A friend showed me this video yesterday, and I have watched it at least 5 more times trying to pick my favorite line! What say you?
Most of you know that I am a BIG I Am Second fan. Chris has a great story and I hope you will be encouraged by it. What is your favorite part of Chris’s story? Do you relate to any of his story? Please support I am Second by visiting their website and spreading the word!
My name is Barry Hill—and I am second!
Have you ever been in a car accident? Two weeks ago I was sitting in traffic, at a red light, when out of nowhere a car plowed into the back of my hand-me-down 1999 Cadillac DeVille. I wasn’t expecting the collision and it took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. The car was totaled and I ended up being back-boarded and taken away by ambulance, and I still have some pain in my neck and lower back. (I am sure those ambulance drivers are still talking about getting all 7 feet of me out of that car.) So, during Christmas and New Year, on top of everything else, I have been dealing with body shops, doctors offices, insurance companies, rental cars and looking for another car, but God has also reminded me several truths as a result of this trial that I would like to quickly share them with you.
1. Things are replaceable and people are not. This is what I kept on telling the inconsolable person that hit me. Well, I only understood about every other word this person was saying through their tears, but they were very sorry about the damage to the car, my neck and back, but I assured this person that we were going to walk away from the accident and to give thanks!
2. It could have been A LOT worse. Once I got to the ER, I quickly realized how much worse the damage could have been. Now, I’m not saying I’m glad that somebody else that was involved in a more serious accident, and not me! I am just saying that I was very thankful that the accident was not as bad as it could have been!
3. Driving is for real! My wife will tell you that I am a very slow driver, but driving feels like a video game sometimes doesn’t it? Sometimes what we forget is that our split second choices, mistakes or misjudgments on the road aren’t fixed by the reset button on the Xbox console and can have really serious consequences. I was reminded that more by what I saw in the ER than my accident. And, as my 10 year old daughter talks about driving someday—Lord help me, I realize how serious driving can be.
Do you pray before you get in the car? Have you ever been in car accident? How about a close call? For all my parents out there—What was it like to let your children start to drive for the first time?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It’s Here! The first Monday of the 2012! Can you believe it? So, tell me, have you made any resolutions or goals for 2012? I did. I prayerfully wrote down a eight specific goals I am working to accomplish in 2012. Resolutions and goals, if you boil them down, are really all about prioritizing what you spend your time on, right? If my goal is to be a better father or to loose 20 pounds, then I have to spend more time on the tread mill or with my children. And, if I am spending time doing those things, that means that I am spending LESS time doing something else—like sitting on the couch.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret!
I am now 41 years old. Do you want to know something that has taken me almost the entire 41 years of my life to learn. Here it comes, are you ready?
I can’t do it all!
I can’t do it all! Groundbreaking, I know, right? I don’t know about you, but I am an idea—vision person. I am a dreamer—in both the good and the bad sense.
The good: I’m a creative person and can perceive new ideas, perspectives and solutions in creative and unique ways.
The bad: It’s not my strong suit to think through all of the implementable realities associated with new ideas and the affect those ideas have on other people.
The truth—I come up with more than a few new ideas every week on varied topics. For example, I may want to start a new outreach program, at church, aimed at kids without parents at home immediately after-school. Or, I may want to start a new web site that will help churches train paid and volunteer leaders on how to prevent abuse in the church (I really am interested in this one. Please, let me know if you want to help me.) Both of these ideas are good, but lets say I don’t have the resources to accomplish both of them. So, I need a set of questions that I ask myself, a paradigm, to help me honestly determine what I am “called” to do with the limited resources I have today, this week, this month, this year, and this season of my life.
How do I differentiate the “good ideas” from the “God Ideas?” How can I separate, or determine, if an idea is merely a general “good idea” from an idea that God may be leading me towards—”for such a time as this.”
This is not an easy topic and this is not a simple checklist to determine God’s will. No, these are three simple steps that help me, in my relationship with God, determine where God may be leading me to invest my time, treasure and talent.
#1. Spend time with God. I have a regular time with God where I ask him to make my path clear? I ask Him to be a real presence in my life. I ask Him to help me sense his presence in important matters. I spend time in the word of God, in prayer, and in silence? Every day I acknowledge that God loves me more than I can even ask or imagine, and that he demonstrated that love through the cross.
#2. I seek the counsel of godly men and women in my life. I have a few people in my life, that I have known for a long time, that will flat out tell me, in love, “No, that’s NOT a good idea right now.”(—you pin head.)
#3. The opening and closing of doors. When ever I am faced with a new opportunity I will often ask God to make my path clear by opening and closing the “doors of details” to help me determine what I should be spending my time on. For instance, If I have a great idea for an after school program but have no funding or volunteers then God may be telling me, “Not now, keep praying.”
Ideally, I like to have all of these factors working together at the same time in order to launch into a big new project. Just because someone wrote me a check for an idea, or because a friend said it was a good idea, doesn’t mean it gets the green light. Sometimes these results happen quickly and other times it takes a very long time.
How do you determine what you invest your time in? Do you subscribe to the Good Idea Vs. God Idea theory? Please, don’t forget to subscribe to The Ordained Barista through an RSS feeder, click the big mug at the top of the page, or get each post conveniently delivered to your inbox.
I have been in ministry, working for the Church, for more than 15 years. Serving teenagers and their families is the only job/calling I have ever had and I wouldn’t trade the last 15+ years for the world. However, I can’t help but feel that the longer I remain in ministry the more our culture becomes less sympathetic, and almost skeptical, about Christianity and, more specifically, Christians then ever before. Is it just me? Is it just because I am getting older and noticing it more? Do you feel it?
One example of this attitude, of the many I could have chosen from, are the recent tweets from Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” comedian, and an atheist who is outspoken in his criticism of religion.
Maher tweeted, after The Denver Bronco’s recent loss to the Buffalo Bills, the following:
“Wow, Jesus just _________ #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them”
On December 25th of this year (Christmas day) he tweeted,
Now, listen, I don’t expect Bill Maher to “get it,” right? After all, what do the light and the darkness have in common? (2 Corinthians 6:14) But, there is a growing “hostility” that I have been sensing that I don’t ever remember. Is it just me? You can also see a conversation that I had with an atheist on twitter in a post I called “Got Faith”(Click Here)
What do you think? Do you sense a hostility? Why do you think is causing this? What are the contributing factors? Does it seem that Christianity seems to be more on the “front lines” than other faiths? Why? What can we do to move popular sentiment in the other direction? Is that our job? Thanks for your input and opinions!
Have you ever fertilized your lawn with manure? I haven’t, but I have certainly smelled it when a few of my neighbors have tried it. I hear that manure really greens your lawn and is excellent for strong roots and growth. That got me thinking about today’s topic—things that make our spiritual maturity GROW, and the “faith grower” I picked today is a lot like manure.
1. This method of spiritual growth stinks really really badly—especially at the time!
2. But most of the time it produces big results!
Failure as Fertilizer!
I don’t know about you, but I am an expert at failing. No, seriously, I think one of my spiritual gifts is the gift of failure. The trick with failing is to fail in the right direction.
Sometimes when I have failed at things I have fallen backwards to even worse failures. How about you?
Sometimes when I have failed at things I simply repeat the SAME failure over and over again—expecting different results. Sound familiar?
However, most of my failures have eventually lead me to a place of learning from my mistakes, growth and maturity. Here are a few important things to remember about failing in the right direction.
1. Failure is not a person it’s an event. If you have failed at something, and we all have, the mistake is believing that YOU are the failure. You are not a failure but maybe you have failed at certain things you have tried. Learning from our mistakes is one of the most important parts of being human.
2. Failure in the right direction all depends on your attitude. One of the great stories surrounding Thomas Edison’s invention of the light-bulb is that he failed more than 1,000 times at getting his invention to work. When asked about the failures, as the story goes, he allegedly said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.”
3. Failure is pushes us to admit we need help from friends, family and God.
4. Failure helps you to be humble and to not take yourself too seriously.
Listen, failure at times can have serious implications. If you use too much manure, or the wrong kind, on your lawn it will burn your lawn and possibly kill your grass. I am in no way trying to minimize the reality that our decisions carry consequences to them. However, I want to tell you today that God is bigger than your failures and wants to use them to bring you closer to Him.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Let me ask you a question. Which do you like better? Do you like the days building up to Christmas, like my wife Rachel, or do you enjoy the days following Christmas day more? Personally, I love the more relaxing “days of Christmas” after all the hustle and bustle are over. How about you? Tell me which you like more and why!
Here are a couple of Christmas videos that should encourage you today, this third day of Christmas. We are traveling up to PA today, and your prayers are coveted and appreciated!
Merry Christmas from my family to yours! I hope your day is filled with joy, laughter, and the peace the surpasses all understanding.
Here is an excerpt from Max Lucado’s It Began in a Manger, and to download the entire free PDF of It Began in a Manger click Here. A special thanks to Max Lucado. (take a minute to check out his page.)
…God had entered the world as a baby.
Yet, were someone to chance upon the sheep stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem that morning, what a peculiar scene they would behold.
The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pun- gently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor.
A more lowly place of birth could not exist.
Off to one side sit a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him—so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.
Near the young mother sits the weary father. If anyone is dozing, he is. He can’t remember the last time he sat down. And now that the excitement has subsided a bit, now that Mary and the baby are comfortable, he leans against the wall of the stable and feels his eyes grow heavy. He still hasn’t figured it all out. The mystery of the event still puzzles him. But he hasn’t the energy to wrestle with the questions. What’s important is that the baby is fine and that Mary is safe. As sleep comes, he remembers the name the angel told him to use . . . Jesus. “We will call him Jesus.”
Wide awake is Mary. My, how young she looks! Her head rests on the soft leather of Joseph’s saddle. The pain has been eclipsed by wonder. She looks into the face of the baby. Her son. Her Lord. His Majesty. At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. She can’t take her eyes off him. Somehow Mary knows she is holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel, “His kingdom will never end.”
He looks anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary for his well-being.
Majesty in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.
She touches the face of the infant-God. How long was your journey!
Max and Santa
We took the kids to see Santa on Wednesday and none of us were sure how Max, our 1 year old, was going to react to the jolly old man. Well, here it is. So let’s have some Christmas fun! The person who comes up with the best caption to the picture of Max and Santa will win an Ordained Barista T-shirt!
Caption Please: Write the best caption for this photo in the comments section!
Do You Deliver?
Have you seen the video of this Fed Ex guy delivering a computer monitor to a house in southern California? This hidden video footage is approaching 5,000,000 hits on You Tube and is pretty amazing—amazingly bad is what I mean.
What do you deliver?
As a youth pastor I am often asked to deliver the story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus to groups and individuals who have questions about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. And, as Christmas quickly approaches, opportunities usually present themselves to share this message of grace with a friend or family member. However, I have seen many people, over the years, deliver this message of hope, grace and God’s unmerited favor with the tact and gentleness of this Fed Ex driver. Here are a few things that I try to remember if I am ever asked questions about my faith in Jesus.
1. I freely admit that I don’t have all the answers, but offer to tell, anyone that asks, the amazing story of what God has done in my life.
2. I try to present the message in love, gentleness, and respect.
3. I remember that it’s not up to me to change a person’s heart, that’s between them and God. My job is to share the TRUTH in LOVE. (see #2)
4. We should ALL be prepared to give an account of the hope we have in Jesus. I hear people all the time say that they aren’t pastors so telling people about Jesus is not their “gift’—so it’s not their “job.” Wrong! As a matter of fact, for many reasons, I think listening to the faith journey of a friend or family member, who is not a “religious professional,” is in many ways more powerful than listening to a pastor.
1 Peter 3:15 is one of my favorite verses because it combines our responsibility to communicate the hope we have in Jesus, but also incorporates the attitude that we are to deliver this hope with—gentleness and respect!
1 Peter 3:15
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,