Archive for March 2007

El Junko

March 30, 2007


I can’t believe I’m about to stick up for junk mail…well, sorta. I work f/t for a mtg company and part of our marketing is to do mailouts. I’m not crazy about them, but they accomplish the goal. They get the word out there, let homeowners know about a program they qualify for (in my case Reverse Mortgages), and ultimately lead to the best kind of business: Referral Business.

In fact, I don’t consider what we send to even be “junk mail” (though that could be debated). Recently, the calls I’m getting from these seniors asking to be removed from the mailing list are just downright hilarious. By some of their words you would have thought we had just shot their pet. Now don’t get me wrong…I’m all for privacy and all for respecting their wishes. But I’ve arrived at a point where I just want to say sometimes (even though I never will), “Is it such a burden on you? Can you not just trash it? Why the hostility? It’s not like other crud you receive…this is not a scam. Might I recommend a good counselor for you?”

I think the bigger picture here is how most of Americans are conditioned into isolation…and their RIGHTS…and I’m gonna sit here on my .75 acre and tell my neighbor’s to hush their dog and tell the kids to stop bouncing the ball in the cul de sac and watch 7.4 hours of television everyday and shoot you if you come near my property! What a sad way to live.

I do sympathize with them though. I also have my name on do-not-call lists. I don’t like 9pm phone calls either. But I’m not filled with rage over a church postcard or joe schmo trying to sell me insurance or whatever.

By the way: Jiffy Lube has $7 off their “Signature Oil Change” right now….Act Fast!

The Power of Radio

March 29, 2007


2 days a week I have a 45 minute one-way commute to work. I try to mix it up a bit. Sometimes it’s a good praise and worship CD and sometimes it’s a sermons series….ah, who am I kidding, it’s rarely those things. Too often I’m just lazy and flip on the radio. This morning, I’m glad I did.

Q100 is a decent radio station in Atlanta. I sometimes listen to their morning show…even though the topics often cause me to tune out b/c they are extremely immature, etc. Well, this morning they did something really neat (ok, maybe I was being too hard on them…they often do a lot of good in the community.). This college student called in to ask for help. She has a special needs brother who is a high school senior. Last year, she wanted to make his prom special so she coordinated his Prom plans, including renting a Hummer and talking her college friends into being dates for a few of the special needs students. Well, this year she wanted to do it for the whole Special Needs class at his school. That’s 15 total students.

The Bert Show got behind the idea and asked for their faithful listeners to call in and chip in where needed. What happened over the next 20 minutes was amazing…seriously, no joke! Within 20 minutes they had:

* A lady called in who works for a charity that specializes in getting free prom dresses for needy girls. (They had over 500 free available dresses to choose from.)
* One young girl called in saying she would be a date for one of the guys. (Props to her. She won’t get any “cool” points for doing that…the reward is far greater than that.)
* Somebody called in saying they would cover the $675 it was going to require to purchase each of them a prom ticket.
* A professional photographer’s wife called in offering her husband’s services for that special day. She said he would serve as their “Personal Paparazzi”.
* They had one limousine reserved, so someone called in ready to pay for another one.
* A professional wedding planner called in saying whatever else was needed, she would call her vendors and have it covered in 24 hours.

So within 20 minutes this special needs class had their outfits, dinner, limo ride, prom tickets, pictures,….you name it…COVERED! And it started b/c a caring sister wanted her brother to have a special night at the prom…like the rest of the kids…cause she knew if she didn’t do something, they’d probably get left out.

(Just to play devil’s advocate: Sure, some of the people’s motives who volunteered help may have just been trying to get their business name in there…I say who cares…they are still offering up the service.)

After listening to this thing go down, I had a few thoughts:

>Radio (TV) can be a powerful tool. And it’s amazing how it can be used for such good…and such bad.
>I wish it was that easy to get believers at church behind something. (Something that has eternal value!)
>I like how most people really do have a caring heart for those in need…and children…and special needs kids. It often just takes a little coordination to move them to action.

Sad but Oh So Funny

March 28, 2007

Florida Man Says Ex-Wife’s Sex Change Should End His Alimony Obligation:
LINK

Little Says A Lot

March 26, 2007

I would love to attend THIS conference in May. (Unfortunately I have no vacation time until Sept…argh.) There will be much to learn about from people who have permeated and transformed their communities.

Just looking at their site reminded me of how very little can say a whole lot. The short summary statements they use communicate a ton. And that’s what good communicators are doing today. Andy Stanley preaches this like a mad man. He says have ONE POINT to every message and everything must revolve around that ONE POINT (your burden, the one thing they HAVE TO KNOW!).

Mission is why the church exists
Love is the context for all mission
Structure must always submit to spirit
Relevance to culture is not optional
Creativity is a natural result of spirituality

The Sickness Of College Sports Fanaticism (Stupidity)

March 26, 2007

LINK

T-Ball Report

March 23, 2007

As my kids have gotten older, it’s been fun getting them involved in sports. I grew up with two brothers and we were ALWAYS involved in sports – and I loved it. Sports are good. Healthy. Fun.

So I was semi-excited when Braden got involved in basketball. I was semi-excited when we put him in soccer. But now….oh yes…now, it’s that time of year. America’s Past Time. By far the favorite.

My 5yr old-Braden- and my 4 yr old-Logan- are on the same team. And as we arrived at practice yesterday, I was asked (duped…just kidding) to help coach. We had a great first practice (as if you can really do much with 14 kindergartners running around playing in the dirt). It’s great to be done with winter. It’s good to be out on a ball field with kids and then hanging out with strangers in the community.

A few observations from practice ONE:

We think Logan may be left handed; Kids think it’s the coolest thing to run around the bases; One kid kept complaining that his hand was “too sweaty” inside his glove; Too many kid’s diet consist of chips and soda…lots of it; We are the COWBOYS – each team is assigned a college name—we ended up with Oklahoma State…disappointing for us SEC fanatics, but the kids love it; Parents yell at their kids too much…I’m determined to keep my attitude and anger in check and not vent on my kids—-need help in this area yourself? — visit your local ballpark and watch other parents….sometimes that’s the best medicine; This will be tons of fun; I miss playing church softball; Our t-ball team will absolutely CRUSH the competition, in fact, they might as well cancel the season…(oh, sorry, not sure what happened there…) 🙂 🙂 ha ha.

Up next at practice #2: Teaching the kids how to properly spit on the field.

Today in History

March 22, 2007

I occasionally read these things. Some are interesting. Weird to think back about how different things were not too too long ago.

On this date in:

1882 Congress outlawed polygamy.

1895 In what is generally regarded as the first public display of a movie projected onto a screen, Auguste and Louis Lumiere showed their first movie to an invited audience in Paris.

1933 During Prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine and beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.

1963 The Beatles’ first album, “Please Please Me,” was released in Great Britain.

1972 Congress sent the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification.

1978 Karl Wallenda, the 73-year-old patriarch of The Flying Wallendas high-wire act, fell to his death while attempting to walk a cable strung between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1987 A barge carrying 3,200 tons of garbage, left Islip, N.Y., on a six-month journey in search of a place to unload. The barge was turned away by several states and three countries before space was found back in Islip.

Pro Hockey

March 20, 2007

Me and little brother (ok, maybe he’s a grown dude now) are going to an ATL Thrashers hockey game in April. Never been to a pro hockey game. Plenty of minor and college games. Little fun fact: North Alabama is a hockey town. No joke. Saw plenty of it growing up outside Huntsville.

Should be a fun time. Free tickets and hoping for a huge fight.

Whether They’re Near Or Far…

March 19, 2007

…Accept Them Where They Are.

Once again, another Sunday where the principal taught in Kidventure is HUGE (as in mega important, as in gotta get this, as in…well, you get the idea). And once again it reminds me of how God wants that truth to influence my actions (hence why I changed the title of my last post).

The point was this: Whether your friends/family/whoever is near to God or far from God, whether they have a relationship with Christ or don’t…accept them where they are. (And just to avoid useless debate with anyone —- no, that doesn’t mean you condone sin or not act when a friend is heading down a horrible path.) But what this does mean is you don’t expect a non-Christian to ACT like a Christian. It means you don’t work on changing their bad habits and stuff until they have Spirit living inside them.

This is such a hot topic in the Bible Belt for 2 reasons: 1st b/c of what I mentioned above. Some people cringe at a statement like this b/c they think you’re not being tough on sin or standing for what is right, etc, etc. 2nd b/c we’ve overall done a poor job of accepting people where they are (and this is changing thank God!). We’ve always been quick to kick out the skateboarders from our church parking lots, gossip about the pregnant teen, and when is the last time you invited a homosexual friend to church? Better yet, do you have any gay friends?

I’m stepping on my own toes here too. This is something I’m constantly trying to change in my own life. Making sure I’m hanging around non-believers ALOT, and accepting them where they are…which is not easy.

In a round about way I applied this to our small group last night. We are still in our sex series at the Leaf and one of Michael’s points yesterday was talking about sinning with your sex life and talking about God’s grace, yet still having scars from it. A point I made in small group last night was no matter your background in this area, GOD CAN USE IT! If you had few struggles with this and kept your virginity til marriage, then God can use your testimony to encourage young people! If you had a completely different experience with tons of struggles and regret, God can use you to encourage others!

So, whether they’re near or far, accept them where they are. And let’s stop expecting lost people to act found.

Weird & Sad

March 16, 2007

Click HERE for the news article.

Huge Influence

March 13, 2007

Friendship is amazing. I take it for granted.

I’ve always been the type to generally focus on what’s in front of me (typical guy). That means when you move out of state or across town or whatever and you tell someone, “Yes, absolutely, I’ll keep in touch,” the reality is life will be too busy where you go to TRULY keep in touch. But really, that’s ok. That’s how life works.

But in the past 48 hours I’ve had 2 conversations with 2 guys that mean a whole heck of lot to me — two dudes from different parts of my life —- 2 friends that have both had a HUGE influence on me. And after speaking with them, and them imparting some wisdom on me (whether they knew it or not), I just stopped and realized how thankful I am for people like that. God is amazing how he uses friends in your life. What an amazing thing he created in friendship (won’t get overly sappy here). What an encouragement and what a voice of reason and perspective friends can be.

Funny how you can not talk to someone in 6 months or more yet when you talk again, it’s like you never left. You just pick up where you left off. You GET them and they GET you.

Scary to think how our society (and the church sometimes) pushes self sustainment and personal willpower. That’s not how God intended it.

Not that it’s an easy fix. Not that when you meet a fellow believer or another couple you’ll “instantly bond” with them and share all your worries and fears. Take our small group (at church) for example. Though everyone has gotten along fine from day 1….it still took a good 6 months for everyone to REALLY start to know one another.

Anyways, I get side tracked. Back to the point. Thank God for good friends.

entrepreneur

March 10, 2007

def: a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Some are just born with it. It’s their natural inclination – to lead, not follow. To take a ton of risk. To be their own boss. To start the business themselves. Why? Because they can do a better job.

And then some are like me. They grow into it. Through life’s circumstances (and trials and frustrations and successes and everything under the moon) they see the need for change and venture out. They learn from others good leadership and bad leadership. They soak it all in to then branch out on their own because doing the norm is boring (and getting me nowhere).

And so it is with me and ministry and sales. This is my Saturday revelation (ok, so maybe I’ve been pondering it awhile). I’m taking initiative and slapping risk around. I’ve concluded that you’re much better off doing it yourself. Enjoy sales? Good at it? Then figure out how to start your own business. (Dana – wife – don’t worry, not doing anything crazy here – stability remains in tact.) God gifted you for ministry? Then do what I’m going to do. Start your own.

For those interested (all 9 people who check in occasionally), I’ll keep you updated as I figure out how to best use my gifts in ministry and life. Pray as I figure it all out.

It’s An Auburn Thing…

March 8, 2007

…You Wouldn’t Understand.

I know, I know. Ya’ll don’t get me. Why the obsession? So what, you went to school there. But wow you talk highly of that place! You betcha! Miss it all the time. Can’t wait to take the kiddos to football games in the Fall.

Anywho, I say all that to introduce you to a hilarious article I found. This is a great picture of the difference between Auburn people and….well….those other people from the west side of the state.

LINK

Bad Routines, Right Passion, New Gameplan

March 8, 2007

No, the title of this post has nothing to do with our current Sex Series at Oakleaf. What I’m talking about here is the struggle of getting believers to respond to a call of action.

I’ve been thinking/talking a lot about this recently and here’s a taste of it:

In the South especially you have many many believers who have grown up in a church environment. They were “saved” (some genuine, some not) early in life and grew up attending church and hearing the Word and etc etc etc. Part of this environment was a sheltering. A dissociation from anything non-christian. You just didn’t hang out with “those people.” The church overused phrases like “they’ll bring you down” and misused phrases like “unequally yoked.”

So that’s the Bad Routine part. Many of us grew up forming bad habits. We didn’t hang around lost people. We didn’t befriend them. We didn’t learn how to build a genuine friendship with them. It was all too often a “us” vs. “them” mentality. Outreach always involved a “mission” through the church or an inner-city VBS, etc. It wasn’t the day-to-day.

But then there’s the Right Passion part. Here’s what I mean: Being involved in this churchplant and being around ministry awhile, I meet tons of believers who grew up in that environment but now have a HUGE heart for the lost. They WANT to make a difference. They WANT to do want Jesus clearly did – hang out with the lost. Go into their homes. Visit their neighborhoods. Be genuine in motive. Share a life changing message.

The problem is many many MANY of them have a very difficult time making that transition. Habits are hard to break. It’s not like you just wake up one day and all the uneasiness of being around your lost co-worker who brags about what they did over the weekend goes away. So, the right passion is there. The motivation to reach the unreached is there.

So, I think the challenge for everyone in ministry (especially church plants) is what new gameplan do we implement? What strategy is available? How do take a whole bunch of people who are ready to make an impact but not sure what to do…how do we move them from a burning passion to hands and feet action?

I think it will take more than a 3 day conference or 4 week series. We’re talking about an alteration of everything we’ve grown accustom to.

Dying For Something To Live For

March 5, 2007

So occasionally I watch a show called Intervention. It comes on A&E. Probably one of the best “reality” shows on TV. They get an addict (drugs, eating disorder, cutting, you name it) to agree to be followed and filmed as part of a “documentary”. What the person doesn’t know is the show is really called Intervention and they are there upon their families request. The climax of the show is when the family and a professional counselor intervene with the addict during a surprise meeting. I won’t bore you with details…just watch it yourself…but just know it’s quite interesting and quite cool – you are literally watching people’s lives be saved.

Last night I was watching a re-run of the show and they began promoting a brand new upcoming series. During the 30 second promo, you hear one of the addicts say, “I’m dying for something to live for.” THAT caught my attention. What an important reality he had come to..and what a deep, spiritual truth that so many people living in spiritual darkness need to realize! Everyone wants hope. Everyone wants purpose and reason. And often we will do whatever it takes to fill that need.

So for all believers, here’s your Monday morning encouragement: Be sure you’re living a life that illustrates your hope and reason for living…and be on the lookout for those in desperate need of rescue.

Student Truckin’

March 4, 2007

I’ve been on the road a lot lately and have made tons of observations. Here in Cartersville, on Main Street, I made another one the other day: Student Truck Drivers are scary. Some new driver dude had traffic backed up as he figured what gear he should be in going up a steep hill. Also, he hadn’t quite figured how to completely pull the truck on the shoulder either. Quite the ordeal. Don’t they have a designated area for training and stuff? Oh yeah, that’s right, the interstate.

Ramblin Wreck

March 2, 2007

Last night – 7:36pm – just finished helping Dana give the kiddos a bath. Phone rings. It’s Greg. Greg in my church small group. Greg the biggest North Carolina fan I’ve met. Greg the basketball coach. Greg the guy who just got 2 free tickets to see Carolina and GA Tech hoop it up in ATL.

ESPN, 9pm. Hyped up game. We get there right at tip off (after running in the pouring rain 2.5 blocks). Fun times. Never been to GA Tech before. Never seen an ACC game. Nice facility. Small, but very loud. Not a bad seat in the house.

The above picture describes the kind of night it was for the Tarheels and my friend Greg. I was impartial…well, not really…wanted Carolina to win. There was a ton of light blue in that place. Carolina travels well.

Well, one of the best things about college sports is finally here (almost). It’s March Madness time baby!