Thursday, May 24, 2007

running on "E"

I really hate running out of stuff. I don't like running out of ketchup, or milk, or clean underwear, or bread, or toilet paper, or battery life on my ipod, or ink for the printer, or paper, or dental floss...
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This is the season for the outdoor grill. And I hate to run out of propane, so I like to keep a spare tank around (currently the spare is empty too). But nothing kills the good vibes of a cookout more than getting the sirloin patties on the grill, and your flame turns to a flicker because there is no fuel (rare beef anyone) in the tank. Some newer, fancy grills even have a little gauge to let you know when it's getting low. Helpful? It should be, but most of us still try to anticipate how much longer we have AFTER it gets on "E". This is the same thing we do with the fuel gauge in the car, right? We have a gauge to tell us when the gas is about to run out. But a gauge isn't enough, so they started adding the display light that glows "Fuel" or "Low Fuel" or "Pull over you Idiot." But that apparently wasn't enough for us either. So now there is, on most vehicles a gauge, a light and a peep. (Ironically we don't even pay attention to the gauge anymore; we just wait for the light or the peep). Still all of these warnings are not enough. So some cars even have an information system that will tell you how many more miles (down to the 1/10 of a mile) you can go before you are completely stranded. It is strange, no one likes to run out of gas, but we can't help but push the limit to see how far we can go before we have to put the flashers on and hike up the hill with a gas can in hand.

I think it might be good if we had a spiritual fuel gauge, don't you? An objective instrument that would tell us when we were getting close to "E". And even better, an instrument panel that could warn us as to exactly how much longer we had before we would be completely drained. Maybe this instrument panel (located in your belly button or something) could then ask us tough questions like, how many more worship services are you going to skip? How many more days are you going to go without reading God's word? When are going to take some time for quiet prayer? How long do you think you can go without Christian fellowship? When are you going to take a break? This would be the equivalent of telling us its time to fill up. That would be pretty cool to have that kind of spiritual gauge. But then, with our history, would we listen?

"Father, some of us have tanks that just need to be topped off. Others of us are spiritually on "E." Help us over this summer to find the filling station. Guide us to times and places of recreation and rest, reflection and worship. We want to see the needle move toward "FULL." In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

the bachelor and blink

(whispering) i watched the bachelor last night. it's the only episode of it i've watched all season, honestly. i lost interest in that show a long time ago. but i did watch last night's finale. blonde blevin got dishonorably discharged by the Lt. while tessa got promoted! it may help blevin's feelings to be reminded that these tv arrangements have an abysmal record. that's because "reality tv" is an oxymoron and people are always more attractive ib bright clothes, sipping a beverage on a gazebo in Hawaii! these eight week, on screen wife interviews are not so helpful.

i read a book a few weeks ago called "blink" it is about the split second decisions we all make. and how some people in a split second can make amazingly accurate judgement calls, about all kinds of things. that blink is sort of a leadership intuition. but the cool thing is we can learn to make really accurate quick calls about all kinds of stuff if we know what to look for. we all know that some people make really catastrophic split second choices, but the blink book suggests that is because they are observing and evaluating the wrong criteria. you see conventional wisdom suggests that if we spend a long time with someone we can learn more about them thus enabling us to make a sound judgement about them, when actually if we dropped by thier home and observed them for 30 minutes we would actually know more about what they are REALLY like...if we know what to look for.

now that could make an interesting television show... but then how would you run that for eight weeks!

Friday, May 18, 2007

in the does matter!

i like that song by linkin park, in the end ...doesn't get played in churches much. that's probably a good thing. but it is so honest, and i like honesty! i like this song because when i feel like i'm hitting obstacles in life, interference, or just resistence, it just expresses that frustration of trying so hard at something but failing. in football we used to have to pull sleds loaded with 50lbs weights. the resistence made us stronger...but sometimes the weight made us fall. But we got up, because the coach kicked us in the butt.

But i like that song, because ultimately i know in the the THE END... it all matters. And any failure...mess up...skrew up... no matter how large or small is never final. As followers of Jesus we pick up (or are picked up) and we push forward, because that is what Jesus does , and that is what leaders do, and that is what leaders who follow Jesus do...

oh and by the way...the fifty to seventy-five of you that are reading this, you totally rock!

Friday, May 11, 2007

terrible week and a port-o-potty

this has been a week that just reeks! a week that began with hope ended with a lot of disappointment and frustration, confusion and emptiness. i went to the park yesterday to pray...and sulk. in the midst of my grief, i went to the port-o-jon. and there god gave me a little relief and perspective. perhaps not like you think. when i opened the first poo shack, there was on the slimy floor, a duffle bag. a duffle bag stuffed with was clearly the clothes of a homeless man. what i used to deposit waste, he used for shelter. and then i realized things could be much worse...