Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are you kidding me!?!

It's hard to believe that this is a video of my almost 18-year-old son posted on you-tube. It seems like yesterday that we were wiping the snot from his nose, and photographing him buck naked sitting on a potty. I am incredibly proud of his committment to work hard and accomplish the goals he has set for himself. I love the fact that he sees himself both as his own greatest competition and his greatest impediment to success. I have intentionally been low key lately about blogging about what's going on with him as he focuses on his senior season of high school, having made the decision where he's going to be playing college football next year.

However, this was hard to pass up. Demi works out at a place called Davis Training Systems, a place highly reputed to train some of the best athletes in the state. The deadlift record for college athletes that train at DTS is 590 pounds, while the record for pro athletes is 675 pounds. My son, in the video above, just matched the pro-athletes record by deadlifting 675 pounds. This kid is getting stronger by the day and he currently weighs 250 pounds, runs a 4.71 forty yard dash, and bench presses 375 pounds (and he hasn't even begun his senior year of high school yet). I can't wait to see what he accomplishes as he doggedly pursues the goals he's set for himself. Watching my son reminds me that, no matter how difficult the journey, I must remain committed to persevering until the goal is accomplished. Another lesson in leadership from my teenage son!!!


I know, I know, you're wondering if I'm schizophrenic or something. I mean, my last post was titled "Contented" and in the space of a couple of days I'm posting another blog titled "Discontented"? I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the water or with being on two different continents over the last couple of days, so let me clarify: I'm thoroughly discontented with my effectiveness as a Christian! I so desperately want to make a difference in the lives of the people that I come in contact with. I want my Christianity to speak volubly without me ever saying a word, if that makes sense! As I've processed the impact of last Sunday's four services in London, the thing that stood out to me the most is the hunger of the people who responded to the message. The altar was full of people weeping and crying out to God for more. People who are, themselves, discontented with their Christian witness. This would appear to be a universal heart cry. So the question is, what do we do about it?

I've spent the summer reading some pretty amazing books that have completely 'ruined' me for good. These books seem to echo the same longing in my heart, but they go a little further and profer solutions to how they think we can change the way we do what we do, for greater effectiveness. While I don't necessarily endorse verbatim everything that's written in these books, I love their radical approach to a new way of doing church in a new and ever changing world that's looking for relevant answers to everyday questions.

Peppermint-filled pinatas reminds us that our neighbors aren't just the guys that live next door. The Shack radically challenges our view of what God looks like in any given situation. Unchristian 'undresses' the truth about how we are viewed by those whose impressions matter most if we are to make a difference in their lives. They like Jesus but not the Church explores similar ideas to Unchristian but brings its own unique perspective. Finally, I've been most impacted by a book titled Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It's the story of a Rwandan genocide survivor who spent 91 days in a 3' by 5' bathroom with seven other women while being hunted by bloodthirsty killers who sometimes were perched right outside the bathroom window so that their deadly conversations were clearly heard by the hiding women. Are you discontented? Have you read anything lately that has 'ruined' you? Please share.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I'm resting today! It's been a packed but amazing extended weekend. I spent Thursday and Friday nights in a little village in Wales called Penegroes. It has the most verdant, rolling hills you've ever seen, and looks like it was taken right out of a picture postcard... wait a minute, this is the photograph they put on picture postcards when they're trying to entice you to visit Wales with all of its mystery and exotic history. On Saturday I rode the train for seven hours back to London (no one was 'trapped' on the train this time), where I went directly to the gym with my brother and his buddy. My brother made sure that I paid for blogging about his 'unplanned trip' by putting me through the most rigorous workout routine. I'm still feeling intense pain with every keystroke. I collapsed into bed on Saturday night only to wake up early and leave home at 7.30am for the Sunday services I was preaching at.

Yes, it wasn't a typo, I did say services. I spoke at 4 services yesterday. I spoke at an 8.30am, 10.30am and 12.30am service. Then I did some counseling and then spoke at the 6.00pm service. I got home at about 9.30pm last night, and it was all I could do to get out of my clothes and crawl into bed completely exhausted but totally fulfilled. I love what I do! I love and enjoy the privilege of speaking into people's lives and watching the 'light come on' as something clicks into place for them. I've thoroughly enjoyed this time in the UK. Sadly however, my youngest sister, who lives in Nigeria, flew into the UK today with her two kids and my younger brother's son, but I don't get to see them (though I did get to speak with them on the phone). They are heading straight to Wales while I'm firmly esconced in London as I fly back home tomorrow morning.

I am truly grateful for family. Seeing, and speaking with so many members of my extended family over the last week has really brought into focus what is value to me. I enjoy ministry. I enjoy hanging out with friends. I enjoy traveling. I enjoy getting new clothes, shoes, and other gifts. But I truly cherish family, speaking of which, I can hardly wait to see my wife and kids tomorrow. I wonder if I go to bed early tonight I can make tomorrow come sooner?

Friday, July 25, 2008

planes, trains and automobiles (okay, just trains)!!!

I'm writing this at the risk of having to take a bus home from Wales, since my brother has threatened me under pains of death not to reveal this story. However, like any good journalist wannabee, I can't pass up a good story. So here goes: I'm currently in Wales visiting with my dad. My brother was kind enough to drive me to Euston station where I was scheduled to catch the 9.00am train for the three and a half hour ride up to Bangor, Wales. With a few minutes left to spare, we decided to board the train together so that I could stow my luggage and find a comfortable seat.

We sat down across from a pleasant gentleman who had no problem inserting himself into our conversation like we were old friends. Knowing the famed punctuality of the British Rail service, at 8.58am, I suggested that my brother begin to make his way off the train. We joked a little bit more with our new 'friend' and then he casually made his way towards the door. Suddenly, without warning, we felt a jerk as the train slowly began to pull forward. My brother suddenly appeared from behind the wall separating the cabin from the exit lobby, with a bewildered look on his face. He'd been too late getting to the door as he courteously made room for others to board. The doors are automatic and seal themselves shut so that 'crazy' Brits don't attempt to jump off a moving train. Try as he might, he couldn't get off the train.

Problem 1: The first stop was Rugby, a distance of 82 miles or 45 minutes. Problem 2: He had only fed the parking meter for 50 minutes. Problem 3: a 45 minute journey two ways, plus wait and transition time amounts to slightly more than 50 minutes. He had to call a friend to head over to Euston station, find the car, and feed the meter, all before the over eager traffic wardens slapped a ticket on the windshield and arranged for a tow. It was a sight for sore eyes to see our new 'friend' enjoying a hearty laugh at my brother's expense. The crowning jewel was watching the ticket collectors face as my brother carefully explained his predicament as the reason for not having a ticket. So what's the spiritual lesson for today? Who cares? It was just a really great laugh. By the way, do you know any one who might be kind enough to pick me up from Euston station tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Profound Pronouncements

I'm writing this from London, England. I'm sooooooo tired but I'm trying to resist the urge to go to sleep, otherwise my body-clock will never adjust to the time zone I'm in. My flight was really pleasant and uneventful. In fact, everything was rather routine until we arrived at Gatwick airport. We were waiting in the designated immigration line for foreign nationals and there was a young, black family in line behind me. The youngest must have been no older than four years old.

She was having a rollicking good time bouncing around while all the boring adults were smiling at her indulgently, pretending not to be bored out of their minds. Suddenly she yelled at the top of her voice, "Hmmmm, someone farted," and then she scrunched up her nose in mock disgust. It was all I could do not to turn round and 'high-five' her, especially since she'd said what I, and probably everyone else, with the exception of the one who did fart, was thinking. It's amazing how uninhibited kids can be, especially when they are completely oblivious to the sensibilities of decorum.

Needless to say, her mother was thoroughly embarassed, and chided her (as if that would change the effect of her 'timely' declaration). The lessons are myriad, but let's examine just a couple of them. First, "From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. " This Scripture verse holds as true today as it always has. Unlike too many of us, the little girl was willing to call out the 'elephant in the room' instead of cursing up a storm in her mind while outwardly pretending to be unconcerned. Second, Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's impossible to put it back. Words carry weight, and once spoken, they cannot be unspoken. I bet that little girls mother would agree with both these principles after this morning's... shall we say... 'profound pronouncement.'

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

100% = wasted effort???

I changed up my exercise routine today, and instead of going on my 20-mile bike ride I went walking with my wife, Sola, and our oldest daughter, Bimi. The reason was two-fold: first, so that I could spend a little extra quality time with them before I leave for London today, and second, so that I could shock my body out of its regular routine, thereby making it work harder and burn more calories. Exercise and endurance training are a really funny 'animal,' especially since, in order to maximize the benefits of exercise there are a few keys that you need to know about. The first key is to understand what it is you are trying to accomplish. To determine whether what you are trying to accomplish is realistic, you need to know your limits.

The best way to do this is to figure out your maximum heart rate. The formula is simply to subtract your age from the number 220 (or 226 for women). Once you've got this number then you need to determine whether you need to work in the healthy heart zone (Warm Up) which is 50 - 60% of your max, Fitness zone (Fat Burning) which is 60 - 70% of your max, Aerobic zone (Endurance Training) which is 70 - 80% of your max, Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) which is 80 - 90% of your max, or Red Line (Maximum Effort) which is 90 - 100% of your max. Why is this relevant? Because each work zone has a specific purpose. Fat burning is best accomplished in the first two zones (85% of calories burned in these zones are fat), so if you're trying to burn fat calories and you're pushing your heart rate into, lets say the Anaerobic zone, you're only burning 15% of calories from fat. If you want to win the Tour de France, on the other hand, you must learn to work in the Red Line zone where you develop a higher lactate tolerance ability, or in simpler terms, greater endurance.

I believe pastors and church planters can learn a lot from this principle by understanding where maximum effort will yield maximum fruit. Doing this efficiently and effectively, begins by defining your purpose though. If you are just generally hoping that good things will happen because you are pastoring a church, then you will probably reap the least amount of benefit from your labor. If, however, you settle once and for all what God has specifically called you to do, then you can divert maximum effort, burning the right amount and right kind of 'calories' towards accomplishing this goal. Who would have thought that you could learn so much about pastoring and leading, from exercising? Have you learned anything exciting in the last few days? Care to share?

Monday, July 21, 2008

So, what are you doing this summer?

I'm moving house!!! I'll be living on a plane the next month or so, as things are shaping up to become incredibly busy over the next few weeks for me. Tomorrow I leave for London, England, where I will be doing some ministry as well as connecting with my extended family. I’ll be back in time to do my laundry and then take off for Guatemala on a mission trip with a few folks from The Well. I am pumped about going to Guatemala since my almost-15-year-old daughter will be accompanying me on the trip. It will be her first mission trip and I am confident that it will dramatically alter the way she views life, for the better.

Shortly after my return from Guatemala I’ll be jumping on another plane and heading out to Lagos, Nigeria for a few days. I’ll be taking a young man with me who will spend the next two or so months serving, learning and growing in ways he never imagined possible. I know, I know, you’re thinking I’ll be completely wiped out by the end of these trips. Just writing about them makes me tired, so I’ll sign off now so I can finish packing, and then get some well deserved rest before the whirlwind begins. Whatever the case, I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to pour into the lives of so many people on three different continents in the space of one month. What are you doing this summer?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Frivolous Friday!

So, is it just me or does 'frivolous friday' seem to roll around quicker and quicker each week. Okay, maybe it's just me, but I've got to pretend that I don't really look forward to laughing at some of the most ridiculous interpretations of the English language each week, otherwise I might be accused of enjoying other people's confusion (I plead the fifth on this one). Anyway, this weeks signs are courtesy of a Japanese website I discovered through a friend of mine. It's called (yes, I spelt it right)! Enjoy!!

This first picture left me feeling quite 'vulnerable.' I promise, if you squint just right it reads, "Brain location Services." These Japanese folks are the most courteous people you'll ever meet! No wonder they're so technologically advanced. They leave nothing to chance and will ensure that, if you've misplaced yours they'll help you find it.This next one is all about economy of space. If you know anything about Japan, you'll know that they are incredibly innovative when it comes to using space. They build homes on footprints that are 300sf and make them three or four stories, utilizing every inch of space efficiently and effectively. Well, the same applies to Japanese advertising. Since the car is so small, they figured that to fit the phrase "I feel like a Coke" on the door of the car would have required a bigger door. Using their famed ingenuity, they cut the phrase short and saved the cost of a bigger door!Finally, in the unlikely event that you find yourself in Japan with your mother on Mother's Day, and you're wondering where in tarnation to take her for a 'slap-up-meal,' then look no further. You've found the place: Mom's Mustache. Watch out now, you don't want to fall off that chair laughing so hard! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You've still got it and...

It's a particularly special day for me today since it's my wife Sola's birthday. You might wonder what the fuss is all about, but for me it represents just one more opportunity to express (in a more special way) how precious she is to me. In this day and age where marriages hardly last any real length of time, being married to the same woman for 20 years and watching her grow and come into her own, while remaining as beautiful as she was the day I married her, gives me a particularly warm and fuzzy feeling. She is my best friend, my confidante, my sounding board (she even lets me 'barf up my stuff' on her occasionally), and my greatest inspiration for wanting to accomplish God's larger purpose for my life. I know, I know, you're wishing you had a friend like her especially in a generation where too many 'friendships' seem filled with a pervasive mephitic stench. What can I say? We can't all have a Sola so you'll just have to live vicariously through me. So today, I get to brag on my "Babes" as I say HAPPYYYYYY BIRTHDAY!!! If you'd like to brag on her too, drop her a line here wishing her a happy birthday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I will give you rest

As I've said previously, the Tour de France is the most grueling bike race, and arguably the most grueling sporting event in the world, period! The last couple of days have seperated the 'contenders' from the 'pretenders' as they entered the Pyrenean Mountains with gradients of 10% stretching for up to 11 miles. That is, at least in my mind, death by bicycle!! It is uncanny and herculean the way these men drag their bodies over the mountains at speeds that approach 15 - 16 miles an hour while ascending to over 2000 meters (the average recreational biker probably rides around 11 miles an hour on flat roads). But even the organizers of this 'inhuman' race know that everyone has limits.

After scaling the category 1 climbs of the Col d' Aspin and the Col d' Peyresourde on Sunday, they proceeded to scale the highest peak in the Pyrenees on Monday known as the Col du Tourmalet (beyond category). As if that wasn't enough, the race concluded on another beyond category peak called Hautacam. Some of the riders just barely made it to the summit. Your body screams at you to stop as it gasps for every breath. You feel as if you've hit a wall as your mind fantasizes about death (which, at the moment would seem less painful). The anguish is almost unbearable. And so the Tour organizers declared Today a rest day. No riding whatsoever. The bikers are getting some well earned and well deserved rest, while tending to their sore bodies and injuries sustained in the inevitable crashes that are bound to occur in this highly esteemed race for the greatest crown in cycling.

I believe that God creates opportunities for us to rest in Him after we've faced grueling circumstances. As we run the greatest race that we will ever run, we set our sights on the crown laid before us. In the most difficult of moments, that might be all that sustains us. Life can often be like the Tour de France. As you reach a flat section of the road of life, you sigh with relief, feeling like you couldn't deal with one more difficulty, then you look up and discover that it was a false flat, the gradient gets even steeper up ahead. God knows that you can do it. If you listen carefully, you'll hear His gentle encouragement urging you along, reassuring you that rest is at the end of the road. I listened to the in-car communication with Christian Van de Velde (the highest placed American rider) and it reminded me so much of how God encourages us when we feel like we've got nothing left. So my encouragement to you today is to remember that no matter how difficult the road may seem right now, it will come to an end, and there is rest for you in the loving arms of the Master of our destiny.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Angel of Music

My daughters have both watched the Phantom of The Opera about a trillion times each. At some point I had to 'discourage' them from watching it as they would walk around the house singing in the most irritating falsettos (okay, the singing wasn't so bad it just got really old after I'd heard the same song 42 times in the last hour). We are currently in our summer series titled See You at the Movies, so when my older daughter filled out the movie card suggesting Phantom of The Opera as a movie with a great moral and spiritual message, my first impulse was to discard it. All I can say now is I'm glad I didn't. It was a superb hit on Sunday with its myriad spiritual messages. Here are just a few of them:

  • Like the Phantom, we are gifted by God for a purpose but 'scarred and disfigured' by tragedy, life-circumstances, abuse and numerous other 'issues' that we contend with.

  • Like the Phantom, many of us hide our giftedness behind a 'mask' which serves to obscure not just our faces (personalities) but our gifts.

  • If you don't confront and deal with your dysfunction, it is liable to draw more attention than your gift, and consequently distort the image people have of you.

  • A romanticized and distorted view of life, stemming from your woundedness, can make you believe that you have a right to do or take whatever you want regardless of the cost to anyone else.

  • Be careful what voices you listen to, or allow to speak into your life. Seduction and deception often masquerade themselves in qualities that we are seeking in others. (Christine was convinced that her musical gift came from the "Angel of Music" that was assigned to protect, guard, and guide her)

  • Pure and unadulterated love that seeks the highest good of others will always win out over greed, lust and manipulation.

Have you seen the movie? If so, what hidden moral or spiritual lessons did you find? If you haven't seen it, then what the heck are you waiting for? log-off the computer and hurry down to Blockbuster before they close!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Frivolous Friday!!!

Hey! It's 'Frivolous Friday' again. For those of you new to my blog, that's when I post pictures of mindless road signs that challenge the notion that everyone has a brain. Today I found some really intruiging photos to share with you. I hope your day picks up from this point forward.

I'm not sure about you, but a sense of decency prevents me from using this drycleaner. Besides, I'm married and am certainly not looking for any sort of 'attention.' Seriously though, I wonder if someone for whom English is a second language had a hand in the wording of this sign.

All I have to say about this photo is: What??? I might have a poor sense of direction but I definetely know my right from my left thank you very much.

In the photo below, the 'red tape' of small town bureaucracy becomes patently obvious. Evidently the town council couldn't decide on what to do so they settled for both options: "This way to the toilet, but stay in your car please!?!" Oh well, let's just hope you can hold it till the next rest stop. Have a fabulous and frivolous weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Steady Oliver the Kingdom Builder, and other stories

My blogging friend, Kamsin, wrote a brilliant post on her blog titled losing my mind, the other day, and it got me thinking about all the stuff that I’m doing. Why do I do it? As if life isn’t already busy and complicated enough, I add blogging (which requires me to religiously update my blog daily so that people keep coming back to read what I write), then there’s Facebook, where I tell the whole world how shallow my definition of “friends” is and share whatever’s forefront on my mind at the time I log on, and in the third person no less. Finally, I twitter. I still don’t know that I get any benefit whatsoever from ‘twittering’ but I twitter none the less. Don’t misunderstand me to be knocking any of these modern tools of networking; I simply believe there’s so much more than that.

Apparently, judging by a number of blogs I’ve read lately, I’m not the only one feeling that way. My good friend Steve Hickey posted a blog a couple of days ago titled: I want to be found STEADY until the end. I simply love this post! Its primary focus is the idea that he isn’t satisfied with status quo or chasing the next ‘Christian fad’ but is desperate for more and more of God so that he can grow more “fixed and rooted.” But why am I telling you all that when you can click here and read the entire post for yourself? My wife, Sola, also posted a blog a few days ago titled: What if I asked for more? Again the premise was a patent dissatisfaction with the status quo, and a desire to “impress” God in much the same way Job did. God was so impressed by Job’s steadiness (there’s Steve’s word again), that he called Satan’s attention to observe Job.

Finally, I read a guest blog posted on Swerve that asked the question: Whose Kingdom Are You Building? I admired the vulnerability of the writer as he exposed his struggle with the ‘desire’ to be acknowledged and recognized (boy could I relate to that). My favorite line was “I want to do something big for God and at the same time leave a trail that leads to my web site. I am self-serving.” Then he gives us his insight as to how he wrestles with that tension through honest self-evaluation and sacrificial generosity. Again, I can relate. So with all of this ‘turmoil’ going on inside of me, I recognize that what I need is a lot more of Him and a lot less of me, and so I commit myself to studying the Scriptures, praying, and fasting as often and as diligently as possible. I want to be found STEADY, I want so much more, and I want to build His Kingdom and not mine. So, what’s happening in your neck of the woods these days?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No pain, no gain!!!

The Tour de France (formerly known as the Tour de Lance) is earnestly underway. I am an avid cycling fan and live vicariously through these 'tiny' but muscle bound men who can cycle at an average speed of between 35 and 40 miles an hour for a sustained period of time. It is simply amazing to me, as an avid biker myself, how any one can endure the amount of pain required to pedal that fast for that long. David Miller of the UK actually came in second in the ITT (Individual Time Trial to the uninitiated). We had a front row seat to his trail vehicle as they talked him through the course. He sustained an average wattage of over 450 watts the entire 36 minutes it took him to ride the 18 mile course. To put that in perspective for you, the average cyclist can sustain about 140 watts for maybe five miles.

That's why I love to watch the Tour de France. It is not only the most grueling bike race in the world, it is literally the most grueling sport in the world. These cyclists lose a ton of weight over the roughly three weeks of the Tour, and they ride well over 2000 miles in that period of time. Why is this remotely important to know you ask? Well, simply because I suspect that this is the same dogged determination that is required of us as Christians, as we make a committment to change our world. Sometimes, the only thing that sustains you in the throes of 'surviving' is your willingness to endure pain. I've said here before, but it bears repeating, "The growth and success of your (fill in the blank) is in direct proportion to the amount of pain you are willing to endure."

Each morning, as I push through my own private 'tour of pain', grinding my way through 20-miles of relatively even terrain, as I feel the lactic acid build up in my legs and my breathing becomes ragged, I remember what the goal is, and I grit my teeth in determination, knowing that I must finish the course set before me. Who would have thought that riding a bicycle would make me a better pastor? So, how much pain have you been in lately?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Coffee and big cat "poop"

I love The Well! If I wasn't the pastor I'd still go there. I have an amazing team of leaders and support staff and a great congregation. Their creativity makes it so easy for me to pastor effeciently. Yesterday we began our summer series titled See You at the Movies. We watched clips from The Bucket List and found some amazing parallels to our Christian experience. Here are just a few of them

  • Live life to the fullest
  • Things aren't always as they appear
  • Wealth doesn't equate to happiness
  • You can find your life's purpose in the most unusual of circumstances
  • You need people
  • You don't have all the answers
  • A pretentious life may expose you to big cat "poop"

Have you seen The Bucket List? If you have, did you find any parallels with living a strong Christian witness? If you haven't seen it, you might want to put it on your 'bucket list.' There is a little bit of language in it but the overall movie is excellent. What are you doing at your church this summer? P.S. : The movie was a great reminder for me of why I don't drink coffee.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Don't forget to remember!!!

“Today, we celebrate our Independence day….” Those words were forever immortalized in the movie Independence Day released a few years ago. There is something about American patriotism that is incredibly attractive. The respect for the flag, the commitment to fiercely protecting our way of life, and of course the liberty that we so freely enjoy and so often take for granted. But, as I’ve said on more than one previous occasion, it’s so easy to take all of that for granted, and, in the illusion of freedom, find ourselves in bondage to things that we thought would bring us peace, satisfaction and even joy.

Today Americans everywhere celebrate our freedom from the oppressive reigns of tyranny (amongst other things). Today we enjoy family, friends and fireworks, all quintessentially American. But as we celebrate let us not forget to remember! We seem apt to forget too soon. The reason we often find ourselves in the throes of reliving a past harrowing experience, is because we forget what it felt like the first time, as well as what led us down that road. For instance, if you remember what it’s like to be painfully poor, when you find freedom from poverty you become more careful with finances so that you never find yourself back in that place. I'm sure you get the point. So here’s what I’d like you to remember today as you celebrate our Independence Day.

Remember Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. Only a few short weeks ago they tragically lost a daughter and sister in what I’m certain must feel like a recurring nightmare. Words are empty and trite at times like these. I remember his song, Dance with Cinderella, played so often on Christian radio. Little did he know how prophetic it would turn out to be? Today, as they celebrate Independence Day, it won’t be the same as years past. There are myriad families like theirs for whom today won’t be easy to celebrate. Can you spare them a prayer in the midst of your celebration?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I watched the new movie Wanted on Friday. Yeah, I know Angelina Jolie is easy on the eyes but that has nothing to do with why I went to see it. I've mentioned before that I love the action packed movies that keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. What I loved most about this movie was the twists and turns in the story. Things are not always as they appear, and this truth was revealed time and time again in the movie. I won't reveal specifics so that I don't spoil it for those of you who are planning a 'date night' to see the movie.

Suffice it to say that it is definitely worth seeing (I'm not endorsing it for everyone), and it will no doubt get you thinking about a number of things such as: When you find yourself living in the mundane drudgery of everyday life, do you ever stop to think that all of that is just preparation for something infinitely bigger? Sometimes, in real life, things are not always as they appear, whether that be a negative doctor's report, a deal that fell through, or even a relationship gone sour. There is something much deeper than what you can see, and the only way to draw it out is to endure until the end.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What are you weeping for?

I just got back from Sioux Falls, SD (some of you are asking where the heck that is) where I was speaking for my friend Steve Hickey. I had the privilege of concluding the One Prayer series at his church and really enjoyed hanging out with the folks there. These people are operating on an entirely different level than many of us in the Body of Christ. They are championing the cause of the unborn and have become a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Roe V. Wade is one of those 'sacrosanct' laws enacted by a travesty of justice in 1973. Steve Hickey and Church at the Gate are working to see that law overturned. On the way to this seemingly impossible feat, they are winning a number of small but significant victories. A decision from the US Court of Appeals (the second highest court in the land) just provided a major breakthrough in this ongoing spiritual battle. Steve's blog: Voices Carry will give you up to date information on this.

What I find most enthralling is how God is in the habit of hiding His greatest weapons so that He can unleash them at just the right time in a massive onslaught against the kingdom of darkness. A few years back, when I first met Steve, he told me an interesting story of how South Dakota had been inadvertently left off the Rand Mcnally atlas of the USA. People were outraged but I told Steve at the time that I believed it to be a prophetic omission. I felt that God was hiding them in obscurity until the moment that they needed to be exposed to the nation. Right now, South Dakota leads the charge for the unborn and are well on the way to ensuring that unborn children's rights are as protected as everyone elses. How poetic is that? The state that was 'forgotten' suddenly finds themselves at the forefront of one of the most epochal and significant battles in the history of our statehood.

My message on Sunday evening was titled: What are you weeping for? I know that for Steve and the people at Church at the Gate, they weep at the plight of unborn children that are being aborted daily. This is precious to the heart of God, and I'm in no doubt that, just like Jeremiah's tears, the tears of Steve and Church at the Gate, are a memorial before the Lord in heaven. So I ask you, What are you weeping for?