Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes
Yes, I know he’ll be back relatively frequently. He’s already scheduled to preach in 6 weeks.
So, in some ways, this is much ado about nothing.
But my friend “D” is preaching today. It’s his “last sermon” as an employee of Crossroads Bible Church. His office is packed and pretty much shipped. There’s a reception in the early afternoon for him and his wife, Penny.
I totally get why he’s leaving CBC. I mean, if you know him and know what excites him, then you know that his new job fits him and where he is at this stage of his life. So, on that end of things, I’m pretty excited. For him. For his family. For those of he will be ministering to.
And Tuesday he’ll be off on his new adventure.
But 12 years of life together and working together…
…countless staff meetings (in the early days, especially) that devolved into that kind of laughter that you try to supress because you’re allegedly grown ups but can’t stop because whatever silly thing that was just said really was funny.
…getting to watch him teach God’s word in settings from children to students to our church’s doctrinal foundations to sermons and realizing that you were watching somebody who’s really great at what they do do what they do.
…office pranks that actually became traditions, including, but not limited to, the Festivus Cherub.
…red-meat nights for staff on his back porch.
…getting creative to find solutions with him when our old building just wouldn’t hold what our congregation needed and working with him to solve the best of all possible church problems for our children, for our students, and for our adults.
…taking lunch trips to check out construction on the new building about once a week.
…secretary races around the upstairs hall. Let’s just say that Nancy and Sherry are really good sports and they didn’t even wear crash helmets or pads. Of course, they didn’t have much say in the matter, either.
…watching his steady demeanor through the worst of all possible church problems was encouraging on those days when you felt you were coming unglued.
…listening to your daughters say “…and Pastor D and Miss Penny” for nearly 10 years praying before bedtime.
…designing and implementing our church’s Family Camp (the best-kept secret we’ve got, IMHO) with him, and watching how cool it was from idea to inception.
…watching that couple parent, knowing they were about 6 years ahead of us on a very similar path, gave us encouragement that teens don’t have to go nuts and watching the way they handled the unique demands of having PK’s kept Tracy and I from too many potential potholes to count.
…watching so many lives influenced in so many ways.
I could go on.
And, yes, like I said earlier…the two of them will still be around with some degree of frequency.
But, in my mind, today’s sermon on John 21 means a little more than the usual. And the usual means a lot when he’s up there teaching.
Baseball players on opposing teams will often tip their cap when they see excellence from guys on other teams. These things are usually the subtle things that only players on the inside know about. It’s a respect thing. An admiration thing. Even though their friends might be on new teams or whatever, there is an unwritten code that the game well-played deserves respect, and that respect should be shown even if the excellence is not on your team. The game’s the thing.
Today, I’m symbolically tipping my hat to D.
The game’s the thing.
And he plays it with excellence in the big and little things.
*makes eye contact*
*lifts bill of cap in such a way as the back part of the cap comes ever-so-slightly off the back of my head*
*nods in respect*
*puts cap back on*
*goes back to work without further hoopla, because the moment’s over and the game’s still the thing and there are more innings to be played*
Godspeed, my friends.
Really Quick & Easy Decision
Get the paper.
Get the cup of coffee.
Notice the gray sky and chance of drizzle.
Decide not to mow the lawn today.
Elapsed time: 0:03.
Browsing Through A Periodical
It was under the stack of stuff on my desk. It’d been there for a while, I guess. I’d been meaning to get it out and read it, but frankly, I have so many periodicals for my work and the articles all start to bleed together into the mire of Charlie Brown’s teacher. So, it was once at the top of the stack, now it’s unread at the bottom.
For some reason, I want this particular periodical to get some attention before it goes into the bookshelf archives, likely to never be read again. At best, it’ll get referenced once or twice when I need an illustration or something.
At any rate, turns out this was a good one to flip through. A few nuggets:
“Leaders must challenge the process precisely because any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change. It is the nature of things organizationally not to change in a healthy direction. It is the nature of things organizationally to find a happy place and stay there forever and ever and ever and ever.” Quoting James M. Kouzes& Barry Z. Posner in their book The Leadership Challenge.
“We are always one decision, one word, one reaction away from damaging what has taken years to develop.”–Andy Stanley
“If Jesus were to offer extreme makeovers for churches, He’d focus less on worship styles and more on what’s really going on inside the hearts of the leaders.”–Ben Ortlip
“What if we were so moved by who God is, what He’s done, what He will do, that praise, adoration, worship, whatever, continuously careened in our heads and pounded in our souls?”–Dave Crowder
“Then we must reimagine life, picturing this new reality of participating in authentic community. We exist for God and others. Let that be the motto of our lives. Let’s not wait for someone else to obey Jesus.”–Rick McKinley
“Lonliness is something that happens to us. But I think it is something we can move ourselves out of. I think a person who is lonely should dig into community, give himself to a community, humble himself before his friends, initiate community, teach people to care for each other. Love each other.”–Donald Miller
Well, that’s plenty to chew on today. Have at it, patrons!
Well, I’m Afraid That Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay
This Internet, man.
Maybe you’ve heard of it?
It’s where they keep web pages and all sorts of information. Apparently, it’s been influencing commerce and culture and social networking and all sorts of parts that make up our daily lives for quite some time now.
At any rate, I was thinking about the influence on the music industry yesterday. See, Pennywise decided to give their new CD away for free. That’s right. Absolutely free. For one day. You pretty much just made them a friend on MySpace and they sent you a link which let you download their newest music for nothing. Click, drag, burn for backup. Viola! Local bands have been doing it for a long time, too. And Radiohead gave their album away for whatever you wanted to pay for it. That’s right. You just paid them what you could afford or what you thought it was worth. If what I read was true, they actually made more money per unit than they would’ve if they’d sold CD’s the conventional way.
Of course, this gets the industry big-wigs into a tizzy. The technology is affecting their sales and bands aren’t needing them to make money and all that jazz. So, while only a few bands are at a point in their careers where they can have that level of marketing savvy, the industry execs see the writing on the wall and are adjusting long-term planning based on it.
And this got my mind going on the influence of the Internet in my area of employ: The Church.
I mean, lots of churches started out with having pages that had service times and maps and listing their staff and their ministries and lots of information. Doctrinal statements. Values & beliefs statements. Stuff like that.
Then it branched off into having sermons on-line. Updating past sermons and the whole bit…including the sermon notes. Then came forums and chat rooms and such, where you could develop relationships with all sorts of folks. Pastors started blogging and MySpace and Facebook groups with church connections started springing up. Twitter lets pastors and staff connect with their congregations (and the congregation members with each other) in almost real time. I’ve even seen baptism services live on a webcam and sermons on YouTube and youth ministry conferences. The Church may be slow to adapt to technology, but they’re doing it piece by piece.
But, I’m wondering what’s next.
As the tech-savvy group that’s currently in young adulthood, who uses technology to enhance community rather than just figure out what time the services start of if there’s childcare or downloading the sermon they missed or a grab a map to the campus, I’m wondering how the Internet will be used by churches.
I guess what I want to know is what’s next? I mean, I know it’s already starting to shift a bit. Somebody told me that over 80% of folks either listened to a sermon on-line and/or checked out doctrine before they ever visited the church…and this is decidedly different that a generation previous.
So, in your opinion, patrons, just like the Internet now has bands giving away music for a day to increase buzz/listeners–what’s the “next level” of influence of the Internet on the life-together of a church body?
If You Purchased A Ticket To See The Movie “Into The Wild,” What Would You Expect?
And, right now, I’m wondering how come cool stuff like this has never happened to me. I mean, I’ve heard about similar stuff in other cities and other bands. But, these folks purchased a $5 ticket to a movie, and get a lifetime story to tell.
I gotta say I’m kinda jealous.
So, Today I’m Thinking…
…about getting another tattoo. I still think my artist puts a substance in the ink of the ones he’s already done so that I’ll crave new ones.
…that the local hockey team’s limp toward the playoffs leads me to believe it’ll be another first-round exit.
…that I’ve GOT to get back to the gym starting in April. I wonder why diet & exercise seems to be the first to go out the window once I get busy.
…that it’s pretty cool that Pennywise is giving their new CD away for free if you became their MySpace friend by a certain date. Well, I am their MySpace friend and they’re sending me the link today sometime. For those of us that believe in supporting musical artists (which means abiding by the rules of downloading…i.e., paying for it somehow) this is kind of cool.
…I’m still pretty excited about R.E.M.’s new CD and Moby’s new one as well. Both are released on April 1 and both have gotten favorable reviews.
…my study of Jeremiah is still as exciting as it was when I started months ago. I rarely tire of that book.
…I can’t believe some of the photos that high school students will post on their Facebook or MySpace pages.
…I can’t believe that some of my former students who post their photos on Facebook or MySpace pages don’t think that their current college life choices aren’t easily discernible from the photos they post. Those of us who went to state school football factories know the stories behind the photos, generally speaking, kiddos. And, don’t be surprised if your old youth pastor asks you to grab a cup of coffee. Remember the general rule about you asking me to coffee if you want to go and I’d only ask you if there’s something I’m feeling particularly strongly about? Yeah. Some of you will be getting that phone call next time you’re home for the weekend. Just giving you a “heads up.”
…sometimes a good steak with good friends talking about old times and talking about the excitement the future holds is one of the best ways you can spend your evening.
…I kind of get tired of having all these ideas for artistic endeavors (I even have one that would involve painting–the problem is that I don’t paint, can’t draw, etc., but I think it’s a really cool idea) that don’t seem to come to fruition.
…that it hit me recently that this summer I’ll have been married 20 years. That’s in a row, people. Frankly, it’s more a tribute to my wife than anything else, but it’s still something to get excited about.
…that we’ll actually be taking a true vacation this summer as a family. That’s something else to get excited about.
…yes, I know. It’s been a while since there’s been a Margaux update. I think I need a photo fix myself.
…that I’m planning on teaching something for fun this summer and I’m excited about it.
…that my friends Dave & Penny are spending their last Sunday at CBC this weekend. It’s the first time I’ve worked with somebody for so long and it’s a strange feeling to be both pensive about them leaving and excited for their future.
…that I have to get going to work today, and I’m kind of late getting started.
To my best friend from high school (and frequent Diner patron) Hal: You owe Kid1 a dinner the next time you’re in town. Remember betting her that the little band she discovered and likes, Bullets and Octane, wouldn’t be around for another year? Yeah. They have a song in the recently released movie “Drillbit Taylor.” Kid1 and I made surprised eye contact when we heard it right in the middle of the show.
To the dad at an outdoor mall: I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the little diatribe verbatim, but let me see if I got the gist of it, okay? As you were yelling this into your mobile phone at your wife these words (I’ve taken the liberty to PG-13 ’em)…“This is b.s.!!! This is b.s.!!! You say that you’re going to effen pick us up at 5-effen-20 then you better be here at 5-effen-20!!!” I (and a handful of others) was about 20 yards away and heard every word. I’m fairly certain that your 10-year-old son has likely registered that this is acceptable behavior in your world. Don’t be surprised if you see it again from him, sir. I’ll be surprised if you make the connection when he does.
To the folks who are putting together the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco in August (to which Kid1 and I are attending provided we can get tickets, which go on sale Sunday at noon): When you add Beck, Wilco & Widespread Panic to a list that already included Tom Petty, Radiohead and Jack Johnson, well, let’s just say the end of summer is looking quite enjoyable.
To the lady who was talking on a cell phone while flicking her cigarette ashes out her car window: You know, when you do those actions simultaneously, you don’t have a hand on the wheel, right? Your truck might have a tendency to drift, right? So, when I get startled and reactively move my grocery cart closer to my car, I’m not sure that I deserved getting honked at and given the middle finger. I mean, there are times when I likely do deserve that, but this wasn’t one of them. Really.
To the folks at the Dallas Morning News: That new font style & size, plus the “cleaner” look you fired up in today’s edition was a good business decision. I’m concerned, though. It looks great to me. It was more easily readable. It was brighter. But I’m concerned because newspapers are dying and readership is, ahem, older. Middle-age struck again when improvements for those with diminishing eyesight were made and I liked it!
To the dude who had three bumper stickers on his car: One from a Christian radio station…fair enough–rock on with that. One that said, “They took prayer out of schools and THEN SANG GOD BLESS AMERICA!” Now I’m not sure who “they” are but I don’t think the group that sang God bless America (presumably after Nine-Eleven) had anything at all to do with Murray v. Curlett (1963) or Abington Township v. Schempp (1963), either. And the last one read, “Are You As Close To Jesus As You Are To My Bumper?” Well, while the sentiment appears nice, it falls short. I mean, unless your bumper was INSIDE my car. Then it’d work.
To the lady at the bookstore in Lewisville: That was really excellent customer service. You don’t see it much these days, and it was appreciated. I was going to say so to the manager, but it turns out you were the shift manager at that time. So, shouts out to the Barnes & Noble in Lewisville!
To Major League Baseball: The first official game in the 2008 season is a game in JAPAN? Really? Listen, they’re already into U.S. baseball. Just play a few exhibition games there and let that be that. The Great Game should never begin off of U.S. soil.
To everyone in America: Please stop watching shows that start out with a certain number of people and then get voted off each week. There’s just way too many of them and they don’t seem to be getting better. Especially if they involve dancing or singing or marriage or getting a job or a modeling opportunity. You can pick two. Ånd only two. It’s the only way to stop them from proliferating.
To my church family at Crossroads: Thanks so much for a wonderful celebration of The Resurrection. I truly enjoy Easter with my CBC family. I just like the vibe on that day, man.
Any open notices from the patrons today?