People rarely ask me...okay, they never ask me about my bulging biceps or ripped abs, but if they did. I would say, yes, I go to the gym about 3-4 times a week...when I'm on a normal schedule. But then again, I am a student pastor, there is no normal schedule.
I love going to the gym. While living in Las Vegas (pre Children) Theresa and I could have been classified as being gym rats. We loved it. We had the time. Now, time...well we still have the same amount of time, but many other priorities have risen and are being raised (a.k.a. Fisher and Ian). I like to see the gym as 'my time'. A chance to think, listen to a podcast while spinning the RPM's away, or just escape from stresses of life and pound it out. I find it a very healthy environment for me.
Today, after stepping out of the shower and getting dressed an elderly man walked in to wash his hands. I had seen him many times and we've exchanged pleasantries but that's about it. He reminds me of my grandpa, 'cept a little younger...this gentleman is prolly 82. Close to 45 years my senior and he is still hitting the gym, regularly.
'Good morning sir", 'good morning' he returned. I continue the conversation with a general, 'how are you doing today?' His answer stopped me mid dress, I stopped, sat down on one of the sinks and gave him my full attention, "I lost my wife last week and it hurts," he said trying to hold back a tear from his left eye, 'but I know she is in a better place and not in pain." Dumbfounded at his painful and brutal honesty, I did not know what to say. My heart sank, no where near the depths of his, but nonetheless, I felt his pain. As our conversation continued I discovered that they had been married 62 years...a life time ago (1951). He mentioned the "three fine boys" he had raised, a fact he seemed most proud of seeing how he mentioned them twice in our time together. I told him that on Friday, I will have been married 15 years with two fine boys, to which he replied, "you'll make it, you'll be good." Continuing our meeting he began telling me where one of his sons lived locally with their family and where he lived. Then it hit me. I know about this man, I know one of his sons, I know his granddaughter, I even was able to visit his wife while she was in the hospital.
Not wanting to turn the conversation to become too light hearted, we continued talking without me informing him on how I had just played mental connect the dots. After our time had wrapped up, He left just as calmly as he had arrived and went to his truck. All I could do is say a prayer for his peace and comfort from the Spirit of God. Having let him share his heart with a complete stranger.
This chance meeting was a strong reminder to me how all of us need to slow down and engage people. We never know how we will be of encouragement being the voice of hope to someone in need, being just a person that will listen, or even be the one who walks away encouraged.
My prayer is that all of us are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our day to day, that we love others -the way He has loved us, and we step out in boldness; breaking out of our comfort zones. We never know who needs a friend. I look forward to many more conversations with Mr. Wilson.
I don't think I've ever been as exciting about the future of a ministry position or direction of a ministry as I am right now. For years the student ministry at FSBC has been divided into middle school and high school (not a bad thing), for years the High School Ministry has been meeting off campus about six miles away from the main campus (not in itself not a bad thing) but for years there has been a division of our student ministries on the basis of where a student falls in their grade (a bad thing). We are the body and a body that is not unified is not a body at all.
I look around at FSBC and I see BODY growth. I am eager to walk this path that we are being led on. Let us all keep Christ head and do the parts we are called to.
There has been, is, and will be so much more said about the latest effort in social justice to sweep High School and College campus' in the US, and even made it to the CBS Morning Show this AM, USA Today and many more news agencies. If you don't know what I'm talking about it, it's the newest craze at Taco Bell, The Locos Tacos
No, on a serious note, it is the massive attempt at public awareness of to make known the atrocities of Joseph Kony
and the Lord's Resistance Army.
I will tell you my personal views on the motives and marketing and money making behind the effort of Kony2012
(which at the writing of this is up to over 32 million views in less than 4 days). Don't get me wrong, justice needs to be served. Yes, I will say it, someone who commits such heinous acts must face justice, and in this case I would vote immediate death. Whether it be being eaten by a pride of lion, trampled by a herd of elephant, or whatever the method. Just so we're clear on the whole thing.
I want to make three observations that I haven't heard mentioned yet by all the bloggers in support or from the ones who are more critical of the effort.
1. All I can really say is this is some brilliant marketing being done by Invisible Children
. In a time in our world where EVERYONE has a megaphone, everyone is watching youtube video, and everyone is wanting to make a difference...this is a brilliant method for them to raise TONS of $$$ (what they actually do with it and how they choose to REALLY help, i don't know. -Clarification: 'everyone' mentioned here is 13-24 year olds -i would imagine the facebook stats on those in this braket sharing this video would be huge.) Their timing could not be more perfect...in 2011 the Time person of the year was The Protester.
People are always looking for a cause to stand for.
2. -Kony2012, the method or maddness behind the naming and labeling of this effort. All I wanna say about this is, imagine what happens when a Ugandan child (who has just been adopted or came to the USA as a refugee) goes out on the streets on April 20, after the attempted mass poster blanketing, he sees the face and name of a man who he's had nightmares about, heard stories about, and lost hours of sleep in fear and hiding from. This poster is in the same color as all of the other political signs for presidential candidates, is iconic with his name and face, imagine the fear that would strike in this person's life. -All for the sake of the North American young adult trying to make a statement.
-what if in 1945 people got the same idea and scheme. Hitler1945, we want to make him famous so he can be tried and removed from power. I can see the t-shirt slogans now "Hail Hitler? No. To Hell with Hitler!" Or BinLaden2011? Yeah, don't think that's happening. #justsayin They were already famous for their actions. I'm just saying, I don't agree with the method.*CHRIST FOLLOWERS THIS PART IS CRITICAL, FOR US
3. "To make Kony famous", is the charge of this movement. This is really where my beef is with Kony2012 and students blindly jumping in on this cause. To make Kony famous? I am at shock and awe as to see how fast people are to jump on board. Pledging their money, time, and efforts...for a cause of injustice. But as one Ugandan blogger says, "Africa is not short of problems, epidemics and atrocities. But it is also true that it is not short of miracles, ingenuity, and a proclivity to surprise."
We will always have social justice issues, diseases, epidemics and wars. Should we stand by idley and just watch when we are made aware of such issues? No.
-My concern is that in the last 24 hours, I've seen and heard numerous conversations about this, 'make Kony famous!" What about the God you follow, Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit? How hard are you trying to make His name famous (Isaiah 26:8 "-your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.")?
-How quick people are to to offer money, wear the t-shirt, hang up the posters, and talk about the cause? It's popular and everyones doing it. But how slow and effortlessly are lives lived being vocal to proclaim the greatness of our God and make His name famous?
-God knows about Joseph Kony and all he is doing. How about making this a matter of prayer in your personal life? For the people who live in fear, for the people who have been affected by his evil actions, for the girls who have been placed in sex service, for the child militia who have been brain washed and drugged and had their continuos removed, etc. Pray and ask God to intervine and what or if you should do anything. My goal in my life is to make ONE name famous.
Above my own name, above my children's, above any presidential candidate, cultural villain or celebrity. That at that one name "God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." -Philippians 2:10
You wanna make someone famous? Start with God and what He's done and doing. Start there.
We all know and have probably been guilty at one time or another of the cliche, "I'm praying for you', or 'I'm gonna pray for you', or the 'will you pray for me?'" Know what I mean. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this group. This leads me to a though I've been holding on to for a couple of days.
There has been a stirring among a few of our youth guys and some of my close friends about challenging each other to pray more. WIth more passion & intention. To go before our creator with more desire to see Him move (in our lives, families, church, school, personal lives, work, etc.) On Sunday evening, a reminder txt went out from a student, voicing this call for more of God in our lives. He challenged everyone to get up and pray. So, (when for some reason)
I woke up at
6 AM I decided to get up and pray. My list was long and specific. One of the issues was that the Lord sell our suburban. I had listed it for sale three days prior. That's it. A simple prayer, a request, a petition, in the middle of many other issues. I did have faith that it was in HIs hands. That he WOULD sell it. But that's it. I just left it there.
At about 8:00 I had a call and txt from a man who wanted to know if I would take his offer for the suburban, I countered, then he agreed and wanted to come over and drive it. I was going to call him after I dropped my son at school. At 8:30, I was walking into my office at FSBC when my dad gave me a call, "you got a lady down here wanting to drive and buy your suburban."
The short of it, the lady wanted it, wouldn't offer me enough, so the guy came, drove it, loved it, and put his money where his mouth was! Finally around 3:30, I had the title and he had the cash. After all the paper work was done, cash in the bank and taken care of I was driving back to the office.
Just then it hit me. God had answered my prayer. This was the first thought I had given toward my prayer (since I prayed it that AM) that day. I called Theresa and began to cry. I felt guilty. I had asked God to move, He did, and I didn't remember Him. So, I stopped what I was doing and gave Him thanks. Which leads me to where I am today in my prayer and meditation life.
How often do I pray and just leave it at that? We just offer up 'shout out's' and forget about it. But in Philippians 4:6 it says, "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
I believed that the Suburban would sell; I mean it was a good vehicle, good price, in good condition. But honestly, those were my reasons that it would sell. I can say, that it was not in the forefront of my thoughts that my Suburban would sell because I trusted in the Lord to get it sold for me. When you pray, trust Him, then thank Him, and keep praying till He chooses to move (1 Thess 5:17).
Lesson Learned! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Does anyone else have a hard time focusing? Not like how my eyes are going bad and I need to get reading glasses, because every time I look up from the computer screen my eyes have to refocus. Or that camera with automatic focus, that brings in the subject to perfection. Yaknow what I'm talking about is that focus of your life. The decisions you make, how you spend your time, how you go about deciding what you are going to give your attention.
Today a friend of mine is taking a 24 hour period to just do that. To focus. He asked me the other day, "What's missing? -in your life, -in your ministry, -personal life, -family, -church? What do I need to do to take things to the next level...what is the next level?
All this has really got me thinking. Yesterday, I was trying to focus. On my Bible study, on putting thoughts together for a Wednesday night. There was SOOO much going on. Too much was wanting my focus, some important - some not, but I didn't know where to start. I couldn't really do anything. So then I decided to get away.
Often, the way I get to regain focus is to go somewhere public, sit in a corner facing the wall - put in some ear buds and CRANK IT UP. Stick my face in my Bible, a book, a calendar...and begin. Blocking out the world around me. It's kinda my way of getting away but still being there. I've never taken a personal time to get away alone, pray, and answer those questions above. I probably should. I know I should. But that would require FOCUS. So until then, I will stick with my public hide-a-way.
If you ever see me in my world of focus, feel free to interrupt me, bring me a tall coffee (black), some waffle fries, or a bowl of black beans.
While I sat in the lobby of the Heart Hospital this AM waiting on my aunt to have a pacemaker installed I read. Cracked open my bible and dove into John, that's what we're doing on Wednesday nights for the next few weeks. So I thought I'd take a chance to read and just see if anything new popped out. I had almost gotten through chapter 10 when the buzzer went off, alerting me to end of the procedure. I was reading in a very whisper like voice with much emotion, i would imagine that several looks were probably shot my way, but I was focused. I was using my yellow colored reading gel.
But that's a different blog post.
Unless you've been under a rock for the past 24 hours, you probably didn't know that Steve Jobs has died. It blew up the blogosphere, twitter world, TV, and was headlines all over the world. I won't take time to rehash all the great accomplishes that Jobs made on our society, that's been done numerous times.
While eating breakfast I read a twitter post that Albert Mohler wrote in a blog post sometime early this AM on Jobs life and sparked some thought in my mind. Sampling from the article,
"...Christians considering the life and death of Steve Jobs will do well to remember once again the power of an individual life. God has invested massive creative abilities in his human creatures. These are often used for good, and sometimes deployed to evil ends. Steve Jobs devoted his life to a technological dream that he thought would empower humanity. He led creative teams that developed technological wonders, and then he made them seemingly necessary for life in the digital age.
Mohler continued by saying, "He exited the scene with grace, ensuring that the company he founded would endure when he was off the scene. There is much to learn from his life and his legacy.
At the same time, Christians cannot leave the matter where the secular world will settle on Steve Jobs’ legacy. The secular conversation will evade questions of eternal significance, but Christians cannot. As is the case with so many kings, rulers, inventors, leaders, and shapers of history, Christians can learn from Steve Jobs and even admire many of his gifts and contributions. Yet, we must also observe what is missing here.
I am writing this essay on an Apple laptop computer. I am listening to the strains of Bach playing from my iPad via an AirPort Express. My iPhone sits on my desk, downloading a new App from iTunes. Steve Jobs has invaded my life, my house, my office, my car, and my desktop —and I am thankful for all of these technologies.
But unerring taste, aesthetic achievement, and technological genius will not save the world. Christians know what the world does not —that the mother tending her child, the farmer planting his crops, the father protecting his family, the couple faithfully living out their marital vows, the factory worker laboring to support his family, and the preacher preparing to preach the Word of God are all doing far more important work.
We have to measure life by its eternal impact, even as we are thankful for every individual who makes this world a better place. But, don’t expect eternal impact to be the main concern of the business pages."
Mohler makes a wise observation that many Christians should consider and evaluate in our own lives, "There is much to learn from his life and his (Jobs') legacy." This opens my thought to my personal life. What will people say about me when I die? Legacy? Am I leaving one as a follower of Christ? Am I living in such a way that will leave someone else much to learn?
I want to mention two obvious things we can glean from Jobs brief time with us.
In our culture today, it seems that so many of us what 'it' to be handed to us. To not have to work for it, to charge it on the credit cards, to inherit it from family, to come about 'it' easily. Whatever 'it' is. As a Christian what can I learn from the way Jobs lived his life? From what I read, it took Jobs a long time before he was satisfied to even put a product out. Even after a product was released he was already thinking of ways to make it better, the iPod was good, but it could be better, thus we now have the iPod which is really the Second Generation iTouch. 1) As followers of Christ, don't ever be satisfied, with less than more of Christ.
More of him in my thoughts, in my actions, in the way I spend my money, in my family, the way I treat others, in what I spend my time doing. More of Him. We can live a life of satisfaction. That this __________ is good enough or that our effort to tell someone about the life change in Christ was good enough. We have to keep " working out our salvation with fear and trembling" -Phil 2.
The second thing I would say we can see from Jobs is; who are you allowing to surrounding you and live life with you? Jobs could visualize and design and dream; for this we must thank him. But a dream is nothing without action. He had to surround himself with people who could actually make the iphone4 reality. People that were dedicated to the cause, to the dream of creating the most intricate phone ever seen. People that had knowledge and experience. And people who were willing to be pushed to do something that had never been done before. So what can we take away? 2) As followers of Christ, who are you influencing and allowing to influence you (a.k.a. Discipleship)?
If our goals of following Christ is personal holiness, seeing others come to Christ, teaching others to be more like Christ, and such, we have to live life with key people in our lives. In 1 Cor 15:33, Paul takes a quote from an artwork of his day, "Bad company ruins good morals." As Christ followers we have to be very careful of the people we allow to influence us. Who we spend the most time with, what we watch, read, spend time doing. Outside of following Christ, who better to help us succeed in following then a great mentor. In turn, we take the example of Paul and in turn have peers who are growing to Christ at the same level we are (we become iron sharpening iron), and then bring others under us and lead them (newer and younger followers) into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Thousands of people die each day. They die having not made an impact on the world around them. The lived without significance. By looking at Jobs life, you know he lived with purpose, with impact, and great significance...on the business world. For eternity? I don't know what Jobs did with his life in the final five weeks after stepping out of the public eye. That is between him and our Creator. I join Mark Driscoll in his challenge to his followers via twitter, "Let's all be praying for Steve Jobs' family & that any Christians who know them will be a loving support."
For me, for you the Christ follower..."we have to measure life by its eternal impact." What impact are you making?
You've probably never seen a blog post on worms before, unless of course you follow Earth Worm Jim
cartoons, enjoy digging for them and look for popular places to do such. If the ladder is the case, I would definitely suggest you not to waste your time in the flower garden in front of the sanctuary of FSBC.
When I came to the office yesterday, I noticed several dried up worms in the drive thru, enough to make me want to start counting. After I got to 40 and noticed I was no where near the end, I looked up. I was amazed to see that sometime during the night there was a mass exodus of worms from the flower bed, somewhere in the range from 500-1000. Big gap I know, but I've never counted worms before. Dried up and dead. From only one small part of the flower garden. It was as if they were trying to make it to Reynolds Road to catch a bus, but came up quite short.
I'm not going to really stretch things here and make some kind of super spiritual connection, just thought it quite odd. However, feel free to comment and let me know any of your theories as to the fleeing of the Worms.
Look closely, all the brownish, dried up spots are the worms.
click for full size image
The Lord has blessed me with two awesome boys. I do not use the term awesome loosely. I mean these guys are ranked up there at the same level of nacho cheese, bacon cheese burgers, camp fires, and oh yeah, my wife.
I haven't really given much thought to what ideas self image is / will be pointing to them in the coming years. Most of their self image, is probably made up of my self image. I.E. i want him to dress the most stylish, have the coolest shoes, backpack, video games, be in athletics...all this so that they will be liked by their friends more or that we will be seen as the 'cool' parents. Well that ship has sailed.
Working with students, one issues that is constantly prevalent is that of self-image, especially for young ladies. Eating disorders, cutting, over exercising (to get that perfect body), constantly comparing themselves with others; all these are issues they constantly have to face...and in reality, it's not only them.
This past Sunday evening I was sitting watching TV with my awesome wife. I picked up the Kohl's add, cause there was a 30% off coupon on back and I looked at the cover. Took a real close look and asked my wife, "is that J LO?" After a few minutes, i concluded that indeed it was a VERY much photoshopped image of her. "Those aren't the legs of a dancer, she looks like she's 5'8-10?" My comments continued.
Then I began to look at other pics of her online and made the mini montage you see here. The photo on the far left is a pic of her on a red carpet, just normal J Lo. I'll leave you to make the conclusions. This isn't a J Lo bash, i mean, she's jenny from the block. This is just another reminder that everything is not always as it seems. How bad do retailers want to sell clothes, make up, shoes, workout equipment, the list goes on and on. And to what lengths are people willing to go to make such happen. Technology gives us the advantage to make something out of almost nothing. To take pictures of people and alter them into images of people who don't even exist.
My plea is don't get caught up in what the world / media is shouting at you -Dress this way, act that way, listen to this, drive that, and on! At least Target makes fun out of it "parents, if your kids want to sound cool, they have to look cool."
Ian, my youngest son, had a soccer game this past Saturday. During the bedlam of watching four year olds run up and down the field, parents cheering and taking video and pictures, and the constant confusion; something brilliant happened. Upon the ball getting kicked out of bounds one boy ran and picked it up and came back to the field of play. What happened next caused an irruption of laughter. "Throw it in! Throw it in!" was shouted from his mother. So what did the boy do? He ran onto the field and threw the ball into the goal. I heard someone say, 'well he did what he was told.' This actually happened twice during the course of the game.
This sparked my thoughts, what if we listened to God, the Bible, the leading of the Holy Spirit, with such intent? In Matthew 10, Jesus said, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
May we ALL hear His voice and act, as a young obedient child to his father's and mother's loving voice.