Pursue Wisdom

This is perhaps the best visual interpretation of scripture I’ve ever seen. Especially when you think that the original is metaphoric poetry. Take those metaphors and make them real.

Very well shot, acted and edited.


Pursuit Intro HD from Port City Community Church on Vimeo.

Answered Prayer

Twice this week I’ve felt God has either talked to me or worked directly in my life. Thought I’d blog it so I can remember to look back.

I’m getting fat. I currently way 219. I’ve gained 6 pounds this month. The Mrs and I are both starting to worry about my health. But I just can’t seem to get myself to do anything about it. I know what to do. A few months on Body For Life and I’d be in great shape, have lots of energy, look great, be healthy. But I haven’t been able to get doing it. It just seems daunting. Seems my whole life will have to get centered around eating and working out. I’m just too lazy for that right now.

On Sunday night I decided I needed to do something. So I got out my iPhone alarm clock and change the wake up time from 8AM to 7AM. I’ve done this before, but have just turned it off. Before turning the light off, I said a quick prayer, “God if you really care about this stuff, help me get up in the morning.”

Next morning my wife was up and out of the house by the time my alarm went off. I woke up and said to myself, “Just get up”. The strange thing was I did. You may not think that is God, but I know it was. I went and ran for 30 minutes.

He gave me a song

On Wenesday my wife woke up at 5:30 in the morning. I didn’t really go back to sleep after that, though I stayed in bed. Before my alarm – still at 7 – went off, I did my daily OMTL reading. It was GPS, a discussion of using your gifts and struggles to achieve your passions. I got out of be after that and bundled up to go run. I plugged the head phones into my iPhone and went out.

I was listening to my Rich Mullen’s play list on shuffle and the first song caught my ear. It was Who God is Going to Use. I’ll put the lyrics at the end of the post. But that morning I could feel God speaking to me through this song. I related to Balam’s donkey and Ester.

Now Balaam, he had a donkey
Who was gentle and true and kind
And the donkey saw an angel with a sword
So he slipped old Balaam past him
And when he done it three times
Well, Balaam got so me mad he beat the donkey
And so the Lord
Well, he gave the donkey language
And the donkey plainly brayed,
“Well, there’s an angel about to strike you from the path”
Then old Balaam’s eyes were opened
And he realized he’d been saved
By his donkey from the angel of God’s wrath

(Chorus)
And a princess pulled a baby out of the water
He was hidden in the rushes
Sleeping in a basket made of reeds
And you never know who God is gonna use
A princess or a baby
Or maybe even you or me

Now Esther, she was a beauty
Who was pleasing to a man
And the man that she was pleasing was a king
But her people’s lives were threatened
By some wicked men’s plans
Nobody knew just how the lord was gonna intervene
Well, Mordecai her uncle, he was honest but he was smart
And he knew that Esther’s beauty was a gift
He said, “Maybe you could cook some supper
Maybe you could change a king’s heart
Who knows but what you come into the world
For such a time as this”

(Chorus)

There was Miriam dancing
And there was Jubal with a harp
There was poor blind Samson
Even Pontius Pilate played a part

(Chorus)
(Chorus)

The Visitation

Not everything on YouTube is crap.

OMTL Day 12: Boxing Ring

Today’s lesson is on conflict in relationships and how to hand it. The metaphor is boxing. There are different ways people deal with conflict and the central thing to remember in any conflict is that the relationship is more important than the conflict. It isn’t about winning. But we aren’t to just not have conflict. We need to stay in the fight. Kerry says we should be sparing partners, not worried about winning, but in the fight for each other’s benefit.

If you haven’t gotten this yet, every day has a new metaphor.

Which style of fighter are you? How did this style develop? How would you say your parents handled conflict? If you had one month to live how would you change the way you handle conflict?

The Mrs and I talked about it a little and really we do a pretty good job of being sparing partners. The relationship is always more important than winning. Occasionally we are one two punchers, which means we take turns, but even that is in service to the relationship.

In non marriage conflicts I’m more of a take the fall kind of fighter, basically leaving the fight. At least in many conflicts. Sometimes I take a deep breath and try to reach a compromise, to find out what is really going on.

Do you usually fight fair with your loved ones? Which of these ground rules is hardest for you to keep?

I think I do fight fair with my loved ones. Occasionally I do you the power of my position or my size to intimidate my boys, but I try to do that as little as possible. And I try not to manipulate them into my view point. I prefer a Socratic dialog to get them to come to the conclusions I want. Doesn’t work all the time.

Peter Was One of Those Pastors

I was searching to see if there were any other blogger doing One Month to Live and ran across another pastor cutting into Pastor Kerry for having too big a church. Actually he was angry because he got a mailing from Kerry offering the OMTL program to his church, which greatly offended him.

In the rant – which he confessed to greatly regretting having to make before going on for hundreds of words – he made the usual arguments against mega churches. That they were “a mile wide and an inch deep”. (Which coincidentally I heard was the theme of my old church’s sermon on Sunday. Must have been in Big Church Haters weekly this week).

OK I’m getting a bit snarky. I’ll try to be good.

When someone says “the church doesn’t need any more growth” I have to wonder if Jesus thinks that way. Then I wondered how big is a “mega-church”. So I asked Google. It “generally refers to any Protestant congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2000 persons or more in its worship services. ”

Wow, that seems pretty low. But it does mean that the apostle Peter was a pastor of one of those megachurches.

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. – Act 2:41

I was always taught that when a crowd was counted in the bible they didn’t include women and children. Don’t know if this was the case here, but 3K is plenty to make it a mega church with out doubling the number.

That wasn’t enough growth for God though because in verse 47 “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Of course we really can’t blame Peter for thinking big numbers were good. I mean Jesus kept preaching to these crowds of thousands.(Matt. 14:13-21) So I guess he was one of those people just desiring big numbers.

The thing I most don’t understand about the megachurch haters, and the thing that most frustrates me. People are getting SAVED at these big churches. They are coming to Jesus. They are going to heaven when they die. Why are you against that? Because they all go to one church? Looks pretty biblical to me.

Fellowship of the Woodlands had more people get baptized in a service last month than the church of Christ I went to for 6 years had baptized the entire time I was there. They are having another baptism service this month for people who couldn’t make the last one. It should be noted they do not baptize people to become members. They require baptism as an adult as part of salvation.

There are few things that make me frustrated and angry like this. Lord, please grant me peace and understanding in this.

Cutting Good Things Too

Probably aren’t going to see anymore eve online posts because I’m not going to join when I finish the trial. Is it because the game is bad? No, I actually enjoy it.

Its because there are other things I could spend time on that are more important. Sometimes you have to cut good things out of your life for better things.

My church is doing a 6 week study starting next week on the pastor’s new book One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life. The premise of the book is the question “What would you do if you only had one month to live?”. We’ve been dealing with the question for a while now and the more you think about it the more you find interesting consequences. I found was there are somethings I need to do that are more important than a video game. If I had 30 days to live I’d want to create some stuff that would continue on after I was gone.

So I’m not going to spend hours a night building a career in a virtual universe. I’m going to create something that exists in the real world. Probably a feature screenplay specifically.

We’ll be hosting a small group during the 6 weeks going through the book. So there will probably be some posting related to that.

Changing Churches

I’m changing churches. Kind of. Or maybe just slowly. I finally couldn’t take the politics, apathy, and general cluelessness of my fellow congregates. There was an incident with my son’s Sunday school teacher that made me threshold. All the stuff that led up to it were kind of minorly bad, but not enough you’d do something about it.

That is kind of the worse stuff. Because you get used to it. That’s just the way it is and there isn’t anything better, so why do anything about it. (Unrelated, but related article on career apathy.)

So I don’t consider myself going to Kingwood Church of Christ anymore. I made that choice and then one of the ministers asked me to do lights for the Christmas play and I said yes. So I’m not really gone. I’ll be there every night this week working on the play. Of course it will prepare me a little for where I intend to volunteer at my new church.

My son still goes there and was REALLY hacked when I told him we were leaving. Right now we’re in two churches as a family. Works out kind of well because the new church’s schedule is pretty minimal. At least until I volunteer for something – which I’ve already decided to do – and we find a small group.

We’re going to Woodlands Church East. It is the second campus of the Fellowship of the Woodlands. I wasn’t so hip on the idea of a second campus, with the sermon piped in via video, but it was OK. FoW has over 14,000 members, and in their huge auditorium you are mostly watching the sermon on the big screens anyway. And I guess it isn’t always piped in, Pastor Kerry Shook was at WCE last Sunday.

WCE is about a 20 minute drive from our house, which isn’t far by my standards. It started in September and are meeting in the Atascocita High School. On Sunday mornings they about 80% fill the auditorium. They say that translates to 1200 people in the two services there. I’m sure they started with quite a few people because there would be a big contingent that drove 50 minutes to the main campus.

I don’t know if I was thinking of this conscientiously or not, but my sister-in-law was baptized out of a very lost life at FoW a decade ago. We came down from Austin for the baptism and visited the church when it met in the Woodlands high school.

Didn’t really look around at all when I decided to change. I knew WCE was here because of the billboards and decided I needed to stop just defending mega-churches and just go to one. And let me tell you nothing is watered down at WCE. Pastor Kerry’s sermons are fun and interesting, but they are also biblical and practical. His first sermon we heard was part of his decomercializing Christmas series. He suggested since the book of Luke has 24 chapters and there are 24 days till Christmas, why don’t we read a chapter a day and journal it. Also suggested as a kick off to go on at 24 media fast. Last week’s sermon was from I Kings 2 and talked about how God works miracles in our lives.

My wife and youngest son are still part of KWCOC. I’ve told M he can go to anything there he wants as long as there isn’t a major conflict of schedule. While I’d like to go to WCE’s 9 AM service instead of the 11 AM one, he can go to the High School Sunday morning class at KWCOC if we go at 11. So we do.

I am for the first time in a long time, inspired and excited by church. I don’t feel like I’m going just because I have to, or just for the kids.

That feels good.

Kiva

I was surfing around and ended up at a Yahoo story about Kiva.org, a website that matches lenders with entrepreneurs around the world. The idea is that in other countries – what we often call the third world – small businesses need microloans, and we can make minor loans to them. They partner with microlending organizations in the target parts of the world so your money is watched over by local organizations.

It isn’t considered a charity by the IRS because you are loaning the people the money, so no tax deduction. Nor do they charge interest. It is an altruistic act to do the loans.

I invested $25 to help a Ukrainian woman expand her retail business. Go check them out yourself.