Thursday, June 30, 2005

June, Ward and the Boys

"Oh, June!"
"Yes, Ward!"
"June, I've been meaning to ask you for about 37 years, why do you vacuum in pearls and heels?"
"Oh, Ward!"

As I experience my last month of June, while still in my forties, I am reminded that the days of "Leave it to Beaver" are long gone. But then again, when has it ever been a reality that family problems could be worked out in 30 minutes with seven minutes of commercial interuptions?

I was talking at lunch today with someone who told me about a young couple whose marriage has gone sour. I don't know the couple, but the story I heard is all too familiar. Evidently the month of June is now popular for ending marriages as well as beginning them. In my growing experience no matter how you slice it or spin it, divorce is a big deal that brings with it lots of pain and long term hurt. In fact, I've never known anyone who has told me, "Boy if I had to do it over again, I would have gotten married and gotten divorced, just like I did!"

No young boy or girl lies away at night in their bed dreaming of one day growing up; finding the perfect person; and then one day taking that person to court to get sole custody of the kids.

Marriage is a big deal. So if you are considering it, let me offer you a little advice:
1. Find someone committed to God and makes you more like Him.
2. Find someone who is committed to marriage.
3. Find someone who loves you.
4. Tell each other what you want and expect from marriage and be honest. Nothing hurts relationships more than unmet expectations.

If you are married, let me offer you some advice:
1. Put God first in your life.
2. Believe you can have a great marriage.
3. Commit to having a great marriage.
4. Tell each oher what you want and expect from your marriage and be honest. Nothing hurts relationships more than unmet expectations.

Finally, a word to the fellows, you might try buying her pearls and vacuuming yourself.

If you are married

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

To Be Continued...

   
Paul says this in Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

As I grow older the more I appreciate the ability TO CONTINUE. There are so many things that I get excited about starting. I love trying new things. The rub for me comes in continuing. Continuing in prayer...Continuing in staying close to friends when I'm busy...Continuing in daily Bible study...Continuing to go the second mile (even when I'm wearing a blue "second mile" bracelet)...Continuing to listen first...Continuing to be more like Christ... Continuing to let him be Lord of more of my life.

Paul shares that the simple truth of faith is continuing. And if I read right, Paul says how to do it:
Stay deeply connected to Jesus (rooted)
This connection lets you have the spiritual nutrients I need to grow (built up)
As I grow from being in constant contact and connection with Christ I'm to remember what I've learned from His Word (strengthened)
And finally I'm to be spilling over with appreciation about everything (overflowing with thankfulness)

I'll admit that though this is simple to understand, it's probably going to take me a lifetime and more to figure it out. Until then, I hope to continue...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Batman Begins Again

Hey there. Sorry for the sporadic entries. Life is not exactly "fluid" right now.

I saw Batman Begins the other day. Loved It. In fact, I would say it was the best Batman movie or show I have ever seen. And that includes the ones with Michael Keaton playing Batman.

I've seen a lot of Batman. In fact, now nearly 38 yeras later I have a "Holy Con-artist" confession to make about Batman. The night the TV Show Batman premiered I was supposed to go to a Cub Scout meeting to learn how to tie knots. (In case you haven't figured it out yet, I have had very little of a life.) But coincidentally, on the night that Batman premiered, I came down with a mysterious stomach ailment that would only allow me to lay on den floor of our house in front of our color television. So instead of learning how to tie a "half-hitch" I was watching Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward, as the boy-wonder Robin, do battle with "The Riddler." Wow, Biff, Boom. Bam. It was great.

I now confess, that I never really had a stomach ache. I also now confess that night I got hooked on Batman. But I will tell you that 30 years later watching George Clooney play Batman and Arnold Schwarzenegger play Mr. Freeze was my punishment for my stomach deception as 12 year old!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Run Bruce Run

I go up early and went running this morning with our youngest. Fog was hanging in the air and the temperature were perfect. We certainly weren't running fast or far, but it was great to be out together in the cool of the morning; with just the two of us jogging, sweatiing and talking.
I love to run, but it's amazing how hard it is for me at this point in my life to stick with it. I'm the kind of person who needs exercise everday. I'm a much happier camper if I do. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I've finished a run So why is it so hard to keep up the consistent pace?

Maybe I'm too goal oriented?
Maybe I refuse to make running the priority that it needs to be?
Maybe I make it too hard?
Maybe I need to find someone to run with who will hold me accountable?
Maybe I need to "just do it?"
Hey, maybe I'm lazy?

Isn't it amazing how mentally we can know that something is so good for us to do and brings with it all kinds of rewards and yet we have such a hard time doing it? Why is that?

I guess that is the essence of human nature.

Well as for today, I've run and I'm done.

And I'm happy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I found my thrill on hyperbole hill

Get home at 4:00 PM today. It could be your future, if you don't.

I was just watching the morning news and on the bottom of the screen they had their additional news and advertising "scroll." One bullet simply read as it traveled across the screen: Today at 4 on Oprah, the show that could save your life.

We live in a land of hyperbole. I was reading through some real estate ads for houses in our neighborhood. It was incredible to see how people were able to gild the lily. Reading the description of these homes you would think they were architectural masterpieces, rather than two-story colonial track homes.

A few weeks ago a nation voted vote America's next Idol. Can you give the full name of the 18 year old from a small town Oklahoma? Can you name the previous three American Idols? (If you can, you must get a life.) What's amazing is that we all can name the judges, right dawg? Who won the Super Bowl five months ago? It's typically called the "biggest" sporting event in the world.

On Hyperbole Hill, since everything is the greatest, the latest, the bestselling, the most prolific, the newest; the most sought-after; the most advanced ever; we go to extremes. We completely filter it out becoming de-sensitized and possible miss stuff we should take in. Or, in weak moments, we actually get hooked by the hype becoming hypersensitive. We rearrange our schedules to be sure to see the "... most incredible ten minutes of television this year..." (I remember feeling the pull of this advertisement earlier this year for the TV show "24." I think I saw those ten minutes and I can't remember what they were.

Both extremes cause you to be out of balance. Both extremes cause you to miss the stuff that life is about. Life should be lived somewhere between jaded and desperate for the next best. Typically the thrill is found in the simple and the often overlooked.

Come back tomorrow to the blog that can save your life. Well, maybe more truthfully: Come back tomorrow to the most overlooked blog on the Internet!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Going Postal

Ten days ago I ordered a couple pairs of running shoes on-line. They arrive and one pair doesn't fit. I need to return them, but I threw away the return micro-fiber envelop the shoe company included in my original packaging. I try to find another envelop like the original one the shoe company shipped and I can't.

So I stop into the Oakton Post Office and see what I can purchase to return my shoes to the shoe company. No luck. Leroi (I read this from his name tag) is a postal employee who works behind the counter. While he's waiting on another person, he sees me wandering around in a quandary and asks what I need.

I explain I need a box for my shoebox to fit into so I can mail them back to the shoe company. Leroi points out a box on the other side of the lobby that I can use. I go and get it. My shoebox fits into the box that Leroi helped me find. Leroi evidently has 20-20 box sight!

When I make it to the counter, Leroi sees my box situation has been solved. But it turns out that though my shoebox fits perfectly into the new box, the arrangement won’t work. It turns out, I can't use the return label the shoe company provided with the "Priority Mail” box my shoebox is now snuggly fitting in.

After explaining the ins and outs of box protocol to me, Leroi tells me he'll be right back. He heads back behind closed doors and returns a couple of minutes later with a box in hand. It's been used, but Leroi takes the next five minutes to make it work. He cuts it down to size, reshapes it. Leroi carefully fits my shoe box into his cardboard creation and then he uses a roll of tape to wrap it all up.

As he turns toward his register to finish my transaction, I attach the company provided mailing label. As he returns his attention to me, Leroi looks down on how I've attached the label to his creation and says, "That wouldn't do." He does more cutting and taping. He reapplies my label and shazzaam, my shoes are shipped.

I thank him profusely. He smiles a big smile at me, then looks over my shoulder, waves and simply says, "Next."

I guess "going postal" means something different now.

Leroi thanks for showing me how to go the "second mile."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Your Blired!

You're Blired!
I just read at USATODAY.com that a guy who worked for Wells Fargo got fired because of his blog. Evidently he was using his blog to blast fellow employees and talk smack about his work environment.

Interesting...

Check out what else the article said:Blogs are proliferating as fast as a computer virus.

According to a report this year by public relations firm Edelman and Intelliseek, a provider of business-intelligence solutions, about 20,000 new blogs are created daily, and an estimated 10 million U.S. blogs will exist by the end of 2005. Together, these blogs link up to create what is known as a blogosphere, a collective Internet conversation that is one of the fastest-growing areas of new content on the Web.

More than 8 million adults in the USA have created blogs, according to two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a non-profit research center studying the Internet's social effects. And 32 million Americans are blog readers — a 58% jump in 2004. USATODAY June 15, 2005

Wow! 32 million readers a day. Hey anybody out there? I think I'm just short 31,999,997 readers from tapping all the way into that 32 million readership.What do you think it says about our culture that we now read people's online blogs which back in the day would have been called "diaries?"

I wonder what it says about the soon to be 10 million of us to put our diaries on the Internet for 32 million people to read? It will be interesting to see what lengths "bloggers" will go to get readers.Anyone need their car washed?

Oh, be sure to tell your Dad or the men in your life how much they mean to you this week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Meetings

I spent the day in a seven hour meeting. We got a ton of work done, but is there anything more tiring then sitting and thinking? (I would guess that there are many things that are more tiring, but I'd like to just wallow in some personal pity right now...)

I'm speaking on Leadership tomorrow night. Over the past three or four years a lot of my reading has been in the area of leadership. I've noticed that leadership is easier to locate ("I know it when I see it.") than it is to define. But there does seem to be some overriding principles that make up leadership. The new wave of leadership instruction says a lot about self-awareness and self-assessment. I can tell you that I've been doing a lot of that the past few months. It's amazing to be this old and still I haven't even got myself figured out yet, much less anything else that's really important.

Well, it's 9:02 PM and I'm going to bed. Yep, Skippy that's life at near fifty.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Vision Realized

Yesterday was a full day. But it was memorable. It was a great day of worship, building relationship, service and encouragement. There were many high points, but the one I'll remember most was the New Member Luncheon. Our Elders host a New Member get-together a couple or three times a year. Yesterday we met with a group of people who have recently joined our church family. The Elders, Deacons and ministers fix and serve lunch and then we go around the room and introduce ourselves and tell why we attend FXCC.

The New Member Luncheon reminded me of what I love about our church. There was a young Hispanic newly married couple; two grandmothers who now has custodial rights to their grandchildren; an African American Young Professional women; a single-mother of two young boys who told of her husband leaving their family; a recently married couple who met at our Divorce Recovery Program; a young couple with two kids who came to FXCC because of our love for families; and a brand new Christian young adult who came to our church through her good friend and co-worker.

It is amazing what God can do and who God can bring together.

I love this church.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Here's something special

Years ago I read Paul Little's book, How To Give Away Your Faith. It's a small book that made a huge impact on my life. Here are two of my favorite quotes:

People often ask, "If Christianity isn't true, why do the majority of intelligent people not believe it?" The answer is precisely the same as the reason the majority of unintelligent people don't believe it. They don't want to because they are unwilling to accept the moral demands it would make on their lives...A person must be willing to believe before he ever will believe.

Some years ago a man in Texas received word that he had inherited a large fortune from a relative in England. This Texan, a recluse living in poverty, had never heard of the English relative. Even though he was on the verge of starvation he wouldn't believe the news. His refusal to believe didn't change the fact that he was heir to a million dollars; instead, disbelief deprived him of enjoying the money. He died starving and poverty stricken. The object truth remained, but he missed out on the benefits because he failed to claim them in faith.

I'm glad to share.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Nice to be gone, good to be back

Just got back from 0ur 36 hour minister retreat. (Actually I think it was more like 27 hours.) It reminded me of some important stuff:
I work with talented, godly people who really love this church.
I work with great people who can keep things going smoothly and efficiently while the ministers are away.

Being away at Standardsville, Virginia with ministerial staff got me fired up about what God can do for our church family. It was great to plan and purpose about our future. The high point of the mini retreat was sitting on a porch looking over a pasture at rolling hills as the sun was setting and the six of us singing praises to God.

I don't know if there is an official "appreciate your ministers" day, but today is that day for me!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday Monday Be Good To Me

I'm reading an interesting book on leadership. I'm midway through the book and the authors ask a simple question: "What do you want your life to be like in 15 years?" The authors explain that overwhelming research shows that one's ability to answer this question can bring about tremendous impact and lasting positive results.

The authors explain that when asked this question most people can look out a couple of weeks, but few have the ability or the discipline to look and think farther into the future. Evidently most of us just let our lives happen to us, rather than figuring out what it is we want to do (or ask God to do) with our lives.

I've been trying to answer "What do I want my life to be when I'm 65?" for the past two days. I have yet to come up with a concrete answer. I've done a lot of wondering:
Will it have anything to do with what I'm doing right now?
Will it change what I'm doing right now? Not just my vocation but my daily direction?
Will I have the courage to follow my "dream."
Will the "real me" have what it takes to become the "ideal me?"

Stay tuned. I plan on having a go at this one. I'm come to the conclusion that life is way too short to not live it on purpose.

Friday, June 03, 2005

On Line Life

I just ordered two pair of running shoes on-line. No matter how frequently I shop on-line it still seems surreal. I mean vitual shopping that impacts your real life. You click a few icons put in your address, your shoe size and credit card number and in three to five business days real stuff arrives. (Three weeks later so does a real bill!)

In fact, with my new little labtop I can sit anywhere in my house or an airport or Starbucks and access the World Wide Web. I'm wireless, baby. Yeah! I'm sure most of you have had wireless Internet access for years, so you know what I mean.

In our untethered world we can go places and do things we never dreamed we could. That's exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much good that can be done and at the same time so much evil that can be done so quickly and so pervasively.

I'm trying to figure out an Internet ethic. Here's some questions I'm dealing with:
What sites are off-limits?
What is too much time surfing?
What's the line between gathering information and plagiarizing?
How forth-coming do I have to be about my own identity?

In my heart of hearts, I know this isn't that hard. Even on the Internet sin is still pretty easy to spot. The trouble is, it's just so plentiful and easy to find.

Do you agree?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hero, Traitor or Mellon Whacker?

So "Deep Throat" was second in command at the FBI: W. Mark Felt. All this time I thought it was Gallagher the comedian. Hey if Chuck Barris could have been a CIA hit man, then Gallagher could have used the "Sledge-o-matic to confirm or deny Watergate details. How you wonder? Easy. Splatter with seeds a confirmation, splatter without seeds was a "negatory."

It was interesting to hear how people are lining up on the Deep Throat confirmation. People that were in the Nixon Whitehouse call him a traitor and people in the media who covered the Nixon demise call him a hero. Solomon spoke to this a long time ago when he said, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 14:12. We just can't quite get it right on our own.

Now that we have this secret solved we can move onto the next unsolved riddle: What's the deal with Polka music?