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?