I Was Mad

Categories:Impact

I was mad in a meeting the other day.

Really mad.

And disappointed.

But mostly mad.

I knew without question that I needed to stand and speak my mind to all the folks in the room. They would hear my anger as I vented. I didn’t care if my angry venting did damage. I was mad.

And then…

And then that still small voice of the Lord whispered in my head,

“Would you rather be angry or influential?”

“Would you rather vent or have impact?”

Two small questions and I was convicted to the core.

I didn’t vent. I spoke kindly and gently.

No one saw my anger, because it had dissipated.

Looking at the damage I almost unleashed, I had this thought,

“Whew, that was a close one. Thank you Jesus.”

It’s not an NFL problem

Categories:Life of Jesus

It has been a pretty sad and horrific couple of weeks for our nations most watched past time. The NFL, which rakes in somewhere between $9-$10 billion dollars (yes, that’s Billion with a B) each year, has had some incredibly bad press lately.

To say that that bad press is deserved would be a massive understatement. The bad press has been more than warranted.

Within the past two weeks there has been one video-proven case of domestic violence, two more alleged cases of domestic violence where both cases appear to be well documented with indictments coming, and there was one case of photo-supported child abuse.

The justified outcry against the NFL has been loud and has come from every place imaginable.

Yet in spite of all of this I don’t think the NFL has a problem.

I’ll say that again to make sure you get it.  I don’t think the NFL has a problem.

I think America has a problem.

To simply name these issues as NFL issues would be an act of both injustice and ignorance.

Most research agrees that 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 women will be a victim of domestic violence at least once in their life. For children it is shown to be 1 in 10 with many experts commenting that it is a bit lower because the child’s mom will often step in between the child and the abuser and receives the abuse that was headed the child’s way.

This isn’t an NFL problem.

It’s bigger than that.

It’s a national problem that has exhibited itself in the NFL.  (Let’s be clear, it’s really a global problem.)

I suppose there are many steps/actions/forums/discussions that can help alleviate this awful reality of our country.

I want to bring up one, and I’ll bring it up with a few questions.

Where are all the strong yet gentle men who will strongly stand against this garbage while walking gently with people – women, children, and men?

Where’s the voice of male kindness that speaks its own type of strength?

Where are all the godly men – godly in the sense that they are more than willing to put themselves last for the sake of others?

Where are all the non passive men who refuse to let other men use their strength for harm?

Maybe that one deserves a second take so here it is: where are all the non passive men?

Where are the men who realize being physically stronger doesn’t mean winning any and every disagreement?

Maybe I could ask all that simply this way:

Where are the men?

The way of violence and abuse is not the way of a man.

Where are the men?

I think I know where they are.

They are in countless homes, churches, synagogues, neighborhoods, and schools.  They are in the grocery store and at the gas station. They are in New York and LA. They are in Alaska and Hawaii.  They are found in every possible demographic – age, race, education, and socio economic status.

They are everywhere.

Even in the NFL.

In fact it is my belief that the good guys are far more plentiful than the bad guys.

But I think they are scared.  Fearful.  Frozen in passivity. Overwhelmed.  Fraught with insecurities and doubt.

I want you to wonder with me.  I want you to imagine.

What if all those scared, fearful, passive, overwhelmed, insecure and doubt filled men stood up in the midst of all those fears?  What if us men would fetch a batch of courage and acted in spite of the fear?  What if all the good guys decided that standing for that which is right is more important than sitting for fear?  What if we lived like Jesus, which means dying for others?  What if…

I wonder.

What if?

 

Silence is Golden

Categories:Reflection

Sometimes it is best to say nothing.

When a friend is grieving – just sit there, don’t say anything.

When someone is irrational with anger – don’t say anything, they won’t listen no matter how wise your words are.

When you do not have an answer – no need to pretend.

Just shut your mouth and don’t say anything.

There are times when the situation simply calls for silence.

Like the time you injured your back (minor injury) and the doctor prescribed both Valium and Vicodin.  It’s best not to say anything. Especially in a blog.

Selfie

Categories:Reflection

Some facts about selfies:

 

  • More than 17 million selfies uploaded weekly.
  • 33% of people with smart phones post at least once a week.
  • 17% of the over 55 population regularly take a selfie, compared to 10% of 18-24 (wow, didn’t see that coming!  A higher percentage of the AARP crowd takes selfies – higher than the college crowd.)
  • 36% say they alter their selfies (figure, eye color, skin tone, and lips are the top things altered)
  • 34% of men who take selfies admit to altering their photos.  Only 13% of women.  (Are men just more honest??)
  • The Selfie is the most popular genre of photography in the world.

 

When 2000 adults were asked, “How would you define people who take selfies?” the top answers were:

 

  • Attention-seeking
  • Vain
  • Self absorbed
  • Egotistical
  • Insecure

 

Seems a bit harsh to me.

I wonder if the selfie craze is rooted in something deeper.  I wonder if it is more than vain, egotistical attention seeking?

Could it be that the selfie phenomenon at its core is a longing for deep, authentic community?

I think so.

When God made Adam, He looked at him and said, “It is not good for the dude to be alone.”

Not good to be alone.

We were made for community.  Not the superficial, you-better-have-your–act-together type of community.  No, I’m talking about the type of community where we are really known, really seen – warts and all – and still loved and accepted.

This type of community is rare.  More often than not, our places of belonging are built around a false, inauthentic, everyone-looks-after-themselves-first mentality.

We live in a crowded world filled with lonely people.

Very few are truly seen, truly known.  Most are subconsciously crying out, “Will someone see me?!  Will someone love me?!”

Thus we have a selfie culture.

 

A Scholarly Piece

Categories:Reflection

Just for fun watch this.  

Filmed with my fellow pastors, Rod Tucker and Daniel Teerman, while in Israel last summer.  

Two things you need to know before you watch:

1.  We really are standing in the Jordan River.  

2.  This is a scholarly piece.  Enjoy!

 

Grandma Turned 95

Categories:Reflection

We drove to New York last weekend to celebrate Grandma’s 95th birthday.

The weekend before, we celebrated one of my kids 9th birthday.  For my daughter the party was laced with gifts of all kinds.

Clothes, crafts, knick knacks and overly sweet snacks.

For her birthday there was a lot of stuff.

Every other kid at her party was jealous at the birthday bounty.  And why wouldn’t they be?  Who doesn’t like getting stuff?

I certainly do.

And I bet most of you do too.

After all, who doesn’t like getting stuff?

Grandma doesn’t, that’s who.

For her birthday party she was explicit in her directions.

No presents, just people.   Family in particular.  That’s it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  She has learned something after all those years.

Stuff doesn’t matter as much as people.

Who, not what.

As her years wind down, she knows deep down in her soul that family and friends are much more valuable than things.

A Pastors Thoughts on Sex

Categories:Intimacy

We were made to enjoy sex.

Lots of it.

Again.

And again.

And again.

With our spouse.

Within marriage.

In the beginning God said “Let the dude leave his parents” (the word “dude” is a paraphrase of the Biblical text :)), cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Here’s the 3 step Biblical formula:

Step 1 – leave the home of your youth.  Saying good-bye to mom and dad to start a home/family of your own.

Step 2 – Cleave.  In the Old Testament language this cleaving was representative of a formal and binding ceremony, much akin to our wedding ceremonies today. During this ceremony in Old Testament times an animal or two was killed, some solemn words were spoke, some promises were made and then the two would be considered married.

Step 3 – Become one flesh.  This is the sex act baby!  Two becoming one flesh as they are joined in sexual union!  The text also talks about the two being naked together and not ashamed.   This is nothing other than Biblical license to be fully active sexually.  Explore and exhaust one another in the marriage bed – it’s God’s plan.

Note that step 3 comes after step 2.  The plan was for marriage then sex.  Not the other way around.

Marriage.

Then sex.

In that order.

Here’s what I tell my kids about sex,  “It’s awesome.  It’s one of your mothers and my favorite past times. (They hate that part of my sex talk.)  You were made to enjoy sex.  Someday you will be wonderfully sexually active.  Save it for your spouse.  You can wait.  Your mom and I did. You are not a dog who must act on impulses.  Wait. Marry.  Then enjoy.

“Again.

“And again.

“And again.”

 

 

Things I’ve Learned About Marriage

Categories:Love

Marriage Equals …

Marriage = Two souls set on a wonderful, God-ordained, cosmic collision course.

Marriage = Two good things (i.e. people) coming together to make something even better.

Marriage = Two wounded souls providing healing to one another.

Marriage = Two people made for joy finding joy in each other.

Marriage = Two individuals becoming one inseparable unit.

Marriage = Four eyes crying the same tears.

Marriage = Four feet walking one path.

Marriage = Two hearts breaking over the same things.

Marriage = Two hearts rejoicing over the same things.

Marriage = One refining tool.

Marriage = Two narcissists learning humility.

Marriage = Two beings living naked and unashamed (both literally and figuratively).

Marriage = One God’s idea.

Marriage = Two sexual critters discovering sexual fulfillment – again and again and again…

Marriage = Two mouths laughing the same laugh.

Marriage = Two different people learning differences aren’t better or worse – just different.

Marriage = Two crazy people acting as one to reflect God’s image for the world to see.

 

 

 

Bouncing With Bobbie

Categories:Our Battle

He is a bit awkward.  He has the potential to make some folks uncomfortable.

And he likes to dance.

In church.

During the worship.

And well, there is no polite way to say this; he has never had dancing lessons.  His dancing consists of bouncing.  Just bouncing.  Up and down as if he were on a pogo stick.

It is a good cardiovascular workout, but as I said, it is a bit awkward.

Awkward and beautiful.

Incredibly beautiful.

Bobbie was born with some rather pronounced cognitive impairments.  His mind doesn’t function “normally.”

Thus he is free from the fear of what people think of him (at least during worship).

This is beautiful.

And enviable.  How I wish I were as free from the tyranny of appearances.

Last Sunday his freedom was contagious as numerous people joined him up front bouncing and dancing.  Dancing and bouncing.  Young and old alike joined Bobbie in his unbridled worship, free of self-consciousness.

It was beautiful.

During worship, while most are standing I prefer to sit.  Yet when Bobbie came over to me, grab my hands, and pulled me to my feet I had one thought,

“It’s a good day to bounce.”

So I stood up and bounced with Bobbie.

 

 

Staff Switch

Categories:News & Stuff

Sometimes you’ve got the right people on the bus…

…and sometimes the right people need to switch seats.

 

Listen to this brief explanation from Rob Link:

Play