Archives For Random

My seven year old has provided plenty of material for this blog over the years, but this one is a little different (in an incredibly fun sorta way).

In January, my brother opened his brand new music studio and school, and my two youngest kids got the chance to be guinea pigs for the songwriting track. I shared Anna’s song a couple of months ago, but Austin’s single just dropped last week! I know he shares my DNA, but I think this is pretty amazing (especially for a 7 year old).

AustinStudio

So what was my boy’s first original composition all about? If you know him at all, it won’t surprise you (but I promise it will make you smile). Take a listen:

Mario_Is_Sario_With_Effects_

(Click the link above to listen).

Huge shout out to Justin Alley, who patiently walked the Aus-man through the creative process. And of course, my brother Darren, for his passionate playing and studio work (even on a simple kid’s project).

Summer would be a great time for you to enroll your offspring at Grizzly. Combat vacation boredom with a little creative expression. Click here for more info.

Israel Day 3 was profound for us, but probably not so interesting for the blog. We spent the day indoors, honored to share with about 40-50 men – many of them leaders – from the Messianic Jewish movement here in Israel.

speaking

The depth and richness of the day simply won’t translate well to this medium, but here are a few random thoughts that might give you a little taste:

Everyone has a story, and many of the issues we hear about through news clips and sound bites take on a whole new perspective when you’re looking into someone’s eyes.

Most of those things you struggle with and think it’s only you – it’s not only you.

“Hola” is not a Hebrew word.

You can have a relationship with a church and mistaken it for a relationship with God.

Men desperately need deep, authentic conversation with other men. This initially makes us feel weird, but we long for it.

Sometimes all it takes for people to open their hearts is for someone to be brave enough to go first.

My friend Dave has no idea how to focus my iPhone camera.

Not even the mystique of the Holy Land can surpass the richness of good friends sitting around a dinner table laughing, crying, and sharing their lives together.

If you don’t believe Jesus can really change people, you need to meet my friend Dave Newton (who still can’t focus an iPhone camera).

Understanding your utter depravity is a vital part of Scripture. We really do need a Savior, and the good news is, His name is Jesus.

There is something unspeakably Divine about the nation of Israel. It’s hard to describe, but you can feel it when you’re here.

It’s approaching Shebat here in Israel, so I’m going to take a little blogging break to honor the Jewish Sabbath (truthfully, I just know you don’t read blogs much on the weekends but Shebat sounds so much more noble). We finish our seminar today and then hit the Old City of Jerusalem, Jericho, Galilee, Nazareth, Mt. Carmel, and some other “I can’t believe I’m really seeing this” sites around Israel.

I’ll post pictures here, and to Facebook and Twitter as we go, storing up new epic experiences and maybe even a few insights to write about here on Monday!

Thanks for reading and sharing this blog with others (hint, hint….buttons below).

Shalom.

(I’m pretty sure that’s Hebrew for “hola”).

The greatest threat to the human race is not nuclear weapons, global tyrants, or skyrocketing debt.

It’s hyperbole.

Yep. Exaggeration. Intentional overstatement, of which even this conglomeration of syllables itself qualifies.

I’m climbing on one of my soapboxes here this morning, but I’m growing quite weary of hyperbole. We all use it to make our points, but I think it’s time we start being a little more honest with ourselves.

Over the weekend, we took the kids to see The Lorax at the dollar theater (which is apparently $2.50 now?). It’s Dr. Seuss, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift. Could there be a better way to spend a 107 degree July afternoon? Guess I should’ve done more research, because what I saw was nothing short of an animated indoctrination film. Let me see if I can sum it up for you:

Business owners are evil men who want to destroy the world for their own personal gain.

I spent the drive home unwinding the brainwash embedded amongst the brilliant animation and catchy song lyrics.

This isn’t a veiled political statement. Honest, God-fearing, Kingdom-minded people can (and do) have conflicting opinions on these types of conversations. What makes me angry isn’t disagreement or strong opinions, it’s the gross categorization and assumption of motivation for any endeavor.

When I watched that film, I didn’t see Gordon Gecko, Martha Stewart, or Bernie Madoff.

  • I saw my friend Steve, who’s mortgage closing business, after 5 years of incredible sacrifice (that he would never tell you about), is now providing jobs for four families and income for countless subcontractors each month. (Although he uses paper. Lots of paper. So I guess he may need a visit from a moustached, animated creature, too).
  • I saw my buddy Daniel, who’s marketing firm has exploded over the last 3 years. His business provides jobs for 5 families (with more hires on the way) and also helps other business become more successful.
  • I saw my dad, who’s 20 years of gut-wrenching hard work and sleepless nights created jobs for over 65 people, and affordable housing for over 2,000 families across Indiana and the Midwest. (Not to mention countless dollars for missions projects around the globe).

Defending free enterprise isn’t my point. Challenging the lure of rogue categorization and over-exaggeration to make a point is my point. We all can do it. We all need to be cautious of it.

In politics.

In education.

In relationships.

In business.

In media.

In The Church.

(Big churches, small churches, regional churches, neighborhood churches, organized churches, organic churches, churches with buildings, churches in homes – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah).

I’m growing tired of hyperbole. We love to create straw men and light them on fire. It draws a crowd. It gets attention. It’s easy.

Are there disgusting, greedy, self-absorbed, tyrant business men seeking to get all they can at the expense of everyone and everything around them?

Absolutely.

But when we paint with broad, exaggerated brushes, we distort the truth and miss the nuanced beauty. And that’s too bad. For all of us, I think.

Just my two cents. What do you think?

To all my fellow perfectionists out there, I have a word of caution. No, not the ones you’ve already heard before:

Nobody’s perfect.

If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never succeed.

Thomas Edison didn’t fail, he discovered 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.

Blah, blah, blah, blah….

Most of us have come to grips with the well-known dangers of our “disorder.” The constant worrying. The paranoia. The dreams never pursued and projects never initiated. The countless arguments we have with people in our head (please, can you just be quiet for one second Clarence!).

But let me warn you about one danger of perfectionism that you may have missed (I know, as a perfectionist the thought of that absolutely drives you crazy, doesn’t it?). Out of your visceral, impulsive, overwhelming fear of being wrong. Of missing the mark. Of being left out of the conversation…

…you are very easily manipulated.

By some evil, vindictive mastermind? Maybe. (The worst kind use God as their manipulation tool). But most likely by sincere, strong-minded people who are just pursuing their own passions and calling. When you can’t bear the thought of being wrong, you’ll quickly migrate toward anything that makes you feel “right.” Accepted. “In.” That can be dangerous ground.

Take a quick assessment. Your obsession with perfection may be more than an irritant to your spouse or a frustration to your kids. It could be manipulating you. Controlling you. Even dulling your ability to hear the voice of the (only) Perfect One. (John 16:13).

Of course, I could be wrong (a potential imperfection I’m learning to live with).

What do you think?

I am directionally challenged. When God knit me together in my mother’s womb, he left out the Google Maps app. Until recently, I was embarrassed to admit it. My dad is flawless with directions (unless they require power tools), but the gene pool seemed to dry up somewhere after red hair and freckles. Need proof?

A few months ago, my wife and I were driving from Chicago back to Indy. Thanks to the little blue dot on my iPhone screen, I’d safely negotiated my way through downtown traffic and was nearing the interstate when my worst driving fear became reality:

The road split.

One choice led due south–back to the promised land. The other went to Milwaukee. (No offense Wisconsin, but not even the Bucks want to play there).

I was heading west, so surely the left lane was the right choice (right? I mean, correct?). Blinker on. I didn’t make any friends as I slowly merged through the aggressive Chicago-land traffic (those people always seem to know where they’re going and you’re always in the way), but I hit that left lane with flare and confidence…

…only to watch it dip sharply under the lane to the right, bank north, and land us on the road to cheese-town.

This is why I hate driving in unknown areas! It’s dangerous. People honk at me. I look stupid in front of my wife. And despite all the logic and tools at my disposal, I seem to make the wrong call anyway.

Unfortunately, this mindset isn’t limited to navigating city streets. I hate being incorrect. I disdain feeling stupid. I run from the disapproval (honking horns) of others. And I despise–I mean vehemently–the regret that comes from mistakenly heading in the wrong direction.

But living a life that matters might be less about negotiating the traffic itself, and more about confronting the emotions that keep us from making decisions in the first place.

We want to make an impact, but we fear looking stupid.

We want our voice to be heard, but we feel shame when others disagree.

We want freedom, but we’re terrified of regret.

Decisiveness is the currency of courage. Perfectionism is the weight of cowardice. There’s usually a turnaround exit a few miles up the road, so let’s make a few decisions today while we’re waiting for the GPS to catch up.

What’s one decision you’ve been putting off because the emotions of potential mistakes are too much to negotiate?