Goodbye Dear Friend

So I need to publicly state some turmoil that I am feeling over my favorite baseball team. As those close to me know I am a huge Yankee fan (and have been since I was a kid–so back off). However, the recent events with the organization have left me feeling kind of sad.

If you haven’t heard, the Yanks are building a new stadium just north of the current stadium for 1.2 billion dollars. I should be very happy about this since it will probably be one of the most amazing, state-of-the-art stadiums that has ever been built. Unfortunately, I feel like it is yet another example of Steinbrenner thinking of money over the actual sport itself and the lore of the franchise.

I have three years to enjoy the current stadium before history will be re-made and Babe Ruth will be one step closer to being forgotten. I wonder if the new stadium will be able to keep up with the legend of the Yankees or if it will feel like any other current day money ploy. I guess I’ll just have to deal with it like everyone else. So for now I say goodbye old friend.

Finding the Blessed

I attended the leadership concept from Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago this last week as our church hosted a satellite conference. One of the sessions was an interview with Bono from U2 and his thoughts on Aids and Africa. He said something that I thought was very insightful.

“Stop asking for God to bless what you are doing. Be a part of what He is doing because it is already blessed.”

This got me thinking about how many things we get caught up with doing, even if it is in the name of God, and we wonder why we sometimes don’t feel His Presence in what we’re doing. I’ll be honest, part of me is tempted to not get involved with the Aids epidemic in Africa just because Bono was the one who challenged me and it now feels like the popular thing to do. But this quote has been ringing in my ears since I heard it. Our prayers should change from: “God bless what I’m doing” to “God, what are You doing and how should I get involved?” I’m not even a fan of U2’s music but I give Bono props for seeing what most of us have missed. Check out his website to see how you can get involved with how he is leading the charge to save Africa.

Cloudy Discernment

After taking the time recently to analyze my top three spiritual gifts I determined that discernment was number three. That’s why I was pretty rattled when I read this quote from Donald Miller,

“In my own life, I notice I validate people who like or validate me. When I say so-and-so is a nice person, what I really mean is so-and-so thinks I am a nice person. And if I sense a person doesn’t like me, or thinks he is better than me, my mind will find all sorts of criticism” (pg. 117).

The quote comes from the book Searching for God Knows What and is among scores of other ideas about how we think of other people. I would love to say that the quote isn’t a good representation of how I am but I find myself understanding exactly what he is saying. If we are ever going to love others like God intends us to then we have to realize that our worth comes from Christ and not from what they think of us. Can we truly love those who do not love us? I see what Matthew 5:43-47 is talking about and why it is so hard to do.

The Relationship of Power

I’ve been thinking through an idea that keeps getting bigger as I read more and think more about it. It was triggered by something that I read in the book Spiritual Leadership by the Blackaby brothers. It says that

If Jesus provides the model for spiritual leadership, then the key is not for leaders to develop visions and to set the direction for their organizations. The key is to obey and to preserve everything the Father reveals to them of his will. Ultimately, the Father is the leader. God has the vision of what He wants to do. God does not ask leaders to dream big dreams for him or to solve the problems that confront them. He asks leaders to walk with him so intimately that, when he reveals what is on his agenda, they will immediately adjust their lives to his will and the results will bring glory to God. (pg. 29)

What this quote is alluding to and the bigger idea that has been brewing in my mind is that maybe a lot of Jesus’ power came from His intimate relationship with the Father. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that Jesus was God in flesh but maybe we attribute too much of what He did to His divine nature as opposed to His relationship with the Father. I think it’s safe to assume that Jesus was closer with the Father than any person has ever been.

The really intriguing idea that comes from this is: what could God do through us if we were more in tune with Him? I’m starting to believe that we could have almost “supernatural” abilities because of how close we would be to what God is doing. The reason I started thinking of this idea in this way is that I heard a person that I really respect tell me about an opportunity that he recently missed. He said that he could have noticed something that was going on with a person if he would have been closer in his walk with Christ.

How would I act differently if I were closer in tune with God’s heart, with God’s purpose, and with God’s values? Could I discern things that would be otherwise impossible? Could I know about things that God would do but hasn’t yet? Maybe we are our greatest limitation to living a powerful Christian life.

Leadership Lesson Learned

Wow…that is my most impressive alliteration title I’ve written yet!

We had a leadership camp for some of our students in JH and HS and we spent the week listening to different leaders share what they know about leadership and life. One of the speakers gave us a list of things to remember as we try and lead others and one thing stood out in particular. He said to remember that,

“Nobody cares how busy you are.”

While that may seem like a trite lesson on leadership it really hit me. How often have I explained to someone how busy I am (and almost always as an excuse of some kind)? Everyone is busy and the truth really is that people don’t care when we use this as a copout. I’ll definitely try and alter my vocabulary from now one to avoid this one.

My Development at Disneyland

Those of you who know me well know that I have a deep love for Disneyland. Seriously, I tried to go there whenever I could while I was in Cali for school. After my recent graduation, I took the time to enjoy another day at the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

I have included my evolution in skill at the Buzz Lightyear ride. For those of you who haven’t been on this attraction, you get to shoot at different targets and accumulate a score at the end. Not only is my beautiful wife by my side…she also improves her scores quite a bit as we go. Here is a shot of my first attempt at it months ago…

Here is another attempt from last Saturday that is slightly better…and is my favorite “action” shot of me:

And finally…here is the picture proof of the fact that I achieved a score high enough to rank myself among the elite of Disneyland.