Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas...

So my house has turned into Santa's workshop the last few days. We decided to hand-make many of our gifts this year so every flat surface has turned into a workbench. All other work has come to a near halt. And bedtimes are thrown out the window as we work on creating tokens for those we love.

And it has had a wonderful effect on our household! Our kids are more excited than I've ever seen them and it is mostly about the gifts they are giving rather than the gifts they are receiving.

That is the spirit of Christmas.

Yesterday I had a wonderful experience while driving my school bus. For the last two weeks there has been a war raging over the music I put on the radio. They have fought tooth-and-nail against my efforts to play Christmas music. They've complained. They've whined. They have turned up their mp3's on their phones and waved them in the air in defiance.

And then yesterday (our last day of school before Christmas break), I determined that the Christmas music would win. I braced myself for the battle. And an amazing thing happened: They all sang along. Everyone of them.

That is the spirit of Christmas.

And it seems everywhere you go during this holiday season you see people holding the door for each other. Putting money into the Salvation Army buckets. Smiling more. Saying "I love you" more.

That is the spirit of Christmas.

And as I sit here this morning typing this while listening to the perpetual loop of Christmas songs that is going on in my house, I wonder...

Why do we reserve this beautiful spirit for just a few weeks a year? Whether people realize it or not, this spirit is of a loving Creator God who sent His Son to die for the people He loves, and He has promised He will fill us with His very Spirit if we will just accept His offer of a relationship through His Son. This Christmas Spirit we are seeing is just a glimpse of the way life could be...if we would live in true relationship with our God.

So tell me how you've seen the Spirit this season. And then help me figure out how we can spread that out all year long! God bless.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


As I've said before, I get new favorite things often, and this painting is currently it.

The official title of this piece is "Alfred, Louis and Francois after 12 years of preparation were surprised to find a cafe at the top of mount Everest".

Isn't that great?

I love the freshness and zaniness of it. I love the use of colors. I love the unique style of the art. But mostly I love it because it reminds me that some people are out there doing the thing they love and it is working for them.

As I think about the things that inspire me right now, I think that is one of the top ingredients - a life free to pursue its passion.

Just this week I've been inspired by...

Carlos Whittaker (a worship leader turned pastor turned leadership coach turned recording artist turned church planter who blogs at;

Elsie Flannigan (an local artist and shop-owner who spends her time making "cute" and blogs like crazy at;

Colby Moore (a local photographer who is blowing my mind with his creative scenes and vibrant colors. How exciting that he is making it work with what he loves. Check out his stuff on facebook or at;

and of course Matte Stephens (the artist who created my new favorite painting [see above] and seems to have a healthy affection for owls. Check him out at

So what inspires you? Would love to hear.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do You Remember...?

I'm starting to forget things.

Like where I left the keys. Or who sings that song.

Nothing major, but I've always relied on my memory. Even prided myself on being able to remember things. And I don't like not remembering.

I don't know if it's a function of getting older or the amount of information that is constantly rolling around in my mind pushing aside other memories. But I realize that I must make a greater effort to hold onto the memories that are important to me.

But maybe that is a good thing.

I've recently been reading through I Corinthians with my kids. And just this week we have been studying chapter 10 where Paul encourages the Corinthian church to remember some things. He starts out reminding them of how the Israelites were punished and sometimes destroyed while they were wandering around in the desert searching for the Promised Land because they worshiped false idols and disobeyed God and grumbled.

He even says that these things are recorded in Exodus & Numbers so we will have an example to NOT follow!

He then goes on to remind them of how drinking of the blessed cup and eating of the blessed bread is to remind us of how Christ died for our sins and made a way for us to have a renewed relationship with Him.

So you have good memories and bad memories. Both of which are to keep us focused and on track.

As I talked to my kids about this, I saw some variance in responses. My daughter Shiloh said that when she remembers that Jesus died on the cross for us, it makes her cry. But she went on to say they were tears of joy because it makes her realize how much God really loves us!

That is a proud father moment, let me tell you!

My son Ethan, on the other hand, while we were reading and discussing these truths, was having a tough time because we were doing it in the morning...

and he is not a morning person!

"Everything" in his mind was going wrong. Life was unfair because he had to get out of bed. Mom was a cruel task-master because she had made him put on clothes. His sister was a heartless antagonist because she had walked over him as he lay in the floor in rebellion against getting up. His brother was an extreme annoyance because he was hitting him in the head trying to get him to play. His father was an unbending authoritarian because he was trying to get him to answer a couple of questions about the scripture we were reading.

Life was not going his way.

So we talked about how we need to remember that we live in a comfortable house and have warm clothes to wear and that we have a family that loves us and a God who loves us even more. And I told him that when our feelings don't match the truth of our circumstances we need to remember those things and that it affords us a choice. Ethan can choose today to remember the truths of his life and have a crazy-awesome, positive-focused day. Or he can choose to forget the blessings of the God who loves him and have a miserable day.

And we each have that choice. So today, what is it that you need to remember?

God bless & Peace.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Creating Spaces...

Last night at 180 was a special time of reflection.

As I looked into the tired eyes of my Creative Worship Team Tuesday night and heard their stories of piles of school work amid their already tumultuous lives, I asked what does worship need to look like for us this week?

They answered resoundingly: QUIET.

So we spent some time remembering that this is the season of Advent - the traditional preparation period leading to Christmas. Where we evaluate our life. Where we contemplate the AWE-Factor of God and His Son. Where we prepare for His coming - which is literally what "Advent" means.

So we prayed and we read and we reflected and we lit candles.

And it was beautiful to see a mob of teenagers get quiet before the LORD.

So today, I pray that the spirit of quietness is carrying on in our souls and our hearts.

Now, if you were there, I want to hear how God spoke to you.
And if you weren't, I want to challenge you to take a moment and consider how you are using this season as a time to quiet yourself before the beauty of what God has done and what He is continuing to do.

...and then tell us what you are going to do about it.
Let us dwell in Him as we seek for Him to lead us. Peace.