Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Basics

Sometimes we just have to get back to the basics.

I saw this today and thought I would share.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Marketing Jesus

As many of you know, I now work in marketing.  I spend several hours a week learning and listening to others as they come up with ideas and ways to aid in the selling process.  It's quite interesting, actually, to hear about all the things we, as consumers, never really think about but effect us in so many ways.

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I remembered someone once telling me how the church likes to market Jesus. He elaborated on it a bit and I thought I understood pretty well then, but in light of my new job, I find it more and more interesting how we believe we have to sell Jesus (or the church) to people.

As I think about who Jesus is, I don't really see Him as someone who needs a marketing team.  He did a pretty good job of marketing Himself and even those who were able to see first hand many of the miraculous things He did, didn't necessarily believe right away.   I don't think Jesus really wanted to be marketed.  He wasn't a product to be sold or bought into.  He didn't even come to make our lives here easy, which if you know anything about commercials, anything can make your life easier if you pay for it. 

Why do we feel we have to shape Jesus into someone we can sell. We like to change who He is; make Him fit in our box, our culture. Could it be Jesus would rather us just follow Him, and let His light shine through us so that others can see?  Could it be that we need to quit calling it "My Story," and call it something like "The Story of What God Has Done in Me?"

On the other hand, maybe we do need to do a good job of marketing the church.  Maybe marketing is the wrong word, but at least a little PR work. Unfortunately for many churches they get wrapped up in the rules and making everyone look good, that they forget to let people know we are all people. We all make mistakes.  We all have a past.  I think the church needs to let people see Jesus for who He is and what He can do in our lives in spite of our past.  Let people see that we are a work in progress and not a shinning perfect example of perfection. 

This doesn't give the church the opportunity to be sloppy and lazy though.  The church has to be on its game when it comes to organization and leadership.  Sure mistakes will happen from time to time, but Jesus was a great leader.  He always had a plan and everything He did fell into that plan.  I think there is a fine line to walk when it comes to the church because we want people to know they can come as they are, just as we come as we are.  On the other hand, we want to let people know we are serious about our service to God and that it's not just something we do, but that it is what we do.

Anyway, I think it is time to evaluate our lives and see if we are busy trying to market Jesus to others or if we are sitting at His feet trying to learn from Him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chapter 9 - Right there

Yesterday, my family went to the park to celebrate Taylor's birthday.  As we were getting ready to leave, Lilly started getting a little fussy and as usual wanted to be little-miss-independent.  As I allowed her to walk back to the car, I offered her my hand several times to hold onto as the ground was sloped, there were holes, and other obstacles that could easily get in the way of her being able to walk well.  Every time I offered to help, she pulled back her hand and said "no."  She wanted to do it on her own. 

Lilly certainly couldn't see what was coming ahead of her.  She couldn't see the things that could and would cause her issues.  She even decided at one point to take a long route back to the car and went in the wrong direction for a minute or so.

As I thought about that whole situation, I began to wonder how often we act that way towards God and how often we God is just there waiting to help.

Many of us have spent a lot of time reading the Bible and trying to understand who God is.  Most of us have had experiences in our lives that have shaped the way we view God and our surrounding.  Yet, even now, I can say that I don't know what is coming; I don't know all of who God is and what He wants to do in my life.

I know God is always with us, but I wonder how many times in our lives He can see what is coming ahead and know all that will cause us struggle, and yet we refuse to take His hand as He offers it.  Maybe sometimes He does want us to try a harder path or something new, and yet we think we know our own way and end up either getting off course or hurrying so fast that we trip and get hurt.

Walking with Lilly yesterday, just reminded me of how often God is there just wanting to assist us in getting where He wants us to go and we make it so much harder all because we want to be independent and think we can do it on our own.

As a dad, it would have been easier to pick Lilly up and carry her to the car, in-fact, it was hard not to.  I wanted to get her there quickly and I wanted her not to fall.  Yet, as with God, I wanted her to be able to learn that no matter what I will be there to help her when she is ready.  If she falls, I will be there to comfort her.  If she goes off the path, I will be right there for her to come back to so she knows where the path is.  We will make it, it just may be harder, longer,  and possibly more harmful than it needs to be.

Having kids has certainly enabled me to see things about God that I never even considered before.  If you haven't read my blog much in the past, each of the "Chapter" blogs are based on lessons that my kids have taught me about God.  They sure are a blessing and tools in which God teaches me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I don't know why I began to think about it again yesterday, but a while back I heard an interesting thought about creation.  If you take a look at Genesis 2 you will find a line that we often put out of place.  In the midst of creating God says "It is not good for man to be alone."  He then proceeds to form animals and has Adam name them. Then after all of that is done, He creates woman from Adams side.

The thought I found so interesting is that God knew it wasn't good for man to be alone yet took the time to form animals, have Adam name them, and then created woman.  I don't know if you have ever stopped to think about it, but it would have taken him a very long time to name all of them.  I heard one gentleman say it could have easily taken 100 years.  So that means Adam was with animals and God for possibly 100 years without Eve.

When discussing it last night, a friend of mine suggested that it could be God's way of teaching Adam what is was like without a companion and letting him see the need for one.  As I look at the way God operates in my life, I would have to agree this is a very good probability.

All too often I think we get stuck on the fact that God knows what is best for us and will give it to us. While that is true, I think God sometimes wants us to realize our needs before He provides.  God wants us to realize that He is our provider.

Another interesting thought is that God says it is good after each "day" in Chapter 1, but then He says "It is not good for man to be alone."  I too find this interesting, because it shows that even from Creation God intended us to live with one another and not on our own. 

As I think about both of these concepts, it reminds me of how many times we think we know the truth, but the Truth isn't revealed until later.  We buy into what the world offers as truth and sometimes go a long time living that way before we realized that there is Truth beyond on and beyond what we can see. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Judge me

I have come to the realization over the past month or so that I am rather fond of judgement.  Not judgement in a way that we normally think of judgment (which is often very close if not actually condemnation), but judgment in the sense of truth revealing.

Often we as believers are busy judging people based on whatever "truth" we may see.  Unfortunately, that "truth" is often far from real truth.  I could get in and discuss that, but that is not really why I am writing.

I am writing because I believe I need to be judged.  I need people who know me to look at my life and show me the areas that I might be missing the truth or struggling to do what God wants.  Take note, I said people that know me.

I can use my wife as a perfect example of this.  I don't know how many times we have been in the middle of a conversation and she has said something out of love that let me know her view on the subject while revealing the truth of the situation.  She knows me, she has a relationship with me, she has permission to judge me so that I might become a better follower of Christ and be a stronger reflection of him. 

I think back a few months ago and remember an email I sent to a couple friends.  They didn't fully understand the situation that I presented them with, but took the time to listen to at least my side of the story.  I begged them to tell me I was wrong in the situation.  I was very upset and needed someone who knew the heart of God and could see His truth to reveal my shortcomings.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I was begging to be judged.  Better yet, after they had judged me and revealed to me in love, that I still had something things to consider in the situation, more of God's truth was revealed.  They didn't condemn me, rather they judged me the way God wants us to judge each other.

We are designed to help each other see the truth.  No one man (or woman) can know all of who God is.  We are called to a life long relationship with God and to get to know more of Him.  If we gather together and get to know one another then our ability to understand who God is, becomes so much greater.

I often wish I could get a glimpse of what the early church really looked like.  So many of us think we know, but in our culture I believe we have very little understanding of how important the brothers and sisters in Christ were to each other.  They were each others family.

I would challenge you to find someone that you trust and you know has a strong relationship with God and allow them into your life to walk along side you and provide you with the judgment that you need.

Judgment often gets a bad rap, but I believe that God intended it for good, while satan intends to use it for evil.  It's just one more way he ties to divide those who long to know God.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Kids

I can't really recall the last time I wrote about my kids, but I know I needed to write about how much I really love and care about them.  I'm not quite sure what it is, but over the past sixth months or more, I feel like I have been seeing more and more reasons why/how I love them more.

I know as parents we all love our kids.  Our love is based on the fact that they are our kids and it has nothing to do with how they behave or how they treat us.  We will love them regardless.

I think one of the beauties of having kids is that we get a little glimpse into how God views us.  Only I think God can give us a little more love for a kids each day, even when we think we can't love them any more.  I believe God has a perfect love for us and, as much as I would I hope I have that same love for my kids, I know my love isn't perfect like His.

Like many things in life, God wants to teach us along the way.  He knows we can't handle all that He has for us and that it has to come in His timing.  The beauty for me is that I can feel, experience, and understand how my love for kids is greater today than it was yesterday.

I have found myself more often this past 6 months looking forward to getting home to my kids, just to see the smile on their face.  I love being greeted by my kids and hearing that they look forward to the days when I have off work so I can be around them.  I remember very much days when my kids didn't even act like they cared if I was home or not.  I don't blame it on them, because I was gone a lot.  I worked so many hours that what little time I was home I was disconnected from them either planning for the next thing or trying to recoup from the previous.

I was showing love to them in a way I knew how.  However, since then I have worked towards showing them love in other ways and making time for them. I enjoy the time I get to spend with them.

I am writing all of this because I recently came upon this video that really got me to think. It represents one aspect of life that I hope to never have to experience with my kids.  I was so moved by it, that I had to share.

I hope that if I am ever faced with this situation I have the strength to carry on and am able to allow God to use the situation for His glory and to share His love with so many.  I know I have not been left unaffected by the movement of paying it forward.  Who knows, what trickled down to me may have originated from this act of love.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Catching up

For some reason, I haven't been able to come up with any topics worth writing on lately.  I don't want to be controversial or only hit on those subjects.  I want to hit on the subjects that have shaped the way my view has changed. In an effort to do this, I want just list off a few instances that I think are note worthy.

Differences with people
Do you have people that you have differences with or that seem to rub you the wrong way at times?  I know its not a huge revelation or anything, but I have found the more I am in contact with people and the more time I spend talking, emailing, or just plain communicating with the easier it is to see good in the situation.  I have found it becomes much easier to deal with the differences and let some of the differences go when good communication and relationships are developed.  I have also learned the opposite is true.  The longer you spend away from those people that you have differences with the easier it is to let those differences become walls of seperation.

Playing my guitar
Now I don't know that I would actually qualify this as a new revelation as much as it has been a reminder of what once was.  This past week I have spent more time playing my guitar, singing, and singing with my wife than I have in the past year or more.  I can only think of a couple times that would even come close in that amount of time.  It reminds me of why I loved it so much and how it is through music that I often feel closest to God.  I don't know what it is, but I believe God loves music  and uses it as a tool of healing.   I've heard and seen it used for many practical healing methods and how it does help with physical symptoms. I have also experienced how it can heal and strengthen ones soul as well.  Maybe, just maybe, when God said David was a man after His own heart, that a piece of that statement was referencing David's love of music.

I hate to admit it, but a while back a friend loaned me a CD and while I did like the music I didn't fall in love with it.  It was a bit too "different" for me.  Then last week I met the artist and really listened to the music and the lyrics and fell in love with it.  It pains me to think that I went so long without really understanding what was in front of me.  I don't know if it was just getting to know the artist and see the beauty in what he does, but the music became so much more alive.  I find myself waking up with the songs stuck in my head and the lyrics resonating with me so much that I see how they apply in my every day life.  I guess it somewhat goes back to the whole "differences with people," but the more time you spend getting to know someone and see their heart, the more beauty you can find and cling too.

Habanera Jelly
So I just have to tell someone about this.  My wife recently purchased some habanera jelly for me, and the stuff is great.  I've been a fan of hot foods for quite some time and this one really does rank right up there with the best.

While this really isn't a new revelation either, I can look back at the few things I have listed so far and draw a few points.  God is The Creator.  He has created some amazing things for us to enjoy and I believe He enjoys it when we are creative as well.  The second thing is that if we truly look, we can see God in relationships and why He calls us to relationships with others just as He calls us to relationship with Him.  I almost have gotten to a point now where I don't like to use the word "relationship" because it has been so pounded in our heads because the "church" easily gets away from it and has, for many of us, most of our lives.  The fact still remains the same however, the more we are connected to others the more we are connected to God and the same is also true that the more we are connected to God the more we will be connected to others.