Archive | April, 2014

Wake Me Up When It is Over.

29 Apr

Recently, my church performed the song, “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. 

Here is my reflection on why we often want to skip through life.

 

turn in autumnWe want to skip to the ending without feeling the weight if the story. We want to arrive at the destination without a scuff on our shoes. We want to experience the victory without being in the battle. We want the results without putting in the time. We want the goods without paying the price.

The end of the journey will be better with calloused hands, worn out shoes, familiar scars, and memories.

These are the things that will make it real. These are the things that make it not a show we watch, but a life we experienced.

So I will open my eyes and look around me. I will embrace the pallet of colors drawn around me both light and dark. I will put my hands to the plow though my hands are blistered. I will take the next step into the darkness because I know what lies ahead. I will take a deep breath of the air though I feel its toxicity. I will put away the distractions that have numbed my pain and cause me to sleep.

I will work for that which is unrealized on this earth. I will keep my eyes on that which is unseen. I will keep my ears tuned to the voice if the shepherd. I will cling to the one who is not the God of the end. He is the God of the beginning. He is the God of the entire journey.

If I reject the moment, then I am rejecting Him.

There’s Some Pretty Bad News for Men with Beards.

24 Apr

I wanted to share an article with you this week.  I warn you, the results of this article could depress you.  It may shatter you, and your sense of self-confidence.  It might even cause you to shave off your beard…

Photo Courtesy of Tumblr

Just kidding.  I know that nothing could do that.

I think that one of the funniest assumptions of the article is that men actually care about whether or not their beard is fashionable.   Most of the men that I know, don’t keep their beard because it is fashionable.  Men keep their beards because they like them.

I grew a beard.  However, it didn’t look full.  It didn’t make me any more manly.  It didn’t help in the romance department (My wife hated it, and said that it made her feel itchy.)  For these reasons, the beard had to go.

Some men like beards.  Some don’t.

So forget about the bad news.  It really isn’t bad news.  It really isn’t news.

Most of you have already forgotten…  good.

Humiliation versus Humility.

22 Apr

jesus on crossHumiliation happens when one tries to prove their strength over than another. Humiliation happens when one forces another to take another position, another choice, a different persona.  Humiliation seeks to turn the crowd away from you and unto themselves. Humiliation calls names, points out faults, exposes weakness, and takes advantage of others. Humiliation is something that one does to another.

Jesus was humiliated. He was accused of wrong doing. He was called names. The crowds that once yelled hosanna, were now calling for his death. He was beaten. He was stripped naked. He was abandoned.  Jesus was humiliated to an extent that none of us will experience.

Humility never seeks to prove their strength against another, in fact they never compare strength in the first place.  Humility happens when one takes a position, makes a different choice, takes upon themselves a different persona.  Humility seeks to turn the crowd away from themselves and onto others.  Humility calls out names, points out strengths, exposes injustice, and works for the benefit of others.

Humility is not weakness, but reveals a strength that is beyond what many know or can even comprehend.  Humility is a position that is chosen. Humility cannot be forced.  This trait is not natural, but unnatural.  No, it is beyond unnatural, but exists in the realm of the supernatural.

Jesus chose humility. His humility was most prominently displayed during his humiliation. The cross was not forced upon him. It was something that He chose. This is why God exalted the name Jesus above all others. This is why Jesus was given the name above all other names. This is why every knee will bow before him and very tongue will confess Jesus as Lord.  (Philippians 2)

When the disciples were arguing about who was better, Jesus says that the one who takes on the humility of a child is the greatest.  They desired to be the best disciple- the most faithful, the most powerful.  They had hearts bent on humiliation rather than humility.

Today, will you choose humility or humiliation?  Will you choose to take humility upon yourself, or impose humiliation upon others?

May God give you strength for today’s journey.

Worst Advice that I ever Received: Follow Your Passion.

10 Apr

I recently watched a video, a TEDtalk to be exact.   The TED was led by Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel reality show called Dirty Jobs.  In this TED, Mike Rowe describes, in detail, the aspects of working in hard environments.

About 2/3 through the talk, Mike begins equating his Dirty Jobs, into two Greek terms. The one term is called Anagnorisis and the other is Peripeteia. Each have significant meaning to Mike and his TED. I won’t define them here.

Mike talks about how his personal circumstance and discovery (Anagnorisis) drives him to the conclusion that life is about hard work, not chasing your passion. The advice he received about chasing your dreams and passions, albeit from supposed wise mentors, is the worst advice he’s ever received. I agree with him.

Life on this earth can have incredible meaning. But that meaning and purpose is defined by sacrificing self and NOT following whatever passion I want, rather giving up dreams to serve others.

Joseph in the Old Testament went through this, as his brothers sold him into slavery and Joseph became a prison inmate. But he vowed to be the best prison inmate he could possibly be. He didn’t chase his passion.

Job was one of the wealthiest men in the bible. God took it all, instantly. Job never once cursed God, rather praised God in his trial. He didn’t do what he wanted to do, or chase his passion. He was obedient. (God also gave Job twice as much wealth in the end.)

My high school guidance counselor told me to go into 2 fields: teaching or physical therapy. I’m glad I didn’t listen to him. He also told me I could do whatever I wanted to and that life is a big ocean. Again, I’m glad I didn’t listen to this advice.

That’s the worst advice I’ve ever received. Don’t be a dreamer. Don’t chase your passion. Life is about hard work. Work hard and give to others and serve them.

My advice IS the opposite of what we hear everyday, but I guarantee by working hard and persevering, it’s the best advice you’ll ever receive.

Now get back to work.

20140104-140501.jpgDave Scott is a broken Christ-follower, blogger and entrepreneur. David spent 15 years in corporate America, with organizations like Circuit City, California Closets and Verizon Corp. David has also been involved in start-up’s, where he’s led sales and marketing.  He blogs at www.davecscott.com.

 

 

Engaging Gamers in the Church

8 Apr

video gamer stats pictureOne principle of writing is to write about what you know about.  While all writers sometimes break that rule, video gaming is one topic that I know very well.  My gaming began in the early days with Pitfall, Pacman, and Frogger.  It became an obsession when my mother bought me a Nintendo for Christmas (she still regrets that day).  Currently, my favorite games include:  Marvel Legos, Clash of Clans, Game of War, and Skyrim.

In my life, I have often used my love for gaming to build relationships with other gamers within the religious community.  However, many churches do not know how to engage this segment of our society.  I actually find that church communities are hostile to those who enjoy gaming.

Why do we celebrate when people watch hours of sporting events a week (and even fantasy sporting events); and yet if someone spends that same time playing video games, they are labeled as immature, nerdy, and lazy?

If your community is ready to embrace and engage gamers, here are few things you should know.

1.    The gaming industry is not something to ignore. 

About two-thirds of Americans (211.5 million) play video games in the U.S (statistics).  This means that your church is filled with gamers, but many of them are afraid to admit it due to the negative stereotypes placed on gamers by judgmental Christians.

Not only are gamers influential by numbers, but many gamers have financial resources.  Although I do not spend much money on this hobby, most gamers are willing to spend money.  (I buy clearance used games, and never pay for game up-grades)  Consumers spent 20.77 billion dollars in 2012 on this industry.  In my small clan of 100 people in Game of War, the group probably spends approximately $8000 a month.  This is not in subscription fees to play, but for added game bonuses.

I do not think that the church should start producing Christian video games, or provide gaming counsels during the worship services.  I am not saying that the church should hold HALO tournaments (a top-grossing game), or promote Grand Theft Auto.  However, the church needs to begin discussions about the ramifications of gaming on our society, our faith, and the church.

2.     The gaming industry is breaking stereotypes.

The gaming community is not a nerdy, reclusive segment of our society.  While there are people who are both nerdy and reclusive in this community, gamers can no longer be stereotyped.  Most people would envision the gaming community to be composed entirely of adolescent and emerging adult males.  However, the statistics show a much broader image. Only 25% of gamers are in high school, while 26% are over the age of fifty.  (This statistic shocked even me, because this group didn’t grow up on Nintendo.)

video gamer stats 2The gaming community is not restricted to men.  Statistics show that 40% of gamers are females.  On-line gaming communities are FILLED with women, who are not trying to pick-up dates, but are serious about gaming.  Stereotyping gamers reveals a person’s ignorance about our culture, and a lack of relevance to culture today.

The church can engage gamers when negative stereotypes are removed from the activity.  We don’t shame people from watching television, playing sports, or watching sports.  Why are gamers mocked publicly in messages and characterized as immature?  I believe this causes many gamers to not share who they are at church because of their fear of being publicly shamed.  Discernment should be used as to what a person is allowing into their thoughts, but gaming is not inherently evil.  Just as other hobbies are not.

The church has the opportunity to show the gaming community that they are an important part of our society, and that their faith matters in our world.  Look for opportunities to share examples and stories from the gaming world.  Video games examples can be found that cover a range of topics including:  purity, values, bullying, teamwork, and courage.

3.     The gaming community can be mobilized the Kingdom. 

Gamers can be mobilized not because of their love of games, but because they are followers of Christ who have the Spirit working within them.

Gaming is not my life.  It is a hobby.  When I engage my hobby, I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this community.  In the last month, our gaming community has discussed:  death, drugs, alcohol, cancer, and unemployment.  Although we live all over the globe, these connections and conversations are real.

A new message can be conveyed to gamers.  I will be excited when the day comes and I hear someone talk about their gaming experience from the pulpit.  I will be excited when gamers are challenged alongside other hobbyists to lay aside their recreation for the sake of the Cross.  I will be excited when gamers no longer feel isolated or shamed within the church.

I am advocating for an area of culture that needs the Light.  May this simply be the beginning of a discussion as to how to engage gamers for the sake of God’s kingdom.

All Statistics can be found – http://www.esrb.org/about/video-game-industry-

 

When not gaming, Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.

ACQUIESCENCE IS NOT COMPROMISE [MISTAKES IN MARRIAGE: #7]

4 Apr
Note: Having recently celebrated 10 years of marriage, I began a series of stories, or rather mistakes I’ve made in those 10 years. I hope that through these deep, personal stories, you’ll come to see, as I have, the gloriously beautiful experience of the Gospel that is marriage.

Acquiescence Is Not Compromise I don’t know about you but rarely do decisions get made in my marriage where both Mary and I are completely on the same page. Oh it happens every now and again, giving us a glorious experience, but more often than not, we go back and forth a bit, sometimes producing conflict. I think for a long while I viewed any type of conflict between Mary and I to be this great definition of failure in my marriage, as though it were doomed because of it. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve began to accept this as a pretty normal experience. Funny how renaming something as normal, changes our perspectives completely. Think about what we’ve uncovered so far in this series about marriage.

  • Rarely if ever, are we fully prepared to handle the dynamics that surface in our marriages. But that’s ok, that’s precisely where we meet and experience The Father’s provision.
  • Marriage is created for us to experience the gospel, and what is the gospel if not a story of our transformation (change). And we all know how hard change can be!
  • Marriage consists of 2 very different people who have drawn together by various attractions. It’s ok that we’re different, that’s exactly how we’ll experience the oneness that marriage creates.
  • Marriage illuminates the fact that we’re both broken, needy people, in great need of this gospel that we’ll experience from one another.

So by understanding that conflict and rough edges are normal experiences in marriage, we can be freed from the weight that we’re somehow flawed or not enough. I remember growing up, witnessing the marriages around me and one thing stood out to me like a sore thumb: in just about every example, the women played this “silent” role. Oh sure there were a couple, like one or two, examples where that didn’t hold water, but for the most part that was my take away. Of course it didn’t help all that much that in most christian circles, the dialogue on marriage focused way too much on the “submission” aspect of women and not near enough on the husbands participation in that process.

As Mary and I were getting to know one another and learning one another’s stories while dating, one thing we very much agreed on was how much we believed that the truest definition of marriage was grounded in terms of partnership. Meaning, neither one of us, got to have carte blanche when making decisions or living out our stories together. This, as you already know and have read, was not so easily lived out.

As years passed, our stories of brokenness and woundedness began to play out, triggering each other, and our agreed vision for how we would relate to one another became much harder. I quickly began to feel disrespected every time Mary would challenge my thought process or question my decisions and Mary eventually just grew silent, holding in her truest feelings and thoughts. The dynamic that began to play itself out as a result was me trying to go BIG and LARGE (dominating) and Mary retreating, growing small and silent. Both courses of action proved to be disastrous in our relationship. Once the wounds from these patterns of behavior grow old and stale, and keep getting re-injured over time, healing becomes much harder to experience.

Let me set the record perfectly straight, husbands we need our wives to flat-out tell us when we’re wrong. That is love and respect. (Please tweet that!)

It’s been through years of counseling and support from our community that Mary and I both, are learning that true compromise is not the same thing as simple acquiescence. As a matter of fact, acquiescence is just a big word for fear based retreating. It’s a model of relinquishing your voice to a potential perceived rejection.

Now when we’re on opposite sides of an issue, we’re learning to remind one another of what truly matters. Sometimes it’s Mary taking the lead, other times it has been me, but either way we’re getting better at reminding one another of our shared vision for our marriage and family. What we experience through this is, often times the points of contention start to shake loose when properly looking at our collective priorities. By reminding one another that we’re for one another, love one another, and support one another, it becomes easier to see where we need to shift on any given idea.

Through this shared vision, this shared gospel-lens, our differences don’t take up as much of the spotlight, but rather who we’re becoming and where we’re headed does. That’s what true compromise is all about. Now if only our government and politicians could learn that. Over time I’ve grown to crave and desire Mary’s input and when I don’t get it, I feel a bit lost, even unsure at times. I know that I’m made better by her input in every direction of life. I’m experiencing that I become more of the man, God created me to be through the, sometimes brutally honest, feedback Mary gives me.

This has proven to be incredibly rewarding as earlier this year we were able to come together with a shared vision for partnering with an organization called Franktown Open Hearts. Mary and I have a business called Tinsel & Twine where we create these awesome outdoor marketplaces that brings the community together to support all sorts of various creatives and artists. I can’t tell you the joy that I felt in experiencing that provision from our great Father!

What a beautiful picture of grace! Do you struggle with acquiescing in order to just avoid conflict? How have you learned to compromise in marriage?   Untitled

 

My name is Josh and I’m an Architect. But I don’t design houses or beautiful buildings or even great monuments. I design Experiences. But not just your ordinary experiences. I designAwesome Experiences. Thats why I’m an Experience Architect.  You can read more at http://www.the.josh.collins.com.

Death is Wrong. A Children’s book on death?

2 Apr

death is wrong - childrens bookI have the perfect Christmas gift for you!  Actually, Christmas is too far away.  How about buying it for a birthday present, or maybe simply buy it as soon as possible.  (I am totally kidding.)

A recent children’s book was published by philosopher Gennady Stolyarov II.  This children’s book tries to show that death is wrong, and should be defeated through medicine, science, and technology.  According to Amazon, “You will learn about some amazingly long-lived plants and animals, recent scientific discoveries that point the way toward lengthening lifespans in humans, and simple, powerful arguments that can overcome the common excuses for death.”

Remember this is a fully-illustrated children’s book.  One that almost seems humorous if it were not so sad.  This book is an attempt to explain death apart from life in God.

What perspective should we be teaching about death?  If we are honest, we rarely teach anything.  Few of us think about it, and even fewer are willing to talk about it.  When is the last time that you heard a sermon about…death.  It is almost considered a taboo subject – too depressing, and too morbid.

However, a healthy perspective of death leads us to a healthy perspective of life.

Is death wrong?  The answer to this is yes.  Death is the result of something that has gone wrong.  In the beginning, God created a perfect world, and made man and woman to have fellowship with Him in the garden.  Death was a result of sin.

Death is truly wrong. 

But death is now also right.

 
Death is right because death will mark the end of this life,  and the beginning of everlasting life in heaven.  Death is right because it will mark the end of our battle with sin and satan.  Death is right because it was defeated by Jesus when He rose again, and secured a way for us to be reunited with God.

A healthy perspective of death calls us to embrace life.  A healthy perspective calls us to embrace aging.  A healthy perspective calls us to embrace our future as finite humans – not with fear, but in faith.

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