Wrecking Ball

Categories:Uncategorized

I realized the other day that Miley Cyrus and I have two things in common.

No, I have never ridden naked on a wrecking ball so get that out of your mind.

What do we have in common?

We both used to have a lot more hair.

And… we both have the propensity to enter a situation riding the proverbial wrecking ball – metaphorically speaking.

It’s the second thing that I would like to ponder a bit (not much to ponder about my defeat to male pattern baldness).

A wrecking ball is used on things that are meant to be demolished – never to be rebuilt.  Knocked down.  Destroyed.  Irreparably altered.

Here’s some truth: A wrecking ball has no place within relationships.

Yet careless words, inattention to tone, ill placed hyperbole (like in an argument), and volatile verbiage knock down the walls of any relationship faster than a wrecking ball knocks down an old building.

How do I know this?  Cause I’m guilty.

My careless words, inattention to tone, ill placed hyperbole (like in an argument), and volatile verbiage have hurt people.

Most of the time (I think) the hurt I’ve caused has been unintentional.  Yet damage is done whether intent is there or not.

How about you?  Have you heard your tone is hurtful?  Or your words are damaging?  Or you fight dirty in a “discussion?” Are you often shocked that you have been hurtful?

If so I have 2 things to say to you:

1. Ignorance is no excuse.

2. Saying, “I didn’t mean too” doesn’t make it ok.

Are you like Miley and me?  If so I have 2 assignments for you:

  1. Go apologize.
  2. Work your butt off to get off the wrecking ball.

 

Reprise

Categories:Our Battle

Reprise: repeat, recap, echo, return, do over or again.

Some things bear repeating.

I’d like to reprise a blog I wrote back in September 2013.  Here it is:

It’s been said, “If you have a pulse, you’ve got issues.”

Sometimes those issues can get the best of us.  For me over the years it has been clinical depression, porn addiction, and anger issues.

Here’s what I’ve learned when it comes to my issues:  HALT

Hurt.  Angry.  Lonely.  Tired.

HALT.

When HALT happens I am more susceptible to letting my issues get the best of me.

So are you.

So beware.

If we know when we are more prone to stumble maybe we will be less prone to stumble during those times when we are more prone to stumble.  (Read that brain-twisting sentence again.  It’s true.)

DEER.

DEER is helpful.

When DEER happens I am less likely to have my issues trip me up.  You could say that when HALT happens (or is happening) I’m best off if I get me some DEER.

Devotions.  Exercise.  Eating.  Rest.

These things keep me healthy mentally and spiritually.

When I say devotions I’m not talking about some boring, impersonal, religious thing.  Rather I’m talking about that rich and meaningful time with God that everyone has experienced at least once.  (Maybe it was that moving Christmas Eve service when you were a kid or that time you really felt God’s presence on vacation in the mountains, or…)  When I’m engaged in this daily, life is sweeter.

It will be for you too.

Exercise.  When we move as humans (as opposed to going the way of the couch potato) good things happen.  Scientists will talk about endorphins and such.  I don’t know much about that.  I do know however that when I am in a good rhythm and routine in regard to exercise I simply feel better.

You will too.

I love pizza.  I love lasagna.  I love them so much that I can single handedly eat enough of these ambrosiatic foods to feed an army (of course since I have eaten it all the army will have to go away hungry). Yet the truth is, I always feel kinda icky when I overeat.   Although it is more difficult to eat well, balanced, and moderately, I feel freer and more alive when I do the harder thing.

You will too.

Here’s a fact:  sleepy people are grumpy people.  Here’s another fact: rest is good.  Here’s a third fact:  God rested on day 7 (to model what is good and right for us silly humans).  So get some sleep. Take a nap.  Go to bed a bit earlier.  Or sleep in a bit later.  Do less.  Rest more. When I am rested I am a better person for all those around me.

You will be too.

Beware the HALT.

Embrace the DEER.

 

Recurring Dream

Categories:Hope

The other night I had a recurring dream.  It’s a dream that I have at least 3 or 4 times a month.

In my dream, I am young of body and able to jump really high.  I am usually playing basketball of course (the game of heaven) and dunking on everybody.

Then I wake up.

Bummer.

My first thought is, “crap, I want to go back to that dream.”  And I try to do just that.  I squint my eyes really tight and try very hard to get back to high flying bliss.

But alas I never can.  I’m left with the reality of multiple sports injuries and a body that has to walk around the pile of dog poo in the back yard cause I can’t even jump that!

As I said, bummer.

Here’s the deal – too many folks waste their lives trying to live in the glory of dreams gone by.

I’ll say that again.  Too many folks waste their lives trying to live in the glory of dreams gone by.

Although common, this is silly.

God says, “I know the plans I have for you…”

Future plans.  For tomorrow.  Plans to hope for.  Plans that say more is coming.  Good stuff on the way.

So don’t waste your life dreaming of yesterday’s glory.  Live today.  In this moment.  With hope of good things to come.

 

 

 

 

Free Breakfast

Categories:Good News

Last week Taco Bell was giving away free breakfast to anyone who walked through their doors.

My family went nuts.

My oldest, Jake, went on multiple occasions during the week and brought friends with him.

Kristy went twice – in one day!  She took the Max and Zeke early before school, dropped them off, went home, got Reese and Elyse, and went right back.

The girls were so excited they had to share the yummy goodness with their favorite custodian at their elementary school.  They brought him a free Taco Bell breakfast.

He was happy.

Some things will do that to you.  Make you happy.

So happy in fact that you can’t help but revel in the goodness and share the joy with others.

Some things will do that to you.  Like free food.

Jesus is better than free food.

Sometimes we Christians get it wrong and think our faith is angry or grumpy or condescending.  Then we act accordingly: angry, grumpy or condescending.

Yet it’s good news.  Really good news.

Did you know that the word Gospel (a word used to describe the news of Jesus) literally means “good news?”

Did you know that the Bible says that God loved the world (yes the whole world) so much that he sent his son Jesus so that whoever would believe in him would have eternal life?  Did you know this?

Did you know that the Bible says that God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn the world but to save it?  Awesome!

Did you know the Bible says that God desires for none to perish, but for all to be saved?  Did you know?

Yes, this is good news.

Better than free breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Mean

Categories:Our Battle, Reflection

I’ve been told I look like a drug dealer.

I’ve been told that I’m leading people to hell.

I’ve been told that I work for Satan.

I’ve been told I was useless.

I’ve been yelled at, sworn at, scoffed at, and scorned.

I’ve been ridiculed for my clothing and dismissed for my appearance.

This is some damaging crap.

I’m not sharing for sympathy.  I’m really not.

A great wife, some good friends, and a helpful therapist have me in a place where I can say, “I’m doing well in spite of all that junk.”

No, I’m not sharing for sympathy.  I’m sharing to make a point.

Here’s the point: all of those things have come my way from Christians.

Yikes.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another,” says the Bible.

The church has often struck out on this one.

I’m not the only one who has had hurtful things thrown my way from The Church or a Christian.

Some of you have your own list.

Here’s the point:  If you are a follower of Jesus you ought to lead the kindness charge.

Here’s the point:  Don’t be mean.

 

 

A Pastor’s Word to the Gay Community

Categories:Our Battle, Reflection

It has been a while since I have spoken on this topic.

I have never blogged on the topic.

So here is what I would like to say to the Gay Community and what I’d like the Christian Community hear me say to the Gay Community:

I am sorry.

I am sorry that the Christian population has been so hate filled, angry, mean, and condemning toward all of you who are gay.

I am sorry that Jesus’ followers, on many occasions, have acted exactly opposite of Jesus toward our brothers and sisters in the LBGT crowd.

I am sorry that we have all to often been unkind, rude, and cruel.

I am sorry.

 

Checking Out

Categories:Our Battle, Reflection
After last week’s blog I thought it would be a good idea to get a woman’s perspective on the topic.  Click here to read last week’s blog.
And here is what my friend Anna has to say about the topic I introduced “Skin Tight Just Doesn’t Seem Right”…
(FYI Anna is on staff as the Worship Pastor for River PM and posts regularly on her blog at considergrace.com.  You can follow her on Twitter (@consider_grace)
Let us know what you think….
I’ve stopped looking at the magazine covers in the grocery store check out aisle.

Instead, I look at the candy bars, the gum, or the “incentive items”, which apparently you buy only because you see them, not because you need them or even previously knew they existed.

I’ll look at that stuff, sure.  But no magazine covers.

Some of it is to avoid falling into the comparison trap, spending the next couple of weeks trying to talk myself into being okay with the body I currently occupy.

Some of it is to rebel against the constant push for perfection.  “How to own the best wardrobe on your block!”  “Beauty miracles that will make everyone jealous.”  “16 secrets of having photogenic arms…”  and so on.

Mostly, though, I’ve stopped looking at magazine covers in an effort to stop lusting.

Yep.

Lusting.

You know, that ugly word that gets tossed around in Christian school assemblies and men’s Bible studies and youth group lock in parties, late at night when things have turned from silly to serious.

Usually, “lusting” means having sexual thoughts about someone who is not your spouse.   Usually, “lusting” means “wanting” in a sexual way.  Usually, “lusting” is something that mostly men struggle with.

Or so we’re told.

Here’s the truth.

I don’t struggle with sexual thoughts about the women plastered across the shelves.  I don’t try to picture them naked or imagine scenarios with them and me.  I don’t “want” them.  But I do want what they have.

I lust for their power.

I lust for their sexiness.

I lust for their perfection.

I want to be the most desirable woman in a room.  I want to be the one turning the heads.  Sometimes, even, the husband heads.  I want the attention and the admiration.  I want to prance around like I imagine the magazine women do, perfectly content with my every inch, never once having a doubt or a question about my beauty and my acceptability.

That’s what I lust for.

And I know some ways to get it.

I know that if I wear certain things and speak in certain tones and stand in certain positions, I will get attention.  I will get eyes and heads glued to me.

That’s the truth.

But here’s the secret.

The eyes and heads that watch me are also watching many, many others.  The eyes and heads that watch me were made to only watch the one they are meant to pair up with for life.

You see, the entire notion of perfection, of desirability, of sexiness, has been tampered with, and I want to see us get back to the root.  Back to the truth.

The truth is that there is no such thing as ultimate perfection.  There is no such thing as being the most desirable one.  All of the promises that we are fed about what our body must look like and what we must wear and how we must present ourselves are based in an idea that we can follow these rules and become the god.  We can become the one who is worthy of attention and desire.

The truth is that instead of exposing myself to everyone, in an effort to be wanted by everyone, I must believe and operate in the truth that I was already made to be wanted by One.

I was not made to draw attention to myself.  I was made to draw attention to Jesus.  And I was made to get attention by Him.

I have been lied to and made to believe that if I appear a certain way, I will get the attention I seek.  And it will all be for me.  And it will make me happy and whole.

I don’t know about you.  But following that lie and living under the rules that come with it is exhausting and impossible.  It never brings peace and happiness.  It brings obsession and naval-gazing.

Instead, I want to learn the truth.  I want to let the truth do what it does best.  Set me free.

I don’t want to lust for power.

I don’t want to lust for perfection.

Instead, I choose to prance around my life, perfectly content with my every inch, never once having a doubt or a question about my beauty and my acceptability.

Because I am seen and known and loved by the One who fills all the desires.

How about you?  Want to come along?

 

 

 

Skin-tight just doesn’t seem right

Categories:Our Battle, Reflection

I’ve been cogitating on this topic for a while.

That’s not usual for me when it comes to writing.  Usually I think it then I write it – lickity split.  But this topic seemed to need more care.

So I paused…  And sought insight from a variety of people.

Then paused some more… The topic is a bit too delicate to rush.

I didn’t want to say anything wrongly.

I want people to hear what I’m saying and not check out.

So I paused…

…And now I write.

Skin-tight just doesn’t seem right.

The thought came to me a bit ago while running on the treadmill at the gym.  Everywhere I looked there was a woman clad in skin-tight attire.

Everywhere.

My optical options were limited.

Option A:  Get an eye full of womanly anatomy.

Option B:  Keep my eyes shut.

Now here comes the delicate part.  I’ve heard folks rage against such things before.  They have always seemed angry, condescending, and inflammatory.  I’ve heard speakers rant against “Jezebel.” I’ve read speakers devilishly deride “Delilah.”  (FYI – they are two women of ill repute mentioned in the Bible.)

So before I go any further I want to distance myself in this discussion from such ranters and raggers.

I want to distance myself from them.

And I want you to know it.

First let me say to all women I am sorry.  I am sorry for the stupidity of men who have perpetuated the lie that a woman is only as valuable as her shape.  That is stupid, wrong, and damaging.  I am sorry for the fact that men perpetuate the porn industry.  I am sorry that men leer.  I am sorry that men joke coarsely about females.  I’m sorry for all the dishonoring-to-women-talk I’ve ever heard in the countless locker rooms I have found myself in.  I’m sorry how high school boys talk of their “conquests” (most of them imaginary). I’m sorry older fellas behave like dirty old men.

Women I am sorry how the male species has let you down time and time again.

Secondly I want to give you a quick look into the mind of some of us men who do not want to see skin-tight everywhere we look.  Whereas the female form is beautiful and enticing to look at, some of us (for a variety of reasons) would rather reserve our eyes for our wife’s form only.  It feels dishonoring to my wife to have multiple eye fulls of other women in couldn’t-be-tighter clothing.

Some of us come from a faith that says things like; “I made a vow to not look at a woman lustfully” and “If you even look at a woman lustfully you have already committed adultery in your heart.”

Abstinence of the eye is a faith issue for many of us.

Certainly the onus of responsibility for this falls on us.  Yet skin-tight everywhere makes the task much more difficult.

Having distanced myself from the ranters and raggers, I want to lay out three reasons why skin-tight doesn’t seem right:

  1. It seems to be a subtle cat-fight between women.  There seems to be an indirect competition to see whose form “wins.”  Not good for a variety of reasons.  Here’s two.  It perpetuates the nonsense that a woman’s shape is where she finds worth and it hinders healthy female to female relationships
  2. If you as a woman feel affirmed by the lingering looks of a man know this; the man who is leering at you isn’t only leering at you.  He is most likely leering at all the ladies.  In his brokenness he relegates women to the level of inanimate object like a sports car that is impersonally oogled as if it could be used simply for his pleasure and his pleasure alone.  And then discarded.
  3. As mentioned above, skin-tight makes abstinence of the eyes difficult for those of us who strive for such a thing.

Having said all that, I want to ask something from my female readers.

Of course you are free to say no.

I want to ask all women reading this to explore modesty like you have never explored it before.

Research the topic.  Have discussions.  Seek greater understanding.  If you are a person of biblical faith see what the Bible has to say about the subject.

And then, after having mulled over the matter, act upon what you have discovered.

 

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to Pray

Categories:Intimacy

 

  1. It increases peace.  Peace is good.
  2. You have to deal with knuckleheads.  Enough said.
  3. Prayer diminishes the draw of temptation.
  4. When you pray, you grow in wisdom.  Can’t ever have too much of that.
  5. It connects you with the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the World!
  6. You get to use words like “thee” and “thou.”  (But only if you want, you don’t have to.  I never do, but Pastor Max did when I was a kid and he sounded awesome.)
  7. Clarity of purpose and direction increases.  This is good cause you get confused don’t you?
  8. At times life stinks, prayer helps.
  9. At times life is awesome, prayer helps.
  10. 10.  You get grumpy.  Prayer whoops grumpy into shape.

And one more, free of charge…

11. Prayer impacts the lives of those you pray for.

 

 

 

Lessons From Sochi

Categories:Impact, Purpose

I’ve learned four things while watching the Winter Olympics.

  1. I’m geographically illiterate.  Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are countries?  I had no idea.  Didn’t know they were countries and now that I do, I have no idea where they are.
  2. Watching the moguls makes my knees ache.  What type of crazy person would do that?
  3. I’m old (ish).  Most of the star athletes are half my age.  Oh my.
  4. I am made for significance and impact.

For our purposes today let’s just focus on #4.

Something in me stirs almost to the point of tears (well ok to the point of tears a couple times), when I see these people who I have never met compete in an event I will never compete in to win a prize I’m really not interested in.

Moved to tears.

Over some people I don’t know.

Doing a thing I will never do.

To win something I could care less about.

Why?

Because watching the Olympics awakens within me the reality that God has made me for greatness.

He made me to do something memorable.

He made me for impact.  Lasting impact.

The kind that changes the world.

And here is a little secret…

He made you for greatness too.

It’s true.

Have you ever wondered why you get drawn into the Olympics or other sporting events?  Or if not the Olympics, movies like Braveheart?  Or if not movies like Braveheart, stories like the one where that woman did that really awesome thing?  (You see what I did there?  I was vague so you could fill in your own story.  Very clever isn’t it?)

Stories of overcoming and greatness touch something deep within.

Why do you think the Hunger Games and the Hobbit made $158 million and $190 million on their respective opening weekends?

Why do you think the super hero movies are always some of the top grossing films of our times?

Why do you think millions of people saw Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters last year?  Oh wait, that didn’t happen because it sucked.

Why do you think Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all times?

Because we are drawn to greatness.  The heroes of all these movies accomplished great things in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

In our own way, that is what we want with our lives.

Overcoming obstacles and doing something great!

This is what Jesus was getting at when he said he chose us and appointed us to bear fruit, fruit that lasts!

That’s simply Bible talk saying Jesus chose us to do awesome things!  Things that will last well past our lifetimes!

(I realize I just finished the last four sentences with exclamation marks thus hovering dangerously close to pubescent teenage girl comparisons.  I’m ok with that.)

Here is what has got me all excited.  I want you to know that you were not created for a life of ho hum existence.  You were not created to merely get through life.

You were made to change the world.  Or at least your little corner of it.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What change does your world need?
  2. What change can you bring?

And then go overcome some obstacles and be great!