Friday, December 23, 2005

Life Is Great...and I hope it is for you also!

Two days before Christmas. Where has this year gone? I don't know about you, but 2005 has seemed like a blur. Not that a lot hasn't happened - it has. Maybe so much has happened that I can't really remember it all. Memory is a funny thing. I heard a discussion the other day that the best memory recall is when you don't have many distractions in life. No wonder I can't remember a darn thing!! Remember this - remember that. Don't forget the kids. Don't forget to tell so and so about that. Maybe one of those voice activated recorders will help. Who knows.

So this week we have had four gatherings at Meadow Heights Church. We have had a lot of positive feedback about having our gatherings during the week and spending the weekend with family. And then we have had a few complaints about taking Jesus out of "Christmas Day" etc. I know the debate is starting to dwindle, or at least the last few days the topic has lost momentum. Christmas. Holiday. So much debate about a title instead of a lifestyle. Don't even get me started on the true "birth date" of Jesus. We could go on and on. Who really cares what you call it?

I realized today (I took me long enough) that I too have lost the true meaning of Christmas in my hustle and bustle. It hit me that I wouldn't be living the life I have now without the grace and love of Jesus. Where would I be now without Him? I imagine a life of many accomplishments but no meaning. I imagine a life without many friends, possibly without a family. I imagine a life without the authentic and real relationships that I find myself surrounded by now. And I imagine a life without hope. No hope for today and no hope for tomorrow. I love the phrase a dear friend of mine uses to sign off on his blog each day (and of course he has no shortage of quaint phrases!!) - he says that "life is great...and I hope it is for all of you also." I love that outlook in life. And that is the story I find myself in this Christmas. No matter how busy, no matter how many challenges or struggles, no matter what financial worries may be looming, I can truly say that "life is great" because of my relationship with Jesus. Let's not forget why this life is truly great this Christmas (and yes, Holiday) season.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Life As A Rhino

I just checked my blog for the first time in a while...actually I noticed I have posted since October. YIKES!! Besides Thanksgiving, I don't recall many relational moments with anyone except my family. This leads to my question - "Where have all the people gone?"

Funny isn't it? Sometimes from our own perspective we move around the world. We get so busy, so caught up in the moment that we seem to revolve around life. Think of it this way - are you on the merry-go-round sharing in the journey with everyone else? Or are you sitting and watching everyone else "go 'round?" Or maybe you're too busy to notice anyone at all. That's what life feels like to me sometimes.

I promised myself (and others!) that I would organize my life in such a way that I could actually breathe in the world around me. I have missed so many aromas of life that I'm afraid my sense of smell might fade away. Have you thought about how life would be if you woke up one morning only to find that they were putting you in the ground? Sure they had a lot of nice things to say, but ultimately there wasn't a whole lot that you could remember about what they were saying because you were too busy to have a relationship with others. Does life feel like that for you sometimes?

I have always had a problem looking for the next accomplishment, the next conquest. I actually thought life was supposed to be "conquered" not lived. What kind of mentality is that? One of my mentors has a great saying..."success comes in 'cans', failures come in 'cant's'." That's a great philosophy to live by. But what if you can't find your can?

So to close this post today, I am seriously taking a look at where I've been, but most importantly I need to look at where I am going, and even further yet...who's going with me. One of my favorite authors, Erwin McManus, talks about how rhinos can't see but a few feet in front of them. And a group of rhinos is appropriately named a "crash." It's great to attack life like a rhino - always forging the way for the next adventure. But I think I've been living life as a rhino for too long - I haven't been able to see five feet in front of me, and like the rhino, I may be ready to "crash" at any moment.

I hope that more posts are to come, and possibly more frequently than every month!! Until the next adventure!!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Custom Made Jesus

It's amazing to me that business continues to find new ways to attract consumers to their products. Take for instance the latest iPod craze, and soon to be Video iPod. Wherever you turn their are iPod's. Podcasting has taken off as one of the quickest and most effective ways to get audio to people. You can sign up for "podcasts" and download them at will for almost anything that is broadcast. Churches are beginning to do this as well. Why don't churches use these strategies more often?

The business world has figured out that to reach their "target audience" that they must customize their product to meet the needs of the consumer. I heard a great session by Leonard Sweet that describes this in detail. He deconstructed a simple Starbucks Coffee Cup and talked about branding and the church. As he described, business is simply taking age old biblical principles and applying them in a practical way. Something, he stresses, that the church has forgotten about but needs to revisit. Why let business dominate a strategy that Christ used centuries ago??

I had some fun recently with product "customization." You can visit my new "shoe" design here. You can now personalize everything from shoes, other clothing items, your car, your name it and you can personalize it. This seems so ironic to me. The very thing that business uses is the same concept that the "church" (BIG "C") has put in a box for so long. God is seen as a "rigid" force that you shouldn't mess with. Do as your told and follow the rules. We are one. How fresh would it be to talk about Jesus as someone who you can "personalize?" Someone who can relate to you no matter where you are or where you have been. This is the Jesus that I know. This does not diminish the "Truth," but paints it in a new way that anyone can relate to on their own level. In essence this is what Jesus was all about - meeting people (customization) wherever they needed to be met.

So my question is this - are you looking for a mass-produced, run-of-the-mill Jesus, or are you looking for a fresh, customized Jesus that will meet you wherever you are?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

An "old" friend

Mill Stream Gardens
The "Twisted" Tree

Two Parks in Two Days

I had the opportunity to visit two state parks that I had never been to before. My family and I along with my mother in law, visited Mill Stream Gardens on Sunday afternoon. It was a very small park, but very beautiful as well. There is a small area called the "shut ins" and a large tree that was "turned" by a man over many, many years. An enjoyable afternoon with the family on a gorgeous day.

On Monday (my new day off!!) I spent the day with an old friend at Sam A. Baker state park. Again, a state park that I had not set foot in before. This park was much bigger than I anticipated. It was very beautiful with two campgrounds, a park/picnic area, cabins, visitor's center, and a small restaurant that opens during the weekend. I loved the area, and certainly had an itch to go to the nearest camper dealer to see what I could find. But alas, the dollars say not at this time. Soon however!! I had a great day talking, hanging out, eating a great grilled hamburger, and thinking about days gone by. Thanks for a great day John!!

Now it is back to work this week, with much on the horizon. We had our first full time Saturday gathering this past weekend, and the vibe was very good. Over 550 in attendance this weekend, the second highest ever for a non-holiday. This could be the catalyst that sparks the next wave of growth. I'm excited to see where things are headed from here. Only time (and God!!) will tell.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The Catalyst Conference 2005 is now officially over. I had the opportunity to hear some great speakers, but mostly it was the same stuff I had heard before from them or from their books. It was nice to hear Donald Miller for a longer period of time. He is definitely a challenging speaker, with a great sense of dry wit and humor. Bill Hybels was also a highlight for the day.

By far the greatest highlight was the band. This band can ROCK!! Most of the vocalists and musicians are from North Point Church in Atlanta. The drummer was phenom as well as many of their vocalists. A great improvement from last year.

I enjoyed the conference again this year, but I enjoyed hanging out with the Emerging Leader group much more than the conference. It was great to watch them as they experienced this environment for the first time - it is always rewarding to watch others and share in their thoughts. We had some great conversations, and who can forget that wonderful van ride (thanks to Craig Mills here!).

Now I am back at work for the week, busily preparing for the permanent addition of our Saturday gathering starting this weekend. It is a busy week ahead!!

I am off for home and to see Kayla one last time before she heads back to school tomorrow. It seems like her visit home went too quickly, or maybe I am just getting much older. Probably a combination of both.

So for now, I bid you farewell.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Atlanta, Day One

Well, it's our first day in Atlanta. We rolled in about 3:30am today (losing an hour to the Eastern time zone) and with little sleep managed to climb out of bed at about 9:30am. Then it was off to the Catalyst Labs. There were a total of three sessions, each with a different speaker. I must say that all three sessions were decent, but by far the best speaker of the day was Len Sweet. He was very articulate - VERY intellectual, and very challenging. He analyzed the marketing (image) strategy of Starbuck's Coffee and made a great comparison that business is using strategies and ideas that are straight from the Bible. As a church, however, we are failing to use the very things that make companies like Starbucks extremely successful. It was very interesting.

I took two things away from his conversation. Number one, even though this is a leadership conference, Christ called us to "follow Him" and not lead. In order to be great leaders we first have to be great followers. Or in Sweet's words, it's not about discipleship, but followership. Secondly, we must open our eyes and look for "God" moments, or the study of semiotics (spellling?). This is basically looking for the "signs" that God is present. And not just looking for them but then knowing what to do once you find them. That, Sweet states, is the same concept that Starbucks has used successfully for years. Knowing the signs of their business, identifying them, and then knowing what to do with them. A great discussion for the short hour period.

There were two other speakers, but none that were as captivating as Sweet. I will add however, that the evening session featured one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) who was as witty as his writings. If you haven't checked out his books, I encourage you to do so. You won't be disappointed.

Tomorrow begins the main sessions in the big arena. Many, many talented authors and speakers to appear tomorrow, so I am off to bed to recoup from my day. More updates later!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Like Father, Like Son

We've been having some awesome discussions in our Emerging Leaders group lately. We've been working through the Wild At Heart curriculum by John Eldredge and talking a lot about what it means to be a "man." One of the issues we have talked about is the idea that our father's have "wounded" us, or at least made some sort of impression on us during our childhood that we still carry around as an adult. This has really made me think back to my childhood (of which I don't remember much) and the things my father didn't teach me. Not that my childhood was horrible by any means, but I started wondering what exactly a father was supposed to teach to his kids.

I am now soliciting input on what you think are the top 10 things a father should teach his children, and even more specifically to his son. What sorts of things should young boys know growing up that their fathers should teach them? Things that you would consider the "staples" of manhood. Maybe even a fatherhood checklist.

Feel free to submit your responses directly to this blog, or better yet, send them directly to my email: I look forward to compiling the lists of "musts" to help guide fathers (including me!!) in this crazy and hectic world.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Authentic Doesn't Always Mean Goodbye

Have you ever been around someone who you knew was "inauthentic." They tried to cover it up, but deep down you really knew the difference between what they were saying and how they really lived their life. People like that really bother me.

Now don't get me wrong - I will be the first to step up to the plate and say that there have been times when I would say one thing but mean something else. I hate that about myself. I had a terrible history in the past of saying things that weren't "exactly" the truth, but close enough to sound convincing. That approach usually kept me out of hot water or at least detoured a potentially hazardous situation. That reminds me of another phrase (John, I may need some help again finding the meaning) - "little white lie." Seems ironic doesn't it. Little and lie don't really go together now do they? Aren't all lies fairly significant? Why use the term little? And what about the word white. Why that color? It seems to me that lies would be better described as black, as in darkness. But maybe that's just me.

Is our goal really to live life as authentically as possible? Is that really a reasonable expectation? How do we know that we are being authentic? I have seen the best of people that need someone to challenge them in that area. It brings about the importance of true friendships; accountability partners if you will. We all need some help occasionally, and I for one, need help more than most. We need someone who cares enough to tell us when they see us struggling.

Vulnerability. That's another important term. Someone may have the guts to talk to us, but if we aren't willing to engage in the conversation, then it really doesn't do any good. I can think of specific examples of people who were challenged in an area of their life, but instead of taking an honest look at themselves, they blamed others and ignored the problem altogether. Or worse yet, they walked away completely and abandoned those who were trying to help them in the first place.

I have fears that I react that way sometimes. It is difficult to hear something challenging about your character or behavior. That's pretty natural. I know from the past that my first reaction is typically one of defense. Sometimes even of anger. I tend to want to debate my position without taking into account that I might be holding up for the wrong side of the equation. By that time it's hard to take things back. I have tried very hard to listen closely and give myself time to digest everything.

Being authentic doesn't mean having to say goodbye. I really think living an authentic life can be a very healthy and freeing thing. The problem is that most of us live a life that avoids this because it is a very difficult thing to do. So my question today is, how are you doing in this area? Do you find yourselves living life with a clear conscience? Or do you struggle with saying one thing and living another?


My thanks to John for the following info on the "Bandwagon:"


One of the more frequent questions to this site's discussion forum has been where the phrase jump on the bandwagon comes from. The confusion stems from the fact that the phrase survives into the 21st century while bandwagons are long gone.

In 19th and early 20th century America, a bandwagon was exactly what it sounds like, a wagon, usually horse-drawn, which carried a musical band. Bandwagons were used in circuses, to lead parades, and at political rallies. Hence to join or jump on the bandwagon was to follow the crowd, and in a political context with the connotation that one was there for the entertainment and excitement of the event, rather than from deep or firm conviction.

The first known use of the term bandwagon is from 1855 in P.T. Barnum's Life:

At Vicksburg we sold all our land conveyances excepting four horses and the "band wagon." Use of a bandwagon as a metaphor for a political campaign dates to at least 1884, when the magazine Puck published a cartoon depicting Chester A. Arthur driving a bandwagon full of presidential hopefuls.

The familiar phrase first appears in an 1899 letter by Theodore Roosevelt:

When I once became sure of one majority they rumbled over each other to get aboard the band wagon.

(Updated: 20 June 2003; Sources: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition and Safire's New Political Dictionary.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Truth Is

This has certainly been an interesting week!! I haven't posted in a while, so I will try to get back on the bandwagon (hmmm...where did that phrase come from originally? John, any ideas?) in the posting game again.

I have been wondering about the word "truth." What does truth really mean? If someone actually believes something wholeheartedly, without doubt or reservation, does that make it truth? If someone doesn't agree with that viewpoint, does that make it not the truth? Either direction is cause for concern. No one person can ever have a "truthful" thought without someone, somewhere disagreeing in some form or fashion. If that is the case, then wouldn't you have your own doubts about the validity of your "truth?" We can be so easily swayed by a good argument. Not necessarily the truth in the argument, but by someone who claims to have the answers, the truth, but in reality falls quite short. BUT...they put on a good show, they are convincing, and if they do have doubts, they never show it.

And then I think of the snake in the Garden of Eden. The snake claims to have the truth. He presents it in a convincing manner. So convincingly as a matter of fact, that Eve and then Adam follow. But does that make it the "truth?" The snake was convinced. Or was he? Maybe he knew it wasn't the truth, but to give validity to the life he was living he had to convince himself it simply was the truth. His life would have no meaning otherwise.

So the question is, do you know people who live like the snake does? Those convinced that they have the only truth and are determined to tell the world about it, regardless of the consequences. Believing that something is the truth doesn't make it the truth. But maybe that is where faith comes in. I'll leave that for another discussion.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Life Is Funny Like That's funny that when you think you may have a moment of clarity and freshness that somehow life throws you a curveball. In many cases it's several the same time. Just as I was thinking that I might maintain a state of equilibrium, several "kinks" in the armor began to change my course. Several projects I have been working on had some minor glitches, my grandfather has become ill, my family life became hectic once again, and my brain stopped operating in a state of purgatory. Life is funny like that.

The only way I can think of to maintain a perpetual state of clarity is to stop doing anything at all. But then I wonder if by doing nothing I would actually create a state of unbalance worse than trying to do many things. Life is funny like that.

Busyness. It's even strange to spell. It reminds me of a quote I heard once. "Life is like a box of chocolates..." I'll let you finish it with your favorite words of wisdom. So many choices that fit depending on the situation. Life is funny like that.

I guess I wouldn't really want things any differently. I have a wonderful wife, wonderful kids, a wonderful job. Satisfaction and contentment have turned from being goals to strive for to more of a lifestyle. Instead of continually searching for something that I could never obtain, I simply found it right beneath my nose the entire time. I remember thinking, "I can't get no...satisfaction." What is satisfaction really? Don't people talk about satisfaction in terms of what they don't have? Or what they wish they had?

So here I am. Satisfied that God has provided exactly what He had in mind to begin with. But not satisfied enough to stop trying to figure out what He has in store next.

Life is funny like that...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Back in the Saddle

The holiday weekend is now complete, and I must say, for the first time in months, I feel much more relaxed. I don't know if it was the extra "day" to hang with the family, or the weather, or what, but I am ready for the next holiday break.

Lots to say and many topics to discuss, so stay tuned and hold on to your horses...I'm back in the saddle again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How do you spell Anonymous?

I wanted to make a fairly bold statement to anyone wanting to make comments on this blog. While I am always open to comments, suggestions, oppositions, debate, direct fire, and all others forms of feedback, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANONYMOUS COMMENTS!!

In my opinion, if you are not able to take ownership of your comments, then don't make them. You can always email me directly if that is more comfortable. I do not, and will not, give credence to any comments where the owner cannot stand up for what is said.

Information can only be deemed credible if the source has established itself likewise. Otherwise information turns out to be gossip, or worse yet, a source of untruth and conflict. This is definitely not what Jesus had in mind, in my opinion.

So...from this point forward, you must be registered user to make comments on this blog. If you cannot work within that parameter.....THEN DON'T POST!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Living the Life

WOW!! That's all the words I can muster after the past week. It has been SO crazy! We did get Kayla to school and settled in. I have heard from her just about everyday - nothing like I'm missing you or stuff like that, but more like, "Dad, I have run into this...what would you do?" Questions like that. I forgot how overwhelming the first week of college can be.

The roller coaster has continued this week as well with the first full week of school. Seth has started 7th grade football which brought back not so comforting memories for me. I was in every sport imaginable in middle school (junior high for us old folks out there), but was pretty much horrible at all of them. I remember being deathly afraid on the field (the little I got out there in the game). Not to mention that I had glasses, and my mom made me take them off during the game so I wouldn't break them. Which meant that I was not only incompetent, but a blind fool as well. Geez!! Talk about a mess. I just hope he has a better experience than I did!

Okay...I had so many thoughts rolling around in my head, but as usual, my memory is failing me. I don't know if it is truly a problem, I am too busy and misplace the info, or maybe it wasn't that important to begin with. Who knows? But that is for another discussion!

Friday, August 19, 2005

So Shoot Me

I know that I said I was going to use this blog as a means to store my "buckets," but I have noticed lately that it has become more personally expository than I originally intended. My thought is this - SO SHOOT ME!!

It is hard for me to separate my personal thoughts, happenings, circumstances from what I hope might turn into profoundly spiritual thoughts or ideas. With that said, some of you that might eventually read this blog and provide commentary will just have to deal with my personal interjections and stories.

I have decided to put this link out to a few of my close compadres for some feedback. I welcome, perhaps even beg, for other thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc. Anything to spark some discussion, debate, or perhaps a new level of understanding about life and all the confusion that surrounds it. I am constantly amazed that life can be so complicated, but in the next moment, so utterly simple. Life can be intellectual, but the next moment turn into an emotional train wreck (I have some thoughts on this that I might share in the upcoming weeks). One thing is for certain: I don't want to miss out on what life has to offer.

So my prayer is this: up our minds, our hearts, and our souls. Let all of us breathe in your presence and discover the beauty of this life. Despite the seemingly frail nature of our existence, may we love as you have intended, and live for your love in return.

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day in the life of the Goldsmith Family - we are sending our oldest child off to college. While this may seem like no biggie to those of you who have been through this process, I can assure you that our house is on "pins and needles" right now as we try and figure out what life will be like "Post-Kayla."

I knew this day would come at some point, but now that it is here, I am not sure I am quite ready for it. As I type this, it seems to sink in even further. In my brain I know that this is the next logical step in any young adults life - the chance to experience the joys and wonders of college life. I remember my "days of yore" and the exhiliration of freedom. But in my heart I feel a sense of she ready? Did I prepare her enough? Did I spend as much time as I should have with her? Questions like these seem very natural. And then I realize that these questions are not really about her, but about me.

It seems that we always try to find ways to ease our minds during times like these. For some, this comes in the form of rationalizing the situation, or physically doing something, maybe even quelching the body with various foods. For others it means turning to a close friend for conversation, reinforcements, or advice. We all try to do something to make ourselves feel better. I guess for me that means typing for this blog.

As I close this entry, I just want to say this: We will miss you Kayla. We will never forget sharing those experiences as you grew up, and most of all, we will always love you. May you turn to God along your path, and may He guide you during your next stage of life. I am glad you have decided to pursue the long and difficult path of "the road not taken."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Life in a Bucket

I read a great analogy by Erwin McManus just the other day. He was asked to discuss what "postmodernism" means in the context of the message and the delivery of that message. Are both constant, or possibly one or both changing depending on the environment? His response really openend my eyes. I will try to recap it to the best of my memory (which is not very good!!)

Erwin states that postmodernism is like a river. Many churches find one spot in the river and take a bucket to try and capture the essence of the river. They try to capture the rapids of the river (culture) by "scooping" them into the bucket. What they find however is that once they confine the "rapid," it turns out to simply be water. The bucket confines, stagnates, and eventually kills all life inside of it. Many churches think that in order to capture postmodernism, they can quickly dip into the river and they will discover it. They don't realize that the church HAS BECOME THE BUCKET!!

The other option (and what an amazing discovery, if you will let it soak in) is to emerse yourself headlong into the water itself, discovering the ever-flowing rapids, twists and turns, ebb and flow. Postmodernism cannot be defined by the culture, but only experienced. The danger is that we want to LIVE LIFE IN THE BUCKET - it is safe, it is comfortable, but ultimately leads to nothing; a shallow pool of stagnant water that once held abundant life.

As it says in Numbers 24:7 - He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters..

Rev. 22:17 (NIV) The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

How many of us are tempted to live life in a bucket? How much time will we spend analyzing the contents of our bucket only to lose out on the mysteries of the river? If we choose the river it will be dangerous; it will be full of rocks and trees, traps and snares. But it is also full of abundant life. As we have just studied the past four weeks, Jesus said it best:

John 10:10 (KJV) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Join me in the river...
(Goldie's thoughts reprinted with permission from the MH Emerging Leaders Blog)

What is this thing called "Danger?"


What does this really mean? I have heard people talk alot about being a "Dangerous Christian" this week. I have even seen people who have the air of "danger" about them; acting and behaving in an abnormal way. But what then does it mean to be truly dangerous? Because you see, I don't think I've been very dangerous lately. Oh sure, it's easy to say you live the dangerous life, right?

Maybe being dangerous isn't about planning some "extraordinary" event, or even acting in a different way. Maybe being dangerous is about letting the Holy Spirit guide you to places you were afraid to go. To engage in a lifestyle the He directs; not one you choose to live safely within. I read last week about how easy it is to call yourself a "Christian," but to be really dangerous means to be a "Christ Follower." To be a Christ follower involves three active components: (1) Christ must come first; (2) You must listen to Him, and (3) You must follow, not lead. This is certainly a lot different from being a Christian. You see, many people call themselves "Christians" because that is safe, easy, and requires no actions. We have too many inactive Christians already. I think God is calling us to be dangerous because it's time for action. It's time to go forth and be Barbarians, to be the "mushroom eaters," to live dangerously in the will of God.

How much longer will we dwell in our own questions when God is looking for the response? He has been asking the RIGHT questions all along. He wants us to be dangerous and say yes! Answering the questions from God seem to be a much more difficult task. They require action; they anticipate the danger ahead. God has prepared us to answer - so why do we insist on asking the questions? In reality, the answer is much more important than the question.

What will your answer be? Safety or Danger? Action or Inaction? Christian or Christ Follower? For me, the answer is obvious: it is time to simply say "Yes."

(Goldie's thoughts reprinted with permission from the MH Emerging Leaders blog)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Goin' to the Windy City

A group of us are headed to Chicago today for a short Multi-Site conference. Willow Creek has invited pastors of multi-site churches to engage in a one-day forum. I can't wait to see what they have to talk about. There is the sense that God might reveal some insight as to the future of MH. Is multi-site the answer? What type of multi-site strategy do we use? All this and more coming up on this week's episode of....Goin' to the Windy City.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Joy Quotient

Bryan mentioned a phrase this weekend that really caught my attention - "joy quotient." I thought that this phrase had some excellent applications. What is your joy quotient? How does this relate to God? It seems to me to be directly related: the more you let God plan your agenda, the higher your JQ. When we fight against this, when we do the "human" things, when we highlight our own agenda, ultimately our JQ goes down. It may appear to be high in the moment, but I would suggest that this isn't truly joy; it is merely a momentary high that cannot last.

So the question is this - what is your Joy Quotient?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Salty Dogma

I just read about an interview with Bono, the lead singer for U2. He likened his spiritual journey to that of Grace and not Karma. I thought this was an interesting analogy and one I had never thought about. Most religions believe in Karma - what you do will come back to you somehow, whether good or bad or both. Grace however, is God forgiving us for what we have already done and will do. The only thing that comes back to us is His love. What a concept!!

As Bono states, "...I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge." For Bono as well as me, we will put our faith in grace.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Spiritual Co-Dependency

We had an interesting discussion this morning in our Emerging Leaders group. A friend of mine brought up the fact that sometimes he feels overwhelmed by new "Christ-Followers" that have come to trust him for guidance and wisdom. While this is certainly an admirable trait of his (and he is one of the most humble men I know), he was exhausted from helping those he has helped in their journey.

The question then becomes how we help relatively new Christians as they continue their journey. We have to realize that everyone is at a different "click" on the journey track. Even those who are still trying to figure stuff out are still on the journey track. It is easy to think of this in terms of a horizontal line stretching from left to right with the center being Christ. The journey comes before, during, and after Christ.

I wonder though...what if Christ is not ON the line, but rather in a multi-dimensional aspect is above, below, around the line, etc. Christ is omni-present. This concept makes more sense. The ultimate goal in a visible term however, is to move from left to right on the journey. How do we help those who move along the track? I think Christ would say that we help them by sharing reality with them. By sharing life. Our story. Their story. HIS story. It doesn't really matter where someone is on the "line" but it does matter whether we find ourselves on the line with them; sharing in the journey together. If we share in this journey the way Christ has showed us, then there is no doubt that we will move along this line together. It may only be one click at a time, but we will continue.

I am not sure where all of this is going, but my friend understands the complexity of this subject. He understands what it means to live like Christ. The journey is difficult. But He has shown us the path. Will we, as my friend has so bravely found, have the courage to follow?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hide and Seek

I am interested in this concept of "hide and seek." It seems that God is (and has) always seeking us, but our human instinct is to hide. It's sort of like the game, really. We hide, God counts to ten and then tries to find us. But we hide. Sometimes we hide really, really good. So good as a matter of fact, that we don't want to be found. We want to stay hidden; separate; apart.

I like the idea of turning the tables. What if we began to seek, to find the answers. Or to at least begin the discussion, even if the answers never reveal themselves. Even better - what if we seek TOGETHER. In community. Community with God and with others. If you seek me, you will find me. Seek and you will find. I like this idea. It's time to quit hiding and join in the adventure of seeking God - together.


I was challenged by some comments I heard by Rob Bell recently. Rob is the main teaching pastor at Mars Hill Church in Grandville, MI, and is also one of my favorite speakers. He talked about collecting ideas for his messages in what he calls "buckets." Buckets are any ideas that might spur thinking at some point in time. It might be this month, next month, or next year, but buckets should be logged somewhere and "seasoned" along the way. At some point they might become "chunks" and take shape towards a message or concept.

I hope to use this site to collect my buckets as well as challenge others to make deposits along the way. God intended for us to share life in community - I don't want to be limited by my own creative thoughts - my buckets would have very few drops in them - so I ask those of you who might read this blog to feel free to comment at any time. Feel free to challenge any thoughts or ideas, and most importantly, help to fill as many buckets as you can along the way.

It is my hope that through this process we can discover and experience Christ and what He has to teach us. I am a life long learner with the ultimate Teacher, for my Rabbi has an easy yoke, and He is asking us to follow.