Monday, July 31, 2006

Unrecognized Friends

Have you ever had something happen to you that made you recognize someone is your friend when you didn’t already know it?

I talk to a lot of people on a regular basis, at work, church and neighbors. While I do care about all of them, and think about them often, I’m wouldn’t call everyone a good friend. They are more acquaintances or people that I wouldn’t necessarily confide in.

Recently I had a dream that someone I know returned home from a pretty long trip she’s been on. I was really glad to see her, and wanted to hear everything about the trip, especially all of the exciting thing’s she’s experienced.

This dream made me realize that I have missed having her around, and that I actually do consider her a good friend. Sometimes God just lets me know that there are more people than we realize who we can rely on. This is a really great feeling that I wish everyone gets to experience.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Amazon Sells Everything

This is craziness. I love shopping Amazon for anything besides books (I go to for those). I’m always amazed ate shops the open. But with their newest store I’m convinced, Amazon is planning to sell the world.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What Do You Remember About Me?

I was at Starbucks a few weeks ago talking to two of the youth from youth group. We were talking about the seniors who are going off to college, and what we would remember most about each of them. This led to a discussion focused on ourselves. We asked each-other:
”What will you remember about me?”
A whole lot of different things came up as answers. It’s hard to be right on the spot and give an honest answer to someone about what will stick in your mind when you think of them. I mean, do you really say “you’re breath” if they have bad breath (thankfully none of our teens do, that I know of)?

About two weeks after this discussion Maddie, one of the teens, finally came up with something she would remember about me. I think it was something about eating a lot of popcorn at movie night.

Truthfully though, what are you remembered for? What the heck am I remembered for?

What have I really done that has impacted someone’s life so much that they will remember it forever? Was it a good impact that I made?

I know that I have made an impact in the lives of those around me. If I ever doubted it, a recent report by The Riddle Group who came to evaluate our youth ministry (plus the amazing volunteers and parents in our church) made pretty clear what I could do well… and what I didn’t.

Apparently, and I was as shocked to learn this as anyone I’m sure, I am not all things to all people. Go figure.

Anyway, even knowing that I’ve made a difference in some peoples’ lives doesn’t seem to be enough for me. I’m learning more and more that I’m here to help people outside the church, we all are.

So, what are you remembered for? What stands out in your memory of me? What will the stranger on the street remember us for?


Being Natural

A few weeks ago I accidentally left the last Fiction book I have to read. So, I’ve turned to finally catching up on some of the non-fiction books that have been collecting dust for months (or over a year in some cases).

I’ve recently finished up The Coffeehouse Gospel by Matthew Paul Turner recently and found it to be ok, but not great. I was hoping for some real examples on ways to share faith with others and some advice on how to move past the initial fear on how to strike up conversation.

There are some good points, especially around the evaluation of what you know and how to find a commonality with someone else you’re talking to, but it just didn’t quite give me a real guide on how to meet a stranger in a coffeehouse (or elsewhere) and really begin a conversation. A lot of his coffeehouse examples were based on conversations he overheard instead of initiated.

One section really did stick with me though. Matthew writes:
” [Jesus’] entire three-and-a-half-year earthly experience in ministry was spent seeking to save the lost.

“I’ve begin praying that God would allow me to feel a fraction of the pain He feels for those who resist Him. I prayed this prayer not because I’m a glutton for punishment; I’ve simply realized that sometimes I have found myself to be so cold toward non-Christians… I simply don’t feel the weight of the void in their lives. I so often go through my day without thinking one selfless thought about the eternal value of others.”
He continues on with this closing story which resonated pretty closely with me.
Remember Carolyn, the lesbian I met at Starbucks? She taught me something about sharing my faith. When she told me her story, she doused her conversation with the fact that she was a lesbian. It wasn’t extreme, just enough for me to understand what she was really passionate about, what made her tick. Shouldn’t our ability to share our love for Jesus be the same? Natural? Poignant? Like breathing? So many times, our attempts to be evangelical seem calculated, stiff, and abnormal. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Coke-vs-Pepsi Final CountAt church we had a “competition” to see which soda was better, Coke or Pepsi. People brought in both Coke and Pepsi products for three weeks and stacked them up. Now we bring out those cold sodas to people across the park, handing them out without forcing the gospel on them, simply as a gift of our love for them, just as God loves them.

As a side, the winner was Coke, of course, by almost 420 cans!

What I’ve learned from this book is that I need to really be passionate about church, God and the lives of others around me. I tend to focus inward, talking about God with those who already know Him. When I go hand out sodas this week (my first time) I really want to let my passion for God flow through me, and be part of a natural conversation, without pressure or sounding calculated.

Care to join me?


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sporadic Blogging/I'm a Genius

Kem Mayer is the communications directory at Granger Community Church. Today she posted this blog entry which I actually really agree with.

As Kem (and really her friend Jason) mentioned:
  • The blogosphere doubles in size every 6 months and cutting through the clutter is more difficult with daily posts.
  • Traffic doesn't make a blog successful, engaging your audience (which may be narrow and focused) does.
  • Loyal readers remain loyal because they subscribe to your blog, not because you post frequently.
  • The pressure of frequent posting has the potential to drive poor content quality.
  • Frequent posting could push corporate bloggers into the hands of PR agencies. That decreases authenticity and creditability.
So, there it happened--in an instant--I went from amateur blogger to strategic blogging genius. In an instant. From zero to hero. Jason, you're swell. Read the full article.
I’ll ride on their wave and consider myself as becoming a blogging genius as well. Now if only I can get even select people interested in what I write.


Monday, July 17, 2006


While I was on vacation last week I had to drive my brother and niece over to the hotel for the evening. We were short on cars (I don’t quite remember where mine was) so I ended up driving my cousin’s BMW. I am pretty sure it was a 750, but truly I am so un-interested in cars it’s hard to tell. I base my guess on the fact that the car is around $70,000. Yeah, talk about ridiculous expensive.

I got to drive around the winding back-roads of Shelton, CT to bring them to the hotel and back. Thank goodness it had a navigation system, since I keep trying other routes I think will be faster and end up getting hopelessly lost.

BMW advertises that driving one of their cars you know you’re on the road and in control. I’d definitely have to agree. I haven’t been in any other car where I could make a complete U-Turn on a two-lane road without backing up or swinging over the edge (I did mention getting lost, didn’t I)? I also felt every bump, groove and curve in the road. It was kind of exhilarating in a “glad I don’t do this all the time” sort of way.

While the navigation system was kind of confusing, turning the thing on was the worst. I think I lost bets as to how long it would take me to figure out.

It has a cool “Start” button on the dashboard. So, I get in the car and push it… Nothing. Anyone know what I was doing wrong?

Here's a picture of the dashboard, can you figure it out now?

BMW 750 Dashboard

Turns out that while it has a cool button and all, you still have to push the key fob into a rectangular hole then press start. Took my brother and I 5 minutes to figure that out. Don’t get me started on turning it off, took me forever to figure out the door had to be open to pull the key fob out again.

My final take on it, it’s cool to drive somewhat fast (45 – 55) on winding roads where you should probably go 25 – 30. I definitely understand why people driving those cars tend to go quickly, while you know how fast you’re going (it just feels fast all the time) you also feel like you can do anything.

Sometimes life even feels like this. Like we’re completely in control and know what’s going on. Life is moving so fast and we can navigate everything. We just feel great.

At the same time that things go so well we seem to have a difficult start/stop process that keeps people out who aren’t part of our crowd. When things are good I definitely feel like I don’t want to hear about someone else’s troubles. Everything is right with the world, so don’t ruin my reality. I’m so busy that I can’t possibly slow down to help you out.

In any case, I now think you should drive a high-performance car once in your life, just for the experience. Don’t buy one, that’s craziness, but if you can, give it a drive and see how the other half lives (at $70K, that’s definitely some half I’m not part of, what I could do with that much money).


Time Off

In the past, when I take a hiatus from blogging I tend to simply ignore it and move on. I generally don’t even mention that I took a break. It’s been over a month this time, and I wanted to explain quickly why I take these unannounced “breaks”.

I have a couple of priorities in life. They are:

1. God
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Everything else (including blogging, church and work)

So, if I go missing it’s generally because I firmly believe that living life is more important that writing about it. Living in the world will change lives faster than living online.

I’ve had family in town two weeks ago, lots of church activities along with trying to find my own focus and vision for youth group, church and work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a bunch of different ideas which I’ll write about soon (including driving a $70,000 BMW, awesome craziness I tell you). But if I drop off the face of the Internet, just know that it means I’ve dropped onto the face of the World. I’m doing very well, even if there are more personal struggles. All in all, it’s a good thing.

I hope you’ve all been well. I have missed writing, but life has taken control, and I’ll have some great photo galleries up soon from family events.


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