RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent and To Know You to Know Me

Christer. Is that you...attend church only on Christmas and Easter? If so, I get it. The Church typically hasn't been a real safe place for people asking spiritual questions, seeking spiritual direction, and looking for the source of true spirituality. I would hope that's changing, but still doesn't make it easy to find?

So have you found a place in which to experience it? Have you found somebody/ies with whom to experience it? If not, go to the church on the corner of your neighborhood, find a place that has multiple services and attend one, ask a friend that you know goes to church if you can tag along, ask a friend that you know who might want to tag along....but go. Because I believe the truth of the story, the message of the narrative, the centerpiece of this historical event is something you should see, hear, experience, get to know...for God so loved the world that He gave His son to you, to me, to the world to know, to love, and to follow to the way peace, hope, love and life.

Here are two videos to spur some thought and maybe move you to place of seeing, hearing, and experiencing the meaning of Advent: To know You because You know me.

Christmas Mystery from on Vimeo.

Advent. from Spirit Juice Studios on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent and the Wait and the Watching

Christmas. It's a season of watchfulness. Watching for sales and deals. People watching at the mall. Watching which checkout line will go fastest. Present watching to see how many and what size will end up under the tree.

It's also a time of watching family watching...who is coming over for Christmas dinner? Personal will I handle the stress of the holiday season again? Spiritual there something more than the go-go-go and get-get-get of Christmas?

Lastly, it's a time of advent watching. Angels and shepherds? Wise men and stars? A baby and a barn? What is God showing us? What is he point to? What is He asking me to look for and at? What will change? How will I act on what I see?

May this advent liturgy video again invite us to go a little deeper as to the part God is inviting me to watch in the nativity narrative.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent and the Awaiting the Christ Child

What are you waiting for this Christmas season? Santa? Family? Presents? Hope? Peace? Meaning? Wonder? Beauty? Healing? Relief?

What about a child...the Child? May this little video, it's message, music, and images draw you to place of reflection where you see and sense what Christmas is all about.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Digital Story of the Nativity

Super creative telling of the nativity story through a visual medium. The use of online tools and apps is outstanding.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

The Cost of a College Education

Some interesting stats and figures on the rising cost of a college education. Personal Finances

Friday, December 10, 2010


This is going be good...really good.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Amazing New Band - Mumford & Sons

This newly discovered band out of the indie folk scene in England, Mumford & Sons, has real potential to be one of the coolest bands I've heard in a long, long, long time. Different style. Quality musicians. Amazing lyrics. That = trifecta. Here is the video and lyrics for their song, The Cave. Stellar.


It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I'll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's hand

So make your siren's call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say

Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Facebook Killed Our Christmas Tradition

And I'm totally OK with it.

For 15 years Kelly and I have faithfully put out an annual Christmas card/letter for family and friends across the country. It was for full of the usual suspects: highlights in our marriage, highlights of kids lives, travels we took, scripture that captivates our imagination for the Advent season, etc. As the years went on the letters got shorter. First they were front and back (how does a young married couple fill front and back of a letter...seriously!). Then they we had kids and went to front side only letters (seriously...if you write more than one side you are either full of yourself and/or you have way too much time on your hands. Plus, I just have that kind of time any more to read your 9 point font anthology. Sorry). Then over the last 3-4 years we've gone to a pithy/snarky quarter sheet note sent with cheap (albeit nice) clearance card and family pic.

Which leads me to now.

Unless you live in a cave or your name is Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, money is tight for your average family. So last year we passed on the Christmas card/letter/pic to save some jack. Now if I'm honest a little part of me was sad because the Christmas card is tradition. And I love traditional stuff around the holiday season. But we had to be honest, the money we were shelling out for approximately 100 cards - $0.44/stamp, $1-2/box of clearance cards x5, $0.07/8/family pic, plus paper, toner/ink, time - and, well, I was never good at math, but that's a little chunk of change. So last year we passed to save some denero.

Enter Facebook.

Kelly and I have been on Facebook for a long time (I started back in 2004...I think). And you see, over the years more and more of our family and friends have joined that wacky little online social network. As more and more of them joined, the better were able to re-connect, stay in-touch, and get updates in both word and picture.

As Kelly and I talked about "to Christmas card or not" this year, I simply said, "We don't need to. Facebook killed our Christmas card and I'm totally OK with it." We don't need that annual update any more because we get weekly, daily, and hourly updates from many of our friends and family. We see your kids, your art, and your vacations. We read your likes, dislikes, and randomness. We hear your joy, pain, happiness, sadness, frustration and love. We even know what you need for your farm, mob, and top 5 lists.

So if you're bummed you won't be getting a Christmas card/letter/pic from us...sorry. If that means we won't get from you then (I know how the game is played), it's all good. We'll all save a little moolah. Save a few trees. We can all thank or blame Facebook then.

And I'm totally OK with that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pigskin Weekends

Huskers got a big win yesterday over OK State. Oklahoma got beat by my dad's alma mater, Mizzou. Notre Dame got crushed by Navy. And the NFL and fantasy football today

There is nothing like a little football on the weekend in the fall!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Go-Be-Do Weekends

One of the knocks against the Church is that we are notoriously bad at making a tangible difference in the communities where we live and worship. We do a lot of preaching, teaching, counseling, weddings, funerals, music, potlucks, etc for the insider (those that go to church). We even send people around the world to share the good news that that the God of the universe loves them so much that he sent His only Son to show them the way of life and love. However, what we don't do is a lot of important things that show and share that love with those people that Jesus says are our actual neighbors in the communities we live.

And so it's cool to know of churches who say that the value of showing God's love to our neighbor is so important that we are willing to close our doors for the weekend and go be the go be the Church by doing the work of Jesus by loving and serving our neighbor. Literally the church is closed on Saturday/Sunday and projects are set up with community organizations (old folks homes, special needs soccer leagues, soup kitchens, food pantries, home projects for the poor, etc) and people sign up and go. The play "bedside Baptist" in the morning and then go do in the afternoon.

It's really cool.

So Kelly, Sarah, Parker and I went to Oak Grove Park in Centerville and served with about 50+ other volunteers from Living Hope (the church we go to), UD student and other caring people from the community. What did we do? We played soccer with autistic and MRDD kids from the south Dayton area. They play in the TOPSoccer league that has age appropriate teams for kids with ages ranging from 4 years old to adults. We had a blast partnering one on one with Kyle and Reuben. It was fun watching Sarah and Parker love these two little boys by encouraging them on to kick the ball and run fast. Parker even helped me look for geese with Reuben because Reuben so badly wanted them to fly over our heads.

It was really cool.

So big ups to Living Hope Community Church for their "Don't go to church, Be the church" weekend. And big ups to Grace Community Church for their Weekend of Service coming up the first weekend in November. If you are pastor, church leader, or lay person who is reading this and thinking that this is really cool and maybe your church would think this is really cool, too. I wouldn't hesitate to email, call, or drop by these churches to get a blueprint for this kind of weekend.

It really makes me think of what else I could be doing to be the hands and feet of Jesus sharing his life and love in tangible ways in my community with my neighbor. I wonder what more I could be doing in my culdesac for and with my actual neighbors. I have so much more to learn (and put into practice) about loving/serving my neighbor.

So cool to go, be, and do church.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A History of Rap

Don't care what you think of rap/hip-hop (I'm a casual/trendy fan at best), but this is classic. It's what makes the internets great...thanks, Al Gore.

Here's the track list:

Sugarhill Gang, "Rapper's Delight"
Run-DMC, "Peter Piper"
Beastie Boys, "Paul Revere"
A Tribe Called Quest, "Award Tour"
Digital Underground, "The Humpty Dance"
Snoop Dogg feat. Dr. Dre, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang"
Tupac Shakur, "California Love"
The Notorious B.I.G., "Juicy"
The Roots, "The Seed"
Eminem, "My Name Is"
Missy Elliott, "Work It"
Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"
T.I. feat. Rihanna, "Live Your Life"
Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx, "Gold Digger"
Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys, "Empire State of Mind"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Calling Out or Creating Division

I've recently started a conversation that I sensed God calling me to have with a local pastor here in Dayton who is a godly man, devoted husband/father, diligent leader, and all-around good guy. He's a pastor who loves his congregation and been with them through good and bad times. He is gracious and humble, but not willing to back down from challenging his church to deeper waters. Which leads me to the nudge I got from God...

...Twice in two months I heard him call out other churches/pastors in the area in front of his congregation for being something other than what he thought those local churches and it's leaders should be doing to advance the Gospel in south Dayton. They came across as something other that what a pastor should be doing. It seemed to me that he was talking negatively about other churches So I followed a nudge that I sense was from God to talk to him about these two incidences.

We had a healthy conversation about my thoughts, concerns and cautions about calling out other churches in the area and their dysfunction especially in front of the congregation. He was thoughtful and open to what I had to say and the dialog continues to take place. Really good stuff.

Here's my question: Is it healthy for the pastor of a church to call out local churches and pastors (in front of his own congregation and specifically, but generally) when those churches don't meet up to his understanding of our Gospel mandate and fulfillment of the Great Commission? Is he right in calling out their dysfunction in front of the congregation? What is the difference between that and others calling out religiosity of the day that seems to steal away from the passion and purpose of Jesus' life and calling to his followers? Does this create division or bring health and unity to the Body?

I'm curious and open to your insight. Your perspective would be appreciated. Thanks!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Start using to manage your money today!

"Hey, all,

Sorry about the mass email, but it's a chance to win a iPad...but for a great site/service, I totally dig's amazing for tracking your banking, budgets, finances, investments and other expenses. It's awesome and it's free, secure, and easy to use. I used to use Microsoft Money, but so glad a friend told me about It's awesome!"
With Mint, you can:

* Get set up in minutes
* See all your accounts in one place
* Set and track your budgets & achieve your goals
* Find hundreds of dollars in personalized savings
* Stay safe and secure...and it's free!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Totally Crazy Cool Idea...

...are you with me?!

I guess I should tell the idea. Below you will find the email I sent to my family sharing my crazy, cool idea and thought I'd share it with you!

"Fam (and now friends and possibly strangers),

I was jacking around online late last night after the Colts game. I was thinking about this coming Xmas, gifts, money, same old same old stuff blah blah blah. Then because of my ADD...squirrel!...I started bumping around, a micro-financing organization that puts regular people's money with poor business women/men, organizations, and students from mostly 3rd world and underdeveloped countries looking for financing for their fledgling business or college education. It's really an amazing organization. I started thinking how God might use our little family to help finance some of these amazing people looking for help.

Then, again, because of my, shiny object!...I started thinking about Tom's Shoes. That's the company that gives one pair of shoes away free to the poor for every pair of shoes sold. Such a cool, visionary idea. So I was thinking and talking to God and then, BAM, I got THE idea...Project 141 (read like one for the idea behind Tom's Shoes). [name of the cause is still a work in progress, but 141 will be at the core of it].

Cut to the chase...

The idea is this: for every dollar we spend at Christmas on anyone (kids, family, friends, etc) Kelly, Sarah, Parker and I will put a dollar in our Kiva account to finance someone's dream to provide a more secure life for them, their family, and their community.

The question is this: will you join this slice of the Rings fam in this crazy cool idea? Think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it as a fam. Maybe it's not 1 for 1, but another percentage or fixed amount. But still, please consider it.

The grace is this: there are absolutely NO expectations. No matter how cool I think it would be as an entire family to finance 1, 2, 3 or more entrepreneurs in some developing country, if it's not for you, it's not for you. I totally get that. I just felt like God was saying, "Just make the ask." I know budgets are tight. Each family has their own family traditions and expectations for Xmas. I know that. But the ask was part of the idea. And it's all good...I really mean that (except for Marcie and Don - ministry is where the benjamins are at - make it rain! haha!). You all do so much for the's crazy. So cool. But I still had to ask and invite.

The challenge is this: if you decide to come on board the crazy, cool, ADD ride of Project 141 (or some working variant of that name), you have to talk with two other families whether they be spiritual, blood, small group, neighbor, business/work, youth ministry, etc about accepting the challenge and doing something like this in their family or within your small group or ministry. We are going to share the idea with our small group (4 other families right there).

Hopefully this makes sense. If it doesn't just ask. I know it's a totally random email to get in the middle of September, but as Jesus and Bono say, "He moves in mysterious ways!"

Grace and peace,


So that is what I wrote to my family and, in essence, to you. If you are crazy enough to join, leave a comment (or if you are reading this on Facebook, leave me a message or post something on my wall or send me an email) on how I can get you the link to our team on Kiva (right now it will be Team 141 until we figure out the name things...if you have ideas, I'd love to hear 'em!).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Video Beauty

Beauty and poetry come in many forms. Video is not one that usually heads that list. This short piece might begin to change that.

(bu to Curtis H. via Twitter)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Every Life Has A Story

I don't care who you are, what you do, where you work, how you pay the bills, what your passions are, or how you are looking to make a difference, leave a legacy or have an impact...this video speaks to the heart of the matter: people matter. Their stories matter. Their lives matter.

So whether you are in sales, customer service, accounting, youth ministry, education, counseling, medicine, social justice, or politics, when you look across the proverbial table do you a number, stat, data, client, bottom line, AYP, or your job OR do you see a heart, mind, body, soul, and story that was created uniquely by Love?

May this recalibrate our vision of who we are, what we do, and who we encounter, know, and serve.

(bu to Dave via Twitter)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Difference 6 Months Can Make

I'm nearly at the end of my first unofficial official sabbatical. I wasn't given paid leave by my educational institution. I wasn't told it's time to rest and refresh my heart, mind, and soul by the Church. Nope. I simply knew it was time to take a step back from the "official", organized church experience and garner a new perspective from the heart of God.

It all started back at the end of July. I was finishing up my second masters degree at the University of Dayton and was recently hired by a high school on the west side of Cincinnati to be a school counselor. I was also the part-time interim youth pastor at a local church here in south Dayton. Lots going on. I needed some time away to gather my thoughts, seek some direction, and process what God was up to in my life.

So with the blessing of my wife, I flew to San Diego to spend some time with a couple of great friends and mentors and their families to sort through through my soul (Thanks, Ed/Linda and Marko/Jeannie!).

After some conversations and much prayer about taking a sabbatical from church, I took the unconventional step of faith into this new place. And it's been good, very good, for me.

Here are a few of quick learnings and healings:

1. God has been so good to me. Specifically for me in this season that has practically translated into this deep sense that He is being very patient with me and very gracious. Who walks away from "the bride of Christ" and feels like the Groom is saying, "Go for it. It's all good. In fact, I'll be right there with you loving my time with you."?

2. The Church is a wonderful people and place. I'm excited about re-entering the stream of community that is so vital to me (and the rest of us for that matter) as we live life on the mountain tops, valley bottoms, and every terrain in between. I'm excited about using my life, experiences, gifts, and faith to love and lead people to Jesus.

3. I find myself spiritually healthier as I experience the family of God that gathers in formal and informal settings. What does that mean? I find myself less cynical, critical, and even bitter at times as I walk with the broken people of God and the organism charged with going into all the earth to join with the active work of God in redeeming a lost and broken world. Because I feel I have been judged harshly in my work for God, I was turning around judging the work of the Church more harshly, too. I sense that God has been healing that area in subtle and profound ways...grace. And I was in turn giving that grace back to the people and place that hurt me...grace. Grace received. Grace given away.

There is so much more and I am slowly understanding it. Patiently. Graciously. Courageously.

My family (Kelly/kids, immediate family/parents/bros/sis) has been great...thanks! Some key friends here in Dayton and around the country have been good for me, too, asking questions, pushing my thinking, and praying for the whole of me. Thanks!

I know more stuff will rise to the surface of my life in the next six months and beyond - healthy and unhealthy. And because of this intentional sabbatical, I am better prepared to receive that stuff (whatever that "stuff" is), work with it alongside Jesus, and be transformed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

FIFA World Cup Commercials

I loved playing soccer growing up. Played for almost 10 years. But as I got older, I grew a little cold to the game I played for so long. Often I took the stance of my favorite radio sports personality, Jim Rome, who says "soccer is a only a reason to riot".

With that being said, my heart has been thawing as I watch the 75th NFL Draft on ESPN. They have been running these brilliant adds marketing the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. They have used voice over work from Bono and the music of his band, U2, in the commercials. They are awesome.

Makes me wanna watch soccer again. Here a couple of my favorites for you viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Post Easter Humpday Reminder

Just a reminder to live in light of this game changing truth and event. Just because Easter is "over", doesn't mean we forget it and stop living in light of it.


(bu to Marko)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

What If...

You know they can take the man out of youth ministry, but you can't take the youth ministry out of the man. It's really true. I've been out of youth ministry for almost 6 months, but yet find myself thinking about nearly everyday. Not sure why. Regret? Guilt? Meditation? Future planning? Who knows.

One of the things I was thinking about the other day while I was walking the dog (real dog not yo-yo) was events/programming. Worship services vs outreach events and environments of faith vs environments of show.

If we are going to help our students live real, authentic, intentional lives in the real world, I think we need to help them live by faith. Times/places in their lives where they trust God with who they are, what He cares about, and how that intersects to impact people with the gospel.

Faith that pushes them to live in community with deeply caring and committed people who will walk with us in those scary places and during those scary times.

Faith that invites us to know ourselves better: how God has made us to point people to Jesus and what experiences God has allowed to go through in order to share the story of God in our lives (and other's lives).

Faith that causes us to lean into God and love him and others by what we do: inviting others to understand God and his gospel more clearly, share with others our story and God story and how they can experience amazing grace, caring for others by meeting their physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs even when we don't think we have the skills, experience, or knowledge how to.

How do we help our students live in faith filled ways? What environments are best suited for helping our students trust God in his kingdom theater? How do we hinder our students/kids from living lives of faith?

Let's commit to helping our kids understand their gifts, wiring, and passions. Let's help our kids use their gifts, wiring, and passions to advance the kingdom in their world. Let's help our students engage their friends, culture, and world in relational ways that tell others about life and love of Jesus. Let's create environments - small/big and/or showy/simple - that helps students join in and see God show up.

Friday, April 02, 2010

John Mayer's "Free Falling"

Tom Petty's "Free Falling" is an all-time favorite of mine. But this John Mayer version is better than the original IMHO. I know Mayer can be one of those love/hate or hot/cold kind of artists, but I think you have to admit this pretty amazing. This cover is right up there with other great covers like Alien Ant Farm and their take on "Smooth Criminal".

(bu to Graham)

Blow Us Away

Think the world could be better, greater, kinder, or more beautiful. How about more creative, more teachable, or more inspiring? Listen to this young lady and ask yourself, "Maybe being childish is part of the answer and solutions."

I love the line at the back end of the presentation that basically calls adults, mentors, teachers, youth workers, and youth pastors to "create environments where kids can grow up and blow us away." Love that idea!

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tron Legacy

The first Tron was great. The second Tron looks epic!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bad Day? Watch This!

This will most assuredly put a smile on your face no matter the kind of day you had.

The song is "This Too Shall Pass".

These guys are sick! I wish I had an a fraction of the creativity they do...some of the most original videos on this planet. This one is no exception! Watch the video below first and then go here to see an alternate version of the song. I love that they do a lot of their videos in one take with one camera.

And if you have nothing better to do (and haven't seen it already), here is the video that started it all for OK Go...the best!

(bu to Curtis H. via Twitter)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Downside of Talent

Talent. We all have one or some. We love it when we get to use them. We enjoy the praise that comes when others notice ours. We get frustrated when we don't get to use them.

We wish we had others. We admire those who have different ones than ours. We enjoy watching others use their.

At the end of the day, you and I will be held accountable for how we use them whether we believe that will be by our boss and/or our Maker in heaven. That will come at a review or a termination or a pay raise. Or at that face-to-face meeting we have have with God upon entering his eternal presence in heaven when we says, "Well done, good and faithful servant," or "You wicked and lazy servant!" (Matthew 25:14-30)

I started reflecting on this truth when I recently read an article about Michael Vick's reflection on his time playing football in Atlanta. He looks back with regret on his time in there because he was "complacent, lazy and settled for mediocrity." He relied on his legs - his talents - to get him by and it cost him, that organization and the fans.

Then this morning I read this article about Apolo Ohno and his run at being the most decorated winter Olympic athlete ever. It states how early in his career, Ohno, won on pure talent and sheer speed that at times won him victories, but at other times cost him gold medals. The article goes on to say what got him to the medal stand last night was not just his talent, but his willingness to prepare.

God is using both of these to convict, grow and guide me. I think for most of my vocational life, I have been relying on talent and living off the hype as a can't miss success with students.

Now don't get me wrong, I have worked hard and long hours. But that is very different than preparing in the little (but big) ways to get the "biggest return" on my talent especially when I was pursuing my dream of serving as a youth pastor. You see the downside of talent is I/we end up relying on it at the expense of not preparing well, listening to others, and, ultimately, not walking by faith in the area of work.

I don't know if I'll be back in full-time vocational ministry ever again, but through lots of personal reflection, I acknowledge like Vick, I have dropped the ball with my talent. But I hope live and lead out the second half of my career with the will to prepare and humility to seek God and trust him whether it be in education, ministry, or somewhere else so as to squeeze the most I can out of what He has graciously given me.

So the question I have for you: how have you been affected by the downside of talent? Where have you cut you or other short because you relied solely on talent and not the other "little" things to maximize what God has given you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Chance

For all my friends out there looking for love, wondering if Mr. or Ms. Right is out there, and not looking forward to another Valentine's Day, I give you a funny sort of way.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Worth, Value, and the Problem of Words

One of the cool things I get to do in my job is meet with students and their families to talk about life after high school. We gather together around the round table in my office for me to listen to their hopes and dreams, ask questions about who they are and what they are passionate about, and offer some insight and support to the process of figuring out this huge time of transition.

A tool we we use to help juniors figure out where they are at in relation to college readiness is a standardized test called the PSAT. It helps student and parents gauge what areas they doing well in, what areas need work, and how improve in those areas both in the classroom and on the test. In the midst of these conversations, I notice students and many times "feel" students equating worth and value to the scores on this (and other) test, as well as, grades, GPA, and class rank.

On a couple of occasions, I have had to halt the meeting for a redefining of personal worth and refocusing of why they are valuable. You see students (especially high achieving girls, I've noticed) start tearing up when they see their test score that might not meet their expectations, not high enough for college they are looking at, and be where their other friends are scoring. When I stop and ask what they are feeling, the answers of each student can be summed up in one phrase: "I'm not good enough."

Their value is so tied up in the personal, family, and institutional expectations that are project on them that they begin to define their own value and worth based on this educational data. It's so sad. Thus, the "timeout" to redefine self-worth/personal value.

I've struggled not with having these conversations (they are priceless and powerful), but with using the words worth and value to define how a person "measures up". So I've reworking the word "significance" into my vocabulary during these important meetings.

I think significance is ab better word But should I throw out the baby with the bath water and not use worth and value? The reason I ask, is because worth and value have the connotations of being linked with money, goods, services, and stuff. All the things that humanity uses to determine their place in this world (thanks, Michael W. Smith). If we are going to get people and especially students to think of themselves differently, I wonder if a change in vocabulary is in order.

Just some thoughts. What do you think?

Recognizing My Idols

I'm realizing more and more that I'm an idolizing person. I love me my idols. Now I don't say that with pride, but more with a sense of "Dang it...I don't want these..I don't want this to be me."

What's ironic is that we live in an country that glamorizes, even promotes having idols. Heck, we have a hugely popular reality show called, American Idol, don't we? It's hard for us, for me, to not have idols. And the rub is that God calls us to have no persons, things, stuff, gadgets, gizmos, money, etc. that supplants Him as the priority, that which satisfies our soul.

And so over the last few days, God's been working on me in a couple of areas. I haven't quite finished processing these issues in these areas, but here are some thoughts:

Emotional Arena: I've settled for being OK. I've worked towards health (personal retreat to SD, CA, organized church sabbatical, commitment to walk with God through times of quiet, serving my co-workers, praying for my neighbors, etc), but for some reason I still feel like it's OK to sometimes (maybe even lots of times) settle for personal frustration and disappointment with my life and with others. That's an idol I need to deal with.

Family Arena: This one hurts, but it flows from the personal arena. In light of some of my disappointment/frustration with myself (for whatever reason), I have not been very engaging with my family relationally, emotionally, and spiritually. I've made the choice to be pseudo-engaged by working on our finances claiming (defending/justifying to myself) that it is THE priority for our family in this current season. It's not good. I've got to enter the room of Grace and allow God to love and heal. I've got to acknowledge to myself, Kelly, Sarah, and Parker that I've fallen short by not giving them the best, healthiest me that they deserve.

Stuff Arena: Computer, financial managing (watch dogging), Facebook, music and others. I've got to set some boundaries that give me the space to engage God, my family, and my heart in meaningful ways. My friend, Charlie, recently talked about that with Facebook.

These are some of my idols that God is saying needs reorganizing, reprioritizing, and possibly even eliminating. I'm stoked I'm not going to be doing this solo. Jesus is there saying, "Together. You and me, son. Never alone. Me, you, and my all sufficient grace." My family will be helping me, too.

So...In light of that, I had better jump off the computer, stop blogging, quit idolizing myself and the gadgets that help me process/communicate and get my family outside for some serious play time, memory making, and laughfest on this awesome snow day!

Thanks, Jesus, for reminding me of my weak tendency to pursue and prioritize things that are not You. You grace is a healing balm that gives me hope and courage to reset and move past my idols. You and your grace are enough! Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Championship Sunday - Head vs Heart

It's a good day to be a football fan, particularly a NFL football fan. Colts vs Jets. Saints vs Vikings. All sorts of great match-ups, story lines, and players/coaches are taking place today. I can't wait to watch.

The first game of the day is the one my heart is most into. Having lived in Indy for 4 years, I will be rooting for the Colts. They do have the better team overall and should win. But the J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets! are confident, hot and on a roll. That worries me a bit. However, Colts have the most cerebral quarterback of his generation (along with made physical skills to back it up): Peyton Manning. He's already seen this defense once playing at it's best...huge advantage for Peyton. So at the end of the day, I'm going with my head based on his football head...the Colts. I'll miss you Rex Ryan and your awesome press conferences.

Second game of the day is much tougher to pick. I could go into all sorts of reasons for picking the Vikes or the Saints. But I am not going to bore you. So I am picking with my heart on this one. I'm hoping for the Saints. That team wants this. That city needs this. I think it would be awesome if they got to the Super Bowl. Nothing against Favre and the men in purple, but this is the feel good story that I want to see and hear about for the next two weeks. So Saints it is. Maybe you can make another run at it next year Brett. Or maybe not. Or maybe. Or...

Colts vs Saints in the Superbowl. Head vs Heart. Here's to some great games!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Preying on the Poor

I believe in a free market society. I believe that capitalism works. But this makes me wish I hadn't voted to support "advance check" businesses in my city and community.

budget planner –

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Santa vs the Current Fiscal Policies

So close it's not even funny albeit a little scary.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Have A Dream

I've probably watched this 50 times in my life for one reason or another. It never grows old. Never gets tired. Never ceases to inspire me. It never stops capturing my imagination about social justice and racial reconciliation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm in the Game. Are you?

I made a difference in the world and so can you!

I made a donation to World Vision to help someone overcome poverty and to help the relief effort in Haiti. It was easy to find the right donation opportunity with over 100 ways to give. It only takes a few minutes to make a difference in our world, specifically Haiti. I encourage you to go experience it for yourself today!

Simply click on the link below to see what you can do to help a child or family in need.

This hits home for our family because we sponsor a child in the Dominican Republic, the other country that shares the same island as Haiti. The ripple effects are huge there, as well. But as we have been praying for the people of Haiti, as well as, the worker helping in the relief efforts, we knew we had to get in the game.

So as I have been praying, I knew I couldn't go, but I knew we could give. Trust me when I say the budget in the Rings house is tight. Every penny matters in this season of life. But we just had to get in the game in a tangible way. I am so glad we did. It matters for what it models to my kids to be apart of the poor and hurting. It matters to the Kingdom of God as we participate in God's plan of mercy and compassion. It matters to the people of Haiti where every dollar saves a life, provides food, and helps in the recovery/rebuilding effort.

So what will you do this in this time of devastation? Stay on bench or get in the game?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Are the Outcomes

This gave me a chuckle this morning, as well as giving me some things to ponder...

The Hunger Site

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Locations of visitors to this page Add to Technorati Favorites