I was a little bored one evening last week and decided to play around with my phone notifications. The ringtone I set for my wife is Chris Farley singing “Fat guy in a little coat,” while he’s wearing David Spade’s jacket in the movie Tommy Boy. One of our favorites. It’s the text message notification I chose that got the better of me, though.
If you haven’t read the first chapter of my book that I posted on this site, let’s just say that cookies are a bad habit of mine (understatement!). I figured it would be cute to have the notification for receiving a text from Vanda on my phone as Arnold Schwarzenegger saying this.Continue reading →
Photo credit: Princes Milady / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Okay, the guys in this picture haven’t figured out how. Have you ever washed someone’s feet? How about spending a year’s salary on the perfume and using your hair as a cloth?
Steve Lewis is a good friend of mine who had the courage to lead the Bible Study at our house last week. He did great research onJohn 12:1-8, the story of when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, washed Jesus feet. He pointed out that Mary washed Jesus’ feet and the Lord responded by saying her act would be remembered for all time. If it pleased God that much, we should do the same. So our group discussed how we might be able to have the courage to wash Jesus’ feet with our hair.
Since we can’t do what Mary did literally, we needed to get at the essence of what she did so that we could replicate that. Steve challenged us to view this scene from Mary’s perspective. With facts provided by Steve to lead the way, our group came up with these steps:
By far, the most injuries I’ve had in my life revolve around sports. I’ve had two root canals because of an accident during a High School baseball game. I’ve torn ligaments in both ankles numerous times playing basketball in my younger years. One of my teeth that had participated in the aforementioned baseball accident was knocked out playing football a few years later at camp, and I just kept playing.
That beauty you see in the picture above is the result of a basketball encounter from Monday night. When it happened I had a feeling there’d be a mark. Kept playing. It wasn’t that I felt pressure to look like a man in front of the other guys. Okay, there was some of that. But, my major motivation was simply that I didn’t want to stop playing.
Let’s face it, the reason most of us came to Christ was because our lives were so screwed up. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, lots of people came to Jesus because they had oppressive circumstances that only he could alleviate. God has a habit of using our rough times to direct our attention his way.
However, continuing with that M.O. makes for a shallow Christianity.
Though I know better, I still hope for a premature happily ever after experience. Maybe we love the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) because those salvation stories seem to end at the same place in the fairy tale where the slipper fits and Cinderella ends up marrying the prince. I think it’s Les and Leslie Parrot who write about how that fantasy doesn’t take into account the difficult road Cinderella will have learning how to be a princess, having servants instead of being one and, of course, being married to a guy she hardly knows. We want to be saved and slide right into our hunky-dory Christian experience.
Jon Fowler, a friend of mine, posted a Bible verse on fb last week. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people use social media as a marketing tool for their faith. They slap on a bit of scripture even though there’s no evidence that the carefully typed testimonies match up with the rest of their lives. But that’s not Jon! He’s the real deal.
There’s another reason that this particular update spoke to me, and it has something to do with a very different idea he’s involved in at our church. First, here’s what he wrote:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1, 2 NIV)
At one point, we hadn’t showered for four days. We were cramped in rooms that each housed 26 people piled on triple-stacked bunk beds. And we weren’t allowed to wear shorts despite being in the hot Mexican desert for the week.
There are other aspects of our trip to Mexico that would gross you out, some would sadden and hopefully most would inspire you. I plan to share more about that in future blog posts. One of the most intriguing things for me, though, was the actions of our own kids.
What was your worst failure? It’s probably something you really stuck your neck out for. My fellow writers know what I’m talking about. So much rejection. And how about people who are trying desperately to find a job or lose weight? In our performance driven society we are conditioned to find worth not only in success, but in the avoidance of defeat.
How you approach the concept of failure is critical to your spiritual journey. Here’s a secret that may help you: not every attempt at ministry is a success. Even with the power of God behind us, he lets us fail at times.
Photo credit: Evelyn Parham / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Here’s some insight from Augustine of Hippo nearly two millennia ago that fits with my book’s topic. For those who worry that your desire for God is non-existent, check out his thoughts paraphrased by Richard Foster and Gayle Beebe:
Although we long for God, we do not realize it at first. All we can do is prepare for him by properly orienting one element of our earthly life: our will. Committing to knowing God and how he works means we must . . .
The Hulk is a very confusing super hero. In the movie The Avengers everyone, including Bruce Banner (the guy who turns into the Hulk when he gets angry), is wary of the appearance of the green monster. But they know they need him at some point if they are to be successful against the evil Loki.
Towards the end of the movie when things were getting rough for the Avengers, Banner realizes that the Hulk must appear. He calmly walks in the direction of the massive enemy and reveals how he has learned to control when the Hulk appears. Captain America tells him that now might be a good time to get angry. Banner looks back just before he transforms into the enigmatic hero and says, “That’s my secret . . . I’m always angry.”
It finally happened. In my post about Planet Fitness I made reference to the Lunk Alarm. It’s a large purple siren fixed high on the wall. It’s part of a sign that defines a Lunk as someone who displays their physical strength by shouting while lifting or slamming weights down at the end of some heavy reps. I’d not heard or seen the alarm go off in my four months there and I was beginning to think that its function was limited to decor.
When the siren went off my first thought was that it was a fire alarm, but nobody moved toward the exits. I noticed the light flashing when I got to the other side of the machine that had been obstructing my view. Everybody else must have experienced the alarm before that day because they kept going about their business unaffected. The culprits had been putting on a show that no one had been watching.