Archive for May, 2007

The First Sunburn

Atlanta, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Graduation Sunday, Internsm Enchanted Rock, Comal River. That’s what the last 4 weeks have looked like. My Wednesdays and Thursdays have been my Mondays because I have just been flat gone from the office. And somehow over the past month, June has crept up and is waiting to catch me off-guard.
This is the second summer in a row that I do not have major plans of sitting by a pool for sustained amounts of time. The previous 6 summers, I spent the majority of my time lifeguarding, and the summers before that were arranged to include regular visits to the neighborhood pool. The first sunburn was always a momentous occasion. By mid-August I was completely tan, my hair had lightened, and my feet even had tan-lines where my flip flops typically sat. But each June as school was finishing up, I was embarrassingly pale.
I remember the trip to the pool on the first day it was actually hot. My brother and I would brave the cooler days simply because we wanted to swim, but there was always a day when slightly cool had morphed into sweltering heat. On this day, mom would always say something to the effect of “Don’t forget the sunscreen!” but who needed sunscreen. The memories of last year’s burning-and-peeling had faded just like my mid-August tan, and so I would swim for hours leaving my skin vulnerable to the death rays of the sun.
The result: cataclysmic sunburn. Red shoulders…sore back…tender stomach…burning eyes. Not long after, however, the redness would fade to a brown color, and the intense heat would die down. And thus, the first sunburn would pass.
I got my first sunburn of summer yesterday. The float down the Comal did me in. I know I need to wear sunscreen, but it usually just slips my mind. Some lessons just have to be repeated and repeated and repeated.

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On The Road Again

I leave for another journey tomorrow. The details of this trip are top secret, so I can’t divulge too much here. It’s going to be an arduous, death defying trip that will require talents that I rarely use. I’ll be back early Thursday morning, hopefully in one piece.

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Deep, Deep Ocean

It’s about 2 pm on Friday…I think. My body is in the ultimate state of confusion at the moment. It’s been taken to Atlanta and back, then forced to stay up all sorts of odd hours, and then put in situations where it wasn’t allowed to fall asleep (such as driving back forth from the Metroplex). There are forces of exhaustion that are trying to overtake the excitment about the things I saw and heard at the Orange Conference.
My mind is swimming in the ocean of ideas I’ve had since we got back from Atlanta, and it is a deep, deep ocean. I couldn’t even pinpoint exactly what all has been going through my mind. Thoughts are racing about small groups, and Sunday School, and curriculums, and worship, and dreams, and what story I am playing out right now. If I had to pick the best thing I learned from Orange, I would say that I am totally appreciative of the environment that I get to do ministry right now.
Here’s what I mean: I have been in situations that are not conducive at all to collaboration. Staff who are more concerned with their own well being above all else. Teams that are fractured. Ultimately, ministry is hindered. Don’t get me wrong, FBC Athens isn’t a utopia where all the staff members get together 3 times a week to watch Grey’s Anatomy and talk about our feelings. But I do think we have some building blocks that will be an immense help as we try to re-activate the family as a place of discipleship.
First, we have a pastor who is committed to working with families. We don’t have to spend time convincing him that the church has got to do a better job. Second, we have a children’s and student minister that actually like each other. I like Cindy. She’s fun to work with, does a good job, and she can put up with all of the times that I make fun of her. And third, we have a ton of talented people who are ready to do whatever it takes to push ahead into unexplored territory.
Here’s to taking some of the Orange ideas, and actually seeing them fleshed out.

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That’s a Negative Ghostrider

The Cobb Galleria Centre is much nicer than I thought it would be. (notice the transposed “r” and “e”…obviously it’s quality). The meeting space was big enough to hold the other 3,899 people here for the Orange Conference. The only thing it doesn’t have is wi-fi, which means I won’t be blogging too much about the conference.

I thought about blogging back at the hotel, but the Hawthorn Suites also doesn’t have wi-fi. Weird. The hotel has high-speed, but you have to be plugged in. What is this…2002?

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The Oh-ange One

Tomorrow is the start of The Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m travelling with 5 other people from FBC to learn about the blending of children, student, and parent ministry. Our church is currently attempting to pioneer a new way of helping parents disciple their children and students. It should be a really exciting conference.

If there is Wi-Fi, I’m going to try and blog as the conference goes along. Check back tomorrow evening for an update.

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The Perfect Storm

Last night, our family was ready for the storm to huff and puff and blow our house down. However, there was just a bunch of rain and some “funder” as Emma calls it. So we spent the evening eating ice cream and watching Peter Pan.

As Emma was enjoying her mini-Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie ice cream, a clap of thunder caused her to misfire with the spoon just a bit.

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gua-No More

Have you watched Planet Earth on The Discovery Channel? It is one of the most amazing documentary series I’ve ever watched. From hydroplaning dolphins to shark attacks, this show is incredible. I watched the Caves episode last night (in HD of course) and I got to see how bats live in New Zealand. Apparently, they produce a lot of guano. The pile that grew below them was Huge, and covered with hundreds of thousands of cockroaches. The cockroaches are able to find enough left over nutrients in the refuse to keep them alive. In the caves, most animals don’t leave. So cockroaches are dependent on bats going to find nourishment, digesting it, and then leaving them a few morsels of food.
There is something so familiar here. Cockroaches are content to live on the digested food of another creature. They don’t find their own food; instead, they leave it up to the bats to do the hard work. And even though they would probably prefer a non-guano breakfast, why venture out on their own?
Here’s why that’s familiar: I’m all too often content to let someone else do the heavy lifting in dealing with Scripture. I’ll let Rob Bell or Louie Giglio or Andy Stanley go out and gather all of the good food, digest it, and then give me whatever is leftover from their search. Sure, I would rather be able to do some great study on my own, but it’s so easy to live off their teaching-guano. Well, that’s not good enough, unless I’m happy being a cockroach. Which I’m not.
And I doubt I’m the only one who relies on someone else to interact with God for me sometimes. The Israelites all wanted Moses to intercede with God on their behalf. The seven sons of Sceva tried to use Jesus and Paul’s message to get the demons to come out. We all try to live off someone else’s food from time to time. But wouldn’t it be better if we stopped? Let’s quit being cockroaches.

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