Looking At Different Points of View

For your philosophical reflections while I try to enjoy some vacation time before the new year.

The Muppets Down In Kokomo


In light of the upcoming bowl games, this is a warning to all team trainers regarding seat assignments for players:

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Hanukkah Fail

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Giving More Thoughtfully

The power of networking and friends is such a cool thing! The more connected you are beyond simply your expertise, I think, the more you have to offer. H/T to Chris one of my friends at Crossroads whose a big Star Wars fan. He sent me a link to this awesome Lego Star Wars set-up.

That link led me to this blog on Gizmodo by Brian Lam on why kids dezerve crappy gadgets. The point Brian makes, is to get gifts for kids that help stretch a kids ability to learn and have fun. In other words, get kids gifts that have them using both sides of their brain.

I'm really proud of my kids this year in scaling back their lists. I hope it is because of what Heather and I model to them. They are asking for less and being more specific about their wants. It makes it easier too, when the gifts really do teach more than entertain.

H/T to Momlogic No Gift policies especially in this economic time. Respect what a person says about not wanting something. I'll admit, I've done this before and was thinking about it again until I read this article. I had not thought about the consequences that way.

If anything, I seems to me, the more connections we seek out, both in relationships AND gifts, the better off we are in helping young people make wider connections in their own worlds. Social media plays a part in that but so does our own relationships with our family and friends, the books we read and the experiences of life.

MAY I SUGGEST? To go buy that crappy gift or then again...maybe not. Whatever you do, do it thoughtfully and respectfully.

Hanging with Mr. Claus

Peter Huffman from Huffman Eye Care and I took a break from serving hot chocolate and cider at Bentwater to tell Santa what we wanted for Christmas.

Even though Peter went to UNC Chapel Hill, he is still a great guy and makes a mean cider! Part of being in a community is taking the time to serve others even in little ways. Make sure to support Peter's new practice...I did yesterday (and there was no baby blue on the walls, thank goodness!)

How I Cleaned Up My Mind

A couple days ago I wrote about my messy mind.

Like the old saying goes, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." I've started cleaning it up. Along the way I've found some things underneath the surface that have helped me out and got me moving in the right direction. A big time thanks to some of my friends who've kicked me into moving along too.

1. Free Mind is one of them. I've used it for sermon writing in the past but it has become my main stay this past week for getting ideas out and on paper in a mind map. It was actually my kids who are learning about mind maps at school that helped me rediscover the power of this FREE program. And to think some people dis our school system! Dorks.

2. I have been a late adopter to Twitter but then like blogging, I needed to determine the value. Tom Davis at Due West comments how time is the most valuable resource we have available. In the last few days I've found the connections on Twitter to be incredibly valuable. What is sad is all the folks who miss the value of following those who follow you - this seems to me to be where the most value is added.

3. I've also rediscovered my friend and mentor Scott Ginsberg. His blog Just Go ought to be a must read for church planters everywhere! For that matter, if you're a pastor, you ought to be reading Scott all the time. Nothing like good questions to give your heart, soul, and mind a bath in inspiration adrenaline.

4. Firefox has been my staple browser but I often forget to check on their add-ons. I need to stop doing that. It is full of great stuff and has not had the problems like Explorer has had. Sxipper and Twitterfox have been awesome! I'm looking to use ReminderFox's potential as well.

5. For security, I added Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware for some extra security and it was quick to pick up some little bugs that got through other scans. It has sped up almost everything on my computer! It did reset my proxy settings but for the help, that was a little thing to repair.

May I Ask? Have you cleaned your mind lately?

May I Suggest? Get a blank sheet of paper and DeFrag your brain by just writing all the things that come to mind. Better yet, download Free Mind and start connecting the thoughts and ideas as they come.

Guys! Last Minute Christmas Ideas Around the Crossroads

It is last minute and you've forgotten to buy the gifts you know you needed to get. Maybe an extra guest or family is showing up. Or you just want to do something extra. I just want to do my part to help you out around north Paulding and Cedarcrest. Here are my last minute suggestions:

Every girl in north Paulding wants something from The Prissy Polka Dot. You can't miss out stopping in here!


Head down Highway 41 in Acworth and visit the folks at Gamer's Trade. Take advantage of their expertise, selection and great deals!

Be sure to ad to the festivities by preparing dinner. Or better yet, stop by Crossroads Cafe @ Seven Hills and let Heather and the staff take care of that for you. They'll be open till 7pm on Christmas Eve!

MAY I ASK? How are you sharing the love in your community this Christmas?
MAY I SUGGEST? Tell someone else about a business you frequent and trust and add to someone's Merry Christmas

The Fresh Prince was right, parents just don't understand!

It certainly isn't rocket science, but anytime somebody in Hollywood has a revelation, you just have to wonder what they were on when it happened. I'll admit, I'm not exactly going to throw a party over this, BUT Will Smith's recent revelation, certainly has my attention...

"It's cool to have the goal of being the biggest movie star in the world. But why? It's been revealed to me that the question is: Whose life is better because you woke up today?"

I've always liked Will as I was listening to him back in the day of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and especially the 80's MTV staple...

Interestingly, "Smith said he realized he had drifted out of contact with everyday people on Nov. 4. "I sat there with my children and my 16-year-old son couldn't understand how I didn't know (the election) was over already. He was like 'You're out of touch,'" he said."

Will, I guess you found out first hand: parents really don't understand! I congratulate you on coming to a much more profound conclusion on life's meaning and what matters (not that Will Smith would ever read this).

May I Ask? Whose life is better because you woke up today?

May I Suggest? Try holding the door open for someone, give compliments to 10 people, give at least 3 people a hug, but whatever you do, do something!

Crossroads UMC Takes Christmas to Youth Detention Center

Tonight Crossroads UMC and Acworth UMC are furnishing a Christmas meal to about 60 incarcerated young people at the Rome Youth Detention Center, who desperately need God’s love and guidance in their lives.

I'm just incredibly thankful for Todd and Michelle for all the work they do to direct the missions of Crossroads. It has been a long time since I went to a Y.D.C. Seminary was the last time I can recall. I am a bit nervous, but this Christmas has really reminded me how awesome it was that Jesus came to give us hope and that is what we're doing at Rome, showing a bunch of kids that Jesus is real and the reason to believe.

That is also why Crossroads started, helping people to connect to Jesus by living like Jesus. I'm just convinced that churches (and pastors) can't do it sitting in an office or focusing solely on what happens in a building, but asking the question, "what happens when we live out that 'love your neighbor' command of Jesus?"

An especially HUGE THANK YOU to Heather and the staff at Crossroads Cafe @ Seven Hills for preparing the meal! Not only is Crossroads a great place to eat, they take it a step beyond by serving a community. Make sure when you're hungry or need a cup of coffee, stop by Crossroads Cafe. Chances are good you'll see me there as it is my office away from home.

Welcome To My Mess

Welcome to my mind. There seems to be a remarkable resemblance to a dorm doesn't there?

This is what church planting has done to my thought process. I once was a simple, mild mannered, Myers-Briggs "J"... but no longer. For those of you who have known me for a while, I know, you'd never believe it. Go ahead, laugh it up, I know you want too.

But part of me wonders if this is, in fact, a good thing. I have always prided myself in organization. Whether it was college, grad school or ministry, organization was part of my success and I enjoyed being incredibly organized and structured.

It isn't that I don't plan or haven't a plan; but it is something else completely. Today, I think it cleared up a bit as I read the ancient words of Thomas a Kempis, "I wish you to learn perfect renunciation of yourself in My will, without contradiction or complaint. Follow thou Me: 'I am the way, the truth and the life' (John 14:6)'"

That it is a pride issue in me I have no doubt so I'm thinking it is time to just call off the need in myself to look at organization as a trait next to godliness. It isn't. What is next to godliness? Jesus and God knows, I need to be more like Him!

Just one more reminder that if your calling is to start a church to change the world, realize, God is going to change you in the process. It isn't about you anyway. It is about Jesus and if you're in church planting, Jesus is ALL you've got.

May I Ask? What "part" of you is in a mess right now?

May I Suggest? Write out all the reasons why this is a problem. Then write out all the reasons this is a good thing. Then live the good.

When you think you've got it bad remember...

H/T to Locust and Honey who has more time to spend on the internet than anyone else I know who is a pastor. Oh, and remember this is Robot Chicken...you've been warned. Be sure to check out Fett and the Stormtrooper in the back.

A Season of Hope

I have hope. It is not always easy, mind you, but I do have it.

I recently was in Kansas for pheasant season. It was my first time pheasant hunting, I was carrying my grandfather’s shotgun, the one he used years before when he pheasant hunted in the Dakotas. I have learned when it is your first time hunting anything, you may have a gun and a lot of stuff but those are not what you really have. Do you know what you really have? You really have hope. Ultimately, you have nothing else.

It is not all that different than any time you try something new. You have hopes for making meaning in life everyday. Each day as a parent, you have hopes for the day for your kids. We cling everyday to some amount of hope but it is when we include the “we,” that I think we grasp the real power of hope.

You see, walking those fields of grain in Kansas, it was not just me that was hoping. There was Jim, Al, Glenn, Bill and all the rest of our group, hoping for my first success. It finally came on the third day. Together we saw hope give way to excitement.

Hope is better shared. When everyone’s little bit of hope is added together, it makes the end result all the more sweeter.

Here are my top ten reasons for having hope during this season of hope…

1. I have hope…because I see so many who are working to make our community a better place.

2. I have hope…because it seems each day, I have met men and women who refuse to give up or let circumstances change their outlook.

3. I have hope…because I have seen the faces and shaken the hands of those men and women who serve to defend our country that there might one day be peace.

4. I have hope…because many who have said they had lost hope in our nation feel there is reason to hope.

5. I have hope…because there are people who have never lost hope in our nation.

6. I have hope…because those 4 and 5 add up to a lot more people with hope!

7. I have hope…because of those who are praying and working to make Crossroads United Methodist Church, a place for hope in our community.

8. I have hope…because it is the season of Advent; a time of preparing.

9. I have hope…because Advent means it is almost Christmas.

10. I have hope…because Jesus came into the world and “…the nations will have hope because of him." (Matthew 12:21 GW)

May I Ask? What are your reasons to hope?

May I Suggest?
Start a conversation with your family, neighbors and co-workers and ask what are their reasons to hope. Who knows what all that hope may accomplish!

Be Alert! I've got a bad feeling about this cookie.

H/T to Straight Outta Coursant

The Danger of Examination

I hated tests.

Really. Sure, I survived them and have a Master's degree to prove it but that doesn't mean I liked them much. Fact is, I'm still not really thrilled with them but they serve their place.

John Meunier recently posted on the danger of being well liked. It certainly is interesting to consider how well we like to be liked and yes, I think there is certainly a danger in it. It can make us too comfortable.

I wonder if the bigger danger though, is in examination, or in the lack thereof. As a United Methodist pastor, there is some regular accountability each year. District Superintendents have the opportunity to examine as does the church.

As a church planter, there are even more examinations. Much is invested in a new church and so I have found much more examinations taking place. But the danger of examination isn't so much in the amount, but whether anything is learned from it and what one does with what is learned.

It can be hard to rise above the praise and encouragement that comes. Is it wrong to receive it? No, but the problem comes in dwelling in it or for that matter, receiving praise that, upon examination, may not even be deserved. This is not the fault of a congregation, this becomes the choice of the pastor or any leader, to stay where one is comfortable. In doing so one fails to experience the danger of examination.

As I grow older, I think this is where I part ways with the "Peter Principle" (In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence), unless it simply is illustrating that the incompetent are those who choose not to grow. The danger of examination is that we might learn both our weaknesses and our strengths. Knowing both, we then have potential for doing the dangerous thing - living.

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