Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Brother's Journey of Faith to

Salvatore DiSalvatore is not a new character in a Martin Scorsese film.

He is my brother.
He is my best friend.

Sal has always pushed me and inspired me, because his faith is uncommon; different.

When many would give up on their dreams because life got too busy, or the journey was too long, or quite frankly fear got in the way of faith; Sal would never settle.

It's hard to wait, to be still.
It's hard to be Sal.

His journey began when he chose to attend Regent University to pursue a Masters in Communications and Film.

Sal loves to tell stories thru media, and his stories make great sermons.

There were some people who discouraged him from leaving the comforts of Philly to go down south to Virginia and chase the dream.

I never understand why people encourage others to be more practical,
sometimes I think practical is another way of saying settle.

Sal would continue to navigate that tension during his years in the south,
especially his final semester. The school put on a short film festival at the local theater and Sal's movie dealt with the cycle of sin in a very artistic and poweful way.

It was different, but apparently Pat Robertson doesn't like different

It got pulled from the festival.

Sal returned to Philly crushed, but still had hope.

When his friend's accepted other jobs, filming commercials or editing, Sal wouldn't comprise what God called him to do. He was focused on his goal of making a difference in Christian media.

I remember one time when he had an opportunity to go to a film festival on the West Coast (fully paid) he declined.

Personally, I thought he was crazy for not going, but he said he prayed about it,
and felt that God didn't want him to go.

Sometimes faith doesn't make sense.
Sometimes faith is weird.

I would see that puzzled look again throughout the next couple of years
as it transfered from my face to others.

When people would ask about my brother and what he is up to, I would tell them about the latest script he was working on doing or the latest project he was doing pro bono for a friend. I would see this subtle look in response.

A subtle look that turns to a smile.

A look that says be practical... settle.

I think Sal never gave up, because my parents never had that look.
They always believed in him. Always supported him.

My parents have always been in his corner (mine too).

People need someone in their corner.

One night Sal called me and we were talking about what's next.

He was frustrated.

This wasn't our first conversation like this, I found my self wanting to say, be practical, think of the short term instead of the long term.

Settle was on the tip of my tongue.

But this time, the conversation was different.
I listened more and talked less.

Sal seemed to have renewed energy as he told me about a position he just applied for. had a position open and thought he would send his resume. He didn't know about the church and asked if I heard about it.

I laughed. As a church planter, everyone knows about and Craig Groeschel.

I just finished reading his book "It" too.

We prayed.
He didn't get the position.

He did get a phone call.

From there he began writing some scripts for their kids ministry not really expecting anything.

They loved his stuff, and trust me its good.

Sal has always had good stuff.

And they saw it too.

I couldn't believe it when we Sal and I had another conversation and he told me that they hired him full time to be a writer and work on their creative team.

I cried.

It had nothing to do with my brother getting a position at a prominent church.
It has everything to do with knowing that there is someone out there that believes in him.

That God answers prayers.
That God gives us dreams for a reason.

If we are willing to be alittle different,
to never settle
to be like Sal.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Life Is Good

One of the traditions I am starting with my son is taking walks.

He loves being in the stroller and looking around. He likes to ask questions and watch the bunnies and dogs go by as we roll around the neighborhood. My hope is that as he gets older and out grows the stroller, the walks will continue (cross my fingers for the teen years).

I think and pray a lot as we go around the block, water bottle in hand and ear buds in place.

At times it is hard to focus on the good when my mind seems drawn
like a tracker beam to the bad.

There have been people who have put up a show in public
only to be the opposite behind closed doors.

There have been people who seem to have all the time in the world when it benefits them
but when you are no longer a commodity you no longer have their time.

There have been people who I looked up to with awe but has lately turned to shock.

It has been a mental battle not to become cynical-christian-guy or

That has never been me.
I am an encourager not a critic.

When I was younger I would share with my Pastor how
afraid I was of going into the ministry because of being hurt by people.

I assumed the hurts would come from the congregation.
I never imagined it would come from other pastors.

So I walk and stroll and pray, feeling overwhelmed
hoping my neighbors would believe it was the wind making my tears and not my past.

And just like that, I was reminded in a whimsical, childlike way about life on the sidewalk...

Sometimes kids just say it the best.

"At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike." (matthew 11.25 NLT)

I like to pride myself at times of being a well read individual, looking for the latest hot book to dive into or thought provoking quote to highlight, but it just might be the neighborhood kid with the colorful chalk that will inspire.

My hope is that when I am older and walking around the neighborhood with my son listening to his laments about the latest girl who broke his heart or the teacher that seems to have it out for him, I can remind him that we will always have choice to make.

That there will always be bad in a broken world,
but there is hope, there is good,
if you're willing to look down into the colored chalk of your soul.