Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Don Miller is one of my favorite authors.  Even if he did skirt my question when he came to Charlotte.  I simply asked him: "if you had 30 minutes with Jesus in Starbucks what would you ask him?"  He quickly responded, "what the hell are you doing in Starbucks?" and that was it.  As funny, witty and crappy an answer as it was, he's still one of my favorite authors.

On a recent blog of his he was talking about how great pain in life can lead to great impact.  And he wrote this: "if we are willing to allow our pain and hardship to be used to help others, our pain is given dignity."  Now I've always believed we can allow our pain and hardship to help others, but I had never thought of those last few words "our pain is given dignity."  It caught my attention.  Obviously, its only when we've let go of the victim mentality and forgiven the culprit responsible for our pain that we can allow our experience to help someone else.  And its only in helping someone else that the pain we experienced is given dignity.

Sounds like a difficult process.  It also sounds like a worthy process.  Are you willing to go through it?  God may just have a ministry in mind for you if you are.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Need Wisdom...Just Ask

I often quote or refer people to James 1:5-6 because of how practical it is.  I often make decisions without praying about them before I make them.  And honestly, while its ideal to pray about every decision, I don't know that its possible.  So I'd like to think that when I am not utilizing prayer for a decision, that I've been pursuing something that is just as helpful: wisdom.

James tells his hearers that "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  If you've been making bad decisions lately, why not try asking God for wisdom?  In verse six we are reminded that if we ask expecting to get it, then we will get it.

Seek wisdom, ask for wisdom, expect wisdom and watch your decision making improve.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This article caught my attention, not because its riveting, but because of the premise. I just think its amazing that people care about the growth of food portion sizes in paintings of the last supper from the years between 1000 to 2000. I actually like what the last guy in the article says. It would be interesting to compare food portion sizes in Superbowl ads from the 1980's to today. I'm sure a comparison of Superbowl ads over the last 30 years would provide a more accurate view of how portion sizes have changed.

Just watch the movie documentaries "Super Size Me" and "Food Inc." and you will change how you view fast food and the food industry as a whole.  Don't get me wrong, I still eat burgers and fries and occasionally eat fast food, but I eat it a lot less than I used to.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

O'Malley's Law

Some of you have heard of Murphy's law, but have you heard of O'Malley's law. In another life I worked at Radioshack and had a manager that told me about O'Malley's law. He said O'Malley's law states that "Murphy was an optimist."

I don't know how much more cynical you can get, but I have to say I've used O'Malley's law before. Cynicism is just so easy. Advertisements bombard us over and over again with a product that we don't yet have but that promises to make us happy. Then we get it and we still aren't happy. So we get cynical. It's sad that we are so easily manipulated.

Obviously, advertisements aren't the only food for our cynicism. There are life experiences that don't go our way, there are the constant comparison's with others who are smarter, more successful, wealthier, wittier, holier or more disciplined than we are. There are let downs, injustices and blatant unfairness in our world and in our lives.

The thing about cynicism is that it festers apathy, pessimism and self-pity. It can keep a person in a prison of selfishness. It can blacken the heart and isolate a person from meaningful relationships. It can create a spirit of judgmentalism and a false victim mentality. Cyncism is dangerous even for spiritually strong Christians because it can sneak in unnoticed and percolate in the depths of the heart without the person realizing its there.

So, search your heart and look for cynicism and make a conscious decision to be positive and engaged rather negative and isolated. If this article is true, it will not only be good for your spirit, it will be good for your body as well.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The skin of my teeth

You're telling a friend about a wreck you almost had and you say "I escaped an terrible accident by the skin of my teeth."  And you're friend knows exactly what you mean.  But do you know where that phrase comes from?  Do you know how it was used originally?  Well, if you're curious, keep reading.

Its in the book of Job.  In chapter 19 Job is lamenting about how his friends have been hounding him and tormenting him and making him feel humiliated while in midst of tumultuous emotional, physical, relational and theological suffering.  Job's friends are constantly blaming him for his suffering and Job is constantly blaming God for his suffering.  Starting in verse 14, Job starts recounting the relationships he has lost (or that have been reversed) because of what God has done to him.  After naming them, in verse 20, Job says "I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth."

Job hasn't actually escaped anything.  He's using sarcastic irony.  He's saying that he hasn't been supported by his friends, family or even his own skeletal structure.  The image of "skin of my teeth" means he's left with nothing.  There's nothing good about his situation.  The irony is that to escape with nothing but yourself and your misery, is no escape at all.

So next time you hear that saying, you'll know how it was used when it was originally written.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't let the car fool you...

I recently saw a bumper sticker on a really nice SUV that said "Don't let the car fool you, my treasure lies in heaven."

It bothered me and I'm not sure why.  Did it bother me because its a demonstration of false humility?  Did it bother me because its a cheesy bumper sticker on a luxury SUV?  Did it bother me because I'm tall and drive a small car and wish I drove a bigger car?  Yes.  I think all three are true.

My question is this, if you are willing to make it public that your treasure lies in heaven, then why are driving a really nice SUV?  I mean, why not drive a basic car to get you from point A to point B?  Wouldn't that be a better witness to what the bumper sticker is trying to communicate?

I like the bumper sticker that says "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians" better.  Its convicting and eye opening and challenges Christians to change that perception.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

God's Realness

I love it when people say something that seems insignificant to them but is meaningful, uplifting and powerful to me, especially when they fail to realize how it has impacted me (on the flip side, I hate it when people say something that seems insignificant to them that has the opposite effect, which unfortunately, is much easier to do).  You know that means it happened to me recently (the former example).  I'm teaching a class on the book of Job and after the 3rd class, I had some internal wonderings about why I was doing it.  The book of Job is difficult to read and even harder to study.  It challenges you theologically, emotionally and I would even say pyschologically.

Well, in the middle of the week I saw a member of the class and she said that she really liked the class.  And I said something like "Good, I just hope its not hurting people's image of God, with it being so depressing."  And she said without thought "No, not at all, it makes him more real for me."  I had not thought of that before.  I felt so uplifted and encouraged about teaching the class.  It was one of the best things said to me in a long time.

I haven't quite processed how the book of Job has made God more real for me (even though I think it has).  But I'm so glad it is happening so naturally for someone else.  I mean what better thing to happen to a person than for God to become more real to them.  I can't think of a better way for that to be communicated.  So many people talk about having a "personal relationship with Christ," which is good (of course its only half the point of Christian faith), but how can you have that personal relationship with someone that is not "real" to you.  And I don't just mean real in the sense of "belief of existence," I mean real in the sense of "a living active being that is in you, above you, under you, beside you, in front of you, behind you and walking with you."  Its so easy to let God remain as just a concept to believe in, which is why so many people who are Christians don't know God's "realness."

Are you there?  Why not try the book of Job?  Its not pop theology and it doesn't paint a picture of God that's easy, but maybe that's exactly what we need for God to be more "real" to us.