Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Etch - Green Paint and Compassion

Etch - To Impress Clearly / Clarifying words and phrases we use, hoping to nullify argumentative semantics

I recently heard a story of green paint.  The soft kind of green, designed to be welcoming and open to those who enter its realm.The kind of green paint a man would coat his living room with to create a trusting, hospitable atmosphere.  The kind of green paint the God of the universe would instruct me to purchase to fulfill this endeavor.

Wait . . . Huh???

That was my response at least, why would someone pray about the color of their house?  Admirable, the desire to live out the call to hospitality down to the detail, but really?  "Dear Lord, The 'Bring Em Back Olive' has a nice tone but the 'Go Mango' could be both calming and fun.  Please illuminate the color You would desire my humble abode to be."

My initial reaction - God doesn't CARE about the color of my house, as long as it's not black with a deep red trim like some heavy metal band album, right?  He does CARE though about where I live and what I do, right?

Time to Etch:  "Care" as it relates to God.

We use this word to portray depth of importance or meaningfulness.  Does He CARE whether we are obedient to His Word, His Scripture, His leadings.  Yes, John 14:15, and the following speaking of the Holy Spirit helping us to obey, because we love.  He cares, it matters in the scheme of our relationship with Him, it is important.

Does He care about who my spouse is.  Don't hate me here, but our romantic comedical culture says "the one."  My wife is perfect for me, she is beautiful, exciting, fun, & I look forward to spending each moment I can with her, she is the one, she is perfect for me, because I married her.  Because we chose each other.  (This could be a blog itself, and it may be!)

Does God care about the color of my house.  Here's the point, it does not matter what I choose here so I can say that God does NOT CARE about the color of my house in that sense.  But saying that seems to take away from His love for me, right?

No, and this is why, because of how we used the word CARE.   IT doesn't really matter, it isn't important.

God DOES CARE about the color of my house in this sense . . . He created the colors for me to enjoy, he designed certain greens to be calming so when I thought through them I would see His love, His caring nature for me.  He cares in the sense that He wants me to joy in Him through His gifts, and this is one of them.

Now I know there is a depth I'm not touching here, I'm not writing a book, but the concept remains.  His love is beyond what we can imagine, beyond the vasts of creation, He loves us and desires our joy in Him, through His creation.  God's favorite color isn't green, but He loves if yours is!

So as we argue about words, try to etch meaning into each confusing part of our language.  He does care, but possibly not the way you are thinking.  I will not argue semantics in this way anymore.

Etch:  To Clearly Impress


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Backstory - Of Mice and Mickey

This is backstory on me, on some of the reasons why I think the way I think and some of the people and events that have helped to shape that. In other words these are the who's and what's you are to blame for me being me!

The English language is moronic!  We have all these letters that don't mean anything, or mean more than one thing, and some that are there to just look good.  That is where this embarrassing story begins!

As a child I heard people say Disney, I said Disney, and I read Disney.  But look at the picture, it doesn't look like it spells Disney does it?  Come on, be honest, I always believed that P at the end was silent.  Look at it!  Disnep!!!

I had several conversation, that I remember about why this spelled Disnep but pronounced Disnee!  I was distraught when I realized that the letter I was so sure was a P was only disguised that way to make me look dumb, I was the real life comic relief character in all of their movies.  Thankfully this happened before I took my trip to their world in Florida.

This trip happened during High School over an Easter with a group from church and a local school with a man who coached the HS football team and was the Youth Pastor . . . Coach A, Micky Atkinson.

While we were in the park once I got distracted, focused on something else (as if that ever happens) and the next thing I know I am alone in the park, the group had wandered away without asking me!  No problem for me, I knew where we stayed, I had a great day in the park.  When I met back up with them by chance later I learned that Coach A had yelled my name everywhere they went, continually searching for me.

This man did this for me far more often than I realized in the time we were together in church.

While there were others, this man directed me to think like a minister, he recognized in me that I would lean towards Strengthening the Souls of men (Acts 14:21 & 22) and pushed and encouraged me to fight for that.  It has played out differently than I expected but I can trace my heart for discipleship back to Mickey and that is where I will continue to focus.

No matter the circumstance or position this is where my passion lies and this is part of the reason why.  This is why I have coffee with guys, love small groups, believe in discipleship.  This is why I think the way that I do.  This is my backstory.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Backstory - The Fairness of Grape Jelly

This is backstory on me, on some of the reasons why I think the way I think and some of the people and events that have helped to shape that. In other words these are the who's and what's you are to blame for me being me!

As a child there are few things I remember clearly.  I didn't have much focus or need to think intently on the moments so as to hold them deeply in the scrapbook of my mind.  No, my minds scrap is well unorganized.  I do remember one specific lunch though, very clearly.

This day my brother and I watched as my Dad made us some Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches!.

I feel as though I must have been standing on a chair as I can vividly see the peanut butter being spread on the bread smoothly, with the skilled hands of my craftsman father.  Then the jelly jar appeared.  There was a hue around it, a glow that screamed out, "I declare this sandwich, dessert!"  Probably just the reflection of stickiness around it but I envision heavenly grape jam.

The jar tilts, the knife is inserted, and a blob falls - like jello, formless but with shape, it splatters on the two pieces of bread awaiting its arrival with joy.  My keen eye spots a difference in the mass and my heart begins to race, what if I get the less jelly!  I become truly fearful that my lunch will not be as dessertish as my younger siblings!  So I speak, in my wisdom:

"Father, it appears that more of the delicious jelly has fallen on the one sandwich, I will gladly partake in said sandwich if it pleases you."  My dad responds, "So you want that one?"  "Yes Father, I will devour the greater sandwich."

My dad grins and hands me the sandwich.  My glowing eyes watch it approach my salivating mouth.  As my teeth dive in to the gloriousness, I witness something that changes my enjoyment.  Mounds of jelly are scooped out on the other sandwich, far more than my measly "more" that once was.  I am horrified to the sound of my younger siblings yips and yeas as he receives his deliciousness.

My father in his infinite wisdom looks at me after a chuckle, smiles and says, "Son, life isn't fair" then gives me a hug and cleans up after the lesson he just made out of jelly.

I hold on to that to this day.  I comfort in it, I joy in it, and I stand content in it.  What I realize is I only want life to be fair when it is beneficial.  I can be happy when others receive because life isn't fair.  I can enjoy benefits of certain things because life isnt' fair.  I can LOVE to LIVE where and who I am because life isn't fair.

Ultimately life isn't fair, but it's not about me anyway so who cares if it's fair or not, who cares if I GET what I DESERVE or not.  I only want what I deserve when it is beneficial.  Love God, love people, forget myself.  I want Linc & Mason to know life isn't fair and that is good, and I want to explain it like my Dad did, in a fun way they can understand.

The truth is, I could not be more thankful for the fairness of Grape Jelly.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Touchdown Tuesday - Is There Light at the End?

There is a song by a musical giant that utters the phrase, "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel was just a freight train comin' your way." (No Leaf Clover Metallica)  That pretty much sums up my feelings about the current sports situation.  Admittedly the NBA finals are bringing in some interest and playoff hockey is always exciting but the sport for this man is football and it is year round, usually.

Lockout - Just as a note, this entire lockout section has been re-written this morning, it is still so fluid.  Does it matter, no, there's still no football!  I NEED PLAYERS!!! Teams need guys!  Now, just to understand me correctly here, I don't care how much money the players make, the coaches make, the owners make or the secretaries make.  I suspect when it comes down to it most would agree with me here, we just want to watch football.  The core of the issue seems to be that the owners want to put 10% more of the earned monies back into the organization, NOT necessarily their pockets.  Ok, fine.  I'm no financial genius, but both sides are going to have to give up their pride to end this on any happy terms . . . BOTH sides!  The players took a serious hit yesterday though, and there goes 3 more weeks of free agency down the toilet, what about hold outs from rookies, or players?  At this point the season is affected, and I don't like it.  

Everyone involved needs to man the freak up and realize they can do what they want to do because of us, without the fans there is no football and we are starting to get a bit upset.

18 Games - I've needed to speak to this for a while now but haven't had the chance, so here goes.  Give me 18 games.  This argument from the players whining about "we'll get hurt if we play more games" or "Our careers will be shortened" (hopefully you inserted your very best whiny voiced for those) is garbage!  Are you telling me that there is a player in this league who doesn't prepare and hope to play 18 games?  They better be hoping to play 19 games (20 if wild card)!  So there are 4 teams a season playing 2 extra games - hog wash, get over yourselves there!

Ocho - I love that he is trying stuff, because he can!  I wish he would have made the soccer team, I really with he would have ridden for 8 seconds!  He has no team, whether he plays for the Bengals or not, he has no QB if he stays, he has no rep lately (again probably the teams fault, but still) what does he have to lose?  Here at Touchdown Tuesday we are with you Chad, perhaps try Rally-cross next, or the paper rock scissor association, or even better, put together an NFL dodgeball team! Get 'em 86!

Ding-dong, the draft is dead - It's over and now I've got nothing football related to talk about.  I despise Andrew Luck for staying in college but happy with Cam.  It can't be worse that 2 and 14, except that 1 year we were 1 and 15!  I am very curious to see how the QB situations turn out though, Arizona and Cincinatti especially!

Game-Time - Who would have thought the massive guns of Peyton Hillis would beat out Vick for Madden?  I guess people love their dogs (insert animal loving or hating statement here).  What's the odds on him getting hurt, Madden curse anyone?

Finally Fantasy - Well, my only real statement here is that I would sure like to play this year, don't let me down Roger.

So that's it, that's where we are in the realm of the NFL.  We get excited about court rulings because it is news, we dream about trades that won't happen, and we hope for a season.  I never thought this would actually hurt football, I figure people will come back.  But with nothing grabbing me in the offseason, when that Thursday night comes along and I can play outside instead of watch, my interest is not as peaked as it should be.  When that Sunday comes and it's eat out or take home, a nice seat at a restaurant seems a nice alternative to a league that doesn't care about me, it's only source of revenue.

So this is Touchdown Tuesday signing off, and hoping for something fun to talk about soon . . . You stay classy, Planet Earth.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bear Hands and Hero's

I was reading a story to my son recently, a story filled with anger, lust, selfishness and deception, a story that he loves!  I came to the part where Samson kills a lion with his hands, his bare hands in the road.

Linc looks at me and says, "You be va lion and I'll be Samson and defeat you with my huge bear hands!"  He raises his arms at me showing the claws and the pads his imagination has now cloaked his tiny hands with and yells with a William Wallace style groan, "Veese are my bear hands and I will defeat you lion!"  

After a moment of composing from my laughter my explanation began, "Samson didn't have hands like a bear buddy, it's just an expression (oops, big words just come out sometimes)."

With a voice that trailed up from the start he asked a question, "So the lion had bear hands?"  I'm not going to lie, the image popped in my head of a lion walking around on its back legs with the paws of a bear, that's a serious animal!  I love the logic of my son - Somebody in this story has hands like a bear because that would be freakin awesome!

After a disappointing conversation and a weak explanation of bare vs bear we continued the story, and yes we played Samson and the lion.  Of course I held what a miserable failure Samson was, the same way I hold on Noah's drunkenness, David's adultery, and the rest.  

Ahh the tempered story of death and disaster that we tell our children to teach them the Bible.  I'm not against it, I am the chief of it!  My son's favorite game, other than 'battle' is David and Goliath.  I bet a day hasn't gone by in the last year that I haven't fallen at the hand of his sling.

But everytime as I crash to the ground I wonder when I will shatter his hero, that David does not represent him slaying the giants that will arise in his life.  That Samson is not a story to teach me I can be strong in the Lord, but a picture that even with the gifts I've been given I am a failure and need a Saviour in Christ.

So tonight, as usual, I will take a stone between the eyes, ask him by whose strength he was able to defeat me, and then land on top of him with squeals of laughter and tickling fingers as he tries to shrimp out - hoping with everything I am that he will be a man after God's own heart and not just a hero in his own mind like his father.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears - 55

Air cannot hold it back, driving with frustrating force

. . . BAM . . . one

Right on the head, struck with a marksman's accuracy

. . . BAM . . . two

Closer now, this steel will hold this wood in place

. . . BAM . . . three

The hammer lands on a different nail, one attached to a finger!

Here is the blood and tears accompanying the sweat.

Written for G-man at Flash Fiction 55 - Great writing in 55 words, come and see here!

This is a little calmer for me but for some reason it is what I was thinking, perhaps the anticipation of some construction coming up - it never fails to find my nails!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Double Standard - Bin Ladin's Death

Jon Acuff recently had a post on his blog, "Stuff Christians Like," about a Jesus Juke.  When I read it I laughed and thought of times I had done this, trying to be the more spiritual person, pretty much like most of the stuff he writes.  This post really came back to me yesterday though.

You would have to be in a hole or a cave to not know that Osama Bin Ladin was killed by American forces by now.  This crack-head went down by a double tap to the left side of his brain by a Seal with a sick rifle!

The news broke on Twitter and spread like kudzu through the south when it hit.  At a Mets game I heard you could literally see the news "telephone" through the crowd which then erupted into chants of USA, USA!  People singing at ground zero & the White House, the speed of the news was incredible; the actual news itself - depends on which side of the isle you sit on.

If I'm completely honest, my initial reaction was only slightly more than complacent.  "Great, who's next," was more my thoughts than the war is over.  I am glad he is dead.  And there seems to be the problem, not with me (we could delve into my shortcomings and double standards at another time) but for those who decided to launch another attack.

Go ahead, stick out your toes - I might step on them.

It is not sinful for me to rejoice that a wicked man can do no more harm in this world.  Proverbs 11:10  I am rejoicing here!  Expressing my confusion and desires to the Father isn't about having the perfect thought through prayer, have you read the Psalms?  Was David sinful to talk about his enemies brains being bashed in for justice?

But we are in a new age, a new era, a new testament!  Christ said to love your enemies, pray for them (not for them to die probably though!)  Ok, this is true so lets think through it.  I am sad for Bin Ladin for where he is, but I rejoice for us that he is not here.  My prayer would be that Christ would save or bring justice, and there is love in both.

Come on now, since when did being a Christian turn me into a sniveling, whiny, weak, no-justice, fake, holding back, consequenceless weasel?  (maybe I went a bit far . . . with the fake.)

Actions equal consequences and LOVE DEMANDS JUSTICE.  Now my Savior has taken the eternal consequences away from me, He has taken the justice on Himself and asked me to follow Him & could do the same for you, because we deserve to be where Bin Ladin probably is.  But I won't taste that fire and it is not because of my actions but Christ.

Would I have rather he come to a true faith and belief in Christ, of course.

My friend Kyle Brennon expressed his thoughts (that I agree with) without being attacking very well on his Facebook page and there are other men I respect and love that have done the same.  There are ways to express whatever it is without attacking.

Look, opinions will differ, and that is fine, it is good but we have got to stop bickering amongst ourselves making us look like fools to the world so that our pride can be a little inflated or we can feel better when we don't talk to our neighbor about Christ.  Please.  I speak from a prideful heart that wants to debate to show spirituality.

We used to have these discussion and debates behind church doors or home walls but know we do it on blogs and social media.  Opinions are great, but attacks only need to happen when there are wolves around, and a sheep doesn't attack a wolf, the shepherd does.

So ultimately, I am glad Bin Ladin is dead, but sad for where he is, because he will feel the justice that has been paid for me by simply believing and confessing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Love, Truth, Fire, and Elephants

"What are you afraid of?  It's time for brother in Christ to act like brothers!  No more sectarian Jesus where brothers act like sisters in a cat fight.  No more sentimental Jesus where brothers get all weepy and sing Kumbaya when the Truth is on the line.  No more watered down Jesus where the approval of pagans comes before proclaiming the truth.  We are brothers."

The Elephant Room from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.

In all seriousness I don't think I could be anymore excited about this! I am already looking for ways to buy this.  (Side note:  If anyone needs anything done call me and I'll do it for about $50 bucks, and then you can borrow these too!)  All of these men I really respect, a couple have shaped me spiritually in ways they will probably never know, and they all do ministry so differently.  I feel connected to almost every member here in some way, either through sermons or books or even geographically.  I can see and experience the Oneness of the Gospel and the church in how I feel towards them and their congregations.

I feel a background story coming on!

I am bent towards debate, and without the guiding of Christ and me leaning completely on Him this becomes contentious.  I know that now, wish I would have realized it when I was about 5 though!  The interesting part is that I want to please people, I want them to like me but the argumentative side loves putting that me in the back seat.

They both need to be locked in the trunk!

Thankfully, through all sorts of arenas this has been made known to me and over the past several years I have learned that through Christ it can be tamed and aimed in directions like these.  I think a lot, and I am drawn through Acts 14:21 - 22 to Strengthen the Souls of believers.  This does not allow me to disregard making disciples, as I have done in the past, but the passion that I am drawn to is opening Christ followers to the depth and truth of His character through His Word to love and therefore obey Him more.

I'm out to sharpen the iron and I have been and continually need to be careful that the fires that start are from these sparks and not the ones coming from my sword beating my shield.  I am a servant of Christ and I will love my brothers in Him but I am not after their approval, direction maybe, but not approval.

I think Perry Noble said it very well in his blog yesterday, disagreement . . . yes with love at its base.  Vicious attacks because of different thinking . . . this is us allowing spiritual warfare to bring us down and degrade the name of Christ in societies eyes.  They win.

So let the iron sharpen the iron, let the sparks fly, let the fires burn, but let it be done in love to further the gospel of truth not to win or lose a prideful argument.

So what are you afraid of?  That love isn't true or that truth doesn't love?  Because ultimately these go hand in hand or they are worthless.

Truth not founded in love is a lie and love without truth at its foundation isn't love, it's selfish.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Did You Hear?

Bedtime in a crowded bunk looking at books and Bakugan is where I sat with my son.  Hysterical laugher followed by, "stop please!" as he gripped to remove my tickle fingers from his chest.  "You are va blue guy & I am va red guy and you say . . ." simple directions in order to be a part of the fantasies he dreams making his reality more real.

It quickly changes, " You are Goliath & I am David & you say who will fight me."  I respond to his request with a deep raspy voice and a battle ensues with a sling and a fallen giant . . . but right in the middle . . . a creak outside the door!

He freezes and ears perk up like a dog after a treat, eyes wide as his flashlight pierces the darkness towards the door.  "Did you hear that?" he asks, more excited about an adventure than afraid.  "No, I was Goliath," I respond, but he stands confident that his ears did not fail.  And sure enough, the door flings open and he yells, "Mama!"

This past Sunday I heard a pretty clear presentation of the Gospel and saw evidence of response.  I was excited and encouraged.  Since then I have heard at least 4 different variations of how this related to other people, Christ followers, which is incredible to me!

The news that Christ paid the debt for my freedom in Him is unfathomable, it boggles my mind and yet I can get wrapped up in the idea that it is for those who do not believe and the rest of the Bible is the manual to guide me.  This is ignorance, based in my pride.

The Bible IS the Gospel!  Every story, every word, every do and every don't is guiding me to Christ, His character, His love.  It is not about me and what I should do, this is a bi-product of a book to show me who He is.  That is the Gospel and I need to hear it everyday, that these words are His redemptive story for a people He loves in order to bring glory to Himself.

Listen for the creak and shine the light towards the door, this message isn't for them, it's for me . . . it is the power that keeps us in Him.

So, what did you hear?


Monday, April 11, 2011

Vision Clarity

It has been a month since I have posted here.  I left it purposefully.  Seeing the busyness of the month that was coming and deciding to set certain things aside so others would no get neglected, as well as getting a little too wrapped up in the number of comments and views, that I self inflated by accident.

So to restart I will clarify the title and in doing so the vision for what and why I write.

Rambling - This is what I do, I am currently being very challenged to have a point that I am headed to with every thought, sentence, phrase, utterance, both written and spoken.  I have a tenancy, and those who know me are probably smiling and laughing as I write this, to not just chase a rabbit trail but create them and down play the point of my original speech.  This is in the midst of being stopped.

Thoughts - I do this far to often, with the work I do I have the ability to process through all sorts of things throughout the day.  My mind doesn't seem to like the idea of turning off, as much as I would sometimes like it too!  This has been and I suspect will continue to be both satisfactory and troublesome in the future.

Inconsequential - I am a drop in the ocean, a single sand on the beach, a dew here in the morning and gone in the morning.  In the grand scheme I am inconsequential.  Do I matter, certainly!  Don't here me say insignificant.  I am very important to my community, this world and my God as He has created me to change it.  I am inconsequential for 2 reasons:  1.  At times I choose to ignore how to change the world, and  2.  The world will change for His will without me, I am who He DESIRES to use, NOT who He MUST use!

Mind - Because this is where all this mess rattles around forming, shaping, sometimes into a logical argument, sometimes into faith, sometimes into a golden calf.

My ultimate vision is to inspire, encourage, and even entertain a little.  I am after His glory, not my own.

I realize this post is less what I usually write and much more focused, less story, more content if you could call it that!  I will write that way, that is what flows from me, part of who I am, but here I wanted to be intentional and purposeful.

And with that, as my Pastor says, "Go Change the World!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Check the Fan Pulls

Is it shaking or is it me?  Another dizzy spell spawning from the depths of my vertigo?

Or is this more?

The room spins, but this time things are falling (look up, look up, see the fan pulls shaking)

The earth rocks

This time it's not me, I'm dizzy but this time for different reasons

This is an adaptation of a facebook feed from my cousin in Japan over the past couple of days / before the 8.9 hit.  She is all right but they are out of power for an unknown amount of time.  

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Love Story - Part 3

(Part 1 is here.) 
(Part 2 is here.) 

Grayson could feel the cold of the floors through his shoes while he waited for her to enter.  Before long she would appear from the back and walk down the aisle towards him, then stand opposite as the proceedings began.  Cameras crowded the room along with so many men in suits.  He waited with a nervousness he hoped to subside but would not fade, even with this days end.

Through the sea of jackets he heard the rear doors open.  He stood and turned, eyes that had seemingly been dried out began a flood of salty emotion again.  Amidst several escorts she stood, hair straight back, dressed in a white suit, belly protruding at the seven month mark.  Back-lit from the hallway she seemed to glow, head down, eyes swollen and red.

She walked down the isle with every intention of not looking in his face, forcing her stare to stay on the floor but as she passed through the small gate that separated crowd from participants she was burned by his glare and glanced his direction.  Their eyes met for an instant that hung momentarily until an attorney swept her to her position behind the opposite desk.

"All rise" was the next call as the judge entered the room and proceeded to his bench.  "Be seated."

"Today a ruling will be made here that will spark criticism and controversy for decades," the Judge began, " it has only been three years since the landmark decision of Roe vs Wade in this very Supreme Court and the progression to a decision like this came much faster than anyone anticipated I suspect."

The judge rambled on about regulations and laws but Grayson's thoughts hurried to the end.  Get too it, is this our child or just hers to do with what she pleased?  He found it incredible that the progression to this high court had happened so speedily but the rush when government officials got wind of the original argument forced it to the public spotlight on the biggest stage.  He just believed this child was both his and hers.

MaryAnne ran from her thoughts.  This could finally be the day after 7 long and excruciating months that it could be over, she could begin her recovery, and continue with her life.  She continually reminded herself she could not handle this fetus, not now, not ever, and she was forgiven.  She hated it, but she longed to do what she believed was best for her and her world.

The Judge concluded his speech and asked the court to rise for his ruling.  Crowds outside waited, the country clung to its radios and news outlets waiting for how feel, and both Grayson and MaryAnne were being held up by their surrounding cast, both facing forward in agony.

"I find in favor," the Judge took a deep breath feeling the weight of the moment, "of the female, MaryAnne.  It's your body, it's your choice."

The eruption of cheers and protests was instant and overwhelming.  Silence that had lived in this room seconds before had vanished into the victorious screams and devastated cries of those around but Grayson and MaryAnne heard nothing.

Grayson immediately began swimming through bodies to get to her for one last pleading and though his progress was swift upon reaching the isle she was halfway down being flown away by her brigade.

"MARYANNE!" he bellowed with every ounce of breath he could find, "PLEASE!"  She turned, hair in her face with a confused look of suddenness.  "SHE is OURS!  BELLE is MINE TOO!" he screamed at her as she was pushed out the door. "NO! PLEASE!"  Guards and friends both restrained and held him up.

Their eyes met faintly, just as in the beginning, as the hallway turned, and for him she was gone.  MaryAnne's entourage rushed her to a vehicle waiting among the raging crowd and took her immediately to the clinic for her surgery, a minor procedure.  Their paths together had ended.  Their worlds could never be the same.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Rockets and Wings - 55

"Hang on" he thought. "This is going to be a rough ride!"

Grasping the sides attempting to keep his seat while the rockets fired below.

In these moments regrets and memories flood like swollen rivers - eyes redden - sweat beads.

The evening before rushes in and he thinks:

"Why did I eat 23 wings last night!?!?!?"

Sorry, this just flowed out of my 7 year old mind this morning, my bad to all.

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Groupless - Without a New Start

Just over a month out from being without a Brentwood Community Group now and I don't like it.  I could end this right now and be completely satisfied but it would defeat the purpose of writing the steps in this 6 month journey.  I suspect this could go many ways over the next months but we will just have to see.

Twelve weeks before time to launch our 3rd Community Group I began to feel a little hesitant.  I wrote this off, figuring it was me trying to deny the end of an incredible run with amazing people.  Talking through God's Word, wrestling through some hard books & studies, and pushing each other to Christ in life through everyday situations.

The depth of need for this goes back to creation (perhaps I'll delve into this at some point) and thus my initial write off.  Then my brilliant wife had questions and so we began to explore.  I'm a concrete kind of guy so I wanted a verse saying to breathe or wait or something, all I got was a consistent feeling over several weeks to wait until next time.  I am usually quick to act, but I slowed down for this one, because I knew if it was direction from Christ it was going to be painful for me.

"The Lord's voice is always gentle calling you to His home.  He is not forceful or hurried but soft.  By contrast, Satan's voice is rushed and immediate."

After weeks of talking and working this through we agreed, for the next 6 months, no C-group.  I approached our Community Life Pastor about not leading the group and he was disappointed but accepting, with a challenge to lead a week later.  (I would have done the exact same thing.) 

The new launches came and went and here I sit, groupless, searching for a reason, hoping I don't miss it because only a month out I'm not sure how long I'll last.  I have some ideas of why, explore community outside of groups, find a new place to serve, spend more time pouring into people who are not in groups, etc. but as I start to delve into these already some doors have been closed.

I know that I breath this stuff, it consumes my thoughts, the how's the what's the who's & when's.  So for the next six months I'll do what I can where I can to be involved with Community Life as it is where my thoughts sit.  I'll attempt to journal through the process here as I hopefully learn and ultimately press even more into Christ through whatever He presents to me.  We won't be alone, but we won't be weekly grouped either and I will dearly miss that.

So here's to true biblical relationships based in Christ . . . and here's to the journey, right?


Monday, February 28, 2011

A Love Story - Part 2

(Part 1 is here.)

That faithful freshman class with a professor who liked assigned seating, busy work and facebook more than new students was where it began. Grayson, raised to be confident and strong, began wooing his table partner almost immediately.  MaryAnne was more hesitant, not wanting to fall victim to a first year hyped love, but throughout the semester, her walls fell.  They began a relationship that would carry to the halls of the courts.

MaryAnne was not the typical Pastor's kid, she had not had a wild streak and didn't hate the church or her family because she had seen the love that came from them and from her Lord.  She said yes to Grayson's dating requests because she saw a relationship within him that mirrored her own.  They would press towards Christ together.

After these years it was concluded they would be married when the time was right.  They spoke of times and dates, usually after finalizing the college years to avoid the difficulty of student marriages.  It saddened MaryAnne, but fell to the plan of Grayson, who, without her knowledge had already spoken with her father about uniting them in the upcoming winter, 8 months away.

As the second year ended they both stayed for an extra week of class.  The evening before they were to part for the summer he had a beautiful evening planned.  They had dinner, talked, laughed, enjoyed the company of each other, knowing it would be the last face to face for 8 painful weeks.  The flickering of the candles gleamed in her eyes as they ate the meal he had prepared for them.

He had been careful within their relationship to steer clear of moments of weakness, times when they would be alone.  Grayson knew where he could fall, where he could fail.  But this night different, it was special, and one night alone could be resisted.

They shared memories and stories of the year and what was to come in the summer.  Finally, Grayson stood and took her hand.  He brushed her hair back and said, "I love you."  He reached into his pocket, she gasped, taken back by the thought of a small box appearing.  Out comes his walkman!  A look of confusion and slight disappointment, grazed her face, hidden quickly by a giggly smile.

"Oh, you thought . . . wait!" Grayson smiled and said, showing he had set that scene intentionally.  He took his earbuds and placed one in her ear and one in his, shuffled through his songs and pressed play.  As soon as the music started, he removed his bud and placed it in her other ear.  She was surrounded by the soft music, watching Grayson tap his leg, trying to keep what he thought was time with the song.

The artist began to sing in her ear, but her eyes saw him, slightly behind, but singing the song to her, about love, and truth and trust.  She smiled and giggled as his timing was off, not being able to hear the music, but was overwhelmed with emotion.  As the song was closing, he dropped to a knee and revealed a round object, he slipped on her hand.  "Will you marry me?"

Shocked she squealed "Yes!" instantly a embarrassed by her girlish reaction.

"It will be this winter," Grayson said, "I've talked with your dad, it's all set if you are up for it."

Joy boiled up from her soul, no more waiting, it was time to be a family!  An impassioned embrace followed, faint tears welling in her eyes at the thought of being his wife so much sooner than expected.  His hand, softly grazed upward on her spine, interlacing his fingers with her silky straight hair.  His head lowered to her cheek and left arm squeezed tightly on her waist.  Her arms that had been wrapped on his neck released slightly, allowing her to fall back enough to probe into his eyes.

The glimmer from the candle had turned to a fire from deep within, and it burned in his eyes as well.  He stepped back, revealing a painful look from her.  "This has to stop," he groaned with every bit of discipline he could muster.  He walked to the table and began clearing it.  She followed and helped both hurt and happy for his leadership.  But shortly the fire lit again.

On this night the lust for physical love and intimacy would prevail.  Shortly afterward, the joyful tears turned to conviction and watery eyes of repentance.  Both to each other and the Lord they served.  It did not happen again, and it would not.

Five weeks and a pink line on a wet stick later the drama was about to unfold.

(Part 3 is here

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shot through the Heart - 55

In slow motion I watch the projectile pierce the air towards me.

Moments before the western whistle had silently blown as eyes met, prepared to draw.

Raising my weapon I begin to fall even before I'm inevitably hit

My trigger is pulled as I'm struck and hope for revenge.

Laughter erupts as Nerf darts collide.

This is a normal dual at my house lately with my 3 year old, usually standing on the arm of the couch with his weapon!  He always takes the first shot, but I get the last!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ordinary Warrior

I look at guys in the Bible and think, "Wow, what they did and who they were is extraordinary!"  Think about it, Abraham.  First, just pack up and go.  Where God?  Just go.  Ok.  Then later, hey that son I gave you, go sacrifice him as mine.  Uhh, what?  Trust Me.  Ok.  We call this extraordinary faith.

Well what about the guys tossed into the fire so hot it killed the men that threw them in!  King says bow to me, worship me!  They say, Ahh crap, we only worship the True God.  King says, are you sure?  yup, we will not bow, we will not break.  We call this extraordinary faith.

Daniel, praying and tossed in with the lions.  Stephen, one sermon then stoned.  Pick a disciple and see how that went for them.  David, stuff happening to him all the time, bears, lions, giants, oh my!  Jesus, truth proclaimed through love = crucify Him.  We call this extraordinary faith.

Pick your modern day example, missionaries, healings, miracles in people who believe, those who step out and do things we would call crazy!  But when I say we, who do I mean?  The world?  The church?  Because we call this extraordinary faith.

To the world this should be crazy and foolish, to the church it should be normal so who is calling these things extraordinary?  This is what we are called to as people who believe in and follow the true and living God!  He calls us, even simply in His Word to every day action that produces results only He can take credit for.  This is not extraordinary, this is obedience!  And this obedience only happens through love.

We have to fight for these things because they are not the normal, they are not the everyday, and they are not easy, but this life is not about us, it is about Him and His Glory that we get to bask in and be satisfied from.  We have to fight to make these things that we have come to call extraordinary seem normal. Or, like I would say, we have to become an Ordinary Warrior.

-Ordinary Warrior

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Love Story

He slowly wiped the leaves away from the name engraved in stone revealing splatters of mud where someone had carelessly walked by.  Frantically, he tore off his outer shirt to wipe them away, but his action seemed in vain as he only smeared the watered dirt into the cracks.  His tears began to fall again as he searched for a puddle, or a leaf with leftover dew from the morning to clear her name.  The collection of salty water at the base of his chin would have sufficed, but he collapsed, leaving one hand on the epitaph that read, "I love you, but He loves you more.  I'll hold you soon."

4 years had past since the day, the day that changed him, that broke him, that tore his soul from his chest.  The day that she went in for what they had called surgery, a minor procedure  After the battle they had fought, the choices they had made to rage against the problems, the issues, this is how it ended, 4 years ago, on this day.

It had taken the first year for Grayson to be able to understand life at all.  Barely eating, hardly any social interaction.  Every walk to any room brought memories they could have had together.  Brokenness surrounded him, bouts of anger grasped for his very life at times and yet somehow he loosely held to his sanity though to some it had been long gone.

The second year got better, he was able to forgive, everyone involved, including himself.  Future memories still haunted his dreams at night but he was journaling them, and it was peaceful for him.  A good counselor was walking him through grieving and giving him hope for the future, both here and in the afterlife.  He was beginning to live, through grace, again.

It was in this year he was able to sense his love returning for the savior he had adored before that faithful day.  A sense that His grace and glory was more, that His plan was better.  It gave him comfort but did not ease the pain of loss.  Pressing into sovereignty was how he survived.

Though time had begun to heal and theology had taken hold, recently there had arisen a different conflict.  A woman had entered his life, beautiful and in pursuit of Christ.  She was caring of him, gentle and firm, exactly what he needed.  The thought of a deep relationship brought fear and anxiety, but the draw to her was undeniable.  She knew his story, and loved him none-the-less.

Her name was Kaley, meaning brave warrior, which was exactly what she was to him.  This complicated everything for him, too close, too painful, what happened could be prevented, but could he prevent it?  His soul had warred against these things that were now constant in his mind, bringing him to this grave on the 4th year anniversary of his precious Belle's death.

After what seemed an eternity, but not close to the time he would like to have spent, Grayson forced himself to stand.  Wobbly, underneath his shaking knees, face drenched in salty tears, he reached into his pocket.  He had searched for what would be a perfect gift to leave.  Both satisfied and comfortable with the unmistakable fact that these would be gone before weeks end he revealed the gifts for his love.

Gently he placed a small red locket and chain on the cold stone, opening it so the world could see his picture on one side and a heart on the other.  He stood again, admiring the placement, hoping she understood his love.  Tears began to stream as he caressed the second gift.  Stroking the head of a small, pink, stuffed pig, and having a difficult time parting with what could have been a memory they shared, he put it down, a gift perfect for his 4 year old daughter, Belle.

With the sun shining, Grayson whispered his "I love you's" and "I miss you's" and turned, intentional with every step towards the car where Kaley had waited so patiently.  When he sat down in the passenger seat she placed her hand on his knee and looked compassionately into his tear stained eyes.  "I would love to have met her," she said to him, with the beginnings of her own tears.

Grayson grabbed her hand but could not look in her eyes.  The response was all he could muster, "I would have too."  And they drove on the winding road away from the cemetery.

(Part 2 is here)
 (Part 3 is here

Friday, February 18, 2011

Salty - 55

Having tasted life and death I would choose the former with a pinch of salt.  Give me the taste, enhanced by a mineral designed to preserve.  A little over the shoulder, but then I'll sweep up.  A little in the batter, a little in the mix, but don't mistake it for sugar in the coffee!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Without Words - 55

Weeks slaughtered with action but tell-able stories don't prevail.

Feeling strange as words are forced, begging for some semblance of sense.

No lack of desire keeps thoughts from being pasted on pages only lack of coordination between garbled brain sections.

But I type, only asdf jkl; until electrodes begin to fire in time again.

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's So Great about Valentines Day?

Just breathe for a minute, I'm a happily married man for almost 10 years and yes . . . I do expect to stay that way.  My wife will have read this before it gets posted, so if you are seeing it, I am not in danger!  Calm down.

Now listen:  There is no birthday, anniversary of anything, holiday, special occasion, or whatever associated with this day.  I love the idea of celebrating love!  I think it is great to focus on why you are with the person you are (or at least were and should be) enamored with.  It holds that beauty of deep relationship, of passion, of intimacy, and of love to a higher plain.  Celebrating your love helps it to grow.

And if, only on Valentines Day, you need to show your love in a special way, you have failed.  

And I know this because in the past, I have failed.

There are many ways that I drop the ball all the time with my attitude and actions to make my wife feel unloved and insecure in our relationship, but I strive to love her like Christ loves the church.  I feel fairly confident that she would say she feels loved and appreciated outside of one day a year.  It is my goal to serve her in love perfectly.

This in turn makes February 14th just another day on the Calendar.  My expressions to her are year-round. 

They are flowers on a Tuesday, French Onion Dip on a rainy afternoon, cleaning the kitchen instead of a nap, and taking her on romantic dates as often as possible . . . all year long.

One great day and one great date does not make you a great husband and a great man.  

What did you do on January 14th or Feb 27th?

So take her out, or stay home.  Buy her something great, or a simple pack of chalky conversation hearts.  Make the day special, but only if the other 364 are as well.  She is your standard of beauty and she is perfect for you!  Oh, (and I'm terrible at this) don't expect anything at the end.  These moments are about her, not you.  Let her decide how the story plays out!

Brilliant thoughts from my wife:

Valentine's Day is a great time to celebrate your love and I'll take a gift any time.  However, it is more special to me to get a small gift, like you said, on a random Tuesday b/c you thought about me and my "likes" on your own, not b/c the calendar (and every commercial on TV) told/reminded you to.

It's true, you're VERY consistent about making me feel this way EVERY day.  THAT is why V-day isn't a big deal to me.  My love bank stays full year-round.

-Ordinary Warrior
Fight to make the extraordinary seem normal

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sleeping through the Storm

There we were, in the middle of nowhere on the side of a river.  Beautiful country, great water, and a perfect camping spot we carved out from nothing to hold our bodies for the night until we continued our venture down the river the next day.  There is little that can be asked for in moments like these, around a fire, with great friends and great food.

But we had something we could ask for, or at least something we wanted less of . . . RAIN!  It had rained since about an hour after we put in the river, everything was soaked.  Dinner was wet, clothes were wet, water was wet.  So very early after the sun set we headed to the shelter of our tent, hoping to sleep the night away and awaken to a brilliant sparkle on the water surrounded by a mist rising to the heavens! 

An aluminum canoe has it's advantages, though they are few.  One of them is NOT sound proof.  Throughout the night there was an incessant ting . . .Ting . . . TING as the rain pelted our shiny vehicle.  This along side of our lack of prepwork on the ground before we opened our tent leaving us with a rocky, uneven ground to sleep on left us with no sleep. 

Well, most of us!  There was one who if he had been Dorothy in the twister, well that story would have been slept through.  Late in the night when he awoke to us talking about what to do between now and daybreak his response was simple -SLEEP!

In Jonah there is a terrible storm, so bad the sailors are tossing everything over, fearful of death, and then there is Jonah, in 1:5 sound asleep in the belly of the ship (yes, I did that on purpose.)  How was he sleeping through this?  He did not have the confidence that Jesus had when he slept through the storm (Matthew 8:24.)

Perhaps, learning later in the book of Jonah, it was that he would rather die than see his God-given mission carried out, but even then, it is difficult to sleep in conditions that would make the greatest of seaman revisit his breakfast.

I suspect Jonah was exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally from trying to escape a God he knew he could not and direly needed rest and escape.  Ever heard of Unisom, Sweet Slumber, Tylenol PM?  There was certainly some equivalent.  The word used to describe Jonah's sleep was the same as described Adam's in the garden, a deep, anasthesia type sleep.  I'm not saying for sure Jonah drugged himself to escape what he was doing, I'm just curious.

Psalm 4:8 and 127:2 talk of sleep being a gift and resting in Christ, and yet there are numerous products that we need to make us sleep, and then to wake us up.  Could there be a correlation?   Are we willing to look if there is?  

How did you sleep last night?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

5 Star Service

I was recently told a story from a friend about his families stay at a 5-star hotel.  They had been gifted the room by some people and were enjoying the stay, until late that night any way.

One of their daughters became ill and decided, certainly accidentally, to regurgitate the afternoons nourishment all over the quality beds and herself.  Room service was called, new sheets were delivered, and the offer to wash the child's clothes was given.

In my friends words, "We let them, because that's what you do in a 5-star hotel!"  The night continued with with a peace and reassurance only interrupted by the occasional heave, bringing its own sense of comfort.

Happiness and smiles that always surround a morning exit with little sleep and sick children took them down the elevator to check out where they were greeted by a $55 washing charge.  Good morning!  My friend, being the man after God he is, paid and left, they did wash her clothes after all.

This is where the story gets interesting.

His wife, in jest blogged it.  Just to share the experience, not to degrade the hotel (that you will notice is not mentioned here), not with an agenda, not boycotting Disney, just to live life's adventures Sharefully (insert shameless plug to a different friends blog here).

Before the end of the day they are contacted by the hotel and the situation remedied.  Again my friends family being after Christ with integrity removed the blog.  Ahhh the power of the internet and each minuscule persons perspective and opinion.

My mind immediately made a connection between this and the church.  This is community!  Watching, encouraging, bearing burdens that don't seem like ours to bear.  What if outside of Sunday morning we truly cared for people, then when we wronged them, we sought them out and made it right.

What if we loved people like we love ourselves . . . wait that sounds vaguely familiar . . . so what if we obeyed . . . that one is a little scary . . . so what if we actually loved God . . . now that one was painful.

But wouldn't it be extraordinary?

Fighting to make the Extraordinary seem normal
-Ordinary Warrior

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Pleasant Evening at War

A seismic event happened last night at some friends house, epic barely describes it.  Perhaps my excitement should be tempered but to me this was extraordinary.  It all started when . . . (Que the wavy lines and Predator style music.)

The 5 of us sitting at a table after an excellent soupy meal, simply enjoying each others company.  The smallest, under a year, taking in the depths of what friendship and community is all about with squash and rice cereal smeared all over his face.

The table, black with raised chairs, had not been a friend to the sixth man, my 3 1/2 year old, who wanted to play.  He played with the Charger, following in his fathers footsteps and not realizing it wasn't just a bigger plate, he played with the table cloth, he sat backwards and hung his legs through the rear of the chair.  Perhaps our conversation was a bit over his head.

So after a quick Time-Out, an explanation of disobedience, and 3 quick bites of potatoes and meat, he could get up and play.  The strangest thing I may have ever said was my admonition to him, "Don't break anything!"  Curious, but if you know my son, well, he is like me, his thoughts and actions are like time and space - somehow one is faster than the other.

We continue our romp through the conversational forest as he plays in the other room.  Suddenly, without warning he pops around the corner, bent over, hands directly to his middle, a large pink and blue object under one arm and a small yellow ball in the other, with a look of surprise and terror in his eyes.

I have to insert a caveat here:  He is not in a diaper, and yesterday marks just over a week since he started wearing his Wolverine, Iron Man, and other hero's instead of the absorbent protection formerly covering his midsection.  He has done well, caught himself several times, but has not had a preemptive strike to this point.  His battles have all been a result of his body "sending one over the bow."

I instantly recognized this look of war being raged in my sons eyes and without hesitation leapt from my observatory to engage.  "Drop the balls and lets go!"  I said as a general barking orders in mid-battle to save his battalion.  But he would not leave a man behind, how could he release these play toys to be engulfed by the floor below?  "We will come back for them, let's go, let's go!"  I reassured!

Then he ran, like Gump through the jungle, dipping chairs, dodging tables, hurdling whatever was in the way but he got there.  The battle waged from there, but details will be spared as they are beginning of Saving Private Ryan-esque, but we emerged victorious, with a walk of glory being cheered from all angles and a metal of Reece's Pieces awarded with Pride.

This is the story of the first time my son recognized his need to evacuate liquid and solid from his body, without it striking first.  I basked in his victory, but stand firm that this war will wage on!

Note:  I figure by the time he can read well enough to seek out my blog this will be buried in the classified files so deep it will be almost impossible to embarrass him, but I may be wrong!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Like No One Else

"Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later."

Recently I learned the joys of golf, it is called captains choice!  Seriously, I'm not sure if I will ever want to play on my own merit again.  We kept track of whose ball we used to stay competitive, because everything is competitive, but there was no disappointment, no stress, and no foul language which usually accompanies this game.

I played with friends that made it even better, guys I have known for 10 plus years, who have seen the worst and the few things that are the best about me.  Guys who I am now separated by distance from and communicate only through electronics so it was very special to me.

Of course, conversation ensued about everything.  At one point we spoke of money, views, ideas, problems.  In the midst of this came Dave Ramsey and his course.  My wife and I have taken this course and it has done great things for us budget wise, allowing her to stay home with our son.  I am a fan, but my friend brought up a great point.

Ramsey's budget system is brilliant, and lots of other things as well, I love it and continue to send people to it, but ultimately his overwhelming theme is wrong, his goal is skewed.  The tag line is, "Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later."  Is this a masked form of the prosperity gospel?

We talk of being like those in the book of Acts but also teach tithe what you can, or feel lead to so as not to hurt any ones feelings or pocket book.  Looks to me that in that early church people were selling their good stuff in order to help, not giving 10% to feel ok and then relying on whatever is trendy to hold our stature and feelings in that place.

Enjoy things, they are given by God, but enjoy them with the understanding that they are given by God, so that we can be satisfied in Him, not His things.  God made the color red so I could enjoy it, He knew there would be football so I could relax in it.  Seeing everything within the life He set out as things for me to joy in and find my ultimate satisfaction in Christ changes my view of everything.

The NT church that we pretend we want to be was not our American version.  Enjoy the things, but be satisfied in Christ, which leads to giving up many of those things in order that some might not suffer.  Be careful that retirement is not on a higher pedestal than the widow and orphan, more aptly for us today, the single mother and fatherless child.

Live like no one else now.  I think we can just leave it at that.

Fight to make the extraordinary seem normal

-Ordinary Warrior

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vivid Images from an Old School Jam

An old school jam rolled through the shuffle on my ipod today.  Through the magic of the "back" button, it played maybe 20 times.  I could see imagery vividly in my mind as if a video had been shot, prepped, edited and cut.  These are descriptions of some of those images:

Still pic over the shoulder of a man gazing down a darkened, endless hallway at a door, lit like it is alive.

A tear, hanging on the edge of a cell phone, grasping not to fall as it is bombarded by its siblings coming down the cheek of a lightly bearded man.

Only rough hands, grasping towards the sky, straining for every inch to be closer, frantically flailing from worship and need.  Panning back and down, revealing the cold shimmering waters holding and pulling the man under, his arms reaching for life and breath in what only seconds before seemed beautiful worship . . . and truthfully still is.  He is drowning, but only showing his hands.

An "I love my church" bumper sticker on the back of an Escalade pulls away from a stop light, pan right, revealing a woman, stroking a soft blue blanket, a sweet motherly look on her face.  Cozily wrapped in the blanket is the cooing of an emptiness she left at the clinic at 12 weeks.  Darkness encapsulates the scene as she falls, only her reaching hand staying in focus.

Rolling prison bars,dark, with an occasional blast of dusty sunlight.  Hands reaching through the bars.

On the hand of a girl, slowly rolling up her bruised and scarred arm revealing her head down in sorrow and shame she doesn't need to bear in front of bar where she does not need to be.  Movement all around as she is motionless, swing from her back to her downcast face.  A hand on her shoulder, lips whisper in her ear, and a glimmer of hope appears from her eyes.

This is an incredible song about men and women striving for Christ, bearing the burdens of the world as we are given strength by Christ.  "The pain of the world is a burden & it's my cross to bear."  It truly is! Galatians 6:1

Side Note:  There are so many more clips that are created in my mind for so many things.  This is part of the reason I am pressing towards Archetype Productions as much as I am.  This is the first public mention of a company I am working on starting and it may never come to fruition but I live in this virtual video world and long to make it available to encourage people and glorify Christ.   Inspire passion, induce action.