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: God...open 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 uneasiness...is 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.