Friday, December 10, 2010

Bring on the Wonder, Part 2

Sorry everyone, but I'm still stuck on this whole wonder theme! Many elements of my life have been speaking into this recently, so I'm gonna roll with it and hope it's insightful for you too!

When the world was new to us, wonder filled every moment. Who knew what astonishing revelation might unfold before our wide, child-like eyes. Magic filled each breath. Possibilities hid behind every corner, ready to unleash the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

How sad though that the child-like wonder gets sucked right out of us as adults. We traded in our amazement at the mysteries of God for some cut-and-dried “faith” that’s overly sliced and diced.

I won’t hold myself up as the pinnacle of Christian practice by any means, but the older I get, the more I see God restoring the wonder in my life. Something about maturity in Christ recaptures our childlikeness. Anything is possible! What can He not do? If we’re not tracking with that kind of “inverted maturity,” we instead turn into grizzled and bitter veterans of the spiritual war. I see far too many people on the path to that cold, hard anti-faith.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bring on the Wonder

Sarah McLachlan does a phenomenal cover of a song, Bring on the Wonder by Susan Enan. The lyrics and the melody remind me of the innocence we have as children that sadly becomes broken and lost as adults. She's singing of happiness and the Wonder, but how that gets repressed as an adult. Perhaps she found again the beauty and wonder she saw in the world when she was a child. To regain that, even for a moment, completely changes your outlook on life. As we grow older there's a tendency to push away the Wonder in the midst of our busy, stressed out lives...believing there's no time for such nonesense. But oh how this song draws me back to the Wonder and awe of a child, especially now that it's almost Christmas! That's truly been my prayer that we never lose the Wonder and when we do that there will always be something/someone to bring it back to us!

Hope you enjoy the song and the lyrics below...Bring on the Wonder! : )

Bring on the Wonder
I can't see the stars anymore living here
Let's go to the hills where the outlines are clear

Bring on the wonder
Bring on the song
I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long

I fell through the cracks at the end of our street
Let's go to the beach,
get the sand through our feet

Bring on the wonder
Bring on the song
I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long
Bring on the wonder
We got it all wrong
We pushed you down deep in our souls for too long

I don't have the time for a drink from the cup
Let's rest for a while 'til our souls catch us up

Bring on the wonder
Bring on the song
I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long
Bring on the wonder
We got it all wrong
We pushed you down deep in our souls, so hang on
Bring on the wonder
Bring on the song
I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hello Morning Glory!

It would be easy to dismiss this film as typical lighthearted Hollywood fluff that carries no real message (other than a 2 hour escape). The interesting thing is that it's really not an escape - we are tossed right into the workaday world of a manic TV producer. Additionally, though it has plenty of light moments, it also carries a bit of depth in breaking down a couple of lead characters.

Rachel McAdams plays Becky Fuller, morning TV show producer. Becky is a cute, driven, frantic, EverReady Bunny ball of energy who watches multiple TV's and carries on multiple conversations, all while texting incessantly. She's hired by Jeff Goldblum in his final attempt at resurrecting ratings for "Daybreak," in last place to "The Today Show."

The story gets interesting when Becky recruits/blackmails news legend Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to co-anchor the show with Diane Keaton's character. To compare, Keaton's character will kiss a frog or don a pink tutu and has mastered the perpetual smile so necessary for morning TV. Ford's character may not have smiled since 4th grade and views the mission of TV as delivering news and hard stories and information.

The conflict in the story comes from Ford's character (labeled the world's third worst person), whom the world has passed by, and McAdams', who is the eternal optimist. It's pretty obvious they will somehow save each other, but still I found it entertaining to watch the process. Although I'm grateful there was no May-September romance between McAdams and Ford...just creepy that would be!

The film itself, directed by Roger Michell (Venus, Notting Hill) and Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), does a nice job with insight into those whose personalities are bound tightly to their job. Even though it's not at the level of "Broadcast News," it offers enough depth and comedy to really make this a worthwhile film to see!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giddy in Him!

Such a beautiful & intimate picture of who we are in Him....

"I am overtaken by a cloud of giddiness. I turn to show Him, holding my art up in front of me, arms outstretched, my toes thump, thump, thumping in excitement to match my racing heart beats. As if He didn’t know, as if He wasn’t there all along, as if He wasn’t the provider, the sustainer, the interpreter, the helper, “the source without a source” (- Thomas Aquinas).

And yet, in this moment, he doesn’t remind me of his involvement. He just enters into my delight. He beholds my art and we share a moment, with my shoulders raised up to my cheeks and my eyes squinting with uncontainable excitement. What was once just an idea in my head has now materialized. I am holding it. And I am, in my own giddy, CHILDLIKE way, telling him thanks." ~ Mandy Steward, Messy Canvas

Friday, October 15, 2010

Marylin Chandler McEntyre in her book Caring For Words in a Culture of Lies says, “Words are entrusted to us as equipment for our life together, to help us survive, guide, and nourish one another. We need to take the metaphor of nourishment seriously in choosing what we “feed on” in our hearts, and in seeking to make our conversation with each other life-giving.”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Use Your Past Wisely

There is nothing more damaging to your future potential than spending your present dwelling on the past. Whatever has happened is over. Glory or defeat, once the clock struck midnight, the day was done. You are reborn each morning, and who you are each day is defined by what you do that day and that day only. You are not your past. You are only your present and your present actions will determine your future. Yet allow the past to instruct you so you can be wiser moving forward, but don’t let it continue to suck you backwards and beat you down. Look back for lessons, not excuses.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Never Be the Smartest Guy in the Room

"Nobody should aspire to be the smartest person in the room. First of all, if you think you are, you're probably not. And if by some chance you really are, you've got the hardest job in the world because no one can do much to help you. In his memoir "Open," Andre Agassi made a wonderful point about his long-standing rivalry with Pete Sampras. Agassi observed that without Sampras as a rival he might have had a better record, but that the competition with Sampras made him a better tennis player. Being pushed to new heights should be what we all want, whether you're a junior copywriter, or the CEO."
Please read the entire blog article "Never Be the Smartest Guy in the Room" by Phil Johnson It's really worth the read!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trader Joe's

Really interesting piece on Trader Joe's...definitely worth the read! I had no idea they were this big and who actually owns them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Peeps Can Change...

Marshall Goldsmith, author of "What Got You Here Won't Get You There", has stated that personality testing can lead to stereotyping which I'm inclined to agree with. To say my personality type is this and is unchangeable is wrong thinking. This may seem like a “Duh!” moment, but it's surprising how many people talk about personality testing as though people can't change.

Goldsmith commented on a common misconception surrounding the new emphasis we now see being placed in the build-on-your-strengths movement. The idea of building on your strengths is an effective life strategy but not an excuse. He stated:
The build-on-your-strengths idea makes total sense when it’s at the level of the occupation. For example, Tiger Woods should be a golfer, not a stand-up comedian. He’s building on his strengths becoming a golfer and he shouldn’t be a stand-up comedian. On the other hand, I think what happens on the build-on-your-strengths stuff, is people misinterpret it. So they would say, “Well, Tiger Woods is a great driver, so he doesn’t have to worry about putting. He can ignore his putting.” He really cannot ignore his putting. It’s part of his job. If you’re a leader and you’re great at strategy but terrible with people, you can’t just sit there and say, “It doesn’t matter.” It does matter. It all matters. You can’t sit there and ignore part of your job and say “I’m not good at that therefore I have an excuse to ignore it.” All that does is reinforce a useless stereotype.

While most advocates of build-on-your-strengths do not encourage that, Goldsmith is right. The idea is often misinterpreted. We must build on our strengths and minimize activities that call upon our weaknesses, but our weaknesses have to be dealt with. And that requires some behavior modification. Too often it can be taken as an excuse to do-your-own-thing and not a position to grow and learn from. We can’t let ourselves fall into the trap of saying, “That’s just the way I am” because it’s hard to change. It may be the way you are, but you can be better. You can grow if you decide to. And as a leader you have an obligation to.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seriously...I'm serious!

"The best thing you can say about any movie's soundtrack is that it can stand on its own, and that no matter what you think of the movie, the soundtrack is full out amazing!!!" And such is the case with ALL three Twilight Soundtracks (yes, you read that right!) To some, this may already be common knowledge...I just happen to be a little late to the party! But whatever! I'm serious...regardless your stance on these flicks, you need to check out the 3 soundtracks!! Just a stellar mix of artists & bands...Muse, Paramore, Linkin Park, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Ok Go, The Black Keys, Metric, Band of Horses, Florence & the Machine, The Bravery, etc.

So let me know what you think!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Numb or Alive?

Question: If God gave you the choice between being numb and being healed, which would you really choose? The fact is most of the things we bring to God in prayer probably fall into the category of pain-relievers. We want our nuisances to go away, our impatience to be satisfied, and our guilt and shame to subside.

Fortunately God loves us too much to merely numb us into complacency and give us spiritual ibuprofen to mask our lack of shalom. I have a growing sense that many of the things I most resist in my life are actually there to play some part in my healing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Playing Large

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (a quote mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela in his inaugural address, but instead was written by Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love, p 188-189.)

This isn't the first I've read this quote nor will it be the last. Each and every time I read it, I'm convicted and stirred by it, but I've just never taken the time to consider why exactly it does. It amazes me that I've always thought it best to shrink back, to downplay certain aspects of myself so others wouldn't be insecure. But I'm finally seeing and realizing more that most of my life is lived in fear, particularly fear of what others think. Could it be that God shines His light through a confident me, rather than a shrinking away me? I wonder how many of us play small because we think that's more holy and acceptable. Traditionally I think many of us have been taught that humility means glorifying our weaknesses so we don't upset anyone else's strengths. Yes, there is a place (an important, rudimentary place) for humility, but there is also a confidence that feeds true humility. It's a confidence that comes from knowing glory rests inside us like a gift. If God has given us such an amazing gift as light, power, joy and a renewed, redeemed life, why do I/we hide like His gifts are things to be ashamed of? Glory, God's glory, resides in my heart. I don't know about you, but I'm stirred to play large. Playing small is living a tentative, fearful life, and personally I'd rather play large, risk being misunderstood, so that more glory for Him will flow out of me, not less.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Real Thing...

"The life of faith should be the easy part. So much of the Church is Martha, when Jesus praised Mary."

I read this quote the other day and it really caused me to stop and consider the burdens I/we needlessly and sometimes mindlessly carry. Christ’s yoke IS easy and His burden light. But living the consumerist, suburban, Christianized lifestyle that we call "normal" is actually what’s hard. Could it be we don’t understand the easy yoke because we've never shouldered it? Instead we see the genuine yoke as too difficult, while we take on the faux version and then fool ourselves into thinking it’s the light, real thing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Holding it together...

Imagine a morning where the sun didn't rise, birds stopped singing, rivers ceased to flow, grass stopped growing, flowers never bloomed, rain never fell and stars stopped twinkling, even on a clear, moonless night. Any one of these things would turn our world upside down, yet God, in his infinite wisdom, holds it all together.

Thank God today for something obvious that normally escapes your notice. Something huge. Something we rely on every day but would fall apart without it. This is God's nature, to maintain the world we live in; He's the one holding it all together, thankfully.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hidden Talent...

On a winter afternoon Harry de Leyer returned from an auction with a big gray horse that his children named “Snowman.” He was a good riding horse, but when a neighbor offered Harry twice the amount he had paid for Snowman, Harry agreed. But he soon regretted his decision as did Snowman. And that’s when Snowman’s hidden talent showed up! The neighbor’s fences were high, but Snowman repeatedly jumped them to be with Harry and his family. So Harry decided to buy Snowman back - and the rest is history. Snowman kept winning championships until the ultimate dream, The National at Madison Square Garden, where he was named “Horse of the Year” two years running. Snowman was a jumper, but nobody would have known had it not been for the fences that separated Snowman from Harry. And Snowman had every reason to be grateful, because Harry had arrived late at the auction that day after the best horses were sold. The big gray gelding that became Snowman was rescued from the only other bidder…a man who intended him for the glue factory.

I just love this story and the fact that it's true makes it all the more amazing! The Psalmist said, “The Lord…redeems your life from destruction.” (Psalm 103:2-4) Amen for that truth! When others write you off, God sees what you can become. Andrew Bonar said: “Kept by the mighty power of God…every day we escape dangers we’re not aware of…if we…saw the snares the enemy lays for us…how we’d adore the Lord who enables us to escape them all.”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Reading this book (Forgotten God) probably won’t be easy. No matter what tradition you come from, you likely carry baggage and harbor stereotypes when it comes to the Holy Spirit. It’s going to require laying aside your baggage and stereotypes so you can be open to what God is trying to teach you. Are you willing to do that? ~ Francis Chan

What Crazy Love does to challenge Christians to rise out of comfortable and lukewarm faith, Forgotten God does to upend Christians’ agenda for keeping the Holy Spirit tame and in-check. Throughout the book’s 7 chapters, I found myself making frequent stops to, literally, do a double-take, re-reading a paragraph or point and high-lighting it, or diving for my bible.

By the end of the book, I left Forgotten God with more desire, and more places exposed. This is not a spiritual self-help book, instead I think it's a ‘discover more about God’ book that, if approached honestly and openly, will result in a deeper understanding, a deeper relationship with God the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend this book!!

Here's a great take away quote:
Nowhere in scripture do I see “balanced life with a little bit of God added in” as an ideal for us to emulate. Yet when I look at our churches this is exactly what I see: a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives. People who have in a sense asked Him to join them on their life journey and follow them wherever they feel they should go, rather than following Him as we are commanded. The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives. Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us, He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true Life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

Being alike doesn’t mean we agree; it means the stuff by which we disagree is the same. This is important because we need to see that as different as we may appear superficially, deeper down, we have much in common with everyone, and when you encounter someone who is different, it would be good to celebrate both those differences and the stuff that makes us all the same. Because, at the core, we all belong to God. There's a book entitled Same Kind of Different As Me that totally captures the way in which we are different and very much alike. I highly recommend it!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Use words only if necessary...

The Gospel is waiting. It's waiting not to be spoken, but to be lived. The Gospel is waiting to be believed and to be put to use in your life and mine. It's not just a static message; it's a living, breathing testimony. The Gospel needs much more than paper to be printed on; it needs a life it can imprint.

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:1-2).

The success of the Gospel today doesn't depend on how attractively it's packaged, but on how honestly real Christians are living out their lives in the world. It's not just the Gospel that does it. It's not just a message. It's the Gospel in you and in me. Nothing needs to be done to the Gospel except to be lived. In other words..."Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Power of Encouragement

They’re walking all around you today. They were walking all around you yesterday. They will be walking around you tomorrow. All around are people whose lives are a mess either because of choices they made or that someone else made that’s impacted them. Think about it, who isn’t messed up in the Gospels? Jesus. That’s it. Everyone else is an absolute mess.

The entire entourage that followed Jesus was a jumble of broken people. Somehow, they found a home with Jesus. Somehow they found acceptance. Somehow Jesus talked past their hurt and anger and spoke to their deepest fears that they really were accepted. That they really were loved. That there really was hope.

The writer of Hebrews deals with this very issue. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13) It also says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

These verses talk about us focusing on others. Notice there is no exception clause there for those people who also have it hard. We’re all supposed to be encouraging each other. Encouraging them onto to “love and good deeds.” It talks about avoiding the hardening effects of sin by encouraging one another. This is the power you have, I have, we have; this is the power that God has entrusted all of us with.

Of course we can all think of ways that other people can encourage us more, but I want to challenge you to consider how you can encourage others. What will that look like for you? What will it look for you to encourage and spur others on to good works? Think of at least one person you can encourage by tomorrow. Then go do it.

May you see the power of encouraging others no matter what is happening in your life, and may you be encouraged today that no matter what is or has happened in your life, God has given you a tremendous opportunity. He has given you tremendous power. You can be a catalyst for those around you to live as God intended them to live.