Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Every problem has a solution"

Some times I find myself slightly irritated by the various "so called" awards shows that come on TV. It feels like we often reward all the wrong things and make a complete mockery of morality, modesty, purity, respect...(the list could go on). So, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this CNN special called "CNN Heroes" where they highlighted what they called the top ten Heroes. Each of these individuals modeled self sacrifice in the pursuit of improving the lives of fellow humans in need. I don't know enough about any of these to endorse them but I can safely say that I am impressed and motivated by them!

I was particularly intrigued with the story of Phymean Noun. I'll wet your appetite with a brief recap then you can watch the clip below if you want the rest of the story:

Walking down a street in Cambodia's capital city, Phymean Noun finished her lunch and tossed her chicken bones into the trash. Seconds later, she watched in horror as several children fought to reclaim her discarded food. Noun stopped to talk with them. After hearing their stories of hardship, she knew she couldn't ignore their plight."I must do something to help these children get an education," she recalls thinking. "Even though they don't have money and live on the sidewalk, they deserve to go to school. At one point the camera panned across the school and I was struck by a phrase written on the wall that simply said "Every problem has a solution." It's been stuck in my mind ever since then. Phymean Noun saw a problem and she became the solution. I love that.

Simply stated, Ridge Church began in response to a perceived problem. My generation, in my city, have largely checked out on church [problem!] and we are passionate and desperate to see them come back to their heavenly Father. We at Ridge are bothered by that reality and want to see the tide turn! The secondary problem, largely related to the first problem, is one that I am also personally bothered by. I think about it often and pray that God will allow me and Ridge Church to be a voice and inspiration of change in regards to this issue. I am bothered by the self indulgence of "MY" generation and I say "MY" because it is time for us to own up this problem and like Phymean become the solution.

We are a generation with means, with capacity. Even in our worst economic days we are still blessed beyond imagination. I pray that "self indulgence" will not be the legacy of my generation. Rather, I want to be part of the generation that ushers the presence of God back in. A generation defined by generosity and sacrifice for the sake of others in need. May that be our legacy!

Start somewhere. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Do for others what they can't do for themselves. Let's re-define our generation!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Smores

My wife is way more creative and resourceful than me. She is always coming up with fun stuff to do with the kids that they love. Well, tonight she was out for a work function so it was just me and the kiddos. Fortunately we usually have a great time in spite of my lack of creativity.

This is a sneak peak at the night. Again, it was far less creative than the stuff my wife comes up with but they laughed a lot and had a good time. I think they enjoyed editing the video more than anything else that we did.

Don't forget. We have an awesome series going on at Ridge Church right now. Too good to miss.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Worst way to address $ crisis

Unless you live with your head in the sand, just woke up from a long term coma, or you've been away in Narnia for awhile, then you know our country is in a bit of an "economic slump". Government officials, companies, economist, CEO's, and even churches are scrambling to figure out the best way to address the situation. Well one church took what we'll call a little bit more of a direct approach. I'm going out on a limb here, but I think this is a really bad way to motivate people to give more. But you decide for your self. Pretty funny though!:

I feel more generous already. How about you? Were you motivated?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your day's not so bad now

Self pity is a human cancer but we all fight it. Different personalities definitely tend toward it more than others, but it's a human thing. I've been thinking about this: When we look at what others posses or what they have accomplished or how they have succeeded we often become less satisfied with our life and want more or different for ourselves. This happens even if we've got it pretty good in life. So here's my stroke of genius---maybe it works in reverse! Maybe if we look at those that have a really bad deal we feel better about our deal. So check these out and tell me if you feel start to feel better. This is a test...only a test:

I bet your day is feeling better already, huh?

Okay, how about now? Look mommy a bird.

He's living the dream isn't he? Professional athletes have it made.

Okay, if you compare your day to little fifi here...well it ain't all that bad! So next time your feeling the self pity band marching in just remember fifi and it will all be better:-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

My hesitation with God

Maybe this question is for you and maybe it's for someone you know, but think about what your or their response would be to this question: What is my hesitation with God or church?

If you aren't a Christian or don't really attend church OR someone that you know isn't a Christian or don't really attend church, there is a reason why and it's probably a good reason. The interesting thing is for most people that ultimately become followers of Jesus, all their reasons for not being a follower of Jesus don't usually go away or get resolved or answered. They simply get smaller when it becomes personal. To hear more click HERE for part 2 of "It's Personal."

This is an amazing interview with a man who moved from Atheist to follower of Jesus, but it wasn't because all his questions were answered. Pretty powerful stuff!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The People Business

I'm in the people business but probably not for the reason that you would immediately think. See I'm in the people business not as much because of my position as a pastor but because of my role as a follower of Jesus. Jesus allowed people, even messy people, to shape his daily schedule on many occasions. He seemed to be consistently drawn to the mess of peoples lives. We often find him associating with those marginalized by society. He was clearly in the people business. In fact he drew crowds of followers every where he went. But here's the part that I love. Jesus drew crowds of followers but he strategically spent his days on earth developing leaders rather than simply entertaining followers. Specifically, he developed his replacements [the disciples] as far as "earthly leadership" is concerned. So as one of his followers, I want my life to reflect that same value--people development and more specifically leadership development. I'll leave you with a quote to consider:

"A leader has been successful not when he or she has acquired a follower, but when he or she has reproduced a leader" --Christian Swartz

What are you doing to grow personally as a leader? Who are you currently developing as a leader? Do your insecurities cause you to invite followers more than develop leaders?

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Personal

When some one talks down to your child, "It's Personal." When some one critiques your performance at work, "It's Personal." When some one makes fun of your new haircut, be it a faux hawk, dreads, spiked, flat iron, or a sweet had better believe, IT'S PERSONAL! But somehow, for some reason most people never allow "God and Personal" to make it into the same sentence. For most people, God is a dysfunctional dad with a weird authority trip or he's the guy you call in a crisis. And, church is a twice a year event or place for the fanatics and Jesus freaks--where people sing weird songs, and pass around the "God Tip bucket" (we call it an offering bucket:-) Well, if it ever becomes PERSONAL for you or those that you know, it will reshape and define your entire existence!! I know because it's my story. If it ever becomes personal, you will step into a life you didn't know was possible--guaranteed. I double dare you to test me on this one. Don't miss this series at Ridge called "It's Personal". If you have to bribe people with lunch afterward, do whatever you have to do to get them there! Catch up on part one here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fear and faint goats

Apparently the subject material of our recent series FEAR, hit a nerve with many of you. This animal of fear is something that all of us deal with in some way shape of form. Unfortunately, it is a school that we never graduate from, yet there are some practical things that we can do to address the crippling nature of fear and anxiety. Go here to catch up on part two. Alright, many of you have been asking so here is the faint goat deal I mentioned from stage last week. disclaimer "Don't try this at home--or at a neighbors house---or at a stranger's house":

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Listen before you vote!

Does God's Word tell us who to vote for? If it did would you listen? Before you vote, if you haven't already, then take time to listen to this message by Ed Young Jr. I'll admit that he's a little bit over the top sometimes but he makes a really strong case. He's definitely an entertaining communicator and will keep your attention!: