Friday, February 29, 2008

Cost? Pt. 1

Last week our pastor challenged us with a simple question: What is it costing you to follow Jesus? The idea is simple. When we choose to follow Jesus there should be some kind of cost involved. Now before you get the wrong idea I’m not saying we have to pay for salvation. Salvation is a gift given to us through loving grace. However, in accepting the gift you become overwhelmed with the need to serve, give, preach, teach, etc. no matter the cost to yourself.

Or you should to some degree. I’ve been mulling the question of cost over in my head for a few days now and I still don’t have all the answers. Honestly I DON’T see where there is a cost involved in my life.

I sacrifice sleep on Sunday mornings to help get things setup and occasionally run sound. I don’t see that as a cost. I enjoy it. It was and is part of what I’ve felt a calling to do for awhile now. Two or three years ago I was in the same boat as 80% of people who go to church. I would show up on Sunday, socialize with some friends, study the Bible some, and then go warm a pew seat while I listened to the sermon. I was a consumer Christian.

Then we did a study on our God given talents and how we could use them to serve the Church and local community. That was followed by a study on taking risks and getting out of the mindset of playing it safe. I was charged and motivated, but I had no outlet. I tried and tried to get involved and never could quite find any needs to fulfill. So I went back to warming the pew.

God kept calling. It was an insistent call that I was wasting away spiritually. It was time for a change. Fortunately my wife was hearing the same call so we visited another church. The church was also a solid, Bible based church that also happened to need a congregation that was willing to serve to keep things going. So here we are today still serving and still enjoying it.

But does that count as a cost?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

FYI

I wanted to let you know about Sphere of Hip-Hop's radio show. I dig their website and the radio show is fresh too. Would you consider checking it out? This Saturday night at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific they are doing a special 1 Year Anniversary show and it's a 3 hour Top 50 countdown. Lots of dope music! Hit up their Myspace profile at Myspace.com/XMRadioShow to get more info on the show and to listen to an exclusive commercial featuring emcee Braille.

Simply visit the XM Radio Online trial page and fill out the information to receive your online trial subscription. If you dig the online version, a standalone XM Radio Online subscription costs just a few bucks per month. Then you can catch the Sphere of Hip-Hop show every Saturday night!

Get more information on Sphere of Hip-Hop at any of their websites including:

* Sphereofhiphop.com (online magazine)
* SphereofhiphopMP3.com (download some tunes)
* SphereofhiphopTV.com (watch videos and live performances)
* SphereofhiphopStore.com (online hip-hop shop with CDs, vinyl records, downloads and some other stuff)
* Myspace.com/Sphereofhiphop (add the main Sphere profile as a friend)
One last note

I'm writing here more often because I want to exercise my writing muscles. I guess you can add me to the ever growing list of people who want to write for a living. I don't quite have my voice yet and I'm not sure exactly what I want to write. To that end I hope to add different kinds of writings to this blog. Look for reviews, story snip-its, and anything else I can come up with as well as the usual.
Compassion

If you haven't taken the chance to use the Compassion International widget in the sidebar, please do so now. Each one of the tabs on the bottom will bring up links to blogs, pictures, and videos taken in Uganda this week and the impact that Compassion is having on lives there. The stories are very moving and will really put your life in perspective if you let them.
Shallow?

I'm not sure wanting the $500 makes me less shallow.

BTW- The site I linked to contains content that some, maybe even most, would find offensive. If you are easily offended either don't click or don't complain to me.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Death at 70mph

I'm one of those people who doesn't necesarily understand the full scope of the situation until after it passes. 5:20 Tuesday afternoon I'm driving home as usual. I'm a little over a mile from my exit and I decide to pass a semi as we are starting up an incline. As soon as I switched lanes and started accelerating I knew something was wrong.

My first thought was that I had hit the airflow coming off of the truck. My steering wheel went to jello, but I was able to complete my manuver and catch my exit ramp a few minutes later. As the car started to decelerate I could feel the thump-thump-thump of a flat tire. So I pulled over to a parking lot at the top of the ramp and changed the tire, with some assistance from a kind passer-by. I couldn't find anything wrong with the tire, it didn't appear that I had run over anything. I threw the flat in the trunk and went on my way.

Later on in the night I sent an email to my boss to let her know I would be late arriving to work as I needed to get the tire fixed or replaced. It finally occured to me that my tire spontaneously went flat. . .AT 70 MILES PER HOUR.

Here I thought I was blessed with 60 degree weather when I was changing the flat.

Somewhat anti-climactically it turns out the valve stem on the tire had failed and I had to replace the tire. Fortunately the tire was covered with a road hazard warranty so the replacement didn't cost much more than it would have to fix the flat.

Monday, February 04, 2008

This Just In

90% Geek

A Significant Question

Shaun Groves struck a chord, no pun intended, with me in this blog entry. He wrote about how an incident early in his life has had a lasting impact on his view of himself and his continual drive to do better. I think we all face the same problem. I've met plenty of confident people in my life and everyone of them deals with insecurity in the face of their perceived significance. Now some people deal with it better than others, but we all deal with it.

I personally feel as though I have to live up to the expectations of my friends and family. I see myself as just average. After reading this blog you may see me as below average. I keep striving to do more and do better so people won't see me for the fraud I am. In the past year, maybe two, I've managed to come to some peace with those feelings. In the past few weeks there have been a couple of times that I feel like I'm living up to the hype.

It isn't up to me though. My worth shouldn't be planted in how other see me or how I see myself. Jesus died for me and that makes all of the difference. That takes all of the expectations away. I didn't start this post with the intent of bringing God into it. It just happens. The changes in my esteem coincide with other changes that have happened in my life, my marriage, and my relationship with Jesus and the Church in the past year. It is this continual growth that will allow me to reach the potential and plans that God has for my life. It is liberating, so liberating.

I know in the days and weeks to come I will inevitably chide myself for not doing my best or my all whether I have or not. I will get mad that I've slacked or I've done just enough to get the job done. I will convince myself that I'm not as smart or clever as others think I am. Even as I write this entry I consider that it may very well be self congratulating blather. I'll say that I don't care what others think, but I do. I'll re-read it and harshly criticize it in my mind. I'm my own worst enemy in this way and in those really dark times when I've shut myself down I have to remember what God through Jesus has done for me.

Check out Shaun's blog when you get a chance. The Compassion International widget on the right hand side originated from there. He has some wonderful insights, but most of all he's down to earth and personally I feel his writing blows mine out of the water. Have I ever steered you wrong?