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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Creatively Carry Them Part 2: One Idea...

After posting the entry below, I found one church looking outside the box to reach people.

Although, I do question the wisdom behind this sort of outreach. I bet they crowd the place though. I also look forward to the Thanksgiving Wild Turkey Grab with Rev. Johnnie Walker.

In case you were wondering, yes, this church is in my community. On the same road as my church. Arkansas. The Natural State.

Creatively Carry Them

Sunday's sermon on Mark 2 (where the four friends lower the paralytic to Christ by tearing the whole in someone else's roof) had me thinking.

Our emphasis was placed on getting others to Jesus. We looked at the four friends. We thought about what it means to actually get others to Jesus. As is my habit, the first day of the week here in the office I like to play Monday morning quarterback, which works out well because it is Monday morning. I like to try to figure out some more practical steps of application.

I get tired of common sense responses to faith. You know what I am talking about. The pastor preaches on being nice and making others feel included in the body. Everyone decides they will say hello to three new people each week and that is as far as it goes. I want to figure out how to program that sermon into our church. If we are having issues making people feel welcome, let's revamp our greeters and welcome system. Let's figure out how to answer questions and help erase confusion about church and the building. Let's actually do something. That is how I think now.

So, Sunday we have a good sermon about the four friends. My thoughts today center around their creativity and the risk they took. What is the modern day equivalent to lowering them through the roof? What really creative and effective approaches can we take to literally lay our lost and hurting friends at the feet of Jesus?

Some of the people either cannot or will not walk to Christ by themselves. So how creative can we get? What programs and events can we purposely and intentionally plan and put into place simply to lay people at the feet of Jesus? Are we willing to sacrifice more time? More energy? More resources? Are we willing to replace existing but maybe less fruitful methods in order to try something outside the box? Am I willing to cut through someone's roof, to take that risk that they may be more upset with my methods and overlook the results or the reason why?

So, some questions I am asking myself today:
- What two or three things can I do in my personal life AND in my ministry which is a modern version of that team creatively carrying their friend to Jesus?
- Whose roof will I be digging through?
- Am I willing to risk their response?
- Am I willing to help repair the roof when it is over?
- Is the risk of trying something totally new and innovative worth it?
- Are the people who need Jesus more important than a program or my concerns?

Any great ideas? Let me know. I am just getting started here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Greatest Christian Album of All Time

Trying to sort through all of the entire 25+ year history of Christian music, it is so hard to shake out the very best album of all time. Basically, Christian music is sort of a sanctified echo of whatever is popular and making money in that wicked old secular market.

So, trying to sort through the entire genre, although it is not that old, to find the very best isn't as difficult as one might think.

Now, I understand that the decent Christian stuff you hear today was built on the shoulders of people like Amy Grant, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Petra, Rez Band, Allies, Bryan Duncan, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith. (I'll take has-been C- Listers for 500, Alex)

Now, I have, admittedly, not listened to as much Christian music from the 80's or even the 00's as others, especially my friend Dave, because I was too busy doing just about ANYthing else possible.

So, my entry into this debate. The greatest CCM album of all time.

Jesus Freak by DC TALK

I would do a track by track listing but there is no need to. It stands on its own. I also don't need to go into detail about the people who played on it. It is that good. One of the few really seminal albums of the 90's. And as much as Dave wants to argue, he knows I am right. But I bet he argues anyway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Super Powered Wife

There are many things I have learned about myself since getting married:
- I am not that handy when it comes to fixing or putting things together. I helped (when I say helped, I mean I watched, screwed a few obligatory screws, sliced the wife's crazy good banana bread) our friend Larry install six fans and four other lights as well as two chandeliers. I was almost as helpful as a sprinkler in the rain.
- Cooking with charcoal is different than gas. I have burned two ears of corn and six hot dogs adjusting to change from gas to charcoal. And someone needs to write those jerks at Kingsford and help them get a realistic definition of the phrase "matchlight"
- I enjoy eating at home.
- I am quickly becoming quite the doggy daddy - although I was not about to grab whatever people food he snuck in tonight while my wife was gagging him like rotten eggs without a hitch. Just nasty.
- Her old towels get used. My old towels get used too. As rags, things to wrap glass in and a safety net in case the dog hurls on the nice bedspread. Awesome.

One more thing I have learned. My wife is has super powers. Besides the fact that she bakes and cooks better than that Italian girl with the really big head on the Food Network (channel 51, thank you cable). My wife can do one thing than I never expected. She has the ability to change pronouns!

Who knew, right? For example...

- She got a gift certificate to a store today as a wedding present. Well, WE got it but they delivered it to her. I told her she should check the store out to see if there is anything she might want to buy. She corrected me. She became "we." See? She can change the pronoun.
- I asked her if she had some more "thank you" cards to write. She handed me an empty stack of cards and envelopes and said, "Yes, we do." See, again, she to we. I am learning so much so soon.

Things my lovely wife has learned.
- Her husband sounds like a rusty steak knife being scraped across tin foil when he sleeps. He blames it on allergies.
- Her husband is having trouble kicking his snooze button habit. When she is not looking, I add another eight minutes onto simple household chores, just to get my fix.
- Her husband takes very, very long poohs. I am what you may call a bathroom reader. It comes from years of seeking solace in the potty. I am the youngest of three boys and one sort of crazy mom. The bathroom was the only door that locked in my house. So, hard habit to break. It is sort of problematic because she can sort of do some incredible whirlwind visit to the pot. Amazing, actually. She poops like a calculator. I poop at about the speed of an abacus.
- Her husband shifts and moves around a lot at night too. In the process of the moving, I have a way of hording all the blankets. I believe the technical term is "blanket hog." I prefer "nocturnal blanket maneuvering."
- She is basically everything I am not - responsible, professional and, well, perfect. I am pretty much the luckiest man I know.

She does burp a little. However, I am quickly learning that about 98% of women are closet belchers. Who knew? Sadly for her, most of my gas sneaks out quietly from the basement instead of the attic. That is another post entirely. Almost one month of marriage and my basic knowledge of the experience can be summed up like this:

My wife is basically a super hero to be married to someone as goofy as me. God's grace is amazing. And so is my bride.

And happy birthday, Ward. We'll always have the corner of the northbound exit onto The Hefner Parkway off of Northwest Expressway.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Scanning Pics

I am scanning pics for the graduates. It is hard to believe that just five years ago they were all bright eyed seventh graders.

This is the third group that I have seen through all the way from seventh grade through graduation. It is pretty humbling to realize that you have seen that many students through their entire youth experience.

More of the same old advice to youth ministers:
- Stay as long as you can when you get to a church. The longer your tenure in youth ministry in one place, the sweeter the ministry can be because the connections and trust and friendships have a chance to run very deep.

Enjoy college and life graduates. I pray that we have been faithful and right by you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Name

I changed the name of the blog to reflect my new married situation. I went from #1 to #3.

It is totally unfair. He (being Raley the dog) does something that makes her mad, she pops him and then is all kissy and snuggly two minutes later.

I do something that makes her mad, I am up a creek without a poodle. There is no snuggly kissy stuff two minutes later for me.

I get up to pee, I get a cross-examination that would make Denny Crane proud. He gets up and wanders all over and shakes and makes a racket? Nothing.

Life ain't easy in the streets.