My Last post of the year....

I'm excited to hang out with my lovely bride tonight.  We will be heading over to Saint Ann in Uptown.  You are welcome to join us, just let us know you are coming and we will see if we can get you a seat at our table.

2010 has been a GREAT Year.  God has blessed me and my family.  I would not want to be in any other place or doing any other job.  I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be.  It's a good feeling.

Looking forward to see what 2011 brings for:

The Awakening
Will I finish Seminary?
Will Matthew learn to ride his new trike?
To Be continued in the new year....

The Annual Ogilvie E-Card

Since it's the last day of December, I wanted to post the "Feliz Navidad" Ogilvie E-Card that we sent out to a few Family members and close friends.  May all enjoy the great choreography and singing as this new year begins.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Dec 30, 2010 Tags: 0 comments

Healing is in Your Hands

This song moved me tonight in such a way that i had to stand up at my kitchen Table and worship my God. I'll let the Lyrics tell my story.   Listen to it here:

No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love

How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands

Our present, our future, our past is in Your hands
We're covered by Your blood
We're covered by Your blood

How high, How wide
no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands

In all things, we know that.
We are more than conquerors.
You keep us by your love.
You keep us by your love.

Have you ever had an experience like that?  Where you are are moved to just worship God?  Tell me about it.

What's your favorite worship song right now?

My Little man Hiding at Northpark Mall

Matthew and I were playing hide and seek in the flora and fauna of North Park.

Epic Win - Starbucks in Firewheel UPDATED

If you look closely, you can find Shannon's
Usually it's the epic fails that grab out attention so much that we just have to blog about it.  But this is the opposite.  It encountered such an epic win for Starbucks that I just have to let the world know!  The Starbucks in Firewheel (North Garland which is North of Dallas) went the extra mile this year during Christmas and I think it will have a big payoff over the long term.  The manager of this store creatively drew by hand the different baristas of this location and then turned it into a Christmas card.  Then, this manager asked the baristas for the names of all the "regulars" (meaning the barista knows their name and drink order).  The manager then hand wrote all the regulars Christmas cards - envelopes included and taped them all over the store!!  They are every where.  Here's what I thought as I saw them:

1.  Am I up here?  Of course, who wouldn't think that?

2.  Wow, these baristas know a lot of people!!!  They are serious about building relationships with their customers.

3.  After not finding my name up there (but finding my wife's!) I felt like I was missing out!!!  I wanted to be up on the wall, especially if my wife was!!!

4.  Guess where I'm buying my next cup of coffee?

Because I don't qualify as a regular, I don't have an envelope and thus I do not know what the picture looks like.  Once Shannon get's her card, I will take a picture and put it up here.  It shouldn't be too long before she picks it up, she's a regular.

UPDATE:  I finally got my hands on a copy of the Card that Uma Nguyen, the Starbucks manager at this location created by hand.  Again, this is a hand drawn cartoon sketch of each of the baristas at this location, and then she wrote a paragraph note to each person.  To use the term by Seth Godin, she's a Linchpin!

Manuscript Monday's: Anticipating Christmas

I think I remember this Smurf Advent Calendar!

What are our anticipations before Christmas this year? Is it the family gathering together? Are you anticipating Christmas dinner?  Or maybe it’s all the music, lights and decorations that come with the season?  OK, let’s be honest, don’t we all anticipate the presents?  We have been trained from a young age that Christmas is about giving and receiving gifts?  Did your childhood Christmas morning look like one of those Video’s you find on YouTube with screaming children going crazy of the Nintendo 64? (It’s there, look it up.)

What do we anticipate this Christmas?  Another way of saying this is, “what do we hope for this year?”  Listen, here’s what you need to realize as we get ready for this Christmas season:  What you anticipate for Christmas will influence your perception of Christmas.  If your perception is the lens through which you look at Christmas your anticipations of Christmas are the frames holding that lens in place.

Every year, millions of people fly through Christmas and they miss it entirely.  The teaching team has decided to address that and for the next four weeks we want to do a series that prepares us for Christmas.  We want to help you and ourselves frame Christmas well and understand its full significance in our lives.

Today we will look back to the time right before the very first Christmas.  Before Christ was born there was also an anticipation taking place.  It was the anticipation of the Messiah. 

This year, agree to let God’s promises fuel your anticipations.  His promises to you are Salvation, peace, the Holy Spirit.  All these promises are fulfilled through Christ.

We remember these promises through a season celebrated by the Church for hundreds of years called Advent.  Advent means “coming” and begins the fourth Sunday before December 25th, and calls us to anticipate the birth of Christ.  It’s about the hope we have for the Messiah that is yet to come. 

And so as a community, we wait, we anticipate.  Why?  Because, like Israel over 2000 years ago we claim today that all is not as it should be.  All the promises have not yet been fulfilled.  As the Israelites anticipated the birth of their messiah, today, we remember the birth but again, anticipate the return of the messiah.

How will you anticipate the coming of the Messiah during Christmas this year?  
What Promises of God will you reflect on as you prepare for Christmas?

Nov 21, 2010 Tags: , 1 comments

Old Video I found of Matthew.

Nov 20, 2010 Tags: , , 0 comments

Seeing beyond Thanksgiving

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Phillip Herbert yesterday.  We were discussing the relationship between thanksgiving (appreciation) and the reception of grace.  Here’s our assumption:  The more grace that is received, the more thankful one becomes.  This seems so simple, but when you start seeing it applied to life, it takes on a new dimension.

Think about it.  When you receive a pay check you are thankful, especially in this economy, but that thankfulness pales in comparison to our appreciation for an unexpected Bonus check at the end of the year.  Where the first is an agreed upon wage received for services rendered, the second is unexpected - it is by grace that it is given.

This has to have implication in a lot of areas.  Staying in the employment field, I would gather that it is not the wage that is the biggest determination of job satisfaction and/or decreased turn over, but the amount of grace received which increases appreciation. 

In relationships, a contractual agreement of roles and responsibilities does not increase appreciation or thankfulness of the other, but it is the grace we show by our actions that cause us to be so thankful.

At the Thanksgiving table this year, maybe we can look past what we are thankful for and look at where we have experienced the greatest amount of grace in our lives.  I bet we will be surprised to find that there too, we will find the greatest amount of thanksgiving.

In short: Thanksgiving is experienced only after Grace-giving.

Nov 12, 2010 Tags: , , , 0 comments

The Leverage of Boaz - Part 3

In the past two posts I've shared what I've been learning by looking at the life of Boaz in the book of Ruth.  Boaz leveraged his resources to help Ruth, an immigrant in need.  In my last post (Part 2) I shared the resources he leveraged.  In this post let me share just some of results I've noticed.

First, when we leverage our resources, the impact ripples through the community.  Verses 2:17-18  show that even though Boaz focused on Ruth, her community, specifically her mother experienced the benefit as well.  Later in Chapter 4 we see that even more of the community surrounds the family in celebration.  More than just the person we serve is impacted when we leverage our resources.

Second, when we leverage our resources, we participate in God's future plans. Because Boaz leveraged his resources, Ruth was cared for and her family lineage was spared.  Why is that important?  That lineage holds claim to King David, Solomon, and of course, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.  Boaz was able to participate in the grand plan of God because he leveraged his resources to help people in need.

There are many more results to the Leverage  of Boaz but I do not want to write a massive blog post again.  So I'll leave it up to you.  Also, I plan on sharing more of these thoughts at The Awakening, come check it out on Tuesday night.

What are some of the results you see to the Leverage of Boaz?  Have you experienced the results of someone else leveraging their resources?

The Leverage of Boaz: Part 2

The last time I wrote, we were 24 hours from launching our first LeverageU event called LeverageU @ Rusty Taco.  It was a GREAT Success.  We raised $1500 for the No Hungry Child Campaign all by leveraging our meal.  We had about 400 people come out and the 1 hour line literally coiled around the inside of the restaurant.  With live music and plenty of friends, we all had a blast.  We truly leveraged our everyday lives to help hungry children.

As the event approached, and especially afterward, I have been looking at the life of Boaz and learning from his character and action.  I posted before that he truly leveraged his life.  In this short blog series I want to share some of what I have learned about Boaz.

Boaz was a man who leveraged his resources, but those resources were not just financial.  Leveraging was truly a lifestyle for him.  Focus in on chapter two and you will see Boaz leveraging his life to help Ruth, an immigrant woman in need. (You will want to read chapter 1 to get the greater context.)

First, Boaz leveraged his PEOPLE.  In verse 8, He charges Ruth to glean after his own women and keep close to them.  In that time, gleaning was not the safest of jobs.  Gleaning means she was picking up the leftovers – what the harvesters had missed.  Staying with his women, Ruth gained added safety.

Second, Boaz leveraged his PROPERTY. In verse 9, Boaz tells Ruth to keep her eye on his field.  Gleaning was that day’s version of the welfare system.  Provisions were made in the law so that gleaning was made available for the poor.  Instead of just following the Law and letting Ruth glean, Boaz instructs her to stay in His field. He offers his field for her provision.

Third, Boaz leveraged his PROTECTION. As stated, gleaning was not the safest form of labor.  Often women were taken advantage of and at a minimum harassed and uncared for by the harvesters.  Boaz will not allow this.  He commands his harvester not to lay a hand on her.

Fourth, Boaz leveraged his PROVISIONS.  Boaz goes beyond her physical protection and moves to Ruth’s physical needs.  If you are thirsty, take some of my water he says.  This is the same water that his employees are drinking from.  In fact, it is the water they picked up for themselves!

Fifth, Boaz leveraged his POWER.  Boaz is described as a “mighty or worthy” man in verse 1.  Indeed, he had a large amount of influence and authority.  By reading this story you can clearly see his power wielded for this young immigrant in need.  In verse 15 we see Boaz moving Ruth right up into the harvesters, for her to “glean” among the sheaves.  At this point, it seems to me that she is no longer gleaning, but harvesting as well. She is now not only receiving the water these workers drew, but the harvest they are reaping!  Boaz continues telling them to even pull out some of their bundles and leave it for Ruth!  That is power my friends.

Finally, Boaz Leveraged his POSITION.  Boaz was a kinsmen redeemer.  Without going into this too much here, basically, Boaz was second in line for the responsibility to care for Ruth and perpetuate the family line.  This position of Kinsman redeemer was an important position that he chose not to turn from as the first redeemer had done in chapter 4.

Sorry for the longer post.  I am actually going to go deeper into these characteristics of Boaz this coming Tuesday night at The Awakening.  If you comment, you may be adding to the discussion.  I’d love to hear from you.

The next part in this series will look at the result of Boaz leveraging his life.

Nov 8, 2010 Tags: , , , 0 comments

The Leverage of Boaz: Part 1

As can be seen on the right side column of this blog, I have a new project that seems to be getting a lot of traction.  It is called LeverageU and we are having our first event tomorrow night.  LeverageU gives you and me an opportunity to leverage what we do every day to help people in need. This first event, LeverageU @ Rusty Taco, will give people an opportunity to help hungry children in the Vickery Meadow community.  Rusty Taco has agreed to give $1 for every $2 taco sold tomorrow night from 7-10pm to the “No Hungry Child” campaign.

I've written in far more detail elsewhere about LeverageU and I may repost it on this blog in the future.  If you want to know more about LeverageU, please visit our Fan Page on Facebook and cruise around there and by all means, become a fan if you like what we are doing.

What I am fascinated with this morning is the story of Boaz (I promise, this connects with LeverageU).  You may recognize Boaz more from the story of Ruth, but as I have been re-reading this Old Testament book of the Bible, I am seeing in Boaz, much of the qualities I want to see in my life.  Further, and this may sound extreme, I want to see Boaz exemplified in American culture.  I am going to spend the next few days discussing the character and actions of Boaz and how we can make a HUGE impact in our communities if we would become more like him.

So why was Boaz such an impacting person in his lifetime and memorialized in the pages of scripture?  He was a person who knew how to leverage.  He was a man who leveraged his resources for the benefit of people in need and it had a ripple affect across the community.  What would it take for us to be like Boaz?  Keep checking out the blog (or subscribe/follow) and I'll let you know.  Maybe over the next week, take some time out to read the book of Ruth on your own time and let me know what you find.

Ogilvie Late Night: Purchasing Power

What motivates you to make a purchase?  I'm not talking about milk and eggs here. I'm talking about purchasing the new TV, the new car, getting season tickets or just the rivalry game, getting the appetizer or just sticking with the main course.  What "pushes you over" to go ahead and spend the extra money, especially in today's market?  I have a few thoughts, but I'd like to hear from you most.

1) It's probably not limited to one variable.  What I mean by that is, it's probably not only the price.  It's probably not only the brand or purchase location, etc.

2) There's a new variable that is gaining "market share" as a purchase influencer.  That variable has something to do with making a difference, providing purpose and giving.  The variable seems to be more important among younger people, but it is growing faster than they are.  The greatest example I can think of is TOMS shoes, where they give one pair of shoes for every pair sold in stores to children in need.  TOMS not only sells shoes, they sell purpose, impact and life change.  The secret is, all people involved receive all three.

Are you seeing your purchasing power being influenced in a greater way by giving opportunities?  If you could buy the same product for the same price, but a portion of your payment would go to someone in need, would you spend the extra time to make that happen? Why?

Seriously, I'm curious.

What I Love About Halloween

My previous post was a bit of a rant against some of the ills of Halloween so I wanted to make sure I gave a more balanced perspective.  I truly do enjoy Halloween for one primary reason: community.

Shannon, Matthew and I went out trick-or-treating with the Owens Family.  Matthew is totally crushing on Mikyla, the four year old daughter of Chris and Leda, and their newborn baby Henley watched comfortably from the stroller.  As the Ogilvie and Owens Family hiked around the neighborhood, a few aspects of community were recognized.

1) Trick-or-treating forces you to meet your neighbors (and usually they're pretty cool).  There are few opportunities like Halloween where one can walk right up to door after door of neighbors in their community.  We met all sorts of people who, realistically, we won't see again until next year.  But, you also got a "feel" for the area.  You begin to notice which houses have kids and which houses are elderly people we may need to care for later. If you're sly, you can even get a glimpse of their hobbies.  One guy literally had a pool table 5 feet from his front door.  I want to go hang out with that guy some day.

2) Trick-or-treating is always best with good friends.  I'm not saying that a family shouldn't go out alone - sometimes an adventure just with the family is exactly what's needed.  But, Halloween also provides a great opportunity to take an adventure with a neighbor.  We had such a great time with the Owens family last night and at the end, I couldn't help but express my hope for this to be a new annual event.  I saw Chris and Leda care for Matthew, and likewise Shannon and I were able to watch over Mikyla as well.  It truly was a community raising children. I was even able to carry Mikyla's coveted Trick-or-treating bucket when it got too heavy!

3) You get to see who's game for future community.  I'm not saying your against community, but if you turn your lights out on your front porch but we can still see the glow of your TV from the street, you're not exactly for community.  Every time I saw the glow I wanted so bad to run up and ring the door bell relentlessly to see what would happen.  It's cool though, there are PLENTY of people who are serious about community in the neighborhood.  It's just too bad that you will have to miss out on the adventure.

What was your favorite part of Halloween?  Did you see the community cravings that I saw?

Halloween: The Great Cultural Anthropology

Last night like millions of others I endeavored with family and friends to walk around a neighborhood teaching my 2 year old son how to ask for candy.  It only took 2 doors before he was a true trick-or-treating aficionado in the making.  But, of course on a night which is supposed to be linked in some ways to the occult and demonic influence, there were some things I saw that were disturbing.

1) Two year old kids have the capacity for greed.  Of course, I’m not talking about my precious son Mathew who has no sinful bone in his body – oh yes, I am talking about him.  But this is not surprising, just proof of Original Sin. Though this precious angle of a child was created for and has the capacity for good, because of the fall, he will do sinful things.  Especially when it involves candy and he’s able to mask his identity behind a dinosaur costume.

2) There’s a new genre of costume since I was a kid, at least if my memory serves me correctly.  When I was a kid you had two options – scary or cartoony.  If you were cool, you knew you had to go scary, because cartoon-ish means your parents picked out your costume.  But there’s a new genre that becomes an option at an earlier and earlier age it seems – the “sexy” option.  I saw more mini-skirts on children last night then I’d like to recall.  It was kind of sad, weird and disgusting all rolled up into one. I kept wondering what their parents were thinking?!  Am I prude or is this a little crazy to you too?

3) There’s always people too old out trick or treating. Halloween is the great equalizer it seems.  At any given door way, standing next to my two year old son dressed as a dinosaur (both scary and cartoon-ish = cool parents) is a “child” who grew in his own fake mustache for his same pirate costume he uses every year.  It would be too childish to have an orange pumpkin bucket to collect candy so he uses his drool stained pillowcase.  Seriously, at one door, this “child” was greeted by a younger, but obviously more mature woman, about 16.  As the girl dropped the bowl of candy down for Matthew to grab a few pieces, the "pirate child" grabbed a handful ignoring everyone else.  We were all disgusted. 

Ok, that’s the end of my ranting.  I am going to post another comment on how much I saw community at work last night as well.  Keep an eye out for it later tonight.  What did you see last night?  What cultural anthropology did see in your neighborhood?

Oct 28, 2010 Tags: , , , 1 comments

Thought for Thursday: I Confess...

I just finished a whirlwind of two weeks.  It was all good stuff keeping me busy and in hindsight, I see God's grace in helping me balance all aspects of life so that family was never neglected.   At one point, I had 4 speaking engagements to deliver in a matter of one week.  It began last weekend with the wedding of Dominic and Jimmie Schramm. (It was beautiful wedding and a lot of fun).  Then I taught at The Awakening, this past Tuesday night.  The Men's ministry the very next morning was on my plate but good friend Jeff Harrison was able to teach that Wednesday morning for me so that these great men received more than my sloppy seconds.  I heard he did a great job.  Finally, I gave a sermon for my sermon class on Wednesday (I'm pretty sure the sloppy seconds went to my classmates, sorry guys.)   Anyway, these were only my speaking engagements, not counting the other responsibilities I have in School, work and family.

Being so busy preparing messages I had two thoughts in my head:

 1) I could hear my pastor, Gary Brandenburg's voice in my head saying , "Phil, this is ministry, You HAVE to learn how to balance it all."
                His "encouragement" has inspired me more on the home front than anywhere else. 

2) Why do I feel more important the busier I am?
                This is the one that scares me.  This is where balance can get off center.  I confess, if I am not careful, I may just end up finding my identity in what I do - or more accurately, what I am doing.  If it is in my activity that I find my identity I will never find rest.  And, being that there is always more to do, I will never be able to stop for fear that who I am will be lost.  This must be the life equation of the workaholic.
                Identity  = Activity + Completion
Yet the dirty truth is that Activity is always greater than the amount of Completion. Thus for the workaholic, Identity is always in question.  Ouch.

Anyone else feeling this?  How have you kept your balance?

Manuscript Monday: Chilean Miners know Grace

Over the past two Sunday's churches around the world came together organically and naturally without  talking to each other and all shared the same story.  What did they talk about?  How did this happen? The past two Sunday's churches everywhere talked about the 33 Chilean miners stuck inside the earth for 68 days and applied it to whatever their strongest point was.  For good reason too.  It's a power story captivating all who hear it!  It's a miraculous story of salvation portrays an amazing picture of Grace.

For 68 days, the miners were unable to do anything to save themselves.  As they sat in that dark pit, they were at the mercy of their friends above, without whom, it was impossible for them to survive.  They provided a consistent supply of food, water, medicine, items to bolster their faith, and even entertainment. (All metaphorical of God's Common Grace to all humanity.)  Ultimately, after 68 days, their lives were saved as they were pulled out of the depths of the earth to new life with a new perspective.  Their entire world had changed. (Again a metaphor of God's Special Grace that brings salvation.) Both types of Grace, are undeserved favor from God to his creation. They come from the hand of God and not the will of man, or more often, in spite of the will of man.

One of the miners said there was actually a 34th member on the team with them the whole time - Jesus Christ.  Those miners figured something out while they were down "in the pit" and we need to realize the same thing.  It is why we need to understand Grace today.

We need to have an accurate understanding of Grace because When you know Grace, you will see God. When grace is at work, you know God is at work.  When you are gracious it is because God has equipped you to be so.  Even more, grace is abundantly seen through God's common grace to all.  If someone tells me they do not see God - then they do not know grace.

Manuscript Monday's are an opportunity for me to share with readers a portion of what I have prepared for Awakening on Tuesday nights at 7pm.  Awakening is the young adult community of Fellowship Dallas.  I do this as a sneak peak, as well as an opportunity to hear from you.  Who know's your comments may end up in the manuscript!

Manuscript Monday: Popping the Christian Bubble

Every Monday I try and post a portion of my manuscript for Tuesday night so that you can provide feedback - maybe you can make into the manuscript!

... Let's be honest with ourselves, Christians tend to flock together in weird ways.  In Fact, we've built industries on this "Christian Only" model!  There's a Christian music industry that puts more assurance in the "Christian's will buy it" revenue than the actual quality of their music.  Clothing lines have been developed with obnoxious says like, "Hold- Him: Jesus went 'all-in' for you!"   And somehow it's even cooler when the message is somehow hidden, like in secret images or a verse secretly placed around the inside collar as if a wearer may  be tricked into salvation by buying a cool looking Jesus shirt, without even knowing it. 
If we are not careful we can end up turning God's community into something about us, and not about Him.  Something about our comforts, not about His mission to redeem the world from sin.

This is the last message in a series we are doing on Community.  We began by recognizing that community begins with the Image of God and because we are created in that image, we crave it.  I challenged you to make it a priority to participate in the Full community that comes together on Sunday mornings.  And last week I challenged you to invest into a Constant Community - those who know most about you and can be a part of the major transitions in your life.

Today, I want to challenge this community of Young Adults, each one of you, to participate in the mission of God.  For the brevity of this message you'll have to understand two things, First - God is on Mission.  Second, that mission is to bring people into community with Himself.  He is Redeeming  his people.  So you will hear me often refer to God's "Redemptive Mission."  And guess what, God has equipped you to participate in his Redemptive Mission as well.

That is what excites me! Let's pray that God would clearly show us who we are sent to, who he is sending to us, and even more, how we can participate in His redemptive mission 

Manuscript Monday: Why all the Lonely People?

On Monday's I like to share a piece of my manuscript from the message I'm planning on giving At the Awakening on Tuesday nights.  This gives you the opportunity to give some feedback, share your thoughts and even make it into the manuscript!  Let me know what you think?

Your Constant Community are those people in your life who truly know you and you know them.  They are the ones who show up to the hospital, they bring you a meal when you're sick.  They are the first people you call when complete a Marathon, or nail that job interview.  They're the ones you call when you see Justin Bieber at the Air port - you know those real significant times in your life. 
The US is one of the loneliest places in the world.  In 2004 a study revealed that 1 in 4 Americans had no close friend or confidant.  Only 15% of Americans shared that they had a healthy circle of friends.  Even though the number of people who have access to us has increased through technology, the number of people we share the intimate details of our lives with has decreased.
Why do we lack Constant Community?  How did we become such a lonely people? 
One reason is that we lie to ourselves.  Maybe you think you don't need it,  You are lying to yourself.  Maybe you've told yourself, "I don't have enough time."  Or maybe it's, "there's is no one out there I can talk to," or "They wouldn't understand, they don't know what it's like to be me."  Lies!!! All Lies I tell you!  When we lie to ourselves like this we are refusing to take the needed risks to develop these relationships.  We are cheating ourselves and even cheating others!
 But there's an even deeper reason.
It's because of the Fall.  In Gen 3. starting in verse 7, right after Adam and Eve disobey God, a series of events happen all depicting their separation from God and each other.  First in Verse 7 they experience shame because of their nakedness and they make coverings from fig leaves. (If you didn't know, a fig leaf feels like sand paper - That has to be proof of mental degradation after the  fall, right?) With their genius sandpaper undies they cover the parts where they were most different from each other. Then in verse 8, their Father and creator comes to walk with them in the garden as he always has, and they hide from him! In verse ten, for the first time, God's creation was afraid of him.  Then like a real man, Adam in verse 12 puts the blame on Eve!  What a jerk!
Today, all these separators are replayed in our lives, just as they were with Adam and Eve.  Because of the Fall, and our connection to it, every day we replay these separators from God and each other.  We hide in shame, we let differences build walls between us, we are afraid of sharing ourselves with the people who love us the most, and we shift the blame onto others instead of owning our sin.  No wonder we have such a hard time developing and keeping our personal and intimate relationships!

Oct 1, 2010 Tags: , 1 comments

Great work Disney: Epic Fail

I can't believe this actually made it to the shelves of Target!  Shannon found this lovely children beverage container complete with bendable straw.  I am so tempted to take this further than I should on a public blog so I will stop writing now.  Great work Disney.  EPIC FAIL.

Comments anyone?

Thought for Thursday: Intimacy and Grace

I have been teaching on community at The Awakening the last three weeks and as I shared before we are recognizing 4 spaces of community: Public, Social, Personal and Intimate.  Thinking about practical applications of these four spaces, I had a thought: as we move down the spectrum from Public toward Intimate community, we need grace.

Let me explain.  In public community (where you do not share much information about yourself, such as a large Sunday morning congregation) you don't really get "involved" in people's lives to much.  If you do, you may be offensive or at least inappropriate. We don't want to hear about ones depths of self deprecation in a large group setting like this. Your purpose in these setting is not to build friendships so if someone does offend, you simply make a mental note to not sit down next to "20 questions, bad breath, and stalker glasses guy" next week,  and move on quickly.   Not a lot of "grace" is needed in that situation. (By grace, I mean the ability to love when it is not deserved.)  This persons welfare does not impact your health or growth as an individual and you will not to dwell on that interaction for the rest of the week. (That kind of sounds cold, doesn't it?  Am I wrong though?) 

But let's flip the spectrum and say Mr. 20 questions is your husband!  Then what?  GRACE BABY!  All kinds of Grace.  Grace enough to play 40 questions.  Grace enough to serve that person and get little in return.  Grace enough to begin enjoying the question game.  Grace enough to buy all kinds of gum and cool hipster glasses for him.  Grace enough to actually love in a greater way than possibly thought. Not because He embarrasses you, but because you want the best for him.  You want  him to experience growth and healthy relationship with you and others. 

Okay, now let's be honest, really honest.  We are all "20 questions, bad breath stalker glasses guy" to some extent.  Yes maybe we ask fewer questions, chew some Orbit, and can afford Lasik, but we are all human, which means we all have baggage and sin.  When it come to our intimate relationships (those people who know the most about us and we share our lives with) we need grace!  We need all kinds of it.  We need Grace Runneth over!  This is why that first year of marriage is so hard.  All of a sudden the best foot forward lands and the worst foot swings through with a kick. The more you know someone, the more you see their humanity - their flaws, baggage and sin, and the more grace you need to give them.  That is love at work, when it's least deserved.

And the final twist to ensure you see the redemptive perspective - that is the Christian worldview, Christ has a ton of Grace doesn't he.  So much Grace that he chooses to become intimately involved in the lives of sinners with baggage.  He gives us so much grace, that he says, "come as you are, I will love you like no one else can, and you will grow."  You see, His Grace really is sufficient enough for us to grow, and for us to share with others.

Imagine what your world would look like if you shared Grace.  What would your marriage look like, if there was more grace?  What would your job environment look like?  What would family vacation or thanksgiving dinner look like with more grace?  How would your children react with more grace?  How would your parents react with more grace?

Grace changes people. Lord I need more Grace.

For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ(Rom 5:17)

Something Powerful

I got to see something really cool happen last night as my family sat at the dinner table.  Matthew is now two years old and Shannon and I have been trying (for the past two weeks) to start eating dinner together as a family.  For so many reasons this is important.  It is at the dinner table where our values are set.  It is where I can hear about my wife's day as well as Matthew's when he gets old enough to really communicate.  But even now, he thinks he is, and I want the dinner table to be a safe place for him to talk in the future.  It's at the dinner table where Matthew gets to see Mommy and Daddy talk and communicate our love for each other and him.  In all, the dinner table is hardly just about satisfying our hunger but even more about satisfying our need for familial community.  Its about setting the table of our marriage and our lives.  It's about building a foundation with everyones participation.  The most powerful of all was when Shannon grabbed Matthew's hand and said, "it time to pray."  Matthew turned to me, extended his hand and then bowed his head and closed his eyes as if it was something common place.  I grabbed his hand, shocked at what he had learned at the dinner table, and led my family in prayer.

It was powerful.

Manuscript Monday's: Flat Community

As part of my regular teaching schedule for The Awakening, I end up going over my manuscript or notes for the next Tuesday night's message on Monday mornings.  As somewhat of a sneak peak and to provide space for feedback from the community, I am going to start posting snippets of my manuscript on Monday's so that I can hear from you.  Who knows, your comment may end up making into the manuscript!

Many of you have been living in a “flat” community.  ... there’s no air, no breath of God in your community life. 

Some of you have been coming Sunday morning but nothing else.  You have bought the lie that Sunday morning is Christianity and if I do that than I am free to go on the rest of my week and do as I wish.  It’s something you do because “you’re supposed to.”  If that is your Christian Community experience, it is severely lacking, it is flat.

Some of you have rejected Sunday, and are doing Christianity Solo.  If you are here at The Awakening, you are here because you’ve told yourself, "well, this isn't really church."  You've probably heard foolish people who say, "a Christian doesn’t have to go to church, I’m against the institution!  I’m against the Organization!"  Yeah?  Well, you’re also against the teaching (Hebrews 10:23-25) of the Word of God then apparently, let alone reading it for yourself.  Not only is this attitude SIN and in need of repentance, it is also clearly a spiritually flat community if not the absence of it. 

Some of you are participating in just one aspect of this Christian community. This might hit a little more close to home for many of us.  You see, if we are not careful, we will turn our Christian community into something that looks only like us.  We don’t get outside of our own socio- economic genre, our own ethnicity, our own language or even our own age.  If that person doesn’t shop the same place you do, buy the same clothes you do or even eat the same food, they don’t really end up being a part of your community.  This is flat community.  ... it is not the fullest community God has intended for us to have.

Then there’s this interesting group of us in here tonight that have fallen in love with community.  In fact, you are going to at least 2 community groups a week.  You have an accountability partner. You heard me speak last week on our community cravings and you were like, “Preach it Phil!”  You totally believe in community.  But here’s the problem, you have focused so much on your personal community, you have neglected the fuller community of Christ.  You have been going to Church on Sunday’s only once a month, but your good right?  You have small group on Wednesday, and the Awakening on Tuesday.  You are missing an important part of the community of Christ! 

In all four circumstances you are missing out on the fullest community of Christ and your community is flat.  Let me be clear: You have a flat community when its based on your terms, not God's.  A flat community is one that is based on your comforts, your schedule, your lifestyle and your reputation.  It’s all about YOU.  But a FULL community is focused on God.  It is a community based on HIS glory, his reputation and the lifestyle he has in mind for us.
See you on Tuesday night, 7pm at Fellowship Dallas.

Community based on Purpose or People

I've been thinking over the past few days about the different realms in which we find community.  I've written elsewhere about the four different spaces we find community (Public, social, personal and intimate) and how they are all important at different seasons of life.  But recently, I've recognized another distinction within these four spaces.

When we look at the public and social spaces of community, the gathering seems to unify mostly around the "purpose" of being there.  For example, when you have 100,000 football fans at Jerry-world, the reason so many gather is generally for the same purpose - to see the Cowboys destroy the competition.  Move down the community spectrum to the social realm and again, you find a community gathered for a similar purpose - to meet people and find new friends. (Think about your cool bar scene - a really cool one that everyone wants to be at.).  These spaces of community draw people based on their purpose for existing.

But something different happens when you cross over to the Personal and Intimate spaces of community.  Here, it is not the purpose that is the ultimate unifier of the group, but the people who cause community to stick.  An example would be a small group in the large.  A small group gathers with usually 5-20 people to study the Bible, care for each other, and some may even have a missional component. (Check out the small groups at Fellowship Dallas.)  But here's the deal, a small group can have a great mission and be serving and making a difference, but if the people are jerks, socially awkward and just flat out people you would not choose to hang out with - that Small group isn't going to work.  The same goes for the secular "local bar" where everyone knows your name.  If those people keep calling you Norm but your name is Nick, you likely won't be sticking around to long.  Move down the community spectrum to those intimate relationships in your life - the spouse or girlfriend.  If you try to base these relationship just on the purpose of being together, your romance life is going to suck!  I've heard well meaning pastor's suggest that a young man should enter marriage only if he truly believes that he can not serve God being single.  Give me a break!  Can you imagine telling your wife, "I love you for they way you make me more able to participate in the mission God has for me?" That sure sounds like a fun time of the misses.  Intimate relationships of course are about the people we are intimate with.

Understanding these two distinctions, I think, will help all of us better use these spaces more effectively and more purposefully.  Let's not try and make Public space a place where intimacy is the cultural norm - that's weird.  And likewise, let's not turn our personal and intimate spaces of community based only on mission statements void of the recognition authentic community requires.

More to come on this topic at The Awakening on October 5th.

It's time to write.

I'm ready to start writing more frequently again. Here's the deal: I have to set a few expectations. This blog is not going to be an "experts" guide to something. It will be my life, my travels, my passions and my faith. Indeed, it is my testimony of living. Second, in my aim to post several times a week, combined with my busy life, just get over the fact, that I can't spell worth a lick. I seriously may be the worst speller you've ever met. It is inevitable - just ignore it and move on. ("Hooked on Phonics" never did a thing for me.) Finally, I must make note, that this blog represents my opinions at the time they were written, not those of my employer, or ministries I'm involved with, though for all reasons of integrity, they probably aren't too far apart. Coinciding with this final point is that my testimony is an open and unwritten journal (moleskin of course) and being such, I will most assuredly change my mind from time to time as I share my pondering with anyone willing to listen. Come to expect it.

I look forward to entering the conversations of life and I look forward to you joining me.