Friday, September 26, 2008

listening and learning

tonight i'm in naples, florida getting ready to speak at a single's conference. i'm doing a general session tonight and a breakout tomorrow. i have to wonder, when the people listen to me, what will they be learning?

i'm praying they learn that God is teaching me that i don't have to have all of the answers, even though the outside world, and many times the church-world, try to convince me i do. i want to live each day in the grace and rest of Christ, and through His teaching and leading, be able to experience LIFE as He would have me go through it.

what if He's leading me to sell my house? what if this economic time of crisis doesn't clear up tomorrow? what if He tells me to be a part of a church that isn't like anything i've ever been before? at first it sounds beautiful and almost romantic, to think of doing church in a new way, but this weekend has taught me, i'm pretty cynical.

the cynicism comes from watching things from a distance for a while. it comes from promises broken, hurtful statements, and watching my kids have a jaded view of God. regardless of all that though, my cynicism is not necessary. i have become nothing more than a prosecutor of pharisees, and NOT a lover of Christ.

it's easier to point the finger at the religious, especially when it's my pet peeve, but it's so hard to watch God point back at me and remind me that i have been just as silly...


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

i just couldn't resist

i was getting ready for our office bible study last night here at the bgm office, when a friend told me about a magazine controversy.

can you imagine a magazine that could only be purchased by asking for it? while a store might carry it, they definitely wouldn't put it out on the shelves for others to see. you know the magazines that i am describing...the seedy magazines that have wrappers on them so children can't see the cover. wal-mart even blocks the covers of the weekly tabloids to keep kids from seeing who is losing how much weight and who is addicted to what.

imagine how i felt when i read that LifeWay Christian Stores was the store, and Gospel Today, was the magazine! the magazine was pulled not because of sexual or risque pictures, but because it portrayed women pastors.

i just keep having questions as i see things like this...why? if it's a fundamental difference with the magazine, why carry it? if it's going to cause problems, why have the magazine at all? but then, wouldn't other titles need to be pulled from the shelves? how about rick warren's, purpose driven life? didn't that cause a great controversy? how about the book that's causing uproars everywhere (and exciting even more people)--the shack?

how can LifeWay pull this magazine cover, and keep a book like pagan christianity on its shelves? this book by george barna and frank viola challenges EVERYTHING about the church...going as far as calling many things--like worship services--pagan!

just one more instance of someone making a decision, that might not have been the brightest...seems to be the theme in the religious world lately...and we tend to wonder why people aren't acting interested in hearing our strategies of evangelism.

maybe we don't need a strategy any more. maybe we need to fall so madly in love with the Creator God that HE influences everything we do. maybe we need to quit worrying about being the filter and keeping things from those who can't handle it, and start letting HIM take control. yes, i completely understand the need for filters (it's why Cartoon Network is blocked from my televisions at home!), but could it be we focus too much on the how, the why, the method, and the plan, and don't focus enough on the WHO. yes, i know i sound jaded and cynical...and i AM. i am because i'm seeing that we're selling people something that isn't real, rather than introducing them to SOMEONE who loves them and wants to consume them. the One who is going to make the changes happen. the One who is responsible for LIFE. the One who cares so much He offered His grace freely and without second thought...

just pondering...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

maybe THAT'S why i'm so cynical

i drive by a particular church parking lot every few weeks, and one things sticks out in my mind. the parking lot has a larger metal barrier which is locked at the front. (for honesty's sake, this isn't the actual sign or barrier, but it'll have to do until i can take a picture of the actual one...) i realize this gate is opened probably every sunday for services, and possibly for other events, but i have NEVER seen the parking lot open. i wonder what happened in this particular parking lot that made this congregation choose to put a barrier up? brings to mind the movie "footloose." if we put an end to ALL non-church sanctioned music...that'll fix our problems with our children.

why do people work so hard to keep people out? i thought the church was the place to bring people to? i realize some VERY un-godly things could have (and probably did) happen in this parking lot (as they do in many church parking lots) at one time, but i still have a hard time reconciling the reasoning behind the gate...oh well...

maybe that has more to say about the church's influence in the community than anything else...makes me wonder if the church has a parking lot ministry...or if they've been successful at keeping the "wrong" elements out (of their church that is)?

Monday, September 22, 2008

i think i'll keep looking

this sunday we had a chance to visit another church with some great friends. they have been inviting us to go with them for quite a while. we went and the impression i was left with: the people we knew that went there all told us the same thing, "this morning's not as good as the last few weeks."

i don't really know how to take that. i don't know if i should be frustrated or not, but i want to go somewhere that's ALWAYS i guess we'll keep looking for a while...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

a fun weekend

this weekend was another great Franklin Cowboy fun weekend. big e got his first win over the goodlettsville trojans CC team 33-19. he didn't get to play as much as his dad would have liked, but i think it bothered me more than him. he was excited to play, and more than hustled each time they called him in to the game. e DID have a tackle

d's team won handily 56-0 over the goodlettsville trojan AA team. the game saw d get the chance to play qb since our starting qb is out again this week with a knee injury. d did a great job and he also ran a kickoff back for a touchdown, ran in for a couple of scores, and made some huge tackles.

then, we decided to go back to watch our friends on the AAA team play goodlettsville. about 3 minutes into the game, e came running over crying. needless to say his front teeth were in major need of removal. he said he "got hit in the mouth by a kid." after much investigating and tears, we decide to forego the interviews with other boys and get e some water, paper towels, and instructions to remove his messed up teeth--no chance. it was way too difficult for him to do alone.

after the game, we got home, put e to bed, and mom gently reached into his mouth and removed BOTH of them...

now what's he going to ask for at Christmas time?

Friday, September 5, 2008

this is what LIFE looks like sometimes

today, i saw this picture and realized that it really shows what my LIFE looks like sometimes. as i look at this picture, i see the parallel to my own LIFE.

many times my LIFE is just like the room behind this window. people can see my LIFE, but i choose to guard it, bar it, and even though others can see the truth, i try to tell them everything is ok.

the best part of this picture to me is the brick wall behind the iron bars and broken glass. whatever is behind that window must either be valuable or horrific...

when you look at this picture, what do you see? do you see your LIFE?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

how do you want to be remembered?

today, i'm sitting in a hospital waiting room, while my friend brent has sinus surgery. i've been here for a while, and just discovered they have wi-fi what better time to update the blog?

the televisions in the surgery center are all turned to cnn today, and the topic of conversation is...the republican national convention. i've heard enough about sarah palin, her pregnant daughter, and john mccain. in fact, i think i've heard more than enough. i am officially over it. i am sick of the over-pressed coverage of politics.

as i ask the question today, how do you want to be remembered, there are reasons for it. i wonder how politicians want to be remembered. i wonder how reporters want to be remembered. i wonder how i want to be remembered.

i don't know about the rest of those, but i want to be remembered as someone who got past the religion of the day. i want to be known as someone who was truly different because of my relationship with Christ. i want to be someone who has been changed at the very core of who i am.

i don't want to be known as someone who is a part of a particular group, denomination, or even someone who is a rule-follower. i want my love for Christ to show me as different...