The plan is to teach on the themes and stories featured in 5 upcoming summer blockbusters. We will teach on each film the Wednesday night prior to its published release date.
We’ll start with…
And end with…
What do you think?
I was able spend the day at the Texas Rangers home opener. They lost 8 to 1 but who cares? I don’t. In fact, I had an awesome day!!! We arrived at the Ballpark around 9am to begin tailgating with a group of area ministers. We set up the tent and started grilling. I had a blast.
As we were setting up, the group next to us was blasting some rock tunes including Where the Streets Have No Name, my personal fav!!!!
About an hour before we headed into the game a truck full of twenty-somethings pulled in near us. They got out and set up their tailgate paraphernalia, opened the truck door, and turned up their stereo. The smooth and mellow sounds of some dude’s Break-Up Mix-Tape started bringing the party atmosphere to a grinding halt.
I am all about using the right music to craft moments and experiences. These particular choices were suitable for a) sunset beach cookouts on Laguna with LC, b) late night cryfests over unrequited love, and c) the last songs played at a Junior High dance.
Don’t believe me? Check out their playlist:
Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright
Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton
Kiss from a Rose by Seal
Open Arms by Journey
Ordinary People by John Legend
Easy Like Sunday Morning by Lionel Richie
These are all good songs (some great songs) but I’m
not sure absolutely, stinkin’ positive that they are not “party before the game” songs.
Hope you had as great a day as I did. If you had a crappy day, I’ve just provided you with a healing mix of smooth pop music. Let Lionel take you away!!!
Twenty-eight years ago today you adopted me.
What can I say?
Thank you. You opened your home for me, cared for me, disciplined me, and provided for my every want and need.
Thank you for helping me understand the importance of my adoption and for not letting me be defined by it. It was never used as an excuse or crutch. It was a reality but I was your son. No questions asked.
Thank you for your examples and your love. Thank you for the dinners and for watching after your grand-dog when we are away.
Thank you more than words can say.
This is the year that we get out of debt.
Over 7 years of marriage we’ve managed to keep our heads above water but we have accumulated a little bit of debt. We used our credit cards to travel to see family, we moved, we bought a few pieces of furniture, and we bought a few stupid items.
After taking a step back and looking at our finances we concluded that something had to change or we would run the risk of getting into terrible financial trouble. It doesn’t matter that our level of debt was just under the national average. We were failing in our call to be good stewards of our money and so we decided to do something about it.
Today my wife told me that our credit cards have been completely paid off!!!
In just three months, we paid off a (ahem) crapload of money on those plastic traps. We went and did our taxes, found out that we didn’t owe anything, and then used the money we had set aside for taxes to completely pay those puppies off. We are done!!! No more plastic!
The next step is to pay down our car notes. That’s right, we have two of them and owe money on both. It’s ok though. We shouldn’t have bought my car when we did. I had a truck that was paid off but I was tired of driving that big boy around and I wanted a smaller car. Lesson learned. The plan is to have both of our cars paid off by the time 2009 rolls around.
Big PROPS to my wife because she does our finances.
Thanks babe for doing the hard work and for giving me a generous allowance each week. I love you babe!
…to Teach to Teenagers on Wednesday Nights.
Our teen Wednesday night class has become my favorite night to be with my students. We meet together (7-12th grade) to pray, read, and discuss. Our discussions have been growing better and deeper over the last few months and it is just amazing how interested most of the teens seem to get into expressing their thoughts and feelings concerning certain passages. The overarching theme that has carried us over the course of the year is “Becoming a Disciple.” Right now I have been teaching through the letter to the Philippians. Last night we were in chapter 3.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
So I begin to walk through the passage. I remind them that Paul was writing to them to encourage them to keep holding on to Jesus in the face of opposition. In chapter 3 Paul gets specific about who or what is threatening these young Christians. It was the idea that these Gentiles must become Jews in order to become Christians. So far they are with me.
Then we get to the part about circumcision. I, gingerly, explained what it was and, because it represented the covenant God had made with his chosen people, why it was important to the Jewish believers.
I can start to see the guys squirm and giggle.
At that point I stop them and say, “Let’s not get caught up on circumcision, ok? Just understand that these people Paul was warning about were saying that just believing and obeying Jesus wasn’t enough. They were telling these new Christians that they had to do more in order to be saved. They had to “look” a certain way and that by looking that way they would find favor with God. It’s about outwardly appearing to be holy.” At that point they stop giggling and I hear a few “ohs” and “Ok I understand.” I am getting ready to to bring the comparison to today in and one of the boys raises his hand. He still has a confused look on his face. A confused look mixed with fear.
Teen: “How long ago was this?”
Me: “About 2000 years ago.”
Teen: “So there were no knives!?!?! (panic sets in) What did they use? Sticks!?! Rocks!?!”
I was so afraid at that point that “circumcision” was going to totally derail the discussion but it didn’t. I assured him that there were knives at that time and his face relaxed and so did the other guys. They stayed with the rest of the discussion and all went well.
I guess I learned, again, to never take anything for granted when it come to teaching teens. Don’t assume that they have been taught about the background to anything. Don’t ignore their concerns (even about renegade Rabbis with circumcision stones).
Treat them fairly and answer any and all questions no matter how funny, serious, or seriously funny they are.
Twenty-eight years ago today, You gave birth to me and then you gave me up for adoption.
What can I say?
First, thank you. Your decision brought untold happiness and joy into my life. I am who I am today because you made that life-changing decision. I grew up in a loving family and experienced a large extended family through my school and church. I sat at the feet of godly men and women who challenged me and molded me in to the adult that I am today. Although I was influenced by all these things there are traits and characteristics that I share with no one other than you. I thank you for those things too.
Second, I have never, never felt any ill will towards you and your decision. What good would come from being angry with you? I don’t know if you’ve ever worried about that but know that those fears are unnecessary and misspent.
Third, know that I have and will always love you.
I’ll never know the reasons behind why you gave me up and you owe me no explanations. The reasons you did what you felt you needed to do are yours and yours alone. Just know that I love you and thank you and often pray for you. I think about you every now and then and wonder if you ever think of me. I hope you do.
May you be blessed knowing that you have blessed me.
tune in on the 7th for part 2
I got the greatest kick out of this picture partnered with this caption from The Drudge Report this morning. Classic.
I also hear that the CIA is recruiting a ton of children from The Xavier Academy for covert ops and that a young man named Barry Allen is helping police in Silver City.
I just wish that Metropolis had a city plan in place to protect its citizens.
Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJVS)
I began thinking about this verse and I remembered a scene at the beginning of one of my favorite movies, Seven Samurai.
Kurosawa’s 1954 classic film begins with a gang of bandits tearing through the Japanese’s countryside. They come to a stop at the top of the a hill overlooking a small, poor, insignificant village. They are about to attack the defenseless hamlet when their leader reminds them that they attacked this village last season. He tells them that they should come back when the barley harvest is in so that they could really wreak some havoc. They agree and they ride off vowing to return and destroy everything. An older man from the village had been hiding on the hill and he overhears the bandits plans and he rushes down the hill to warn the people.
The very next scene show the entire village weeping and wailing and sitting in the dirt in the center of the village. Some are crying out they they wished that they could die right now. Doom and gloom is all around. Most have given up every ounce of hope.
One young man stands up and proclaims passionately that the villagers must fight the bandits. Most of the older men shout him down telling him that his idea is ludicrous. The older men agree that the course of action must be decided by the leader of the village. Every villager stands up and marches to the old mill where the oldest and wisest man living among them resides. The old man will tell them what they must do.
After much deliberation and thought the old man agrees that they must fight these bandits off. He tells them that they must hire samurai to help protect the people. Many of the men argue with the old man’s words saying that they could never afford to hire samurai. They ask him incredulously, “What Samurai would work for barley and rice?”
The old man responds to their doubt by saying, “We will look for hungry samurai.”
Without his vision, the people would perish. The old man knew that his people were in trouble. He knew their fears and he knew their limitations. They needed help and they needed a different perspective. The old man exhibited vision to see beyond excuses.
Effective vision is most often the most practical. The people were focused on what prohibited them from surviving. The old man focused on what they had and what would help them survive.
Quit whining and crying about your situation and what you think is keeping you and your people from success.
Go find you some hungry samurai and protect your village.
My follow-up posts on the Paradoxes of Leading from the Second Chair have been put on hold (surprise, surprise) while I prep for my sermon this week.
I am preaching on the importance of Leadership Vision. It is a topic that really gets my heart going.
Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision (khaw-ZONE), the people perish (KJV).
I love how the Message interprets this verse:
If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.
It is this message that I want to get across this week.
Leadership Vision isn’t about crazy dreams or overly creative ideas birthed by high and lofty positional leaders.
Leadership Vision is for all people who humbly and reverently seek to make sure that their vision is God’s vision.
It is the ability to see what God is doing and the desire to attend to his revelation. If you can’t or are unwilling to see what God is up too then I would suggest that you are in the way.
We will be specifically looking at Nehemiah, the cupbearer of the king. He wasn’t an important official. He wasn’t a member of the royal family. He was a humble servant. His vision was to see that God was glorified through his life and the lives of those he led. His eyes and heart were opened to God’s vision for living and he let God lead him to do great and wonderful things that brought glory, not to Nehemiah, but to God.
Leadership Vision is never about YOU. It is about bringing glory to Almighty God.
I’ll post updates about the sermon throughout the week. Until then, have a great day and keep seeking out God’s vision.