Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Can Playing Hooky Be Educational?

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Horacio Agostini via Flickr

Recently one sunny Sunday morning, I played hooky from the church that employs me.  Being a pastor, Sundays are a pretty big deal for us (some would erroneously argue it’s the only day we work).  Yet on this day I wasn’t available at my house of worship.  I didn’t sleep in; in fact, I woke up even earlier that morning than what was my usual routine.  I wasn’t on vacation, though I did take a field trip.

My wife and I, along with another leader from our church, visited a sister church in our area that particular morning.  The three of us were there to watch and learn from a church with which our church has a growing relationship – a partnership, if you will.  This church is a little larger than ours, and a little further along than where ours is currently.  Who better to teach us?

So we spent approximately 5 hours watching every detail possible.  Our hosts were most gracious in answering any and all questions we had.  They introduced ideas and concepts that were beyond our mindset at the time.  We left that afternoon with our minds whirling.  We were excited to realize that there were many areas back at our home church where we were already doing a tremendous job.  Equally exciting, though, was being inspired to share ideas for those areas where we could improve.  We’ve have already begun to implement some of the changes that we borrowed from our friends. 

In our Christian life, it’s crucial to have help along the way.  If you attack life all alone, at some point, you are going to struggle.  When you are left to your own self, the devil will eventually gain a foothold, even if you are one of strongest Christians.  Why not partner with someone else who can offer a kind word of encouragement or even a teaching criticism?  Partnering with someone further developed than yourself gives you a chance to learn from their successes and shortcomings.

Proverbs 27:17 states – “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Who in your life is your iron?  Who have you strategically reached out to for support?  And maybe more importantly, are you the iron in someone else's life?

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Monday - Rejoice!

Photo courtesy of Michael Dawes

Today is the only Monday, May 16, 2011 we will ever get.  Regardless of the fact that it's a Monday, it's still a valuable commodity - a moment in time.  For many, it's the beginning of the work week, which is at times bittersweet.  For some, it's a day off.

What value does this single day have in your world?  What great plans do you have for today?  What directive gets implemented today that's going to change your world?

Whose day is going to be better because of you?

One of my favorite verses in the Bible speaks about today - I John 2:17 - And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Today is the only day we can utilize right now to further His Kingdom, the chance we have to do what pleases Him.  What are your plans?  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Worship Song Saturday - Hookers and Robbers by Charlie Hall

I can't hide the fact that I thoroughly enjoy Charlie Hall and his band.  His music and musicianship is unparalleled in my books.  After all, he rocks an awesome goatee!  I was first introduced to this song a few years ago at one of his concerts.  The lyrics follow below the video.

Crack kids, track kids, hookers and robbers
The naked and hungry, mothers and fathers
Abuses, excuses, and guns in your hands
And I even welcome the arrogant man
I welcome you all to the biggest of feasts
A night of no shame
To pause and to breathe
This is a night of love's renovation
A feast I am sure that could change a whole nation

Me, I am not such an excellent host
I am one who forgives but needs it the most
I found the liar, the killer of hearts
And I ran away with a new way to start
I journeyed a road where a bright man appeared
He looked into me, and my eyes filled with tears
My breath fast and short and my heart burning deep
He gave me new eyes and a new way to see

So come as you are, as you are, as you are
So come as you are, as you are, as you are

I still defiled his great love ways
I felt such a famine when I ran away
I missed the presence, the voice like a song
I was nasty and dirty, I knew I was wrong
But he ran to me like a dream like a father
This love is not earthly this love must be other
He carried me home and threw me a party
A party so loud like the greatest love story
Oh my dear friend applaud now please
I've invited you heart to announce you are free
He takes your chains, busting you out of prison
Just open your heart, let your heart come and listen

Come as you are, as you are, as you are
Come as you are, as you are, as you are

Who could accept all your pounding and screaming
Your raging, your freaking, cussing, and beating
All while He holds you and always forgiving
This is the story of love and of living
Wipe off your tears and laugh just a little
Come break this bread, celebrate the Forgiver
Raise up a glass, a time to remember
Come break this bread, celebrate the Forgiver

Come as you are, as you are, as you are
Come as you are, as you are, as you are

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Need Help Finishing A Project? 3 Ways To Go Get It Done Now!

These last few days were some of the busiest  I've ever had in my life.  I wish that was an exaggeration.  I found myself up against several deadlines, which help me greatly, but also frustrate me to no end. Deadlines definitely help me focus and get things accomplished, but, all the while, they also stress me out.  What about you - do you enjoy deadlines?  

Have you ever been up against a deadline, unable to find the inspiration to complete a project on time?  Ever watched the second hand on a clock, slowly counting down the minutes and seconds until you are expected to be finished? I tend to find myself in these situations from time to time. Here are three quick ideas that have helped me in the past, and might work well for you.

  1. Stop what you are doing and just walk away.  Take a break and turn your brain off.  When I am up at my office at church, and need time to clear my mind, I take a walk around the border of the six acres surrounding our building (thanks to the RunKeeper app on my Droid, I know each lap is .33 miles).  
  2. Take a few minutes away from what you are working on to focus on something not related to your current task.  For example, if you are creating art, stop and spend a few minutes completing a sudoku. Watch a 22 minute tv sitcom on DVD or via Netflix (I particularly enjoy Seinfeld re-runs). 
  3. Seek counsel from others, even if y ou think they can help you on your current project or not. Speak with someone about what's on their mind, not about you and your world only. Sometimes you will find that extra spark of inspiration in the most unlikely places.        
What about you? What do you do to get unstuck and finish up what you are working on?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Sticky Jesus Adventure Begins Today!

I love adventures!  Whether it's taking off on a roadtrip, exploring a new city, or jamming to a new song, I like to explore.  Life's too short to not make the most of each and every new day.

Recently I came across an intriguing concept - a group of 16 bloggers joining together to collectively read and report on a single book.  As luck would have it, there was a slot still available, so yours truly is now part of this amazing group of folks.

The book we will be reading is Sticky Jesus, co-written by Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong.  These two ladies, and the sticky Jesus concept, was a recent discovery to me, and it has already been such a blessing.  From their website, Sticky Jesus  . . . "exists to equip you, the Christ follower, to confidently live out your faith in the digital world. We're here to infuse biblical perspective and daily inspiration into your online time. We'll help you grow your technical know-how so you can share the sticky love of Jesus Christ with others. We're teaching, listening, and collaborating with a fired-up community of digital scribes about culture, social media, and the kind of relationship building that will outlive cyberspace. Are you in?"  

The month of May is Digital Outreach Month, with Sunday, May 15 being selected as Internet Evangelism Day.  What a perfect time to dive into this study!  I look forward to learning and sharing from both Tami and Toni, as well as the community coming together during this challenge.  You can read more about the what and how of this project here.

This is gonna be fun!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Top 3 Posts Of April 2011

April was my second most read month of all time here at The Pastor Wore Plaid.  I'm working on becoming better focused on crafting quality content in a timely and effective manner.  Here are my top 3 posts from April:

  1. Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen 
  2. Are You Prepared For The Journey Of A Lifetime  
  3. Watch Restrepo Now!

Thank you to each of you who read this blog.  I am so thankful for each comment or conversation that happens due to the randomness that is in my mind.