Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yelling Is The New Spanking

According to the New York Times, parents have now replaced screaming with spanking. As many of us have seen, people think that spanking is wrong. The only problem is, what do you do with kids that don't care about a time-out. The new answer is scream.

The reason I bring this up is because after reading the article and thinking about it, I wonder if it isn't just parents. After all, everyone knows fighting is wrong, so how do we get someone to see our side or leave us alone if they don't agree with us? Yell at them of course! Don't believe me, watch any reality TV. There's a lot of yelling and drama.

I was just wondering how far this is going to trickle down. After all, many kids learn how to handle conflict from their parents, and if all they see is yelling, what do they learn? What about when they become teenagers, what's the only defense they have (that won't get them sued) that they have seen work...?

Maybe we should look at how to control ourselves. As Aviva Pflock (co-authored Mommy Guilt ) says, "The one thing you really have ultimate control over is the tone of your voice." I know I haven't been perfect with my tone, but really, there's got to be a better way to deal with conflict than yell, right?

Just random thoughts.


Friday, January 29, 2010

By What You Do

Many people have heard the story of building a foundation, the house on the rock was strong, the house on the sand was swept away in a storm. We even talked about it a few weeks ago at Downpour (our Bible Study). But do you know how Jesus introduces that parable?

Luke 7:46-47 ~ “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say? I will show you what everyone is like who comes to Me and hears My words and obeys. (NCV)

So often I've heard the foundation is reading the Bible or praying or doing things that privately connect you with God, and all those things are good! But that's not all. There's more to it. Our foundation is built by doing what Jesus tells us to, by the way we live.

As much as we have tried to do this in the past few years, Jesus is not private. Religion is not a private act. It's something that is to be lived out and shared. When it comes to building a foundation for a holy life, the foundation needs to be built on action. We need to be doing all that Jesus told us to, not just the ones that make us feel comfortable or the ones we can do all by ourselves, all of it.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Even Jesus Prayed

I don't know why, but I have been very slow making my way through the Gospels lately. Maybe I'm lazy, maybe everything is jumping out at me. Who knows? (Well, God...)

Today I was reading about Jesus calling the twelve disciples.

Luke 6:12-13 ~ At that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and He spent the night praying to God. The next morning, Jesus called His followers to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He named apostles. (NCV)

Now here's where my mind started turning. Jesus knew everything (and still does), so He knew who the twelve disciples were. So why did He still pray? Why did He still spend all night praying? He had a connection with God being One with Him that we will never have or understand. And yet He still felt the need to pray for hours and hours all night over this decision.

I don't think we understand prayer yet. Obviously it's not all about the request or even making the right decisions. Jesus was going to pick the right people, He knew 100% He was, but He still spent more time in prayer before this decision than many others (that we know of). Was He praying for the disciples, that they would be ready for what they were to do? Was He praying for me reading about this moment knowing I would be confused?

All I can come up with is I need to pray more, because if Jesus needs extra prayer, and He gets it, how much more do I need since I don't get it?


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In The Big Show

Starting tomorrow I will also be blogging on the Fishers UMC main website (every Thursday). I can pretty much guarantee that whatever I post will be on here, since I try to get on here 6 times a week and there I will only be writing 1 a week, but if you want to show support or even see what the other leaders at Fishers UMC are up to, check it out.


Monday, January 25, 2010


Last week I was watching TV (shocker) and during one of the many crime shows on (this one fiction, again, shocker) they were interviewing a field agent. They talked about how they had learned a lot, especially about why people do bad things. And then they said something interesting:

"Secrets. Trying to hide the truth chips away at your spirit."

An interesting thought, but I started to mull it over. I think it's true. Many times the reasons we lie, we cheat, we steal, we hurt others, it's all in what I would call perceived self-preservation. We're trying to save that image of ourselves we have created while in the midst of that process we are losing our true self. We kill ourselves to protect a false image, a mask.

Perhaps this is why Jesus said it was the truth that would set us free (John 8:32).


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Quote

I know yesterday's was the best one ever, but here's another one. And it ties into the passion theme from a few days ago too (you'd think I planned this or something)...

"Direct your passion. Achieve your result. Always do your best and you will avoid regret. Pass on your knowledge without reluctance." ~ John Mazzella

Sounds good to me. Good way to live life. What if people who followed Christ lived this way...?


Friday, January 22, 2010

Best Quote Ever

Because of all the football hype, I found this quote and it made me laugh. Enjoy.

Games tend to focus more on structural aspects of culture. Chess is about military strategy. Monopoly about buying and selling... Football teaches bout territoriality. Primates mark territory with feces. We are primates. It is no coincidence that a play in football starts when a dung-shaped ball is passed through the legs of a player and that it's the position of the dung upon the field that determines what territory belongs to whom. ~ Joe Garlington



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Retreat

Sorry it's been a few days, we were gone on the weekend at the winter retreat and I'm still playing catch-up a little.

But I will say this, it was a great retreat. We talked about spiritual matters, relaxed, played football (we won thanks to Kari), made huge fireballs, praised and worshipped until the floor moved.

One thing I kept thinking about though is something we discussed Sunday night. Passion is infectious. For anything. Here in Indy peopel are a little more hyped because of the Colts, because the passion of those around us is infectious. For our worship time at the retreat, someone had mentioned to me "Why are we bringing all this sound equipment? Why not just go acoustic since there's less people?" And strangly enough, they were jumping around when everyone else was and singing just as loud (if not louder)...

We can make church an exciting experience each and every Sunday (or Wednesday, or whenever). We just have to bring the passion, not wait for it to be brought...


Monday, January 18, 2010

Scared Of Risk

I'm reading another book by the Imagineers at Disney. I just feel drawn to them, people who see the world without limits and literally do anything because they know they can. In an hour at the Magic Kingdom you can see ghosts, fly, ride a pirate ship and go on safari. And that's all within walking distance of each other!

So how do they do it? It seems one of the big ideas is to have no fear. This is from Marty Sklar (he's been there forever!):

In my experience outside Imagineering, in community activities and volunteer organizations, a culture of risk taking is a rare thing. Conformity is too often prized as a virtue. Risk my standing on the board of my community organization, church or synagogue, homeowners association and the like? What will my friends and neighbors say? How will they treat my kids?

I love it, but something hit me hard. Why did he add church? The obvious answer, because he's right. The church has been turned into a place where we do the safest thing, don't rock the boat. Isn't it funny that the entity, the group of people that changed the world by being fearless and doing the impossible led, carried and backed by the power of God is now the group trying to get by without causing waves? Hey, we won't even sing too loud during worship, what would people say?

We have to get back that spirit of being world-changers for God and be willing to sacrifice our pride to get there. After all, I don't read many stories of Jesus sitting by politely and quietly trying to not be noticed, just get through the worship service and get home until next week...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Have A New Husband By Friday

I'm not kidding, it's the name of a book I saw at Barnes and Noble the other day with Lorie. See for yourself:

Now as I read the description a little better, I see how it's about mutual respect and having realistic expectations of each other, but I'm still a little disturbed by the idea of the title and how people interpret it. One, that it's all the husband's fault (which it usually is, but give us a break), but two, that you can change someone in five days to be who you want them to be.

I think the author is more in line with what I believe (based on the short synopsis online), it's not about changing them exactly, it's about being understanding and loving them for who they are. We should be doing that for everyone! Hey, maybe by doing that, we could change the world in a week...


Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Judge By What You See

An interesting look at the world I came upon. The author was talking about how we judge how good or brave or whatever other attribute you want to put on a person by what they do, what we see them do. But in reality there could be greater issues of the heart at work.

Here's an example. We would reward someone for their bravery of running into battle to save a fallen comrade. We would probably not reward someone's bravery for petting a dog.

But what if there was more to the story.

What if the person running into battle had no fear. They never were afraid for being shot, they were raised to be have no fear. Meanwhile the other person was attacked by a dog as a small child and has had a fear of dogs ever since and just then was the first time they had been brave enough to get within ten feet of a dog let alone touch one. They had a crippling fear of dogs for years and it took weeks and months of work to get up the nerve just to be in the same room as a dog. With this new information, who is braver? The one who never had a problem or the one who is overcoming emotions many of us would be scared to experience?

The point is, realize that little victories to you may be huge victories to others. Don't judge someone only by the little bit you see. They may be overcoming a hurdle that we can never understand...


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Are We Too Busy?

A new study I read this week from a thousand business people:

89% take their work home
65% work more than one weekend per month
68% felt more overwhelmed than they did last year
53% spend less than 2 hours a week with their children (that's less than 1.2% of their week)

Maybe we need to slow down a little and look at what's important here...


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Need Reminding?

I was reading something today which quoted a man named Dr. Johnson. No idea who that is, but here's what he said that I liked:

"People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed."

Working with teenagers, I totally see that! How many of us can remember the first time we were taught to drive? It took a lot more than one instruction, it took a lot of reminding to get it right (and some adults still need some reminding).

What do we need to remind ourselves of (after all, if we don't evaluate ourselves, who will)? What have we gotten upset about because "we've heard it before" but really aren't living it?

Just some thoughts from Dr. Johnson (whoever you are).


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Could You Handle It?

Last Sunday we had on our church sign that the message for Sunday was about Luke 4. Although Pastor Aaron quoted Luke 4, the temptation of Christ was not the theme of the sermon.

But the other day I happened to be reading that passage as well and was hit again by something that most people glance over. If you know the story Jesus is led by the Spirit to be tempted, He doesn't eat for 40 days, then satan tempts him three times, fails, and leaves "until an opportune time". Too often we read that and glance over a few little words...

Jesus wasn't only tempted three times. We read that story and hear it at church and think we could stand up to those three little temptations, it was hard for Jesus because He was hungry. Read it again:

Luke 4:1b-2a ~ The Spirit led Jesus into the desert where the devil tempted Jesus for forty days. (NCV)

All forty days Jesus was tempted. Can you imagine for 960 hours being tempted in every which way (and God setting it up so it can happen!)? Too often we simplify what Jesus went through here. It was a full forty days of being nagged by the devil to give up. As verse 14 says, Jesus was tempted "in every way". Although we only have three written down, those three didn't cover in every way. We have no idea what Jesus went through for us to be able to continue His ministry. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament for the people of God to follow, was Jesus tempted to break each one, 613 temptations on the Law alone?

We'll never know, but don't take it for granted that Jesus did a simple little thing for us here. He went through more than we know!


Monday, January 11, 2010

New Wine In Old Wineskins

It's almost two weeks into the new year, how many resolutions do you think are still going? How many have you already thrown away?

Last night at Drink Deep (our Sr. High meeting) we talked about this in a broader sense and how following Jesus is similar. Too often people get fired up right away then seem to dwindle, like we do with resolutions. The reason is a story Jesus told in Luke 5, new wine in old wineskins.

The basic moral of the story is you can't fit something new into your old life. The reason so many people give up on their new year's resolutions is they don't change their life around the resolution. They want to lose weight, but they don't want to make the time to exercise, give up the foods they like, or really change any of their habits at all.

It's the same with Jesus. Many times people are introduced to Jesus and they think He's great, but instead of following Him they try to fit Him into their old life. They go back home and hang out with the same friends, do the same things, watch the same movies, visit the same websites, whatever it is, and somewhere along the way Jesus gets squeezed out. If you really want to know Jesus and have Him be a part of your life, your life needs to change to fit Him in. It's kind of like AA, when someone wants to give up drinking, they don't go back to the old bar with the old friends at the old happy hour.

So whatever your resolution is, holy or just plain silly, if you want to keep it, don't worry about the resolution so much. Worry about the life you're trying to fit that resolution into. Maybe some changes need to be made...


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Doorknobs And Email

Two things:

First, thanks to all those who gave us doorknobs or gift cards to hardware stores for Christmas. We have doorknobs in our home now.

Second, we just set up a system where you can have this blog sent to your email. Sign up in the subscription box on the top left.

Thanks all!


Thursday, January 07, 2010


The other day I was reading a book that talked about inspiration (in this case, artistic inspiration). It took a look at the word "inspire", which means "to breath into or upon; to infuse with life by breathing."

Many times we hear about God "inspiring" people to do something. We may even feel inspired to act a certain way or do a certain act. Do we think of it as God actually breathing his presence into you? God giving you life and the will to do whatever it is you feel inspired to do?

I don't know, if we start locking at inspiration in that sense, how much would we give to that inspiration? How hard would we work to make what God has breathed into us a reality?

So next time you feel "inspired" to do something, take a moment. If it is from God, if it is His breath, we need to give it everything that a breath of God deserves.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Holiday Loans

I went into a bank the other day (not just the drive-thru, I know, they still have people working there!) and saw a sign for a holiday loan. For a special short term loan you can get just for the holidays.

Okay, I think we have officially missed the point of Christmas if we are taking out loans to buy presents and ham. At the end of last year the US had a national credit card debt of $972.37 billion (Nilson Report March 2009). How much of that do you think were Christmas overspending?

So as we struggle to pay off Christmas as we do every January (I used to work in a mall, January was a dead month!) how about we evaluate what's really important for next Christmas. To be honest, there are very few presents I can remember getting as a child, I only remember opening them with family. What about you...?


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Good Fortune

In our student ministry, we have "fortunes" that go with all the sodas. Really, they are proverbs from the Message, so they sound like fortune cookies, and when printed with red ink they look like them too.

So here was the one I got the other night: "The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here."

It seemed kind of like a good one. So often we think that God is so far away or that understanding Him is so hard. Sometimes we even think that to learn anything of importance you have to go far away, but there is so much of God right here and now, in our own lives, in every breath. We just don't acknowledge it.

So here's the challenge, look for God today, look for his wisdom, in your own front yard. Where can you find something to learn from today?


Monday, January 04, 2010

Go Dominos

I don't know if you've seen Domino's pizza's new ad campaign, but I love it (

The reason, they understood the need to change. Even though there were many people who loved their pizza, they understand the need to grow, and growth means things will not stay the same (see the blog from last week about perfection).

Sometimes we need to change. We need to grow. Even what we think is perfection needs to be fiddled with.

Yesterday, we had some differences at NewSong. Did I like our service before? Of course! But we can't stay the same. It's impossible. Even styles of worship change and grow. If that weren't true, we'd still be sacrificing goats in a temple, and I'd have to wear really big long flowing robes when I preach next week (yeah, picture that one...)


Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Flavors Of Perfection

Although I didn't like the way they did it in a kids movie, I did like the example I saw last week of perfection.

A guy mixed a Christmas drink for a woman (in a kids movie, happy holidays), but the woman drank it and said it was perfect. It tasted like Christmas. The guy then made another drink and asked her to drink it. She said no, she couldn't. The first one was perfect. He insisted and she did, and discovered it was perfect too. And that's when he said the line I liked, "Perfection comes in many flavors."

I think we too often have a good experience, a good meal, a good anything and then decide "that's perfect" and leave it that way. But perfection can be different to different people. It can even me different to the same person. Sometimes something can be perfect but as we grow and change our version of perfection changes.

The point is, don't be scared of new things. You may find something else that's "perfect". Likewise, is you find something you don't like, be careful, to someone else, it may be perfect.