Archive for August 2009

Lawnmowers & Problems

August 14, 2009

My cheap lawnmower reminded me of an important life lesson yesterday.  While cutting the grass I mowed over a plastic cup…actually a piece of a plastic cup.  The end result?  Well yeah, of course, a bazillion pieces of plastic cup all over my yard.  Not cool. 

We often (especially dudes) try to plow through our problems.  We figure if we hit them direct enough, hard enough, and with a big ole weapon (think lawn mower), then we can snuff it out in time or grind it away and destroy it.  And perhaps certain issues call for that.  But in my experience – only 32 years, don’t get too excited – we only complicate the problem because our weapon of choice just spreads the problem…and now we are picking up the pieces of a bad situation.  What could have been solved by stopping, picking up the problem in front of us and disposing of it properly has now resulted in extra time doing damage control.

Two examples that come to mind…perhaps because I’ve dealt with them in my own life…1. Anger/Temper: Your emotions tell you that you are solving the issue by controlling it, but REALITY is screaming, “Wow, look how far you’ve now spread this!” 2. Listening to your wife.  Don’t act dumb dudes.  You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  :–) Those times where your wife is simply just wanting you to listen to her…to hear her out…NOT try and be a problem solver.  Not quickly come in and run over her with a lawn mower.  (Ok, that was a weird statement.) 

Stop.  Think.  Turn off the blade if necessary.  Better to pick up one piece – isolated prob – than 47 shreds.

Speaking The Language

August 12, 2009

It’s always baffled me why sports talk radio shows and popular sports TV shows hire former athletes…and former coaches.  Most of them are absolutely horrific in broadcasting or commentating.  But I’ve realized they are brought on for 2 primary reasons:  1.  Their popularity helps with ratings.  2.  They speak the language. 

This was illustrated for me while driving to Zaxby’s today for lunch (YUM!).  I was flipping through stations and came across a sports talk show.  The former athlete (who’s name I’ll protect…ok, I can’t remember who it was) was talking about the Braves.  After 15 seconds of listening to him, I realized just how much he spoke Baseballnese.  After all, he had lived and breathed and inhaled it for most of his life.  He knew every nuance of the game.  If it’s anything remotely related to baseball, he can speak it.

We no doubt surround-intentionally and unintentionally-ourselves with people who speak our language – in politics, sports, love, television…you name it.   After all, we love it when we meet people who love what we love (that was 3 loves by the way).  BUT, I think it’s EXTREMELY healthy to often be around those that can’t or won’t speak our language.  It can only help you grow.

An example?  Sure.  If you’ve always grown up in the South, leave for heaven’s sake (said with a southern draw)…at least on a trip up north or out west. MORE specifically, if you’ve only experienced church in the south, then PLEASE see what God is doing elsewhere (in and out of the U.S.).  Why?  Mostly because Christianese is not spoken-at least to the same degree-that it is here.  And I think that’s a good thing.

What language are we speaking?  One that only a “fellow brother or sister” would understand?  Or one that has so much grace in it that all would turn an ear.  A language that prioritizes our likes and dislikes over the One we claim to follow?  Or a speech that clearly shows where our devotion lies.

It Still Blows My Mind

August 8, 2009

It’s never gotten old.  In fact, it makes this adventure called Following Christ much more mysterious and wonderful.  I’m talking about those rare pop-up ministry opportunities.  Those moments when you are going about your biz…grocery shopping, driving to work, in line at the bank…and God drops something right in your face.  A person.  A phone call.  A thought you can’t shake.  You know it’s the Holy Spirit.  You know you must stop what you’re doing.  You know you must act. 

I know, I know.  I hear you.  Yes, of course we should always be LOOKING for these ministry opps…after all, God is ALWAYS at work around us.  But what I’m pointing out are these random OBVIOUS moments like I experienced today. 

In the mall with wife and 4 kids.  Deciding if we want chemically altered chicken from one of the 14 different Asian chow places in the food court or if we go with the christian chicken, or ride the subway, or ring the bell.  In the middle of the kid’s shouting their opinions I hear a “hey, how are y’all?”  It was a family we had met a few times before through a mutual friend.  What started as a hello ended up being a “pray for our family because…”

2.5 hours later, getting in the car to head back to Cville, I couldn’t get over several things.  God had us in that exact spot in that exact moment to run in to those exact people.  Yeah, some small coincidence, eh?  I love how He operates.  I love how He drops things in your lap and says, “Sit, listen, pray, comfort, minister, care for my people.”  And the 2nd thing I couldn’t get over:  how He uses us.  “Us” as in selfish people like me.  Seriously, it’s not always easy to shutup about yourself long enough SO THAT you can care for someone going through something bad…as in way bad…as in, you realize just how blessed you are. 

So we did just that.  Altered our plans, realizing why God had placed us in a mall (that we normally avoid) on an August Saturday afternoon.  To listen.  To get to know a family.  And for whatever it was worth, offer some comfort.  To learn ourselves.  To care for others like scripture begs of us.

Hope I never get over how God operates.
Hope I’m always ever aware of the opportunities that surround me and my family every day.
Blows my mind.

She wanted “normal” church

August 2, 2009

Tuesday night.  Sitting on the couch after eating some lasagna.  Me and kiddos watching cartoons and getting ready to leave for OLU (Oak Leaf University) classes.  My 4yr old daughter, Kinley, wants to know the plan for the night: “Daddy, are we going to have normal church tonight?”  I didn’t grasp what she meant at first.  But through a series of followup questions, I realized she was asking if there would be a lesson, video, and worship…or if it would just be a movie and a snack.  I explained that it would not be “normal” church that night, instead they would just chill and watch a movie.  “Oh”, she says, with a look of disappointment.

She got up and went to her room.  After about 60 seconds she returns and says, “Daddy, I just prayed.”  Ahhh, how sweet.  Very cool.  Dad is proud….but she wouldn’t tell me what she prayed for!  She was being shy about it, but I eventually coaxed it out of her.  “I prayed that church would be normal tonight.”

A few things here:  First, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE that a child of mine craved the lesson, worship, and small group time over playing and watching a movie.  (Never a guarantee they would choose that again, eh?)  In her words, “You know Daddy…normal…where we sit in a circle and talk, and jump on stage and sing.”  Second, it further confirms that the elementary ministry is heading in the right direction.  The volunteers of that area are goofy and love Jesus.  A dangerous combination!  :^)

It was a cool moment that I hope to see played out in her life for years to come.  My prayer for her and all my children and for every kid is that “normal” for them becomes choosing Worship over Entertainment, Giving over Getting, Service over Apathy, and always always always the desire to follow Jesus over any of the bazillion Distractions of this world.

Reminder:  Let’s model this for them.