Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

I’ve been a little quiet this week while preparing for Good Friday and Easter services at Vinelife.

Today is Good Friday and I’m struck by the idea that the Good News never gets old.  Every morning, this News is there waiting for a moment to humble us with love and electrify us with joy.  Our awareness of this News ebbs and flows, yet it remains constant in the trials and the triumphs.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

As you take time today to reflect on Jesus and the cross, here are a couple great worship videos created by some dear friends of mine.

The first is by Anthony Skinner from Franklin, TN.  It’s a visual montage set to one of his live performances.   Anthony writes, “It was inspired by the last weeks of a dear friend’s life. I wanted to create a soundscape for my beloved friend to be swallowed up in the beauty of her salvation through Christ.”

It’s a bit longer, but beautiful all the way through.  You can download the video here.

The second video is a song called “You Cover Me” written by Asher Seevinck from Loud Harp.  This guy bleeds tone and fights for the perfect melody. You’ll like this one…

Creativity is giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.”

– Daniel Pink

On Creativity

It’s a concept I heard from my pastor, Walt Roberson, earlier in the year.  We can see this applied in community and organizational life. But I also believe it can be helpful in understanding our own creative perspectives.  I took a some time to write out ways we see this play out. Maybe you have more to add to this list…

Photo by Brenton Clarke, LightStock.

Photo by Brenton Clarke, LightStock.

What are the differences between Gap Finders and Gap Standers? Continue Reading…

Yeah, I know this is an older video but it still gets me every time.

I love how as this man listens to music from his era, there is clearly something in him that is unlocked.  The music brings him back to the time when he was fully alive.

It makes me wonder what music and art I am currently experiencing that will leave that kind of imprint on me.  I wonder what I’ll look back on in my old age and remember of today.  What soundtracks will unlock my heart.

As I’ve been diving into stories of people who took on the Responsibility of Dreaming and dared to approach God with bold faith and “big asks”, it was hard to overlook the story of George Washington Carver.

You may remember him from fifth grade science class, but few people know some of the fascinating details of his life. I don’t have time to offer an exhaustive biography, but here are a few notable details. You can learn more here.

George Washington Carver

Born into slavery in 1864, Carver went on to offer some of the most significant contributions to agricutural science as a black man living in the post-Civil War south. Specifically, in a time when cotton crops had ravaged the fields of the South, Carver was able to take the peanut (a trash crop) and derive over 300 uses for it – including paint, ink, and milk. Also, he distilled over 200 uses for the sweet potato.

Most Americans have a cursory understanding of Carver’s scientific contributions, but few people know about the spiritual overtones that were true of his life and imagination.

 

Continue Reading…

While the American idea of “chasing your dreams” can lead to an endless series of romanticized and unsatisfying pursuits, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a certain responsibility for those in Christ to be filled with dreams and remain in a posture of confident hope.

Where many of us readily espouse that there is a God who knows and loves us, it’s more difficult to determine whether or not He cares about what we care about. Or, more importantly – whether we care about what He cares about. On a broad scale, we’re OK with that idea. But when we start to get specific, it can get uncomfortable.

Image from LightStock.com.

Photo from LightStock.com.

We light up when we read the prophet Jeremiah’s declaration that God has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But when I sit down with friends and ask them about those plans, this is when we start to get a little squeamish. We start to get a little nervous and uncomfortable when talking about the actual ideas, dreams, and callings that stir within us. Continue Reading…

RE-POST: This entry was from my old blog and is a topic I come back to regularly.  I revised it a bit so I could share it with you again.

NiceI’m going to risk sounding fluffy for a moment.

Over the course of a year, we hear so many words and receive so much input from the people in our lives.  Nice words, mean words, confrontational words, words of encouragement, words of blessing, words of criticism, and occasionally some combination of all these things.  We call that one the compliment sandwich (2 sugary compliment buns with a world of pain on the inside).

One of my favorites was from an old man who tried to compliment me after one of my talks at Vinelife.  It went something like this…

Old man: “That was a good sermon, young man.  The beginning was rough, but you really pulled through.”

Me:
 “Thanks, old man.” (sigh)

But why does it seem like the words of criticism hold more weight than the words of encouragement?  If I hear one hundred nice things in a day, it’s still the one critique or confusing remark that keeps me up at night.  This shouldn’t happen, but it does.  It’s probably because I’m more insecure than I’d like to admit.  I’m guessing that’s the case for you, too.

Continue Reading…

One of the most revolutionary things Jesus did was reveal God as “Father”.  Where it would have seemed more appropriate to reveal God as a CEO or cosmic ruler, Jesus made sure to eliminate any possibility in our minds that God is distant from us. In fact, not only is He closer than we thought, but He cares for us just as any good father cares for his children. Though obedience is important, no good father demands a life time of compliance.  Good fathers pay attention to the desires, dreams, and joys in the hearts of their kids.

Orange RosesSeveral weeks ago, the family and I were in the car on the way to have dinner with our good friends, Nick & Jackie. While we were driving, an idea surfaced in my son’s three year old brain. In a moment of silence, he chimed in from his car seat in the back, “Can we bring Jackie flowers?” At first, Megan and I looked at each other confused. Then after realizing what he said, we chuckled and and commented at how impossibly cute Noah had become.

Continue Reading…

Bon Iver

OK.  It’s time to brag.

What was the absolute, hands-down best show you’ve ever been to?  And what made it so memorable?

Here’s mine…

October 15, 2000 Jimmy Eat Word, Pedro the Lion, & Death Cab for Cutie at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago, IL; I was still in high school and drove three hours with some friends to Chicago to see these relatively unknown bands (at the time) play at bowling alley for a whopping $8.

Runner Ups –

May 31, 2012Bon Iver & Feist at Red Rocks; Beautiful evening, Perfect temperatures, and an impeccable mix.  May have teared just a bit.  Here’s a little video I captured.

April 21, 2005U2 Vertigo Tour at the Pepsi Center; This was my first time seeing U2.  Megan got me tickets for my birthday, and we attended the 2nd night of a sold out show.  Everything about it was just right.  Definitely cried through a couple songs.  No shame.

Your turn.  Leave a comment below.

Here’s the thing, though: if we’re not failing once in a while—or for some of us, all the time—odds are good that we’re not living a life that presses us into the possibilities and risks necessary to grow into the people we want to become. If we haven’t failed, we won’t know how to handle someone else’s failure, making us harder to be trusted during some of the most fragile and vulnerable periods in people’s lives.”

From Unexpected Gifts by Christopher L Heuertz

Why Failure Is Good for Community