January 28, 2009

Another RED Album!

Last year I went to see RED in concert during their End of Silence Tour. It was a great concert! I heard they were the first Christian rock group to debut a single at #1.

Now I heard they are coming out with a new album!

I know the music isn't for everyone...but here is their latest song.


If you like the music buy the album! I know I am. You can go here.

January 25, 2009

Love is A Choice

This weekend Scott Sliver spoke during the church service. He made a comment that really struck home...in more ways than just the way he intended.

He said, "Love is a choice I make through the actions I take."

That struck home with me, but then went deeper...

Worship is a choice I make through the actions I take.

Worship is not about the musical style, the dress code, or the eloquence of the message...worship is my choice I make through showing up and focusing on God.

Relationship with God is a choice I make through the actions I take.

Every day I decide to show up or not and spend time in the presence of God. I make choices in my actions each day that contribute to or detract from my growth in my relationship.

It seems like there are a lot of things where this statement applies.

Where does it apply for you?

January 15, 2009

Daily Routines

My life is a mixed and matched mess of self-control, drivenness, routine, apathy, and spontaneity.

There are a few weird quirks...I like office supply stores. There is something about paper and notebooks that have not been written in with pens that have not yet been used.

I like to see pictures of other people's offices. I especially like the ones that have wooden desks and are stacked with books. Check out this post on a really cool office in a SHED!

I also like to see how people arrange their daily routines. There is something about the consistency provided in the routines that I find simultaneously appealing and restricting. I like routine...for a time. A few weeks ago I stumbled across this blog detailing the working routines of artists, writers, and other interesting people.

What are some of your daily routines?

January 14, 2009

Half-Caf Half Hallucination

I love coffee. I love coffee houses. I drink coffee almost every day...sometimes more! I belong to a church that stakes it's claim well within the boundaries of Coffeeland.

Now a new study indicates that people who drink three cups of coffee a day (or seven cups of instant coffee; whoever they are!) are more prone to hallucinations and hearing voices than normal. Some coffee drinkers were even likely to see and speak with dead people.

And here I just thought I was crazy!

The article also states that caffeine may increase the effects of stress by allowing more cortisol into the blood stream. Which means that my relaxing cup of coffee isn't so relaxing after all.

The article waits till the very last paragraph, however, to state that maybe the people are just psychotic to begin with, and just happen to enjoy a good cup of coffee as well. Either way...this may explain a whole lot of things.

How many cups of coffee a day do you drink? (We will use this information to gauge the level of your psychosis.)

January 9, 2009

The Pastors Who Will Do Anything

Ok...I am not really sure what to do with this one, but here you go. Funny...sad...frightening...I guess it just depends on how you look at it and interpret it.

I lean toward a combination.

Found through Monday Morning Insights

January 7, 2009

I Want to Be a Real Boy

As a youth pastor there was one question that I despised. I mean hated with a passion. It all started innocently enough...someone would walk up and comment on the teens, their youth, their energy, my youth, and then say "So, when do you think you will become a real pastor?"

As though working with the teens was not real ministry or what I was doing was not real pastoring.

Every Thursday for the past six months I have been working at the food pantry at the Vineyard's Dayton Campus. We serve a meal and pray for people, and we give bags of groceries when we can. It has been a great time of serving and loving people.

One Thursday I asked this guy, "How are you today?" He responded, "Not very good." I asked a few follow-up questions, and listened for about 20 minutes as he shared some struggles and things that were going wrong in his life. I then asked, "Can I pray for you?"

He looked around nervously, hesitated for a moment, and then said, "Can I get a real pastor to pray for me?" Despite my best efforts, I couldn't convince him that I was a real pastor. I went and got one of the "real" pastors to come pray for him.

As I was thinking about this I realized there is a huge difference between the position of pastor and the role of pastor. Being a pastor can be a position or an assignment, but pastoring people is all about the relationship. I wasn't this guy's pastor, but I am the pastor for many others with whom I have built a relationship. I am their pastor not because I am an official pastor at the church, but because I have cared for them, loved them, and prayed for them. True pastoring must come from a relationship.

I guess that is why pastoring people does not just belong to the "professionals" in the church. Jesus never intended for the ministry to be done solely by the paid staff...He expected that each Christian would love their neighbors and Christian brothers and sisters enough to pastor them, to care for, to love and pray for them. There aren't enough "professionals" to do all the work that needs to be done for the Kingdom of God...it takes everyone who calls themselves by the name "Christian" actively pastoring the people around them.

Everyone gets the privilege of pastoring!

January 1, 2009

5 Tips for Setting New Year's Goals

Every year I set a number of goals for myself. I never call them resolutions because resolutions always seem destined to be broken. Goals are a little more substantial for me...they signify that by the end of the year I want to have grown and not just changed a bad behavior. Resolutions, for me, say, "I am trying to change something bad about myself." Goals say, "I want to be better by the end of this year."

Over the years I have developed some principles that guide my personal goal setting.

1. Divide your life into some broad sections.
People are complex...I am complex. I have various "lives" and realms that I move in. I am a husband and father...I have spiritual, intellectual, professional, and physical aspects to my life...And each of these areas require some growth and development.

I start by writing each area down as a main heading:






and then I brainstorm ideas beneath each section.

2. Brainstorm whatever comes to mind.
When you brainstorm, there should be no limits or self-editing done during the process. You are dreaming...planning...letting go. It is a new year and anything is possible. I believe it is never too late to become the person you want to be...you just have to know what that looks like and then creates steps to get there.

Some of your brainstorming ideas may (and most probably will not) stay on the list. They may, however, become part of a master list of things you would like to accomplish before you die. Placing them on a bigger, farther out list, may mean changing some of the short-term, yearly goals you are preparing.

Just write down everything.

3. Know where you want to end up.
Stephen Covey says that we should begin with the end in mind, but sometimes you don't know what the end looks like until you begin planning for it. The time of brainstorming may lead to some revelations about where you want to go.

Determining where you want to end up may take several sessions of brainstorming...it may even take several years. And, the end picture may (and probably should) change through the years. Something you thought impossible or unheard of may become a possibility.

4. Be Specific.
Ambiguous goals are hard to reach because they are hard to track. "Lose weight" is easy to reach because any loss in weight counts...maybe that is what you are going for, but probably not. Be specific with your goals. Instead of "lose weight" try "lose 10 pounds." Instead of "read more," try "read 5 books."

When you are specific you have a tangible, trackable target. You can break the goals down into manageable sections, and hold yourself accountable throughout the year. You know how far along you need to be at any particular time.

5. Choose your #1 goal for each area.
Brainstorming may leave you with a huge list that, if followed, would leave you overwhelmed. Look at the list and ask yourself, "If I accomplish only one thing in this area this year...what would I want that to be?"

Narrow it down to the most important one. Okay, maybe two, but you can't focus on more than 1 or 2 things in each area during a year anyway. Something has to be primary.

I go into this process knowing I will have more goals than time and ability, but I also plan to know which of my goals will be the main focus. I aim high, knowing I will not reach everything. By narrowing it down to a few goals I am making these the goals that, if all else fails, I want to accomplish.

Narrowing your goals down to one primary goal for each area enables you to focus on what is most important. Then when you accomplish some of the other goals in the section it is a plus to the process. At the end of the year, when you accomplish those few things, you will have a greater sense of satisfaction because you accomplished something...rather than just partial completed some or totally failed because you attempted too much.

6. Be flexible with yourself.
No one is perfect. Life (and other things) happen. You get sidetracked. Or, you just failed to reach the goal.

You have to be flexible with yourself, and let yourself off the hook sometimes. Being flexible (forgiving) with yourself is a necessary part of this process. Goals are meant to push you farther than you thought you could go. Maybe you didn't reach the final goal, but you got further than you did last year...that is progress. Maybe something you thought was a goal didn't seem as important as it did when you wrote it down. Besides that is why we are writing down goals for the new year now...we aren't where we want to be so we are trying harder this year to reach that.

I read a quote from Bobby Knight that has really challenged me. He said, "Most people have the will to win, few people have the will to prepare to win." Your goals will take some discipline and will power, but they are preparing you to win.

What are some of your goals for this year?