Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Winter Reminder

A WINTER REMINDER TO FLORIDIANS:

Today is day 3 of 6 to wear your moderately heavy coat and/or wool sweater. Remember, only approximately 3 cool/moderately cold days left this season. You may want to layer up in your favorite winter clothing so you can display it all before we hit the '90s again in February.

-National Weather Service

Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's Good Enough for Gospel

"That's good enough for gospel!" Ever heard that phrase? Historically this was a common phrase used among Nashville music circles. The idea was that gospel music was played and recorded at a level inferior to those of mainstream music. Imagine that. Some things never change.
I submit to you further proof that "good enough for gospel" is still a valid phrase: Gifted - Season One.

Oh...my...Gosh! I don't really have much time for TV,so this show is all new to me. I have since found that a number of my friends are familiar with this show - most had seen a commercial at some point yet not seen the actual show. Airs on TBN - a Christian station, if you're not familiar. According to the site, Gifted is set apart because it's "not about image," but "about vocal talent, period."

I'm embarrassed. This is awful.

Where does the idea of Christians creating knock-offs of EVERYTHING end? Do you sometimes wonder why Christians seem to imitate "cool" things instead of simply being...i don't know...original? Think: 98% of all t-shirts sold in your local Christian bookstore.

Here's what rumbles around in my skull: The God of the Bible is an original. He is the Creator. He is the originator. He is the Instigator. He is the First and the Last. He is the source of original creativity. I think we short-change the ability for the Spirit to create in and through us when we are so quick to simply copy what is already happening.

I thought I'd use this as an opportunity to tell you about a great musician, a musician that is making an impact for Christ outside of Christian circles: Jonny Lang. Check out his website at jonnylang.com. He's a guitar virtuoso with a great mix of rock, blues and gospel. Respected industry-wide and has been since he was a kid. His testimony, his struggles, thoughts and aspirations are filtered through the love of Christ and woven through his latest album, Turn Around.

May you be an original for His glory.

It was on my heart...

-Mike

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bleak Winter in Daytona

So I'm in Daytona Beach leading worship at a training conference for Lifeway all week. Wish you were here. Well, not all of you. Unless you got your own hotel room. Then it's cool. We could go to Carrabba's or something tomorrow night.

Odd though...

Where are the streets lined with Harleys? Where are the ZZ Top look-a-likes with shirts that read, "If you can read this, the (expletive) fell off?" Where are the old men with massive bellies wearing uncomfortably small bathing suits? Where are the brand loyal race fans with their "turn number 3" bumper stickers and Home Depot jackets?

And in case you're wondering, I found the WWJD-bracelet-wearers :)

sshhh....

Mike

Friday, January 19, 2007

(ir)relevancy

I've been talking, typing, rather, back and forth with an old friend lately. He brings up a popular topic 'round religious and non-religious circles these days. Namely, the hypocrisy he sees within his own church body. He knows that he doesn't have all the answer yet inherently knows that something is seriously lacking within his church body. It's an old story.

I firmly believe that this generation will see the death of many pseudo-faith social groups that focus on self-preservation and suit-wearing exclusivity. Dare I say that many of these will be the local churches in which we grew up.

I'm growing weary of hearing about the irrelevant local church. Is this a new argument? Were 20-year-olds discussing a lack of relevance in their churches in 1907? Is your church relevant?
I read today about Mosaic church in Los Angeles. Maybe you've heard of their pastor, Erwin McManus. He's a popular preacher, teacher, conference speaker, futurist, encourager, etc. I'd encourage you to check out their pod casts on iTunes. I promise you it's relevant. So Erwin was discussing how their church changed locations (i'm guessing here since I can't remember exactly) about 4 times in as many years. You see, they decided early on that if Mosaic became a place where they preached and reached only Christians - followers of Jesus Christ - that they would stop what they were doing and regroup. And they did.

Why are there 50 churches within 10 square miles of my very location that run less than 100 people on a Sunday; and those in attendance know 99% of the other attenders? Is that relevant to the Christ-less? What does that say about the people that make up that body? I'm really not sure what it means.

Maybe you attend church and maybe you don't. Either way, relevance matters. And the point at which I see it as irrelevant to my community, well that's where it becomes irrelevant to me as well. I think.

I'd love to end with some witty series of questions to pull responses from you guys, but I'm not feeling that bright. Crap.

Well, now that I've solved all the problems of the world....

It was on my heart...

-Mike

Friday, January 5, 2007

Men and the Women They Need

Disclaimer: The following blog may only be applicable to the following:

1. Men married for more than one year
2. All women

I have determined that most married men (again, married for more than one trip 'round the sun) are stupid. OK, maybe it's just me. No...no way it's just me.

It seems that I don't know how to do much of anything without my wife's assistance when it comes to many daily household and various other recurring duties. Not that I can't get these things done. OK, so some of them I can't get done - shutty. But I suddenly become the most inefficient person in the universe. Maybe it's my natural male instincts kicking in that determine that my ineptitude will get me out of doing the job altogether. Maybe I really am ignorant.

I am beginning to realize just how much my wife does for me on a daily basis - behind the scenes and otherwise. Bills (rather, the juggling of bills without bouncing a check off the wall, rim and backboard), kids, meals, schedules, birthdays, cards, thank you notes and a myriad other things I can't recall because she doesn't even bother me with them.

And not only my wife, but friends' wives too. Just the other day my wife gave me a pack of gum that was, evidently, sealed tighter than incriminating Watergate documents. The "other" wife present took the gum from me and opened it up in precisely .08 seconds flat and proceeds to hand me the pack along with a piece of gum. All the while I sit dumbfounded like a three-year-old. Little bit of drool. In my defense I had no fingernails to get into the pack of gum. But now that I say (type?) this out loud it does seem to be a weak defense. This type of incident is common.

Maybe you'd like to take a moment (yes, now, i mean, you wasted all this time reading so certainly you have a minute) and think about the women in your life that take care of you on a regular basis. Even if all they do it open a pack of gum for you - or the equivalent.

You'll feel better if you do.

It was on my heart....

Mike