Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why we sing

Christians sing.
Every week.

Christian worship is one of the few places in our culture that a group of people come together and sing songs. Seventh inning stretch, a piano bar, a concert are the only other places that regularly takes place.

People sing together because music has a unique power to stir us and move us...and there's something in the human psyche that likes to be stirred and moved. God has placed a very unique power into music that we need to flourish as human beings.
We'll be talking about that this Sunday at 10:45. Be there, invite a friend.

Try this on for size and see if you don't at least smile.

Sex and all that

I don't know of an issue that is kicking the slats out of people's lives more than sex.
Primarily because it has tremendous potential for both pleasure and deep hurt. Through sex, you open yourself up--and there's always risk involved when you do that.

Plus, I don't know an issue that the church has been more reticent to discuss.

We addressed that this last week, here's why:
Church ought to be several things:

A game where everyone gets to play. Nothing hurts this more than a firmly ensconced laity/clergy divide. Instead, we each have a part to play. Jesus has a mission to the world and wants us each fully in on it. That doesn't mean sitting in a pew one time a week and calling it all good with you and the big guy.

The environment of relationships where you don't have to wear a mask. Didn't do it right? Don't understand? Doubt? Question? Hurting? Marriage not working? Your invitation is into that kind of community and your challenge is to be a part of helping create it wherever it isn't fully present.

The community where we'll talk about what people are really facing. How else do you make progress, change the way you think and live God's way in God's world if you don't talk about the actual issues you are facing? Sex is one of those issues--and it looms large over the world we all inhabit.

My favorite part? Danny and Monica Harmon reading Song of Songs to each other. After hearing the passages they read, married men might have a new interest in palm trees.

If you read Rob Bell's outstanding book, Sex God, you can revisit a lot of what we talked about.

Sorry, our podcast is having some technical issues or the audio would be available for download.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Take Me Out to the (minor league) Ballgame

Enjoyed a good time at the River City Rascals game the other night in O'Fallon, MO.
Cheap seats + good dogs + near drubbing in the head with a foul ball = good times.

Hudson wondering what the (sort of ) Big Leagues might be like.

Future Rascal and Mascot. Kind of hoping my boys aim a bit higher, but hey, I'll be a supportive parent if that's what they choose.

Moments later, a foul ball almost crushed Corban into recent baseball memory. I bravely saved the day by covering myself and forgetting to cover him.
Dreaming of being a mascot.
A picture just for Grandpa.
I don't suppose the minor leagues are all that concerned about crazed fans rushing their dugout. You can pretty much go into the dugout if you want.

Wall are going up

Walls going up usually mean that boundaries have been crossed and people are being kept out. That's metaphorical wall building and has nothing to do with this post--I just like to dabble in metaphor, it's a sickness.

Literal wall building, on the other hand, is a good thing. And in this case it means we're making signficant progress on our kid's area.

Ken Busch and his crew have been working almost around the clock getting dry wall up, mudding and taping.

A few pics if you haven't made it upstairs to see the progress.

The new half wall that will signfiy the greeter check-in area.

The wall from another angle.

Ken taping the drywall in the expanded Children's Church area.

We're not far from painting and decorating. It will be a great space that will serve our kids and our community. Pretty excited about it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Leadership Nuggets

I'm a leadership/growth/spiritual formation junkie. I'll take a hit anytime someone will give it to me. I love the flow of constant challenge.

The body thrives on proper stressors and without stressors, it degenerates. So not having stress equals a weakened existence. There is a common refrain (that I've quoted from time to time) that talks about stress like it's akin to evil itself. That's because--I'm learning--we've never learned the proper rhythm between rest and work. We were made to work from rest, not rest from work.

Ran across these nuggets that I'm thinking through (added my own commentary):

  • Working an obsolete process more efficiently only hastens your demise. So what's obsolete in my circle of influence?
  • Am I accountable to do it your way, or am I accountable for results? Great question. 'Low Control, High accountability' structures make this possible. 'High control, Low accountability' structures don't (and make people frustrated). Carefully define the results together.
  • The role of a parent is to make the child strong, not safe. That's pure gold. Especially in conservative Christian culture where the goal seems to be protecting our children for as long as possible from "the world."
  • Values shared with your wife are what knit a couple together. This takes a lot of work. No shortcuts.
  • A goal is not a plan, and without a plan, there is no accountability. Tell me about it.
  • Set the treadmill on "high" and expect the people to run with it. True enough, but being a runner, I know that if you first don't have the capacity, that's a recipe for making people quit altogether. Maybe more leaders need to take up running so they don't go through people like butter! Maybe a better way to say that is "set the treadmill one notch higher than the person thinks they can run and expect them to run with it as a way of building their capacity."
  • The goal is to have diesel engines interspersed throughout the train rather than one engine pulling the whole thing. Diesels have to be made first. If you ain't got no diesels, better get to work.
  • Does the mission you're doing mandate putting up with all kinds of baloney? This is all about a Failure of Nerve. No nerve=lots of baloney, so unless you like baloney...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Praying the Lord's Prayer

It's one of my cornerstone prayers. I go back to it again and again; for direction, for words to express my thoughts and desires, for a means to confess my sin and shortcoming, for a way to see forward by means of prayer. I'm reading through Mike Breen's Learning from Life where he draws out the meaning of the phrase "your kingdom come." Rich stuff.