my soapbox

play at your own risk…


“I want to risk hitting my head on the ceiling of my talent. I want to really test it out and say, ‘Okay, you’re not that good. You just reached the level here.’ I don’t ever want to fail, but I want to risk failure every time out of the gate.”-Quentin Tarantino

 

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that is an interesting quote from Tarantino. he’s one of my favorite directors and i love that he is talking about risk. i find it fascinating that he seems to be saying a failure is an end to his talent. i would say that if you are a risk taker, then failure is the beginning. you’ll never know how good you are until you’ve failed numerous times. but maybe i’m not grasping the context of the quote here. maybe he’s talking about failing at the very height of the ceiling, or maybe he is just saying he doesn’t like to fail. i don’t think any of us do, but i think we need to learn to embrace it if we are ever going to reach the apex of what our potential is. and there is a huge difference between failing and wallowing in that failure. i’ve been there. failure shouldn’t define us, it should inspire us to drag ourselves back up and do it again. so push through. allow yourself to create ceilings that you can bust through so that failure is the launching pad for the greatness within you. if you never take the chance, you will have a whole bunch of maybe’s and almost’s to talk about someday.

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compromise…


i was thinking about the idea of compromise today…

and how it often flies up in the face of our preferences. i mean there are things that i want to do or see done and they either aren’t going to happen or i’m going to attempt to force them, so i cut a deal with myself or others. i can’t get my way all of the time, and i shouldn’t. so i give up what i want or strike at deal so i can get what i want later.  it may not be what i preferred this time, but i have leverage for future interactions. i found myself compromising this past week. it was something that i knew to be wrong, but i cut a deal with myself anyway. i said, it’s not that big of a deal. i began to make excuses for myself and in the end there was hurt and sadness.

i knew the right thing to do and didn’t do it.  my preference for what i wanted to do got in the way, so i excused my behavior because it was convenient.  i compromised.

so i don’t want to do that any more. i don’t want to make deals with others or myself that are manipulative. i don’t want to have if/then deals with people. i want to be who i say i am.

i wasn’t that this week. i was an ass and i’m sorry.

so no excuses. no compromise. let God build us up to be what He’s called us to be and run toward Him as fast as we can so there will be no need to waffle with ourselves, our family, our friends, or even strangers. let’s love unconditionally with no motive and no thought of what is in it for us.

too hurt…


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in conversations over the past few weeks, i’ve had people tell me that i’m hurt deeply.  some of these people have known me for a while, some of these people are new to my life, and some have been acquaintances but have just been recently made aware of my story.  while i am thankful that people can identify with my story, unless they have walked with me from the beginning of the hurt, they have no idea how far i’ve come. a select few people who God placed in my life to walk through me with this would be the first to tell you how much different i am.  warranted, i have bad days. i have days where i go back to the wound because it’s a known place.  there are times when i will talk about what happened in a very negative light, and then ten minutes later, i will capture that and move on.  we all have bad days. even me.

what prompted me to write this post is a few interactions i had with people. it’s no secret that i love to be heavily involved with church and ministry.  i long to minister again not because it does anything for me, but because i’m called to it and the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. i’m rambling, back to my point.  i had people tell me that i was too hurt or damaged to effectively minister to people….

now, i want to take a step back and see the truth in that.  i have been hurt. not just through the ending of my marriage, but a 5 year ordeal of the enemy with his boot on my throat kindof hurt.  every turn, every decision under attack.

listen friends, and listen close. I KNOW that satan does not want me to do anything remotely connected with God’s kingdom because he has attempted to take me out time and time again.   i mean if our pastors and church leaders have to be pain and hurt free to minister to pained, hurting people, then who is gonna be able to do that?  i don’t know anyone who is qualified, well anyone who is honest about their hurt.  if you are going to be effective for the kingdom, you WILL be attacked, just get ready.  and it sucks.  it sucks hard. it is some of the most intense pain that i have ever experienced, but God NEVER wastes a wound.  Romans 8:28 says it.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

that’s everything, not some things, not what He picks and chooses.  EVERYTHING!

now i’m not bashing anyone.  i know people are well meaning and have my best interests at heart.  i totally get that, but you are looking at this situation as i exit the tunnel.  yeah, there is still gonna be some junk on me, thank God, He’s still working to clean me up, but I will not back down or shirk from the calling He has given me.

so know that your leaders are not perfect, they struggle, they strive.  they get ugly emails every day from people who let their preferences get in the way of the reconciling work of Jesus Christ and guess what…..it HURTS. but they keep going because of the call. they keep going because of the hurt. they keep going because it’s what they were meant to do.

so don’t tell me that i’m too hurt to minister to people.  it’s because of the hurt that i am able to.

random thoughts today…


i was watching a little bit of the Grammy Nominations Concert last night.  there were some nice performances. as a result i went and looked up the nominees.

one of my chief complaints about the Grammy’s is that the voters really don’t listen to the more obscure categories. they typically vote on name recognition, so some amazing albums lose to artists who have won in the past, but don’t have the best work. i wish to be a Grammy voter that you actually had to listen to every entry and make a educated decision, but that just doesn’t happen.

this to say, i was a little disappointed with the offerings for Album of the Year.  There are some amazing records out that obviously none of the voters heard or cared to listen to. i hope that Bon Iver, Foo Fighters, the Civil Wars and Gungor are recognized for there amazing work this past year. so Grammy voters, if you’re listening, just go take a second listen to those records. thanks.

i read this great quote this morning….


it was too big for twitter….

”Too many Christians think if they shout loud enough and gain political strength the world will be improved. That is a false doctrine. I have never seen anyone “converted” to a Christian’s point of view (and those views are not uniform) through political power. I have frequently seen someone’s views changed after they have experienced true conversion and then live by different standards and live for goals beyond which political party controls the government.” Cal Thomas

the cross waves higher than the flag!

Happy San Jacinto Day!


it’s a Texas thang, you wouldn’t understand.

kudos to Emily Morgan for “distracting” Santa Ana while General Sam Houston’s forces strategically routed the Mexican army thereby insuring the creation of the Republic of Texas which eventually became the Great State of Texas which I believe is the greatest State of all.

something that really ticks me off…


is when there are two lanes of traffic that move down to one.  everyone has ample warning, there are signs and everything.  we all move over, but some jerkface in a luxury sedan or some soccer mom in a high dollar SUV just stays in the closing lane and then expects everyone to let them in at the last possible second.  HELLO MORON, THAT’S THE REASON TRAFFIC IS SLOWING DOWN!  IF YOU WOULD MOVE OVER WHEN YOU SAW THE SIGN, WE COULD ALL KEEP THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC GOING, BUT SINCE YOU ARE “BETTER THAN ALL OF US” I GUESS WE HAVE TO  LET YOU IN!

i’m serious. it makes me road rage/red faced angry.  it makes me want to say wirty dords.  and that is the case.  they cut because they feel they are, or where they have to be is more important than everyone else.  we really don’t have traffic problems in Lufkin (only around the middle school), but just today i was leaving a space for another car in the oncoming lane to turn, and an Escalade went around me and filled the space.  i was like you are kidding me.  if my kids hadn’t been with me, i may have been tempted to show them the middle finger of fellowship, but i didn’t.

and we wonder why kids push each other for places in line.  you only have to watch the car pick up line after school.  our children come by the me first mentality honestly because they see it every day.  entitlement and selfishness are learned traits.

now the real question, does it tick me off because i’m righteously indignant, i hate what i see in myself, or i’m jealous that they keep cutting and we keep letting them?

you should really go and read this post….


at Ethos….

it’s a letter to the church that my distant mentor and friend Randy Elrod wrote.  Randy and the community he fosters has had an amazing impact on my life.

i really felt it’s also what i wanted to say to many of the churches i’ve been a part of in my life.  KNOW THIS.  i love the church.  i love the church i’m currently at, but that has not always been the case.

“Clearly the person who accepts the church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the church teaches” – St. Thomas Aquinas

Dear Church,

You have not loved me well. In fact, throughout our time together, I’ve felt used and abused. You use my talents to get people in the seats, but then you twist and “spin” the art I create for propaganda. You abuse by using me without any conscience whatever – for you tell me, “the end justifies the means.”

You have built a great wall between the sacred and the secular. Delineating worlds that were never meant to be separated. You have created a gray vacuum, a netherworld in between, and so I am homeless. I feel hopelessly rejected by both the church and the world. In fact, my entire life has been misjudged by parents, friends, teachers – and now you. Of all the places I thought I would surely find grace and acceptance, it was with you. But, you have not loved me well.

You value cloning, not originality. You value imitation, not creativity. You value programs, not people. You value the destination, not the journey. You value the story, not the telling.

Do you think I’m stupid? I’ll admit to being quirky, absent-minded, undisciplined, moody, depressed, to name only a few. But I’m not stupid. When I question, with an artists mind, the literal truth of the Bible, and you tell me I am not allowed to do so. Suddenly, I feel as if I’m in some sort of evangelical cult. So, if we are supposed to believe the Bible literally, then why aren’t we baptizing for the dead? Maybe that’s why the artist Madeline L’Engle said, “I believe the Bible is true, but I don’t believe it’s literal.” This coming from a Christian artist who was condemned by the fundamentalist church in the 60’s for writing science fiction.

And why do I meet so many disillusioned artists who have left you? They haven’t left their “first love”, they have just quietly left an illegitimate lover who uses and abuses them. The ominous number of artists without a church home is an ever-growing indictment against the church. As Cyril of Jerusalem was once said to have exclaimed, “The church is a whore, but she’s still my Mother”.

Thankfully, I’m finally beginning to understand that when I try to group the church and God together as one and the same – I get in trouble. God is perfect and the church is not. The church is composed of imperfect people. They are two totally different things. Apples and oranges.

And maybe I’m an idealist – I am an artist, you see. For over forty years, I have been continually disappointed by the church. But she’s still my mother. She has taught me scripture, bible stories, and songs. She has formed in me a foundation and belief system for truth. And despite the control she continually tries to exert over me, ironically, it is the very truth she has taught that has set me free. And for that, I’m thankful.

Randy

vision….


some people have it and some people don’t.

i’m not talking about eyesight.  i’m talking about the vision we would have for life and especially the church.  i’m astounded by the number of people who are extremely successful in their fields, and yet they want church to just stay the same.  maybe they had an experience when they were younger that moved them and so they want to stay in that place.  maybe they find comfort in the church.  i wonder how that same plan would work in their business life?  if they had no vision or ambition of being innovative or the best.  how long would they be successful?  why is there the need for church to remain the same.  i often think in a hectic life that people view the church as a constant.  a constant where they can come and be comfortable, but i don’t think that God ever promised us comfort.  but man will people ever fight for it, they even often demand it.

i guess it’s different for me.  i envision a church that is continually changing and morphing into something new.  i dream of fluidity.  where we are doing one thing one moment and then we discard it to do something different.  i’ve never really found comfort in any church, i’m comforted by my relationship with Christ, but the church has hurt me too many times to ever feel comfort.  and there in lies the problem, like children who just take their toys home because the rules or the game doesn’t suit them, we continue to fight the things we don’t like about church.  some church hop to a place that will meet their needs or pander to them temporarily, while others stick around and make others miserable with their complaining or bullying.

so what does it mean to have vision?  how can you have vision in one area of life, but not another.  the bible says that without vision, the people will perish.  do you think it’s because people are scared?  they’re scared that if they truly give their lives over to God that it will take them out of their comfort level?  often they don’t seem scared to take a risk in business.  they seem to be adrenaline junkies in certain areas of life.  i guess it comes down to this TRUE GOD IDEAS are scary, because when God is in control, He takes away the comfort.  following His dream is really living, but it’s dangerous to dream God sized dreams.  it’s really easy to have a plan and be in control as a visionary when life belongs to you, but it’s not that easy when your life belongs to God and you give it over to Him.  then things get shall we say a little more interesting.  often to live that idea out we have to risk, and we are feeble creatures not willing to risk and relinquish control even when that control itself is an illusion.

i love this quote from the Ethiopian founder of WorldSpace, the company that created XM radio.  he saw his people dying due to ignorance and lack of information, so he left his job, his security, everything.

A dreamer….a dreamer who dreams of a better world.  a dreamer who dreams of a better world and risks everything to make it happen.  Noah Samara

so what about you?  do you have vision? do you have a dream?  is it a God sized dream?  can you see past the things of this world to the things eternal?  are you living for yourself and for your comfort? or do you see the bigger idea?  do you have  kingdom vision?

i was looking over at my bookshelf…


and saw this subtitle to a book. (btw, my bookshelf doesn’t look like that)

“A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas”

that kinda started me thinking.  are we as the church a curious people with dangerous ideas, or are we satisfied with the knowledge we already have which is safe and predictable.  i mean that’s the message i’ve gotten from the church pretty much my whole life.  just simple pat answers or cliches.  nobody would admit if they had doubts or if they had questions because they might seem weak or less “holy”.  it’s a shame that our piousness holds us back from the mission we’ve been given by our Lord.  i don’t think that Jesus ever promised us safe, all questions answered religion as His way.  in fact we tend to gloss over the dangerous ideas from the bible.  when Jesus presented things to people that they didn’t find palatable, they walked away (John 6:60-66)

so what do we do with this?  how do we become curious people with dangerous ideas? i just point you to the 8th chapter of Romans.  i can’t say it any better than that. we live by the Spirit and ask God to give us His dangerous dreams and to make us curious to know more about Him.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

what dangerous idea or burning question do you have today?