H2Oink

eyes

So apparently people are fairly worked up about this whole swine flu deal. I read the other day that one of the top selling items on eBay was a face mask. Turns out it is not just fashionable for Michael Jackson anymore–people are really worked up here.

I keep hearing the word pandemic. I took the time to look it up. Basically a pandemic is a disease that shows up in a lot of places. It’s fun to use this word because it reminds us of epidemic: a disease that spreads unusually fast to a large number of people. A few people have been killed by the swine flu thus far. This is absolutely terrible for their families and friends. However did you know that every year in the US around 63,000 people die of the regular flu? Yep, that’s more than three.

Let’s face it . . . this disease is such a big deal because it’s effecting one of America’s greatest resources: white people. My wife and I had a great discussion yesterday about this. Do you know what the top ten world wide killer diseases are? In order they are: lower respiratory infection, HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Diarrhea, Tuberculosis, Measles, Whooping Cough, Tetanus, Meningitis, and Syphilis. Most of these are rare, preventable, and/or minor in the US and other developed countries. Around 2.2 million people die every year because their water killed them.

I get stressed because bottled water costs so much.

We’re all overly stressed about swine flu.

When’s the last time the nation got worked up over diarrhea?

The technology exists to fix many/most of these worldwide problems. If we all got as upset as we do about swine flu we could destroy this evil.

Here is what some people are doing.

Here is a place you can help.

Here’s another.

People are recognizing that God cares about this a lot; more than our petty problems in fact. Christians and non-believers are doing some beautiful work.

Don’t just feel guilty. Stop worrying about white people problems and do some good. Buy a glove, complete the Michael look, and put the mask to good use.

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Passion City Church

passion

Last night my wife and I visited the first service of Passion City Church in the ATL. It was quite an experience. The meeting was at the Tabernacle downtown. We waited in a line that wrapped around between three and four blocks to get in. As I said to one of the Passion volunteers corralling us, I think the word got out.

But that’s not the coolest thing.

You see, I’m sure there are some who will say, “Of course it was a big deal. It was basically a free passion concert with Louis Giglio and Chris Tomlin.”

I would disagree.

Yes Chris Tomlin and Louis were there. And just for good measure Matt Redman was hanging out in the front row, and Christy Nockels was also singing. But that wasn’t the point.

It was a room full of people there to worship God. A whole bunch of mostly twenty-somethings letting loose. I think they could have patched in an mp3 player to the system, played some music, and the room would have worshiped just as loudly.

Louis also made it clear who we were there for. The first thing he pointed out in his talk was that Passion City Church exists first For God. Not for us or anyone else; it exists go glorify God.

So it was not a show. It was a room full of people wanting to worship God, love Atlanta, and love the world. It was a generation that wants to see Jesus name made famous.

(By the way, April 10th the Good Friday Service is at Verizon Amhitheatre. Only a $10 charge that helps cover the venue and goes to onemillioncan.com.)

So if you were there, what did you think about it? Who’s going to the next meeting?

Happy Saturday Video

happysaturday

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more about “Happy Saturday Video“, posted with vodpod

Pipe . . .Wrench . . .Fiiiight!

Staying in the Black

Everyone’s looking to save money these days. It all adds up.  Here’s some things we’re doing lately to save cash:

  • We almost never use our gas heat, we have heaters in most rooms.  It works surprising well and is definitely cheaper than propane.
  • We have a gas oven too, and I can’t remember the last time we used it. We have a small electric convection oven that works great for pretty much everything.
  • Sandwiches for lunch! We finally bought my wife a snazzy lunchbox so she doesn’t have to eat out for lunch so much; it adds up. Plus it’s generally healthier.

What kind of things are you doing to keep in the black these days?

Why Mark Driscoll Matters

You may or may not have heard of Mark Driscoll. Some of you probably saw him last night on Nightline.

He’s known for being a hipster pastor who drinks, cusses, talks about sex, and oh yeah, he’s a Calvinist.

What?

Yeah, as you can guess even if you’re not familiar, Mark tends to stir up a bit of controversy from time to time.  He’s has his lovers and haters like anyone. (Hate the game, don’t hate the pastor . . . sorry)

But either way, he does matter.

Mark Driscoll represents an combo of two things in my generation that in many ways defines our beliefs.  You see, my generation tends to have no patience for things that feel like a waste of time-tradition, politics, rules for rules sake. Because of this we are oft maligned as a no beliefs generation.

But we also yearn for seriousness, truth, belief, faith, story; we want a faith that isn’t easily tossed aside or just connected to cultural values.  We want beliefs that mean what they say.

This is what many churches have missed and why Mark Driscoll is important. You see, the simply “seeker sensitive” style churches miss something for my generation in the same way that over-traditional churches do.  They seem too simple, not serious enough.

My generation wants to live a big life, rock out, and have big beliefs. We want a church that isn’t afraid to take us all in, be real, and let it all hang out; we also want a church that treats us like adults, says what it means, and gives weighty issues a chance.

Whether you like Mark or not, there is a reason he reaches thousands in Seattle-one of the least Christian cities in America.

My generation is looking for something more.

No one likes us . . . now what?

I talked yesterday about something that really eats at me. Christians are increasingly seen as UnChristian.

There are at least two discussions to be had here.  One is does it really matter.  The other is what do we do about it?  I’m trying to be positive this year so I’m starting with the second one.

The first thing that comes to mind to me is something I’ve talked about before.  We need to stop fighting–stop fighting the “sinners,” stop fighting the culture war.  Here’s the deal: the culture war is over and we lost.  Culture doesn’t happen in a win or lose fight, it happens through communication, community, influence, and change.

At some point Christians stopped influencing culture and decided to fight it.  We failed.  It was a stupid fight to get into in the first place.

So stop fighting.

That doesn’t mean give up.  It means find a way to be a part of culture, to influence it.

For me that means being friends will people from all walks.  And that means friendship for friendships sake, not as an “in” to invite them to church.  Of course we want them to come to Christ, but I’ve seen too many people stop being friends with someone because they decided “they will never change their sinful ways.”  That isn’t our decision,  and people see through our fake friend veneer when we do this.

Christ called us to love all others through everything.  It’s time to get over ourselves.

(And by the way, it does work.  In all surveys the vast majority of people came to Christ through a relationship, usually a long term one.  Some of the favorite “hit and run” methods, tracts and media, combined account for about 1/2 a percent of conversions.)

Do you think we can handle real community?

What Makes My Heart Beat

What drives me and my thoughts on this blog?

This Christmas I finally got around to buying the book unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.  I’ve been following this work for a while and even got to hear Gabe speak last year.

UnChristian discusses what my generation (ages 16-29) believes about Christians.  These are my friends, the people I hang out with and talk to.

I’ll run down the research really quickly.  (By the way, you can access this at www.unchristian.com/downloads/)

anti-homosexual……………………………………………..91%

judgmental……………………………………………………87%

hypocritical………………………………………………….85%

teaches same basic idea as other religions…………..82%

old-fashioned…………………………………………………78%

has good values and principles………………………….76%

too involved in politics…………………………………….75%

out of touch with reality…………………………………..72%

Those are the top eight.  As you can see it takes six steps to get to something positive (has good values).  After this other perceptions are insensitive to others, boring, not accepting of other faiths, and confusing.

The most common beliefs about Christians have to do with what they’re against or our attitudes.  What does this teach us about what needs to change?

It’s easy to brush it off.  After all doesn’t the Bible tell us we will be scorned and the way is narrow?  Isn’t the world just going to hell these days?  Plus we might want to assume that most of these are just stereotypes from a world influenced by media, other philosophies, and culture.

That’s the most damning thing in the research.  Of those surveyed the ” vast majority  . . . have been to churches before; most have attended at least one church for several months; and nearly nine out of every ten say they know Christians personally, having about five friends who are believers.” (emphasis mine)

These beliefs did not occur in a vacuum;  they come from experience.  That puts a lump in my throat and makes my heart beat out of my chest.

This matters.  This needs to change.  Why can’t the first things to come to people’s mind be love and grace?

Do you think this needs to change?

Does this matter?