single is absolutely the best thing for me. And as tough a pill as that can be to swallow for someone who enjoys the company of young lovelies, for where God has me right now, being single is best.

Will that be the case tomorrow? Maybe not. But to quote Ringo Starr, "Tomorrow never knows." As for right now I don't need to break my neck trying to date, trying to get married. Is there something cooking with a special lady? I like to think that there is always something cooking - even if the pot is just sitting on a cold stovetop right now. Have I met women who I want to spend time with? Absolutely. Do I continue to spend time with women? Yes to that too.

But is my life dismissive or empty or lacking compared to married life? No. Because that means I am not complete in Christ. I am only complete in marriage. And there is no way, no matter how you view scripture, that is true. Hopefully this could save you some stress and trouble too. You don't HAVE to date. You can be single. And be complete. And be happy. And be content. As long as you are not alone. And I believe in a Savior who remains in me, becoming closer than a brother.