Cool Video I Found

A band that I enjoy called Broken Bells has a cool video you should see.

It’s called ‘The Ghost Inside’ and it stars one of ladies from the show Mad Men (Her name is Christina and she plays Joan).

What do you think the video is about? Write about it here…let’s see if we’re on the same page.

Great tune too.


Change…Is It Worth It?

“I hate change.”

We’ve all heard this statement. We’ve said it at some point or another. We’ve expressed this thought through song, movie, dance, drama (not drama a la Hills but actual drama), poetry, prose.
I remember when I first started at my church how when we were making philosophy shifts, one of my leaders would always say, “I hate change”.

It’s funny because we really don’t hate ALL change. Here’s what I mean…

If you have an iPhone 3G/3GS, more than likely you’d gladly trade it for the upcoming 4G.
If you have a PC, you’d throw it out the window for an iMac or MacBook
If we could freely change our appearance without the gym, we’re in.
If we have basic cable and get offered a free better package, we’re in.
If we can go somewhere exciting or exotic instead of remaining in a Northern States/Canadian winter, it’s a wrap!

I think we only hate the changes that cause us discomfort. The ones that cause us to check our character. The ones that test our metal. The maturing kind of change.
Updating to OS4 isn’t a risk…it’s a comfort. Not having a cell phone, twitter, blogs (eek!), email…that’s risk. That’s change. Being alone for a season when we’re super needing someone? That’s change. Downgrading offices? That’s change (and one that I didn’t like). The ability to change is blocked by our fear in risk, in discomfort, in failure, in being alone, in navigating unknowing feelings and waters. It’s an easy life but I think it’s a boring one.

Fear of change keeps us in dead-end jobs or rather jobs we’re not happy or fulfilled in.
Fear of change keeps us afraid of admitting our wrongs, our needs (of all kinds) and our dreams in our marriages.
Fear of change keeps us from truly allowing people into our space (similar to Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino).
Fear of change causes us to argue dead ideas.
Fear of change makes us upset over the changing of a menu or a church gathering venue (I saw that first hand this past fall…).

What if we embraced change? What would our lives be like if we had faith to really believe that everything would be okay? That life would connect and friendships be fostered? That new initiatives would be birthed and lives impacted? It would be interesting.

This past Sunday at our church, 21 people got water baptized. They described the uncomfortability of change (Living for Jesus daily when in their honest humanity, they’re ‘programmed’ to live for themselves) but the blessing that comes with allowed change (renewed life, passion, growth, maturity, community, etc).
It. Was. Powerful.
Some even went a step further and talked in front of more than a thousand people, something that they would NEVER normally do. But they lived out that change. They took a risk. And in their risk, they really touched, inspired, provoked and encouraged others to one day take a similar risk. It was amazing. The juice was in fact worth the squeeze.

When I was a kid, there was no limit to what I could do or imagine. Now at my…latest age, I only see red tape, time wasted, bad investments, etc. I’m sure we all do. What if, when change rears its head, simply said, ‘OK’? What if you and I stopped settling for average (which is mediocre at best) and took it up a notch? Maybe this is the summer you and I experience change for the very first time. Maybe by September we’ll say “I hate change, but I need it.

Questions to ponder – What changes are you not looking forward to? When was there a time in your life where you were broken because of change? How are you now? What scares you about change? What do you hate about people who AREN’T afraid of change? Who is someone you turn to keep you sane during turbulent change moments?

Ron Ron’s Story

On Thursday night, the LA Lakers beat the Boston C’s in what could be called the worst (or best if you’re a D-FENCE person) game ever. Kobe wasn’t Kobe. Ray wasn’t Ray. Rondo was BONDO. Pau couldn’t connect from the line. Everyone sucked except for Ron Artest. Now if you’re not a sports person, let me give you a lil rundown on this dude.

He’s nuts. Period. He even admits it.

in November 2004, while lying on a table during a game timeout (already a bad sign), a fan threw a diet coke at Ron, causing him to leave his ‘post’, run into the crown, and punch him in the face. His teammates followed and what ensued is now forever known as The Malice in the Palace. Long story short, Ron got suspended for the season and then bailed on his team. Not cool. He was typecast worse than a child actor as a troublemaker and cancer on teams.

Last season he gets traded to the Lake Show and doesn’t perform during the season well…the critics come back. But in the end, it don’t matter cause then win and he gets a ring. Now, whether you like LA or not, you gotta love the story of 2nd chance and redemption here (and you KNOW how much I love story!!). It was undeserved (he shouldn’t be there) and confusing (he didn’t fit) but it worked and he is (for NOW) a better man for it. During the night, he did an interview with NBA TV and listen to how he describes himself back THEN and NOW and how thankful he is (watch it up to the 1st minute to get the point…you can watch more if you’d like. Major shout outs to him for admitting that he seeks help for his mental state.).

2nd chances don’t always come our way.

Yet when they do, we need to take them and do right with them. Here’s a crazy thought: What can you learn from Ron Artest? What 2nd chance moments to you need or are you looking for? What’s stopping you from getting there?

Summer Reading List…What’s Yours?!

I’m a huge nerd. I may act like I’m big tings but in the end, I love sci-fi, chess and reading books (…That’s not a typo, friends…I said TINGS, not things…and in explaining that, I’ve proven that I’m a nerd…dang.).

I’m always reading something but this summer, I’ve given myself the huge task of reading a bunch of books before September 1st. Here’s are some reasons why:

1) I have more time to read than during the school year. I can actually CHOOSE these books over the readings I’ll do with my staff, colleagues and classes when I’m in school.
2) I love learning about story & storytelling (if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I love Jesus, family, community and story a lot), new words and new forms of wordplay.
3) I enjoying resting my brain in a good read. It’s really relaxing and helpful as I navigate through life.

So…as you can see from my picture above, the task is HUGE! But I’m excited. Shout outs to one of my young adults, Rachel Appadurai, for inspiring this quest out of her OWN summer list.

A brief reason for each book:
Tribes – A lot of good leaders I know love this book. It’s sat on my shelf for a LONG while and the other day I was like, ‘IT. IS. ON!’ Then I forgot why I said that. That has nothing to do with the book.

I, Issac, Take Thee Rebekah – Ravi Z is a brilliant mind and this is a brilliant book. I lost my old copy so I repurchased it and plan to relearn some marriage tips to improve on the home front.

Introverts in the Church – Great insight on many people in our churches who don’t feel comfortable in our extrovert-led assemblies. I’m 100 pages in so far and I’m learning lots about myself, Becca who is an introvert and others around me. It’s easy to think that because someone doesn’t worship all out like others I know that they aren’t into Jesus…maybe they just aren’t into THAT mode of worship…it’s insights like that I love.

Pop Goes The Church – Another book that sat on the shelf for almost a year. I love pop culture and want to learn how to use it to enhance what I do rather than run from it and teach others to do the same.

The One-Week Job Project – A 25-year-old who can’t figure out what he wants to do with his life does one job a week for a year. Nice insights on identity, choices, story and the people we meet along the way.

World War Z – Just in case there is a zombie war, I’ll be ready. I know it’s fake but you can never be TOO prepared, I say.

Mandela: A Biography – I remember in 1990 watching this man be released from prison with my dad on TV. I never knew that 20 years later, this man would be one of the most important figures in modern-day history not only in his native South Africa but the world over. An example of humanity, forgiveness, leadership, character and courage that can’t be denied. This book gives a great background to how he became the man that we know now…I’m 134 pages in with 400+ to go!

What projects do YOU have in mind for the summner?  Gardening? Memorizing poems or scriptures? Gaining or losing weight? Have you started yet? Already quit? What do you really want to accomplish this summer?

I can’t wait to see how this projects ends for me…I’ll keep you posted on the results!

What Re.Fuels You??

We all know what stresses us out, right? The things that prevent us from fully enjoying all life has to offer? The things strangle joy and punch it in the face?

As I walk around this beautiful camp ground here in the Ottawa Valley, I’m reminded that getting away with my fam is a nice thing.

An even BETTER thing: Knowing what brings me joy, relaxes me and helps me be the husband, father, friend and leader God desires and designed me to be. A guy named Wanye Cordeiro calls it spills and fills, I believe…knowing what refills you when life spills your best out. Cool concept.

So here’s my list of what Re.Fuels me:
Time alone: after a long time at church or with people, having a moment of silence or gentle tunes helps me greatly. I love people but it’s good to not be ‘on’ sometimes.
Reading: getting into the word (I sound old school with that statement) or a book that I like reminds me that there aren’t as enjoyable things as a good story.
Blogging: if you do blog, you know how therapeutic it is..even though it IS a tad pretentious…
Video Games: I’m still a kid.
Walking: It helps level the blood, level the head and calm the heart. Many meetings that I have to prepare for are prepared for this way, walking and talking to God about it. (Though, now that I really think about it, I must look pretty crazy on the streets of Ajax.)

What about you? What calms you? What get your creative juices flowing when your well runs dry? What fills when life spills? If you’re a leader and you don’t know this stuff, find them out, and then live them out!

Inspiration – Got Some?

Last week, our senior high pastor came to my door and asked me who inspires me. His reason for asking was because I don’t often mention the names of authors or speakers. I told him that most of my inspirations are people that surround me, who I watch and allow to shape my life. So question to you: who or what inspires you? What are some things and who are some people who push you to be better, work harder and keep you on the right track? Even good people can lose their way when inspiration isn’t there (example – Joash in 2 Chronicles 24…did what God wanted at first, then got corrupted by the wrong voices…), meaning we all need it.

Here are some of my ‘muses’:

  • My immediate family Becca and Ellie remind me that i need to be better. Becca’s understanding and Ellie’s joy for everything in front of her keep me going on the worst days. They are examples of God’s grace and mercy.
  • My close friends – From laughter to arguments to their own brand of creativity (you know who you are…), they help me become better by not letting me become worse. They care THAT much but do it in a way that I’d still wanna be their friends. Cheers, guys. (Check out my blog roll for some of their thoughts…)
  • My family – I will have illustrations until I’m 90….thanks, guys. They are the epicentre of the Epic Fail Blogs….
  • My Pastor and the people I work with – each time I’m with them I am determined to bring my best and not let them down for the sake of the Kingdom
  • Good storytellers – Whether through books (Donald Miller, Matthew Paul Turner, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.) TV and Movies (Lost, Mad Men, Gladiator, Tom Hanks, etc.) or song (U2, Coldplay, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, etc.), I am forced to re-examine how I share, design and use stories, not to make a point but to help people get from point A to B.  And if you know me well, you know that I love a good story.
  • Alone time – Some times you just need a break from everything to hear your own thoughts; to press the reset button.

So that’s me. In a nut shell of sorts. What about you? Take time to think about it today. What inspires you? Who inspires you? What role does inspiration play in your daily life?

Something that I just noticed about me – Inspiration mainly comes out of community. What about you?

PS – if you read this and thought, ‘well, he didn’t mention The Bible or Jesus’, then get a clue 😉