stream of consciousness

Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning:

  • New Vintage Church spent a couple of nights this week serving hot meals to the homeless. Originally, I wanted to do a whole week, but the shelter didn’t have that many openings in a row. That’s a good thing–it means our city is pulling together a bit better to deal with a serious problem.
  • There’s always a place for check writing. It’s vital and necessary. However, the more we come face-to-face with those we’re serving, the more transformational the experience will be for everyone involved–the servers and the served.
  • Working in a part of the country and in a city with a large homeless population, I’ve noticed a couple of shifts in our local homeless population: they are increasingly better dressed, less addicted, and of more sound mind. You wouldn’t recognize much difference between them and other everyday people.
  • When we started New Vintage Church, unemployment in our city was pushing 12%. It’s now around 9%. With state unemployment still above 10%, this chronic unemployment has led to a new homeless population. Combined with better community services, it’s tempting for some to give up the fight. I pray they won’t. Work brings more than money. It brings dignity and self-respect.
  • I forgot how much I loathe cold weather. Thank you, Winter, for the reminder.
  • As the debate about gun control rages on, I continue to hear Christians call out other Christians for a perceived ethical inconsistency: being “pro-life” but balking at gun control laws–as though one’s adherence to that particular public policy suggestion is the litmus test for who is for life or not. The question of ethical consistency is a valid one, but the question could just as easily be reversed: How can those who claim to want to “save lives” by passing gun-control laws pass and fight for laws facilitating the abortion of millions of unborn? Planned Parenthood, one organization in one country, performed roughly 1 million abortions over the last 3 years. That erodes some of the moral high ground upon which pro-abortion, pro-gun law claim to stand.
  • By the way, I believe both sides of the gun control debate care about life.
  • I also hear some Christians saying pro-gun Christians love their guns more than Jesus. That’s a red herring of biblical proportions. I’ve never known a Christian who loves guns more than Jesus…and I’ve known a lot of them. We need to stop with the hyperbole and talk to each other.
  • Do not let the aforementioned comments lead to you a conclusion about which side of the gun control debate I’m on, one way or the other.
  • Christian on Christian cyberviolence (uber-criticism) is shaping the way America sees Christianity more than any other reality. We really need to do some thinking about the way we speak of our opponents who also wear Christ’s name.
  • I still love my new Windows Phone 8, but still suffer from moderate app starvation.
  • I’m really starting to doubt whether the Lakers are going to turn this around. If they miss the playoffs, are they the biggest disappointment in modern sports history?
  • I still haven’t been able to see Les Miserables. Boo me.
  • Downton Abbey is a TERRIFIC show. I had my doubts, but it really is fantastic.
  • I’d like to applaud President Obama for choosing Louie Giglio, and I support Louie Giglio’s decision and it’s basis. It troubles me to see the popular media label him as “anti-gay.” Christians shouldn’t let the media get away with that–and we shouldn’t compromise their beliefs.
  • I’m blessed to be a part of the National Preaching Summit in Indianapolis this March. Rick Stedman, Randy Harris, Mark Moore, me and others will talk preaching for a couple of days. It’s one of the few seminars out there that is actually focused on the practical aspects of preaching. It would be well worth your time. The dates are March 11-12.
  • Here’s a thought on marriage from Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, my favorite marriage book: “…some of us ask too much of marriage. We want to get the largest portion of our life’s fulfillment from our relationship with our spouse. That’s asking too much. Yes, without a doubt there should be moments of happiness, meaning, and a general sense of fulfillment. But my wife can’t be God, and I was created with a spirit that craves God. Anything less than God, and I’ll feel an ache.”
  • I just love soup.

What on your mind this Friday?