Friday, October 30, 2009

Starbucks.Troops.Inspired


There are a couple of things in this world that I really love, music, sports, and coffee...er...make that Starbucks Coffee. Yes, there is a difference. I have a little routine in the morning before I go to the office. Take my wife Marisa to work, get some snacks to get her thru the day, and then... get some Starbucks.

This day was a little different, or should I say, my routine hit a interesting speed bump.

I was in line to buy my Soy Latte and there was a woman in front me who ordered some items as well. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Then the Barista asked her to buy some VIA (Starbucks instant coffee, yes it is pretty good) for American troops over seas.

I expected a typical excuse then followed by a typical no.
She proceeded to pick up a HUGE handful of VIA.

In my surprise, I said, "Wow...That's Awesome!" (Christians like to say awesome a a lot) Going back to my little Sbux experience, in the moment of being inspired, I bought a 12-pack for the troops too; still no where near as much VIA as the woman bought.

If this lady went thru the motions and said no I probably would have too. However, because of her Epic gesture of generosity I gave too (ok I used the word epic, I just didn't want to be that guy who says awesome a lot).

I don't know what this woman believes, but her actions are making me notice how she lives.

My hope is that, we who believe, can live and give in a way that people will notice and be inspired.

For this woman it was Starbucks VIA, what will it be for you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Story Behind The Song "God Of This City"

There are certain songs that strike a chord. There are certain worship songs that seem to transcend a worship service. "God Of This City" is one of those songs. The first time I heard this song it empowered something inside of me. It's not just filler for a worship service, but it is an anthem for how you want to live your life. How you want your life to be a light in a dark place.

The story of this song comes from an Irish band called Bluetree, birthed out of a worship service at a bar in Thailand.

Upon playing in the city of Pattaya, the band couldn't help but be impacted by the culture of sex-trade and prostitution that seemed to be overwhelming. How do you find God in such a place? The lyrics for the song came during a free flowing worship time, and God began to move in that service. How cool is it to see God move in a bar, in that kind of a place, that so many people would see as hopeless. Even though we live in a world changed by sin, God's love for his creation never changes. God's love never fails.

May we not be afraid of the dark places.
May God's Love and Compassion shine thru, may it shine thru us.

Greater things are yet to come.

video

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Type Of Person Are You When They Get Your Order Wrong?


I am on the go a lot. I eat out eat out a lot. I do try and eat healthy though...but perhaps that is another blog. I was at Panera Bread today for a meeting, and I ordered a pumpkin muffin and coffee. What I got was a pumpkin Muffie instead of a pumpkin Muffin.

Not what I ordered.

The barista was nice and her manager was over her shoulder so I didn't make it a big deal. But seriously a muffie??? Do I want to be that-guy who eats a muffie? Eating a muffie is like eating quiche. This little muffin mishap got me thinking. What type of person are you when they get your order wrong?

Are you the type of person to return a wrong order, or eat away and make the most of it?

Storms Sleep and Wet Feet


"Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

This passage from Matthew always fascinates me.

Why would the disciples freak out like this?

Why was Jesus sleeping?

This was not the first storm that came across the Sea of Galilee. Storms came often and without warning at times too. So this was not unusual for the disciples to face something like this. They probably faced storms like this before.

Sometimes it's the unexpected storms that scare us the most.

I remember having to mentally prepare myself when I would have to get a needle from my pediatrician when I was just a little guy. I would run around the nurses and the doctor saying... "I just need to relax! I just need to relax!" After all it was a big needle. Hey, after all this was a big storm. I have faced needles before, the disciples faced storms before...

Especially Peter, Andrew, James, and John- after all they made their living as fishermen.

Maybe Jesus was sleeping because he trusted his well seasoned fishermen/disciples.

Maybe Jesus has faith in us even when we don't have faith in ourselves.

The funny thing is that the disciples run a to Rabbi who does not have the training that they do in handling a storm on the open seas. Thats like going to a Dentist to fix your car when you need to go to a Mechanic. It doesn't make sense. The thing that I love about Jesus is that though we face storms and trials, even if we faced them before, he is still there for us. To bring us peace, to calm the seas, to ease our fears.

There are times when we have to face storms.
There will be times when we are afraid.

May we remember that Jesus has faith in us to handle the storm.

But isn't it good to know that Jesus is in our boat to back us up when we get freaked-out.

The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dude Perfect With A Cause

You may have seen them on ESPN, The Tody Show, even Regis and Kelly, but the internet sensation of "Dude Perfect" is all a buzz in the media. Six guys from Texas A & M University, with alot of time on their hands, are making incredible trick shots.

And these shots are LEGIT!

These videos are amazing to see, and they are actually true trick shots.

They are not doctored in any way. The videos have been tested by numerous sources and it is found that these shots are not fake. Aside from the great entertainment value of seeing amazing shots (just think of the Michael Jordan/ Larry Bird McDonald's commercials of the 90s), these "Dudes" have a cause.



The more people visit their www.youtube.com videos and their website www.dudeperfect.com the guys donate money to Compassion International to sponsor children in need.

Dude...that's perfect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD6eQY7yCfw


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Redemption For Lights-Out-Lidge




Sequels are hardly ever as good as the original. The epic run for Phillies last year was life changing for this fan of 29 years who has never seen a World Championship in Philadelphia. All that changed as the Phillies beat Rays as Brad Lidge closed out the win in the World Series, and I no longer felt like a loser anymore because now my city is a winner.

The run this year to the playoffs was good, not great, especially for Phillies closer Brad Lidge. He was not "Lights-Out." He was not perfect in 41 saves as he was last year. He blown many saves in the regular season and it looked as if ghosts of Albert Pujols past were coming back to haunt once again. The homerun that Pujols hit in the NLCS back in 2006 off of Lidge is still orbiting space.


Should Manager Charlie Manuel remove this Closer for the playoff run?

Would Brad be "Lights-Out" once again?

Could Lidge face his demons?

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Charlie Manuel has faith. Faith despite what tough Philadelphia Media couldn't see. Charlie was certain that Lidge could rise from the ashes of over 10 blown saves during the regular season. Charlie has hope that Lidge could prove the "Philly-Faithful" wrong and closeout the series against Colorado in "Lights-Out" fashion.

Charlie saw what many of us could not see.

The Philadelphia Phillies, nicked-named the "Fightin's" clawed back with clutch hitting from Utley, Howard, and Werth in the final inning to erase a two run deficit. The game, and possibly the Phillies playoff hopes were riding on the arm of Brad Lidge. Could he seal the deal, and have the team leave the snow for the sun, as they pack their bags for a rematch against LA in the NLCS?

Lidge came through and got the save, because his manager had faith.

May we have the courage to prove our critics wrong.

May we all have faith in what we cannot see.

May we all be true believers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pattern or Routine...

We do things everyday. We have responsibilities everyday. Some things that we do may require more thought than other things we do, with that said, are we following a pattern or a routine?

The New Oxford American Dictionary definition for pattern is "a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in certain actions or situations." The definition for routine is "a sequence of actions regularly followed." These words are very similar but there is a key word that distinguishes the two definitions, intelligible.

How many activities do we participate in with no thought or love? Laurence J Peter says, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore that going to a garage makes you a mechanic."

May we be Christians who think about how we love and live. May we be Christians who follow the Pattern that is far better than a routine.

It is written in Ephesians 5:1-2 (msg) "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What The Beatles Are To Rock Music U2 Is To Worship Music


Looking back on rock music before The Beatles it was single driven, with simple musical structures, and not much substance in the lyrics. Case in point, the ever popular song, "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window,"... 'nuff said. The year 1964 changed everything thing, as The Beatles crashed the shores of America and introduced themselves with the performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In the years to come The Beatles would progress as a band and release music that was album driven, complex, and thought provoking. Even today The Beatles continue to remain timeless as their remastered music catalog tops the charts once again.
Looking back on worship music, before U2 it was single driven, with simple musical structures, and not much substance in the lyrics. Case in point, the ever repetitive, "Lord I Lift Your Name On High,"... 'nuff said. The year 1987 changed everything, not overnight, but with a powerful and long lasting ripple. It was started with one album that would become the canvas for modern worship music as we know of today. With the release of Joshua Tree, U2 would cement themselves as one of the most popular bands of the 1980's and today. The influence was huge as U2 would mix raw emotion, spiritual metaphors, and a guitar sounds that were iconic and beautiful. There are three songs off of Joshua Tree that would be a color palette for worship music today, the soaring "Where The Streets Have No Name", the introspective "I Still Haven't Found What Im Looking For", and the epic "With or Without You".
When I think of some of the most popular worship songs today, the influence ripples back to U2. The soaring "I Am Free", by Jon Egan of Desperation Band has a similar structure to "Where The Streets Have No Name". The structure of quiet verses that build into climatic choruses, coupled with an echoing guitar sound made famous by The Edge, really make this song soar. The rhythmic and introspective "Mighty To Save", by Hillsong has traces of "I Still Haven't Found What Im Looking For", all over it. The lyric by Rueben Morgan of Hillsong, "Everyone needs compassion everyone needs forgiveness," so honest and true, mirrors Bono's lyric "You broke thorns and loosed the chains, carried the cross and all my shame." It is as if the song "Mighty to Save" answers Bono's lament in "I Still Haven't Found What Im Looking For". The worship song that continues to top the charts is Chris Tomlin's "How Great Is Our God", a song that is as epic in message and composition as U2's "With or Without You". When you think of Chris Tomlin you think of "How Great is Our God", and when you think of U2 you think of "With or Without You". It is no accident that all three of these artists Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, and Desperation Band are at the forefront of what modern day worship music is today.
The Beatles changed Rock music and U2 changed worship music. Bono was right when he said, "It's time to take you to church," as "I Still Haven't Found What Im Looking For", began to play to 80,000 people at Fedex Field, he didn't just take us to church, he changed church.