Friday, September 26, 2008

File Under: Things I Could Have NEVER Pulled Together Myself

About an hour and a half ago I left for the Post Office to send off the last batch of letters asking for support for our ministry.  And I thought I was just going to the Post Office...

Little did I know that I would end up seeing Michael Hasha, The Ridge Association Director of Missions, across the street talking in front of his office.  This is the guy who works with local churches for various types of support.  He's "there" for people.  This was convenient because I wanted to be sure to thank him for passing my name along to someone recently for some help with music.  He invited me in.

Let me back up.  Today has been tough.  I'm whiny.  Not over nothing, but over things like rent, car payment, power bill, insurance bill, cell phone bill, internet bill, and then a few other things like car a/c and general uncertainty.  Do you ever have those times when your faith is so inpenetrable and other times when you feel like you need a friend to literally hold you up and speak good things into you?  I need the latter today.

So Mike and I sit down to chat.  In the meantime I see a guy, Frank, I met a few weeks back.  Frank is a budding young worship leader and recently asked about me taking some time to mentor him.  That's what I'm called to do.  What are the odds I would run into him there?  Do you know that I've been associated with the Ridge Association for almost five years and never been inside that office?  hmmm.

A few moments later I have the priviledge to meet Tom, a local pastor that happens to be looking for someone to come in and give them a hand with worship through music.  Again, how crazy that this unplanned trip is bringing so much opportunity.

During the discussion Mike proceeds to let me know of some local needs and opportunities; some things that I love to do and would also provide income for my family.  He's making a call to the head of music for the FL Baptist Convention just for me.  How nice is that?

How did all of this happen?  I chose to show some appreciation to someone I barely know.  Am I suggesting that none of these opportunities would have come about without me seeking Mike out today at the Post Office?  No.  But it's incredibly unlikely.  Either way, these things would not have rolled into play so quickly.

Love God.  Love others.  Mike was the other.  I was the other.  

Thanks, God.  I sure needed that boost today.  

Keep cool my babies,


The Cost for "Extra Nice"

I found this over on Seth Godin's blog.  Thought it was great food for thought.  Consumerists take heed!

How much extra for nice? If I pay $1000 extra for a first-class seat, odds are the flight attendant will be nice to me.  If I pay $2000 extra for the presidential suite at the hotel, odds are the front desk clerk will be nice to me.  If I give the valet $50 to park my car, odds are he'll be nice to me as well.

So, here's the question: if all I want, the only extra, is for someone to be nice to me when I visit your business, how much extra does that cost? How much extra to talk to a nice person when I call tech support? How much extra to find a nice receptionist at the doctor's office? Would you pay $9 extra for a smile when you dealt with the Social Security bureaucrats and were filing a form?

I know you're rushed and stressed and stretched. I know your team deals with hundreds or thousands of customers, and a lot of them aren't very friendly or warm. And I know that some of your customers (maybe a lot) would happily pay a little extra to get that one thing they want most of all...

I think there's a huge gap between what people are willing to pay for nice (a lot) and what it would cost businesses to deliver it (almost nothing). Smells like an opportunity.

Good BBQ and a Meeting

Tonight I met a local pastor at Peebles Barbecue.   Peebles is your classic, minimalistic, hole-in-the-wall, looks like a dump but smells incredibly good, southern BBQ portal of goodness.  The sauce, well, just drink it straight with a straw.  My good friend Jonathan, if he reads this, if already drooling just a little.  

I met with a local pastor to discuss the needs of their gathering in the area of worship through music.  A typical situation: fairly traditional church needs some help coming into modernity.  Not for the sake of doing what's new, but in obedience to the call to reach those seeking rather than simply make comfortable those who already have a pew.  

He is passionate.  He cares.  He cares enough to move slowly and purposefully in love.  

It was refreshing.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fireproof..ummm...I just threw up in my mouth a little bit...

Fireproof.  Another film from Sherwood Pictures - the guys who brought you hits like Facing the Giants and Flywheel.  

I have not seen the movie.  

Don't plan to anytime soon other than for satirical purposes.  

Please reference THIS POST for a look at previous "Films you should never, under any circumstances, EVER, go see, for ANY reason, whatsoever."  

Harsh?  No.  

True?  Yes.

So Yes, I'm Blogging More...

Yeah, well.  So isn't that enough for today?  I'm goin', i'm goin'...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Car Has a Climate - Muggy and HOT

So the a/c went out in the Mike-UV (SUV for you slower folk).  I'm tired of it.  I'm tired of dreading a drive to...anywhere.  I need a portable shower.  Maybe I should go old school custom van and just put a window unit into the back.  Would that be cool?  Lots of duct tape should do the trick.  And forget the hair.  It's gonna die in the hurricane force plus winds.  Cell phone talk?  Negative.  Waiting outside in the car with the girls while Rachel goes into Wal-Mart?  Fuhgedaboudit.  Well, if it's overcast and a stiff wind, yes.

The guilty part?  A Fan Control Amplifier.  It's available here if you'd like to make the purchase as a late birthday, early christmas, or un-birthday gift.  And I can install it thanks to these guys' help!

Okay, I'll stop whining now and continue to turn my nose up at bike riders.  Wait.  They're not paying $3.65 a gallon.  Okay, I'll hush now.  

Wheew, What a Great Week...

I just finished up four days of leading worship in Central Florida.  I've enjoyed every minute of it.  Well, most minutes of it.  

Thursday and Friday found me and a few others from The Roots Community over in Orlando leading at Blossom 08.  Blossom is a "convergence for praying, conversing, partnering, and living sent to blossom churches that reproduce churches contextually."    Blossom is put on by Reproducing Churches, the people I work with as a consultant for worship leaders and church plants.  This year my crew joined with others to lead worship for the conference over at Windermere Community Church.  The conversations, ideas, thoughts - all incredibly inspiring.  It was great to hear from people like Neil Cole and Alex McManus.  

Saturday evening we were back at The Roots Community for our gathering.  Good worship.  Good teaching.  Good stuff.

Sunday morning me and the crew from Roots Community were back at 4 Corners Baptist leading worship for their service.  My pastor, Jesse, was guest preaching.  Had a great time there ministering with the 4 Corners people.  They are the owners of the facility where we (Roots Community) meet.  For free.  Did I mention that?  Amazing.

Sunday evening we were back out to Lakeland to lead worship for a small gathering through Reproducing Churches.  The goal was to come together for a time of extended worship and prayer to seek God's direction for new church plants in central Florida.  Had a great time of worship and was able to spend time with some old friends and new friends from all across central Florida.  Charlie, Tim, Nathan, Megan, Kevin, Erin - a fine group of musicians.  Father Wade over at First Christian was crazy cool to offer their place up, too.  

So I came home, collapsed, slept late, and didn't want to get up Monday.  Or Tuesday.  I was tired.  But, somehow, it's that "good" tired.  You know, like the way you feel after a workout.  Endorphins.  I guess.  Or knowing that every once in a while you live life in a way that really matters.  This week mattered.

You Really Just Need to Watch This Already

I saw this video over on Letters From Camp Krusty's blog.  Wow.  And I thought Chuck Norris was bad to the bone.  Move over Ninja Warrior.


Rachel was recently able to catch up with an old friend of ours from Nashville.  She's an amazing photographer.  You should check her stuff out here.  It just so happens that she purchased THIS recently.  How cool is that?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Speak Easy

Yesterday we spent the better part of the day at Walt Disney World as we do a few times a month. Annual passes afford such opportunity and we maximize the value as often as possible. Though, may i recommend late fall and winter as alternative seasons to the "full melt" of September in Florida. I'm now once again reminded that people, in general, stink. No, really. I'm confident that all of man's years of deodorant and anti-prespirant research know-how cannot tap into God's perfect plan of designing man to smell like shrimp and diapers. For maximum goodness, add pouring sweat, huddle together in large crowds, and bake at 93 degrees for 8 hours. Serve with Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream on a stick. Voila! But I digress.....

People. I'm learning to love them. It's been quite a process, but I'm still working on it. This leads me to the heart of the story....

Lauren and I were waiting on Rachel and Moriah to finish up on Astro Orbiter when the guest next to me began to ask me about our park experience on that ride. What I quickly realized is that she merely wanted to use that question as a springboard to tell me about her experience in the park today..."Oh we've ridden everything there is here; Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, we've been on pretty much everything here. We come to Disney at least once a year, so we know all about it."

Recently, Rachel told me of a challenge she heard of from a friend. The challenge: only speak about yourself to others when they ask. Otherwise, continue to ask questions about them and their situation, only referencing your experiences when asked. This practical practice of selflessness is something I actually attempt frequently, but I'm not so good at it. It's hard! 

What I said to the guest: "That's great, so where are you headed to next?"

What I wanted to say: "Really? Well I've been here about 65 times in the last two years and prior to that I worked as a singer in this very park for three years, so, please, don't try to 'big league' me with your Disney park experience - you're way out of your league, dear." 

Okay, so it's not like I was angry. I realize it may have come across that way. But my point is that I had all this information and really wanted to spew it out. But it was unnecessary. It would only serve to make me feel good for a few, brief moments and prove that I didn't give a rip about my fellow guest or care to make her feel important enough to genuinely engage in two-way conversation. That was hard.

So why the struggles? Why care? I mean, who did she think she was? Why care? Jesus said there were two truths that were the most important. Love God and love others. These truths, especially the loving others part, have been a tough process for me over many years. And can I tell you, I've made progress! But yesterday's inner dialogue is a reminder that I've got work to do. 

A good friend of mine describes this as the opposite of love: self-love. Now that's a hard truth for me to swallow sometimes.

So I put this challenge before you as well: only speak about yourself to others when they ask. Otherwise, continue to ask questions about them and their situation, only referencing your experiences when asked. Try it for a day, a week. I'd love to hear about what you learn.

Keep cool my babies...