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?

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New Year’s . . . whatevers

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I Resolve to Use More Headers

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We all love to set New Years  . . . you know.

I’m shooting for some attainable goals.

1. Renew and continue the Motivation by Humiliation ( I did meet my goal last year, btw)

2. At least every other week (but every week if I can pull it off) create something completely new for me.  This will probably show up on a different 2.0 version of my other blog.

3. Grow this blog into a place for conversation and community.  There have been sparks here and there, but I want to build on that.  More on this later.

4. Use my brand new Bible to form a better reading habit.  I also plan to get over my fear and follow Tim’s advise to mark-up the heck out of my Bible.

These are all year-long goals to some extent.  No reason to rush . . .

So what are your New Year’s . . . whatevers?

Two things that frustrate me

sad(These are directed at no one in particular, so stop guessing!)

1. When people use “worshipful” as synonymous with a ballad song.  As in, “We do lots of upbeat music, but we also do slower more worshipful songs.”  Some of the most amazing worship I’ve experienced has also involved having my face rocked off.

2.  When people use the word “prayer” as synonymous with “ask.”  Tell-tale sign of this: the word “pray” is always followed by the word “for.”  If every time I talked to my wife I was asking for something, she would kick my butt.

**Bonus Frustration:  When people say “fusstrate” or “flustrate” instead of frustrate.

Six Years Later . . .

For some good reasons and some dumb reasons, I left college after one year.  That was six or so years ago.  (yikes!) After lots of back and forth, I’m biting the bullet and returning to school.  I had to decide: would I keep making excuses or just get to it ?

Classes began this week and everything is good so far.  I think I’m a far more prepared person than I was the first go-round, so I’m really looking forward to all this.

For those interested, I’m pursuing my Bachelors Degree in Visual Communication concentrating in Digital Design.  Why did I choose that degree?  That’ll be another blog.

Here’s to kicking butt the second time around.

tabUla raSA?

Are we defined by where we live?  We all know the stereotypes: New Yorkers are loud & rude, Southerners are genteel, the West Coast is full of hippies.  How much of it is true?  The Wall Street Journal has a map up based on a questionnaire that attempts to answer just that question.  The results may surprise you.  A lot of the stereotypes seem to be true on a certain level.

I’m curious.  More people are transplants these days it seems as society become more mobile and people follow their job.  The metro Atlanta area where I live is a great example of this.  I wonder how much of this is shaped by the cultural environment?

What do you think?  Are you surprised by this survey?

Stick Your Nose In It

As mentioned in this post, there are different ways to look at our diversity.  For me, I’m the kind of person who likes to enjoy diversity and our differences.  Rather than hope for some washed out world, I think it is great to have a varied culture. 

While I don’t think anyone would say they wish for a world where everyone is the same, it’s easy to act that way.  When we don’t undertand or get another group,  by stopping at “they have their culture and I have mine” we do a disservice.  Really it’s a passive way of discounting someone else’s way of life.  We should be willing to learn about another culture and way of life-it could teach us a lot about ourselves.

In a strictly Christian sense, we get in to trouble when we just try to ignore or blow by a non-Christian culture.  It’s easy to think that is better than attacking culture as some groups do, but it really is not.  It still separates Christians as a whole from every other culture and worldview.  This approach results in a couple of things.

For one, it makes it easy to compartmentalize and have a relative view.  This is the idea of “every belief is as valid as another.” While every diverse belief deserves respect, it is not inherently valid because of that.  Second, it results in the Christian subculture that has grown so huge in the past 10-15 years.  We have our own radio, tv, clothes, books, schools, social web, and breath mints.  This is not a good thing.  Mirroring culture and trying to stick a christian label on it does no good.

In the same way we must reach outside of racial and ethnic barriers, we Christians need to leave our christian “ghetto” and plug into the world around us.  Appreciate and respect the diversity of belief or non-belief and interact.

Under Pressure

Today I got to use a pressure washer for the first time in my life.  Other than the wet socks and shoes (next time I’ll wear boots) it’s somewhat therapeutic.

In ministry, we spend a lot of time under pressure.  It could be from project deadlines, sermons to write, people to meet, conflicts to address . . . so many things.  The unacknowledged person who bears a lot of that pressure sometimes is our spouses.

Most ministry wifes are involved in some capacity in the church.  They either lead a ministry or are heavily involved in one.  But their hardest job is in keeping their family on track when ministry life gets crazy.  Ask any spouse and they will tell you–at times they feel like they’re married to their husband and to the church.  I know I couldn’t keep things together without Beth.

My wife is absolutely awesome.  She has supported me and our family through crazy ministry life.  We’ve worked with children at a group home, moved to Florida for ministry away from family, and now we work with a new, mobile church.  My wife has been with me and supported me through some difficult ministry environments.

As tough as ministry can be, imagine how much more pressure a senior pastor and his family are under.  (There was a great session on this at Unleash 08)  For those of you at Life, Kevin’s wife Hannah deserves so much credit.  It’s good to let her know that you support her from time to time.

Working in ministry is awesome and rewarding and I wouldn’t do anything else.  But I couldn’t do it without my wife at my side, and I’m sure Kevin would say the same.  So serious props to them and all other spouses out there who are keeping it together and holding us together.