Snow Day!!!

Posted: January 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

SNOW DAY…those are two very polarizing words! ( get it…polar?!).
You probably either love or hate snow days.
It’s either magical or messy, usually depending on your age.
For a kid there are few things greater than a snow day.
We would get up early, just to see if we could sleep in late.
Was school closed?
You impatiently watched the names scroll across the bottom of the TV screen.
THEN…FINALLY…THERE IT WAS!!
Your reprieve from the classroom.
WOOOO HOOOO!!!
It was time to play!!
You would get bundled up…
It was a strenuous process.
Long johns…two pairs of pants…t shirt…sweat shirt…old coat…stocking hat…gloves…boots.
Then you would stumble, barely able to move your arms, into the frozen tundra of your front yard.
Where, you would suddenly realize that you REALLY need to pee.
OH MAN!
Finally, You would play for hours until you couldn’t feel your cheeks.
then you went inside and get some tomato soup.
You could feel the healing power of the soup as it slowly made your insides warm again.
There is something undeniably special about a snow day.
Snow days have a way of freezing moments in time.
They have a way of making memories that warm your soul.
As I write this on a snow day, one other snow day in particular stands out.
It was a bitterly cold Oklahoma day.
We were hanging out at our Grandma’s house with a slew of cold, bored cousins.
My Uncle Lee had a jeep.
Guys with jeeps love snow days.
Growing up, My Uncle Lee was the single coolest human being I knew.
He was my hero.
He had long hair. He seldom wore shoes (even on snow days).
He lived wild and free.
He was a peacemaker.
He was kind to little kids and animals.
It seemed like He always had time for us…sometimes adults didn’t.
It’s amazing how the simple act of finding time for kids can make you a rock star in their eyes.
Uncle Lee had a great snow day idea.
He got a chain and a huge piece of black rubber.
Do you see where this is going?
Where normal men see a worthless scrap of tire rubber…
Super cool Uncles see sleds!
He attached the “sled” to the jeep with the rusty chain.
We found a huge, reasonably hazard free field.
Uncle Lee did donuts and we hung on,for dear life, to the homemade sled.
Cousins were flying everywhere as he would take corners.
We laughed hard and tried to hang on.
It seemed like a great idea…
getting dragged behind a jeep and flung into rocks and trees.
Until, our pants filled up with snow.
We were frozen to the bone…it was so cold!
Even the chilliest memories can warm your heart.
I will never forget that snow day.
Snow days have a way of freezing moments in time.
I will never forget that moment.
My Uncle Lee left this world way too early.
He was only 41, he was building his dream house.
In a freak accident he fell backwards and hit his head.
I didn’t understand why that happened…I still don’t.
He was a great man, the epitome of gentle strength.
He was a great husband, father and brother.
He was a really cool uncle.
Cool Uncles make great Grandpas, he never got the chance.
Sometimes real life is bitterly cold.
We are left chilled to the bone.
But because, Snow days have a way of freezing moments in time.
I remember a forever young, cool Uncle and a jeep.
I remember the wild and free moments.
I remember the grown up who took the time to play.
I remember.
The best memories are like tomato soup, they warm your insides.

Excuse me…

Posted: January 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

Excuse me, but don’t I know you from a different life?
I think I recognize you, but you looked younger then…much younger.
I think I remember you, but you look different now…very different.
You lived with wide eyed wonder, but now I look in your eyes and I wonder what changed violet to violent?
There’s a brittle coolness there now where there was once a beautiful curiosity.
And I wonder who sucker punched you in the soul?
You were trusting and tender then, but now you seem troubled and tough…very tough.
You smelled like cotton candy then, now you reek of cynicism.
Reality is sometimes cruel and it crushes childlike dreams with its brutal harshness.
Your heart was broken, and now it’s covered with scar tissue.
You forgot who you are,
But dear one…
It’s
Not
Over!
Come back…
Rediscover….
Remember….
Sometimes we have to grow backwards…be born all over, start again.
It’s not too late for you.
Smell the fresh hope.
Shake off the scales of cynicism, be washed by wild wonder.
Cut the callous spots off your soul.
Broken hearts can be made new.
Go to the Creator, he can re-craft you.
He is bigger than reality.
He transforms violent back into violet.
He turns scar into story.
He has kept your tears in a bottle.
He has held your dreams like precious jewels.
Let the Wonderful One reacquaint you with wonder. Enter wide open places where you can play instead of perform.
Breathe…
Begin…
Be.
Excuse me, but don’t I know you from a brand new life?

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Image  —  Posted: January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

We Can…

Posted: January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
How does someone spend their time today?
If you have the day off you could go to a parade. You could read a letter from Birmingham jail.
But, there are also some things that we could ALL do…
Things that matter, things to honor, things done in a spirit of remembrance, and respect.
Things that cost nothing.
Things that cost everything.
We can dream out loud of a world where greatness is an equal opportunity endeavor for EVERYbody.
We can flex our character muscles by showing bravery and kindness.
We can refuse to judge.
We can refuse to nurse preconceived notions.
We can refuse to be colorblind, Be color celebrant. We appreciate different beautiful hues in flowers, Let’s do the same with each other. celebrate the variety that brings value.
We can listen!! Listen to the stories of our brothers and sisters. Walk in the shoes of another, carry a load that you weren’t born with.
We can let love drive out hate.
We can refuse to stay silent about the things that matter.
We can…

Training Band.

Posted: January 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

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It was August 1975. I was a classic underachiever entering the fifth grade. I was determined this would be the year I finally found my place in the middle school social jungle. I desperately wanted to fit in somewhere.

I had the opportunity to try out for the school band. I was so excited. I just knew music was going to be my thing. Band was an extremely big deal in my hometown, so I figured it would be my ticket to acceptance, approval, and fame.
And besides, it’s a universal truth that chicks dig musicians. So I joined the band.

The first thing we had to do was get our parents to buy us an instrument. Most people went down to the really impressive-looking music store and bought beautiful, shiny new instruments. We went to a garage sale and found a 32-year-old trumpet. We paid seven bucks for it. It wasn’t beautiful, shiny, or new.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the beat-up case was the musty smell. It smelled like a combination of nasty feet, corn chips, and a nursing home. I tried to play it the first time, and foul grayish-green goop seeped out of all the valves. It was 32 years worth of other people’s spit. It wasn’t a super-pleasant experience.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel good about my instrument. Also, I got to confess, I never actually practiced, which I guess is pretty important, and I really didn’t have any musical ability in the first place. So all of these factors combined made me quite possibly the worst student musician in the history of student musicians.

I was so completely mediocre that I ended up in “the training band”. This was the second string band. It was the “developmental” band. We were supposed to practice all week, which again, I actually rarely did; then on Friday afternoon, we went into a small, stuffy closet office with the assistant band director and tried out for the real band. It was like a twisted version of American Idol. We would play a simple musical score, and he would tell us if we were good enough for the big leagues. You were only SUPPOSED to be in training band for a month or two. Most people moved through pretty fast.
Not me…
I was in training band for two long years.
Finally, in the eighth grade, the band teacher kicked me out of the training band.
Yes friends, I am a training band reject.
pretty sad, huh?

Maybe you can relate?

Some of you might feel as if your life has been one long training band. You just never seemto quite measure up. You are an outsider, an underachiever, You’re always just one step behind. Your life is like a candy bar, and on the wrapper it says, “You might already be a winner.” Suddenly, you get a little excited because after all, you might already be a winner. So you carefully tear open the wrapper only to read the words, “Sorry, you are not a winner.”

You feel like your entire life is like that candy bar wrapper. You were optimistic at first. You had hope, you had potential. But as your life has unwrapped, nothing has worked out, and you’re left with the message, “Sorry, you are not a winner.” So you feel like a perpetual loser. Maybe you’ve suffered through a lifetime of losing. If that’s the case, I plead with you: Don’t give up and don’t give in.

If you’re reading this, it isn’t too late for you. The game isn’t over. No matter how old you are and how many times you’ve failed, no matter what your family situation is, there’s still hope for you. The Bible is full of late bloomers. Abraham didn’t realize God designed his destiny of being a daddy until he was 100 years old. Moses was 80 when he ran into a burning bush and found out what he was supposed to do with his life. Even Jesus lived at home until he was 30. So regardless of your past, it’s never too late for a comeback.

If you feel like your life is a series of losses, MAYBE it’s time to redefine the concept of winning. We can have such a distorted view of winning. We think for someone to win, someone else must lose.

But the Bible makes it clear that true winning isn’t about measuring up or beating someone else.
The truth is, winning is all about losing (#irony). Jesus gives us a game plan totally contrary to every self-help book on the shelf. In Luke 17:33, he says, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” So if you want to win, lose. Go ahead—be a loser.

Lose your—

Fears

Shame

Ambitions

Plans

Pride

Prejudice

Failures

Successes

Strengths

Weaknesses

Lose yourself!

We lose ourselves by giving our lives, ambitions, goals, strengths, and weaknesses to God. We decide we aren’t going to live for ourselves any longer. We lose ourselves in the pursuit of knowing and living for something bigger than us. When we do that, something truly awesome happens: God takes our lives and dreams, does an extreme makeover, and gives us bigger, even wilder dreams.

Lose your life in the pursuit of what really matters—the kingdom of God. That’s the only real way to win. That’s really good news to those of us who have spent time in training band or on the bench or staring at losing candy bar wrappers.
Jesus is for losers.

Life is a Team Sport.

Posted: January 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

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The college football national championship was played last night. Because of that, my brain is a little fuzzy, it feels like my head is full of AstroTurf. The game went late, and I’m up early for a meeting.
It was worth it!
It was a fantastic game.
The Georgia Bulldogs dominated the first half. But then, the Alabama Crimson Tide came back for a pretty exciting overtime win.
I didn’t really have a dog, or dawg, in the fight. I’m a Oklahoma State/East Carolina fan. But, I was rooting for Georgia, because I think their mascot is cool and I love the peach state.
I was a little bummed when the dawgs didn’t pull it off.
It was still really fun to watch.
But, I have to confess, I was a bit distracted…
There was something happening on the sidelines that confused and confounded me…
As the Georgia coach, Kirby Smart, enthusiastically strutted down the sideline he was followed by a large bald man, who occasionally grabbed him by the back of his pants…
WHAAA?!
It was a little awkward to watch.
One man grabbing another man from behind just seems wrong.
The backside grabber’s name is Scott Sinclair. Most of the time, he is in charge of Georgia’s strength and conditioning program. But on game days, Sinclair is in charge of grabbing Kirby Smart’s pants. It’s not glamorous work, but he does it to keep his head coach from incurring a penalty on his team.
There is something familiar about Coach Smart’s situation.
I’ve heard this story before.
A man is so consumed by his passion that he becomes blind to the boundaries.
He has to be held back. He just can’t control himself and he needs outside help.
He is so caught up in the game that he forgets about the lines that he isn’t meant to cross.
It happens…
to all of us.
Coach Smart knows he needs an anchor.
Smart people ask for outside help. (See what I did there?)
We need outside (and inside) help.
Character is all about the inside stuff.
Community is there for the outside help.
We ALL need both!
For the inside stuff, we aren’t alone. We have the chance to have the Holy Spirit as our companion, comforter, and character builder.
The Holy Spirit can be our personal strength and conditioning coach. If we let him, he grabs us when we are blind to the boundaries. He builds character into our lives.
We got to be willing to be reigned in. That usually requires swallowing our pride and asking for help. We have to be more concerned about our character than what people think.
We also need community. We need real friends who are willing to grab us by the back of our pants if necessary. It’s not glamorous work, it requires people brave and bold enough to keep a friend from crossing the line. We need speakers of truth and hope.
Life is a team sport.
There are wins and losses.
There are boundaries and red zones.
We all need help.
We need character, we need community.

 

Moving Day.

Posted: January 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

Very often life is all about moving stuff.
So we move, we shuffle, we relocate.
But, sometimes we never even touch the things that matter.
Instead of moving mountains, we are throwing rocks.
Very often life is all about moving stuff….
It’s about clearing the path and creating bridges out of boulders.
But sometimes, instead we use the boulders to build immovable walls.
Very often life is all about moving stuff…
Getting rid of the things that don’t fit anymore.
But, sometimes we just move the same old stuff around the closet and call it new…
but it’s not.
It’s just old stuff in a new place, with a little less dust.
Very often life is all about moving stuff…
So drop the rocks, today is your moving day.
Your mountains are waiting, so move them out of the way.