stream of consciousness

Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning:

  • I’ve been fathering alone for the last 2 weeks. Emily has been in Costa Rica and returns tomorrow evening. I can’t wait until she gets home. Our family, like yours I’m sure, is a unit. It isn’t as rich when any of us are gone…moms especially.
  • What’s the best book on spiritual growth you’ve read written in the last 20 years by someone not named Foster or Willard?
  • What’s the best book on preaching you’ve read in the last 20 years not written by someone named Long, Stott, Craddock or Buttrick?
  • Both spirituality and preaching need some fresh, deep voices. The best books written “recently” are at least 15 years old now.
  • I am loving the new TV shows, Hostages and The Blacklist. I’ve missed having sociopaths on my screen since Breaking Bad went off the air.
  • However, I will also confess to loving Downton Abbey. Ssssshhhhhhh….
  • My reading list is growing. Now, I need to grow my time spent reading.
  • I thought the movie Gravity was OK…but it didn’t live up to the hype for me.
  • Shameless plug for the RENEW conference in Fresno next February. Dan Kimball, John Mark Hicks, Randy Harris, myself, and others will present. Ashley Cleveland will be there as a musical guest–she rules. Registration hasn’t opened yet but will on December 1.
  • If we see the world solely through the prism of our own experience, we will live smaller, more self-centered lives. Our own journey is a unique context for experiencing life with God–however, the more we focus on our “personal relationship” to God–we risk losing sight of all God is doing in the lives of others for advancing His Kingdom.
  • Our own journey, race, gender, etc., brings with it unique experience. Yet, it’s only one race, one gender, etc.
  • Today marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. It’s a somber occasion–but also one on which I’ve already heard two news outlets and one Christian on social media quote JFK as the source for “his” famous saying, “to of those to whom much is given, much is required.” Actually that was Jesus.
  • I don’t believe it’s in good taste for magazines to run front page articles on JFK’s extramarital exploits. This isn’t the occasion for that.
  • If I were USC, I would try to hire Jeff Fisher or Jack Del Rio. If you can’t, stick with Ed Orgeron.
  • I’m so excited Advent is coming up…and many churches don’t celebrate it. In talking with them over the years, there are two reasons. 1) The Catholics do it–so we shouldn’t. 2) The birth of Christ doesn’t matter as much as the death and resurrection–which is where the emphasis of the church should be.
  • We celebrate Advent at NVC because it commemorates the in-breaking of the Kingdom in a way that changes now and eternity forever. It’s not just about festivities or celebrating the birth of just another human being. It’s about the Word Incarnate–and the definitive statement of God’s love and intent for humankind Christ represents.
  • It’s that time of the Fantasy Football season where stashing that one meaningless RB on the roster is paying off.
  • It’s very difficult for one’s heart to belong fully to a church one doesn’t support financially. And, when one’s heart isn’t really in it–they get much less out of it. Generosity and passion go together.
  • Some might say, “well, when I’m passionate, I’ll give to it.” Jesus seems to suggest it works the other way, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That’s why many of us are more passionate about sports than the church. Our money goes there.
  • By the way pastors and preachers, that goes for us too.
  • I get excited when I think about what the Church is doing and can do in Christ’s name for children in need around the world. In another time of my life, I would have lamented how little we were doing. I don’t know if we are doing a lot more, but hope is more powerful for change than despair. Need is a fine temporary motivator. Hope is stronger and lasts longer.
  • This is a season for hope. Let’s resolve we won’t feed cyncism–but rather combat it with the hope of the Gospel…the coming of Christ…and the movement of His people for His purposes.

What’s on your mind this Friday morning?