Thursday, September 27, 2007

Urban Amish

Am I scared of technology? I have an ipod nano, a laptop computer, a cell phone, and a van with more computing power than my old TRS Model 1 computer. Has technology made life better? Every time I am in a hospital or connect online with a long lost friend I say yes! They save time, they are used to save lives, and they make life comfortable. But, I get fatigued by the way I am connected to technology and how much I have come to depend on it... for relationships... for entertainment... for learning... and what that connection has led me to loose. (Often the very things I am hoping to gain.)

I secretly wish I could be an Urban Amish. Minus the clothes and beard that I could never grow. Yes, I know I am idealizing the simple life, but I think taking moments to reflect on if technology has made our lives better and in what ways is helpful.

What bit of technology can you not live without and how might your life change if you lost it?

I hate cell phones,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rehearsing isn't always helpful.

One thing that I've done for most of my life is think through various scenarios. I would have conversations with myself that I envisioned would take place with another person. I would get my facts straight, think through the issues, recall the why and the what, and just gear myself up for conversations that may take place.

The problem is... they rarely if ever took place.

But I felt more prepared anyway. It was a tool that I thought would bring peace when I was anxious and feeling defensive. However the reality is that it just created more anxiety and took up more time and head space. Rehearsing hasn't been helpful for me and I am trying to kill it.

I was driving the other day and feeling a bit anxious about how someone might respond to something and I launched into my rehearsal. This and that started coming out of mouth as I drove along and then I realized what I was doing. I just stopped the stream of justifications and said,"God, you love me and I'm your kid. Take this issue."

I think God does a better job as a defender than me. I just need to rest in the fact that He accepts and loves me regardless.

So, I may not seem as quick on the gun and I won't deliver a pristine rebuttal to a situation, but I'll sleep better.

Thinking out loud can by tiring,

PS - isn't that what blogging is?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ring the bell if you had great service!

I love Mongolian BBQ. I can stomach Arby's. In both of these places I have found bells that are supposed to be rung if you had good service. (And left a tip at Mongolian.)

I heard a couple ladies chatting today about churches, pastors, and services at the local coffee place. They talked way toooo loudly and were quite passionate in their concerns for the church. I overheard the discussion about the pastor who is trying to implement new ideas into an established church. I couldn't help hear about the way the church is creating problems with their different worship styles. I heard about a husband who gets frustrated regularly with the church.

In the midst of this I couldn't take it any more. I said in a talking voice, "Jesus bring unity." They didn't seem to slow down, but I felt better throwing my frustration with the chit chat at Jesus (perhaps the chit chat was done under the label of concern and seeking God). The chit chat seemed to treat the church as some eating establishment with bad food, poor service, and rats in the kitchen. I was getting angry that they could nicely run down the pastors with their talk of concerns and yet allow the husband to act out regularly in anger and bitterness and just say, "you know him..." as if that is okay and natural.

It made me think.

I realize that people have those conversations about me and about the church I call family. I have learned (but need to constantly remind myself of) that the church is not mine - it's God's. I've hoped, but not expected everyone to see themselves as the church and take ownership and choose to be a part of the solution and not continue the useless chit chat to people who can't do anything about the problems. I'll stop...

But, hearing that conversation made me again realize that for the majority of people I've met and interact with - the church is still primarily a vendor of religious goods and services. It is a Mongolian BBQ or an Arby's. When we have good service we ring the bell. "Amazing worship." "Awesome teaching - I have 4 pages of notes and I heard something I've never heard before!" "The service was only an hour!" etc... Ring the bell! I got great service!

But, if we find the pastor to be a poor manager, the music to be overcooked, and the environment distracting we tend to fill out the comment card and pass it on to our friends. (I do this when I have a bad experience at a place - I rarely let the establishment know, but I tell all my friends about the bad experience. I need to practice what I spew.) :)

So, I think I'm going to do a series sometime called, "Ring for great service!" I will have a bell like our local Arby's and talk about the church being a community for great services. Not like a worship service in which we look to have a good spiritual meal. But, more like a worship community in which we look to serve one another in love. It comes down to being a giver - a server - a deny yourselfer - a pick up your crosser.

I'll have to rework these thoughts in the future, but for know I leave you with this...

Jingle bells,

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Tomorrow we are launching our new Watermark family website: We are Marked. Check it out. Brad Zimmerman put it together and did a great job. Brad's company is: Vinmark Productions. I recommend him to you.

I also got an article up on one of my pet hobby projects for the year: It was an article for our newsletter, but I'll be putting up other stuff soon...

Anyways go Tigers!

Friday, September 07, 2007


I have a friend who is currently in jail and I have been able to visit him and check in. Anyways, a week or so ago, Harrison asked me where I was going and I explained that I was going to visit our friend who is in jail.

Harrison said, "Are you going to save him?"

I said, "What do you mean?"

He said, "Are you going to save him?"

I said, "Do you mean help him get out of jail?"

He said, "Yes."

This exchange made me think about a couple things...
1) I was shocked to hear my four year old son use a very churchy word like "save." I wondered if I had said it around him... I realized that he wasn't talking about the "save" that I was thinking about. When he asked me if I was going to "save" our friend he was not expecting me to share the good news and have him say yes in a prayer to see him spiritually saved... that was my assumption.

2) My son thinks I have what it takes to break into a jail and set the captives free. Think action hero baby!

3) I think my boy has a more biblical view of salvation than I have held most my life. I have looked at salvation primarily as a spiritual experience that is applied to you after you die. (Saved from our sins.) I do believe this with all my heart and desire to share it. However, when you look at God as deliverer and savior in Scripture we see a God who saves all of someone. Salvation is for this life... Salvation from the slave master of addiction, from the enemy of bitterness, from the pain of injustice, etc... My friend did need saving, but it is much more than just a spiritual issue (although this is an amazing and necessary place to begin.)* My friend needs saving help to get out of jail (the jail of things he struggles with that put him in this difficult situation.)

I like Harrison's approach to salvation and I appreciate his belief that I am an action hero.

The Tigers need saving from injuries, quiet bats, and sketchy pitching,

*I suppose you could say that someone needs to experience salvation from their situation before they are open to embrace or experience salvation on a spiritual level. Sure, that's cool, but I think that if someone is open and they receive the grace gift of Christ it gives a deep pool to draw from for salvation of all of them. Just a thought.