Archive for the ‘fizzy faith’ Category

We all have that crazy claim to fame. Our brush with semi-greatness that we like to bring up in conversation. You know what I’m talking about…”I was in an elevator with William Shatner” or “My kid plays soccer with Dale Earnhardt’s grandson” or “I know a guy who knows a guy who once detailed Kelly Clarkson’s car.” We like to name drop! It lets people know that we must be a big deal because we have brushed shoulders with the sometimes rich and marginally infamous.

I must confess, I’ve been guilty of this . I have a few fairly strange brushes with big that i wear like feathers on my hat. Stand back while I drop a few names…
It all goes back to that one time when my grandpa introduced me to Johnny Lee Wills at his rodeo ( he was the kid brother of Bob Wills and a big deal in Tulsa in the seventies) I was smitten with the claim to fame game.
Since then…
I’ve met Chuck Norris (he called my daughter sweetheart, which gave her eternal street cred).
I talked on the phone with Don Henley while he was at a wiggles concert.
I ran a go cart ride for Clay Aiken.
My wife and I babysat for Lisa Whelchel’s kids once.
I stood on a miniature golf course with a 6 ft. 9 in. tall Basketball player, Tyler Hansbrough. I’m 5 ft. 1 in tall, so it was already a strange sight, but, together, we watched a snake eat a frog…seriously, it was magical.
And, in a photo op gone horribly awkward with another very tall man, I once touched Mitch Kupchak’s butt.
And those are only a few.
These are fun to talk about.
When someone mentions their celebrity brush we usually ask them the same question: “were they a GOOD person?” Like, somehow our seven second encounter qualifies us to judge their character.
We like our encounters with greatness.
We get nervous, we get butterflies about the possibility of watching Beyoncé walk by on a red carpet.
But what if we got a brush with TRUE greatness? I’m not talking about Kanye.
I was thinking about this and it dawned on me that every second of every day I have a chance to, not only encounter greatness, but live there!
I have access to the Maker and Maintainer of all things.
I get to live in relationship with God!
He is the biggest deal of all and I have His attention.
I get the constant opportunity to have a brush with His greatness AND glory.
A daily dose of divinity.
I’m pretty sure I could never get a meeting with the president. The governor won’t take my calls. Even the mayor is too busy to hang out. BUT, the King of the Universe is constantly and completely available to me.
The Creator is both infinite and intimate!
It’s not a one time random encounter either.
I don’t just rub shoulders with God, He promises to take up residence with me and in me!
The Holy Spirit lives in me.
That is a very big deal.
I get to share space with the Creator of space!
And yes, I’ve met him and found Him to be very GOOD.
AND, when it comes to name dropping the only name that has any eternal muscle is Jesus.

BIG buts

There are a lot of BUTs in the bible.

It seems that God likes BIG BUTs and He cannot lie.

BUT is a word that changes everything.

Some words are wimpy…words like blah or lame.

Some words just sound gross…words like moist or mucus.

But, BUT (see what I did there?) is a strong word.

It changes everything.

We were going one direction BUT we turned around.

Jesus said the word BUT a lot.

He used it to change things.

Over and over He used the word to change the rules…

“You have heard it said…WAAAH…WAAAH…WAAAH.

BUT, I tell you…BOOM!”

Jesus lowered the BOOM with the BUT!

You will find a lot of His BUTs in one place, the book of Matthew in the New Testament of the Bible.

I can picture the Disciples listening to Jesus talk.

Suddenly they would start to snicker and snort like a group of dudes can sometimes do…

“He said BUT!!”

Matthew wrote it down.

Here are some BIG BUTs…

Matthew 5:43-44:  “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. BUT I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you!”

BOOM! There goes the BUT! Love your enemies! Pray for the bullies. That is a serious game (and heart) changer. It’s so much easier to love the people that you like, BUT we are told to sing love songs for our enemies.

Matthew 6:31-33: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, BUT your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

BOOM! There goes the BUT! It’s so easy to get caught up in worry about stuff. BUT, because we are His kids, God has promised to take care of us. We might not always understand how He is taking care of us, BUT we can always trust that He will. He is our sustainer and the scripter of our seasons.

Matthew 10:32-33: “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. BUT everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

BOOM! There goes the BUT! Make noise about who Jesus is on earth and He will make noise about who you are in Heaven…pretty simple.

Matthew 16:25: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. BUT if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

BOOM! There goes the BUT! The Kingdom is all upside down, actually its right-side up, and everything else is upside down. The way to find is to lose!

Matthew 20:25-26: “BUT Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. BUT among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”

BOOM! There goes the BUT! Crazy leadership advice!! Totally contrary to what most leadership books say. You want to be great, lose yourself. Serve. Life is like a limbo game. How low can you go?

How about this one…

You have heard this isn’t good…

BUT, GOD says I AM GOOD…SO VERY GOOD.

People say one thing, BUT God gets the final word.

You are __________. Fill in the blank…poor, sick, lost, broken, ugly, fat, skinny, stupid, unskilled, not enough, etc.

BUT, God says you are MINE…that makes you enough.

The BUTs fill in the blanks in our lives!

BUTs change everything!

When you are at the bottom of your life…run to the BUT.

Whatever you are going through, please realize that one carefully placed BUT from God can change your situation.

You thought you were unloved, BUT…

You thought you were alone, BUT…

You thought you were hopeless, BUT…

You thought you were damaged beyond repair, BUT…

You thought you were done, BUT…

A big BUT changes everything.

Don’t give up, God is covering your but.

Get a but load of God.

 Here’s a bonus BUT from the Old Testament, that will never be put on an inspirational coffee cup:

Psalm 103:14 says “we are BUT dust”.

Think about that.

Yesterday I watched a flight attendant trying to do her job.

She was trying to go over the safety instructions and nobody was listening…evidently they had heard it all before.

She was standing up and giving life saving info and most people were completely ignoring her. Some people were just disengaged others were completely disrespectful. I could see the discouragement on her face.

The cologne drenched salesman in 17C had heard it all before and was loudly talking about quarterly goals with his buddy. There was a dude wearing skinny jeans and a zippered sweater who had his headphones drowning out the noise with loud dubstep music. There was a couple who were too busy flirting to notice anyone around them.

Through it all, the young flight attendant made her announcements about flotation devices.

I could relate to her, I feel the same frustration.

As a youth pastor, I often find myself in front of a crowd who are not interested in the life saving story that I’m trying to tell.

Maybe, it’s my delivery.

Maybe, they have heard it before.

Maybe, they are more interested in the people around them.

Maybe, you have experienced the same thing.

You want to help, but you aren’t being heard.

Some flight attendants try to change it up a bit. They add some humor, do some (mostly polite) hand gestures or talk in a fake accent. That  helps! It’s always better to tell the story in your style. Be passionate. Be creative. We should be constantly finding new ways to tell our stories.

but, there are always going to be some people who think they have heard it all.

Maybe…just maybe, if they know it all, they should help, get out of seat 17C and start pointing their fellow travelers toward the exit row.

Okay, I’m done with my rant, now in preparation for landing please return your seat backs and tray tables to their original position.

 

There is a not so subtle difference between ninjas and newscasters.

Ninjas are all about doing their job in secret.

Newscasters broadcast everything.

Ninjas are all about the mission.

They don’t care who gets the credit.

Newscasters are all about the byline.

We have a mission. it’s a simple mission.

be loved and love.

know and make known.

do good. be kind. serve. leave a mark.

along with the mission we have a choice.

ninja or newscaster…who will you be?

newscaster…

When you announce to every one what YOU are doing, you are choosing to receive your reward in the here and now.

“I gave…I served…I blessed…I helped”

kudos to you. you are a wonderful person. we recognize your service.

BUT, God tells us when you do something for me…make it about me…nobody has to know….because I know and that is what matters.

the Bible even says don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

that is pretty ninja!

Don’t turn your acts of serve into a checklist or a pat on the back.

When you announce what you have done it ceases to be serve and becomes self.

Be ninja!

there is something cool and mysterious about ninja love.

it is all about making other people famous.

be ninja!

Identity amnesia

Posted: March 14, 2015 in fizzy faith
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Sometimes I get Identity amnesia.
The littlest doubt or critique can set it off.
My psyche is slippery.
It’s like a cheesy old movie where the hero gets bumped on the head and forgets who he is.
My self image can get bumped and thumped.
I forget who I am.
Identity amnesia.
I’m a bird in an opened cage held captive by my inability to see my wings.
Truth is traded for lies.
I read the wrong name tags.
I lose my self.
In pursuit of better i forget that I’m enough.
I have to daily remind myself who I am.
I have to revisit the place where I was given a new name.
Where I learned that I matter.
I run to my Maker, my Father, the Name Giver.
My Maker never says you aren’t enough.
My Heavenly Father never says why can’t you be like your brother?
Instead He whispers to my soul let me tell you who YOU are.
I read the words that are fearfully and wonderfully engraved on my heart.
Sometimes it’s fuzzy and it requires a baptism in holy fire so that the layers of insecurity, cynicism and apathy are burned away.
Then I can see the words again…
Child
Beloved
Forgiven
Accepted
Loved
Enough
I need to pause long enough everyday to remember WHO I am and WHOSE I am.

My prayer: Father, Let me BE the one that you BElove and BEhold.

“The church sent them on their way. They passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, stopping to report to the groups of believers there that outsiders were now being converted. This brought great joy to them all.” Acts 15:3

I was struck by the beauty of this verse this morning.
The beauty of belonging.
Outsiders are coming into the family and the family is really happy about it!
That’s the way it should be. It should be a source of uncontainable joy when outsiders become a part of our party.
It makes me think of a conversation I had with my friend Mike this week. He told me about a quote that he heard…

Church should be like thanksgiving day.

Think about it…
There’s nothing like a big thanksgiving celebration.

FOOD…FAMILY…FUN!

The smells…the sounds…the stories.

There’s always that crazy uncle who will, inevitably, say or do something embarrassing.
Doesn’t matter, He still has a place at the table.
There are family members who end up napping in the corner.
There is a cousin who only eats pie.
There is life and laughter.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that Mike is onto something.
Church should feel, taste and smell like thanksgiving!
We should share food and drink.
Jesus threw parties where the food never ran out…I like that.
We should share stories.
We should laugh loud and love louder.
Church should smell like home.
There is freedom to be the weird Uncle or to take a nap or to eat a third piece of pie.
We should always be ready to add another leaf to the table.
Everybody has a place.
We ALL get to sit at the kid’s table.
We realize that is the funnest place to sit.
You don’t have to worry about appropriate.
You can burp and your cousins giggle.
You don’t have to worry about which fork to use.
You can turn your fancy napkin into a party hat.
Another crazy thing about thanksgiving…
It’s all about thanks!
There shouldn’t be any chest thumping or finger pointing.
Just hands open in gentle gratitude.
The posture of “whew!! WE made it! Pass the green bean casserole!”
We celebrate the beautiful, diverse belonging that we find at the table.
Our differences make us all the same.
Let’s serve up grace like gravy.
Let’s make a place for the outsiders and insiders…
The crazy uncles and hyperactive cousins…
We are family…
A big, crazy, messed up family.
Let’s party.

BEloved!!

Posted: February 13, 2015 in fizzy faith
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Remember valentines day in elementary school?

You would carefully craft a beautiful box with paper hearts & glitter.
You would proudly put it out on your desk, hoping that it would fill up with cards that reassured that someone actually likes you.
A little paper affirmation, hopefully with a heart shaped sucker attached.
We all want to be loved.
Then in middle school, maybe you watched everybody else get cheap student council carnations.
They would deliver the color coded fundraiser flowers to home room.
Everybody got to see who was loved, liked or left out.
There was always that one super popular person who got 20 carnations, while your desk sat empty.You tried to act like it wasn’t bothering you, but inside a part of you was dying.
We all want to be loved.
We grow up and realize that sometimes love stinks (thank you J. Geils).
We have all felt alone…we just want someone to say be mine.
Sometimes our paper hearts get stomped on, sometimes it seems like we are alone and Valentines Day comes along and rubs our “aloneness” in our face.
The crazy thing is that the deepest desires of ours can’t be met by another person, by an imperfect love…we need a love extravagant.
At the risk of sounding hallmarky, the One who created your heart longs to hold your heart.

He calls you beloved.

He loves you with a love extravagant…
A crazy little thing called love.
I found that love…
I know that love…
I have been wooed by an uncontainable and unexplainable love…a love that accepts and arrests me…a love that gives…a love that constantly whispers “Be Mine” to my insecure soul. A love that finally equips me to love others.
We all want to be loved.
It all boils down to that simple invitation to be known, to be His, to be loved.
Listen deep….

Father says to you…

be mine! Be loved! I AM with you! You aren’t alone…you were NEVER alone!

The One who created you, who has memorized everything about you, calls you beloved. You are greatly loved with a love extravagant.
Be His!!
Be LOVED!!

“Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children.” – 1 John 3:1